He never loses.

If there is one thing I have learned through all of my years in ministry and leadership positions, it is this:  Satan is alive and well, attacking marriages and families, disheartening parents and children, and drawing lines of division in homes.  He hates Christians, and he knows he can destroy them if he gets into their homes and attacks each one where he/she is weak.  This is nothing new, of course.  He has been at this game since he deceived Eve in the garden.  I hate him!  I hate that he finds joy in this.  I hate that he thrives on destroying families who love God and want to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  I hate that he rejoices over his successes, and feels triumphant, when a marriage dissolves, parents and children oppose one another, and a church is brought to its knees because of discord and sin.  I feel very small and completely helpless in those moments, wondering how my tiny prayers can change anything.  But believe you me, I pray!!!

One reason satan finds so much success is because we do not admit our trials or expose the sin in our lives and, therefore - we are not being supported, encouraged, or covered in prayer.  Every detail does not need to be shared with the world, obviously, but confessing struggle and sin is necessary to be upheld and loved and cared for by those who want to see us walking in truth and living with joy.  Satan dwells in darkness.  He thrives in darkness.  The longer he can keep us there with him, keeping us isolated from God's people, the more he can wear us down until we are totally defeated - and without hope.  And sometimes, he even succeeds in getting us to turn our backs on the very God who is holding us in the palm of His hand, wooing us back to Him - if only we will look up.

On the other side - shame on us for not seeking to understand what is going on in the marriages, families, and lives of those we know.  How can we spend an hour talking to a friend and never ask how her marriage is?  If she is feeling confident as a mother?  How can we spend an entire evening with someone and walk away knowing nothing about their walk with the Lord or where they are struggling with sin?  The answer is simple:  Because we do not ask!

If we will humble ourselves enough to be honest about what is going on in our homes, our marriages, our hearts, and our minds

and become selfless enough to seek out the hearts of others with purpose

we can defeat the enemy quickly and efficiently.

Fighting hand-to-hand combat with the devil will rarely prove successful.  But fighting as a group? Each of us armed with the shield of faith and the sword of Scripture in our hands ... raising our voices to the Lord as we seek His power and His strength ... trusting in the One who will one day crush the heel of the enemy forever?  WE WILL FIND VICTORY!

We must pray, Christians!
We must fall prostrate on the ground begging the Lord to protect our families.
Our pastors.
Our churches.
Our marriages.
Our children.
Our faith.

We are in dark times, as Jesus told us we would be.  It is no surprise.  It will not get better.  But we can take a stand and say NO MORE!  Not my children, satan!!  Not my marriage!!  Not my church!! You are NOT going to defeat us, and you are not going to gain one more inch of ground. Because truly, when satan encroaches into the life of a Christian, he is treading on holy ground, because the Spirit of God dwells within each of us.  He is present and active in every believer.  And because He is, we can call on His might and His power to fight the lion that seeks to devour us - and find success.

Intercede for those who are hurting.
For those who are in turmoil.
For those who are in darkness and despair, and see no way out.
Today it may be another family, but one day - it might be yours.

We cannot turn a blind eye or deaf ears to the cries of those suffering around us.  And if we think they are not crying out - or their voices seem dim - then we need to be bold and ASK.  Invest in others - seek to understand - draw truth out of their hearts - and then grab their arms, firmly holding them up, and take them to the feet of the Savior.  He is not only the gentle Shepherd who heals and restores ... He is a valiant warrior who is ALWAYS prepared for battle.

And He never loses.

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