ANOINTED TO PREACH

June 17, 2019

silhouette and grayscale photography of man standing under the rain

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

THANKS TO STEVE H, FOR GIVING ME THE TOPIC FOR TODAY’S DEVOTION.

We need to ensure that we maintain biblical balance concerning the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for any preacher to be effective, fruitful, or balanced in his ministry without acknowledging, and giving place to, the lordship, leading, illumination, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can transform all your preparation (study of the text, outline of your sermon etc.) into a message from God that is accompanied by the power of God. You may rightly divide the word of truth; you may correctly study and analyze the text (the subject, structure, and substance of a text) and you may preach what you have prepared logically and flawlessly, but only God through the Holy Spirit can give your sermon the power to effect a spiritual transformation in someone’s life.

This is sometimes called the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit, or the “unction” of the Spirit, or the “empowerment” of the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to enable us to conduct thorough, scholarly study of the text in preparation for preaching, and we must also seek the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit to use the message to accomplish His work.

So, what is anointed preaching? What does it mean to preach with “unction”? How does a preacher obtain this empowerment of the Spirit?

First, let’s look at a definition of the term itself. “Unction” is an old fashioned word that is synonymous with “anointing.” For the purposes of this article, we will refer to “anointing” as the special empowerment of the Holy Spirit on the preacher. This is not the general empowerment of the Spirit that enables us to live the Christian life. This is the preacher’s access to special power for preaching through the Holy Spirit such that what we preach has supernatural consequences. Or, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts it: “It is God-given power … that lifts it (what we preach) up beyond the efforts and endeavours of man to a position in which the preacher is being used by the Spirit and becomes the channel through whom the Spirit works.” 3 E.M. Bounds puts it this way: “(Divine unction) supports and impregnates revealed truth with all the energy of God. Unction is simply putting God in His own Word and on His own preacher.” 4

Now, let’s look at some key biblical references. Luke 4:18-19, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Here, Jesus is in the synagogue reading from Isa. 61:1-2. In what sense does Jesus mean that the Spirit of the Lord had “anointed” him?

There was no evidence of any particular bodily change in him, no change in his manner of speaking, nor any sort of spiritual experience. It appears to have been a normal reading of Scripture. The only difference from any other Scripture reading in the synagogue was his characterization of the text as prophetic of his ministry, and the claim that the prophecy was that day fulfilled.

In the way Luke has constructed his narrative, however, it becomes apparent that this event (Lk. 4:18-19) is directly connected to the infancy narrative (Lk. 1:35) and the baptism (Lk. 3:21-22), all three of which are designed to emphasize that Jesus is the anointed Son of God – the One sent by God, the One set aside by God, the One empowered by God to proclaim (and, indeed, to inaugurate) his kingdom. 5

This seems to be, then, the nature of Jesus’ anointing here – namely, the affirmation of Jesus as the one whom God has specially set apart for the task of preaching the good news and specially empowered for his ministry. What is most striking about this is that even the Lord Jesus himself received special anointing from the Holy Spirit to carry out his earthly mission.

Luke 24:49, “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Here the disciples, who had followed the Lord for three years (they had heard him preach, learned his teaching, imbibed his commands, witnessed his miracles, observed his death and burial, and seen him after his resurrection) are now promised that they will be “endued” (invested) with power by the Holy Spirit, which, of course, took place at Pentecost as Acts 2:4 records: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

You would not think that men such as this would need any special empowerment for their ministry. They didn’t need any additional knowledge or conviction of the truth about Jesus. What they needed was the power and ability to carry out their ministry and mission (the extension of Jesus’ ministry) now that Jesus had gone. And this is what they were endued with in Acts 2 – a special power from the Holy Spirit specifically to enable their witness and work to have supernatural effect.

The effect of this special empowerment is astounding. Peter, who had previously denied the Lord with oaths and curses, is now able to preach with boldness and authority such that 3000 people are converted in one day.

Acts 4:7-8, “And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel…’”. Clearly, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost. So, why did he need to be filled again? Because the filling of the Spirit is a repeated process by which the Spirit empowers God’s servants to accomplish specific ministry. Once again he received a fresh supply of the Spirit of God that filled him for the particular task on hand here in this chapter – namely, his trial for healing the lame man in ch. 3. There are many more references to this same phenomena in Acts (e.g. Acts 4:31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52), but these will suffice for our purposes.

1 Cor. 2:1-5, 1 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

This is Paul’s self-testimony concerning the manner of his preaching and teaching which shows us that spiritually powerful preaching is not accompanied with outward evidences and inward subjective experiences of some sort of mystical power. Indeed, neither the content of Paul’s message nor the manner of his preaching were designed, at least at a human level, to be manifestations of power.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for salvation for Mona R, Barbara D, Norma Perales, her husband Rick  and her adult son Rick Jr. also Bonnie W, Sherri Jones, Cristina B and Gena G.

Healing for Caliste Burt and Stephanie Taylor. Inoperable brain tumors.

Bill Warneke, chronic neck pain

Eli, Olivia and Tim’s baby, he needs to put on weight.

Staci C, salvation, and the marriage she has just put on the rocks.

DRAWING NEAR TO GOD

June 10, 2019

thinking over feeling

  “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22).

  The darkness of this place will in time turn us to the light of His face—”the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

 When the believer has a real understanding that he belongs to that new place in glory, the Holy Spirit delights his heart with the things of that place. ‘Set your affection on things above.’ I used to pity those who are alone in the world. I pity no one now who has a room where he can find himself isolated from everyone, to be with the Lord Jesus where He is; where he can have his spirit renewed, to come out and face all the roughness here.

  “May the Lord lead us into the shelter of His holy presence, that we may daily grow in the elevation to which He has raised us, and consequently into moral distance from the old man which is so entirely estranged from the light and perfection of the Father’s presence.”

  “If I am risen with the Lord Jesus, I must occupy myself with Him where He is, or I shall fall back to the things out of which He has risen; and the very fact that I am in the scene where He is not makes it the more necessary that I should be fellowshipping with Him where He is.”

 We are conversant with man in death and sin and distance from the Father, for that is our state by nature; but to know the Man in glory, One in acceptance with the Father according to all His moral greatness, is new to us and magnificent. And according as we know Him there we become not only superior to, but distanced from, our own state with which we are associated.

  “For. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement

Little baby Eli, not quite 2 months old, pray he continues to put on weight and is healthy.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic depression, severe neck pain, the beginnings of Parkinson’s

Remember our salvation list.

Pray for Caliste and Stephanie, only divine healing and intervention by God is going to ‘fix’ everything.

IT IS ALL JOY

May 7, 2019

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  “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).

  Although both faith and joy are included in ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ joy can only flourish upon the foundation of faith. When faith is present and active, favorable circumstances are not necessary for joy; trials and tribulations cannot daunt it.

There are some Christians who seem to be afraid of enjoying all the rays of the Son of Righteousness. They are afraid of being too happy. Perhaps some of us have not really considered that ‘joy’ is itself a part of that fruit by which the Father is glorified. There is nothing to be gained by despondency. Doubts are not marks of humility; unbelief is really evidence of pride. And there is no cloud that so effectively shuts out the glad sunshine of our gracious Father’s face as the thick cloud of unbelief.

Although as to His circumstances the Lord Jesus was the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief, yet He had a joy always before His eyes. But we never find Him rejoicing in anything but the will of His Father. ‘I delight to do Thy will’ was His true testimony. So may we ‘rejoice in the Lord’ though all is dark around, with the joy of faith that sees the unseen and looks beyond the present and temporal to the eternal.

The Old Testament believer had joy for God’s gifts to him. God’s power made things here contribute to him. But the Christian’s joy is in heaven and springs from what the Father is to him there. He demands nothing from this world, but in the life of the Lord Jesus he contributes to it, of the grace that nourishes and comforts him outside it.

  “Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance. In thy Name shall they rejoice all the day” (Ps. 89:15, 16).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Caliste Burt, brain surgery May 9th, 10-14 hours of surgery.

Stephanie Taylor, brain surgery some this month, Just like Caliste’s surgery, the surgeon cannot have done any surgery for 3 days, so they will call and say come in today or tomorrow and bang, just like that. Talk about not wanting to answer the phone.

Brad T, fine police officer, good Christian, on the force 22 years, just had his first shooting incident. He’s fine, but shook up, says he can’t believe how fast it unwound.

Pray for Timmy C, New York State Trooper, needs salvation, and this is a tale I hear to often, married a daughter of a multi-millionaire. State Troopers don’t make much, and you know how the hours go. So he just found out she has a secret bank account and has been stashing clothes and shoes at a girlfriends house. How did he find out? When pull the girlfriend over for speeding and his wife who was supposed to be home was in the car and she got out to yell at him and he didn’t even recognize her in her “clubbing” clothes. OUCH. By the way Timmy is my nephew. He’s a great guy.

Pray for Brad and Denise Thurman, 6 year old daughter diagnosed with Leukemia.

Count it all joy…….even when you don’t understand it, God puts us places we don’t understand but it’s all Part Of His Plan, His Perfect Plan.

growth marks

  God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shone in our hearts” (2 Cor. 4:6a).

  The Father tolerates our side of things until we learn to value His side of things.

Make your Father’s side of things your interest and concern, and your side will be fully ensured; but turn your eye to your own side, and, with much apparent effort and work, you will look for much and bring in little. This explains the small progress in many souls in this day, notwithstanding the amount of truth and light they have received. May the Lord Jesus in His Word be more simply the Object of our hearts in this evil day.

Love really does not think of anyone but its Object until it is quite sure of its place with Him, and then when at rest about itself it studies the mind and heart of the Object. I find that the Lord Jesus loved me and gave Himself for me when I was in a most unattractive state; but He makes me suitable to Himself, and I am so assured of the permanency of His love and of my association with Him that my heart is free to study Him. The more I am in His company, the more I grow in the characteristics which answer to His mind and nature so I become more like His Son and less like myself.

All that is good here comes to me from one spring, and that source is the heart of my Father. You must connect your heart with the love and not with the benefit otherwise you will be legalistic and not full of grace. It is not merely His gifts, His power, His greatness, but it is the knowledge of what He is in Himself to me.

  “The law demands, love God; grace declares, God so loved!”

  “To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6b).

Thank God He loves us. You must focus on that no matter what your circumstances.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

A little housekeeping here, questions, comments or prayer requests send to the email address. If you want counseling use the email address.

Remember our prayer list. Caliste Burt. Recently had 2 brain tumors removed and cannot remove the third because of complications. Keep her and her family in prayer.

Steve H, the hunt for a great pastor.

All the friends and acquaintances we have that are unsaved, pray that someone comes into their life to share the gospel.

Remember Bill Warneke; chronic pain and depression.

Bob L, his eye surgery went fine, and he thanks all those who prayed for him.

Remember pastor Paul K, he’s already lost half a kidney to cancer, and now has 2 cysts on his pancreas. Have not heard yet if it’s cancer or something else.

Remember our quartet of former bad girls, that are now saved and left the adult performance lifestyle and they are doing remarkably well. I’m not only very proud of them but also our church ladies that have adopted them like daughters and have helped them secure safe jobs.

DEEPLY ROOTED IN HIM

February 14, 2019

knock you down

  “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God” (Ps. 92:13).

  Defeat reveals the flesh; testing reveals the Father.

 The inward exercise of Romans Seven and the testing of the wilderness serve the purpose of teaching us what sin in the flesh is, and what is in our hearts; while such special discipline of the Father as Paul’s thorn in the flesh is rather to protect us from the unalterable tendencies of the flesh. The latter is always needed and goes on in one form or other to the end of our course here.

 We belong to another sphere altogether. We have died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). We are like a tree that has its roots in heaven, and its branches down here. No doubt our branches are fretted and ripped by the atmosphere here, but nothing can touch the roots up there. Planted inside the realm of heaven, they flourish outside.

No one can question the right of the Father and the Son to have and to hold the sheep; and if we see what it has cost them to secure us, it cannot fail to give us the most blessed assurance. Much yet may have to be done for us. We shall need support, preservation, discipline. If we are left here a little longer, we shall need the grace, mercy, and forbearance of the Father in a thousand ways, but all that will be needed in the future to keep us from ourselves is small compared with the stupendous cost at which divine love forever secured us.

  “There is more in the Lord Jesus, in the Father, in the Spirit, in heaven to give us rest and peace and joy, than in the whole universe to disquiet, trouble, or grieve us.” -G.W.

  “Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Rebekah Grace, her mother passed away today at 88 years of age.

Pray for Caliste Burt. No plan b yet, for the removal of the third brain tumor, they are letting her rest for now while they consult other experts.

Remember to pray for Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression.

Pray for all those that suffer like that, those that suffer in long term suffering will always have bouts with depression.

Pray for Nickie, she is newly saved and she is a real testimony to her non believing family who is doing everything to prove this isn’t real.

Pray for Steve H, and the hunt for a great pastor.

Remember the Perales family, salvation for all

Remember me in prayer, today was especially rough. 4 more days of this phase of the meds, the side affects have reached there max and I’m not sure today which is worse the cure or the disease.

Remember Paul K, two cysts on his pancreas.

PASS ME NOT BY

February 13, 2019

praying mom

If you have been spending anytime reading the devotions on this site you know I’m a big fan of the old hymns. They are certainly more enduring and inspiring than the 7-11 choruses of today. (seven words sung 11 times).

  1. Pass me not, O gentle Savior,

    Hear my humble cry;

    While on others Thou art calling,

    Do not pass me by.

    • Refrain:

      Savior, Savior,

      Hear my humble cry,

      While on others Thou art calling,

      Do not pass me by.

  2. Let me at Thy throne of mercy

    Find a sweet relief;

    Kneeling there in deep contrition,

    Help my unbelief.

  3. Trusting only in Thy merit,

    Would I seek Thy face;

    Heal my wounded, broken spirit,

    Save me by Thy grace.

  4. Thou the spring of all my comfort,

    More than life to me,

    Whom have I on earth beside Thee,

    Whom in Heav’n but Thee.

Psalms, songs, favorite bible verses, all lead to comfort. They draw us to God; the Holy Spirit embraces us. We feel the love of God and are reminded through these great hymns of His grace, mercy and compassion.

And that the journey we are taking is not often easy, there are burdens, sorrows, troublesome times. The empty-headed pseudo spiritualists of today would have you believe otherwise. The Joel Osteen or Benny Hinn, all that ilk of fake theology, fake promises, send in your $19.95 for the secret of success or happiness. Being told it’s just a matter of faith.

That if you are going through a trial it’s your fault, not the sugar daddy, warm cuddly fake god they are proposing.

As David says in this psalm, there is no victory without a fight. And that our walk is a battle, a war, but God is our fortress.

 Psalm 144 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 144

Of David.

1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,

    who trains my hands for war,

    my fingers for battle.

2 He is my loving God and my fortress,

    my stronghold and my deliverer,

my shield, in whom I take refuge,

    who subdues peoples[a] under me.

3 Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,

    mere mortals that you think of them?

4 They are like a breath;

    their days are like a fleeting shadow.

5 Part your heavens, Lord, and come down;

    touch the mountains, so that they smoke.

6 Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy;

    shoot your arrows and rout them.

7 Reach down your hand from on high;

    deliver me and rescue me

from the mighty waters,

    from the hands of foreigners

8 whose mouths are full of lies,

    whose right hands are deceitful.

9 I will sing a new song to you, my God;

    on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,

10 to the One who gives victory to kings,

    who delivers his servant David.

From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;

    rescue me from the hands of foreigners

whose mouths are full of lies,

    whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth

    will be like well-nurtured plants,

and our daughters will be like pillars

    carved to adorn a palace.

13 Our barns will be filled

    with every kind of provision.

Our sheep will increase by thousands,

    by tens of thousands in our fields;

14     our oxen will draw heavy loads.[b]

There will be no breaching of walls,

    no going into captivity,

    no cry of distress in our streets.

15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true;

    blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.

Ok, I’m done ranting, God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Caliste Burt, still no progress on how to treat the third brain tumor. She is in good spirits and is a courageous Christian woman.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and dark depression.

Pray for Pastor Paul K, two cysts on his pancreas.

Pray for Paul C who has been laboring in Puerto Rico rebuilding a hospital after the last group of hurricanes.

Remember the Perales family, Norma, Rick Sr. and Rick Jr. all in need of salvation.

Pray for Barbara D, cancer, several spinal and hip fractures, a bad heart, and in need of Salvation.

Pray for Steve H, and the hunt for a great pastor.

Remember me in prayer, still waiting for the doctors to come up with plan b for mass in my chest. I’m in a great deal of pain. So any grammar mistakes in the devotion is due to drugs not ignorance of grammar.

the school of hard knocks

January 30, 2019

boxing

  “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

  Our Father often uses our failure to foster and fortify our faith.

  “Faith is dependence upon the Father. And this God-dependence only begins when self-dependence ends. And self-dependence only comes to its end, with most of us, when sorrow, suffering, affliction, broken plans and hopes bring us to that place of self-helplessness where we throw ourselves upon our Father in seeming utter helplessness and defeat. And only then do we find that we have learned the lesson of faith; to find our tiny craft of life rushing onward to a blessed life of fruitfulness and service undreamt of in the days of our fleshly strength and self-reliance.”

  “The divine counsel shall stand, and the divine good pleasure shall be accomplished. What relief for the heart amid rebuffs and disappointments! The Father will perfect that which concerns His own; and even where there are mistakes and failures, as alas! there are in abundance with all of us, His rich grace abounds over all, and actually takes occasion from our very mistakes to shine out all the more brightly—though, assuredly, the mistakes must produce their own painful and humiliating consequences.

It is the remembrance of this which alone can give calm repose in the midst of the most discouraging circumstances. If we take the eye of faith off the Father, our souls must soon be overwhelmed. It is our privilege to be able, in our little measure, to thank our Father in view of everything, and take refuge in His eternal counsels, which must be made good despite all the unbelief of the Christian, and all the malice of Satan.

  “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith groweth exceedingly” (2 Thess. 1:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Caliste Burt, upcoming brain surgery, with some big complications.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Pray for me, spent the day at the VA being poked and prodded, have to go back Friday to get a ct scan, found a ‘mass’ in my upper chest and under my arm. They are going to put me on some heavy antibiotic to see if its an infection of my lymph nodes, while they wait for all the tests to come back. I’m on some pretty heavy pain killers so if some of these devotions have some quirks chalk it up to the meds.

Pray for Tim S, reloaded some hot stuff for an old revolver, pretty much blew up the gun and part of his hand. They are hoping to repair as much of the hand as possible.

Remember the Perales family, Norma, Rick Sr, Rick Jr, they need salvation

Pray for Tom T, lets just say he’s struggling with some addictions.

Remember Cherry P, wonderfully saved, incredible changes, but is dealing with downsizing everything as she goes from high paying bad job to working as a receptionist, we trying to get her to go entrepreneur and reinvent herself.

NAME CALLING

January 18, 2019

praying mom

  “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).

  Resting in His glory there will manifest His humility in us here.

Our hearts have such a tendency to turn back to legalism, and to think it humility. The only real humbleness and strength and blessing is to forget ourselves in the presence and blessedness of the Father. We may be brought forth by a humbling process but it is not in merely thinking evil of the old man that we are truly humble; we have the privilege of forgetting ourselves in the love of our Father.

It is as knowing the Lord Jesus to be precious to our souls, with our eyes and hearts being occupied with Him, that we will be effectually kept from being taken up with the vanity and sin around. And this too will be our strength against the sin and corruption within. Whatever I see in myself that is not in Him, is sin. It is not in thinking upon my own sins that will humble me, but thinking of the Lord Jesus and dwelling upon the excellencies in Him. (there is a great old book called “Christ Precious” published by Klock and Klock, if you can find it buy it, it is not the new book put out by John Fawcett).

It is well to be done with ourselves and to be taken up with the Lord Jesus. We are entitled to forget ourselves—we are entitled to confess and forget our sins—we are entitled to forget all but the Lord Jesus. It is by looking unto Him that we can give up anything, and can walk as obedient children.

 Many think that talking badly of ourselves is the ideal of humility; whereas the simplest and more real humility is to feel unaffectedly that we are too bad to be worth talking about. Only One is worthy of all our thoughts and words and ways, even the Lord Jesus Christ.

  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6).

“Humility, you can never claim to have it, it must be seen by others.” GW

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise from Caliste Burt she is doing well, continue to pray for 100% recovery.

Remember Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression. Trying some new meds. Pray for healing.

Pray for Candy S, to walk the straight and narrow.

Pray for Sherrie, our prodigal church daughter

Pray for Paul K, found more cysts on his pancreas, a good Christian man and a good friend.

pray for Steve H, and a pastor for his church

SEXUAL PURITY PART SIX

January 12, 2019

thinking over feeling

Consider what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5:

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Like Matthew 5:29-30, this passage uses warfare terminology for our battle against sin. In order to be holy and pure, both in heart and body, we must fight. War isn’t easy. Our enemy is relentless in trying to conquer his prey, and lust is one of his most commonly used weapons. In this battle for our mind, Paul says we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Satan always targets the mind—it is our primary battlefield. He bombards every believer’s mind with sexual images and thoughts. He does this through the world system which he rules and his myriads of demons. He understands that if he can control the mind, he can control the body. So, if we are going to “learn to control our bodies in a way that is pure and honorable,” (1 Thess 4:4) we must fight to control our mind.

Satan’s attack on our mind overlaps with his attacks on our eyes and ears. It is through the eyes and ears that input is given to the mind. Therefore, by guarding the first two, we guard the latter. However, that is not the only way we guard our mind.

How else should we guard our mind?

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must recognize ungodly thoughts and ideas by testing them against God’s Word.

David said this in Psalm 19:7: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”

The Hebrew word for “simple” has the meaning of “open-minded.” “The ancient Jews described it as someone whose mind was like an open door: everything went in and everything went out.” This person is gullible and will believe anything. His mind is open even to thoughts and images that should be rejected. However, David says that by filling the mind with God’s Word, one becomes wise to discern what is not of God (cf. Heb 5:14). Wisdom in Scripture primarily refers to knowledge of God and obedience to him (cf. Prov 9:10). That is why Scripture describes the “fool” as one who says there is no God (Psalm 14:1).

A person who does not know the Word of God will have difficulty testing what is not good and therefore have difficulty protecting himself. His mind will continually be saturated by ungodly thoughts, sexual images, and lusts meant to control and destroy him. He will lack the power and discernment to close the door on sexual thoughts and many times will not only accept them but also cultivate them.

If we are going to protect our mind, we must recognize what is not godly. When watching TV shows, listening to music, or engaging in risqué conversations that cultivate and stir lust, the simple accepts what pollutes his soul, while the wise recognizes what would dishonor God’s temple (1 Cor 6:19).

With all that said, guarding our mind does not stop at recognizing what is ungodly by testing it against God’s Word.

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must reject the ungodly by using God’s Word.

While the simple opens the door, the wise closes the door. Again, this is done first by recognizing what is wrong and then using Truth to combat what is false and sinful. When Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he quoted Scripture to reject Satan and his lies. We should do the same. Arm yourself by memorizing Bible verses related to lust and purity such as:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

1 Thessalonians 4:2-8 (ESV)

Personally, when attacked by lust, I quote relevant Scriptures, confess wrong thoughts, lusts, and images before the Lord, and ask him to take them away. In our war for our mind, we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

  1. In order to guard our mind, we may at times need to command the devil to leave in Jesus name.

Again, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he initially responded to the temptation with quoting Scripture, but ultimately he commanded the devil to leave. Matthew 4:10-11 describes this:

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Similarly, at times you may need to do this. When battles with lust, pornography, and illicit sex are especially difficult, we can be sure that the enemy has set up camp in these areas, and we may need to pray in authority over these demonic strongholds to be broken in the name of Jesus.

Some struggle with this idea of demonic involvment, arguing that authority over the demonic was exclusively for Christ and his apostles. However, I believe there are many evidences that demonstrate this is for every believer. For instance:

Christ is our perfect model for everything in life, including spiritual warfare (cf. Phil 2:5-11, Heb 12:2-4. 1 Peter 2:21-24).

We should model his life as the perfect example of humanity. His example in defeating the devil in the wilderness is not only descriptive but prescriptive.

Other believers commanded demons to leave throughout the New Testament.

In Acts 16:18, Paul commanded a spirit of divination to leave a slave girl in the name of Jesus. And in Acts 8:6-7, Philip, who was possibly one of the early deacons, also cast out demons. Yes, Paul was an apostle but Philip was not. This was practiced by the early church.

First, don’t be quick to blame in on a demon. We are our own worst enemy.

Second, don’t be lax, and think there can’t be possible demonic involvement. I want to say it takes great spiritual maturity to know when something like that is actually occurring.

Third, it will depend on the church you go to, Pentecostals see demons everywhere and never take personal responsibility. Liberals churches scoff at the idea of demons, or even the devil and everyone is going to heaven. Even some Evangelical churches reject the idea.

Fourth, demonic strongholds if they exist does not imply demonic possession. Christians cannot be possessed of a demon, or cursed, or have a bloodline curse.

This is was covered in our spiritual warfare series. If you have questions about it email me.

Finally, Scripture indicates that Christ has given us his authority based on our union with him.

Ephesians 1:20-22 describes his position of authority at the right hand of the Father seated above powers and principalities (the demonic) in the heavenly realm. And then Ephesians 2:6 describes how believers are seated with him. Again, this seating is not primarily a location but a position of authority which believers have in Christ. In fact, one day we will judge fallen angels with him because of this position (1 Cor 6:3). We have authority over the demonic just as the apostles and the early church, and we are called to conquer them with the spiritual weapons God has given us (cf. Eph 6:10-19).

Unfortunately, many believers neglect this authority not only to their own detriment but also to the detriment of others. When Christ sent believers into the world to proclaim the gospel, he sent them in all the authority given to him (Matt 28:18-20). We need this authority not just to spread the gospel but also for spiritual warfare.

Christ’s authority is important in battling lust because some strongholds and temptations are not just of the flesh, they are demonic. Like Christ in the wilderness, Paul, at times, recognized certain obstacles and temptations were not just of the flesh and of the world, but of the devil. Paul said this in 1 Thessalonians 2:18: “we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us” (ESV). We need to discern this as well and resist the devil.

James says this: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7). As we submit to God through his Word, prayer, and the ministry of other saints, we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us. However, at times, resistance may include commanding the demonic to leave in the name of Jesus as demonstrated by Christ and the early church.

It is not God’s will for us to live bound to lust and sexual immorality, and God has given us all the resources to walk in freedom, including his Word and his authority. Thank you, Lord, for giving us everything needed for life and godliness (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Thank you, Lord, that you are creating a pure and blameless Bride for your pleasure (cf. Eph 5:25-27).

Are you guarding your mind? Are you taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ? Are you filling your mind with God’s Word? Are you resisting the devil’s attacks so that he flees?

Reflection

Why is the mind so important in our battle for purity?

In what ways does the enemy bombard our mind with sexual images and thoughts?

How can a person tell when certain strongholds, especially sexual ones, are also demonic?

How should we resist the devil so he flees? In what ways is God calling you to better guard your mind?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, feel free to email us.

Pray for Caliste Burt, brain surgery next week.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression.

The Perales family, they need salvation and a good church.

Pray for me, the nursing home I work in just downsized because of State regulations and myself and 4 others were let go, bam, just like that. And because it is a nonprofit organization there is no unemployment.

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Have a horrible day today?

Don’t forget that as a Christian every place you set foot on is a battleground.

  “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4).

  The true servant is finally subdued, but not dulled; prepared but not deprived of individuality. All that is rendered inoperative is the old man—and thank God for that!

When we are finally prepared, our Lord says: ‘When I died, you died. When I went to the Cross I not only took your sins, but I took you. I not only took you as a sinner, but I took you as being all that you are by nature; your good as well as your bad; your abilities as well as your disabilities; yes, every resource of yours. I took you as a worker, a preacher, and organizer. My Cross means that not even for Me can you be or do anything out from yourself; but if there is to be anything at all it must be out from Me, and that means a life of absolute dependence and faith.’

  How little does one know of the antagonism of our nature to the will of the Father, who thinks that service can be undertaken without that self-renunciation which can only be learned by experiential knowledge of the superiority of His ways and counsels! We never surrender what we value until we find a better, and man is so full of himself and his own will that until he finds out the sovereignty of his Father’s will he can be neither an obedient nor a suitable servant.

 And this is usually learned through varied and painful processes. The disciplined servant always finds a way to do his work however difficult it may appear. The greater the difficulties the greater must be the evidence that our resources are of a different order and character from those arrayed against us, and this will be found true in very small matters as well as in great ones.

  “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

To be more Christ like is to be more like Christ, death to self, by faith it already happened. We must confess that Jesus is not only our Savior but is our life. Like practicing the presence of God, we must practice having the resurrected self-responding, all efforts done consciously as an extension of His will and power. This is walking by faith.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Bill Warneke in your prayers, great physical pain and deep depression.

I believe it is on the 15th of January that Caliste Burt has her brain surgery, keep her and her family in prayer.

Pray for those who felt defeated today, not sinful, not acting out, but weary, burdened, betrayed.