Fight Right

Who is the real enemy…???

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

3   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  4   (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  5   Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
 
 

It’s so very easy to forget that the people who hurt us are not necessarily against us, especially if they are Believers. 

In the mist of the battle our need to strike out is a reactive need to inflict the pain we are feeling from the person we are interacting with at that time of high emotion.
 
But the Believer must gather the strength to remind themselves of the hidden enemy that lurks within our own flesh — our sin nature — which fights with our newness in Christ every day to exert itself over the knowledge of the spiritual weapons we have in our arsenal.
 
It takes time to learn how to wield the weapons of our spiritual warfare but when we do, we experience that all empowering knowledge that no weapon formed against us can prosper!
 
When we resist the temptation to respond in the flesh, our faith and confidence in God grows stronger with each battle.
 
Become the spiritual warrior God has empowered you to be and fight your battles confidently in the power of God and rip those strongholds from the fabric of your heart, mind, and spirit.
 
The battle truly isn’t yours—it’s the Lord’s, so Fight Right!

Lord, Kill Me – Please!

We must die to live

We do ourselves a great disservice when we focus on the sins and issues of those around us and neglect our own bouts with sin. Yes, it is easy to focus our eyes on others even though God is the only one who can the heart. This will always be detrimental to our spiritual growth if we refuse to seek God daily, and then look within to measure whether our steps are by faith and in obedience to God.

I think our biggest problem is that we lure ourselves into believing that obedience to a few things in God’s word through self effort makes us righteous. Common are the sins laid out in verse 9; we think…

·       I don’t commit adultery

·       I haven’t killed anyone

·       I don’t steal

·       I don’t bear false witness

·       I don’t covet…

but the truth according to God’s Word is some can refrain from these things without having the love we are to have for our neighbor. And trust me when I tell you – don’t pat yourself on the back if these aren’t your sin issues because there are way more sins in our lives than we care to admit. Without the foundation of biblical love which 1 Corinthians 13 lays out as charity, all claims to righteousness are just acts of will-power, and God doesn’t reward works that are done outside of faith or His Spirit.

Verse 10 says plainly that when we really and truly love people the way God has told us to love people, not only are we fulfilling a law and command, but we are dead to sin by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us in the way that we should go and behave. As our spiritual parent, there is nothing more beautiful to God than looking at his child emulate his character.

Verse 14 sums up the whole matter of chapter 13 which is this: when we walk in the Spirit of God we starve the desires and lusts of our flesh. Like our bodies, starve it long enough and eventually it shuts down and dies. This is exactly what we want to occur with our carnal-minded flesh.

Are you ready to die today?

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law… 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13:9-10, 14

Be Careful What You Pray For – You May Get It!

God is indeed a Holy God and his word tells us this very clearly in the scriptures:

Psalm 99:9Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.

1 Corinthians 3:17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

I don’t know if people think about the fact that God has a great sense of humor. This humor is often displayed in asking God for something and being unprepared mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for how he delivers that prayer request. For example:

In 2010, I started praying and asking God to allow me to work for my pastor full-time. I was the church’s part-time administrative assistant, but it was really a full time job on top of my secular full time job. So, I did what I do – I made it a consistent prayer. Just as I was getting discouraged (and a little overwhelmed working 2 full-time jobs) something strange happened.

In 2013, the fire chief of the ambulance station where I worked came and told me he had given me a good review to someone who had called him for a reference for an administrative position. I was confused until I realized I had applied a few months back for a promotional position but had since changed my mind — I wanted to stay where I was. I loved my customer service job and dealing with the public. It also gave me an opportunity to interject God into some of my conversations (LOL … by any means necessary).

Long story short: I took the interview & told God – “Okay, Lord, I don’t know what is going on but I am going to take this interview and I don’t care one way or the other what happens – it’s all on YOU!” The City interview went well and they offered me the job.

So, how did God answer my prayer, you may be asking? The answer: As only God can … The man who became my new supervisor for the next 8 years was actually a full time Pastor at a Baptist Church! Hence, God answered my prayerI was now working full time for a pastor!!

Moral of the story: God’s children have to be prepared and receptive to how God chooses to answer our prayer(s). It may not come exactly in the manner or package we want, but we can best believe it is exactly what is best for us according to the multitude of God’s love, mercy, and grace towards His children.

Jesus provided us with the best way to prepare for God’s answer to our prayers in Luke 22:42 when he ended his own prayer with “… nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

One Thing Today

Reinvent the Wheel for Your Life

If we do not have a daily mantra that we undergird with the Word of God, our old man and the negative things that have crippled us will always resurrect themselves.

Each day presents us with an opportunity to reinvent the wheel of our lives. See, the past has already played its part in our development. The past has already left its battle scars and its trophies of success. Today is the day to look at today and say,…

I choose to live TODAY with new hope, new love, new peace, new joy, new fearlessness, new strength, and a whole new mindset because TODAY I am a new creature in Christ Jesus. TODAY is a great day to embrace all that is of God in me!

I believe what God has written about me (and you), and I will never let anything or anyone rob me of this truth (and neither should you):

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

See, our yesterdays delivered whatever sorrow was to come our way, but God wants us to remember what he is capable of doing with our weaknesses on each day of our life. So, this is what he told the Apostle Paul and had recorded for our benefit:

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Live long enough, and realize your ways don’t always work out for your good. Yet, we have every new day as an opportunity to walk in the newness of the life given us in Christ Jesus. I often think about how disappointed many Christians will be when they see all the victories God had lined up for them, but they choose to accept defeat. Defeat is our reward for relying on our old man.

Every new year brings about a host of new resolutions, but every day is where you build the road map that creates the stepping stones to take you where God wants to lead you. And it starts with TODAY. Just one thing to reinvent the wheel of your life:

One positive thought

One hope builder

One thing in Christ that edifies

One thing that glorifies God

One thing that brings you righteous joy

One word that empowers another

One truth that reminds someone of God’s redemptive gift of Salvation

One thingTODAY – can reinvent the wheel of your life – in the present and future!

Wanda J. Murry is the author of two books: a daily devotional titled My Soul Cries… Holy, Holy, Holy (2011), and a book of poetry Emotionally Charged: A Poetic Journey in the Issues of Life (2016), both available on Amazon. She is currently revamping My Soul Cries for republication this year. In addition, stay tuned for 2 new books in 2022: My Soul Cries… Glory, Glory, Glory, and All I Want For Christmas.

Gird Yourself and Others

Gird = To surround; to encircle; to inclose; to encompass; prepare oneself for something difficult or challenging.

I have read the book – The Bible – and the message is plain as day – Make sure your salvation and abide in Jesus Christ, the Savior. Whatever timetable God has for transitioning this world into the tribulation period, those who are His have the responsibility to share the Word of God, sow seeds of faith, and disciple another. Of course, these persons must be willing to hear and have the heart to KNOW God. To force biblical education on another ends up being information only.

I’ve lost people to COVID19, random violence, and sickness. Death isn’t easy, but it’s a part of the sin passed onto man through Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden. If I paid close attention to all of the chaos in our world, I would be very stressed and depressed. If I focused on the things taking place in the world from a purely mental perspective, I might not leave my house ever again.

Daily reading of scriptures gives us a piece of peace for life issues. Remembering what God has done for us adds hope. Knowledge of the theme and prophecy of the Bible and what comes after gives strength when we feel any signs of weariness. When you know these things, you can show compassion toward others, empathize with some, and sympathize with others.

Sometimes I overthink my future: when to retire, where to retire, can I afford to retire. But the truth is – I may not get to retire in this life because I might stand at the Judgment seat far sooner than I imagine. Hence, the need to keep my mind stayed on God is my saving grace. 

King David was great at demonstrating this mindset. That’s what I want to share today – the need to gird our minds in a way that helps us maintain a firm stand and grip on reality but find a place of relief from the physical reality that assaults our eyes, ears, and hearts. And, whenever and wherever, help others do the same.

30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. 31 For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God? 32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Psalm 18:30-32

Pouring Out

It’s in the pouring out into others of what God pours into our heart & soul that helps we, as the vessel of the Holy Spirit, and the receiver of the message, to heal and grow stronger. It’s why it’s necessary to sit under sound biblical teaching under those who are able to rightly and plainly teach the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

You can’t pour out anything except you first be filled up. Even one scripture a day, received and digested with the Holy Spirit’s help, has the power to water and refresh a multitude. You have a village to nurture and grow and sow into. I’ve heard my pastor call it our “circle of influence.”

Whatever you call it, you must understand that your life in Christ has purpose and it is to shine the light on Christ—his death, burial, and resurrection—as the only way to salvation.

Go and Get your refill for today—one Book, one passage in context, one memorable verse, one sermon—then pour out and water the forest of men, women, and children around you to strengthen them spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

ISAIAH 35:3-5

Do You Have Perfect, Everlasting Love?

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Jeremiah 31:3

In this Old Testament scripture, God speaks to the Nation of Israel about his plan to redeem them from their captivity in the future. Inspirationally speaking, God’s love for humans extends to everyone, and it’s why he sent his Son to die for our sins.

Our misunderstanding of God’s love leads us to question all the wickedness we see in the world. Why the death? Why the abuses against human life? Why doesn’t he make everything perfect like him? According to the scriptures:

  • God is longsuffering with people (Numbers 14:18; 2 Peter 3:9)
  • God is extending his mercy upon the lost (Ephesians 2:2-4; Titus 3:3) 
  • He’s giving people time to accept his Son (John 6:44-45) 
  • God is allowing the righteous (in Christ) and the wicked to coexist on earth (Matthew 13:29-30)
  • God has an appointed time for reaping the harvest of saved souls (Revelation 14:14-16)

Some have experienced hurt; others fear the possibility of heartache. But we must realize that God is the only person able to provide us everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) that is so perfect it casts out fear (1 John 4:18). When we place this level of expectation on another to love us, we miss the reality that they are only human – not perfect.

Shift your world view on what love is and seek God’s perspective. Pray for those who love you the best way they know how (parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, and other Christians) and are trying to overcome their shortfalls. Ask God for his wisdom to know those who have no desire to learn or try and maintain a safe distance until they want to know God’s way to love.

God is the only perfect, everlasting love.

Grown Up Christians

It’s not about age, it’s about spiritual maturity

Ephesians 4:1-3
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

In 1787, walking out of Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin was asked the question as to whether or not we had a republic or a monarchy? Franklin replied “A republic, if you can keep it.” Our nation has struggled to keep a republic ever since.

In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul challenged the church at Ephesus to “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The challenge is “if you can keep it.” UNITY and PEACE in the body of Christ are two things that every member of the body must strive to KEEP. Satan knows how difficult this can be, so what he does is work to sow discord and division through doctrinal, political, and racial strife.

While the world will always struggle with these things, the body of Christ was established to demonstrate what a UNIFIED and PEACEFUL BODY looks like to a lost world. When we allow the things of this world to infiltrate Christ’s body, then we have become a friend of the world, and the scripture says:

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4

Paul gave a solution to our delima:

Ephesians 4:14-16
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

It’s time for us all to GROW UP!

Ray Stewart is Senior Pastor of Grace and Truth Baptist Church in Independence, MO. Devoted to the doctrinal teaching of the Word of God, he sees the church as a place … “Where the People are the Church”

Don’t Blame the World or Its People

The issues we bemoan about the deficiency of human compassion and the woes of society aren’t simply issues surrounding the sorrows and atrocities being played out in private and in public.

No, the real issue is, has always been, and will remain for a while yet to come – “that through one man, sin entered the world, and death through sin, so that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).” The good book (the Bible) has been thrown out with the bath water (spiritually speaking). 

History is merely repeating itself – in biblical days they, too, did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25 – In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.). And with each generation mankind draws further and further away (Proverbs 30:12) from the one and true God (John 17:3) of the biblical text.

No matter how we wrap it or present it, the issue is SIN and the REJECTION of Jesus Christ by which man remains captive to his natural born sinful state. While there can be a life that appears on the surface to be flourishing, prospering, joyful, and in all ways living at the pinnacle of earthly existence – the unseen destruction and condemnation of this same life may be unrealized until it is too late.

The freedom of choices comes with a price tag no man is able to pay. Rejection of the blood sacrifice made to give one a new nature, a new heart, and a new mind is a freedom steeped in bondage – to the flesh, to lusts, and to pride.

Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, wasn’t a scapegoat – He was the sacrificial Lamb of God – the redeemer of man from sin – the hope of everlasting life (Galatians 6:8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.).

When people choose their own way they are simply doing what sinners do – and we can’t really blame them for that. But what we can do – those who know of the eternal security found in Christ Jesus – is to continually stand and proclaim the Gospel Truth – being blameless toward those who reject the word of truth.

Philippians 2:14-16 (KJV)

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.