The Fight Within

 

devil angelI remember the cartoons when I was a kid that depicted the devil with a red body and a pitch-forked tail sitting on one shoulder whispering in my ear. He’s coaching me to do bad stuff. Then, on the other shoulder is an angel trying to coach me to do the right thing. I remember thinking this was “cute” when I was young. As I aged and grew in wisdom, I can see some truth in that. The enemy has never relaxed at pushing me. He is constantly pulling and trying to coach me into areas of weakness of my flesh. As I read God’s Word and lean into Him for wisdom and strength to live out my faith, the fight within keeps going. In Romans 7, Paul, the Apostle addressed this very battle and in fact, he verifies the inward fight. Check this out…

18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me. (Romans 7:18-20 CSB)

There is always a fight with my flesh brewing somewhere in my life. My fight can be traced back to pride. I must constantly beat down pride so that The Lord can do some good work inside my soul. Pride is like the fuel that fuels my fleshly desires of lust, greed and notoriety. When the Spirit can win the battle for my heart, I become humble, grateful and generous. I have been approaching the Word of God differently because I believe The Word is a huge help in putting pride in its place and allowing the Spirit of God to shine through me. I want the Spirit of God to direct my flesh in proper choices and ideas. I want the Spirit of God to win today’s battles. I’ve read the end of the book and I know Who wins in the end. I want to finish my life strong with the Spirit of God clearly keeping my flesh in check.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Pick Your Battles

Teenage girl in trouble with parents
I remember being advised this as a young parent. I wasn’t sure quite what this meant until my kids became teenagers. During the adolescent years when kids are being transformed into adults there are lots of variables for them. They don’t think wisely in general because they are not wise yet – duh. They are growing into adult-hood with the safety net of a family structure to help them. I believe it’s a mistake of a parent to fight over every mistake, infraction, dumb decision, etc. that a kid makes. I do think that there are battles that I simply had to fight – like lying. I had to not only defend my position; I had to destroy their position with truth – if they were defending their choice to lie.

King Jehoshaphat of Judah learned that a vast armies from two different countries were coming to invade and take over Judah. The first thing he did was inquire of the Lord. He called a huge meeting just to seek the Lord together. After praying before the whole assembly, this young prophet had the spirit of the Lord all over him stood up to speak to the king and all the people. Check this out…

15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NIV)

The young prophet spoke truth, because the Lord went ahead of them and both armies were defeated and when Judah showed up they simply took the spoils of war from the armies who were destroyed before them.

I was especially moved by the line that the “battle is not your, but God’s”. I needed to be reminded of that today. There are times when the situation is hard to navigate and I need lots of help. The Lord is there to give wisdom and discernment as I seek to navigate through out my day and throughout my life, for that matter. I would be wise to seek the Lord’s wisdom and direction for my everyday decisions.

He will take on my battles.

He will give me wisdom and direction when I ask.

He will be present no matter what I face.

It is my role to surrender the battle or the struggle to Him and let Him lead me through.

I’m going to relax and let the Lord lead me through any struggle or storm that I face realizing that the battles are not mine – they are His and He’s got this!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Fight For Me

 

I remember 7th Grade as a bit of a dark time for me. I was not a nice kid. Others who quite frankly were troublemakers heavily influenced me and I became a one of them. I was in trouble all the time with the teacher. I was part of group that kept stuff stirred up. I have carried a lot of guilt around regarding my 7th & 8th grade years. I was trying to be something I wasn’t. I did have friends who welcomed me into their fraternity of sorts. I had people who would fight for me and defend me against other kid like me.

One incident sticks out in my mind on the bus ride home one day. I was being a total jerk to this senior and I was 8th grade or 9th – a good bit younger. I was picking on him and he was really ticked off. After he got off the bus, he followed the bus to where I was and jumped me and threatened to beat the crap out of me. I just remembered he about twisted my ear off. I told my Dad my version of the events when he got home, and he went straight there to teach that bully a lesson. He did back the guy up and let him know that it wasn’t ok to fight with a kid younger and smaller than he. I learned some good lessons that day – don’t pick a fight with someone bigger and my Dad would defend me if I needed help.

Moses was about to hand off things to Joshua but before doing so, the nation of Israel had captured a large chunk of territory east of the Jordan. Moses reminded Joshua that the Lord would help them fight. Check this out…

21 At that time I commanded Joshua: ‘You have seen with your own eyes all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. The Lord will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going. 22 Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.’ (Deuteronomy 3:21-22 NIV)

Courage Vs. Fear Bowling Ball Strike Pins BraveryI have learned to be a peacemaker. The Lord is definitely still a warrior who fights for me. He has taught me to trust Him. He goes before me to scout out my next moves. He gives me wisdom and discernment as I go on this journey with Him. I trust His guidance and counsel. I don’t pick fights against the enemy, but I’m not afraid of him either. I have the Power of the Spirit of God with me to help me navigate the toughest challenges.

The Lord has taught me to love deeper than I ever imagined.

The Lord has taught me to be strong even when I feel weak.

The Lord has taught me that His Presence in me is a big Game Changer. He will defend me. He will protect me. He will fight for me.

I’m still being ministered to by this song: Do Not Be Afraid, written and recorded by JJ Weeks Band. I was introduced to this song at the John Berry Christmas concert this past Saturday.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Stand Off

warThere are times when two opposing sides reach a point where they can’t agree or work things out and a conflict is about to begin. There are times when diplomacy reaches the end of its rope. In Isaiah the Israelites were faced with a serious threat from the King of Assyria. Their situation was challenge by an envoy from the King of Assyria. Check this out….

18 ‘Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, “The Lord will deliver us.” Have the gods of any nations ever delivered their lands from the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 20 Who of all the gods of these countries have been able to save their lands from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’
21 But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, ‘Do not answer him.’ (Isaiah 36:18-21 NIV)

 

There are times when I have to stand with what I know in the face of fear. The Lord is stronger than anything I could possibly face or fear. I sometimes just have to wait on Him to show me where and what to move.

One thing I do know about God is that He is not limited by my view of Him. He is much stronger than I could possibly know. His love is deeper and wider than I can fathom. The longer I walk with the Lord the more my confidence in Him grows. I was reminded of a passage in 1 John. Check this out….

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4 NIV)

 

I will not be afraid.

I will be strong.

I will wait upon the Lord.

I trust in Him with all that I am.

Pressing On!
Dwayne