Don’t let this happen to your church.
Ephesians 6:10- 18
10Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. 11Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies. 12This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. 13For this reason, take up all the armor that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days.[c] Once you have overcome all obstacles, you will be able to stand your ground.14So then, take your stand! Fasten truth around your waist like a belt. Put on God’s approval as your breastplate. 15Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace.16In addition to all these, take the Christian faith as your shield. With it you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Also take salvation as your helmet and the word of God as the sword that the Spirit supplies. 18Pray in the Spirit[d] in every situation. Use every kind of prayer and request there is. For the same reason be alert. Use every kind of effort and make every kind of request for all of God’s people.
Listen-Satan is real. He is trying his hardest to rip our churches apart person by person, issue, by issue, conflict by conflict and there are times when he is actually winning. He is accomplishing this because we are not properly equipping ourselves with the Truth. What is that Truth? The Word of God. It also takes BELIEF. I have talked with people about spiritual warfare who look at me like I have 13 heads and 6 arms. They just do not believe it.
I can remember a time when I didn’t believe it either and I looked at people in the same way. My Pastors, church leaders, and teachers have all stepped out in faith to teach me that it is very real. They didn’t shove it down my throat, but they lovingly placed it before me to read, study and grow. I have also been in a position to see how it works from inside the church. It is not pleasant, it is not pleasing to God and it just plain hurts. While it hurts my heart, I know it is grieving God. I can see this scene in my head…” God holding his head in hands, sobbing for his children and saying, ‘why oh why can’t they see what is happening?” Then he sends someone to teach them, someone in the form of a Pastor, teacher or leader in the church and they still don’t see it. The warfare is so strong that the people ban together and form sides. The only side we need to be on is God’s. If God is for us who can be against us? Do we not know that we do not have to live in this mess? Do we not know how much our Creator yearns for us to be in unison with Him?
It appears to me that some don’t.
Because some have made church all about “ME.”
Listen folks, church is not about us. It is a place to come to fellowship, to learn, to love, to grow and then to go out and share what we have learned with the world. The physical building is mortar, bricks, stone, masonry, wood, whatever. Someone has labored in love to put the building together so God’s people can come together IN LOVE. God lives inside each one us. The sad thing is that some of us have no idea that our breath is God’s breath too. That the breath that curses, and screams words of hatred and spreads gossip came from God, but it certainly does not sound like God. Why? Because satan has been allowed to enter the building. How did he do that? Through the people. Why? Because the people are so focused on themselves that they cannot see God anymore. “I want it this way, I want it that way, we can’t do that because we’ve always done it that way and that will never happen because so and so said….and blah, blah, blah.”
God’s purpose never changes. His purpose is to bring all people into a relationship with Him. When I say relationship I mean a real relationship. Not this “ Oh I believe in God on Sunday…” or “Oh sure, I believe there is a God and that all good people will go to heaven.” No. That’s not it. That won’t work. God requires our whole hearts and when we fully give ourselves over to God then we begin to see the Truth for what it really is. We begin to see and hear God work and we can feel the depth of his love in our hearts. It will consume us, envelope us and we will yearn for what God yearns for- for his children to be IN love with Him.
When we are in love with someone we want to please them and do whatever it is that will make them happy. This is what God wants. He wants us to serve others because we love Him. We are to have servant hearts for all of His people. Even the ones who cannot see the Truth yet. It’s there, waiting for them. It may be you or me that delivers the message-but GOD is always the message.
Satan intervenes when we don’t know what the message is. Our hearts have become full of me, me, me. It’s all about me. It’s all what I want or what I think. NOT! Control in a church is a big issue. It has the ability to destroy a person, a ministry, a congregation and a church. Control is a sin. Control over money, control over the office, control over the Pastors, control over the ministries, control over the people. When control gets confronted it gets ugly. Ugly gets mad and destroys.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We are called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are to be a Holy and living sacrifice to God and God alone. We are not to be controlled by people, money, or addictions. We are to be so addicted to God that we don’t want anything else in our lives. God is to be at the forefront of our lives. We are to wake up everyday and say, “ Lord, what can I do to serve you today?”
We are called to be servants of love. We should sit down with one another, in love and with gentleness, and say, “ what can I do for YOU today? How can I serve you? What are your needs? Hurts? Can I pray with you? Wash your feet, clean your house or fix you food?” This is what Jesus did. He served His Father to people through his actions, words, prayers and yes, even cleaning. ( after all he did clean the temple and he did prepare breakfast for his disciples. Don’t believe me? Well it’s all right there in that big book that sits on your coffee table, probably covered with dust. But that’s okay because dust can be blown off. Don’t you think it’s time you picked it up and searched the scriptures for yourself? Read: Matthew 21 for the temple cleaning and John 21 for breakfast.) God is right there in the pages on your coffee table or on your bookshelf. He is just waiting for you to pick Him up and get to know Him!
A Desire to Serve
1 Peter 5
1I appeal to your spiritual leaders.[a] I make this appeal as a spiritual leader who also witnessed Christ’s sufferings and will share in the glory that will be revealed. 2Be shepherds over the flock God has entrusted to you. Watch over it as God does: Don’t do this because you have to, but because you want to. Don’t do it out of greed, but out of a desire to serve. 3Don’t be rulers over the people entrusted to you, but be examples for the flock to follow. 4Then, when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
I have been learning how to serve others. God has placed this desire deep inside of me and in the past few weeks he has quadrupled that desire. I feel like God came down and sat next to me and said, “ Donna, this is how you do it.” He sent me a teacher. That teacher has taught me more about Christian love in 3 months than I could ever learn in a lifetime. It was fast and furious. I have learned how to take the ME out and put in YOU. I have learned this in a very personal way. I have had the opportunity to work side by side with one of God’s servants for several months. I saw her put herself to the side to serve the Body of Christ. She served the WHOLE body in a very personal, one on one way. Not just those who were in a relationship but also those who were hurting. I saw God’s love, Truth, responsibility, accountability and grace come to the surface. I saw a woman so in love with her Lord that she gave it all she had. When she was fully spent she knew it was time to move on. I saw a seed planted in love and a woman, who has done all she can, leave- trusting her God to do the rest. I know that wherever she is she is praying. I know that God sent her here for many reasons and one of those was to prick my heart for God. To get me out of ME and get FULLY into God and to TRUST HIM. Today I know God’s plan and purpose a little fuller, a little deeper and with more passion than ever. Sometimes it takes another person to get us to see things and to get us out of our own way. It also takes a heart that is willing to be broken for God.
Mine has been torn apart yet I am not sad. Why? Because I know that in walking away from something that I have made about me is also the thing that has freed me. I never realized how heavy my burdens had become until I let them go. They had been something that I felt I had a tiny bit of control over when in reality I never did. I never realized it until now. They gave me a sort of sense of control that I didn’t realize until now. Leaving them behind is forcing me to trust in God and it will also force me to have better planning and organization in other areas. I am very free spirited and this has often been my downfall. I am my own worst enemy. Haha. When I walk away from me, my free spirit, I am walking into TRUST. Over the past several weeks many hearts have been torn apart with grief, anger and sadness but I know that for myself, God was working on transforming my heart and today I am stitched back together with the scarlet thread of Christ and whatever I do from here on will be for GOD and not self. I am letting go and letting God and this has brought me joy unspeakable.
Thanks be to God for His timing in sending the right people just when we need them.
Jesus came, he died and rose again. Today He lives and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. He has gone ahead of us, as he has in everything, and he is there preparing a place for you and for me. Do you know this? I hope you do and if you don’t-I would like to share that Truth with you. I plan to spend the rest of my life serving people that great promise.
God’s promises are true.
and that’s the TRUTH!
Listen closely to the words…