Tag Archives: Fight

It’s not Weakness; It’s Strength

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Philippians 2:5-8
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

We live in an arrogant age. The race of men have deemed themselves worthy of all that is around them. They continually speak of all that is their right or what they are entitled to. When they are treated harshly, then they are consoled by others who explain that they don’t deserve such treatment.

I cannot simply refer to society as “they”; it is “we” and me as well.

Our children get everything they desire and aren’t taught how to do without. They don’t see what they are being given as being a privilege. They see it as a necessity or right. They deserve it.

I think of times when people drive down the road – if someone cuts them off or drives too slowly they get angry. In fact, people get angry for a lot of things these days. We don’t seem to know how to take it easy anymore – our society is a high stress society.

We are arrogant people who say we are right and everyone else is wrong. We condemn more than the lifestyles that others live, we condemn the people that live them. We get angry and make sure we have the “right” to say our piece or to get them back for what they said or did. This is all arrogance.

Arrogance and selfishness go hand in hand. Every sin ever committed had its roots in selfishness. I can’t think of a single sin that you can’t boil down to selfishness.

Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not pointing fingers at a lot that I’m not involved in. I’m just as guilty, though I’m learning to be more aware each day.

Through our arrogance we bicker and quarrel. We see humility as weakness, or at best we say we desire humility but keep acting in our arrogance. We have a hard time considering others as our equals or even as our superiors, though this is exactly what Jesus did. He put our needs before his own as he went to the cross for us.

Humility, I find, is not weakness. In fact, it takes a strong person to be humble, but those who are truly humble don’t find strength in themselves for we are all frail humans. True strength that sustains humility is found in the confidence that God is sovereign and cares for each of us.

It is because of Jesus that I can take the insult without retaliation. It is through his strength that I feel no need to put myself first. It is only through his wisdom that I can put my wants aside for the sake of others’ needs.

I have a long way to go as I seek the humility of Christ in me, but I desperately want it. Unfortunately, in order for anyone to learn humility God will put them in situations where they must practice it among people who aren’t.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. In fact, there has been a recent study of the most successful businesses in America that showed that the vast majority of those business’s leaders are successful because they are humble people who seek quality in their work without need for praise of others.

Even more so, however, the scripture reminds us over and over that God brings down the arrogant but exalts and gives grace to the humble.

May we become more like Christ as we seek true humility in our lives. May we do more than just say words that sound like humility – may we truly be humble. Then, may we be the catalysts for change in our communities as people see the nature of Christ in us, for if we continue in our arrogance we will only see decline and contempt for the church.

I hope this impacts you like it does me. I want this badly, and I’m going to be pursuing this. I don’t expect it will happen overnight, but I want the nature of Christ to be event in me – Philippians 2 calls me to that.

 

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Waging War with a Pocket Knife

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Imagine the scene with me if you will. You’re watching the news some evening when you see a report that there is intelligence that Iraq is planning to invade your country. Iraq apparently has specific targets that they want to hit and certain people they want to assassinate.

As the news report goes on they begin to give the list of people targeted, and your name is on the list. You’ve never been a threat to Iraq, but there it is – your name – in living color on the screen.

Immediately your phone begins to ring, and it is family members and friends calling concerned about your safety. Government officials call as well to offer their support, but one after another you turn their offers down. You tell them you believe it isn’t going to happen, so you don’t want to change your life based on an assumption that probably isn’t true.

Over the next week you go about your normal routine with work during the day and watching your favorite shows on the tube each evening. During your favorite show one evening the news cuts in with breaking information about the beginning of the invasion of Iraq into the country, and they’re starting in your state.

This raises concern, so you do the only logical thing you can think of. You have put this off for so long. Now it is down to the wire, so it is time to get ready. You want to be prepared for the battle, so you go to your room and open your closet. There, on the shelf, is your trusty pocketknife.

You take the pocketknife and head back to the couch – fully prepared for the invasion to come.

What’s about to happen? You’re about to get assassinated, that’s what. A country has declared war on you and you come to the gunfight with a pocketknife.

This scenario sounds totally ridiculous, but it happens to each one of us every day.

My friends, Satan has your name on his list of people to assassinate. He may not physically kill you, but he definitely wants to render you ineffective and useless. There is a war. You are in it. But you don’t even realize it.

In Ephesians, Paul speaks of the severity of this war that is raging all around us with the spiritual forces of evil. So many of us, however, bring our pocketknives to the battle.

What do I mean? Scriptures mention the Word of God as being a sword. But we’re not fashioning our lives according to the Bible. We are also called to pray, and yet we do that as an afterthought. We spend countless hours preparing plans for how we are going to live our lives. Then we stop and pray and ask God to bless our plans.

We are coming to the battle with weak weapons at best. No wonder so many of us are spiritually struggling. You’re a prisoner of war, and only desperately seeking the King will set you free. When you seek Him in this manner He will send His Spirit to free you from the bondage of sin and selfishness. He will free you to live a full life. It is a life of service, but this isn’t the empty unfulfilling kind of service. This is service that brings you joy and excitement in your life. It is service to the One who loves you and whom you love. That kind of service doesn’t feel anything like slavery…it feels like freedom.

Back to the weapons, however. When Satan was attacking Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus fought Satan off not with a sword but with the Sword of the Word of God. He quoted scripture to put Satan in His place. Do you know any scripture by heart? The more you know the scriptures in your heart (i.e. memorized) the easier it is to allow that scripture to help you have the best life possible. It truly helps to direct your paths to a place where there are no regrets.

The weapon of Prayer is offensive and defensive. Through prayer we have communication with our Commander in Chief – God Almighty. He is the source of all power, and if we try to fight this battle or make these plans without that power we will constantly fail.

So what do we do? We pray, but normally it is a prayer around the table to thank God for the food. Or maybe it’s a prayer before or after a meeting to ask God’s blessings on said meeting. When was the last time you really spent some time deeply praying to the Father about the things on your heart? When was the last time you emptied yourself to the Father who loves you and wants to refill you with all good things? When was the last time you prayed to God asking for His direction instead of telling Him your plans and asking Him to bless them?

We are called to wield powerful weapons. These weapons have healed the sick. These weapons have driven out demons. These weapons have raised the dead. And Jesus gave these same weapons to us.

It’s time to get engaged in the battle. If you haven’t been fighting, then you are already a prisoner of war. Satan has already rendered you useless. But God can reenlist you and wants to do so. If you’ve already made a commitment to Him at some time in your life, then He just looks to you to re-commit, to re-dedicate your life to him. Prayer is a good weapon to use to do that.

If you haven’t committed yourself to the battle in the first place, then there is no better day to start the fight than today. Before Jesus ascended to Heaven to prepare the victory celebration for you, he said that whoever believes in Him and is baptized would be set free from sin. But all those who don’t believe are prisoners still.

May you join the fight. May you bring more than a pocketknife. The devil is out to get you, and this battle is more real than what you can see. Let’s not waste another day; rather, let’s use the weapons given to us to proclaim victory in Jesus’ name!

If you’d like to talk more about this – especially about committing your life to Christ – then please feel free to contact me at 979-245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you, and keep fighting!


And You Were Wondering Why?

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I have three children, and as they grow up it is fascinating to watch them learn about the world around them. Sometimes it’s downright hilarious. So many of the things they do as they learn could easily be avoided, but for the sake of learning I allow them to experience certain things.

For example, my son might want to open a certain door in a funny way – again, he’s experimenting with his hands and his body. I warn him that if he does it THAT way he’ll hurt himself. Guess what he does. He does it anyway, and he gets hurt. That part isn’t funny.

The part that is funny is that when he gets hurt, he looks up at me with this bewildered look as if it were my fault that he got hurt. It wasn’t my fault. I tried to warn him. I tried to provide him with the skills he needed to make the right decision and avoid the pain, but he didn’t listen, so he suffered the consequences.

While I may snicker at the experiences of my son or daughter, I have to remember that we are not much better than they are. We still struggle with the same desires and temptations. Or temptations may be bigger and hold greater consequences, but underneath we suffer from the same selfishness.

I know I do it. I want to be in control of my own life. Don’t tell me what to do…I’ll figure it out.

It’s because of this natural reaction in me that I respond to God the way I do.

Do you realize that God has offered the knowledge of how to live in such a way that you have the best life possible? It’s all right there in the bible. We claim to be followers of Christ, but our lives are a mess, and we blame God or question Him about it. We do the same thing my son does to me. We refuse to listen, and then we wonder why God let the bad stuff happen.

The other day, I was listening to Don McLaughlin. He is a great speaker with many wonderful insights into the Christian life. His topic was the section of Ephesians 6 that talks about the armor of God. What he said was totally relevant to all of us.

Basically, he showed us that God has given us this armor in Ephesians 6, but so many times we want to try to live our life our way without putting on the armor. Then, things don’t work out, and we look to God for someone else to blame, when it was our fault all along.

Look at the armor: salvation, righteousness, truth, the good news of peace, faith, the Spirit through the word of God, and prayer. If we have all these things – if we pursue them, then the other things that happen in our lives will work so much better.

We cannot control how other people act, but we can control how we live our lives among those who live theirs.

I want to live with the armor on, because, truly, if you don’t have on the armor, you’ve already been taken a prisoner of war by God’s enemy.

So may you join with me in suiting up. May we begin the fight in our lives, and may the light of God’s presence be evident in us as we vanquish all the flaming arrows of the evil one through the power of God.

If you want to talk more about this armor beginning even with that helmet of salvation, then please contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at my office at 245-1611. If you’d like to simply comment on this article, you can do so at www.mrdobbs.org.

God bless you, and may we see victory as we allow God to work in and through us!


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