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Your wishes and dreams.....

“For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way.” I Thessalonians 2:18

“Satan blocked our way”? Paul wrote to the good folks in Thessaloniki: “..for we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way”.

Hmmm, if Satan can block the work of someone like Paul, one commissioned by God to take the gospels to the nations, can he (Satan) not also block my way? Yikes! Has he, in fact, not been doing this to me for years? Have I wrongly been assuming, all along, that it was God doing the blocking? Has he ((Satan) been the one messing up my state our nation and our world as we attempt to select men and women of God to lead us? Is it not, perhaps, Satan, and not Schumer, Pelosi, the “squad”, Donald Trump, Joe Biden or our spineless congressman, (or other leaders all over the world) that is blocking the right people from governing this nation and others? And if that’s the case, what can be done? Satan is far superior to us in all regards! How can I at my camp, and we as citizens get anything done with him on the loose? Good grief, how can I possibly succeed when I am up against, “The Prince of Darkness”? He is “Thanos" Incarnate!

Does this really happens? Is the Devil able to thwart our good efforts? And no, I am not talking about a little red imp with a pointed tail and horns, but a spiritual being that wants to undo all God’s good work.) Obviously he has far more power than we often ascribe to him. He can stop us at times…he does want to harm to us…..he is far more powerful than we are!

So how should I respond to all of this? I must soberly admit that my best and most noble plans could be blocked by the enemy. It’s a sober truth, but it also helps explain part of my struggle. Sometimes bad things happen and sometimes it’s his fault.

What can I do about it? What can we as citizens all over the world do about this road block to godly leaders, laws and legislators? We must surrender it to God! We are no match for Satan, but God, who loves us dearly, and in my opinion who has ordained this nation to greatness, needs to merely speak a word and He can bring about whatever results He wants. Satan is far mightier than me or all our armed might as a country, but he is a speck of dust compared to God’s power and imagination! We must never surrender to darkness or Satan; the only surrendering to the the sovereign intentions of God. If He has given us a dream or a vision, don’t let Satan’s road blocks deter you! Hold on to your wishes and your dreams!

This isn’t a battle between two equal super powers. It is not a war between God and Satan where the outcome is uncertain. If anything, Satan’s apparent “victories” are things that our God is permitting for a purpose. So in a sense, He is using Satan for His ultimate goals—-even if those purposes includes some disappointments and postponements for us at times.

Paul went on to say in another letter, “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”. Paul’s struggles, just like mine, are temporal and permitted by GOD ALMIGHTY, the One that can deliver us in a split second. But it is wise to remember that the enemy, Satan, will do all he can to stop any good we are attempting from starting. If he’s not attempting to stop me, discourage me, or block my path, it’s only because I am not much of a threat to his purposes. If you are in a war, it’s relatively quiet in the rear of the battle; it’s the front lines that are making advances and that receive the brunt of the attack from the enemy. The more intense the threat, the more severe the attack from the enemy. I hope to always be under attack—-don’t you?

Which brings me to this: ”Praying and fasting”. When the disciples came across difficult matters that transcended their abilities and experience, they fasted. Jesus reminded them that some of our work requires prayer and fasting—-not just good efforts. Catholics and Protestants don’t talk much about fasting, do we? And yet Jesus fasted, the apostles fasted, every hero of the Bible fasted—-so why don’t we fast? Read the newspapers and listen to the national news my friends. In our lifetimes has there ever been a more significant and timely time to fast than right now?

Prayer and fasting is an humble gesture to God both of the sincerity of our petition and of our resolve to persevere and not give up or surrender. By fasting we take control of our appetites and our most basic instincts and dedicate the reason for which we are fasting as a matter of upmost importance to God. So why don’t you fast? Maybe your health issues won’t permit it, but it’s probably because you just don’t think about it or don’t believe in it.

It requires discipline…..telling your growling stomach to shut up…..keeping your imagination off what’s in the cooler. But if you can remind yourself that it is a spiritual discipline and gift to God it becomes far easier. If you can focus upon prayer during the hours you would normally be eating, and each time you feel hungry remind yourself of why you are not eating, you’ll find you are a far more lethal to Satan because of the purity and power of your prayers!

Praise God that those that first came here to this continent did not give up when things got tough, They did not imagine that because life was difficult because God was not involved with their journey—they knew that they were about God’s work and it gave them the dynamite they needed to keep going. I thank God that missionaries of the early church did not surrender to the canard we hear today that the good news that they shared to those that were dying without Christ was ruining primitive civilizations and way of life of those “innocent and pure people”. I am glad that today we have missionaries, pastors and evangelists that can be respectful of the customs of the people with whom they work, but ultimately realize the greater value of the souls coming to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior than to allow them to live in the darkness of the enemy’s camp.

Our generation is be too inclined to give up quickly when we encounter obstacles to our good efforts. We excuse ourselves by suggesting the GOD blocked our way. But it might have nothing to do with God’s displeasure at all and everything to do with the fact that we are scaring Satan and he wants to stop us and discourage us if at all possible. And that’s a good place to be. Don’t let Satan’s road blocks stop you—be encouraged that the highway you’re traveling or establishing for Christ is something that causes the devil to not rest at night. Now isn’t that a nice thought?

This past summer my board and I gave serious thought to not opening our camp. After all, all schools were closed as well as most camps across the country. It was considered a risk to keep open, because if one child or staff came down with the virus and infected the others it would be a public relations nightmare and the media would jump all over us——as well as parents!

But a wiser member of our board said this, “One child coming to Jesus Christ is worth the risk of bad publicity. In fact, you might have the next Billy Graham or Mother Theresa at camp!” The rest of us were persuaded and we opened the camp—-albeit to a very small number of campers and we lost a small fortune by keeping the camp open. And truth be known, yes, I was nervous about the virus and was in constant prayer for protection.

But one young man, in particular, came and made it all worth while. One of our board members sponsored him and he came with his brother for only a week. He had come two years before and got into trouble. His dad is in prison, his mother has no job, there’s rarely food in the house, he does not like himself, he dropped out of high school, he is addicted to his iPhone and social media, does not excel in or at anything, and was sultry and nearly non-verbal when he came. He is sixteen years old.

After a week he went home on Saturday, as scheduled. But to our surprise he came back the very next day and stayed for another week. After that week, which was the last week of camp, he told me that he definitely wanted to return the following summer. Something had changed.

He went home and according to his sponsor, he’s a new young man. The sponsor said, "The transformation of the boy was remarkable...shall we say...a bit miraculous...the two weeks there...transformational...after he got home I found him most respectful...shocking me with news that he regretted dropping out of school...9th grade and now wants to it will be on line--...which is a bit of a blessing in that he won't have to sit in a classroom with 12 and 13 yr olds !! He felt that the two international staffers...Reuben and Pablo were just the role models he needed. Then the 2nd week solidified the growth he felt he needed. He had to deal with firm boundaries...He has lots of electives to choose among. He had lots of new experiences. The atmosphere was distinctively Christian. Then there were the evening Vespers and the Morning Watch times. all these opportunites for Christian growth, for fun stuff….and for plenty of good food . He even asked me for a Bible, which of course I had and gave it to him, explaining where best to start. The Vineyard Camp made the difference. God used it mightily there this summer."

This is not intended to be an advertisement for our camp, but Satan tried to block us from opening——along with 14,000 other summer camps in the USA. Satan is tying to block our nation from fulfilling it’s destiny to be a light to the nations. Do we give up at the first sign of trouble or because it’s going to be a long and arduous journey, or do we prepare for the fight, each morning, and vow to find a way to complete the work He has given us.

You see many signs lately about “following your dream”, or “realizing your dream”. The signs are primarily from banks or travel agencies or maybe a college. Each of them is telling you that their loan, or their packaged vacation or the degree they offer you will allow you to finally enjoy your dream. But as I read one of these ads in a magazine recently, I realized that I have realized my dream! I am doing, and have been doing of the past 38 years what I dreamt of doing! I also realized that I am living in a dream house, with a dream family, in a dream-like village of people that love and care about me, all within a nation that many people all over the world dream of moving to!

“A dream is a wish your heart makes

When you're fast asleep

In dreams you will lose your heartaches

Whatever you wish for, you keep

Have faith in your dreams and someday

Your rainbow will come smiling through

No matter how your heart is grieving

If you keep on believing

The dream that you wish will come true

A dream is a wish your heart makes

When you're fast asleep

In dreams you will lose your heartaches

Whatever you wish for, you keep

Have faith in your dreams and someday

Your rainbow will come smiling through

No matter how your heart is grieving

If you keep on believing

The dream that you wish will come true”

Friends, you are living in one of the greatest nations at the greatest time in history. We’ve never had it so good! So why do we let Satan whisper in our ears that it used to be better? Why do we give up when he throws stones or barricades in our way? Seize the day and be the man or woman God has called you, through the redeeming blood of Jesus you were called to be! Celebrate the fact that you are living at a great time and join me in fasting every week until this pandemic and election is over. Pray that Satan’s hold on our media, our leaders, our politicians and our destiny to to be broken and for, and for this nation, and others that were once on fire for Jesus Christ, to become and remain a light to the other nations.

Friends, His wish for you is that you would not be deterred or discouraged. Live your dreams and make your wishes known to Him today.

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