Posted in My Thoughts, Spiritual Warfare

We shouldn’t be afraid of a fight

It’s safe to say that we go through times in our life where we are in a serious battle. A battle to stay strong in our faith because of all the evil and hate and discouragement and trials and difficulties that we face. And it seems to come in waves as well; we’ll go through a calm period, and then it seems like attack after attack after attack hits us hard, and we are stumbling around just to stay on our feet.

This life is a battle. There is a spiritual battle going on all around us; we see and feel the effects of it on a daily basis in our lives. The Bible tells us we are in a fight, and the real enemy we are fighting against is not what we see on this earth, but really what is behind it.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12

Our enemy is good at trying to deceive us, discourage us, and get us distracted from focusing on God. He knows our weaknesses and he knows how to trick us. He is crafty, and he is good at it…he’s been doing it for a long time. Ultimately, he is out to destroy us. That is his end game, his desire. He hates us and wants to destroy us by keeping us from living for God and knowing the truth of who we are in Christ.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44

Honestly, this fight we are in can be absolutely exhausting. Even when we know we must keep fighting, our flesh can fail us and we can let our guard down. It is so easy to do. But we must keep on running to God and finding our strength and victory in him. On our own we can’t win the fight, but God has already won the battle!

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:53-58

So stand firm. Be strong in the Lord. Fight the fight of faith. Don’t give up or give in. Don’t relent. Don’t be afraid of a fight…be prepared to fight. Remember that God has already secured the victory for us, and we must just stay near to him through this life. When we live in the love and strength of God, then we will be conquerors.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. – Romans 8:37

Praise God that we are victorious and conquerors through him! May we seek to live that truth out each and every day of our lives!!

Here is a short video clip of a message from Jonathan Cahn that encourages us to remain strong and keep on fighting…

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Posted in Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare and our Fitness

spiritual warfare and our fitness

We are currently in the middle of a “fitness fad” in our culture. Suddenly it has become a popular thing to run mini-marathons, go to the gym, use a Fitbit, have apps on our phones for tracking what we eat, eat organic food, and so on. If you watch social media, you will undoubtedly see people talking about the next race they are running, posting selfies of them self at the gym, or sharing their opinions on ways to get and stay healthy.

Now, I’m not saying this new “fitness fad” is a bad thing. Getting in better shape and becoming healthier is beneficial. Being more mindful of what we eat and how much we eat is definitely something that is good to do. I don’t even mind seeing some of the social media posts, because in today’s world that is our reality…we post what we are doing for all to see.

Just a little side note before I continue…some people need to reconsider some of the selfies they post from the gym as they are a little too revealing, and others need to post less about all their progress because after a while it just looks like a lot of bragging. Ok, side note done.

As Followers of Christ, we must make sure we are diligent to become healthy in our Spiritual Life too. We can’t neglect our Spiritual Life and expect to have a strong faith or a close relationship with God. We can’t avoid prayer or reading God’s Word and expect to be growing more mature as a Follower of Christ. We will have a hard time guarding our feelings and emotions, or desiring Godly things over fleshly things, if we are not seeking to have a healthy Spiritual Life. And thus, we will be more vulnerable and susceptible to Satan’s attacks.

Just like when we begin to work toward becoming more physically fit, we must be intentional and diligent in becoming more spiritually fit as well. Let me give an example.

When I decided I wanted to get into better shape physically, I did the following things:

  1. I worked to save up money in order to buy a treadmill, so that my wife and I could use it. I purchased a set of DVD workouts to use, as well as some weights.
  2. At first I began working out in the afternoon whenever I was able. However, often work or family activities would make that difficult, so I didn’t get to be as consistent as I knew I needed to be. Because of that, I began getting up early in the morning before the kids were awake and before I had to go to work, so that I could have a consistent time to work out.
  3. I set goals for myself to strive for. I even began using one of those apps on my phone to track what I eat to help me accomplish those goals.

When I decided that I needed to be healthier and in better physical shape, I did several things to accomplish that. I was intentional in my desire to become healthier and more physically fit.

To grow spiritually, we can do the same kinds of things.

  1. We can remember that God has entrusted us with the money and possessions we have, and we are to use them wisely. We are to be using what God has given us for his work, not just for our own pleasure.
  2. We can make sure we set aside time each day to spend with God; reading his Word, praying, meditating on what God’s Word said, and so on. Doing those things help us to be spiritually healthy.
  3. We can set goals and have a plan, so that we have something to work toward and keep us on track. A Bible Reading Plan, having an accountability partner to check in with us and keep us on track, a prayer journal to remember what to pray for, etc.

We need to be very intentional to become healthier and more spiritually fit, just like we would if we were working and training to become more physically fit. It will look a little different for each of us (when, how long, what we do and utilize, etc), but the point is to be intentional with our spiritual health.

 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8)

In a world full of distractions and temptations, we must do what is necessary to stay close to Christ, who gives us the strength we need to live a Godly life. There will always be many excuses to not spend time with God or focus on your spiritual health…guard yourself from making those excuses, and be intentional about your spiritual health. We are in the middle of a spiritual battle, so it only stands to reason that we should work to be spiritually strong and healthy.

Posted in Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare and our Desires

spiritual warfare and our desires

This morning I was spending time in God’s Word, reading through Galatians chapters 4 and 5. Beginning in verse 16 of chapter 5, Paul begins to talk about the difference of living according to our fleshly desires and living according to the Spirit of God that now resides in us as Followers of Christ.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16)

We all have things we desire. A desire is simply something we crave or really want. We all like certain things, have a passion for something specific, and are drawn to certain types of things. Those are things we desire.

Some of our desires are not bad, and some are. The reason we have both good and bad desires is because we are human; our flesh battles against the Spirit we have in us as Followers of Christ. The Spirit is stronger than the flesh, but we can allow our fleshly desires to take over and become our main focus if we are not careful.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:17)

The other day I wrote a post about Spiritual Warfare and our Feelings. In it I said that we have to guard our feelings and emotions, because they are vulnerable and susceptible to attack. I believe that our feelings and emotions are the area we must guard the most, because it is our most vulnerable area. I’m not saying I believe feelings and emotions are bad, I’m just saying they are vulnerable.

Connected to our feelings and emotions are our desires. Often, what we desire will be a direct result to the state of our feelings and emotions. If our feelings and emotions are grounded on truth and we are guarding them, our desires will also be grounded. If our feelings and emotions are not being guarded and seem to constantly be changing, our desires will follow. If we are suppressing our feelings and emotions…or allowing them to be suppressed…we won’t be sure what we desire.

In verses 19 – 24 Paul gives us two lists; one list is how those who are allowing the desires of their flesh to lead how they act, and the other list is how those who are allowing the Spirit to lead how they act. We call the second list the “Fruit of the Spirit”.

Obviously, as Followers of Christ we should be striving to allow the Spirit to lead us, so that the second list is evident in our actions. But we have to also be honest, because if we are not guarding ourselves, we can begin to desire the things of this world…or at the least not desire Godliness in our life, which if we allow that to last for a while, will begin to open us to begin desiring worldly things more.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

Paul ends this section with a challenge. If we have the Spirit, let’s make sure we live and stay in line with the Spirit’s leading in our life. As Followers of Christ, we have the Spirit living with us. Because of this, we need to allow the Spirit to lead us and guide our actions. We need to allow what we desire to be guided by the Spirit of God living in us.

In this constant battle between our flesh and the Spirit, we must pray hard and work to stay focused on the things of God, so that we do not allow ourselves to begin to allow our fleshly desires to take over. If we don’t continue to follow the Spirits leading, eventually our lack of desiring Godliness will cause us to be vulnerable to begin replacing those Godly desires for fleshly ones. Even when we weren’t intending to seek after our fleshly desires, if we don’t intentionally continue to allow the Spirit to lead us, our flesh will grow stronger and fleshly desires will begin to take over.

Stand strong. Remain strong. Trust God. Follow the Spirits leading. Avoid fleshly desires by pursuing Godliness.

Posted in Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare and our feelings

spiritual warfare and our feelings

There is a war happening all around us. This war is being fought in the spiritual realm, and it is over our heart and mind. God and his angels battling with Satan and his demons, both fighting for our love and attention and devotion. We can’t necessarily see this war with our eyes, but we are very much a part of it and effected by it.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Even though we can’t see this war taking place, we definitely see and feel the effects of this war. It happens much more than we sometimes even realize or admit. Those who are battling in the spiritual realm do not get tired, therefore they can continue to battle constantly. So it can happen at any moment, whether we are aware and prepared or not.

That is why in Ephesians 6:10-13 it talks about being strong or standing strong 4 times: Verse 10 says “be strong in the Lord“, verse 11 says “to stand against“, and verse 13 says “to be able to stand” and “to stand firm“. We are reminded a lot in those verses to stand strong…which shows that we need to be ready to fight at all times because the battle can come at any moment.

In this war, the thing that we must guard the most is our feelings and emotions. We must constantly work very hard to keep our feelings and emotions in check, grounded upon truth, and standing strong. Feelings and emotions have a lot of power and control over our heart and mind…over what we love and pay attention to and are devoted to. And in this war, that is what is being fought over.

Our feelings and emotions can quickly get off track, causing us to think off track about things within our life. It doesn’t take much either if we are not actively protecting them. One little feeling or emotional thought is all it takes to head down a wrong path. And it can happen very quickly too! I know for me, I can have one fearful thought, and within moments all kinds of crazy thoughts and feelings are running around my head. I can go from being calm to feeling so anxious I can barely move within mere seconds if I allow my feelings and emotions to run wild.

That can happen to any of us. And its different feelings and emotions that can trigger it for each of us as well. For some it’s fear, for some it’s doubt, some it’s anxiety, for others it can be insecurity, anger, pain, frustration, worry, loneliness, depression, “just not feeling it” (which is a feeling as well) and so on.

This is why our feelings and emotions need to be guarded so strongly, because they are very susceptible to attack. Our enemy Satan knows how our feelings and emotions can quickly lead us in a wrong direction, and even keep us in that place for a long time, so he will seek to attack our feelings and emotions regularly. He is out to destroy us after all (1 Peter 5:8), and he will do so however he is able.

When our feelings and emotions are off track, it can be difficult to get back on track. We can begin to believe what we are feeling, or we might even begin to mistake our feelings and emotions for rational thought when we are in the midst of the struggle and attacks.

So what do we do to get our heart and mind back on track? We have to focus on and stand on truth. Not what we feel or think is truth, but what is actual truth. Truth that is not based on us and how we feel at all. God’s Truth.

In Ephesians 6, when it begins to talk through the armor of God that we need to fight against Satan, the first piece of armor it mentions is the “belt of truth” (Ephesians 6:14). That is not a coincidence, it’s listed first for a reason. We must stand on truth before we can do anything else to fight against Satan’s attacks.

Below are a few helpful verses to remain grounded on God’s Truth again (besides the verses in Ephesians 6 which I mentioned above).

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace (2 Timothy 1:7-9)

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7)

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. (Psalms 24:1-2)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalms 1:1-3)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:3-5)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Proverbs 19:21)

Posted in Media, Messages, Spiritual Warfare, Student Ministries

What is Spiritual Warfare and how does it affect me?

2015-01-14 12.48.16

The lesson in my Student Ministry on January 18th was about Spiritual Warfare, and specifically how we are affected and involved in that battle.

Below you will find a video of the lesson I shared as well as the Small Group discussion questions that the students spent time discussing after I shared the lesson.

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Small Group Discussion Questions

1. Share any initial thoughts or questions you have about this topic of Spiritual Warfare.

2. Did Woogy share anything about Spiritual Warfare that you hadn’t thought of before? Share what it was.

3. A battle or war is always between more than 1 side. In this Spiritual War we are talking about, the 2 sides are God and Satan.
-Read the following verses: 1 Peter 5:6-9, Ephesians 6:11-12.
-What do these verses tell us about the battle between God and Satan?

4. What are ways we can stand strong in this battle for our heart and mind? Let’s keep reading in Ephesians 6 to get some ideas: read verses 13-18.
-What are these verses telling us concerning how we stand strong in this battle?
-Let’s read a couple other passages that can help us know what to do to stand strong in this battle: 1 Peter 1:13-16 and 2:1-3. What are these verses telling us concerning how we stand strong in this battle?

5. Take a few minutes and write down on the provided piece of paper what your “Battle Plan” will be (examples: “I will read my bible 5 times a week”, “I will pray regularly”, “I will not watch TV until I read my Bible and pray each day”, “I will ask a friend to keep me accountable”, etc).

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I shared at the end of the night, after the lesson and discussion was over, that we will always have questions in this life…either about something we don’t understand, about what we are to do, etc. Asking questions is a great way to grow and develop in our faith as we struggle through this life. We are all on a journey in this life, and we are at different places in that journey as we fight this battle.

I have created a page where you can share questions you might have, as a way to provide a place for you to share your questions and seek answers. I am not claiming I know all the answers, but rather I’m offering to help you in your journey as you seek to grow in your faith.

To share your question, click here.