Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you. Genesis 49:22-25a.
2019 was a difficult year and one of the most blessed years of my life. I've read that pastors must climb the mountain of intense trials and experience first-hand Christ's victory over Satan. That characterized my 2019.
"Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility."
This past year, I experienced almost constant spiritual attack. And, I saw God's blessing poured out on our ministry. In His sovereignty, God has allowed a variety of attacks on me, which mirrored the trouble that people we minister to experience in greater measure. I've felt and fought some of the same emotions and thoughts that people I know feel and fight.
Through the pressure of attacks, I've learned some very important things:
1. God is infinitely good and is our salvation.
2. Quiet time with the Holy Spirit is the nutrition for spiritual battle.
3. Fear and distrust must be identified, rooted out, and replaced with trust and confidence in God.
4. Humility is of extreme importance. Wait on the Lord. Spend more time learning from other Christians and less time judging them and ripping them apart.
5. Act in Christ's authority at all times: This is key to freedom.
6. Don't tolerate any sin, evil spirits, or negative thoughts. Evict all of them.
7. A thorn in the flesh is not a permanent fixture, only a glass from which to drink God's grace and sufficiency.
We all have to learn through experience how to take every thought captive. We must learn how to cast large mountains into the sea with faith the size of a mustard seed. We must learn to submit to the Father's will and seek the Holy Spirit's anointing on the ministry that He's given us. We must walk in expectation of God's blessing on His ministry, as He brings His kingdom into the hearts, lives and neighborhoods that we're deployed to. We are His ambassadors, acting in Jesus Christ's authority.
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.