The team motto – “use me” …. But are you sidelined?
We are all made to glorify God, but some of us are currently benched.
We are all commanded to share the Good News, but some of us our sidelined.
Missed Practice – not prepared / not dressed in uniform
[2 Kings 2:11-14] – Elisha
Sunday only Christian – not prepared to share your hope, to share Jesus
[1 Peter 3:15] But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hopethat you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
[Romans 12:11] Never be lazy, but work hardand serve the Lord enthusiastically.
[1 Timothy 4:7] Train yourself to be godly
[1 Corinthians 9:25] All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
[Ephesians 6] Put on the FULL Armor of God
- Helmet of Salvation – SALVATION through Christ
- Breastplate of Righteousness – RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ
- Shield of Faith – FAITH
- Belt of Truth – TRUTH of God
- Sword of the Spirit – WORD of God
- Feet Prepared with the Gospel of Peace – GOSPEL
Performing poorly / Playing bad / Head not in the game
[1 Kings 11] – Solomon
[Hebrews 12:1-2] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
[2 Timothy 2:4] No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. – YOU NEED AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
Not following game plan / Disobeying coach
[Numbers 20] – Moses
Not humbling yourself, not following God’s will – you think you know better, not seeking God
[Psalm 105:4] Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! – He is our Creator, He has the beautifully orchestrated plan, not my will by His will be done
[2 Timothy 2:20-22] In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
[2 Corinthians 12:7b-10] – Paul
Suffering, broken – struggling physically, mentally, financially
Financial struggles, health issues, pain, surgery, anxiety, depression
Maybe you think you are too broken, too sick, too depressed…
Maybe you think you are not a position to share the Good News
[2 Corinthians 3:5] It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
[1 Peter 4:11] If anyone speaks, they should do so as one whospeaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Ejected – attitude/behavior problem – “unsportsmanlike conduct”
[1 Samuel 2:22-25] – Eli’s sons
Heart problem – angry, jealous, bitter, unforgiving…
[Job 11:13-16] Still, if you set your heart on God and reach out to him, If you scrub your hands of sin and refuse to entertain evil in your home, You’ll be able to face the world unashamed and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless. You’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
[Psalm 51:10] Create in me a pure heart, a clean heart
[Acts 20:18-21] When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike–the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
Never shrink back
Share one message – JESUS
May He use you!!
[Psalm 100:2] Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
To Him alone …. All honor, glory, and praise! Forever and ever!
The Psalmist speaks about troubles that surround him, they are “too many to count.” Does that sound like you? We all have these troubles that surround us and they are too many to count. Sometimes you may feel like the ceilings are caving in upon you. You may feel overwhelmed. You might not think that you can handle it anymore.
Troubles surround all of us. We have the temptations that surround us. We have the evil that surrounds us, even things that we cannot see. There is a battle happening right now and we cannot even see it happening. Around you, right now, there are angels battling it out with demons. The angels are fighting for you, trying to keep you from harm. We have no idea all the trouble that surrounds us (See Ephesians 6:11-17).
Today, thank God that He promises that nothing can snatch you from His hand. Your soul is safe in His hand (John 10:28). Ask for the power of the Spirit to help you to stay strong in your faith, to not succumb to any temptations. Ask God to help you to rest on His firm foundation. Find refuge in Him. Be aware of what is around you. Be aware of the presence of God.
“For troubles surround me–too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.” – Psalm 40:12 [NLT]
One of the biggest spiders I have seen this warm season made a nice home at the arborvitaes. Every day I would see this huge web constructed and the large spider just sitting there. I tried to keep my distance. He hung around for days. Eventually, we didn’t see him anymore. I thought we were safe. Little did we know, the spider found a way into my sister’s car. While she was driving to work one morning, the spider decided to interrupt her drive. She shared with me this great excitement. I’ve been there; it’s not fun.
The evils of this world like to hang around, lurking around just as this spider. We often think we are safe because we keep our distance. But just like the avoidance of the spider lurking about, so there can be trouble if you don’t address the nearby evils. When there are temptations lurking, when our friends or family are knee deep in sin, or when we start to even allow sin to take residence in our homes—this keeps the door wide open for the devil to do his work. The devil doesn’t sneak through the front door with a bright neon sign announcing his coming. He sneaks through the cracks. He enters when you least expect it. Remember, he is clever.
We are not always going to be prepared for an attack. We are human—we have our good days and our not-so-good days. To be best prepared, consistency in our walk with Christ is very important. Put on the armor of God (see Ephesians 6), and remember that this is a daily need. Continue to surround yourself with that which will keep your eyes on Jesus (see Philippians 4:8). Immerse yourself in God’s Word. Spend time with godly friends. Remember, the Spirit of God will help see you through to victory.
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4 [NASB]
This is the time of the year when things start to get interesting as I leave the house for my morning walks with my dogs. The mornings are starting off a bit darker than before, so I find myself fumbling around to attach their leashes to their harnesses. As I walk by the arborvitaes bushes, I do the quite routine, yet not-so-normal to onlookers, flinging of my left hand in front of me to feel for webs so I don’t walk into a spider web and forever be itching for the rest of the day.
As I get myself ready in the morning, I am pretty good at feeling my way around. I am familiar with the same walk, the same location of items, the same surroundings. I know what is supposed to be there if the sun was lighting the path. But even so, even though I know what is supposed to be around me, I do not see everything. We do not see everything around us. There is a great battle happening. The angel armies of God are all around us, protecting us, shielding us, battling it out against the evil that lurks all about us.
There have been moments when I considered what is going on around me. I know my imagination is nothing close to reality. But I also know that we serve an awesome God, and He has already won the victory. I know as well that He promises that NOTHING can snatch us from His hand (John 10:28). Find rest in His refuge. Find confidence in His victory. Find strength in His power. Keep pressing onward. The battle is around us, but we will win this fight my friends! The God of Angel Armies is fighting for us each and every moment. You do not even know how great the fight is—but you know the Victor—and you know the length He will go for you.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12 [NLT]
This morning was a foggy one. As we ventured out on our normal walk, it was difficult to see up ahead. This would not be such an issue; however, Max has post-traumatic stress disorder. If he encounters another dog, he sometimes gets very fearful and the situation escalates. This is not normally an issue on morning walks as no one else is crazy enough to walk their dogs so early. However, every so often there is a chance encounter. Being able to see, allows me to prevent Max from having to undergo a stressful situation. It is hard to properly prepare for something you cannot see.
As believers, we are commanded to be prepared. Paul tells us to, “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers” (Ephesians 6:18). Peter warns us to “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). This coming week, I will be preaching about the devil and his demons. Some people believe it’s unnecessary to discuss this topic. Whether it be fear, disinterest, or something else—the truth is we need to stay alert, and we need to know what we need to stay alert against.
The devil has been defeated. He has already been condemned (John 16:11). Victory is with Jesus. Even so, the devil is the prince of this world and he is still out and about trying to spread his lies, because he is the father of lies (John 14:30, John 8:44). We need to remember our battle is not of this world (Ephesians 6:12). In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray for deliverance from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). Put on your full armor of God and pray continually. Do not let the fog prevent you from knowing what is Truth and what is a lie.
I love Spring. I enjoy opening the windows and letting in the fresh air. I enjoy seeing the sun brighten up the sky during our morning walks. I love watching the flowers begin to bloom and the robins seeking out food. One thing that I cannot stand is the invasion of the ants.
Ants are clever and annoying. It is interesting how one day there are no ants and then the next day, BOOM! It is not like you leave the door open. How do they come? It’s as if they slip through the cracks. Slowly one slips through and notes that there’s a good area to investigate. The ant calls for more ants. Before you know it, there are ants galore, and it demands a trip to the local store to get some ant bait to remedy the situation.
No matter how much you try to prepare for the ants, it seems like they come through the cracks. They are not sneaking in right before your eyes. They enter another way. In the same way, as we try to prepare for the attacks from the devil, we find that he sneaks through the cracks. It’s a gradual process. It’s a process that you often don’t see coming. Then it happens. BOOM! Spiritual attack. Today, pray for the Spirit to strengthen you. Read Ephesians 6:10-20. Dress in your armor and pray, pray, pray!
Yesterday I had to spray the weeds. It is one of my least favorite activities. Though I am not too fond of dusting, I can understand the reason. Things are happening all around—my family is doing things that helps the dust to collect. We are living life. But with weeds, they just come. We don’t do anything. We even put mulch all around hoping to have a barrier of protection.
When it comes to our walk with Christ, it is important to understand that Satan is like those weeds, sneaking up and ready to cause havoc. We may think that we spray the weed killer and we will be fine; however, that is not the case. With Satan, the father of lies, he doesn’t turn away easily. He will do whatever he can to thwart your walk with Christ.
So what can we do? Put on the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). This includes the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Sword of God’s Word, the Shield of Faith, the Belt of Truth, and the Shoes of Peace. DAILY. Every day. Remind yourself that within you is the fullness of God—the Comforter, the Helper—the Holy Spirit. No matter what comes your way, you have the power to overcome through Christ. When Satan comes at you, tell him to leave in Jesus’ name and watch him flee. You will slip up. Some weeds will sprout. But Jesus has already won the battle. Claim His promises. Cling to His Word. Embrace Him.