Battle For the Mind

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The book of 2 Chronicles chapter 32 is a passage of Scripture I have come to love. Each time I get to read it, I always find lessons to take home. Not just because it tells of how not to rest on your oars when we have accomplished something spectacular, but it also exposes the enemy and some of the strategies he is willing to employ just to ensure he does not loose any battle for our soul.

Here we see Hezekiah, the then king of Israel who had just successfully carried out a religious reform including a centralized celebration of the Passover of the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem amongst other things.

He had so succeeded where his father Ahaz had failed that the final verse of chapter 31 closed with these words:

In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s law and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful-NLT.

Then begins chapter 32.

“After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out his work, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah”.

The devil’s first strategy against Hezekiah and the israelites:

1. THE TRIAL THAT COMES WITH-“AFTER HEZEKIAH HAD FAITHFULLY CARRIED. OUT HIS WORK”:
This is where we get really comfortable with ourselves and the environment. We somehow remain in the euphoria of the victory we have just won that the tendency to let down our guards and thereby fall prey to the enemy of our souls is peak.

We have faithfully carried out the work and this should qualify us for a “timeout” from trials. Well; ask Hezekiah, he experienced differently. First thing the devil employed to destabilize the children of Israel was to attack them physically after they had successfully returned to general assembly of praise and worship of God and the destruction of idolatry, purifying themselves before God.

After they had fully carried out the work probably needing rest and doing more of reflection than projection, all of which are okay in its self, the enemy pounced.

This goes to say that we should not allow ourselves be detracted at any time. The business of watching and praying is an all-time event not to be trifled with in the least. May the glory of our latter be more than the former always.

Hezekiah’s response: Hezekiah cut off water supply that could have served the enemy even if it was going to affect them as well. But not before STRENGTHENING HIMSELF-KJV. This for me is very key given the obvious-“how do you fight a battle you have not prepared for?” How do you play lead role, when the script is foreign to you? You clearly can not give what you don’t have, so leaders, we should make out time to “strengthen ourselves” adequately in the Word and knowledge of God so as not to appear before the enemy clueless and tactless regarding the situation were in. It is then we can draw from the storehouse we have built inside and can be instant to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

This must have resulted in the comfortable way in which he delivered the encouragement speech he gave to the people.

They were clearly determination to do away with whatever physical things that would enable the enemy in its fight against them, they were prepared to make that sacrifice. They went ahead to carry out massive repairs of broken walls, erecting towers, even constructing a second wall around the already existing wall.

From all indication, Hezekia did not go to bed just because he had concluded a successful religious reform. He had a “watch and pray” mentality. This is the kind of attitude we all should have, not withstanding a current victory or otherwise.

Something that is also worthy of point-out is that Hezekiah took counsel with his Princes and mighty men. Some of us in leadership at times find it as time-wasting and maybe beneath us and probably a sign of weakness to take counsel with the immediate surround of leadership, or even father down the line,  preferring rather to display our wisdom and abilities to the people and further cement the superiority we think we possess in handling issues. Imagine the wisdom of waking up to a shutdown existing waterways and the reaction this would present in a time as critical as the one the children of Israel were in. I get that there are times when you have to step up as the leader, but how the children of Israel could have responded to the rude shock of having something as vital as water taken so abruptly from them without the prior knowledge of their immediate leaders is better left to the imagination. So Let’s learn to “step up” as the Spirit directs us and not as our canal selves dictates.

2. EVIL REPORT:
We all know that the devil will always twist what God says with the intent to deceive and derail us from His original desire and destination for us. Eve and the serpent in the garden of Eden is a case in point. Yet, we run helter-skelter when the devil approaches with his lies.

We need to be thoroughly grounded in God’s Word so as not to be so deceived but be apt to recognise the devil when he surges and deal with the situation promptly without relent or fear.

3. COMMON GROUND:
Once we allow the enemy a foothold, he tries to capture the entire arena. The devil can only have access in our lives and situation to the extent to which we invite him. Let us all be vigilant and wise. Is there a broken hedge in our lives that the enemy uses to find his way into our business? A weakness? A habit, say of “prayerlessness”? As we turn to the Holy Spirit, we will be empowered by His Spirit in our inner man and be quickened to perform as children of the Most High.

4. MISPLACED PRIORITY: Maybe it’s just me, but I could not keep from wandering what these “people” where doing at the place and time on the top of the city wall, to now become available to the spectacle the enemy was putting up! They couldn’t have been sentry or lookout, for how many “people” do you need per time, per area, to do the subtle work of a lookout?

The enemy so made it worth their while that they spoke to God’s people in their own language. The enemy of God’s children could speak “christianese” and this quickly led to despair and tears all around the camp.

What familiar place, issue, possession etc, is the enemy using to gain access to our peace of mind? Cut lose now and regain your sanity. Step up and say no to his tricks, regain your freedom today!

The KJV version in verse 18 of the chapter says that the reason the enemy spoke to those on the wall in the Jews speech was “to affright them, and to trouble them, that they might take the city”

Is there fear and trouble involved? The enemy is probably speaking a familiar language to distract, distraught, and disarm you with the intent to take the city. We must not allow him!

The enemy will use everything in his arsenal, including past achievement or the lack of it, twist it and make you look bad and feel guilty. But if you will cry out to God like Hezekiah did, He will do what only He can.

God sent an angel. Just one and that was it!

God knows how to take care of His own, He knows how to magnify His own like He did for Hezekiah. We just have to look to Him and wait patiently for Him.

Let’s not allow the devil toy with our minds and displace us from what and where God is taking us to.

Let us consciously and continously cast down every high think that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ!

The battle is already won!

Hallelujah!!!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Live, Love, Learn, and Grow!

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UNAFFECTED BY SABBATH

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I had an interesting time one morning as my dearest shared with me some things that the Holy Spirit laid in his heart. I would love to share some of these things from the Scripture bellow:

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
5:2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
5:4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
5:6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
5:7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
5:11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. 5:12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
5:13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
5:15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

This Scripture is so loaded with awesomeness from the Father that it’s amazing how much of God’s WORD, if we can get it into us will deliver what we need and subsequently set us free to go and become even as we perform for God.

Some of the first things that one will notice as you read this passage are:
1. That Jesus probably went to Jerusalem for something else-the feast of the Jews.
2. There were a lot of other folks there having one issue or another, the Bible referred to them as multitude.
3. They were all waiting for the same thing-the moving of the water.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus was the One that saw the man, and knew without receiving any update from the impotent man or others around, that the situation has been for a long time. The man didn’t even see Jesus first.  Jesus then asked him a question: “wilt thou be made whole?”

Simple question right? But what was the man’s reply? To think that he spoke of something else other than the answer to the question that he was asked, is somehow bewildering.

I don’t know if the man did not understand the question or if he wasn’t interested in what or who Jesus is and what Jesus was saying to him, maybe that was even a ready made answer he gave to every and any person that came by to speak to him.

I would like to believe that this man was used to people asking him these kind of questions that he now had a preset answer waiting and ready to deliver so much so that when he was asked a different kind of question, he automatically gave an answer like he always did oblivious to how inaccurate his answer was and that he was being asked a different thing.

The question he was probably expecting, that had most likely been asked him so many times that he had could have lost count, I assume was something along these lines; why have not received your healing? Are you still impotent? What are you still doing here? These are some of the questions this man had come to be asked that he eventually had his ready made answer for every occasion and caller.

This only goes to point out that he definitely didn’t know who Jesus is nor had he heard about him! One would think that his situation would keep him abreast with anything and anyone that could in any way be of help one way or another to him and his situation, but no, he didn’t know about the very person who would deliver him of and from his situation.

Was it that news about Jesus never filtered to him? Probably he was already tuned out to his surrounding and all he could see, hear and thinks about was his problem and how there was no one ready to assist him. He was in a hopeless situation!

As much as the man was looking to man for help, he was also being discouraged by many a man that were getting into the pool before him and he whined about it; “but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me”.

Before I even try to get into the pool, all those who are faster than me, smarter than me, stronger than me, everything else than me get into the pool first and they get healed! Get their miracle. Oh how doomed my situation, what will become of me!

This man indeed saw his position as very hopeless and none willing to help him when he desperately needed help.

This man was bedridden as evidenced in verse six, this then means that someone or some persons would have brought him there, so why didn’t they just hang around for a bit even if it meant taking turns at his side so they could push him into the pool once the stirring began? At least the man’s answer suggested that this would in no way nullify or disqualify him from receiving his healing assuming they chose to do so.

The helplessness of his situation was such that even friends and relatives had grown tired of his situation and were not willing to pitch in the final efforts to ensure his healing. They probably just brought him there to be rid of him.

A very hopeless situation indeed.

But what is amazing is that Jesus wasn’t bothered that he didn’t recognise Him, nor was He bothered by his wrong answer to His question. He didn’t even point out how hopeless the man had become or the fact that he would be be breaking the Jewish code of conduct slash traditional. He went ahead and gave the man what he needed.

I mean, the guy had nothing going for him physically, mentally, socially etc but yet the LORD of all found him and against all odds healed him.

But that’s not all, this story doesn’t end here.

The preceeding verses up to verse thirteen only helps to clarify that the man really didn’t know Jesus! Like really! Even after he was healed!

How uninformed can a person get especially concerning the very person that could have and eventually went ahead to heal you. Your curiosity didn’t get the best of you and your nonchalance to get you asking questions about the person that just set you free!!!

But that’s not even where I’m headed. In the next verse Jesus does something so utterly wonderful!

5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

Jesus findeth him. Jesus looked for him! The same man that knew nothing about Him, and as far as record shows wasn’t thankful for the healing he received. He didn’t even do a two step dance in rejoicing for what God had done for him. The guy just went on his merry way and Jesus still had to go “find” him….

He doesn’t even question his lacking attitude but goes ahead to completely rescue him from satan’s grip by making three statements. The three statements that loosed him and let him go completely.

These statements showed that the man was not made whole by just being healed. Secondly, the man was a sinner and his sins probably brought about his initial predicament, and thirdly, Jesus goes ahead to forewarn him to not go on sinning so that something worse doesn’t befall him!

How merciful our LORD is!

His mercy didn’t judge the man even though he deserved it. His mercy didn’t spite him. But most of all, His mercy doesn’t go on holidays!

This is so encouraging, so comforting and so loving!

I am personally grateful to God that His mercy speaks and continues to speak on my behalf.

Are you going through stuff right now and you feel family and friends have all rejected you are you feel like you have been left alone to die? That you are the least qualified or least deserving person in the world right now?

Does your situation seem hopeless and it has been around for so long it beginning to feel like part of you? A second skin?

What about that dream of yours that seems so overwhelming it scares you stiff and you don’t know who to turn to?

Why not cry out to God for mercy?

Maybe you are the one that needs to stop looking for the moving of the water and look to the God that stir the water!

He never fails! His mercy never takes a hike nor does it observe holidays.

Try Jesus today!

I testify with joy that I am a product of God’s mercy. Be encouraged, God.is. able!!!!!

🙂 😉 :0

Live, Love, Learn, and Grow!