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.