In my sermon for the last two weeks, I have been preaching from the Book of Ezra chapter 4:1-3 We learned that Zerubabbel had lead a building project along with the remnant from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. For approximately 16 years, the building of the Temple in Jerusalem ceased. Some enemies of the Jews tried to infiltrate the workforce and stop the building with political pressure. Fear caused the work to grind to a halt. The people went to their homes, settled into the comfort of their own homes; and it was business as usual!
We do not know what Zerubbabel did during this time. His discouragement, following those first months of excitement and accomplishment, must have been deep. Those feelings eventually hardened into hopeless. So God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to be Zerubabbel's encouringing companions.
They confronted the people's reluctance and comforted their fears. The work began once again with renewed energy and was completed in four years. Zerubabbel, like many of us, knew how to start well but found it hard to keep going. His success depended on the quality of encouragement he received. Zerubabbel let discouragement get the better of him. but when he let God take control, the work was finished. God is always in control! We must not let circumstances or lack of encouragement slow us from doing the task God has given us.
The bottom line is: if you want your spiritual inheritance, you're going to wage a good warfare to obtain them. God's plan and purpose for your life is usually not a secret to your haters. Haters see what God is about to do in your life before you do. In order to reach your destiny or complete the assignment God has for you, the enemy will bring or creates stress in your life. Stress makes your chest feel tight. Some of you are in a tight place.It's not just one thing that is out of control, it's everything! Fighting for your vision/purpose brings on stress, and stress brings trouble, and then trouble brings on unrest and worry, and unrest brings folk, and folk brings a bunch of foolishness in our situation. If the enemy can't get you with any of these factors, he'll try to get you to compromise your position.
In verse two, the enemies of the Jews asked to collaborate with them in rebuilding the Temple. But the Jews would have no part in that. The explanation to them was:"We worship the same God you do, and we have sacrificed to him every since the king so Assyria brought us here. "We'll if that were the case, where were these people when the building project began. Why didn't they help from the very beginning? Folk are a mess! They won't get behind you at the beginning when the struggle is the greatest. They just want to come on board in the middle or towards the end when most of the works has already been completed.
Then they said, "We serve the same God you do." Well, that might be the case. But the truth is, they served other gods or idols too. The Book of the Law says:"Thou shall have no other gods before me." God is a jealous God. Serving other gods is the reason why the Jews had been dispersed into enemy camps in the first place.
Next they tried to brag about the sacrifices they have made. Well, maybe they did make sacrifices, but some folk hold back their sacrifice at the beginning of a project. They want to make sure that their investment is a sure thing; that it will come into manifestation. Some people sacrifice out of their abundance. They have so much that what little they give, isn't really a sacrifice to them by a long shot. When we look at giving in the New Testament, people like "The Widow's Mite, Mary of Bethany who broke her alabaster box and washed Jesus feet, the Apostle Paul, who experience serious misfortunes to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, and Jesus, the Son of God,King of Kings and Lord of Lords, sacrifice his life for sinful man.A sacrifice should cost you something, it should be meaningful to you.
The enemy will try to get you to compromise your beliefs. They will try to make you believe that you and they are the same, you have lots of things in common. But the Bible says to be careful of the Leaven of the Pharisees. If you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with flees.So the enemy tries to put our dreams and aspirations to sleep but creating lots of drama in our lives. When we are in distress and unrest or worry, we start looking at ways to relieve our stress.
There is no other form of satanic attack that has been more successful or more violent, as it relates to spiritual warfare, than the attack that Satan has launched through drugs and sexual perversion. Satan is very cunning. he will disguise his purpose, gripping the mind to accelerate his destructive vices. Our society today is very aware of the drug culture and the population that it serves. But the devil has blinded the minds of the people through medical science. Doctors would much rather prescribe the same drugs that are used in on the streets to you and me, but under a different name. These drugs do the same thing to an addict. They alter the mental faculties of man or woman. Consequently, there are just as many drug users under medical supervision as there are on the streets; but because people are under medical supervision, it becomes less likely that our natural minds detect the seriousness of its abuse. We stumble into the bait of Satan and these chemicals wraps its tentacles around us.
Strongholds cannot be properly destroyed with pills. the only lasting relief comes through the power of prayer and intercession. Through the Word of God and through the power of prayer, these strongholds can and must be commanded to come down.Tthis is perhaps whey the devil detest "Deliverance Ministries." He wants us to continue to sit up in our churches week after week and be lulled to sleep with messages that have no power to heal all of our soul sick diseases. Be careful of the doctrine of the Pharisees. The doctrine that makes the "Word of God of no affect,, while holding to the traditions of man."
I'll say more on this the next time, but for now and as always:
"Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers!"
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