Resisting Evil

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.

How Many Can You Feed?

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” -Matthew 14:16

The feeding of the five thousand (which was probably closer to fifteen or twenty thousand if you include women and children), is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. This was only one of many occasions that Jesus took a small portion of something, blessed it, and multiplied it for the fulfillment of those around Him. While this passage was actually physical food that nourished bodies and soothed hunger, it also speaks to the ability of God to take a small portion of faith and our willingness to be obedient and manifest it into such Spiritual increase that it will uplift spirits and calm the troubled soul of those around us.

You may be wondering if Jesus could still take five loaves and two fish and feed thousands with twelve baskets left over right here in 2015. The answer is undoubtedly; YES!!! We know this because Hebrews 13:8 tells us that; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Therefore, we can be certain that the character and compassion of Jesus has not changed, therefore, His willingness to feed the hungry is still very present today and His ability to do so is still very much available to us. Then you might ask; well, why are there so many starving people, physically and spiritually, all over the world? The Bible answers that as well in Matthew 13:58. It says: “(Jesus) did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” We must never forget that little can be made much when we present it to the Lord and His work. If you truly believe that, then you will be willing to give whatever the Holy Spirit asks of you whether it is a large or small amount in your eyes.

This principle of letting God make our little contribution into a great blessing for others, does not only apply to physical things such as food or money, but to spiritual things as well. One of Satan’s greatest ways of hindering God’s plans and desires around the world is by manipulating us into believing that we must be able to fully comprehend how what we are ask to contribute could possibly meet a need so large. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it removes God and all His abilities from the equation, thereby giving way to doubt that will then emphatically steal our desire to give anything.

Whether you realize it or not, after Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish, the miracle was administered by the hands of the disciples!! You see, when the Holy Spirit leads you to give something to someone or some ministry, even though you may think it is not much, what is happening is that God is desiring to take what little you have; bless it, multiply it and use it to meet a great need in someone else’s’ life, however, God intends for it to be distributed through YOU!! Therefore, if you refuse to distribute the blessing because you think it is insignificant, then others will starve around you because, while God can get His blessing to you, He can’t seem to get His blessing through you.

So the next time you feel that you need to send someone a text that simply says; “Thinking of you”; send it!! The next time you feel that you need to send a ministry five dollars; send it!!! The next time you feel the desire to stop and send up prayers for someone; send it!!! Don’t’ worry about trying to understand how God will take such a small contribution and multiply it into great things!! Just believe that He can, He will, and He is, and it shall be done!! So how many can you feed today from your hand? Answer; as many as God wants you to. All you have to do is be obedient, faithful, and willing to give. God Bless.

A Prayer to Multiply
Father, forgive me for the times that I have refused to give because I felt that it was to insignificant to make any kind of impact. Holy Spirit I ask you to help me remember that God can only multiply what I am willing to give Him. So Father, today I choose to stop questioning and trying to understand what you ask me to give and why. But rather I choose to give it immediately so that it can be blessed and multiplied to meet the need of another, whether physical or spiritual. I pray this In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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