Approaching our life in the context of spiritual warfare gives us several advantages over those who would appear to have all the advantages of an uncomplicated and easy life. And though many would like to live their lives not bothered by the condition of the world or the lost souls that live in it, and though they are busy with pursuits that focus on monetary and momentary gain and the approval of others and taking care of ourselves, they have gained nothing of lasting value. None of these things, or titles, or tributes can bring any reward or protection from the disasters of either this life or the next.

Though their houses are well supplied with food and the latest forms of entertainment with which to escape the nasty pain of reality, many of them are still lost. And though their whole life is consumed with protecting themselves in trying to anticipate the next threat, and hedging themselves in with well padded accounts and investments, “what will a man give in exchange for his soul”, (Matthew 16:26), and what will it profit them when the fire of God passes over?

Psalm 37: 1 – 4, tells us to “fret not, nor be envious of the wicked”. Instead we are admonished to “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

The stakes are high. Eternal life with God or eternal damnation with Satan awaits every man, woman and child ever created. And even though the full price for freedom and eternal life with God in Heaven has been paid, how will they know, unless someone tells them? That is why, even though  “It is finished”, and  our eternal life and righteousness has been restored and there is a place reserved for us in heaven,  the final count in not yet in on the issue of eternity. Who will end up with who – is yet to be determined. That is why the battle still rages in the world and in the hearts of all of us.

Satan’s strategy against the saved is to make life too hard, to fill it with distractions, urgent needs, troubled relationships, sickness, and discouragement, anything that can get us feeling overwhelmed and side-tracked from the call to preach the Gospel of Grace or tell people about the way of salvation.

To make sense of the battle we must understand that almost everything we have come to believe as true is only, at best, real, and that real truth as contained in the Word of God, has been twisted and obscured and discussed and disregarded by the great majority of humankind. What an unthinkable tragedy? And because there are only a few good men and women willing to make the sacrifices needed to lift up the banner of truth, the battle field is strewn with casualties and the corpses of the once living.

Making sense of the battle comes with understanding your personal trials. Through the fire, God is refining us. As silver is purified in the refiner’s fire until the silversmith can see his reflection in the molten silver, so too, our faith is tried. Malachi says it well: “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire …”.

James encourages us to “count it all joy when we fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience…that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4). Most people do not consider it fortunate when things go wrong. They do not see problems and opportunities but as obstacles. They do not rejoice when they are under pressure, or misunderstood, or in pain. Immediately they look for a way out.

The Enemy is right there to blame us, condemn us, criticize us and make us feel stupid for something he talked us into doing. OR, he is right there to give us an alibi, an excuse, a reason for justifying our behavior, and give us a way to get even.

Both of these paths are futile and filled with folly. Jesus told us that when we are persecuted for righteousness sake, we are to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is our reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:12).

Fire-proofing your life and its contents, including stewardship over the precious relationships God has given you, begins with trusting God to provide for us and bring justice in the end. Knowing He is the righteous Judge gives us peace in surrendering all that we had used to fortify ourselves, to the will and purposes of God Who is good.

This means we can turn our full attention to the work of the Harvest Field of souls without reservation. Only that which is of real value will remain. God has already told us what those things are. We have no excuse. We have been given His Spirit that dwells in us. He is the One Who fire-proofs our souls and makes us mighty in God.

Dear Fellow Pilgrim,

We are in dark days. The second coming of our great God, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer who is returning to the earth to deliver us from this present evil world system draws nearer. And though this is a cause for rejoicing, many of us are experiencing our own personal days of trial and fear that massive tribulation is no longer in the far distant future.

We cry out with the prophet Habakkuk. And even though we have never met him, the world that prompted him to cry out, “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?” (Hab. 1:2), seems to be a world much like our own. Violence and iniquity surrounded him. Trouble and strife and contention and plundering were swallowing him up. He did not think God was hearing him or seeming to care about what had happened to law and justice. The “law is powerless and justice never goes forth”. The wicked surrounded the righteous and perverse judgment prevailed in the affairs of mankind.

The good news is that God is watching! He speaks to the prophet and to those of us today who have “ears to hear”. He tells us we are to “look among the nations and watch – and be “utterly astounded!”  He goes on to say “I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.” Now we know what happened in hind sight. The tribe of Judah was in its “death throes”.

They had rejected to heed the warnings of many of the prophets by continuing to practice idolatry. They refused to repent of their ways. The very ones who had been given the revelation of the law were now stubbornly continuing to follow the pied pipers of Darkness who presented themselves as prophets, priests, and spiritual leaders.

Things were not all that different from us today who often unwittingly take our spiritual leadership from demons posing as angels of light and ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15), and spirit guides. We allow discussion groups to reshape the truths of the Word of God to fit our opinions, and inadequate theologies that deny the truth of God’s Word and fail to account for or explain what is going on within the context of human experience to mould our behavior.

This leaves us vulnerable to the lie and unprepared for the judgment. We are left to our own devices, basing our conclusions about God and our relationship with Him, based on our own personal opinions and experiences, signs and wonders, eastern mysticism and spiritual exercises. We are so much like the tribe of Judah. But God tells the prophet to “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2).

Though Judah was familiar with the words of the prophet, they were more comfortable with the works of darkness that had blinded them to the danger of the impending judgment God was being forced to bring upon them. Their hardness of heart left them no longer shocked by the things that were going on. They became indifferent and stubborn. Their stiffness of neck manifested a hardness of heart that blinded them to the needless pain and willful killing of the innocent for money and gain. They either joined in willing or ignored the need by giving their consent through their silence.

Fear is on every side for those who do not rest in and rely upon their God, (the One True God), to save them. God is not an opiate for the weak but counsel for the wise. When the world would deliberately try to create mass hysteria through the threat of international violence, economic collapses, and a variety of natural disasters that no terroristic group can boast claim to, we can rest in knowing that those who KNOW their God will be kept safe.

And isn’t it marvelous how God can preserve those who trust in Him. Though they be but a small remnant, they are never too few for Him to bother with. You can be counted in that number if you want to be.

There is no need to loose your peace or forfeit your chance to have the assurance of eternal life because, at no point in this war can the value of your soul be measured to cost more than what has already been paid for it. The price of its redemption, the death of God’s Son, can never be counted as insufficient, though the careless spending of our live in self pursuit can never gain for us enough to purchase our own salvation or safety.

He is no fool who willingly gives up that which he cannot keep to gain what he cannot loose, (Jim Elliot, martyr to the Waodani tribe of Ecuador).  It is time to give up your life to the One Who gave up His life for you. Only those who let go of this life will be able to keep their life. For some that is a simple matter of surrendering your will and intentions over to the truth that “who so ever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (Romans 10:13).

For those who consider themselves saved, check the fine print. If you are trusting in some form of Karma for Justice which insists that you must obtain your own righteous perfection through good deeds in order to stop an insidious circle of reincarnation, you are under the gospel of works. God offers us redemption, not recycling. Read the contract. And if the agreements you have made with the false peace of the new age promise peace through a transcending awareness with nothingness in order to find that peace, get out now! God does not require us to empty our minds to abide in His peace.

If the worship and preaching and work of the Kingdom that you are involved in does not look like what is happening in the New Testament, you may be under the influence of a false gospel. Many of the look-a-like gospels contain just enough truth to get the hungry eaters hooked in.

Satan has always preached a gospel of mixed grace and works because that way he can offer his victims the “best of both worlds”. Because it works so well, nothing has been changed but the outward appearance to keep it looking modern and trendy. Inwardly, the gospel of works, or its newer version,- the mixture of grace and works – is still full of dead men’s bones like the tombs Jesus used to illustrate the folly of following such traditions, trends and death trap theologies.

For those of you who think you are a Christian, check out what brand of theology you have embraced or your leaders are promoting. This is not the time or place where we need to look for our “our best life now”, though it is a time of sweet promise and strength for the journey. Jesus in not about pony rides and inflatables! His church is a body, not a circus. We are a family, not a corporation. Jesus is the attraction. He is enough.