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Tag Archives: Spiritual Warfare

Get Out of Your Way!

You wanna get somewhere in life? Sure ya, do! If you’re going to get that done you need to take my advice and get out of your way. Don’t get your feelings hurt just yet ’cause I get in my own way on a fairly regular basis, too. Trying to learn not to!

You see, God has a pretty unique plan for all our lives. He’s guaranteed us a fulfilling life if we’ll just listen up, pay attention and follow Him. But, we have to deal with all the negative stuff we’ve heard our whole life in the process. So much so that if we’re not careful those things can stall us out from fulfilling our destiny. For some strange reason, we’re more apt to believe that we can’t accomplish something significant than to believe that we can. I mean, we have God on our side! We routinely quote, “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me.” While in everyday life we struggle in menial little things that bog us down and discourage us. Enough of those things strung back-to-back can put us in a mode of perpetual failure. If that’s going to change, you gotta get out of your own way!

Solution: We need to get re-centered on our true identity! You have been handpicked by the Father as His own son or daughter. Of course, you have to **accept that but that’s really all that’s required. Seems easy enough, huh?! You’re a chosen son of the Creator of the Universe Who wants to be a Father to you. Start to lean on Him in every situation. He likes that! He’ll help you up out of the ditch and get your feet on solid ground again if you’ll let Him.

So, get out of your way! ‘Cause a lot of good stands to happen if you’d just do that! Get your focus on and stop spending so much time looking in the rearview mirror!

There’s no tellin’ what you might accomplish in life if you can just get out (and stay out!) of your own way!

**“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God”          John 1:12

 

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It’s The Hardest Part

We lost a great American treasure a year and a half ago, in my opinion, when Tom Petty unexpectedly passed away. One of the great rockers of all-time, who grew up in Gainesville, FL, and was the victim of some pretty violent abuse at the hands of his dad. Music, as it turned out, was a welcome escape from that environment for him. His mom bought him a cheap Sears guitar when he was 14 and the rest, as they say, is history. His band, The Heartbreakers, accomplished what few other bands have ever achieved…and that is the fact that they stayed together, for the most part, for over 40 years! Some would argue that Petty lacked vocal perfection, but if you were fortunate enough to make one of his concerts (we did twice in the last 3 years!) you would hear the bigger part of twenty thousand people, young and old, singing along with every song…..word for word, for two and a half hours! So, Tom Petty fan or not, you’d have to admit that he’ll go down in history as one of the all time greats.

Now, I don’t think every song out there has a spiritual message, unless of course, you want it to. But most songs of any genre will have a line or two that, if you think about it…and try just a little, could definitely be applied in a spiritual way. I’m a ‘music guy’, not a musician by any stretch (I could only wish!), just someone who loves music. So, I hear in just about every song something that catches my attention, something that I can apply spiritually and maybe pass it along to someone else who can catch the truth contained. Many of Tom Petty’s songs have those things I’m talking about; “You Don’t Have To Live Like a Refugee” would definitely be one. Gonna write something up on that ‘un one of these days. And, how about, “I Won’t Back Down”? Now there’s a, nearly perfect, spiritual warfare song; one that you could actually sing on Sunday mornings if you’d loosen up just a little.

But one that recently caught my attention is a song called, “The Waiting”. Written over 37 years ago, and not designed to be a spiritual song, whatsoever, it does have a line or two that holds some pretty profound spiritual truths. “The waiting is the hardest part”! Boy, ain’t that the truth!? Learning to wait is one of the hardest things for both the natural, and the spiritual man. We live in a culture that has trained us to want everything immediately; I mean, ….right now! But, as we mature in the Lord, learning to wait is an invaluable trait…and one that’s not often found even among believers, sad to say.

I wish I could say I had it perfected. But, waiting on the Lord hasn’t come easy for me. I guess you could call me a ‘slow learner’ in that respect. But I’m a lot better than I used to be…and I think I’m getting better. It comes with an understanding that God has His ways and He’s precise in His timing. In another way, it’s one of His ways of teaching us to live by faith. At any rate, waiting on the Lord is a virtue that we should all try to attain.

So, whether it’s a promise from Him you’re waiting on, or a prophetic word that has yet to materialize, or maybe even a prayer you’re wondering if He heard or not, ….waiting, as hard as it is, …..might just be the most productive thing you can do. Make no mistake about it, Tom Petty had it right; the waiting is the hardest part!

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part …………The Waiting’ – Tom Petty

...oh, and by the way, the Bible holds some amazing promises for us as we learn to wait. Isaiah 40:31 *(go read it!)

 

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The Empire ‘Always’ Strikes Back!

One of the largest grossing films of all time, now surpassing the $538 million dollar mark! The story, the second in the Star Wars Trilogy, set 3 years after Star Wars pits again the villainous Galactic Empire leader, Darth Vader against young Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance. The film was the largest grossing film of 1980 and has since continued to rake in the millions and is now regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. When the movie came out it moved the bar up considerably where special effects were concerned. George Lucas became a household name and the ‘Trilogy’ established itself in American culture forever.

There is a mystical power known as “the Force”. It’s described as, “an energy field created by all living things that bind the galaxy together”. (sound familiar??!) Those whom “the Force is strong with” have quick reflexes; through training and meditation, they are able to perform supernatural feats. The Force is displayed by two opposing entities who are at violent conflict with one another. The Jedi, the ‘good guys’, who act on the light side of the Force, and the Sith, Vader’s evil empire, who use the dark side through fear, intimidation, and aggression.

It’s an epic story on the eternal battle between good and evil both here on the Earth and in the celestial realm. As a believer, it’s a battle that you’ve been swept into whether you like it or not. Just the movie’s title, The Empire Strikes Back, has a somewhat sobering and prophetic ring to it. It’s a great analogy of the spiritual warfare we face as believers and kingdom citizens. The spiritual comparisons in this movie are many. Darth Vader is a fair comparison to Satan although even at his very worst is no match for our adversary, the devil. At the end of the first movie, Skywalker and his rag-tag bunch of warriors win a hard fought battle against the forces of darkness. But there’s enough of the remnant of the Evil Empire left to start the slow process of building back, and ultimately assembling a formidable and potentially vicious deadly troop focused on the attack and destruction of the Jedi’s.

So yeah, just like in the movie the Empire always strikes back! You might as well get ready for it. They know your weakness. They know just how to attack. They’re determined to destroy you. But, take courage! You’re well equipped for this epic battle. It’s one you’re going to win! So, suit up!! Take up your lightsaber! You know, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God! Put on your helmet of salvation, and take up that shield of faith with which you can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one!

This battle is a BIG one!

Good luck, …..and may the Force be with you!

 

 

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Only the Lonely

Roy Orbison possessed one of the most distinctive singing voices that any of us have ever heard. Born in Vernon, Texas in 1936 he forever carved out his unique niche in both pop and country music. There’s not a single song of his that doesn’t captivate even the most finicky music critic. As I was listening on XM a short time ago he sang “Only the Lonely”. Anybody can sing any song….but nobody can sing that one like Roy, himself. Sometimes you can just listen to a song and enjoy it. But, this time when I heard it, …..it ‘moved’ me. It caused me to think of the times I’ve felt alone….and the many, many times I have talked to, and tried to help, others who were isolated in life for whatever reason. “Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight; only the lonely know this feeling ain’t right”.

Loneliness; being without company, cut off from others, a feeling of bleakness or desolation. Even the definition has a deep, dull impact! It’s clearly one of the most devastating of all human emotions. It can evoke the strongest feelings of rejection and discouragement or even worse. God even says Himself, “It is not good that man should be alone.” We’re created in such a way to have a dire need for companionship. I think it could even be construed that the Father, Himself, doesn’t want to be alone. Could that be one of the primary reasons that we were created in the first place?! I think maybe so.

The Father must’ve known that we’d all experience times of feeling all alone. He had some amazing foresight if you ask me. It must be why He thought it was so important to make sure that we never had to worry or wonder if He’d be there for us. When He said, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you”….He meant it!

I hope you never feel alone but if, or when, you do think about HIs promise. He’s there…..whether you can feel Him or not! Run to Him, call out to Him…….He’ll help!

*(This one’s for you Jack M!)

Don’t stop here….check these out, *and “Share” ’em, too:

“If You Could See The Big Picture”

You Matter! You Really Do!

I Don’t Know How He Does It!

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The Parable of Pedro Flores Pt 2

It would sure help if you’ve seen Lonesome Dove. I joke about Lonesome Dove all the time, telling people that they’re not ’rounded out’ spiritually until they’ve seen it several times. But, seriously, it’s a great movie. Larry McMurtry’s a great writer any way you look at it. But, even hardcore Lonesome Dove fans may not know there are actually four books in the Lonesome Dove series. The first, Dead Man’s Walk (1996), chronicles the lives of the young Texas Rangers, Augustus McRae and Woodrow Call. Comanche Moon (1998)  covers the ranger’s middle aged years. Lonesome Dove (1985), the later…almost over the hill years. And Streets of Laredo (2000), the sequel and last in the series. I highly recommend them all if you liked Lonesome Dove. Interestingly enough….I’ve read those…. but never actually read Lonesome Dove. (I have, however, watched it 9 times!)

I recently wrote “The Parable of Pedro Flores”. *(Click on link to read) It’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie. But there’s another little part of the scene that I was reminded of that just kinda ‘tops it off’. The person who reminded me is a good friend and a ‘lawman’ cut from much the same cloth as Gus and Woodrow. (You know who you are, DM) But, the culmination of that whole scene happened when Gus & Woodrow stole the herd of horses back from Mexican bandito, Pedro Flores, in the middle of the night. Flores was as surprised as he could possibly be at all the commotion taking place when there in the darkness Gus appeared horseback and the two made unmistakable eye contact. It was then in the midst of the chaos that Gus, not fifteen feet away from Flores, tipped his hat in true Texas fashion, …..and in doing so implied to Pedro….“Got you again!!”  And, as good as Pedro Flores was at stealing and pilfering…..the Rangers were better!

Again, I see parallels with our spiritual life. Our adversary, the devil, is a formidable foe, indeed. But armed and equipped as you are he’s just no match for you. We’ve been given ‘authority’ over all the power of the enemy. He knows that….but sometimes we don’t know it, or act like it. I agree that it’s nothing to be arrogant about, that would surely guarantee our defeat. But maybe you should, when things seem the darkest, remind yourself of just ‘who’ you are and, with a profound confidence (in Him!), tip your hat to the enemy like Gus did Pedro and make your way on back home with your ‘stuff’!!

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The Parable of Pedro Flores

I’m disappointed in ‘ya if you don’t know who Pedro Flores is. I’ll forgive you if you’ll make it right. If you’ve never watched Lonesome Dove you won’t know who he is. For starters, why in the world have you not seen Lonesome Dove??! It’s just about the best movie ever made. For you, who are deprived, it’s a ‘made for TV’ miniseries from Larry McMurtry’s book about two semi-retired Texas Rangers, Captain Augustus ‘Gus’ McRae (Robert Duval), and Captain Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones) and their journey taking several thousand head of cattle to Montana. You won’t be ‘spiritually rounded’ until you’ve seen it a few times. lol I’ve watched it no less than 9 times! So, as you might guess I’m somewhat rounded!

One of my favorite scenes in Lonesome Dove is when Gus, Woodrow and a few of their cohorts cross the border at night for a little fun to remind them of the ‘old days’. The Mexican bandito, Pedro Flores (a familiar foe who’s way up in years by now), often crossed the Texas border to steal horses and cattle. Gus and Woodrow enjoyed the challenge of crossing into Mexico and stealing some of them back from time to time. On this particular night as Pedro Flores was moving a big herd of stolen horses from one place to another Gus, Call and the boys swooped in, surprised the banditos and stole the whole herd of horses and took ’em back to Texas.

That whole scene reminds me of a phenomenon we’re often faced with in our spiritual life. The Bible talks about the fact that we have an ‘adversary’, the devil, who walks about like a roaring lion. It also states that he comes to steal, kill and destroy. He, the devil, will steal anything and everything he can from us. But in all actuality all he has going for him is the fact that we’ll believe his lies. And, just like Gus and Woodrow knew the methods of Pedro Flores…the Bible says that we’re not to be ignorant of the enemy’s devices. We have the ability….and the authority (because of what Jesus did!) to take back what’s been stolen from us, that which is rightfully ours.

So, the next time you realize you’ve been stolen from by the likes of Pedro Flores….do like Gus and Woodrow. Plan a little counter-attack of your own. Your obedience by faith to the will and plan of God for your life will help you recover everything that was taken!

Thus, the parable of Pedro Flores!

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