Spiritual Warfare

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
********************************
We do not war after the flesh. The flesh is weak and hinders us in our spiritual warfare. Since the flesh and the Spirit are contrary to each other (Galatians 5:17) the flesh only gets in the way. Our warfare is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). It is a spiritual warfare and we must deal with it in the spirit. We are not to fight as people who are not Christians do.
The weapons of our warfare. Weapons are instruments used for fighting.
1. Not carnal. Our weapons are not according to the flesh. The weapons of the flesh are words and physical actions.
2. Mighty through God. The Christian is to rely on the spiritual weapons God has given us which are mighty as God works in us and through us. Our weapons are mentioned in Ephesians 6:17-18. There are defensive and offensive weapons. Our offensive weapons: “They are the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: and praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” We are to use the word of God. When we think and speak the word of God we are placing the sword in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is also a spiritual weapon. Through prayer we call upon God and seek His knowledge, wisdom and power to operate in us and through us.
Pulling down strong holds. These are spiritual fortresses of evil that have been erected against us. We are to tear down and destroy evil fortresses with the word of God and prayer.
Casting down imaginations and every high thing. We are to overcome mental thoughts and images that are evil and lift themselves up against the knowledge of God, again using the word of God and prayer.
Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. We are to conquer every thought and make them obedient to Christ. We can speak to the thoughts and command them to go in the name of Jesus. Then we can redirect our thoughts to things of virtue and praise.

Two Kinds Of Sorrow

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death.”
****************************************
Godly sorrow produces repentance. Sorrow after a Godly manner is a true sorrow and will result in one turning from that which causes the sorrow to live and behave in a different manner. It is a matter of turning from the flesh and turning to the Spirit (God).
Worldly sorrow works death. Sorrow after a worldly manner produces no change in one’s life. They still follow the flesh and do those things that they desire to do. They continue to do that which is wrong and not that which is right. They walk the path of self-destruction. They will continue to suffer the consequences of their life and behavior and it becomes a vicious cycle.
As a school teacher. When I was teaching I had posted in my classroom this saying, “Sorrow without changed behavior is not sorrow at all, but only words”. Every time a student was misbehaving and told me that they were sorry I quoted this saying to them. Then I would teach them that if their behavior did not change, then they were not sorry at all. By the end of the year I had repeated it so many times that many of the students have memorized it and when I would start quoting it they would quote it with me.
Godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation. Sorrowing in a Godly manner produces repentance (a change) in our lives and results in our salvation from the vicious cycle that occurs without true repentance. Let us sorrow in a godly manner and stop the cycle in our lives.

God Gives Us The Victory

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
********************************
God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t have to win the victory, it has already been won for us. We don’t have to work for it. We can’t buy it. God gives it to us as an act of His grace received through faith. It is undeserved and unmerited, yet because He loves us He gives it to us.
1. Victory over sin. The wages of sin is death and Jesus paid the wages for our sin.
2. Victory over death. “The sting of death is sin”. Jesus took the sting out of death when he died and was touched by the sting of death. Death could not hold Him.
3. Victory over the grave. Jesus won this victory when he arose from the dead and the dead in Christ will rise again also. He said, “Because I live, you shall live also”. The grave could not hold Him.
Thanks be to God. Let us be ever thankful for what God has done for us and constant in offering our thanksgiving unto Him for the “Victory in Jesus”.

God’s Desire For You

Ephesians 3:13-21:
************************************************
My child, I do not want you to faint and become troubled because of tribulations. I want to strengthen you with might by My Spirit in your inner man according to the riches of My glory. I want Christ to dwell in your heart by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to know and understand with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ, which passes knowledge and can only be known and understood by experience. I want you to be filled with all the fullness of My Spirit. All of this is yours by faith. I can do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think, according to the power that is at work in you. I will receive glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.

Loves Greatness

1 Corinthians 13:13 “Now abides faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
*******************************************
Now abides faith, hope, and charity (love):
1. Faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is a present reality because we don’t have the things we hope for and we can’t see them.
2. Hope. “Hope is a feeling that what is wanted will happen.” (Webster’s Dictionary). Hope abides now because what we want to happen has not yet become a reality.
3. Love. Love is a strong feeling or affection for someone. We feel it, show it, and take great pleasure in it.
But the greatest of these is charity (love). Love is the greatest because it is something that shall endure beyond this earthly life. When we get to heaven we will have no need of faith for we will have all that we hope for and even more. We will see it and experience it. We will have no need of hope for we will have what we wanted and needed. “Hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?” (Romans 8:24). Everything we could ever hope for we will have. Love on the other hand is something that we shall feel, show, and take great pleasure in when we get to heaven. We shall dwell in the very presence of love for “God is love”. We shall experience love from our brothers and sisters in Christ to a degree that we have never experienced it before. Therefore, the greatest of these is love.

Our Limited Knowledge Perfected

1 Corinthians 13:9-12 “We know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
************************************
We know in part and we prophesy in part. Our knowledge is limited and lacking full comprehension. There are many things that we don’t know. This scripture compares our present speaking, understanding, and thinking with that of a child.
When that which is perfect is come. This is a reference to the coming of the Lord Jesus. When the Lord shall come there shall be a great change that takes place.
1. That which is in part shall be done away. Scripture tells us that our bodies will be changed. Our mental abilities will also be changed. Even now our minds are being renewed (Romans 12:2). We will be endowed with a new ability to perceive and understand. We will have a new awareness of things around us. We will be able to piece together aspects of the truth perfectly. Knowledge will be perfected.
Now we see through a glass darkly. Now we don’t see things clearly and therefore there are many things we cannot explain clearly. Our insight is imperfect, and we know in part with a limited knowledge.
But then. Then we shall see face to face. We shall know fully even as we are known fully by God. God’s word speaks often of mysteries but then there will be no more mysteries.

Abounding In Hope

Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
***************************************
The God of hope. God is the source of true, and ultimate hope. We have hope sometimes for things which do not happen and in these cases, we must look at the source of our hope. What was our hope based on? The hope that God gives is supported and guaranteed by His faithfulness, and being all knowing, all powerful, and always present. When our hope comes from God we can count on it. Let us see how God brings about this hope in us.
Through the power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is the mediator through which God brings about this hope in us. The hope God gives us comes through the amazing, infallible power of the Holy Spirit.
In believing. We must ask ourselves, “believing in what?” The Holy Spirit is a powerful Teacher. Jesus said that the Spirit of truth would teach us all things, guide us into all truth, and bring to our remembrance what He has said unto us. (John 14:26; John 16:13). The Holy Spirit teaches us the word of God and that is what we must believe. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
Fill you with all joy and peace. In believing we possess this joy and peace and hope.
1. “Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:7-8).
2. This peace is the peace of God, which passes all understanding, and it shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7).
3. This hope is a blessed hope, full of assurance. It is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19).
That you may abound in hope. Believing faith determines the level of joy, peace and hope we have. As our faith increases so will our level of joy, peace, and hope. God can make us to abound and be filled with this hope. Our part in this is to stay in the word of God and look to the Holy Spirit to teach us and to produce faith in us.

Paying Our Debt

Romans 13:8 “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loves another hash fulfilled the law.”
********************************
Owe no man anything. This is not instruction against going into debt. There are some things that we can’t pay cash for. However, we should try to keep our debt at a minimum. What this scripture is really saying is that we should pay our bills on time. We owe it at the time the bill is supposed to be paid and we should pay it on time. This comes from the fact that we have given our word and agreed to this. As a Christian we should be true to our word and give a good testimony as to our trustworthiness.
But to love one another. This is a debt that cannot be paid in full. Our debt to love one another is fresh and new every day and every moment of every day. We are to be paying on this debt without ceasing by loving everyone continually. Our love is to be with grace, meaning that we love the other person whether they deserve it or not. Grace is unmerited undeserved favor. “God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). God has enabled us to love with grace by creating within us a new nature, placing His Holy Spirit in us, and shedding abroad His love in our hearts.
For he that loves another has fulfilled the law. “Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10).

Sent By The Holy Spirit

Acts 13:4 “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”
************************************
Sent forth by the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Spirit sends members of the body of Christ forth on a mission, to do a service for God and unto others. It is not always those who are called into full time ministry. Sometimes it is a church member that is living close to God and is usable by God. The mission is not always over a long period of time but might pertain to a single event. What a blessed event it is to be sent forth by the Holy Spirit.
1. There is the knowledge that God is sending you forth.
2. There may be a consciousness of one’s own inabilities and an uncertainty of what is going to
happen.
3. There is an awareness of God’s presence.
4. There often is an awareness of the urgency of what God wants you to do.
5. There is also an understanding that God is in control of all the circumstances surrounding the
mission and that success rests in God’s hands.
6. There is an unexplainable experience of the working of God in and through you during the
task that cannot truly be explained to others.
7. There is sometimes a miracle, or miracles associated with the task.
8. There is rejoicing in the success and blessings that issue from the mission and service.
9. There is a testimony to be shared afterwards that will bless and encourage others.

“I beseech you Brothers and Sisters live close to God, present your body as a living sacrifice unto God which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13).

Experience the sending of the Holy Spirit and the blessings thereof. To God be the glory. Amen!

We Have A Place In Heaven

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
**************************************
Let not your heart be troubled. The disciples were troubled because Jesus had just told them that He was going away, and they could not go at that time but that they would follow Him afterwards. They would follow Him after certain necessary things had been completed according to the will and word of God. These included His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, glorification, and His preparing them a place in heaven. We each as brothers and sisters in Christ will follow him as our time comes. Jesus sought to comfort the disciples with these words and when we have had a loved one go home to be with Jesus we should also find great comfort in these words as well.
In my Father’s house are many mansions. Jesus is there in heaven preparing for us a place in our heavenly Father’s house. Those loved ones who have preceded us have taken up residence in their place prepared for them by Jesus.
I will come again. “When he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). One day “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Praise God!! He will receive us unto Himself that where He is, we shall be also.