#1 Most Under-used Spiritual Weapon that you need right now

forgivenesThis is a weapon every Christian must use to fight the enemy of your soul. Not using it leaves you open to resentment, bitterness and anger that magnifies emotional scars and wounds. It divides and harms relationships.

Using this one weapon sets us free from the pain the enemy inflicts upon us. It is also a weapon of obedience.

It is a not-used-often-enough weapon. In fact, many don’t think of it as a weapon. A duty at most. But it is a weapon of mass destruction to the enemy’s camp. Satan fears this weapon more than you can imagine. It is part of a two-prong sword:  Forgiveness and repentance – go together to set us free from spiritual bondage in our life.

Forgiveness is key!

How does it work?

Jesus talked about forgiveness frequently. It’s in the “Lord’s Prayer”. It is the topic of many parables.

My favorite is in Luke 17.

Luke 17:4 Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times returns to say, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord answered, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.…

Forgiveness is an act of faith that releases Jesus Christ’s healing and restoration to your life. Forgiveness means to let go, or release. When you do this you let go of the right for vindication and  judgement on the other person. You release that person and that situation into God’s capable hands. He takes on your cause. Then he gives you healing in your heart in return.

What happens if you don’t forgive?

bitterness

 

 

Choosing NOT to forgive is a seed. That seed of unforgiveness becomes like a root in your life. That seed grows and is fed with resentment and anger. Once it is fully grown it becomes a root of unforgiveness with branches that produce hurt, pain, bitterness, resentment, anger, judgement, etc. The fruit of a bitter root is poison to your relationships. Even people that were unattached to the situation or person are prey to that poison. It affects your thoughts about yourself and others. The Bible say s it “defiles many”.

You may not realize it. We push the painful memories way down, lock it away and throw away the key. It doesn’t stay forgotten and it doesn’t stay hidden. We just grow accustom to the pain. We justify the unforgiveness. We tell ourselves it’s just a part of life, or they don’t deserve to be forgiven, it was a long time ago, don’t be a wimp about it…. and many other excuses not to deal with it.

Truth is it takes an act of your free will and a declaration from your mouth to apply forgiveness and receive the benefits Jesus gave His life for. 

There’s a reason Jesus compared unforgiveness in Luke 17 to the roots of a Mulberry Tree. It has very deep roots.

Forgiveness is an act of obedience to our Heavenly Father. He commands us to forgive. Jesus gave us an example of how God feels about it when we don’t forgive in Matthew 18:21-35. Hint: he doesn’t like it.

32Then the master summoned him and declared, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave all your debt because you begged me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?’ 34In his anger, his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should repay all that he owed.…

How can we think we are better than anyone else in the entire world and history of mankind that we can ask for forgiveness of our sins and wrongs but hold sins and wrongs of another person against them?

It is not wise to think we should have that power. I’m glad God didn’t give me the power of who gets forgiveness and who doesn’t. This world would be even more messed up!!

So we know why it’s important, what it does and why we should do it. Now, HOW do you forgive?

It’s not complicated but 3 things are very important:

  1. Declare it out loud with your mouth
  2. Say it with faith in Jesus that He is the great forgiver and healer
  3. Listen to the Holy Spirit and receive what God wants to do in your life to heal you.

Great example of a Forgiveness prayer:

Heavenly Father, I choose of my own free will to forgive _______________(insert the person’s name) for hurting me by ________________(insert what the person did to you and it made you feel). I release and let it go to you. Holy Spirit come and heal my heart of all this pain and heal the pain in the memories. Come and tell me your truth about this situation. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Then Listen.

If you begin to have thoughts about another painful memory, that’s ok, it is God bringing up things that need forgiveness. Pray this prayer for each painful memory. That is God’s way of cleaning up the mess and yanking the bitter roots out.

If you are struggling to forgive read this previous post Can you forgive when the person that hurt you will never say “I’m sorry”?

Be blessed today as you go on your journey to living a forgiving lifestyle!

 

***BibleHub is my website of choice to look up Bible verses! All verses posted on this site come from here. Happy studying!

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Are you Happy in your Marriage?

This information should be shared. We hear too many negative statistics about marriage that divorce seems inevitable. It is not! It is possible to be happily married. It is possible to salvage a marriage. The RespectedHusband and his counterpart, the RespectfulWife are two great resources for spouses to learn how to love and respect each other. Love is a choice! Respect is a choice! You can learn to love and receive love. You can learn to respect in a way your spouse will receive it and you will feel respected as well. These two blogs are very helpful. The premise of “fixing” any marriage is to first work on what you are doing, thinking, saying, behaving…and lining all of you up with the Word of God…then you will find joy and peace. Then you will find your willingness to work on your marriage and your ability to effect positive change in your marriage will happen! God Bless!

The Respected Husband

happy in marriage

At the start of the year, my wife asked me if I thought the last year was our best year ever.

I thought for a minute and then I said, “No, I wouldn’t say that.”

She returned with, “Why would you say that?  We have a ton of things to be thankful for.”

I said, “I guess I just thought about that we had this issue with my health, this one with the kids’ health, another relative’s health, a couple of career issues that didn’t work out the way I would have liked, and some issues with the vehicles.”

I don’t consider myself to be pessimistic by nature but I realized that I had been letting the negative things get in my way.  They were holding me back and causing me to lose focus on some of the great things that had happened in my marriage, my family, and in…

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Who Is Jesus?

thCADDK0F2Four Views on who Jesus is from the Book of Mark

Truthfully, we all have ideas of who Jesus is to us. Each person has an understanding of some sort. But is that idea truly based on scripture? Could be tainted a little by any incorrect mindsets?

1. Is He too familiar?

His Family saw him as an embarrassment.

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

I live in the Bible belt. Recently, a new youth pastor started at our church. While he was preaching he made a comment about speaking to several people around town and all of them saying “I’m a Christian”. He said everyone he talked to was a professing Christian. Yet he made this point “if everyone was a Christian in this town, the churches would be full”.

In another scripture Jesus said

57, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

As humans we have a tendency to give less reverence to those to whom we become very familiar. The profession of faith doesn’t have works behind it. Many people are knowledgeable about Jesus but have little faith because they only think they “know” Jesus.

The truth is that if you really know Jesus your life will change.

If you really love Jesus you will not be embarrassed to talk about him and serve him.

2. Does Jesus measure up to your religion?

The pharisees had a problem with Jesus. He turned all their religion on its head. All their rules and traditions were in direct conflict with Jesus’ actions.

They chose not to accept him. Instead they accused him, blamed him and ignored his warnings.

Do you choose tradition and religion over Jesus? Does any of your thoughts or actions cause you to pick and choose parts of Jesus’ teaching but not take all of it?

3. Is Jesus only a man?

When you choose to believe that Jesus was a man but also more than just a man your life will forever be affected. That is when true devotion begins and His words become life. And more than life because His directives, commandments and words have power. They are not just words of a man but of God. They are not suggestions. And if they are of God then we must believe them and do what He says.

We must understand that He is also deity. The one and only son of God that died for the sins of every person.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.…

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We can’t pick and choose which words in the Bible we believe and live by we must equally believe and follow each one.

4. Does guilt cloud your view?

King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist. But King Herod never changed his ways and eventually beheaded John. He didn’t really want to do it. Read the story here.

Later, when King Herod heard about Jesus and all the miracles, he supposed it was John come back to life. He could not see who Jesus truly was and allow his life to be affected because of his guilt.

Many people don’t come to Jesus for similar reasons “I’m not good enough”, “When I get my life cleaned up then I will”, “I’ve done too many things to be forgiven”.

So who is He?

He died and came back to life. he did multitudes of miracles that could not be recorded there were so many. He is compassionate. He loves.

Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?”

Peter responded “You are the Christ”.

That is way more than we understand from an American viewpoint.

That is saying so much. He is the Savior of the world. The son of God. The lamb of God. The Lion of Judah.

The centurion said “surely this is the Son of God”

At the transfiguration God said “This is my son. Listen to Him”.

 

Who Is Jesus?

thCADDK0F2Four Views on who Jesus is from the Book of Mark

Truthfully, we all have ideas of who Jesus is to us. Each person has an understanding of some sort. But is that idea truly based on scripture? Could be tainted a little by any incorrect mindsets?

1. Is He too familiar?

His Family saw him as an embarrassment.

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

I live in the Bible belt. Recently, a new youth pastor started at our church. While he was preaching he made a comment about speaking to several people around town and all of them saying “I’m a Christian”. He said everyone he talked to was a professing Christian. Yet he made this point “if everyone was a Christian in this town, the churches would be full”.

In another scripture Jesus said

57, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

As humans we have a tendency to give less reverence to those to whom we become very familiar. The profession of faith doesn’t have works behind it. Many people are knowledgeable about Jesus but have little faith because they only think they “know” Jesus.

The truth is that if you really know Jesus your life will change.

If you really love Jesus you will not be embarrassed to talk about him and serve him.

2. Does Jesus measure up to your religion?

The pharisees had a problem with Jesus. He turned all their religion on its head. All their rules and traditions were in direct conflict with Jesus’ actions.

They chose not to accept him. Instead they accused him, blamed him and ignored his warnings.

Do you choose tradition and religion over Jesus? Does any of your thoughts or actions cause you to pick and choose parts of Jesus’ teaching but not take all of it?

3. Is Jesus only a man?

When you choose to believe that Jesus was a man but also more than just a man your life will forever be affected. That is when true devotion begins and His words become life. And more than life because His directives, commandments and words have power. They are not just words of a man but of God. They are not suggestions. And if they are of God then we must believe them and do what He says.

We must understand that He is also deity. The one and only son of God that died for the sins of every person.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.…

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We can’t pick and choose which words in the Bible we believe and live by we must equally believe and follow each one.

4. Does guilt cloud your view?

King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist. But King Herod never changed his ways and eventually beheaded John. He didn’t really want to do it. Read the story here.

Later, when King Herod heard about Jesus and all the miracles, he supposed it was John come back to life. He could not see who Jesus truly was and allow his life to be affected because of his guilt.

Many people don’t come to Jesus for similar reasons “I’m not good enough”, “When I get my life cleaned up then I will”, “I’ve done too many things to be forgiven”.

So who is He?

He died and came back to life. he did multitudes of miracles that could not be recorded there were so many. He is compassionate. He loves.

Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?”

Peter responded “You are the Christ”.

That is way more than we understand from an American viewpoint.

That is saying so much. He is the Savior of the world. The son of God. The lamb of God. The Lion of Judah.

The centurion said “surely this is the Son of God”

At the transfiguration God said “This is my son. Listen to Him”.

 

Living by Faith-Part 4

large-blank-tombstone-md

Acting on our faith is the true test.

That is the moment when we move from doubt to faith.

You can’t have faith without action.

The last three in this Faith series walked us through the steps of faith. First, we ask, then we believe, then doubt seems to always come next. But, we get to make a decision to continue in doubt or cross the bridge into action. Just as a runner must pick up one foot and take the first step so is the first step to action toward faith. You don’t know until you try.

Rom 8:6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that  comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].

 

We have a choice to walk by the flesh (our own sense and reason that can be faulty and emotions that can be affected easily) or walk by the Spirit (God’s wisdom and statutes). That choice is what leads us from doubt to faith. God said “my ways are higher than your ways”. We cannot begin to understand life and all that is in it to the extent that God does. Our finite minds only  comprehend in part. The world’s wisdom is many times contrary to God’s knowledge and wisdom. God’s logic may not always make sense but he made everything and set the laws of the universe in motion. He can do whatever He wants. I would rather follow Him and His ways.

How to Act in Faith

1. What we say is important.

Faith can be shut down by what we say. Our speech has to line up with what we believe or what we really believe will come out.

2 Cor 4:13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,

What do you really believe? It is evidenced in your words. What do you speak?

“I can never get ahead, something always happens”

“Murphys law, story of my life”

” If I were better I could”

“I can’t do that”

Griping, complaining,and talking negative nullifies our faith. It squashes  it. Have you ever heard someone talk about a situation in their life and how they are believing for a miracle and then in the very next sentence complain, gripe and or even blame someone or themselves?

Disciplining your tongue is the first step in taking action and walking in faith.  What we say can cage us or set us free.

2. Speak what God says

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Power comes from God’s word because His word is spoken power and authority.

Find scriptures that speak to your circumstance and pray it and declare it.

3. What you say will determine what you do

Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

I have heard people refer to the power of confession. What you continually profess will affect your actions, your thoughts and eventually where you go.

4. The tongue directs where you go

This list is pretty simple. It’s all about the tongue. Discipline your mouth and speak what God says and you are already walking in faith and in power.

As humans we don’t understand faith. I believe God knows that and gave us a practical guide to follow called the Bible. It is very clear and the wisdom is meant for us to study and use as our weapon in life to overcome things that weight us down, bind us or weaken us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that is power and has all authority to break things that bind us, to loose power in our lives and to set us free. Thank you that you meet every need. Show us your wisdom. Lead us by your Spirit. Teach us your ways. Give us strength and wisdom to discipline our tongue. Amen.

 *adapted from Pastor Shane Warren from First Assembly of God, West Monroe, LA

You can get his entire series on faith from his website I highly recommend it.

http://firstassemblywm.org/author/pastorshane/

Living by Faith Part 3-Doubt

covered bridgeNo one is above the effects of doubt. It happens to everyone.

It seems just as we are going strong in faith, boom, it happens-hit square in the eye with none other than doubt. You can beat yourself up for doubting or it can be a catapult to your faith to send you flying through to action. But that is just it, it’s a choice to get past doubt.

The same way you make a choice to get out of bed in the morning. The same way you choose to put on shoes. It’s a choice. You can let doubt sit there and weigh it out or you can move past doubt into action.

Legends of Faith Still Doubt

If you struggle with doubt you are in good company. Great faith and little faith can exist in the same person.

Elijah did. After he called down fire from heaven that completely lapped up the sacrifice and the water around the altar. He ran away from Jezebel afraid for his life.

1 Kings 19:3 And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” 

Peter did. After Jesus was taken, Peter denied knowing Jesus.

John 18:25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Just two examples of great men of faith who struggled with doubt. The key is to not let that be the end. Keep going. Keep praying. Keep moving past that bridge of doubt till you get to the other side.

Doubt wasn’t the end of the story

Acts 2:29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

Here Peter preached to thousands of people. In front of everyone including some of the people, I’m sure, heard him speaking about Jesus, even those that heard him deny knowing Jesus. His faith was strengthened and he made a decision to move on.

Don’t get down and out because you doubt. Consider doubt as a challenge to your faith that allows you to excerise your faith and make it stronger. Now you can make that choice to keep believing.

Why do we believe that God created the world with His Word but we struggle to believe His Word where it says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” or “I am the head and not the tail” or that “I am blessed”.

It’s all true.

There is nothing in God’s word that is not true…including the part about what God will do for you, His love for you, what He will do through you or the work He has equipped you to do.

The question is…IS your faith in the faithful One? God is faithful. He does not change. He does not waver. When your faith may seem week remember WHO your faith is in.

Heavenly Father, thank you that your Word is true forever. Thank you that you are increasing the faith of those as they read this post. Thank you that you are revealing truth to their hearts and speaking wisdom to them in their current situation. Father, bless everyone that reads this post. Give them revelation of your presence and your amazing love. Touch the hearts of the people. You said ask for faith, we are asking for greater faith. We are asking for more of you in our lives. More of your presence and more of your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Living By Faith-Part 2

miracles still happenFaith does not ignore facts. Faith is a choice to believe that what God says is more true than any doctor report, financial statement, or emotion.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.

Faith faces the facts head on but still knows that God is on the throne and able and willing to meet every need. Believing is the stage after asking that we verbally declare our faith.

Believing is a choice. The key is – who is the subject of your belief. You believe everyday. When you sit in a chair you had faith the chair would hold you. When you flipped the light switch you had faith the light would turn on. The subject of your belief- who or what- you believe in is the key. I choose to put my faith in the one that created the universe and everything in it. I don’t place my faith in the stars but the one who created the stars.

Stages of Faith:

1. Asking

2. Believing

3. Doubt

4. Acting

2. Believe-

Sometimes this is the hard part. The more you read the Bible and hang out with other believers and hear testimonies of the great things God has done, your faith will be strengthened. You will find it easier to “believe”. I found that reading books about the life of missionaries is very helpful. In Part 1 I shared such a book by Huldah Buntain.

It’s time we take God out of the box we place Him in – we believe he can ONLY do this or that…only the things we can imagine or have heard. Start believing for great things. God is bigger than our imaginations.

Mark 9:23 (GW)  Jesus said to him, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.”

Mark 11:23-24 (GW)  I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn’t doubt but believes what he says will happen: He can say to this mountain, ‘Be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it will be done for him. 24  That’s why I tell you to have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for, and it will be yours.

Faith is a choice just like love is a choice. You choose to believe. If you wait on emotions and feelings to catapult you into great faith you may never see miracles. But if you choose to believe and then begin to walk it out, you just released faith in your life.

Practical Application

1. Find scriptures in the Bible that speak to your situation. If you need healing find scriptures on that. If you need peace find scriptures on peace.

2. Place your name in that scripture and pray it over you (or a person or situation).

Psalms 103:2 Praise the Lord, my soul,and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

Now make it personal….

Praise the Lord, my soul, I will not forget his benefits. Lord you forgive all my sin and heal my diseases.

I pray Psalms 91 over myself or my fiends or family all the time.

This is a powerful scripture (actually, all of them are)

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling,10 no harm will overtake (me) you,no disaster will come near (my) your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning (me) you to guard (me) you in all (my) your ways; 12 they will lift (me) you up in their hands, so that (I) you will not strike (my) your foot against a stone. 13 (I) You will  tread on the lion and the cobra; (I) you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

(Psalms 41:3 is a good  scripture on healing also)

3. Pray scriptures over your situation as often as you think about it. When you worry or feel anxious, pray those scriptures. This is how you stand in faith…believing. This is how you combat fear, worry or anxiety. Keep renewing your mind in the Word of God by praying the scriptures.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the measure of faith. Guide me to scriptures that I need. Make your Word come alive to me and show me how to apply to my life. Give me wisdom how to apply your Word and live by it. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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