The Words of the Yakawich Family
Wrestling With The Angels
March 26, 2006
Bible Reading: Genesis 32: 24-28
And Jacob was left alone and then wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that the prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of the thigh and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint as he wrestled with him. And he said, let me go, for the day breaks and he said I will not let the go except though bless me. And he said unto him, what is thy name? And he side Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel for a s a prince has though power with God and with men and has prevailed.
We each face great challenges in our daily life. From paying bills, working, dealing with someone hard to love, personal issues, family issues or community issues, we each wrestle with life. Sometimes challenges can help us grow. When we read about Jacob, he had to wrestle with this angel to achieve his final destination.
Father Moon explains that "The 20th century was a period of ceaseless struggle." And that he "dedicated his life entirely to the accomplishment of God's ideal of peace." …"the Kingdom on Earth and in Heaven." (God's Ideal Family---the Model for World Peace) For this is our goal, to achieve peace, overcome the angels that wish to test us or defeat us, for the sake of this world as well as our selves. This is a peace within the mind and heart, within the home and community, within all things that we do.
My boys and I wrestle now and then. It takes great energy. They are winning now more than I. Wrestling requires a great deal of skill and effort. This is the same with our spiritual lives; we struggle often to do what is right. In the Bible in Ephesians 6, we are involved in a "Spiritual war and spiritual battles".
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We are confronted each day with choosing good or evil. This church raises the bar high. Like this rope that the youth here are holding, there is a bar or standard and it is constantly or should be constantly being raised and not lowered. It is like the running high jump, not the limbo! In track, you must be aware of the bar and how it is raised in competition not lowered. Isn't our life like this?
Doesn't God wish for us to constantly raise up our potential than lower it?
We are a light set upon a hill. It is not easy being up on the hill. We are called within in the church to take personal responsibility for our life of faith. We are not to get lost in the crowd. We are not to allow words to confuse our life. You can seek the easy way. You can seek the road of less travel or the highway of many. You can seek out the way of God which is usually a way that requires us to change daily or the way of no change or challenge. In this sermon, I want you to embrace one word and concept, this is heavenly confidence. I wish for you to know how valuable you are. I wish for you to know that you can be proud of this church, her founder, her teachings and her people.
I see God working in so many way's each day. In spite of the battles we face, God is there to help us overcome and ultimately win. At our ACLC prayer breakfast, I felt the power of the Holy Ghost. We were expecting 12 people and 20 people showed up. We had to push a separating wall aside for more room. We felt we were symbolically taking down walls of separation in our community.
I wrestle with my own angels. I wonder if I am a good father or not? I wonder if I am a good husband or not? I wonder if I am a good pastor or not? Rest assured, you are not alone in these struggles. Yet, as Jacob, God does show us the way.
My wife and I are counseling a couple in preparations for marriage. They are a wonderful couple. We meet with them yesterday. One part of our class involved understanding and applying prayer in our lives. This couple is realizing the power of prayer. This amazing tool helps us greatly in winning these spiritual wrestling matches.
There are a few types of angels. Some angles you can call upon to help you. They are servants or intended to be servants to us as we see in Hebrews. Other angles are fallen and may wish to harm or hinder you from doing goodness. Some angles are more powerful than others.
We all need the Power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). We cannot be like this piece of driftwood as we deal with our spiritual lives…aimlessly wondering from here to there. We need the focus and power that the truth brings. I swear, if you know what this church believes in, then you can make a clear decision on what direction to go. I know when I study my faith I am clearer of heart and mind. I am less confused. In wresting with our own angels, the truth gives us the energy and power to be successful. Please do not underestimate the power of the word.
In our spiritual life, we cannot assume that it will all be smooth sailing. There are many roadblocks to address. That is why the size of our church will not determine the quality of our hearts. Addressing sin in our lives is the key. Spiritual experiences are precious.
Feeling the Holy Spirit is wonderful. But changing our lives to being kind and loving, giving and generous, pure and chaste, serving and doing community service are all so crucial and extremely important to true spiritual growth.
One Bible is the foundation of our faith both the Old and New Testament. Our founder wrote this book, called the Divine Principle, to help us understand the word more deeply. Certainly, every church has their text books, concordances and explanations of their faith written. This is ours. It has transformed my life. I wish to give each of your family two or more books as a gift. I will give it to you at the end of service. Read it. Give it to someone else as a gift as well.
I was reading a book recently, it was pointing out that to be born again is different from just saying it.
There is a book written by Ronald Sider called The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience. It points out "To say there is a crisis of disobedience in the evangelical world today is to dangerously understate the problem. Born-again Christians divorce at about the same rate as everyone else. Self-centered materials is seducing evangelicals and rapidly destroying our earlier, slightly more generous giving only 6 percent of born-again Christians tithe.
Born-again Christians justify and engage in sexual promiscuity (both premarital sex and adultery) at astonishing rates. Racism and perhaps physical abuse of wives seem to be worse in evangelical circles than elsewhere." (Page 27-28).
We find no matter how big of a church you have will not determine the quality of membership. The quality of membership must come from the people themselves. How do we deal with issues as
d. spiritual growth?
We as a church do address such issues as morality seriously. The point is that we feel the calling that faith without works is dead. On April 29th, at the War Bonnet, we will help sponsor a conference on "Spiritual Solutions to Drugs in our Community". It is inspiring to see people of different faiths and traditions working together. We are serious about wrestling with these angels not only in words but in deed as well.
I have been reflecting about the value of understanding our faith.
Look at these BUZZ BALLS. I think that one of these is like God and one is like you or I. It is God's intent that we harmonize with true love with Him. When we are one with Him, we Buzzzzz with joy. We do not just talk about people of color working together, we do it. We do not just say husband and wife should love each other, we do it. We do not just say people of faiths should respect each other, we do it. And God is Buzzzzzing with Joy.
I am reminded of Dr. Briggs when he was our guest speaker last week to our Sunday school. Adam from the Muslim faith spoke to our Sunday School several weeks ago as well. Each of them presented their faith. It was very wonderful for me. How can I say that I have the only ticket to heaven? How can I say that others do not have an understanding of the Truth? I cannot.
When one person died and went to heaven, he met St. Peter. As St. Peter gave him a tour of Heaven, the man could look into vast rooms. They were beautiful rooms with wonderful songs, people fellowshipping and loving each other, wonderful foods and great respect and honor and love toward each other. The angels were playing and performing. There was the Baptist room, the Catholic room, Lutheran and etc, etc… Yet, as they walked passed another room with all the joy and heavenly celebration going on, St. Peter did not open this door to the visitor. St. Peter put his finger to his lips in a silent gesture encouraging both to be quiet as they walked past this room. After passing far beyond that room the visitor questioned St. Peter and asked, "Why did we have to be so quiet as we walked passed that room?" St. Peter replied, "Oh, those believers think they are the only ones in heaven!"
We must plant our feet in this fight with the demons and devils of this world. We gain the power and ability to win over these evil forces with the understanding of the word of God and interaction with the people of God. Yes, you are God's people and we have His truth. We must have this confidence. And, just like Jacob who had to make the determination and the commitment to his cause, we must do the same. Into doing this, you will win over the angel and gain the blessings.
Remember, like this egg that we have during this Easter Season, the shell is hard. It reminds us that life is hard. In side the egg, the baby chick grows and is nurtured. We are confident that if I break this egg we will find the yoke. Be confident that inside of each of you this Spirit of God. Your own spiritual power is growing day by day.
Likewise, it is not discouraged by the hardness of the shell. As in life when it is hard, we must not be discouraged by the hardness. Finally, with hope in the future, the shell does break and new life pours fourth. With the power of prayer and the word, we grow and are nurtured. We will break through. Don't give up or give in. I encourage each of you to maintain this hope. And you will see, in the Dawning of the Last Days, we will find greater peace not war. We will find more joy and happiness in our family and not sorrow and sadness.
Please remember God has His Army of Angels also looking over you. Muster your strength and seek that POWER. You are not alone. Our church family is praying for you. We are looking over each other. God is looking over each of us. We are wrestling with angels. And day by day, we will win the spiritual battles and deeply find meaning, hope, joy and fulfillment in our lives. This is the Kingdom on Earth as in Heaven that Lord Jesus talked so hopefully about. We can achieve it. This is my most sincere promise to you.
Go and have a great, God blessed week ahead!