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April 02, 2009

Put Up Your Dukes

I am not a fighter.  I really hate tension.  But there is one fight that I am learning to fight.

In our three short years of ministry I have noticed a pattern.  Around Christmas and Easter, Fall push and the opening of a new campus, the start of a new ministry or addition of a service we seem to come against a strong opposition.

Ephesians 6:12 says For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Does this mean that I blame the devil for every bad thing that happens to our family around Easter?  No, of course not.  But do I think that there are forces in this world that want to attack and/or distract us during a time of year when many many people will come to church for the first time (or maybe first time in a long time).  Absolutely.

How do I fight?  Well first of all I am aware.  I see a negative attitude that rises up inside me as an opportunity for there to be a tension in my marriage.  I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  I try to spend more time meditating and praying as I go throughout my day. 

I am also not going to bring up a conversation that may cause a disagreement.  I realize that my husband needs to focus most of his attention on the goal and vision of our church and reaching people.  To cause some kind of disagreement would be to cause a distraction for him.  If the enemy cannot get at my marriage through a moral failure, he is going to attack through the seemingly small.

You may be reading this post and think, this is not for me.  I am not in the ministry.  This post is for everyone.

If you are in the ministry, open your eyes.  Be aware, be sensitive, be prayerful.

If you are not in the ministry, be in extra prayer for your church, your pastor, your church leaders and for their families.  Pray for smooth services, functioning equipment, plenty of volunteers, good health, the list can go on and on. 

This is a fight worth fighting because people's lives are at stake.  Put up your dukes.

Eph 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

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Comments

excellent words of wisdom. Keep up the fight!

Mrs. Holly. This is a great post! Thank you for it. I am the Lead Pastor at Rocky River Church in Concord. So happy about what God is doing through Elevation and your family. We're praying for you guys this weekend and that God will do something that will take our breath away!

I have felt the same times of year as times of attack on our family. And I also notice on a more regular basis that Saturday evenings become extremely stressful if we aren't mindful. I know that I am very aware, and try to be careful of my attitude. I feel as though we are attacked a lot on Saturday nights and then it makes the evening and Sunday mornings stressful. The weekends that I am more on guard, we are more protected.

Thanks for the timely post. We're in the planning stages of a new church plant, and it seems our family has been under attack recently. The Eph. 6:12 verse came to mind for me this week as we ended up with a son in Urgent Care, had a car stolen from our driveway, and another vehicle break down - not to mention some serious tension in our marriage. Lots of distractions.... I needed the reminder to "be strong... in His mighty power"!

You know, it usually is the little things that satan uses to steal our focus from our God given goals. I'm praying for your family and our church. The gates of hell will not prevail! Praise be to God for making you sensitive to his Holy Spirit! I pray the Lord gives you continued wisdom and strength.

WOW! Oh my goodness, this helped me so much. My husband, Shaun King, is a church planter. Our church, Courageous Church, is only 3 months old. Easter is likely to be our highest attended service since our grand opening, and something so crazy has just happened, and after reading your post I am sure it is a spiritual attack designed to be a distraction. Unlike you, I enjoy a good fight :-) Thanks for reminding me that my weapons of choice should be prayer and fasting and not fists (at least for this fight)!

Great post-My dad is a pastor. During his first 5 years of ministry, my sister was diagnosed w/ diabetes (age 7) and I was diagnosed with cancer (age 17). Christmas and Easter were especially tense around our house. It's almost hard to enjoy the holiday b/c of so many church obligations/situations. Thanks for the reminder to pray hard during this time.

Girl, you know I've got my boxing gloves on...I'm fighting for you and with you.

Holly,
You probably don't remember me, but we met briefly at the C3 conference in TX this past February. I went to college with Wade Joye... anyway, thank you for this post! Trey (my husband) and I are new planters in the pre-launch phase and we experience this in such an intense way! I love how you focused on our roll as a wife during this time. Just today your reminders helped me avoid a situation that would have caused my husband more negativity during this pre-Easter preparation time. Thank you for sharing your experience and what God has taught you along the way!

Blessings,
Danielle Kelly

*BTW, I believe our boys are around the same age. Some of your "mom" stories are almost identical to our household!

Thanks for sharing this Holly. It's so true, the tactics of the enemy are many. My husband is a senior pastor as well and I've been noticing the tension mounting, and the personal attacks as well as we're approaching Easter. We continually pray together, do devotions together, and when we get time alone - we make sure it's time well spent: relaxing at the beach, walking together, etc. And I totally agree that if the enemy can't get you in a moral failure, he'll use those small things to trigger dissension. That's why it's so important to make the big things small, and keep the small things small.

I am SO GLAD to see you post this. I was JUST discussing this with my husband. It's been rather intense around here as we approach Easter.

I'm so glad that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, we shall overcome and we have the word to speak that will not return back to us void.


Right On!

This post is so timely in light of a verse the Lord really spoke to me with today, Exodus 14:14: The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.

I am a fighter...fight now, ask questions later. No matter who or what the "enemy," I come out swinging, which is the opposite of what this verse tells me to do. Your words and the weapons you choose to fight with: awareness, sensitivity to the Spirit, prayerful consideration of what's going on around you...those things are much more aligned with God's call to stillness while He fights on our behalf. Well said.

They are up and ready!!!! And I know EXACTLY what you are talking about!!!

My husband is the youth pastor to a little over 300 teenagers at our church in the midwest. I completely agree with you that the devil works overtime during the Easter season. This post was a great reminder for me to be cautious with my words and actions towards my husband, so that I don't add to all of the other negative elements that are already trying to fight against our ministry. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

thanks for the reminder & encouraging words!

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