As I write this, the sun is rising with glorious color. It’s been grey for a few days now, so this is welcome. This time of year, I see the sun march steadily northward on the eastern horizon as it comes in to view. It’s a good reminder of how time passes and that God, indeed, is in charge. I just read about the sunrise in my bible plan. Let me share some verses on the nearby pages.
Psalm 65:5-8 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring sea, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
Indeed, this is how my morning is starting, not just because of the sunrise. It started like this when it was still quite dark. Let’s look at some more.
Psalm 66:1-4 Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name, give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.”
Yes, and then we have this nugget that I had boxed and highlighted in my bible long ago:
Psalm 66:16-20 Come and hear all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would have not listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!
That’s my current mood! One of praise to God. It’s been a rough couple weeks, let me tell you! Let’s just say, I’m meeting plenty of opposition and starting to understand something much, much better in the process. God has some really cool things cooking. In fact, I’m seeing things in a whole new light. Spiritual warfare is not pleasant; but when I trust God, I see the blessings that come despite it. In fact, I am starting to rejoice in the fact that warfare is happening because it means that God is at work. It’s not just me, but others around me are experiencing the same thing.
It all started with a serious commitment for prayer. Not just the ordinary prayer but that like what we see in the movie “War Room.” Serious, deliberate prayer. Prayer with a strategy. The opposition was immediate. Fierce and sudden. There was no mistaking it. We praised God for it because we knew that we were on to something very powerful and were being struck back. It was so clear that something was bent on intimidating and stopping us. We started praying all the harder, using the very words of God to pray back to Him, verses like these:
1 Peter 5:8-11 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
That’s where I am at now, even this morning. The Lord, the God of all grace, has restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established me. He has called me to his eternal glory in Christ. I know that to my very core. Therefore, I will tell you what he has done for my soul (See Psalm 66:16-20, above).
I have to tell you, this requires me to look at things much differently to see things differently. Some of my troubles came through other people by strong reactions that were quite surprising, even alarming, until I started seeing them through a different perspective. For example:
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
I’ve got news for everyone. This passage doesn’t give me license to ram my opinion down people’s throat. No, this is pointed directly at me, for every thought that happens BETWEEN MY OWN EARS! Are things going crazy with people around me? I need to get my perspective right. Spiritual warfare is at hand. What can I do? Am I any match? Nope, but I do have weapons, weapons that have divine power. What are they, and how do I use them? Good question. Let’s look at a couple more passages. There are plenty more, but these will do for now. Take these and internalize them. Make them part of your DNA. Pray them back to God. Serious prayer. Out loud prayer. No, LOUD prayer.
James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Ephesians 6:10-20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand firm. Stand therefore, having done all to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare boldly, as I ought to speak.
This is serious stuff, folks, but the purpose in itself is not just to protect ourselves. Our mission is to bear fruit. Take a look at this:
John 15:5-8 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Jesus’s disciples ask for kingdom stuff. Kingdom stuff is opposed by the enemy. Kingdom stuff is asked for allowing God’s way and timing. It’s OK that some prayers are not answered. Disciples give that all up to God. Disciples go through turmoil and persecution. Disciples rejoice because of it.
Disciples are rewarded in ways money cannot by and in quantities unimaginable.
Want some of that? I should hope so!
Father, I thank you for this day and all that it brings. I thank you that I see you moving in my life and in the lives of those around me. I thank you for moving in ways I can’t even see this side of heaven. I thank you for opposition, knowing that it is further evidence that I am on the right track. Father, thank you for your glory! Amen!
Copyright © Scott Powers