Fight Like a Saint
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)
We raised our children for many years on a large piece of land that had once been farm property. We built a home, put in a garden, and created a pond behind the house.
The pond had a dock and the Extension Service helped us to stock the pond with bass, catfish, and bluegill. The kids loved to fish. One time our daughter caught two fish on one lure!
But with the joy came some issues. One of them was algae growth. Oh my, it was concerning to see the green “globs” increase and threaten to overtake our beautiful fishing spot.
My husband went to the feed store and talked with one of the men there. He recommended a product that, with just a small amount poured into the water, could swiftly destroy the algae.
The product was amazing. Within short order, every bit of algae was gone. No more masses of green organisms choking the pond. The water was clear and pristine again.
I thought of this recently in relation to ministering to people with difficult emotional problems. I spend time with recovering addicts, helping them to get free. The life they have led, the pain experienced through personal choices, and the harsh things that have been done to them often result in a spectrum of spiritual attacks on their minds. Feelings of rejection, shame, isolation, abandonment by God and others, and many more distorted thoughts threaten to suffocate the clear living water of the Spirit and the presence of Christ for them.
Just as the algae attempted to overcome the clear water of our pond, so these thoughts, alien to God’s thoughts, threaten to suffocate the hearts and minds of people oppressed by them. Even many mature Christians struggle.
But we have a “product” too, that can, even with a small amount, slip into the clouded waters of our thoughts and eat away the lies. That product is the word of God. The Lord has reminded me recently that though it is unpleasant to have to do spiritual warfare and get up and fight yet again, the truth of the matter is the One who will really do the fighting is Him. When we feel beset by cloudy, hurtful, or unhealthy feelings, all we need to do is run to His arms, pick up the Word, and once again drop some of it into our circumstances. So we decree:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NIV)
I am “accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)
I say, “I am loved and I belong to God. I am righteous in God’s sight always as a believer in Christ Jesus.” These new, true thoughts begin to consume and drive out the lies.
When we just put a drop of truth into our minds by decreeing the Word instead of giving into the relentless attack from the enemy, (which we think is simply our emotions) the waters of our mind’s thinking begin to clear. God fights for us and we get back up on our feet, reinvigorated, hope restored.
Fight like a saint!!
Here Be Leaders
by John UpChurch
You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but this place is full of leaders. Sure, the boarded up windows and sloppy graffiti might be cause for concern. And the challenging glares of those crossing the street might make you want to drive faster. But make no mistake: church leaders, pastors, elders, and missionaries make their home here, amid the squalor, amid the sun-creased faces.
I drive this way every day, up a side road that leads out of the heart of Richmond, Virginia. With all the potholes and missing concrete, you can be sure it hasn’t been paved in years. This path is no shortcut, but it takes almost twice as long to get onto the interstate through the rush-hour snarl. I’ll take the potholes, thank you very much.
I don’t know the history of this area, but my guess is that it’s similar to most other places that get bypassed by the major highways. Interest moved with the roads and left a fading beauty in its wake—local restaurants filled in for chains, corner stores staggered in with bars over the windows, grays and browns spread from house to house. The only touch of modernity is a sleek courthouse and expanding police station on the corner.
In any case, this isn’t the type of place where you want to have a flat tire. And that may be the very reason I had one… right there… right in the middle of the smoke-damaged houses and shattered windows. After pushing aside a broken bottle under my feet, I wrestled with the jack, which I’d never had to manhandle before. I confess that a bit of anxiety did reach my fingers and perhaps that’s what made the process take so long.
No one stopped to help, and I was fine with that. I just wanted to be finished without having to explain how I’d opened a huge gash in my tire.
But I wasn’t completely alone. A young man strutted up the sidewalk and stopped to watch for a moment. Then, he strutted closer.
I’d seen this movie; it never ended well. Instead of terror, though, a wave of calm smacked into me. Even when the guy said he’d just gotten out of jail and needed to call his ride, the expected panic didn’t come. Peace… that dreadful peace wouldn’t leave. So, I handed over my phone. And, yes, that’s a dumb move, but listening to his call showed me more in a minute about the nature of this place than a hundred trips through this section of the city ever did.
The bravado masked uncertainty; the swagger plastered over need. And me giving him my phone to use was probably one of the few acts of charity this guy had ever experienced. “Good news” to him was me simply getting out of my car and seeing him as a person and not a potential road hazard on the way home.
The backslider’s way hedged up
‘She said, I will go after my lovers … Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns … that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers … but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.’ Hosea 2:5–7
Suggested Further Reading: Jeremiah 3:1–25
By the mouth of Jeremiah God speaks these words—‘Turn … for I am married unto you.’ I do not know anything which should make the backslider’s heart break like the doctrine of God’s immutable love to his people. Some say that if we preach that ‘whom once he loves he never leaves, but loves them to the end,’ it will be an inducement to man to sin. Well, I know man is very vile, and he can turn even love itself into a reason for sinning, but where there is as much as even one spark of grace, a man cannot do that. A child does not say, ‘I will offend my father because he loves me;’ it is not even in fallen nature generally, unless inspired by the devil to find motives for sin in God’s love, and certainly no backsliding child of God can say ‘I will continue in sin that grace may abound.’ They who do so show that they are reprobates, and their damnation is just. But the backslider, who is a child of God at the bottom, will, I think, feel no cord so strong to hold him back from sin as this. Backslider, I hope it will also be a golden chain to draw you to Christ. Jesus meets you, meets you this morning. You were excommunicated. You were driven out from among God’s people with shame, but Jesus meets you, and pointing to the wounds which he received in the house of his friends at your hands, he nevertheless says, ‘Turn … for I am married unto you.’ It is a relationship which you have broken, and it might legally be broken for ever if he willed it; but he does not will it, for he hates to put away. You are married to Jesus. Come back to your first husband, for he is your husband still!
“Bless the Lord … Who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases … Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” – Psalm 103:1-5 NASB
By trade, Oliver Holden was a carpenter and real estate dealer. He spent most of his life in the Boston area, where he was born in September 1765. He also was an active musician and pastor, combining these gifts to compose hymns, many of which still are sung.
One of his most memorable compositions was called “Coronation” written in 1792. This became the melody for the hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”
Even toward the end of his life, his mind continued to be filled with music resounding for God’s glory. His last words are said to have been, “I have some beautiful airs running through my head if I only had the strength to note them down.”
In contrast, many people (even Christians) spend much of their lives discouraged and downtrodden. They have forgotten all that God has done for them and allow themselves to be weighed down by the cares of the world. But God wants us to be victorious and to have hearts filled with His praises.
Right now, remember the words of David. Let everything within you bless the Lord! Remember all that He has done for You. He has forgiven your sins, healed your diseases, and saved your soul. Think of all the prayers He has answered and the many ways He has helped you! Let your heart and mind sing His praises!