Sunday, April 22, 2018
Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Victory)
It’s possible to distinguish the Lord’s light from darkness.
It’s possible to distinguish people living in the Lord’s light from people living in darkness.
God and His accomplices build bridges, relationships, friendships, and families; forgiving, reconciling, healing, helping, inviting, welcoming, including, elevating, and encouraging.
God says, “Come to Me, all and everyone who are weary and burdened, and I will take care of you and give you…”
God’s accomplices cooperate with His caring call.
Satan, the architect of darkness, and its accomplices tear down, pick apart, burn bridges, fracture families, separate, segregate, distance, degrade, denigrate, devastate, and seek to
Satan says, “You’re no good. You’re bad. You’re useless. You’re not invited, welcomed, included, or loved. You don’t belong.”
Here’s the good news: “Darkness cannot overcome the Lord’s light…My children, you have come from God and have conquered these spirits because the One who lives within you is greater than the one in this world…Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
Of course, as Luther cautioned, Satan is “a clever trickster” and its accomplices are sneaky, secretive, slimy, and slithering among the faithful like sleeper cells: “It/they come as angels of light.” Jesus said, “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
Denise Frangipane: “Satan is a master of illusions. He plays upon our weaknesses and exaggerates our problems.” It/they come at our moments of vulnerability.
Certainly, victory is guaranteed for people who really believe in Jesus and are intimate with Him; or as Francis Frangipane wrote, “How do we defeat the enemy? Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.”
Moretheless, Paul used the metaphor of a Roman soldier preparing for battle to remind us of how/why we can live victoriously (read Ephesians 6:10-20).
Here’s an example of how to pray with Paul’s metaphor as a guide:
Lord, I thank You for providing all I need to live victoriously!
You are all I need to live victoriously!
Aware of the dark influences conspiring to move my mind from You,
I close the psychic door; barricading it with the cross of Christ and sealing it with His blood. Knowing You have granted volition to me, I only open this door for You.
I wear the helmet of salvation which is lined with the promises of Your affection and protection. Making all thoughts captive to You and protecting my mind which is a battleground for spiritual warfare, this helmet covers my ears, eyes, and mouth so I do not hear, see, or speak
in unGodly ways. I will not entertain anyone/anything that distracts me from Your holiness.
I place the breastplate of righteousness over my heart which is the wellspring of my life. This is not my goodness. It is Your great graciousness that protects me.
I wear Your belt of truth. Your truth protects me.
I wear Your gospel shoes of peace; therefore, I can stand firm, balanced,
and always ready to follow You. Firmly footed, I look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for You.
I take the shield of faith, my trust and confidence in You as saving Lord,
to protect me from the fiery darts, deceptions, lies, assaults, accusations,
and all other dark strategies. With the hinges of this shield, I am linked
to all of the saints for protection of family, home, possessions, and
I wield the Sword of the Spirit which is the Bible. The Bible contains
Your pure prescriptions for living victoriously. Defensively, I can distinguish Your light from darkness because of the Bible. Offensively, I can bring Your love, light, and salt into the world because of the Bible.
I wrap myself in the mantle of praise because You “inhabit” the praises of Your people. As my praises go up, Your blessings come down.
I place Your cross before me as a banner and guide. I have decided to follow You! No turning back! The cross before me! The world behind me! No turning back! Though none go with me, yet I will follow You!
No turning back!
Thank You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for protecting and preserving me from here to eternity as I pray in Your holy, holy, holy name. Amen.
In short, as Luther taught us to sing victoriously, “One little word shall fell him!…Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He!…And He must win the battle!”
Or as many have done so victoriously when it/they come knocking at the door, “Jesus, please get that for me. Thank You!”
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!