Wow — I’m hearing from so many people who are responding to what I’ve been teaching recently, and I’m nearly speechless to see how God is touching so many lives. How can I be anything but grateful that He has allowed us to be a part of His great big plan to strengthen His people in these last days?
We’re also so thankful that our partners are helping us do it. In fact, we wouldn’t be doing all that we do if it weren’t for the faithful, consistent giving of partners. I say that our ministry is like a well-prepared automobile that is ready to go, but it needs fuel to operate. In a real sense, when our partners give, they put the gas in the tank to keep us moving and doing what God has called us to do! We count every one of our partners as a true participant and sharer in this work of God. For this, we simply can’t say it enough: THANK YOU!
I also want to express my heartfelt thanks to each person who has given toward the purchase of the new office space in Moscow that is so desperately needed. We haven’t yet reached the amount we need in order to proceed, but with our partners’ help, we have made significant progress. If God moves on your heart to help us financially with this project, please do whatever He tells you to do. I am convinced this is God’s will, and I know He will provide what is needed. And I am praying for Him to mightily bless those who give especially for this project.
In this month’s letter, I want to especially encourage you about defeating the negative forces that come to assault your mind and your life. I’ll start by referring you to the real-life story of David and Goliath.
In First Samuel 17, we can see how the devil used the giant Goliath to intimidate the armies of Israel. Goliath’s outlandish, arrogant, and disdainful declarations of what he would do and what would become of the Israelites were so effective that not one soldier from the Hebrew camp was willing to stand up to this aggressor. In fact, the Israelite armies were rendered paralyzed for 40 days — until a courageous young man named David came along with the power of God to challenge those lies!
The Bible says, “And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was SIX CUBITS AND A SPAN” (1 Samuel 17:3,4). In today’s measurements, we could say that Goliath was up to 9 feet, 9 inches tall!
In addition, First Samuel 17:5-7 says, “…He had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.”
In today’s weight, that “coat of mail” would be the equivalent of 125 pounds! But we know he also had greaves of brass and a target (javelin) of brass slung between his shoulders! The staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam — which means the long staff of his spear weighed at least 17 pounds. The Scripture also specifically says that the spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of iron — which is the equivalent of 16 pounds. One scholar has speculated that the weight of all these pieces of weaponry together — Goliath’s helmet, breastplate, greaves, brass javelin, spear, and shield — may have weighed in excess of 700 pounds!
In every respect imaginable, Goliath was a very frightful sight! How would you feel if you were challenged by a monster who stood about 9 feet, 9 inches tall and carried 700 pounds of weaponry? And imagine how much the giant himself must have weighed! Yet it wasn’t just Goliath’s size or weaponry that caused the Israelites to shrink in fear. It was the constant threats and mental bombardment that the giant hit them with every single day. This mental harassment “crippled” the Hebrew soldiers so that they lost sight of the awesome ability of God.
The Bible says: “And he [Goliath] stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:8-10)
These threats were so emotionally overpowering that it shut down Israel’s entire armies. Verse 11 declares, “When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.”
Goliath mentally and emotionally immobilized the armies of Israel without ever using a sword or spear! With words alone, he incapacitated, disabled, stunned, and “disarmed” the Israelites. The giant’s flagrant and preposterous distortion of his own greatness was so outrageous that his words bewitched the Israelite armies until they were spellbound under his verbal control.
In effect, Goliath said to them:
- “Who do you think you are to fight with me?”
- “Come on, just try to do damage to me, and you’ll find out what I’ll do to you!”
- “What’s wrong? Are you afraid to face me and take me on?”
Isn’t this what the devil tries to do to you? He is a slanderer and an accuser! By speaking to minds and emotions, he seeks to incapacitate, disable, stun, numb, and disarm believers the same way he paralyzed the Israelite armies through Goliath. This conduct is the primary tool the devil uses to assault the minds of believers — bombarding God’s people with thoughts, such as:
- You think you’re so tough — I’ll show you who’s REALLY tough!
- I’ll use this bad situation to beat the life right out of you! ?
- I’ll strike you down so hard and fast, you won’t know what hit you!
- I defy you to believe your financial situation is going to turn around! ?
- I mock your belief that you will succeed in the place where God has called you!
Throwing one slanderous accusation after another at your mind, the devil will do everything he can to slander and belittle you. He will defame, malign, revile, and smear you and your faith in order to drive you back into the ditch of self-preservation where you never do anything significant for the Kingdom of God.
If you listen to the devil’s threats long enough, you will become “dismayed and greatly afraid,” just like the children of Israel who listened to the words of Goliath and became functionally paralyzed. You’ll find yourself living on the low side of victory — unwilling to take on any new challenges for fear you might fail, for fear of what others might say, for fear of potential catastrophe, etc.
The devil wants to take you captive and destroy you with the same tools Goliath used against the Israelites. Satan wants to ruin your effectiveness with deceptive suggestions and lying allegations!
DON’T LISTEN TO THE ENEMY —
SPEAK GOD’S WORD!
But if you learn how to conquer all the lying emotions, slanderous accusations, and deceptive suggestions the devil uses to try to neutralize you, you will be able to keep the enemy in a subordinate position for the rest of your life. Once you pull the plug on Satan’s intimidating threats and lies, he will no longer be able to hold your mind captive. If you’ll take charge of your mind — learning how to SPEAK God’s truth rather than LISTEN to the enemy’s lies — the devil will lose his ability to use lying emotions and illusions to manipulate, dominate, and control your life!
When David heard Goliath’s threats, he decided to stand against the giant and to forever remove his ugly words against the armies of Israel. David said concerning Goliath, “…Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:32). Then First Samuel 17:40 tells us that David “…took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.”
David charged a giant — who was wearing 700 pounds of weaponry — with nothing in his hands to kill him but a sling and five stones! David was not naturally equipped to fight this kind of foe, but he declared to Goliath, “…Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (v. 45).
David continued, “This day will the Lord deliver you into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and He WILL give you into our hands” (vv. 46,47).
The story continues: “And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him…” (vv. 49,50).
But wait — David wasn’t finished yet! While Goliath lay with his face to the ground, stunned by the small stone that had been hurled from his young opponent’s sling, David seized the opportunity to make sure the job was finished! The verse continues to tell us that David “…stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith…” (v. 51).
Are you tired of being mentally harassed and emotionally tormented by the lying insinuations and slanderous accusations of the adversary? How would you like to sling a stone of faith into the head of accusing thoughts and drop them to the ground, stunned — and then “cut off their heads” so that they can never harass you again?
You do not have to listen to harassing thoughts that enslave you mentally and emotionally! You can shut them up and eliminate them! If you don’t know how to do it or you need help, call us, and we’ll pray with you! God wants to liberate your mind from every paralyzing lie of the devil!
Oh, it has been so good to share this word with you today! I know this letter is a little longer than usual, but this is what was in my heart for you this month, so I needed to get all of it to you. Thank you for letting me share it. I pray it has given you strength to stand up in faith against the enemy’s mental and emotional onslaught against your life!
Thank you, too, for your prayers and your partnership. Please let us know how we can pray for you. We’re already praying, but when we hear from you, it helps us get more specific in our praying! We bless you in Jesus’ wonderful name!
And we truly love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families