Ready to Move

Read

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

Reflect / Discuss

● Are there areas of your life or your community that seem like a wasteland? ● Have you ever felt like God was calling you to step into something that made you feel uncomfortable?

Consider

As we settle into the routine of life, it can be easy to get comfortable and complacent. God may be calling you to something new, but it will be uncomfortable. This could be stepping into a new job, a new location, or a new friend. In order to be ready to move wherever God calls us, we have to be ok with being uncomfortable. We have to be willing to let go of the things that give us security. This is how we prepare ourselves to move with God into new seasons.

Act

● Look for an opportunity in your church where you can be more involved.
● Find an area of your life that God is calling you to step forward into.

Ready to Share

Read

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

Reflect / Discuss

● Has anyone ever asked you about your faith? If not, why do think they haven’t?
● If you only had a few minutes to tell someone about God, what would you say?

Consider

Sharing the Gospel can be difficult for a lot of us. We are nervous about what to say or how other people will react. So when presented with the opportunity, we often shy away because we are unprepared. Telling others about God does not need to be complicated. The first part of this verse says to revere Christ in our hearts. That means that anything we say about Jesus will come out of our relationship with Him. Being ready to share the Gospel is not about having a memorized script or testimony. It’s simply talking about what God has done in your life.

Act

● Share your testimony in a public way, whether it’s in person with someone you know, or online through a blog post, social media post, or video.
● Think of people you can help and serve regularly, so that you will be in a position when they ask you about your kindness and the hope you have

Ready to Give

Read

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

Reflect / Discuss

● Have you ever given out of guilt or begrudgingly? Why was that? ● How do you give with joy?

Consider

Giving is often an afterthought for many of us. After we have calculated our living expenses, our personal spending, and how much we want to save, we think about how much we want to give. It comes out of our leftovers. It is often spur of the moment only when we are asked to give, so we give what we can spare and what we feel like giving. But this passage frames giving as something that is highly intentional. It’s an offering that is already decided and prepared ahead of time. God does not need our gift, but it is a means to develop generosity as the core of who we are. To be a cheerful giver, prepare your heart to be generous and give God your first and best, not the scraps.

Act

● If you don’t already give to your local church, consider an amount to set aside to give regularly.
● Think of someone you know who is in need, and set aside an amount to give to them.

Ready to Serve!

Read

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

Reflect / Discuss

● If you were created to do good works, is much of your life actually spent doing that?
● In what ways has God been shaping and preparing your life for good works?

Consider

God has a purpose for each of our lives. He has shaped our skills, personalities, and experiences uniquely to accomplish good in the world. Yet many of us are still waiting for a sign or clarity on God’s calling, and it can leave us paralyzed. God has clearly prepared good works for you to do, and many of them are already right in front you. You were created to do good, so just do the good that is in front of you. That will ultimately prepare you to do even greater things in the future.

Act

● What talents and skills do you have that you haven’t used for God’s work? Find a way to volunteer them through your church or a local nonprofit.

● Think of someone you know who has an immediate need that you can help with, and offer assistance.

Ready to Pray!

Read

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2

Reflect / Discuss

● What does it mean to be “watchful and thankful” in prayer?
● What are some of the things you pray about? Would they be considered watchful or thankful?

Consider

All throughout the Bible, prayer always precedes action. It is never a short “quick prayer” like we have become accustomed to. It is intentional. Prayer allows us to connect with God and be in sync with how He is moving in our lives and in our community. It prepares us for action. This passage tells us to be watchful in prayer. Sometimes we can be so concerned with our own lives that we miss the bigger things that God is doing. Instead, we should be attentive to what’s going on around us and in the world, and be ready to pray for those things.

Act

● Be thankful – thank God for a prayer he has answered or something he has provided, but you have overlooked.
● Be watchful – think of a person or situation that you haven’t prayed for, and spend time praying or them.

Spiritual Warfare

SPIRITUAL WARFARE

DEFINTION: Spiritual warfare refers to the battles waged by believers against our spiritual enemies–Satan, demons, and the spiritual forces of evil.

FACTS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
There are two spiritual kingdoms. The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:5-6).

The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan himself, spiritual beings called demons, and all people who live in sin and rebellion against God. God’s Kingdom consists of the Trinity of God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), angels, and all people who live in loving submission to Him.

Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Satan or the Kingdom of God. There is no neutral ground (Matthew 12:30).

You become a resident of God’s Kingdom by being born again and becoming a believer in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

Spiritual warfare began when Lucifer, who was originally a beautiful angel of prominence, rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Revelation 12:7-8).

The spiritual battle was manifested on earth when Adam and Eve yielded to Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

All the battles that you face in life, whether spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, or relational are outward manifestations of a direct or indirect spiritual cause. Although in the natural world things often appear to be simply “circumstances” of life, the basis of these natural events originate in the spiritual world. Spiritual warfare is a spiritual battle which is manifested in the natural world.

Spiritual warfare is not against flesh and blood. The battle is against the evil forces that would hinder your walk with God, the Word of God manifested in your life, your worship of God, and your work for Him.

DEALING WITH SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
Prepare for effective spiritual battle by arming yourself with spiritual weapons. These include:

-The belt of truth by gaining knowledge and understanding (Ephesians 6:14).
-The breastplate of righteousness–spiritual protection that comes by living the way the Word
mandates (Ephesians 6:14).
-Spiritual shoes–protection that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:15).
-The shield of faith which stops the fiery darts from the enemy (Ephesians 6:16).
-The helmet of salvation, which protects your mind, soul, and spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
-The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
-Prayer (Ephesians 6:18).
-The blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11).
-Your testimony (Revelation 12:11).
-The name of Jesus (Mark 16:17).
-Praise and worship (Psalm 59:16-17).
-Fasting (the books of Esther and Jonah).

Use these biblical strategies to win spiritual battles.

Submit and resist. If you submit yourself to God and resist the devil, he will flee from you (James 4:7). To resist means to “stand firm against and oppose the enemy at every point.”

Do not give place to the devil. Do not leave room for Satan to operate (Ephesians 4:27). Giving “place” to the devil is providing him a foothold from where he can operate in your life–for examples through alcohol, drugs, pornography, immorality, witchcraft, cults, rebellion, etc. Recover yourself from the devil. You have a responsibility to recover yourself from Satan’s snare.

You must cooperate with God for deliverance (2 Timothy 2:26).
Abstain from fleshly lusts. To “abstain” means “to deliberately refrain evil practices. The lusts of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as conduct from which you must abstain. Fleshly lusts war against your spirit (1 Peter 2:11).

Try the spirits.Be alert for the deceptions of the enemy (2 Peter 3:l7; 1 Timothy 4:1).

Reject false teachers. A false teacher is one who teaches incorrect doctrines and fails to live up to the mandates of God’s Word (2 John l0-11).

Lay aside worldly entanglements. To be a good solider for Jesus, you must lay aside worldly affairs
(2 Timothy 2:4).

Arm yourself with the mind of Christ.The mind of Jesus is not automatically developed in you. You must “let” or “permit” it to be developed (1 Peter 4:l; Philippians 2:5-8; Romans l2:1-2).

Pull and cast down strongholds.One of the goals of offensive warfare is to pull and cast down the strongholds of the enemy (2 Corinthians l0:4-5). To “pull down” means “to take down by effort or force.” To “cast” means “to throw or hurl.”

You are told to cast off the works of darkness (Romans l3:l2) and cast out demon powers (Matthew l0:8). You are to demolish arguments and pretensions and to take captive any thought that is contrary to the thoughts of Christ.

Bind and loose. You have the power to bind the forces of evil and loose the forces of good (Matthew 16:19). For example, you can bind the spirit of iniquity at work in the life of a lost loved one and release the spirit of adoption (a ministry of the Holy Spirit) to work in that person’s life.

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost
heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15) See also Ezekiel 28:12-19.

“He who is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30)

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mark 16:17-18)

Read about the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4:1-13. Note that strategies used by Satan and how Jesus met each one with the Word of God.

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:18-19)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, NKJV)

…Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

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. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of
righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, 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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)