Meet the Authors.
Sarah Burlingame is passionate about Biblical truth. Her diverse church background has taken her through Mainline Methodist, Evangelical, Charismatic and Roman Catholic circles. Her calling as an intercessor led her to receive a certification in Advanced Spiritual Warfare from LMCI (Liberating Ministries for Christ International) lmci.org . Sarah has served as a small group leader, worship planner, liturgical dance leader and online ministry coordinator. She holds a M.S. degree in Education and lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and their sons. They attend North Rome Wesleyan Church.
Joanne Reinhart asked Jesus Christ into her heart at the age of nine in a Sunday school classroom in Maryland. Her journey with the Lord took her through various careers, colleges, and universities. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Art/Dance, Theology, and Education, and a M.S. degree in Educational Administration. Her passion for the Lord is evidenced through worship, dance, and teaching. She was liberated into her spiritual gifts and callings through the teaching resources of LMCI lmci.org . Joanne has danced and taught at Christian conferences and various churches in PA and VA. She currently teaches classical ballet and coaches dance for gymnastics. Joanne attends the Wyalusing Presbyterian Church. She and her husband live in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Friday, May 12, 2017
IN THE MIDST OF WOLVES
Jesus told us that persecution would be coming for those who follow Him. The most severe persecution today exists as we see many believers in Christ around the world suffering unthinkable horrors for their faith. They suffer brutal afflictions mostly at the hands of Islamic radicals. Their fate of martyrdom is due to the fact that they believe in Jesus. However, we are in a time where Christians living in what were once considered firm Judeo/Christian strongholds, such as the United States and Western Europe, are enduring persecution too. Fortunately for those Christians, the torment is not typically in the form of physical torture, but rather, it comes in the form of tyranny, intimidation and harassment. Any Christian who engages in social media will quickly learn that the cyber highways are littered with nasty Trolls! Their objective is to bully true believers into silence. Worse are those who pretend to be disciples of Jesus by hiding behind false ideas of Oneness and universal “love”. They are clearly endorsing a false gospel. We wrote about this counterfeit “love” in a previous post, The Truth About Being One. Yes, Jesus warned us about the veracity of Christian haters and gospel twisters!
2 Peter 2:1-2 (CEB) ……false teachers will come among you. They will introduce destructive opinions and deny the master who bought them, bringing quick destruction on themselves. Many will follow them in their unrestrained immorality, and because of these false teachers the way of truth will be slandered……..
So how then are we to ‘finish the race set before us’ (Acts 20:24; 2 Timothy 4:7) and accomplish all that the Lord has given us to do for His glory? How do we survive and thrive in this fallen, chaotic world?
Jesus said in Matthew 10:16 (NKJV) “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
WHAT did Jesus mean when He said this? It has been said that, “A serpent is wise, with keen eyesight and is quick to learn. A dove is innocent, meek and gentle.” He was admonishing us to outwardly portray these qualities of wisdom with humility. Also, He wanted us to understand that we should be “militant in the spiritual realm, and gentle as doves in the natural realm, full of the fruit of the Spirit.”
Thankfully, we can be certain that our Heavenly Father never leaves us without knowledge. The scriptures describe how we can have both attributes of a clever serpent AND a gentle dove. We are to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15-17); and to “walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5) Philippians 2:15 says “so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of people who are crooked and stubborn. Shine out among them like beacon lights.” (TLB) It should be said of us that we live our lives as witnesses for Christ, not as worldly, but as just and blameless in our behavior towards others. (1 Thessalonians 2:10)
So, HOW are we to “arm ourselves” against the enemy, yet “walk in love”? Isn’t this what Jesus did when He walked here on the earth? He walked in love to all who would listen and hear His words, and signs, wonders, and miracles followed. Yet, the enemy could not stay in His presence because at Jesus’ words, demons were removed and cast into the sea. At Jesus’ words….these are our powerful weapon against the enemy.
Matthew 18:19-20 (NKJV) “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
When we are in AGREEMENT with Jesus, HE is in the midst of us! Where two or three are gathered together in His name, Jesus is with us. Let us state here that the TRUE words of the Holy Scriptures are our defense against those preaching false doctrines as we stated earlier. If the words you are hearing or reading from others is not in AGREEMENT with the Bible then they are not from God’s Spirit. His words are life!
Psalm 23:4-5 (NIV) Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
In the presence of our enemies, the Lord anoints us with His oil, and our cup overflows… with what?? With His grace, His mercy, His wisdom, His favor, and blessings so that we can be over-comers in every situation we face. When any trouble, distress, or persecution, comes our way, and when we are in the midst of wolves, let’s remember that Jesus is with us! He is with us in the midst of every storm in life. We can walk in love, being armed with the TRUTH of the Word of God. When we ask for wisdom, we will receive it from on high. We can hear the voice of the Lord directing our steps. We can speak and the door to freedom will be opened for us.
John 10:3 (NKJV) To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
~ Joanne and Sarah