Expect It – Part 2

True expectation requires preparation.

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Mark 5:2 – And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit

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I have already shared with you the danger of gauging anything of our Christian walk on tactics, devices, or actions of the devil against us.  Today I want to talk about the issue of expectance from the other side of the coin.  When one truly expects something of significance to happen, one will generally make plans to be ready for the event.  When you know your vacation begins in two weeks, and your employer requires all your work to be up to day before you can go, you will make whatever effort is needful so you can leave for your vacation.  When the weather forecast is for a hurricane to strike the coast where you live in two days in its full fury, you will board up your doors and windows, perhaps sandbag some areas, and possibly even move inland until the storm is past.  When you truly expect some of significance to happen, you will prepare for it. 

If you know anything at all about living in the realm of the Spirit and walking by faith, you KNOW there is an enemy that is out to steal from you, kill you, and destroy your heritage.  You know that because you know the nature of your enemy.  He doesn’t need a reason.  That is his nature.  You likewise know that you will, at some point, be the target of the revelation of that nature.  And IF you know it, IF you expect it, you WILL do what is necessary to prevent the theft, the killing, and the destruction.  That is called PREVENTIVE measures, NOT DEFENSIVE measures.  IF you truly expect Satan to demonstrate his nature, you will take PREVENTIVE measures so that if you must take DEFENSIVE measures, your defense will be fully effective. 

Allow this writing to be an eye-opening encouragement to you.  Are you a Christian?  Are you truly following the Lord?  The you know you have an enemy who WILL come against you.  To that end I urge you, I implore you, I beg you, take PREVENTIVE measures to be FULLY PREPARED when, not if, he does.  Invest your time in the Word and pour all of God’s Word into your heart you possibly can.  By so doing, you will build your Father-pleasing faith.  Pray.  Pray with ceasing.  Pray in the understanding.  Pray in the Spirit.  Live a daily life of strength building praise, so that when tribulation come, you can count it all joy.  Guard yourself by avoiding fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and always guard your conversation.  Remember, Jesus is coming.  If you believe that, then be prepared.  He IS coming.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:1-20; Mark 4; John 10:10; Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 13:15;    1 Thessalonians 5:17; Jude 20-21; James 1:1-9

Expect It

Don’t be led by what you expect.  Be led by the Spirit, and by God’s Word.

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Mark 5:2 – And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

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If you are a child of God, there are certain things you should expect.  The Christian should certainly expect the fulfillment of God’s Word in his life; salvation, healing and health, provision and plenty, deliverance, and peace.  At the same time, it should be expected of the Christian that he walk in obedience to the Word of God.  The truth is that there are many blessings of the Lord are, in fact, conditional upon one’s obedience to God’s commands.

But there are other things that should be expected.  And while they should be expected, they should NEVER be used as a measuring device of their walk with the Lord.  Sadly, there are many believers that gauge their walk with the Lord on attacks of the enemy, or perceived attacks of the enemy, on their life and ministry.  My friend, such thinking opens one to gross deception in their life.  Here is an example or what I am saying.  I have witnessed many Christians going through a difficult time in their life.  When confronted by what they are facing, they would often say, “Well, I must be doing something right; the devil is really trying to stop me.”  Dear reader, such thinking leaves one open for gross deception and ultimate defeat.  Since when should any believer gauge his obedience to the Lord based upon what the devil does?  Satan is not God’s accountant, banker, or bookkeeper.  He has come to steal, kill, and destroy.  Your obedience to the Lord should be based solely on what the Word says, and the witness of Holy Spirit with your spirit.

Should the believer expect to be attacked by the enemy?  Absolutely.  But if the believer gauges his obedience on Satan’s attacks, all Satan needs to do is leave the Christian alone and he’ll think he’s missing the mark with the Lord because Satan’s not attacking.  By the same token, the believer could be failing to obey the Lord, but if Satan attacks, he will think he is doing well in obedience to the Lord because Satan is attacking. 

What I am about to write may sound harsh, but it is not intended to be so, but rather to be an alarm call.  As I have already written, your obedience to the Lord should be based solely on what the Word says, and the witness of Holy Spirit with your spirit.  Anything less is on very shaky ground.  And such is generally the result of three things: (1) they are trapped by tradition; (2) they are held by fear of change; (3) they are too lazy to apply themselves to the hard work of searching for the truth themselves.  Child of God, wake up, get up, and move up to a fresh place of intimacy with the Lord through His Word.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:1-20; Mark 4; 1 Corinthians 10:13; John 10:10

Going to the Enemy’s Camp

Be aware.  Enemies are encamped all about you. 

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Mark 5:1 – And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

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Have you ever deliberately taken the steps necessary to go into the camp of a known enemy?  If you’ve served in the military, especially in a hostile situation, you very well may have done so.  Though I did not serve in the military, I do know what it is like to deliberately go into the camp of potential hostiles.  That story is for another time, but I can assure you, I’ve been there, and I am aware of the kinds of emotions that can be stirred.  A study of the Scripture will reveal that such could be considered commonplace for God’s warriors.

Samson, on more than one occasion, was found in the middle of the enemy’s camp.  King David often face such an experience.  Many of the prophets of God, Elijah, Elisha, and Daniel among them, face such experiences.  The good news of which we should always be aware is that if the Lord has sent you there, or if it is the enemy who has chosen to try to overtake or capture you, you will never be alone.  The Lord and His angels will always be with you, encamped around about you.

In the story related, beginning with our Text for Today, we see Jesus doing the very thing about which I am writing.  Jesus had been among His Own people, teaching them.  At the close of His teaching among His Own people, He departed, sleeping in the back of a ship for Gadara.  But why would I refer to that place as “the enemy’s camp?”  His first encounter was with a demoniac (of whom we shall write later) who came down to the shore to attack, and possibly kill Jesus, for the demons in the man knew Who Jesus was.  Secondly, it is obvious from the story that people in Gadara raised pigs; apparently large numbers of them in herds, and we know that pig meat (pork) is unclean to the Jews.  And when a large hard of swine were killed by drowning themselves, all that after Jesus had delivered the demoniac, they chased Jesus out of the land.  Apparently, He had wrecked a great portion of their economy. 

There is something of extreme value here for every believer to learn and put into practice.  If God sends you into the enemy’s camp, you are prepared to leave victorious, kept safely by the Lord and His angels.  When the Lord sends you to an enemy’s camp, you need not fear.  Whatever camp you enter, enter by faith, for this is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith.  There are enemy camps all around us.  Don’t go into them unless the Lord sends you.  If He does, go confidently, trusting Him fully.

Manna for Today – Mark 5:1-21; Mark 16:15-21; Psalm 91; Isaiah 54:17; John 14:12-14; John 15:7

Storms – Part 11

In a lifetime, one will likely have multiple encounters of all kinds of storms.

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Mark 4:41 – And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

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So, we have briefly examined four kinds of storms we will encounter in life.  A wise man (woman) will take the time to learn about these storms, learn enough about them to discern which on he (she) is facing, and gain the knowledge from the Scriptures as to the steps one is to take in those encounters.  Let’s take a brief look at the four storms and our needed response.

STORM ONE – This is the storm into which the Lord sends you.  The best example is likely the flood of Noah.  If the Lord sends you into such a storm, He has a divine purpose for you, He will give ample advance notice, He will protect you, and He will sustain you.  Don’t try to rebuke such a storm.  Trust the Lord to ride it out and come out strong and victorious.

STORM TWO – This is the storm the Lord sends to arrest you.  The best example is likely the storm and great fish prepared for Jonah.  If this kind of storm comes into your life, it is because you are running from a place and time of ministry in which the Lord needs you to serve.  You will not be ignorant of the cause.  Jonah knew why he was facing what he was facing all along; he was running from the call of God.  Don’t try to rebuke this storm.  It is there FOR you, to arrest you, to hold you in protective custody (thought it may not be comfortable) not to destroy you.  Use your time in custody to repent and prepare for what is ahead of you.

STORM THREE – This is a storm that comes to steal from you, kill you, and destroy any seed you’ve sown.  As soon as you recognize such a storm, stand against it, rise up, and speak the Word of Faith over and against it.  Because the will of God is in no way to be found in such a storm, for it is the work of Satan, you will have heaven’s full authority to back you up in your authority.

STORM FOUR – This is the storm witnessed in the “groaning” of nature as it cries out like a child, calling for manifest sons of God to step up and exercise their full authority in the Lord.  This storm is looking for “sons of God” (those who know how to walk in the power and authority of covenant) to manifest themselves, to take a faith initiative to stand up, speak up, move up, and live up to their calling.    These storms, the result of nature “groaning,” are crying out to have you to turn their outcry into clapping leaves and singing hills.

Manna for Today – Mark 4:35-41; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23-24; Daniel 3; Romans 8:18-30; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 55:12

Storms – Part 10

When storms and cataclysmic earth events happen, we need the discernment of the Lord to respond well.

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Mark 4:41 – And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

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Yesterday I left you with a question.  What do children do when left to their own devices?  The answer to that question can be given in one rather sweeping word; “rebel.”  With that in mind, think on the following statements.

  • God created the heaven and the earth, and all that is in them.
  • At the close of creation, and the making of man, God gave dominion over all He had created to His man.
  • At that moment, man as perfect before God; there was no darkness in the earth.  All of God’s creation was created for man, to serve man, to provide to man whatever man called upon it to produce.
  • When man fell, the woman being tempted, and man committing high treason, man lost all the dominion God gave him, and he lost it to the devil.
  • At that point, all of nature was submitted to the devil, not by its own choosing, but by the choice of man.
  • Satan is corrupt, is a corruptor, and perverts everything he touches that God created and made to be righteous and clean.

Now consider nature (creation) as you would think of a child.  It is easy for an abused child to become abusive.  When Satan held position of creation, he abused it.  When a child is neglected, it will likely to openly rebel.  Jesus took the earth back, and then did precisely as His Father had done in the beginning.  He gave His dominion to His redeemed by the power of attorney to use His Name.  One of the areas the church has ignored is nature (creation itself).  Many natural disasters we see today are caused by anyone but nature itself.  It was designed by God to serve man.  Man, its current holder, generally ignores it in a spiritual sense.  We use it, but for our own good.  What the church, the holder of creation, is failing to do (in general) is to exercise dominion over it to serve the kingdom of God and bring glory to God.  Even while Satan held it, Jesus demonstrated how it would serve us if we exercised faith.  Do you remember the draughts of fish (2), water becoming wine, quail flying in to become food for the people, birds feeding the prophets?  Nature (creation) was designed to serve man.  Yet there are many examples of nature (creation) rising up against man.  I refer to earthquakes, possibly volcanoes, massive storms like hurricanes and cyclones, and enormous droughts and floods.  Such things damage and destroy as many unbelievers as believers.  Nature is rebelling.  It is crying out for true sons of God to rise up in faith, exercise their dominion, and honor God.  Still, more to come.

Manna for Today – Mark 4:35-41; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23-24; Daniel 3; Romans 8:18-30; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 55:12

Storms – Part Nine

What kind of mischief can children cause when left to their own devices?

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Mark 4:41 – And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

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We know that there are storms into which the Lord deliberately sends a chosen vessel(s), such as the flood of Noah.  We know that there are storms sent by the Lord to arrest the movement of a person (or people), as in the case of Jonah.  And we know that there are storms that are deliberately spawned by the enemy for demonic purposes of stealing, killing, and destroying, as in the case of the storm Jesus quieted on the Sea of Galilee.  It seems that such storms seem to be very localized.  But what of storms that rise up, and unless thwarted, ravage major portions of nations, and often impact massive elements of human population; storms that cause massive destruction, enormous flooding, and the like that can arise from hurricanes and cyclones.  God does not indiscriminately ravage people’s lives with storms.  He is surely able to isolate a storm for specific purposes of arresting someone’s movement.  Likewise, I believe Satan is greatly limited as to what he can spawn in his use of nature.  But let us consider the present status of nature in the church age.

Under the New Covenant, the earth and its fullness belong to the Lord.  At the same time, the Lord has given His earthly dominion by power of attorney in the use of His Name to His church.  When we speak of storms ordered by the Lord, we can see deliberate purpose.  When we speak of storms spawned by Satan, they rise quickly and without warning.  But what of great storms such as hurricanes and cyclones?  We know many hours, and even days in advance of their coming.  Their expanse and potential destruction can be enormous in size and intensity.  Knowing well ahead of time of their arrival, especially through the work of meteorologists and their science, I am convinced that such things are the result of nature, or the creation, crying out for the manifestation of the sons of God.  Why would nature, or creation, do such a thing?  When Jesus redeemed man, He took possession once again of the earth.  The earth knows that the purpose of its creation was to serve man, not to exist in a continual state of upheaval.  The Scriptures tell us that the trees of the field shall clap their hands when we walk by; that the mountains and hills should break forth into singing before us.  When it the last time nature broke forth into singing because you walked by?  My friend, if you are a son of God, a mature believer, then nature is looking to you to enjoy its beauty and the joy it can bring.  So, think on this question.  What do children do who are ignored by their parents?  What do children do when left to their own devices?  More to come.

Manna for Today – Mark 4:35-41; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23-24; Daniel 3; Romans 8:18-30; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 55:12

Storms – Part Eight

One of the wisest things you’ll ever do is to know the limits to the works of your faith.

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Mark 4:41 – And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

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The Sea of Galilee is a precarious place for predicters of weather.  The sudden arising of powerful storms and strong winds is a common occurrence there.  I find it interesting that throughout the Gospels and writings about Jesus, the only two disturbances on the Sea of Galilee that are mentioned are connected directly with Jesus giving instructions to go to the other side.  While I’m sure that many storms on that body of water occurred during His earthly ministry, the question arises, why didn’t Jesus deal with all of them?  I believe the answer is found in Jesus knowing which storms arose to stop Him personally, stop His ministry, or stop His disciples from fulfilling His command to them. 

Please consider what I write.  Not every storm that arises in life is a weapon against you or device used by the Lord for a divine purpose (not destruction of His righteous people).  There is a fourth class of storm that needs to be included in our discussion.  I’m not talking about a simple rainstorm, or thunderstorm.  These are simple elements of nature that are part of day to day occurrences throughout the earth.  I am talking about large, perhaps cataclysmic storms that can be extremely destructive.  I believe that hurricanes, cyclones, heavy blizzards, and tornadoes fall into this category.  My perception is not scientific by any means, other that to know that such storms do exist, and occur with some frequency in the world.

To offer you a starting point, I encourage you to read Romans 8:18-30, an element of our Manna for Today.  In the Romans passage, verse 19 says, “the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.”  Verse 22 says, “we know that the whole of creation groans and travails in pain together until now.”  The words “creature” and “creation” refer specifically to all that exists in nature.  One of the most powerful elements of nature is weather.  Not every storm is a result of God working or Satan attempting to destroy.  Nature itself is crying out, groaning, travailing (like a woman in labor), longing for sons of God to be manifest.  There are many storms in nature that are the result of nature itself being subject to the curse of the law while sons of God sit by and allow it to happen.  According to Psalm 24:1, “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and all that dwells therein.”  Jesus is Lord NOW.  All power, in heaven and in earth, has been placed in His hands, and He has given the sons of God the power of attorney to use His Name.  Such storms that nature raises us are subject to sons of God.

Manna for Today – Mark 4:35-41; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23-24; Daniel 3; Romans 8:18-30; Psalm 24:1

Storms – Part Seven

We don’t approach all storms the same way.  Use wisdom.

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Mark 4:37 – And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

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Once again, today we will be examining the third kind of storm in this series, that being the storm that is brought by the enemy of your soul to steal, kill, and destroy.  Remember, not all storms need to be rebuked.  Some need to be ridden, some need to be allowed to bring us to necessary places, and yet others are a cry for help.  But the storm we examine today is the one that comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

One of the most misquoted passages in the Scriptures is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13.  I really become angry with Christian leaders who declare that God won’t put more on you than you can bear.  My friend, that is a complete misreading of this passage.  Go to that passage and read it for yourself.  It is NOT a matter of God putting something on us, but in reality, is a revelation of His great protection.  Dear one, if a storm of life comes against you to steal, kill, and destroy, it is because Father knows you are fully equipped and capable of dealing with that storm in your own faith.  The wonderful truth is this.  There are many storms in life that would simply destroy us, but we never see them, and in most cases, we aren’t even aware that they exist.  You see, Father will not allow something you can’t handle to come against you.  So, if it comes into your life, use your faith, use the weapons of your warfare, use the Name of Jesus, and use the power of Holy Spirit in your life by speaking God’s Word and walking in victory.  In short, honor the Lord by taking your victory by force.

In our Text for Today, this storm could have been overcome by the disciples.  Jesus had taught them the
Word all day.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  They had the faith to do the job.  Jesus had already fully equipped them to deal with this storm.  If this were not the case, He had no right to ask them why they were fearful, or to challenge their absence of faith.  Our example of how to handle such storms is clear.  Jesus stood up, rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea.  As you face storms that come to steal, kill, and destroy the Word in your life, stand! (Having done all, stand)  Rebuke that which would blow you off course, and speak to that which appears to be ready to wash you into oblivion.  If you’ve acting according to God’s Word in faith, you will achieve the same results as Jesus.

Manna for Today – Mark 4:35-41; Romans 8:1-17; 2 Timothy 2:15; John 10:10; Isaiah 54:17;            Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; 1 Corinthians 10:13

Storms – Part Five

There are times when being detained seems much like being arrested.

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Mark 4:37 – And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

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When we speak of this second kind of storm, one sent by the Lord to arrest you, it may also be seen as detainment for a time allowing a God-desired event to occur in your life.  Jonah was arrested to be brought to a point of repentance, and ultimate successful service to the Lord.  And if we look further back, we see the Lord using Jacob’s thinking as an arresting, or detaining element to bring about a reconciliation between brothers that the Lord desired. 

Jacob had been greatly blessed with a large family and great riches.  But when he realized he was about to encounter his brother, Esau, he worried what Esau might do because of what he and his mother had done to gain Isaac’s blessing that should had been, in truth, swindled from Esau.  Jacob was doing all he could to prevent Esau from potentially bringing harm to his wives and children, especially Rachel and her children.  If possible, he would have avoided this meeting altogether.  But his thinking effectively paralyzed any real progress toward that end.  God used this, delaying Jacob’s forward progress so this encounter would take place.  God wanted reconciliation between brothers, and it made no difference what Jacob thought. 

Finally, when the brothers met, Jacob was really taken aback by Esau’s approach, kindness, love, and sharing.  In this there was not a natural storm, but there certainly was one in Jacob’s mind.  Delay, a momentary arresting, brought about reconciliation, and no one was hurt.  A look back to Jonah’s situation shows us similar results.  When God sends a storm to arrest someone, while many other people may be affected by the storm, God sees to it that others are not hurt.  Though the ship and all on it were caught in a terrible storm, when His arrest of Jonah had finally taken place, and Jonah was incarcerated in the great fish, the storm ceased, and no one was hurt by the devices the Lord used. 

Consider your own life.  Have there been times when the Lord has arrested you?  If He has, you can look back on that time and see that others were not hurt by that which the Lord sent to arrest you.  Do you think you might be in an arresting storm now?  If you are, submit yourself to the Lord.  Draw closer to Him, and He will draw closer to you.  He’s calling you to turn around.  He will meet you at your U-turn, and that which follows may be the supernatural time of your life you’ve ever known.  Wait no longer.  Put yourself in His custody.  There’s work to do that has your name on it.

Manna for Today – Mark 4:35-41; Romans 8:1-17; 2 Timothy 2:15; Jonah; Genesis 33; James 4:7-12

Storms – Part Six

There are some storms that come with one intent; steal, kill, and destroy.  Handle them with force.

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Mark 4:37 – And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

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In today’s edition of the Second Miler, we will deal with the third kind of storm that may arise in one’s life.  This is the storm that rises from hell, a pure tool of the devil, and carrying full intent to steal what you have, kill you, and destroy any witness and legacy you have.  Jesus warned us of this underlying motive to everything Satan does.  That is his sole final intent in his existence.  But the primary element he uses to accomplish that is revealed to us in Mark 4.  It begins with what I call his first strike initiative.  When the Word of God is sown, Satan comes immediately to steal that Word. 

Prior to the storm recorded in Mark 4, Jesus had taught the Word all day to the people, and in that teaching, He warned them that when the Word is sown, Satan comes immediately to steal it.  Then when His disciples sent the people away, and set sail for the other side of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus being asleep in the back of the boat, this storm arose.  The very thing about which Jesus had warned them was taking place.  Satan came immediately to steal the Word.  Jesus had said to His disciples, “Let us pass over unto the other side.”  He then went to sleep in the ship, trusting His disciples to carry out His wishes.  This is a powerful picture of Jesus and His church today.

Jesus gave orders to the church.  Go into all the world.  Preach the Gospel to every creature. Make disciples; baptize.  He told us the signs that should be following us.  Then He went and was seated on the right hand of Father, there waiting until His enemies are made His footstool.  Does that pattern sound familiar?  It certainly does.  (1) He prepares His followers by pouring His Word and Spirit into them.        (2) He then gives an order that they are to fulfill.  (3) He then trusts them to carry out His orders.  (4) He is always present for them if they need Him. 

That being the case, not only should we put our full trust in the pattern He had revealed, but we should also fully trust His warning.  When the Word of God is sown in your heart, Satan comes immediately to steal that Word.  He raises up storms of all kinds, shapes, and descriptions to steal the Word.  That’s where the church is NOW; in this present moment.  Satan in doing all he can to thwart the work of God’s Word by stealing it, pressuring it, and choking it.   Satan WILL FAIL.  Jesus also taught that, for the gates of hell shall not prevail against our Lord’s church.

Manna for Today – Mark 4:35-41; Romans 8:1-17; 2 Timothy 2:15; John 10:10; Isaiah 54:17;            Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20