Am I ready for battle?

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 11:24-26
“When an impure spirit says ‘I will return to the house I left.'” (Luke 11:24)
When a person breaks free from a negative spirit, they are still at risk.
The Enemy does not just walk away, but comes back stronger.
See how Satan waits for “an opportune time” (Luke 4:13) to beat Jesus.
Getting rid of a sin or refusing a lie is not enough!
We sweep clean our hearts and minds through confession.
We put our lives in order by making concrete changes.
But is our heart and mind occupied by a stronger power?
Getting rid of sin is not enough, we must fill the void with God!
The Spirit of Jesus offers to take the place of impure spirits.
I need the Spirit of Jesus to possess me, in order to protect me.
Satan is not giving up on me, he is looking for a weak point.
If at first he does not succeed, he will try harder, with more lies.
Am I allowing the “Stronger One” (Luke 11:22) into all of my life?
Or am I an easy target for the ‘strong man’ and his friends (Luke 11:21)?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, I often go into my day totally oblivious to how the Enemy is lying in wait. I need to keep guard with You, and rely on You, or he will sneak in.

Get behind me Satan!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 11:14-23
“When someone stronger attacks and overpowers him…” (Luke 11:22)
Behind all the mess and misery in this world is that lying jerk Satan.
He uses his whispers of doubt, distraction, deception and discouragment.
His goal is to turn us away from God, and from living God’s Way.
He slips into our head, and before we know it we’re off the rails.
Satan tried to use these same tactics on Jesus, but failed.
Jesus is that “someone stronger” that overpowers the deciever.
He stayed true to God, and to us, even though we were slaves to Satan.
He has beaten and disarmed Satan; we are restored as God’s children.
This doesn’t mean Satan can’t get us anymore; he is still a deceiver.
But if we focus on the stronger man, we will be strengthened in Him.
Our problem is we do not resist Satan’s whispers in our head.
We repeat deceptive thoughts, we feed destructive desires, and we slip.
We have to firmly renounce the lies, and firmly declare the truth.
We must stand WITH Jesus, if we want to stand against Satan.
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, make me bold against Satan’s lies through my confidence in You. Help me to say ‘Get behind me Satan!’ so that I can keep You in front of me!

Praying for the Spirit!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 11:5-13
“How much more will your Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
God wants everyone to have the ‘very good’ life we were made for.
God also respects our freedom, He does not force feed us pressure us.
That He wants us to ask Him shows that He wants a relationship with us.
He wants us as free partners to want His love and blessing.
As a friend, as a father, He is also free to respond freely.
To say YES when it is for the best, and NO when it is not.
But one request He will always say YES to is to ask for His Spirit.
This is how God designed us, what He breathed into humans from the start.
This gift alone is enough; any other gift without the Spirit will be a curse.
Think of all the things you normally pray for.
Do the ‘treasures’ we seek satisfy the soul, or only our selfish desires?
Try praying ONLY for the Spirit of God for a while, as your only request.
Seek this treasure first, and see ‘how much more’ is received as well.
May God satisfy my heart with His Spirit, may I be spiritually full!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, I make this my prayer. Please give me Your Spirit, the Spirit of God and life and fullness. Breathe on me breath of God, fill me with life anew!

My soul yearns

“My soul yearns, even faints… for the living God.” (Psalm 84:2)
We were made to live with, like and for God (Genesis 1:26-28).
Life with God was designed to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
And yet now we live apart from God, and life is not ‘very good’.
But deep inside, our soul yearns, even faints, for God.
This inner yearning is often mistaken for other desires.
We go through life drinking from lesser pleasures that only keep us thirsty.
Success, reputation, wealth, sex, alcohol, work, fitness, religion…
None of these good things can take the place of the ‘very good’ in God.
Do you sense your deep soul desire, and are you seeking God to fill it?
The Psalmist saw the temple as the place to find God, to be with God.
Jesus has restored us to be God’s temple, He is in us (1 Corinthians 3:16).
But do we put aside our lesser goods, slow down, and delight in Him?
Do we take time through the day and “be still and know” He is near.
Our greatest need is to be in God; only then can life be ‘very good’ again.
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, help me not to ignore the deep feelings of my soul. They are pointing me to You. Satisfy my deep thirst by Your Spirit!

The story of my life!?

THE STORY OF JESUS: Ecclesiastes 11-12
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
At some point we have to come to the conclusion.
What is the point of everything, where is all of this going?
Is there even a point, or is life really meaningless and pointless?
Does it come down to this: ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die’?
“Fear God and keep his commands for this is the duty of all mankind.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
God is ultimate; not sex, not money, not pleasure, not death.
Seeking God and God’s way is our greatest need, what really matters.
To recognize God as God, to respect His place and power and priority.
Any other thing or experience or focus cannot match or replace God.
Wisdom is realizing this, and living accordingly.
Jesus is challenging me as His follower, what am I seeking first?
Life is like a book, and we are writing the chapters each day.
When I reach the conclusion of my life, will I be where I want to be?
I want my life to end well, which means I need to make good choices now!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You have graced me with everything I need for life and godliness. Help me to make every effort to add to my life the things that lead me to You!

A common hope!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Ecclesiastes 9-10
“All share a common destiny – the righteous and the wicked…” (Ecclesiastes 9:2)
From a human point of view, this is all that we can see.
This is what atheistic materialism also says: we live, we die, deal with it
Though interestly they still believe in justice, at least for this life.
But without God there can be no justice, no standard for right and wrong.
Once again we see what happens to life when God is excluded.
The curse of death not only affects us physically, but in many ways.
The death of hope, of love, of relationships, of dreams, of a future.
Is it any wonder that depression and suicide continue to increase?
Is it any wonder that addictions consume so many lives?
God inspires the author to write his honest confessions.
He wants us to see what life is really like without Him.
Good or bad, death is our common destiny… unless God steps in.
And God has stepped in, through Jesus, and opened a new way to hope.
All share a common hope – the righteous and the wicked: Jesus!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, help us a Your followers do a better job of showing and sharing our hope in You. People are experiencing the emptiness of life with God, they are ready for hope!

Prayer as a way of life!

“One of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Luke 11:1)
It seems surprising to me that Jesus hasn’t taught them to pray yet.
Or was Jesus teaching them, but the disciples were not hearing it?
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place…” (Luke 11:1)
Jesus was teaching by example, by modeling the disciples life.
How He related to God as Father and honoured God’s Name in public.
How He pursued God’s kingdom and will while relating to sinners.
How He trusted God for daily bread, and forgave those who wronged Him.
How He daily relied on God for help against temptation.
Prayer was not a separate activity for Jesus, it was how He lived.
Sometimes He went apart to pray, other times He prayed while He worked.
Sometimes He prayed out loud, sometimes He prayed in His heart.
In a sense, He was always bowed before God whether He ‘prayed’ or not.
Prayer is more of a relationship than a way of speaking to God.
Jesus invites you to be and talk with Him whatever you are doing.
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, teach me to pray in Your way… a relationship with God that can involve words or silence, being still or being active.

Working the Lord!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 10:38-42
“Mary has chosen what is better, it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)
Martha isn’t punished for what she chose, but her choice is punishing her.
Her problem was not her hard work, but who she was doing it for.
Her focus is on herself, her work and her hardship, and it is upsetting her.
The lesson here is not to drop what we are doing and pray.
It is to DO what we do as a prayer, for the Lord, with our focus on Him.
“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
If we choose to do something sinful, we cannot do it for the glory of God.
But if we choose something good, it can be made an act of devotion to Him.
Using our hands or gifts to bless others, working hard to help someone.
Cleaning, repairing, working, eating, all these can be done for Him.
The Lord is asking you today, ‘Will you choose what is better?’
‘Will you offer whatever you do to Me, and do it with love and joy?’
Maybe you are feeling worried and upset about many things.
Is this an indication that your focus is not where it should be?
Do what you do with Him, like Him and for Him, and you will be blessed!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, my focus shifts back and forth from me to You and back to me. I can relate to Martha, but I want to relate to Mary. Remind me through the day to keep my focus on You!

Go and do likewise!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 10:29-37
“Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'” (Luke 10:37)
Once again Jesus sets up radical love as the fulfillment of God’s law.
Radical, self-denying, God and neighbour-loving, sacrificial love.
This story reminds us as Jesus followers what we are here for.
We do not earn God’s mercy by being merciful.
We show mercy BECAUSE God has shown mercy to us, undeserved.
We have been rescued from selfish living, set free to love like Jesus.
Set free to be the Adam and Eve we were made to be, like God.
God’s love is radical love, as seen in Jesus – this is our calling.
As a disciple of Jesus I admit my failure here, but also my desire.
My desire is to love like this, to “go and do likewise”.
The strength of that desire, as prompted by the Spirit, will shape what I do.
Jesus has called me to love like this, He will help me to love like this.
The only question is, will I do my part to start loving like this?
Action begins with a step; what step will I take today?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, words without action are empty. Help me not to love with words or speech but with actions and in truth!

We all do it!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 10:25-28
“He wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “’Who is my neighbor?’” (Luke 10:29)
We want to justify ourselves too, we want to feel better about ourselves.
God’s will for us is radical love for God and people, a God-like love.
We look for limits, excuses, qualifications, to lessen that demand.
This has always been the problem with our focus on the Law.
We can always find a way to justify our preferences.
Christians claim that the bible is God’s Word, and they obey it.
Except when it comes to turning our cheeks, or giving our wealth to the poor.
Then we find hermeneutical justification to not really do what it says.
Jesus is right, if we loved God and people fully, we would live.
But we don’t, and we can’t; we all fall short of God’s full will.
Which is why we need grace, not the law, to help us in our weakness.
Beware of this spirit of self-justification… we all do it.
We use the law to justify ourselves, and to condemn others.
May Jesus save us from this self delusion, and show us our need for grace!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, forgive me for using the law to justify myself, and to condemn others. Help me to see that only grace justifies. Help me to be as gracious to others as You have been to me!