Posts tagged ‘enemy’

November 2, 2012

What’s Up?

by pastortimfowler

I am sure that many of you are wondering what’s up? I have posted very few blogs in the last 2 weeks. For those who don’t know, we had a fire at the church. Of course you should know this because I wrote about it. Things are hectic and on top of that, “normal” church business goes on and I have had a close friend in the hospital ICU this week. So, with no office to work out of and my house full of kids who would normally be in the nursery at church, it has been difficult to blog. And now for the pity part of it, I am sitting in the park in 40 degree temps, writing a blog. Okay, it is actually not that cold and I love this beautiful fall weather, but show the pity anyway.
We will have church Sunday. The clean up of our worship area will be complete today. The other side, where classrooms and offices are, will be at least another couple of weeks before they can be used.
I have also found out how important it is to leave things where you last put them. Many have been calling me asking where things are that have been moved by the guys who are cleaning. I have not been there to watch the whole thing, nor could I have been if I wanted too. When I ask he crew where things are they just point to another person who does the same. In their defense, there have been as many as twenty people working in the same area this week and many things were sent out for cleaning. My feeling is that most everything we will need or are looking for has been sent out. The good news is that for the next few weeks we can blame everything that goes wrong on Sunday on the fire.
I would normally be rather stressed about these things, but I have been given a great peace about it all. It is like God is saying, “Chill…I got this.” So who am I to argue with God? Of course Sunday morning when what I need comes up under the category of unfound and missing, then I will start stressing. But something just keeps telling me that it is going to be a great Sunday. On top of Sunday being expected to be awesome, I am excited about Monday. My brother from the Philippines is coming into town and we are going to send him off to his family with a night of worship.
I love it when Satan thinks he can knock you down only to knock you back into the arms of God. I love it when everything that goes wrong turns around to be alright and what many would see as a curse turns out to be a blessing. I love it when the fire of this world smokes up everything and you find out that at the same time the fire from God was purifying and strengthening His people. I love it when someone who has every right to complain and be bitter, gives you the biggest smile and hug and tells you how awesome God is. I love it when friends that you thought may have forgotten you, turn out to be the first to call and the most help to those in need.
Like I said before, the enemy can only stir the battle, but Jesus Christ has given the victory! The enemy can burn a building, but my God is a consuming fire! His fire consumes sin, cleanses His people, and destroys the enemy.
Thanks to all who have been praying. Thanks to all who have been understanding and patient. And to all who are looking for stuff, it will be found or replaced. But as far as this Sunday goes, don’t let anything bother you. God has some blessings waiting for you.

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September 14, 2012

Watching and Waiting

by pastortimfowler

Jesus is Coming

One of the elements of the Christian faith is the promise of the return of Jesus Christ to earth. The details of when and how are often a subject of debate among believers, but it is not something that believers disagree will happen. The truth of the matter is that Jesus said that no man will know the our or the day, and therefore we should be waiting and watchful. This means for some 2000 years now Christians have been watching. That sure is a long time; when is it enough and we are going to say, forget about it?
2 Peter 3:3-4 First, you must understand this: In the last days people who follow their own desires will appear. These disrespectful people will ridicule God’s promise
4 by saying, “What’s happened to his promise to return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything continues as it did from the beginning of the world.”

Just 20-30 years after the death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven of Jesus, Peter wrote this to the believers who were getting a little tired of waiting. So it is no small wonder that believers today, some 2000 years later are getting tired of watching and waiting. I encourage you to read all of Peter’s second letter, especially the third chapter. He tells us that we need to remember that time for God is not the same as it is for us. He says that a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years is just like a day. We get caught up on God working on our time when we should be preparing to work on His eternal time.
When the early church was told to watch and to wait they were being told a military term. Most people think of watching and waiting as is we are watching a TV show that we don’t like as we wait on our favorite show to come on. This is far from what we are supposed to be doing. The military is on constant watch. They are waiting for two things; the enemy to attack and the commander to return if he is gone.
The first is an obvious thing for a military watch to do. These watches, or soldiers who are assigned positions of surveillance, were always alert, attentive to what they were told to do, and did not sit down with their feet propped up. Because the enemy rarely gives you a warning that they are going to attack, this watch did not get comfortable. Lives were at stake and they knew it. At the first sign of a potential threat, the alarm was sounded and all the other soldiers went into action.
The second thing a military watch was for was to wait for the commanders return. When the commander was away, the unit went into a mode of operation that included a certain vulnerability to internal strife. The return of the commander meant security in leadership. His return was always marked with an announcement of his return. It was a good thing to have the commander return to his people. Upon his return, the soldiers would all tighten up the ranks and walk a little taller and a little more circumspect. There was usually an inspection of the troops upon his return, so the time of waiting was not idle time but rather preparation time. Rewards were usually given out for those who performed their duties in an outstanding fashion.
So Christians are to be waiting and watching. We should be ever aware of an enemy that is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour. We should be waiting on the return of our Commander who is returning and will have rewards with Him. He is returning, we don’t know when, but we do know that when He does, He will gather us all together for a time of inspection and rewards. We are not waiting for the next show to begin, we are waiting Jesus to return. We are not watching a show that gets boring and puts us to sleep. We are watching a battle for souls and we are the soldiers who will be victorious.
Don’t get comfortable and go to sleep. Drink a cup of spiritual coffee. I suggest the 2 Peter brand for an eye opener. If that don’t do it, perhaps a shot of Revelation 19 will do it. Meanwhile the rest of us need to make sure our whole set of armor is on and ready for inspection, but even more so, ready for battle. This war is hell, but the winner is Heaven.

August 27, 2012

She Was A Mutt

by pastortimfowler

 

 

People always ask you what breed your dog is and for many, the only answer is mutt. That is the mixed breed that usually gets rescued from a shelter or given to you because someone got them for free and couldn’t keep them. Abby was a mutt, given to me by my daughter when she was first living on her own and obviously did not realize that raising animals cost money. Abby was a mix breed of beagle, basenji, and human. I threw in the human part because I believe she really thought she was a human.
I got her when she was big enough to fit in my hand. At that time I was in between churches, a rough time for a pastor, and she was a convenient thing to occupy my mind and my time. During that year, we did everything together. I taught her how to do tricks, she went fishing with me, and she even road the motorcycle with me. I had never had an inside dog, and to be honest, never intended to have one, but, she worked her way in.
I have a habit of giving people and I guess pets too, nicknames. She had two. G-dog, that stands for girl dog. She would respond to that and as the years went by, she even knew that I was talking to her when I just called her G. Her other nickname was Babygirl. That was what I called her when it was just me and her and we were chilling together, either kicked back in the recliner together or laid out on the couch. If I called her that, she expected some lovin’. I heard that you really only give nicknames to people and things that you are really fond of. I guess that’s true.
Abby was 12 years old. She got sick Friday night, nothing to be alarmed about, just some pukin’. For a mutt, she was very expensive. She had a sensitive stomach, she had incontinence and had been on meds for that forever. I think I spent more on her than anyone could spend on the most elaborate pure breed. But this time, I guess it was worse than an upset stomach like it had been so often before. By Sunday morning she had not eaten in two days. She loved eating, so I knew that to be a problem, but she was still walking around and looked okay. I was going to take her to the vet first thing Monday morning, and even cancelled going fishing with a friend because of it. Sunday night she was sleeping in my recliner, then got up and went to lay under the AC vent. About 3am she had her first seizure. It was bad and I pick her up to comfort her, and knew that she would not be here much longer. After several more seizures and an hour later, she died in my arms.
Someone once told me if it hurts really bad, it must be love. It was just a dog though. But God gives us opportunities to experience love in some crazy ways. Some might question why God would let us love something so much then take it from us. I look at it differently. He could let us never love at all. Everything on this earth is His and He loves us enough to let us experience loving His creation.
Job 12:10 –The life of every living creature and the spirit in every human body are in his hands. God does not have to let us love things that He owns. The years of pleasure and joy and yes, love I experience with G-dog was worth the hurt I feel right now.
I don’t know if dogs go to heaven. I told people that she would because I helped her accept Jesus. But I do know that every creature on this earth is precious to God. Matthew 10:29 –Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s permission. So God knew when Abby was taking her last breath. It was His plan. God knows our pain and knows our sorrow when people and things close to us die. Death does have a sting, because it is the enemy. It takes the things we love. But what if we never knew that love?
But death can’t take the memories and the joy. It can’t take away the love. Love lasts forever. Time will ease the pain, but the pain is a reflection of the love, now with no recipient.
I am really gonna miss my dog, even if she was a mutt. Thanks be to God for letting me take care of her for 12 years. It was worth every minute, even the last few painful ones.

August 22, 2012

Forgive It

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26015375@N06/3914730774/

2 Corinthians 2:5-11
5 If someone caused distress, I’m not the one really affected. To some extent—although I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you.
6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.
8 That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him.
9 I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
10 If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit.
11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.

The Apostle Paul is talking to a church who is not forgiving one of its members. I am not sure what was done, but what I do know, because of his other teachings, is that this person must have asked for others to forgive. You see, it is biblical that if you have wronged someone who you should ask for the forgiveness and if you ask another Christian, they are required to give the forgiveness. If someone does not ask, there is no repentance, and no forgiveness is required to be given. I am sure that someone is going to challenge me on this, but I am talking about a situation that is being dealt with in this church and this spans both letters that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for anybody to do. When we get hurt, it is somehow in us to return the hurt rather than forgiving. Sure, some of this comes from that person not asking, but far too often I hear people saying that they just won’t forgive.

Paul says that in the case where it has been asked, and withheld, we risk overwhelming that person. Later in this same letter Paul states that Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, we are to fix broken relationships, not shatter the pieces even further, making things beyond repair. So when we are asked to forgive, we should, and in that, we strengthen that person and encourage that same pattern of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Paul tells them that by forgiving, they are assuring that person of the love they have from us. It is easy to love those who treat us right. Anyone can do that. But Christians are supposed to love like Christ loves, and we must remember that while we were still His enemy, Christ died for us, showing His love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings and never having to say you are sorry. Love is patient, kind, not selfish and doesn’t keep track of wrongs, according to the Bible.
Far too many Christians miss being like Jesus when they don’t forgive. Many others miss feeling the love of Jesus by not asking for the forgiveness. Forgiveness is the act of giving up our right to be angry and instead of holding a grudge, hold our relationship with people higher than our pride. Far too many marriages crumble because they are too busy pointing the finger of blame rather than opening the arms in love.

I encourage you to ask if you need forgiveness and give it when asked. Satan wants Christians to hold grudges and act like we don’t love people. Paul says that we should not be outwitted and that we should know that this unforgiveness thing is part of Satan’s scheme. Kick Satan in the butt and forgive. You will be more like Christ if you do, and something tells me that you will feel better than if you continue to hold that grudge.

April 13, 2012

Is It War?

by pastortimfowler

When I was in the Navy, we got to hang around with Marines quite a bit. The Marines have an amazing way of taking something as stressful as what they are called to do and making it look easy and some of the strangest comments about war that I have heard have come from a Marine. I don’t think that anyone really likes war, and some would say that there is never a time for war, but the fact of the matter is that there are wars and they are not pretty.
One Marine friend of mine said that he was taught in boot camp that war was about killing people and breaking things and that is why God created Marines. That may sound overly simplistic, but in reality it is very true. Somehow we have gotten this idea that wars can be fought with minimum of either one of those things happening. If we only had a smarter bomb or better intelligence, we could not kill as many people and break fewer things. But that will only lengthen the time it takes for the ones that you are fighting to give up and surrender. Remember that old saying, “all’s fair in love and war”? There was a reason behind that saying and it wasn’t so that fewer people would die and less buildings explode. As long as we try to make a war a good one and a cleaner and safer war, we are going to be terribly disappointed. Wars are not meant to go on forever and are not meant to be political. They are about killing people and breaking things and whoever kills the most and breaks the most usually wins.
The other day my blog was about words and their meanings. War is one of those words that we have used to the point of not really understanding what it is. When I was a teen, the USA started the war on drugs. Now we have marijuana just about legalized and more people than ever addicted to prescription drugs, not to mention the most addictive street drugs that have ever existed. We have a war on poverty that has only resulted in more people on food stamps than ever before.  What we in the USA consider poverty would be considered middle class in most other countries. The latest “war” that everyone is hearing about is a war against women. Supposedly, if you don’t believe the same way about birth control as someone else, that makes you at war against half of the people on the planet. Come on people, these things are not wars.
There is one war that few recognize, but it is about killing people and breaking things. It is a spiritual war for your soul. Satan wants to kill, steal and destroy. He wants to deceive and lead souls to an eternal death. Satan wants to destroy marriages, and the lives of our children by fooling them into thinking that they are just some sort of mistake that resulted in our existence. He wants to destroy your reality by getting you addicted to drugs and alcohol. He wants people to think that the most important thing in life is the fun that you can have and that the thought of a God that is the ultimate King of the universe is only for people who are weak-minded and uneducated.
God has given us victory over all of this, but He is not drafting people to fight on His side. He is accepting volunteers and is willing to equip those who join the fight with everything needed to defeat the enemy. The Bible describes the final battle in this war as one where Satan and his followers are destroyed and their kingdoms wiped out. Those who are on the winning side will take part in a Kingdom that on this earth is only a fantasy. The Kingdom of God, where there is finally peace and war no longer exists, because the real war was fought and the enemy and his stuff was destroyed.
God knows how to win a war.