We are in the midst of a multi-lesson study...Designed to make us recognize and better understand our greatest enemy!
Thus far we have traced Satan’s origin...And his tactics to destroy…God's Plan of Reconciliation with mankind...Since the first day Eve was lured away in the Garden!
We ended in our last study together...With the understanding that Satan…Is now irreversibly defeated...And in his desperation and angry thirst for vengeance...
He strives to hurt an UNDEFEATABLE GOD...In the only way he can touch Him...
By ruining and wreaking havoc on His Creation...By causing as many of God's Intimately Loved people...Created in His Image for Love beyond understanding...To take on HIS EVIL IMAGE... Of selfishness and destruction instead...Stealing their ability to ever truly love...And forcing them to receive the same Judgment…He has received!...And by working obsessively to assure…Any who DO choose to love and follow Christ...Are Miserable in life...Ineffective in their ability to love and serve...And as completely Broken and far from God's Image…As possible!
We have begun looking at specific tactics…Which Satan and his army...
Purposefully and skillfully use against us...So we may recognize the real and determined enemy...Rather than falling prey to his tactics!...Because most Christians today suffer from what could…Only be compared to a "Delusional Disorder..."
Where a person holds to a false belief so firmly...
That it alters their sense of real events around them!
Thus far... We have explored TWO of Satan's favorite schemes in detail...Guilt and worthlessness... And Doubt in God's Character or very Existence!
So let's continue now... Looking not only at very real issues…We all fall prey to in our lives...But openly and genuinely look at how each attack…Is carefully designed...To change and shape us at our deepest level...To shape our thoughts and emotions to match his!!...Making us lose fellowship with God...
And ultimately self-destruct in misery!
Anger & Unforgiveness!
In a world which is pretty much completely self-absorbed...Being told they have no purpose or reason...Being told there is no absolute right or wrong...
Choose your own way...Being told to look out for yourself…Because no one else will!...And added to that... In our own personal world full of those who DO care...
We are still imperfect, damaged and sinful in our nature...We have an abundance of reasons to justifiably...Become angry, spiteful, self-pitying…
And UNFORGIVING towards others!
The problem is that we are very often completely justified In our hearts… And in the world's eyes…Of any resentment or unforgiveness we feel towards another!
But... Herein lies the "Delusion" of this world!
THE REALITY IS THIS:
Rather than hold us in contempt for our sins against HIM...God gave Everything He had to remove those wrongs...And restore us to Himself!
Because His Love is greater than the sins within you...
Because He knows we are broken and imperfect...
Because He Truly Loves Selflessly...
Matthew 18:34-35 (NKJV)
34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."
Holding onto unforgiveness and resentment...Even if justified... Delivers us to the "Torturers!"
Locks us into thoughts of self...Creating self-pity, pride and anxiety...Causing us to lose focus on our own life and purpose...Shades our every thought of others and the world...Causing us to lose worth for others in God’s Eyes…Taking away any compassion we might feel…Tainting our view of every event around us...
Trains us to be cynical, hurtful, untrusting, defensive & paranoid... UNTIL IT BECOMES WHO YOU ARE!!
Takes away our greatest opportunity in life...To show the True Face of Jesus to another... And the world!
Do you see how Satan works…To distort God's Image within us? To steal our joy, fellowship and work in Christ?
This is the Cornerstone…For ALL that Christ has Worked to Restore!!
Bottom line... Either you TRUST GOD... And WANT GOD...MORE than your anger and justice... OR YOU DON'T!
If not... In light of all HE has done for us...YOUR SIN HAS BECOME BIGGER IN GOD'S EYES... THAN THEIRS!
Listen to just how imperative this is to Jesus!
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV)
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
And listen to these Words from Jesus...Literally the first Words He spoke…After teaching the disciples how to pray!
Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)
14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
THAT... Is how paramount forgiveness is to Christ!
THAT... Is how far Satan can take you from Him in deception!
I know there are some here today who are suffering…Under the "Torturers" of this attack right now! Your bitterness taints your every thought...And some have good reason for it...I DO UNDERSTAND...BUT WE… Have God's Word & forgiveness ourselves! Therefore… We DO NOT have an excuse!
Forgiveness is simply showing the worth…You place on another broken soul in God's Eyes! It’s returning the Mercy and Love…You and I have received! Don't fall to Satan's Tactics...See the Truth behind the events...
Make people MORE important than your injustice! Give what YOU Received!
Busyness and Distraction!
Would you be considered wrong or immoral...If someone knocked on your door out of the blue...And insisted that you not leave on your vacation...Which you were all packed to embark upon...But instead... Asked you... At the last minute... To stay home...And let them actually stay at your house for a while instead? Insisting you use your vacation money to buy them food...Sleep in your bedroom and living room?!
As you stay and just serve them for a while?
Now... Think on the same circumstances...If WAR had come to our streets... As in Ukraine today...And your neighborhood had just been shelled...Leaving only your house and a few others...With many wounded and shelterless women and children?!
Would you NOW....Be considered wrong or immoral…For not allowing the same infringement on your freedom and schedule?! YES!
2 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)
3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
Another major tactic Satan uses on every single person here today... IS
BUSYNESS AND DISTRACTION! We ALL pour ourselves into GOOD THINGS in our lives...Often without feeling we are sinning against God...Because it is for others, not self...Providing the best for family...Enjoying quality time...Letting our kids grow and enjoy life...Computer games, movies, social events…But... Herein lies the "Delusion" of this world!
THE REALITY IS THIS:
We get so involved in building OUR LIVES...Taking care of OUR CONCERNS, WANTS, and PLEASURES...That we MISS the REALITY...
That reality being:
WE ARE LITERALLY FIGHTING A WAR! One far more important than ANYTHING else in our lives...One that is set on taking your eternal life...Destroying your heart, family, relationships and joy!
Yes... God wants us to enjoy our families and live life...He takes Glory in these things...BUT... We are literally stuck…In the middle of the War of Wars!
Do you truly know and believe that?!
THEN OUR THINGS IN LIFE CANNOT BE FIRST ANYMORE! We have chosen to give our lives for the One…Who Gave His Life for US!
We have Something so much bigger…To live and fight for everyday...Than all of the distractions of this world!
Everyone of you... Answer honestly right now...BEFORE YOU LIVE FOR THIS WORLD? Do you take whatever time is necessary to know Him...Do you give whatever is needed to serve Him and those in harms way? Do you have the goals and objectives of Your King in mind first...In work, pleasure, spending, relationships, education? Above any purposes and plans you make?
Does everything you have... Every skill you possess...Go towards serving Him in this War first?! If that sounds extreme or unfair to you...Refer back to the illustration we just discussed! The rules we live by are different from those who have been taken in by "Delusional Disorder!"
Those who do not really understand all that is at stake! Why they are really here…
Who have not committed themselves to the WAR! Christianity today has completely enveloped...This CRAZY, COMPLETELY FALSE NOTION...That Christ's Suffering and Death on our behalf...Somehow has won our rights to an easy life and blessings galore...As the world self-destructs around us! First... Let me ask you if that was the mindset of ALL of Jesus' Followers of His Day?
Did one single person of that time.. Ever have a moment...Which they actually believed that accepting Christ's Suffering and Sacrifice…Would bring them a blessed life here on earth?...OR DID THEY ACCEPT HIS SACRIFICE...IN SOLD-OUT, PASSIONATE WILLINGNESS...TO JOIN HIM IN ANY SUFFERING HE ENDURED?!
Hebrews 11:36-38 (ESV)
36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
What about those 340 million Christians (1 in 8) right this minute... (1)
In North Korea... Pakistan... Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran, Nigeria, India...And many others... (3 in 4 of ALL religious persecution)
Do THEY consider their faith to be a side item in life?
Something to entertain when they have time from THEIR SCHEDULE? (1) https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/?initcid=20SRP&initpkg=20SRP-0&cid=7010b000001YkjbAAC&pkg=a150b000004P00wAAC&ds_rl=1281464&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiK-wiuTN9gIVgsCGCh0SYwynEAAYASAAEgKa1PD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
LISTEN CLOSELY...THIS ISN'T TO INSTILL GUILT INTO YOUR LIFE...BUT TO MAKE US ALL SEE A MASSIVE TRUTH!!
JUST BECAUSE LIVING FOR CHRIST FIRST...DOES NOT PLACE YOU IN DANGER...OR INVOLUNTARILY IMPACT YOUR LIFE IN A DRAMATIC WAY...
HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER...YOUR FAITH AND CALLING TO CHRIST...SHOULD BE FIRST & PARAMOUNT IN YOUR LIFESTYLE!
The plain, simple truth is this:
Your busyness and distractions are a purposeful tactic of Satan... Which ONLY WORKS because...We think OUR world... OUR plans... OUR happiness...
Are more important than God! Aren't you glad HE didn't feel the Same Way?!
Our hearts and minds are completely absorbed in ourselves and our families above all else...And we stay so busy... So stressed... So exhausted... So chained...To things that are temporary and useless in reality...That we have no time or resources for God and His Work... The ONLY REAL WORK in our lives...
And sin creeps in because our mind and heart are not set Steadfast on Him...
This fatigue and stress set our emotions in disarray and our minds off guard...
And we begin looking for outlets and distractions for peace...And we justify our sins because we "deserve them" for all of OUR hard work!
We lose hope in the futility of things... The hurt from others...
And the meaningless of it all! And we reach a point of never truly worshiping, reverencing or loving God!
Nikita Khrushchev made a chilling prediction about America in 1956...He proudly taunted:
“We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within....”
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SATAN HAS DONE TO US ALL IN THIS COUNTRY!
WITH EVEN MORE CUNNING AND HATRED!
The reality is... WE have wasted our lives, resources and souls...On a temporary kingdom of hay and stubble...While allowing the TRUE KINGDOM... The TRUE PRIZE..To be OVERRUN and TAKEN from our lives!
We have left for the vacation anyway...When the bombs fell... And WE were the only hope many had left! WE HAVE GONE AWOL FROM GOD'S ARMY...
FROM GOD'S WILL...WHILE OUR LIVES... AND THE WORLD... ARE TAKEN!
Has Satan successfully duped you into his "Delusional Disorder"? Making you believe you are honoring Christ... Serving Christ...By simply proclaiming His Name and living your OWN life?...By expecting a life of self-directed blessings and success?...Or maybe Satan has successfully caused you to be imprisoned with the "Tormentors"...Poisoning your mind and heart...Giving you a tainted and selfish view of everything around you...And completely removing you from Intimacy with God...
Worth for others... Or care for the War you are fighting!
Resist his tactics... Put your uniform back on...And give yourself to the REAL WAR!
Isaiah 54:16-17 (HCSB)
16 Look, I have created the craftsman who blows on the charcoal fire and produces a weapon suitable for its task; and I have created the destroyer to cause havoc. 17 No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me.” This is the LORD’s declaration.
These are powerful Words of God Creating an unstoppable warrior!
But remember… We do not fight this War in the flesh!
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (HCSB)
3 For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds.
So how are we crafted to be such warriors?!
Through the Sanctification of Christ…
Through the Way of His Word in our very souls…
Through the Power of the King’s Spirit literally living in US!
We are awesome warriors…
Because it is not us… But Christ in us!
Remember that always!!
We only have to ENGAGE the enemy in faith!
The Battle is the Lords!
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