Spiritual Truth at the Movies

by Elaine Helms

Recently we watched a really old, black and white, award-winning movie called Rebecca. It was about a young, immature woman who amazingly married a very wealthy widower and moved into his palatial home by the ocean. There were several spiritual analogies that came to mind as I reflected on this Alfred Hitchcock suspense tale.

First, the new wife reminded me of immature believers. She could not believe that this polished, successful man really loved her, since she was ordinary and not polished or glamorous at all. The matronly head housekeeper fueled this perception by telling her about how beautiful and brilliant the previous wife (Rebecca) was and how much her husband and everyone else loved her. This all added to her insecurity, making her think that she was unable to compete with this ghost of the past.

There is another spiritual analogy seen in a scene where the housekeeper whispers in her ear that she should just end the futility of it all by jumping from the window to her death. That housekeeper reminded me of the devil, the perpetual “accuser of the brethren” who is “prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (Revelation 12:10, 1 Peter 5:8). He looks for weakness and pounces. Discouragement, defeat, and depression are just some of the flaming darts he throws at us. That is why we are told in Ephesians 6:11-12 (NASB) to take up the whole armor of God, especially the shield of faith, to be “able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Truly “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NASB).

The third parallel is to God’s love for us. The story had a dramatic climax when the new bride discovers that the widower had not loved his first wife at all. Apparently, Rebecca was an evil, vindictive woman who made his life nearly unbearable. They only kept up appearances for the family name’s sake.

This new knowledge of her husband’s genuine love for her, transformed the new bride into a much more confident and mature woman, who stood by her husband in the face of possible imprisonment. Their love was the key to both of them being transformed into the people they needed to be.

How often in our Christian walk are we like the insecure, immature new wife? Not really sure of God’s love for us and wooed by the devil into believing that we are worthless and unacceptable to God. We live defeated lives, maybe even thinking suicidal thoughts spurred on by the devil, until we finally hear the truth and believe what God says in His word, that He truly loves us (Jeremiah 31:3; 1 John 3:1, 4:16).

Like the bride in the story, we go through an amazing transformation when we live in God’s genuine, unconditional love. We can rise above the lies of the devil and stand on the promises of God. We can now step out in faith with confidence in Him. He will fill us with His power to do whatever He calls on us to do. We can now walk in the works he planned before the foundation of the world for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We can now pray with new boldness because we know God hears our prayers. He delights in the prayers of the upright (Proverbs 15:8b).

Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive . . .

For the Father Himself loves you.” John 16:24, 27 NASB

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: With her passion for God, humor, vulnerability and spiritual strength, Elaine Helms encourages audiences and readers to draw closer to God and live the abundant life Jesus came to give His followers. Prayer Coordinator for both the Southern Baptist Convention and My Hope America with Billy Graham, Elaine has 30 years of experience in church, national, and interdenominational prayer leadership.

Her book, Prayer 101, What Every Intercessor Needs to Know is used by thousands of leaders across the country and around the world to train and equip intercessors to pray personally and corporately. Journey through Scripture, find inspiration in stories of others, and learn simple yet effective strategies for prayer. www.ChurchPrayerMinistries.org.

Living In Victory

by Sheri Schofield

Snow fell unexpectedly here in Montana’s Rocky Mountains. It was over a foot deep at our house and very wet. Then came a freezing rain and rapidly dropping temperatures during the night. The next morning as I worked around the house, I could hear the sound of great bundles of ice-covered snow falling from the trees. Many of the trees’ branches were broken under the excessive weight, and some trees in our forest fell. The burden was crushing.

Sometimes the enemy of our souls drops a crushing burden on our hearts, much like that heavy snowfall. How do we get through such times, when our hearts are broken?

Many push God away, angry that he has allowed such suffering. They ask, “If God is good, how could he allow this?”

We tend to forget that we are living in a world still ruled by Satan. The Bible calls him “the god of this world”. The Apostle Paul wrote: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV).

But you thought that when Jesus paid the price for our sins at Calvary, he defeated Satan! So why then do we still suffer under Satan’s rule? Why does the devil still have the power to hurt us? Where is the freedom from our enemy?

Yes, Christ defeated Satan at Calvary. But this deliverance works a lot like an election. In the United States, the votes are cast in November, but the new officials do not take office until the middle of January. Those who were defeated still rule until the new leaders are sworn in to office.

In the same way, Satan has been defeated, but he has not yet lost his position. He can still kill, steal and destroy— for Jesus has not yet returned to earth to claim his kingdom. However, while we await Jesus, we have been given the Holy Spirit to help us combat the devil. Our King Jesus has given us a great weapon, power in prayer, to overcome the devil’s works. We may not always stop our enemy if he takes us by surprise, but many times we are able to reverse his injuries and intentions by the power of prayer. It is our greatest weapon. Through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring God’s might against the evils of this world and the devil.

But there is a day coming when heaven will declare, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down” (Revelation 12:10 NIV).

Are you struggling with a crushing burden? Remember that you are part of an army! You have a team of other believers! Call your Christian friends and have them do battle for you in prayer! We are not to fight the enemy alone.

If you are not struggling at the moment, remember that you have brothers and sisters who are. Let’s not let them down by neglecting to pray for them in this time between Calvary and the return of Jesus! Let us hold each other up so that the great burdens we sometimes have to bear do not crush us. In this way, we can live in victory.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the conversation: Are you shouldering a burden that we can pray about on your behalf? Please share!

More Than Conquerors

by Sheri Schofield

“Hey, Jim, want to go on a rattlesnake hunt?”

“I’d love to!”

So our friend, Jim, and his buddy went out and had a blast hunting rattlesnakes and shooting their heads off. Afterward, Jim put his catch of headless rattlers into a plastic shopping bag, tossed it under the front seat of his truck and headed for home. (For some reason, guys like to take all their trophies home to show their wives. Eeeew!) The problem was that he forgot that rattlesnakes have reflexes. The headless snakes began crawling and rattling around in that bag under his seat!

Now, Jim knew the snakes could not harm him: they had no heads – no fangs with which to bite him. But it still unnerved him!

In the Garden of Eden, after the serpent – the S-N-A-K-E – talked Adam and Eve into disobeying God, bringing mankind under slavery to Satan and sin, God cursed it. In his first prophetic clue about how he would save mankind, God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15 NIV).

Satan did not know what that meant. When God sent Jesus into the world to save mankind, Satan tried many times to get Jesus killed. He finally succeeded at Calvary. He gloated! He cheered! The forces of hell rose up in a roar of applause! What Satan did not understand was that he had merely struck the heel of Messiah. . . and signed his own death warrant.

When Jesus died on that cross and rose from the dead three days later, he crushed Satan’s power over mankind. The snake was now powerless – its head was crushed – its fangs were powerless against all who believe in Jesus and have committed their lives to him. Satan no longer has the power to drag us down into hell for eternity. We are free because of Calvary!

But Satan, like the snake he is, still crawls around making noise, scaring people, and creating havoc on earth. His reflexes are not dead yet. Only his fatal bite is gone. He can still wriggle into the hearts of mankind and drag them down. He can still wrap his coils around their emotions and squeeze. He gets people to live according to their fallen natures, the flesh.

Paul wrote about this in Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV): “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

When we choose to follow Jesus, he helps us to overcome these things. He frees us from the coils of the headless snake, Satan. He gives us the Holy Spirit to wash our hearts clean from Satan’s poison.

Paul goes on in verses 22 and 23 (NIV): “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

This is the kind of life Jesus wants for us – a life free from the power of Satan’s still active reflexes. The devil is a headless foe – but watch out for that tail! We can live free of Satan’s power. Just don’t hold onto that snake! Hold onto Jesus instead.

…in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.    Romans 8:37-39 NIV

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More Than Conquerors – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: Is there a sin you have become comfortable with?

 

Strengthened in Prayer and Lion-Aware

by Kelly Wilson Mize @KellyWilsonMize

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5: 8 (NLT)

Most people either love cats or despise them. I am most definitely a cat person: I love small cats, big cats, house cats, and wildcats. Cats are strong, independent, and beautifully graceful creatures. 

One species of big cat especially fascinating to me is the lion.  No zoo visit is complete without seeing the King of the Jungle. But while captivating to observe from a safe distance, this extraordinary creature has the power to be deadly.

Did you know that male lions weigh around 400 pounds, and can reach running speeds of up to 50 miles per hour? A lion’s roar can be heard from up to five miles away! As intriguing as they are, I would never want to share personal space with a hungry lion.

Peter warns believers that our enemy, Satan, is like a roaring lion. He roams around just looking for someone to attack, devour, and utterly destroy. A lion attack is horrific; the process is graphic and violent.

Have you experienced a season in your life when you felt you were under attack?

Peter prefaces the above verse with words of comfort and encouragement–to prepare us for the inevitable times in our lives when we will experience attack from our enemy. He writes: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

Then, only after we are assured of God’s great love and care, we read the warning: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT). 

Here’s another interesting fact about lions: they hunt for food mostly in the dark hours between dusk and dawn. How many times do we wake in the middle of the night, plagued with worry, doubt, loneliness, or fear? The lion is most dangerous at a time when there is an absence of light. 

So what can we do to protect ourselves from the enemy’s powerful attack? We welcome the Light! God’s word continues by telling us exactly what to do! Verse 9 says:

  • Stand firm.
  • Be strong in your faith. 
  • Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Don’t you just love it when God’s word gives us clear, step-by-step instructions? We are to stand firm, be strong, and remember that we are not alone. Through God’s Word, His presence, and the accountability of other believers, we are able to withstand the violent attacks of the Prince of Darkness. Together.

But verse 10 offers the best news of all. After we have suffered through the pursuit, we will be restored, supported, strengthened, and given a firm foundation upon which to stand. Through His amazing grace and power—a power that is exponentially stronger than any roaring, prowling enemy—God will redeem us. Because even the King of the Jungle is no match for the King of Kings.

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Strengthened in Prayer and Lion-Aware – encouragement from @KellyWilsonMize on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Kelly Wilson Mize is a wife, mother of two, educator, and freelance writer with a master’s in education and 20 years of published writing experience. She has written numerous articles, interviews, and curriculum projects, and has contributed to seven books. Credits include LifeWay, Bethany House, Guideposts, Group Publishing, (in)courage, and many others. You can find out more about Kelly at kellywilsonmize.com.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced an attack from the enemy recently?

Badgers And Bullies

by Sheri Schofield

It was the first time I had seen the badger in the fourteen years we had lived on the mountain. It was trotting up the field parallel to the road. I slowed down. It looked over at me and kept trotting. I stayed with him all the way to the corner, where the road turned up the hill. Surely, he would cross that road! I stopped the car, pulled out my cell phone and began to focus the camera on him.

Ring! Ring! A call was coming in on my cell phone. Aaaaaaagh!

I glanced down. It was my sweet husband. I had to answer it. When I looked up, the badger was gone and so was the photo moment. The badger had dived into the culvert, crossed under the road, and disappeared into the grass. Badgers have a reputation for violence. But I think this one was laughing gleefully, “Ha! Ha! You missed me!”

Haman the Agagite, a great friend of King Ahasuerus, had one of those moments. He hated the Jews, because they were ancient enemies of his own people. Centuries before, God told King Saul of Israel to wipe out the Amalekites, including their king, Agag. But Saul did not. Now Haman, a descendant of Agag, going up against the Jews once again.

Did he think, “Ha! Ha! You missed me!”? Haman was a bully. He tricked the king into sending out an edict to destroy the Jewish people. But what Haman did not know was that Queen Esther, whom King Ahasuerus loved, was a Jew.

Mordecai urged Esther to go to the king, but she was afraid. Mordecai said, “Don’t think for a moment that you will escape there in the palace when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What’s more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14, NLT)

Esther and her attendants fasted and prayed, then she went to the king. She exposed Haman’s evil plot and saved her people.

We face a similar danger today. The devil may have been defeated at Calvary, but he is still active. He looks back, sees how Jesus has not yet destroyed him, and gleefully laughs, “Ha! Ha! You missed me!” Like a roaring lion, he continues to roam the earth looking for people to devour.

The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history.”[1] Do not think that America will forever hold back the tide of evil while our brothers and sisters around the world die for their faith.

I believe that God is calling the church in America to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution. As the Lord gives us opportunity to help them, we must. For who knows, maybe God has blessed us with power, influence and wealth for such a time as this.

In the end, Jesus will deliver us all from the schemes of Satan. But until then, let us remember that we are one with the Christians of Africa, the Middle East, China, Indonesia, Mexico and all other places where the church of Jesus is suffering. Let us defend them through prayer and aid, for Jesus’ sake and glory.

 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:18-20 NIV

[1]https://www.newsweek.com/christian-persecution-genocide-worse-ever-770462

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Badgers and Bullies – thoughts from Scheri Scholfield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: How do you stay armed against the enemy?

When the Dragon is at the Door

by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 ESV

Life is full of hard times. Some trials are the natural course of years on a fallen planet. But there are other tribulations – times that feel specific, targeted, relentless, and cruel.

It’s the moment you hear the news and life goes on spin cycle. The moment the waiting room becomes a war room. The moment that every minute on your knees feels like a version of boot camp – preparation for this specific battle.

It comes out of nowhere, but when you exhale and reflect, it makes sense why now, why you, why your loved one has come under fire. And you feel very still, calling on training you had no idea was for this; but now, you know.

Someone dares say it aloud. “Could it be?” they ask, worried you’ll think they’re one of those weird, mystical believers.

“Warfare, you mean?” you answer, as confident now as a soldier on his third tour of duty. Oh, yeah, you nod, it’s warfare.

But with this soul-sight you suddenly realize you have, those words seem like a simple observation – not insight, not a mysterious message, just an obvious acknowledgement that this is an enemy assault, a smart bomb with your name on it. Naming it spiritual warfare doesn’t end it, but it does empower you to wage a defensive assault.

First, you call for a shield wall. Everyone you know who has ever bent their knee, called to bend it now on your behalf. And there is no shame in wanting a large force of well-trained warriors at your side.

Then, you take stock. Confess. Repent. Re-commitment. James 4 all the way. Resist the evil one. Draw near to God. Call on the name of Jesus. And suddenly you know how Joshua felt standing with his toes on the border to the Promised Land, staring down giants.

Like him, you slide your helmet onto your head, slip the King’s breastplate over your breakable sternum – barely covering your racing heart. You encircle yourself with the belt of truth – knowing you want nothing to do with lies – knowing deception is the mustard gas of the enemy.

And you step into shoes fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace, hoping that anyone watching from the sidelines will see you fight and know you serve the Most High King, worthy of any sacrifice you may make on this field.

Curling your fingers round the hilt of the sword of the Word of the Spirit of God, you pray your shield of faith has been modernized, so it resembles the coverage power of the Starship Enterprise. So, it can encircle all those you love to withstand the fiery, hot breath of an ancient dragon refitted now with chemicals and laser beams.

You look the enemy in the eye and everything else goes strangely silent except the sound of your own breathing, barely breathing, and the pounding of your heart like a raging waterfall, fueled by the melting snows in the mountains of your worst imaginations, as you await the voice of your Commanding Officer.

Disaster has come to your tent, but you are not a victim. You are a warrior. And while all is fair in love and war; war will have its end. Love will stretch into eternity and take you home on eagles’ wings.

The dragon is already defeated, and you are already a conqueror, safe in the heart of your Father- King. You are His favored child, and Joshua sits beside Him, calling you out onto the field.

Advance. Advance. Advance.

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When the Dragon is at the Door – insight on #FollowingGod from @LoriSRoeleveld on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.

Join the conversation: Have you been in a battle with the dragon recently? Please share your experience!

Grandma’s Girdle

by Christina Rose

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:13-17 NIV

My grandma grew up in rural Pennsylvania near Amish country. She was raised by a strict Methodist family who were farmers and tobacco merchants.  Grandma had big dreams to travel the world while her parents had hoped she would marry a local boy and stay on the farm.

Grandma won.  She got her nursing degree and landed a job at the US Army Hospital in Panama. On a vacation to Costa Rica, she met my grandfather whom she married, but after having two kids, he fell ill and died.  Grandma and my mother and her brother returned to the United States.  She became the Captain of Nurses at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, DC.

Years later, I was about to leave for college in upstate New York, which typically experienced very cold winters. Grandma wanted to buy me a winter coat. We went from store to store, and I finally settled on a beautiful wool tan coat.

“Follow me,” she said. We went to a corner of the store, and she asked me to hold up the coat in front of her so no one would see her.  I peeked around the coat to see her red-faced, snorting and struggling with her underclothes. “Grandma, what are you doing?” I asked.

She responded, “Just hold up that coat until I get my money out of my girdle.”

Being widowed at a young age and the sole provider, Grandma understood the necessity of protecting her valuables and loved ones.  She knew she had to be extra vigilant as she was the only one guarding her family and their possessions.

Peter warned that we need to have that kind of spiritual diligence as well. There is an enemy who would like nothing better than to rob us of our trust in and joy of the Lord. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).

Grandma wore more than a physical girdle. Every day she wore the spiritual gear that kept her ready when those attacks occurred. She donned the girdle of truth, which Satan despises and does everything in his power to distort. Her unfailing source of truth was the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Her spiritual bonnet was a helmet of salvation, which deterred any doubtful thoughts about her security with God. There was no need to earn His love. She was confident in the Lord.

 Grandma’s life-lessons were like the warm winter coat she had bought for me many years earlier; her consistent example made me feel safe, protected, and loved. Her confidence and strength came from God alone.

“In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26 NIV

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Grandma’s Girdle – thoughts on the armor of God from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Who in your life is an example to you? What have they taught you?

The Skirmishes Go On

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

“O Death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?… Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 15:55, 57

Once only inhabited by a small Japanese civilian community of sulfur miners and sugar farmers, the island of Iwo Jima became a stronghold of pivotal importance in World War II. As the war progressed, Japan evacuated its citizens from the island and prepared for the inevitable Allied forces invasion. A huge number of bunkers, hidden artillery, and an amazing eleven miles of tunnels were in place by 1944. Twenty-one thousand soldiers were at the ready when Allied forces began firing on Iwo Jima.

On the fourth day of the battle, the first objective was captured: Mount Suribachi. Five marines and a Navy corpsman were photographed raising the American flag at its summit. That moment is now immortalized in the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington, VA.

Once the high ground was secure, the invasion slowly moved northward. Very heavy fighting continued. The Japanese fighters considered surrender dishonorable and most tenaciously fought to the death. But the Allied forces eventually took the airfields and remainder of the island. A month into the invasion, the island was officially declared secured.

Even so, over 3,000 Japanese troops remained in the island’s maze of caves and tunnels. For many days afterward, still more American lives were lost as they worked their way through the tunnel system routing those that refused to surrender. The battle may have been won, but the enemy continued to fight, determined to take in their death as many with them as possible.

While the Allied victory was a great triumph, Jesus Christ won the greatest victory the world has ever witnessed. The Son of God, after three days in the grave, rose from the dead. No longer are we under condemnation for our sin. It was dealt with, paid for, and cast from us as far as the east is from the west. The victory is already ours because Christ has already won.

The enemy has been soundly defeated. Satan’s future final demise is already recorded in the Bible, when he is cast into the lake of fire to suffer torment for eternity (Revelation 20:10). It is just a matter of time before God finally ends his reign on earth.

Yet while victory has been recorded with indelible ink, the skirmishes still go on. While we were given new life at our salvation, we still struggle against our old sinful nature which relentlessly demands satisfaction, and we fight the enemy ever-tempting us to sin. Paul described him as “the prince of the power of the air…the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2 NASB). Peter warns “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NASB).

The war may be over, but the fighting continues on.

These skirmishes are a part of the life we live until Jesus returns. In fact, God has carefully equipped His soldiers to fight the good fight (Ephesians 6:10-18). Satan may have lost the war, but he is deadly serious about taking as many down with him as he can before his reign of destruction comes to an end.

We may even lose some of these skirmishes, especially when we attempt to fight in our own strength. But it is important to remember in those moments of depressing defeat: the war’s victor has already been determined. The Good Guy won. Our hope is not in the circumstances of this world. It is in the future God has prepared for us, “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4 NASB)

Nothing that happens to us on earth will impact the surety of our salvation. The victory belongs to the Lord.

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The Skirmishes Go On – insight on walking with God from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: Have you been involved in a skirmish lately? Please share!

Hands War. Fingers Battle.

by Jean Holland @brideguide77

Why do I write?

God has laid it on my heart to sound the alarm: Get ready for Jesus’ return.

One of my favorite past times is chasing rabbits, not fur bunnies, but rabbit trails laid out in Scripture. The Scriptures are full of reasons to obey His call to write.

“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT).

Y’all, we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. The enemy of our souls hates us with a passion. Satan’s job description is to kill, steal, and destroy. He has had plenty of practice since the Garden of Eden. He is diligent to fulfill his purpose. We must know the weapons of our warfare to battle him effectively. Our textbook is the Bible and our training ground is the world in which we live.

“Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle” (Psalm 144:1 NLT).

When I sit down to write my earnest prayer is, Lord, train my hands to war and my fingers to fight. Send forth Your Word and let there be light, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I am not a typist. I trust auto-correct and spell check to catch my typos. But more importantly as I write, I trust God to be true to His Word. It will not return void. It will accomplish what He sends it out to do. My job is to write the best I can and leave the results to Him. My motivation to continue on is much like Jeremiah’s:

But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in His name, His word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! Jeremiah 20:9 NLT

Whatever God has called us to do, may it burn like a fire in our bones so we can’t hold it in.

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Hands War. Fingers Battle. Thoughts on #FollowingGod from Jean Holland, @BrideGuide77 on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jean HollandAbout the author: Jean Holland has written and taught local and international Bible studies for children, youth, and adults to encourage the Bride of Christ to triumph through turbulent times. She has one book in the hands of a content editor awaiting publication, The Rising Bride: A Wake-up call for Christians Living in the Last Days.

Jean enjoys family camping trips across the USA and Canada in a vintage motor home. Her Beloved blog is devoted to heralding the call of our soon coming King.

Join the conversation: Is God’s calling a fire burning in your bones? What is it?

A Predetermined Victory

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

When surveyed about the 20th century’s most memorable sports moment, Americans most often cited the 1980 Olympic hockey game between the United States and the USSR. Steve and I watched the game with friends by the fire that February evening. The match had actually taken place earlier in the afternoon, but ABC made the decision to delay its airing and announcement of the score until the evening, so fans could enjoy it during viewing hours.

The USSR came into the Olympics favored to win the gold.  They were a force with which to be reckoned. No one expected any team to pose a threat to them on their way to the top.  Yet as the game wore on, it quickly became apparent that the U.S. was going to give the Russians a run for their money. It was a hard-fought contest. Finally, in the third period, for the first time in the game the Americans pulled out ahead with a shot into the goal, making the score 4-3. Ten minutes remained left to play.

When the TV station cut to a commercial, I left to get a drink. While I was absent, the local news channel did a promo clip of the news show which would immediately follow the game. Someone made a big mistake.  To thousands of viewers on the edge of their seats, waiting impatiently to see the final ten minutes, the newscaster announced: “More on the exciting USA 4-3 victory over the USSR at eleven!”

I heard the room erupt in anger from where I was in the kitchen. The suspense and thrill of victory had been eclipsed by the premature announcement. The game was ruined for those who now knew the end. Of course, the TV station apologized profusely after realizing their mistake when the news aired at 11. But the damage had been done. So while I continued to be blissfully ignorant and on the edge of my seat until the end, my fellow-viewers remained passive. Knowing the outcome made all the difference.

The anxiety evaporates if we already know the ending. I know someone who always reads the last page of a new book first. She says she enjoys the book more when she doesn’t have to deal with the suspense.

As Christians, we are in a contest of sorts. Scripture tells us we fight a war on two fronts: against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6) and against our own sinful flesh (Romans 7).  We discourage easily and give in more often than we should. It is easy to do in light of what we see around us. Just channel surf through what’s available on TV; the shocking lack of moral standards is evident within minutes of watching. Truth is now relative and no more a black and white absolute. Human life has become cheap, as we see murders on a daily basis in the news.

Satan gives all appearances of winning the war. We often don’t seem to fare any better on a personal front, either, as time and time again our lusts and ungodly desires lead us by the nose and we sin and sin again. It can seem hopeless. We seem to be fighting a battle we can never win.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” Paul wrote to the Corinthian church. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58 NASB)

We too easily forget that the outcome is already written in indelible ink. The victory is already ours because Christ has already won. “When you were dead in your transgressions,” Paul wrote the Colossians, “He made you alive together with Him . . . having canceled out the certificate of debt . . . having nailed it to the cross, having disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” (Colossians 2:13-15 NASB)

Author Chip Ingram put it this way his book, The Invisible War: “When we fight, we’re not trying to win. We’re enforcing the victory that Jesus has already secured. In His power, we are invincible.”

Knowing the end score should make all the difference in how we live. Jesus conquered sin and death with His resurrection! Victory has already been determined. The Good Guy won. Knowing this, we can face the enemy without and within with confidence. The battle belongs to the Lord.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.                                                                                                         1 Corinthians 15:57 NASB

TWEETABLE
A Predetermined Victory – insight from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the conversations Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: What does Jesus’ victory mean to you?