Into the Battle...that is Today...
by David Brenneman
It's going to be a battle today...quite possibly each day of the month of January. At least during the week. It's what happens when you try to live a life pleasing to God, the world just doesn't like that. This world is very much opposed to the morality and the justness of God. To be Holy as He is Holy is an affront to the selfishness enveloping the planet.
Look at Matthew 7:21-23 NASB "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord,Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
Practice - to intentionally, with great expended energy and effort, with thought behind the action, done on purpose with resolve.
Lawlessness - sin, sinful activities, intentional deeds done that are a against the Word of God.
We have at our fingertips many promises from God. But they can only be claimed after coming to Christ for salvation. Many are the times when the enemy of God mimics God's work. He can an does twist the Scriptures. Read of how he did so with Jesus Himself. Satan loves to twist the Scriptures to get us to go down a path that isn't our calling in Christ Jesus for even those who ARE saved. Thus the battle.
Jesus said to not be worried about tomorrow because today has enough trouble of it's own in Matthew 6:34 NASB "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
There's enough going on in the right here right now to be concerned about in other words.
Which brought me to the verses in the pictures. Putting my mind and heart where they need to be, not where the worries of this world want it to be.
Was asked just what kind of treasures are there in Heaven. The things we call treasures here, like gold, silver, etc, are considered pavement in Heaven, so that's not it. The only precious thing of value in Heaven, outside of the Lord Jesus Christ, are those whom He died for that said yes to Him regarding salvation. Jesus eluded heavily to this when He said to all to beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. The fields were white for harvest. People were ready to be hearing of the salvation made available in Christ Jesus. They still are today. People are the treasure of Heaven.
With that comes a battle. Satan doesn't want to lose people to God. He cares not that they go to Hell, but he doesn't want to lose them to becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Even those he does lose, he tries what he can to keep them from becoming more like Christ. Because those who do stay true to Christ beget more who come to Christ. So Satan does what he can and is allowed to do to go after those to whom have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and are living it. Note that last part. And are living it. He cares not for those who came to Christ and decided to live their lives their own way. Believe it or not those people are doing HIS will by living selfishly. Being the lovers of themselves. Putting earthly things in greater priority than obedience to God.
You come to Christ and you WILL be tempted to do that. You WILL face the temptation to still live your own way. To keep on including things in your life that the Spirit will try to teach you to let go of. The battle is within the mind. That's the battlefield.
Scripture says that "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Who and what and where are all spelled out. What is covered a few times. Those who are not in Christ are in darkness. That's in the first chapter of the book of John. They loved the darkness rather than the light for their deeds were evil. Those around us who are not saved are still walking around in the darkness.
Writing these every morning brings it's own battle to my mind, both upon waking up and throughout the day. The pressure upon my mind is often great. It's the one of two times in my day when most all other thoughts are held captive is when I'm writing. My mind has always had a multi-track path. Many trains of thought going at once, which is often mistaken as being something else. This too is a battle.
You too will face battles going into today. Maybe they already started. The cat or dog not leaving you alone while trying to read your Bible, if indeed you're reading it this morning. Some appliance might be giving you problems and you can hear it while you're trying to read. Neighbor's doing things that distract you while you are trying to pray or read in your Bible. That's the battle for your mind. I'm still learning that passage that says to take every thought captive to the glory of Jesus Christ. To control my thoughts so that my thoughts don't control me.
You will face a battle of what you think you deserve. That's a powerful one. That's what the serpent started with in the Garden of Eden. Spending your money and time on things that do nothing at all for the cause of Christ. Look at the numbers billions of dollars per year on expendable things and services. Satan's plan hard at work.
You will face battles of your will vs God's Will. There's a reason the list starts with "will be lovers of self". We will be tempted to come up with all kinds of justifyable ideas for what's allowed in our lives. Everything from health to prosperity. What WE will accept and not necessarily what God wants to see in us.
We will be tempted to look the other way. To compromise. That's a big one. We literally won't admit to the thought but often it's us thinking if we just go half way with a temptation that maybe Satan won't harang us so much. We often justify sins in our life simply because we get convinced that to give in takes less effort than fighting.
The answer to this was summed up in 1 Peter 1:15-16 NASB "but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: "You shall be Holy, for I am Holy."
Compare that with that passage from Matthew again. 7:21-23 NASB "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord,Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
These did everything BUT consider being Holy as He is Holy. They wanted what was best for self while thinking that they were doing 'enough' for God.
The treasure in Heaven is certainly people. It was for people that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died on a cross, arose 3 days later. He conquered sin, death and the grave for people. It was the will of His Father that Jesus take on the sins of mankind, be separated for a moment from Him, because of people.
The battle in our minds is the only place the battle is. There's not a war in Heaven. Nobody's battling down in Hell. Satan's far more concerned about being prepared for the imminent return of Jesus than people are. He's doing what he's allowed to revamp how this world works in order to suffer the least amount of loss when millions of people vanish when Jesus calls the Church home to be with Him.
God tends to get me to look at things differently than most people. Honestly this preparation by Satan is found easily in the business world in what's called Lean Manufacturing and all that goes with it. It's what's behind the thought and idea of cross-training of people. For when the Church is Raptured, is taken up by Jesus, there will be significant gaps in industry. By these practiced teachings in the workplace Satan suffers the least amount of loss of down time in keeping 'his world' running. Scriptures says that Satan is "the god of this world".
Living for Jesus you will see this world differently. That's what happens when you're in the Light. Jesus says that we are His workmanship. He's wanting to be intentional in your life and mine to become more like Him, not an enhanced version of our old self. In Romans it's written about being transformed. Turned from one thing into something else that's far better. That's new. We read in other places it written of puttting off the old self and it's practices (there's that word again) and putting on the new self that's found in Christ Jesus.
When we see the world practice or variations of it in the Bible it's meaning exactly as was spelled out at the beginning of this post. People intentionally choosing to do something that's not what God's Word says. That's everything from A to Z. Everything from sexuality to idolatry, to lying, to you name it.
Some wonder why things happen today that wouldn't have happened even 10 years ago. That's because now the world is prepared to accept that level of evil. Satan isn't creative, he only does what has worked before with mankind AND is permitted to do by the Spirit of God, who is the one the Bible says is the one who restrains. Satan cannot enact anything, cannot do anything, outside of the will of God and God's eternal plan for mankind.
Sometimes my prayers are just like Nehemiah's. "HELP!" Sometimes they are more detailed. But they need to be from the heart. Not just repeated words with no heartfelt meaning behind them. Read in the Old Testament. God wasn't happy with Israel because they indeed were doing that. They forgot the first commandment. They were not obeying what they were given and began creating additional laws to make themselves look and feel better about their compromises and their breaking His Law.
Yesterday was a very heavy day for me mentally. This whole month will be a challenge to me that I'm honestly not looking forward to in most respects. I'm looking forward to what God wil do with it but I'm not looking forward to going through this particular valley.
When it is hardest it's ususally when things are about to happen. God's always on time with everything He does. There's no such thing as coincidences concerning the work of God. I call them God-instances.
Pray for your right here right now. Pray for your day as it unfolds before you. Pray for those who's names come to mind. There's always a reason why the Spirit brings a name to your mind. Ironically, when were the most oppressed, names often elude us. Keep the lines of communication flowing between you and Jesus.
Watch out for those things that the world loves which pull you away from God's plan and purpose for you. As it's written, guard what you have learned. Pray for Jesus to guard your hearts and minds.
We have but one life to live...so let's try to live the best we can for the One who gave His all for us.
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