Sharing in the Victory Over Evil

The Cross Breaks Bondages, Over Every Circumstance, Every Failure, and Every Loss. Photo credit: tmewcf.org

The Cross Breaks Bondages, over Every Circumstance, Every Failure, and Every Loss. Photo credit: tmewcf.org

Sharing in the Victory Over Evil

 

For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4 NIV

 

Lord Jesus,

You are the victor over evil

Forgive me for believing Satan’s exhibit was the last chapter

Forgive me for seeing Satan’s bondage more than your ability to break the bondage

You use every circumstance, every failure, and every loss

for your glory

for his purposes

for your victory plan

Because I couldn’t see it, I stopped hoping

I choose to hope again

To wait in hope for your salvation

salvation for the people involved

salvation of these circumstances to be consecrated to your purposes

salvation of my believing in your goodness even in this situation

 

My focus shall rest solely on you

My heart believes in your good intentions for me

Your purposes bring forth your glory

My whole being trusts that your purposes will prevail at the appointed time

My mind remembers your mighty deeds

My spirit rests in your holy loving nature

Now send forth your strength to this weary soldier

Your joy is my strength, I praise you continually for what you are doing in this situation

 

I lift up my voice in song

I believe in your victory over all

Thank you for sharing your victory

You reign on high

You are not moved

Your glory is eternal

 

 


Criticism Breeds Accusations

Accusations Breed Criticism. Repent, and Move Forward with Blessing

Accusations Breed Criticism. Repent, and Move Forward with Blessing

Does it feel like people have a lot of negative things to say about you? Accusations can stem from criticism. One way to make the accusations stop is to repent over any criticism that we have said.  Then move forward without any further criticism. Forgive and bless as we go.

I grew up in a critical home.  My parents believed they observed good or bad behavior.  Every action defined me a good girl or a bad girl.  In college, I learned psychologists basically believe people are good, with “bad” behavior points that could be corrected.

Spiritually, churches teach that people can be “saved” and then “redeemed.” This is good news. Salvation happens with a decision.  However, the redeeming process, known as sanctification, occurs over many years.  Our willingness to be taught determines the progress.

Some accusations miss the mark.  I may know what they’re trying to accuse me of, but it simply isn’t true.  A family member repeatedly may accuse me of being sarcastic. And I have had a lot of sarcastic comments to repent over.  However, the Lord has really worked on this with me and there has been drastic improvement.  This family member hasn’t been around to notice the change in the last 20 years.  So the accusation comes from him solely, and no  longer rings true.  Other accusations carry truth.  I bring them all to God for sorting.  I want to address them all.  With God, there is order and pace and progress.  The Holy Spirit leads the way and offers supernatural help.  He is gentle and patient as I learn to walk in new ways.

Repenting for my criticism is the start point for change.  In addition to criticism, all grumbling, complaining, bragging and flattering needs to go.  The Bible outlines how to speak.  From Jude 16-21, “There are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts, and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts…But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

As we cease criticizing, we pivot forward to build our faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, and operate in the love and mercy of Jesus.  From here, the accusations have no place to land.


Broken Spirits Become Stronger Saints

God Makes Art from our Broken Pots. Photo:  https://www.pinterest.com/pengiunv/broken-pots/

God Makes Art from our Broken Pots. Photo:
https://www.pinterest.com/pengiunv/broken-pots/

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17 ESV

Salvation starts with our broken spirit over our sin before a holy God.  We know we need Jesus’s blood appropriated to our sins.  We ask. We receive.  And we start a whole new life as a Christian.

We soon learn salvation is the start point for the ongoing part of sanctification.  A broken spirit before God is not a one-time experience.  We see another part of ourselves that doesn’t line up with God’s purposes and we repent over this newly revealed sin or sin pattern.  We ask God to break this sin off of us.  He does and then we progress forward in our walk.  All the while, God is breaking us from sins and sin patterns.  What starts to emerge is the person God is shaping.  We increasingly align with His ways.  Then we align with His purposes.  We become the person God can use in the destiny He has ordained for us from the beginning of time.

 

There is such a thing as the breaker anointing.  We want this when we need to break through into a new pattern, or a new season, or a new path for our lives.  Often we see that God has been breaking things off, or in, a person for this new step forward.

 

I come from a very self-driven and self-motivated operational style point.  People use these terms on resumes.  I operated like this before I even knew the term.  Sometimes, my fellow high school students failed to do their part in group projects. So I decided to do the extra work to get the “A.”  I really wanted the grade, so I wasn’t going to depend on mediocrity.  If people couldn’t be relied upon to transport me to practice when I needed to be there, I found other ways to arrange to be there.  In the business world, I would get projects done that other people said couldn’t happen.  They were surpised. Yet, the projects happened.

This all worked well for me until the Lord started to break this independent spirit.  He calls us into unity.  He calls us into relationship with other people.  I was surprised to learn that it wasn’t always about the merits of the project.  It started to be about the people on the project.  It was my time to learn to work with all types of people.  I had to learn how to be vulnerable when it hadn’t been safe to be so in the past. They had to work with me and my flaws.  I had to learn how to trust different styles and personalities.  My attitudes and style points started to crack open.  I had to learn how to work with many various strengths and weaknesses. This took more time.  It took more energy.  It took new communication skills. I learned the importance of spoken and unspoken dialogues to get a team on board with common objectives.  I had to learn how to develop honor for all people.  I had to learn how to prioritize differently and accommodate for people’s life issues.  The goals for projects included people dimensions I had never bothered to consider before.

Part of this is maturity and growing up.  True.  But part of this is breaking my spirit to care and work with all kinds of people. The Lord and I had a side dialogue going on concurrently.  He pointed out spiritual truths from scriptures that He would show me at just the right time in my devotions. Or I would tune into nuggets from sermons I just happened to hear.  God was making me a stronger saint by breaking my independent spirit.  I learned that God’s plan is to make us better together.

As we break bread together, and wash it down with the wine of communion, it might be a time to ask God what He wants to break in us.  As this breaks off, we wash it with the cleansing blood of forgiveness and sanctification. Communion is that time to allow God to do the work He wants to do in us.

What does God want to break in me to move forward as a stronger saint?


Healthy People Don’t Diet – and Other Secrets, Part 1

Diet Today, Feast Tomorow.  Don't Diet. Change the way you Eat. photo: sites.psu.edu

Diet Today, Feast Tomorow. Don’t Diet. Change the way you Eat. photo: sites.psu.edu

Isn’t it interesting what catches our eye and we find ourselves taking the time to read something we usually don’t make time for?  That happened to me the other day while reading a magazine trailer to order a year’s subscription. The Martha Stewart Living magazine offer highlighted a blog, recipes and decorating ideas as well as an article about health.  I flipped to the recipe section and opened to an article on “The Secrets of Healthy People.”  Lisa Haney wrote this wonderful article. I glanced at the first step and stopped flipping forward.

The first secret of healthy people is that they don’t diet.  Suddenly this article had my attention.  I get so amused at fad diets.  It takes more time to describe the diet and learn what’s allowed and what isn’t, that I could just grab a bunch of nuts for a snack and keep going till dinner. By doing this, I get ride of the hunger grumble, and stop thinking about food.  Diets that cause me to think about the subject of food for days and hours within the day are mind absorbing.  I can’t concentrate on anything else.  That’s ridiculous.  It’s all about finding other things to concentrate on and focus on and move forward with the day.

Sincere dieting friends of mine tried a diet that cut everything white out of their diet.  Really?  That’s a diet?  By eliminating a color?  It lasted several weeks and I think they did lose some weight.  Then they went back to their standard eating schedule, and they looked like the same friends I dearly love.

So healthy people don’t diet.  I believe this.  The article quotes, “Out of 10 people who have deliberately lost weight, five years later one of them will be thinner than when they started, four of them will be heavier, and five will be back to the same weight.”  This describes my observations.  It has to be more about a lifestyle shift.  And I believe that people who listen to their bodies have a better chance for success with dieting.  My body trended toward not wanting ice cream as a snack.  I enjoy a scoop now and then.  But I stopped buying ice cream to take home because the unfinished containers started getting freezer burn and I consistently threw them out.  My body just stopped craving it. I opted for other treats, most of which are healthier with time.

 

See Part Two of Healthy People Don’t Diet and Other Secrets


After the Breaking Point, Fixing it Together

Broken Windows Happen.  Try Fixing Them Together with God. photo credit: kevinspear.com

Broken Windows Happen. Try Fixing Them Together with God. photo credit: kevinspear.com

After something breaks, we have a choice. It could be a broken relationship, a  broken job, or a broken dream.  Something happens and it’s broken.  Now what?  How do we respond?

I heard a sermon recently where a boy came to his Dad in tears. The Dad asked, “Hey, what’s up, buddy?”

The boy answered, “I broke a window.”

The Dad is thinking, “I’m so glad it’s just a broken window.”

The boy was really upset though.  He continued, “That’s not the worst of it. I did it while I was disobeying Mom.  She told me not to play in the garage, and I did it anyway. The ball went through the window and broke it. I feel really awful.”

Ah ha.  Disobedience and a broken window.  The disobedience part was more painful than the actual damage.  This was the part that was breaking him on the inside.  He had a contrite heart.  He didn’t try to blame anyone.  He didn’t try to lie.  He didn’t try to hide it up. He simply called his Dad and told him everything because he didn’t know what to do.  Now it was the Dad’s turn to respond.  The Dad didn’t respond with yelling and screaming.

The Dad said, “I’m glad you told me what happened.  I’m glad you chose to tell the truth.  We’re going to have to deal with the disobedient part.  But together we’re going to fix this.”

That is the heart of Father God. He doesn’t gloss over the disobedience part.  There’s consequence coming.  But there’s also the place to share honestly.  There’s the place to fix the problem together.  The boy didn’t have to tell the father.  The boy could have chosen options that drove them apart.  But coming to the father brought them together.  It didn’t change the fact that there was a broken window that needed repair.  But it did make the Dad and boy a team.  Punishment had to be implemented.  But learning who to call and what to do to fix the broken window also was part of the learning curve.

Some people grow up in loving families and learn how to handle life’s broken windows.  Others of us have to unlearn old responses of denial and avoidance and fix it ourselves before anyone notices. We learned our family members were not our allies.  We forgive, but haven’t learned to trust again. God wants to be our heavenly father.  He stands ready to listen and teach.  He knows what to do.  He quietly says to us, “Together, we can fix this.” It is our choice to turn toward God and become a team.


Getting to Peace in the Kingdom of God

Photo: edwardsaquifer.org  Aquifers are geological formations containing ground water that supplies water for wells and springs.

Photo: edwardsaquifer.org
Aquifers are geological formations containing ground water that supply water for wells and springs.

What is it like to live in the Kingdom of God?  The Kingdom of God isn’t just about having a secure place to go after we die.  Many treat it like a heavenly insurance program.  The benefit program starts here on earth.  It starts now. In Romans 14:17, Paul outlines three major benefit categories.  He writes, “The kingdom of God is…righteous and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

The order of these three components matter.  They components build on each other.  The first component achieves right standing with God.  By becoming a member of the Kingdom of God, we have asked God to consider Jesus’ innocent blood as payment for our sins.  Jesus’ choice to make this available to us for all eternity still amazes me.

From this position of right standing before God, we can access His peace.  The peace of God bypasses all logical understanding.  His peace cannot logically be explained.  It’s the gift of confidence He gives.  He guarantees that He makes all things work together for our good and His glory.  This may not seem possible by looking at our circumstances.  Yet, by the very fact that God promises this, and through the stories of other people who have weathered horrific things, we come to believe that peace is possible.  We learn that His peace will take us beyond our feelings and our interpretation of events.  We start to learn and understand His kingly priorities.  We align our priorities with His priorities. This brings a living peace.

We gain more peace by studying God’s word in scripture and letting the promises therein become God’s guarantees for us.  To name a few…

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“My righteous right hand will uphold you” Isaiah 41:10

“You will rest in safety”  Psalm 16:9

“I will be with in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” Psalm 91:15

After peace, joy follows. Joy must not be confused with happiness.  Joy is the underlying confidence we gain from being members of the Kingdom of God.  No matter the circumstances, joy lives beneath our emotions like an aquifer level of water.  Joy lives beneath the surface of our emotional highs and lows to bring us a steady confidence of God’s commitment to redeem and to restore all things into order for those who call upon His name.

 


Establishing Hope with God’s Truth

The Cougar is comfortable and confident on the rock

The Cougar is comfortable and confident on the rock

Hope involves moving past our emotions.  We shift from being emotionally driven to truth driven.  If scripture says a thing, it can be depended upon.  For example, God promises to care for us into our old age. “Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4) It can hold our weight of faith.  When an emotion gets presented with a new truth, the emotion shifts.  Emotions can bend in a new direction after a conversation, a sermon, a dream.

Feelings of anger often stem from unforgiveness. There’s a root core belief, or conclusion from circumstances, or inherited attitude or decision or vow. In inner healing, these things can be addressed. As we give these matters over to God, He replaces them with a personal promise, or tool, or verse. Moving forward becomes a matter of trusting God’s character and His word. We can trust Him for His love, His peace and His joy – even in the midst of very difficult circumstances.

When God becomes our inner strength, hope is birthed. We nurture the truth of God’s strength as our strength in the middle of our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). Likewise, His light guides us through life’s journey, day by day (Psalm 48:14).  He goes before us to establish our steps. He leads.  He guides, He supports.  All the while, He is redeeming us, cleansing us, and renewing a steadfast sprit in us (Psalm 51:10 NKJV). These facts outweigh our emotions.  After we’ve been walking awhile, it becomes easier to see.  These facts become our truth. We have our own stories of how God did these things for us.

This process develops “established hope” in us. This is God’s goal for all His children. We ask to become more like Jesus. God takes this prayer request seriously. He’s begins to build a foundation of faith. Our hope levels rise as He does His work. We partner with God by believing what He’s said and standing on His word.  Daily we build on this foundation of trusting God’s truth over our emotions.  Each day adds to the building process and our hope increases.  Over time it becomes established fait


Choosing Joy This 2016 Christmas

We can Choose Joy this Christmas 2016. Photo image: negu.org

We can Choose Joy this Christmas 2016.
Photo image: negu.org

It’s the Christmas season 2016. We celebrate Christmas as the season of Joy.  “Joy to t he World,” as the hymn rings out.  For many, the season does bring joy.  For others, it brings heartache reminders of lost loved ones. Some cry because they don’t have the Hallmark Christmas they believe should be for everyone.

The truth is that none of us have families where it is “all as it should be,” as designed by God’s original design plan.  Nonetheless, I thank God for the good things, and there are many.  We live in a peaceful land.  I have a roof over my head and food on the table.  I am blessed with many wonderful friends and family members.  I do not take these lightly.

Even in good circumstances, people say hurtful things that cut to the heart.  This happened to me this week, and I found myself in the bathroom crying and feeling rotten.  I knew I couldn’t leave till I forgave that person.  I forgave them as an act of obedient.  It wasn’t how I felt.  But I know enough not to harbor any hurtful exchange, and to forgive the words, the moment, the misunderstanding of the heart.  I laid it down and asked God for a fresh heart to love this person and continue on. I had apologized for my part sincerely, and as best I knew how.  I had forgiven her for the things she had said that hurt me.  Now I had to wait for my friend to figure out what she would do.  I asked for comfort from the sting of the words.  He granted me this.  However, I felt raw and robbed of joy for the season.  Walking past the Christmas tree, I wanted to cry all over again.  I settled for sad.  I looked sad; I felt sad; I sounded sad.

At that point, God prompted me with an idea, “You could choose joy.”  Of course, I didn’t feel any joy at the moment.  I was about to reject the idea altogether.  He said, “You’ve forgiven her.  You know the friendship will continue.  You know there’s moments coming where you’ll laugh together again.  I’ve offered to take care of the issue and work on her heart. You know reconciliation is coming.  I know how you feel right now.  But you can choose to walk in the joy of forgiveness, and the joy of knowing there’s a new chapter coming.  You are invited to divinely exchange your sad feelings with the mantle of joy. You can consciously choice to be joyful…Now.” Really?

I knew the situation wasn’t able to give me joy right now.  But I could allow for the privilege to forgive and allow God to restore joy.  I could choose to focus on the other parts of the day, and the season, that were joy-worthy.  I could choose to stand in faith-filled confidence that we two friends would get to happiness together in each other’s company again.  I could choose to return to joy without losing the three days of sadness that it might take for this friend to respond to my voiemail, and revisit the accusation with a fresh set of eyes.  I could believe this would happen.  And meanwhile I could literally choose joy now.  It would not be based on the circumstances actually happening, yet. Rather, it was a choice based in confidence that God would restore the situation.

Choosing joy wasn’t a false pretense.  It didn’t circumvent my part of heart searching and getting to genuine repentance and forgiveness.  It wasn’t shoving the incident under the carpet where it would smell in three days.  It wasn’t burying the incident without processing.  It wasn’t pretending it had never happened.  Now it followed a genuine business meeting with Jesus laying out my flawed part of the exchange.  True repentance, forgiveness and willingness to move forward transpired before God.  He had heard and given his commitment to help.  Now it was time to proceed.  And it was his suggestion to “choose joy.”  Ephesians 5:2 says to “walk in love.”  Even when we don’t feel like it.  This time He spoke about joy.  I chose to put on a smile, allow Him to do what I could not do with my friend.  And pick up my lengthy “Things to To List” and move forward in JOY.  I told my face muscles to move from a scowl  into a smile.  I said, “All right.  Very funny God.”  Then I smiled again, and turned the corner from Sad Street to Pathway to Joy.

 

 

 


The Action Plan for Thanksgiving 2016

The Action Plan for Thanksgiving  2016

HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016 Photo: Happythanksgivingimagesz.com

Happy Thanksgiving 2016 Photo: Happythanksgivingimagesz.com

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Psalm 100 (NKJV)

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!

Serve the Lord with gladness

Come before His presence with singing.

Know that the LORD, He is God

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving

And into His courts with praise,

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name

For the Lord is good;

His mercy is everlasting

And His truth endures to all generations.”

Make a joyful shout.  Let us get our mouths in gear and Praise Him.  Say what we are thankful for. Start with Praise

Serve.    Let us find ways to serve the Lord.  Sometimes it’s just showing up to a difficult situation.  Sometimes, it’s finding a kitchen serving meals to the homeless.  Sometimes, it’s being inclusive by extending an invitation to join with another’s family.

Come before Him.  For some, this is easy and we can easily sing a song.  Others come to a Thanksgiving table and it’s the first time they’ve bowed their head for grace in a long time.  Coming before Him often requires us to face our stuff.  This little phrase might be difficult for some and we pray it is a literal time before God letting God do His cleansing work.  Find time to sing a song at some point during the day.

Know He is God Keep this knowledge that He is God who sits on the throne.  There is none before Him.  Because He has the whole world in His hands, we do not need to fear.  You may be the only one with this knowledge around the Thanksgiving table.  Let this knowledge permeate out of you (even silently) into the atmosphere all around.

God Made Us.  We did not have to make ourselves.  He did it.  He created each person with a unique gift package.  This truth doesn’t allow us to pretend we’re self-sufficient.  We need God and we need one another.  That’s God’s design plan.  Let us be thankful for the design plan God had in mind, no matter how far we or our family members have strayed.

Enter In  We can enter in to wherever we are at Thanksgiving with gratitude and thanksgiving in our hearts.  We enter His courts with praise.  The word courteous comes from the manner one was supposed to have in the “courts of the king.”  We can walk in a courteous fashion.  As kindness and courteousness goes out of vogue, the person who is courteous stands out like a welcome light in the dark world that craves approval and acceptance.

Bless God.  Giving God glory and credit for things that other people take for granted as just “nature” or “the way science is” can cause a person to recognize the Divine Creator behind the sunset or the changing seasons.

Truth Endures Let us be thankful that truth does endure to all generations.  Whether people admit certain truths or not, God is all about truth and what is true, lasts forever.  Let us be the reminders that God is good (so many forget this if they don’t like their circumstances.)  Let us rely on His mercy and loving kindness.  This is the truth of God’s character that last throughout the generations.  Let us look for the threads of His mercy in our families from generation to generation.

Operating in the Love of God and the Patience of Christ

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT)

 We may need the patience of Christ with some of our families.  Let the Lord provide this and show us how to express the love of God.

Let us Hold our Victory Place in the Journey with God.

This post was originally written for www.SiliconValleyHealingRooms.com


Prayers for the Parched: God Never Fails

God Never Fails Us Hebrews 13:5.  Photo credit www.toluakinyemi.com

God Never Fails Us Hebrews 13:5. Photo credit www.toluakinyemi.com

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged. And confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me. Hebrews 13:5-6 AMP

This prayer is particularly helpful on those days that seem overwhelming.  That’s when it’s time to bring to mind the sustaining verses. It’s time to refresh our minds with what the Bible says in the face of what our business associates say, our family members say, our media says, or what our friends say.  It’s time to focus on what the Bible says about us. It’s time to remember his commitment to us and his perspective on our lives.

My Bible says…

God will not fail me

God will not give me up

God will not leave me without support

God will not leave me helpless

God will not forsake me

God will not let me down

God will not relax his hold on me

Because…

He is my helper

I will not be seized with alarm

I will not fear

I will not dread

I will not be terrified

So therefore…

I take comfort

I am encouraged

I am confident

I am bold in Jesus