Thursday, June 16, 2016


Getting Past the Blahs
By George Stahnke, July 2016


Have you ever had one of those days when you wished you were invisible or just stayed in bed? You attempt to go out into the world, but just can’t shake that blah feeling. Then someone asks, “How are you doing?” Uncomfortable and wanting to get away as soon as possible, you muster your strength and with a smile give the acceptable response, “Fine, how about you?”

There have been numerous times in my live when I have been emotionally downhearted, sometimes, due to my own poor decisions or the unfortunate choices of others. In those times the
Holy Spirit has always been faithful in drawing me out of myself into times of prayer and worship. One of my favorite passages is Philippians 4:4-6. The apostle Paul gives a very clear progressive, four-point remedy for dealing with those gloomy, anxious episodes in life: 1) Rejoice in the Lord, 2) be considerate toward others, 3) pray about everything, and 4) be thankful. And here is the promised result, “And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (AMP)

All I can say is that it works! I have experienced that peace that reaches into the deepest part of the human soul. When I have the presence of mind to make this adjustment, to look beyond my distress to my loving savior in these practical ways, in time it makes a difference.

The English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray said, "Life is a mirror; if you frown at it, it frowns back; if you smile, it returns the greeting." Simply put, the decision is ours. We can yield to the doldrums, disappointments and pain in life, getting stuck in the blahs or we can choose to partner with the Lord and allow Him to pull us up and out. As we practice this progressive, four-point remedy we are deliberately choosing to look beyond our current emotional state, to the secure hope that we have in Christ alone. His peace will come!


Here are some additional practical guidelines that can be helpful: 1) listen to your favorite Christian music, 2) be transparent and honest in prayer. God can handle the truth and your raw emotion, 3) write about what you are feeling. Be as specific as you can with who, what, where, and when, 4) avoid isolation. Reach out to a trusted safe friend or minister.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Enemy Strategies vs. The Name of Jesus


Here is a link to the last sermon I preached at The Road

http://www.theroadcs.org/sermons/enemy-strategies-vs-the-name-of-jesus/

Friday, January 30, 2015

Five Deadly Devices of the Devil-Part 3

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize strategies of the enemy; it is refusing to cooperate with those strategies; and then resisting aggressively those strategies in Jesus name.” —International School of Ministry, Spiritual Warfare, Dean Sherman
Here is a quick review of the first three strategies that we have covered.
1) Doubt: Makes you question God's Word and his goodness. Satan will attack us with doubt when we are most vulnerable. Disobedience, disappointment, and sickness can all prompt doubt. To overcome doubt go to God in faith knowing that He loves you and delights to help you and that His promises are true (James 1:5-8, Acts 27:25).
2) Discouragement: Makes you look at your problems rather than at God. To over- come discouragement, do not pull back but ‘Do the work” God has called you to do (1 Chron. 28:20), don’t give up (Galatians 6:9).
3) Diversion: Making wrong things seem attractive. To overcome diversion, (1) be careful of what you allow your eyes, (2) focus on the real issues at hand, (3) Quote scripture, (4) Set you affections on Christ. (Gen. 3:6, 2 Tim. 2:22, Numbers 12:2, Matt. 4:1-11, 1 John 2:15-17).
Today we will cover the last two strategies of the devil, defeat, and delay. Please un- derstand that this is not an exhaustive study of the strategies of the enemy. I do be- lieve that these five are the most common to us all.
4) Defeat: Makes you feel like a failure so that you want to give up or not even try. 1. To win victory over; beat. 2. To prevent the success of.
There are times in our lives when we are defeated. We have been beaten back and the battle lost. Through no fault of our own we just did not win. What do we do?
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Philip. 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
When defeat has come, in part or in whole because of your sin, take personal responsibility, humbly repent, and seek God’s forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of wor- ship. [2] Do not conform any longer 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.
5) Delay: Makes you put off doing something so that it never get’s done.
Matthew 25:1-13 "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9" 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. In- stead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' 10 "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' 12 "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' 13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps--What are these "lamps" and this "oil"?
“Many answers have been given. But since the foolish as well as the wise took lamps and went forth with them to meet the Bridegroom, these lighted lamps and this ad- vance a certain way in company with the wise, must denote that Christian profession which is common to all who bear the Christian name; while the insufficiency of this without something else, of which they never possessed themselves, shows that "the foolish" mean those who, with all that is common to them with real Christians, lack the essential preparation for meeting Christ.”
—Commentary on the Whole Bible -- Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
God’s grace enables us: The Devil wants to keep us from walking in victory and experiencing the promises of God that are rightfully ours in Christ Jesus. He will use ever strategy he can in an effort to get an advantage over us.
Spiritual warfare is...
  • Recognizing the strategies of the enemy
  • Refusing to cooperate with those strategies
  • Resisting aggressively those strategies in Jesus name
2 Chron. 20:15-18 He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' " 18 Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.
We know from the scripture, history and personal experience that life is filled with pressure. We are often tempted to compromise our integrity, conform to a corrupt world view or to simply quite on life. At times the pressure can seem overwhelming. How do we keep from bursting at the seams? Suppose that this ball represents your life. If the internal pressure is equal to or greater than the external pressure the ball cannot implode or be flattened.
As a child of God you have his promises and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMP) For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on
you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
Proverbs 26:2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
Isaiah 54:17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Five Deadly Devices of the Devil-Part 2

In part one we looked at the first two devices the Devil uses to come against the grace of God [The merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.]
Let us review them quickly and see what we can do to overcome Satan’s devices.
1.) Doubt: Makes you question God's Word and his goodness. Satan will attack us with doubt when we are most vulnerable. Disappointment, stress, sickness and disobe- dience can all prompt doubt.
John 20:24 (NIV) Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
John 20:27-29 (NASB) Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Acts 27:25 (NIV) So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
James 1:5-7 (NLT) If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
2.) Discouragement: Makes you look at your problems rather than at God. Discourage: To deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit.
1 Chron. 28:20 (NIV) David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and coura- geous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
Proverbs 12:25 (NIV) An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
Galatians 6:9 (NLT) So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.
3.) Diversion: Making wrong things seem attractive.
  • The act or an instance of diverting or turning aside.
  • Something that distracts the mind and relaxes or entertains.
  • A maneuver that draws the attention of an opponent away from a planned point of action, especially as part of military strategy.
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV) lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Thayer Definition: advantage; pleonekteo to gain or take advantage of another, to overreach.
Eve: Genesis 3:6 (NIV) When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Notice the progression: She looked, she took, she ate, and she gave. Satan’s scheme of DIVERSION often begins by simply seeing something you want. Ever said, “There’s no harm in looking.” Here is where the battle is often lost, at the first look.
Samson: 2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT) Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and en- joy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
Samson forfeited God’s best because of repeated diversions.
His strengths and accomplishments:
- Dedicated to God from birth as a Nazarite - Known for his feats of strength
- Listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 - Began to free Israel from Philistine oppression
His weaknesses and mistakes:
- Violated his vow and God's laws on many occasions - Was controlled by sensuality - Confided in the wrong people - Used his gifts and abilities unwisely
Miriam and Aaron are diverted from God’s plan through their growing jealousy of Moses’ position and influence.
Numbers 12:2 (NIV) "Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?" they asked. "Hasn't he also spoken through us?" And the LORD heard this.
Moses didn’t have a Jewish wife because he lived with the Egyptians the first forty years of his life, and he was in the desert the next forty years. The woman is probably not Zipporah, his first wife, who was a Midianite (see Exodus 2:21). A Cushite was an Ethiopian. There is no explanation given for why Miriam objected to this woman.
People often argue over minor disagreements, leaving the real issue untouched. Such was the case when Miriam and Aaron came to Moses with a complaint. They represented the priests and the prophets, the two most powerful groups next to Moses. The real issue was their growing jealousy of Moses’ position and influence. Since they could not find fault with the way Moses was leading the people, they chose to criticize his wife. Rather than face the problem squarely by dealing with their envy and pride, they chose to create a diversion from the real issue.
When you are in a disagreement, stop and ask yourself if you are arguing over the real issue or if you have introduced a smoke screen by attacking someone’s character. If you are unjustly criticized, remember that your critics may be afraid to face the real problem. Do not take this type of criticism personally. Ask God to help you identify the real issue and deal with it.
Jesus triumphs over Satan’s schemes and is not diverted from fulfilling God’s plan.
Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:”‘ He will command his angels concern- ing you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
1 John 2:15-17 (NLT) Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.
In our next session, we will look at the last two schemes the Devil uses to gain an advantage over us.
4. Defeat: Makes you feel like a failure so you don’t even try.
5. Delay: Makes you put off doing something so that it never gets done.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Five Deadly Devices of the Devil-Part 1

Last week we talked about the continual war that is raging between the grace of God and demonic influence, God bowing down to help us up and the Devil rising up to put us down.
• Grace of God vs. Demonic Adversary
John 1:17b (NIV) ... grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. The merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
1 Peter 5:8b (NIV) ... Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
• Satan’s deceitful purposes and schemes
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV) in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Thayer Definition: advantage; pleonekteo to have more, or a greater part or share; to be superior, excel, surpass, have an advantage over; overreach
2 Corinthians 2:11 (The Message) we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NLT) so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes.
Rev. 12:9 (NIV) The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Thayer Definition: Deceive; planao
1) to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way
2) metaphorically: to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive; to be led aside from the path of virtue, to go astray, sin; to sever or fall away from the truth
Five of the Deadly Devices of the Devil
We will look at five of the “evil purposes” (noeĆ“ma) that the Devil uses to deceive us and to frustrate the grace of God.
1.) Doubt: Makes you question God's Word and his goodness. Satan will attack us with doubt when we are most vulnerable. Disobedience, disappointment, and sickness can prompt doubt.
Genesis 3:1-5 (NLT) Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the creatures the LORD God had made. “Really?” he asked the woman. “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?” 2 “Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die.” 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent hissed. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.”
The doubter is characterized by hesitation. Uncertainty throws the doubter off balance and interferes with their decision-making. The opposite of doubt is faith.
James 1:5-8 (NLT) If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.
Acts 27:25 (NIV) So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
“Beware of doubt—faith is the subtle chain that binds us to the infinite.” —Elizabeth Oakes Smith
Doubt sees the obstacles; faith sees the way. Doubt sees the darkest night; faith sees the day. Doubt dreads to take a step; faith soars on high; Doubt questions, “Who believes?” Faith answers, “I.” —Unknown
2.) Discouragement: Makes you look at your problems rather than at God. 
Discouragement: 1. To deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit, 2. To hamper by dis-couraging; deter, 3. To try to prevent by expressing disapproval or raising objections.
John 1:34-36 (NIV) I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”35The next
day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
Matthew 11:2-3 (NIV) When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples [3] to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"
Exodus 6:6-9 (NIV) 6“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judg- ment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyp- tians. 8And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’”9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discour- agement and cruel bondage.
1 Chron. 28:20 (NIV) David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and coura- geous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
Proverbs 12:25 (NIV) An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
Galatians 6:9 (NLT) So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Battlefield of the Mind, Part-4


Out of His Glorious Riches


Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV) For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

X. God gives to us out of His riches

Ephesians 3:16a (YLT) That He may give to you, according to the riches of His glory,

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT) By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

XI. Strengthened by the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 3:16 (AMP) May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened {and} reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].

Ephesians 1:18-20 (NIV) I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 


Colossians 1:10-13 (NIV) And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

XII. If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31 (AMP) What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]

Romans 8:32-39 (NIV) 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Isaiah 54:17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD.

XIII. God does more than we can imagine 


http://www.renewalcs.org/battlefield_of_the_mind4.pdf