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War a Good Warfare

Mike Connell

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War a Good Warfare  

Sun 11 Mar 2012

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How many know that you're involved in struggle and conflict in life? Life isn't that easy. Everyone is fighting in the same battle. For you to get forward and to progress in your life, for you to get somewhere, you've got to learn how to stand up & fight. You've got to learn what you're fighting against and how to fight. The only fight that is any good is the one you win! So to fight a good fight.

How many know that you're involved in struggle and conflict in life? How many know their life isn't that easy? Life isn't that easy. Now get this: everyone is fighting in the same battle. There isn't any one of us exempt; and so for you to get forward, and to progress in your life, for you to get somewhere, you've got to learn how to stand up and fight.

You've got to learn how to, and what you're fighting against, and how to fight; and so in 1 Timothy, Chapter 1 verse 18, Paul is writing to a young man. He said: this charge I commit to you, according to the prophesies made concerning you, that by them you may wage a good warfare. Timothy's a young man, and Timothy faces a great responsibility. There's a great challenge that lies ahead of him, looking out for people, shepherding people; and because he's young, people despise him, and look down on him; and in the midst of it, God says: there's a battle you're facing; and He said: fight a good fight.

Now I reckon the only fight that is any good, is the one you win. Would that be right? The one you win, and so to fight a good fight. I can tell you right now, that every one of us is going to face challenges. There's no one exempt; and so He says: wage a good warfare, by the prophetic word that came over you. In other words, he's saying this; God spoke destiny over your life. God spoke, and gave direction, prophetically, to your life. You need to hold what God has said, and cling onto it, because by what God said, you can get a victory in your life.

Now some of you may not even have a word from God about your life. I don't know how you could walk through your life, trying to find your way in the darkness, when God is the only one that can help us in dealing with issues of life. We need a vital connection with Him, so I wonder what warfare you're facing right now. I wonder what challenge you're facing. Is it fear? Is it insecurity? Is it rejection? Is it a struggle with your thought life? Is it a struggle with sin of some kind? What struggle are you facing? What issue are you facing in life that is a challenge to you getting to your destiny?

There'll be some of you here tonight, and you're already defeated, you're lying down. You lie down, you can never get up. You've got to make a decision, that I'll never lie down and stay defeated. Even if I fall over and make a mistake, I'll not stay down. And I want to show you just two little scriptures, one's found in 1 Peter; and the other one's found in Isaiah 7. I want to show you just a simple thing that God says to do, and if we do what God says, we're going to have some results in our life.

So have a look at them in 1 Peter chapter 5, and it says: be sober or wide awake. Be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. So resist him, step up in faith, knowing that the same afflictions are experienced by others in the world; and may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ, after you've suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. So notice what He's saying. He's saying: you have an adversary. Want you to tell the person next to you: you do have an adversary. You do have an adversary. You may not think so, but you do have an adversary; and it's not something sort of vague out there. You do have an assignment from God to fulfil, and you also have an assignment against you to hinder you. Think about that.

Have you ever taken the time to work out how you could win that battle, and what actually comes against you? Have you ever stopped to think, what it is you're really struggling with, and how you could get a victory over it? If you don't stop to think and get a strategy, you will always go down the same route; and so you notice what He says here. He says: resist. To resist, means to make a stand on the inside, against someone opposed to you; against the demonic or spiritual realm opposed to you. Why would you need to make a stand? Because if you don't make a stand, you'll get pushed around.

He says this. He says: notice that your adversary the devil prowls like a roaring lion. The word adversary is someone who has a go at you legally. It means literally, the prosecutor in the court; so any of you who've ever been to court, and there may be one or two here, and you've been to court - not very nice going to court. I remember going to court many years ago, and it wasn't a very nice experience at all, and there you are, and you stand in the dock. You feel terrible, absolutely shocking. There's some policeman over there reading a speeding charge out. Speeding charge -used to go to court in those days, so fortunately you don't have to do that now, just pay the fine. But in those days you had to go to court; so went to court, and there it is, you've got a judge sitting up there, and there he sits up on the box; and here you are, standing looking absolutely embarrassed and humiliated; and then there's some person stands up and reads: Your Honour, on the such and such a day of such such the accused - and you're the accused now - and so they read out what you were doing, the wheelies you were doing on the, you know, the whatever you were doing, going too fast or however it was.

In this case, I was travelling too fast in an old V8, down in Waikanae actually; and so going a bit too fast. So what happened was, I had to stand there, and they read out the charges; and of course the issue was, I had no defence, because I was actually guilty; so all I could do was plead guilty, and I had to pay the fine. But for you and I as a Christian, someone else has made the stand to pay the fine. Someone else has made it possible to get a victory. Someone else has made it possible for you, on every occasion, to win out against the failures, the accusations; and so the Bible says: stand, resist the devil.

Why do you need to resist him? Because the Bible says how he operates. He says: he's like a roaring lion. He isn't a lion. He hasn't got teeth. He's like a lion; and lions seek to intimidate the people around them, seek to intimidate their prey; so often when a lion begins to roar, the animals just get absolutely petrified and scared. They don't know what to do, and that's part of his strategy against them. I wonder how many today are facing something that terrifies you, and frightens you, something that comes up against you, and it seems to intimidate you, so you feel and you have these thoughts: I'm so little in the face of this. I've got so little strength, so little ability. I've got so little to do, that I could get through this thing.

See that is the strategy the devil works against you, and it doesn't stop when you get older. It's all your life, the same thing keeps coming. The devil roars from time to time, trying to shut you down. Now why does he try and intimidate you? He tries to intimidate you, and fill you with fear, so that you will turn from God's assignment for your life; so you'll turn, and shut down. If you've become passive, shut down in your prayer life, you've already had something come against you. Who knows what it was, but isn't it time to stand up, and fight again? Isn't it time that you got back into the battle? Isn't it time you did what Jesus said, and that He says very clearly. He says: resist! Don't roll over and be a pansy. Resist! Make a decision where you're going in life, what you're wanting to accomplish, and step up and believe that God will get you there. He will get you there.

You've got an issue in your marriage, God will help you solve it. God an issue with your personal relationships? God will help you solve it. You're facing some difficulties in life, God will help you solve it. Why? He wants to be on your side. He is on your side. Bible says: thanks be to God who always gives us victory in Christ. Want to think about this, how victorious are you today over your emotions? I notice some people coming in today, and they're in heaviness. That's a resistance of the enemy. You've got to stand up to that kind of stuff.

Maybe you've had discouragement come around you. Well that's a weapon that the devil will hurl against you too. The Bible says: you've got to stand up, got to stand in faith, or stand holding to what God says about you; and when you do that, there's two things will happen; one, you will face a bit of pressure, and suffer a little bit for a while, but then you'll break through. Two, God will have used this to grow you. Now this is one of the dilemmas many Christians find, many people who've come to Christ find, is instead of actually staying in a place of passion and intimacy and love and fire and vibrancy, they end up passive and shut down. Something has happened.

Do you know anyone like that? Is there anyone who's lost their fire, their passion? Actually they look no different to any other person in the world. See, something has happened and it requires of us that we take an act, and have some remedy. I want to show you just a simple scripture in Isaiah 7, then we'll come back here and finish; and this is the story of a man who tried to serve God, Isaiah 7. He came against - there was a problem came. Here it is here, Isaiah 7, first few verses - and it came to pass in the days of Ahaz. It says that: the King of Syria and the King of Israel went up to Jerusalem to make war, but they couldn't prevail against it. The King of Syria - even today there are Syrians, and there's a battle going on in Syria right now. Nothing much changes over the course of history, and so the Syrians gathered an army together, and they got Israel. Israel speaks of Christians who backslid, and so you have the enemy came, and it came up, and tried to assault Jerusalem. It tried to assault the King, but it couldn't get the victory. Here's one thing you need to know; that the devil can never get a victory over you, you can never fail permanently unless you let the devil do it, unless you lie down. You don't need to be defeated continually, not at all.

God's there for you to help you, so I want to you see what happens. It'll show you the strategy - and so it was told the house of David, saying: Syria's forces are deployed in Ephraim, and his heart, and the heart of the people, move like the trees move in the wind. In other words, what happened is there were rumours came around that said: boy, there's a lot of problems coming up. You and I, you've got to make decisions whose voice you're listening to. If we listen to the voice of God, the voice of the Spirit of God, He will always put faith and courage into our heart. If we listen to the voice of people who have faith in their hearts, they will always encourage you - you can win in life.

But if you listen to the voice of negative people, discouragement and fear will start to come around your heart. You'll start to feel dismayed. If you listen to the voice of spirits whispering in your ear, words of rejection, and words of failure, and words of defeat; if you listen to those voices you'll become overwhelmed, and see this is what happened. They were like the trees blowing in the wind, unstable. Now I want to show you clearly what the devil's plot was, because it hasn't changed; and the Lord said to Isaiah: go out and meet Ahaz, at the end of the aqueduct at the upper pool, and say to him - and He gives him two things: number one, He tells what the enemy strategy is; and two, He tells him what to do about it. Let's get what the enemy strategy is.

He says: Syria, Ephraim - Verse 5 - have plotted evil against you, saying: let us go up against you to trouble it, make a gap in the wall for ourselves, and set a King over there. So number one, the enemy said: let's go up and intimidate them. Let's go up against them to intimidate; so one of the first strategies the devil will use to keep you out of your destiny, is just to try and intimidate you. To intimidate means, you feel little, and the problem's very big; and when the problem has become very big in your mind, and in your thoughts, and in your emotions, and you are very little and very small, you are intimidated. That's what intimidation is, and the Bible tells us the devil prowls like a lion, and he's got many ways to bring it against you; so any time you feel overwhelmed, you feel in your mind the problem has got very big, and you are very small, you are starting to go down the route of intimidation.

The second thing he says is, let's make a breach in there. To make a breach means: to break a way through into their life, so the second strategy the enemy will use against you is this. He will try and tempt you to do something, to get rid of the pain and the stress you feel. Go have a drink, you need a drink. You deserve a drink. Now have another one. No, you can still feel the pain. Have another one - go on, keep drinking. So you'll find, that the devil will always find a way to bring pressure on you, to do one thing: to go contrary to God's way of getting through problems.

God has got an answer for your life. He's got a way through for you. You've got to look to Him, and seize it. So number one, if you're feeling intimidated in your life, realise you're facing a growth challenge in your life. No one gets through life without challenges of intimidation. Number one, it's a growth opportunity; two, behind it, there's a spiritual pressure on you; three, the temptation will be, to try and find a way of escape to just comfort. In other words to run away from the problem, instead of turning to God in the middle of it. So let me ask you this: are you experiencing feelings of being intimidated, overwhelmed at this time? You have got an opportunity in front of you to grow. Are you feeling that you're constantly going away to find some comfort, watching too much television, burying yourself in some distraction, getting involved in games, starting to drink, and do all kinds of stuff to try and feel better? Then you're going down the path, where a breach is being made in your life, so you can be brought into a place of defeat.

And notice the last thing that He said that they tried to do. He said: we'll set a King over them; so the goal the devil has is to bring you into bondage. To have a King over you, other than Christ, means you are now held in some area of your life in some grip of a problem. So when a person's addicted to nicotine, they've got another King in their life. It's nicotine. Why? Because as soon as you got stress, where do you go? Go to nicotine, or if alcohol's a problem in your life, where are you going? You've got another King over you. It's called alcohol. Maybe it's called drugs, or maybe its called sex, or maybe it's called some other kind of thing. The devil wants to intimidate you, so you don't see you're a winner, and see what God wants to do through you; two, he wants to create a breach in your life, so you begin to find a way from God, and a way out of the problem and try and get the pain off you; but thirdly, he wants to just establish a bondage in your life. Now let me ask you this: how many of you got intimidated, and went to some false comfort, and are now in bondage? That's the strategy. That's the thing God wants to help you out of.

I want to show you what the solution is, and what He tells in here. See a prophet comes. He gets a word from God. When you're in trouble, you need to be listening to God. And this is what the word of God was, in Verse 4: take heed, or take care. Be still, and don't be afraid or faint-hearted. Take care, be still, don't be afraid, don't be faint-hearted. Verse 7, with us says the Lord God, it'll not stand, it'll not come to pass. How about that? So what He's saying is this. He's saying when you're facing problems, don't allow intimidation to get you disturbed, but become still in your heart, knowing it has no power to defeat you, except what you give it. The devil has no power to defeat you, unless you agree with him. In 1 Peter 5, He said: this is what you need to do, you need to make a stand; and the stand we make is: I know I'm feeling this, I know there's pressures around my life, but what does God have to say about me, and about the situation? We need to look to what God says.

Isaiah later on says: trust the Lord, believe the prophetic word of God, and you will prosper. So prophetic word, is just very simply, the Holy Spirit speaking in an inspired way to us, how to handle a situation. So when you're facing difficulties and challenges, here's some things to know. Number one, still in 1 Peter: everyone in the world faces pressures. We're not exempt because we're Christians. Sometimes people think because you're Christian you're going to have some easy path. Not so. You actually have fresh problems, and different kinds of problems, but you're going to face the same pressures and stresses everyone else does. He says: because this is happening in the world as well, everyone around us. He says nevertheless this is what you need to do. You need to turn to God, and make a stand, to resist this pressure. You need to get hold of what God says, and start to believe it in your heart, and speak it over your life. I found one of the reasons that people fail, is because they fail to get a hold of God's word, what God says about you and about your life, hold it in their heart and faith, begin to speak it over their life, and just resist, until the pressure breaks.

This is what the Bible says in 1 Peter, and we'll just finish up with this right now. It says that God will give you grace, because He wants to see you grow; and He says after you've suffered a while - in other words, there is often a season where it's difficult, after you've suffered a while - so God does not answer always straight away, but He does answer. So He says: after you've suffered a while, He will do something in your life. He will establish you. He will strengthen you. He will mature you because - get this - God has something so big ahead for you, He has to take you through a growth process to get there. You're never going to - for example, if someone here had a problem, a brain aneurism, they're not going to ask anyone in here to try and fix it. They'll want someone who's done the training, someone who's done the preparation. If someone had some major sickness, they're not going to ask anyone here to operate, because there's no one here's had the training or preparation. So the things that God has planned for your destiny, which are so good, He can't bring them to you, until you yield and walk through the process of His training; and so from time to time He will let pressures come, and issues come, and struggles come.

But here's the deal - He said: they're not to hurt you. They're not to harm you, they're not to crush you. They are to grow you, so you become complete. They are to establish you, so you get firmly rooted in God. They are to strengthen you, so you become tough. I've had to fight devils in this city ever since I've been here, but it's helped me get tough in my spirit, so now I go anywhere in the world and cast out devils everywhere. I've often wondered, I wonder why it isn't easier. God says: don't worry about why it's not easier, just grow, grow, become stronger.

So there it is. Every one of us face challenge, every one of us face pressures, the devil's strategies never change. Between you, and your God given destiny, there are a series of challenges. Here's the thing: God wants to use them to grow you. What are you going through right now, that God intended to use to grow you, and the devils trying to stumble you? He's stumbling you by the same old ways he's stumbled everyone. Number one, he intimidates you, so you feel small, you feel insignificant, you feel like the problem's big and you can't get through, got no friends, they've got everything against me, there's trouble. That's why people go down to suicide. They believe - they come into agreement with a demon, and they listen to the demon's lies, that there's no hope, no way through; but there is a way through. See, they've just allowed life to intimidate them, they've allowed a spirit to intimidate them; because I've talked to one person who attempted suicide. They took the pills. The moment they took the pills their head cleared, immediately cleared once the pills were in their body; and the moment their head cleared, they realised this is not what I want to do. I believe I can come through this, but it was too late. The pills were in there so they had the presence of mind to ring the hospital, get someone to come immediately - rang 111, someone came immediately, and they were able to recover before the pills - the stomach pumped out.

Here's what I realised in talking to them, that while they were in that place of pressure, their mind and emotions were so overwhelmed, they didn't realise they were listening to the wrong voice. They were intimidated. Satan prowls like a lion to intimidate you. Are you being intimidated? Are you trying to find a false comfort? This girl tried to take this false comfort, took pills thinking - get this - thinking that my torment will stop if I die. It doesn't. It goes on forever. It's a horrendous thing. It doesn't stop. The pills don't stop it. They just permanently set in place where you already are, for eternity. Think about that, see, and so we realise then, intimidation; the devil tries to find a way of escape for you, offers you a way out, offers you something that'll breach you, and give him grounds to bring you into bondage.

Jesus says do this; He says: take a stand and resist. This is your life, your destiny. Don't roll over and give up. You can win. You can do it. I'm with you. I've overcome, I'm in you, I'm going to help you. Number one, make a stand to resist. Stand up and fight. Don't be a sissy on the inside. You've got the roar of the lion, the true lion, the lion of Judah inside you; so learn to stand up, and you learn to stand up by getting in praying every day strongly, and starting to build your spirit man. Secondly, get a hold of what God says about you. Get the word of God, and begin to hold that word over your life, over your circumstance, over your situation. I guarantee whatever's pressing you will yield. It will yield - maybe not straight away, but it will yield; and once it's yielded, you'll be stronger, you'll be more mature, you'll have grown up. You'll be established, and you'll know for sure, actually God is with me, God helps me, God gets me through the issues of life.

So what is it that's challenging you? It's time you warred a good warfare. If you've had a word of prophecy over your life, that word of prophecy is a part of divine destiny, to get you where you've got to go; and you need it as a weapon of war, so when doubts come, when fears come, when life seems to be all over you, and you can't seem to find a way through, I know God said this about me! And you hold on to what God says. Jesus used the word of God as a weapon. Paul wrote that it was a sword of the spirit. We need to take seriously, God's word is the way we can walk through these issues and problems of life.

When we close our eyes right now, Father, I just thank you for your presence here tonight, and I thank you Lord you want to help people. You want to help people who are struggling. I wonder is there any person here, and you've come tonight, and you're not even connected to Jesus Christ. You haven't made the first step of becoming a Christian yet, but you really want to. A Christian is a person who's given their life to Christ, they become a follower of Jesus Christ. This is the problem that we face. The Bible says: all have sinned, and all of us are struggling with life, because we're disconnected from God. Jesus came to announce that there's a kingdom, there's a different life we can live in the kingdom of God, and that takes place freely as we just turn away from sin, and receive Him. Whoever receives Him, becomes a child of God. We immediately come into a whole new realm of life and experience. We change on the inside - but it requires a step of commitment. Everything in life, it takes a step of commitment; and perhaps there's someone here tonight, and you've never made that first step of commitment. I'd love to pray for you to receive Jesus Christ, to become a Christian.

I wonder if there's others here tonight, and perhaps you're facing an experience in your life which is intimidating to you. It's not the problem that's the issue, it's how you view it, and what you believe about it. So perhaps for some, you may have some situation that feels completely overwhelming. You're at a bit of a loss for what to do, you're feeling quite overwhelmed and lost in it, or intimidated. Seems beyond your ability to solve, and perhaps it is too, you need the Lord. If that's you tonight, I want you to raise your hand and say: God, I just want to be honest with you tonight. I'm really feeling overwhelmed by something. Anyone else feeling overwhelmed, struggling? Okay then.

I wonder if there's any others, and in the midst of pressure and turmoil, you've tried to find an easy way out. The devils tried to breach your life, and you know there's things are not right in your life, you know there's things in there that aren't right. You're starting to go into bondage. You're starting to go down a path, where now you've got problems, that keep repeating. If that's you, why don't you say: Lord, tonight I want to get it right. I want to really get it right. I want to repent, put my life right, and turn back to you. Want you to just raise your hand, let me know, anyone here? God bless. God bless. God bless. God bless. God bless.

I wonder if there's others tonight, and you just need to make a stand. God's just speaking to you tonight to make a stand again, hold onto the promises of God, because you've started to lose your vision for your life. You need to go back, and start to build your life of prayer, start to look at - bring out any prophecies God's given you; or start to get into the word of God. Say God, I need you to speak to me, and I need to identify the things you call me to do. I need fresh vision and fresh purpose in my life. If that's you tonight, and you know that's God speaking, I want you to raise your hand, and say: I know I need to get back on track again, need to start to resist more, I need to step up more and get more focussed in my life. If that's you, why don't you just say right now. God bless. God bless. God bless - some hands going up.

If you realise this: broken focus is one of the reasons people fail in life. It's not because they lack talent or gift or ability. It's just their focus breaks. If the devil can get you off on the wrong track, focussed on the wrong thing, you lose. So tonight, if that's you, broken focus, you need to respond to the Lord. So what we're going to do now, we're going just flow back into worship, and I'd love those of you who put your hand up, those of you that want to be prayed for tonight, someone to stand with you in agreement. Love you just to come make your way to the front, make a row across the front, so we can pray with you - want to stand with you in agreement. You're just making a decision tonight, you're going to break out of that intimidation. You're going to start to break out of those false comforts, out of those things which breach you, and cause your life to be in bondage. You're going to reach out to the Lord once again, renew that relationship with Him. He is the one who strengthens us. It's His plan. Well let's just stand together, just flow in that song together, and those of you that want to be prayed for, please just make your way to the front. Just stand in front of me tonight. Just come. Come, come tonight. Just come, come. God bless. God bless.



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