Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4: 5-6
Imagine you are getting out the ingredients to bake a batch of cookies, but you have unknowingly mixed up the salt and the sugar. You end up putting in a dash of sugar and a cup of salt.
Now, picture a little child taking a big bite of one of those cookies. How long will it take the child to realize something is wrong? Do you think he or she will ask for another cookie? Of course not!
The art of seasoning is a matter of balance. Just enough salt to notice, but not too much salt to overwhelm. Salt creates a thirst, a desire for more. As Christians, we sprinkle the salt of God’s grace and gospel into our daily conversations. We don’t saturate every conversations in a way that drives others away. The artful seasoning of God’s loving grace into our conversations will create a thirst and a desire in the lives of others. They will long to know more of Jesus. This is how you “make the most of every opportunity.”
A storm is coming. Or you’re in a storm right now. We all know they’re a part of life. We don’t have to be told that. It’s no surprise to us. What it does is catch us off guard sometimes. We have to be ready. We have to be on guard and have a battle plan working and ready when it comes.
A boss that just wont get off our backs.
A spouse that doesn’t seem to be lined up with you at the moment.
A friend that isn’t really a friend.
A family member that seems like a stranger to you.
A competing co-worker.
All these things and more can be a battle for us at any given time. We know this. We are warned about this in the Scriptures, so that isn’t the problem. The problem is in our battle plan.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities and the powers of the unseen dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
We forget that our battle isn’t with people and get sucked into battling each other. We argue with each other, battle our spouses and divide our own households, families, and work places. In other words, we help the devil carry out his very schemes we want to battle!
You see, there is a battle always going on in the spiritual realm. That’s where the fight is. That’s the battlefield and that’s where we need to fight. The enemy is our accuser. It’s always happening and we need a battle plan.
God is strong and He wants you strong and prepared. You’re up against more than you can handle on your own so take everything God has given you, well-made weapons of the best materials – God’s Word and prayer – and put them to use so you will be able to standup to everything the devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels.
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray first, pray often and about everything. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up that that no one falls behind or drops out.
This is an excellent Battle Plan!
I was invited to a premiere event last week for the movie War Room by the Kendrick Brothers – creators of Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants. This movie is coming out tomorrow, Friday, August 28, 2015. Priscilla Shirer stars in it and Beth Moore has a role too. These ladies are two of my favorite Bible Teachers. This movie is so inspiring. If you are a Believer, go see it. If you are alive and breathing, go see it. You’ll see the power of prayer played out on the big screen. You’ll be moved to get active and speak out boldly and loudly against the enemy’s schemes in your life. You’ll come away with a battle plan. It’s what inspired me to write this message today. It inspired me to get back to my war room battle plan. I know it will inspire you to do the same.
My Dad was very talented when it came to creating things. He created everything from beautiful, fine crafted wood workings that were gifts from our government to others and celebrated in city parades, to houses, and everything in between.
He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
I was so blessed to grow up on building sites and in work shops where my Dad would share his wisdom with me as he worked. One thing my Dad taught me was that wise builders know that every house must have a foundation. A foundation is usually made of concrete or stone and steel, and its purpose is to hold the house up from underneath. Wise builders also know that the foundation must be built on very solid ground or rock. If the house is built on sand, the building will fall when the sand under the foundation washes away in a storm, or when it shifts during an earthquake.
For the same reason, our lives must have a strong foundation. Storms are a part of life. We all will face our share of difficulties and disappointments. Therefore wise people build the foundation of their lives on God, whom the Bible calls the Rock:
“For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?” (2 Samuel 22:32)
[God] alone is my rock and my salvation. (Psalm 62:2)
God is like the solid rock, dependable and durable, on which wise people lay the foundations for their houses. You can always count on God and His Word–the Bible–because they always tell us what is true. Whether building houses or building their lives, wise people will follow a good plan, and there is no plan as good as the one found in God’s word:
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” Habakkuk 3:19
The book of Habakkuk inspired Martin Luther’s reformation and the book “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hunnard. Habakkuk encourages us to question what God is doing in our lives. When we are thrown into suffering for a period of time, or our enemies are prospering while we are just barely getting by, we wonder about the equity of God and life. Habakkuk affirms that God is God and we are made to scale the mountains of adversity. We just need to be still and know He is at work. He is who He says He is and does keep His promises.
God equips His people to scale the heights even in the midst of great challenges. He enables us to go to the higher places with Him where we are set apart from the world. Sometimes the way we have to go to get us there is through suffering and sorrow, but if we rest in Him and trust Him we come out where He wants us.
When Jesus told the disciples He was going to send the Holy Spirit to them, it was in order for them to scale the mountain before them with a new form of power they had not experienced.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)
If you find yourself in a place of doubting God and His plan for your life, know that this is a normal aspect of your journey in God. However, know that God has made available His Holy Spirit in order for you to accomplish the tasks that lie ahead.
Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to achieve the heights for which He has created you.
Through faith in God David conquered a lion and a bear, and afterwards overthrew the mighty Goliah. When that lion came to despoil that flock, it came as a wondrous opportunity to David. If he had failed or faltered he would have missed God’s opportunity for him and probably would never have come to be God’s chosen king of Israel. This was David’s training ground, and a way for GOD to receive glory in the victory.
We wouldn’t think of a lion being a special blessing. I know there have been lions in my own life that I didn’t think were a blessing at the beginning. Normally, we would only think it a cause for alarm. These “lions” are God’s blessings in disguise.
Every difficulty that presents itself to us, if we receive it in the right way, is God’s opportunity.
When the “lion” comes, recognize it as God’s opportunity no matter how rough the exterior.
But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” -Acts 16:28
At this point, an earthquake erupted and the jail cell was opened. “Deliverance! Praise God!” would be the first response by most. But not Paul and Silas. Rather than leave, they stayed. What?! Isn’t that a great sign that God said they can/should go?
Paul and Silas didn’t leave because they were tuned in to God and knew there was a higher purpose for which they were in prison. They were not looking at their circumstance; they were much more concerned about the unsaved guard. The story goes on to tell us how he took them home with him. Not only did the guard get saved but his entire household as well!
How often we are so busy looking for deliverance and comfort from our circumstance that we miss God completely. God is looking to do miracles in our circumstances if we will only look for them. Sometimes as believers we get so obsessed with our goals that we miss the process that God involves us in……which may actually be where the miracle lies. What if a problem has arisen due to something God is doing beyond what you might see at this time? Maybe that person that’s annoying you is unsaved and is there for you to speak to? Our adverse situations can often be the door of spiritual opportunity for those who need it. It’s as if we as believers forget that there indeed aren’t chunks of time that God is not in…as if the situation is separate from Him and His work because the only thing out of our comfort zone where God is concerned is when He asks us to go to Africa. Not so! When God said, “….all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purposes” (Rom 8:28)….He meant all things. “Those who are called” means you, child of God. If Jesus is your Savior, you are indeed called, and He does have great purposes for you. It’s up to us to be faithful in the process.
In your next adversity (or maybe your facing one….or a couple right now) tune in your spiritual antennae and ask God for discernment to see the real purpose for the adversity.
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:32
We forget when we’re in the middle of the chaos, the calamity, the danger, the darkness, that the same God that just brought us this far, is the same God that’s in the boat with us as He’s coming to us as well.
Many of you have incredible storms, adversity in your life and you may be thinking, God, I did everything right, how did I end up in this storm? Every now and then He sends us into a storm to test us and to show us that there’s more in us than we even know or realize. It’s often in a storm that Jesus will come to us in a form that we don’t even recognize. They thought He was a ghost but it was the same Jesus that had just been on the mountain with them all day dividing fish.
The same God that has brought you this far is the same God that’s going to take you to the other side—the same God that has done those miracles in your life before is the same God that’s with you in that storm right now. He will give you the grace and protection to get you through—just don’t take your eyes off Him. The disciples picked up the remnants of the miracle of feeding the 5,000 men (estimated around 15,000 including women and children). Take the remnants of the miracles before the storm into the storms of the future and into your life every single day. God has brought you through some stuff. Just take a few minutes to stop and think of what He’s done before….brought you through….a sickness healed….relationship restored….some open doors that He made happen for you.
Remember that the same God that brought you through that is the same God that will bring you through this. Praise is your weapon.