Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ezer Rising IV

And again, I’m reminded of the saying we hear most from Pastor Mark, ‘Satan hates it when you get into the Word, but he trembles when the Word gets into you.’ This quote made its way around our favorite network system the other day – ‘You know that when you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache. When you open it, he collapses. When he sees you reading it he faints, and when you are about to repost this message, he will try and discourage you! One of his greatest tactics is simple discouragement!’
Surely the point is getting out; Satan does not want you reading your Bible. And on most days, if you’re honest with yourself, do you feel like you want to? Let’s examine that for a minute or two.

If you find that looking over the last week or so, you’ve missed out on reading the Word more days than you managed to make time for it, ask yourself why? Most of us know by now that we need to read it – that our spirit needs the Word like our flesh needs food. How often do we forget to eat? Yeah, we’ve all got our priorities. It might be about rearranging them.

What’s inside our heads that says it’s okay to put off reading the Bible until later, when we have more time, or convinces us that we won’t have time at all today, but that’s okay, God will understand?

Yes, God understands our busyness – and He’s not impressed with it at all.

Has Satan got us so deceived that we think its okay to go indefinitely without reading God’s Word? It’s where our spirit gets its strength to do the things God has destined us to do. So though our bodies may be (or need to be) on a diet, our spirit needs to be gorged, everyday. Without this nourishment, we’re too weak to use the other weapons in our arsenal.

Be accountable, put it in writing. Why didn’t I read my Bible yesterday?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ezer Rising III

Discipline. Kind of sounds like a cuss word to the lazy person.

I bought the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu, a Chinese military general that lived at least 500 years before Jesus clothed Himself in flesh. In it he reveals his mind set for war. A lot of Christians don’t see the warfare we’re involved in, and most of those that do are still learning this mind set. Amidst his warfare strategies, General Tzu says: All war is deception. We need to see that spiritual warfare in particular, is built upon deception. Of all the things Pastor Mark has been teaching us lately, this resounds in my mind.

The discouragement the enemy rolls out before us like a red carpet, compelling us to ‘walk this way’ is based on deception. The ridicule he throws at us, intentionally, is steeped in deception. Every lie we fall for is intended to deceive us into thinking about our lives from any viewpoint that doesn’t line up with God’s. This is why it’s so important to investigate and search out what God says about everything. The enemy of our soul doesn’t want us to know God’s point of view, because there we will find truth; absolute truth.

You’ve heard it said: fact is stranger than fiction. Well, lies can be easier to swallow than a truth pill. If I’m sly and cunning and have access to your unguarded mind, I can hide the truth from you. And Satan has had eons of time to practice the art of deception; he’s watched and learned the vulnerable, soft spots in the human mind. He notices when we drop our guard and sees when we’ve not been taught how to guard our minds in the first place. He is merciless and is out to steal, kill and destroy – his purpose, in a nutshell.

John 10:10 (NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Come back for more………………

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ezer Rising II

So we all know what discouragement is. If you want to look into it more, check your favorite dictionary – you’ll find you’ve been there if you’re not sitting in the middle of it right now.

Take inventory. Do you see discouragement having its way with you? Whether it’s subtle or overt, it’s probably lurking there. If it’s not, you’d better be commenting on these blog posts and helping the rest of us out!

It might even be good to pull out a notebook and jot this stuff down. Sometimes things take hold better when we’ve thought enough about them to put them into actual words. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need notes for reminders anyway.

Now, what does God’s Word say about your situation? A concordance will come in handy if you take the time to search it out. If you don’t take the time to see what God has to say about it, you’re sitting on the bottom end of the teeter-totter with no playmate. You’re not going anywhere. Sitting there all alone makes you too easy a target for the enemy. If you don’t have a concordance – here’s a great tool for you, and there are many others like it. I use to search scripture and read commentary. Explore it.

Prepare your heart to renew your mind. Our battles are waged there. And discipline will take determination. How much is it worth to you to get the devil off your back? You have to come to a place where you accept and believe that God is right about everything, even if/when He disagrees with you.

Now we need to apply the ‘Balm of Gilead’. It does us no good to have a prescription filled and in hand, if we refuse to use it.

Stay tuned……

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ezer Rising

Pastor is teaching us how to rebuild the broken places in our lives, our community and our nation.

‘Discouragement is the attempt to prevent you from doing something by raising arguments, objections or some type of expression of disapproval. That doesn’t even have to be a word, it can be a look it can be a glance, it can be a snicker, it can be a smirk.’ - Pastor Mark Cowart (Church For All Nations, Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Is this how easily we’re set back? Is this how easily the enemy can snatch our destiny from us? This is the simple ploy we don’t even recognize enough to consciously put a stop to.

It may seem petty, but it’s powerful – especially against unwary Christians who don’t recognize we’re in a battle. Pastor Mark even calls discouragement ‘the choice weapon of darkness’.

When you purpose in your heart to do things God’s way – Satan is ready to send discouragement your way. He taunts us and harasses us with snide remarks or challenges us with arguments that somehow seem plausible at the time.
In my own life, even when I’m trying to do something good for myself, not even a grand notion to advance the kingdom of God, I hear objections to overrule my plans. You want to lose how many pounds? - Ha-ha, you seriously think you’re going to exercise every day? - You know you can’t resist those Mocha Frappes.

Worse yet when I argue the case against myself! I haven’t eaten all day, one mocha won’t kill me. - I’m not failing, I’ll just get back on track tomorrow. - Well, at least I’m not as heavy as the lady in front of me.
And as if that’s not bad enough, discouragement can come in just because something doesn’t go my way. (As if the world revolves around me.)

Bells should go off when I’m siding with the enemy! When I battle in my mind over little things, certainly the devil is convinced he’s got me under his feet when I try to do something for God.

But no more! This will require biblical tactics and discipline. See you back here in a day or two…..

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Beautiful Seasons of Ezer

Each season is crowned with splendor, but the colors of autumn are so rich, they insist on grabbing my attention. Looking out the window I can tell that the air is crisp and chilly. It’s daytime, but there’s no hint at the warmth the sun should be spilling everywhere. It’s time for turtlenecks, jackets and the fuzzy socks from the back of your drawer. But whether we’re looking at the warm colors of fall that compliment the cooler temperatures or the white skirts of snowflakes canvassing our view in the winter; whether we’re embracing the bright pastels of springtime or the array of greens that summer wears – the beauty of change is fulfilling. Oftentimes we’re forced from our routine to stand awestruck in wonder and nature itself takes our breath away.

The seasons of our lives are just as beautiful. But just as in springtime there’s rain to complain about or the sweltering heat of summer, the temperature drops of fall and the icy roads of winter – we find things to complain about as we pass from one season to the next as we age. When we’re young, we can’t wait to grow up. When we’re young adults we think time will stand still. When we’re older we long for our youth.

But God, in His wisdom, has placed us right where we are for such a time as this. We can make a beautiful impact on the lives around us, as we allow the beauty of those lives to fill our day with meaning and love.

Instead of defaulting to complaining and murmurings, and wishing for something ‘better’, we can rejoice in knowing that our God knows exactly what He’s doing and that His timing is always perfect.

Today, we are beautiful – and perfected in Christ.

Esther 4:14 …yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wounded Ezers

Our pastor has been teaching on the Seven Strategies of Opposition, drawing from the book of Nehemiah. I certainly think he’s stepping on a lot of toes – unless people are sitting on their feet. I find myself exposed by every strategy of the enemy he brings up. The first was that of ridicule, then that of discouragement. I transcribe his sermons because we’re (as a church) intending to produce a workbook of some sort on this series. Since I’m listening to his sermons repeatedly and intently to transcribe word-for-word, I hear what he’s saying and it’s being hammered into my heart to the point of my rescue! He truly shares far more than most of us can possibly retain, whether we’re taking notes or not. There’s so much to be learned. After recognizing the ridicule (at least some of it) that the enemy throws my way, and after uncovering the discouragement he’s no doubt entertained by watching me squirm beneath, I’ve turned my focus on how to get myself out from under the captivating spell of his tactics. Pastor Mark (Cowart) has emphasized that Satan’s warring against us is all from deception. If he could just wipe us out, he wouldn’t bother with his attempts to deceive us. He’s not nearly as powerful as we give him credit for. And he certainly knows the power and potential that’s wrapped up inside of us more than we do, or we would be of no threat to him – and he wouldn’t be so focused on taking us down.

Besides ridicule and discouragement – the next thing pastor exposed is how Satan will try to use our past against us. He pointed out that the Apostle Peter himself denied Jesus – yet felt no condemnation as he showed the masses he preached to how they themselves denied Christ and His authority. For many years I’ve sung the chorus from Romans 8:1-2 – but Peter exercised it in his life!

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 KJV)

Does any of this sound like something going on in your life? There is a way out!

More coming later this week……

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ezer - Help or Hindrance?

Going back a few blog posts I wrote a little about what an ezer is created to be. When God created our world, He saw that everything was good – the only thing that was not good, was for man to be alone, without one of his kind. God created the woman as the man’s ezer; his helpmate and so much more. The woman was created, as was the man, to bear God’s image in this world. Both men and women are created in God’s image – we are His masterpiece. Working together with each other, we more perfectly bear God’s image. When we war against each other, we mar His image.

Though men are traditionally the protectors, women have a protective nature and role as well. Along-side the men in our lives, we are called to fight. We are not called to fight against our men or to fight against our children. We are not called to chase after elusive battles that demand our attention, such as the battle of the bulge or the fight to keep up with the Joneses or even battles for equality. We are called to fight the good fight of faith. (1 Timothy 6:12 KJV)

This past weekend I had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. In an attempt to ‘help’ my mate – I stepped on his toes. In order to help and not hinder the man I’m called most to stand beside, I have to be careful not to create little battles that can blind us to what we’re really fighting for. Satan rejoices when we get side-tracked and chase after pink elephants that aren’t really even there, instead of donning the full armor of God and pulling down strongholds and vain thoughts and every high thing that exalts itself against God.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (KJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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