Steps to Overcoming Fear

Do you find yourself consumed with Fear? Fear of tomorrow, fear of failure, rejection, hurt, and fear of letting go of people and things, fear of the unknown. If you are prone to these kinds of fears, you are not alone; most of the world’s population is tormented by them as well.

For some people it is debilitating, as it has shut them up in their private worlds of terror, for others it is an occasional fear that rears up, but that too can be debilitating and it can completely prevent them from stepping out and doing things.

I was once a person that was caught up in many what ifs and slowly I discovered that 99% of those what ifs are never actually materialized as I thought that they would. I too used to hide away within myself afraid to try anything, in case I looked foolish, or I failed or I got hurt. As I got older, I discovered a vast array of fears that I never thought possible, a fear for my children, that they would be hurt, stolen, die, that someone would hurt their feelings, ahh, it was endless

Is there hope for the nations from this plague of fear?

I believe that there is.

God started to reveal to me some key truths in regard to fear that I needed to not only learn, but make them a part of who I was as a person. So, he of course led me to scripture and started renewing my mind in regards to what fear was and how to overcome it, in His strength.

I believe that one of the first key verses that he showed me on this subject was found in Romans

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

I first needed to learn a whole new mindset about fear, and figure out what God’s will was in regards to fear and its hold on me.

Then the lord brought to mind the fact that he is with me always, I will never ever be alone, he would be there, when I wake up, and when I lie down to sleep, he would protect and lead me all through the day. I had nothing to fear, because he was way stronger than I was.

 Matthew 28:20b

“… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

God then showed me the significance of him being with me always, and that was, that he was the defender of the weak, and the strength to all who cried out to him.

Isaiah 40:29

 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

God promises to strengthen us and to give us the power that we need to do what he has called us to do. The next great verse that the lord used to help set me free from the bondages of fear was the fact that I was an overcomer because of Jesus Christ, and his spirit which was now at work in my life.

1John 5:3-5

 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Therefore, no matter what the Devil tries to trick me with, because I have Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life, I will overcome the world. Which means that I no longer have to succumb to the evil that once threatened my very life, but now I can believe God and walk in his perfect peace, free from condemnation and free from fear.

The next thing that the lord showed me that as his child, I have not been given a spirit that was a slave to fear, it was not who I now was. Before I was a child of God, I was at the mercy of all that the devil could throw at me, but now, I was a child of the most High God and God said that he did not give me a spirit of fear!

I have to admit that even though I had read these verses, I still had to choose to put them into my belief system; I had to choose to believe God and his word, over what I felt inside of me. It was a process, of me learning to run to God and telling him that I was afraid, and then Him reminding me that I did not have a spirit of fear inside of me, but I had the Holy Spirit inside of me, and he was not afraid!

 Romans 8:15-16

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 

The next step in my recovery from fear was discovering what fear actually was, and the bible teaches that fear involves punishment, and because I am a child of God, I will never be punished for the sins that I had committed, not ever, if I have repented of them, I was free, free to bask in the grace of God’s love and Mercy. I now walked in the love of God, and was made perfect in that love, I did not have to fear that the love would be removed from me, or that I was going to end up with my salvation snatched from me, or that at some point, I would have to try to make amends for my sin. No I was free, free to be a child of God, and free of the death sentence that hangs over those who do not choose God.

I want to encourage you to turn all of your worries, anxieties and fears over to God, let him carry your burdens and start turning those worries into faith practices. Believing that God can and will set you free from them.

1John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

As you can see, fear involves punishment and as children of God we have been made perfect in love, so therefore it is our responsibility as children of God to submit ourselves to God, and let him lead us out of the bondages of fear that the devil would try to put on us.

The lord promises in his word that if we would submit to God, the devil will flee from us. I have found this to be true, the more I practiced believing God about the fear that I felt, and letting him change my mind and ways concerning it, the more the enemy had to flee and had no power to lie to me.

James 4:7

 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Therefore, I want to encourage you today, that if you find yourself in a place where fear is a constant companion, it does not have to be, Submit yourself to our loving heavenly father, and allow him to help you change your mind, about the power you have within you to overcome all fear, doubt and whatever other lie the enemy can throw at you.

If you believe in Jesus Christ, then you are his child and that gives you the authority and power to overcome all that the world and the devil can throw at you.

So, instead of letting fear defeat you for another minute, start using your sword of the spirit (the word of God) and defeat that devil. Stand firm on the word of God and he will help you to overcome it all.

I want to leave you with one more verse that I know will encourage you as much as it has me, it is found in Romans, and it says that when we are weak and do not know what we out to pray for, the Holy Spirit himself prays for us on our behalf, so even if you are caught in a cycle of defeating fear, ask the Holy Spirit to pray that you will be set free, and over time as you pray and seek the lord on becoming free, you will start to see that freedom become a reality in your life.

Be free, in Jesus Name!

Romans 8:26

 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 

 

 

 

 

My Identity in Christ,

 1.     In Christ, I am loved by God, my father

2.     In Christ, I am a child of God,

3.     In Christ, God is my father, I can call him “abba” daddy

4.     In Christ, I am an heir  of God and co heir with Christ

5.     In Christ, I  am God Possession

6.     In Christ, I  have been given the mind of Christ

7.     In Christ I have been justified (declared innocent or guiltless; absolved; acquitted of my sins)

8.     In Christ, I have been glorified (to cause to be or treat as being more splendid, excellent, etc, than would normally be considered)

9.     In Christ, I am an over comer

10.   In Christ, I am more than a conqueror

11.   In Christ, I have eternal life,

12.   In Christ, I have been reconciled to God

13.   In Christ, I am saved by grace (unmerited favor)

14.   In Christ, I am alive in Christ, but dead to the sinful old self

15.   In Christ, I have been anointed by Christ

16.   In Christ, I am the fragrance of life to those who believe that Jesus is the son of God

17.   In Christ, I am the stench of death to those who are dying because of their refusal to believe in Jesus as the son of God.

18.   In Christ, I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives in me.

19.   In Christ, I am redeemed

20.   In Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in me, by faith

21.   In Christ, I have eternity written on my heart ( Ecc 3:11)

22.   In Christ, I have been called heavenward

23.   In Christ, I am seated in the heavenlies, with Christ, we are raised up in the spiritual realms, we have the same power that he does.  Here on earth, (eph 2:6-7)

24.    In Christ, I am Holy,

25.   In Christ, I am blameless in his sight with out blemish

26.   In Christ, I am free of all accusations, in regard to my sin (Col 1:22)

27.   In Christ, I have the hope of glory, Christ in us (Col 1:27)

28.    In Christ, the fullness of the Deity lives in us, (Col 2:10)

29.    In Christ, I am purified of my sins (1John 1:7)

30.   In Christ, I have every spiritual blessing (eph 1)

31.   In Christ, I have been forgiven of all of my sins (Eph 1)

32.    In Christ, I have wisdom in insight into the mystery of his will

33.    In Christ, I have an eternal inheritance,

34.    In Christ, I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit

35.     In Christ, I have the power and the working strength of God’s mighty power (v 19-20)

36.     In Christ, I am Christ’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works prepared in advanced for me to do.  (eph 2:10)

37.     In Christ, I am brought near to God by the blood of Christ.

38.     In Christ, I can boldly enter into the throne room of God at any time.

39.     In Christ, I am sanctified (1 Cor 1:2)

40.     In Christ, we are enriched in every way, in speech and knowledge (1 Cor 1:5)

41.     In Christ, we have been given every spiritual gift.

42.     In Christ, we will be kept strong until the end, when He returns. (1 cor 1:8)

43.     In Christ, we have not received the spirit from the world but the spirit that comes from God.   (this is to understand what God has freely given us)  (1Cor 12)

44.    In Christ, I have the mind of Christ, (1 Cor 2:16)

45. In Christ, I can lay down my past fears and failures, rejections and hurts and press on towards the goal of my salvation, Eternal life.

46. In Christ, I do not have to live like I used to live, but I ama new creation, therefore I can live free from the power of sin and it’s hold over my life.

Trading Independence for Dependence

I have been trained from early childhood to become an independent person, I can dress myself, feed myself, drive a vehicle, cook, clean, shop and think for myself, and I find it hard when I have to rely on others to help me when I could just do it myself.

I find it even harder to have to wait for someone to do something for me, it actually drives me batty, and especially if I know that I can just as easily do it myself.

As a Christian, the bible teaches us that we need to get to a place where we completely trust Jesus Christ to work on our behalf.

Proverbs 3:5-7

 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 

The lord promises that when we lean on him and not on our own understanding for a situation that he will make our path straight, in other words he will show us the way. Often times though the answers don’t come as quickly as I would like them to.

I have been thinking about this whole concept of what it means to be truly dependent on the Lord and allowing him to work through our lives in spite of our weaknesses and I have come to realize that often times our weaknesses are often blessings in disguise as they make us more and more dependent on Him for everything.

For me personally I know that one of my greatest weakness is my independent streak, as I have a tendency to run off and forget to ask the Lord to direct my steps, I forget to ask him which is the best way and I forget to allow him full reign in what he is trying to do in my life.

But over time the lord is showing me that although it is good to be self-sufficient in some areas of my life, if I will surrender my will to his, he will always show me the best way to handle every situation I find myself in.

I have come to that place in my life where I want his will for my life, more than I want to fight and be fiercely independent, so therefore I am willing to allow this independence within me to be nailed to him so that I will always choose to surrender to him and allow him to work in my life, before I go running off willy nilly.

I have come to realize through this journey that Christ is the very air I breathe and the wisdom that I need as well as he is the Power that I need to propel me forward.

Therefore, the weakness that I find within myself, whether it is physical or emotional, presents a perfect opportunity for God to display his power through my life. I have looked at this independence sometimes as a curse, especially when I know that God wants me to trust him, and yet I trust myself more than him, but I am learning, that if I will let God have that area of my life he will be made strong in my weakness.

He will show me the better way, he will lead me where it is good for me, he will open doors for me that I would otherwise would have stood in front of and banged on. He will work through me to bring life to others around me.

You see the reason that this is important is because as Christians it is sometimes easy to get into a groove of independence and doing life our own way, and then dependence on God becomes harder for us to do.

I am not sure about you, if you fight this same battle as I do, but I do know this, that God rewards us for being willing to lay aside all our weaknesses and allow him to show himself strong to us, and the world around us in the process.

We have a great example of that, right now, in the world that we live in; we have the East and the West.

The West, has had it easy, we have had riches, technology, food, freedom to practice whatever religion we want without any serious repercussions.

The East on the other hand, has had lack, persecution, poverty, corrupt governments and no religious freedom.

Which part of the body do you think is doing better spiritually, I would love to say the rich West but that would be a lie. The truth is, because of all the conveniences and the independence, and self-reliance in the West, the church has forgotten what it says in Proverbs 3, that we are to lean not on our own understanding, but on the understanding of God instead.

The East on the other hand has had no choice but to learn trust God for their basic needs as well as survival. They are thriving, even though it is done in secret.

If you find yourself in a place of fierce independence where you do your own thing, and rely on your own strength and finances and wisdom, you will find yourself eventually in a place of barrenness and far from God, but if you humble yourself before him, and ask him to lead you, to teach you his ways, and to fill your heart with a desire to be surrendered to him, you will live a life that is so rich, and filled with adventure that you will never want to go back to the old way again.

This example might not be your particular weakness that you struggle with in your life, and you might view the weakness in your life as a curse, you might stutter, or be incredibly shy or you might be incredibly fearful.

Whatever that weakness is that stops you from living an abundant life in God, I want to encourage you to ask the lord for him to be made strong in that weakness, for him to speak through you when you are called upon, or to give you courage when you are afraid or boldness to do something you never dreamt of doing. The lord loves you with a deep and everlasting love, he wants to empower and strengthen you to fulfill the plans and purposes that he has for you. He will not reject you when you call out to him, but instead he will come and show himself to you in ways that you never dreamed of.

Sometimes what we see as a curse or an annoyance could actually be a gift from God, through which he will bring blessings and fullfillment to your life. Ask the lord to show you if what you see as a weakness or even what you are gowing through right now, is to be prayed away or are you to take it as a gift to be used for his glory.

So my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, admit your weaknesses to the lord, and allow him to be made strong in them, and then allow him to work through those weaknesses to impact the world around you.

I pray that the lord will bless you as you seek him out

Ephesians 3:14 – 21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.   Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 

 

 

The Battle for Control

 Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a fight with your teen, thinking:  how can we be seeing this so differently?  Why can’t my teen understand that I’m doing this to protect him? 

 Often, when we argue with our teens, we are fighting for two different things.  Parents fight for protection.  Teens fight for control.

 As a parent, we have a tendency to control our kids to protect them.  It makes sense.  We want to ensure that our kids have the best opportunities for life.  But in that protection, our high-control techniques keep them from exercising muscle that will actually strengthen their character in the long run.

 It’s like getting a new car.  When you pull your new wheels into the driveway, it looks gorgeous.  It’s clean, sleek, and perfect.  And then, you drive it.  After you put on a couple thousand miles, it gets dings in the door and scratches in the paint.  The shine wears off.  You have the choice to keep the car in perfect condition, but you would need to keep it in the garage to do so.

 The way we control our kids is similar.  If you keep them away from the world, they won’t experience the pain and hurt that normally comes with everyday life.  But keeping your kids isolated in the garage has an inherent problem:  someday they will be forced to drive out into the world.  Do you really want the first time your child gets hurt or makes a mistake to be when they are away from you?  Whether that’s away at college, or when their primary relationship is with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the mistakes they make will be a lot more costly if they aren’t in relationship with you.

 Adolescence is about the transition teens make from childhood to adulthood.  In order to allow this to happen, they need to have opportunities to make choices in their lives.  Teens really want three things:  to make decisions about themselves, to feel like they’re in control, and to have opportunities to prove their maturity and to show you that they can do it.  It’s not a surprise that they want these things.  When your kids were young, they learned about growing up.  They used you as their model and formed their own hopes and expectations for adulthood on what they saw in you.  Now that they are teens, they are breaking away from having their identity tied so tightly to you as their parent, and because of this, they encounter this struggle for control.

 As a parent, when you don’t allow your teens to have opportunities for control, they can respond with rebellious behavior.  Sometimes, they withdraw from opportunities.  They may become aloof or lazy and will just coast through life.  Other times, teens can fight for control through making choices without your counsel, or will intentionally rebel against how you have counseled them.  At some point, you aren’t going to be able to influence your teen.  Whether your teen is out of the area for college, the military, or a job, your ability to speak into your child’s life will decrease.  When this happens, what you have done up until that point will be the primary source of guidance that your teen will have to reflect on – so it’s wise to make the most of the time you have with them right now.

 If you aren’t sure whether you are controlling your teen’s life, ask them!  Hey, I’m sure your son or daughter will be brutally honest when you simply ask the question.  And an open line of communication is one of the most important things you can do to strengthen your relationship with your teen.  Whether or not your teen thinks you are controlling, give them more things to be responsible for.  Think about chores around the house, and responsibilities they have in school or extracurricular activities.  Every piece of life is an opportunity to give your child a chance to grow his own ability to apply the lessons you have taught them.  If you are controlling every aspect of your child’s life, later on, they will not know how to respond to the things that life throws at them.

 As you give your child more opportunities for responsibility, be ready to support them in both success and in failure.  Having your teen become more responsible may be exciting to you in the beginning, but if you don’t build that sense of trust between you and your teen that you will be there when they fail, the responsibility you give them will end up demoralizing and frustrating them.

 With the right balance of responsibility and opportunity, your child can begin to build a sense of independence and character needed to transition from adolescence to adulthood.  On this weekend’s Parenting Today’s Teens broadcast, we will talk to pastor and father of four, Joey O’Connor.  Joey shares his perspective on this matter and I’m confident you will appreciate his insight.

 It’s hard to think about your teen growing up.  We like the young and innocent phase, and it’s a little threatening when our children begin to emerge as young adults.  At times, when your teen makes goofy choices or makes stupid mistakes, you will be tempted to seize control so that you can protect them.  The secret is finding a healthy balance to allowing freedom while building trust with your teen.

 As parents, let’s do our best to stop controlling and start inviting our teens to greater levels of responsibility.  The rewards will be rich as we watch them develop into responsible and independent adults.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder and director of Heartlight, located in Hallsville, Texas.  For more information and helpful resources for moms and dads, check out our website.  It’s filled with ideas and tools to help you become a more effective parent.  Go to www.heartlightministries.org  Or read other helpful articles by Mark, at www.markgregston.com  You can also call Heartlight directly at (903) 668-2173.  Hear the Parenting Today’s Teens broadcast on a radio station near you, or download the podcast at www.parentingtodaysteens.org.

 

 

Be imitators of God

It has been a while since I have last written for my website, as I have felt that I needed to have a rest, but just recently the lord has graciously given me the desire to get back into the saddle again.

Therefore, I wanted to write an article that reflected a bit of what the lord has been teaching me lately. That is, to be an imitator of God, as his dearly loved child.

The question I have asked many times over the years is this, how do I truly imitate God so that my life really reflects that he is living within me?

Ephesians 5:1 says:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.  (NASB)

Well the bible is full of wisdom on how to imitate God in righteousness, but the one issue that the lord has been working on me in the last few weeks has been the power in my tongue.

Yes, I am back to this lesson again, and I believe it is because it is easy to become complacent in the use of that little instrument.

So here are a few of the lessons that I have been learning, and by no means perfected.

  • Proverbs 11:9 With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered
  • As a Christian I need to realize that through my knowledge of good and evil and what God desires from me, I must not use my mouth to destroy the people around me, by speaking ill of them and or even listening to others speak ill of them. I need to keep my mouth from evil.
  • Proverbs 11:11  By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down. 
  • I can either be a part of the blessing to others and bring life and joy to a place because of what comes out of my mouth, or I can be like the wicked (non believer) and speak evil of everything and everyone.
  •  Proverbs 11:12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent. 
  • I need to understand, that sometimes I just need to shut up!!! I do not need to voice my lofty opinion on every subject all of the time. Especially if it breeds division and slander.
  •  Proverbs  11:13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.
  • I need to remember not to be a gossip, intentionally or unintentionally, what do I have to gain by speaking about something that I have no business speaking about? I must be aware that gossip will not only separate me from the person whom I am speaking about, but it has the potential of wrecking any hope of a friendship between the person that I am speaking to and the person that I am speaking about. Stop while I am ahead, is my new motto.
  • Ephesians  4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 
  • Yes I think the above verse speaks for itself, I need to use my mouth for good and not evil, building people up in godliness and not playing a part in bringing destruction into their lives.
  •  Ephesians  4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
  • I will grieve the Holy Spirit, if I continue to act in a way that is evil and useless, and to be honest I really do not every want to do that, so I need to make sure that I put a guard over my mouth.
  •  Ephesians  4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 
  • You can see from the above verse that this is the reason for people using their mouths for evil; as sometimes we have allowed bitterness to mature within our hearts, or it could have been some anger that we felt against another person, and therefore feel  justified when we spoke evil of them, or it was out of pure malice that we found ourselves taking actual joy in tearing another down. This must not be, we as Christians, have to lay these old ways down and allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and minds with his love in order for us to love instead of rip others apart.
  •  Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
  • This verse I think sums it up, that we need to be kind and tender hearted to those around us, instead of holding grudges and speaking ill of them or allowing ourselves to be caught up in the temptation to listen to others speak ill of them, we need to be willing to forgive them, to love them and to remember that God has through his great love for us, forgiven our sins, through Christ Jesus.

 So where do we go from here?

My prayer for myself and now also for you is that the Lord will reveal to you, and to me when we fall into the temptation to use idle words, words that bring about destruction instead of hope and healing. My prayer is that the lord will put a guard over our minds, mouth and heart, in order that we will only think of things that bring life, and not death, that our hearts would be transformed by the out flowing of the good that is stored there, through the knowledge of what God desires for us, and that our mouths would speak of that good and bring life to all around us.

 If you feel that the Holy Spirit is tugging on your heart right now, because of what you have just read, Yay God!!!!

 That just means that he wants for you to bring out some changes into your life, in your thought patterns and your speech patterns as well as your heart, and what dwells there. There is no time like the present to ask the lord to forgive you, if you feel that you have used your mouth for less than wholesome purposes.

He is always willing to forgive you and bring full restoration into your life.

 As for me, I realize that this is going to be a life time thing, where I will always have to learn how to keep my mouth from evil, but I know with the help of the lord, I can do it and that all is not lost for me, as he teaches me once again, to cleanse my mouth and use it for his glory and not my destruction.

 

This Day We Fight!

 Scripture says that the Lord left nations in the promised land “to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan); only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war” (Judg. 3:1-2).

 To complete our spiritual maturity, the Lord must “test” us with enemies; like Israel, we must be “taught war.”

 I realize that most of us prefer peace. Yes, as much as it depends on us, we should live at peace with all men (Rom. 12:18). Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but we are in a worldwide conflict with principalities and powers (see Eph. 6:12). You see, there is a “time for war” (Eccl. 3:8). As Christians, we must accept and adjust to this truth.

 To stand victorious, we need to expand our understanding of who Jesus Christ is. The Bible says Christ “will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies” (Isa. 42:13).

 Even the rapture must be understood in military terms: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16).

 The imagery of the Lord’s coming is explosive: He comes with a “shout” (or “cry of command,” a “war cry”). He’s followed by the stunning “voice of the “archangel,” then a blast of the “trumpet of God,” so loud, so undeniable that the powers of the heavens are confronted and collapse! Finally, the very “dead in Christ” begin to rise! The whole operation is fiercely militant in nature.

 One may argue, yes the Lord is coming to war, but His first goal is to rescue us. Well, I am certainly not against being rescued, having been rescued many times by the Lord! But the picture of the church is also one of militancy. Remember, Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18). Consider again the imagery: it is the church that is advancing against the gates of hell, and it is hell that is not prevailing!

 The Need for War

Truly, I am for peace, but I recognize that I cannot have peace unless I am first trained for war. It is my training for war that secures my ability to have peace. Indeed, it was during the times of warfare – of struggle and battle – when I have grown the most in courage, in faith, in sacrifice, and in love. The battle stretched me beyond the boundaries of my spirituality. Yes, when I was fighting for my family, church or community, it was the fight itself that defined and established my spiritual growth.

 Indeed, as I have grown older, I have come to understand that every generation is ordained to confront and defeat the enemies of its era. In the last hundred years, men and women fought in WWI; then came the Great Depression, and poverty and fear were conquered. WWII began, and again a generation rose and saved the world from unspeakable tyranny. Next, America rose to stand against the spread of godless Soviet communism.

 You see, every generation, at some point, will face a war that must be won. In that fight we learn lessons of courage. Do we see this generational warfare? Thus, we cannot interpret the fallen conditions of our world and assume the end of the world is upon us. No! What we are seeing in our world is the battleground of our war against the godless enemies of our times.

 Remember, I believe in the rapture; I also believe we are in the season of the end. But I cannot excuse myself from facing the giants of today’s wars. As our forefathers had to succeed on the battlefield against great and highly trained enemies, so we too must overcome the radical agenda of those who seek to mainstream perversion into our society. Some of us have fought in the physical wars of Iraq and Afghanistan – and we must pray righteous conclusions for these wars as well. Others are fighting to see our nation returned to Christ. I know some are weary, yet it is time that we too “might be taught war.”

 Regardless of the battle before us, no matter how dark the spiritual atmosphere becomes, we must fight for the purposes of God in the earth. We cannot relax our intercession nor surrender our vision for our nation’s future. We have not entered the day of irreversible darkness.

 You are no doubt familiar with the Lord of the Rings trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien, an Englishman, denied that his work mirrored the realities of World War II. Yet much of his manuscript was written during the height of that great conflict, when entire kingdoms were at war. He was clearly influenced by his time. His book is a metaphor for all times and conflicts, especially highlighting the role of common men to attain uncommon levels of valor and victory against forces of evil.

 In a scene from the third Lord of the Rings movies, The Return of the King, King Aragorn seeks to inspire his outnumbered men to fight in spite of what seems like sure defeat: Hell’s swarming legions have amassed before them and the courage of Aragorn’s fighters is weakening. Riding along the front lines of his gathered, but lowly army, he shouts:

 I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. . . . This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, men of the West!

 Let us also put aside our fears and especially the burden of a passive, prayerless existence. Let us take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And let us fight for all we hold dear in our times and culture. Yes, a day may come when the world will fully succumb, for a sprinkling of years, to the forces of evil. But it is not this day. This day we fight!

 —Adapted from Francis’ book, This Day We Fight!

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Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations were taken from the NASB.