In the epic series "Star Wars", the battle between the Force and the Dark Side is what guides every plot. When Darth Vader invited his son Luke to join the Dark Side, the audience sat in suspense, hoping he wouldn't turn. For many people today, the struggle between darkness and light is relegated to sci-fi films. In reality, Jesus dealt with demonic forces wherever He went. They feared Him and He had power and authority over them. In my travels to developing countries it is common to see those possessed by evil spirits. How does the devil influence and invade the lives of people living in Loudoun County?
I loved watching Bugs Bunny as a kid. Whether it was Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, or a mad scientist, Bugs would put up with a certain amount of harassment until it crossed a line. It was then that he would say his classic line, "of course you realize this means war," before outsmarting them in some way. I wonder if many of us view spiritual battles in the same way.
If we really took certain Scripture to heart, how would we view spiritual warfare? The Bible makes it clear that we are at war. We have an enemy who roams around like a ferocious lion, seeking whom he might devour. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but principalities, and spiritual wickedness. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy while Jesus comes to offer life to the fullest. How do these truths impact everyday life?
Elisha knew he was soon to inherit the ministry of Elijah the prophet. He was not sure when the day would come but he knew the time was soon. He decided to ask boldly for more than most would imagine. Most people knew of the amazing miracles that God had worked through Elijah and that would have been bold to ask for that same anointing, yet Elisha took it one step further; he asked for a double portion of the blessing. His trainer Elijah granted his request, provided that Elisha witnessed God taking him up to heaven. Once Elisha understood the terms, he was unwilling to leave his side until his "Jedi Master" was escorted to heaven in a chariot of fire. He got the double blessing! Do we dare invite God to work in our lives with this kind of boldness?
There are times when God puts something on our hearts to do as a matter of obedience. We may not fully understand the ramifications of the decision, or have heard God’s audible voice, and yet we know deep down that we should act. Joshua knew exactly what God expected him to do. A daily walk around the enemy’s fortress was a dangerous proposition, especially since God told them to march and trust Him for the victory rather than fight. What does trusting obedience look like in your life today? Are there examples of following Jesus that seem counter intuitive to you? Join us this Sunday at 5pm as we consider our own march of obedience.
The Lord sets the times and dates according to His will, and there are occasions when He expects us to do things that could put us in harm's way. Esther had a challenge that put the lives of all the Jewish people at risk, including her own. She chose to trust God and step out in faith regardless of the risk.
At a time when God's people were being mistreated, the people cried out to Him for help. The Lord raised up a man by the name of Samson and gave him superhuman strength. While he is known for his foolishness with Delilah, he was used by God to bring justice.
Imagine taking on a task that is seemingly impossible. With God's help and the leading of the Spirit, Nehemiah asked boldly, invited others to join him, and dove into the task at hand. What does it mean to rebuild broken areas in our lives? What part can God and others play in our lives, and what does the Lord expect of us?
There are some remarkable women of the Old Testament who were willing to trust God despite their difficult circumstances. In a day and age when women were thought of as second class citizens, the Lord chose to use these ladies to accomplish His purposes.
Imagine being trafficked by your own family. This is the plight of many humans today, as families in impoverished countries are often tempted to sell their own children for profit. While this was not the motive behind Joseph's situation, he faced the same trial.
While Gideon saw himself as weak, the Lord called him a "mighty warrior." He eventually realized his identity and purpose, and led troops to victory against the Midianites at staggering odds.
In the book of Daniel, there are multiple examples of people willing to stand up for their faith in God. Daniel is not willing to compromise the diet he believes God wants him to keep, nor is he willing to give up his prayer life. His friends are unwilling to bow to a false god, and all of them face trials as a result. How do we handle our faith under fire?
What does it take to have a faith that is so gutsy that you challenge more than 300 false prophets? Elijah was so confident in God's abilities, and so willing to defend Himself, that he set up a showdown on Mount Carmel How sure are we of our faith when it comes to trusting God in our everyday lives?
If God told offered you any one request to be granted, what would you ask for? Solomon's unique desire to ask for wisdom over riches or another selfish request demonstrated his character. He was able to build the first temple in Jerusalem and so much more. At the same time, he made many foolish decisions.
When Ruth's mother-in-law urged her to return to her people after the death of her husband, she had a different plan in mind. Refusing to leave her husband's mother alone, she responded, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Are we more apt to do right by ourselves or by others?
The top two things David is known for is slaying Goliath, and committing adultery with Bathsheba. How can the same person be known for two such drastically different things? How do you deal with obedience as opposed to sin?
This old adage is especially true when a young shepherd boy, full of faith, is the one throwing the stones! There is something about a David sized person defeating a Goliath sized obstacle that captures every human. We want to tackle the Goliath sized challenges, and yet it is always easier to head in the opposite direction. What can we learn from this young faith-filled stone thrower?
Moses was slow to follow God's lead, however, once he did, he rarely wavered. This could not be said of the Israelite people who he was charged to lead. Constantly discontented and complaining, they made his job unbearable. Have you faced similar challenges in leadership? What type of follower are you?
While we may over-spiritualize many characters in the Bible, Moses is about as normal as they come. When asked by God to confront Pharaoh, he came up with every excuse imaginable. What excuses do you and I use when we don't feel like obeying God?
When you believe God wants you to do something, how long do you turn the thought in your mind before you act? Many people in the Bible faced uncertain choices regarding whether or not to trust God, but few were quick to act. Moses tried to talk his way out of it, Gideon said he was too weak, and Sarah outright laughed. How do you respond?
We are kicking off a 16 week Summer Series: "Heroes of the Faith." We will be looking at the lives of Old Testament heroes, known for trusting God against adversity. We will begin the series looking at the father of faith: Abraham.