Every week, millions of people listen to men and women preach sermons – long, short, expositional, topical, content heavy, image rich. In order to experience spiritual transformation, I think we should ask a practical question: How should we listen to a sermon? Here are eight questions we should ask ourselves before or as we listen to a sermon.
We all have at least one – a toxic family member. But, how do we deal with family members that are just plain difficult to get along with? Do we write them off? Do you simply ignore them? That would be the easy way. I believe there is one effective way and it will revolutionize your family relationships.
Everyone who follows Jesus will experience suffering – physical and emotional pain or distress. The issue is not that we will suffer, but how should we respond to our physical, emotional and spiritual distress. How we respond is critical. The Bible says there are at least 14 proper ways we can respond to suffering.
For whom should we pray? Our default is to pray for ourselves first, asking God to bless and protect us. Are we too selfish? There is nothing wrong with praying for ourselves. However, the Bible says we should not pray only for ourselves. There are a few more people for whom we should intercede. You might be surprised.
Why do we pray? Out of habit and duty? Do we pray so we can get stuff from God? Now, I believe there is nothing wrong with asking God to bless us. However, this is just one small but important reason why we should pray. There are a few more significant reasons. You might be surprised.
The Enemy Is Defeated
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Kenya was meeting Ruth. Ruth – the woman pictured – used to be the high priestess of Satan and a famous witch doctor in a small Kenyan village, outside of Tala. Her fame as a witch doctor was so pervasive that even one of the pastors I was training was one of her consistent customers. Several months ago, she surrendered her life to Jesus and burned all her paraphernalia. Praise the Lord!!!!
There is power in the cross of Jesus. This power breaks every chain and sets people free. When Jesus died on the cross, he won victories over sin, temptation, the world, death, and over the devil. Ruth’s conversion and transformation is an example of Jesus’ power to defeat the enemy.
As a result of her conversion, she is now an witnessing to people in her village. Watching her worship Jesus, made me realize the power of the gospel to transform darkness into light. Also, I understand more than ever that worship is a weapon to defeat Satan and his dark forces.
As a result of her conversion, Satan is angry and is attacking her through hurting her family. Her husband and one of her sons have died, another child is sick. Her granddaughter has sores, from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet. I don’t tend to see the enemy behind every bad thing that happens to believers. However, I believe these are malicious, Satanic attacks, designed to discourage her and tempt her to go back to working for Satan. Consequently, she experiences discouragement, and the enemy tempts her to go back to her former lifestyle.
Stand With Ruth
Though this conflict is personal, strenuous, and continual, I believe Ruth is victorious in Jesus. Let’s pray the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) over Ruth and stand and fight with her. As we pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion, Ruth will fight and stand in God’s strength against Satan and his dark forces.
Jesus has shared his victory with us:
As it is written: “For your sake, we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:36-37