2 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
Whether you are aware of it or not – every day you are in a battle.The devil has a plan for your life. It is to kill, steal and destroy everything that is good and Godly in your life.God has a plan for you too. It is ultimately that you may have fellowship with Him and to have eternal life through His Son Jesus.
However, God and the devil are at war over you and over your life – and you must choose a side. You can’t sit on the fence. Because the fight is MORE a spiritual battle than a physical one. The fight is not entirely between people – but the fight is between ideas, values and beliefs. The fight is between God’s values and the devil’s values. The fight is between God’s principles and the devil’s principles. The fight is between the kingdom of God and the forces of the devil. This is what is called “spiritual warfare”.
In this spiritual warfare, we need to be equipped and we need to have the qualities and the discipline of a soldier of Christ. Therefore we are required to
1. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10)
2. Put on the WHOLE armor of God (Ephesians 6:10)
3. Submit to God and always draw close to God (James 4:7,8)
4. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7)
5. Not conform to worldly standards (Romans 12:2)
6. Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
7. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
8. Be thankful always (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
9. Watch your thought life (Philippians 4:6-9)
10. Trust God and not lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5,6)
11. Meditate and apply God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16)
12. Apply the blood of Jesus (Revelations 12:11)
13. Love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40)
14. Let God fight the battle (Exodus 14:14)
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
You are not going to win a spiritual battle with your own intellect or with your own strength and effort. You will win it when you involve God and you use the equipment that God has given you.
TODAY. Have the qualities of a soldier of Christ. Equip yourself EVERYDAY for the battle.
Should Christians compromise with the world? What if it means risking one’s reputation and life as a result of standing upon God’s word?
We can learn from 3 men in the Bible who faced this predicament.
Daniel 3:16-18 ESV Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
We live in a world that has increasingly accepted sinful living. Biblical Christian values are under attack and are being ridiculed. The world is at war with God. Therefore if you are a child of God and if you abide by biblical Christian values, you will at some point in your life face persecution from Non-Christians because of your belief in God.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were such men who loved God but who lived and worked in a sinful environment. They lived under a king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar who had decreed that everyone should kneel and worship the image of gold that he had made.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego however would not compromise their beliefs and so they disobeyed Nebuchadnezzar by refusing to worship his image of gold.
These three men were willing to face the fiery furnace and die for their beliefs. They were so faithful to God and to the word of God that they were willing to take a stand against Nebuchadnezzar.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were so committed that even if God did not save them from the fiery furnace, they would STILL not compromise their beliefs by worshipping Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image.
James 4:4 ESV You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
In your own life, what are you being forced by the world to compromise? The values of the world and the values of God will always be at war. There can be no agreement between God and the world. Today the world is redefining marriage; it is fighting for the right to kill unborn children; it is trying to teach you that there is no God, and the like. The world wants you to be “politically correct” at the cost of disobeying God. Therefore the world wants you to live according to its values and not according to God’s values.
Romans 12:2 NKJV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego we are not to conform to the values and teachings of this world because they are generally contrary to God’s will.
When you stand up for God, the world will disagree with you and ridicule you, but God is also able to save you from the fiery furnace just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
When the three men were in the fiery furnace, God’s Angel was with them in the midst of the burning furnace. Therefore no matter what heat you are facing because of your beliefs, God is ALWAYS with you and He will pull you out of it for His glory.
TODAY. Do not conform to this world. Abide in God. Take a stand.
John the Baptist was a Prophet tasked to announce and prepare the coming of the Lord Jesus. John was very interesting; he was unique and a little strange – he wore odd clothes, looked wild and ate strange food. Yet he was a Prophet of God who was popular and he drew the interest of all sorts of people including leaders like the Pharisees. But for me one of the great qualities that John had during his ministry was his humility, and his realization that his message was not about himself – but it was all about Jesus Christ.
John 3:30 NKJV He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.
In John 3:25-31, John the Baptist’s disciples were puzzled and probably jealous that Jesus was getting more attention and more followers than John.
However, John knew that his mission was to influence people to follow Jesus and not to himself. John knew that Jesus must get the glory and not him.
John’s willingness to decrease in importance and popularity showed great humility. He desired that Jesus increase in popularity while he decreased. For John, it was not about being popular, but it was about making Jesus popular.
Even in ministry, Christian leaders can be tempted to focus on their own personal achievements and the success of their institutions rather than to focus on emphasizing Christ and the kingdom of God.
Even in your own personal life. Since the moment that you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior – has Jesus been increasing in your life? Are the qualities of Christ developing more inside you – or are you still the same person you were when you became born again? Can people tell that you are a Christian and that Jesus is in you?
In our personal lives, we must allow Jesus to increase, while our flesh decreases.
Matthew 16:24-26 NKJV Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
When you become born again, it is important to realize that the desires of Jesus supersede your own personal desires; the will and plan of God supersedes your own personal will and plan. This is what denying yourself is all about.
However it is always important to realize that the plans of God are BETTER than any plans we could ever formulate for ourselves. And it takes humility to realize this.
Today. Imitate John’s attitude. In your life, let Christ increase in you.
Matthew 13:58 NKJV Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Unbelief regarding the things of God is a very sad and dangerous thing. When we do not believe in the things of God, we are kept from enjoying a relationship with God. Unbelief also keeps us from experiencing the promises of God in our lives. Most importantly when you do not believe, you are kept from receiving the salvation of the Lord to keep you from perishing.
Unbelief can be defined as: doubt; lack of faith; or to presume something to be untrue or fictitious
James 1:6-8 NKJV But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James likens a person who doubts or has unbelief, as somebody who is “UNSTABLE in ALL his ways”. James also says that a doubting person will NOT receive “anything from the Lord”.
This is exactly what happened to the people in Jesus’ own hometown in Matthew 13:53-58. In the hometown were Jesus grew up for most of His life, the people there would not accept or believe His word or teachings in the synagogue. In fact, they were OFFENDED at Him. Therefore because of their unbelief Jesus did not do many mighty works.
The people in His hometown therefore missed out on several opportunities because of their unbelief.
The unbelief blinded them from the following:
1) They were blinded from having a relationship & fellowship with Jesus
2) They were blinded from knowing the truth of God’s word
3) They were blinded from experiencing the power of God in their lives
4) They were blinded from being delivered from their personal problems
Unbelief in God or the things of God therefore has terrible consequences in the life of a person. It can lead to misery, lack of direction, lack of spiritual discernment and even eternal punishment.
Atheists for example, lack a belief in God. Also people who follow other religions or cults lack a belief in the fact that Jesus is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6).
In Matthew 13:57, the unbelief of the people in Christ and what He spoke led the people to become offended at Him. Matthew 13:57 says “So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.””
Therefore many people who have unbelief in God or Christianity are offended and resistant to Christ or the truth of God’s word.
Where do you stand in your life? Do you resist Jesus Christ? Do you have unbelief towards Jesus and the things of God?
What is of interest about Jesus through-out His ministry is that He did not FORCE the gospel on people; He did not try to FORCE people to believe. God STILL gives you the option to CHOOSE between right and wrong or good and evil.
Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Everyone has a CHOICE. Is it Faith or Unbelief? Is it Light or Darkness? Is it the Word of God or the word of the World? Is it God or the devil?
WHAT and WHO do you CHOOSE to BELIEVE?
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
This prayer is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You. I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future. I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus. Thank You for forgiving my sins. From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be. I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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Your faith is tested by your trials and challenges that you face in your life. How you react to your trials and challenges is a reflection of your spiritual maturity.
So when you encounter a trial, a challenge, a TEMPTATION – even though you may have MENTAL knowledge of God’s word, are you Christ-centered in your effort to overcome the situation or do you try to find a non-Christian solution to your problems?
Luke 8:6 NKJV Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.
Luke 8:13 NKJV But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have NO ROOT, who believe FOR A WHILE and in time of TEMPTATION fall away.
Are you the type of Christian or church-goer who is hyped up, happy-clappy & joyful ONLY on Sundays during the church service? And then from Monday to Saturday you are a totally different person who’s struggling to find joy and victory because of the weekly challenges?
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said that “the seed IS the word of God”. The seed is not money or anything else but it is God’s word.
YOU are the SOIL. But what type of ground or soil are you?
Jesus explains that the seed that fell on rock are people who receive the word with joy but these people do not have any strong foundation to stand on when they face temptation.
Jesus himself was tempted by the devil, but when tempted, He was rooted in the word of God and He gave us an example of how to overcome temptation by responding to each temptation by the written word of God. Are you doing the same?
How to be Rooted in God’s Word
1. Meditate on God’s word DAILY. Psalm 1:2-3 says “…But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he MEDITATES day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper”.
A tree planted by the river will obviously have its roots benefiting from an abundant supply of river water.
2. Trust & Believe God ALWAYS. Do not believe only when there are no problems, but believe God’s word despite the circumstances. Jeremiah 17:7,8 says “Blessed is the man who TRUSTS in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
3. Walk in the Holy Spirit and NOT the flesh. Galatians 5:16-18 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
Therefore in order to be rooted firmly in God’s word you need to Mediate Daily and Believe God’s word all the time no matter what your circumstance. Also allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and will give you strength to overcome.
Are words powerful? Do words have the power to create, destroy, encourage and discourage?
Words certainly do have enormous power. Words can scar as well as build people. Which is why it is important that we are careful in relation to the words we speak to people.
What kind of words do you speak in your life? Do you encourage or do you discourage? Do you build or do you destroy with your tongue?
Remember that you are made in the image of God. Therefore you resemble your Creator.
As God was creating the earth, He SPOKE everything into existence; Let there be light; Let the earth bring forth grass; Let the earth bring forth every living creature…; Let Us make man in Our image… (Genesis 1:1-31)
WHATEVER God SPOKE into existence – eventually physically appeared.
Whether you know it or not – the very same thing is happening in your life. You are creating things by the words which you speak.
Proverbs 18: 21 NKJV Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
What you speak has the power to give life and also to destroy; to bless and to curse; to build and to destroy; to heal and to hurt; to encourage and to discourage.
Proverbs 18:20 NKJV A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
Do you want good things to happen in your life? Do you want good things to happen around you? God wants you to use your tongue for His glory. God wants you to speak words that bear good fruit because by SPEAKING life into every situation you too will benefit and God is glorified.
James 1:19-20 NKJV So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Your tongue is so powerful that your mood & thoughts are able to change just because of what you are saying. Your words (whether good or bad) can be infectious and affect the people who are listening to you. So before you speak, you need to give thought to what you want to say before you speak it.
Will what you speak glorify God? Will what you speak benefit your listener? Will what you speak make you a better person?
James 3:9-10 NKJV With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
From TODAY, make it your GOAL to speak words that BLESS, ENCOURAGE, UPLIFT, and give LIFE and reflect God’s LOVE.
Use your tongue to glorify God and in doing so you too shall enjoy the fruits.
Are you facing spiritual warfare? Do you find yourself listening to the word of God but never actually believing or understanding it? Do you find challenges in applying the word of God in your life because you are forgetting what is written in the word of God?
What do you do when the devil takes the word away?
Luke 8:5 NKJV “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.
Luke 8:11-12 NKJV “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
From the seed that fell on the wayside; to the seed that fell on the rock; to the seed that fell on the thorns; to the seeds that fell on good ground – these scenarios that Jesus gave are both a picture of spiritual challenges / warfare and also the level of one’s relationship with God.
The word of God is spiritual food. The word of God is meant to make you spiritually healthy and it is meant to help you to grow spiritually in your relationship with God.
When Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn stone into bread, Jesus responded from the word of God by saying: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 NKJV. So the word of God is food for your spirit or heart.
So therefore in the parable of the sower Jesus says “The seed is the word of God”. Therefore YOU are the RECIPIENT of the seed (which is the word of God).
The seed mentioned is NOT money. But the seed is THE WORD OF GOD. And it is YOU who must RECEIVE this WORD. The word of God must be PLANTED in YOUR HEART so that you GROW and bear GOOD FRUIT.
WHAT IS THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART?
Is your heart; mind; soul; attitude and spirit in the right condition to receive God’s word so that you can bear fruit? Or have you hardened your heart so that when you hear the word of God you neither understand it nor receive it? Are you so set in your own ways and in your own way of thinking that the word of God cannot penetrate itself in various areas of your life in order to help you to grow?
Any seed that is planted must have the right soil conditions for it to germinate & grow. Other factors include the right temperature, light, oxygen & water. In the same way if your heart is not in the right condition to receive the word of God, Jesus says that the devil will come and he will take the word out of your heart before the word can have a chance to make a difference in your heart.
The thing you must know is that even the devil knows the VALUE of the WORD OF GOD in a person’s life. That is why the devil will come and try to take the word from your heart. Remember that Jesus said “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” John 10:10 NKJV.
Therefore a thief does not steal something unless he believes that what he is stealing has value.
So if the enemy sees the value of God’s word, then YOU too must see that value and ensure that the word of God is enabling you to bear fruit and to have a close relationship with God.
And Jesus says that the devil steals the word from people’s heart because the devil is afraid that they “believe and be saved”.
So ultimately the devil doesn’t want you to believe and to be saved in your life or in whatever specific situation you might be going through. The devil knows that if he can hide the truth of the meaning of God’s word for your life, then he can prevent you from being freed through the knowledge of the word. Hosea 4:6 says “My people perish for lack of knowledge…” so you need to ensure that you have the right heart; that your heart is like good soil.
HOW DO YOU GET THE RIGHT CONDITION FOR YOUR HEART
Your heart must always be ready to receive the truth; that is the word of God.
The following verses below teach you how to condition your heart
Proverbs 3:5-8 NKJV “TRUST in the LORD with ALL your HEART, And lean NOT on your OWN UNDERSTANDING; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. DO NOT BE WISE IN YOUR OWN EYES; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”
Psalms 1:1-3 NKJV Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he MEDITATES day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that BRINGS FORTH ITS FRUIT in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
To make the conditions of your heart right, you must
1. Trust in the Lord; believe God even if you do not fully understand; Have faith in God.
2. Don’t lean on your own wisdom or understanding; you don’t know everything; only God knows everything
3. Revere the Lord; Don’t live as if God does not exist
4. Delight in the word of the Lord
5. Meditate on God’s word – day and night
6. Hide the word of God in your heart
7. Submit to the leading and will of the Holy Spirit in your day to day life
The results will be that
1. You will be healthy spiritually
2. You will bring / bear forth fruit because your heart is like the good soil
3. Whatever you do shall prosper
When you do the above, the devil will fail to take the word away from you.
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Bible Verse of the Day
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.