First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008
815-544-6402

Monday, February 9, 2015

Friends,

Yesterday's Youth Sunday was awesome!

If you missed it, you can catch it by going to the archives of

Some quick items:

1. Confirmation Class begins on February 18 with confirmation on May 24
(Pentecost).  Classes will be on most Wednesdays from 4:00-5:00 p.m.
followed by dinner with Midweek from 5:00-5:30 p.m. as our confirmands
serve as table helpers.  A calendar for confirmands will be available on
February 18.

2. This Wednesday's DD - 6:00-7:00 p.m. in our Board/Bored room - will
feature a look at the differences between the Founder of Christianity and
the founder of another religion at the root of much of our world's current
unrest.  We will also review the wonderful video shown at the beginning of
Youth Sunday that was filmed and edited by Nick and Kathie.  Psst.  We
also plan to show it before next Sunday's first service because we had some
technical difficulties yesterday.  Psst.  I also plan to use Nick and
Kathie's video in my next KD.

A word.

I do not do Facebook.

Never have.

Never will.

It is only listed on KD because it enables the site; but I do not
engage/enable it.

My reasoning, primarily, is because I write enough e-mails, blogs,
scripts, texts, and...

However, another major reason is because the technology becomes benign or
malignant depending upon the spirit(s) within those at their keyboards.
When posts have been brought to my attention over the years, I have been
stunned by the venting, venom, and everything but Christian deportment.

Parenthetically, yesterday, in Chicago, a 13 year old boy was shot to
death because of Facebook postings.

Truly, from what I have heard, seen on very rare occasions, and from
psychoanalytical reports that I've read, Facebook has become a cesspool
for irregulars, irascible, and irreconcilables transferring their pejorative
pathologies.

I also know people who use Facebook to hurt other people usually do that
after there has been something awesomely Godly in the lives of others that
they have excluded themselves from experiencing.

I also know from four decades of undershepherding that people who hurt
other people and especially their sisters and brothers in churches are usually
people who have been helped the most by their churches in emotional,
intellectual, spiritual, and financial ways.

It is demonic (check out the attached).

Yeah, people sure like to fight...and hurt...these days.

Our President was right on that last week.  Some Christians who need some
more Jesus in their lives act just like those...

But we are called to model something/Someone better.

I know people who love Jesus love like Jesus and are part of the solution
not increasing problem.

I praise the Lord for the saints on the corner of Lincoln and Main and
sister families of faith who get it/Him.


Blessings and Love!

Scratching the Surface

of

Spiritual Warfare

(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Victory)

It’s possible to distinguish the Lord’s light from darkness.

It’s possible to distinguish people living in the Lord’s light from people living in darkness.

God and His accomplices build bridges, relationships, friendships, and families; forgiving, reconciling, healing, helping, inviting, welcoming, including, elevating, and encouraging.

God says, “Come to Me, all and everyone who are weary and burdened, and I will take care of you and give you…”

God’s accomplices cooperate with His caring call.

Satan, the architect of darkness, and its accomplices tear down, pick apart, burn bridges, fracture families, separate, segregate, distance, degrade, denigrate, devastate, and seek to
destroy.

Satan says, “You’re no good.  You’re bad.  You’re useless.  You’re not invited, welcomed, included, or loved.  You don’t belong.”

Here’s the good news: “Darkness cannot overcome the Lord’s light…My children, you have come from God and have conquered these spirits because the One who lives within you is greater than the one in this world…Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Of course, as Luther cautioned, Satan is “a clever trickster” and its accomplices are sneaky, secretive, slimy, and slithering among the faithful like sleeper cells: “It/they come as angels of light.”  Jesus said, “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Denise Frangipane: “Satan is a master of illusions.  He plays upon our weaknesses and exaggerates our problems.”  It/they come at our moments of vulnerability.

Certainly, victory is guaranteed for people who really believe in Jesus and are intimate with Him; or as Francis Frangipane wrote, “How do we defeat the enemy?  Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips.  It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.”

Moretheless, Paul used the metaphor of a Roman soldier preparing for battle to remind us of how/why we can live victoriously (read Ephesians 6:10-20).

Here’s an example of how to pray with Paul’s metaphor as a guide:

            Lord, I thank You for providing all I need to live victoriously!

            You are all I need to live victoriously!

            Aware of the dark influences conspiring to move my mind from You,
            I close the psychic door; barricading it with the cross of Christ and
            sealing it with His blood.  Knowing You have granted volition to me,
            I only open this door for You.

            I wear the helmet of salvation which is lined with the promises of Your
            affection and protection.  Making all thoughts captive to You and
            protecting my mind which is a battleground for spiritual warfare, this
            helmet covers my ears, eyes, and mouth so I do not hear, see, or speak
            in unGodly ways.  I will not entertain anyone/anything that distracts me
            from Your holiness.

            I place the breastplate of righteousness over my heart which is the
            wellspring of my life.  This is not my goodness.  It is Your great
            graciousness that protects me.

            I wear Your belt of truth.  Your truth protects me.

            I wear Your gospel shoes of peace; therefore, I can stand firm, balanced,
            and always ready to follow You.  Firmly footed, I look up, stand up,
            speak up, and act up for You.

            I take the shield of faith, my trust and confidence in You as saving Lord,
            to protect me from the fiery darts, deceptions, lies, assaults, accusations,
            and all other dark strategies.  With the hinges of this shield, I am linked
            to all of the saints for protection of family, home, possessions, and
            church.

            I wield the Sword of the Spirit which is the Bible.  The Bible contains
            Your pure prescriptions for living victoriously.  Defensively, I can
            distinguish Your light from darkness because of the Bible.  Offensively,
            I can bring Your love, light, and salt into the world because of the Bible.

            I wrap myself in the mantle of praise because You “inhabit” the praises
            of Your people.  As my praises go up, Your blessings come down.

            I place Your cross before me as a banner and guide.  I have decided to
            follow You!  No turning back!  The cross before me!  The world behind
            me!  No turning back!  Though none go with me, yet I will follow You!
            No turning back!

            Thank You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for protecting and preserving
            me from here to eternity as I pray in Your holy, holy, holy name.  Amen.

In short, as Luther taught us to sing victoriously, “One little word shall fell
him!…Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus, it is He!…And He must win
the battle!”

Or as many have done so victoriously when it/they come knocking at the door, “Jesus, please get that for me.  Thank You!”

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