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Caught in the middle of an all out war

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I’ve never been to war.I would have been,except that as a wild and angry young man 18 years of age, God intervened and prevented what surely would have been a catastrophe when I tried to enlist in the Army towards the end of the Vietnam war.

As an out of control teenager bent on finding a release for the pent up rage within me,a God that I did not know stepped in and saved my life.Unbeknownst to me,in a few more years He would step in and save my life again when He saved my soul.

So while it is true that I have never been to war on a military battlefield,I have however been on a battlefield of another kind.A spiritual battlefield.In fact,for the past forty years I have been in the middle of an all out war for the control of my eternal soul.

It has been relentless,this battle.Like the old Wide World of Sports TV show used to declare, I can relate to “the thrill of victory,and the agony of defeat”. Though not defeated,I have felt that way many,many times.

In that vein,I thought I would share something very personal with the readers of this blog in the hopes that it might encourage someone who may be locked in a battle where the outcome seems in doubt.

Some time ago I came home from work one day,just as I did every other day.While tired from the long day,I was no more tired than any other day so to me it was just a normal day.I hadn’t been home but a few minutes however when a wave of drowsiness came upon me to the extent that I couldn’t stay awake.

Now,you would have to know me to know that that was not normal for me.So intense was this drowsiness that I went and laid upon the bed,thinking it would pass in a few minutes and I would resume the rest of my day.

The next thing I was aware of was that I was in a dream,or a vision,and I was kneeling at a large rock in a garden like setting.Sort of like the picture here.praying-in-the-garden

I actually saw myself praying there,and it was so real that in my dream I had no doubt that it was me.

In the next moment I saw on either side of me two figures.One was clearly good,and one was clearly the enemy.

I cannot say whether or not the “good” figure was Jesus or an angel,but I knew instantly that the other one was Satan.I remember having no fear at all,but what became very clear to me was that these two figures were having a discussion about ME.

I knew that because I clearly heard the enemy say that he would take me back.Just as clearly I heard the other saying “you can’t have him”. At that,the enemy made a comment to the effect that he would not give up the fight for me.Somehow,even in the midst of this dream or vision,I became acutely aware that Satan would never stop in his attempts to defeat me.Just before I awoke I heard the “good” figure say to me “you must pray always Ron”.

Now,if you’re still reading this I need to explain something.I do not believe every dream we have is a vision or revelation from God.And I am very aware that you who are reading this may think I’ve lost it. Or that”much learning hath made me mad”. Regardless, it was very real and it is something I’ve never forgotten about to this day.

The point of my sharing this very personal story is to show you that we are indeed locked in a spiritual battle with a very real and powerful enemy (II Cor 10:4). The scriptures are clear however that our battles are not with flesh and blood (Eph.6:12). No,our battle is with the devil himself.

prophecies-of-war

propheciesofrevelation.org

We must be careful to understand that the enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He has placed before all of us roadblocks of discouragement so that he may steal our joy.In doing so he will then proceed to steal away our new life in Christ. Having accomplished this,the door is now open for destruction.

This is the process(there’s that word again!) that Jesus spoke to Peter about. And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  Luke 22:31

As Christians we should understand that the devil desires to have each of us,and that he will never stop trying.To my way of thinking,this is Christianity 101. I also know that this battle will not end until the day that either death or the return of the Lord claims me.

What I’m trying to say here is that we should not be surprised at the enemy’s tactics or his devices.Expect them.Know they are coming.More importantly however,prepare for them so you are not caught unaware.

Jesus Christ is the devil destroyer.He alone conquered the enemy at Calvary,and He alone possesses the keys of death and hell (Rev. 1:18). Yes,the devil may roar,but never forget that he is already defeated and as such he has no power to defeat you!

He may try to sift you as he desired to do to Peter,but the same Jesus that prayed for Peter will also sustain you in the midst of the battle.

I pray these words will encourage and comfort someone.

Ron

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts From the Battlefield

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Oftentimes we are plagued with various thoughts that lead to discouragement.Thoughts that if left unchecked can also cause us to question God’s faithfulness.Or cause us to wonder if there really is Someone out there that cares for us.

Did you know that one of the greatest heroes of the Bible was a man often consumed with nagging doubts and insecurities?That he was better acquainted with the agony of defeat than the thrill of victory?

The Psalmist of Israel,King David, knew his share of battlefield victories and defeats.Starting as a young man slinging a stone at a Philistine giant, David became a man of war the moment Goliath fell to the ground.From that day forward,whether leading a victorious charge as Israel’s commanding general or losing the battle of his life on a very different type of battlefield,David knew only too well the ups and downs of warfare.

All of us,in looking over our own battlefields,see both victory and defeat,as well as the high costs associated with them.None of us can stake a claim as remaining unscathed in battle,for we have been wounded and beaten,battered and bruised,and if we’re being totally honest;left for dead.Many times.

Just as David suffered bouts of depression and insecurity,so do you and I.It’s in our DNA.And it’s called being human. And every last one of us suffers from it.

But thanks be unto God,the story doesn’t end there!

This morning I was reading a Psalm of David that deals with this subject matter. In this Psalm,138,David acknowledges God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.Do you ever need to hear that God’s love is unfailing,or that He alone is faithful? I know I do. Every day.

This Psalm is beautiful in it’s simplicity and tenderness as David reminds us that the Lord cares for the humble and truly does hear us when we pray.Yes,we may be tempted to believe that God doesn’t care,but the humble are close to His heart.

Finally,David says what all of us need to be reminded of from time to time, that the Lord will work out his plans for our lives.Beloved,God is faithful.

When the world is spinning out of control and evil seems to have the upper hand,be strong and know that God Almighty is working out his plan for your life.Please read that again.The God of heaven has a plan for you and He is even now working it out.

Yes,we may question that from time to time.We may lose a battle now and then(but never the war!). Insecurities? Got ’em. Scars from the battle? Plenty and then some. Surrounded by troubles? On every side.

None of that matters though,because the promises of God are backed by the honor of His name.And if that were not enough for you…He will never abandon you because HE MADE YOU! You are His and belong to Him!

Psalm 138

1 I give you thanks, O  lord, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.
3 As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.
4 Every king in all the earth will thank you, lord,
for all of them will hear your words.
5 Yes, they will sing about the lord’s ways,
for the glory of the lord is very great.
6 Though the lord is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.
7 Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.
8 The lord will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O  lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.