Issues with the devil (Part 2)

If you don’t have issues with the devil, that means you are on his side. The devil is not your friend. He is not a friend to anyone. The enemy has issues with all of God’s children because God loves us. The enemy doesn’t like the fact that people were created in the image and likeness of God.

  • Genesis 1:26-27 New King James Version26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over [a]all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Some people don’t like to talk about the devil. Some people don’t believe in the devil. But, that doesn’t change the fact that he is your enemy. He actively seeks to destroy people all day, every day. The Bible tells us…

  • John 10:10 New King James Version – The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Anybody that loses their soul to the devil, does so because they have given their soul over to the enemy. That doesn’t have to be you or I. Make a decision to commit your life to Jesus Christ. The crowd that runs with Jesus is small. But, the crowd that runs with the enemy is large because he distracts them with sinful pleasures.

  • Matthew 7:13-14 New King James Version13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

The enemy uses three lures to lead people astray from God. We must fight against these three lures with all our strength:

  1. The lust of the flesh
  2. The lust of the eyes
  3. The pride of life

This is what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

  • Genesis 3:6 New King James Version – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

We must be careful of the desire to want more than what God has already given us. The flesh always wants to be in control. It always wants to sin against God and sin is never satisfied. One sin leads to more sin.

  • 1 John 2:15-18 New King James Version15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Good boundaries protect us from the lures of the enemy. The enemy is called the adversary and a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A sheep is the only animal who doesn’t have any natural defenses. If you only call on God when you need Him, then you need the Lord right now! We need the Lord to defend us from the enemy’s attacks.

The enemy attacks us like a snake–he uses snakebite that is full of poisonous venom. Then he waits for the sin to work. Sin separates us from God. But because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we can be forgiven of our sins.

  • 1 John 1:9 New King James Version If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The devil’s words can lead you to hell. The enemy’s words are lies. If you believe his lies, those lies will lead you to hell. Learn to recognize the enemy’s tactics and his lies so you can avoid him or rebuke him. Don’t let the enemy use you to lure other people to sin or to act contrary to the character of God.

  • Ezekiel 28:13-15 New King James Version – You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.

The enemy convinced one-third of the angels to rebel against God. The enemy is proud and rebellious. He was in charge of the music in heaven. The enemy uses music (with ungodly lyrics) to feed sinful seed into your soul. This can happen subliminally without you even realizing it.

If we learn to humble ourselves, we can protect ourselves from the devil’s devices.

  • James 4:6-8 New King James VersionBut He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Whoever we obey is our father.

  • John 8:44 New King James Version 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

When we want to obey God and practice obeying Him, God is our Father.

  • 1 John 2:3-5 New King James Version Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Strength to Witness with Boldness.

Man is the only being on earth God chose to create in His image and in His likeness. But when man chose to sin, sin separated us from God. Even to this day multitudes of people are separated from God. Yet, God had a redemption plan for mankind from the very beginning. God chose to pay for our sins by sending His Son Jesus to pay for the price of our sins from the foundation of the world.

  • John 3:16-17 New King James Version 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

God ALWAYS has a plan. God is in control. God wants us to be His witnesses on the earth and tell people that their sins can be forgiven and they can be restored to God.

  • Mark 16:15-16 New King James Version15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

The enemy has a plan to stop us from witnessing. He uses fear of the unknown and especially fear of rejection. God wants us to focus on Him and not the “no’s”. Don’t worry about not knowing enough about the Bible. The devil will also use the fear of not knowing what to say to stop you from witnessing. The enemy will also try to make you think you’re not a good enough Christian to witness to anyone else.

But everyone needs Jesus. The wealthy, the highly educated and the successful also need Jesus. People with high social status are often ignored because they have material possessions. Material possessions and influence will not save your soul–they also need to know Jesus. Pray for strength and boldness to witness to people.

  • Acts 4:29 New King James Version 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

If you could get paid $500 an hour with benefits and get paid everyday to share information, would you do it? For this job, training is provided and no qualifications are required. Would you apply today?

God is now hiring witnesses for His kingdom.

God’s benefits are daily–the job includes free soul insurance, a mansion and a chance to retire in Heaven. So why are we not witnessing?

Witnessing is not difficult and God will help us every step of the way.

  • Acts 1:8 New King James Version – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

When an employer hires you to do a job, you show up for work and do the job whether you feel like it or not. God is our Father, but He is also our boss. We don’t tell God what to do, God tells us what to do. Jesus is our Lord, we are to obey Him and follow His example. Jesus’ mission is to seek and to save those who are lost. Now that is our mission too.

Witness to your family, on the job, at the grocery store, in your neighborhood, and wherever you go. But don’t try to lean on your own understanding or strength when witnesses. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit who to speak to and what to say. Then pray for strength to obey. Know this–we can obey even while we are afraid. Yes, witness even when you are afraid and put all your trust in God.

While you are about your daily business, be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. If you overhear a conversation and you have an opportunity to join in and talk about the Lord–seize the opportunity. If God asks you to start a conversation with someone, be friendly, ask questions and then direct the conversation to the Lord. The Holy Spirit will lead you.

To be a witness, you can’t be worried about offending people. Take witnessing seriously. People are going to hell everyday because they don’t know Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. 

Luke 9:26 New King James Version

God Uses People with Issues.

God didn’t save us to be defeated. God saved us to keep us. Believe that not only can you be kept by God–you will be kept by God.

  • Jude 1:24 New King James Version– Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

If we don’t believe we can be kept by God, we will start taking on a mindset of defeat. Before you are defeated, your mindset must be defeated. The enemy defeats us with wrong thoughts. Consider the prodigal son. Before he left home, how did his thinking change? Why did he think his father’s house was not a place of fulfillment and blessing? Why do we think life without our Father God would be better?

The Lord is the only True and Living God.

  • Jeremiah 10:10 New King James Version  But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.

Issues are temporary. No one in heaven has issues. But, while we are on earth we will have struggles, trials and temptations. Believers are not promised a free ride. Sometimes we will have issues that even cause suffering. Just because you are suffering doesn’t mean you don’t have faith. Consider the woman with an issue of blood.

  • Mark 5:25 New King James Version25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

God uses people with issues. We all have issues, so we are all qualified. God wants willingness. He would rather have somebody less qualified and faithful, than someone who is very qualified and unfaithful. Pray to be faithful. In the “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11, every person used had problems.

Consider Gideon. God called him a mighty man of valor while he was hiding like a coward. Why do we have trouble believing God, but we have no problem believing people?

  • Moses had a stuttering problem when he was called to be the voice of God to deliver the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt.
  • Paul was once Saul, who persecuted and killed Christians. After he met Jesus, he became an apostle and wrote most of the New Testament.
  • Peter, the Apostle, was once hot-tempered and sometimes fearful. But through his relationship with Jesus, Peter walked on water, became the leader of the Church after Jesus returned to Heaven and even people were healed by Peter’s shadow.

Don’t try to maintain a reputation by hiding issues. Jesus made Himself of no reputation. God doesn’t condemn you for having issues. Jesus can bring healing and resolution to every problem you face. The Lord is not afraid of your dark times.

  • 1 Kings 8:12 New King James Version -Then Solomon spoke: “The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud.
  • 2 Chronicles 6:1 New King James Version – Then Solomon spoke: “The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud.
  • Job 23:10 New King James Version – But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

Even though you have issues that doesn’t mean God can’t use you. Don’t use your issue as an excuse to turn away from God. God will turn your issue around if you stay faithful to God and continue to show the love of God to others.

  • Job 42:10 New King James Version – And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

God gives grace to the humble and helps them.

  • James 4:6 New King James Version – But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

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Strength to Stay Focused.

Consider this: Are you attending a church where you don’t need to take notes. Something should be said when the Word of God is ministered that you consider noteworthy. Every time Scripture is preached, that scripture is worthy to be recorded in your heart and mind. The Word of God give us strength to stay focused. The Word of God is a living word that changes lives. The Word of God governs the universe. Make a habit of recording scripture and what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you through Scripture. The Word of God tells us to stay focused.

  • Proverbs 4:25 – Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you.

We must stay focused on God and His instructions. But what do you do when God’s instructions don’t make sense? There is a side of God that is not a side of man–God can make a way out of no way. God can make something out of nothing.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Trust in the Lord and stay focused.

  • Matthew 6:33 New King James Version – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

We must have strength in the Word of God and your relationship with Jesus (who is the Word of God) to stay focused when the enemy throws fiery darts our way. The enemy will use doubt, distractions, weariness, lies, attacks against your mind and body, and anything else that will make you back down on your faith in God.

Sometimes when there is a problem and you take the first step of faith, other doors open. This is what happened to Nehemiah. Nehemiah was troubled about the state of affairs in Israel, so he decided to tell the king about the problem.

  • Nehemiah 2:1-6 Living Bible1-2 One day in April, four months later, as I was serving the king his wine he asked me, “Why so sad? You aren’t sick, are you? You look like a man with deep troubles.” (For until then I had always been cheerful when I was with him.) I was badly frightened, but I replied, “Sir, why shouldn’t I be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been burned down.” “Well, what should be done?” the king asked. With a quick prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please Your Majesty and if you look upon me with your royal favor, send me to Judah to rebuild the city of my fathers!” 5-6 The king replied, with the queen sitting beside him, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” So it was agreed! And I set a time for my departure!

Anytime you desire to get closer to God, you are doing a great work. Don’t come down from your walk with God for nobody. If we’re going to stay focused, our actions must stay in line with our confession. People will test you. The enemy will use people to test your faith–test you to see if you are really focused on God. We must learn to use this powerful two-letter word–NO!

Let your no be no.

If we don’t learn to say no, we will open the door to the friend of the enemy–compromise. If you have to compromise your Christian values, then “that” is not for you.

  • Nehemiah 6:1-15 New King James Version – Conspiracy Against Nehemiah – 1 Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. So I sent messengers to them, saying, “am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.

Prayer helps us stand strong against the enemy. Be a praying man or woman of God. Nehemiah was a praying man. Prayer is talking with God. If you really want something to be done–talk to God about it.

Luke 18:1 New King James Version – “… men ought always to pray and not faint.”

  • God wants to talk to you. The Lord is waiting for you to pray.
  • Be committed to rebuilding what needs to be strengthened in your life.
  • Be committed in your relationships.
  • Be committed to not turning back.

“But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:62 New King James Version

There are times if you go back, you will not be able to come back to God. Don’t take chances with your soul. Stay focused on Jesus by staying focused on His Word. There are certain calls on people’s lives that require great sacrifice. When you put God first, the Lord will make sure everything else is taken care of.