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So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Satan is real. Satan is powerful. He’s a deceptive, conniving, cunning, evil person intent on instilling fear and destruction in our lives. His main goal in life is to rob us of the spiritual blessings God has for us. He wants to rob our peace. He wants us to question God’s love and forgiveness. He wants to spread worry and fear. He’s also a big bully and he knows it. He knows that with Jesus in your life you are empowered with the very Spirit of the loving, most high God. He’s no match for the power within you.

There are plenty of stories out there of little kids who are finally tired of being bullied. They stand up to the bully and he runs away because deep inside he’s really a coward. That’s Satan. Stand up to him. Respect his power but release the power of God’s Spirit and watch him run. We are more than conquers through Jesus Christ our Lord. Remember who has your back!


In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. Micah 4:1

moutainWe’d arrived in the middle of the night at our hotel. Although I grew up in the North woods, I’ve always had a fascination with mountains. From time to time in my travels around home I’d enjoy looking out over an area from some high hills, but the mountains still intrigued me. This would be my first trip into the Rocky Mountains. (start John Denver music here)

As I pulled back the curtains in our room the next morning my view was dominated by a huge rock wall that seemed to tower over everything. The top was covered with snow. I couldn’t wait to begin our ascent!

One of the first things that caught my attention as we headed west was that the mountain, which seemed just a stones through from our hotel was really miles away. As we approached the mountain I saw from the hotel we had to travel through some smaller mountains, the foothills, in order to reach our destination.

The road seemed to be a gradual incline at first, until I looked in the rear view mirror and realized we were much higher than when we started. That mountain was much higher and much more dominant than it first appeared. Our car strained to reach the top, but once we reached the summit, the view was breathtaking!

There are times in our lives when it seems our God is small. There are times when we may seem overwhelmed by the future. There may be times when we question our ability to go on. But our God, the one and only true God is much larger than we can imagine. Just as the large mountain towered above everything around it, our God towers in strength, and power over every other god that others may choose be follow.

Don’t be discouraged by the struggles you face as you make the ascent to the mountain. Sometimes the road is gradual. Sometimes it is steep. But the end result is worth the trip.

PRAYER: Father God. There are times when traveling here in the valley I forget your strength and how you tower over everything in my path. Help me to focus on the end of the journey as I struggle, at times, on the way. Amen.

 

 

 


Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:3 (NLT)

While doing my student teaching I was also a volunteer for the schools football team. The team had a rich history of dominance in the region and won the state championship the year I helped. One of the drills that I remember the team running through was a drill in which a single blocker was matched up against two or three other teammates. Their assignment was to protect a football on the ground three feet behind him. One man against three. Not good odds.

The amazing thing to me is the number of times ‘David beat Goliath’. There were no trophies involved. No newspaper interviews. No accolades. Why did they work so hard? Pride. Pride in saying I accomplished my task. I reached my goal. I protected the ball.

In a speech to his alma mater Winston Churchill stated, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

You may be up against some seemingly insurmountable obstacle today. Perhaps you are in conflict with someone you love, or you are in financial crisis. Maybe you or a loved one are facing an illness that has little chance of successful treatment. It could be that you have a strong desire to change the world for Jesus, yet you feel all your efforts are futile. You want to do so much for Jesus but all our efforts seem to fall short.

The enemy of our souls wants to keep us in bondage to the feelings of insecurity and failure. He delights in seeing us question our abilities and our chances at success. He whispers words of discouragement and doubt every step of the way.

When the enemy encourages you to give up remember the goal you are striving for. Remember that our hero in the faith; our teacher; our source of power also endured ridicule and resentment. He battled the whispers of doubt, the rejection of family and friends; the misunderstanding of those who claimed allegiance. Yet in all this, he didn’t give up. Why? He remember the goal. He remembered the prize. He remembered who he was doing all this for…and that person was you.

Again, from Churchill, “The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem”

As believers in Jesus Christ we have access to the mightiest power in the universe. As you go forth to face the challenges of the day remember that you have one walking beside you that knows the bitter taste of adversity, but also has experienced ultimate victory – Jesus Christ, our Lord.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, as I face the temptations, the doubts and all the other obstacles of my day, may I remember that you were not only victorious over your battles, you fight beside me in mine. Amen.


If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)

Accentuate the positive!

That phrase is a ‘catch word’ of sorts in marketing. It’s a sound principle that encourages those in business of any sort to evaluate what is the most important and valuable thing you have to offer.

Competition in this economy is brutal. Regardless of what industry you are in, there is someone else trying to steal a part of your market. The best strategy to take in this situation is to evaluate your strengths and capitalize on them. This gives you your best chance of success. Do the best you can in your areas of strength. Worry more about what you can do and less about your weaknesses.

The same philosophy is true in our personal lives. It’s easy to get caught up in self-destructive attitudes and, as a result, take yourself ‘out of the game’.

Statements such as, “If I didn’t have so much debt” or “If I hadn’t gotten divorced” or “If he hadn’t hurt me” or “That church destroyed my faith” do little to help your opinion of yourself and shackle you to an attitude of failure.

The books written by the Apostle Peter were really letters written to a group of believers who may have lived in the worst period of oppression and persecution the Church has ever known. They were being beaten, had their homes taken from them, were being portrayed as stupid and evil and were being killed for their faith.

The dangerous conditions must have been devastating and demoralizing for those early believers. Yet in the midst of their agony Peter challenges them to do everything they do in the strength that God provides. That little phrase, “in the strength God provides” is the key to our being able to survive the turmoil life hands us.

It’s not our strength that will see us through. It’s not a perfect, holy past that will grow our faith. It’s not a stable marriage that will give us opportunities to see God work. It’s not a strong financial base that will allow us to do great things for God. Our ability to speak, write, fix things, build relationships or amass a fortune may impress people, but it won’t impress God and it won’t lead us to make eternal differences in our lives.

Our weaknesses won’t thwart us; our strengths won’t give us an advantage, the only thing that will really make a difference in our world is allowing God’s strength to work within us. We aren’t asked to go beyond our ability, we are only asked to live up to it. Our ability and God’s strength. An undefeatable combination.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you for the promise that your power is all I really need to do your work. You have empowered me with many gifts and abilities. Please help my gifts to be open for your power so you can work through them. Amen


I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2

I try to pride myself on how my yard looks. I like green grass, neatly trimmed shrubs and weed less flower gardens. It involves hours of work, but when I look out over the lawn a certain amount of pride sets in.

That’s one reason why I cringed as I was loading the fertilizer spreader one day in my garage. “Can I help you put fertilizer on today Daddy? I’ll be careful” I heard my six year-old say.

Instantaneously my mind thought of all sorts of reasons why this wouldn’t work. She was too short to walk and hold the spreader…well, no she wasn’t.

It was a big yard and a hard job…but I knew she’d only want to help for a little while and short attention spans in this case are your friend. Minutes, not hours. A hard lesson I learned long ago. A few minutes of inconvenience makes a world of difference in the life of a little one.

I knew the real reason of course. She wouldn’t walk straight. Some areas may be missed, some would get extra fertilizer. It may not look as green and as uniform as I wanted it.

So while I wanted to hear myself say, “Not today honey.” I heard myself say, “Of course sweetheart. I’ll help you.”

She stayed at it longer than I’d hoped. She missed some spots. She walked in wavy lines, not straight. She didn’t do it at all the way I would…and smiled all the way.

The modern translations of Psalm 16:1 don’t give us an entirely clear picture of what is being said according to some scholars. It may be better translated something like this: “All my work, all the things I have, all my striving is really worthless compared to what you can do.

We often take our work too seriously. Especially those of us in ministry circles. We want to protect our ministry. We point at the growth of our church, readership, book sales, salvations, baptisms and a whole list of other things.

Of course we’d never admit it, but we hold all these things out to the Lord as if to say, ‘Look what I’ve done for you! Look at the amazing things I’ve done in your name! See me!’

Our Heavenly Father smiles and says, nice job my child. The rows aren’t straight. You god too much fertilizer over here, you missed some opportunities over there, He doesn’t really say that of course, but compared to the work He can do our efforts are really pretty small and insignificant.

Do the best you can. Rely on the God of Heaven to strengthen you for the task ahead. Grow deep in your relationship with Jesus. But remember this; all that really matters in life is our walk with him. That doesn’t mean our work for him is meaningless or insignificant. We just need to remember who we are working for and why. When we see positive results, rejoice. But when we struggle in our walk, remember Psalm 16:1.

Our ‘work for the Lord’ may fall short of our expectations, but if we rely on him, it NEVER falls short of his expectations.

PRAYER: Lord God. I confess to you that I want to do great and mighty things for you. I confess this because I also realize that sometimes I put the effort ahead of the reason, I see myself as being more important than I should. Help me by your Spirit to strive for excellence, but rely on you. Amen.

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