October 4, 2017
Several summers ago I was blessed to lead a 7-member team into northern Uganda, a region ravaged by 20 years of civil war. In 2007, I went to Iraq to teach and consult to the Iraqi government in Kurdistan where I had a bodyguard but felt safe the whole time even though destructive, dangerous, wartime activities were constantly visible. I never worry about harm as I have peace knowing that God will take me home to Heaven when He desires. And regardless of where I am or what I am doing, I feel blessed and glad to live and raise my family in the peaceful nation of the USA.
Even though most of us have days that are physically safe, we have all been born into a world at war. All our days are lived in the midst of a great spiritual war. Every day the forces of good and evil, heaven and hell, God and Satan, crash together in a complex, violent, and powerful, collision. You may not even realize that you have experienced and witnessed this warfare on a minute-to-minute basis.
In today’s scripture, the words spoken by Jesus make the choices obvious. Unfortunately, few of us face this fact, even though we know in general, that we are in a war. I’m so guilty of ignoring the monumental spiritual slugfest that surrounds me each minute. I easily lose sight of the danger around me.
Yes, there is an enemy out there who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. And he’s not interested in taking a few things and leaving. He wants it all: your marriage, your job, your children, your peace, your confidence, your security, your joy, your relationships – and ultimately your soul. Everything. Satan’s main strategy is distorting your lenses and disrupting your decision-making skills so you are not following God’s prescription for healthy, fulfilled living. Satan even had the nerve and cunning to go after Jesus with lies, trying to affect His decisions. So you can bet he is coming after you!
We need to focus on the second part of Jesus’ encounter with Satan. He tells us He has come so that we may have life … life to the fullest. The catch is that you have to choose this abundant life. It will not be handed to you. Every day you need to face the fact that you are smack dab in the middle of a war. Jesus used THE HOLY BIBLE as His lenses and reference for accurate decision-making. That’s how He avoided Satan’s option and chose God’s. And that’s exactly what we need to use, too.
Jesus’ offer to you is life, but you had better be ready to fight for it. Because the bad guy on the other side, your greatest enemy, is all-in. He’s relentless. And he fights dirty. It’s not pleasant news, but it is news everyone needs to hear.
Today, when you are tempted to stray from God’s strategy for victory, stop and calm yourself with God’s word and Jesus’ promise of abundant life. Don’t fall for Satan’s brainwashing lies. Also, think of one or two people now whom you can alert. The thief is stalking them too. Call them. Forward this email to them. Pray for them. The battlefield is your mind, so start guarding it diligently by making strong, Godly decisions. WITHIN REACH and Satan’s Strategy were developed to help you be on guard for Satan’s strategy and use God’s strategy for a victorious daily walk. Random tactics will not bring victory. Whether you have a successful strategy to win the battle or you stay with your random and losing strategy is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I choose your strategy! Thank You, Father, for providing such a beautiful alternative – life. I ask for Your help. I need Your help to face the fact that I am in the middle of spiritual warfare. Help me remember that You sent Your Son so that I may have abundant life. I have seen the enemy’s capabilities in my life and in the lives of others. I pray that You help me and the Stepping Stones praying community to accept the fact that there is an enemy out there trying to steal all we have … that his desire is to destroy and kill. Lord, help me to protect my children from this thief and to help all those I love. I pray in the name of the Conqueror, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
Watch over your heart (mind) with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.