Did you know that there is a battle going on right now as you read this devotional? I’m not talking about a physical battle although we feel it physically. I am talking about a spiritual battle. It is raging all around us. It began when Satan was cast out of heaven. It raised its head in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve received a fatal blow that we feel the result of even today. The battle continued when Jesus came to this earth to walk among us. The devil was brazen enough to even tempt Jesus in the wilderness and think that he could defeat Jesus on the cross. If the devil is going to attack Jesus, then he is definitely going to go all out on us.
Our destiny will be determined by how we respond to this spiritual war waged around us. This battle is between good and evil, light and darkness; and it is no respecter of any person. The difficult thing about this battle is that most Christians do not recognize that it is even happening. When you don’t know you are in a battle then you won’t be ready to enter the battle with any kind of spiritual weapon. We have been given so much in order to prepare and do battle with this unseen darkness. Satan is working overtime to blind the eyes and minds of people to keep them from seeing the glory of Christ, but Jesus has come to bring light so that people can see things as they truly are.
What would you say if I told you that every problem we face is a direct result of the spiritual war we are living in? Discouragement, fear, divorce, addiction, and uncontrolled anger are all a direct result of this battle. No one is immune to the consequences of this warfare.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5
The enemy will never overcome the Lord just like darkness never overcomes light. Through Jesus’ death, resurrection and life, we have all that we need in order to live victorious and overcome the darkness. As a matter of fact, Jesus lives in the believer and is able to take down strongholds you may be facing.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
We are the jars of clay…
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Since we are in a battle and we have the resource to defeat it, let us live like it. We are called to be ready at all times and be prepared in and out of season. Rise up church and take your place in this battle for not only will you impact your destiny, you will help determine the destiny of those within your sphere of influence. The last time I checked, that means more than your immediate family. Turn to the source of all things and follow His lead. He will lighten your load and give you peace in the midst of this battle.
Looking forward to a great day on Sunday as we come together to seek the heart of God.
Joy in Jesus!
Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. 2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. 3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. 4 I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. 5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. 6 I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, 7 proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. 8 O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells. 9 Do not sweep my soul away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, 10 in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes. 11 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. 12 My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.
I love the Psalms. Many are written by King David like this particular one. It really puts things into perspective. I think an interesting side note about verse 2 is that in the Hebrew it not only says to test my heart, it says to test my kidneys. Do you know the older I get the more I feel my kidneys are tested all night long? That was random. You have to look a little deeper sometimes to get the whole jest of a passage. That may be a little too deep.
David is confident in his relationship with the Lord. He has walked in integrity and trusted the Lord without wavering. This seems to be a current stance he is taking. We know that there was a time in his past when he did not take such a stance. But he has been forgiven and has moved past his past. Part of what helps him to do that is hanging out with those who are walking in integrity, hanging out where truth is being spoken, and setting his eyes on the path the Lord has laid out for him. Sounds like a recipe for a consistent walk in integrity. You can’t expect full-time victory in your life if you are only walking in part-time faith. It’s presumptuous to think that you will reap something you are not walking.
David is washing his hands, in other words, cleansing his life of evil deeds. He attends public worship where God’s glory is manifested, so that he could give thanks and proclaim God’s wondrous works. We are called to do the same: confess our sins to God, celebrate the atoning sacrifice of Christ and join together with other believers to worship God for who he is, what he has done, and what we are trusting him to do.
David concludes by separating himself from evildoers (vs. 9-10), living with integrity (vs. 11), and continuing to meet together in worship with God’s people (vs. 12). That sounds like a rhythm I want to be in. Can I tell you… I am so glad that I am doing life with this church. There is no other church like this church and we are blessed to journey together on this side of heaven.
Joy in Jesus!
Come to Boost tonight 6:45pm and learn about the Biblical Freedom our founding fathers fought for.
When the disciples would see Jesus go off and pray, I believe they were wondering what all he was praying about. It comes down to more than lists. It is a frame of mind and a oneness that was the focus. During the day Jesus would be teaching and in the evening he would be off by himself praying.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus touched on the area prayer before he taught them the Lord’s prayer. He said not to be like the hypocrites who stand and pray for others to see. It is better to seek the audience of One than to seek the applause of men. He also said to not use man words for God already knows your need before you ask him. He then put out the pattern for prayer found in Matthew.
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:9-15
I want to especially draw your attention to verse 11. Asking the Lord to give us our daily bread.
A physician name William Ostler was one of the founders of John Hopkins University. Early in his life while he was still in school he was filled with worry and anxiety about the future. His final exams were coming up, and he was uncertain about what would happen after graduation. One night he happened to pick up one of Carlyle’s books and read the following sentences: “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” Those lines make a difference.
Years later when he returned to his native England to receive a high honor from the King, he said in his acceptance speech: “More than anything else I owe whatever success I have had to the power of settling down to the day’s work and trying to do it to the best of my ability, and letting the future take care of itself.”
If you are unsettled with an issue that may be going on in your life today, then take the words of Jesus as he modeled it for all to see. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Give over your cares to the Lord and watch his peace flow through your heart.
“O God, grant us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed; the courage to change what can be changed; and the wisdom to know one from the other.” Reinhold Niebuhr
There is no one who cares for you more than Jesus. He is walking with you no matter where you have been. Give Him this day and trust his heart to give you what you need for tomorrow.
Joy in Jesus!
The Prayer March is just a few days away. I am getting excited to gather with other churches in the center of our city as we call upon the name of the Lord. I am preparing my heart by praying for our prayer event. Would you pray with me as we prepare to come together to seek the Lord?
2 Chronicles 7:12-20
12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 17 And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
There are several key elements in verse 14 that will move the heart of God and is worth noting:
So as we can see from the verses that follow the famous 14th verse that there are good consequences and bad consequences. We naturally choose the path we tread by the actions that follow our prayers. Something to think about as we prepare to call on the highest Name that is in and above the land.
I hope to see all of our church gather at 10:00am on Saturday who are not working or on vacation. We will have a couple of golf carts for those who are not able to walk the whole way. If you are not physically able to walk the distance then we hope to see you at Dorney Plaza at Noon.
Joy in Jesus!
‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27
3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4
If you were at church on Sunday then you were able to see a video premier of our own church people about the need for Jesus followers to come out together and pray on Saturday, October 2. Our community and our world need to see people desperately trusting in the Lord from our hearts. God’s Word will not return void. We must seek and pray. We will leave the church at 10am on that day and make our way to Dorney Plaza in the center of town in order to pray for our Nation. Would you join us?
I had the media contact me on Monday trying to find out what in the world we were doing. Let’s show them by coming together with the masses and calling upon the One who is our only hope.
This summer we had a Patriot Rally at our church. I want to share a prayer I prayed to begin the rally that was offered by Rev. Joe Wright in the Kansas State Legislature on January 23, 1996. It was said that most of those in attendance were outraged and some walked out. Without a doubt, it is a blunt and a direct indictment on modern culture. It’s amazing how things were just as bad 25 years ago. God help us!
“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance. We know your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we’ve done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it moral pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our fore-fathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us O God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you, to govern this great state. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ.
Amen.” – Rev. Joe Wright
The church needs to rise up. Won’t you join us?
Joy in Jesus!
Throughout my day, I am always looking for things that happen out of the ordinary in order to see God at work. I call those, “Divine Appointments.” When you find yourself doing something that was not planned, it could be a “Divine Appointment.” Let’s call them DA’s. When your order is messed up in a drive thru and you have to go back for the rest of your meal – that was a DA. You forgot your phone on your desk when you leave for a meeting – DA. Someone stops you in the hallway while you are on your way to pick something up – DA. These DA’s happen all day long. The difference between someone who sees them as interruptions and someone who sees them as opportunities is a focus issue.
Tucked away in 2 Chronicles 22:10-24:15, is a story of Joash who was hidden away from his grandmother because she wanted to do away with the whole royal family of the house of Judah. She found that her son, Ahaziah died and she was mad. So she set out to kill all of her son’s family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash, son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. He was hidden for six years while grandma Athaliah ruled the land. That was definitely a DA. God was at work behind the scenes.
Soon, Joash became king at the ripe old age of seven. He reigned in Jerusalem for forty years. “Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest. When Jehoiada died, that is when Joash turned wicked.
What is the lesson to be learned? I am glad you asked. God used Jehoiada to spur on many DA’s. He used Jehosheba initially to protect Joash from being killed. Throughout the story you realize that these DA’s are brought on through faithful followers of the Almighty God.
Be on the lookout for DA’s. Without you being available and discerning the little disruptions from time to time, you will not see the DA’s that God has for you to experience. It’s amazing to look at your day with those lenses. It actually turns interruptions into opportunities. You are much more prepared to go with the flow than you are to complain about the disruption. When seeing God at work all around you, you are much quicker to see DA’s than you are to see coincidences.
In John 5, at the pool of Bethesda, people would lay along the side of the pool and try to be the first one in to be healed of their ailment. Jesus comes along and talks to a man who was lying there for years. He was an invalid and could not be the first one in the water. But he was persistent. That was not enough. Jesus basically asked him if he really wanted to be healed. Long story short, Jesus healed him. The Jews proceed to call Him out on healing this man on the Sabbath. Here is Jesus response to them: 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working” John 5:17.
So embrace interruptions in your day because it may be the Heavenly Father wanting to do more than you could ever imagine. He may want to use you for His next DA.
“Lord, use me today. Help me to be ready for where you are working and that I may put aside my agenda in order to see your amazing agenda.”
Joy in Jesus!
Have you ever noticed that when you have done something for the Lord, resistance is right on the heels of it? I can’t tell you how many times I have seen that happening to the people of our church.
In Nehemiah 4:1-23, we see opposition to Nehemiah as he is rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Whenever you step out and commit your ways to the Lord and make yourself available for Him to do miracles through you, you will find yourself in the middle of spiritual warfare. Sometimes it comes in the form of people resisting or distracting you. Many have backed down and changed what they had been doing in order to keep the peace. But not in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and not with you. After examining the situation, Nehemiah says, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and daughters, your wives and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14).
We need to first test the spirit and see why opposition is happening. More times than not, it will be to stop you from being a conduit that the Lord can work miracles through. There are occasional times when we have done something in the flesh and the type of resistance we experience is a good thing.
Look at what Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Since the first hour in which goodness came into conflict with evil, it has never ceased to be true in spiritual experience, that Satan hinders us. Satan will direct his engines against that very virtue for which you are the most famous. If you have been hitherto a firm believer, your faith will ere long be attacked; if you have been meek as Moses, expect to be tempted to speak unadvisedly with your lips. The birds will peck at your ripest fruit, and the wild boar will dash his tusks at your choicest vines. There was never a revival of religion without a revival of his opposition. As soon as Ezra and Nehemiah begin to labor, Sanballot and Tobiah are stirred up to hinder them. What then? We are not alarmed because Satan hindereth us, for it is a proof that we are on the Lord’s side, and are doing the Lord’s work, and in His strength we shall win the victory, and triumph over our adversary.”
So be encouraged today. If something has been stirred up around you and it is to resist what the Lord wants to do, then just remember that you are more than a conqueror. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. “All things” mean “all things!” That means the battle that is raging around you right now. God will use that to bring about the change needed for a spiritual breakthrough. Praise the Lord!
Joy in Jesus!
When reading about revivals that broke out in the past like the first and second Great Awakening, you begin to realize that when it happens, it is a powerful force and spreads quickly. When it began to happen, many were in opposition because it was so new and different. It reminds me of Peter’s friends praying for him to be released from prison and when the Lord answered their prayer they weren’t ready for it and didn’t believe that it happened. So they left Peter outside in disbelief knocking on the door. When you read some accounts of the revival that swept the Nation, you see the worst conditions quickly turning around in a brief period.
This is a secret Israel discovered during the reforms of King Hezekiah. The Bible reads, “Hezekiah, and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly” (Hezekiah 29:36). This is underscored in James Burn’s 1909 classic, Revivals: Their Laws and Leaders: “Each revival is characterized by the extraordinary swiftness with which it spreads. Once the first words of the new message are spoken, mysterious forces arise, like the wind, and carry them from place to place. The revival spreads like an epidemic. It bursts out in places that have not been in contact with other infected places, and individuals are moved in multitudes.”
We talk about the COVID 19 virus spreading. How about being infected with a revival of God’s Spirit coming and overwhelming us with another great revival? This will only happen if we spend an intentional effort at praying and preparing us for revival long before revival itself takes place. God’s Spirit is always active. Is it active in your life? Are you praying for that to happen?
When the spiritual outlook appears bleak for you, our Nation, our community, our church, remind yourself that God still listens to the prayers of his people and that events can change both rapidly and dramatically. We sure do desperately need God to move in our church, our community, our schools, and our homes. Let me share with you several things that will usher that in.
On Saturday, October 2, there will be a Prayer March happening. Show up at the church at 10:00am and plan to walk downtown where we will pray with other believers at the center of town. If you are able to attend, text “ffcnprayer” to the church (419-422-8660). Don’t put it off, text it now while you are thinking about it.
Another opportunity is to join your church for prayer every Wednesday morning at 6:30am beginning next Wednesday, September 8. Finally, pray in your prayer closet for the Lord to prepare our hearts for what He wants to do. Call some friends and pray together for the Spirit of God to move in our midst. Take every opportunity to prepare and pray. We will all see the results together as we seek God with all of our heart. I look forward to seeing you all this Sunday for our services.
Joy in Jesus!
What a wonderful time at our Church Baptism and picnic. It was so good to hear the testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of our church family. Everything was wonderful. The conversations, the testimonies, the food, bringing all of our services together at the same time, and new friendships developing. I am still praising the Lord for such a great time. I want to thank the Morse’s for opening up their home for our whole family to gather.
I was thinking today that we can’t determine when a revival will sweep the nation, touch down at our work place or school we attend, or even penetrate our church. But we can decide what we want our relationship with the Lord to be like. In Paul’s letter to the church of Galatia, he realized that they had become so entangled in the do’s and don’ts of Jewish law that they weren’t being effective Christians. The Christian life can’t be reduced to a set of do’s and don’ts. Those who are spiritually alive and living in the Spirit of God and following His promptings, like Jesus, feel compelled to “break the rules” from time to time. Not in a bad way, but for the sake of freedom.
Look what Paul writes…
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit brings an empowerment to live as God has called us to live. It is not being forced to live a certain way. It is a natural byproduct of a life lived for God. There is deep fulfillment that is evident in your spirit. Being the pastor and having many conversations with people, I am seeing many people in our church break out of their old ways and experience life in a fresh new perspective with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Let me ask you a question: What new thing have you implemented in this past year that has renewed your spiritual hunger for the Lord? Have you intentionally set out to serve people more? Have you changed up your Bible reading by reading from a new translation? Talked with someone you didn’t know when you were at a store or gas station for the purpose of praying for them? Memorized Scripture verses? Learned your gifts and are applying them in a new ministry? Found victory over a long-standing temptation?
If you can’t think of anything then you are probably in a subtle, but unfortunate rut. You are in the process of shutting others out and starting your own pandemic in a sense. The enemy would like to pull you away from others and speak lies into your life.
Pray and ask the Lord to show or give you something that will put a spark into your relationship with Him. Seek the Lord to help you right where you are. He is waiting for you to open the door to spirit-filled living.
May God give you a fresh new approach to the season you are living in.
Joy in Jesus!
On Saturday, October 2, we will be calling people of faith in our City to converge in the center of town to confess our faith in God. We are in desperate need of the Lord to hear our cry for mercy. We are also in desperate need for the Church to come together. Too many times we let other things distract us from truly coming together. We are basically calling for the Lord to bring a revival.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Shortly following that verse it mentions how this revival is conditional. It is specifically talking to Solomon but I think we can put ourselves in place of Solomon. In verse 17 it says, “If you walk before me as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and law, I will establish your royal throne…” Then in verse 18 it says, “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among the peoples.”
I can’t help but think of how people approach worship in a half-hazard kind of way. Could it be that we have forsaken our first love? We have allowed other things to take first place in our life? It’s time to take heed and realize that the things we are experiencing are a self fulfilling prophecy pronounced by the way we have been living. It’s time to put aside all other gods and put the Almighty God back in first place. As we do I believe we will see people begin to look at our churches differently and not be critically looked at. We should be seen as a place where prayer is a priority, the lost are not marginalized, and the name of the Lord is not only preached but lived in power through the Holy Spirit.
Put Saturday, October 2 at 10am on your calendar now, before something else gets put on that day. It’s for the whole family. Let’s walk before the Lord and our community as one in Christ and pray for our Nation to change, repent, and turn toward the Lord. Another date I would like for you to write down is this Sunday at 4:30pm. It will be at the Morse house located in McComb where we will have a baptism and a picnic. A tent, a pond, good food, and great company will be the order of the day. Plan to be there because another result of our openness for revival is wanting to spend time together.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene