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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Most Incredible Gift!

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

I was recently having lunch with a Jewish friend of mine. He was sharing with me his stories about being in the Israelis army. All young men and women have to become part of the army after school and before college. It is a part of how they have survived as a nation that is surrounded by people that hate them. They are so thoroughly trained in warfare because they have to be – the enemies around them are always plotting to destroy them. In a Wall Street Journal a few years back was an article that said, “Last June, Palestinian television broadcast a sermon in a Gaza mosque in which the imam, Ibrahim Madi, made the following statement: "God willing, this unjust state Israel will be erased; this unjust state the United States will be erased; this unjust state Britain will be erased." It is for this reason the Israelis have been so trained in warfare.

Because we live in America, where we have experienced peace from war for so long, we don’t think much about warfare on a day-to-day basis. Although the war on terrorism and with Iraq has somewhat changed that, for the most part, the majority of people do not engage in warfare thinking on an ongoing basis. As Christians, we need to rethink that.

Like Israel, we are surrounded by enemies. Not enemies that we can see with our natural eyes, but demonic influences that affect people every day that in turn touch our lives. The Apostle Paul wanted to teach us about how to face spiritual warfare and wrote this: Ephesians 6:10-13 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Demonic influences are real. They operate in the earth. The Apostle Paul revealed, We don’t fight flesh and blood – in other words –it’s not people we fight, but principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness – those are demonic influences.

The devil isn’t something we have to be afraid of when we are living for the Lord. That is the point of Paul’s teaching. We can learn to recognize the devil’s attacks on our lives and as Paul said, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

One of the great attacks that Satan frequently works to bring against us is guilt and condemnation for our failures to live as righteously as the Word of God teaches us to. Because of that, the Apostle Paul taught, Eph 6:14-17 Stand therefore,having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness…We are taught to put on the breastplate of righteousness. This is a spiritual truth that is imperative to take hold of. It is also the most incredible gift ever given – Righteousness! You will never be good enough to get everything right and pleasing to God in your own efforts. Our righteousness – our right standing with God is a gift to us through Jesus. 2 Cor 5:21 instructs us, God made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. We cannot let the devil come and continually condemn us. We have to live honestly before God the best we can each day. When we miss it, we must be truly sorry, repent, and ask forgiveness. We must also receive His forgiveness. Then we must confess what God has said, We are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. That means you are accepted, loved, washed of sin, and right with God because of what Jesus did –not because of the goodness you try to manufacture in your life! That will always fall short of the mark!

If you don’t take hold of your breastplate of righteousness by faith, then every day you don’t see an answer to prayer, you will begin to believe that something is wrong and it must be you! Satan will work to confirm that. He’ll point out your shortcomings. Can you see why we must put on our breastplate of righteousness? It protects our heart from the condemnation of our failures and Satan’s accusations. As today’s Fresh Manna verse says, For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. God knows that our righteousness is because of His son Jesus. The question is, do we know it?

When I know I’ve blown it somehow and fallen short of living up to God’s Word, and when Satan’s accusations come, how do I answer Satan’s accusations? I don’t. We respond to God. “Heavenly Father, I just missed it again. I could have said that better. I could have acted kinder. I shouldn’t have done that. I repent before you right now. Thank you for forgiving me and helping me to handle that better next time. I receive and thank you for your forgiveness. In Jesus name. Now Satan, I am forgiven and I rebuke you – flee! I am made right before God. I am the righteousness of God and I praise my Savior Jesus.”

We always stand on the promises of God. Your righteousness is one of them and it is a weapon of your warfare against the accusations of Satan. Learn to walk in it as it as there is a war out against your soul going on.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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