Passage for Study: Acts 18: 1 - 17 … Acts 18 linked for study …
2nd Passage for study: 2nd Corinthians 11: 22 – 28 … [self search and study in 2nd Cor. 11 required]
My Journal for Today: Okay, if you’ve been with me, Chuck Swindoll has had us looking at how the Apostle Paul had gotten to the place where he recognized his weaknesses and overbearing trials; and he had gone into total surrender mode to God’s Spirit, residing within him; and because of that humility and complete submission to God, the Lord had poured all the power His servant, Paul, would need to deal with the pain and agonies of life.
Now Swindoll asks me – and you, “What about you?” And he begins a very personal litany of his own witness to pain, asking pointed questions about where you or I might be that would speak to the truths the Apostle Paul came to learn about and activate in his life. Though I don’t do this often in my journaling, let me quote one of the paragraphs from Pastor Swindoll for today …
>>> “At this moment I am facing a few impossible situations. No doubt, so are you. To be honest, I’m too weak to handle any of them. So are you in your life. I’m often near tears. I’m frequently discouraged. … Sound familiar? … Common, admit it. You’ve got moments like this. Some nights I don’t sleep well. There are times when I absolutely weep out of disappointment in some individual failure … my own or someone else’s. You too? Let’s face it, … you and I need to face the fact that we will never be able to handle any of these pressures alone. It’s only when we acknowledge this, and not until, that God’s strength will be released in us.”
So, Swindoll challenges me (and you), asking, “Are you ready to face the next battle with a new strategy?” And that question really resonates with me in the ministry God has called me to found and lead, Battle Plan Ministry [BPM] (go to the BPM website [linked here]). And the Apostle Paul’s strategy, reinforced by Chuck Swindoll’s testimony, has always been the first step in BPM we’ve used to help any Christian who is mired with habitual sin (really of any type, though we deal with habitual sexual sin); and that first phase of battle is SURRENDER. If you go to the BPM website, referenced above, and click on our resource page (see MEN and then RESOURCES), and if you open the foundational piece I wrote about 15 years ago entitled The Battle Plan That Works Against Habitual Sin, you’ll read that phase one of developing a battle plan against repeated sin is SURRENDER.
And that’s were we are here today. If you have a sin stronghold in your life, then until you can, as did Paul, get to a place where you avoid trying to gut it out on your own strength and you humbly turn it over to receive God’s enabling grace, you are going to continually be in the despair of your own failure. Maybe, like me, you fight a constant battle with gluttony. Or maybe, like our Battle Plan warriors, you’re going up Satan’s XXX stronghold of sexual temptation in the world. Or maybe you deal with a tobacco addiction which has you imprisoned; and you know you need to find freedom from its vice hold on your life.
I don’t know which battle front you are going up against now. Maybe you’re fighting on more than one front simultaneously. But I do know that you can’t fight Satan, the world, and your own deceit-ridden human heart alone. My dear one, when are we going to recognize that God resists the proud; but gives grace to the humble (that’s Prov. 3: 34, James 4: 6, or 1st Peter 5: 6)? … When are we going to go into surrender mode, receive God’s empowering grace, and walk in the freedom promised by God for the surrendered warrior who is in submission to his/her Lord?
Most certainly I have to answer that for myself. But so do you!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, like Paul, let me be a prisoner chained to You rather than one who, by my own pride, is chained to Satan or self. Amen