“I just want to sit down and chill”, I thought, as I pondered the calamity and disappointment of the last couple weeks. 2016 is over and I couldn’t be happier. It wasn’t the worst year ever, but tough, really tough. Not just for me, but for dear friends and family. However, it seems last year was reaching out from the grave with one last defiant attempt to knock me off course.

Like many, I anticipate great things for 2017. I began the year armed with an architecture of resolute plans, a deeper love for those around me, a favorable financial standing, and a broader vision for the future than ever before. I felt a solidarity in my calling as a boss, mentor, parent, and husband and began to walk in a refreshed confidence as a pastor, leading the most amazing group of volunteers I have ever known. This year was set apart as I launched out of the gate and fell flat on my face.

God Is A Good Father
Enter Sunday. I had a conversation with myself much like ones I hear all the time from our parishioners, “Pastor was preaching right at me!” Know this, God is a good father. The deeper you go with Him, the more He challenges and corrects you. This word was for me and I am certain, for all the pastors and elders. I started the year off well, but my attention was quickly diverted. I stopped running and began to stagnate. Can you relate?

Paul said,

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
Galatians 5:7-8 (ESV)

There are three main reasons we become stagnant.
•    The enemy steals the word of God by distraction
•    We have no endurance
•    We allow the worries of the world to choke out the truth
I am convinced we make the devil’s job very easy. He brings distraction so we lose sight of the goal ahead. This “persuasion” becomes our focus and his job is done. We get tired, sit down and chill out. It’s much deserved anyway, so it’s easy to replace our have-to’s with our seemingly deserved respite. Over time we become accustomed to a sedentary life and when it’s required of us to move again, we lack the endurance necessary. Worry and fatigue increase and choke out the truth. God’s revelation in our life dwindles and we become frustrated and angry. We repeat the vicious cycle and the enemy steals yet another one of our days, and we are the sole accomplice.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 (ESV)

Weapons Of Our Warfare
Praise God for our leadership who sits before our Lord to gleen His truth, and a gracious God who is patient with us, whose plans are so great, even I can’t mess them up! We wage battle against an enemy far more duplicitous than the devil alone, it’s a battle of our mind, a battle of belief. Will we believe the one who came so we might have life abundant?

For the weapons of our warfare are
not carnal but mighty in God
pulling down strongholds,
casting down arguments
and every high thing
exalts itself against the knowledge of God,
every thought into captivity to
the obedience of Christ,
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)

Get passionate about not letting the enemy steal any more of your days. Quit helping him. Take every thought captive and fight for your belief. You have everything you need to win the battle of the mind. I’m fighting alongside you.

In the joy of His presence,

Pastor Dean