Monthly Archives: April 2015

Christian, Know Your Enemy

 

Paquil Fight

Christian, Know Your Enemy

I Peter 5:8, “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

The Child of God must come to terms with a truth that is of paramount importance. The Christian life is not a playground, it’s a battleground. The Christian is a very definite target in the center of the battlefield, and yet most aren’t even aware that there’s a spiritual war going on. We have an enemy to face every day that we live.

Our greatest adversary, Satan, is on a mission to destroy God’s people and discredit the Cause of Christ. He is as a roaring lion and not as some playful pet. He wants to devour you, so you must be aware and alert at all times. 

Paul, in writing to the Church at Ephesus warned: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” (Ephesian 5:15).  But who is this enemy hat has waged war on the Believer? 

 

Three Facts About Your Enemy

 

First, Ezekiel 28 makes it clear that Lucifer was a Created being, an angel, given the assignment of guarding the mountain of God, and had somewhat to do with music. He is created, and thus is limited. He is not like God. He is not all knowing, all powerful, and cannot be every at the same, as can God.

Second, Satan is not only a Created being, but he became a Corrupted being.  Ezekiel 28:15,  “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”  Ezekiel 28:17  “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness… “    He is a fallen powerful angel who led a rebellion of a third of the angels of Heaven and now seeks to destroy all that is good and God ordained.

 

Finally, Satan is also a Condemned being.  Ezekiel 28:16, “I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God…”   Isaiah 14:15: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

As a believer, you have a choice to make. You may choose to live a life of victory, or you may choose to live your life in defeat.  Satan’s goal is to have the Christian live a life of continual defeat.

 

WHAT IS A DEFEATED LIFE?

 

  • It is a life without fruit. We are commanded by the Lord to bear fruit. Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8).

 

  • It is a life without power. If the power were present, the life would not be defeated. Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me. . .” (Acts 1:8).

 

  • It is a life dominated by the flesh. The Corinthians were defeated Christians. Paul called them “babes in Christ.” They were carnal, not spiritual.

 

  • It is a life directed at times, by Satan. Are you saying that a Christian’s life is never directed by the evil one? If so, you are speaking against the Word of God. Simon Peter said to Christians, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. “—I Peter 5:8,9.”

 

The defeated life is dominated by the world, the flesh and the Devil. These are the three enemies that work for the constant defeat of a Christian. The devil will continue to put pressure on in different forms. He does this in three ways.

 

Christians Must Understand How Satan Uses Two Main Tactics to Defeat Them

 

Our EXTERNAL enemy is the World, society apart from God. Our world is in no way friendly to the cause of Christ. Rather, Christians are viewed by the world as the problem, not the solution. The world caters to the lust of our flesh, our eyes, and pride. Media caters to these three, as does entertainment, and certainly advertisers.

One fast-food chain in America desires to appeal to what they call, “Thee Young Hungry Guy (YHG).   Their target in advertising are the men ages 18-40. Therefore, in their attempt to draw them into their restaurants, they often use semi-nude women in their commercials, who at times moving around with sexual gyrations to capture the interest of this ‘YHG’. This is what our External enemy does.

 

Our INTERNAL enemy is our Flesh, the old sin nature. Once we got saved, the Spirit of God came to live within us (Romans 8:9), and now there’s a war going on inside us! The battle is over control of the new Believer. Our text states that each Christians faces the world, the flesh, and the devil. Let me describe our enemies in the following manner:

The lust of the flesh is an overwhelming desire to do something. The devil preys on the Christian’s mind here. Paul said, what I want to do I don’t do, and what I don’t want to do I find myself doing!   The pride of life is an overwhelming desire to be someone or something. The devil preys on the Christian’s emotions here. The lust of the eyes is an overwhelming desire to have something.

The Devil preys on the Christian’s will here. So Satan focus on the Christian’s mind, will, and emotions in order to defeat him. Satan knows that he cannot take away a Christian’s salvation, for this is an Eternal transaction (Romans 6:23; Matthew 19:16; John 3:15-16; John 10:28; Titus 1:2). Therefore, he goes after the next best thing, the Christian’s testimony.   This is what Paul seemed to fear in I Corinthians 9:27 when he penned these words, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

 

Our INFERNAL enemy is the Devil. He’s real, he’s on the earth, and he has quite a following, both demonic and human, (I Peter 5:8).

 

Avoiding Two Common Mistakes as You Deal with the Devil

 

First, do not maximize his influence. Don’t pin everything on him. Satan can tempt, but he cannot FORCE you to do anything against your will. Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Second, do not make the mistake of minimizing his influence. Many Christians become easy prey because of ignorance of the devil’s devices. He does not possess the same powers as God. He is powerful, but he is limited.

 

 The first time Jesus came to earth, there was a flurry of demonic activity everywhere. And Jesus is coming again, and Satan knows his days are numbered, and his time is short. No wonder the Bible predicts another big surge of demonic activity, increasing up to the end! His eventual fate is sealed. Revelation 20:10 makes it very clear where the Devil will spend his eternity, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

 

 

 

The News You Never Expected To Hear: Allowing God To Walk You Through The Devastation!

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The News You Never Expected To Hear:  Allowing God To Walk

You Through The Devastation!

(Part Two of Two)

 

Facing devastation, tragedy, catastrophic situations of any kind, can be extremely difficult. But in the midst of heartache and pain, you can find the hope and courage to go on. With God’s help, and the encouragement found in the Bible, you will receive the necessary strength to overcome.

You may be thinking, I just do not believe that I can get through this. How will I be able to possibly face this devastation?  This can trigger a series of emotions fear, depression, even feelings of despair. 

Questions may inevitably begin racing through your mind.  Why me God?  God why has this happened to me?  To my Family?  Why at this time of our lives?  God, will I die from this?  Is there any possible way that we can recover from this grave set of circumstances?  What will happen to my family if I do die?  How will they be cared for?  

Each one of these questions were honest questions that my wife Cathy and I had to ask during the early days of our hearing the news that we never thought that we would ever hear.  As I said before, she never once complained about what God allowed to come into her life for her, her concern was always for me and the three children.  

God Never does anything TO us; God Always did things FOR us

 Cathy knew that God Never did anything TO us; God was Always doing things FOR us.  She knew that God would have a clear purpose in allowing cancer to strike her body.  She refused to resist and fight God.  II Corinthians 4:8-9 was a great comfort to her.  “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Her faith was completely in the one that able to deliver her if it would His will, yet she had the attitude of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:20-21. “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.  For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  She wanted to live, as we all do.  Yet she was focused on her eternal life with Jesus Christ.  No, you could not threaten her with heaven! 

You must focus on God’s Promises rather than Man’s Explanations

No one really knows why God has allowed this tragedy to enter into your life. Like Job’s friends some might say it is because of some sin that you are being punished for.

I have learned in my nearly 45 years of being a Christian that I cannot live by mere explanations, I must have Promises from God’s Word to comfort and encourage me as I pass through the deep waters of life. Explanations have little value by way of satisfying the soul, yet promises are what will sustain you you’re your darkest moments. Let us take note of some precious, yet very powerful promises from God’s Word.

1.  You must understand that nothing takes God by surprise. He Sees and Understands Your Pain.   

  •  Psalm 34:15: “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” If God’s eye is on the sparrow, He’s most certainly watching you, watching your every step, feeling your deep hurt, ready to walk you through the devastation.
  • Isaiah 43:2-3 reminds us, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.”

2.  You must understand that God invites you to pour out your heart and soul unto Him.

  • Hebrews 4:16; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  God invites you to approach Him boldly, or confidently.  He promised that at his throne of Grace that he will provide you with the grace you need to help in your time of need.
  • Psalm 34:17, “The righteous cry , and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.”
  • Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
  • Jeremiah 29:13: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

What wonderful and precious promises we have before us. As someone once said, “God’s Word provides a soft pillow for our troubled hearts.” You’re probably hurting so badly that all you really want to do is cry. And that’s okay! Even the Lord Jesus Christ wept when faced with the tragedy and sorrow of death (John 11:35). He was so deeply moved within because of the sorrow resulting from Lazarus’ death that He began to weep.

3. You must understand that while friends and family may Help, you must recognize that God is Your Real Hope.     Psalm 73:26 reminds us, “My flesh and my heart faileth : but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”

When you consider all that you are facing, ask yourself, “Is there anything too hard for God?” (Jeremiah 32:17). Absolutely nothing! No matter what is going on in your life, you can trust that He is in control, and is working everything out for your good (Romans 8:28).

When you wake up in the morning and wonder how you will face the day, God is working it out. When you wonder how you can get through and overcome this difficult time, God is working it out. And when you lay down at night, wondering how you will face the challenges of tomorrow, whatever they may be, God is already working it out. God knows intimately the concerns of your heart (Psalm 139:1-3), and can provide all the peace, strength, and courage you need. So don’t give up! Confidently hope in Him. Hope … and persevere!

You must focus on asking the Right Questions of God

 1. God, how can I use these devastating circumstances to truly Glorify you? Matthew 5:16 exhorts us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” I Corinthians 10:31 states, “Whether therefore ye eat , or drink , or whatsoever ye do , do all to the glory of God.”       This takes the focus off of us and places our focus where it rightly belongs, focusing on God.

2. God, what are you trying to teach me from this adversity?

3. God, how can I use this these upsetting circumstances to become a blessing to others? A song I often sing as I face dark dismal days is the hymn, “Others.”

Others, Lord, yes others,
Let this my motto be,
Help me to live for others,
That I may live like Thee.

4. God, are you trying to provide me with a new ministry?  In 1939, Dr. Bill Rice and his wife Cathy had their baby girl, Betty, became gravely ill with spinal meningitis. Betty survived a close call but lost her hearing as a result of the high fever.

In the following years, Dr. Bill preached the gospel across the country, but even his own daughter could not hear it. The Rices were dismayed that they could find no one who could help them communicate the gospel to Betty. So, with the aid of pictures and a black board, Cathy Rice began to teach her daughter the Bible, beginning with the creation story and culminating with the gift of God’s Son.

God used Betty’s salvation to open their eyes to the great need of unreached deaf people across the country. The Lord convinced them that if they had a burden to reach deaf people, they should do something about it. They would reach out to the Deaf as they “did the work of an evangelist” in churches across the country.

This is a great example of allowing God to use your devastation for HIS glory. God does have His reasons for allowing adversity in our lives (Romans 8:28-29). Our role is to work with God rather than against his plan in our problems.

Many years ago a little girl was totally blind. She was blinded as an infant as the result of an accident. She lived to be over 90 years old. She became well-known in the American church. She wrote many popular Christian songs and choruses. Her name was Fanny Crosby. When she was only eight years old, she wrote:

Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see.
I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t.
To weep and sigh because I’m blind–I cannot and I won’t.

The News You Never Expected To Hear: Allowing God To Walk You Through The Devastation!

sad_woman-resized-600.gif

The News You Never Expected To Hear:  Allowing God

To Walk You Through The Devastation!

Part One of Two

Facing devastation, tragedy, catastrophic situations of any kind, can be extremely difficult. But in the midst of heartache and pain, you can find the hope and courage to go on. With God’s help, the help of caring family members and friends, and the encouragement found in the Bible and other resources, you will receive the necessary strength to overcome.

You may be thinking, I don’t know how I could ever get through this. Or you may be battling powerful feelings of despair, suffering, confusion, fear, worry, and even anger. These are all normal responses to tragedy.

The First News That I NEVER Expected To Hear

The words that my wife and I NEVER expected to hear came during 1991. My wife was doing a breast exam and was shocked to feel a lump during her examination. Needless to say, it was the longest night of our lives.

The next day, Cathy called the doctor, and scheduled her appointment. They got her in and a few days later the results of the testing came in. We were at home together when the telephone rang. It was someone from the doctor’s office.

I was standing close by waiting for Cathy to relay the report that all was well. Then I saw a look of absolute horrific look that paralyzed her face. Then there was a blood-curdling scream that came from my wife as she dropped the phone, and stumbled back six feet, hitting the wall, then sliding to the floor in obvious agony of soul.

The news that she had just been told was, “Mrs. Kilgore, you have Cancer!” Oh my, our lives were about to be changed forever. This was definitely news that we NEVER expected to hear at a relative young age of 37. My wife handled the news, after this initial shock in a way that I can only wish that I would had. She was my life.

Cathy truly honored and glorified the name of Jesus Christ each step of the way following this life-changing news. She never once uttered a word of complaint against God not doubted God’s love and personal care to her. Her faith was unshakable! She became a exceptional example for our children, and myself as to how to allow God to walk a person through the devastation that enters into their life.

Was it difficult? Absolutely. Was it hard on her? Unquestionably! But as difficult as this life storm was for Cathy, as well as your current circumstances, please remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! God is with you always. Hebrews 13:5 says, “…for he hath said , I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Jesus Christ loves you, and He cares about what is going on in your life. He hears your cries; He sees your pain; He understands your fears. Moreover, God is very near to those that are of a broken heart. Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

You Must Focus on God’s Promises Rather than Man’s Explanations

No one really knows why God has allowed this tragedy to enter into your life. Like Job’s friends some might say it is because of some sin that you are being punished for.  I have learned in my nearly 45 years of being a Christian that I cannot live by mere explanations, I must have Promises from God’s Word to comfort and encourage me as I pass through the deep waters of life. Explanations have little value by way of satisfying the soul, yet promises are what will sustain you you’re your darkest moments. Let us take note of some precious, yet very powerful promises from God’s Word.

1.  You must understand that nothing takes God by surprise. He Sees and Understands Your Pain.    Psalm 34:15: “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” If God’s eye is on the sparrow, He’s most certainly watching you, watching your every step, feeling your deep hurt, ready to walk you through the devastation.
Isaiah 43:2-3 reminds us, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.”

You may be wondering, Who can rescue me from this? Be encouraged! Even in the deepest of waters, God promises to be with the one who trusts in Him. He alone can truly rescue you and keep you from drowning.

Just as Jesus rescued Peter when He invited him to walk on water in the midst of a storm (Matthew 14:22-33). At first, Peter trusted Jesus and joined Him on the water, but as soon as he began to focus on the storm, and give in to the fear of it, he began to sink. Still, when he cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 12:30), Jesus stretched out His hand and rescued Peter.

What a great encouragement this should be to you today! Jeremiah 32:27 asks the question that perhaps you are now asking, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” The answer is found in Jeremiah 32:17: “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:” There is Absolutely NOTHING too hard for our God to do!

He can rescue you too from the deep water of despair! Jesus can still do the seemingly impossible! Matthew 19:26: “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

When you feel as though you are sinking deep in your sea of devastation, please look to the One that Walks on Water!

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