Jesus Did It!
By: Norm Rasmussen
We all need to have our faith encouraged from time to time, and here are some fundamentals in keeping it nurtured.
Of all the spiritual weapons God has given Christians to use to fight against demonic spirits waging warfare against them ' the Holy Spirit says:
Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:16 NKJV)
Along with using the other spiritual weapons mentioned in Ephesians 6:14-18, God tells us that 'Above all' - or - 'Most importantly' ' your faith is going to be attacked NON-STOP by demonic spirits, and you need to diligently keep on guard day and night about what you BELIEVE. The evil ones (demons) are out to shipwreck our faith to one degree or another, and they will succeed ' if we let them.
The key is to NOT let them succeed in shipwrecking your faith in any areas.
The Apostle Paul had this warning to say to his young disciple in 1 Timothy 1:18-19:
'This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.'
The easiest faith to shipwreck is the person who does not have ALL of God's spiritual armor on and using it, that God says is important to keep on and use at all times.
If a Christian's faith is not solidly anchored in TRUTH, they are eventually headed for spiritual shipwreck. First and foremost, TRUTH is a Person, whose name is Jesus Christ. Our very life-source comes from Jesus Christ. Of Jesus Christ, the scripture says: 'I have come to give life, and life more abundantly.' (See: John 10:10).
Secondly, everything Jesus spoke that is recorded for us in the holy scriptures was given to us for spiritual life ' spiritual wholeness ' spiritual well-being. A person who spends less and less time reading and meditating on what Jesus spoke in the scriptures is headed for very troubled waters.
Thirdly, the entire New Testament is TRUTH. (So is the Old Testament, but the New Testament was given to humanity by God to receive maximized spiritual life from Him. Our first clue is that nowhere in the Old Testament does God clearly reveal to Christians the crucial importance of using God's spiritual weaponry to fight against demonic forces like is found in Ephesians chapter 6:10-18).
Not only is the New Testament TRUTH: To God it is flat out FACT. What God has to say about a given matter is really all that truly matters ' so when God clearly addresses an issue, there is no debate in the matter to Him, and there should be none on our part either, if we are wise.
People who are most prone to have their faith shipwrecked have not diligently schooled themselves in the Word of God. The wisest thing a person can do is frequently study the New Testament from beginning to end, prayerfully asking and trusting God to reveal to them everything they need to know. Everything we need to know in the New Testament is not learned in one sitting either. As much as our belly desires food, God wants to see just how much our soul and spirit desires His spiritual food. To the degree that we immerse ourselves in God's spiritual food and respond wisely to it will be the difference between weak faith and strong faith when the storms blow in our life ' and they WILL blow.
Anchor your vessel in God's New Testament word. Anchoring your vessel in anything other than God's New Testament word will blow you closer to spiritual shipwreck.
The 'Sword of the Spirit' is another armor of God weapon mentioned in Ephesians 6. Its application as a 'sword' is telling us to use the Word of God as an offensive weapon. Girding ourselves with Truth is more of a defensive weapon. A well equipped soldier needs to be BOTH defensively minded as well as offensively minded. Know what scripture(s) to apply offensively at any given time, and APPLYING THEM will assist in keeping your faith strong in your relationship with God.
Again, if you aren't familiar with God's Word, it will be more difficult for you to know WHAT scripture(s) to apply for each troubling situation you come up against. Applying appropriate scripture from God's word to every situation in life we face brings a strengthening to our faith. Conversely, the less we apply appropriate scriptures to the challenges we face, odds increase our faith will diminish in God.
Be extremely WISE in who you listen to when others minister from the New Testament word of truth. Satan is ever-searching for 'Christian ministers' he can use to take certain New Testament scriptures out of their intended context ' their intended meaning ' to try to make them say something God never intended to communicate. God even refers to many of them as 'wolves disguised in sheep's clothing.'
Be extremely WISE regarding money issues. Ministers of ministries can become so desperate for money that Satan can use them to help shipwreck your faith by reinforcing an all too often statement we hear these days: 'All they really want is your money. They don't care about anything else, unless it is to control you.'
Yes ' Satan is ever-looking for Christian leaders he can use to basically be one's 'spiritual guru' ' basically wanting you to run everything past him or her before a decision can be made and acted upon by your own. Pastors can become the most vulnerable to such a controlling spirit, which is demonic in origin. It's wise to seek advice from Pastors ' but their counsel is ALWAYS secondary to the counsel of the Holy Spirit if there is any disagreement. Many a person who was in the presence of a 'controlling spirit' no longer goes to a church fellowship ' sadly. That's exactly what the devil wants ' to keep God's people isolated ' separated. It's easier to incapacitate a wounded sheep off alone than a wounded sheep in a herd. Isolation is just another degree of having one's faith shipwrecked, for an isolated Christian is usually one whose call and giftings have also been put out of commission.
Prayer is a crucial weapon of our warfare against the evil one, but prayer not endorsed by the Holy Spirit are usually prayers that don't get answered. Prayers that seldom get answered delights Satan, because when a Christian becomes discouraged in their prayer life, that discouragement more than likely will bleed over into all other areas of a person's life. Their desire to feast on God's word will diminish; their desire to be used of the Holy Spirit to witness to others will diminish; their desire to be used of God that will be laying up rewards for them in heaven will diminish.
The more a person immerses themselves in studying God's New Testament word of truth, odds greatly increase that they will have a sense of what to pray about and what NOT to pray about on a regular basis. No one reading this wants to pray prayers that God isn't going to respond favorably to, correct? Then part of keeping our faith strong when we pray is to walk VERY CLOSELY to the Holy Spirit ' asking and trusting the Father WHAT we are to pray for and HOW we are to pray about it. Taking the time to do that may be the difference in receiving faith from the Holy Spirit when we pray or NOT receiving faith when we pray, and it's crucially important what we believe when we pray.
God tells us clearly in His New Testament word of truth that when we pray we are to BELIEVE God not only hears the prayer, but will answer the prayer the WAY He decides to answer it, and WHEN He decides to answer it ' but aside from those two variables: Having CONFIDENCE the prayer WILL get answered is so vitally important.
Selfish prayers tend to not get answered. Unselfish prayers tend to get answered. The sooner you learn to distinguish between the two motives ' the more faith you will have to believe God will answer your prayers.
Selfishness is one of the greatest hindrances to an exciting prayer life known to Christianity. The devil loves it when Christians are constantly praying selfish prayers. He knows that greatly helps him in shipwrecking your prayer life, and it also helps him shipwreck your trusting God in all areas of your life.
Spiritual pride becomes another hindrance to having a vibrant prayer life. BEWARE! Just because you think you know a lot about God ' having a big spiritual head gives Satan great latitude in assisting to shipwreck your faith, because he knows that God detests spiritual pride, and God will allow Satan to sift a person like wheat if it suits God's purposes.
The more you understand and believe your position in Christ, the stronger your faith in God will be.
The more you understand that God is looking for obedient disciples of Jesus Christ ' people who sincerely seek to do God's will DAILY at any given time ' the stronger your faith in God will be. The Bible calls that 'walking in the Spirit.'
Having faith in God honors God. The more faith we demonstrate we have in God, the more it infuriates Satan. Satan knows that one person having persistent faith in God can totally undue things Satan has set in place on this planet (The prophet Elijah is an excellent example). Is it any wonder how ruthless Satan is at trying to find ways to help shipwreck our faith?
To the wise Christian, protecting your faith in God and in the Holy Scriptures wisely understood and wisely applied in every given situation is not optional. It can mean the difference between spiritual life ' or spiritual death. Spiritual life is being excited about God and being passionate about things God is passionate about.
Spiritual death is just the opposite. Spiritual death eventually brings a spiritually dying Christian to the place where they say to themselves: 'God is going to do what God is going to do and whatever will be will be, so let's change the subject and talk about something more relevant.'
It has been said, 'We get out of God what we put into God.' The more passionate we are for Him and His truth, the more passionate His Spirit becomes in wanting to use us to bless others. The more we are used by His Spirit to bless others ' the more rewards we are laying up for ourselves in heaven. The more rewards you are laying up for yourself in heaven, the more rewards you will have to give away. The more rewards you have stored up in heaven to give away, the greater your joy will be.
Who doesn't want maximized joy once they enter heaven? God wants to make sure you have plenty of it waiting for you once you get to heaven, and plenty of it stretching on into eternity ' but you might not get all that God has available for you in heaven if you don't purpose in your heart to start giving God joy TODAY in your sincere obedience to Him.
TODAY is the time to start making it your number one priority in life to bring God joy with your thoughts and actions in accordance with the truth of His New Testament word.
Work diligently at guarding your faith, dear one. Turbulence is growing around the world, and our faith in God must be protected at all costs.
PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!
"And this gospel of the
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
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GUARD YOUR FAITH ' IT'S CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT!
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