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  1. CRANIUM WARS flaming arrows

  2. This morning we are continuing our series—the Cranium Wars. • Let’s review for a moment. • As the title denotes, this is a war. • Every war has a battlefield and an enemy. • The battlefield is the human mind. • And, the enemy is the devil. • Thus, the title: Cranium Wars. 

  3. Proverbs 23:7b – For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (NKJV) • You become what you think. • That is why our thoughts are so important in our quest for victory. • You drive where you look. • Your Life follows your thoughts.

  4. Today’s title is Flaming Arrows. Ephesians 6:16 – In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. • An arrow is something that pierces or wounds us physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally. • Arrowsare intentional. • These are specific attacks by the enemy with the intent to harm you.

  5. These arrows are targeted for an area in your life where they will cause the most harm. • The devil targets your weaknesses. • He does not attack your strengths, but rather he attacks the area of your mind that has not been renewed by the Word of God. • Maybe you easily lose your temper. • Or, you are easily offended or have trouble with lustful thoughts or are fearful. • He attacks where you are struggling and where he can cause the most harm.

  6. Look at that verse again: Ephesians 6:16 – In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. • Notice that these are flaming arrows. • A regular arrow just does damage where it hits. • A flaming arrowcan cause much greater harm. • Not only does damage at the point of contact, but the fire can spread throughout. • It has the potential to bring the whole house down.

  7. Flaming arrows can be thoughts of doubt which the devil will attempt to plant in your mind. • And, the Apostle Paul tell us that the Shield of Faith will extinguish these arrows. • If you think about it: Faith and Doubt are opposite poles. • But, the important point for us is that we can lift the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one regardless of what they are. • How do you do that?

  8. The devil will twist the Word in his attacks. • Remember what he did to Eve? Genesis 3:1 – The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. • This is important for us to remember: our enemy is shrewd and very deceptive. • He knows the Bible and knows it well enough to twist it for his advantage. • The problem is: many believers do not know it well enough themselves to counter his flaming arrows. • Let’s see how he does it.

  9. 1b—One day he asked the woman, "Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?" • The devil planted 2 seeds in her mind: 1. Doubt – The devil’s goal was to get Eve to doubt what God said. • Did God really say . . . ? Or, Are you really sure you heard it right? • Even though this is an incorrect statement, the intent is to plant doubt in Eve’s mind toward God. • It is just a seed of doubt.

  10. 2. Confusion – Notice how he twisted the truth – Did God really say that you cannot eat from ANY of the trees in the Garden? • He was attempting to plant confusion in her mind by twisting the truth. • The big question is: How well did Eve know the Word? • Eve like most believers knew the Word vaguely but not well enough.

  11. Eve was partially correct in her answer: 2 "Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden," the woman replied. 3 "It's only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, 'You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.'" • She was correct in saying that she could eat of all the trees, but she added a little to it as well. • Touch it. • Did God say that? • What did He say?

  12. Genesis 2:15-17 – 15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the Lord God warned him, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden —17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die." • God gave this command to Adam before Eve. • But, our point is that God never said not to touch it. • Satan knew this, and he was on the scent. • He detected a break here because she did not know the Word as well as she came across.

  13. 4 "You won't die!" the serpent replied to the woman. • This is an outright lie. God specifically said that they would die. 5 "God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil." • After the doubt and confusion were planted in her mind, he then pulled out the distrust card. • Look what you are missing! (Everybody’s doing it!) • He was trying to drive a wedge between her and God.

  14. He was attempting to get her to mistrust God and His command. • Hey, God doesn’t want you to be like Him. Imagine how it would be if you were like God! • Then, his ace in the hole was pride: You will be like God. • It worked like a charm then and it still does. • Why change it?

  15. This is why it is important to know God’s Word. • If we do, we can recognize it when the devil is lying to us. • He lies to us in order to steal from us what Christ purchased for us. • Can you see what doubt did to Eve? • It caused her to waver between two opinions – in this case, between God and Satan’s. 1 Kings 18:21a – Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions?

  16. Elijah made the statement to the people on Mt. Carmel when he challenged the prophets of Baal. • How long will you waver between faith and doubt? • If God is a good God, then believe His Word. • If He is not, then why try? • Spirit of Doubt Illustration • It is so important that we keep confessing the Word—thesword of the Spirit. • We all have faith because Romans 12:3 states that we have all been given a measure of faith.

  17. God has given us faith, and this is why the devil targets us with thoughts of doubt. • It is not that we don’t have faith, but the devil is trying to destroy our faith with lies. • Hebrews 11:1 tells us that Faith is a substance . . . • The Word of God feeds faith but doubt dissolves it. Romans 10:17 – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (NKJV) • Confessing out loud the promises of God’s Word will combat the spirit of doubt and build your faith at the same time.

  18. Faith Principle: Here is a principle that I discovered early on in my faith walk with the Lord. • Whatever the Lord asks you to do, He will also give you the power to accomplish it. • In like manner, whatever God promises to you, He will give you the corresponding faith to believe for it. • It would not make sense for God to ask us to do something and not give us the ability to believe we can do it too.

  19. Allow me to illustrate this by looking at Peter walking on water. • Matthew 14:22-33 – Jesus tells His disciples to go ahead of Him in a boat to go to the other side (v.22). • Jesus sent the multitudes away and went up on the mountainside to pray. • Around 3:00 AM Jesus noticed the disciples were struggling because a fierce storm had arisen. • Jesus, not having a boat, began to walk on the water across the lake.

  20. As He approached the disciples, they thought He was a ghost and began to tremble in fear. • Jesus reassured them, It is I! (v.27). • Peter then asked if he could walk on water too. • Jesus responded with one word, Come (v.29). • Akey principle: the instant Jesus spoke the word “Come,” the power for Peter to walk on water was made available to him. • When Peter obeyed that word, the power contained in it was released, and he was able to do something he had never dreamed!

  21. Let’s take our Faith Principle a step further: Within every promise in God’s Word is the power to change our situations. It is our obedience to that Word which releases the power within that Word. • Once again, this is why the devil shoots the flaming arrows of doubt and unbelief. • He knows that doubt leads to discouragement which leads to unbelief which leads to disobedience to the Word. • Where there is no obedience, the power of God contained in His Word remains unreleased.

  22. In order for Peter to walk on water, it required faith in the Word of Jesus to come. • But, Peter made a big mistake; he looked at the storm and doubt began to creep in. • His mind started kicking in, and he began to sink. • Another point: the storm ceased immediately after Jesus and Peter got back into the boat. • Often the storm will rage while we are fighting the battle against doubt and unbelief. • The moment we give into it, the storm will cease. • We must stand and not give up.

  23. What is one of the major reasons we doubt God and His Word? • You doubt that God will do anything for YOU. • Oh, you know that He has the power to heal or answer prayer, but you doubt He will do it for you. • This goes back to the distrust that the serpent instilled in Eve concerning the Lord. • Did she really trust God or not? • The same is true for you: Do you really trust God and His Word or not? Will He do what He promised for you?

  24. James 1:5-8 – 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

  25. The core of this passage is that the individual does not believe that God will do anything for him. • Thus he should not expect to receive anything from God. • He will get what He thinks and believes about God. • Let’s explain this by reading verses 5-7 backwards. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. • You are not receiving anything from the Lord. • It seems that your prayers are going unanswered. • Why? Verse 6 gives a clue.

  26. 6 But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. • When you ask, ask in faith. • If you are wavering in doubt and unbelief, don’t expect to receive anything from God. • What could cause you to waver? • Why is it so hard to believe? • The root is found in verse 5.

  27. 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. • If you write in your Bible, underline “ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” • This is the key. • It is not that you question whether God can give wisdom, but you question whether He will give the wisdom to you. • Many believers see God as the withholder and not as the giver.

  28. If that is your perspective, don’t expect to receive anything from God. • You are wavering between 2 opinions and will be tossed to and fro like a wave in the sea. • You are believing the lie of the devil: God will not do it for you. • You must believe that God desires to give to YOU. • Verse 5 tells us 2 important points about our God: • He is Generous (KJV—liberally). • He gives without rebuke. • Do you believe that this is how God sees you?

  29. Mark 1:34 – 40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean," he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," He said. "Be healed!" 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.

  30. Notice the wording that this leper used in his request to Jesus. • He said, If You are willing, You can make me clean. • He didn’t just ask, Please make me clean. • He said, If You are willing . . . • It was not a question of ability to heal, but it was a question of willingness to heal. • None of us questions whether the Lord has the ability to heal, deliver, save or do whatever we are asking. • The real question is: Will He do it for me?

  31. What was Jesus’ response to the despised leper? • He was filled with compassion and stated, “I am willing!” • That is His answer to each of us! • I am willing! • All of His promises to us are Yes and Amen! • You ask without doubt, and His answer is always the same: Yes and Amen!

  32. Conclusion • God has given each of a measure of faith, so we know that we have faith. • But, doubt is a choice. • It is the devil chief flaming arrow against our mind. • You can choose your thoughts, and when doubt pops in your head, recognize it and pull it down. • Replace it with the Word of God! • You have faith, and you can grow it. • This is a war for your destiny—cranium wars.

  33. The choice is yours! • How long are you going to waver between 2 opinions? • The lies of the devil • The truth of God’s Word • Time to take a stand against doubt and unbelief.

  34. CRANIUM WARS flaming arrows