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Defeating The Enemy

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
James 4:4

James’ statement to the Jewish believers was very clear about the position many people found themselves in when they chose to follow after the things of the world rather than honoring their commitments to God. Though this passage is often interpreted as to the sin of adultery, and that this sin will make you an enemy of God, we know that any sin can cause us to be in opposition towards God. However, the context that this is written in and with whom James is speaking, clearly defines that James’ reference to adultery in this passage is about those who have entered into a relationship with God, yet daily find themselves involved in the “affairs” of the world. Essentially, it refers to one’s desire to follow after the flesh rather than the Spirit with whom they have pledged their commitment.

But this week, God would have us to review an even greater truth about this passage, and that is being an enemy of God. Satan daily seeks to instill in God’s children, an offense towards those who are lost and are friends of the world, by filling our mind with a notion that says; because this person is an enemy of our Heavenly Father, then they automatically have become an enemy of ours. Then we begin to define the enemy as one who is worthy of total destruction because they come against the ways of our God. It is certainly easy to welcome this satanic type of influence, when we see every day on just about every TV station, enemies that are seeking to destroy our country. We can even read in the old testament about the enemies of God’s people who God many times destroyed! But over the years and through misguided teachings, we have lost the focus that Christ died to save this enemy that seeks to go against His ways!!

You see, you will either overcome your enemy, or they will overcome you. But the enemies of God have already lost the fight, when GRACE appeared!! They can fight it, reject it, ignore it, and resist it, but the foolishness of this world can no longer hold people in bondage who desire to be free because God has made a way out by the blood of Jesus and God desires for all who are lost in the world to become His friends and His children.

But here is where our Glory train can go off track if we are not careful. Often times when followers of Jesus Christ are confronted with an unruly worldly person who comes against everything that we believe in Christ and maybe even openly criticizes us for our faith, many Christians are quick to quote a portion of Ephesians 5: 11 where Paul instructs us to; have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, or many also quote Matthew 18:17 where Jesus states to; let one who refuse to hear the church, let him be as a heathen and a tax collector.  However, God’s heart that bled through His son Jesus Christ instructs us to LOVE our enemies, to BLESS those who curse us, and to do GOOD to those who spitefully use us and persecute us (Matt. 5:44). Paul goes on to say in Eph. 5:11 that we are to expose the unfruitful works of darkness by walking as children of the light (Eph. 5:8), while Jesus’ implications in Matt. 18:17 was not to cast out and forever despise the church offender, but to realize that they do not have the best interest of God or His children at heart, therefore, we are to unite and lift that person up in prayer  and LOVE them through the battle as Christ does, until one day hopefully we see victory in their life.

We must not forget that whether someone seems good or bad, polite or mean, Christ died for all of us and He desires for His children to continue winning over the enemy for His glory. Let us not be quick to cast aside those who seem troubled or evil, while leading others to believe that there is no hope for them. We must not forget that we are in spiritual warfare and Jesus gave us all the resources we need to deal with every kind of evil on this earth, both worldly and demonic. An example of this principle is found in Luke 4:31-37 where Jesus was teaching in the synagogue and a man with an evil spirit began to disrupt the service. Jesus’ response to this, was to put the demon out of the man rather than escorting the man out of the service. We all know that there are people who will absolutely fight against the ways of God and have no desire to accept the Gospel. But that in no way authorizes followers of Christ to discard them and count them as lost. If you know someone like this in your life, though God’s Word says that you don’t have to fellowship with them,  He does encourage us to love them, bless them, and do good to them with the intent of one day seeing them defeated in that they are no longer an enemy of God, but one of His own.

Remember, you can love people from a distance and you can pray for them when they are miles away. You do not have to associate with those who are seeking to be your enemy or cause you harm, to win them over to Christ. I wonder how many of our “enemies” here on earth, we will see in heaven because someone else refused to give up on them; and loved them all the way to victory in Jesus!!!  God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Do Not Worry

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”
Matthew 6:25

In this passage of scripture, Jesus made a very in-depth statement that is often overlooked when this verse is quoted to someone who is having fear about their need being met and their financial resources providing them the stability that they believe they need. Notice also that this verse begins with the word “therefore” which tells us that we need to look at the previous verse to understand the foundation from which Jesus was making His point.

As we look at Matthew 6:24, we find that Jesus was instructing us that no one can serve both God and riches. While there is nothing wrong with being financially prosperous, there is a problem when you begin to love and depend upon your financial resources, rather than on God alone to meet your need. Many Christians are quick to claim God as their source and provider, until they lose their job or have an unexpected event happen that costs them a considerable amount of money. At that point they become fearful, frustrated, and fatigued because all of the sudden their “nest egg” is gone and they begin to say things like; “I just don’t know what I am going to do” or “ I just don’t know how we can make it now.”

When we make fearful statements about our need being met once our financial comfort zone is gone, it exposes an area of weakness in our life that must be dealt with. In the last sentence of Matthew 6:25, Jesus is attempting to direct our attention to an even weightier matter of understanding than what presently consumes the thoughts and lives of many. Notice Jesus ask us the question; “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Jesus ask this question to motivate us to think about a deeper understanding of why we must depend upon Him and Him alone. You see, satan takes great pleasure in getting God’s children to panic over little things. Furthermore he (satan) finds great joy in being able to disrupt your life with minimal effort, rather than having to spend a great deal of time trying to tear down your wall of faith and dependency on God. However, Jesus is seeking to help us to understand that there is more to life than worrying about having our physical  needs met; such as food and clothing, but rather we should be focused on our spiritual state as it relates to our relationship with Him. Jesus said in Mark 8:36; “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world , and loses his own soul?”

Having a solid relationship with God through Christ Jesus, assures us that no matter what comes our way, we know that God is our source of strength and peace during the midst of any uncertain time in our life, especially as it relates to having our physical need met and having financial stability. But think about this; satan doesn’t really care about your worrying that you won’t have money on Friday to buy groceries or pay your bills, because even he knows that God will meet your need. But what he (satan) is after by leading you into worry about having your need met is so you will: 1. Question God’s abilities thereby disrupting your faith, 2. Decide that because of your desperation you can’t afford to pay your tithes or give offerings thereby bringing a curse on your finances, 3. Cause physical problems in your body such as ulcers, anxiety, or stress thereby making you too sick to eat the groceries when they do show up, and 4. Provoke you to making “I just don’t know how” statements thereby demonstrating to those around you your true spiritual integrity during a minor storm. Satan is not interested in just tripping you. No, he wants to make sure you fall down and fall down hard so that it will disrupt your relationship with God which will not only affect your life but also the lives of others around you such as friends, family, co-workers, children, etc.  Paul instructed us in Philippians 4:6 to; be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Begin to thank God that He is faithful and that your need has already been met through Christ Jesus. Praise Him that even though you can’t see how things will come through for you,  He has already made a way were there seemed to be no way.

Remember; fearfulness allows satan to be in control of your present situation. But faith and praise toward God says that there is no situation because Jesus has already handled it!! – God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Instructions For Life

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God .
1 Corinthians 1:18

Very few people like to be criticized or corrected for our wrong doing, and for some, even receiving instruction on how to perform something correctly can become a hard hit to their pride and dignity. But that is exactly what the Apostle Paul is seeking to teach us about the Word of God in his letter to young Timothy.

It is a sad fact, but one primary reason why many people (even Christians) refuse to read the Bible, is because they know that by reading it, it may expose areas of their life that are not pleasing to God, thereby leaving them with a feeling of guilt and failure. However, nothing about the Word of God is intended to condemn anyone, lost or saved, but rather is intended to convict us of the areas in our life that need correction, so that we may endure this journey here on earth with minimal heartache and fewer painful consequences for our sinful actions. God in heaven loves all of His creation too much, to let us wonder through this life confused, misguided, and constantly tormented because we are unlearned and do not have the knowledge to avoid dangerous decisions that could ultimately destroy, not only our life, but the lives of those around us.

We all need Godly instruction and guidelines to reach our full potential. We must never forget that while each of us can only live in the moment, God sees our life from beginning to end, therefore, He always knows the correct road that we should take and the best decision to be made in any situation. How many times have you made a decision that at that time seemed totally right and justifiable, but later things turned out different than expected due to unforeseen circumstances and your planning and decision making brought you heartache rather than the glorious outcome that you were expecting? How might have things turned out better for you if you had sought the instruction from God, who knows all things and is never caught off guard by unforeseen circumstances? The point is, that God does not want us to live this life hurting and frustrated, but rather victorious. Therefore, He gave us a guidelines to follow, and even though His ways may not make sense to us at that time, God knows that in the end it will bring to us our heart’s desire which in turn will bring praise, honor, and glory to Him.

Now from an early age, I have learned the trade of carpentry from my father and grandfather. It was instilled in me while growing up on the farm, how to build things and fix things that are broken. I learned so many valuable principles and techniques that I felt like if Jesus were to open the Carpentry Hall of Fame, that I would have been the first inductee (after Him of course). But later in life, pride began to manipulate my thinking to the point that I didn’t need any more instruction, I was ready for any task that come my way, until I was confronted by the need to put together a baby crib for our first child. Eager to show my wife how gifted I was at building things, I quickly discarded the instruction manual and proceeded to let my river of wisdom flow. And flow it did, all the way to the floor!! What I thought was a great accomplishment, turned out to be a great embarrassment. When my wife begin to move it, pieces begin to fall off. That scenario brought to my remembrance what God said in Isaiah 55: 8-9; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  The designer of that baby crib knew exactly what needed to be done and in what order, so that the finished product was beautiful, usable, and strong so that our baby would protected and not hurt. That is why we need to constantly be in the Word of God seeking His correction and instruction, so that we can be beautiful in His sight, usable by Him in reaching others, and strong for those that we love so dear, so that they will be protected by the decisions we make and the things we do rather than being hurt by them.

Remember, don’t let pride stop you from being corrected or from receiving instruction from the Word of God. For it is in these times of correction and instruction that God is demonstrating His love for us by showing us what needs to be changed in our life so that we may serve Him better and receive the best He has to offer. – God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thankful For All Things

All of us have many wonderful things to be thankful for and giving thanks for those things is quite easy. However, many people seem to struggle during this time of year to find a reason to be thankful. It is very difficult for some to embrace a spirit of thanksgiving when it seems that many areas of their life are plagued with heartache, fear, and discouragement. But Paul revealed to us a very valuable principle that once understood, will give us all a reason to rejoice and be thankful no matter what the circumstances are around us. Paul instructed us that we are to give thanks in everything! That means that whether we are in our greatest victory or in the midst of our most troublesome trial; we have the ability to be thankful. It can be extremely difficult to thank God for the troubled times that we all must endure. But what Paul said in the latter part of this verse is the key that can unlock the door of thanksgiving in our lives no matter how frustrated and exhausted we feel. So how can we be thankful in everything? By knowing and understanding that it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us to be thankful no matter what the circumstances are!!!

What joy there is in knowing that it is the will of Almighty God for us to possess the ability to be thankful in all things. Therefore, He sent His Son to provide us with the strength, wisdom, and a way of escape. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says; No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Truly we can be thankful that God knows what trial we are enduring and that He has already provided all we need to face and overcome any obstacle. Let’s review a couple more reasons as to why we should be thankful for difficult times.

I have had many people express to me their desire to be a good witness for Jesus Christ, but they are not exactly sure how to do so. Well, enduring the storms of life is an excellent witness of the power of God through Jesus Christ. When you are in the midst of a trial and you retain your Christian integrity, you show those around you the power that Jesus has in helping you to overcome an overwhelming situation. Therefore, your testimony can encourage a lost person, friend or family member who is battling a similar trial not to give up and to embrace Jesus Christ as Savior; and that is a great reason to be thankful for your trial. Paul states in 2 Corinthians 2:14; “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”

Another reason to thank God for your troubles is that it gives you a front row seat to see the power of God at work in your own life! Remember that God is a Father that loves us so much that He refuses to allow us to stay in a place that will never produce the fruit that we desire to produce for His Kingdom. Therefore, when you feel that your world is upside down and you feel like you are just going in circles; know that the Potter has you on His wheel and He is molding you into a vessel that He can use in mighty ways. Thank God that He is seeking to make you into someone that you never thought you could be.

Remember; When you are bearing a great burden and you take the time to give thanks unto God for all He has done for you, you will find that the burden tends to get lighter. Why? Because when you make a point to focus on God and His goodness, your trial or burden has no choice but to be moved to the back of your mind, thereby allowing you to focus on all the past victories that God has granted unto you and all the storms that He has brought you through. Furthermore, you will find that it motivates you to be thankful because you know in your heart that God will prevail again!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!  – God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

The Steadfast Servant

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
Colossians 3:23

Paul in this last part of chapter three in the book of Colossians was defining some key boundaries to establishing a solid Christian home. However, the principle defined in verse twenty three gives us a foundation for success if it is applied to everything that we do both within our homes and without. For me, this verse holds a very special place in my life because it has been an everlasting anchor that has held me to a principle that has excelled me in my career, as well as, many other areas in my life. It truly has been one of my life verses.

One area that this verse can strengthen your walk with Christ and truly exemplify solid Christian ethics is in the area of serving others. All of us are servants in some form or fashion. We serve our families, our church, our employer, our friends, and the list goes on and on. But Paul gave us this perspective of acknowledging God in all that we do, so that God may be glorified not only in your willingness to serve, but the manner in which you do so.

There is such great joy and fulfillment that can be received by serving God through serving others. Often times many people might feel a rush of joy as they begin to serve, however, soon after they find that it is not as fulfilling as they had hoped. This lack of joy and fulfillment in serving others often comes for two primary reasons. First, many Christians do not feel fulfilled in serving others because the manner in which they have been asked to serve does not line up with their own personal desires. Many people are only willing to serve others on their own terms. They want the nicest conditions, the best placement, and the highest praise for their efforts. In other words, many people are willing to serve as long as they are comfortable and get exceptional recognition for their “selfless” efforts. But if we are willing to stay focused on the fact that we are serving God in whatever we are doing, it will motivate us to crucify our desires and serve whole-heartedly no matter what the conditions and regardless if others see our service or not. As we read in the scriptures, we find that many who had hearts committed to serving God seldom had everything going their way, but they served with all their heart because they knew that God can truly accomplish great things through people who do not give Him boundaries within which He must work.

Second, many people do not feel steadfast joy and fulfillment in serving others because of the manners and methods in which they serve. Many Christians feel that their service is in vain and often it is because they are half-hearted in their efforts. If we are not careful we will allow our emotions and present situations to dictate the sincerity and completeness of our commitment in any area that we serve. For instance, have you ever known someone who started a new job and was very excited to show everyone around them how hard a worker they are and how committed they can be to Christ through their employer. I mean this person shows up early, stays late, and is willing to really “go the extra mile,” but then their employer disagrees with them, maybe even demotes them and they become bitter, then they start showing up late, taking longer breaks, and spend their days watching the clock drag on towards quitting time while spending company time checking personal emails and posting on their social media sites? This is why the Apostle Paul directed us to acknowledge that it is God we are serving in whatever we do because in doing so, our service will be exemplary no matter what is going on around us or who agrees with us; which will again bring glory to God and show others His strength in us to press on whole-heartedly in undesirable conditions.

Remember; when we are focused on serving others in the same manner that we serve Christ, it will prevent us from taking shortcuts and will motivate us to go the extra mile. It will also prevent sinful actions from entering our situation which will hinder us from demonstrating our commitment to Christ and our desire to serve Him faithfully through joyfully and willingly serving others.  – God Bless

Darren McClerren

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

The Right Decision

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God .
1 Corinthians 1:18

The Apostle Paul in this bold statement clearly defined the only two sides available to us during this walk of life here on earth. We are either among the perishing or among the saved. While we all will live forever, God has given us free-will and the ability to choose where we will spend eternity either in Heaven or in the lake of fire.

It is hard to believe that many people here on earth would consider the message of the cross; foolishness. After all, the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought to us salvation from the bondages of sin so that we could be free to live with power and experience abundance in every area of our life! But sadly enough many reject the message of the cross not only because satan is behind the scenes encouraging them to do so, but because many people who do not know Jesus cannot see the power of God present in the lives of those who do profess to know Jesus. God’s power is still just as strong and just as present as it was when Paul wrote this passage of scripture. But through misguided teaching and living, we have allowed this message to be hidden under unbelief, discontent, and unscriptural religious guidelines.

Despite all the religious rhetoric in the world today, it is very simple to receive the power that God desires for all of us to have. We need to help people understand that the bridge between the foolishness that Paul spoke of and the power of God that Paul had; is the bridge of decision.  While many unbelievers refuse to acknowledge God’s Word as being the basis of truth, we as believers must be able to not only speak, but demonstrate God’s power by how we conduct our daily lives and our conversations.  We need to help others understand that making a decision to believe in anything other than the Word of God will not bring to them the results that they seek and are believing for, especially in the areas of salvation, peace, wisdom, healing, freedom from loneliness, the desire to be loved, etc. Nothing apart from Christ has ever produced these steadfast and sustaining results in anyone’s life.

Many unbelievers do not see a need for Jesus and all that He offers when things are going well in their life. However, it is in times of heartache, frustration, tragedy, etc. that they begin to feel a desire to search for something greater to help them cope with the current situation that they find themselves in. This is why it is so important that we as believers learn to live in the power of God every day of our life. Whether lost or saved, we all go through tragedy and heartache but it is during these times that the power of God in the life of a believer should be most visible by those who deem Him as foolish. What motivates someone to make a decision for Christ when they see His followers enduring trying and difficult times and then becoming rebellious and resentful rather than strengthened by God’s grace?   I encourage you today to spend time with the Father and ask Him to reveal to you any areas of your life that His power is not being clearly seen. Satan would love nothing more than for God’s children to distort the message of the cross by acting foolish rather than living out the power of God that Jesus came to give us.

Remember; sometimes God allows difficult circumstances to come against us so that we can reveal to the lost people around us, the power of God, thereby, giving them a good reason to receive the message of Christ and begin to experience for themselves God’s awesome power in their own life.  – God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sifting For A Purpose – Part 2

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.
Luke 22:31-32

We will pick up where we left off last week in reviewing some very important principles found in this passage of scripture that will help us to cope with and endure some of the trying times that this walk of life has to offer.

Last week we ended our devotion by discussing why God allows us to be sifted by the enemy. We discovered that God allows times of sifting by the enemy to expose weaknesses in our lives that we need to overcome to be more Christ-like, as well as, giving us an opportunity to gain wisdom that God can use through us to comfort others who may be enduring similar storms. Back on the farm, my dad used to ask me when I made a mistake, if I had learned anything from that mistake? He would say that wisdom gained from a mistake made, was valuable because we have learned first-hand why we should never make that mistake again. Well a similar principle applies to the storms in our life. When God allows us to endure storms in this life, it is always intended to give us greater wisdom, as well as, helps us acknowledge God’s presence in the midst of any storm. It also gives us understanding that we can use to encourage others and if needed, helps us to endure the same storm again, while this time maintaining our strength, peace, and joy, thereby not allowing the enemy to cause us to rebel against or doubt God and His plan.

Another encouraging principle about this passage of scripture, is the fact that not only is God aware of and allows the storms that we endure, but that Jesus Himself intercedes for us with the Father. Here we find that Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. What joy there is in knowing that Jesus Christ is lifting us up in prayer and requesting on our behalf, that the Father will help us receive His strength that was made available to us, so that we can endure the “sifting” moments of our lives, and therefore be able to not only endure and pass the test before us, but also so that we will never lose sight of the Savior. Jesus lives to give us a lighted path to return to Him, rather than being forever disheartened, discouraged, and detoured from God’s plan and purpose for our life. Hebrews 7:25 says; “Therefore He (Jesus) is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” So whatever storm or time of sifting that you may be going through right now, know that if you have made Jesus the Lord of your life, that He is not only with you in the midst of your storm but He is also praying the strength of God into your situation so that you will endure and overcome and become more Christ-like through it all, not only for your well being, but also for the well being of those around you such as your friends, your spouse and your children.

One other truth that can be gleamed from this passage is when Jesus said: WHEN! Notice that He didn’t say to Peter “IF” you return, but rather Jesus Christ said WHEN!! Satan is the Father of lies and he loves to trouble the hearts and minds of God’s children during the storms of life with the lie that God has no more use for us and that we have failed so bad that God can never use us again. But notice that Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. Therefore we must hold onto our faith that continually reminds us that Jesus is now at the right hand of God, interceding for us and making it known with the Father that He made available to us the ability to overcome the snares of satan and that since we have received Him as our Savior and are looking to Him for guidance, we WILL endure and we WILL return not to the place we was, but to a greater place, in that we have now become more Christ-like through the present storm and have gained greater wisdom to be used for God’s glory and purpose. So if you’re enduring a time of sifting right now, know that it is not in vain and that God will bring you through it and will cause it to make you a wiser and stronger person than you were before so that you can be the strength of God to others hurting around you; even those who may not know Christ, but will desire to once they see His strength in you.

Remember, God has a purpose for everything, If you are willing, God will teach you things that will allow you to be a source of strength in the life of someone around you, even if it requires “sifting” to help us understand and realize the complete peace of God and how that He will never leave us nor forsake us in the midst of any storm. God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance
God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Resisting The Devil

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

In James chapter four,  we find James instructing believers that while pride promotes strife, humility can cure worldliness. He goes on to teach us that by living a life that is submitted to God, we will have success in resisting satan, thereby causing him to flee from us. But for many followers of Jesus Christ it seems that resisting satan and getting him to flee is becoming more difficult to do. In 1 Peter 5:8-9, Peter gives us a similar directive in overcoming the works of the devil. Peter tells us that we are to; Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

For many children of God today, it seems that when satan flees from them, he just makes a quick trip around the block then he is right back in their midst causing heartache and discontent. I have heard many Christians say that the reason it is getting harder to make satan flee; is because we are living in the last days and the devil has turned up the heat because he knows his reign here on earth is about over. However, this viewpoint is not compatible with the Word of God and here’s why: JESUS. Jesus is the one who defeated satan on the cross and He (Jesus) is our strength and shield against the works of the devil in our lives. Hebrews 13:8 says that; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So if the power of God through Christ Jesus has not changed, then we still possess the ability to overcome these dreadful tactics by the enemy. The reason it seems to be getting tougher to make satan flee; is because many are not “submitting to God” and are not staying “steadfast in the faith.”

Both James and Peter were discussing the topics of pride and humility when they made these statements about resisting the devil. Both of these disciples of Christ made it clear that when we allow pride to rule in our life, it will open the door to the works of the flesh; which in turn will cause heartache and frustration in many areas of our life. Every time we operate in the flesh, we are allowing ourselves to be guided by our emotions and by what we see rather than by what we know is the truth of God’s Word. So if you want to make satan flee from your marriage, your workplace, your life, and your relationships, you must continually live a life humble before God, submitted to Him in every area of your life, and walking in steadfast faith!!

When I read the passage about the devil walking around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, I must admit that I visualize what I have seen on the Discovery channel, where a large lion is stalking and sneaking up on some large prey like a deer or antelope; then he lunges, chases, and eventually begins to devour this large beast. I think this is how many Christians visualize satan coming in for his full scale attack on us. We think that satan will leave us alone if we have just a little bit of sin in our life and are only half-heartedly serving God, because we believe that he only wants to attack if he can really destroy us in a big way. But let me say that lions eat mice to. You see while God is not satisfied unless He has all of us, satan is quite content in you giving him just a little bit of flesh to work with. While mice will tide the lion over until larger prey becomes available, little areas of our lives that we allow satan to operate in will tide him over until a larger part of you becomes available for him to devour. For instance, I knew of a person who praised God with their hands upraised every Sunday without fail, yet had bitterness and unforgiveness in their heart towards another person. While they did not view it as a big deal, satan was stirring the pool of bitterness in their heart until one day unexpected tragedy hit their family. Rather than relying on their faith to see them through, they became bitter towards God, bitter towards their spouse, and bitter towards their children and today they are divorced, lonely, and refuse to praise God or even acknowledge His existence.

Remember; light cannot fellowship with darkness (1 John 5-7). Just as a flashlight with no batteries will not show you the way in a dark room, satan will not flee when you resist him, if you are allowing him to reside in “little” areas of your life, whether it is your thoughts, your words, or your actions. Submit to God in every area of your life, thereby making the devil very eager to run from you.  – God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

If You Act Now!!

They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
– Matthew 4:20-

It is no secret that we live in a product-driven society that is constantly seeking to convince people that they need more, more, more. One commonly used catch phrase that is often heard to capture the attention of a potential buyer is the phrase; “If you act now”. Many people, when they hear these four precious words cannot move quick enough to get their credit card ready, even before they know what their “acting now” will get them.

Jesus’ disciples also had an; “if you act now” moment. Peter and Andrew, Jesus’ first two disciples, had an opportunity to previously meet Jesus through John the Baptist. They knew that He was the Messiah and was excited to have met Him. After this meeting however, Peter and Andrew returned to their job as Galilean fisherman. Then one day as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw these two at work and offered them the opportunity to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Then we find that “immediately” they left their nets and followed Him.

Peter and Andrew, as well as, Jesus’ other disciples, were not going to pass up an opportunity to walk with and to learn from the Messiah. When Jesus offered this blessing to them, they didn’t hesitate to “act now”. By them immediately leaving their nets at that very moment, they demonstrated to Jesus their belief and passion for Him, in knowing that He was the Christ. These adventurous men did not have to forever give up their passion for fishing, for we find other passages where they are out on the seas fishing even after they were called by Jesus. But it was about obedience at that particular moment.

All of us have opportunities just about every day to “act now” and follow Jesus. Many profess to have love and commitment to Christ, however, are unwilling to lay down their “nets” at any given moment to honor the Master’s request. It’s not about quitting your job or dropping the ball to follow Jesus, but it is about being obedient in the moment to step away from what currently has us preoccupied, to honor the desire of Jesus’ heart.

If you have ever felt the need to call someone and let them know you are thinking about them, or maybe there is a troubled coworker that you really feel led to comfort by talking and giving them some Godly wisdom, or if you feel the desire to immediately pray for someone; well, these are opportunities to lay down your “nets” and follow Jesus. If you “act now” in these moments, and are willing to briefly step away from what you are doing to follow Jesus into that person’s life, not only will it demonstrate the love and compassion of Christ to them at a crucial moment in their life, but it will fulfill your desire to be a fisher of men. God Bless.

A Prayer for Commitment

Father, today I welcome the opportunity to serve you through serving others. Thank You for the opportunities that You give me to show others how much You love them through thoughtful words and actions. Father today I vow to be committed to following You wherever You may lead. Furthermore, I will not allow myself to be so busy that I am unwilling to lay down by net at any given moment to be obedient to Your Will. I pray this In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

In Times Like These

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 Timothy 3:1

The Apostle Paul in his second letter to the young Pastor Timothy, defined the kind of things that would be clearly visible to God’s people as the last days approached before Jesus returns to claim His bride; the Church. Paul went on to say in 2 Timothy 3:2-5; For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

It is sad that you do not have to look very hard to see these characteristics portrayed in the lives of many people around us. A few minutes on Facebook or CNN and we could check these items off of the list one by one. Some people who possess such sinful characteristics reside in our own neighborhood or even our homes. Seeing these kinds of things happening around us more and more everyday tends to discourage many of God’s children. But we as Christians must never forget that this sinful, cursed world will continue to get worse until Jesus returns. So what are followers of Jesus Christ to do and how are we to live in such an environment as the one Paul mentioned would be evident in these last days?

First, it is important that we keep a Godly perspective. Jesus said in John16:33; “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Followers of Jesus Christ should be daily portraits of “Good Cheer” because of what Christ has completed for us. However, many of God’s children spend countless hours each day continually complaining about the things we see and hear in the world around us. We have allowed such disgust to be our primary conversation starter with people that we converse with daily or even someone with whom we have just met. It is easy to talk about such dreadful things, because we know that most everyone around us will be in agreement with us, therefore, the need to defend our Christian viewpoint and values becomes non-existent. It is sad to think that some Christians have become one of satan’s greatest tools because they help to spread his negative message and deliver discontent by the words that they often speak. One of the ways that Christians can improve the world around them and to snuff out satan’s dreadful tactics is to stop complaining about the things going on in a world that is not ours and spend that time praising God for a Heavenly Kingdom that is. We need to continually let the world know that we have a Deliverer, a Hope, and an ever present Help in our time of need and that His name is JESUS!! Let’s spend more time talking about Him, rather than the negative things that He warned us would come.

Second, we need to heed Paul’s advice that we should turn away from such people. Paul is not saying that we should despise them or even ridicule them, after all Jesus encouraged us to: love our enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). But rather what Paul is instructing us to do, is not to fellowship with such people so that our actions and our character do not become like theirs. If we are not careful, we will become so disgusted and discouraged by the actions of the world around us that we will begin to lose heart and allow tolerance of these wicked things to infiltrate our lives and homes thereby infecting the next generation with the same negative principles that we so openly despise now. For instance, how often do your children or coworkers hear you complain about gas prices rather than thanking God for the vehicle He gave you and that your need will always be supplied? How often do we criticize the leaders of our country rather than encouraging everyone to pray for them as instructed to in 1 Timothy 2:1-2? What motivates the lost around us to seek a relationship with Jesus if we as God’s children are just as disgusted and hopeless as the rest of the world around us?

Remember; satan is a manipulator. Every time a Christian complains about the world around them, what it really says to others around us is that we’re afraid and we have no hope. Keep your eyes, thoughts and words on Jesus and lets show the world that we are not shaken, sidetracked, or scared but rather we are thankful that this world is not our home and that we are excited about what’s to come.  – God Bless

-Darren McClerren

 

A Prayer of Repentance

God, I come to you in Jesus’ name. I confess that I have sinned against You and have come short of Your standards. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to pay the price for my sins. Jesus thank You for dying on the cross for me. I repent of my sins and ask You to be the Lord of my life. I give you my life today and I receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Thank You Lord for saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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