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“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23


Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, “I am your salvation.” Psalm 35:3

There are times in life when it seems the enemy of our soul has us completely surrounded. During those times everything we do seems to be a struggle.

Have we lost faith in Christ? No.

Do we believe all his promises? Yes.

But in the deep recesses of our souls that doesn’t seem to be enough. The battle for peace of heart rages between the emotion of our current reality and what we know to be fact. The trust, confidence and faith we talk confidently about becomes a cover-up for the despair, worry and heartache deep inside.

A friend of mine is going to bring his daughter to treatment this weekend. Drugs and alcohol have taken her captive. He and his wife have ‘done everything right’ in bringing her up in the church. They’ve prayed with her and for her. But she took a different route. In the mean time his parent’s health is failing and he is battling a life-threatening disease.

The prayer of David rings true. We pray that he will fight our battles, that he will brandish spear and javelin against the enemies that war against our souls and take those we love captive.

We plead with him to block the path of those who pursue us: guilt, worry, fear, bitterness, anger, fatigue (and the list goes on).

Yet in those times when it seems our very heart will be ripped from our chests, we long most of all to hear his voice reminding us, “I am your salvation.”

“I am your Salvation.” Let those words seep into the cracks of your soul. Let them linger for awhile. The battle isn’t yours. Salvation (yours or anyone else’s) isn’t your responsibility. The Great Warrior, the King of Kings, the Lord of all creation will see you to ultimate victory.

Will there be battles? Yes. Will there be dark nights in which the cold is relentless and his presence seems impossible to find? Unfortunately, yes. But during those times, if we take time to listen, if we seek him in the darkness, he speaks to the most intimate, inner corners of our hearts, “I am your salvation.”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, during those times when I feel most alone and weakest. During those times when the battle seems too great and I feel alone, defeated and unable to see your light. Let me hear the gentle whisper of your promise that you are my salvation. Amen.


God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Acts 2:32

For those of us who have lost a loved one, we know what it’s like. We are reminded of him/her in those little things of life. Sometimes they are unrelated events in life that trigger those feelings. Other times the memories come out of the blue. Events take place and we find ourselves wishing we could share with them what we are thinking.

It seems the closer we are to the passing of a person, the more passionate we are about talking about them. The closer our relationship with them, the more intimate our memories. Those of us on the outside may even feel like we know that person because of the stories.

Can you imagine then, the passion the disciples must have had in those days following Christ’s ascension? Add to their stories the power of the Holy Spirit to take away their fears, to grow their self-confidence and to strengthen their resolve.

Whenever they saw a blind man begging along the road, did they remember when Jesus gave sight? When storms rose up in the night, did they remember the night they were terrified on the lake? When the funeral procession went by, did they remember the first time they visited the empty grave?

I’m sure they did. Those memories of Jesus were vivid to those who had seen him long after the rest of the world had forgotten. It was, no doubt the memories that spurred them on to spread the good news of the gospel. Theologians may say it was the power of the Spirit that moved them, but the real passion behind them was the memories.

People around us aren’t really interested in the doctrines of the church, they want to know how to get rid of the guilt. People around us don’t need to be reminded of their weaknesses; they see those every morning when they look in the mirror. They don’t need to be reminded of the futility of life, the unpaid bills piled on the kitchen counter are reminder enough.

The disciple’s most intense proof of Jesus, their most powerful argument was simply the fact that they saw Jesus. In the same way, our most powerful weapon won’t be our church experiences, or our scriptural knowledge, it will be the reminders of what Jesus has done for us. When we remember what Jesus did for us it’s easier to show others the love and grace he has to offer them.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, let me never forget what you have done for me. Keep your grace and mercy towards me ever before me as I rub shoulders with those who need to find you. I remember, and I thank you. Amen.


They will be so kind and merciful and good, that they will be a light in the dark for others who do the right thing. Psalm 112:4 (CEV)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! Ephesians 5:8 (NLT)

Light. It’s comforting to the young mom after a night comforting a sick child; it’s calming to the sleepless heart after a night of storms; it warms the fingers and toes and brings a smile to those in the cold; it brings relief to the ship captain as he guides his cargo and crew safely into harbor; it provides needed nutrients for plants to produce their fruit. Life can not exist without light.

It’s no wonder Jesus and others use this analogy in reference to the church, his body. He knew the importance of providing light to those in darkness. Light has nothing to do with darkness because light by its very presence dispels darkness once and for all.

The world is full of darkness. We see it in the politics of the nations, the lies of its people, the deceptive tactics of the enemy. Darkness can creep into the church itself with words of condemnation, criticism and legalism. Religion based on rules and dogmas is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, ready to distract us from our real purpose of giving those around us hope, sharing the message of forgiveness, showing mercy to those who are lost.

We are called to be the light of the world. When we use the tactics of the world to respond to the issues of life, we become part of the darkness, not the light. People are looking for light, not more darkness.

Spread the grace of Jesus to those who need some light today. Our purpose is not to pass judgment; not to condemn; not to burden down with guilt. That is the work of darkness. Rather, spread light today to those around you who disagree with you. Rather than defending your cause to their face, talk over the issues with your father on your knees. Only he can change hearts.

PRAYER: Father God, it’s so easy in our culture to become messengers of darkness rather than beacons of light. Empower me today with your Spirit so that I can spread the light of your grace, forgiveness and hope to those seeking the light. Amen.


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. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10 (NIV)

In the years of my ‘spiritual recovery’ these verses (along with others) exemplified the battle I endured and the awakening I had to what God’s grace really meant for me. Not only did I gain a new appreciation and understanding of grace, I realized the value grace gives me.

It’s so easy to let my mind wander; so easy to see a woman and admire her beauty and then, if I’m not careful have those thoughts linger.

It’s so easy to let the doubt of my ability creep in unaware and to lose sight of the fact that success doesn’t come from my ability to perform but from my openness to letting God use me through his Holy Spirit.

In my younger years we used to love playing ‘capture the flag’. We’d spend hours designating the prize, (the flag) and use whatever means possible to protect it from being ‘captured’ by the enemy.

In real life what is at stake is far more valuable. In real life the prize isn’t a flag or some other earthly item that has little real value. In real life the prize we protect is our peace of mind; our relationship with God; our relationship with others; those things we hold dear. But it can all be taken away with a fleeting thought; a lapse in judgment; a giving in to the desires of a ‘desperately wicked heart whom no one can trust.’

My failure at times to take captive my thoughts has taught me two things which I hold dear to my life. One is my desperate need for a Savior and my reliance on Jesus to empower me when attacks come through his Holy Spirit.

Secondly, I find myself far more patient and understanding when I hear the stories of those who, in a fleeting moment have let their thoughts be taken captive by the enemy. When I remember my own weakness and failure it is far easier to bear yours.

If you are in the midst of bearing the consequences of thoughts turned into actions let me assure you there is forgiveness at the foot of the cross through Jesus Christ.

If you are under that internal attack in which every thought seems to attempt to distract you from the goal; if the enemy is throwing everything at you to pull you away, let me remind you there is power in that blood of Jesus. He understands your weakness. He understands how easy it is to let rebellion, worry, doubt and sin enter in. He is near you, ready to forgive, strengthen and encourage.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I don’t know what battles of the mind will come my way. What I do know is that I’m weak in and of myself. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to take every thought captive so I can enjoy the passionate love relationship you desire to have with me. Amen.

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