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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - Fight Like A Wolf

Levi Lusko - Fight Like A Wolf

TOPICS: I Declare War, Spiritual warfare

I Declare War Series
1. Think Like A Wolf
2. Speak Like A Wolf
3. Act Like A Wolf
4. Fight Like A Wolf

Larry Waters had a healthy fear of ice. He'd been around it and lived near it long enough to know that it wasn't anything to play around with. And that's why he parked at the edge of the lake and unloaded his four Wheeler and decided to take that across and not the heavier vehicle. With his wife Chrissie on the back, he cautiously began the journey across the lake noticing that in the layer of snow that covered the surface there were tracks from cars that had evidently gone through it rather recently. And so he assumed if the heavier car, the heavier truck, could make it across, then he could too on the much smaller, lighter vehicle. He was kind of whizzing across and at the halfway mark he heard and felt at the same time the ice cracking and the vehicle jolting.

And then it pitched forward and in his words, before he knew it had stopped, dropped, and rolled straight into the icy waters below the lake. The vehicle sank to the bottom like a stone, but he and his wife Chrissie they were floundering there in that hole. And both of them instinctively made their way to the edge and sought to do what all of us would do at the edge of a pool. That is, of course, to push yourself out. But on the frozen edge, the ice, his hands, they just couldn't get purchase. No matter how they tried they couldn't get themselves out of this hole. And soon their hands were numb. And he says they were clawing at the edge and they just couldn't do the one thing they were telling their hands to do, pull us out. With their wet clothes and their feet now filling shoes. They were also full of water. They were heavier than normal. They just began to realize. It dawned on them, we're going to die here today.

Larry swam over to his wife Chrissie and with his few moments of life remaining he gave her a kiss and told her he loved her and they accepted that they were going to die cold, afraid, and alone. And those words that couple experienced that day, they have rang true for me on so many days. As I've laid in bed lurched from a dead sleep and found myself completely unable to do the only thing that I wanted to do, rest peacefully. But my mind was on fire. Frayed, worried, my wheels spinning 1,000 miles an hour. Anxious thoughts, fear filled thoughts, thoughts of self-harm and harm coming to those that I love.

Horrible things happening. Scenarios that just worried me and left me feeling so completely and totally helpless. We're trying to rise like a wolf. That's what the series is about. That's what this book is about. How to rise up like a wolf. But what I've discovered is that I'm not the only wolf. You're not the only wolf. In fact, the Bible describes evening wolves. This is the book of Habakkuk. Chapter one, verse six and eight describes an enemy coming against the nation of Israel that's his hasty, and bitter, and terrible, and dreadful. Swifter than leopards and more fierce than evening wolves. Charles Spurgeon described these evening wolves as being the things that come against you by night. The attack, the assault, that comes for you when the sun goes down. The reality is, escaping the version of yourself that you feel held hostage by isn't just a daytime affair.

Matter of fact, I'm convinced. I don't think he takes much time off during the day, but I know the devil works the night shift shift. I mean I'm just convinced of it. There's just something about two AM, there's just something about three AM where just things seem worse. Things, just they seem darker. And really they've said even if you live in a part of the country where you get fewer sunlight hours, it can become more difficult to have good morale. And you have to actively fight against these evening wolves that come our way. And I've dealt with it for so long. I remember vividly it beginning really in middle school and just that difficult time of so much transition, and so much hardship. Also, all of a sudden having this new component of the psychological battle and warfare of my thought life.

And all of sudden having these horrible, bombarding, invading, unwelcome thoughts in my mind trying to smother me. Trying to pull me below the ice. Trying to pull me down into the icy waters of fear and desperation. And the reality it's happening so much more in our day. Just anxiousness, and worry, and fear. Anxiety seems to be in our day the new normal and worry just a part of everyday life for so many people. And depression: this dark cloud that oftentimes has such a stigma attached to it. Unlike a broken arm, which you wouldn't be ashamed to tell someone my arm's broken and you would want a cast for it. Oftentimes when it's going on inside the head, and it's not a broken arm that you could put a cast on, but it's something inside your mind or something inside your blood, oftentimes there's the stigma of unholiness attached to it. As though it were somehow a betrayal of your love for God to say I'm hurting in this way.

And people just kind of want you to pray and be better. Or you know, just have you ever thought about not struggling with that anymore? And really unhelpful things. But then there's also things we do that cause these things to be more and more prevalent and can even at times cause them to come into being where they were not. Where there was not mental illness, where there was not this anxiety. And it really becomes a downward spiral. Here's why. Because what happens when you're worrying, or what happens when you're giving your mind over to anxiety, as we can choose to. It does come our way without us inviting it, but we can choose to worry. We can choose to do these things because Jesus said do not worry. And if he said do not worry, that means it can be a choice as well. Where it wasn't that we can choose to worry and what happens is cognitive horsepower cannot be doing two things at the same time. Think about it. The horsepower in your engine can't be going forward and backward at the same time. The cognitive horsepower in your mind which you have to choose to allocate over to worry. It can't be allocated to worry and to worship at the same time.

So here's what happens. This is from the book Emotional Intelligence. Which is a lot about what the book's about, self-management, emotional intelligence. It says this in the book. The number of worries that people report while taking a test directly predicts how poorly they will do on it. If you've ever thought while you're taking a test, I wonder if I'm going to fail, I think I'm going to fail, I'm afraid I might fail, I don't think I know the answer, anything you're worrying about is horsepower this not focused on the test. So listen to me very carefully. Worrying makes you worse. Worrying makes you worse. You do worse anytime you're worrying. So anytime you're choosing to worry, just think I'm allocating and dedicating necessary, precious, finite horsepower in my mind cognitively that I could be choosing to put over here. That I could be choosing to put over there.

And so I'm saying these wolves come and what happens is we give them more than we should. And we give them more space than they should. And they put their foot in, and we let them in the door, and we give them a moose, and we give them a muffin. Next and they want to have a... Don't give mooses muffins, y'all. Don't give pigs parties. Don't give mice cookies. The whole enterprise. I'm telling you something, you just give yourself away. And now in our day what's happening? We've chosen as a culture collectively just to accept worrying as the new normal as though we had nothing to do about it and those who deal with it on a serious level, on a systemic level, on a deeper level, we sort of shame them a little bit into silence by the way we treat the subject, or the way we don't talk about the subject, or dishonor the subject. We don't speak about it and so now you have so many people looking to answers that can't possibly give relief.

Did you know that in our day one out of five Americans, 22%, have a drug problem. An illicit drug problem. One out of five have an addiction to drugs or taking drugs that they're looking to give them relief. It's not just the illicit drugs. It's also prescription drugs. Did you know that one out of 10 Americans, one out of 10 of us, is on an antidepressant of some sort. One out of 10. And now pain medication, prescription pain medication, just beat car accidents as the number one cause of accidental death in the United States. People who are looking to pain pills and overdoing it trying to numb that emptiness and that problem the heart. And so now you have all of these factors swirling in together and it's this horrible cocktail that goes downward, and downward, and darker, and darker, and you're being pulled below the ice. And now so many people suicide seems like a viable way to make the pain go away. And you have this horrendous problem with suicide.

The CDC estimates that the suicide last 20 years has gone up by 25% in the United States. In just your lifetime and mine, many of us, suicide has shot up by 25%. And in many say those numbers are probably too low, all of the estimates. Why? Because so many people try and make their suicides look like accidents, especially men who want to have their family provided for by insurance policies. They do everything they can to try and not nullify the policy by making sure no one knows what they did was actually an act of taking their life. And here's where we're at where we're dealing with these wolves and it's a problem. And it's one that we need to face head on.

This war that is being waged within that we know full well the enemy is behind. And that's why it is essential, listen to me, that you do not merely act like a wolf, and speak like a wolf, and think like a wolf, but y'all, you gotta fight like a wolf. Because you have an enemy that's fighting against you and as much as God is for you, a the devil is opposing you and wants to wipe you out and take you out. He's a thief who's come to steal, and kill, and destroy. And God's got great plans for your life and the devil doesn't want to see any of it come to pass. He doesn't want you to reach. He doesn't want you to dream. He doesn't want you to build. He's a murderer. He's a liar. He's a father of lies. He wants to take you out so he can keep you back from all that you're great and mighty King shed the blood of Jesus so you would do.

So Teddy Roosevelt. Did I tell you about Teddy Rosevelt? We began the book with Teddy Roosevelt, so I guess you'll be appropriate for us to end the series with him as well. Teddy Roosevelt is who we're talking about. And Teddy Roosevelt, when he died at the age of 60, the sitting vise president at the time said this about him. I love this so much. He said, "Death had to take Roosevelt's sleeping for if he had been awake there would have been a fight". My God. If that ain't just powerful, right? And he's right. The guy was a stone cold killer. Not only was he a Rough Rider and the leader of them, not only was he the original OG barbwire crosser, right, but but he also just so many things. Wrote 26 books.

Let me tell you something, having written three, that's a guy who's a fighter. Writing 20, I'm like, God, no thank you. No, no. No Lord, not me. Your will, but not me, but not that will. Anything but that, Lord. Don't make me write 26 books, good Lord. But to think about that and to think about all that he did. One time he took down pirates. Pirates, yeah. The pirates stole his boat. He was so mad, he got two of his friends and he hunted him down for like eight days. Right? And snuck up on them. Arrested them. Couldn't put them in handcuffs because it was so cold their hands and feet would have fallen off in the night. If they were handcuffed they couldn't move them to keep warm. So he took their boots away. Right, and he just sat there with a gun for eight days. Don't you steal my boat. Just this guy.

You're wondering how tough Teddy Roosevelt was, right? Campaigning: He was campaigning to be president a second time. Because the first time he was president it was because the guy who had the office got capped, got assassinated. So he's just innocent president. Youngest president we ever had. Right, just instant president. So he had a campaign to be the president the second time. And while he was doing this crisscrossing the country on a train y'all. Right? That's different than a plane. Just going back and forth stumping everywhere, OK. He gets up at one time to give a speech and someone shoots him. Tries to take him out and they're like, oh my God, Mr. President! They tried to take him to the hospital. He says, no, take me to my speech. You just got shot! He's like, I don't care take me to the speech.

So he goes to the speech. He spoke for 90 minutes before he's like all right you could take me to the hospital now. He lost that election by the way. Maybe he was crazy, I don't know. But anyhow the guy the guy was a fighter and you need to be too. There needs to be some fire up in your spirit because this life is not a playground. It's a battleground. And the stakes are high and there's people everywhere we need to reach. And you have to have a different mentality. Once you've declared war your mentality shifts. Once you realize, oh my gosh, this is not peace conditions. We are at war and that means we need to live that way as well. And that's what I want to turn you to in Second Corinthians, chapter 10. Paul tells us really. This is just kind of, this passage plays so much into the end of the book but but I just I want to bring it a little bit different way here as we read this.

This is Second Corinthians, 10 verse three. It says I do live in the world but I don't fight my battles the way that people of the world do. The weapons I fight with are not the weapons the world uses. In fact, it's just the opposite. My weapons, look at this, have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy. I destroy every claim and every reason that keeps people from knowing God. I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ. Jesus just speaks something fresh to our hearts and if a single person here doesn't know you, draw them to yourself. And if one person listening at Fresh Life Church, or church online, or in any church is listening to this message is struggling with suicidal thoughts we pray you bind the enemy. And that even now God, you would help them to choose life for you are their life and the length of their days. And help them God to trust that as bad as things are, that you have a plan to make them brighter and to make them better if they would just fight. We prayed you'd save lives through this moment. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

I want to just give you a couple principles that I think are essential if we're going to fight like the wolves that we were born to be. Not just against ourselves, but also against the other wolves. Because wolves, man, wolves they have a lot they deal with. Wolves deal with so much. I'm a little bit on a wolf kick. Because of the book I've been researching wolves. I actually cried reading a book about a wolf the other day. And told Omar you need to read this and you'll ugly cry. I just cried a little. You'll cry a lot. In our relationship that means it's really good. You know what I'm saying? Anyhow, basically you know, wolves they deal with a lot.

The number one thing that kills wolf pups is starvation. A lot of times because the parents get taken out and then they eventually starve to death. But but wolves get kicked in the head by Buffalo. That'll happen, you know. Can you imagine getting kicked in the head by Buffalo? But that takes some wolves out. And of course, they're taken out elk, five, six of them, sometimes one of them, if a she-wolf. There was documented wolf in Yellowstone, a she-wolf. And she was she could take down an elk by herself. She was just punk-rock, all right? Alpha wolf, all right? But anyhow, their opponents are so many. But the number one thing that kills adult wolves is other wolves, not poachers, not hunters, other wolves.

And these other wolves that come against us, we have to have that fight in our spirit to know that, when these wolves come, these night wolves, these evening wolves that often come, where there's the anxious thoughts, and the fearful thoughts, and the thoughts of self-harm, and whatever else the enemy just tries to insert into your head. It's not going to work out. And you're terrible. And they'd be better off without you. No one loves you. You have to realize these as the wolves that they are. And that's why, number one principle of fighting like a wolf is you've got to control the high ground. Jot that down. Control the high ground. In the text, he talked about him as enemy camp's, enemy camps. But the scripture in the Greek actually uses a word picture that describes a stronghold of the enemy, which is always in battle time, high ground, always high ground.

Whoever controls the high ground controls the battlefield. Snipers are looking for elevated positions, right? The enemy that has the elevated position can shoot down on you. You have to come up to them. So gravity is on their side, right? And then think about someone attacking someone up a hill. The sun is always going to be in the person's eyes at the bottom of the hill. So you think about the fact that there is a fight for the high ground in your life. And the Bible uses heart, emotions, mind kind of interchangeably. And these are the arena, these are the theater of war. And the high ground is essential for the control and the outcome of your life and your story. And what components are there in this? There are so many. We could talk honestly about addictions. We could talk in here about habits. Anything you do mindlessly without thinking about it, that can become high ground, reflex, things that are built in, baked in. Emotional responses.

These things are relatively set, they say, by your 20s. So young people, listen to me. When you are 12, when you are 13, when you are 7, when you're 17, it's a critical time, while you're young, when you choose to respond, and when you get mad, when you choose how you respond when someone slights you, the things you do now, it's going to be relatively baked in. It's not to say that God can't work when you're in your 40s, or 70s, or 50s, or whatever. But the point is, it's going to come a lot harder. So it's easier if you can choose, even when it's hard, to say, I do the hard things. And choose to do right even when you don't feel right. It's important. You're controlling the high ground. And you're not giving the enemy a fortified position. But I think even little things like sleep are important. And hydration is important to the high ground of your life, and what you start and begin your day with, what you start and end your day with.

That's why I want you to jot this down, 8-8-8, 8-8-8. What does that mean? What if you got eight hours of sleep on average a night? I know sometimes you're going to get four. Try and get nine the next one. What if your goal was eight uninterrupted hours of sleep? What if your goal was eight glasses of water a day? What if your goal was, I'm going to drink eight glasses of water? I know that's like, oh, that's different for everyone. Just, eight would be good. It would be better than two sodas, and a Lacroix, and three cups of coffee. Eight would be better than whatever you're doing normally. And so what if we got eight hours of sleep? What if we drank eight glasses of water? And what if the first and last eight minutes of every day were given over Jesus. Would you even recognize the version of yourself you would become? Would you even notice it was you walking by if that was your norm for the next year of your life?

I mean, think about it. Think about how dysfunctional we become through lack of sleep. Think about how dehydration, and how straight to social media, ending with The Walking Dead, and I can't sleep? Well, I don't know why? You watched someone eat someone's face off two minutes ago. I just can't sleep! So, like, no, no, of course you can't! I'm not saying you need to watch Little House on the Prairie all day. I'm just saying, guard the first and the last. Guard the first and the, you're like, eight minutes, I spend 1800 hours, OK, great. You're holier than all of us are. What if you started with eight, though? Because Some of us have struggled to even read one verse before our day begins. If you set the bar low, and said, I'm going in eight minutes to Jesus, one worship song, one or two minutes of prayer, couple minutes of verse, start that, you can grow out from there. But start with something that's not intimidating.

If you started your day with Jesus, you ended your day with Jesus, if you were drinking more water, and getting sleep, I'm telling you, some of these symptoms: I'm so depressed, I'm so anxious, it's just merely you not doing the little things that you're called to do. And God will never do for you what you can do for yourself. Some of are praying for a breakthrough, praying for a healing, praying for an intervention. And God's like, yeah, the water's right over there. Hey, your pillow's right over there. Why don't you shut the Xbox off and go to bed? Why don't you charge your cell phone in a different room? These are little tactical tweaks that can be the difference between living and dying on the battlefield. 8-8-8, control the high ground! These are just ways that the enemy gets a foothold. And whenever he gets a foothold, it's because he wants to get a stronghold. That's the devil's MO, he tells you it's just for this.

And it's always for that. He will take you further than you want to go. He will keep you longer than you wanted to stay. And he will never, ever, ever give you back anything he promised he was going to eventually give you back. He's a liar. He plays chess, not checkers. He wants to slit your throat and gut you. He's not your friend. He's not on your side. And he doesn't play by the rules. And any time you say, but you said, it doesn't matter. He loves to say, just once more, and then we'll be done. Just once, more, and then we'll be done. I could quit at anytime I want. I'm still in control. That's what he wants you to think. Meanwhile, he's stealing your peace, stealing your joy, and keeping you back from the great and mighty things the great and mighty King has planned for your life since the foundation of the world was laid. And I'm mad about it. I want so much that God wants for you. And I want you to be mad about it, too. I want you to be filled with indignation at the thought of what the devil wants to steal from you, and why he sends these evening wolves howling your way.

Pray for your children. You claim the name of Jesus over your children. You get on your knees at their bedside and you beg God to do mighty things. And you beg God to protect them. And you speak life over them. And you model for them what you want to see emulated by them. Don't pray for things for them that you're not willing to fight for in your own life. Believe it. And then seek, by God's grace, to live it. Control the high ground. Starve your fear. Feed your faith, too, while you're at it.

So I said that real casually. But it's important. Anything that causes you to fear, if it's CNN that makes you fear? Starve that fear. Starve that fear! Go on a CNN diet. Go on a news diet. Oh, well, I need my MSNBC. It just makes you anxious and unpleasant to be around, right? Whatever makes you fearful. Is it your Facebook page? Is it seeing what your friends did on Friday night on Instagram? Starve your fear. Whatever's making, I'm afraid of, I'm afraid of, my church isn't going to do this, I'm afraid I don't get this opportunity, starve that fear. I met someone the other days. I said, what are you up to? I said, although, I feel stupid even asking, because we all know, because Instagram. He goes, actually, I've been taking a little Instagram diet. I said, that's probably pretty good. He goes, I just realized I was comparing myself every single day. I'm just taking a little diet. And when you're dieting, you don't eat nothing. You just don't eat a lot. He goes, I'll check in here and there. I just found myself for hours on it. And I found myself more and more anxious. And by the way, they've linked binge-watching TV shows to depression.

So we can actually bring on the things that later we're asking for prayer about in our own lives. So control that high ground by starving your fear, feeding your faith. Make sure you memorize some of the verses that I put, lovingly, in the back of this book. So you could have them in difficult days. And be ready to pull them out when you need to shank that devil. Shank him with that toothbrush! Come on, shake him with that! Sometimes, you might be lying there in the night. It's like, hold on a second, shank! Just a minute, let me worry the, shank! Right? I don't even take it anymore. I mean, I just go straight to the jugular, the name of Jesus, over the situation. Right then and there in that moment, pull over it. I'm not messing around. There's way too much that I want to see God do in my day to be just given one more second over to fear, and worry, and narcissism, and loneliness, and all these things that cause your wheels to spin. Life giving, other people, these are the things that bring joy.

The secret to a miserable life is to focus on you. So control the high ground. And then, secondly, fight fire by being on fire. Fight fire, the enemy fire that comes your way, by being on fire. That's what you gotta do. Look back at the verse one more time. I think this is 3 and 4. I love how it's put in another translation. The text says this, it says there's a divine power. "I don't live in the world. But I don't fight my battles the way the people of this world do". Then notice the next part, "the weapons I fight with are not the weapons the world uses. In fact, it's just the opposite". And then he ends with this, "my weapons have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy". What he's talking about is this divine empowering.

And I think that's how the New Living Translation describes it, this divine empowering that kicks in when you're trusting in God and not trusting in human understanding. What he's really describing is being filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit. And I just think there's so much that we miss out on when we merely have given our lives to Jesus, but we forget that, before Jesus ascended, he promised power through the Holy Spirit. There's forgiveness through the name of Jesus, and then power when we walk in the promise and trust the power, day to day, of the Holy Spirit. And it's a part of the routines of my life and the rhythms of my life to go into opportunities, to go into new seasons, to go into new days each morning by asking for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. Because I believe that, just like I got to keep putting gas in the car, it was like, I got gas! Yeah, six years ago when I bought the thing. No, you need gas every single day in that car. I need the Holy Spirit's power in me every single day.

Come on, you need to ask him for his power to fill you up like a hand fills a glove with his fire from above. Why is that the solution to the enemy firing at you? Here's why, the devil can't burn what's already burning. The devil can't burn. He comes your way. He's trying to burn it. You're like, ah-ha-ha-ha, joke's on you! Already on fire, y'all! You can't burn what's already burning. So live your life each day under the power of the Holy Spirit. I'm just trying to help you. These are the things we need to be doing proactively, not just when you get there, before you get into that difficult situation. Then jot this down, number three, raise your voice. You've been told your whole life to not raise your voice. Don't raise your voice! Don't raise your... I'm telling you, raise your voice. You lift your head up and howl!

And here's what I'm talking about. I'm talking about when you are in the fiercest battle when you are in the thickest battle, your voice is so much more powerful than the enemy wants you to believe that it is. What do you what do you mean? Well, the ultimate wolf was Jesus. Jesus was like a wolf. And before he went to his greatest battle, which was the Garden of Gethsemane, you're like, wait, Calvary was it. No, no, the game before the game was where he accepted the mission. The game before the game was where he suited up in the locker room, and was willing to walk out onto that court, and faced the bright light. I'm telling you, it was the game before the game. It was Gethsemane that was the real time that he was sweating blood. Calvary, he was walking in peace because he had got himself straight in Gethsemane, on his knees. Because you can't rise up like a wolf if you don't bow down like a lamb.

And Jesus, in Gethsemane, he got on his face, on the ground. And so here's what's amazing. In between the Last Supper and Gethsemane, he did something that I never noticed before. We talk about the last supper, the bread and the cup. And we talk about Gethsemane, sweat drops like blood. And we know, then, that it leads to Calvary and, hello, Easter Sunday, rose up out of that grave, OK? That's the end of that story. So in the end he wins, y'all, right? So we're on the winning team, never forget that. When the enemy reminds you of your past, you remind him of his future, all right? The Book of Revelations, with that dragon in chains, and then, eventually, the enemy in the lake of fire, so that's where he goes in the end. Where do we go? We go back to this earth that's going to be made brand new to live forever on a recreated earth with Jesus, face to face, and all God's people living here, working here, playing here, exploring here, obeying here.

I don't got time to preach about that. But I love it! So in between the last supper and Gethsemane, there's a detail. It's Just one little footnote Matthew 26, verse 30, here's what it says. It says, "when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives". Hold on a second, when they had sung a hymn, when they had some a hymn. The Last Supper's over. The whole deal's done. But not to the Mount of Olives yet. Well, we gotta go, we gotta go, we gotta get there. No, no, no, no, stop. Let's sing together. Stop. Let's sing together. They sang a hymn. And then they went on to the Mount of Olives. And that is so powerful. Why? If Jesus knew that, before the greatest battle of his life was here, he needed some time to prepare himself by singing, how much more do we need it? Why? Because with this battle looming, he understood what we need to know, that worship is a weapon against darkness. But it's not just a weapon. It's the whole war.

Listen to me carefully. Worship is not just a weapon that wins the war. Worship is the war. Worship is the war. It's the war of, what are you going to honor the most? What are you seeking after? What's the master passion of your life? Is it you? Is it your fame? Even suicide is an act of worshipping yourself. It's, I'm going to take myself out. It's ignoring God's glory. It's ignoring God's plan. It's ignoring what he wants to do. It's taking your life into your hands. It's not honoring him, and trusting him, and saying, thy will be done. It's an act that says, my will be done. Anxiety, and choosing to live there, worry, and choosing to live there, giving in into depression, I'm not saying, some of us have to have depression in our story, but choosing what we do in the midst of the depression, right?

Some will need medication. Some will need to see a therapist. I'm not saying any of that's not true. But still, in the midst of that, you still have to choose who or what you're going to worship, who or what is at the center of the glory of your story. And what we need to do is do what Jesus did, facing a battle, we lift our voice up and howl out and worship. Lift our voice and praise and him! Lift up our voice! Come on, sing to him, and to shout to him in triumph! Now, worship is more than singing. But it's not less. Worship is more than singing. There's a lot of aspects to it. Giving is worship. Obeying is worship. Bible study is worship. All of that's worship. But it's not less than singing. Meaning, every time we see a picture of worship, it involves singing. It involves this idea. Why? Because there's something that shifts inside of you when you sing. There's something that alters your mood when you choose to sing.

So it's so important that you raise your voice, but not just to God, but also to his people. And that means, sometimes, you pick up the phone and call someone and say, I'm hurting, and I'm scared, and I'm alone. I'm thinking about doing something bad. I need help. I need the encouragement. It means calling that suicide hotline. I'm telling you, Google it right now if you're thinking about that. Call that number. Talk to somebody. And if you have someone in your life who you're worried about, reach out to them. Don't just pray for them, send them a text. "Are you OK" could save someone's life. Are you OK? You came into my mind. I'm worried about you. I'm concerned about you. You don't seem yourself lately. Speak up! If you see something, you got to say something. You've got to raise your voice!

Lastly, we're almost done. Hope this is helping you. You got to fight. You got to fight. You've got to keep fighting. And then after that, here's what you do. Keep showing up. And that is the fight. Keep showing up. Just keep showing up. Keep showing up another day. One of my favorite stories I've heard in recent history is the story of the company Leatherman. This is a simple pocket knife that has pliers in it. You could take for granted a pocket knife, pliers. Well, it didn't exist till it did. And a man named Tim Leatherman was on a trip to Europe with his wife right after college, Oregon State, shout out, Portland! And he and his wife had a car, a Fiat 600, that kept breaking down. And he had a Boy Scout knife and a pair of pliers that he kept doing work on it with. And he said to himself, if only they had one that was the same, pocket knife, pliers. That would be amazing. 'Cause then I don't have to change hands.

It's right here. And you wrote it down, things to do with my life, make a pocket knife with players in it. Got home from the trip, decided to do it. But it was easier said than done. Two years into the project, in his brother in law's garage, he broke down weeping on his birthday because I can't get the players and the pocket knife to behave. But he said, the next morning, I got up and I showed up. And I kept going. On the third year, the patent was issued for what we know of today as a Leatherman. Only then, it was called Mr. Crunch. He called it Mr. Crunch, pocket knife, pliers. And then, at this point, we would say, he made it, happily ever after!

But that's not how it went. Even though he had successfully made one and got it patented, he, for five years, couldn't get anyone to buy one. Every store, every hardware store, every company rejected it, turned it down, said, no way, said there's no market for that. The company Stanley, that makes the thermoses that everybody has fishing, your grandpa had one going fishing with, Stanley wrote him a letter and said, there's no one who will ever want this. So we will not purchase it from you. He was distraught. Year 7, he said, I almost gave up. But a friend encouraged him to keep going. He said, I'll work with you. Maybe there's some things you haven't thought of yet.

So they kept going. Year 8, a little known company called Cabela's said, we'll buy 500 of them. 500 of what they had the sense, by this point, to call a Leatherman, not Mr. Crunch. And Tim's Leatherman, they sent 500 Mr. Crunches to Cabela's. And they, in return, got $12,000 for it. And the rest, of course, as they say, is history. The company, now, which is headquartered in Portland, employs over 400 people. And there have been over 30 models of the Leatherman that have been issued. And it's a tale as old as time, the success story of this company. And there's probably a lot of people listening to this message who, you have one in your pocket even now. They're passed down from father to son, and generation to generation, and generations to generation.

And you think about what it took for him to keep showing up for eight years when he was being told by experts, this'll never work. And that war, and that doubt, seeing alone in that garage, on his birthday, weeping, wanting to give up, wanting to quit. Some of you can relate? Winston Churchill once said, "success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm". And I just wonder, where are you at on that journey? What are you thinking about quitting? What do you think about giving up? What dream are you beginning to lose faith in? And where are you at in that journey?

Because what I'm saying to you, if what a fight looks like, it's not just one round and it's over. It's not just, well, there, I fought. I tried to control my thoughts. I tried to speak differently. I tried to plant the church. I tried to write the sermon. I tried to start the business. I tried to work on the marriage. That's not a fight! A fight is bloody round after bloody round! A fight is getting knocked down and getting back up again! A fight is spitting your tooth out in the sink! A fight consists of going from failure, to failure, to failure, to failure without loss of enthusiasm. And I just want to speak life over your tomorrow. I want to speak over you that God loves you, has a plan for you, wants to do more through you than you would ever know! But you got to fight!

What about Larry? We left Larry and Chrissy drowning in the hole. He kissed his wife goodbye. But he said, just before he began to sink, he reached down and felt a Leatherman in his pocket. And God only knows why or how he thought of it. But he opened it up, and, using the pliers, he said he was able to dagger the edge of the ice and pull himself up and out. And he said he immediately pivoted around and was able to pull his wife to safety. And here's what I want to leave you with. Yes, you are fighting a difficult, bloody battle. You are trying to win the war within. But you are not the only one. There are people all around you, people in your family, people in your life, people, you don't even know their names yet, and they're trying to win it, too.

And if you give up, how will God ever use you to reach them? Tim never knew, in the garage, at year six, about Larry and Christy. But God knew that him showing up, and him not giving up, was going to lead to saving of life for them. And I want to speak to you that, as you continue to fight the good fight, and keep living, it's not just for yourself that it is essential that you must win. But God wants to save lives through you. In Jesus' name, amen.

And Father, we thank you for this time together. And we believe every single word that we've read about pulling down these strongholds and taking the enemy ground being essential. And now, we pray for your Spirit to put that resolve inside of us, to put that steel in our spine.

If you're here today, as we have this moment of prayer, and you would say, I want to commit to fighting this battle, I want to begin fighting. I've thought of giving up, maybe quitting a job that's hard, maybe leaving a marriage that's difficult, maybe ending your life. If you would say, in this moment, I want to fight, I want to fight, I'm willing to fight like a wolf, if that's you I'm describing, raise your hand, at every location, ChurchOnline, every church listening, put your hand up. I'm going to fight, God. I'm going to fight, God. I don't know how. My hand is shaking, God. But I'm going to fight.

As you raise your arm, some of you have scars from cuts that you've inflicted upon yourself. Some of you have emotional ones from others. Some of you have bruises from other people. But as you raise these scarred hands, know that the scarred hands of Jesus Christ hold them up in the air. You are not alone. You are loved. You are chosen. You are called. You are equipped. You are a son or daughter of the King of kings. And he is going to use you to save other people's lives. But first, you must let him save yours.

Thank you, Jesus. Give thee strength. I pray a blessing over their lives. I pray you'd shine your face upon them and give them peace. I pray they would overcome by the word of their testimony and by the blood of the lamb, and that they would not hold their lives dear to themselves because they were bought at a price. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus.

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