Good Morning Xangaland!
I am once again off to hike. We had dinner with my in-laws last night and they suprised me with a birthday party which was wonderful! Thank you so much! Then tonight we are having them over for dinner and Star Wars Episode III. Should be a blast! Then we are getting ready to go on a ride with my mom and dad on Monday and Tuesday up to Payson.
So today I thought I would post the written version of Ryan’s sermon from Monday! It went really well. Hope you enjoy.
Prayer vs. Fear vs. Prayer
I would first like to start this evening by reading from Eph 6:14-18. I know we all just got done studying the armor of God but bear with me because this will come into play later.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
As you know we just reached the end of fall feasts. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Succoth. Throughout our exploration and celebration of these feasts we have seen a very clear and concise trend or a recurring theme if you will. That theme is what I want to talk about. Prayer! Everything revolves around prayer. Prayer is our direct line to God. Prayer is the javelin on the battlefield. Prayer is the covering in those every day battles we call life. No one in this room is new to the concepts of prayer and intercession. And if we have learned anything it is that now is not the time to stop.
During Succoth we prayed for the Holy Spirit to rain down and fill us with the living water. At Rosh Hashanah we sought the Holy of Holies. We had a major breakthrough on Yom Kippur that did some real damage to the enemy. Last Sunday, Cal talked about how our prayers were going to be echoed back to us. The Lord is listening and sending our prayers ricocheting throughout the universe.
We have entered an arena that some of us have never been in before, and for others it has been too long. We have sent our spirit man into battle in a major way and that makes us a threat to the enemy. We have hurt him and now the only thing he wants to do is take us down.
How is he going to do that? Well, let’s see; what is the one weakness we all have in common? Fear! Why fear? Because it works. He has been using it effectively for a millennia and it hasn’t failed him yet. Everyone is afraid of something. Fear is one of the most personal and crippling of all attacks of the enemy.
The main target of this attack will be our faith. You see, our faith (or shield) plays a vital role in the armor structure. It blocks the darts or long range attacks. If we stand behind our shield nothing will be able to penetrate. However, if we put down our shield because we are afraid that it is not strong enough to protect us then we are just asking to get burned. Now why would anyone in that position put down their shield? Doubt. We start to doubt His Word. Here is an example,
(read) Psalms 27:1.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
That tells us that we really have nothing to fear because The Lord is our light and salvation and our strength. But when fear starts to creep in we begin to doubt the truth behind the words. Fear can be anything from being afraid of what people will think if you take time to pray or read your bible at work to being afraid to swim in the deep end of a pool because you think you may be eaten by a tyrannosaurus rex. The point is that once the fear takes a hold on our hearts we begin to lower our defenses and bam! We take a hit. The best way to defend against this strategy is to condition our shield.
(read) Romans 8:31-32
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
(read) Luke 12:4-5
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
(read) 2 Tim 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
These three verses are a picture of what our shield should look like, what our faith should be. But they are also verses out of the word and therefore they are our sword. In all of my studying and researching the armor of God this is one of the best examples of how your offense and defense must be in 100% unison at all times.
With just a shield and no sword you are open to any number of close range attacks. With just a sword and no shield you are open to all the long range attacks that you can’t see coming.
(Football Anecdote) *He talked about if you have an ofense and no defense you’ll score but so will the opposing team and if it’s the other way around you never score. Either way you lose.*
But, when our shield is strong and our sword is sharp them we become dangerous.
Having said all of that… (Bumper Sticker Story) *He told a story about how he almost got in an accident on the bike a few weeks ago. He came to a scretching halt six inches from a bumper with a sticker that said. ‘Prayer Changes Everything’
See, it all comes back to prayer. Prayer does change everything. Fear, doubt, and worry are merely distractions. They take our focus off the important things like taking the time read the Word and finding time to pray. Pray in spite of the fear. We all have our spiritual armor and our weapons and we all know how to use them. The most important thing I’m trying to say is Don’t Stop Praying! We have brought the battle to the enemy. We are now under attack because we are dangerous and the enemy is afraid. Pray harder, become more dangerous. In a nutshell, as it says in
Read Eph. 6:18
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
Basically pray without ceasing. Don’t let yourself be distracted by the fiery darts of the enemy because in reality he has no power over you.