Monday, January 26, 2015

Be Alert

In reading Ephesians 6:10-20 we find Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, describing the armor we must be wearing on the battlefield when under Satan's attacks.  I don't know about you, but there have been times in my life when I haven't been fully dressed, and as a result I've found myself laying on the battlefield, wounded, sometimes severely.

But praise God for His grace, mercy, compassion, longsuffering and patience.  Thank God He continues to uphold us with His righteous right hand.  And thank God He heals us.

What I wanted to focus on in this post is verse 18b in chapter 6, "With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

What this verse says to me is that on the battlefield we will at times see some of our brothers and sisters in Christ, who themselves haven't been fully dressed in the armor of God, and as a result have been wounded, sometimes severely, and are now laying on the ground.

God is telling us to be alert for this and to pray for them.  What is implied here also is that God will hear and answer those prayers.

I love to go and share the Gospel with those who are on the streets, and it is a joy to see someone make the decision for Jesus.  But what I'm finding is that about 90 percent of the men I'm talking to are those who have at one time given their lives to Christ.  Somewhere along the line they got mixed up in something they shouldn't have (haven't we all), and as a result of not wearing their full armor they have been wounded.  Most times they have been seriously wounded.  They have become addicted to drugs, alchohol and many other things.  Relationships have been wounded and marriages have been broken up.  They are desperate and in despair.  And the worst wound I've seen is the deception that God has walked away from them.  This is a violent wound to the soul that robs someone of their peace.

They need someone to come along side them and reassure them God hasn't walked away.  They need this.  This is what will bring back God's peace to them and heal their soul.

I was talking to a man on the street this weekend from Detroit, Michigan.  He's in his sixties.  He gave His life to Christ in 1971.  But he made the mistake of getting caught up in the partying of the late sixties and early seventies.

His life is full of failures, regrets, broken relationships and a broken marriage.  He's been trying for a long time to get his life back on track, but every time he gets close to accomplishing this, another failure comes along.

We talked for a few minutes and then I told him what I thought the problem was.  Satan was holding him to his past failures and convincing him God was ashamed of him and angry with him.  Although he didn't realize it was Satan doing this to him.

I told him that it was not God accusing him for these things, but that it is Satan who is the accuser of the brothers.  The fact is that God has forgiven him of all of his sins and has credited the righteousness of Christ to his account.  Satan wanted to convince him that God was displeased with him so that in fear he wouldn't go to God's throne of grace to receive help.

We talked about who he is in Christ, how his esteem is in Christ, that God is for him and not against him, that God was with him in his failures as well as in his successes.

He was very encouraged and I'm confident the Lord will use His relationship with him and His Word to help this brother in Christ.

My hope is that you will pray for him.  Undergird him with prayer because as with anyone who has fallen on the battlefield, the wounds are deep and there isn't much strength.  You don't have to pray for him everyday, but just this once or whenever God puts him on your heart.

Pray that God would help him to understand everyday that he is God's child and God will never leave.  That he would know God's joy that will give him strength.  And that God would help him out of this homeless situation he's in.  I believe that any child of God who understands and senses God's grace, peace and joy can come out of the worst of circumstances.

God bless you.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Just Passing Through

I met a man in Colorado today and I would like to pass on his story.

He was born in Frankfurt, Germany about thirty years ago as his dad was in the military.  When he was about six years old his dad and mom divorced.  His mom moved to Colorado and he was raised by her.  He has one older brother who lives in Missouri and has done well for himself.

His mom passed away awhile back and this was very devastating to him.  A good friend of his passed away recently.  They had had a falling out and had not had the chance to reconcile before this happened.  This was also devastating to him.

He likes music and is very involved in the industry.

He is a very honest man, and our conversation was pleasant.  We had the opportunity to talk about God and Jesus and talk about some issues he had with that subject.  He doesn't doubt creation.  He doesn't doubt that he (as well as all of us) are sinners.  What he was not sure of was that Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.  I told him I appreciated his honesty, as did God, and that Stephanie and I, as well as our Christian friends would pray that God would give him clarity on the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When I got home I mulled over our conversation.  It struct me that no matter where any of us are or what we're going through, we're all just passing through.  Whether we're going through a loss, some emotions, going from one career to another, one town to another or one day to another, we're just passing through.

It also struck me that for each one of us the day will come when we will arrive at our destination.  There is a stopping point for each one of us.  It's important to understand that there are only two destinations at which we can arrive.  No matter the journey, at some point it will be over.

Jesus said there were two roads, and everyone was on either one or the other:

Matthew 7:13-14,   “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.   But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

With only two roads, there are only two destinations.  One destination is destruction and one destination is life.

He asked me if I believed in heaven.  I said I did.  He asked if I could tell him what it was like.  In so many words I told him it was where God's throne was.  Where there were peals of thunder and lightnings.  It's where the angels are and where Jesus is preparing homes for those who have been reconciled to God through Him.  It was a place where we would no longer suffer.  A place of peace and love and joy.  A place where no one could take anything away from us and where nothing would deteriorate.

But the other destination, hell, was a place that lacked all these things.  A place where a person is separate from the life of God.  A place for the people who refused to be reconciled to God.  A place of torment.

My hope is that he will make the decision to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.  He was honest and said he didn't understand all of it.  So please pray for him that God would make all this clear to him, and that he would make the decision for Jesus.

Hebrew 11:13-14, "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own."

Pray that though passing through, he would be on the right road and that his destination would be heaven, with our Lord.