Tag Archives: Spiritual Strength

The Realness of The War We Live In

It’s been a couple of days since I returned home from the Wild At Heart Boot Camp.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a powerful experience while in Colorado  The challenge faced, however is what next.  It can be very easy in this world to go back to life as normal and not put a thought again to the experience.  I could put aside all that God showed me and move back to my work life and not do anything further.  I didn’t get a chance to meet everybody, and I would hate it, but I am certain this happens for guys.  You get back to the world and everything begins to revert.  I pray that this is not the case, but this world and the enemy are vicious.

When we are back to our normal lives it can be very easy to make agreements with what the enemy and the world tells us.  Most men are taken out because they make agreements with the enemy.  These agreements can be very simple or more complex.  You may think you just don’t have it in you to pursue what you feel called to.  You may just think you’re not good enough or don’t have the strength.  These are agreements the the enemy may throw at you and if you agree it can take you out. Once you make those agreements, everything begins to filter through them and the enemy will setup shop right there.

We are constantly at war in this world.  Coming back from an event as powerful as the Wild At Heart Boot Camp, the enemy is going to throw whatever he can at you to pull you back down.  I can hear him trying to pull me back.  I know it’s only been a couple of days, but the battle begins now with even more relentlessness.  I have to arm myself each day in prayer and the Word in order keep myself from falling back to the old man or my false self.

1 Peter 5 says that we must stand firm against the enemy and be strong.  He prowls around like a like looking for someone to devour.  In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that “the thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”  Jesus had to encounter this battle everyday.  Spiritual warfare is very real and we have to be armed and ready to deal with anything the enemy will throw at us.  Jesus did not mean for us to come along and stand by and take it like good little Christians.  No…Jesus came not to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).  He came to do battle.  God is a warrior. Exodus 15:3, “The Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His name.”  Man is a warrior; Man is his name.  We are made to fight and fight we must.

As John told us at Boot Camp, denial of the heart is the heart of human struggle.  Many in this world, even in churches are like the Hobbits in The Lord of The Rings.  Naive, clueless, or in flat out denial of how ugly the battle actually is.  Look at our brothers and sisters in the faith getting martyred around the world because they refuse to renounce their faith.  The enemy is out to destroy our faith.  When Satan was cast out of Heaven, he decided to go after God’s heart by destroying the thing He really loved.  That’s His image bearers…us.

For me, this is a time for resolve.  To stand firm in my faith and where God has taken me.  To arm myself everyday and everything under my authority in Christ.  I know I am trouble for the enemy now as is anyone who will stand strong in their faith.  We cannot skate along singing kumbaya pretending nothing is happening.  Call evil for what it is.  Just like the Islamic evil that is faced everyday in the Middle East.  It is the enemy at work.  We have to stop sitting in our little small world and stand firm.

So arm yourself.  Don’t sit back waiting for things to happen.  Don’t let the enemy sink his claws into you.  Don’t walk through life alone and let the enemy push you deeper or back into your wounds and agreements.  Stand firm in your faith in Christ.  Ephesians 6 says be strong in the Lord…put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be ready to resist the enemy.  I’m no longer going to be partially in.  I am all in now for good.

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Trust God’s Perfection

It’s interesting to know and see how difficult it can be for people to trust God.  We run through so many different circumstances in our lives that, in our fallen nature, we are turned and question Him when times get difficult.  His love is right there for all of and never failing though.  As I’ve written time and again, no matter where we are in life, God is always pursuing us.  It is never failing and never ending.

If you study scripture and see all that has happened since the beginning, you can see that what ever God wills to happen is going to happen.  We His people turned away from Him, he turned away but only for a period of time and them was right back with Him.  The purpose is for everyone to know that He is the Lord and He is always there for us if we just trust in Him.

Psalm 18:30 says, “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.  He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.”  Think about that for a minute.  God’s way is perfect.  God is the love, strength, courage, wisdom, power, and everything else rolled into one.  He is the source of all  creation.  When He declared in the beginning that His creation was good.  He created perfection.  He created us to also live in His perfection and glory. Even when struggles arise in our lives, know that God’s will and perfection will shine through our lives if we trust in Him.  I know it can be so easy to turn away.

One thing I hear people often ask and even I have done the same thing, when difficulty arises is Why?. They question God and wonder where He is working in all of that.  I’ve been selfish in this manner too.  When I lost my Dad, I asked why many times.  When I lost a job many years ago, while raising a young family, I was asking why then.  I did not get it.  I did not understand where God is working.  It is not God’s will for us to suffer and struggle, but He allows these things to happen in this fallen world in hopes of drawing us near.  Jesus told us we will face trials and sorrows in this life.  It will happen.  Even when you feel that your faith is it’s strongest, it will still happen

Mother Teresa said, “God will never, never, never let us down if we have faith and put our trust in Him. He will always look after us. So we must cleave to Jesus. Our whole life must simply be woven into Jesus.”  It’s so simple when you thing about it.  Jesus came to save us from our sins and  set us free from the grips of satan and death who is always trying to deceive us and destroy our hearts.  Jesus said that Satan’s goals is steal, kill, and destroy us.  We see this everyday with junk that we face and we see others facing.  As Mother Teresa said, God will never, never, never let us down.  We need to trust in His perfection.

I know often times that my writing may seem to be a little on the serious and gloomy side when I focus on pain and struggles.  I do this because it is very real.  I have have been through this and we all have.  I believe those struggles are a sharp reminder that we need to hold tighter to God and remain strong in our faith.   Don’t let the pain and sorrows of this world turn you away.  When those times come, hold tighter.  I know how challenging it can be, but don’t let go.  When you hold the tightest, that’s when the enemy pulls at you stronger.  Trust in God’s perfection, always!

The Love of God Never Fades

I’ve written often about the pains and struggles that we all face in this world.  It doesn’t matter who you are, there is not anyone who has not had to face trials and sorrows, pain and suffering, temptation and sin.  It’s a simple fact of our fallen world.  I know there are some of you right now, who are going your own personal hell where it feels like no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  You find it difficult to see where God is at work in your life.  You could be someone that has been full of faith, prays, and walks with the Lord, but then something comes along that just knocks the wind out of your sails.  I’ve read the book, “Heaven is For Real” and my family and I sat and watched it yesterday.  The Burpo family was going through some serious struggles of their own.  This was a family where the Dad and Husband is a pastor and they are all about their faith.  Boy does it get tested though, especially when their son falls ill and nears death.

Often times, the more locked into our faith we are, the tougher the struggles are and the harder and faster the arrows come to pierce our hearts.  My pastor, Tim, said in his sermon yesterday, that if you are locked in your faith, the devil is more ticked off now that your heart has turned to God, so he will come at you even harder.  This is so true too.  In my faith walk these last few years, there are times where I just get bombarded with junk, whether it’s how I respond with my attitude, junk from my past trying to creep back, or new struggles and temptations that try to pierce into me.  I have to fight just as much. We all do.

There’s one thing I’ve learned for sure with all of this, however.  The best thing we can ever hope to do, no matter how hard things may get is keep our eyes fixed on God.  David said in Psalm 42, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart sad? I will put my hope in Go! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God!”  No matter how much junk tries to eat at us in this life, we have to keep focused on God.  Our hope lies in our faith in Jesus Christ.  Because of the love of God shown by the blood of Christ we have overcome just as Christ overcame.  We are already victorious through Him!  In my church we have been going through the book of 1 John.  1 John 5:4 says, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith.”  Our faith gives us victory and sets us free if we can keep our hearts fixed on God.

I ponder on this daily when I sit in my Scripture reading and prayer time or just when I am wandering through the day thinking.  I think just how awesome God’s love is for everyone of us.  I can’t think or fathom anything greater than the love of God.  I used to not ever think about this.  God would cross my mind, but never in such a way that I just sat in awe of His glory and love.

We are in a constant war in this life.  As I’ve said before, God is always pursuing our hearts to turn to Him, but the adversary is trying to use this world and his demons to attack us daily.  Trying to eat at our souls and our hearts to make it impossible to keep our hearts fixed on God.  Know that through Christ you are made victorious.  There’s nothing more freeing than to know that.  Because of our faith, we are born again of God and are His children.  His love will never fail or abandon us.

Romans 8:39 says, “No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Meditate on that.  How awesome is that to know.  Yes, we will tested and attached constantly in our life.  Sin will always try to win out.  But if you are faithful and in those times of struggle keep your hearts and thoughts fixed on God, know that He is always there to pull you through.  There’s a framed picture in the entry way of my home that says, “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.”  God will never abandon you to this world.  Even if it feels like all hope is fading, that’s when you need to lock in more.

The Christian life is never rosy and perfect.  John Piper said, “There is a war going on. All talk of a Christian’s right to live luxuriously “as a child of the King” in this atmosphere sounds hollow — especially since the King himself is stripped for battle.”  We are victorious in Christ because of the unfailing love of the Father who has never stopped pursuing us.  He is constantly ready to go to battle for us.

Finding Peace For Restoration

We live in a very noisy society today.  Everyday we get up and go about our business, we are bombarded with a million distractions around us, stuff on radio and tv, social media, daily traffic on our commute, drama in our circles, drama in the workplace, and so much more.  From the time we get up, until the time we go to sleep, we are under constant bombardment which can easily distract and wear us out, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.  With so much going on, many of us don’t take the time to step away and find time to sit in peace and solitude to restore ourselves.  I was reading an article yesterday about solitude an and the importance we have of finding a place where we can stay away from the distractions of this world and restore ourselves in solitude.

Some where do you go for that peace or do you at all?  For me, there are a few places I find helpful for my restoration.  First for my daily time, it comes in the early morning hours, before the house starts moving.  When I get this time, I dive into God’s Word and meditate and journal on what I’m reading that day and then pray on it.  This is a daily practice that helps really get the day going.  Also during my morning workouts at the gym.  I plug my ears in with Praise and Worship music whenever I workout and stay locked in for the next hour and half.  For my major restoration from the year of craziness that comes from work and family priorities, it comes when I am at the beach.  There is something about getting up in the early morning and walking on the sand before all the other vacationers come out.  I listen to the ocean, feel the breeze, and in that place I feel completely locked in with God.

During any of these times, it’s not about being alone and lonely, it’s about solitude.  As the article I read in And Sons Magazine describes, there is a distinct difference between loneliness and solitude.  The author describes loneliness as “Cold. It haunts us in the quiet hours when we have failed to create enough white noise to drown it out. It is scary. It is deafening.”  Solitude however, “is the quiet of standing in a windless snowfall. The snow acts as a sound dampener—it’s hard to hear a car even if it’s only 20 feet away. It’s more than quiet—it is substantive, as if you could stretch out your hand and push into the silence like a down pillow.”

As the article also points out, there is one who made moments of solitude a regular practice.  That is none other that Jesus Christ.  Many times in the Gospels we read of Jesus stepping away into the wilderness to pray and restore himself.  To connect with The Father.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone….” (Matthew 14:23)

Then of course there was the 40 days in the wilderness which prepared Jesus for what was to come in His ministry and in fulfilling His purpose according Scripture.

These moments of solitude are extremely important parts of our lives and our restoration and preparation for what is still to come in our lives.  In these moments we can connect closer with God.  We can sit still in silence and fill His Spirit fill us and restore us.  It is in these moments where we can fully let go of the stresses this world brings in our daily lives and talk with God and listen to where He leads.  These moments are priceless and really help prepare for the next steps in our journey.

I am going to touch on this more in the coming weeks.  My next video blog will come out in July and will be on this very subject.  I think this is such an important part of our lives in our walk with God and finding where He is leading us, dealing with the spiritual battles and sin that the Adversary throws our way every day, and in restoration our lives and relationships with those around us.  We all need that place and that time to find peace and restoration.

The Daily Battles of This World

Everyday of our lives, we are faced with numerous battles that we must confront and deal with.  Living in this fallen world, we are faced with things that try to pull us off track, challenge our faith, challenge our passion, and try to eat at our lives.  These battles, if we let them, can start to tear at who we are, destroy our lives, our relationships with family and friends, and cause us to turn away from God.  These can be things that simple as negative thoughts toward something or someone.  It can lustful temptations of all kinds.  You name, we all face it.  The issue we all face is how do we deal with it.

Now, it can be easy, very easy to give in.  Many people do this daily.  It can be easy to get pulled into negative of this world.  Give in to negative thoughts, give in to sin, give in to Satan and his demons.  In reading an article in a new online magazine that launched this past week called And Sons Magazine, there was the topic of good versus evil.  The article took the example of the movie “Man of Steel.”  From that movie, he pointed to a line spoken by Kevin Costner’s character, Jonathan Kent.  He said to Clark, “One day you’re going to have to make a choice—you have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be because that man, good character or bad, he’s gonna change the world.”

Our actions and how we decide to deal with the battles and temptations we face each day can have lasting consequences, good or bad.  You may think to yourself, it’s just me, how can I have a lasting impact on others.  Trust me you do.  In my daily reading in Scripture this week, part of the focus is on the Book of Joshua.  Joshua, led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land, conquering Jericho and beyond with God’s angel leading the way.  In Joshua 7 & 8, we learn what happens to Achan and his entire family when he sins by keeping items set aside for God.  His own sins and brought death to his entire family from stoning.  His sins had a lasting effect on others because he fell to worldly temptations.

Going back to the article, we now look to Jesus.  Often times Jesus is seen as peaceful and tranquil. However, what we do not often see taught is that Jesus was preparing us to battle the evil that will confront us daily.  John 10:10, Jesus tells us the “The thief’s purpose is to kill and destroy. My purpose is to bring them a rich and satisfying life.” Matthew 10:34, Jesus says, “Don’t imagine that I come to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” Then verse 36, ” Your enemies are right in your own household.”  Jesus came to lay down His life for us, to set us free from sin and death.  His mission was to also prepare us for what we will face on a daily basis.  The enemy will constantly be trying to destroy us from within.  We have to take a lesson from Christ and make the choice to take up the battle for Him.  If we don’t and we give in, then we face the consequences of Achan as our own sins and passivity to this world will have a lasting impacts not just on us, but on those around us.  Likewise, if we choose to battle the evil of this world and battle for God’s Kingdom by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, then we can also change the world that way.  We can be contagious and change the world, but we have to choose which way to go.

C.H. Spurgeon said, “Look to the Cross, and hate your sin, for sin nailed your Well Beloved to the tree. Look up to the cross, and you will kill sin, for the strength of Jesus’ love will make you strong to put down your tendencies to sin.”  When you find yourself faced with a challenge today or any day for that matter, look to the Cross.  Jesus poured His blood out for us to be set free from sin.  When trials come your way, turn to Cross.  Nail them at the feet of Jesus and let Him take those troubles from you.  Jesus told us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this world, but take heart because He has overcome this world.  Jesus can take all of that trouble and those battles away.  When the evil comes knocking, let Jesus answer the door.  It is that simple folks.  Jesus Is The Answer!!!  He can pull us through every battle we face if we put our full faith and trust in Him.  Trust me.  He has done wonders for me and I have seen what He has done for many others who have struggled, but trusted in Him.  Be a warrior for Christ and look to Him for all your troubles.  He is the armor and the sword that you need.

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Be Bold and Don’t Sit Back

Throughout life it can be very easy to get complacent.  To find yourself in a life routine that you just accept and move forward with no matter what.  Many people find themselves that way especially in their careers or the way they live wondering if there is any real meaning and purpose.  We may even question God and wonder why our lives seem to just trudge along without much meaning and/or fulfillment.  I’ve got news for everyone, God did not create us to just sit back in complacency.  He did not create us to just accept the status-quo and trudge through life in miserable complacency.  He called us to be bold.  He called us to not be complacent.  He called us to pursue Him and to bring others to Him through our works by doing works He purposed for us.

Each of us have a God given purpose in life.  Through it all it is to glorify God in all we do.  You can do this in so many ways and so many career paths.  I tell you this though.  If you are in an area that does not provide any fulfillment and does not make you come alive, then you are not where you need to and not where God wants you to be. You cannot glorify Him in pointless misery and complacency.  Pray and walk with Him and He will lead you where you need to be.  I promise you.

Speaking of purpose, get ready.  I’m bringing something different and awesome to 4 Pillars over the next few weeks.  It’s going to be new video-casts or video-blogs, however you want to call it.  You will start to see me online as I begin to speak out what I write out each month.  I’m very excited about where God is leading me with.  This is my next step in being bold and leaving complacency in the dust.  Through this channel, I pray that I will be able to reach many more people in a whole new way.  I will continue to write on a regular basis, but I am now going to expand on it.  I’m nervous in a way being the introvert that I am, but like many introverts, when I speak, it is usually something pretty profound.  I will be speaking on various topics related to the 4 Pillars (Finding Your Calling, Relationships with God, Relationships with Others, and Spiritual Battles).  I will continue sharing my own testimony of what God’s done in my life. He’s brought through very difficult times and was also there for me even when I had strayed away.  I look forward to sharing so much with all of you.  It’s going to be fun and different and I hope you’ll join me.  Each new video will be posted here to this sight as well.

We have to be bold folks.  I am going to be bold.  I proclaim my faith in Jesus Christ who is THE Answer.  I seek to glorify Him in my works and this is where He continues to call me.  Be Contagious in your faith through your boldness and don’t sit back waiting.  You’re called to do and be more.  I hope you’ll join me as I move to grow this calling in my life and help others to seek God and His purpose for their life.  It’s going to be an adventure like no other I’ve been on.

Managing Through Anger Before it Consumes You

How often have you had those moments where you get so angry that you just want to rage out?  It’s something that, as humans, is a very real and common emotion and reaction to situations particularly when we feel we’ve been wronged or someone we care about has been wronged.  When those moments come, how you handle them?  Do you let fester until you get to the breaking point, do you lash out immediately, or try your best to remove yourself from the situation before it gets too far?  I’m no stranger to anger believe me and I have probably had every one of these reactions at some point.

This came to mind to discuss after an incident occurred a few days back that about drove me to the point where I was going to break.  I won’t get into those details, but it was a situation where I felt some kids were wronged and the longer I saw it occur, the madder I became.  To the point where I finally did burst out more than I should have.  I did not get out of control, but I certainly let my anger be known.  For those that know me personally, they know it takes quite a bit to get me riled up and this situation pushed me there.

15 years ago, I wouldn’t have cared so much.  My wife and I joke about it now, but when I was younger, I was quick to snap if I got even just a look from someone I did not care for.  I’ve sense grown from that, and now it’s something where I stay as calm as I can through it.  Truth be told, I hate conflict.

So, as I reflected on the situation after walking away from it, I realized that maybe I needed to check my reaction.  I knew I was justified in my anger, but I probably did not go about handling it as best I could.  That night and especially the couple days, I went into scripture and prayer.  Just like any battle that comes in life, anger is an emotion that can go too far.  Paul says in Ephesians 4:26-27, “…don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”    Anger can consume you and if you don’t control it, it distorts your thinking and your emotions.  In Daniel 3:19, Nebuchadnezzar became so enraged that his face became distorted.

What I have found is that if you can step away from a situation that does make you angry, you can manage through it before getting to the point where words are said that have longer lasting effects.  Fortunately, I was able to do this the other day.  I knew the best thing was to walk away and I did.  Proverbs 17:14 says, “Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.”

Anger is a spiritual battle we all have to deal with in this world.  While it may be easy to just unleash, the best thing you can do before going to far is to step back and pray and immerse yourself in God’s Word.  There you can find the peace you need to handle the situation.  This does not mean that confronting those that wronged you is not needed, but having the right motives and mindset when confronting will resolve the issues a lot better.

Now, I write this, but this mean I won’t get angry again…of course not.  In this fallen world, it will happen again and again to us all.  I just know the more I grow spiritually, that I need to find a way to manage myself and my anger so I don’t take it to a point that we don’t want it go.  G.M. Trevelyan stated, “Anger is a momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you.”  This is the biggest thing.  Don’t let your anger get the better of you and let the adversary infiltrate you more.  Seek God and you can fight this battle and win.