One-man-band

Begin by reading the first chapter of the book of Jonah. You’ll see that Jonah was a one-man-band.  You’ll also see that even though Jonah went against God he was only to be brought back!

I have a way of getting myself into sticky situations that I can never seem to get out of.  Countless times I’ve got myself into deep water. Before I know it I’m in over my head.  No prizes for guessing who has to fish me out all the time- God. Here’s where I go wrong, I swim out in my own strength. In other words I strive in my own strength. I’m ashamed to say but I don’t always rely on God. If I’m being honest I’m a bit of a one-(wo)man-band sometimes. I try to go it alone and do my own thing, in my own time and on my own terms. Sometimes I’m totally unaware that I’ve left God behind, until He comes to my rescue that is. Then I barely take a breather before I jump straight back in the deep end!

Ask yourself?

Are you in the same boat?  Do you ever try to go it alone and find yourself going against God?  Reluctance to go God’s way or do His thing is really resistance.

Time after time I’ve made a right old mess of my faith. You’d think that I’d have learned by now but it’s obvious that I haven’t.  I have to get it out of my head that God is much more of a help than a hindrance. Sometimes when God and I are sailing along and things are going swimmingly I do something really stupid.  Before I know it I’ve pushed Him overboard and grabbed the oars. Before too long I find myself struggling against the tide and wondering why?  The reason why is pretty obvious, one-man-bands aren’t in His plan, God never meant us to go it alone.

Just think of Jonah. He ran as far from God as he possibly could.  God said “go!” and Jonah’s response was “no!”  God clearly said “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh” (Jonah 1:2 NLT) but Jonah’s response was to run the other way.  “Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord” (Jonah 1:3 NLT).  Jonah set sail for Tarshish, not only that, he set sail by himself.  There was no sign of God. He wasn’t in on this voyage.  Jonah decided to do things his way, forgetting about God.  So God decided to do something about it.  God decided to bring him back, “The Lord hurled a powerful wind across the sea, causing a violent storm” (Jonah 1:4 NLT)

Before too long the crew cast lots to see who had offended the gods, causing the sea to rage and the wind to roar.  Jonah was singled out, so he was thrown into the sea.  As soon as Jonah was thrown overboard the storm stopped.  The sea stilled and the wind stopped screaming.  Jonah was given some time to think things through (in the belly of a whale), and he came to the conclusion that being a one-man-band wasn’t what God wanted him to be.

The same goes for us. God doesn’t want us to try to make it on our own because He knows it always ends in failure.  That’s why we should admit when we’re wrong. Jonah did, “throw me into the sea… and it will become calm again.  I know that this terrible storm is all my fault” (Jonah 1:12 NLT).  Before you can be honest with God you have to be honest with yourself. Admit your shortcomings. You can’t walk on with God as if everything’s alright until you see for yourself that you need God’s help.  You have to see for yourself that you’re in desperate need of God before you’ll get anywhere. Do exactly what the sailors did in verse 15, offer Him a sacrifice and serve Him well.

Ask yourself?

In what way can you offer Him a sacrifice?  How can you better serve Him?

Heart-cry…

Almighty God, I’m sorry for being so resistant to Your ways. I admit that I don’t always get it right and sometimes I go against You.  But I’m coming back to You now. Bring me round to Your ways. Help me to rely upon you instead of being so reluctant.  Thanks Father for Your mercy, and Your grace…

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Called to be Rebels

Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6: 10-12 NKJV)

What does God want us to do? What are we called to do? We’re to be rebels. Yes, you heard me right. We’re called to be rebels, against satan and all that he stands for. (We’re not only to stand up for what’s right, we’re to stand against what’s wrong). I don’t mean to scare you but you need to know, satan’s mission is to bring us down. Sometimes he appears to be subtle, at other times you can’t deny that the devil is at work. The devil leads his dark angels in a rebellion against God. Every Christian who stands in his way becomes a target. If you’re on fire for God he will come at you with full force. And if you’re thinking to yourself that it would be best to stay offside you’re wrong. If you aren’t fighting for God, you’re against Him.  The question must be asked, on whose side do you stand?

Stand strong Christian. Stand in the strength of the Lord and stay alert. “Be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour” (1 Peter 5:8 Amplified). He roams the world with no mercy. He will attack any child of God that he comes across without warning. But there’s something that he’s blind to. Esme Hazard and I were having a rather deep discussion about spiritual warfare one day when my friend said something rather interesting, “the lion is on a leash!” He’s so short-sighted he can’t see it! Praise God that He has him bound. He can only do as much damage as the Lord permits. One day he’ll be thrown into the lake of fire, forever! He doesn’t even realise that he’s fighting a losing battle! Thank the Lord that we’re on the winning side, our victory is in Christ.

Think upon these things…

When you’re reading the verses below why don’t you underline the armour that we’re to wear in this spiritual battle.

Jesus leads the revolution. We’re called upon to rebel. He calls us to rise up and take up our arms. Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV) urges us to “stand strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”. We are to “put on the full armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). Ready yourself for the war that rages all around us. “Take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). Take note, this is what we need to wear, “the belt of truth buckled around your waist… the breastplate of righteousness… with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace… take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one… take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6: 14-17 NIV). You don’t stand alone. You stand alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ. Keep your eyes open; we have to look out for each other.

Ask yourself?

After reading over Ephesians 6 can you tell whether or not you’re fighting fit?  Are you up to it?  Be honest, you’re not doing yourself any favours by kidding yourself.

Don’t be discouraged! Don’t let yourself be dragged down- “do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27 NIV). Here’s what we have to do, “resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 Amplified). When you rebel against him he will run the other way! Stand your ground and you will witness God protecting you from the attacks of the enemy. Not only that, He will set you free from the snares of satan. He will help you to endure. If you fight in His strength nothing that the devil throws at you will faze you. Even though the devil hopes to crush Christianity it will never happen in a million years. Why? Because He’s our Strength. The devil doesn’t stand a chance!

Bible-bones

Read through Ephesians 6:10-20 and reflect upon it. Try to memorise it if you can. Pray it every morning before you begin your day. Never forget that we’re in the firing line. We have to protect ourselves in prayer.

Heart-cry…

Use Ephesians 6:10-20 as a prayer…

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