Romans 8 speaks boldly about our position in God’s Kingdom, many people say it is their favorite because it encourages, strengthens, and builds them up. The Holy Spirit is spoken of here more than in any other chapter of the Bible. Personally, I agree with those who cling to the Truth found within the power filled Words. Freedom is at the heart of the Holy Spirit’s work in us. 2 Corinthians 3:17 confirms this Truth “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”
My struggles to live the Christian life in my own strength has been both frustrating and disappointing. That allusive victory spoken of in Romans 8 is completely unattainable on my own. It has taken many years to reach the end of myself and truly allow the Holy Spirit, who is the promised “Helper” to begin the necessary work in my spirit. I praise God for His unending grace and mercy as I surrender to the Holy Spirit, who continues to enable me to be victorious in my struggles and at the same time empowers me to pierce enemy territory with God’s Truth. This is victorious living…God wants us to focus on the victories giving Him ALL the praise and glory! Even now as I am writing, going over my class notes on Romans it is God that inspires me through the Holy Spirit working in me. I pray my understanding of these scriptures will inspire you as well to go deeper, relinquish more of yourself and acknowledge that freedom comes through your relationship with the One True God.
Right now, are there difficulties in your life? Dear Sister, let the Spirit remind you that “Jesus, who died and was raised to life is at the right hand of the Father interceding for you” Romans 8:34. Let these Words of Truth fortify your spirit by assuring you that “in all these things (your current situation) you are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you” Romans 8:37 personalized.
Let us look at Romans 8:28, the NASB version says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Within this scripture there are five declarations of your position as God’s child and how God through His Son, Jesus Christ has already conquered your enemies and promises to work ALL things: situations, circumstances, even consequences out for His purpose in your life. Take note of how Paul begins the scripture “And we know”, as believers God has revealed His Truth, it is not unknown but KNOWN, revealed with certainty and now here in 8:28 these five certainties about God and His faithfulness are declared.
God works in the lives of His people. Just look at the Old Testament, story upon story…situations that seem impossible and yet there is God working, intervening for His children.
God works for the good of His people. Jesus told the disciples that he would have to leave in order for the Holy Spirit to come…it is through the Holy Spirit we now are enabled to do the same good that the disciples did. That same good that Peter spoke to Cornelius and his household. Like Paul, Peter begins his message with certainty, “You yourselves know the thing that happened throughout Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
God works for the good of His people in all things. All things includes all circumstance, all situations, all consequences, Psalms 23:4 confirms “ Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” You may not understand everything that happens or that your circumstances will be without pain. But as Joseph said to his brothers, “ As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.” God will if you allow Him to use those troubles to benefit His Kingdom and purpose.
God works for the good of those who love Him. This is God’s promise to His children who love Him, who seek His direction and follow in His Ways I can testify with conviction that we are all a work in progress, do not let the enemy’s lies keep you from receiving the good promised. What a comfort to have the certainty of God’s good working even when you cannot see or understand.
God works for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose. God tells us in His Word that He does not want one of His children to be lost. The Bible at its core is a story of redemption for all God’s people. God did not send evil circumstances into Joseph’s life; but He foreknew that these troubles would occur. God worked each struggle out for good, positioning Joseph and ultimately fulfilled His purpose in Joseph’s life “to keep many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 When you came to Christ, with a repent heart and made Him your Savior the “calling” is confirmed. Therefore, you can stand with certainty that He has a purpose for your life, and you can be assured that all the days of your life prior to your salvation has been reconciled and will be used by God.
God has an ultimate purpose in working all things for your good, this good will bring about a change in you, you are right now being transformed by God’s Truth and your desire to love God. Romans 8:29 MSG says “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him. After God made that decision of what His children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name. After He called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with Himself. And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun.” WOW! How powerful and beautiful…We are more than Conquerors!
“Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time—this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved. (I’m assuming, now, that your belief was the real thing and not a passing fancy, that you’re in this for good and holding fast.)” 1 Corinthians 15:1 MSG
There are three positions in God’s Kingdom, each and every person falls into one, here and now! Paul pens in Romans 7:24 NASB, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Whether you find yourself still doubting the existence of God, a new believer, or a matured believer there is an ongoing struggle against sin.
The unbeliever battles to understand right from wrong because God has given all people knowledge, an understanding of God and His ways from the very beginning. Romans 1:19 says “Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” Humanity has no excuse, just as God knew us in our mother’s womb and placed our spirit there, we also knew Him. In this position there is continuous struggle and chaos. A distorted sense of truth exists, selfish ambition and desire guide the decision-making process. Psalms 138 fully describes how intimately God knows us and that we belong to Him. The second half of Psalm 139:14 clearly tells us “Wonderful are Your works, and my soul (spirit) knows it very well.” See right there, as infants growing within our mother’s womb we have the truth, God’s truth! This truth is there for one purpose to be completely discovered and revealed with the help of the Holy Spirit. The word “know” here is an intimate understanding, relational, experiential, and personal. We are God’s creation, made in His image, His children. So yes, Wretched man that I am!
The new believer struggles because they are now acknowledging the “knowing”. Their eyesight improves which gives them hunger and thirst to experience the love of God. It has always been there, just as the ability to know right from wrong, but now there is a shift, an understanding that God see them, sin becomes clearer. We know from God’s Word that we are no longer held captive to the bondage of sin, the old man has been crucified, sin shall not have dominion over you, the mind of the spirit is life and peace. Romans 6:6, Galatians 5:24 and Romans 8:1, 5-6. There is an acknowledgement that God is the great I AM…an embracing of Jesus’ sacrifice for them personally. That without God they are lost to sin and a fallen world. They find themselves asking questions “What do I do now?”, “How do I”, “What now is God’s asking?”, “How is this personal relationship suppose to work?”. They have these habits or behaviors that do not give God honor, acknowledge their love for Him, in some cases they go against the law…all of this has new meaning. The big question now becomes “How then shall I live?” So yes, Wretched man that I am!
The mature believer now has worked this God thing out, a little farther down the road and yet…in Romans 7:15-20 Paul openly shares his frustration. “For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate. However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good. But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.” So yes, Wretched man that I am!
The struggles against sin is real for everyone. This is exactly why God had Paul include this truth about himself. Paul suffered under spiritual attacks, he wrestled with his past and he grappled with unworthiness. Yet, God chosen this man, His grace put Paul in a unique position to share God’s Truth, to testify concerning Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. In all of this God gave Paul the inspired Word in which he authored thirteen letters in the New Testament. Like Paul the mature believer has stepped into greater responsibility therefore subject to greater scrutiny of self. Yet, Paul suffered under his old self just as we do, in Paul’s case I believe that the thorn in Paul’s side speaks of him wrestling with past behavior and the spiritual battle in the form of shame the devil continually heaped on him. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 confirms this thought, “Because of the extraordinary greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” Thank you God, for encouraging Paul to be transparent with us. This is true for all believers serving Jesus, stepping out and living daily for God.
I find myself, the wretched man, forgiven, justified and righteous through God, still battling spiritual attacks and dealing with consequences of sin. You see sweet sisters we are all like Paul “The Wretched Man.” There is no place I would rather be then to be found, proven, and refined by my Forever Father, my King, loved and not forsaken, positioned as His daughter, the daughter of the Most High King.
God carefully constructed you, with His creative finger He mixed your DNA perfectly. He placed your spirit within you, you are the daughter of the Most High King. Psalm 139:13-18
In “The Message Translation” of Roman 8:18-27 a beautiful picture of creation and our position is revealed, “That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
The birth pangs (groans) are the result of two factors; First, we are subject through our five senses to experience a fallen world. Second, these senses also provide an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.
There are many scriptures about guarding the gateways of our five senses, yes, we must become well versed in this protecting and taking care to not let the devil and the temptations of the world sidetrack us. We were created to experience God’s goodness through our five senses. On your own meditate on the following scriptures and the amazing power within us to perceive God through our five senses.
Eyes: Matthew 6:22 says “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 13:16, Luke 11:34 ESV
Ears: Luke 11:28 says “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!.” Proverbs 20:12, Romans 10:17, Psalm 94:9, Luke 11:28, Matthew 11:15 ESV
Touch: 1 John 1:1 says ““That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.” John 20:27, Genesis 3:3 ESV
Taste: Psalm 34:8 says ” Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 119:103, Matthew 5:13, Hebrews 5:14 ESV
Smell: 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 says “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Psalm 115:3-8, Ephesians 5:1-2, 1 Corinthians 12:17, Genesis 27:27 ESV
You and I must be sure our five sense serve as instruments of righteousness and not instruments of wickedness. Let us look at how God intended for us to use the power behind our physical body to encounter God’s glory.
Guide our eyes. May our vision witness the glory of the Lord and all His creation.
Monitor our hearing. Let our ears be fine-tuned to hear His voice.
Control our tastes. Feast on the manna that being His Word which He has provided.
Watch our touch. Lay hold and embrace the treasure found in God’s grace.
Train our smell. Crave only what is true and that will enrich our souls.
Yes, these are gateways to our spirit. Through these gates pass the tangible and ideas of the world. They are ties to our environment. Place a sentry, God’s Word, at every gate. Watch, listen, consume, touch and be drawn by only that which will edify your spirit. Be sure your five senses serve as tools with kingdom purpose and not captive to the devil and a fallen world.
1 John 1:1-4 ESV says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Remember: God’s power will keep you. His Spirit will fill you. His wisdom will guide you. His authority will enable you. His love will protect you. His peace will lift you. His provision will sustain you.
Romans 8: 39 in The Passion Translation says, “There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!”
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.
Becoming good at anything in life requires something from us. The same stands for a personal relationship with Jesus. Becoming a friend of God takes desire, time, and energy. You are His child, yes, His creation, your spirit placed within your mother’s womb was done with intention. You parents were by His design. When you look in the mirror you are exactly what God choose for you, all the physical characteristics were handpicked by God. A Zebra’s coat of black and white stripes is unique, their hairy coat and stripes would not work on hippopotamus who spend much of his time in the rivers of Africa. We are much like those beautiful creations in that God made us unique and prefect for His pleasure.
I digress, this writing is not about your freckles, dark brown eyes, or any of your other physical qualities. I want to share with you my thoughts about being God’s friend and sharing the things He loves and standing against the enemies of God. Can you feel inside yourself, that yearning, that empty feeling that hungers for meaning? That hunger and yearning comes from your spirit, your soul that is longing for God. Because we are His, God gave us an appetite for His truth and to walk in His ways.
The question becomes how then? It is a process, each of us must go through it, many times I compare God to a slow cooker, we must simmer on God details only then will we receive and enjoy all God has for us. On our own we are a microwave set on high, wanting the finished, perfectly cooked in minutes. To feed this hunger you must intimately connect with God, you must learn to honestly share your feelings with Him, trust His leading, care about what He cares about and desire His friendship more than anything else in your life.
I am leading a Bible Study right now with a group of ladies, and we are encountering God through the book “Purpose Driven Life”, by Rick Warren. Almost 20 years ago when I was first searching for God beyond salvation, God lead me to a group of women who were about to begin this book. This book forever changed my life. It is a gateway to the truth of who we are and how God desires a personal relationship with His children, that includes you! Throughout this writing today I will be quoting from this book and sharing the truths God gave me.
The title of this writing in an amazingly simple way states that our input must be greater than our output. What you fill your life with is the input and the result is seen in your output, where you spend your time, money and energy is the result.
Let us talk about what that friendship, relationship with God should look like.
God requires complete honesty. Adam hid when God called to him in the garden, not because God did not know where Adam was but because God wanted Adam to be honest with Him. (Genesis 3:9) God does not expect you to be perfect, but He does require you to be completely honest. This honesty is seen throughout the Bible; prophets, leaders and disciples openly share their complaints, dissatisfaction, and fears with God. God encourages us to share every concern. It is perfectly OK to ask, “Why God”. David, Abraham, Jeremiah, and Job all questioned God. In each situation, God listened and because of their candor, lives were saved, David would be called “a man after God’s own Heart”, Job would express his bitterness, yet God called him “his friend.” God is looking for transparency in our relationship with Him. Rick Warren says, “God listens to the passionate words of His friends; He is bored with predictable, Christian cliches.” You must be honest with God, share your true feelings…honestly…not holding back. God uses everything in our lives for good, much like Joseph. When you harbor resentment toward God over your appearance, background, unanswered prayers, past hurts, and other things you are holding God at an arms distance. Many people blame God for something that another person has done. When you allow an emotion or hurt to separate you from God, a stronghold begins to form, and this prevents our spiritual hunger to be satisfied. We start looking to satisfy it somewhere else. Expressing your feelings and thoughts honestly to God is the first step toward the next level of intimacy with God.
Faith is a choice. Faith is unseen meaning that you cannot go down the store and buy some. Faith is where the intangible meets the tangible. Every time you trust God when you cannot see a result or do not understand, you deepen your friendship with God. Jesus made it clear that obedience is a condition of intimacy with God. He said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14 Faith is obedience, they go hand in hand, you cannot be a true friend of God if you cannot follow is direction. Rick Warren tells us “We are close companions and have special privileges, much like that of a king and his inter court however they still had to obey the king’s commands. God is our king, and we must follow Him.” Your obedience must be out of love. Many Christians today have caught the ride of faith and obedience on the back of their parents. They not only do not have their salvation, but they are also no friend to God.
Value what God values. As a friend do you value what is important to that friend? How much more should you value what is important to God, your Forever Father and Best Friend. The more you know God what is important to Him becomes important to you. In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul said “The thing that has me so upset is that I care about you (people in Corinth) so much—this is the passion of God burning inside me!” David felt the same way when he spoken this “Passion for Your house burns within me, so those who insult You (God) are also insulting me.” What does God care about most? You! As well as all His children! That is why Jesus came, to save His most precious creation, made in His image…YOU! God suffered as He put His Son on the cross…what a sacrifice! To be a friend of God you must see all His children through His eyes, counting each as cherished as the next. Friends of God tell others about Him.
Your desire to be a friend of God MUST BE more important than anything else. David passionately desired to “know” God. This word ”know” means “intimately”. This desire to know God above anything else cries out with words like; hungering, craving, thirsting, aching, wanting…you were born with this inside you, your spirit longs for God and His Truth. When you do not make Him your “one and only” the world and the devil replace it with selfish sinful desire. Psalm 27:4 says “Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with Him every moment in His house, finding the sweet loveliness of His face, filled with awe, delighting in His glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to Him that He takes pleasure in my every prayer.” “Your love means more than life to me.” Psalm 63:3
The truth is you are as close to God as you want to be. He is right here, right now, beside you…waiting for you to say, “Here I am Lord.”
This relationship is not only ongoing it is eternal…what you do right now, tomorrow, and next week are opportunities to know God…how much more amazing will it be when you leave planet earth to embrace the living God in your eternal home if you already know Him!
Jeremiah 29:13 says “When you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you will not be disappointed.”
Start now, pray this through your day, “Dear Jesus, more than anything else, I want to get to know you intimately, I want to experience everything You have for me!”
Be Encouraged and Blessed,
I wholeheartedly recommend you take the 40-day journey found in Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life”.
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…