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Upcoming Events
JUL

24

MON
Boy Scouts
7:00 PM
Meet at LVUMC
JUL

25

TUE
Cub Scouts Meet
7:00 AM
at LeValley UMC
Choir Practice
7:00 PM
Adult Choir group meets at LVUMC to practice
JUL

26

WED
Zion Food Pantry!
2pm-4:30pm at Zion UMC
http://www.zionionia.org/
Must be a resident of Ionia County and have valid Picture ID May receive food one time per month.
JUL

27

THU
SOUP KITCHEN @ ZION UMC
6:00 PM
http://www.zionionia.org/food-services.html
Free meal to all who would like to join us!
Drum Exercise Class
6:30 PM
at LeValley Church
JUL

30

SUN
Worship Service
9am - Berlin Center UMC
11am - LeValley UMC
JUL

31

MON
Boy Scouts
7:00 PM
Meet at LVUMC
Bible Search
Spiritual Warfare

Dear Berlin Center and LeValley UMC,

Like it or not every believer in Christ is faced with spiritual warfare.  This Lenten journey with God's help, let us focus on gaining a greater victory over the works of the devil that affect us and the works of our own carnal nature that wars against the things of God.  The Bible says, EPH. 6:10-20 The Whole Armor of God "A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  And pray for me, too.   Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and gentiles alike.  I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God's ambassador.  So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should."  HBNLT

Yes, the devil is a powerful foe and this fallen angel and his demonic army attacks believers in many ways.  We should never under estimate what the devil is up to as far as thinking that because we have faith in Christ we are free and clear of all the unspiritual attacks of the enemy.  The Apostle Peter says, 1 Peter 5:8-11 "Stay alert!  Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.  Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.  In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus.  So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.  All power to him forever!  Amen."

Standing firm in the faith means that we do not waffle in our faith in Christ when our lives are under attack by our enemy that comes to kill, steal and destroy.  Jesus warned us in Mt 10:28 "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.  Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." The enemy likes to try to place a spirit of fear upon people that puffs up the devil's work to make it look greater and more powerful than God's work in the world and in the believer.  Keep in mind that God is always greater within us than the devil or spirit of the anti-Christ at work in the world.  1 John 4:4 "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."  NKJV

The good news for us is that the Apostle Paul wrote about three essential tools of spiritual warfare that go along with our spiritual armor.  In 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

Yes, all the disciples according to legend died terrible deaths following Christ with perhaps one exception the Apostle John who many believe died from old age.  However; along their spiritual journeys they demonstrated a faith in Christ that revealed God's power, God's love and God's self-discipline.  It was their fearless hope in Christ based in the deep love of God that helped them sow seeds that captured the hearts and minds of the entire Roman world.  Non-believers saw in believers in Christ that faced terrible persecution and death a power over fear that they could never gain on their own.

The Apostle John reminds us in 1 John 4:16-19 that the more we grow in God's love the more victory we will gain over fear.  "God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.  So we will not be afraid on the Day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.  If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.  We love each other because he loved us first."

I believe that it is the great love of God that allows us the privilege to serve Christ in the world by opposing evil of every form.  I believe that the more we grow in God's love the more we will demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit along with greater self-discipline.  Jesus said in Luke 10:17-20, "When the seventy two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!"  "Yes, "he told them, "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!  Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them.  Nothing will injure you.  But don't rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven."

John 3:16-17 "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

All Scripture used in this article except 1 John 4:4 are from: Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.  All rights reserved.

Pastor Ray & Jen