Archive for the ‘How to fight the good fight’ Category

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ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE – Nov. 19th

November 19, 2012

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you , neither is it far off.” Deut. 30:11

I am a triathlete. I feel a little silly about claiming that title but this year I completed my first sprint triathlon.  I have been surprised by the consistency of the responses. They always seem to have some variation of “I could never do that”.  That makes me laugh. Now that I have experienced one, I realize that most people can finish a sprint triathlon with a little training.  The reason they don’t even try is due to what they are telling themselves, “I can’t”. My goal is to do an Ironman. That does not seem possible at this present time but I have a plan. I know that after I have done an Olympic distance and a 70.3 distance that I will then have the confidence to achieve an Ironman. I am going to break the “impossible” into achievable tasks until the “impossible” is ordinary.

Many folks are caught in the same “I can’t” mindset in their spiritual life. They have struggled for years with obedience and consistency in spiritual disciplines. We can get so focused on our defeats that “I can’t” is all we hear.

I am here to tell you that you can! Whatever you are struggling with may seem impossible at this moment but it is not. The impossible is achievable when you break it down. I fail all the time but I focus on the victories, achieved through the Spirit, that are taking me down the slow road of sanctification.  My task, every morning, is to set my mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:3-8). I do this through reading my Bible and prayer. This focuses my mind on what I love the most, which strenghtens me to kill sin before it’s sin. John Owen in “Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers” gets it right:

“Rise mightily against the first actings of your distemper, its first conceptions; suffer it not to get the least ground. Do not say, “Thus far it shall go, and no farther.” If it have allowance for one step, it will take another. It is impossible to fix bounds to sin. It is like water in a channel – if it once break out, it will have its course. Its not acting is easier to be compassed than its bounding.”

Too often, we play with sinful thoughts and give them a small place in our life, where we can affectionately caress them. We cannot control sinful desires. It is just  a matter of time before those sinful desires break out. Killing sin is much more achievable when it is a thought, before it has made a channel through our life. We need to take a stand like the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf and tell sin, “You shall not pass”.  

You can do this. It is not too hard. It is not impossible. Jesus tells us in Mark 9:23 that “all things are possible for one who believes.” Believe and break it down: Set your mind on the Spirit; remind yourself of what you love most and what you want the most; then FIGHT – fight for the control of your mind; kill every one of those sinful desires as they spring up; refuse to let them pass, but take them one at a time. Don’t worry about the whole day, just deal with the one thought before you at this moment. Kill it, praise God for it and soon you will be through a whole day. You can do this, it is not too hard, neither is it far off.

PRAYER: Father, I believe; Help me in my unbelief.  I believe that through the power of your Spirit that I can have victory this very day. Lord, I need your strength; help me to achieve what is impossible in my life without you.   Amen

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SCARED BY GENGHIS KHAN – Nov. 18th

November 18, 2012

“This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:9b-11  

I have been listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast series, “Wrath of the Khans”. I cannot grasp the horror associated with the subjucation of so many great societies by those Eurasian nomads lead by Genghis Khan. I can only imagine the emotions of terror that would rise up in my mind out of concern for my family and friends if a Mongol like army were sweeping in from Montana to destroy my way of life. Yet, the inhumanity of man is nothing new. It is seen throughout history. It can be seen every day in the news. Strip the news of the inhumanity of war, terrorism, oppression, murder, rape, abuse, deception and thief and there will be little left. We are masters at doing bad things to each other. When the Pslamist asks, “What can man do to me?”, I answer with, “A lot – that is why I have a concealed weapons permit and guns”. The question is can they can do anything to us that matters eternally? Jesus tells us in Matt. 10:28, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” We should not miss the point that man can do bad things to us, even kill us. God did not save us to make our physical life better. Sometimes he does, but that is not his purpose. He saved our souls for eternity. We get all messed up when we confuse our situation with our relationship with God. Faith draws upon the Spirit to bear witness that we are God’s children – a Father is always for His own child. When God is our Father, that can never be taken away. That would be something worth fearing but we don’t have to fear our Father losing his grasp on our souls. The gain or loss of lesser things, even our own life, is not crushing when we know that God our Father is for us and nothing can take that away. Our souls are secured when threats are challenged by crying out to an exalted God, who is our Father.

PRAYER: Father, you are great and greatly to be praise. There is no one like you. It is you who hold me in the palm of your hand. It is you who knows all about me, even the number of hairs on my head. You know me better than I know myself. You know all my needs. You know the secrets of my heart.  You are my Father, the keeper of my soul. It is in you who I trust. You are may all in all.  It is to you that I give all of my praise.  You are worthy of nothing less than my all.   Amen

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AIMING THE LAMP OF MY LIFE- Nov. 17th

November 17, 2012

“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.” Luke 11:34-35  

I have been watching what I eat. It is not because I am a picky eater. I am the opposite of that. I have to watch what I eat because I can easily pound 4,000 calories. I know what happens when I consistently do that; I don’t like those results. Therefore, I am willing to give up ice cream because I prefer fitting into my pants more than having dessert.  I have freedom but I have given it up because I want something better. We have similar decisions that effects our soul. This world if full of light & darkness. Gods’ word is a light shining into this dark world (Ps 119:105, Prov 6:23). However, it has no effect unless it gets inside. Once inside, God’s light will clean house. There is no “twilight” living for a person filled with the light of God but it has to get in. Therefore, it comes down to our eyes – the lamp of our body. Our eyes will either let in light or darkness. They are dependent upon what we set them upon. This is not difficult to understand. Most just don’t want to think about it. We want to live like there are no consequences to what we do & don’t do. When we set our eyes on the darkness of this world (I know what the spiritual ice cream is for me), that is what you will become – the darkness of this world. When you don’t set you eyes on God’s word & the things of the Spirit, that is going to have an impact. We want to think that a diet of filth will have no impact on our spiritual health. How absurd is that?  We do what we want most. What is that for you?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for being the light in the very dark world. Lord, fill me with your light; remind me every time I am confronted with an appealing dessert of this world. I don’t want that darkness. I don’t want to suffer the effects of letting that darkness into my heart. I delight in you; you are better than anything this dark world has to offer. Lord, today I will set my mind upon you and all the things of your Spirit; help me.   Amen

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FAITH LIKE A STONE WALL- Nov. 12th

November 12, 2012

“Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” Deut. 20:3-4     

The Confederate General, Stonewall Jackson, got his nickname at the 1st Battle of Bull Run. As the battle raged, he calmly sat astride his horse. Gen. Bee rallied his troops by shouting, “Look, men! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here & we will conquer.” Where does courage come from; why is it that some do not lose heart? You may think that is a theoretical question since it is not likely that you will find yourself on battlefield today. However, we need to remember that we are in a spiritual war. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that we have an adversary, the devil, who is prowling around, seeking someone to devour. That is who we are up against. Our battlefield is the mind for the control of our hearts. Defeats take the form of compromise, indifference, denial, timidity…why don’t we always stand like a stone wall in our faith? Why do our hearts faint in the face of temptation? It is when we forget who is fighting for us and try to wage the war in our own strength that we get into trouble. Just like the Israelites, God is the one who fights for us against our enemy. We are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ.   There is no need to fear or panic or anything to dread. The victory is ours – we just need to let God fight the battle and stand like a stone wall.

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for the victory that I have only through you. Help me this day to live in that victory. Help me, a man of little faith, when I begin to faint in the face of the swirling concerns of this life. Lord, continue to set my feet on firm ground. Make my faith a stone wall.  Amen

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