Satan – The Great Peace Robber

PeaceLast week our youth choir was on tour in Kentucky. What a wonderful week! From the first night’s concert at Teen Challenge in Chattanooga to the last day’s life lessons we were learning on our return I sensed we had prayer warriors at home lifting us up each day. Thank you to so many who committed to pray. We certainly felt it.

God’s spirit worked in the lives of our young people throughout the week as well as in the lives of those we ministered to.

He especially made His presence felt on Friday night at Teen Challenge, Chattanooga and at the Wayside Christian Mission Concert on Monday night. I could see something different in the eyes of our students as they sang. I sensed God’s Holy Spirit at work in their hearts which was evidenced in testimonies throughout the week.

The week went something like this. Friday night we arrived later than anticipated at Teen Challenge Chattanooga due to heavy traffic; with barely had enough time to set up and do any semblance of sound checks. We began praying for God to use our efforts in spite of the hurried, anxiousness of the moment. Indeed God did honor our prayers and His Holy Spirit was truly evident in those attending and in the hearts, voices and minds of our choir. God was glorified and we were engulfed with a spirit of joy and peace at what He had done among us! We all realized it was not our talent or finesse that brought what happened into play but God at work through us.

When we are weak He is made strong [II Corinthians 12:9]

Saturday night we had plenty of time to set up for Teen Challenge #2 in Manchester, KY. We did sound checks and all was well. The program was good but none of us sensed the electricity in the room we had felt the previous night.

Sunday morning we sang at FBC, Owensboro, KY. We traveled the night before from Manchester five plus hours to Owensboro. We had some “directional issues” and the normal four hour drive turned into 5 hours – but that is a story for another time.

We arrived at Owensboro around Midnight and were to be at FBC, Owensboro by 7:45 a.m. for a sound check sing at 8:30 worship (the first of two services we sang at that day). Needless to say we were tired Sunday morning. I challenged the students to remember for whom they were singing and try to “push through” and give it their best. I also reminded them to remember when we are tired like this to rely on God’s strength and allow Him to do something beyond us.

Well, the first service came and the students pulled together and did an outstanding job! We then had a break and later a devotional/prayer time. Mark (our wonderful student minister) divided us into groups and challenged us with a couple of questions for discussion. I don’t recall the exact questions but the first one prompted me to share with my group my feelings that when we had more time to prep for the second performance we relied more on our strength and ability than on God. When we were pressed for time (as on Friday night) and tired (as that morning) we knew we had to rely on God to give us added strength to do our best. God honored our requests and His Holy Spirit showed up in us and with us. Isaiah 26:3 came to mind:

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You. (NLT).

Peace. Wow. Lately, there have been many issues in our country that could cause us to forfeit peace and pursue an anxious spirit. We could very easily focus on the things where Satan seems to be winning, lose heart and want to give up. However, we need to stop and remember from where our peace comes. Our peace doesn’t come from the stability of things around us. As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, our peace comes from a relationship with the one who holds all things in His hand.

One of the songs from our tour which many of the students gained a broader understanding of and appreciation for on tour was “LEAN ON ME”, by: Gary Mathena.

Check out these tremendous lyrics.

When no one cared about me, if I should live or die,
And no one bothered asking why I’d go alone and cry;
When burdens got so heavy that I could not face the day,
Then I feel His arms around me and I hear Him gently say,

Lean on Me when you have no strength to stand.
When you feel you’re going under, hold tighter to My hand.
Lean on Me when your heart begins to bleed.
When you’ve come to the place that I’m all you have then you’ll find I’m all you need.

When the road ahead is rugged and the path is getting steep,
I feel that I can’t make it and my heart begins to weep
Then I turn to see who’s comin’ to join me in the way,
And I can see that it’s my Savior and I can hear Him gently say,

Lean on Me when you have no strength to stand.
When you feel you’re going under, hold tighter to My hand.
Lean on Me when your heart begins to bleed.
When you’ve come to the place that I’m all you have then you’ll find I’m all you need.

John 10:10 says:

The thief’s (Satan) purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My (Jesus) purpose is to give life in all its fullness.

Satan relishes when God’s people lose their peace or their joy in serving. Satan knows he can’t destroy the soul of a follower, but he certainly can rob them of their joy and diminish their witness; and he tries with all his might to do so.

Where does the peace we long for originate and remain secure? It is not in our prosperity – we can lose that. It is not in family/friend relationships – we are human and often mess these up. It’s not in our job or status – that is only temporary. It is not in our country and its leaders – I think most of us would agree. True PEACE originates in the person of JESUS CHRIST.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You.(NLT).

We control the “fixing” or “focusing” of our thoughts and God supplies the peace.

As we were coming back from tour I reminded the students of the passage in Ephesians 6:10-17 which admonishes us to find our strength in God and put on His armor to resist the attacks of Satan. The passage advises us that the struggle we are in is not against “flesh & blood” but against “evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world.”

Max Lucado’s book, “FACING YOUR GIANTS”, holds a wonderful quote to help us stay focused and not allow Satan to rob us of our peace.

Focus on your giants and you stumble. Focus on God and your giants tumble.

When we focus on our problems they only grow larger. When we focus on God our problems become smaller as our God, the master problem solver, becomes larger.