Checkmate

Checkmate

“Satan is so much more in earnest than we are–he buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost.” 
― Amy Carmichael

Moves and countermoves. I’ve seen it over and over, satan makes what appears to be a striking blow against God’s children, and to his dismay, we deal him an even greater one. It has been a never-ending game of chess, and yet his pieces are being taken from the board, and soon we will checkmate him.

satan is crafty, but he is predictable. Since the beginning of time, he has learned of our weaknesses and has perfected his attack to specifically target those weaknesses. If we truly die to ourselves and become aware of our pitfalls, then we will be able to discern satan’s attacks, possibly even before they occur. Let’s face it, we have played chess together a long time, just as he has learned a great deal about us, we have learned a great deal about him.

Expect trials, temptations, and attacks, never assume that you are safe, and if you ever discover that you are, then I would question whether satan has already won you over. You see he won’t play chess against someone who won’t make a move. What damage could you do by standing still? He will chuckle and go sit at another table where his opponents are actually a threat to him.

You may keep your pieces safe this way, but you will never conquer ground for the Kingdom of God. Much like the servant who buried his master’s treasure in the Parable of the Three Servants (Matthew 25:14-30). Our heavenly master longs very much for us to use what has been given us to dispel the dark forces of the world and save the lost and hurting souls.

When we stand tall amidst trials, when we worship during times of suffering, when we pray, louder still, drowning out the sound of torrential rain from countless storms, we strike fear into satan and his demons, and his chess piece, meant to stop us in our tracks, rolls harmlessly to the floor.

I believe that is why we are here. We are here to fight, to win, and to lead as many people we can into that sweet victory. The ultimate game has been won, now it’s our turn to take back what is ours, and bring heaven to earth.

During this time of great loss at our church, I have also seen a greater passion being stirred, a righteous anger toward our enemy. Reminding us that we are all fighting a very real battle, and no “God pursuing Christian” is exempt from this fight. In fact, the deeper in we go, the more arrows we will have to block, and dragons we will have to slay. And yet, God is with us every step of the way, guiding our blade and keeping our feet steady.

devil, you’re a crafty one

but you don’t make the rules

I know the outcome of this game

You do not have me fooled

You think you have a snare laid out

But I’ve seen this move before

It may have snared a thousand men

But I won’t add one more

I laugh at your humility

Chess pieces on the floor

You still think you stand a chance?

I’ve seen the final score!

Pack up and leave this silly game

Before I start to snore

God holds my life upon His hands

I won’t fear you no more…

This Temporary Home

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“Nothing makes us more vulnerable than when we love someone. We can be hurt very easily, but I’ve always believed that what you get when you love someone is greater than what you can risk.”

-Commander Chakotay: Star Trek Voyager

I don’t believe that you will ever come across someone who isn’t broken in some way. To have never been broken…is to have never loved. As Chakotay said above, we know that love is painful, but we continue loving anyway because it is worth it. Every single moment.

Let’s face it, we live in a temporary plain. It is an unavoidable truth whether you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Athiest, it doesn’t matter. No one is immune to suffering and pain. God has never promised us that we wouldn’t suffer, in fact, if anything He promised we would, in John 16:33 Jesus says that, “…in this world, you will have trouble.” And yet He promises something else to, “I have told you these things so that you may have peace.” We can have peace amidst our pain for He pours out the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7).

King Solomon was regarded as the wisest man. He understood the fleetingness of life, the meaningless toiling, and pain. And yet he concludes that despite it all, it is important that we enjoy this life, that we don’t just survive, but truly live. I mention this because eternal beings in a temporary plain can forget the imperishable truths, the insatiable longings for our true home. We can forget this thing called hope.

And that hope is this, though we suffer greatly, though we are but broken vessels…this pain too is temporary. God says that He will personally, “…wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.” That is our hope, God never breaks His promises.

What stirred up such a post today? Well, to be honest, our church has recently suffered a terrible loss. A family who gave up everything to move here because they were called by God, suffered a fatal blow by none other than satan himself. A friend, mother, and passionate sister in Christ lost her life in a car accident leaving behind a loving 3-year-old boy and an amazing husband.

So many dreams, a future gone in the blink of an eye. It’s been a very rough week…I’ve cried and screamed, I’ve wanted to write but found that I had no words to say. What can I say?

Today God has sparked some hope within me again. His promises remain, and heaven awaits us all. It’s never “goodbye”, and always a “see you soon!” I can’t imagine the celebration that awaits us, the reunion with friends and family, never to be separated again.

All to Jesus now, no turning back…no turning back.

Until we meet again Rachel Sullivan.

 

Blogger Recognition Award

Sixth Seal Ministries nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award! I am honored, thank you!!

Sixth Seal Ministries was created to, “shine the light of God’s Word into the hearts of His people in these dark days; that we may be equipped to stand firm in holiness and godliness, as we eagerly await His return.”

For more information about Sixth Seal Ministries click the link below!

Sixth Seal Ministries

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  2. Write a post to show your award
  3. Give a brief story on how your blog started
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  5. Select 15 or more fellow bloggers for this award
  6. Let each nominee know you have nominated them and leave a link to your post

A brief story on how my blog started:

I started this blog while I was attending the Columbus School of Supernatural Ministry. God had started to open my eyes to what it truly means to be a Christian. His Presence, a relationship with Him, has substance. I discovered that He is tangible and ever chasing after us. Throughout my learning and experience, I sought a means to share all that I have learned. We are all on a journey, I share mine in the hopes of awakening hope in others, just as God did for me.

Two pieces of advice to new bloggers:

  1. Liking your follower’s posts is great, commenting is even better. Invest in others, build them up!
  2. Be genuine, with your posts, with your comments, and with your followers. Heartfelt honesty is what people are hungry for in a world centered on the superficial.

My Nominees: 

  1. “Jesus Christ Still In Control”
  2. There Is Hope!
  3. Matthew Winters (Comeback Pastor)
  4. Emeka Ofili
  5. To Declare His Glory
  6. A Christian Worldview of Fiction
  7. atimetoshare.me
  8. Pastor Unlikely
  9. In My Father’s House
  10. Following Him Beside Still Waters
  11. josephsdailywalkwithjesus
  12. Hallelujah
  13. Kristi Ann’s Haven
  14. Becoming His Tapestry
  15. Brandon J. Adams

#1 Fan

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It’s that time of year again, when families crowd around a tv screen with Football jerseys and chicken wings, cheering and shouting as their favorite team scores. At the stadium people become even more excited, with painted faces (or stomachs), waving #1 fan signs and screaming until their voices grow hoarse.

It’s a good time, but I’ve often discovered that it can also be an obsession. Just say the phrase, “It’s just a game,” and see what kind of response you get. I’m not saying that it is wrong to be competitive or momentarily caught up in the joy of seeing your favorite team win, but what does concern me is how often and how easily we become #1 fans of things that ultimately don’t matter.

Let me put it this way, lately, Aaron and I have been trying the Keto diet, and the results have been great! We have easily become #1 fans of this diet, so much so that we end up talking about it to everyone. It’s exciting and fulfilling sharing the “good news” of Keto, and it’s very easy. Aaron and I have enough knowledge under our belt that we are ready with a reply to any question someone asks, and by the end of the conversation, we have most people convinced or converted to the Keto way.

Does this scenario sound uncomfortably familiar? Good, it did to me also. I was sitting at a restaurant, listening to Aaron talk about Keto with our church friends and realized that it was too natural. He spoke with passion and excitement, just like I do when I talk about Star Trek. Have we really forgotten what it’s like to be #1 fans of Jesus? Shouldn’t we be sharing that good news a bit more often? Shouldn’t we be excited to share our faith and find it natural, with replies ready on our lips to any question?

Maybe I am being harsh, or maybe not. At least, I feel convicted by how often we talk and think about things that aren’t God-centered. There’s nothing wrong with interests or hobbies, things that we enjoy and love. The problem occurs when those things take precedence over God. There is only one throne room in our heart, and if He isn’t sitting there then something else always is. We are creatures of worship, fashioned in such a way to give glory and praise to God. And it is an easy pitfall for us to worship other things, look how often it happened in the Bible. Idol worship back then makes us cringe, and yet it is just as common today, among Christians!

I merely wanted this post to be a wake-up call, for myself and for anyone else who feels the same. There’s no condemnation here, just a realization that we are imperfect beings always in need of correction and guidance. And ever always in need of God and His abounding grace.

Lord, I want to be your #1 fan before anything else, you are what I desire and long for. You alone deserve all the praise, honor, and glory. Keep my heart pure and set on the right things, and protect me from satan’s pitfalls and traps, so that I am not led astray. My heart is yours always, thank you for your gift of grace, Amen. 

The Wilderness

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“They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and of pits, Through a land of drought and of deep darkness, Through a land that no one crossed And where no man dwelt?’

-Jeremiah 2:6

Wilderness Definition:

An uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.

  • a neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town.
  • a position of disfavor, especially in a political context.

 

Before reading this definition, the images I associated with the term, “wilderness” were relatively positive. I think of hikes through the woods or mountains, enjoying the raw beauty of God. Nature has always been a favorite place of mine to immerse in because it displays God. It is beautiful chaos, yet each facet fits together perfectly. There is a rhyme and reason and a lesson in everything I see. God is very present and very alive in those places, and His voice often becomes as clear as the wind in the trees or in the cry of the hawk.

However, my view of the wilderness is shaped by my experiences. I’ve never been lost, attacked by a wild animal, or caught up in a storm without shelter. Nor have I ever experienced another form of wilderness, such as the desert. The wilderness I know is rich and full of life, while the wilderness the Israelites knew, was a hot and unforgiving wasteland that only the strongest could withstand.

It is that “wilderness” in which Adam and Eve were cursed into. It was that wilderness in which Abraham raised his family, awaiting God’s promise. It was that wilderness in which Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. That wilderness in which Jesus was tested by satan.

Over and over again the bible mentions this wilderness. It was a place that the jews sent their sins into in the form of a goat, hence the term “scapegoat” (Leviticus 16:10), a place that the high and proud King Nebuchadnezzar was cast into like a wild animal, feasting on grass (Daniel 4:33). The wilderness was a place where the proud became humble, where faith was tested, and you could become lost in more ways than one.

Why did God create such a place? Why did He cause the Israelites to wander in it for 40 years? Why did Jesus have to go into the wilderness to be tested?

I believe there are many reasons but the core lesson is this; His grace is sufficient.

We have nothing, can do nothing, and are nothing apart from God. It is only by His grace that we live and are blessed. Every man must go through such a trial in order for this truth to come alive in his heart. Otherwise, we will always believe that “we” can overcome challenges on our own, or by our own might. We will take God’s blessings for granted or will attribute such blessings to our own skill and success.

“Consider it a gift when you hit a point in which God is your only option.”

-Brian Johnson, Christian singer/songwriter

“Faith is the inner confidence that God is enough.”

-Brian Simmons, author of the Passion Translation

Jesus often went away to the wilderness, even after he was tested by satan, to spend time alone with God. I believe it was in these moments Jesus renewed his strength. It is easy to forget that he was a man too, that he faced every hardship and suffered more than anyone for our sake. If the Son of God needed to go off alone and pray, then how much more do we need to do this?

Each of us has walked in or will walk through the wilderness. Maybe not in the literal sense, but in the spiritual one for certain. It is only through such a place that we learn to trust God, to surrender it all to Him, because only He can save us and our families.