Picture this — you come home from a long day of work — you walk into your living room — plop down on your couch in exhaustion — and there in the corner of the room — your eyes are drawn to something moving — it's a rattlesnake! Do you say to yourself, "Oh, I'm too tired to worry about that now, I'll deal with it later?" Of course not! You jump up right away, find a bat or something, alert your family, call the neighbors, 911, the fire department, the national guard, and start praying with all your might! It's a life-threatening situation!
Judges 6 begins with an angel talking to Gideon saying, "thou mighty man of valour!" However, in this passage Gideon isn't feeling very valiant — he's consumed with his circumstances — how poor his family is and how he's the least of his fathers' house. He doesn't feel he's done anything worthy of being called valiant, yet the angel still addresses him "mighty man of valour!"
In his book, Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan has written one of the most beautiful allegories about the journey we all travel as a believers. The book describes the hero, Christian, and his journey from the City of Destruction to his heavenly destination, the Celestial City. Now there's one part of Pilgrim's Progress that I want to focus on today — walking through the Swamp of Despondency!
The first king of Israel, King Saul,was told by God to utterly slay Amalek and his descendants. In blatant disobedience Saul allowed Agag, the king of the Amalekites and the best of the cattle to remain alive. The following day, Saul tried to remedy his disobedience by attempting to sacrifice the best of the cattle to the Lord.
Writing to the Corinthian Church, Paul illustrates his exhortation using the metaphors of running a race and fighting a boxing match. Victory is achieved by bringing your body into submission to the will of God.
The Bible speaks of a great falling away in the last days (2 Thessalonians 2) before the end of the age arrives, and it seems that we’re seeing it on a grand scale all around us. Virtually everywhere we look we're watching the decline of morality and ethics — in government, entertainment, and social culture. It seems hard to deny…
The Great Wall of China is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It stretches over 4,000 miles (6,400 KM) and was built to protect China from the barbaric hordes to the north. The designers of the wall made it so high that it could not be scaled, so thick that it could not be penetrated, and so long that no one could go around it.
Samson is a powerful example of a man of God who won his battles over and over again because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Yet when he was finally defeated by Delilah's temptations he didn’t realize that the Lord had left him, so effective was the woman's spell…
Caesarea Phillipi, where Yeshua (Jesus) revealed himself as Messiah to His disciples, was home to the Temple of Pan, a place so demonic that many of the rituals performed there are too horrible to mention in a daily devotion…
Joshua son of Nun had been commissioned by Moses to bring Israel into the Promised Land. He was a leader and a general. Having spied out the land and returned with the other 11 spies, he was fully aware of the impending battle and the ferocity of the enemy.There were giants in the land. Having miraculously crossed over the Jordan with all the people and 40,000 armed soldiers, Joshua sensed deeply his responsibility to protect and lead Israel to victory and the inheritance God had promised them.
Doesn't it seem like just when we get that much needed breakthrough, suddenly the enemy comes to attack? In this passage we read how the Philistines heard that David was anointed King and quickly assembled together to seek and destroy him. And what does David do? Does he become fearful? No. Does he hide? No! David goes out to meet them!
As the threat of war looms on the horizon in Israel, I'm all the more reminded that we in the Body of Messiah are already at war spiritually. Constantly contending in our minds, we battle over thoughts and emotions which flow through them. The enemy often attacks by bringing up issues from our past. Failures, regrets, wounds, and traumas all have the potential to drag us down into doubt, darkness and despair. Our tremendous challenge is not to respond to these memories with old destructive thought patterns. Our victory lies in responding to these thoughts and feelings with the mind of Messiah as new creations in Him.
Anyone who has traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland has probably seen the Edinburgh castle. It is a tower of seemingly insurmountable strength. However, long ago that castle was attacked and seized.
Epraphras is not a name you hear much of. He was a member of the church in Colosse, and obviously a dear saint in the Lord. We know that he suffered imprisonment with Paul at one time. But the thing that really impresses me about this saint is what Paul wrote about him– he always labored fervently in prayer!
Historian Shelby Foote tells of a soldier who was wounded at the battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War and was ordered to go to the rear. The fighting was fierce and within minutes he returned to his commanding officer. "Captain, give me a gun!" he shouted. "This fight ain't got any rear!"
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev used to tell of a time when there was a wave of petty theft in the Soviet Union. To curtail this, the authorities put guards up around the factories. At a timber-works in Leningrad, one guard knew the workers in the factory very well. The first evening, out came Pyotr Petrovich with a wheelbarrow containing a great bulky sack with a suspicious-looking object inside. "All right, Petrovich," said the guard, "What have you got there?" "Oh, just sawdust and shavings," Petrovich replied. "Come on," the guard said, "I wasn’t born yesterday. Tip it out." ….
This is a powerful passage which believers must claim! The Greek for the word "heaven", "oo-ran-os", implies not only heaven, but also eternity. The enemy was removed from the eternal places, and his power is only temporary in this world. Our power does not come from this temporary world, but from eternity, from the eternal throne of God.
It must have been amazing to watch David amassing men around himself until it was like the army of God — Yeshua (Jesus) is doing exactly the same thing in our days. The difference is the kinds of battles we're fighting. David and his men engaged in physical warfare against bands of raiders; Philistines and local Canaanite tribes. We are in a spiritual war against "…principalities, against powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." [Eph: 6:12]
As David grew in stature those who stood by him increased in number, devoting themselves to fight with him. Though it was a time of adversity for David, and a time of warfare, he found that there were many willing to join their lives to his; "…a brother is born for adversity"; and "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother". Again we note that David's anointing and his character made him a friend to many…and many became his loyal friends.
As we continue our study of the men who followed David, let's look at their boldness — the boldness of lions! We also need this boldness in the face of the enemy who is "like a lion", himself….a roaring lion. While it is true that the devil received a fatal wound at Calvary, he is still roaming, dangerous, and seeking whom he may devour. We need to stand bold as a lion against him, for we have the "lion of Judah" [Revelation 5:5] as our Captain, ready to defend us. And greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.