James 1:12 says “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Right now, let us ask God to help us understand this persevering thing, which is to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty. “God help me understand how to recognize and overcome temptation. To embrace Your truth in my life. Reveal to me the spiritual tools necessary to defeat the attacks of the enemy. Amen”
Temptation is defined as “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” Well, that is definitely clear enough…so how do we fight temptation?
Temptation is a prelude to sin, how we react and who we call on for help makes all the different in the world. There is a pattern to temptation, how it gets our attention and then puts evil desire into our mind. This evil desire turns into sin. Sin is an action word the dictionary says it is a noun, but to me a verb is a better definition. A verb is defined as “a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence” see where I am going? Sin has movement and it starts with a thought, our mind dwells on the temptation until we can no longer resist. Temptation is often a short cut, an escape, or a desire to get revenge. Many times, our genuine desire to be accepted and loved creates an unhealthy temptation to feel pleasure which leads to sin.
God gave us a hunger and thirst to have a personal relationship with Him, Satan corrupted that hunger and thirst into a “shortcut”, this is how Adam and Eve were deceived, the garden was not enough…they wanted more…to be more like God. They did not understand that they already were “made in His image” the closest and most highly cherished by God. In this deception temptation was born.
The first thing you need to understand that no one escapes temptation. Temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you. In John 10:10 God warns us “The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy”. We cannot stop there we need to continue to the end of the scripture because freedom is found in those next few words, “ I (Jesus) came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Today, I want to help you and I tune up our skills of recognizing temptation and then stop it dead in its tracks…reaching out to Jesus who is the great Overcomer.
God knew temptation would be part of our life, our ability to resist would need His help, the help of a Savior. So, God turned temptation into an opportunity. God wants us to see temptation as a stepping stone to spiritual maturity, not as something that keeps you captive. Many times we think temptation starts in our circumstances, in fact, it starts in our mind. Many times the circumstance or better said consequence comes later. God warns us in His word several times, here in Mark 7:21-23 we clearly see, “For from within, that is out the heart (mind) of men, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment). All these evil things, schemes and desires come from within and defile and dishonor the man.”
Satan uses doubt and deception to raise up temptation in your mind. He has studied you, your emotions, your body language, and he is very clever. Satan twists our human nature which is to control, compete and win into wrong thinking or sinful action. The Bible says he is the “father of lies” John 4:44, he simply changes God’s truth by a word or two to get you questioning God. The devil’s desire is to keep you from walking in God’s truth.
So, what do we do now that we have a clear picture of temptation and how it leads to sin in our lives? Here are some facts to help us see God’s Truth:
Fact One: No matter how mature you become as a believer temptation will always be there. Do NOT let the devil make you feel ashamed or guilty because you are tempted.
Fact Two: Consider temptation as a compliment, the devil only messes with those he knows carry weapons to destroy him. The real truth is the devil fears us way more than we should fear him, we have God on our side he lost that honor long ago.
Fact Three: Be realistic, you will never be able to avoid temptation completely, you cannot stop the devil from making suggestions, but you do NOT have to act on them.
Fact Four: Know your weakness, your vulnerability and the minute your mind starts dwelling on something unhealthy turn to Jesus, His truth…”Be sober well balanced and self-disciplined, be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion fiercely hungry, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 AMP
Fact Four: Get your emotions under control, speak life into yourself “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” Proverbs 18:21 Life is messy, but God never leaves you hanging!! Get your thoughts under control, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy negative thoughts and behaviors. We destroy the lies, opinions and every lofty attitude raised against the knowledge of God and make every thought obedient to the truth of Jesus Christ.” personalized
Fact Five: When temptation comes, just CRY OUT for help to God…judge your thoughts and emotions against God’s Word…have your life-giving scriptures ready to speak in your situation. Jesus faced the same temptations we do, He met them head on be saying “It is written”, this truth belongs to us as well…God’s Word will set you free.
Fact Six: We have confidence, know who you are in Jesus…you are His, created in His image. You are loved valued and cherished by God more than any human possible can…His love for you should overwhelm you completely, cover and protect you no matter what is going on in your flesh and circumstances. We live in a fallen world, be you don’t have to be fallen.
Fact Seven: Have patience with yourself, God’s work in you does not happen in a microwave, God uses a slow cooker…transforming you into this amazing, unique and powerful child of God. Claim your position, commit to think Kingdom thoughts and not worldly ones that will just fade away. Let Hebrews 4:16 AMP sink in “Therefore let us with privilege approach the throne of grace that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy for our failures and find His amazing grace to help in time of need an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment. Ask God for the power to do the right thing, make the right decision and then EXPECT Him to provide it.
“No temptation regardless of its source has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to resist, but along with the temptation He has in the past and is now and will always provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP
Today, I wanted to revisit the armor that God has provided for us to fight against the powers of darkness in today’s world. But before I get into that let us also look at a well know battle between a boy and a giant, read 1 Samuel 17. Focus your attention to verses 38-40, “Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.”
Notice how Saul’s armor and sword did not fit David. David would have surely lost the battle if he tried to fight Goliath with someone else’s armor. This is truth for all of us, God has given each of us our own personal armor to be worn at all times. It is especially important that you do not compare your armor “relationship with Jesus” to others around you. Everyone’s relationship with God is unique, just as you are uniquely created by God. As you draw closer to God through worship, prayer and studying His Word a deeper level of surrender happens and the Armor of God develops within you. It is important that you fellowship with other believers because as scripture tells us “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 Please know that it is just as important that you do not compare or judge another’s journey with Jesus because the devil will spin it for his purpose. You may find yourself thinking, “I will never be as good as…know as much…pray as well”. We must also be incredibly careful to not let pride interfere with the fit of our armor. The devil uses comparing and judging our fellow believers to slow down and even damage out relationship with God. Instead learn, rub up against those you admire, let them speak life into your personal relationship with Jesus. Praise God for what He is doing in the lives of those around you as well as your life.
TIP: When you study God’s Word, know the background of the scripture, who is God talking to, find yourself among the recipients. God wants to put you right in the scriptures, when sin is revealed He is always faithful to show you a way back. God is a mighty Hope Dealer!
Now let us look at what God’s says about your personally designed armor and how it will protect and guide you in your journey with Him.
Chapter 6 of Ephesians opens with and continues in verses 2 through 9 admonishing us on our behavior as His children. He speaks to us with love yet encourages us to self-examine our ways. God further through the next 8 verses instructs us on who we are fighting, how he operates, and He then lays out how we should be clothed in the Armor of God through which we are able to war against the evil of this world and live victoriously in Jesus Christ.
Verse 10 – Finally (listen) BE STRONG “Dunamis Power” in the supernatural Holy Spirit for it prevails, it conquers – we find it in Him alone. The Amplified version says, “be strong in the Lord draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him and in the power of His boundless might.”
Verse 11 – Put on the full Armor of God
Not just what you think you need… put on ALL God is providing. Stand firm not being moved from the truth of Jesus and what has been done on the cross, this is God’s complete protection against the devil’s attempts to destroy you. The devil openly schemes – he plots using underhanded, tricky, sneaking, a large-scale systemic plan to capture you and destroy you and your future.
Verse 12 – Remember who you are fighting (wrestling – intimate, up close and personal) take in an account our flesh, mind, wrong thinking, generational mindset or those currently around you, physical circumstances, they are ALL just tools of the enemy, it is satan’s plan to lie, steal and destroy.(John 10:10) The primary wrestling arena is not here on earth – but is a spiritual battle fought in our mind and spirit the consequences are suffered in our flesh, you must ask yourself where is your focus? Is your thoughts, actions coming from your spirit or flesh?
When we look at verse 12 we find God has broken down of the evil forces out to get you into four divisions in satan’s kingdom; “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood contending only with physical opponents, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly supernatural places.” AMP
1. principalities (rulers) – fallen angels, his highest ranking rulers
2. powers – those given authority to execute the will of those rulers
3. world forces – who walk in the darkness of this age (right now) with or without spiritual blindness being used by satan to carry out wicked deeds, people who are in authority and use that authority to carry out satan’s plan
4. spiritual forces of wickedness – earth bound demons who are satan’s servants who do his bidding, these also can include those in 1-3, wicked enemies as a whole who are moving through the earth looking to torment you – looking for entrance/strongholds/sin/an opening.
Heavenly places speaks of a place which encompasses all spirit beings. One place of this area is where God’s throne is…where God sits with Jesus and all of God’s angels also exist. There is a dark side as well in this spiritual place where satan and his evil spirits exist. The heavenly places, sometimes spoken of as realms are a mystery for us, to profound to understand but we get some limited understanding from God’s Word. There will come a time when we will no longer exist in the flesh but in this spiritual place.
Verse13 – take up the full (whole, complete) Armor of God, for strength and knowledge in order to stand firm (spoken again Verse 11) now also further described as happening in this evil day. It is our responsibility to dress for the battle. Are you willing to do everything necessary to fight?
Take up , put on , stand firm speaks of the work required by you in order to fully arm yourself, this scripture also tells us this armor must cover us completely, nothing left exposed, not even a thought left free roaming able to be corrupted. Take Note: Whenever God uses the same words in this case “stand firm” it is because He is either issuing a warning or He wants us to pay close attention to what He is saying. This stand firm is vital to our relationship with Him and our survival her on earth.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.” We must be fully equipped using everything God is providing, Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
Verse 14 – Standing firm (therefore – consistently) we are required to wear the armor of God… Belt of Truth(having girded your loins) is the truth spoken over us and about us by our Heaven Father it directly confronts the lies that our enemy wants us to believe. Builds confidence in God’s words over us, a resolve to live by truth. This truth holds everything together, we must love “truth”, there is no other.
Girt is defined as all over, fasten, securely, sealed. Today the world would say truth is relative to whatever you are feeling or are involved in? The world says make up your own truth, if you believe it then it must be true. The devil slyly tells us the lie of “if it’s not hurting anyone else go ahead indulge yourself.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 tells us “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.“ Romans 1:25 also says “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature(flesh) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.”
Verse 14 – Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness (defined here as what was done on the cross through to blood of Jesus.) When Jesus died on the cross your sins, they, all of them, every single one, was not only forgiven but washed away. Stand up and stand firm, right posture, be confident, cleansed, made free, whole, delivered, assurance…live it, walk in it, claim it! If you do not you are missing out…from this grows peace, joy, restoration. This breastplate covers our chest and shoulders it protects our heart, and spirit. Many times when sharing a word, I encourage women to build their Spirit up in the truth of God so that it is stronger than their mind and that only then will they be able to make Godly decisions and fully walk in the truth of Jesus Christ. Proverbs 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”
Verse 15 – having shod (perfectly fit, custom, labored) your feet with the preparation of the gospel ofpeace…readiness (fully prepared, fitness, eager, awareness) in any circumstance knowing through Jesus we will be taken care of NO matter what our eyes see, and ears hear. Ready to fight for truth and ready to receive God’s blessing, ready to go where He sends you, your feet are fitted to carry you the distance through Jesus….2 Timothy 4:2 “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. “ Our readiness comes from knowing God and His Word, Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Verse 16 – in addition to all (above all), taking up Shield of Faith extinguishes the “flaming” arrows (put an end to forever, annihilate, finish off, terminate, cease)
Isaiah 54:17 says “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will prove untrue. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me, ”declares the Lord.”
Acts 16:31 “They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing (testimony/teaching), and hearing by the word of Christ.” You are justified and proven by God…your identity, whole being. When two or more put their shields together they form a wall.
vs17 – Take Helmet of Salvation is knowledge that we have been rescued, our salvation is through faith, our sins no longer counted against us, not only our pasts sins, but those today and in the future when we repent in humility, God sees our motive and our heart. We look forward without fear for the day we are taken home to be with God.
1 Peter 1:13 says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
the Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, instructions for life, the ultimate offensive weapon uses to aggressively protect you with a clear strategy . A gift from God to know Him personally, intimately. His Word gives you all you need to understand and fully receive God’s great love for you, it teaches us how to live for Him and receive all the benefits of that life now on earth.
Jesus declares the power found in God’s Holy Word when He was being tempted in the desert “It is written” each time He was tempted by satan.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
Through His Word comes the power to wear and live fully protected.
Verse 18 “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
This is the last piece of the Armor of God, just as important as the other pieces it is to be used by all of us. Peter used the gift of tongues in bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to a crowd of 3,000 on the day of Pentecost. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to the disciples and told them to wait for it. He has promised it to us as well. Just as we desire to have every other piece of Armor we should hunger after this amazing part as well. Read Acts 1-2 and Acts 15:7-9 for a closer look at this amazing gift.
Everything God works in you starts from within and manifests outward.
Divine physical healingstarts from within you not in the physical realm, but it starts within you by FAITH in the spirit and it manifests outwardly as physical healing.
So does your gift of speaking in tongues/your personal spirit language with God it begins within your spirit and the Holy Spirit within you.
When you were saved you received the Holy Spirit, however there is a release of the spirit that you must ask for. This release is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, is about the release of the Holy Spirit from your spirit to your soul to your body. The gift of speaking in tongues is the overflow of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said “out of your bellies shall flow rivers of living water” At salvation we receive Holy Spirit , at baptism we release Him…This baptism of the Holy Spirit is separate from Salvation. It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us which is our helper and comforter, helping us to walk in the will of God and complete the work God puts before us. When that Baptism has reached from the Spirit to the soul, the body then manifests physically as vocalized by the sound that you hear that’s when the overflow has reached our physical body as speaking in tongues.
If you have asked God for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, sought it out in earnest but you have not received the gift of speaking in tongues that does not mean the Holy Spirit has not be released in you.
Let’s look at a couple of scriptures to gain a better understanding…
I Corinthians 2:9-14 says that there is a fellowship between the spirits and that they communication spirit to spirit. No one knows the Father like the Holy Spirit and no one knows you like your spirit (your mind can be deceived).
1 Corinthians 14:2 tells us that when we speak in tongues we are speaking to God not man.
1 Corinthians 14:4 “One who speaks in tongues “edifies” himself… meaning “edify” to be strengthens himself, builds in, personal, intimate with God.
Romans 8:26 says “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” When we pray in the spirit the Holy Spirit himself prays for you.
1 Corinthians 12:10 says “and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.”
The gift of tongues maybe our mightiest weapon against the forces of darkness. There is much more to learned about this piece of the Armor of God, I pray God will illuminate this truth to you. I will leave you with this question…Why would you not want all God has for you? Every piece of His Armor for you!
Let us look to the scriptures to understand fully how we are called to be Christ like and the fulfilment of the words found in scripture, “we were made in His image”. Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, “Let Us (united decision) make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over (be responsible for the care of) the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.” NASB
Like God we are spiritual beings, we are immortal and this earth suit or tent we currently dwell in will fade and wear out. At that point, we will step into the intended existence God created for us. If you have read any of my previous writings you know that according to scripture we have everything we need, supplied by God to live here on earth and then step into eternity confident of our position in God’s kingdom. God did not create us to walk around in fear wondering what will happen to us here and in eternity…He left His Living Word to guide and prepare us.
God gave us an intelligence, problem solving, a rational spirit which when submitted to Him will control our flesh. Notice how I did not give those words of knowledge to your brain, instead they truly belong to your spirit and that supernatural spirit should be in command of your entire body and mind. God has given us the ability to discern between right and wrong, that is a moral consciousness (our spirit) which allows us to have a personal relationship with God, accountable to Him. This relationship is an option but without it your spirit will remain dormant, unable to guide you…this must be a priority…to accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, recognize his sacrifice of coming to earth, suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection, once that truth is believed…you must ask Him into to your heart and to forgive you of all your sins. I would be remiss if I did not make this truth known to you.
Most of us believe our mind is in charge but scripture tells us that our mind is vulnerable to the world and can be manipulated by the enemies of God, namely Satan. Therefore, we must arm our spirit with every truth available and with the help of the Holy Spirit move through this chapter in our life with intention, focused on what our spirit says. Simply our spirit must be bigger and more powerful than our mind and flesh.
2 Corinthians 10:5, “We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” If we are working together with God, He will examine and clean up our flesh…”For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of mind and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NASB personalized The picture in my mind is a fine scalpel, cutting away the diseased flesh and actions (sin), then heated it cauterizes the wound, supernaturally healing it, so that what is left is the restored creation of God. This is a continual process throughout our life here. It is known as God’s refinement.
God clearly tells us in His Word that we must take on His character and attitude. Rick Warren says in “Purpose Driven Life” that “God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become Christ like.” Rick also puts character and personality into perspective. “Becoming Christ like does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so He certainly does not want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character.”
This character and all it’s attributes are already wired within your spirit and a relationship with God orchestrated by the Holy Spirit will empower you to walk in your earthly body, representing our King without fear, boldly living for Him expressing His character in a fallen world. Here is the heart of this writing, God’s character in you waiting to be released…
Giving His character within you full authority will change your outlook and when you find yourself in tough circumstances His character will give you the hope and encouragement to make it through. As you embrace God’s character and set it free within you there is a reward tasted and a glimpse of every one of God’s promises made real.
Here are God’s Character traits as recorded in His Word.
Matthew 5:4-12 Known as the Beatitudes… The Passion Translation says, “What delight comes to you when you wait upon the Lord! For you will find what you long for.
What blessing comes to you when gentleness lives in you! For you will inherit the earth.
How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness.
How satisfied you are when you demonstrate tender mercy! For tender mercy will be demonstrated to you.
What bliss you experience when your heart is pure! For then your eyes will open to see more and more of God.
How blessed you are when you make peace! For then you will be recognized as a true child of God.
How enriched you are when you bear the wounds of being persecuted for doing what is right! For that is when you experience the realm of heaven’s kingdom. How ecstatic you can be when people insult and persecute you and speak all kinds of cruel lies about you because of your love for me!
So, leap for joy—since your heavenly reward is great. For you are being rejected the same way the prophets were before you.”
God’s character expressed as the Fruit of the Spirit, is revealed in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.” TPT
1 Corinthians 13 speaks of the love within our spirit earning to be released, beginning in verse 4 “Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.”
Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways. For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.
2 Peter 1:5-7 TPT puts God’s purpose for our life into perspective, “So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love.”
Let us go back to 1 Corinthians 13 with closing thoughts…God inspired Paul to write these words just prior to revealing the character of love found in God and also hidden within your spirit.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 TPT “If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I did not express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains,[d] but have never learned to love, then I am nothing. And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.”
God’s warning us about our focus and where we get affirmation…is it built on the emptiness of pride, material things or found in serving God? God wraps the truth of Godly love in 1 Corinthians 13 like a sandwich made of stale bread. The key to express God’s character of love is found in the center, just like our spirit is found deep within our flesh. He closes with these words telling us to grow up and stop looking to satisfying our flesh and find every answer…verse 9-13, ”Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways. For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” TPT
Here is the truth of God’s character location and that He intends for us to set it free within, bring freedom not only for ourselves but for all the captives. “Since these virtues are already planted deep within, and you possess them in abundant supply, they will keep you from being inactive or fruitless in your pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately.” 2 Peter 5:8 TPT
Thank you God, that within us is all we need to live here and train for the future, to share your love with the lost, to seek and find you…thank you God for the freedom from sin paid in full through Jesus and the sacrifice He made for all Your children.
Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:8
God gave me this verse this morning as I was contemplating who I am in Christ Jesus. How I am His alone and in this earthy life we are call to respect, honor, and obey Him that is to truly fear the Lord our God. I wanted to break this verse down for you so that you might meditate on your position in God’s Kingdom as His daughter, the Daughter of the Most High King.
I might add what it means to be his daughter by the definition of the word daughter which means; His offspring, out of Him, His descendant, His progeny, and His inheritor. Amazing, to be His unique in every way…
In the scripture the words “Keep me” suggests that we never want to lose our position, we are asking God to prevent any situation, circumstance, or person from separating us from God, a position we already hold and one that we should value more than this life here on earth.
“Apple of the eye (His eye)”, see your reflection in God’s eye, not as you might think of yourself or how others see you for in the big picture those do not matter only how God sees you matters. Young’s Literal Translation says, “the daughter of the eye”. To be the apple of His eye is to walk in beauty, to be loved more than any of God’s other creations, you are His chosen, His favorite, the center of all God has created, God’s focal point in the universe, He is proud of you, you are cherished, you are loved, precious in His sight, you are of great importance to Him and so He keeps His eye on You! You must see yourself as He alone see you! You are already the Apple of His eye, for you to understand and walk in that position you must grow your relationship with Him, through His Word, daily worship and through fellowship with other believers.
“Hide me” from my unseen and seen enemies for they are your enemies God! In you God we find all the security we need, our confidence comes from You and not the world. Who are our enemies? Sweet sisters, your enemies are anything that would separate you from God, things that do not bring Him honor, spirits and principalities (Ephesians 6:12) that would cause you to lose sight of your Forever Father and God. They would lie and tell you that what Jesus did on the cross was not for you…remember John 10:10 “the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy”…
1 Peter 5:8 says “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The word sober here refers to being ready, watchful, knowing truth of how the devil might ensnare you.
“In the shadow of Your wings” Oh God, yes we receive this supernatural protection only You can provide, it is so powerful that we need only step into the shadow of Your wings, there sisters we are protected and provided for…it is there in just Your silhouette God that we are safe. Father God, you are wooing us there to come closer to You when we step under Your wing we can rest like never before, it is refreshing. Let this knowledge, this rest lift you sisters into the heavenly places, there you are nurtured, your broken spirit restored. It is here you experience His marvelous kindness, and you are completely free.
This is my prayer for you today! To encounter all God has for you and to know that you belong to Him. Blessings, Sister Laurie
Greetings, in the Name of Jesus! I wanted to quickly get this out to you before the new year. There have been many prophetic words spoken about the coming year. Simply stated in 2021 there will be a reckoning for the church and believers, and there will be those who fall away. So, we must be ready, vigilant and we must not be distracted by the world, our families or others that would tear us from God’s mission.
See Luke 12:51-53, Scripture says that families will be broken apart by God’s truth. People we love will fall and stray even fight against one another. Let God’s truth spoken in His Word be your guide and do not be dismayed. The armies of Gideon were reduced by God several times because God needed the strongest for the battle. He knew that the weaker would drag His chosen away. Deuteronomy 20:8 says “Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, so that he does not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart!’” See a thinning of God’s people is coming.
The more time we spend with God, the easier it becomes to hear His voice. As we spend time, worshipping, study and talk with God, we begin to recognize His voice immediately and we can differentiate between God and the enemy. As we seek Him we are empowered by His truth.
In the movies, books, and animated features “Star Wars” there is a “Force” that the Jedi use to defend the innocent and destroy evil. It is defined in “Wookiepedia” as “The Force is an energy field created by all life that connected everything in the universe and was known by a variety of names throughout galactic history. The Force was created by life, and therefore, resided in all lifeforms. The Force is the basis of various religious organizations such as the Jedi Order and Sith Order, among others.” This fictional story speaks of how all the universe is connected, which is true because it was created by one creator God. We hunger for the unseen and hold on to a truth that is in all of us and for some to be yet revealed. Like the “force” in Star Wars we all are born, connected to something spiritual in nature. The light sabre for me represents the Sword of Truth, it battles to work in us and through us revealing God’s truth and destroying the lies, sinful desire and God’s enemies around us. Hebrew 4:12 tells us “For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
I know you are thinking why is she talking about Star Wars. We all were born to hunger and thirst for God because we are spiritual beings created by Him. Therefore, we are captivated by stories of supernatural beings, supernatural heros and enemies. Star Wars like many other science-fiction, fantasy movies and books address forces bigger even supernatural compared to our human flesh or what we see with our eyes, there is a part of us that is born knowing that our bodies are a tent or vessel carrying our spirit. Writers have been forever trying to put this unseen truth into words when God has already supplied us with all the “stories” and the real truth found in His Holy Word, the Bible.
All the hunger, thirst and longing we are born with should tell us that we do not belong here, therefore we must not be fooled by the distractions of this world.
Genesis 32:24-30 tells us about Jacob spending time alone with God. Jacob got away from everything and everyone to seek the Lord. During that time God visited him. By separating himself He was able to experience God intimately. He wrestled, pondered, meditated, dreamed, and asked for God’s will and blessing. Through those alone times with God Jacob was changed forever physically and spiritually.
“For on the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; He will hide me in the secret place of His tent; He will lift me up on a rock.” Psalm 27:5 NASB God offers His protection and strength to rest and resist the world.
Ephesians 4:23-24 tells us, “Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please Him and be truly holy.”
Many times, as I am ministering I challenge those in attendance with these words, “I guarantee that you will be changed if you study God’s Word in fact, I challenge you to experience God by reading His Word and praying His Word over yourself. If your mind is filling with negative thoughts or memories, dwell or romanticizing your sin, selfish desires, past experiences, or trauma; I further challenge you to carrying your Bible with you everywhere and when you are under attack open your Bible and read His Truth, declare it over yourself until you feel the Holy Spirit cover you with truth, peace, and God’s love. Go further by speaking the Bible out loud and telling the devil his will not destroy what God has for you.” I have witnessed deliverance and miracles over addiction, nightmares, anxiety, and physical ailments by simply carrying His Word with you wherever you go and speaking God’s truth over yourself. There is POWER is God’s Word…
In the World there are many distractions to keep us from experiencing God’s “force” in our life. God has enemies and they want to drag you down, destroy God’s creation made in His own image, that’s you however, God gave us all we need to resist and even war against His enemies.
Ok, now here is where we must confront ourselves, I personally am not very disciplined, in fact, I struggle with authority and it is only through God that surrender is possible, by His Holy Spirit working within me. It’s not easy, discipline is not easy when you have always chosen the path of least resistance or allowed the wrong people or things to have authority over you. Many of you may be so lost to this world that right now you are struggling to even grasp these words. Ask God for help, take responsibility for your life and reach out to women of God for help. Men of God if you are a man.
James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God. But resist (oppose) the devil, and he will flee from you.” NASB
Oppose means “disapprove of and attempt to prevent, actively resist or refuse to comply with (a person or a system).”
Examine yourself, it’s time to grow up…”Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT
Jeremiah 31:21 tells us “Set up signposts to mark your trip home, Get a good map (God’s Holy Word). Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back, come back dear daughter, child of God, come back to the Lord your God.” Personalized NASB Remember, a transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!
Our identity was always meant to be found in Him, not the world, for the world is dying and eternity is calling each of us. 2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent (human bodies) which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
“And so, dear sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let yourself be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 personalized NLT
Live ready, be prepared, do not be carried away by this world’s delusions, they belong to Satan…they are dead things, hunger for God’s Living Truth.
Pray with me right now, “Father, I want to do Your will. What do You want for my Life? I have dreams, ideas and I lay them at Your altar, show me God those that line up with Your will. All these dreams and ideas I want to do are for You and Your Kingdom. I thank You for Your perfect timing, I am trusting You God for guidance and I know You are right beside me. Thank you for the sacrifice You made by sending Your Son, Jesus, so that I might encounter You with confidence, knowing my sins are forgiven. I declare my position as Your daughter, the daughter of the Most High King. AMEN”
“We must each fully embrace how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” Hebrews 9:14-15 MSG personalized
Strap yourselves in, this is going to get real, the kind of real that you may have brushed to the side, swept under the rug, voiced an opinion, or harbored strong emotions. Right here I want to say that there will be those of you who stop reading at this point or maybe in one of the next paragraphs, it may get to tough or real however, I encourage you to take this journey of truth with me.
I need to get some statistics out of the way so that we can really see how abortion in the United States is destroying all of us. I was sick to my stomach as I was gathering these numbers from reliable sources. So here we go…
Reported Abortions from 1970-1979 were 7,977,611, the female population ages 15-44 in 1979 was 41,857,686 or 19.06% of the women had abortions during the 70’s.
Reported Abortions from 1980-1989 were 13,283,150, the female population ages 15-44 in 1989 was 58,512,473 or 22.7% of the women had abortions during the 80’s.
Reported Abortions from 1990-1999 were 16,633,105, the female population ages 15-44 in 1999 was 49,554,764 or 33.57% of the women had abortions during the 90’s.
My findings were supplied by the Abortion Surveillance Organization and the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC as well as the population numbers through PopulationPyrimad.net and USGOV.org. Note: A small percentage were women who had multiple abortions or were out of the age range however the numbers do give us a picture.
A further break down of these numbers reveal a greater number of people who have been affected by abortion in the United State during 1970 through 1999. Let me be clear why I choose these years and age groups. These women are you and I today, you and I fall into one of three categories we are the daughters, mothers, or grandmothers. We are the ones who have suffered in silence. But this number is much larger let me explain. For every abortion there are at least five people who are involved not including the pregnant woman or her unborn child. There is the father to consider, the confidant, other family members, the doctor, the nurse, even other staff members. Abortion touches way beyond the woman and the unborn child, it is like a pebble thrown into a pool having numerous ripples carrying a horrible secret and shame. All of that being said can we agree to multiply the number of abortions by six and see how many people have really been affected. Let that sink in…
The Secret…as you shop in the grocery store, sit in your favorite spot at church, attend a movie or sporting event; look around…there is a very strong likelihood that you are very near at that moment to someone who has had an abortion and it’s a secret shrouded in shame. This is an all-consuming situation that is affecting everyone lives.
The woman who had the abortion is the victim (yup! I said “victim” every single one of them), you see behind every abortion is a woman who had to make that decision. Every story and circumstance are unique, yet the bottom line is the woman carries the secret and the shame. The procedure is a violation of her body and the killing of an innocent child, both are a complete defilement of God’s design.
Here are some scriptures to support how every child is by God’s Design…valued, loved, not a mistake and created to live with purpose.
The Old and New Testament confirm why God created the world and us.
Isaiah 45:18 God’s Word Translation (GWT) says “The Lord created the heavens. God formed the earth and made it. He set it up. He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited.”
Ephesians 1:4 (MSG) explains how the earth was created for us “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.”
There are many passages that speak of how God is our Creator and Father, each one of us He set in motion from the very beginning, here are two of my favorites.
Psalm 139:15 in the Message (MSG) translation says “You, God know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”
Psalm 139:16 in the Living Bible (LB) Translation says “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”
Other verses speak of how “He knew the sound of your voice before you were born” and “He (God) breathed life into you.”
No matter where an individual is in their relationship with God, every person knows that we belong to something greater, we embrace the knowledge that every human life matters, every unborn child is more than important, that baby is precious and a gift NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. This is why, abortion operates in darkness shrouded in secrets and shame.
The secret causes the victims to display many of the symptoms associated with PTSD. Abortion and PTSD share this description “A soul injury, an overlooked, unassessed wound that separates one from their own sense of self.”
The word secret is defined as “not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others; something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others. The skeleton in the closet; a discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep unknown.”
I cannot express to you more clearly how much I am 100% against abortion (the killing of innocent life). It has to STOP! As women we need to create a better, safe place where a woman can come and be encouraged, helped financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally when they find themselves carrying a beautiful new life unexpectedly.
Now take it back a little farther to the root of the situation…intimacy belongs in the marriage bed between one man and one woman, not before! God has a design for us, a plan and every detail of His plan is found in the Bible. We destroyed His plan when man decided to call it sexual intercourse as if it was a function, sport or game instead of a precious gift to be shared, the “knowing” of someone is one way it is expressed in the Bible, for “two to become one” another. The price of intimacy outside of marriage and the painful results are well documented by God in the Bible. God knew how man would twist this precious gift and that is why He clearly explains His plan to keep intimacy a sacred gift within a covenant created by God.
Right now, I would like to address any unmarried woman as clearly as possible…First, a man who wants intimacy before marriage does not respect you and will never be the man you are looking for. Second, you do not have the “sexual desires” of a man that is a lie made up by men to fulfill their sinful desires. God also explains this plainly in His Word, just read the Song of Solomon.
I know you are probably thinking…who does this person think she is, she does not understand. BUT I do and I will say this…I know on a very personal level every sentence, action, emotion along with the price paid, the life lost to man’s wickedness the idea that it’s permissible for man to murder innocent unborn life. Please stay with me…keep reading.
The shame…let us talk about the symptoms associated with shame and abortion.
I found this statement from the National Library of Medicine. “Many women experience long-term emotional, spiritual, psychological, and interpersonal difficulties following abortion, including complicated grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and relationship disturbances. Guilt and shame play important roles in generating and concealing post-abortion symptoms.”
There is a great brokenness physically, spiritually and emotionally when a woman finds herself contemplating abortion, that’s when the secret and shame begin. She does not set the appointment or enter the “clinic” smiling and confident…NO…she is broken, lost, bitter and disappointed in herself that this is where that day is heading. Little girls play with baby dolls for a reason…God wired us to be the one to carry His gift of new life and to raise, nurture those children.
I cried for days after finding out I was carrying a child, unmarried, my mother said these words of encouragement to help “it’s just blood, cells, tissue”, “you are not capable of being a mother”, “this baby is better off not being born”. The shame and guilt overwhelming…my decision…how did I cope, I shoved every emotion, every dream down deep inside…like blowing out a bright candle cutting the wick so short it can never be lit again, my life changed forever…the path was one of self-destruction.
Pro-Choice would say “it’s your body so it’s your choice” that right there puts all the shame and guilt right on the woman. Abortion should never be a choice; should never enter a woman’s mind. Pro-Choice is man’s way of trying to justify their sexual habits and the killing of unborn children.
Those who suffer from post-abortion PTSD experience a disconnection with life. The shame will manifest itself into one or more behaviors, there is NO maybe…we find ourselves self-destructive, suicidal, victims of substance abuse or eating disorders, depression, extreme anxiety, suffering complicated grief, self-loathing, destructive relationships, even anger and violent behavior.
This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike, each woman must come to grips with her decision, the death of her child at her own hands. There is a natural emotion to grieve the loss of life however in abortion those emotions are suppressed. Women feel they have no right to grieve because they were the ones who made the decision.
The non-Christian woman might be able to bury her decision and death of her child for a period of time. However, the truth is her conscience is built on God’s truth. She will still suffer, there is grief to be dealt with along with shame. She might find temporary excuses, distractions, however, her life will take a different course, who she is, her self-image, self-esteem will be built upon her decision and the death of her child. Anger, resentment, empty self-righteousness, over-achievement, stress, and anxiety, numbness take over, her life will spin out of control. Society will not see it, blame will be laid at her daily commute, finances, disappoint in her career, relationship issues to name a few. She will eventually seek help to cope with life based on man’s acceptable fixes which may or may not address the true root of her physical and emotional state. Self-help books or counseling lead to even a bigger sense of social separation and she reaches to medication eventually substance abuse.
The Christian woman will experience all the above and even more than the woman who does not know Christ. She has the Christian community who unknowing continue to condemn her. She seeks absolution outside of her church family, if she even has the strength to seek. You see, she knows that forgiveness is found in the blood of Jesus but not this…Christians are really good at ranking sin (wrong doing) from one to hundred. Scripture tells us that all sin is equal. She has listened to the lie whispered to her by Satan, possibly for many years, about how her decision and abortion has no forgiveness available. She gathers enough courage to seek out help within her church, unfortunately she witnesses the look of horror and condemnation on the well-meaning Christian she has finally reached out to. This is the hard truth in today’s church.
For me it took over 30 years to gain the courage needed, I had sought forgiveness at the cross after I became a Christian, but the damage done, the shame and guilt remained. The devil had done a work and I had punished myself experiencing most of post-abortion PTSD. So many years lost to self-loathing…
Through the love of some amazing women, I began to embrace God’s truth about forgiveness and sin. I know that God sent them to me when I was ready to forgive myself and accept His forgiveness. It is not an easy journey and I had to stand my ground as Satan tried over and over to destroy. Scripture was so key. My life verses of 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8, Hebrews 4:12 were my go-to every time the devil whisper lies. I had to allow God to cut the damaged flesh thinking vulnerable to Satan’s voice from my inner man, my God given spirit.
Today, I stand with confidence given through God and His forgiveness. I walk in His righteousness, His daughter, restored and free. There is still the pains of guilt a consequence of sin BUT more importantly there is hope that in my forever home my child is waiting. In fact, my story is now His story and He has given me to courage to speak His truth about secrets, shame and abortion from personal experience.
In closing, while researching for this blog, I stumbled onto an article written about women suffering under the weight abortion and how we as a church can help. The article called, ”Post-abortion Counseling” by Julie Ganschow, link can be found below. Here I have included some profound truth which I could not have said better…
Her article written in 2017 opens with this staggering truth…It is estimate that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One is six women in the evangelical church.
Her article ends with these words of hope and our responsibility…
Bringing Gospel Hope. Along with watching the negative things that we say, we also have to actively bring gospel hope to her. Romans 8:1 is very clear that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So we have to point her to Christ, to the freedom that comes in His forgiveness and His work on the Cross.
We can also turn to passages in the Psalms, particularly ones like Psalm 32:3–5, David’s response to his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. David says, “My body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me” (NASB). What a beautiful illustration of how a post-abortive woman feels. This guilt is weighing on me constantly. He continues, “My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” Many of these post-abortive women express this idea that they are so burdened by this that it destroys their strength. It consumes them.
But then David says, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’” And then, here’s the hope: “You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Even with murder and adultery, sexual sin and taking the life of another, his sins were forgiven. God provides restoration, and He provides freedom in Christ. We have to communicate these truths to hurting post-abortive women.
Ultimately, we desire healing through Christ for each post-abortive woman. In our awareness of the very real effects of abortion, as well as the impact of our words on these women, we have the opportunity to love them and point them toward Christ. As pastors and caregivers, we can point them to the One who brings true hope and true healing, but we must do it with grace and compassion rather than judgment or condemnation.
“He Leadeth Me Beside the Still Waters” Psalm 23:2 We get so caught up in the world, our circumstances that we become distracted from the one place we can find the refreshment we are all desperately looking for. David understood that only by the Good Shepherds leading can our emptiness, yearning and spiritual appetite be nourished. The Passion Translation puts it like this…”The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.” Verses 1-2 That “quiet brook of bliss” is found only in God, no amount of money, career recognition, accolades of physical or mental achievement, will satisfy the void, the empty place in our soul. Instead of going to the source we try drinking from the manmade watering holes of the world only to leave us unsatisfied. You see, the world is full of seemingly delicious delights however they are only a fleeting empty attempt to fill our supernatural spiritual soul.
As look back on my life…I have traveled, shopped, tasted the finest food and drink. These were all wonderful experiences, walking along the Seine in Paris, along many other adventures. Countless hours in the gym, dieting, spending money on my physical appearance believing that would help me surround myself and be regarded by the beautiful people, maybe even accepted and loved. Yet, I still found myself facing the same hollow, empty and unfilled thirst within. Even being a mother…left me aching for something more, oh please believe me I love all my children and my grandchildren however you see when your child reaches an age of spiritual thirst and you are lost to it as well, your ability to guide, love, meet their needs become lost, those once special moments of joy turn to frustration, disappointment, many times dissolution. But I digress from where this blog is leading…
Jeremiah wrote of the result “For My people have committed two evils: They have abandoned Me, the Fountain of Living Waters, to carve out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns…that do not hold water.” Verse 2:13 In my mind a picture is forming of broken lives, shattered hopes, lost dreams…withered souls…full of empty despair. And so, this hunger becomes broken families, relationships, sordid excesses. Our need to quench this spiritual thirst becomes an entrance for Satan to destroy what only the Good Shepherd can satisfy.
The Good Shepherd is where that thirst can be quenched, where contentment is found. Throughout the Bible God and Jesus are called the Shepherd and for good reason. We are so much like sheep. Let me explain, did you know that if sheep are thirsty and clean, refreshing water is not available they will drink of dirty, parasite infested puddles. You see, a thirst like ours needs the constant guidance of the loving shepherd who goes to great lengths to protect and provide the life giving water for his sheep. Our Good Shepard…leads us through His Word to the living water. This is the ultimate provision…Jesus made it clear that our thirsty souls can only be satisfied, content by drawing on Himself.
Matthew 5:6 AMP says “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.” Jesus spoke boldly to those in attendance that last night with His disciples “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” John 7:37 KJV Jesus knew what we would face, the wanting to satisfy our spiritual soul…He tells us “drink”, “take in”, “to accept” and yes there it is “to believe”. This belief moves from an idea of truth, to confidence in truth to a growing “knowing faith” in who Jesus is and who we are in Him. This restless thirst is sated only in Christ and a personal growing relationship with Him. Our earthly bodies, possessions and relationships are a fleeting part of who we really are, we are spiritual beings, God’s children, chosen, loved and cherish by the One True God, who cared so much for His creation…He sent Jesus, His Son, to lead us to the living water.
Drink Today! Let the Good Shepherd lead you to the “Brook of Bliss”, Worship and be Refreshed…
Further study of Psalm 23
This most powerful Psalm is used so many times at the end of one’s earthly existence, yet I find that it is life giving in so many ways. I have written it out for you here to explore on your own. Please explore for yourself the goodness of God found in these six verses recorded by King David a man by God’s own words who had “God’s Heart”.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I will not be in need.
Meaning: My identity is found with Him, I belong to Him, I declare that my Shepherd, God Himself supplies me with all I need.
2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
Meaning: He is the place of rest for my body and spirit, He refreshes and renews my spirit. I have drank of His Living Water so I live without fear.
3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For the sake of His name.
Meaning: He brings the spiritual healing needed daily to my inner person. Through His guidance I am made righteous in His sight to live for His purpose and pleasure alone.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Meaning: This life on earth is not easy but my Father, my Shepherd is with me always, His continual protection I receive, and I listen for His instruction making my flesh and mind obedient to His Truth. I am quick to repent and seek forgiveness.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Meaning: He is my Hope in every situation, my Provision for my hunger, He fills all emptiness and fights for me, I am His Creation, In His image, and I am sanctified that is set apart, loved, and marked by You God as Your Child. Because of this my joy overflows and my heart is full of Your Love and Mercy.
6 Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life, And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever.
Meaning: All this pouring out completes my life, gives me purpose, directs my life, I know Your Love Father, my Good Shepherd and I surrender to live in Your Will FOREVER! AMEN!
There are many ways to explore and soak in these beautiful words, one way might be to find confirming scripture to each verse. Pray these scriptures over yourself and add your name wherever possible. Our God and His Son Jesus our are Good Shepherds together with the Holy Spirit we can live out our lives with wonder and expectation…
The book of Hebrews is dear to my heart. Many of the scriptures found there are ones I frequently find God leading me to. The writer or I should say the person who moved by the Holy Spirit to record all that God spoke in Hebrews is unknown. Yet in here we find such clarity of who Jesus is and how He is truly the way if we are to enter God’s Rest. What I am saying is our relationship and pursuit of Jesus will lead us to a place of rest. Jesus is the caregiver of this amazing place of rest. This place of rest is for NOW to be experienced HERE while we live out our earthly lives.
The first 3 chapters of Hebrews give us a complete revelation of Jesus Christ and why He is “better than”. I love God’s description of His son in The Passion Translation verse 1:3 “The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature—His mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken Word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took His seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic One.” The “better than” speaks of His supernatural abilities, the power of Jesus, the undeniable Son of God, over the prophets and God’s men of old. Jesus is the language of God. The Bible says that through history we received only small glimpses, as God “builds one Truth upon another.”
Now we have a fuller picture, almost complete or maybe I should say one we can grasp at this time. I notice that as we move closer to God’s destiny, the revelation grows, our ability to understand our position and God’s Kingdom becomes clearer. Within this richer understanding our responsibility grows in being the Truth to the world through our testimony. “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Revelation 12:11 It is the faithful testimony of Jesus that has the power to destroy the works of the devil as demonstrated in your and my transformed life.
Let us now move back to the place of God’s Rest, this inheritance was unavailable to Israelites when they left Egypt because their unbelief held them captive to sin, sadly until they died in the desert. Now God is calling each one of us to His perfect place of rest. It is through our faith that we enter TODAY! “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden (doubt, fear, have unbelief) in your heart.” verse 4:7
God says “Let us make every effort” in verse 4:11 then He gives us the opportunity to remove any hindrance in verse 12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone, and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.”
What is key is that first God already sees it all and then second you MUST allow God to do His work. I know I have spoken this before that God is a gentleman and will not force you to have faith. God is the great physician, a skilled surgeon, He will expose what need to be removed and will help you remove what must go. It is my prayer that you continually allow God to remove and expose so that you may enter and receive the nourishment you seek, there is nothing more satisfying than Jesus and His Truth, it brings the rest and comfort to journey forward. His love covers us fully verse 16 says “So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” This weakness is all around us, God’s children suffer under the weight of devil’s destructive way.
This rest you seek comes from not being milk fed but having maturity in Christ to be nourished by all the Truth (cuisine) found in God’s Word verse 6:1. This is where we receive the promised rest.
Hebrews is a book of “Let Us” you see my dear sisters in Jesus Christ, we are the “us” united in this great love. In my spirit I feel that you today need to embrace one or more of the “Let us” found in Hebrews, this is how you will enter God’s Rest.
“Let us come closer to God and approach Him with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from Him.” Verse 10:22
“Let us cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises!” Verse 10:23
“Let us discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.” 10:24
“Let us not pull away and neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward.” 10:25
“Let us rid ourselves of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.” 12:1
“Let us fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because His heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be His, He endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!.” 12:2
“Let us be thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe.” 12:28
“Let us, then arise and join Him outside the religious “walls” and bear His disgrace.” 13:13 “Let us know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10
“Let us continually offer up to God a steady stream of praise sacrifices—these are “the lambs” we offer from our lips that celebrate His name!.” 13:15
Blessing, Sister Laurie
Please find these scriptures have been personalized and taken from both the NASB and TPT translation. Other thoughts have been provided in part through my current studies, “New Testament Survey”, Global University, Springfield, Ohio.
This is going to be a tough one. I want to have the transparency needed to speak the truth of Jesus Christ to whoever God brings into my life. There is no healing when there is a lie hiding within us. Lying is directly the work of our flesh mixed with the devil and we cannot talk our way out of it. The smallest indiscretion opens us up to the devil and all his buddies.
So here we go, first let us look at the definitions…
“Lie”; A lie is an assertion that is believed to be false, typically used with the purpose of deceiving someone. The practice of communicating lies is called lying. A person who communicates a lie may be termed a liar. To speak an untruth about a situation or thing because the situation or thing is connected to an action or decision that would damage trust, hurt another person, break an agreement.
“Deceit” is the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.
Lies are damaging to relationships because they block intimacy. Lies are considered harmful because they destroy trust.
In scripture Gods tells us
1 Peter 2:1 says “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”
Again in 1 Peter 3:10 we read, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.”
Let me start at the beginning and work my way to repentance and forgiveness.
Some of you may know that I recently finished my first year of school to become an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. In the application we are asked to sign an agreement to abstain from drinking alcohol. Doug and I enjoy a dinner cocktail or glass of wine during a meal. We knew that this would be a requirement, after a discussion we decided that while we do not share their view in this area it was important to honor this requirement.
I’m stopping right here to pray because this whole experience has me physically sick and my head is swimming full of remorse, anger (at myself) and a desire to erase the last couple weeks. Emotions and feelings are getting the best of me and so now the devil is at work destroying my ability get my emotions under control and ask God for the grace needed in this situation.
God give me the courage to speak this truth and to repent from all untruth in action and word. I have disappointed you by breaking the agreement and further lying to our family. Lord help me and I ask for your forgiveness and clarity to speak your truth. Mend any broken trust caused by my sin. I ask all this in your name Jesus AMEN.
I briefly will share how my flesh and sin lead me to speak this truth. I want you to see how quickly we can fall into deceiving those we love, break a trust, and dishonor an agreement. A couple weeks ago, we had one of our sons and his girlfriend visiting from out of town and so we decided to stop by our grandson’s work to show them the restaurant. We asked if he was working and the hostess said he was not in yet. It crossed my mind that my son and his girlfriend would want to order a drink at the bar and enjoy sitting outside before we left to meet up with others for dinner. Yup, you guessed it we also ordered a drink as well. Right there the deception began. In my mind I was thinking well, our grandson is not here…
Right now! Ugh! My stomach just did that swirl thing which makes you nauseated. Help me Jesus! Please Holy Spirit come and speak for me, this is a testimony and transparency necessary for others to see and know that God, our Father is a loving and forgiving God.
We sat outside as planned drank our drink, paid the bill, and left to have dinner. You see, our visiting son would not think twice about that drink however, our Grandson and his family also serve God in ministry, so the deception of having a drink is not a little mistake but a calculated decision.
Last night we went over to my Grandson’s house to celebrate the birthday of his older brother. His parents and younger sister were there as well. Doug mentioned that we had stopped by his work. Right there in that moment that uneasy feeling stirred as I recalled that we had a drink. My Grandson mentioned he thought he had seen us at the bar. My heart sunk, sin revealed, a broken agreement I committed to honor. I wish that right here I could say I just said “yes, we were at the bar.” Instead, I side stepped, fumbled, tried to avoid the truth. Here it is the lie, trust broken, in fact as I try to recall every word spoken it is a horrible blur. The bottom line is I did not just admit the truth “ yes, I had a drink and yes, you might have seen me paying the bill.” Instead I remember saying I thought you were not working and then we changed the subject without even realizing, the sinful nature of man proved, a cover-up was happening.
One more thought about the battle; our sinful human nature, the devil and truth of Christ and who we were created to be that lives within us is so real. 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” We cannot walk with our eyes closed any longer, we must be on our guard, as scripture says the devil is roaming the earth to see who he can devour. However, we have the hope spoke of in the Bible and we have scripture that clearly lays out the battle plan and tells us that true victory for the believer has already been won through Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. I leave you God’s powerful words to meditate upon…
2 Chronicles 20:17 “You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves (check your foundation), stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem (Daughters of the Most High King). Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.” Personalized NASB
Matthew 7: 24-27 “Therefore everyone (my daughters) who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock (firm and lasting foundation). And the rain fell, and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed (everyday struggles, trials, even consequences for our mistakes), against that house(you my sister are the house) and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock(Jesus, the price He paid for you and your personal relationship with him). Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them (comes before the King and repents asking His help to overcome), will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Personalized NASB
1 Peter 1:21 “who through Him are believers (you my sisters) in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” NASB
This morning, as God’s conviction began to work, the devil joined in doing a great job of beating me up…However, in writing this and asking God to forgive me, the relief is coming, a covering of God’s goodness that He is on this journey with me…God brought me this scripture “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
It is time to ask to be forgiven, by God, by those who’s trust I broke through this lie, unspoken truth, we live by example as believers in Jesus Christ. For me it means that I must tell my grandson and his family how deeply sorry I am that I lied or avoided truth.
God tells us…
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:10-11
In closing, I broke God’s heart, I broke my heart and I greatly disappointed myself when I broke the agreement I agreed to honor. Sweet sisters in Jesus Christ I pray God will use this truth so that you may come to your own truth and allow God to reveal the areas of your life that need to change. Conviction of your wrong thinking and mistakes is tough, but we have a loving Father who loves us and challenges us to repent and begin again. To not carry our sin like a sack of potatoes on our back but to come to the cross and leave it there.
I know you are saying, “Sister Laurie, How can you say that, you don’t know what I am going through”. Today, I want to talk about how you can trust God.
First, I want to address who Satan is and warn you that he is out to destroy God’s people and the beautiful earth God has given us to live on. Satan has done a great job at watering down who God is. He has very cleverly planted lies all over the world that cause people to question God’s existence or believe that if there is a god he does not care about us. The reason the devil is able to do this so well is because he himself knows God’s Word. The devil operates on the fringe of God’s Word, using just enough to get you thinking and moving in the wrong direction. God has issued a warning in scripture…
John 10:10 says “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
1 Peter 5:8 clearly tells us to be ready “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Even now as you are reading this…the devil is positioning himself and stirring up a counterattack, to cause you to question this writing.
“Right now, in the name of Jesus and in the authority given to me as spoken in God’s Holy Word…I cast out spirits that would bring doubt to you and that God’s Holy Spirit would fill you with His truth. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen”
Now, we have prayed, we have identified the enemy…let us get back to God’s Truth. How do I know God is real? How can I trust what the Bible says? I will humbly try to answer these basic questions, please understand that throughout God’s Word, the physical and spiritual world these questions are answered in many ways I am just touching the tip of truth.
The Bible is the Word of God because of its scientific accuracy. Physical evidence is found in the Bible. God tells us that “He [God] stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.” Job 26:7 How did Job know that the earth hung in space before the age of modern astronomy and space travel? The Holy Spirit told him.
The scientists of Isaiah’s day did not know the topography of the earth, but Isaiah said in Isaiah 40:22; “It is [God] that sitteth upon the circle of the earth”. The word for “circle” here means a globe or sphere. How did Isaiah know that God sat upon the circle of the earth? Or that the earth was round? By divine inspiration.
The Bible is historically accurate as well. Daniel 5 tells us of an incident that left physical proof that still exists today.
Belshazzar hosted a feast with a thousand of his lords and ladies. A gruesome hand appeared wrote on a wall. The king asked for someone to interpret the writing. Daniel was found and gave the interpretation. After the interpretation, “Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Daniel 5:29
Over time Historians basing their opinion on Babylonian records, claimed this never happened. The last king of Babylon was not Belshazzar, but a man named Nabonidas. There was not a record of a king named Belshazzar.
In 1853, an inscription was found on a cornerstone of a temple built by Nabonidas, to the god Ur, which read: “May I, Nabonidas, king of Babylon, not sin against thee. And may reverence for thee dwell in the heart of Belshazzar, my first-born favorite son.” From other inscriptions we learn that Belshazzar and Nabonidas ruled together. Belshazzar would later say that Daniel would be the third ruler.
The Bible is an account of the One True God, His son Jesus Christ, the history of God’s people and it is written for everyone…
1 Peter 1:25 says: “But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” It’s truth and power are live and active today just as it was when God first inspired those men of God to record it.
Further God tells us how it was recorded…“and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
Later, around A.D. 63 Peter would write, addressing us still today “to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”, these powerful words of truth. “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:21
Are you feeling more confident? God is real! The Bible is God’s Word to you and me. Through His Word and the Holy Spirit within you, YOU CAN TRUST GOD. For me trusting God was a journey, a fight. As I have shared I came to the cross damaged, trusting God had to be a decision…I had to and still today cast every thought and lie the devil continued to tell me out.
The word “trust” is defined; a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Having confidence, the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone…being dependent, rely on. The Bible defines “trust” in Hebrew “batach” meaning; refuge, secure, be bold or confident, assurance, hope.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
To truly trust God we must humble ourselves, not as easy as it sounds. The word “humble” is not popular today! Everyone is seeking to be acknowledged or should I say, “stand out”, our role models are those with the loudest mouth, Hollywood, politics, surely not JESUS or God’s Word.
1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” These verses come just before we are warned about how the devil is looking for those he can devour.
The word “humility” is defined; having or showing a modest estimate of one’s own importance; to live with dignity; the quality or state of being worthy. Disposition: the tendency of something to act in a certain manner; something that accompanies or is collaterally connected with something else. To understand your position, purpose, to rein in or curb accordingly, to have a sensitive nature.
To be humble takes trusting God for direction, being connected to Him and pursuing the worthiness God bestows on His children. We find our real worth and identity in God. Having a servant heart willing to say, “it’s not about me the life I seek is found in trusting God”.
How do we get there? I have not arrived, but I am working on it daily, by developing a habit of learning to trust God at all times, in every area of my life.
Trusting God is simply believing that He loves you and knowing He is good, He has the power to help you, and He wants to help you. As believers we are called to trust God in ALL things but many times, we are more like unbelieving believers. We trust those we see on TV or read about in the news more than we trust God and His Word.
In John 15:5, Jesus says that apart from Him, we can do nothing. We need to lean on Him for help with everything in our lives.
Maybe you attend church each week, however by the time you get home, the world is closing in and you try to do it on your own. You sink back into complaining about how hard it is because you are trying to do it all on your own leaving God out!
We MUST put God first in our lives. He wants us to put our confidence and trust in Him, all the time, in everything. Trust even when you do not see results, Trust even when everything and everyone around you is telling you something else.
I put up all kinds of walls and roadblocks through my life because I had been hurt and I hurt others as well. I thought, if you do not ask anybody for anything or open your heart to them, they cannot hurt you. I thought I will make my own way, I will make my own decisions because I cannot trust anyone. If I am going to crash it will be me driving unfortunately, my kids and others I loved were in the car, so they experienced the hurt and brokenness within me. This wrong thinking just kept me from trusting God.
Trusting God is a decision, a habit that takes practice. Somedays we just need to declare our Trust in God! We can build that trust by knowing what the Bible says. God’s Word gives us confidence as we study it, our mind is renewed, the goal is to no longer think the way the world thinks, we need to think the way God thinks!
Romans 12:2 says “And do not be conformed (listen or act according) to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Make God Habits in your daily life. First, what your eyes see, and your ears hear will affect your ability to see and hear God. My life began to change when I stopped listening to music or watching movies/TV that had worldly content (i.e. secular, above PG). Today, social media plays a huge part promoting worldly ideas. Do not be fooled the devil uses ALL forms of media to drag us down and destroy us.
Second, find time in your day, even while driving in the car to talk to God, start by thanking Him, praising Him, then acknowledge your need for Him, ask Him to forgive you, then surrender it all to Him…Psalm 51:10 says “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in me.” Sometimes simply saying “Yes God!” can get you moving closer to God and send the devil running.
Third, give God your best, if you blow it…start over, do not let the devil speak lies to you. Every thought needs to line up with God’s Word. Many times, I think what would God say about this?
Fourth, reach out to other believers, find a woman of God to mentor you! God tells His children to be disciples and then to reach out and disciple. Find a home church and GO! It is that simple, you will be changed guaranteed! This is how God works, through the Holy Spirit, through His Word and through His church…other believers.
Joyce Meyers says “When you go beyond what you want, what you think and what you feel and do what the Word and the Spirit of God tell you to do, you are able to develop good habits and break bad ones. You come to a place where the blessings of God – His righteousness, peace and joy – overflow in your life.”
Everything changes when we discover who we are in God’s Kingdom. We are His children, His creation, made in His image for His purpose! Yes, you are valued and loved by God. You my sweet sisters are Daughters of the Most High King.