Month: March 2017

Fighters

Fighters

As a kid I wasn’t much of a fighter. Looking back, I’m not that hard on myself as I grew up in an area and went to a school known for its tougher characters.  It never seemed to fail either that those seeking to fight me were always bigger, older or just plain tougher than I was and I was never one for taking a beating for the sake of taking a beating.  As I grew into my teen years I signed up for martial arts at the local YMCA and by the time I got into grade 8, the odds started to even out.  Over time I even grew found of fighting but not in the sense one might think.

Fighting is a part of our makeup and that is something I feel was intentional on the part of our Creator. Craig Groeschel in his book “Fight” says we as men are willing to fight “Because that’s is how we are wired”.  I’d be inclined to agree and say it’s a guy thing were it not for the few women I know who would welcome a fight just for the fun of it.  Everything from illness to injustice has us either in a fight or encouraging others to fight in the face of trying circumstances.  I feel it to be a part of who we are in that it is something we are meant to do or even called to do when the circumstance warrants it.  I look no further than the truth of scripture as my source of reference.

All through both the Old and New Testaments we see and learn of battles in both the physical and spiritual realms. With Jesus’s victory on the cross, the physical battles are for the most part, over.  As Christians we are known and should be known for our love; how we show it (John 13 v 35), for peacemaking (Matthew 5 v 9) and for serving (James 2 v 18).  That said the spiritual battle is far from over and we need to participate.  If your parenting is similar to mine, you are raising our children to not fight.  We teach them to reason and to seek help where needed.  But as was the case in World War II, in the face of an enemy bent on destruction, the call to arms is necessary and I point to 4 keys found in God’s word that will lead us in the fight.

The first key is to know who or what we are fighting and what his tactics will be. 1 Peter 5 v 8 and Ephesians 6 v 11 – 12 outline who the enemy is in stating:

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil (Satan) prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” “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.”

The enemy is revealed and as far as his tactics go, it is a game of deception.  The scriptures warn over and over that we are to be careful that we are not deceived.  John 8 v 44 states:

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

There is no mystery or global game of clue leaving one wondering whose behind it all.  The scriptures are clear.

The second key is one of preparation. What training will we need and what are we to fight with?  1 Timothy 4 v 7 indicates that we should be trained up in godliness.  This is seen in the person who prays, loves, serves and has a deep knowledge of scripture while at the same time equipped with the armor of God as described in Ephesians 6 v 14 – 17:

“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.”

This, more than anything, shows that we all have a role to play.

The 3rd key is where the battle is taking place.  As a Christian I’ve grown to know that when the Lord has your heart, your hands and feet will follow.  When Satan has your mind, your hands and feet will follow.  A relationship with God is not one of head knowledge but that of his reign in our hearts.  Even though the battle is against the evils of this dark world and in the heavenly realms, it starts with the mind, as that is what Satan attacks.

1 Peter 1 v 13 speaks of a mind ready for action, ready for the attack that looks something like what is illustrated in James 1 v 14 – 16:

“But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.”

Many a song has been sung about that which was so wrong but felt so right.  It effects the entirety of our flesh and our success can feel much like a pendulum.  We have every reason to have hope and I refer you to the Apostle Paul’s description of the struggle found in Ephesians 5 v 16 – 26 & the entire chapter of Romans 8.

The fourth, final and most important key is that of what it’s all about; what we are fighting for. This is not a complicated issue.  The salvation of our souls is at stake.  Jesus sanctifies, justifies and makes us right before God.  He is the way and while still here guides us in the fight by the power of his Spirit in us.  I love how James 5 v 19 – 20 describes the victory we have in Christ when it states:

“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

It is about salvation from an eternal death.  Eternally separated from the love and presence of our Father; our Creator.

To close, I feel the need to state, even to implore you to take the battle for the souls, maybe yours in particular, seriously. 2 Peter 3 v 9 says that God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Jonathan Cahn states in his book “The Mystery of the Shemitah” that, “The sound of an alarm cannot, by nature, be pleasant.  It can’t be.  Otherwise it wouldn’t serve its purpose to awaken and to warn.”

We are warned and the worst mistake we can make is to underestimate our enemy. Yeshua is the Hebrew word for Jesus and translated means safety.  I pray that all would hear and heed the warning.  That we would be ready and willing to fight knowing that we are forever safe in Jesus.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

Friended

Friended

If social media has done anything, it has proven our tendencies to want to control what we see and or hear. Now, I have be accused of being a selective hearer on more than one occasion but I do find the reactions of those who happen to hear or see something that displeases them to be humorous.  That said, I’m no different.  With all that is pumped out before us, it can be overwhelming.  But in the click of a button we demonstrate our power to control or limit our exposure.

With so much of the world now lived out online, much has been done in the interest of preference. We have the ability to create as many alter egos or personalities as necessary and when we come across someone or something we don’t like or agree with, we simply filter it or them out; a social firewall so to speak.  I’ve yet to hear that Shangri-La has been found but there seems to be many of them online; or at least the ability to create that place online.

Writing and posting what I call devotionals for the past few years now, there have been more than a few occasions where what I have said has drawn me into a discussion. Knowing that not everyone agrees or shares my faith, I expect there to be disagreements from time to time and I confess, I have enjoyed them.  It always seems to create another opportunity for me to expand, explain or defend my faith.  My goal is never to be right but that Christ would be glorified.  And, there has never been a time where I felt the need to push the unfriend button as a result.

In the world of social media many sites, in an effort to give the user the sense of control, provide the feature to unfriend. In clicking this button a user has the ability to block any communication with an individual while at the same time letting them know of their new standing or rank in the life of the one clicking the button.  A proverbial Staple’s “Easy” or Queen of Hearts “Off with their heads” button if there ever was one.

This ability to be selective in what or who we are exposed too is nothing new. It is not something those of the 22nd century will look back on and say was an idea that came out of the 21st century.  Ecclesiastes 1 v 9 states the following regarding this:

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Acknowledging and conceding this, selective hearing was a real issue faced by those charged with ministering and dispersing the Gospel to the world.  The Apostle Paul states the following in preparing Timothy for the struggles he was sure to face:

“For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires.”

Reading the scripture above we can be assured that we will be confronted by those of a differing opinion and the question I have is, will that or does that opinion change what we know to be true? This thought immediately has me reflecting on what is said in Proverbs 14 v 12:

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death”

When it comes to the Gospel, there truly are two sides to the fence.

In a marriage crisis, the situation often faced is that of one wanting to replace their spouse with another they think or feel to be a better option. In counselling it is always said, or should be said, “The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence”.  With man’s wisdom vs. the Gospel of Christ, there is only one side of the fence that is healthy, growing and green.

In Genesis 3 we learn of the fall of man, that moment sin entered the world resulting in our once immortal state becoming mortal.  The end of Genesis 3 v 19 states the following regarding our condition from that moment on:

“for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Romans 6 v 23 affirms this to still be the case thousands of years later:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This state of things has not changed for us today; nor will it change for those of the future.  But in saying this, there is also another truth that stands unchanging; resolute.  That of God’s unwavering grace.

Grace is at the core of the Gospel message a Christian professes. It is the good news that says to those who receive it, regardless of what we’ve done you are forgiven.  It is given freely by a Father whose motivation is love.  Again, in preparing Timothy, Paul illustrates the scope of grace in saying:

“This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. But for this very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His perfect patience, as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”  1 Timothy 1 v 15 -16

In Christ, there is no fear of the unfriend button regardless of what we’ve done.  When grace is needed, it apportioned and I’m forever thankful.

In closing, I recall the movie Avatar and the social impact it had on many looking for that uncorrupted land of utopia. News outlets reported on the despair seen in blogs and forums across the web.  In seeing what they deemed to be a perfect world, a world in touch with its creator, so many expressed their struggle in continuing to live in the world we have today.  A world created out of CGI had struck a nerve leaving so many with a desire for more without ever realizing that it does exist.

Faced with knowledge that his life here was coming to an end Jesus comforted his disciples in stating:

“In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”  John 14 v 2 -4

Heaven is that place.  A place of uncorrupted eternal peace.  A place free from the pain of our sin; where we are not just in touch with our creator but live eternally in his presence.

I love what Jesus is saying in

“You know the way to the place where I am going.”

It is not found in some great treasure hunt or at the end of a rainbow.  It is found in Christ (John 14 v 6) and because of grace; all are welcome; all are called friends (John 15 v 15).  I pray I see you there.

God Bless – Sean Bosse