Battle

Preparing for Battle

By LuAnn Edwards

With the recent release of the movie “War Room,” the importance of prayer and my desire to be a “Miss Clara” moved me to search the scriptures for some fundamental principles regarding prayer. When troubles are all around us and our lives are being shaken by disturbing circumstances, we need to be on our knees praying for God’s intervention. It is time to take a stand and fight for what God promised us in His Word. To pray effectively, we must prepare ourselves for battle by building up our faith, walking in love and forgiveness, and submitting daily to Christ, which includes bearing fruit.

Mark 11:22 says, “Have faith in God…” Mark 11:24 goes on to say, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

To have true faith in God, there is no room for doubt and unbelief. We must give ourselves to Him in total surrender and spend time in fellowship with Him. Our unbelief will fade away, and we will accept His Word as truth. We may then come before Him and make our requests known to Him in confidence that He will hear us.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25).

Prayer and love go hand-in-hand.

We need a good relationship with others for our prayers to make an impact. Are we walking in love and kindness? Or, are we holding onto anger, bitterness and unforgiveness? If we are refusing to forgive, we are not walking in obedience. Forgiveness is a choice we make showing God’s love in action. Why do we think God will answer our prayers if we are unwilling to obey and forgive?

John 15:7-8 says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

We need a life fully submitted to the Lord to pray life-changing prayers.

Are our thoughts and actions pleasing to Him? Are we bearing fruit through our lives? It is not the eloquent words or phrases we use; it is our daily walk and commitment to Christ, living His Word, which allows us the opportunity to pray and believe our prayers reach Him and will be answered.

There are many other scriptures that teach us how to pray. These include 1 John 5:14—pray according to God’s will, Philippians 4:6—pray with thanksgiving, 1 Thessalonians 5:17—pray continually, and Matthew 6:6—pray in secret. It is time to enter our war rooms and fight our battles on our knees. Are we ready? Are we growing in faith? Are we loving and forgiving others? Are we fully submitted to Christ and bearing fruit? Prayer is a powerful weapon. We need to prepare ourselves for battle before we can fight!

Our World – Star Wars

By Karen Polich

Our Lord would much rather deliver those who cry out to Him than judge them. – Michael M. Cook

Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series, Our World, continued with the story of God’s people and Deborah in Judges 4-5. Listen to the Our World sermon series here.

The Israelites never seem to learn. We find them back in the cycle crying out to God for deliverance. Once again, their sin has brought them into bondage.

God is always working for us. We find a woman, a warrior and a Wonder. Deborah, a prophetess was the moral compass of God’s people at this time. She sent for Barak to lead the army, but he would not go into battle without her. They faced a mighty opponent, Sisera who had nine hundred chariots.

God’s people could not win on their own, but had faith. Faith sees the way. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera. Judges 5:20 God was with them. Even the stars were fighting for God’s people. They were victorious.

God is more than capable. He is at work in our lives even when we cannot see it. The one we fight against is sailing a doomed ship. Despite the crashing waves, seeming to ensure defeat, God’s tide is sure to win. In struggles, remember the worst cannot defeat you with God on your side. Have faith. He is working to deliver you.

Wrong cannot win. Faithfulness will not fail.  – Michael M. Cook

Prepare Yourself

By Karen Polich

Digging into God’s Word, Pastor Trey Sullins spoke about the importance of preparing yourself.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

The world we live in is sick and dying. Though we may want to protect and shield ourselves or our children from the world, we are called to engage within this world just as Jesus did. We are called to be the salt and light.

Pastor Trey asked, “Do you know how the enemy works?” So often we see others as the enemy, but the true enemy we battle is Satan himself. He creeps in little by little. He hits us where we struggle, but in small ways until we discover that we are consumed. Satan attacks us in the mind. How and what we think affects what we do. We find ourselves in a questionable place and begin to try to reason away the situation, slowly sinking into the pit that has been set before us. We don’t want to tell anyone we have failed or feel defeated. Our pride keeps us focused on ourselves. It is a battle and often the enemy looks like the face we see in the mirror.

We must take captive every thought. There is no partial obedience to Christ, you either are obedient or you are not.

What can we do? How do we prepare ourselves to defeat the enemy? We need His Word. We need daily time with our God and knowledge of the Gospel. The Truth will shine a light on deceptive things as they come.

Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us clear instructions. We are to put on the armor of God. Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 again. As followers of Christ, we have Divine weapons. Do not go to battle with weapons of this world. At our disposal are powerful weapons that can conquer anything. Those weapons will demolish any false reasoning and will destroy strongholds.

If you find that you look like the world, fitting in and using worldly methods, stop and take a good look. A Christ follower, should be different. We all struggle, but we can be prepared! We must go into the dark places to be the salt and light God has designed each of us to be. Victory is ours. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God has no equal and Satan has already been defeated. Accepting Christ is the beginning of the journey. Walking in the path God has laid before us and preparing ourselves is how we should live out our lives. Know the enemy so that we can flee from him.

It is our choice. We must prepare and make a commitment. We must be aware. There is always a comeback from the pit. We have God with us to do battle in this world.

Where are you today? Are you prepared?

 

 

 

The Power of Paul’s Prayers

By Kristin Overman

A few years ago I was doing a study on Colossians and came across this prayer that Paul prayed for the believers,

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12

Paul’s prayer was so powerful. It really seemed like he was fighting a battle with his prayer. Suddenly I felt that my prayers were missing that power. So many times I prayed for wisdom, health, safety, money, etc. My prayers were more about earthly needs than the needs for spiritual battle.

Don’t misunderstand me; I know God cares for our every need no matter how small. We pray for lost toys, for kids to sleep and use the potty in our house. I know God truly cares about those things. He wants us to rely on Him for our earthly needs but also for our spiritual battles. Many times I forget that we are in a constant spiritual battle.

I decided to look not only at Colossians but all of Paul’s letters and see what he prayed for. In doing so, I noticed three things in Paul’s prayers. He prayed for the believer’s walk, for their witness, and for God’s work in them. He did not pray that they would change. Here are just a few of the things I found.

Paul prayed that they would…

Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
Please Him in all respects
Bear fruit in every good work
Increase in the knowledge of God
Attain all steadfastness and patience
Joyously give thanks to the Father for their inheritance
Speak forth the mystery of Christ

He prayed that God would…

Make it clear how they ought to speak
Give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him
Count them worthy of their calling
Fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power in order that the name of Jesus may be glorified in them and them in Him

I also noticed how he prayed. He used words like always, constantly, devoted, not ceasing, keeping alert, thankful and joyful. In other words, prayer should be a consistent discipline, done with a spirit of joy and thanksgiving.

I pray you can use this list of prayers for yourself, your children and other believers, etc. Fighting our spiritual battle could be so much more effective if we prayed like this for one another.

 

Finding Hope as We Celebrate Our Nation’s Independence

By: Karen Polich

There is no greater apologetic than your life. It is the foundation of reaching others. Not a sinless life, but one that is upright and blameless. When others can see how Christ has transformed your life, true impact can occur. We live in uncertain times, much like 1st century Christians. In celebrating our nation’s independence, Pastor Michael Cook reminds us that we are called to show respect for our nation, submitting ourselves for the Lord’s sake to the authorities among men, for it is God’s will. (1Peter 2:13) Peter speaks to 1st century Christians who had deep hatred for Rome. They were frustrated and hurt. Peter reminded them that they were called to live on a different level, submitting to a greater Authority. (1Peter 2:11)

Peter speaks of three motives regarding being faithful to our government.
1. Submit to human authority in obedience to God.
2. Imitate our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus did not lash out or fight, but instead took the position of calling us to repentance. (1Peter 2:21-25)
3. Glorify Him. We honor God when we are obedient. God is always faithful.

There is still a battle, even as we submit ourselves.

We are engaged in a battle for what is right. We can’t change everything, but we can change some things. Our responsibility as Christ followers is to do all we can to build God’s Kingdom. God has not called us to submit only to the authorities we agree with, He has called us simply to submit and show proper respect for everyone. (1Peter 2:17). It may not always be an easy task. Pastor Cook talked to us about this and shared the words of radio personality Paul Harvey regarding the battle we face. Listen to Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil” from 1965 here.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get discouraged by the things that I see. I long for simpler days and less confusion, days where I don’t feel like I have failed to fully protect the innocence of my children because of the rampant images and sounds available to fuel the demoralization of our minds. But then, I am reminded that I am engaged in a battle that has already been won. God gave us the ultimate gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. I find hope in His Word, in His promises. I am called to be an obedient follower of Christ. To live a life that reflects the words of Peter and to do it for the Lord’s sake.