“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11

Spiritual battle pic


God is moving powerfully throughout our family of churches to geographically expand the Kingdom and to multiply disciples all over the world. Romans 10:14-15 teaches us, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”. Only those who are Strong in the Lord to bring Good News!

While we understand from the scriptures that many of our friends and loved ones will need to be sent, the changes which are necessary to send them can still bring insecurity, fear, and ultimately spiritual weakness. In the midst of transition, we must commit ourselves to stepping up and filling gaps by staying focused on making disciples, giving our whole hearts in worship, and using whatever gift we have to glorify the Lord. With all the great things the Lord is doing, it is amazing how crafty and powerful Satan is. Even when our movement is surging forward, it seems so easy to drift into weakness and lukewarmness. As we enter this new chapter here in Southland, Tracy and I want to encourage each of you to Be Strong in the Lord!

Brothers praying


Along with the Central and South regions of the church we had our 1st annual Men’s Forum entitled, “THE BROTHERHOOD”! What a phenomenal time we had together! Men got to compete and show their physical and spiritual strength! When most of us think of being strong, we think of movies like Braveheart, 300, and Gladiator –men who take a physical stand against other men – men who fight alone and bow to no one. We envision spilt blood, swinging a physical sword, physically exhaustion, fighting to the death, and letting nothing control us. As noble and inspiring as these concepts are in regards to the evil we’ve seen in movies and in our worlds history, they can actually be the very tools Satan uses to deceive in in the midst of the spiritual battle. Two truths in spiritual battle are: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) and “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12). For this reason, the Bible commands you to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground” (Ephesians 6:13). Being Strong in the Lord is having deep convictions that you are in the most intense invisible war of all time, where you use new weapons in a new way of fighting – obedience to God’s Word. It is understanding who to fight with and who NOT to fight with. Your fight is only against Satan and his demons, knowing that fighting anyone else is the result of being “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” Hebrews 3:13, and is the same as fighting with the very Angels sent to minister to you and “you will only find yourselves fighting against God” Acts 5:39.

matthw L tossing the weight


Spiritual strength comes from spirituality. In Ephesians 1:19 we learn about “his incomparably great power for us who believe”. In Ephesians 3:16, Paul prayed for God to strengthen us with power in our “inner being”. Nothing strengthens our inner being like the faith of obedience to God’s Word. This saving faith, comes from putting on spiritual armor and allows us to lift our eyes about the physical realm to see into the heavenly realms. Giving into sin destroys spirituality and causes a blinding “spiritual weakness” which keeps us stuck in the physical realms where we only see conflict between people. We forget who the enemy is and end up wielding this diving power in battle against one another. As we forget the admonishment, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15), the mighty power meant to demolish Satan’s strongholds becomes a soul-crippling machine gun of “friendly fire”, gunning down our fruits of the spirit, our consciences, our own brothers and sisters.

Scripture speaks clearly concerning the existence of “the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6: 12) These spiritual forces are at work in those who are following “the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) – those who are prisoners in the kingdom of Satan. These dark powers and forces are presently waging war for our souls, fighting to make us slaves of their desire to turn us against one another. We must win the battle against them or suffer eternal defeat. In the church we are often blind to the reality of Satan and naive to the devastation that occurs in the Kingdom when we choose to fight against one another. This is why Paul admonished us to forgive each other of even the worst sins “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11)

truck Baptisms


Ephesians 6:10 assures us we can stand our ground if we will choose to be “Strong in the Lord” and if we will “put on the FULL armor of God”. If we have faith to put on the armor and keep it on God protects us with an impenetrable, spiritual force field which CANNOT be broken by ANY force, physical or spiritual. In our Physical lives we must use our Belt of Truth to know who we should be fighting and who we should not. Our Breastplate of Righteous-ness comes from not giving the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27) and believing the promise of James 4:7 that we must simply resist and the devil will flee. Our spiritual shoes keep our feet fitted with the readiness to extinguish ALL of Satan’s flaming arrows with the saving Shield of Faith, which is obedience. In our prayer lives, our Helmet of Salvation – understanding that we’re saved – and our Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God – protect our “inner being” so that we can always “pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18). Only when we are armed in this fashion can we march into the world and fight the right battle so we can see “Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)

Garys Baptism


Let us not be ignorant of the schemes and powers of Satan. Let’s truly be Strong in the Lord by putting on the FULL armor of God every day and taking our stand against Satan by fearlessly making known the mystery of the Gospel here in Southland and to the ends of the earth! To God be all the Glory!