Dear Friends,

On Monday morning of this week I began a new and very exciting journey (for me) pursuing a Master of Theology in Messianic Jewish Studies.  I’ve been looking forward to this course of study for some time and finally on Monday was my first day of my first class (online).

So here’s what happened…

Suddenly I had some physical problem that brought tremendous pain.  Some folks from our congregation were facing some very difficult problems that required my focus and energies.  The marriage of a very good friend was in shambles.  In addition, I teach Bible at a Christian school and classes for this began (this is a good thing but added to the stress).  A friend and fellow pastor died.  People in our congregation got bad medical news. It was a perfect storm.  I was feeling completely overwhelmed.

Thursday morning I walked into our Men’s Bible Study.  As we shared our challenges, and I shared mine, one of the men said, “Isn’t it interesting that all of these issues hit you the very day you began your new studies?  This is obviously an attack from the enemy.”

Wow, I should have been more present to this truth!  I teach this stuff, but had missed it in the chaos of the storm.  That is why you need a group of godly men (for the men), and a group of godly women (for the women) to support and encourage you.


Here are facts about the methods and practices of the enemy:

1)  We have an active enemy

1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

2)  His purpose is to steal, kill and destroy

John 10:10a (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.

3)  He is a liar

John 8:44b (NLT) He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

4)  We know the enemy’s strategies

2 Corinthians 2:11 (NLT) so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

So how do you recognize his attack?  He will always “overplay his hand.”  What I mean by that is the attack will come, maybe subtly at first, but then the circumstances begin to get more and more extreme…almost to the point of being ridiculous.  This is when you can be aware that this is an enemy’s attack.

The second question is:  HOW CAN I WIN WHEN THE ENEMY ATTACKS?

Focus on the Lord instead of the circumstances

Matthew 14:30 (NLT) But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Avail yourself of supernatural protection—especially the shield of faith and the sword of the word of God

Ephesians 6:11, 14-17 (NLT) Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil…14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Take every thought captive and make it obey the Lord!

2 Corinthians 10:4–5 (NIV84) The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Mediate on God’s word—God’s truth—God’s character

Psalm 103:2 (NLT) Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

Don’t ever forget that our enemy is already defeated!  Our Lord defeated him at the cross.

Hebrews 2:14 (NLT) Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.

Colossians 2:15 (NLT) In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

As soon as I realized what was happening this week, my whole attitude changed.  It made me smile to know the enemy’s attack was already defeated in the power of the Lord.  Of course I still had to deal with the circumstances, but I knew the enemy was not going to win!  God has this…God has me!

Onward winning in our Lord,

Pastor Gary