What uncommon things do we want to become common?

Things like:
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.
our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Satan Knows Martial Arts

By Creg

Last weekend we were in Austin for a few days, part business, part pleasure. Sterling & Sierra had their last football game Thursday & Chelsa & I were selling our crosses at the Hog-Eye Festival in Elgin on Saturday. We have never seen so much pig paraphernalia in our lives, but the sausage was outstanding. Their motto was "bringing warm hearts and hot guts." That made a convenient time for us to stay with my friend & former roommate Kent & his family at their house in west Austin. Kent was excited to show me his latest workout regime, Ju Jitsu. He had been taking lessons for several weeks & I provided a fresh grappling partner. He explained that the origin of this martial arts discipline was so a smaller, weaker person could have a self-defense against a bigger, stronger person. The idea is to use your bigger muscles against your opponents smaller muscles. I soon got the idea when he used his legs to wrap around my torso & pull my arm at an awkward angle so I would submit to defeat. My arm is still sore.

The devil works that way too. He knows where you're small. He knows where to attack you to get you to submit to him-anger, lust, deceit. He knows fighting a Christian toe to toe in the open is a defeat for him because of the power we have available to us. Think of the demons every time they came into contact with Jesus. They cried for mercy. The devil knows he can't win if we allow God to fight for us like the Israelite's in Exodus 14 mentioned in the last post.

Does He still do that?

In chapter 3 of his book "Radical" David Platt tells the story of a missionary he met in Indonesia. His name was Raden and he was a Ju Jitsu fighter before he became a Christian. One day Raden was sharing the gospel with a family in their house when the village witch doctor came up to him and wanted to fight. Raden smiled as he thought, "I'll take this guy down in seconds." But when he got up to go outside he felt God tell him that he didn't need to fight, that God would fight for him. So Raden walked outside, pulled up a chair, and sat down in front of the witch doctor. He told his challenger, "I don't do the fighting. My God fights for me." As the witch doctor attempted to speak, he began to gasp for air. He was choking and couldn't breathe. People came running to see what was wrong, and within minutes the witch doctor was dead. Raden thought, "I had never seen anything like this, and I didn't know what to do. But I thought, I guess this is a good time to preach the gospel." Many people in the village became Christians that day.

Have you ever let God fight for you?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Are Your Opponents Bigger, Stronger, Faster?

By Creg

My daughter Sierra & son Sterling play for a home-school football team here in Abilene called the "Wind". Sierra, #11 is on the left & Sterling, #78, is to her left. The picture on the right is Sierra carrying the ball.

John 3:8 is our verse & "Run with the Wind" is our motto. There are 14 players from ages 12 to 14 and they play 11 man [I mean person :) ] tackle football, so there are not any complaints about playing time. Two weeks ago we played a home-school team from Dallas. They had 26 players from the metro-plex area and 1 who drove from Oklahoma to play for them. They had the biggest, strongest, quickest, most aggressive group of players I have ever seen in 19 years of coaching junior high football, by far. We competed fairly well against them but they eventually wore us down and won the game.

Whenever your opponent is bigger, stronger, and faster than you it makes success seem more difficult to attain.

Do you remember a similar situation with the Israelites in Exodus 14? God had delivered them from Egyptian captivity and led them toward the Red Sea. When Pharoah decided to give chase the Israelites were surrounded by the Egyptian army, the desert, & the Red Sea.

What's the usual reaction when your opponent is bigger, stronger, and faster?
12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

In their minds they had already lost. But God spoke.
4 I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”

How will God gain glory for Himself?
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today."

If the Israelites are supposed to be still then whose going to do something?
14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

So what happened?
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

When we are living in the Kingdom of God we can forget about all of the battles we think we need to be fighting & let God win them for us. What might those be?

"Since I gave so much to the mission fund, I'm worried about my finances." "If I study with her she might ask a question that I don't know." "If I show mercy to him, he might take advantage of me." "I'm not sure I can make myself more available for ministry because I might not be able to pay the bills." "I'm not smart enough to teach my own children at home." "If I cut back on my work schedule to spend more time with my family, how will I provide for them?" "I'm too shy to lead a Bible study group."

In vs 21 above, the Hebrew word for wind is Ruah, which means wind, breath, or spirit. It is the word used for the Holy Spirit. How often has God sent His Spirit to help us and we ignore it because we have already let our minds lose the battle before it starts; imprisoning ourselves through worry, angst, fear, being overly cautious, trying to figure everything out on our own and solving it ourselves. We need to remember that God is faithful & trustworthy, giving us power through the Spirit.

I like our mascot.