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The Alaskan Bull Moose is known for its battles of dominance during the fall breeding season. They go head-to-head with other males, crashing their antlers violently into one another. The antlers are the only weapons that they have to fight with. In these battles for dominance, it’s common for one of the moose to have an antler or antlers broken and be unable to defend themselves, ensuring their defeat. It’s usually the heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers that triumphs. Therefore, the battle for fall dominance is often won in the summer by the moose who consumes the best diet for growing strong antlers and gaining weight to be able to push other moose around during a fight. The moose that doesn’t eat well or doesn’t eat enough will have weaker antlers and less bulk to win with. The Alaskan Bull Moose provides a great lesson for us as Christians. We know that spiritual warfare will come and we know that Satan will choose a season to attack us. The lesson here is; will we prepare now for the battle that will come? Will we do what it takes to prepare ourselves now so we are victorious later? The bottom line here is to win in spiritual warfare, the attributes or weapons we need to win are best developed before we enter the fight. Here are 4 ways you can bulk up and grow your spiritual antlers before entering the fight that is ahead:

Be Alert

Most of us has watched a little league game or T-ball game before. It can be an entertaining sight. The kids struggle to focus on what they need to focus on. You’ll have kids in the outfield picking flowers…or their noses. Sometimes they completely miss a play on the ball. As Christians we’ve got to learn not to get caught picking flowers when the ball or spiritual warfare is in play. 1 Thessalonians 5:6 says “let us keep awake and be sober”. It talks about how we shouldn’t be caught sleeping. Our focus is to be on the return of Christ. Verses like 1 Corinthians 16:13 tell us to “be watchful”. Maybe if I took it back to the T-ball story for some advice…keep your eye on the ball. To prepare for battle we have to learn to be alert, waiting, watching, focusing on Christ first and the battle ahead.

Don’t Get Tangled

Any of us that have been around a toddler before who is learning to walk or has just learned to walk realizes how much of a challenge it is for them to stay balanced and upright. As parents or grandparents we often go out of our way to make sure the floor is clear of obstacles or other things they might get their feet tangled in. In 2 Timothy 2, it talks about being a good soldier for Christ. It says that the good soldier doesn’t get “entangled by civilian pursuits”. In Hebrews 12:1 it talks about how sin “so easily entangles us”. Satan isn’t like our parents; he doesn’t remove obstacles that will trip us up. Satan probably goes out of his way to put more obstacles or entanglements in our way. If he can trip us up, get us off balance with Christ, then he has a better chance in battle. We need to constantly be watchful of things that have us tangled up in life. What sin exists in your life? What temptations are you succumbing to? Rip off that which entangles you or in other words repent of your sin.

Have Self-Control

The Summer Olympics is quickly approaching. Many of the events that take place during the Olympics require great self-control. If you’re faster than Usain Bolt, it doesn’t matter how fast you are if you aren’t able to control yourself on the start line and end up getting disqualified. In Shooting competitions, the competitors go to great lengths to control themselves. They will use relaxation techniques to reduce their heart rates to one half of what it normally is. They’ll be so focused that they will shoot between heart beats. In 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, Paul speaks of athletes competing and how that relates to how we live. He says they “exercise self-control in all things”. Paul goes on to tell us he doesn’t “run aimlessly” or “box as one beating the air”. Paul says I “discipline my body and keep it under control”. The Christian life doesn’t happen accidently; it requires great self-control. If you don’t have discipline and develop the ability to control yourself, you will fail when the enemy attacks you.

Equip Yourself

I read a story about a motorcycle police officer who pulled over a truck for running a stop sign. The cop was unaware but the guy in the truck had just robbed a convenient store. When the police officer approached, the man inside the truck got scared, thinking that the police already knew what he did. He grabbed the gun that he just used to rob the store and when the officer approached and greeted him and began to request his ID, the man in the truck quickly shot the officer right in the chest from point blank range. The officer went to the ground after being shot. A few seconds pass and the office sits up, shoots the man in the leg and the thief throws the money and the gun out the window scared to death. That day a bullet proof vest saved the police officers life. He was equipped for the job. He was equipped for the unexpected. Ephesians 6:10-12 speaks to putting on “the full armor of God”. The motorcycle cop didn’t expect to get shot that day. It’s easy for us not to expect to be in a spiritual battle today as well. You have to learn to equip yourself before the battle, especially the unexpected ones. If you’re not equipped for the battle, you’ll take a very painful wound.

As Christians we have to be like the moose, prepare for what’s ahead. First you have to be alert, focused on the right things, watch out for sin that will entangle you, develop self-control, sin doesn’t own you, and equip yourself for attacks. Don’t be the moose that’s underweight and with weak antlers. Prepare yourself this summer for the battle that may come this fall!

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We’re a month and a half away from COVID impacting us for an entire year.  We’re just beginning a new chapter in our nation with a new president.  We see mounting deaths from COVID.  Continued rioting for various reasons, from our Capital building all the way to the west coast in places like Portland.  Close to half the nation is at the very least concerned about where we go next under a new administration.  We see our kids and grandkids struggling with online school or abnormal in-person schooling.  We ourselves struggle as our jobs has changed, if we’ve been able to keep them at all.  Our lives have changed at a dizzying pace.  It’s easy to get discouraged, depressed and even to the point of despair as we navigate the challenges of day to day live.  The good news is there is hope, hope for positive change, hope for the future, hope for eternity, hope found in the right perspective of life.

Ecclesiastes 3 is a great place to start to find hope, to be reminded of the perspective we can have on life as Christians. 

“For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” NLT

One of the things we get to enjoy in Missouri is all 4 seasons.  Even if it is all 4 seasons in the same week sometimes.  The way the different seasons change, the way they come and go each year, how you can rely on them to change is refreshing.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 provides us that refreshing reminder that “For everything there is a season”.  That means there is a season for Covid, there is a season for political turmoil, there is a season for rioting, there is a season for job loss, there is a season for schooling to change, for our marriages to change, there is a season for ministry to change, there is a season for EVERYTHING…”every activity under heaven”.  That means it’s ok, it’s just a season.  Even if it’s a long season, we know the seasons will change. 

When you begin to read in verses 2-8, you can see there truly is a time for everything…a time to be born or die, a time to tear down and build up, to search and to give up searching, to keep or to throw away, to love and to hate.  That’s just a few of them but if we’re honest there are things in that list we don’t want to experience.  So as we sit here, in a difficult season as a country, as a church, and in many cases as families…we can know that things will change, they always do.  In many ways this past year has felt like a season of tearing down of the church…but a season is coming of building up the church.  Almost all of us know someone who has died of Covid, but the good news is things will change and we’ll celebrate new life in the next season.  Whatever difficult season you’re experiencing…you can know for certain…it’s like a season and it will change.  The one thing we know that will not change is the one in control of the seasons…Jesus.  Hebrews 13:8 says he’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

When you get the right perspective on life, you can begin to enjoy life more.  If all we had to look forward to was this season, this difficult season…there would be nothing to hope for.   We don’t live that way, we trust a God who is in control, a God who “works all things together for good” like it says in Romans 8:28.  We serve a God, that when we trust Him, we can enjoy life…even in the difficult seasons.  As you read verses 9-13 in Ecclesiastes we can see that with proper perspective, we don’t have to be discouraged, depressed, and definitely not in despair.  The writer of Ecclesiastes acknowledges the hardship or the burdens places on us in this season of life.  He also points us to how God has planted eternity in our hearts.  We’re limited to seeing things through the scope of seasons.  Completely unable to see the whole picture the way that God sees it.  That brings us to the conclusion the writer draws for each of us in verses 12-13 “there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.  And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.”  We can always find joy, or in this translation happiness, in the Lord.  When we have the eternal perspective of life, when we understand it’s made up of seasons that change and when we trust in the Lord who has given us so many good gifts…we can enjoy each season. 

Wherever you’re at today, whatever your outlook on life.  Take joy in what Christ has done for you.  Take joy in the fact that the difficulties of this season will pass.  Take joy in the fact God is in control and has the whole picture in mind.  Take joy in the fact you are blessed by God and He’s given you many good gifts.  I’m just like you, I’m looking forward to the next season of life.  It’s ok to look forward…but don’t forget to enjoy the present season God has you in!


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