WALLS-Quick thought for the day

Start tearing down walls and building new ones built on the Rock.

I hear people say “I put up walls because of what happened…I don’t want anyone in…I don’t want to be hurt again…I can’t trust anyone”

Have you ever thought about the walls you put up in your life?

I spent several months reading and researching about Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls in Jerusalem. In studying that I realized there are many varieties of walls. Both good and bad. I would prefer to have the kind of walls built by the Lord my God–His shelter and His peace will come from that. But, today we will talk about the BAD walls we build.

Walls are strategic separation between you and the outside. Walls can be a good thing. However, a wall built out of anger, hurt, frustration or unforgivenes is a BAD wall. It’s built out of sin and not with God’s love as the foundation. Even if built for protection of your feelings…it is not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

Any part of your life NOT built on Jesus as your sure foundation will not stand.

 1. WALLS affect your relationships.

Walls of distrust and unforgiveness strain relationships.

2. The walls around Jerusalem represented the process of redemption.

The last one if you review them clockwise ended with the Sheeps Gate. The Lamb of God is both the sacrificial lamb reconciling us to God and our Good Shepherd.

Your relationships, your life and everything you do should expose people around you to Light not darkness.

3. It takes diligence to guard your heart against ungodly walls

Nehemiah 4:23  So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.

Now that is determination! I don’t remember every being so determined to keep an ungodly thing out of my life. In fact, most people welcome WALLS to be built and justify every one of them.

That is called a hard heart. God says…

Ezekiel 36:26  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

How do you know if you have BAD walls up?

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you.

James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

Practical Application

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I ask you to show me every place I have put up a wall out of anger, resentment, fear, hurt, frustration or unforgiveness. I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal each wound and every part of darkness in my heart. I choose to  forgive those that hurt me. I choose to allow you to heal my heart now as I yield to your love. Tell me your truth about each wall. Help me to be wise in the future so that no walls of rejection, fear or hurt are ever built again in my life. Instead, build me up in your love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, self-control…build me up on the Rock of Salvation, Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord, in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

When you’ve lost a loved one

file6101306948456What do you do when you’ve lost a close loved one?

The pain, grief and sorrow can be unbearable at times. The questions … Is God even listening? Has He forgotten me? Why did He allow this to happen?

The feelings of despair and loneliness lead to statements like… “I’m alone” “No one understands”

 

 

Some people feel responsible in some form for the loss “it’s my fault, if I would have been there or done….”

I bring you good news in the face of death there is life. Jesus will restore and renew as he brings healing to your heart. You can have joy again. You can have peace. You can stop feeling lonely.

To be honest I didn’t know if I was ready to talk about this subject. This particular post has sat in “drafts” for a long time.
All I can do is tell you how I made it through…with the help of the LORD I made it.

I was really unprepared when my brother called to say Dad was dead. In his home, he fell asleep and never awoke. On this side of Heaven anyway.

As the pastor of a church I had seen Dad preach with many ailments and nothing ever stopped him. Apparently, that Sunday morning he was not feeling well.

I can’t describe the emotions. I couldn’t seem to “feel” them all at once even though they seem to flood me until it was almost unbearable. I can’t even tell you what I was thinking at the time. It seemed like a dream. I was in total shock and disbelief.

I knew my brother very well. I knew he was not joking. However, he just had to be…HAD to be. Because my Dad was unstoppable and so young!

I could recount the details of the days that followed. I could tell you the prayers, the faith, the friends, support and an amazing funeral that my brother preached himself. Living through that was like auto-pilot. The true test was the 2 weeks after…the 2 months after and yes…even the 1 year after.

Allow me to walk you through what I believe was the Holy Spirit walking with me through this trying time.

1. My family has a weird idea of life and death.

2 Corinthian 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

I say “weird” because it is based on the Bible and NOT on the consensus of the worlds opinion of life and death. Dad and I had many discussions of how often and how much we longed to be in Heaven with the Lord. We talked of how this life is “but a vapor”. We talked about how great Heaven will be. I mean we LONGED to be with Jesus.

We joked about throwing a party when we die because we will be in Heaven and that is the best thing in the world. We should not mourn but rejoice.

2. God, himself, put a limit on how long we should mourn

That may seem cold to some people. However, there is a reason. There is a healthy mourning time and an unhealthy, almost other-worldly mourning that turns into idolatry and becomes sickness to our mind, body and spirit.

In the Old Testament read how long God would allow mourning. After 30 days it was over. Move on. Why would God put this limit on such a personal, deep, painful event? Because God knows the  BIG picture. He sees into the other side…into the eternal.

Satan, our enemy that seeks to devour and destroy, will use the time of mourning to turn our hearts away from the Lord. He will use it to cause resentment and bitterness. Gangrene will set it in our hearts if the open wound of death is left untreated too long. “let the dead bury the dead” resonates with me. The dead in spirit will spend a great deal of energy, finances and time mourning a loss until that’s all they have left is the mourning.

3. God reminded me of TRUTH

Mark 12:26And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

As I was reading the Bible shortly after Dad’s death I read this verse and the Holy Spirit spoke to me.- He is alive.

Eternity we will be together. Stop mourning and start rejoicing.

Life on this earth is so short. To spend the entire time worried and anxious over grief and despair is not worth this precious short time.

4. I decided Legacy was more important than grief

Dad left a legacy of “be about your Father’s business”. Dad was a worker in the Kingdom of God. He worked tirelessly to spread the Good News of Christ. I decided that my life should represent that truth. To give up was not an option. To drown in self pity was not an option. I determined the best way to honor my Dad was to honor my Heavenly Father and be about HIS business.

I still missed Dad. I missed his wise counsel, our long conversation about anything and everything. I missed his hugs most of all. As my children grew up I missed the opportunity to ask…”was I that bad?” and “what did you do?”

He was my pastor, my mentor, my friend, my Daddy, my confidant, my kick-in-the-butt when I needed it…he was my adviser…

God is so faithful to those who will trust in Him. He will turn your mourning into dancing. He will give you peace that surpasses understanding. He will hold you up when you can’t stand on your own. He will be your strength when all is gone. He will be your friend when you are lonely.

Trust Him. Turn to Him. Talk to Him. Read His Word. You will find answers to your questions. HE will be the father to the fatherless. The husband to the widow. The friend to the outcast.

I cannot describe to you how much closer I am now to my Heavenly Father. I may have leaned too much and too often on my Dad’s wisdom and his prayers rather than seeking God for myself. But when you don’t have anyone else to turn to and God is all you have …HE will not disappoint. My life is so rich and full of God’s love, grace and mercy. I depend on HIM. I love HIM. I seek HIM.

What caused this post?

Recently, a friend lost her husband. A mighty man of God. A man my Dad loved and admired went home to be with the Lord too. After watching my mother struggle for years from that loss I knew a little about what my friend would go through. I pray for her. Her pain is only one God can heal. And HE will.

Practical application:

Repentance and forgiveness…yes, even about this subject. This is the healing process.

If you feel responsible in any way–pray–I choose forgive myself for>_____< (insert what you feel responsible for…not being there, not doing something, etc)

If you ask “Why God? Did you take him/her away?”–pray–I choose to forgive you God for taking/allowing him/her to die. I know that you did not “take” this person from me. I know you love me. I know you are the GOOD Father and nothing evil can come from you. I know I may not understand it all but I trust you Lord. 

If you blame someone else –pray–I choose to forgive this person to taking the life of >>>>>(insert name)<<<<<. 

>>continue….I let it go. I allow you, Holy Spirit to take away the pain, the grief, the unforgiveness. I repent for holding onto to it so long. I give it to you Lord. Come and heal my heart and tell me your truth about this situation. 

I pray for those that struggle with the loss of a loved one. I pray you are girded with Truth. I pray strength from the Lord to be with you. I pray for peace as you walk and a the light of Christ to guide your way. I pray that your heart will be open to hear the Lord speak. I pray for God to send people to comfort you but most of all the great Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to comfort you every hour of each day. Amen.

 

The House that SELF Built

photoI just read a quote from a man, Jack Deere “If I let out what I was feeling now, I might destroy the self I had worked so long and hard to build.”

This author made this statement when God began to get all up in his business and began to deal with the hidden areas of his life. It may be time to let God tear down the SELF that we build and re-build into the HOUSE built on the ROCK

 

 

 

 

God has a way of doing that when we are open to Him. God reads our mail.He knows every hair on your head, every thought…everything!

Yes…He can read our mail and He has an opinion about it…however, when we don’t want to listen we don’t hear and thus we don’t learn or grow.

Jack Deere was the typical religious traditionalist, very skeptical if God will actually speak to people in present times especially through a prophet or through a person by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The statement above was made as a prophet told him everything he had been through in life and what God was planning to do in his life. After it was over he left without saying or acknowledging that any of it was correct. Afterwards a friend asked him about it and Jack said it was all right on.  Sounds great right?

Most people are waiting for a prophet to come and tell them what they need to do, say, etc. God can use prophets and other people to help us along but He will speak to you if you will ask Him and turn on your ears.

Back to the “Sounds great right?”….Look at what he says…”destroy the self I had worked so long and hard to build”.

We all build a SELF. We have an identity that we “created” in our minds, or was created for us by the opinions of others.

Finish this sentence with at least 10 statements about yourself– “I am ….”

What did you say? Many people start off with superficial statements like I am blond or I am a man or I am a great fisherman…

But as they talk longer and if you had to say 100 statements about yourself you might say things like ” I am strong. I am honest. I am opinionated. I am outspoken. I am shy. I am quiet. I am smart. I am ugly. I am worthless. I am unloveable. I am a sinner.  I am not pure. I am a terrible husband…wife…mother…father. I am fat. I can’t do anything right. I am not as good as..

I am ………………………………………………….

My realization is this…I am what GOD says I am.

Does what YOU say match what GOD says?

The Bible compares us to a house and a temple. We are being built up as we go through our life. What is doing the building in your life? Is it the opinions of others? Is it the negative, hateful thoughts?
Or, is it the WORD of God and His Holy Spirit that is building your opinions of yourself and your attitudes of your heart.

What is so wrong with building yourself?

 

I am speaking of the incorrect assumptions we make of ourselves that become our present and affect our future.

One example is a young woman who was abused by a neighbor. She grew up in a religious home. She never told anyone what happened because she (wrongly) believed it was her fault and that no one would believe her. As she aged and the thoughts of shame, resentment, anger, hurt, all came back and she struggled with relationships. At times she would say to herself…You are strong, just live with it that’s what good Christians do.

So she held it inside instead of talked about it.

If the self YOU build hides pain, carries un-forgiveness, harbors resentment, lives with bitterness or pushes hurtful memories away, you will find that the SELF you built is a hollow shell of the YOU God is trying to transform and heal.

God has an interesting method of healing that requires LIGHT to shine and uncover the yucky, the bad and the hurtful. As His light shines on those hidden and try-to forget areas of our life healing happens. Transformation happens. A hard heart is turned soft. A bitter person becomes loving.

Those 100 Statements can shine a light on what is hidden in your heart. Each statement that does not line up with the Word of God represents an area that SELF built. Allow God to show you those areas. Allow Him to heal those places. Allow Him into your HOUSE you will not regret it.

Proverbs 24:3 By wisdom a house is built,

and through understanding it is established;

4through knowledge its rooms are filled

with rare and beautiful treasures.

Warning:

You may feel a bit….un-built….for a time. As the broken becomes apparent and you see the brokenness in your life I promise it won’t last long as you submit to His Spirit. Healing comes so gently into your life.

1. Spend time talking to God and asking Him to show you these things that are broken

2. Spend time reading the Bible and find scriptures that speak to your life.

3. Forgive quickly, repent when necessary

4. Find a godly mentor, Bible study, pastor, etc that can help you. You are created to be in community with Jesus followers to love you and pray with you.

Proverbs 3:5Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.

7Do not be wise in your own eyes;

fear the Lord and shun evil.

8This will bring health to your body

and nourishment to your bones.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, un-build me. Show me the areas of my life that needs your touch. Reveal the areas of my heart that require your healing. I submit to your Spirit to speak to me and I will answer with repentance when required and with forgiveness when needed. I yeild completely to you. Re-build me with your Word. Re-build my life according to your guidance and love.

I know you love me and have a purpose and plan for my life. Purge the ugly, the bad and the sin out of my heart so I can be a vessel of honor to be used in your Kingdom to reach others.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self – control. 

Matthew 7:24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

 

 

 

 

Leadership Key: What to do when your boss is a jerk

…And other such despicable bosses. So, you’re a Christian and you work in the secular workplace. Hey, even sometimes in the Christian world you can have difficult bosses. What do you do?

Some Christians refuse to work with bosses that are sinners. Some refuse to work in a secular workplace. I don’t believe this is a biblical approach. Jesus gave us the example of being in the world, around the angry, hurting and the filthy. He actually chose to be around them instead of the religious. He said it is the hurting that need a doctor.

1.Be a light where you are planted.

Daniel is a great example. He was a godly man. God gave him the ability to interpret dreams. He also had the honor of God’s messenger appearing to him and telling him the future of his nation.

He was employed and grouped along with the magicians in the king’s service. He was dragged away from his home and enslaved. He was a godly man who was employed by one the most carnal, heathen, evil rulers and who built a statue to himself. Yet through all this Daniel honored the king and served the king with excellence.

You can see Daniels humble and respectful demeanor toward the ruler in this passage when Daniel is asked to interpret a dream for the king.

19“Then Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was appalled for a while as his thoughts alarmed him. The king responded and said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation alarm you.’ Belteshazzar replied, ‘My lord, if only the dream applied to those who hate you and its interpretation to your adversaries!

Then Daniel had to deliver the bad news to the king. He did so with great sadness and weighty heart when he could have glorified, even relished in the much earned judgement of his boss. Daniel did not judge or abuse his privileges. He maintained a steadfast integrity in the midst of much idol worship, orgies, drunkenness and sin.

2. Show honor because of the position.

Saul tried to kill David. While David was playing music to sooth his king, Saul shot an arrow at him. That’s a bad day at work.

Of course it missed. For years Saul tried to kill David. He chased him all over the countryside. Yet when given the opportunity David did not harm Saul. Sure, if you look at the selfish, egotistical, foolish behavior of Saul, he didn’t deserve to be honored . But David respected the Lord’s anointed because God placed him in that position.

8Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time.” 9But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’S anointed and be without guilt?”

All leadership placed above you in churches, government, or the workplace are there because they are ordained to be there by God.

3. Only the Lord is judge.

Daniel 4:22Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.

23“Your Majesty saw a holy one, a messenger, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live with the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.’

24“This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: 25You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. 26The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 27Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”

This is the interpretation that Daniel gave the king of Babylon. It was judgement from God the creator of the universe.

Then it happened: 

Daniel:28All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”

Psalm 75:7 It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

You will never work for a perfect person because we are all human and subject to vulnerability and fault. Consider it a high honor to be considered worthy to work with a unsaved or heathen boss. You have a unique opportunity to be a brilliant light in a dark place.

What do you do?

Daniel prayed and fasted
David praised and worshiped God. He called out to  God for guidance.
You are commanded to love and to pray for those that despise you. God will either move you or favor you.
Prayer will move mountains and that mountain might just be your boss.
Prayer:

Thank you Father for this job you provided. I acknowledge that all good things come from your hands. I praise you in every situation regardless of my comfort level. I will praise you on my way to work. I will praise you and lift up your Name at work. And I will praise you going home. I lift my eyes to you because you are where my help comes from. I look to you for wisdom in this situation. Holy Spirit, give me guidance how to handle the situations I face today. Give me favor with my boss and co-workers. Guard my mouth so I will not utter an unkind work. Give me boldness when I need it. I pray for the heart of the unbelievers at work that have been blinded by the devil; that their eyes will be opened to the light of your Word. That you will illuminate their dark places. Give me opportunities to show your light, to share my testimony and to represent you well. In Jesus Name, Amen.

*all Bible scripture is from BibleHub.com (the best online Bible source…in my opinion)

Why I Keep Saying “Yes” to Sex

isaiah54project:

This is a great post on sex and why it is important to a marriage.

Originally posted on Loving Life at Home:

Why I Keep Saying Yes to Sex | a word to wives from lovinglifeathomeAuthor Leah Holder wrote a terrific post this week for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which she entitled Why I Keep Saying “No” to Sex.

The gist of the article is this: She says “no” because she is not yet married.

Sexual purity is important to her because it is important to God, and she has therefore made a commitment to save sex for marriage, however unpopular or difficult such a decision has sometimes seemed.

The Bible is very clear in its stance regarding sex outside of marriage. (Colossians 3:5; Hebrews 13:4)

The reason we have the skyrocketing rates of STDs, abortion, divorce, and single-parent families we see today is because far too many people have ignored God’s guidelines in the area of sex for far too long.

But there is a flip-side to the coin: The Bible also speaks clearly about what our attitude…

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Secret to Success

large__5844929080 The world has found nominal success through persistence and perseverance.

They trust in their own power, own understanding, their own ways.

The greatest basketball player is Michael Jordon. He didn’t just practice now and then or when he felt like it.

Michael Phelps who won all those gold medals and set new records didn’t just swim sometimes. They both practiced their sport continually until they became the best.

 

However, God has all the answers and enjoys the success of His people.

Ps 35:27-28

27 Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.” 2 8 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.

The secret to true, everlasting, success is in the Lord. You are made in His image to reflect His glory and bring honor to Him. And He delights in you and in your prosperity.

The way to honor God and live an abundant life is to be persistent and intent every morning when you get out of bed to glorify God in your life. That doesn’t mean just sometimes pray or honor Him but to continually practice, be persistent and persevere daily in prayer.

It starts with recognizing Him and praying every day.

Thank Him for another day and for all the blessings. You can ask for things. But remember to ask God, “God what can I do for you today?” “Who do you want me to speak to today?” ”Who can I help today, serve today, or encourage today?” “How can I honor your Name today with my hands, my feet or my mouth?”

We are His servants and we serve where we are planted in our circle of influence. We lead from our position of honoring God in every aspect of our lives. And He will honor you. You will be blessed with blessings far above money, riches or fame.

Matt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for all your blessings, love and mercy on my life. I thank you that I live another day to honor you in my daily activities. I ask for strength today to do your will. I ask you to lead me to hurting people that I can help. I ask you to give me words to speak to bring healing, joy or encouragement into someone’s life. I ask that you use me today as your hands, feet and mouthpiece to show your love. Let me lead people to you today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Self-Deception Trap

large__5827143430I just read a quote from a man, Jack Deere “If I let out what I was feeling now, I might destroy the self I had worked so long and hard to build.”

Sometimes I can’t put everything I’m thinking into words. That sounds weird because we think in words. Right?

Not exactly, maybe I think in feelings? Not sure.

 

It’s really cool when I read an article or a book that explains exactly what I’m thinking but in words.

After reading the above quote the other day, I then read this article today:

Do You Have Spiritual Blind Spots?
http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-leadership/personal-character/20908-do-you-have-spiritual-blind-spots

He put it best “Spiritual Blind Spots”. We all have these self concepts. I enjoy hearing people describe themselves. Silently, I compare each description to the Word of God and what HE says they are.

You wouldn’t believe the things that we say about ourselves that were never meant for God’s children. And yet we not only accept them but we take ownership of them and brag about them.

Here are common examples. I’m sure you can add many more…

I Can’t

I don’t

I’m not good at…

I was born this way

My parent was this way

It’s just the way it is

That’s life

I’m not loved, or liked

I’m not fun

No one wants to be around me

My sickness/My disease is…

I can never catch a break

I’m not important

People would be better off if I wasn’t here

I’m no good

I’ve done too much wrong

I’m stupid

I deserve bad

Most people don’t say these things too often out loud. But if you listen real close you can hear how they perceive themselves.

Reality and perception are two very different things. Then to complicate it more, spiritual reality (what God says) is very different then physical reality (how we see things).

Here’s a quote “And lest you think I’m being judgmental, let me just say–I’m absolutely convinced that I have spiritual blind spots. I would tell you what they are…but I don’t know them! Sometimes my wife tries to point out my blind spots to me, but she’s always wrong about them–so I’m still not sure! Sometimes my closest staff tries to hint at what’s wrong but they never fully understand!” John Burke

HERE’S YOUR SIGN: He has a great list of signs you may have a self perception problem at the above link.

Now back to the first quote…the self we build…

Over time we build a “self”. It is a hollow shell. Every evil thing that ever befell us. That horrible tragedy, that hurtful word, that terrible experience that we pushed into a very deep, dark part of our “selves”. That part we never talk about because it brings back bad memories or feelings. Since we don’t like to cry because that could make us seem weak, we just grin and bear it. Like it never happened. But it did. Now what.

There is only one solution. Let God deal with it. Yes, as abstract an answer that is it really works.

Let it out, stop pushing it down when it rises up within you. Tell God about it like you are telling your closest friend your deepest, darkest secrets. Let out the cry, let out the yell. Forgive people that did it. Forgive yourself. Repent if needed. And let him heal your wounds.

It’s amazing the scars we carry and we were never intended to. But we believe the lies we tell ourselves. We are a prisoner of our own device when we hold onto it and call it “mine”.

This blog is part of a ministry that helps people with these problems. You are not alone. There is help.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I can’t do it by myself anymore. I give it to you. Shine your truth into my hurt and pain. Show me your ways. I ask you to heal this wound and tell me your truth about this situation. In Jesus name, Amen

Today, it’s time to start…

Here are some past posts that could help you take this further.

Thoughts Reveal Your Heart

Lesson: Identity 

Identity Theft

 

 

photo credit: ABBones via photopin cc

photo credit: ABBones via photopin cc

Is there a devil?

square_4975537676There are 2 approaches prevalent in today’s society regarding a spiritual enemy

1. Ignore the possibility of an enemy-the devil

2. Blame everything on the devil.

2 Cor 2:11  …so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

Eph 6:12 We do not struggle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms

Ignore the possibility of the devil:

This results in detrimental self-criticism that was not intended for you to carry

The first approach usually results in a life of self-condemnation and unforgiveness which is expressed in thoughts of self-loathing: I’m not good enough, I’m a terrible person, I can’t do anything right, I’m not strong enough or my personal favorite “I can’t…”. The other result is toward others. It consists of attitudes of easily hurt by others, holding onto hurts and wounds for years and deep bitterness. When we ignore the works of the devil we take on his temptations and thoughts he is responsible for as our own and see no way out. Depression, anxiety, and difficult relationships are then common.

I’ve heard Christians say “I don’t want to give the devil too much power in my life by acknowledging him.” Or the are just scared to admit there is an unseen but very real enemy attacking them.

The other camp blames everything on the devil:

The devil made me do it is not a valid excuse. This approach can result in an attitude of no responsibility for anything which is equally as dangerous. We do have a will and a choice to make right decisions. People who blame someone else and never take responsibility for their own actions are not only exasperating to everyone around them but find themselves in big messes and walk around with a sense of entitlement. This creates a cycle of take, excuse, hurt, and become blinded by their own excuses.

But there is a flip side to this type of approach. People that see a devil behind every tree. This is dangerous because while we must be aware of our enemy we cannot attribute every behavior and action to him. That is giving him too much credit.

There is a biblical happy medium.

Here’s a list of things you need to know about your enemy

  1. He wants to keep you from knowing Jesus and the life, truth and freedom Jesus brings

2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world (devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.

  1. He wants to keep you from being effective in the Kingdom of God once you accept Jesus

Keeping you too busy, too tired, too broke, too self absorbed, too involved in anything but God’s work. So he can’t take you to hell now, but he sure can keep you from taking anyone to Heaven.

  1. He is relentless

He will keep working on that same sore place. He never stops 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking who he may devour.

  1. He is pure evil, there is nothing good about him, he cannot do good in any way; John 8:44 …there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it.
  2. He often disguises the lie with a little truth and when we believe the lies we give him more power in our lives Matthew 4:2-11, Jesus tempted by the devil. The devil tempted him with truth that was tainted with deceit.
  3. He is powerful but is a defeated foe only by Jesus Christ. Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
  4. He wants to destroy you and your family and will do so by any means necessary
  5. His work can be detected by reading the Bible and praying for God to show you
  6. It’s a gilded cage-looks good on the outside but the results are extreme bondage
  7. Some of his work is disguised as your own thoughts because people don’ t realize thoughts can come from God, the devil, or your flesh.

I’m sure some of you Bible scholars can add a few more.

If you were a general of an army and were about to go to battle against your enemy wouldn’t it be wise to learn as much about the enemy and his schemes and strategy as possible?

That’s what the Bible does. God gave us knowledge to read and study. He also gave us weapons.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds

And read Ephesians chapter 6.

We must not be ignorant of the devils schemes and how he easily entangles us. We must search out the scriptures for God’s truth. You can live a life victorious here on earth. But you must be aware and be in prayer.

 

 

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photo credit: KayVee.INC via photopin cc

Why We Don’t See Miracles

miracles still happenI hear people asking “Where is God?” “Why don’t we see miracles anymore?” “Why isn’t God doing something here?”

3 Reasons:

1. New wine and old wineskins don’t mix

Matthew 9:17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

The religious leaders of Jesus’ time would not yield their mindsets to the way God was doing things. It didn’t fit in their little ‘god box’.

 

 

We all have preconceptions of what a miracle or “move of God” should look like, sound like or act like. Those preconceptions are often MIS-conceptions. When something doesn’t fit our preconceived notion we automatically file it away as “the devil did it” or “it’s just an act”.

Truth is that God’s ways are higher than are ways, and His understanding is much higher than ours. Just because we haven’t seen it before doesn’t mean that it’s not God. Actually, many of the manifestations of the Spirit that happen today in revival services are spoken of in the Old and New Testament

Habakkuk 3:16a I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror.

People fell down on the ground, people were healed, devils cast out, people spoke in other tongues–read about all the things Jesus did and he said greater things would we do, and read in Acts of all the miracles, signs and wonders that God did through believers.

You will not get new revelation and experience God with old, tradition, or religion mindsets.

What preconceptions do you have that prevent the works of faith to manifest in your life?

2. We don’t ask and we don’t expect the miraculous

Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer

We should ask in faith believing. We don’t ask because we are afraid God won’t answer us. That fear is not from God. Fear is the opposite of faith. Start asking in prayer. God does hear you. Read James 4 and 5 and Matthew.

3. Apathy

It’s easier to read about miracles in the Bible than to actually DO anything that would perhaps allow God to work miracles in our lives.

I guarantee there are more miracles happening than we realize everyday. However, few people in today’s churches have seen blind eyes open or the cripple walk.

It’s easier to explain them away as “that was for Jesus and the Apostles” . What a lie from hell!

God has not changed and Jesus said greater things would we do. And the promise of the Holy Spirit is for all people including future generations. Multitudes have been miraculously healed or had finances provided by God.

We cannot bring God down to our experiences. We must choose to pursue God with all we have in faith believing that He is more powerful, loving and real than we realize.

 

UnComfortable Christianity?

is 61 1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1 (NIV Bible Hub)

I usually cry when I read this. My heart is so stirred for the hurting people both in the church and in the world. But being stirred is not enough.

What do I do?

Searching for people, books, blogs, etc that possibly put into words my inner turmoil has consumed my time lately.

The book Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker, put much of what is happening in my spirit, (or rather between me and The Holy Spirit) into perspective. book interrupted

 

First, as I read pg 14, I was shocked that someone else is having a similar experience. The question looming over my head lately is “Do I really love Jesus?” “If so, what does LOVE JESUS look like, act like, sound like?”

The institutionalized religion of Christianity has me somewhat bumfuzzled. I’ve been raised in it. I speak it’s language. I pray the prayers. I shake hands the right way. I know the nods. I know all the songs (old hymns and new worship). I am even “spirit filled” which means I raise my hands and move when I pray and sing too!

However, I can’t remember the last time I led a sinner to Christ. I feed the hungry “spiritually”. I’m a teacher, a prayer warrior, mentor…

We feed many people at our house in the name of fellowship but they can all feed themselves just fine. We enjoy their company.

I never took blankets to the homeless or visited prisoners.

The scripture “feed my sheep” is repeated in my spirit…

John 21:17  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

A lightbulb came on in my head. I don’t get to choose which parts of the command I fulfill  in Isaiah 61, John 21:17, and …

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35

I don’t get to choose to do those acts of love and service that I want to do or like to do. I shouldn’t refuse to do some acts of service because I don’t like doing them and they make me feel uncomfortable.

In my life I chose teaching as the preferred method of “feeding the sheep” I even occasionally preach and desire to preach and teach more. My preferred method is not God’s desire for me…or so I am beginning to comprehend.

I must serve people that no one else wants to serve for starters.

I am uncomfortable in modern Christianity.

Are you willing to be uncomfortable with the status quo of institutionalized religion that has forgotten how to love the unloveble, the poor, the broken, the imperfect?

Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

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