Strategies

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 
Dictionaries define strategy as a plan of action intended to achieve a certain overall goal. And such a plan usually involves multiple progressive steps that build on the success of the previous step. Masters of the game of chess, for example, often take a long time before making a move because they are planning a strategy; they are thinking several moves ahead.
The Bible says that the devil uses strategies, or wiles (a malicious type of strategy), to accomplish his goal. And what is the devil’s goal? To move the child of God in the direction of doubting the goodness or truthfulness of Him. This has been evident from the beginning—the devil (“the serpent”) planted seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind about the truthfulness of God’s words. Eve succumbed to the temptation, followed by Adam, and disobeyed God’s instruction (Genesis 3:1-5). Like any good strategist, the devil is thinking several steps ahead of his targets.

Be aware of your circumstances, thoughts, and choices. Who is behind them? What are the potential outcomes? What is your strategy for victory? Stand firm against the wiles of the devil.

We cannot stand against the wiles of the devil by our wits.
Oswald Chambers

  • D Jeremiah

Joy in Worship

Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.
Nehemiah 12:43 
In the history of the Church, a variety of forms and styles of worship have been employed—never more so than in today’s twenty-first-century worship services. Historically, some churches have sung only the Psalms; some have sung acapella, without instruments; some have had choirs, while some have not; some have used only a piano or organ for accompaniment. Today, many churches have worship teams that include singers and bands, and some have full orchestras.
The New Testament doesn’t prescribe how “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” are to be sung, but it does say there should be “singing and making melody in [our] heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Nehemiah 12 is an example of the extent to which songs of praise and thanksgiving can be offered: multiple choirs and instrumentalists marching around the walls of Jerusalem before settling into the temple.

Are you an enthusiastic worshiper of God? Whatever your church’s style, let your voice resound with praise to our God. Our praise should be the outward manifestation of our inner joy and gratitude to God.

What or whom we worship determines our behavior.
John Murray

– David Jeremiah

Gifted to Serve

But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
1 Corinthians 12:18
 
Due to the embalming of their dead, the ancient Egyptians knew both he internal and external body parts. Jews, however, didn’t embalm their dead. Therefore, when Paul used the human body as a metaphor for the Body of Christ, he referred only to the external body parts (1 Corinthians 12:14-21). Think how rich his metaphor might have been with a modern understanding of human physiology!
Paul’s point is that just as every part of the human body is important, so is every member of the Body of Christ. Every Christian has a contribution to make for the health of the Church. Commitment of the people to their calling from God was true even in the Old Testament. When the Jews returned from Babylon to Jerusalem, divisions of responsibility were established (Nehemiah 11). Some people were designated to live in Jerusalem, some in the outlying towns. Levites were to reestablish the temple functions, and the choirs were to lead in worship. Landowners grew crops to support the Levites—everyone had a contribution to make.

What are you contributing to the health and strength of your local church? God has gifted you to serve in an important way.

The church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

  • David Jeremiah

Obedience Training

But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
Romans 6:17
The police department of Casper, Wyoming, has an Animal Protection Unit that offers dog obedience classes to the public. The head of the program said, “The animal’s quality of life… increases when the relationship between the animal and owner is strengthened through obedience training.”[1] If you have a dog, you know the truth of that. An undisciplined dog is a danger to himself and others.
If dogs can enjoy a better quality of life by learning to obey, how much more should we learn to obey our Lord in all things—large and small. Obedience may be more difficult for some people than others, but even the most stubborn learners become serious about obeying when they realize that following God is the best and only way to live—for now, and for eternity.

Is there an area of your life in need of discipline and obedience? When you bring that area under the control of the Holy Spirit, your quality of life will increase!

Christians often perceive obedience to God as some test designed just to see if we’re really committed to him. But what if it’s designed as God’s way of giving us what’s best for us?
Craig Groeschel

  • David Jeremiah

Snowstorms and Blenders

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.
Proverbs 29:17, NIV
Phyllis Diller once said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.” In the same vein, Jerry Seinfeld said, “Having a two-year-old is like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.”
Parenting has its sweet moments—it’s what we live for!—but between them are some messes. That’s why parents are responsible for using such times to create self-discipline in the lives of their children. Newborns have no self-discipline at all. They cry when they want; go to the bathroom when they want; sleep when they want. We aren’t born with self-control, but we are born with the capacity to learn to manage our habits and emotions. When we discipline our children, our goal is to teach them self-discipline.

As a parent raising children, at times it seems as if we are constantly repeating ourselves working toward the goal of obedience. Remember, God does the same with us if we will only listen. Let’s teach our children the important habits of self-control as we continue to learn the same from our Heavenly Father.

Educate your children to self-control…and you have done much to abolish misery from their future. Daniel Webster

  • David Jeremiah

Pray Like Christ

And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
Matthew 14:23 

It has been said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But that’s only half the quote. The complete thought gives us even more to think about: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Everyone—athletes, artists, musicians, parents, preachers—are “mediocre” before they are “great.” When starting out in any new endeavor, we all look to imitate those who have gone before us. Even when we don’t understand “why,” we imitate the “how” in the beginning.

Could we apply the principle of imitation to the spiritual life? Take prayer, for example. All Christians, whether young or old, should imitate Jesus when it comes to prayer. The Gospels give us many examples of Jesus withdrawing alone to pray, sometimes all night. He also turned to intense prayer at critical moments like on the night of His arrest and impending crucifixion. If Jesus, the Son of God, was committed to prayer, perhaps we should be as well.

The apostle Paul imitated Christ and admonished us to do so too (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Prayer is the key of heaven, faith is the hand that turns it.
Thomas Watson

  • David Jeremiah

The Spirit of the Mind

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Ephesians 4:23

What a phrase—“the spirit of your mind.” We need the Truth to refresh our thoughts and give us a basis for sound thinking, mental health, and personal transformation. When we believe Truth, we’re grounded in a biblical worldview.

 Jeremiah Johnston wrote, “Faith and the mind are not at odds; faith is not believing nonsense, faith is not embracing unreasonable, illogical things. In short, faith is not stupid. Some people seem to have faith in faith (as Dawkins and other atheists have in fact pointed out). Faith is intelligent; it is educated; it is learned; it is hungry for understanding. A healthy faith is a seeking faith. A healthy faith is not satisfied to be ignorant, to be naïve, to remain in the dark, or to pass on misinformation.”[1]

God in His wonder and glory gave us the ability to think and reason. We’re to love Him with all our minds. Sadly, at times we use those gifts for misguided purposes. But if we stop and ponder our life in the light of our Creator, that’s a journey worth taking.

One of the most dangerous places to be is when we don’t seek the truth. The easiest way to eliminate confusion is to know the truth.
Jeremiah Johnston, Ph. D.

[1]Jeremiah Johnston, “Do you think Christianity?”, Christian Thinkers Society, August 10, 2020,

  • by David Jeremiah

Leave Room for God

Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
James 4:15 

How many times a day do we say or think, “I’m going to…”? When we say or think in declarative terms, it calls to mind the old joke, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.” That’s an overstatement, of course; God doesn’t laugh at His children, even when He can see the error of our ways. Instead, the saying suggests that we ought to remember a biblical truth: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Whether we remember every time to say it or think it, all our plans should be predicated by, “If the Lord wills.”
That was the apostle James’ advice in a parable he wrote to his readers (James 4:13-17). He wrote about people who planned to go to a city, start a business, and make money. James suggested, “Not so fast.” It is wiser to submit our plans to God and ask for His blessing and guidance since He has already planned our steps (Psalm 139:13-16).

Today, if you say or think, “I’m going to…,” remember to leave room for God in your planning. We plan, but He directs.

God has no problems, only plans.
Corrie ten Boom

  • David Jeremiah

Like Him Forever

The day is coming when Christians will be like Christ. Paul expounds on this subject in Romans 8:18-30, but John says it succinctly: “When He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Looking at Christ will be like looking into a divine mirror—reflected to us will be the image of Christ Himself. We won’t become divine like Christ, but we will become complete, sinless, holy, and righteous—the image to which God has been conforming us in this life (Romans 8:28-29).

It’s an honor to reflect part of our earthly parents’ image in this life. But how greater will be the honor and glory of seeing Him as He is—and being like Him forever!

No man can prove that he is a child of God without showing the family likeness.
John Blanchard

 

  • David Jeremiah

There Is a Name

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:8

When Frederick Whitfield (1829-1904) was a student at Trinity College Dublin, he wrote a poem that said: “There is a name I love to hear, I love to speak its worth; it sounds like music in mine ear, the sweetest name on earth.” Whitfield went on to describe what that name does for us—it tells us of a Savior’s love; it tells us of a Father’s smile; it bids our trembling soul rejoice.

Whitfield’s words were combined with a tune that added a chorus based on 1 John 4:19: “Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me!”

Because our Lord first loved us, we can be confident that our relationship with Him is not based on what we do. It’s based on who He is and what He’s like. His nature is love, and His love for us is unconditional and uninterrupted. As A. W. Tozer said, “Because God is self-existent, His love had no beginning; because He is eternal, His love can have no end; because He is infinite, it has no limit.”
Oh, how He loves you!

It tells me what my Father hath in store for every day, and though I tread a darksome path, yields sunshine all the way.
Frederick Whitfield

  • David Jeremiah