Archive for October, 2015

As Faith Goes, so Goes the Battle

Monday, October 26th, 2015

…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Ephesians 6:16 NKJV

So long as faith is strong, God’s children come out VICTORIOUS in even the greatest trials. I think of the college students in Roseburg, Oregon, who saw their classmates being executed for admitting to being a Christian. It was a grand triumph of overcoming faith that gave them the strength to answer “Yes – I am a Christian” – when they knew it could mean their life (and it did). Theirs was a hero’s welcome into the halls of Heaven, reserved for those who laid down their life for Jesus.

I think of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, suffering beatings and abuse in one of Iran’s most notoriously evil prisons, and facing 5 more years of such horrific treatment (and abandoned by our own government, which could have secured his release during the “nuclear deal” signed with Iran). Saeed could secure his own release anytime he wants, with one simple step: renounce his faith in Jesus Christ. Convert to Islam, and he is a free man (or so his captors have told him). It is purely victorious, overcoming faith that keeps a man enduring beatings by armed guards and separation from his wife and children for Jesus’ name, rather than attempt to save himself.

You and I are not facing anything as drastic as those two scenarios, but if you are seeking to love and serve Jesus I’m quite sure that you do have a battle on your hands as well. Whatever type of challenge you are facing – health, family, work, financial, relational, ministry, or another area – the goal of the enemy’s attacks is always the same:

satan seeks to weary and wear down our faith,

causing us to “drop our shield” on the battlefield,

thus rendering ourselves ineffective

for advancing God’s Kingdom.

The enemy uses “fiery darts” – like accusation, discouragement, hopelessness, temptation, rejection, trials, and many more –with hopes that we will start looking at the foes arrayed against us, and cease looking at the faithfulness of our God.

Once spiritual weariness sets in, our shield of faith comes down, and the onslaught by the enemy comes on. So let’s “strengthen ourselves in the Lord” like David at Ziklag (see 1 Samuel 30), and “build ourselves up on our most holy faith” (Jude 20) as we meditate on God’s Word:

REMEMBER: IT IS A SPIRITUAL BATTLE PLAYED OUT IN EARTHLY REALMS:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

REALITY: YOUR FOES ARE ALREADY DEFEATED.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Colossians 2:15 NIV

 FACT: JESUS IMPARTS HIS AUTHORITY TO THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIM.

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Luke 10:19 NKJV

REJOICE! YOU ARE PERFECTLY PROTECTED AND CARED FOR:

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

John 10:28-29 NIV

 TRUTH: YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM – YOU ARE A VICTOR IN JESUS:

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39 NKJV

You may have a battle, but you have the VICTORY thanks to Jesus! So LIFT UP YOUR SHIELD OF FAITH as you focus on God’s faithfulness – praise Him in the heat of battle, swing the Sword as you confess His promises, and just watch how His Spirit breathes new life into your heart. He will strengthen you in the day that you cry out (Ps. 138:3), and you’ll see His goodness once again in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13).

May the Lord bless you this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015

 

Comfort, Refreshing, Joy!

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Weeping may last for the night,

But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5 NASB

Ah, but how the night of weeping can sometimes FEEL like it is forever! An endless winter with no spring, a futile existence with no hope or future… That’s what the enemy of our souls will whisper in a time of deep loss or sorrow, seeking to steal the vibrancy of our faith in a time of trauma. That’s why it’s so vital that we recognize his discouragement and despair for what they are – LIES – and recognize that God has a GOOD plan for all He allows to touch our lives – even the hardest things.  

The truth is that the darkest nights often lead to the most glorious dawns, the deepest tests produce the most powerful testimonies, and the long valleys allow God to work something precious, something that doesn’t come from a life of uninterrupted sunny mountain tops. The psalmist wrote of those whose hearts were “set on pilgrimage” to seek God:

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

Psalm 84:6 NLT

This verse shows us:

  1. Those whose hearts are set after God’s presence will sometimes find themselves in a “Valley of Weeping” ~ it doesn’t mean you’ve failed God or missed His will when you encounter suffering. In fact, it may very well mean you’re smack dab in the center of His will.

 

  1. “They walk THROUGH the Valley…” And that’s where God is taking you: THROUGH the trials, pains, disappointments, losses, and whatever else you face. He is taking you THROUGH, and He’ll give you greater faith THROUGH those things that threaten to weaken or damage your faith!

 

  1. God wants to pour “refreshing springs” of living waters (by the power of His Spirit) through our lives to touch others in their dry, arid seasons… He blesses us to be a blessing, to pour out what He pours in, and to comfort others with the same comfort He’s given us:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our troubles,

so that we can comfort those in any trouble

with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Since we cannot give away what we do not have, the Father pours His precious comfort and compassion into our lives in times of suffering and sorrow that we would otherwise never know.

If you find yourself in a night of weeping, I exhort you to receive His comfort now – don’t just keep a stiff upper lip and muddle through, but really ask for and receive by faith His healing love in the midst of your pain. As you do, He is making you into a vessel of His mercy and power to touch other’s lives at their point of need.

You will rejoice again! Your night of weeping will end, surrendering to the glorious dawn of joy and gladness. Your trial will pass, but His unfailing love for you will never pass away. Trust His love when all seems dark…

Blessings in our precious Savior,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015