A Tale of Two Powers

Do you know that you have two powers that want your attention?  One is good that wants you to follow Jesus and the other is Satan trying to destroy you no matter what you do.  Satan is always lurking around looking for ways to get into our lives.  Wanting to turn us away from God and bring us down to destruction and down to his level.  I for one don’t want to go in that direction.  Living in total darkness and destruction is a scary thought to me.  In my devotional reading today Jesus tells how he healed a man from demonic forces and restores the man to his right mind.  We need to be ever mindful of Satan’s attacks on us.  Standing strong in the Lord and putting on the full armor of God to protect us from Satan’s attacks.

Read the following devotion from today’s reading by Phil Ware:  What do you think?

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Child of God,

Two powers are at war over your eternal destiny — God and Satan. The story below illustrates the different goals of these two powers. No matter how alluring temptation may seem to you, the ultimate goal of the tempter — Satan the evil deceiver, the devil, the evil one — and all the forces of hell can be seen from the condition of the man called Battalion.

When you meet the man identified as Battalion, the forces of evil are literally hell-bent on his destruction. This is Satan’s intent for you. However, the ultimate goal of your Father in heaven is for you to be in your right mind, for you to be learning from Me how to have purpose for your life, and for you to live out that purpose in your daily life.

Notice the way Battalion is described at the beginning of this event:

  • He is isolated — literally driven into isolation by the demonic powers that control him.
  • He is filled with destructive power.
  • He is naked.
  • He lives and sleeps in a cemetery — the place of the dead.
  • He is uncontrollable.
  • He has lost his sense of self-identity — he doesn’t even know his real name.
  • He is aware of all of these problems in himself.

Yet as much as this man is in bondage to demonic powers, notice this one truth: he can still come to Me and fall at My feet despite the power of the demons in him wanting to be rid of Me! I AM more powerful than all of these demons. So notice what I do to bless this man despite the demons trying to use My identity to gain power over Me and send Me away.

  • I deliver him from the demonic powers oppressing him.
  • I return this man to a normal life and a right mind.
  • I welcome the man into My fellowship and friendship.
  • I send the man out on a mission to share his good news and My story of grace.

Satan’s goal for you is clear: he wants to do with you what he did with Battalion. He wants to introduce hell on earth into your life. His temptations may look enticing. There may be no apparent signs of Satan’s destructive and evil intent in these temptations — at least not at first. Yet behind each temptation there are traps designed to enslave you. I can help you break your bondage to these traps, but you are much better off if you avoid the traps all together!

I have a goal for you. I want you to be My disciple. I want you to sit by Me and learn the way of true life from Me. I want to defeat the powers that hold you in bondage and enslave you to self-destruction. I want you in your right mind — back in control of your life and your decisions. I want you to find your purpose in Me. I want to bring you back into a positive and influential relationship with your family and friends. But you have to choose Me… you must call out to Me for help… and you must ask Me to take control of your life and be willing for Me to do so!

Not everyone will be happy if you choose Me. Some prefer to live out-of-control lives rather than to yield their lives to Me. In addition, the lure for you to go back to that old life — to have that uncontrollable power at work in you again — is just as destructive as it is strong.

You must recognize that you cannot defeat the power of evil on your own. Yet, I can defeat it. In fact, I have defeated it through My death and resurrection. Do not despair in the face of great evil. Cry out to Me. Trust Me. Follow Me. Learn from Me. Share your story about Me with others. And when you do, you can know this: I will never leave you or forsake you.

Verses to Live

Notice how the “friends” of Battalion react when he is set free of the demonic spirits. They order Me to leave after I have liberated him and put him in his right mind. They cannot deal with Me. They don’t know what to do with a power they cannot control or understand. So rather than inviting Me into their small little world, they ask Me to leave. What about you? Will you ask Me into your world or order Me to leave?

When they [Jesus and His disciples] get to the other side of the lake, in the Gerasene country opposite Galilee, a man from the city is waiting for Jesus when He steps out of the boat. The man is full of demonic spirits. He’s been running around for a long time stark naked, and he’s homeless, sleeping among the dead in a cemetery. This man has on many occasions been tied up and chained and kept under guard, but each time he has broken free and the demonic power has driven him back into remote places away from human contact. Jesus commands the demonic force to leave him. The man looks at Jesus and starts screaming. He falls down in front of Jesus.

Possessed Man (shouting):

Don’t torment me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! Why are You here?

Jesus (calmly and simply):

What’s your name?

Possessed Man:

Battalion.

He says this because an army of demons is inside of him. The demons start begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. They plead instead to enter into a herd of pigs feeding on a steep hillside near the shore. Jesus gives them permission to do so. Suddenly the man is liberated from the demons, but the pigs—they stampede, squealing down the hill and into the lake where they drown themselves.

The pig owners see all this. They run back to their town and tell everyone in the region about it. Soon a crowd rushes from the town to see what’s going on out by the lake. There they find Jesus seated to teach with the newly liberated man sitting at His feet learning in the posture of a disciple. This former madman is now properly dressed and completely sane. This frightens the people. The pig owners tell them the whole story — the healing, the pigs’ mass suicide, everything.

The people are scared to death, and they don’t want this scary abnormality happening in their territory. They ask Jesus to leave immediately. Jesus doesn’t argue. He prepares to leave, but before they embark, the newly liberated man begs to come along and join the band of disciples.

Jesus:

No. Go home. Tell your people this amazing story about how much God has done for you.

The man does so. In fact, he tells everyone in the whole city how much Jesus did for him that day on the shore.
(Luke 8:26-39)

Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I know that You stand at the door of my heart and knock. I know You won’t break down the door and barge into my life. I know that I must invite You in and welcome You to my table. So Jesus, I ask You to claim me, cleanse me, come to me, care for me and commission me to serve You in a way that brings You glory and brings others to know You and Your saving grace. Amen.

I surely don’t want to allow Satan in my life.  I don’t want to be controlled by him nor do I want to listen to what he has to say.  I have opened the door for Jesus to come in and I want Him on myside rather than face the destruction that Satan can do to me.

What about you?  Care to join me in this journey?  What are your thoughts!

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What is in your boat?

What is in your boat?  No, I’m not talking about a physical boat.  I’m talking about the boat of your life.  The one that you use for security, safety and comfort.  What are you clinging to?  I read in my devotions today about how we can make things our boat instead of making Christ our boat.  Allowing the things in our life to control us instead of putting Christ first in our lives and making Him our boat.  I don’t know about you, but to me that is a scary thought.  I wouldn’t want to go through life with out my Lord and Savior.  Have we become so placenta or comfortable that we just don’t see what we are doing to our lives?

Read what Jesus says about us making our own boats.  Phil Ware says it well in this one.

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

How’s your boat? No, I’m not talking about a literal boat you may or may not own. I’m talking about the things in your life that furnish you security, a sense of safety, identity, order, or purpose.

So let Me ask you again. How’s your boat? Are your investments up or down? Do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? Has the job or person you trusted for security let you down? Are you working madly to keep your body and your appearance looking young and vibrant while fearing that aging is stealing away your identity and usefulness? Is your family all that you hoped it would be? Have your achievements brought you joy and a sense of fulfillment or do you feel as if you have to accomplish more to be significant?

Your boat is whatever you have used as your sense of safety, security, identity, order, or purpose. So how’s your boat?

Here’s the truth. Sooner or later, something much bigger than you, something you can’t control, is going to rock your boat! So what are you going to do then? How are you going to face the raging storms of life if you are depending on a fragile and temporal boat?

Today’s verses speak directly to one of life’s harshest truths: no mortal can protect or even navigate his or her boat in the face of life’s raging realities. Many who claim to follow Me have had Me along as a sleeping passenger, a mere mascot, someone to talk to through some of the minor squalls of life when they needed something fixed. They never really have given Me control of their boat. They’ve never handed Me control of the sails. Then when life’s storms hit, they want to know why I’ve let the troubles of life threaten them.

So when the next storm hits and rocks your boat and scares you down to the depths of your soul, what are you going to do? I hope it will be this. I hope you will wake Me from being your sleeping mascot. I hope you will ask Me for help. And most of all, I hope when it is all done, you will ask the questions My disciples did when the storm rocked their boat:

Who is this man? How can He command wind and water so they do what He says?

Then, I hope you will make Me your boat and not just your mascot! Better yet, why not make Me your boat, your Master, your Lord, today… before the next storm hits and the waves pound and the wind blows?

Verses to Live

As you read today’s verses, ask yourself, “What is my boat?” Answer as honestly as you can. Then invite Me to be more than your passenger or your mascot; ask Me to be your Boat — to provide you security, direction, and your future.

Picture this:

One day Jesus and His disciples get into a boat.

Jesus:

Let’s cross the lake.

So they push off from shore and begin sailing to the far side. As they progress across the lake, Jesus falls sound asleep. Soon a raging storm blows in. The waves wash over the sides of the boat, and the boat starts filling up with water. Every second the situation becomes more dangerous.

The disciples shake Jesus and wake Him.

Disciples (shouting):

Master! Master! We’re all going to die!

Jesus wakes up and tells the wind to stop whipping them around, and He tells the furious waves to calm down. They do just that. Then Jesus turns to the disciples.

Jesus:

What happened to your faith?

The disciples had been terrified during the storm, but now they’re afraid in another way. They turn to each other and start whispering, chattering, and wondering.

Disciples:

Who is this man? How can He command wind and water so they do what He says?

(Luke 8:22-25)

Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, forgive me for making other things in my life my basis of security. I want You to be Lord of my life and the basis of my security. Please help me as I make You my Boat! Amen.

This has me thinking about my life.  What about you?  Are you doing the same thing or are you totally committed to Christ and letting Him lead and take control over your life?  I’m going to work on allowing Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior lead and take control over my life more.  Instead of waiting for a storm to it.

How about you?  Care to join me?  What are your thoughts?  It would be interesting to know.

Do you have doubts?

Do you have doubts?  I know that I have and I have sometimes allowed them to go to far. Well in my devotion this morning Jesus was talking about doubting. That we all will doubt, but by trusting and having faith in Jesus that He will get through it and will get closer to Him. That we will also feel Him in our lives. You see Jesus is never going to leave nor forsake us. No matter what happens in our lives.

Here read what he has to say:

“The One?” — A Year with Jesus for 02/04/2015
Note from Jesus
Dear Disciple,

Doubt! Even the best people have periods of doubt. My cousin John the Baptist was in prison awaiting certain death at the hands of Herod. His prophecies about Me were bold. His proclamation of repentance and practice of baptism were powerful. His willingness to give up his popularity and point people to Me was incredibly courageous and humble. Yet John had his lingering doubts.

Why? Why would someone so bold, powerful, courageous, and humble have doubts?

Think about it. Courage is boldness in the face of danger and doubt. Faith is trust that risks everything in the face of uncertainty and danger. You will have doubts — sometimes deep doubts just like John faced. John was wanting to know with certainty that he had not wasted his life as he approached his death. So he asked, “Are You the Promised One, or shall we keep looking for someone else?”

As I said while on earth, “Listen, there is no human being greater than this man, John the Baptist.” Yet John had doubts as he faced his own martyrdom because My work didn’t seem to match his understanding of My role.

You have been born of God into My kingdom. In this way you are greater than John. Yet you will have doubts and they will find their gravity in the same two places John’s doubts found theirs.

First, life is hard and can rattle you to your soul. The world may not appreciate the truth of the life you live to honor the Father. John’s passionate and faithful proclamation of truth landed him in Herod’s jail and ultimately led to his martyrdom. The world’s brutal treatment of God’s people can lead to times of doubt in their hearts.

Second, you have certain expectations of Me that sometimes don’t seem to line up with your reality. Even in those times when I appear to be distant and unconcerned, please remember that I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6; Romans 8:32-39).

In your doubt, remember what I helped John the Baptist do: get a fuller picture of Who I AM. In your life I will help you in a similar way through a deeper look at Scripture, My promises, the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, and the people of faith who have come before you and those who support you now.

My hope is for you to have a deep understanding of My grace and a faith — a faith that can hang onto hope through life’s storms when things don’t seem to line up with your expectations of the Father’s promises. Remember, doubt is part of living life in a tough world. The greatest heroes in Scripture had their moments of doubt. Yet hanging onto faith, looking at great examples of faith in Scripture, and using Scripture to get a fuller view of Me will help you be faithful… even to the point of death. Courageous faith is choosing to believe in the face of uncertainty and difficulties.

Verses to Live

The following passage from Luke’s Gospel recounts the events when John’s disciples came with his question about Me. Notice that My answer wasn’t just a bunch of words; my answer to John’s disciples included actions. These actions were specific types of miracles: miracles that Isaiah had prophesied the Messiah would perform — prophecies John knew. So My explanation about fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah made clear to John that I was indeed the Messiah!

News of Jesus spread across the whole province of Judea and beyond to the surrounding regions. When these reports reached John’s disciples, they brought news to John himself, who was known for his preaching and ritual cleansing. John sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord, “Are You the Promised One, or shall we keep looking for someone else?”

They came to Jesus and asked their question exactly as directed by John the Baptist.

Before He answered John’s messengers, Jesus cured many from various diseases, health conditions, and evil spirits. He even caused many blind people to regain their sight.

Jesus (to John’s disciples):
Go and tell John what you’ve witnessed with your own eyes and ears: the blind are seeing again, the lame are walking again, the lepers are clean again, the deaf hear again, the dead live again, and good news is preached to the poor. Whoever is not offended by Me is blessed indeed.
When John’s messengers left, Jesus talked to the crowds about John.

Jesus:
When you went out into the wilderness to see John, what were you expecting? A reed shaking in the wind? What were you looking for? A man in expensive clothing? Look, if you were looking for fancy clothes and luxurious living, you went to the wrong place — you should have gone to the kings’ courts, not to the wilderness! What were you seeking? A prophet? Ah yes, that’s what John is, and even more than a prophet. The prophet Malachi was talking about John when he wrote,

I will send My messenger before You, to clear Your path in front of You.

Listen, there is no human being greater than this man, John the Baptist. Yet even the least significant person in the coming kingdom of God is greater than John.

The common people and tax collectors heard God’s own wisdom in Jesus’ assessment of John because they had been ritually cleansed through baptism by John. But the Pharisees and religious scholars hardened their hearts and turned their backs on God’s purposes for them because they had refused John’s baptism.

Jesus:
The people of this generation — what are they like? To what can they be compared? I’ll tell you: they’re like spoiled kids sitting in the marketplace playing games, calling out:

We played the pipes for you,
but you didn’t dance to our tune!
We cried like mourners,
but you didn’t cry with us!

You can’t win with this generation. John the Baptist comes along, fasting and abstaining from wine, and you say, “This guy is demon-possessed!” The Son of Man comes along, feasting and drinking wine, and you say, “This guy is a glutton and a drunk, a friend of scoundrels and tax collectors.” Well, wisdom’s true children know wisdom when they hear it.

(Luke 7:17-35)

Response in Prayer:

Almighty God, thank You! Thank You for giving me a Bible that is full of people like me — people who love You but struggle with real-life faith and doubt. I trust You , Holy Spirit, to lead me through these times and conform me to be like Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

I don’t know about you, but I am going to work and pray about getting closer to God and relying more on Him. With trusting Him and turning things over to Him immediately we can gain peace and even though we may not understand them at the time, we can rest assured that God is in our corner and wanting us to know Him. He is drawing us closer to Him and wanting us to seek Him for everything that happens in our lives.

What about you? Care to join me in this journey?
What are you thoughts on this? I would love to hear them.