The Bible tells us to “fight the good fight of faith.” What does that mean? The enemy of your soul wants nothing more than to defeat you any way he can. He will use suggestions, ideas, pressures and negative circumstances to get you to believe his lies. If Satan can get you to change your confession of faith to a confession of doubt, he‘s got you and that is why you must hold onto your confession of faith and that is why you must resist the devil so that he will flee from you. If you are a child of God, Satan can’t get your soul, it belongs to God. Satan will do whatever he can to get you to lose your faith and give up, but if you fight the good fight of faith when times are difficult, you will come out on the other side more than a conqueror.
I’m sure you have heard of the military term AWOL – Away Without Official Leave. A good soldier holds onto faith, while an AWOL soldier lets go of faith. What’s the difference between an AWOL soldier and a good soldier? An AWOL soldier, after becoming engaged in the fight, changes his/her mind and decides to run away from their duties/ responsibilities without authorization thus leaving his post unmanned causing a breach in security. A good soldier accepts his responsibilities, follows the orders of the commander in charge without question, and will do whatever necessary to protect his fellow soldiers and their mission even if it costs him his life. God is our heavenly Father and His commands are all written down in His Book, the Word of God and a good soldier obeys his commander without question.
To fight the good fight of faith you must do the following:
- Put on your armor
- Be courageous
- Resist the devil
- Stick it out – do not go AWOL
God has given us armor and we must put it on every day. Our armor is described in Ephesians 4: 14-18.
- Belt of truth
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Gospel of peace for your shoes
- Shield of faith (to extinguish fiery darts of the enemy)
- Helmet of Salvation
- The sword of the spirit (the word of God)
- Prayer & supplication
Believing in God is a personal act. You must hold onto your faith – no one can do that for you. You must keep believing. You must guard your heart and always be aware of anything or anyone that will try to pull you away from the Lord and what He has called you to do. Get rid of all distractions. Stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish. Your faith should not depend on any person or any ministry or any church membership. You are not going to win in life’s fights just because you are a church member and you attend church. You will fight the ‘good fight of faith’ when you apply yourself to spiritual truths found in the Word of God.
Question: Are you a good soldier or have you gone AWOL?
Making the right decisions is very important because one day we will all have to give an account of the decisions we made. Remember the following four things when you are called upon to make a major decision:
- Do the right thing.
- Do the right thing at the right time.
- Do the right thing at the right time with the right motives.
- The right decision will always lead to a great reward.
The decisions we make do matter and they affect our family and our friends. A lot of people make a decision that will get them momentary satisfaction. They are more interested in what they can get out of life right now and they forget there is an eternity out there much longer than the here and now. But making the right choices takes a heavenly-minded person. There are three important people in the Bible who made decisions that not only affected them, but had a major impact on many others.
Joseph’s story is a good example of someone who consistently made the right decisions and ultimately he received his reward. As a young boy, he had dreams that put him in a position where everyone would one day bow down to him – including his family. He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. His father was told that he was killed by a wild animal. He was framed by Pharaoh’s wife because he refused to sleep with her and was thrown into prison. He interpreted the dream of a prisoner who was released and restored to his position, but he forgot about Joseph. Joseph interprets one of Pharaoh’s dreams and he was promoted from the pit to the palace over night. In the end Joseph became the leader of all Egypt second only to the Pharaoh himself. When given the opportunity to take revenge or forgive his brothers, he chose forgiveness and his family was restored. God never left Joseph and Joseph never left God. He remained faithful and godly through it all and God honored him.
Job was a very wealthy man who one day lost everything but made a decision to trust God no matter what. His decision to trust God even after his wife told him to curse God and die, proved to be the right decision and allowed God to give him double for his trouble! Job had no idea that God would restore him, but holding on to his faith and not giving up on God positioned him for his blessing.
Jesus made a decision to obey his heavenly Father even to the point of death. In the Garden of Gethsemane he could have made a decision not to give his life as a ransom for us but his love for God propelled him to make the decision he made. This decision changed my life; it changed your life and the life of every Believer.
Let’s all follow the example that Joshua gave us. He made a decision as to who he would choose to follow in life. He said “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” If you believe that God is God, be a faithful follower of Christ and be consistent in your decisions so no one will ever doubt who you serve.
I’m sure that you have a plan for your life but God also has a plan for every one of us. God’s plan is superior to our plan and that is why we must pray for direction to follow it, have the patience to wait on it, and most of all we need knowledge to know when it comes. To know God’s plan, we must have an intimate relationship with Him to experience the communication that is necessary to hear from God. We all have friends and we all have acquaintances, but the kind of relationship I’m talking about goes so much deeper than having an occasional talk with God. The people who love God so much to the point that they want what God wants, aren’t satisfied with just knowing about God, they want to truly know God and they will pursue God not just on the surface but they will take their relationship deep because that is where God is!
To receive all that God has for you, I want to admonish you to go deeper in God with faith. Going deep will require much faith and the more faith you have, the deeper you will go. Just as a pool has shallow water in the beginning, then the further out you go the deeper the water, the same holds true with your personal relationship with God. The deeper you go, the more you will know about God and His will for you. Imagine a pool of water symbolizing your relationship with God. Your depth in God could be just ankle deep. Christians who are at this depth are baby Christians who are not yet ready to swim because they are not yet spiritually mature. Walking in ankle deep water requires little effort. you can easily choose to get in or out, and you are one of the people the Bible says are easily blown to and fro by all manners of doctrine. At this depth, you are just a little bit committed and your eyes are still looking back and not towards the future. You need to see more before you believe more.
If you go deeper, you will then be knee deep. Christians who is at this stage understand the power of prayer and of the Holy Spirit. Knee deep believers are a little more committed than the ankle deep believers, but it is still fairly easy for them to change their minds and get out of the water. If your relationship goes a little deeper, you are in waist deep. Believers who are wait deep in their relationship with God read the Word, they understand the Word and they are assured of their personal salvation. They understand the grace of God; they are faithful tithers because they do not want to rob God. They are also out sharing the good news of the gospel with the lost. At this level, the believer is growing in the Lord and is solid. If you are brave enough to go deeper in God from this level, you become submerged and have reached the highest level in God. This is the final stage, the water is supporting you, you are not using your own power to wade through the water, and you are walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Your relationship is all about being totally submitted to God’s will and the flow of His spirit.
As Christians, we must want to go deep with God so that we are able to swim; so that the power and presence of God pushes us into doing God’s will and not our own. Our Christian walk must grow larger and deeper; we need to depend upon God for everything. God does have a plan for your life. Pray for the knowledge to recognize God’s will for your life. Pray for the patience to wait on God’s timing and to have the faith to follow His direction. Don’t settle for knowing about God or having just an ankle deep relationship with Him. Pursue God with your whole heart and you will find Him and experience the deep things of God that few ever realize.
We all have dreams – situations that we’re believing for, or circumstances that we want to see turned around. Too often when we pray we tell God how to do it, when to do it, and who to use to do it. But there is one problem with that – God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are so far above our thoughts. God doesn’t always do things the logical way, God uses unorthodox methods. If you have any preconceived ideas of how you’re going to be promoted, get healed or experience restoration, lay it aside – it won’t happen the way you think! You have to stay open, let God out of your box; you may only see one way that it could happen. God already knows how to promote you; He knows how to get you the finances you need to send your child to college, or buy that new car. But if it doesn’t happen your way, if you’re not careful you’ll get discouraged and start thinking that it’s never going to happen. Often a person gets passsed over for a promotion on their job only to find out that they ended up with a better one. What you don’t realize is God can close one door on purpose because He has something much better for you.
God can use whoever He wants to use, save whoever He wants to save, bring good out of whomever He wants to. God used Rahab the prostitute to save the people of Israel. He used a donkey to speak to Balaam. He used Pharoah’s daughter to take care of baby Moses. A lot of times, God IS answering our prayers; it’s just not the way that we expected. God may not use the people you were expecting and it may not happen on your timetable. But this is what faith is all about – faith leaves the details up to God because He knows better than you do what’s best for you and when you are ready to receive it. Take another look; maybe God has answered your prayers, just not the way you thought.
One reason God does it His way and not our way is so that He will get all the glory. God is an out of the box God. His plan for your life will not always be logical, or reasonable, or what you had planned. But if you stay open to God, your miracle will be much bigger, better and more rewarding, than you ever imagined. Sometimes God has to push us to our next level. He wants to not only bring you out your problem, but He will do it in such a way that you will have to give Him the glory because you could in no way have achieved victory on your own. God has 1000 ways to bless you; when they show up, are you going to recognize His blessing and walk it out? Trust God to heal you, promote you, restore you and bless you His way!
Believers should always be growing; always moving forward because if we are not moving forward, we are either standing still, or falling behind. If we always do what we have always done, then we will always be what we have always been. We don’t want to ever become stuck at where we are; we should look towards the future with hope and not be afraid to take the next step toward fulfilling God’s plan for our lives, and God’s plan is all about moving forward no matter what the past looked like. Your past might have been wonderful or it might not have been the best, but your future blessings cannot be obtained as they are ahead of you and not behind you.
There is only one way to move in the kingdom of God and that is forward. When we move forward the Lord will open the doors that He wants you to go through and He will close the doors that no longer serve a purpose for you. The apostle Paul understood this principle when he said in Philippians 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” It’s important to leave the past behind you so that you can embrace all that God has for your future. If you believe that all things work together for your good, you know that the past has helped make you the person you are today. You may not be all that God wants you to be at this point in time, but you are not the same person you use to be. You have experienced much and your faith has grown to a deeper level. Press on until you reach what lies ahead. There can never be a time or place in our lives that we stop moving forward!We are not finished yet! The future is full of all kinds of possibilities.
Have you ever come to the conclusion that there was something in your life that you very much wanted but that it seemed impossible to happen? You thought about it, you dreamed about it yet you accepted the fact that it will never happen. The dictionary defines the word ‘impossible’ as ‘incapable of being or incapable of occurring.” I’m sure that many of you feel that way or have felt that way in the past. You have asked God for the impossible because there is no way you could bring it to pass on your own. And, it doesn’t have to be something materialistic; it could be your not being able to forgive a certain person for something they did in the past to you. Or, it could be you need a healing miracle for yourself or a loved one. But the good news is that because of Jesus Christ we always have hope; Why? Because with God ‘all things are possible.’ That dream, that forgiveness, that healing, they are all possible. How do we move from impossible to possible? The answer is not difficult at all – the answer is PRAYER! Prayer is the key that opens the spiritual doors to the ‘all things are possible’ mansion in the kingdom of God.
When life overwhelms us, the best thing we can do is keep our eyes upon Jesus. Jesus wants to encourage us; He wants to lift us up and He wants to give us strength when we need it. You will be encouraged; your burdens seem lighter and you find strength after you have spent time in prayer. This is what being in the presence of the Lord will do for you. You won’t get encouraged, or uplifted or strengthen by being with people in the world. You don’t go to a pizza restaurant to get barbeque; you must go where you will find what you are looking for, and when you are looking for the impossible, going to God is your only resource. Don’t be afraid to pray or wish that you could pray like someone else. Just pray simply and honestly. And, the best way to pray is to pray from the heart. Whether you’re kneeling, walking, or lying down. God isn’t interested as much in your posture, whether you are standing, sitting or on your knees, as much as He is in the position of your heart. You don’t want Him to find that your heart is closed; a closed heart means that there are things hidden that you do not want to deal with. A closed door may hide anger, bitterness, unforgiveness. But a submitted heart leaves the door wide open for God to work through you.
If our heart is open then we will want to spend time with God; either enjoying his presence, in worship, reading His Word or talking with Him. I love what Paul says in Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” Do you think that way? Do you realize that no matter what you have prayed about – no matter how impossible it appears to be – God is able to do more than that? With God you always get more! God is not confined in any way. We might limit Him in our thinking and put Him in a box, but God is bigger than our box; God has no boundaries or parameters or limitations. With people you might get less than you expect, but with God, He will exceed your expectations. Remember that prayer makes all things possible.
The one thing that we, as Christians, can never lose besides our faith and trust in God, is our hope in the Lord during trying times. If you lose hope in what God can do to change your circumstances, you will not find another answer. Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is the anticipation and expectation that God will turn everything around and bring you out of the storm. Hope is a powerful thing if you are ever forced to walk through a severe storm in your life. For some, it will be the difference as to whether or not they make it all the way through the storm or not.
When your circumstances are tempting you to lose your hope in God, you must remember that God is able to bring goodness out of difficulty; God is able to bring life out of death and God is able to bring joy out of pain. No one’s journey on this earth will be easy, but it is a journey that requires you to have hope in God. God made you and He has saved you. No one else can take His place. Believers have something non-believers don’t have. We have Almighty God who has the power to deliver us from any circumstances that come our way. Trouble can come in an instant and that is why our hope and trust in God must remain active at all times. Hope tells your mind that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Faith, mixed with trust, joined with hope, is a three-fold cord that will keep you intact during your struggles so that you make it to the finish line. But if you lose your hope anywhere along the line, and your faith and trust levels decrease, you are putting handcuffs on your deliverance. God can only work with you if you are still out there on the playing field trying to win. He will not work with you if you are sitting on the bench wallowing in your own self-pity! You can only win in this life is you stay on the playing field and you keep pressing on.
Our hope, as Christians, is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ. If you are going through a struggle of any kind right now and it looks like your dream is not going to happen, visualize Jesus standing at the end of a tunnel holding your dream in the palm of His hand. Keep that vision in the front of your mind and see it when you start to doubt or want to give up. Your faith is vitally important. It is the difference between life and death. It is the difference between seeing your dream come to pass, or letting it pass you by. No matter how tough your circumstances are right now, nothing will happen if you have lost hope, but everything can happen if you keep hope alive.
Have you ever sat down and considered just how good God has been to you? If you have, I’m sure you are just over-whelmed at the mercy and goodness of God. God’s blessings and benefits to us should leave us speechless and on our faces in total gratitude. Our hearts should be full of joy and our eyes full of tears when we recognize the depth of God’s love for us. Think about the prayers you have prayed from the bottom of your heart knowing that God, and only God, could help you. And then one day you find out that God not only heard you, but He answered you by doing exceedingly above what you asked for.
How do you thank God for forgiving you of all your sins? How do you thank God for healing all of your diseases? How do you thank God for reaching down into the pit and placing you in a palace? How do you thank God for taking what Satan meant to harm you and turning it around for your good? The short answer is – you can’t! You will never be able to pay back God for all His gifts to you because you can’t out-give God! God is the greatest Giver of all! Everything we have is a gift from God, but we should live in a state of gratefulness and be determined to render to God all that we are capable of.
Most people never consider God’s blessings to them. They don’t realize that God is still giving to them day after day. Until we are sick, we forget to thank God for our ability to get out of bed every day and get ourselves dressed. But these are all gifts from God and we need to let Him know how grateful we are to have them. Psalm 116:12 says “what shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?’ Now, there are many ways to show God how much we love Him; in other words there are many ways to give back to God. You can give God some of your time. It doesn’t take much to spend 5, 10 minutes alone with God. Talk to Him; tell Him how much you love Him; tell him how grateful you are for all He has done for you and your family. Give back to God by being a good example of a wife, mother, husband, father, friend and by being a good boss or employee. 2 Corinthians 5: 20 says that we ‘are ambassadors for Christ.” You are an ambassador at home, in the workplace and every where you go. You give to God when you forgive a wrong that has been done to you. You also give to God by the way you treat people. Treat others the same way you want to be treated.
Remember, your giving, no matter what form it is in, is a reflection of your love for God and your gratitude for His grace and gifts to you. God is good and He desires that all of His children give out of love and reverence for Him so that the world will know that He is love and loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son so that we might have life and life more abundantly.
One of life’s greatest blessings is to have a godly mother. Mothers carried us inside their wombs for nine months, and endured the painful birthing process. That alone deserves a medal of honor. Nobody can argue that mothers give significantly more of themselves to raising their children on a daily basis than they get credit for. Yet, mothers rarely receive the honor they truly deserve. So everyone, take advantage of this opportunity you have to say thank you to the one person in your life who is responsible for raising you, loving you, protecting you and who made sacrifice after sacrifice for you.
Mothers, when your children were babies, you probably dedicated them to God and as you watch them grow up, remember that God has a plan and a purpose for them. Let your children see your faith in action. Children learn much by observation and they are always watching, probably more than you know. Do all you can to influence your children to live a godly life; pray for them; have compassion, and stand firm on your faith. Countless mothers have learned to let go and let God do a work in their children that only He can do and they have learned that God is faithful.
For those of us who no longer have our mothers here with us, pay honor to them by carrying out the desire of their hearts and that is to serve Jesus Christ all the days of our lives. If you have a godly legacy, keep the torch burning by passing on the faith that has sustained so many before you. Spiritual legacies are eternal and invaluable. Heaven and earth will one day pass away but if you are walking in the salvation and faith of your godly mother, seeing you in Heaven will be her reward.
Mothers, we thank you and honor you and pray God’s blessing upon you!
All of us will go through a period of feeling so overwhelmed that we think we can’t take it. We become overwhelmed by life itself, by people, by our circumstances; by the demands placed on us and it isn’t always easy. It’s important that we understand that God knows our abilities. He knows what we are capable of. He knows what we can and cannot handle. One of the many attributes of God is that He is an architect. God has designed you just like an architect designs a building. Understand that even though an architect never drives a bulldozer, or picks up a hammer or nail, he builds the building with specs to determine what grade of concrete, and steel and wood he must put in the building. He designs it in a way to determine how much weight the building can stand. You have been designed by God. He designed your strengths, your will, your personality and your tenacity and He already knows how well you will stand up under pressure. He knows exactly what you have been designed to do in your lifetime and He knows that when the time comes, you will be able to handle the challenges you face.
The Bible says that God is faithful, and he will not allow us to be tempted beyond our abilities and that He will provide us a way of escape so that we may endure. So when God says you are able to endure it, it is more than a word of encouragement. It’s a word from the architect who constructed you, and He knows what you are design to do and what you were not meant to do. That’s why you’re not going through what someone else you know is going through. They have the grace for it – you don’t! Your test and your temptation is determined by your construction and God’s purpose for you. You can’t take what has been designed for someone else and they can’t take what has been designed for you! God’s grace is given to you exactly when you need it and you will find that it is more than sufficient.
God’s favor follows His grace and that is the key to over-coming every challenge that will come your way. You only get to see what you are made of when your must endure the burdens that are put on your shoulders alone to carry. You have a job to do and only you can do it. You have a purpose to fulfill and only you can fulfill it. You will win every time not only because of who you are but who you belong to. Look for the grace of God in your life and you will also find His favor.