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Spiritual Warfare: Where The Battle Begins

While the battle certainly begins in the mind, the casualties of war are felt throughout the body. Lost peace, patience, trust, and desire leave behind a battlefield ravished by grief, hopelessness, and despair.

In his attempts to get us to doubt God’s view of us, the enemy flickers images of past failures, discouraging us so we focus on our shortcomings rather than the finished work of Christ. His sole desire is to defeat us so we no longer have the desire to do the good work God planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

how-to-recognize-the-enemy

I have watched his master plot unfold in my life and the lives of loved ones enough to see that patterns do exist. Although he is crafty, Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new under the sun so his ways are predictable.

DOUBT

The enemy’s number one tactic to sway God’s children is confusion. If he can persuade us to discredit God’s Word, distrust His goodness, and waver in our faith, he is well on his way to winning. Doubt leaves you teetering the fence of faith and vulnerable to the tug of temptation. Satan is crafty; he knows how you work and how to use God’s word.

“Did God really say…” Genesis 3:1
“You will not surely die…” Genesis 3:4
“If you are the Son of God…” Matthew 4:3

DISCONTENTMENT

By entertaining all God has “NOT” given you and all He is keeping from you, the Seducer stirs up dissatisfaction. Most often, dissatisfaction leads to comparison, complaining, and conceit. By enticing Eve with the one thing she could not have, Satan was able to undermine her contentment and alter the world for all time. Or, what about the nation of Israel? As they traveled throughout the desert, a constant complaining spirit settled as they longed to return to what was “better” in Egypt. It ended up costing them 40 years in the desert. Slowly, discontentment opens the door for an ungrateful, rebellious heart towards God and the consequences follow.

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DISMAY

Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Devour – wear out, drain, annihilate, swallow, consume, and deplete.

Wow, what a list! What better way to defeat you than by misdirecting your attention onto your problem and the lack of your ability rather than God’s insurmountable abilities; the problem rather than the Problem Solver. Wave after wave of discouragement ambush your mind, failure sets in, and you give up.

Jesus-walks-in-the-storm-with-us-and-defends-us

DISTRACTION

Standing between the waves of the storm and the Wave Whisperer, Peter became distracted by the wind and began to sink. Distractions are all around us. Within seconds of waking, were drawn away to the call of busyness. We cram our calendars full of to-do lists and leave little to no margin for divine interruptions. This is a dangerous place to be because, unlike Peter, our distractions may not be as obvious as a raging storm but certainly have the weight to make us sink; including good things. We must not confuse good works with God’s work or allow the strongholds of time to distract us from Spirit free living.


If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy. – Adrian Rogers


DETER

While the gates of Hades cannot overcome the Church (Mattew 16:18), the enemy will most certainly do everything within his power to delay or deter the movement. In 1 Thessalonians 2:18, Paul says, “For we wanted to come to you again and again – but Satan stopped us.

Time is the most precious resource available to us. The enemy interrupts your desire to do something God has already asked you to do. It starts with I’ll do it tomorrow and ends with a ceaseless wait.  James declares in 4:14 life is a mist, here for but a moment, so let’s make it count for eternity. Don’t put off something for tomorrow that should have been done yesterday. Delay destroys destinies.


Procrastination is the thief of time. – Edward Young


1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action (battle)…

PRESS IN

  1. Doubt and distraction kept Peter from fully walking on water. How have these two devices kept you from stepping out of the boat to “walk on water” with Him?
  2. What areas of doubt cause you to stumble? Be specific.
  3. Are there certain forms of discontentment you struggle with? Material things, spiritual gifts, your current season, the conceit mentality of I deserve this, etc.
  4. This list is far from complete. Do you notice other ways the enemy attempts to plot against your life? Really dig in here. You are creating a battle plan.
  5. Have you found yourself procrastinating in an area the Lord has asked you to move forward in? What do you or loved ones stand to lose from the delaying?
  6. How can you “prepare your mind for battle”?

Be sure to read the series.

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Spiritual Warfare: Know Your Enemy, Know His Swords

From the instant sin entered the world, the enemy has tried to derail us from our real purpose-filled identity.  Just as a train was designed to deliver goods across the land, you were designed by the King to deliver God’s life-giving news to the world in desperate need.

For a child of God, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself the target of the enemy’s attack. Often, the attack is hardest when the enemy knows God has something AMAZING in store for you.

Knowing-your-enemy-is-key-to-fighting-the-spiritual-warfare-because-the-enemy-attacks-your-purpose

We see this perfectly play out in the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert; immediately after His baptism and before His ministry began (Matthew 4, Mark 1, & Luke 4).

Did you catch that? Right after a spiritual awakening and directly before substantial ministry.

Now, before you say, “I don’t plan on entering ministry,” let me say that “ministry” is delivering God’s life-giving news to those in our sphere of influence.  Jesus said whoever believes in Him will do greater things than He did (John 14:12-14).  So, the Father has great things in store for YOU.


Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster. – Sun Tzu


Another thing to point out is the enemy attacks when you’re vulnerable. When lions hunt, the prey on the weak – sick, young, old and injured. Our enemy is no different; he doesn’t play fair. After fasting 40 days in the desert, Jesus was isolated and alone, tired and hungry.  He attacks when you’re weak not because you are weak, but because of your great purpose.  There’s a great acronym for times like this.

H – Hungry
A – Angry
L – Lonely
T – tired

When you’re hungry, angry, lonely, and/or tired, HALT.  Wait before making decisions, stop before saying something, interrupt those racing thoughts, and pause to pray.  Remember, His power is made perfect in our weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:God

It’s pivotal we know who we are battling. It’s not your husband who made an uppercut remark or the lady who saw your blinker on and took your front row parking spot…in the rain. Nor is the unfaithful spouse, the best friend who betrayed you, or the relentless bully at your child’s school.  No, the enemy we fight against is a masked villain. When we know the enemies tactics – his dirty little playbook –  and the masks he hides behind, we are more prepared for the battle when we see him on the horizon of our life and the lives of loved ones.


You cannot defeat your enemy until you know who he is. Anthony Horowitz


During this 4 part series, we will discover the what, when, where, why, who, and how of the enemy’s spiritual attack. He is after God’s purpose for your life, and he will use any means necessary (family, friends, job, strangers, etc.”.).  Knowing your enemy and yourself can help you fight a hundred battles without disaster. – Sun Tzu

PRESS IN:

Over the next week, look back on a time where you distinctly see the enemy’s attempt to devour you.  Process the “why” and “when” Please remember, there is no condemnation for those in Christ. This exercise is not intended to bring condemnation but rather contemplation – planning how we can be more prepared in the future. 

  1. Was it after you had a great encounter with the Lord?
  2. Perhaps, like Jesus, you were isolated or hungry (spiritually hungry or isolated from other believers)?
  3. Why do you think he targeted you when he did?
  4. In hindsight, did you make a hasty decision?
  5. If you can’t think of a time in your own life, have you watched this play out in someone else’s life?

Spend time in prayer asking the Father to open your spiritual eyes; to make you keenly aware of the ways the enemy tries to target you, individually.

bible-printable-Jude-1:24-to-him-who-is-able-to-keep-you-from-stumbling

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Steps of Purpose and Passion – Psalm 32:8 Free Printable

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8

Father, expand our limited street view. Give us a 30,000-foot perspective to see your ways really are higher than ours.

While we see it in part, you see the big picture.  THE BEGINNING FROM THE END.

Psalm-32:8-God-will-direct-our-way-free-printable

You know the valleys and cliffs and promise to show us the way. Grant us wings like eagles to soar above the turbulence of life’s decisions so we may taste and see that the Lord is good.

And, when we get sidetracked, guide us back with your unfailing love and faithfulness.

As we go about our day, direct us with your loving eye upon us. Ordain our steps with purpose and passion.

{Sign up for our newsletter to receive this FREE 8.5×11 printable along with many others.}

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He Will Never Lead You Where He Doesn’t Need You – Trust His Leading

Though you can’t see the road beyond the twist and turns of life, He can. He has already paved the way and simply asks you to travel the road of faith with Him. He is the only map on this quest of life. He will never lead you where He does not need you.

The-Lord-Never-Leads-His-Children-wrong

Will you trust Him? Will you step out on this road paved for you?

Brave that step today.

Be guided by His voice.

Behold the beauty.

Friend, only here, on your road of faithful obedience, do you truly get to see and experience the beautiful scenery of life.

At the Lord’s command they encamped and at the Lord’s command they set out. Numbers 9:23

Taking This Step Together,
Esther

I’d love to hear how you are stepping out in faith. Leave me a comment on how I can pray for you!

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MAKING A WAY IN THEIR DESERT – ANSWERING THE CALL FOR GOD’S WORK

What if I told you-you were the answer to someone’s prayer? Or, that you hold the key to their freedom? The truth is, you do hold the key to answered prayers. Our Way Maker made a way in the desert for the Israelites through Moses, and He uses us to make a way in the wilderness for others.

Then the Lord said, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the waters so the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.” Exodus 14:15-16

I just love the humor in this. Basically, quit wasting time and do something about it. You see, the previous verse, Exodus 14:14, is a well known and often quoted passage but it’s important to keep them together in context. In verse 14, Moses told the people, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Then the Lord said, “Why are you crying out to me?”…  While He most definitely does fight for us, we play an active role. 

God

The very thing Moses needed to make way for himself and others was at his fingertips. Just like Moses’ staff, He has placed talents and abilities at our very fingertips. “Keys” of talent, giftings, callings, and abilities to make a way, not just for yourself, but to split the sea so others can walk on dry ground.

As followers, you and I are created for a purpose. Appointed to carry out God’s mission.  And, although His mission looks very different for every individual, it always involves people. In order to answer the call, there are 3 things we must do.

1.) Willingness To Be Used

In Exodus 35, everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them made and brought items to build the Tabernacle, the place where His glory dwelt. According to Ephesians 2:22, we are being built together into a dwelling of God, but we must have willing hearts, moved for building His kingdom.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my mission field?
    • Work, home, friends, neighborhood … yes, even grocery shopping.
  • Has the Lord placed an individual to minister to on my heart?
    • If so, what is holding me back? Is it fear? Inconvenience?
  • Am I using my gifting, abilities, and talents for God?
    • How can I use them to build His kingdom?
  • Is there a tugging in my heart for His mission?
    • If not, there is no condemnation! Just ask Him to give you the desire. He wants it for you!

Building-the-kingdom-of-God-using-our-gifts-and-talents

2.) Surrender to Him. Daily!

Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5) but, with Him, we can do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20). To remain connected to the source of Power, we must make a daily habit of surrendering our will and ability, in order to pick up His.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I spending time with Him on a consistent basis?
    • If not, what’s holding me back? Time? Desire? Unsure where to start?
  • Do I make a point to declare my surrender to Him?
    • Do I firmly believe “not my will but yours, Lord”?
  • Have I limited His power at work in me?
    • In my life, what is the connection between “His power at work in me” and my ability to do great things for Him?
  • What limits have I placed on His ability?
    • Do I believe He can do immeasurably more than I ask or imagine?

3.) Draw From His Strength

In 1 Chronicles 22, David is commissioning his son, Solomon, to build the Lord’s house. As David declares the Lord’s purpose for Solomon, he encourages him to carefully observe the law and not to be afraid or discouraged. When we step into our purpose, opposition comes. As kingdom builders, we have to rely on His strength to carry us through these battles.

  • Am I striving more than thriving?
    • Am I trying to do things in my strength?
  • Do my eyes “wonder” to the circumstances rather Him?
    • Have I devoted my heart to seeking His limitless strength?
  • Am I casting my cares on Him?
    • How can I exchange my concern for His courage?

Your current mission field might be at home nurturing and raising up the next generation of Kingdom Warriors. Perhaps, you own a business in which you create an environment of peace and direction. Whatever stage of life you are in, you are a Kingdom carrier. You are commissioned by the King to equip, encourage, strengthen, and bless those around you. You are on a mission, working together with the King toward a central goal – His children. You are the answer to their prayer and freedom! Will you respond to the call?

Let us commit TODAY to raise our staff of ability and declare the sea to split. Father, make us into the people that don’t just say let your kingdom come but uses our talents to build Your kingdom.

How is God using your life to answer someone else’s prayer and build His kingdom?

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[…] get through the wilderness and guide you to the path of your purpose.  Today I’m featuring Esther Dorotik from Chosen and Cherished for my feature because of her profound post on stepping out of the wilderness into the promise. […]