I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about what God is doing in our church. Often these Pastor Chats focus on theological issues, but this time around I thought I would share some praises.
In the last few months there have been multiple conversations between people about how God is using the book of Daniel in their lives. There are people who don’t know much about the Bible or the God of the Bible who are learning about God, His Sovereignty, and it is causing them to rethink all of life, their own beliefs, and God’s purpose for their lives. In the last week alone I have had four conversations along these lines and it pumps me up for ministry (this gets me excited – please be in prayer for these people that the Lord uses these conversations to lead them to Christ and that the demonic realm will not interfere). I am not the only one who has had such conversations – our staff and leadership have had multiple opportunities like this recently. God is on the move!
While good things are going on, Satan would love nothing more than to try to derail Grace Church (and all churches in West Seattle and White Center). As my former mentor used to say:
“When God’s at work, the flack starts to fly as Satan tries to stir stuff up!” – Pastor Charles Baxter
This leads us to the message of Daniel for the next 3 weeks – in chapters 10-12 there is a final vision given to Daniel about End Times and the Great Tribulation time period as mentioned in 9:26-27. After receiving the vision, Daniel mournfully lamented, prayed, petitioned, and had a modified fast as he grieved and humbled himself before the LORD to seek understanding from the vision. What happened, then, for Daniel was 21 days of a spiritual warfare, but for Daniel he didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes.
We face spiritual battles daily – but often we don’t realize what is happening around us in the spiritual realm. We often are overwhelmed with the stress of life, we fight with our spouse, argue with our kids, and feel flustered – some of this is just life smacking us in the face, but sometimes there is a spiritual element attached to it. Either way (whether spiritual battle or the stresses of life getting the best of us) the solution is the same: (1) humble yourself before God; (2) draw near to God; and (3) resist the devil and he will flee (see James 4:6-8).
Friends – our struggle is not against flesh and blood, it is not against your boss, your wife, your kids, your neighbor, or your friends – our struggle is primarily a spiritual struggle (Eph. 6:10-20). If we draw near to God through Jesus Christ, He will help us overcome the struggles of our flesh and if there is a demonic element to the struggle the devil will flee as you tell him to, “Go away in Jesus’ name!”
As you face these struggles on a daily basis, watch this video clip to help you understand what is going on and how you can overcome in Christ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5MJ7ypuhgY&list=PL047qw1OfpGeqU-YVFSSeeFzTBwhyb7Je, and remember what CS Lewis said so that you don’t get off track:
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
– C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters