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John Sees a Battle

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John Sees a Battle

John writes, In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was already with God in the beginning. Everything came into existence through him. Not one thing that exists was made without him. He was the source of life, and that life was the light for humanity. The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it (John 1:1-5 GW).

John sees a battle that we cannot see with our eyes. John sees a battle between light and darkness, between good and evil, between life and death, and he’s telling us that is the world that we live in.

John says that is the reality. You will encounter darkness in this world and in your own heart too. You will fight against the forces of death in this world and in your own life.

But John believes the power of love is greater than the power of hate. He teaches that love will win the day, and in the end, love will prevail. And these themes are visited throughout John’s gospel and his Epistle to the churches.

You can experience the message this blog is taken from (audio or video) here.


The Battle Against Sin Is Actually Part of God’s Plan

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The Battle Against Sin Is Actually Part of God’s Plan

We have it in our heads that if we struggle with temptation, if we fall into sin from time to time, there must be something terribly wrong with us. Everyone else seems fine. We must be pretenders. But the truth is everyone struggles with something. The battle itself is part of living in the already … but not yet dilemma.

Through the cross Jesus overcame sin and nailed them on it. Yet still we have to fight the battle against sin. And I am convinced we will fight that battle until the day we die.

That’s basically what the writer of Hebrews says.

God uses the struggle against sin to grow us, so don’t be surprised by it.

Don’t be discouraged by it.

Fight the fight (Hebrews 12).

Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Now he holds the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.

You struggle against sin, but your struggles haven’t killed you. You have forgotten the encouraging words that God speaks to you as his children:

“My child, pay attention when the Lord disciplines you. Don’t give up when he corrects you.

The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child.”

Endure your discipline. God corrects you as a father corrects his children. All children are disciplined by their fathers. If you aren’t disciplined like the other children, you aren’t part of the family. On earth we have fathers who disciplined us, and we respect them. Shouldn’t we place ourselves under the authority of God, the father of spirits, so that we will live? For a short time our fathers disciplined us as they thought best. Yet, God disciplines us for our own good so that we can become holy like him. We don’t enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what is right.


Strengthen your tired arms and weak knees. 13 Keep walking along straight paths so that your injured leg won’t get worse. Instead, let it heal. Try to live peacefully with everyone, and try to live holy lives, because if you don’t, you will not see the Lord.”[1]


Every single one of God’s children lives between the “already” and the “not yet.”

Already Jesus reigns, but His final kingdom has not yet come.

Already sin has been defeated, but it has not yet been completely destroyed.

Already God has given you his Word, but it has not yet totally transformed your life.

Already you have been given grace, but God’s grace has not yet finished its work.

We all must wait for the final end of the work that God has begun in and for us.

But be assured, GOD IS AT WORK EVERYDAY!

“He who began a good work in you will will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


PERFECT? Absolutely!


[1] Hebrews 12:1-14 GW

Hang on To Salvation, the Word and Prayer

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Hang on To Salvation, the Word and Prayer

“Take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the very best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”[1]

Jesus said, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil!”

PRAYER: Lord, You have commanded us to take our stand against the devil! We do that now in the name of Jesus. You have commanded us to take up all the armor of God. We do that now in Jesus name! Give us a heart that is sensitive to Your voice and aware when the enemy is near. You said you would prepare a table in the presence of our enemies! So keep us Lord. Preserve us in the battle. Equip us. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray! Amen!

[1] Ephesians 6:17-18 MSG

Unwillingness to Forgive—One of the Devil’s Schemes

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Unwillingness to Forgive—One of the Devil’s Schemes

The Apostle Paul’s manual for spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6. The key is to put on the armor of God. “Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies.”[1] Strategies means methods, schemes, wily tricks.

There’s a song many of us sang in children’s church:

The devil is a sly ole’ fox.

If I could catch him, I’d put him in a box.

I’d lock that box and throw away the key

For all the tricks he’s played on me.

One of the devil’s tricks or strategies is an unwillingness to forgive.

When we choose not to forgive we choose to give Satan the upper hand. We play right into one of his key strategies.

The Apostle Paul wrote; “Forgive so that we may not be exploited by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”[2]

When we choose not to forgive we are trapped in our own pettiness and, worst of all, we can never receive God’s forgiveness until we do.  Jesus said to never forget this truth; Our sins are forgiven in the same measure that we use to forgive the sins of others.[3]

And Jesus practiced what He preached! While hanging on the cross He prayed, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.”[4]

Most of the problems we have are people problems, at least that’s how we think, but people aren’t really the problem. If we understand spiritual warfare, then we understand that behind every relational problem there’s a spiritual battle, a dark force that is seeking to destroy both parties.

Wise Christians learn to place relational meltdowns on a spiritual level.

“This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world.”[5]

Look at the three key words in that verse.

  • Rulers – a world ruler, the title of Satan
  • Authorities – magistrates over specific regions
  • Powers – superhuman powers, the forces of darkness

This is what we’re up against! We don’t fight people. We fight the devil.

So be smart. Be aware. Use the right weapons, not the weapons of insult, retaliation, and revenge.

Paul was an expert on this subject. He said, “I don’t fight my battles the way the people of the world do. The weapons I fight with are not the weapons the world uses. In fact, it is just the opposite. My weapons have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy. I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ.”[6]

Listen to the complete message here. 

[1] Ephesians 6:10-11 GW

[2] 2 Corinthians 2:11 NET

[3] Matthew 6:14

[4] Luke 23:34 KJV

[5] Ephesians 6:12 GW

[6] 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIRV

Protection: Growing in Strength

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Protection:  Growing in Strength

The day of evil may also be a season of high temptation. When we are tempted we always think we’re weak. We are weak, but God uses our weakness along with Satan’s temptations to strengthen us.

Jesus said, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”[1]

What did He mean by that? Be very aware of your weakness. Know the point of your temptation. And then pray: “God keep me from my own weaknesses and deliver me from the temptation of the evil one.”

The Apostle Peter knew all about temptation, failure, and restoration. In his letter in First Peter he said, “Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow. Stand up to him. Stand firm in what you believe. You know that all over the world your brothers and sisters are going through the very same kind of suffering.”[2]

Peter normalized the battle. Our battles are not unusual.

How do we stand up to the devil and stand firm in what we believe?

The Apostle Paul wrote a user manual for spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6. He makes it so clear it ought to be a small book that comes in a yellow binder and entitled “Spiritual Warfare for Dummies!”

“Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength.”[3] The best safeguard against evil is to lean into God’s power and never attempt to win the battle in our own strength!

“Put on all the armor that God supplies.”[4]

The key word in that sentence is the word ALL. God has given us very powerful weapons to fight our spiritual battles with, but we must be careful to not leave out a single one. The rest of that verse says, In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies.”[5]

Listen to the complete message here. 


[1] Matthew 6:13 KJV

[2] 1 Peter 5:8-9 NIRV

[3] Ephesians 6:10 GW

[4] Ephesians 6:11a GW

[5] Ephesians 6:11b GW

Tie Your Heart to God

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Tie Your Heart to God

Prayer is not a religious duty, but a privilege with transformational power; something I’m invited to do. It’s not about form, but simply expressing your thoughts, feelings, fears and concerns to God. You name it—you can bring it to God.

Our world has never had peace. Throughout our history we’ve experienced war, conflict and turmoil. James 4:1-3 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you? You want what you don’t have, so you commit murder. You’re determined to have things, but you can’t get what you want. You quarrel and fight. You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them. When you pray for things, you don’t get them because you want them for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure.”[1]

Last year we saw 424 registered known conflicts throughout the world. Some were within countries—countrymen against countrymen. If you’ve been on a few missions trips outside the U.S., there is always someone that country is worried about causing unrest or conflict.

Life is hard; why struggle with each other?

War broke out in heaven. Satan rose up and said, “I could do it better if I were God. One-third of the angels joined his revolt. (That was the first church split.) We’ve had relationship conflicts ever since. Absalom said the same thing about His father, King David. “If I were king….”

There is a constant battle through relationship. And it’s important to realize that behind every conflict is the spirit of war. The enemy wants to divide us. He wants to break up nations through civil war; He desires to split people groups with the thought that one is better than the other.

Sometimes it’s simply—they have stuff and I want it. The conquistadors heard of gold in South America. At the end of last year, they found the San Jose. It is believed to have more than 1 billion dollars in coins on board, not the mention the jewels. Spain said, “We want our stuff back!”

As Kingdom people, we need to remember that this world is passing away. Losing our peace is not worth getting worked up over.

Tie your heart to God, not to things.

Mark 11:23 says, “I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn’t doubt but believes what he says will happen.” When you find yourself in conflict, ask yourself, “What is driving this conflict. What is it that I’m not getting?”

Our wants are satisfied when we pray and desire His will above all else.

[1] GW

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