The Spirit of Stupid

As I travel around my nation (and into other nations, on occasion) it seems, in general, that there is great confusion about the Church. People are not sure what the Church is nor are they sure, apparently, what it’s all about – what function it is to have in their life and in the world. And, these are the Christians.

So, we have Christians no longer attending corporate worship on a Sunday but they meet with another Christian couple at Starbucks for a coffee and “fellowship” and call that their weekly ‘Church’ experience. We have other Christians who don’t attend a weekly worship service and either don’t like coffee or don’t have any Christian friends because they simply take Sunday off and sleep in. Still others attend out of a sense of duty and go through the motions of their particular worship service – often without engaging the emotions. In some cases there is so little being offered that they are not even challenged to engage their thinking capacity. Still others attend when it is convenient.

Some time ago I was reading and came across a statement that intrigued me and upset me all at the same time. The author (sorry, don’t remember which book) stated: “The Church is about three things: worship, well-being, and witness”

I see these three things as I travel from local church to local church. They all start with a “w” so I even “feel a sermon coming on”. I see these three things in Scripture, as well. But, I have a problem with all this …

The Church has spent 90% of her time and resources in North America (I made the statistic up -but you get my point) on the worship and well-being portion of that statement. We build buildings to worship in, have terrific sound equipment to aid in the worship, overhead projectors, Powerpoint presentations, iPod capabilities, and on and on the list goes. We also have counselling centers, food kitchens, food baskets, inner healing prayer times, pastoral visitations -all to help with the “well-being” portion of this statement. But, when it comes to the “witness” part we put little to no effort into this aspect of the life of the Church and the believer.

The Lord was very specific with the mandate that He left the Church He founded and that He is still the Head of. Yes, I recognize that the early Church took care of those in need (well-being) and gathered often for prayer and corporate times to magnify the Lord (worship) but Jesus’ last words were…

Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:8 “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Note: “… will tell people about me everywhere…”)

It seems that the focus of the Founder of the Church was on the part that we give the least amount of time and effort (and money) to – “witness”.

Statistic: By 2035 there will be about 2 million practicing Muslims in Britain, compared with 1.6 million churchgoing Christians (not necessarily born again). This according to a study released by Christian Research. The Religious Trends report also warned that 4,000 churches could close by 2020 if congregations continue to shrink at current rates (reported in the Daily Telegraph).

The response by the Church – well, they think the study and the survey was flawed and misrepresents the true situation of the Church in Britain. What – is it worse than the report indicates? Oh no, they don’t think it is near as bad. They think! One is the result of scientific surveys and studies – the other “thinks” it is not so dreary. What happened? Has the the Spirit of Stupid come and sat on the Church or what?

It seems staraight-forward to me. When an organization like the Church invests 90% or more of its precious (and dwindling resources) into maintenance and not into ministry (outreach and soul-winning) then it is an organization focused upon itself and will surely slowly die. The statistic in North America is that a church loses 20% of its people a year – through death, people moving, other leaving the Church, some switching churches. So, although the numbers leaving each year grow smaller (20% of a dwindling total) the outcome is inevitable unless new life is added.

Some “new life” does come in through transfer growth but (again statistically) there is little new growth in the Church in North America in spite of the rise of megachurches and multi-site churches.

So, slowly but surely we are growing smaller and eventually churches close – and they are closing at an alarming rate – not just in Britain but here in North America. And, we continue to deny it – prefering to stick our heads in the sand – which, of course, leaves our “you know what” stuck up in the air ready to be kicked. And we are being kicked hard right now.

It is time to shake the Spirit of Stupid off of us and wake up and smell the coffee – count the bodies, buildings and budgets – and recognize what we are refusing to acknowledge … we are losing market share in North America. Jesus told us what we are to do (see the scripures above) and He also said “occupy until I come” which was a business term meaning to take more turf – to continue to take a larger market share each year…

The Mormons are hard at work doing just this. So are, according to the reports I quoted, the Muslims. It is time for the born again Christian Church to pull their collective heads out of the sand and make some major changes. It is time for individual Christians to realize that they too are going to be accountable to the Lord for their witness for Him and the Gospel of the Kingdom – or their lack of it.

And please, let’s not sit around and discuss it in committees and study groups for the next ten or fifteen years because by then we will no longer need to be resusitated – we will be dead and need to be resurrected – a little harder but not impossible to do. Let’s just get at what the Lord left us to do – “seek and save the lost”.

Live Like You Were Dying – You Are!

I have been drawn to the song “Live Like You Were Dying” not because I want to ride a bull named Foomanchu” – although I will admit to wanting to sky dive. I have been drawn to it over the last year or more because I believe it has a message for all people – but especially God’s people.

It is time to “Live Like You Were Dying” because you are. You don’t know how long you have on this planet because only God knows the length of every person’s life for He is the author of life and has each of our days in His hands. However, from the day you were born you began heading towards death.

Too often we postpone saying something or doing something until “some day” or “another day” and that some day or another day never arrives. We are waiting until we retire. We are waiting until God finishes healing us from our past. We are waiting until the kids grow up (a secret learned as a father of 6 – don’t wait, they will always need you and some of them never grow up). We are waiting for…

If you had 30 days left to live – the doctor walks in and annouces that the last series of tests shows that you have only 4 weeks of life before death knocks and takes you to the next world – either Heaven or Hell – for all eternity – what would you do differently? Who would you ask forgiveness from? Where would you go? What would you find yourself doing? Who would you tell that you love them?

Any regrets about life will surface during this brief time as well – but there will be little you can do about the regrets as it is too late.

Here is what I would do:
1> Live passionately
2> Love completely
3> Learn humbly
4> Leave boldly *

And why am I waiting until I know for certain that the end of my natural, earthly life is at hand? I’m not. Just before I turned 20 years of age (many, many years ago – don’t ask) I made a quality decision to live each day of my life to the fullest – to swing the tiger by the tail … the tiger being my next 24 hours. And, I am happy to report that I have done just that – with each and every day. Maybe that is why I always feel tired! Just kidding.

I believe that I have lived passionately, loved completely, learned humbly, and that I’m prepared to leave boldly to enter into the next world called Heaven. And, I plan to continue living this way for whatever remaining time the Lord sees fit to grant me.

However, as I have been reading and studying for a teaching on this topic I have made a second quality decision – to spend some time this summer thinking and praying and reprioritizing things again and see if I should be narrowing the focus of what I allow to occupy my time. Afterall, I only ‘pass this way once’ and never get to do this again. As one of my long-term mentors said many years ago to me – “Life is not a dress rehersal – you only get to do this once”.

I’m in this process right now – and the dust on the books and the desk does not bother me any more. The paperwork that is waiting simply gets piled and I will get around to it some day. The garden needs weeding and I don’t care. The shirts need ironing and I can still see one in the closet that I have not worn so no rush – even if it doesn’t match the only remaining pair of clean pants. The sermon needs a bit more fine tweeking and it will never happen. You see, I’m off to a family picnic (almost all 25 of us will be there) and will return to the study ‘whenever’ tonight. You see, I take seriously what I preach. I have and plan to continue to “live like I am dying” with a bit of refocusing and narrowing of what I allow to occupy my time.

Give some thought to what you would do if you were told you had only 30 days left to live. You may have even less and not know it!

* The summary (4 points) of how to live like you are dying is from a great book called: “One Month to Live” by Kerry and Chris Shook” and published by WaterBrook Press. ISBN# 9781400073795

The Scars of Friendship – Been There, Done That, Bought that T-Shirt

In Zechariah 13:6 the prophet asks the question: “What are there scars?” The answer he receives names a disturbing reality: “I got them in the house of my friends.”

Bible scholars tell us that this verse is either:

1> A prophetic word regarding the betrayal of Jesus by Judas – one of His close associates and friends. Remember, Jesus said to them – “I do not call you servants but friends…” (John 15:15)

2> A comment about false prophets who when challenged about the wounds on their bodies (they would cut themselves to arouse prophetic ecstasy in idolatrous rites) would say that the wounds were from an attack they suffered from the hands of a friend.

But, in either case, it can be applied to our own lives in another very valid way as well. A third application if you wish. It seems that those whom we love – family and friends – are the ones that hurt us the most. The reason, of course, is that because we love them we trust them and so let down our guard with them. We can be more real – more our true self – with them. We can talk about issues, concerns, worries, even the occasional temptation we may be facing and struggling with. We feel safe.

Only to wake up one day and find out something has gone wrong. An emotional distance now exists between you and them. They seem more ‘separated’ from you emotionally. They are not as open as they once were. They seem busier than usual and so you are not getting together as often for coffee. At first you think you are simply over-reacting and that there is really nothing wrong. Tired and reading the signals wrong. But soon you realize that they have backed off in the relationship. This hurts deeply. “The wounds of a friend”.

Then you begin to hear from others in your social circle that they have been talking about you when you are not there. They have been expressing concerns about you to others when they have never spoken to you about those issues personally. You feel betrayed, hurt, crushed, even angry. “The wounds of a friend.”

This is often magnified many times over when it happens in a Church setting. Someone you have been close to betrays your trust. A friend, a prayer partner, an accountability partner. “The wounds of a friend.”

All of us have experienced this in life. Everyone of us has scars from past relationships and past friendships. It seems it is simply a normal part of life. Sad though it may be, it is true. People do not always end up being trustworthy and a safe place to share. We get wounded and deeply hurt.

So, what do you do then? Well, if you are like any normal human being you swear off friendships and close relationships of any kind. You pull inward and become much more introspective. You stop sharing inner thoughts and feelings with people. Afterall, you would be stupid to stick your neck out in another relationship – because, with your track record, it will just happen again. People cannot be trusted. Been there, done that, bought that t-shirt.

But, after a while you find your heart shriveling up – drying up on the inside of you. You feel remote, detached, distant from others – as if you have become an observer of your own life and no longer a participant. And, you don’t like the feeling.

So, what to do? Well, I believe this verse from the ancient prophet is actually dealing with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas – one of the twelve He called friends. So, what did Jesus do? Well, I think He:

1> Forgave – because He knew that we are forgiven in the same proportion that we forgive (His own teaching and the Lord’s Prayer). And, He knew that if He did not forgive He would be the one who would be hurt the most. R.T. Kendal states: “Refusing to forgive is like you drinking poison believing that the other person will die”.

2> Rebuilt relationships – He did not just move on and find another Church or another group of men. He forgave them (for deserting Him at the time of His need – the Cross) and worked at rebuilding the fractured relationships. We see His efforts in this regard with Peter after the resurrection but I am sure He had to do the same rebuilding with the other remaining ten disciples. Important to note – He initiated this rebuilding … He did not wait for them to come to Him and He did not avoid the confrontation that rebuilding required.

3> He shared His heart with them – trusting them, once again – almost immediately. He could do this because He had actually forgiven them – deep down inside. He was not holding back and holding on so He could bring up these past concerns in a future situation. It was forgiven and forgotten. Otherwise, as He knew, you simply place yourself in bondage to your past.

4> He moved forward in each and every relationship He had and built constructively and quickly.

I believe that He set the example for us and we too must do as He did.

It is a fact of life – those close to you will wound you. Nevermind, get up – forgive and keep going. If you have forgiven and don’t feel that you want to rebuild that fractured relationship (or they are not willing to rebuild and put in the effort along with you to do that) then move on and start building bridges to others.

In the long run it is worth it. You may get a really decent, long-term friendship the next time you reach out. If not, you will find yourself with another opportunity to become more like Jesus – forgiving, patient, and long-suffering.

Summer Suggestions – Summer Bible Journey #2

If you have joined me in journeying through the Bible in 2 months you will, by now, have read 57 chapters. You will have found yourself amazed that you actually read that much of the Bible in that short a time period.

Most of us find it difficult in our fast-paced world to even have a regular devotional time. We realize that so many things squeeze out our planned Bible time on any given day. Good things, family things, important things. Nevertheless, we often lose more daily devotional times than we actually keep in any given week.

Even if we are faithful and manage our daily Bible reading and devotional time – our reading time is realtively short. We manage a chapter or so on any given day. This helps our spirit to be fed and stay alive spiritually but it does not give us the big picture of how God has and is interacting with mankind on a daily basis.

But, in the slower summer months when we sit out a bit more, BBQ in the back yard, ride our bikes, go for walks in the park, sit by the pool (backyard version or at a regional or provincial park) – maybe now is a good time to take a run at reading the Bible from cover-to-cover and become familiar with its wonderful (and true) stories once again.

Each year as summer approaches I go on-line and purchase a new Bible to use for my summer reading blitz. I purchase a version I have not read or don’t normally use. And, I buy one that is packaged in a compact way. It then fits in the sack on my bike, easily goes in my lunch bag when heading out to the beach or the park, is portable so I can take it when I go to walk the dog… you get the idea.

So, my dog and I go for three long walks a day – total of 10 miles or so. On the two during daylight hours I take my Bible. Two thirds of the way to the turn-around point there is a nice grassy slope and a stream as well as some shade trees. So, we walk and enjoy the trail we are on – then we sit, have a diet coke (he drinks water I have brought for him) and I read my Bible. Cooking supper on the BBQ – I can read 5 to 10 chapters in the time it takes to slow cook (slow on purpose, of course) the steaks. Because it is lighter earlier in the summer – and warmer – I get up sooner than I normally would, grab a coffee, and head out to the lawn chair to enjoy being outdoors and to, you guessed it, read my Bible.

Summer is a great time (although short) to be intentional about Bible reading. So, grab a smaller Bible that fits into your purse or knapsack and is fairly portable and take it with you everywhere you go. Use your spare minutes wisely and you will be amazed at how much of the Bible you can actually read in any given two month period.

The Christian Faith – Crucial and Costly- Bible Blog #13

The Scripture:

Acts 2:37-42 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Commentary:

Peter is preaching from the prophet Joel about the key truth of the Christian faith – the resurrection of Jesus as Messiah – Lord and Christ.

The result of this short first sermon of the Christian Church is that those listening were “pierced to the heart” The Greek here means stabbed – so it was sudden, unexpected and they were simply stunned that they had killed Messiah. Connected to this word ‘pierced’ is the idea of grief, remorse, and intense spiritual conviction. This was definitely a supernatural encounter with the living God for those in Peter’s audience.

They ask Peter a question: “What shall we do?” When the Word is preached people must repond to it as James states that we must be hearers and doers, not just hearing it and walking away.

The answer: Repent“. In the Greek this means to have a change of mind and thus a change of purpose that literally turns a person from sin and towards God. The book of Proverbs states that “as a man thinks, so is he”. (Proverbs 23:7) and 1 Thessalonians 1:9b states that when they are truly repentant – “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God…”

Genuine repentance means:

1> You recognize the evil of sin
2> You realize that you must forsake all sin
3> You embrace the person and work of Christ totally

If there is no genuine repentance then there is no genuine conversion. So, people who just say a sinner’s prayer without godly sorrow and repentance are not saved – just deceived.

So, Peter tells them they must repent. And, secondly, that they must be baptized by immersion in water. He is following the direct instructions of Jesus who told His disciples that they were “to go into all the world, make disciples…baptizing them…” (Matthew 28:18-20). Baptism is important as a first step of obedience because in baptism by immersion you are identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Those being baptized would understand the signifigance of the act. They may have already personally experienced John’s baptism as the disciples in Acts 19 had. Some most certainly would have seen gentile converts to the Jewish faith (proselytes) baptized.

To be baptized “in Jesus name” was very crucial for the early Church as they tried to differentiate themselves from the Jewish faith – for many considered them simply another sect within the Jewish religion. As well, baptism was costly – as this public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ often cost them their lives.

Peter says you “are baptized for the forgiveness of sins”. This is not theologically correct. Really, you get baptized because of the forgiveness of your sins. Forgiveness does not come through baptism but through accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour at which point your sins are forgiven. The act of baptism does not forgive nor cleanse. It is simply a public recognition of the forgiveness and cleansing that has already taken place (1 John 1:9). Paul writes and tells us that genuine repentance (see above for the definition of repent) brings forgiveness. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

When you repent and are forgiven – thus born again – the Holy Spirit is given to you as a gift. This is what Peter is saying when talking about “the gift of the Holy Spirit”. This gift and promise is not just for those listening to Peter but for those “afar off”. I believe that refers to generations still to come. Some think Peter is referring to the Gentiles. If this were correct then there would be no need of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 where it finally dawns on Peter that non-Jews are accpted into the Kingdom. If those who believe this were right there would also be no need for the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 when they struggle with how to intergrate Gentile believers into what had been, up till this point, a Jewish religion. Peter is commenting that this gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit is available now and for generations to come.

Those hearing Peter preach reacted to what he was saying. Some walked away in disbelief. Others (3,000) received forgiveness and new life and were baptized. The baptisms could have taken place in a nearby river or in the Jewish mikvahs which were the ritual baths built right into the sides of the temple court.

This section of scripture ends with Luke telling us what these newly baptized believers did. They became involved in four things:

1> Learning the apostle’s doctrines (foundational to the Church)
2> Fellowship
3> Breaking of bread – eating together ansd celebrating the Lord’s Supper
4> Prayer – private and corporate.

All of these activities would have been dangerous to be participating in as the Roman Empire and the Jewish religion were not in favour of this new movement that was beginning with quite an explosion.

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A New Addiction For God’s People

God is addicted. Addicted to change. Now the Bible tells us that God does not change – He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is very emphatic when He states “I am the Lord God and I change not” (Malachi 3:6).

He is in the business of changing those who come to Him for salvation. He wants to see ordinary people turned into extraordinary followers of God. Followers who have been given power and who are now out making an incredible difference in the lives of others. They move out into the ‘highways and by-ways’ and witness to the lost – seeing God redeem, restore and redirect the most unlikely candidates and characters. Read more

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Foundational and Transitional Apostles

Currently in the Church world there are three teachings with respect to the ministry of an apostle. The first says that the ministry of the apostle ended after John the Beloved died in Ephesus in 101 C.E. This is the dispensationalist viewpoint. The second uses the word “missionary” in place of the word ‘apostle’. This is the case in many born again, main line denominations. It is interesting that other groups use the word ‘missionary’ to replace the word ‘evangelist’. ( ‘God’s Word’ edition of the Bible from World Publishing. See Ephesians 4:11) The third view is that apostles are Jesus’ ARCHECTITON ascension gifts to the Church provided to perfect every believer for the work of the ministry as stated in Ephesians 4:11-16 and still very much needed today as we have not reached maturity or unity as yet. Read more

Irons in the fire

Ministry can be hazzardous to your spiritual and physical health. Someone once said: “If your output exceeds your input, then your upkeep will be your downfall.” And that is very true even today.

Let’s state that another way – When you have too many irons in the fire – you put the fire out. So, if you are at that point in your life and ministry that you are simply “too busy” then it is time to take the irons out and re-stoke the fire.

What do I mean by that? Don’t just take a holiday for a week or two to get away from it all (leave the fire unattended). Don’t simply slow down (take an iron or two out and hope the fire rekindles). Don’t simply pile more wood on the fire hoping it will ignite again (more prayer and Bible study). Don’t just sit there watching the fire as if you were somehow semi-detached from it (do nothing) hoping things will improve.

Here is what you need to do. Stop everything that you are doing in the name of ministry – preaching, counseling, running worship services, outreach to the lost, web pages, bulletins, office routine, and whatever else you do. Take every iron (activity) out of the chocking fire. Stop all activities. Remove all irons from the fire.

Then, take time to simply be with the Lord whom you have served so faithfully. Go away someplace for a week, two weeks, a month, six months, a year. Whatever it takes to rekindle the fire in your own heart. Go away and be with Him and let Him do a deep work in your heart – correcting, adjusting, chastising if need be. Let Him talk to you about the ministry you do in His Name. Let Him prioritize or re-prioritize your life and your ministry. Let His presence become precious once again – and refresh you!

When Jesus first called His twelve disciples to leadership it was in a setting where they were away from all activitiy. He was talking with them in a personal way, sharing His heart and sharing an intimate time with them. The Bible puts it this way:

Mark 3:13-14 And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach

He called them to be with Him (first) and then that He might send them out to minister (preach). There is the key to ministry. You spend time with Him and then, having heard His heart and His plan, you go out with Him and together you accomplish His plan for that day.

Come on – admit it! That’s what you did once. That’s how the fire was first started. But then it got so busy and the demands became so great that you shortened the time you spent with Him in the early part of the day. It didn’t take long before that once precious time became almost non-existent. And then you simply went out and did. You went from a human “being” being with Him to a human “doing” where you simply did for Him.

The needs of others are always so great – so one iron after another gets stuck into the fire in your heart until they are literally choaking the life right out of you and the fire begins to fade and go out.

Time for drastic measures. Time to remove all irons – all ministry from your life. And go away to spend quality time and a large chunk or quanity of time with the Lord. Time where there are no demands placed on your life whatsoever. Time for you to relax, unwind, stop thinking about ministry (that takes a few weeks up to a few months) and then time to hear the Lord about your relationship with Him – not about the ministry.

You see all ministry arises out of relationship – your relationship with Him. Time to invest some time in that relationship!

A Question

I collect odd statements – statements are collections of words that actually say something but sound weird or overwhelming. Example – “the ontological bifocation of reality”. Not trying to impress anyone.As a wordsmith who works with words daily I simply like concise phrases that say something in the best manner possible – expressing a profound truth. In the pulpit I would use simpler phrases and more common words to describe the reality I was expressing – but in the study I can play with these words and enjoy myself.

Found a new exciting phrase recently. Want to see it? Here it is then: “Doesn’t the Temptation in the Wilderness evidence a metaphysical dualism that is antithetical to radical Judaic monotheism?” This is a question that Dr. Guy Chevreau asked Dr. Heidi Baker one day in the backwoods of Mozambique. He was serious when he asked it. Neat question.

The question is based on the story of the Devil coming to Jesus to tempt Him in the wilderness. There were three temptations all of which Jesus turned aside through quoting scriptures at the Devil. The three temptations were the same three the Devil used on Eve in the Garden of Eden and the same three that the elderly apostle of love, John, warns us about in his letter to the early church (1 John 2:16).

The three basic temptations that the Devil uses are:

1> The lust of the flesh – Did God really say don’t eat of that tree? / command these stones to become bread

2> The lust of the eyes – the fruit seemed good to eat / I will give you all these kingdoms

3> The pride of life – you will be like God / throw yourself down and prove you are God

What does the question mean? Guy was asking: “Does not the account of Jesus and the devil in the temptation in the wilderness put Jesus and the devil on a level playing field?”

Jesus is God but He put aside His power when He was born as a man. He did what He did through the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Word of God. The same as we are to do today. Jesus, the Bible states, because He was fully human was tempted in all points as we are…

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16)

BUT, even with His glory being put aside and simply functioning under the anointing (Luke 4:18) and walking according to the Word of God He is still seriously superior to anything the Devil may have or do. We do not understand this in the Church. We have blown the Devil up into some super powerful monster that we should be afraid of and whose demons we need to be fighting all the time because they are behind every tree and bush.

Not true. The Devil is a defeated enemy as Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8) and what Jesus came to do He accomplished for He did all that the Father sent Him to do and declared that “It is finished”.

So, we need to see the Devil for what he is – a defeated enemy and not a match for Jesus – then or now. Jesus literally defeated him by quoting the Bible (Old Testament -Deuteronomy) at him. No power struggle, no contest, no arguing, no push and shove, no yelling – just quietly quoting the Word.

“Who is Satan’s equal?” is the question Dr. Guy Chevreau was asking. The answer: Jesus is far superior to him even when functioning as a man under the authority of the Father and under the anointing that He received. And, we too, as believers, are superior to the Devil and do not need to be afraid of anything he might throw at us because armed with the Word of God (Bible) and walking under the anointing we are more than a match for a defeated foe. We are working from victory to victory.

When you were born again you received an anointing that lives in you (1 John 2:20, 27). When you were baptized in the Holy Spirit the anointing of power to be a witness came upon you (Acts 1:8). This means you are anointed to know and recognize truth and to walk in it (1 John) and you are anointed to take that truth right into the domaine of darkness and rescue those who are lost and going to Hell without Christ (Acts 1). And, the Devil cannot stop you from doing that. He is that powerless – he is a defeated foe and we can plunder loot (souls) from his domain of darkness as we speak truth and walk in the power anointing that Jesus said would allow us to “be His witnesses”.

Let’s shrink the Devil in our minds and hearts back to what the Bible says about him – he is defeated. And let’s recognize how awesome and great is the God we worship and serve.