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by Phil Ware
There is a wide-open door for a great work here, and many people are responding. But there are many who oppose me. (1 Corinthians 16:9)
To say it has been a tough couple of weeks for the Heartlight team is a gross understatement. With family illnesses, surgeries, and emergencies; difficulties with one of our financial processors; and the difficult economy putting a strain on everyone, the last few weeks have been brutal. They have also been full of opportunities and open doors. God has given us some incredible new opportunities to expand the ministry during all the mess that has been going on around us. Thats the way it always seems to work. You see, were all in a war that never lets up and our opponents are powerful.
For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
Some days, the battle is discouraging. Other days, our faith reminds us that our battles are simply a reminder that what were doing is worth the evil one trying to derail, discourage, and defeat us.
Now what were facing is not unique. Churches, para-church ministries, and non-profit organizations are all caught in a battle between diminishing resources, increased hostility, and expanding opportunities. You have probably experienced a pretty good chunk of this battle yourself. So what do we all do in this environment?
The knee-jerk response in many groups is to request money. And yes, while we could benefit by increased support, there are other areas that are crucially more important and more relevant to all of us whether we are individuals, churches, or ministries. So lets do a little self-evaluation before we go looking for outside help!
First, lets ask the crucial question: Are we staying focused on our primary mission? So often, we quit doing our primary mission to do other good things. We lose sight of what got us going in the first place and get distracted by many other good things and THE main mission gets lost or diluted.
Third, we probably need to ask ourselves this important question about strength and power: Are we depending upon God his power, or are we trying to do this by our own strength? Are we seeking the direction of God in prayer? Do we genuinely desire to be led by the Spirit in our undertakings or do we simply want to go in the direction we think or like best?
A fourth crucial question is this: Are we willing to hang in there and persevere even if things get worse as we do seek to live out our mission? Is our mission so important that we are willing to do it even if others temporarily give up on that mission? Are we willing to sacrifice to see it through, or will we do it only as long as it is easy?
Every minister with a profound impact has had to face a wilderness period much like Jesus and John the Baptist faced. Any group of people trying to live passionately in the will of God will face opposition from a real and malevolent foe. Our ministries, our lives, and our churches do no exist in a vacuum, but do their work on the battlefield while under fire from an enemy that wants to see our destruction. The issue isnt the trial, the test, the temptation, or the tough times; no, the issue is our character, faith, wisdom, perseverance, and passion through the challenges!
So lets spend some kneeling time for each other today. Lets also recognize that we are in war that has already been won, but one in which the fighting will be intense all the way to the return of our Conqueror. Finally, lets recognize that we are not part of a people who give up or quit just because things are tough. We have the power at God at work in us and he will see us through to the end!
We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls. ...for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. ... I am fully confident that he who began a good work in you will carry it to completion till the day of Christ. (Hebrews 10:39; 1 John 4:4; Philippians 1:6)
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: March 3, 2003
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