Defining our enemy

This weekend I am privileged to go into several prisons and minister to the inmates incarcerated there, (and the guards that watch over them, who are in many cases just as hardened as the inmates). I’ve been praying that the Lord will go before me to open the hearts and minds of the men and women inside. I’m also praying that the Holy Spirit will speak through me and the others, and give us the truth of the Gospel that they need to hear in order to receive Christ.

I was listening to the song “Imagine” this morning and thinking of the contrast of those prison yards to heaven. The lyrics in part are as follows:

“I Can Only Imagine”

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When your face is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for your Jesus?
Or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence?
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
And I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine

When someone has lost all hope it is hard to envision heaven or anything good. Many on prison yards and in life on the outside have simply lost all hope and essentially given up. Their problem is that they simply don’t understand the love of God.

I have been called an “eternity thinker” because I constantly think beyond this brief life which only averages 79.9 years. I think to the time we will enter heaven to be with our Lord and Savior FOREVER! Hope springs eternal to eternity thinker, and I encourage you to become one. It puts life on this planet into perspective, we only struggle for a little while.

God does not want us to be discouraged. He has a plan for our lives and it’s a good plan. He doesn’t want anyone to fail, not even the worst of the worst by human standards. He sees what we can be through His Son Jesus Christ, not what we are without Him.

So many have no sympathy for inmates, or for that matter any sinner. Such hypocrisy! The Bible states that we ALL have sinned and continue to sin until we are finally called home, perfected, and allowed to enter heaven.

I have watched General after General go on the news and insist that before we can vanquish an enemy we must identify it. They are referring to President Obama’s staunch refusal to name radical jihadists as the real enemy. I get that, but who is our real enemy?

The answer can be found in Eph.6:12 – 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.

This verse plainly identifies that our fight is not with human beings such as jihadists, inmates, prostitutes, politicians and other sinners, but with demonic oppressors led by Lucifer. He wants to destroy Christ and the church and while we are busy judging and condemning anyone who doesn’t measure up, evil is spreading unabated.

So if we identify satan as the enemy, how do we combat him? The Bible has an answer and it comes from the Apostle Paul. I have broken down each sentence and numbered each point in order to make it easier to understand. .

Eph. 6:14

  1. Be ready!
  2. Let the truth be like a belt around your waist,
  3. And let God’s justice protect you like armor.
  4. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet.
  5. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
  6. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet,
  7. And for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.
  8. Never stop praying, especially for others.
  9. Always pray by the power of the Spirit.
  10. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.
  11. Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news.
  12. I was sent to do this work, and that’s the reason I am in jail.
  13. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should.

So there you have it. God’s perfect formula for success.

  1. Truth
  2. Justice
  3. Desire to share the Gospel
  4. Faith
  5. The blood of Christ’s saving power
  6. Presenting the Gospel through the Holy Spirit’s guidance
  7. Prayer

It is referred to in the Bible as putting on the “full armor of God”. Are you suited up and ready for battle today? It isn’t reserved just for two day prison events. The passage begins with “Be ready”, that means we need to fight each and every day including today.

Are you ready?

James 4:7

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

May 18, 2016 – Click here to listen

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