Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What are you thankful for?

I bet if we were pressed we could come up with a million things to be thankful for. I know I could. For example, I am thankful for my family. They are the ones that really know me and they love me still. Even better than that is God knows me and still loves me.

There are so many things we take for granted---things we consider little like our homes, beds, AC, Heat, food, cars, clothes, jobs, even friends. But when you lose any of them then you appreciate them even more. I am thankful that God provides all these things for me and a family to share them with. I am also thankful for my church family. They love me in spite of my shortcomings. They love me enough to tolerate a bad sermon or song full of mistakes.

This Thanksgiving, I want to complain less and thank more and not take for granted the people God has put in my life. What about you?

To those of you who are reading this, thank you! I hope that you will be encouraged by this. Let's thank God today and forevermore for "all things," even the bad things knowing that they all "work together for [our] good" (Rom.8:28).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Whose the Real Enemy?

Now we noted the warfare that is found in Ephesians six where Paul tells the believers at Ephesus to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” And then he tells them in verse 11 the way that you can be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might is to, “Put on the whole armour of God.”And by putting on the whole armor of God that you are able to stand against the wiles, or the schemes of the devil.

And then he notes before us in verse 12 that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood.”The warfare that we engage in is not on a human level. It is on a spiritual level. It is against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. And therefore Paul says in verse 13 because of all of this, we are to take up the whole armour of God that we may be able to withstand or to resist in the evil day and having done all to stand.

Now we talked last week about how important it is to have the armor on and to leave it on. And with noting the items of the armor last week we saw it wasn’t something mysterious. We saw it wasn’t something mystical, not even something physical. But it is taking the Word of God and putting it on in your life and being committed to it, seriously committed to the Word of God and the things of God. It is having yourself covered with the practical righteousness of holiness and it is taking these elements in your life and being seriously committed to them. And then he sums it all up in verse 18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication.”

We must understand that the enemy that we are fighting is a tricky enemy. One moment you think you understand a little bit about him and the next moment he has fooled you. He is a master of deceit. He is a master of trickery and don’t think for one moment that you have the power in and of yourself to overcome him. That is why Paul says in verse 10 that we are to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,”not the power of your might, but the power of his might. We are to stand strong in the might and the strength of God.

E.M. Bounds says that, “The existence and the work of the devil is a serious matter. It is to be considered and dealt with from the most serious standpoint and only serious people can deal with it. For this reason the New Testament gives the repeated note of warning: Be sober.”