Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When under attack

As the new year begins and all are optimistic about the future, realize the strategy of the enemy is to pop your balloon of faith and expectation by hitting you hard right at the beginning so you don't gain MOMENTUM for the whole year. We are told not to be surprised when we feel the fiery darts of the enemy, but we usually are.  Our responsibility is to give God glory and advance in our Spiritual growth under attack instead of glorifying the enemy by proclaiming what he (the enemy) is doing.  Our conversation should reflect the  mentality of a conqueror and the words coming out of our mouth, the word of God instead of fear or failure. 
  The enemy always attacks those that are close to the heart of God, but our victory is in the name of Jesus. We cannot avoid it , there is a spiritual battle and we have to fight.  We will never come to a place where we  outgrow the battle, but we can come to the place where we bring the battle to the enemy.  Some quick principles and strategies to be aware of: 

*  If enemy can't stop you he will slow you down with  Delay, Deceit, Distractions, Disappointment
* The enemy usually attacks just before there are transitions, blessings, and promotions headed your way
* Failure cannot happen in your life without your permission
* YOur battle is not against spouse, children, boss etc. but spiritual forces which have already been defeated
* Spiritual warfare is centered around the placement of the Son in our life, family, city
*Struggle is the proof you have not been conquered
* Satan's favorite entry point is often those closest to you
*YOu will not win a Spiritual battle with Logic
*Warfare surrounds the birth of a miracle
*Crisis occurs at the curve of change
*Satan attacks those in line for promotion
* Those unwilling to lose rarely do
* Battle is your chance for recognition in heaven and the enemy camp

( Summarized from  teaching by James Goll in "Deliverance from Darkness")
Ps. 18:37

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jesus at a Muslim wedding

My oldest son Jordan (22) has had a friend named Osama since he was 12 years old.  Osama's family is from the Sudan in Africa  and yesterday Osama got married in a traditional Muslim ceremony.  It was quite a cultural, spiritual and gastro-intestinal experience for me.  From the brightly colored dresses to the turbaned Imams ( teachers) who spoke of the sacred institution of marriage from their perspective, to the shrilled seemingly random screams coming from the women- "ay yay yay ya".  It was a good experience for me to see a couple hundred Muslim people enjoying themselves and celebrating with real  joyful expression and singing and dancing .  Honestly, it further eroded a false mind-set of Muslim people as my enemy and terrorists and instead  I begin to see them as humans, brothers, deceived by a religious system.  I know the kingdom of God is within me and that I am the temple of the Holy Spirit and so I wasn't afraid of any religious kling-on spirits attaching themselves to me, rather I was there to sow some seed and to be a light and so I began praying in my Spirit and at one point as I was experiencing his heart for them  I said to my wife -"Jesus really loves these people!" and he died for them too.

The final ceremony of the evening was why I was there and was a total set-up.  In a different room where the singing and dancing would take place, people started to gather and several little well dressed and well mannered littel children, 2nd and 3rd graders were flitting about and being silly like all children are.   As is my nature, I began to talk to the little kids sitting in front of me and asking them their names and joking with them and laughing.  We began to share names and I really took to this sharp 9 year old little boy named Yasin.  He and I exchanged names and I asked him to teach me how to say things like "I love you" in Arabic and in 10 minutes I had a new friend.  

The God moment came when I could see in this little boy's eyes that he trusted me and liked me and he wanted to ask me a serious question.  He had already told me that he read the Koran everyday. He also told me that he was named after one of the prophets and I just smiled and continued to talk and joke and relate instead of being argumentative and maybe it was that attitude that allowed him to ask me what appeared to be a burning question for him.  He said "you are a Christian aren't you"?  I said yes.  He said "we Muslim's believe that Jesus was a prophet too, but we have over 1000 other prophets".  I replied ( and it had an anointing on it) that the difference between Islam and Christianity hinges on the belief that Christians believe Jesus is more than a prophet, but that he is THE son of God.  A light went on in his head and he said to me in kind of a conciliatory way- "yeah I saw a show once where Jesus healed a man's ear that was cut off by a sword.  Did he really do that?"- and the door is now open.
Upon reflection,  I was in awe of how H.S. gave me his heart for this group of people  last night which broke down a barrier and opened a door to share a seed of the kingdom of heaven with a young boy, who in a way represents  a whole generation of a harvest field that we don't have to go to, but has been brought to us. He was seeking truth, It was natural to share with my new little friend and easy and unforced and I pray that along his path others water it and it continues to grow and that he come to the knowledge/experience of the Son of God and becomes a light for his people.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Its already done

When I was a junior in high school there was an arm wrestling championship for the school by weight class and the winner would go on to represent the high school in a district wide championship.   I was a wrestler, and for my size (122 lbs at that time), I was pretty strong so I signed up.  I beat all my challengers fairly easily, but when I found out that my opponent in the championship round was a senior named Jeff Kawaguchi who was also on the wrestling team and a better wrestler than me and a black belt in Judo and had rippling muscles with a body shaped like a giant letter V, my confidence teetered a little bit.  We had one week until we would arm wrestle during lunch time in front of the whole school and daily Jeff and his senior buddies would walk by and try to taunt me and intimidate me.  He tried to instill a fear in me so that I would give up even before we had the contest.
I decided however to be courageous and that I had a chance to win, since we were basically the same size.  For the 5 days previous to the match,  I would visualize myself beating him and also see the shocked look on his face and the cheers from all the underclassmen.  In my mind I would experience the thrill of victory.  Instinctually, spiritually, I knew that this was important and more than an arm wrestling contest for me, but a life lesson that I needed to learn. 
Because it was done in my mind, I was calm and relaxed about it when it came time to do it.  Not surprisingly it happened just the way I visualized it.  My enemy slithered away in defeat and shame and I felt 10 feet tall.  I went on to win the district championship as well 
I am not trying to be a proponent of positive thinking, but wanted to highlight a principle of faith.  When you know something is already done in the natural or the spiritual it is so much easier to walk through that circumstance or challenge with confidence.  In the Christian life everything is already done on the cross: your salvation, healing, sanctification, blessing etc.was accomplished 2000 years ago.   We were saved 2000 years ago, not when we asked Christ into our lives.   We were healed 2000 years ago, not at the point in time we ask for healing.  We were blessed 2000 years ago, not when we prayed for provision yesterday.   When we approach God from the standpoint of " its already done"- faith can do its job. 
Just like my classmate Jeff, the only weapon the enemy has is fear and intimidation, he is already defeated and you are already victorious.