11/8 Family at its Best series: Dealing Effectively with the Battles You Face 1 John 4:1-6
The question was asked Sunday, What are some of the battles you are facing? We all face them. Some are easily conquered, just a little inconvenience or disruption to the norm. Others are not so small. There are battles in relationships, finances and/or health, to name a few. Are you captive, caught within a battle of your own doing, an addiction, or sin in your life? Does the battle involve others leading to a dispute of some kind? Possibly you are a victim of life choices made and the effects thereof. These are all part of the Battlefield of Life. Sin entered our world way back when and all people have had to deal with the effects of sin in one way or another. Battles of who’s right and who’s wrong, I thought I could handle the enticement battle, or it’s not my fault battle of reasoning, name your battle, there are many. I’m in control of my life. Really? Then why do the battles rage on? This week we are going deeper into Dealing Effectively with the Battles You Face. It’s always a good practice to look into what scripture has to say to deal effectively in anything. The Bible passage this week is from 1 John 4: 1-6 titled Testing the Spirit. Within this passage we read that there are two spirits, the Spirit of truth (motivated by God) and the spirit of error (motivated by Satan) that speak to us. Verse 1 tells us “…do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The false prophets are the spirit of the antichrist who now is in the world already, also referred to in this passage. The Spirit of God we read of in verse 4 says “…you are from God and He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”, it’s the Spirit of truth living in us. Which spirit are you listening to, which has control of your life?
One of our studies viewed in Right Now Media this week is Fight by Craig Groeschel. He referenced Galatians 5: 16-17 that says “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Sounds like a war going on to me. Our life is the battleground. Who are we fighting? It’s those giants, metaphorically speaking. Giants are problems in life like temptations or sin. Craig Groeschel went on to say, our spiritual enemy loves to make strong men weak, our God loves to make weak men strong. Godly strength, says Groeschel, shows a man reflecting the goodness of God the warrior. We fight in prayer, fight on our knees, giving it a spiritual punch. He referenced Exodus 15:3 “The Lord is a warrior. The Lord is his name.” Every warrior has a cause to fight for. A warrior without a cause to fight for will find the wrong thing to fight against. Pastor George says our feelings are not always a reason to act, be discerning, emotions cause you to fight the wrong battles. A warrior fights to win the battles that matter most. We as warriors call on the name of the Lord. In battle know the Lord is there. When your need meets your God, your God will meet your need. You are only as strong as you are honest, says Groeschel, God’s grace is there for you. Pastor George reminded us that your sense of purpose, God, family, self, relationships, …keep those before you, the renewing of your mind where we gain strength through faith.
In the session on Warrior Women by Bianca Juarez Olthoff in RNM she gives warrior this definition: an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. A child of God is all you need to be, she says. In Proverbs 3:26 it says, “for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” A great warrior knows great restraint from his God. Bianca shared that Satan knows your name, but he calls you by your sin – God knows your sin but calls you by your name, child of God. Our sin does not define us when we confess and turn from it. She said what you’re born into does not determine what is in you. God is bigger than our history and more concern with our destiny. Pastor George prayed for us Sunday to know the peace God offers from demons, from battles, from antichrists that want to lead us astray. He says to remember What’s your why? We will all have things seemingly to distract, derail us, to take away our why. Remember eternal love, for His love to not be distant from you but to respond and claim all that He has offered to us. In the Warrior Women series, we heard – Internally we trust God, willingly obey Him, externally taking steps forward, using the weapons God gave you. You will face battles on this battlefield of life but remember, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”, 1 John vs.4.
Family by any and all definitions work best when we keep God in our lives. Bianca said in her series Warrior Women, God uses multiple people. I can be a warrior through the power of God living in me. Its ordinary people used in extraordinary ways; she says. It’s being obedient to God, being used to the glory of God. Listen to His voice, hasn’t God told You????, never be people who ignore the voice of God. Listen, willingly allow the Holy Spirit to have full reign in your life. Our life in any and all family situations, to be used by the Spirit, regardless of our experiences so that God can move, and we can witness His power at work in us or through us. Letting go of our desires and letting God our warrior lead the battles we face will in His time give us victory over them.
Larry and Darlene
11/1 Series: Family at its Best…..The Mirror Image 1 John 3:1-24
This week’s message focus is titled The Mirror Image. Most of us use a mirror daily. It shows us what we cannot see. Shaving, fixing our hair, checking out the outfit we put on, to name a few reasons we look into a mirror, doing an examination of how others will see us today. We want to look our best. First impressions are important right? What also is important is what we exude from within, our image. We’ve all heard people say that so and so is the spitting image of their dad/mom. Which is meant to mean, looks like the dad or mom, which it does, but spitting image could also mean the aura, character, attribute of a parent. So, in thinking of The Mirror Image… how are others seeing us? What are we exuding? Are we our Father’s image? Are we living in the image of our Heavenly Father? Family at its Best is to represent the family well wherever our day takes us. Are we a good representation of the family we belong to, our physical family, sport or group families, church family, how about God’s family? Are we the mirror image that should be portrayed as a representative of His family?
Being a reflection, a reflection of Jesus, is how Pastor George put it to our young people. What people see, to hear them say I saw Jesus in you, is to be a reflection of Jesus. In the scripture for today from 1 John 3 the first line that we read in verse 1 is of the love the Father has given to us, ….that we should be called children of God; and so we are. We are in His family. In verses 2-10 it gives how we ought to be as a child of God, a representation of whose we are. Verse 10 ends by saying …whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. Then verse 11 begins titled as Love One Another. We know that Jesus is love, to reflect Jesus is to reflect love As Pastor George also says, its Christ’s love exuding in and through us, the Son reflected in us.
From the Right Now Media library, we viewed Reflecting the One Who Loves Us by Stuart Hodge, he states that we are never more like God than when we are loving others. It’s all about relationship. He says we are to be proactive about the way you are loving others. We are to have open hearts towards loving the unlovely. And to do this within the community of believers but also reaching out to the unbelieving world, reaching out, pushing beyond everyday relationships. Stuart suggested that we are to always be Living On Mission. He explained it this way: Living it’s what you enjoy doing, your passions, it’s what brings you joy, what’s fun for you, it’s who you are. We are to invest in other’s lives there, to pour out of your life, On Mission. Mission is in whom we believe and the reason why we believe, it’s this hope within us. Stuart referenced Colossians 3:15-17 from the MSG, “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ - the Message – have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever- be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”, is Living On Mission. Or as Pastor George said, to allow your faith to come to the surface. The Mirror Image asks, how do you act in public? Or is it just a Sunday morning thing?
The Mirror Image, Pastor George says is for people to see God’s goodness in us and for others to want to know Him too. Being a reflection, an image through love. People crave love, bonding together. We should want to wake people up giving them hope and comfort. This same love the Father has given us when He stretched his arms out on the cross, see the depth and breadth of His love, we are to make known. The love of the cross is for you, ultimately reflected in you. What’s key, he also said, is following His commands, do what is pleasing in His sight.
From Why Jesus by David Nasser in Right Now Media, we heard reasons why. Our faith is a relationship with Jesus, it’s not a religion but grace. God is everywhere not just in little church buildings. Jesus is prophecy foretold. Jesus asks, Who do you say that I am? In Matthew 6:16 we read “You are the Christ, (the prophecy come true)The Messiah”. David Nasser referenced the many I AM statements Jesus made, claims to be God made flesh, the anointed one, as we can read in the Gospels. Everything He says is true makes Him Lord. Is He your Lord? David went on to say, if you have Him first in your life everything else will fall into place. Jesus meets our physical needs; Jesus meets the spiritual needs of our soul. Jesus brings validity through miracles as to who he really is. Living Jesus is God in me, for Him to do through me what He wants. Christ alive in me is the hope of glory! We are always to be working for God’s glory. We serve a risen Savior. Why Jesus? In the end Jesus has victory over all!
We are to be vessels of the truth of scripture that Jesus sought to communicate, the great love the Father has given us. Believe in Jesus and Love one another. The image of God in you and me in how we live and how we love one another is our goal, what are you seeing in the mirror?
Larry and Darlene