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War in the mind
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War in the mind!

1 Chronicles 21:1”Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.”


Today I have a very important message to share with you and that is how satan will attack your mind!  War in the mind!  We need to be alert to satan’s subtle, shrewd, astute maneuver to attack you when you least expect it.  He comes unannounced!  Don’t read this message flippantly, but meditate, understand, refer the scriptures and be alert to the evil devices of the devil! Read the entire message, even if it may take a few days, but don’t miss God’s Word prepared for you.  I have also enclosed a short 10 minutes video link of this sermon, find time to hear and be blessed.  

Click WAR IN THE MIND - PART 1 for video link

Click  WAR IN THE MIND - PART 2 for video link


Friend, many fail to perceive the invisible, subtle attack of the devil on the mind of a person, hence I write this with a lot of burden.  We have profound truths and great learning from this chapter, let’s see how much we can study.  Observe the first verse:  Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel!  Listen! Satan was not against David but he was against Israel – a whole nation of God’s people, hence in order to attack them he used David!  He instigated David to sin at his most vulnerable moment.  The previous chapter ends victoriously announcing David’s triumph over his enemies, “These were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” (1 Chronicles 20:8)  We tend to get proud, boisterous and bigheaded after a great victory, don’t we?  Not many of us can have the humility and dignity of Mr. Neil Armstrong who was the first man who landed the moon, who never flaunted himself like a peacock and it was said that he rarely gave interviews and avoided the spotlight, after leaving the space programme; Mr.Armstrong was careful to do nothing to tarnish that image or achievement – unlike people who brag and swagger in as much functions as possible after success these days – not to forget the garlands, dollars and cars that would follow.  It sure needs grit to stay cool in the midst of such stardom!  

Okay, the scripture says, ‘satan moved David to sin’, now what was that?  David said:
“Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it."  What does this mean?  David wanted to know the strength of his army, his commander Joab knew that this was a sin and he warned David; yet, presumptuously  David insisted that Joab does it.  

Attack on the mind:

Friend, I want to pause here and emphasize this point of the devil provoking you and also speaking to your mind so that you sin against God.  If David had been careful and prayerful this great calamity against the people of Israel could have been avoided.  A leader is responsible for the downfall of his people – that includes the leaders of the church as well.  One particular pastor paid 40K to a builder and said, ‘Oops , the builder cheated me and ran away with the money (offering given by the people of God) that was given for putting false wooden ceiling’;  in the first place the money was used not for vital purpose but for decoration and second the pastor should have been careful in selecting the workers.  These are the irresponsible ‘Oops leaders’ who allow the people to go astray. I can give you endless number of incidents where the pastors have made drastic mistakes in the affairs of the church and left the church in the lurch.  Satan uses the leaders to destroy the team!  Beware!  One particular young pastor was sent to a difficult area in order to conduct prayer cells and preach the word for the growth of the people in that particular town.  Satan attacked the mind of that young pastor, he started looking at a young girl who attended the prayer cell, this is where many of them fall.  Finally the prayer cell was cancelled but the marriage bells went ding…dong… for their marriage.  The devil guffawed over his victory!  I have seen many youth groups fizzle away, many women group scatter and churches split and vanish because of the weaknesses in the leaders.  

The devil trembles when a child of God kneels down to pray, the whole gamut of devils now plot to distract him.  Have you noticed the phone ring, or the knock on the door or a pain in your body or a sudden thought that would disturb you and distract you from prayer?  These are from the devil!  Beware!  Stand against the dirty schemes of the devil, there are Christians who jump up and attend the mobile while in prayer.  This is no prayer at all.  Deliberately make preparations for prayer by switching off mobiles, informing your family members about your prayer timing, carefully put the kitchen in order before you start speaking to the Messiah.  Once you start this way, then your prayer would rise and rise and rise to the throne room of God.  

Did you know that the devil can also place dirty thoughts in your mind? I remember a servant of God share about how he suddenly developed a ‘fierce liking’ towards another woman and felt ashamed, guilty and remorse about it; however, he later understood that it was the device of the devil to make him fall to sin.  Praise God, the man of God became alert, fasted, prayed and overcame this.  Many youngsters retread like snails from God when their mind is attacked by satan with various filthy thoughts and memories, please understand the devil can place thoughts, dreams in your mind.  Stand against it and fill your mind with scriptures and overcome the temptations.  But mark it, if you find the thoughts pleasant and exciting and you give in to it, then you are ruined.  I repeat you are ruined.  The best method of protection is to fill your mind with scriptures and shoo the devil away.
 
STRENGTH IS NOT IN NUMBERS:

Apostle Paul said: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. David dozed a bit and failed to remember His greatness and went about counting his mighty men and the size of his army.  Alas, God’s wrath fell on him.  Having worked for a bank, I have seen highly salaried people calculate their savings, market shares and their possessions and feel greatly content with their shrewd amassing of wealth.  But alas, a hurricane comes and devastates everything.  A clever woman working in the bank paid a huge amount to the builder as advance and booked a chic apartment and felt proud about her ‘wise, astute decision and investment’, alas, the builder ran away with the money.  All the collections went down the drain!  Satan has an creepy way to siphon away all your savings through foolish decisions.   Don’t feel elated when the land price rises in your locality, it would also plummet when you least expect.  Don’t count your materialistic possessions but count your blessings from God. If you do trust your money, your strength, your talent, your skill, your connections, your muscle power; the upshot will be disastrous!  

DO NOT DISPLEASE GOD, BE CAREFUL!

    Many of us take God and His grace for granted and we act rebelliously; after all, He would not spank you immediately, would He? When I talk about righteousness, not many want to correct their lives immediately, they still want to hang on with the devil for some more time.  Obedience is to delete the pirated softwares, destroy the fake certificates, rectify the mistakes, make corrections, make amends, return back the money, accept the wrongdoings even if it means loss, pain and humiliation.  Are you listening to me?  God was displeased with David and his actions, further the Bible says, God struck Israel. David gets back to his senses now and pleads to God: "I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing; but now, I pray, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly." Crying over spilt milk! It is better to fear and not sin than to sin and then fear.  Are you listening please?  One night with a harlot would invite AIDS into your life, what is the use of weeping after the fatal disease strikes you? Do you want to know the disastrous result of this stupid (which David himself accepts) counting of David?  70,000 people died of plague.  Disobedience and reckless behavior not only affects you but affects the people around you and with you.  Beware! The entire family is ruined when the sin of adultery enters a home.  Peace and joy of the entire family is lost when the man of the family handles the finances carelessly and gets into mire of  huge debts. Think before you spend!  

WHEN GOD IS SILENT:

When God becomes silent and stops talking to you, the devil becomes loud and noisy in your life! Dangerous! You would be listening to ‘item numbers’, be warned not to get into this pit of sin. Throughout the life of David, we see him directly speaking to God and God giving instructions to David directly, but after this sin of pride, God stops talking to David.  Friend, when we grieve the Holy Spirit, He stops talking to us, and this is something which is dangerous, it is like you are out in the dark without directions.  I have experienced this several times in my ministry, when the Lord refuses to give me revelations from the Bible if I grieve Him even slightly.  If one is sensitive to the voice of God and His touch, you will surely know when God is upset.  If there is bitterness harbored in our heart, unforgiveness, deliberate sins, unrighteousness, anger, envy and pride then we cannot hear Him clearly…..Look what happens, David pleaded to God for mercy as we saw in the previous paragraph but God spoke to Gad, David's seer and said, ‘Go and tell David’, this is the greatest punishment I would say when God becomes distant to us. Now God gave David three punishments and asked him to make a choice because every sin is followed by God’s judgment and punishment.  Are you listening?  God did this so as to instill fear in the heart of David and also teach a lesson to his people.  David allowed himself to fall into the hand of the LORD and the angel of the Lord destroyed 70,000 people in a jiffy.  Can you see the death and loss because of pride?  

VISION FOR A GREATER PURPOSE:

When David pleaded and repented, God stopped the plague and David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. There were few more who saw this vision as well, read, “Ornan turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves”, God had purpose in allowing Ornan and his sons to see the vision of the angel. The angel of the Lord directed David through prophet Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. David immediately rushed to Ornan  to make the deal of the land.  Look how Ornan answers: “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all." I am excited as I write this portion.  When God guides, He provides and blesses to completion! Glory to Jesus!  When we were wandering the area of Dammaiguda in Hyderabad for a place to start a church, we faced closed doors, criticism, slander and humiliation. We started the worship in our living room, then after a year moved to our school.  One day we were verbally attacked by our neighbor who abused us using profanities, complained to the local panchayat leader and ordered us to stop worship immediately in that place.  We just had two days to look for another alternative place and that is when God miraculously intervened and took us to the present place where we now have our church. It was a newly constructed church on the first floor of a building with sound system, mikes, music player, carpeted platform, readymade pulpit and every thing necessary  to conduct a church service was kept ready in that place.   When the owner of that place heard my testimony and our urgent need for a place to conduct worship, he handed over the keys of that place immediately and did not show up for the next two months, it was only after that did we make an agreement for rent. God goes ahead of us to fix the deal!  

Further God works in the heart of the people to give you favor.  In the case of David, God allowed Ornan and his sons to have the vision of the angel so that they willingly offer the land to David to erect an altar for God.  It is this threshing floor of Ornan, the Jebusite that later becomes the place where David builds the House of the Lord.  Can you see the plans of God unfold beautifully? “Then David said, This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.” (1 Chronicles 22:1)  Why does God select the threshing floor of Ornan, a Jebusite, for the great purpose of building His church? So that no flesh glorifies!  Jebusites were a Canaanite tribe and idol worshipers. He is no respecter of persons—He would even use the threshing floor of a Jebusite to build His throne! Amen. Besides, David, the elders and everyone would remember the punishment, death of 70,000 people and have a holy reverence for God.  God also wanted to indicate that there is nothing in a place or a building but it is His presence that matters.   Rev Charles Spurgeon said: “If the Church or Chapel is esteemed for its form or tastefulness, it will become a mere exhibition of skill and industry—and be no more sacred than the house of a greedy merchant, or the palace of a profligate prince!”

DAVID’S OFFERING OUT OF PASSION FOR GOD:

We see another trait of David that sure touched the heart of God and that was David’s passion for God in giving for His work.  Jesus was touched when the widow offered her ‘all’, Jesus was moved when Zacchaeus opened his savings and gave half to the poor.  The Lord said, ‘None shall appear before Me empty’; however, the subject of ‘giving’ is not very popular among the Christians.  I have dared to preach, write and teach on tithes, offering to God on numerous occasions, though.  Devil has subtly siphoned away the money for his purpose and stopped the people from giving it to build the Lord’s Kingdom.  The punishment from God and the death of the people did not dip David’s passion for God, instead David said, “I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing." Glory to Jesus! David paid 600 shekels of gold by weight to Ornan for the place.

FEAR OF GOD!

The chapter ends with David having a tremendous fear for God: ‘But David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD.’ This was a healthy fear for the Holy Lord! Having learnt a valuable lesson through this affliction, later on, David was able to advise his son Solomon thus:

"As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” MAKE A NOTE OF THIS!


Friend, let me wind up this message by stating an important fact, that:


•    God is full of mercy, grace, longsuffering and love but
•    at the same time the truth about His judgment and punishment for disobedience also has to be stated, otherwise it would be half truth to state just His grace.

 
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."~ John 1:14 NIV

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." - Ephesians 6:10-11  


 

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