Spiritual Warfare: Local Missions + At Risk Youth = Deliverance

mentorQuestion: Did you know mentorship of a child is one of the strongest strategies to combat modern social ills affecting youth?

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Intermedia arts programs, school tutoring, and school coaching are great ways to love a child outside of the Church. These programs exist with the purpose of proactively countering the negative environments at risk children often live in. Children are vulnerable and need nurturing in general. Children are even more vulnerable when they have experienced rejection and/or abuse. Bravo Body of Christ for spreading the word about gangs and trafficking of children! Some of you are already personally engaged in countering these social ills through education and financial support. It’s fantastic that we pack out coffee shops and Churches to hear about modern day slavery and gangs. Now we also need a lot of you to take a leap of faith and pack out the local youth mentorship programs. These programs are strategically in place to PREVENTATIVELY curb the gateways to gangs, trafficking/prostitution, and other forms of abuse. The goal is to continually engage positive adult role modeling to at risk youth. At risk = risk for gangs, risk for trafficking/prostitution, risk for abuse. The enemy can maintain a tight grip on these socials ills as long as the Body is inactive in engaging youth outside of the Church. We know you care about these kids. Please join one of the above organizations or others like it to individually counter the works of the enemy. A small minority of the local and larger American Church is involved in one to one or group mentorship of at risk children. Imagine if every healthy adult Believer was involved in a weekly youth mentorship or coaching program. The enemy would surely lose a lot of ground. Trade in one day per week that you might ordinarily devote to other things (i.e. discussion groups, coffee dates, shopping) to mentor a child. You are the very person vulnerable children need to see regularly to counter the garbage the world is offering through gangs, trafficking, and other illicit activities. Many mentorship programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters offer family mentorship options that allow you and your family (children included) to mentor another family or child. This is great exposure and education of your family in how to demonstrate Christ love to others in need. If you don’t know where to start, check out Big Brothers Big Sisters, Volunteermatch.org, local Churches, and/or local school district(s) to get involved today.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13

Photo Credits: Mentor; Book

Biblical Counsel: Help! My friends/family need advice. What should I say?

counselQuestion: How can I advise my family or friends in difficult circumstances?

Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy…But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 1 Corinthians 14:1,3

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Philippians 2:14

We’ve all received the call from a friend or family member with the latest worrisome trial. We’ve all offered the “flesh” response of our personal opinion, sometimes leaving those seeking comfort more worried or fired up than comforted and at peace. Abba is calling the Believer to offer advice in a not so new but Scriptural way which is through His Word. The purpose of Biblical counsel or gift of prophecy as 1 Corinthians 14:3 defines it, is to strengthen, encourage, and comfort. Though it may be instinct to “Tell it like it is”, “Keep it real”, give “Mama’s advice”, or offer “I’m just sayin”, God is looking for a more controlled approach in advising others and that approach is His. Each call we receive from family and friends is an opportunity to strengthen, encourage, and comfort one another.

Now some of us don’t have God’s Word committed to memory by topic or season of life. That’s okay…that’s what Google and Biblehub are for! 🙂 Seriously, God needs us to be committed to Him and be obedient in giving His counsel to our individual circle of family and friends. His Word needs to be imprinted on our hearts and minds, so that we can effectively strengthen, encourage, and comfort those God has allowed us to influence. If your Word has collected some dust, take it off the shelf and commit yourself to reading it as regularly as you read FB or Twitter posts. Then when you receive that call during the worrisome trials, you can effectively strengthen, encourage, and comfort one another and ultimately point your loved ones towards Him the God of all comfort. Amen

Scriptures on Comfort:

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3

I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you, the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:1-8

Photo Credit: Bing

Spiritual Warfare: Battling the Opposition – Nehemiah Rebuilds a City

The ArmorIn continuation of the Old Testament character series, Pastor David gave a phenomenal, prophetic message from Nehemiah Chapters 4-6. The background is Nehemiah was on the journey of rebuilding the walls of the city and was met with fierce opposition. In each trial, Nehemiah countered the opposition with Godly character.

The Opposition
• Ridicule (4:1-3): “…What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves?…”
The Response
• Cry (4:4-5): “Hear, O our God, how we (you God and we your people) are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads…”
The Opposition
• Threats (4:7-8): “Now when they heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance.”
The Response
• Cry & Bear Arms (4:9, 13): “But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night…then I stationed men in the lowest parts of space behind the wall,…I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows.”
The Opposition
• Discouragement (4:10-12): “…The strength of the burden bearers is failing…”
The Response
• Encouragement (4:14): “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, yours sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”
The Opposition
• Financial (5:1-5): “…We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses…we have borrowed money…we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves…”
The Response
• Cry (5:19): “Remember me, O my God…”
The Opposition
• Trickery (6:1-4): “They sent a message to me, saying “Come let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono”. But they were planning to harm me. So I sent messengers to them saying “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.”
The Response
• Stayed on task (6:3)
The Opposition
• Slander (6:5-7): “It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports.”
The Response
• Call for courage (6:9): “For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done. But now, O God, STRENGTHEN MY HANDS.”
The Opposition
• Counterfeit counsel (6:10): “Let us meet together in the house of God…for they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night.”
The Response
• Discernment & Cry (6:12-14): “Then I perceived that surely God had not sent him. He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me. Remember, O my God, them according to these works of theirs, and also the (false) prophetess and the rest of the (false) prophets who were trying to frighten me.”

Summary:
Nehemiah was commissioned by God to do a particular work. He kept his mind on the task at hand in spite of repeated, mounting opposition. He was ridiculed, threatened, discouraged, financially bound, tricked, slandered, and given false counsel but still pressed on. He called upon God throughout the various trials and trusted in God’s ability to guard him and see the task finished. Nehemiah demonstrated enduring character and trust in God, inspiring us to also endure the various trials and trust in God’s ability to see the task he has given you completed. If God gave you the task to begin, God will give you the tools to finish it. Amen

• “So the wall was completed on the twenty fifth of the month Elul, in fifty two days. When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work has been accomplished with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16

• There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD. Psalm 21:30

Resource Credit: Pastor David Smith