ELEMENTS

Greetings to all of you, my sweet sisters in Jesus Christ.  “It was for freedom that Christ set you and I free…completely liberated; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be hampered and ensnared or allow sin to put a leash on you which Jesus Christ has removed.  There is no sin that can hold you captive unless you give in to it.” Galatians 5:1 personalized

This life we are living…the relationship we have with Jesus and others are as vital as the very air we breathe.  There are specific elements to our relationship with our Savior which are also necessary in our earthly relationships.  A couple weeks ago our youth pastor at Generations Church, Pastor Jesse Jamerson, spoke some words of Truth on this very subject.  Here find my takeaway from Pastor Jesse and God’s Truth.

God’s Word pours out the elements of our relationship with our Creator, His Son, and His children.  Let’s explore each of these elements so that you and I might find the Truth concerning a more intimate bond with God and others.  This has always been God’s Plan from those first days when Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden until Jesus returns…God’s primary concern has been our relationship with Him.

We know from God’s Word (Genesis 1:26-28) we were created in His image.  Unfortunately, that image was twisted and distorted by sin.  Jesus came to restore that image, His sacrifice paid the price for our sin once and for all…past, present, and future.   Now this opportunity is for this moment, here in our earthly bodies, to experience God’s Love through a relationship with Jesus.  To claim our Kingdom position as His Children, the daughters of the Most High King.  This position can only be manifested in your life through a thriving relationship with Your Savior and Heavenly Father.

This relationship I am speaking of has elements or attributes, without them we CANNOT receive the love God intends for each of us.  These very elements also must be found in our relationships with others.  Let’s take a close look at what is required…

Be Yourself –  There is no need to try and make a false impression on God, He already knows…also be real with those around you.  The Apostle Paul puts it right out there…”And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come as someone superior in speaking ability or wisdom, as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  I also was with you in weakness and fear, and in great trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of mankind, but on the power of God.” 

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NASB  We also find in 2 Timothy 2:15. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” False impressions to impress quickly fade.   Remember, God made you so let others see the real you.

Further study; Psalm 139:14, 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, Romans 12:1-21, James 5:15

Spend Time – It is said what you spend time with what you value.  Your relationship with God and others is dependent on the time you invest.  How can we know someone, or they know us if we don’t spend time with them?  God is passionate about a relationship with you.  God wants us to spend time with Him!  In fact, the more time we spend with God, the more He will be involved in our lives.  James 4:8 MSG says “So let God work his will in you.  Yell a loud “NO” to the Devil and watch him make himself scarce.  Say a quiet YES to God and he’ll be there in no time.  Quit dabbling in sin.  Purify your inner life.  Quit playing the field.  Hit bottom and  cry your eyes out.  The fun and games are over.  Get serious, really serious.  Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

More than anything, spending time with God not only builds your relationship but your faith.  “Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!” Isaiah 1:18 TLB  Our personal relationships also require time and conversation…How are we to know one another if there is no investment of our time. 

Further study: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Hebrews 10:25

Communication – 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” The Bible warns us that what we say and how we say it is important to God.  Conversation like spending time is crucial in every relationship.  God loves to hear our thoughts and ideas after all He created us to be unique and have a life purpose.  Through our conversations with Him that purpose is revealed.  With others God’s Word, speaks clearly about how through our communication we build or damage relationships.  “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”  Proverbs 18:13NLT Also, Colossians 4:6NLT says, “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”  What we say and how we say it makes all the difference.  “  If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying?  You might as well be talking into empty space.”  1 Corinthians 14:9NLT

Further study: Proverbs 13:17, James 1:19, Psalm 19:14, Proverbs 15:1

Humility – This word often is confusing for us even the dictionary doesn’t really define what it means to walk in humility, in fact it is completely a world’s view and not Gods.  Simply stated to walk in humility is to fully understand “It’s NOT about you!”  Humility is better defined by servanthood, that is the way in which we serve others and God.  In fact, to serve God is to serve others without expectation of reward or recognition.  A true believer gives with a cheerful heart, quietly without expecting something in return.  You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.  “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 NASB, Here it is so plainly put…meditate upon these words, “Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life.  Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God!  Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious free life.  Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.  Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God.  That person ignores who God is and what he is doing.  And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.”  Romans 8:5-8  When we are unable or unwilling to humble ourselves we are saying we don’t trust God.

Further Study: 1 Peter 5:6-7, James 4:6, Philippians 2:3-4, Matthew 18:4, Ephesians 4:1-3

Trust – Putting your trust in God is the way forward.  Set aside your anxieties and doubts and turn it all over to the Lord.  God says “Trust in me, your Father, the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to me, and I will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6personalized  “You will keep the man in perfect peace whose mind is kept on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 NLT How can you find peace without trusting God, in this world with so much uncertainty.  In those you love as well, there must be trust, without trust every single  other element in the relationship will fail. 

Further study: Psalm 9:10, Proverbs 28:26, Philippians 4:19, 2 Corinthians 5:7

Listen – Are you a good listener?  Listening is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do, and one of the hardest.

In a sense, listening is easy, or I should say hearing is easy. It doesn’t demand the initiative and energy required in speaking.  That’s why “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ”. Romans 10:17NASB.  We must make listening to God a priority.  God is speaking to us continually; we must train our spirit to hear His Voice. But despite this ease — or perhaps precisely because of it — we often fight against it. In our sin, we’d rather trust in ourselves than another, amass our own righteousness than receive another’s, speak our thoughts than listen to someone else.  True, sustained, active listening is a great act of faith, and a great means of grace, both for ourselves and for others.   This happens when we invest time.  It is through reading His word, fasting, and praying we increase our ability to listen to God.  In our relationship with others the same applies, if you are so busy talking how can you know what your loved one is feeling or thinking.  Humility is at work in listening as well as having good communication skills.  So, learning to listen well won’t happen overnight. It requires discipline, effort, and intentionality.  You will get better with time.  Here are seven steps to becoming a better listener (1) Good listening requires patience.  Remember it’s not about you.  (2) Good listening is an act of love. (3) Good listening asks perspective questions.  (4) Good listening readies us to minister words of grace to precisely the place where the other is in need.  (5) Good  listening can be a greater service than speaking.  Lean in express concern with your body language. (6)  Put more emphasis on affirmation than on answers.  (7) Good listening should reflect our relationship with God.

Further Study: John 10:27, James 1:19, Matthew 7:27, Proverbs 12:15 and 18:13

Intentional – We must pursue God with intention.  Let’s be honest, the fast pace of life can easily whisk us away and into the busy grind, leaving the day void of conversations with God.  This is true for our relationships with others as well. “So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17NASB  Our deepest friends should be committed Christ-followers that encourage us spiritually, and whom we are actively encouraging.  We are to be a light in our relationships and conversations with non-believers. “and let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25NASB  We must actively pursue two types of relationships: ones that contribute to our spiritual walk and ones to whom we can contribute, both believers and non-believers. “Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:13-14

Further Study:  Ephesians 4:15-16, Philippians 2:2-4, Colossians 4:2-6, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Proverbs 13:20

Intimacy – “Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.  Test my motives and my heart.  For I am always aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth..” Psalm 26:2-3NLT  When writing to the church at Philippi, Paul said this, “I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.  If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.” Philippians 3:10 When we look at this word “know” in its fullness of translation we see there is or was nothing more intimate, more personal, this is experienced through the Holy Spirit residing within us.  We can confidently say when we know God we are never alone.  Jesus had such an intimate relationship with God that He knew He was never alone.  No matter the circumstance, no matter who was around Him or how people felt about Him or treated Him, Jesus was at peace, confident, and able to overcome. This is what it is like to experience intimacy with God. God  is the starting place for this kind of intimacy with others.  If we cannot be intimate with our Savior, then we will surely struggle to be intimate with people.  Yet if we can be intimate with God, He can and will show us how to be free to encounter the kind of intimacy in relationships that we all desire.

Further Study: John 15:4-6, Zephaniah 3:17, John 17:3, Colossians 3:1, Romans 5:8, Matthew 10:30

When you are pursuing a relationship with God built upon these elements, it affects every aspect of your life. You’ll love differently, treat people differently, you will see the world and others through Jesus’ eyes.

In closing here are a few more scriptures to meditate upon…

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”  1 John 3:18NLT  

“You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.  Love each other deeply with all your heart.”  1 Peter 1:22NLT

“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”  1 John 1:7 NLT

Finally, this is my desire for you sweet sisters…“I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love.  I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.”  Colossians 2:2 NLT

Blessings, Sister Laurie

If you would like to reach out to me, I welcome you to do so.  I would love to share what God is speaking to me and pray for you, pour into you so that you may grow your relationship with our loving Savior Jesus Christ.  It is in the sharing and studying of God’s Word that we find the freedom only God, our Forever Father can bring.

God is Good

Greetings to all of you, my sisters in Jesus Christ.  I’m reading a new book, well at least a new book for me entitled, “Blessed Beyond Measure”, by Gloria Copeland.  In the first couple of pages, she got me thinking about God’s Word and how every circumstance, every word shows us just how much God loves us and wants absolutely the best for you and I.  Gloria’s book speaks to God’s Goodness and how we miss out on receiving all He has for us by our own misunderstanding, wrong thinking and actions.  God NEVER withholds, it is us who miss what He is offering.  God’s Holy Word clearly tells us the outcome of our obedience to Him and the outcome of disobedience.  In His Words God says “Place these words on your hearts.  Get them deep inside you.  Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder.  Teach them to your children.  Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.  Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you’ll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth.” Deuteronomy 11:18-21 MSG  God is telling you right here what to do in order to make way for His goodness to be manifested in your life.

Just like God’s children of the Old Testament, it is our life choices, our decisions and actions that put us into captivity.  Many believers and non-believers get confused about the sovereignty (supreme power or authority) of God, they find themselves blaming God for the misfortunes, disasters, heartbreaks, sickness…saying this must be a curse put on us by God.  The truth is it is our own curse,  through man’s sinful nature and the influences of the devil.  Now I must make something perfectly clear…illness in most cases is not the result of sin however sinful behavior can weaken our body making it vulnerable to sickness.  An example of this would be drug addiction which damages God’s perfectly created body and makes it susceptible to health conditions, often leading to death.

The famous scripture which hangs in many homes today says, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11 NASB  But most people stop right there believing all I have to do is believe and I will live in prosperity.  We have a responsibility in receiving the “goodness” God is speaking of…read further, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.   And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will let Myself be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”  Jeremiah 29:12-14 NASB

Now let me get to the entrée of what I wanted to share with you, we are sitting at God’s Table, and He wants to serve a full course meal including dessert, I believe one of the best scriptures that describes God’s Goodness is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  I know your thinking that’s the “love” chapter and is not God telling us how to behave?  How to love?  Well, yes but how much better we can understand if we look at it as a description of God and know with confidence that we being made in His image have the ability within our spirit with the help of the Holy Spirit to demonstrate the same goodness in our lives. We know that God is love and all true love flows from Him into us therefore let us look at these precious words exchanging the word “love” for God to gain a deeper understanding of the depth of God’s goodness. I have personalized these scriptures using several translations.

God  is patient, enduring, understanding…God is kind,

God is not suspicious or bitter however He desires for us to keep our eyes on Him some might say He is jealous, but I say protective.

God has no need brag He is sovereign, God is not arrogant, boastful, proud or rude there is no need for there are no other Gods only those manmade with no power and influenced by Satan to distract us.  If we look at nature and all of God’s creation we see there is no need for God to boast or demand His own way…He is a gentleman who never forces.

God never acts disgracefully, God does not seek his own benefit; God cannot be provoked, He is not irritable, God does not keep an account, no record of a wrong suffered, God exists in the light never in darkness, no good thing EVER comes from darkness.  God is GOOD!

God does not rejoice in unrighteousness or wrongdoing; He never rejoices concerning injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.   God’s heart breaks at man’s sinful nature, His Word was meant and remains our personal guide in life to experience God and all He has for us. God’s great sacrifice is the evidence of His love, that He Himself is Love…to suffer and die for each of us upon the cross.

God’s truth bears up under anything and everything that comes, God is always ever ready to believe the best all His children, God’s hopes are fadeless under every circumstance…

God will  never fail you…He will never change, fade out or become obsolete…GOD IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY and TOMORROW!

In closing, I will leave you with this final truth.  The goodness of God and the glory of God spoken in the Bible are practically synonymous meaning interchangeable, identical, equal or it might be said one in the same.  In the Hebrew language the word “glory” means “to be heavy with everything good.”  In today’s world and language, we might find words that seem superior to the word “good” such as best, better, or excellent, however, in Hebrew “good” is the superlative word meaning there is no higher word, nothing more grand or descriptive.  In other words, the word “good” found in God’s Word speaks of the highest and greatest, everything that is positive and desirable.  Ladies that is who God is…God is Good.

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Peripheral

Greetings to all of you, my sisters in Jesus Christ.  I am just going to jump right in.  There is a battling raging in the world.  Our position with God is solid, however God tells us in His Word…”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 2:16KJV

Today, the kingdom of God is under full attack…the forces of evil are out there bringing confusion and destruction.  While we know with confidence the battle is won for God’s eternal purpose people are still perishing daily.  The lines of identity, social justice, moral value have been blurred.  You might ask why is this happening?  It is because believers all over the world have taken the back seat and allowed God’s Truth to be silenced.

We must arm ourselves and not be shy, the back seat is not working, God wants us driving!  We must remember who has been given authority against the forces of darkness in this world right now!  Who has been called to share God’s love in this world with power and influence?  It is you and I my sister!  So, what can we do?  Let me make it clear…everyone is important and has value!  No matter how far astray they have become from the beautiful person God created them to be.

First, in God’s Word and Truth as spoken in Luke 4:18AMP, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah), Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.  He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy).” 

Second, we have a responsibility in our relationships, not just family but those we encounter in our peripheral daily life, Colossians 2:2TLB says, “This is what I have asked of God for you: that you will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love, and that you will have the rich experience of knowing Christ with real certainty and clear understanding.  For God’s secret plan, now at last made known, is Christ himself.”  Further, Colossians 3:13-14NTL “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

We must stand up in a loving way to Satan’s attempts at destroying or should I say taking as many as he can with him, that really what it amounts to…Jesus is coming and those who have not heard, have not taken Jesus Christ as their Savior will suffer the consciences.  That is the harsh truth!

Here are some steps we can take to help those lost in the devil’s grip find freedom.

  • Arm yourself, know God…daily talk, pray and read His Word, seek out Godly instruct, worship, prophecy and sing of His power and goodness.  The more time we invest in Him the closer we grow and the more power to free those captives is revealed.  It is all about relationship with Him and then taking it to others.
  • Meet people where they are both physically and spiritually.  Right in their mess…reach out in love, offer encouragement that there is something so much better coming.  Identify with their situation, remember one size does not fit all, we must be relevant to the culture and situation.
  • Use world tools to reach people, don’t engage in political arguments instead promote God’s love.  Consider who is in your peripheral, their culture, background, past, outward appearance.  Remember everyone deserves to be loved.  Forgiveness is key.  We must live without offence, quick to forgive.  Please know I am not talking about living in an abusive relationship or tolerating abuse, it is how we react that shows our forgiveness and love. Live with healthy, Godly boundaries.
  • Listen…less words more listening.  Are you taking the time to really listen?  Do not be in a hurry, there is nothing more important than representing Jesus Christ, we do this through listening.  Be slow to speak and make sure your response is not coming from hidden hurt.  We must look to God for the Godly counsel that is what is needed in today’s world.  That doesn’t not mean pointing out sin.  As a person comes to Christ, Jesus will lead them out of their sin.  Romans 8:1TPT says…”So now the case is closed.  There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.”  We must not give a list of rules to the one searching for it can be a huge stumbling block.  The first step for the one searching is to come to a place of encountering God and asking Jesus into their hearts, confessing He is Lord and asking for forgiveness.  Scripture does not tell us to point out their sin.   
  • Am I approachable?  1 Timothy 1:12-16TPT personalized says “My heart spills over with thanks to God for the way he continually empowers me, and to our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, who found me trustworthy and who authorized me to be his partner in this ministry.  Mercy kissed me, even though I used to be a blasphemer, a persecutor of believers, and a scorner of what turned out to be true.  I was ignorant and didn’t know what I was doing.  I was flooded with such incredible grace, like a river overflowing its banks it is a superabounding grace,  until I was full of faith and love for Jesus, the Anointed One!   I can testify that the Word is true and deserves to be received by all, for Jesus Christ came into the world to bring sinners back to life—even me, the worst sinner of all!   Yet I was captured by grace, so that Jesus Christ could display through me the outpouring of his Spirit, a demonstration of his perfect patience as a pattern to be seen for all those who would believe, in fact they are destined to believe in him for eternal life.”  We must consider, Colossians 4:4-6TPT personalized which instructs us through Paul “And please pray for me, that God will open a door of opportunity for us to preach the revelation of the mystery of Christ, for whose sake I am imprisoned.  Pray that I would unfold and reveal fully this mystery, for that is my delightful assignment. Walk in the wisdom of God as you live before the unbelievers and make it your duty to make him known giving this purpose your all.  Let every word you speak be drenched with grace, compassion and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith.”

Who can you bless today?  With a Word, a gesture or action?  Who is in your peripheral?

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Faithfulness

It has been several days since I have been in my refuge, the room I have in my house where I seek God’s presence, pray and study.  Our home has had family here and the littles brought germs with them, my husband was the first to catch the bug which appeared as a cold, and then I felt the symptoms invading me as well.  I never really got congested but my head felt full.  I found myself just sitting and staring at the TV, unable to get myself inspired to do anything.  My husband will tell you that I am a busy person who always sets out with a plan daily of things to accomplish and yet for the last couple of weeks I just could not get moving.  I will also say that retirement can be challenging, you have more days to do “stuff” less “money” to do them and so you find yourself saying “that can wait.”   A frustrating place to be…my foggy head, lack of motivation and no real deadline to make me move.  And yet there is something is there not?  There is God.  The True force behind the “why” of everything.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to not believe, to not know that I am His child, to live without purpose in the fourth quarter of life.  This is where faithfulness comes in.  And so, in my stupor I will say “Yes God!” I will call upon my Father to help me rise up and get moving…I will remain faithful!

The dictionary defines faithfulness as the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. Faithfulness is adhesion, allegiance, attachment, commitment, constancy, dedication, devotedness, devotion.  Faithfulness comes from a place of trust and loyalty.  The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is a confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  Faithfulness requires us to submit our ways to God, it means that even when are physical body is failing us we keep saying “Yes God.”   Even when something we hoped for, someone we thought would extend an invitation, an opportunity dissipates into thin air we continue to say, “Yes God”. 

I receive a newsletter from the Assemblies of God quarterly and in the fall issue an article about faithfulness caught my eye, it’s simple truth lead me to share these thoughts with you and so I extend a thank to Donna Barrett, author.  It spoke to me right in the midst of my funk (for lack of a better word), encouraged me to stay the course, do my best and give God all the praise.

King Saul had it all, selected by God when the Israelites asked for a leader.  Set up as King, he had wealth, wisdom, and looks but most of all… he had God on his side.  So, what happened?  Simple put he let the distractions of this world blur his vision, congest his mind.  In a nutshell, he become unfaithful to God.  Scripture says, “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of her, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore, He killed him and turned the kingdom over to David, the son of Jesse.”  1 Chronicles 10:13-14NASB 

Every person in the Bible, every situation is placed there with purpose by God, to warn us, to teach us how to navigate life on planet earth.  With that being said, Saul is given to us as an example of what can happen when we take our eyes off God and put our faith in things of this world.  King Saul made three mistakes.  Let us look at each of these and see if you and I are vulnerable as well.  

  1. DO NOT Look to the World for Guidance

Saul stopped seeking God for guidance, consulting a medium instead. In today’s world you and I do this when we let popular opinion guide us.  On social media we look to see how many “likes” we get to affirm a thought or decision.  Any information source you seek before or more than God is just a modern-day medium.  God’s Word is the ultimate guide, the internet provides a multitude of information that can be spun, miss quoted, and edited to sway our decision in the wrong direction.  I know I find myself saying “let me google that to see what is said concerning that”, now please let me say that we my husband and I have consulted the web on home repair, which item might fit our needs best and it can be a wonderful resource.  Even in studying God’s Word, the internet has thousands of amazing articles and other sources for us to build our faith.  You and I need to put God’s Gospel first, more than whatever version of truth is presented to us at the moment.  I find Philippians 4 as a source of comfort and guidance.  His Truth is still the Truth, even if no one believes it.  A lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it.

  • DO NOT Compare

Saul’s second mistake was comparing himself to others especially to David. 

1 Samuel 18:7-9 tells us, “The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”  Then Saul became very angry, for this lyric [b]displeased him; and he said, “They have given David credit for ten thousands, but to me they have given credit for only thousands! Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David with suspicion from that day on.”

This song of celebrated victory caused Saul to become jealous of David.  It rendered he unable to escape the comparison trap.  He saw David as a rival instead of acknowledging him as someone Saul had mentor and sharing in the victory.  Embracing the truth that together they were a winning team.   How would this scenario have changed if Saul had recognized his jealousy and brought it before the Lord in repentance?

I used to find myself begrudging other sisters in Christ who knew more scripture, who’s prayers were more elegant than mine, who I thought reached a higher level in their faith than me, friends who’s relationship appeared closer.  But as I have grown as a believer, God has shown me that I have value in Him, my own unique value that He has grown in me.  Even my marriage, in my friendships they are unique and God has taught me not to compare with others.  Comparing ourselves to others in any respect leads to jealousy, losing sight of who you are, or your value in God’s Kingdom.  Once again social media is a trap in this area, it has become today’s tool for unfair comparison.  Unfair comparison and jealousy feed off one another and result in a never-ending vicious cycle.   The way out is to be faithful to God with who you are and what He has given you.  DO NOT let the enemy lure you into the comparison trap.

  • Be Honest with Yourself

The worst kind of deception is self-deception.  Saul began lying to himself, believing those lies and then lying to those around him.  The lying thought in your mind is a prelude to sin in action.  In 1 Samuel 13:7-14, we find Saul disregarding God’s instruction to wait for Samuel…we see Samuel confront Saul as to why he did not wait for him as instructed.  Here comes the excuses.  When Saul disobeyed God and kept some of the plunder, he justified his actions as recorded in 1 Samuel 15:7-15.  This pattern of excuse-making starts  with self-deception.  An excuse is nothing more than a lie wrapped up in rationalization.  Who we are and what we do are connected, it might be said that our action verifies our character.

A person’s character is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as, “Your character is your personality, especially how reliable and honest you are. If someone is of good character, they are reliable and honest. If they are of bad character, they are unreliable and dishonest.” Even the world identifies that we are subject within our character to good and evil.   The sinful nature you and I were born with is found within our character.  However, there is good news in that God has given you and I a spirit within us, along with the Holy Spirit to overcome the sinful nature “bad character” within us.  As we look to God remain faithful to His Word our character is refined into the image of Jesus Christ as spoke of in scripture.  This is lifelong process well worth all our effort.  The apostle Paul reminds us that there is a constant conflict, a battle within us that must be surrendered to God. He tells us in Romans 7 that this struggle is real and that it continues even though Paul himself  teaches and speaks God’s Truth at every opportunity.  For me this is an inspiration to not give in or give up. 

In closing, Saul allow his character to be compromised by putting is faith in the world’s view instead of God’s.  Once he took his eyes off God, sadly Saul began making decisions based in the world and self-deception, he became lost to God’s Truth and suffered eternal consequences.

“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught.  You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.  You have been taught the holy Scriptures for some time now, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.  Cling to this truth, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.  I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when He comes to set up His Kingdom:  Preach the Word of God through what you speak and in action. It must be your lifestyle to represent His Truth daily no matter the circumstance you find yourself in.   Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.  Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching.  In fact, it is now upon us.  They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.   They will reject the truth and chase after myths.  But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.  Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord.  Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”  2 Timothy 3:14-4:5NLT personalized

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Grateful

Greetings to all of you, my sisters in Jesus Christ. Several weeks ago I began praying for a scripture and word from God for this coming year. Some might call this a vision for the coming year and in the past I have written out the vision as God gave it to me. This year it was different, God gave me one scripture and then one word to study on, meditate on and let them motivate me to remain faithful and patience in 2022. To keep moving forward allowing God to be my direction and center.

“For we reach the goal of fulfilling all the commandments when we love others deeply with a pure heart, a clean conscience, and sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 TPT

This scripture touched me deeply, love and learning to love as God loves us is so key in our life. Many of the struggles you and I have come from our inability to love and forgive as God has directed us.

As you might have guessed the word God gave me is “Grateful”. I believe we just don’t spend enough time expressing our gratitude to God and those around us. The word “grateful” is defined as “feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful; conscious of benefit received, affording pleasure or contentment : PLEASING, pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated.” God’s Word and science tells us that living in an attitude of gratefulness is beneficial to both our spiritual and physical being.

Your ability to be grateful is directly related to the level of joy in your life and how you handle anxiety. It is impossible for both joy and anxiety to be present at the same time within you. The root of anxiety is found in your desire to control…the people you love, your co-workers, your physical environment, career. It is said that control is an illusion, never really attained because you don’t know what is going to happen next. Moreover, your mind is prone to discontentment, wanting what is out of your reach. Over thinking, dwelling upon that next material thing, success, popularity, status that somehow will give you the control you desire. This develops into anxiety which lends itself to chaos, the feeling of being out of control, and so a vicious cycle ensues. Being thankful requires you to relinquish your control.

The Apostle Paul understood this cycle all too well and God gave him the answer to finding the lasting joy we all desire. Philippians 4:6-8TPT says “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable, and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.”

I have spent the day researching the how to of living in a grateful state, it is there where the joy and peace of God exists. Not surprisingly, there are many articles both Christian and secular that speak about living in a grateful state. There are two common thoughts; first, it is a decision and secondly, it is important to have people around you how are pursuing this joy as well. We must rid ourselves of the naysayers, and cynics. It is far more enjoyable to spend time with someone who is grateful and positive than it is to be with someone who is negative and self-consumed. Gratefulness frees you from your negativity so that you can be more open in your relationship with God and people. Let me put it very plainly…God is calling us to gather and pray with one another to build one another up not tear down, not dwell, our prayer life must be full of thanksgiving and gratefulness directed at what God has done, is doing and will do. I’m not saying that we should not bring our concerns to God BUT our sincere gratefulness must outweigh the concerns. Gratefulness must be cultivated by being involved in small groups, attending church, serving, praying with others.

I have put together a list of thoughts and scripture for you to embrace in your journey to live gratefully.

  1. Be grateful in every situation, leaning on God…this gratitude positions us in God’s will.
    God’s will is found in obedience. There are three areas your life you must focus on: (1) living in God’s unrestricted joy, (2) praying continually, and (3) giving thanks to God no matter what happens in your life. These three virtues combine to form the wonderful expression of Christ’s life within us. “Let joy be your continual feast, joyous in every season. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18TPT
  2. God’s love is the only thing that will last forever.
    Do you remember before you surrendered to God, you held on to all the hurt, you were unlovable; self-centered, and focusing on pleasing yourself. Now let this sink in…God looked down and loved you, the sacrifice of His Son was for you, Jesus Christ died for you. Right now, give thanks to God because you are loved passionately and without condition. “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!.” 1 Chronicles 16:34AMPC
  3. Be grateful for the abilities God has given you.
    As His daughter, you have the ability to show your gratefulness to God in action. The way in which you treat those around you, despite their behavior, is the outpouring of your love for God. It is God who gives us the strength to give, serve and work. When you have this attitude, even the most difficult task can be accomplished through your love for God. Simply put when you love God you love people. “Let the word of Christ live and grow in you richly, flooding you with all wisdom. Apply the Scriptures as you teach and instruct one another with the Psalms, and with festive praises, and with prophetic songs given to you spontaneously by the Spirit, so sing to God with all your hearts! Let every activity, commitment of your lives and every word, promise, oath that comes from your lips be drenched with the beauty of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. And bring your constant praise to God the Father because of what Christ has done for you!” Colossians 3:16-17 TPT
  4. Be grateful for God’s deliverance.
    Without God you would be hopelessly lost. Only through the power of Jesus Christ, you are given the strength to rise above your sinful nature and overcome the desires of the flesh. You may have been saved while still snared by the lies of Satan, held captive. BUT through the Holy Spirit, you now have been set free. YES God! “My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up in you the power of endurance. And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.” James 1:2-4TPT
  5. Be grateful for God’s miraculous hand over your life.
    Always be thankful, giving God the glory and make sure that others know that this freedom you now have comes from God alone. There is no such thing as coincidence or luck, only by the hand of God and His intention for your life may you perceive how God is working things out for good in your life. So, with boldness declare God’s goodness daily. “I will worship you, Yahweh, with extended hands as my whole heart erupts with praise! I will tell everyone everywhere about your wonderful works!” Psalm 9:1TPT
  6. Let your praise of gratefulness be in every prayer.
    Even before you see the answer…give God your praise. Thank Him just for listening, your attitude of gratefulness ushers a spirit of expectancy in our prayers. “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:6-7TPT
  7. The good things in your life are ALL because of God.
    Make sure you thank God continually in all things big and small. This is your mission to speak with love, spread the Truth of God. “Everyone come meet His face with a thankful heart. Don’t hold back your praises; make Him great by your shouts of joy! For the Lord is the greatest of all, King-God over all other gods!” Psalm 95:2-3
    “Then my song will be a burst of praise to You. My glory-shouts will make Your fame even more glorious to all who hear my praises!” Psalm 69:30TPT
    “God always makes His grace visible in Christ, who includes us as partners of His endless triumph. Through our yielded lives He spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere we go.” 2 Corinthians 2:14TPT
  8. Gratitude helps you see God.
    Gratitude glorifies God not for the gifts you have received but the Truth of who He is, Today, give all your praise to the Giver! Gratitude helps you realize all you have comes not because of you, but from God. Gratitude helps you enter into His presence, feel His personal care and experience His prefect timing. Dear sister, be careful to not be fooled or turn to sin to get what you want. “So, my friends, don’t be fooled by your own desires! Every gift or legacy God freely gives us is complete, wholesome, abundant, sufficient, enough, and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change.” James 1:16-17TPT
  9. Find contentment in Gratitude, let it deepen your faith.
    If you are not satisfied with what God has given you, more will not satisfy you either. Being thankful is the key to contentment. Keep a record of God’s past faithfulness and look back and reflect when a new challenge comes. Remember where you came from and who you are now as God’s child. Re-evangelize yourself by sharing what God has done and how you are now free. This will deepen your faith and lead you to the joy you are seeking. “We have a “profit” that is greater than theirs—our holy awe of God! To have merely our necessities is to have enough. Isn’t it true that our hands were empty when we came into the world, and when we leave this world our hands will be empty again? Because of this, food and clothing is enough to make us content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8TPT
    “Let everyone thank God, for He is good, and He is easy to please! His tender love for us continues on forever!” Psalm 136:1TPT
    “It was like a dream come true when You freed us from our bondage and brought us back to Zion! We laughed and laughed and overflowed with gladness. We were left shouting for joy and singing Your praise. All the nations saw it and joined in, saying, “The Lord has done great miracles for them!” Yes, He did mighty miracles, and we are overjoyed!” Psalm 126:1-3TPT
  10. Gratitude confronts Satan’s lies.
    This is my warning to you against evil. There are many scriptures that will testify of Satan’s plan to kill, steal and destroy you. He is jealous, he hates us and is a great deceiver. However, true gratitude for God and the abundance God gives protects us from falling victim to the enemy’s lies. Gratitude helps us live in the present and guards against envy. It is impossible to be thankful and jealous at the same time. Do not romance your past, your memory is distorted by evil. “For the Lord God is brighter than the brilliance of a sunrise! Wrapping Himself around me like a shield, He is so generous with his gifts of grace and glory. Those who walk along His paths with integrity will never lack one thing they need, for He provides it all!.” Psalm 84:11TPT
    “Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.” Ecclesiastes 7:10AMP
    “I thank you, Lord, and with all the passion of my heart, I worship You in the presence of angels! Heaven’s mighty ones will hear my voice as I sing my loving praise to You.” Psalm 138:1TPT

This writing has been long, I pray it ministers to you and sets you on a course to join me this year in being grateful for all God has done and continues to do in your life and mine as well. I leave you with this last Word of Truth…Gratitude is your testimony! Gratefulness, thanksgiving creates a fire in your spirit that burns bright and hot giving you and I the confidence to tell others.

“Go ahead and give God thanks for all the glorious things He has done! Go ahead and worship Him! Tell everyone about His wonders!” Psalm 105:1TPT

Sister Laurie
JesusTruth 1/4/2022

If you would like to personally write to me, I welcome you to do so. I would love to share what God is speaking to me and pray for you, pour into you so that you may grow your relationship with our loving Savior Jesus Christ. It is in the sharing and studying of God’s Word that we find the freedom only God, our Forever Father can bring.

Blessings, Sister Laurie

I want to acknowledge those that helped in my search for a deepen understanding of what it means to give God our Gratitude.
Real Joy by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
15 Thankful Bible Verses to Remind You the Power of Prayer, by Sophia Caraballo, 11/24/2019
Top 7 Bible Verses About being Grateful, by Crystal McDowell

Life Compass

We all are His Child looking to Him our King Jesus to guide us. Open the door!

Our life compass is our heart.  It is divided into three parts, our minds (where our ideas, and desires live), our emotions/feelings (they react on what your mind is thinking), will (this is where we put into motion what the mind desires and how it feels).  It tells us who we are and dictates what we believe and how we live.  It can be void of self-control therefore it is in our life compass that we set a course in the direction of what we want and what we desire.  Without Christ it is like a runaway train with an engine out of control.

The Bible says “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23 NASB  It might be said “it is said our hearts are the wellspring of our lives and is driven by what we desire, it from there your life finds direction.”  The truth is we are creatures of desire and what we desire rules our life. 

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21AMP, “for where your treasure is, there your heart…your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers will also be.”   The power of the heart leads us into how we will live.

Unfortunately, you and I believe that right thinking will lead to healthy living, so we pursue our quest searching for the right technology, the right diet, the right practices even the right doctrine but the problem is when we try we are unsuccessful.  Everything in the world today is telling us get all the world has to offer, it says the key to fulfilling your desires can be found at the touch of your figure on Amazon, YouTube…

The real problem is we do not know how to love…we love the wrong things, or we love the right things wrong.  Our right love happens disproportionately, God clearly tells us Kingdom First, love Him first.

Matthew 6:33NASB , “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.”

“And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  Matthew 22:37NASB

WE MUST DESIRE HIS KINGDOM, HIS LOVE AND HIS WILL ABOVE ALL ELSE!

We have access to the best Christian life and yet we set our thinking on what we do not have, our hurt, frustration, the lack of and so we find our focus inward.  We sooth our condition with things of the world instead of allowing God to comfort us.

In the movie, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, Harry Potter finds a magical mirror, this mirror shows you what your deepest desire is…Harry stands before the mirror and he see his Mother and Father who are dead, his entire family is dead.  You see, Harry was an orphan, and he has had a dreadful life, rejected and unloved.  He has a deep desire to belong, to be loved in a family.  Ron, his friend now looks in the mirror, He see a champion at school leading the Quidditch (I had to look the spelling up)Team to victory.  Ron the youngest in his family felt invisible, like a loser, he wants to be a winner. The reality is both Harry and Ron are looking to belong, to be loved, to be valued.

Now, I ask you if you could see in the mirror what would you see?  What is it that you want more than anything else?  This is an important question…what you want is what you love and what you love is what you really worship.  What you worship speaks to what you desire.  What you worship is what is defining you right now!

Let us look at Paul’s life for it is there we find the answer to the struggle.  God knew we would grapple in the same way and so He had Paul record through inspired Word Pauls’ witness.  Paul struggled with this we see it when Paul says…”“I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.  It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.   I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” Romans 7:13-25

Later Paul writes to the church at Philippi these amazing words for us to embrace with all our spirit and heart…” Yet all of the accomplishments that I once took credit for, I’ve now forsaken them and I regard it all as nothing compared to the delight of experiencing Jesus Christ as my Lord!  To truly know him meant letting go of everything from my past and throwing all my boasting on the garbage heap. It’s all like a pile of manure to me now, so that I may be enriched in the reality of knowing Jesus Christ and embrace him as Lord in all of his greatness.  My passion is to be consumed with him and not cling to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My only “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God.  And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and become like him in his death.  Only then will I be able to experience complete oneness with him in his resurrection from the realm of death..” Philippians 3:7-11TPT

YES GOD!, This is what I hunger after, So let you and I put ALL our desire into knowing Jesus Christ!

One last thought this revelation Paul has had came from God lips to us as well and so…Let us keep moving forward!  “I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose for which Christ Jesus laid hold of me to make me his own.  I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however, I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.  I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.  So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them.  And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.   My beloved friends, imitate my walk with God and follow all those who walk according to the way of life we modeled before you. Philippians 3:12-17TPT

Heavenly Father, Help these women reach for you God, let them humble themselves before your throne and offer repentance for any sin that stand between You and them.  God help them rise in their desire for you and gasp hold of everything you have for them.  For who can defeat us, hold us back God when we have Your Son, the Great Advocate, King Jesus fighting for us. In your Holy Name Jesus!  AMEN!

Dear sisters, “May Yahweh give you every desire of your heart and carry out your every plan as you go to battle.”    Psalm 20:4TPT

Blessings and Merry Christmas! Sister Laurie

This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Desire by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India.  It is available on RightNow Media.com

We Have the Authority Part 2

Greetings to all my sisters in Jesus Christ!  As promised this is Part 2 of defeating strongholds and more.

Pastor Steve Berger put a clear perspective on who we are in God’s Kingdom, “A Christian’s identity as a sinner is a “before Christ” identity.  A believer is a saint who sins, not a sinner who sometimes “saints”.  Therefore, we cannot as believers let shame and condemnation have any foothold within us.  Those are “before Christ” conditions with their roots in Satan; they have no standing in our position as daughters of the Most High King.

Once again before we begin I feel the need to pray as we embrace God’s Truth that the devil has no power over us…

Father, we come before You asking for all scales to be removed from us that would hinder our ability to receive Your Truth, Your Word and to walk in Your Ways.  God, we proclaim Your Goodness and Mercy and ask now that You would instruct us in Your Truth which will destroy the enemies lies.  Holy Spirit come and fill us with the courage and strength to discern darkness and cast it out!  We speak now to any spirit of chaos or confusion and cast it out in the name of Jesus…we bind any manner of oppression right now in the name of Jesus…therefore we now fully receive all God has for us through His Word and the instruct of others who speak clearly of Your Truth God.  AMEN

Part of our fight against the darkness happens within our churches and amongst our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as with our ministry leadership.  I want to address the thought pattern that takes hold, the enemy knows if he can get us to dishonor our brothers and sisters as well as our leadership, by twisting the perception of their motives in our hearts, then he has blocked our ability to break strongholds and defeat the strongman.  In other words, we cannot be delivered from what is holding us captive.

The stronghold will manifest by speaking untruth in a number of ways, here are a few; Pride (you know better than the one giving Godly counsel); Offense (something a Godly believer did or says offends you or hurts you); dishonor (you hear and believe that the pastor or believer is all about money or raising themselves above this is an effort to discredit or “dishonor” that person); Justification (you seek out the yes man among your peers, looking for someone who will agree with your wrong thinking).  When the enemy does this you and I are unable to receive God’s Truth through these men and women of God.  Our deliverance from any existing stronghold is delayed or even becomes greater.

If your stronghold can stir you up in anyway, it has just stopped you from your source of freedom.  And if you say, “Jesus is my source” and do not seek help from your sisters in Christ then he has gained ground by isolating you and that in itself becomes a stronghold.  Spirit filled believers are the embodiment of your Savior, we need one another to defeat the darkness.  Godly instruction, worship, and prayer for and by others are part of the process of freedom, this process also extends outside of ourselves and generously gives forward.

Who is this strongman?

Kimberly Synder, founder of Royal Girlz Ministry gives us some details about the strongman,  “A strongman spirit is a high-ranking principality spirit.  They sit on thrones in the spirit realm and rule over the evil demonic spirits that operate in the earth realm.  These spirits can rule over certain geographical areas of the earth.  Strongman spirits can operate in churches as a ruling spirit.  They can be passed down through family generations and also dwell within an individual.  These forces block our prayers, our deliverance and our freedom.”

Ephesians 6:1NKJV says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

In Matthew 12:28-29NJKV Jesus gives us some details of who the strongman is and how we must destroy his efforts.  “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.  Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man?  And then he will plunder his house.”

Furthermore, Kimberly gives us more details and the method by which he can be overcome, “God’s Word tells us that when the strongman Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.  We are the stronger, we have been given authority from Jesus to go into the enemy’s camp and bind him up and take away his goods.  These goods include our marriages, our children, our businesses, our churches, and most important lost souls.  Anything that the devil has stolen from us is ours to go in and take back.  The Bible says that the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it ( Matthew 11:12).  We have been given the strength and weapons to advance upon the enemy and take back the goods under the protection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus has given us the keys to bind and loose.  Whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  We bind them from operating while we loose the gifts of Holy Spirit to come in and take over.  We loose the gifts and workings of Holy Spirit to set captives free, bring light into darkness, remove the chains that have us bound and to proclaim freedom (Matthew 18:18).”

Let’s continue to look at ways we give evil spirits an opportunity to establish footholds and/or strongholds in our lives…there are numerous areas of sin through which the enemy gains ground in our lives so that he can bully and oppress.

Generational Sin:  We can and are influenced by the idolatrous sins of past generations.  Exodus 20:4-6 tells us, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting the punishment of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing favor to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”  When our ancestors set things of this world above their love of God the cycle of generational sin began.  We learn from  what has been modeled before us, we live in ways that our parents taught us, with each generation this darkness grows and consumes.  Some easily seen examples are addiction, divorce, child abuse, and sexual sin.  However, there are subtle sins that make our relationship with God and our power to defeat Satan difficult.  We grow up watching our elders even believers…gossip, lie, and hate.  Selfishness is a tool of the devil, and we are spoiled into thinking about self and rising our pleasure and comfort above God.  What will I get if I….reward becomes more important than obedience.  These all fall under idolatrous sin.

Rebellion: Rebellion is failing to submit to the authority of God and to the authorities that He has placed over us in our earthly lives.  In the first half of  1 Samuel 15:23NLT we see, “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.”  Saul had been given clear instruction to destroy everything in the battle against the nation of Amalek, the instruction was very clear and yet Saul decided he knew better.  In his rebellion and stubbornness, he kept back some of the livestock for sacrifice.  This simple seemingly “good” disobedience caused Saul to lose God’s favor.  The Word gives us specific information about those to whom we are to submit…those not to rebel against.

Pride: When we elevate ourselves above others, behave arrogantly or harbor prideful attitudes, we are emulating Satan rather

 than being who we have been created to reflect, the image of God.  Satan was removed from God’s presence and cast down

because of his pride.  God gives us all the strength we need to stand against such evil desires.  James 4:6-8TPT personalized says,

“But He continues to pour out more and more grace upon us.  For it says, “God resists you when you are proud but continually pours

Out grace which is the greater gift when you are humble.” So then, surrender to God.  Stand up to the devil and resist him and he

 will flee in agony because of the One who stands with you.  Move your heart closer and closer to God, and so close He

will be touching you.  But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting.”

Habitual Sin: The repeated habitual practice of a specific sin can lead to bondage to “the god of this age.”  Ephesians 4:26-27 gives a clear example of habitual sin, “unforgiveness” left to fester it gives the devil a foothold leading to greater sin.  This is the nature of sin…rebellion against God and this rebellion is the root is who Satan is.  He was the first to rebel and he continues this today by influencing and deceiving God’s people.  Addictions are all forms of habitual sin as well as being a habitual gossip, liar or thief.  Habitual sin opens the door to be demonized (demonization) meaning that there is some measure of inner, at least partial, direct influence (or control) being exercised by the demonic realm.  Wherever sin exists, the demonic realm also exists and is at work to negatively influence believers.  This is done in an effort by the demonic realm to limit or negate the powerful effects of the person’s gifts and faith in Christ.

Deception: Jesus described Satan as a liar and the father of lies. In John 8, Jesus is speaking to some Jewish leaders he tells them their hearts are closed to God’s truth he then tells them “You are the offspring of your father, the devil, and you serve your father very well, passionately carrying out his desires.  He’s been a murderer right from the start!  He never stood with the truth, for he’s full of nothing but lies—lying is his native tongue.  He is a master of deception and the father of lies!”

Paul also warned Timothy of deceiving spirits using men for the purpose of seducing them away from the truth, “The Holy Spirit has explicitly revealed: At the end of this age, many will depart from the true faith one after another, devoting themselves to spirits of deception and following demon-inspired revelations and theories.  Hypocritical liars will deceive many, and their consciences won’t bother them at all!” 1 Timothy 4:1-2TPT

We can be easily deceived by cultural messages, behaviors and customs into false beliefs.  We can also deceive ourselves, “So why fool yourself and live under an illusion?  Make no mistake about it, if anyone thinks he is wise by the world’s standards, he will be made wiser by being a fool for God!” 1 Corinthians 3:18TPT

Clearly God is warning us about being self-deceived.  Having a teachable heart and learning wisdom from above is the best way to guard from self-deception. Romans 12:1-2 speaks clearly that we are not to conform to this world but to renew ourselves in God’s truth continually.  Often it is difficult to reveal the source of our wrong thinking, the lie but we know without a doubt that Satan is the father of lies.

The good news is…THE GRACE OF GOD CAN CHANGE ANY PATTERN WITH DIVINE POWER!

Here are the Symptoms of Oppression which indicate a stronghold,  keep an eye out for them in yourself and others, be quick to rebuke and seek help from those you hold as spiritual warriors in God’s Kingdom.

Disinterest in or inability to read Scripture, comprehend the teaching of the Word, or participate in worship and prayer

Possession of items used in Pagan, New Age, Eastern, or Native American worship rituals or in Freemasonry ceremonies, these must be destroyed, thrown away.

Fearful, bizarre dreams and/or night experiences related to sexual perversion, occultic symbolism, or violence, evil presences, visitations, or impressions of demonic face

Conscious invitation extended to Satan and/or demons to become involved in one’s life

Systematic patterns of personal sinfulness, i.e., lying, dishonesty, and resentment toward others; sexual acting out; and racial hatred

Personality disturbance, i.e., paranoia, vengefulness, abuse of others (physical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual), self-mutilation, suicide attempts, depression, rebellion, and bizarre, violent, blasphemous thoughts

Addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, work, food, exercise, internet, or television

Experiencing no relief from medical treatments (including prescribed drugs), personal prayer, or psychological counseling

A family history of demonic influence coming from witchcraft or satanic worship; Native American, New Age, or Eastern religious practices; Freemasonry

Sweet sisters, I know this writing has been difficult for some of you.  BUT we have a Savior and a Father God who loves us and gives us HOPE in every situation.  Stand on this truth…” So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love.  I’m convinced that His love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken His love.” Romans 8:38TPT

If we are going to tear down strongholds through the Word of God’s Truth (John 17:17), then you need to know what God is saying about you and how he sees you. The Bible tells us that God does not see or think about us like our parents, friends, and others see or think about us.  1 Samuel 16:7NASB “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  Since this is the case, we therefore should not see ourselves through the subjective thoughts of man (how are parents see us as well as how our friends, co-workers, and people we come in contact with see us.)

Many people are living their lives base on how people see them or who people say they are.  People will not always know your worth; you need to know your worth.  Your true identity is found in God who created you for His purpose alone.   Your parents may be the one who gave birth to you and brought you up, but you did not come from your parents, you came from God, your parents are just vessels God used to bring you into the world. Remember “I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:14

Closing Prayer for you…

Heavenly Father, let these words Your Words sink deep within my sisters, root out and expose anything that is not of you.  Renew their mind and clean up their hearts, give discernment to their spirit, Holy Spirit speak to their spirit and strengthen them.  Father I proclaim this truth…”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.” Remove any spirit of fear or doubt within them let them know and experience supernaturally their value in Your Kingdom, let them walk in Your peace, make them battle ready warriors to help others to reveal and destroy any darkness. In Jesus’ name…AMEN

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Thank you to the following amazing men  and women of God for their insight and inspiration.

Pastor Steve Berger, “Winning the Mind Wars, Tearing Down Strongholds Through Prayer”, Grace Chapel, Franklin TN 

Pastor Gary Costella, Awesome Church, Sydney Australia

Kimberly Synder, founder of Royal Girlz Ministry

Rev. Dr. David M. Oliver, Living H2O Ministries

All We Need God’s Grace

As I open my Bible I am drawn to Philippians 2:12-14MSG which says “What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God Himself willing and working at what will give Him the most pleasure.”

 Paul had just reminded the church at Philippi what Jesus had done on the cross and he is encouraging them to not forget but to live out this Truth that God saved us and is at work in us.  We must ask ourselves are we totally living the supernatural wonder of our salvation in our words and actions? Do we talk about being a Christian, yet our lives do not reflect this truth? Why are we unsuccessful in sharing our wonderful Savior Jesus with others?

We are called to show the Truth by our lives, not just tell the Truth by our words.  There is that old saying that “talk is cheap”, this can be truly seen in the body of believers today.  We come and hear the Word of God spoke on Sundays yet the minute we leave the parking lot we become discontent because the car in front of you is not moving fast enough or on their phone.  We are an frustrated, unsatisfied people grumbling when the server at breakfast doesn’t refill the coffee soon enough.  We even twit or post our grumbling on social media.  Social media has become a platform for discontent and grumbling, there is no consideration for how what we say and do will affect others.  So now we don’t only voice our negative opinion to the person next to us at church, the market or any gathering we spill it out there on the web for all to see! We must become aware that when we attend church, gather with other believers God’s presence surrounds us with beauty of God’s Words, our worship, the pastor or teacher’s lesson, yet if we are harboring a grumbling thought or share a negative opinion it undermines the power of the gospel, in fact it inhibits the work of the gospel even in social media.

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts?  You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3NASB

We have lost our moral compass…we are selfish, self-indulgent, self-centered, and self-pleasing only seeking what makes the minutes in our day work out the way we want. Ouch!  This is brutal truth…we grumble, argue, blame, and complain…having it our way at any cost.  We hear people say, “It’s just the way I am” as they selfishly walk through life.

1 Peter 2:12MSG  tells us “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life in your neighborhood so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.” 

We find ourselves like the people of Babel wanting more, Genesis 11:4 says, “And they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let’s make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of all the earth.” They believed if they could build a tower as high as God they could attain importance, a title, a throne as mighty as Gods in power unable to be defeated, in essence to be just like God. How incredibly sad that they didn’t understand that God was with them working in them…if they would only open their hearts (spirit) to Him, they could not see the beauty of our creator and how His love for them was enough.  These people did not have to build a tower; they could have experienced a wealth and security far more enduring then found in a building made of rock.  An eternal, everlasting wealth in a personal relationship with God. 

God saw today coming, He gives a warning to us found in Philippians 2:14-16NASB, “Do all things without complaining or arguments; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding firmly the word of life, so that on the day of Christ I can take pride because I did not run in vain nor labor in vain.”

Superficial, shallow things of the world will never satisfy our hearts (spirit) because this spirit we have within us, placed there by God is supernatural and hungers for God’s supernatural provision.  It is here we find God’s grace, as the song says  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”.

Psalm 2:11 personalized tells us  “Serve the Lord with reverence, devotion and rejoicing in wholehearted delight…that is hold firm and celebrate with trembling”. This trembling also spoken of as fear  is “feeling the awe” this awe is experiencing, is knowing God’s Truth intimately, embracing His freely given grace.  If we can get hold of His mercy and love it becomes very difficult to hold on to our grumbling and angry attitude.  God is looking to perform divine heart surgery on your troubled and discontented heart. This is where grace is found in the Great Physicians hand…my dear sisters in Christ let God through His loving touch apply the grace needed today!

Blessings, Sister Laurie

This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Beauty by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India.  It is available on RightNow Media.com

Wealthy in Love

Today my sweet sisters in Christ Jesus I want to explore with you Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi found in Philippians 2:1-11.  The church was experiencing many of the same challenges you and I face as believers.  Conflict, unforgiveness, pride, selfish ambition, vain conceit, dislike, and false teaching had found it way into the church. 

Paul opens his letter in this way… “Therefore, if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ as there certainly is in abundance, if there is any consolation, comfort, support of love, if there is any fellowship that we share in the Spirit, if there is any great depth of tenderness, affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love toward one another, knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ.” Verses 1-2 personalized  Paul is pleading with them to resolve the tension and seek to heal any brokenness found.  He says if that can be accomplished it will make his joy complete (verse 2).

Paul further describes the condition of the church with these words “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit through factional motives, or strife, but with an attitude of humility being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than yourselves.  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”( verses 3-4) 

Put simply you cannot claim to love God and dislike, hold bitterness for others.  The question arises “Why do people do the things they do?”  I believe that we have not fully comprehended the suffering and sacrifice Christ made for us…that day on the cross in which supernatural love was poured out for us…Loving others is so costly only Jesus’s costly love for us can move us to bear the cost.  Jesus has a radical love for us! This love is so profound, so expense…it is a mystery so deep we can only know it in our spirit!  If we can grab hold of this love, we will be so rich in love we will be forever changed, unable to dislike or hold bitterness.  In our humanness…our mind and body cannot ever understand!  This love is spiritual and supernatural! When we step into this love it is spiritually supercharged.

I want to try and bridge our lack of understanding by helping you and I to understand exactly what Jesus did that day.  Most of us can easily say these words “Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me” however that is so limited.  The depth of Jesus’s love for us is revealed on the cross not so much in the physical suffering but in how society looked at this form of death.  What does it cost for God to love us? We know He sent His only Son to earth for the purpose of leading us in knowing God and restoring his relationship with us, revealing who we really are and redeeming us through Jesus’s death.  Philippians 2:6-8TPT says “He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize.   Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant to be exploited. He became human!  He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient.  He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!”

The cross was consider to be the most degrading form of death, the people of Jesus time saw crucifixion differently; the Jews saw it as being cursed by God, ultimate insult, shunned;  the Romans used it much like the Mexican cartels today who hang their victims in a public place as if to say “don’t mess with us”;  the Greeks saw it as humiliating, scandalous, disgraceful, further evidence that God could care less about humanity; to all it was an abomination, degradation, torture fit only for a slave. There is no other death in which the individual’s life could be destroyed that has the same impact and yet Jesus took the weight of the world, the sin and suffered this for you and me.  I don’t know about you but just writing these words is making me nauseas and tearful.

What great love…I will never fully comprehend while I walk this earth.  This is where love is revealed…we must let this revelation lead us into understanding how much we are loved and redeemed by a risen Lord.  And for this reason alone…verse 9-11TPT says “Because of that obedience, God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names!  The authority of the name of Jesus causes every knee to bow in reverence! Everything and everyone will one day submit to this name—in the heavenly realm, in the earthly realm, and in the demonic realm. And every tongue will proclaim in every language: “Jesus Christ is Lord Yahweh,” bringing glory and honor to God, his Father!”

You see, the Father, the Creator of us all acknowledges what Jesus has done for love!  We are rich in love!  And so now I leave you with this question can you love as He did?  Philippians 2:5 leaves us with these words…”And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.”

Blessings, Sister Laurie

This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Love by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India.  It is available on RightNow Media.com

Confidence

GERARD DOU PAINTING OLD WOMAN READING A LECTIONARY BIBLE – REMBRANDT’S MOTHER

People today live-in fear of death. There are organizations all over the words spending millions on research that will extend life and even prevent death. People are choosing to be frozen in hope that their body can be restored at some point in the future.

Isaiah talks about his body being a tent which is folded up as it dies. In 1 Corinthians 5:1NASB, Paul says “For we know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens.”  I share this scripture with you, because our flesh was not created to last and in this fallen world it is even more vulnerable to the wear and tear of life.  That is why God uses the word “tent” or in some translations “tabernacle” which was also made of canvas to describe where our spirit lives here on earth.  It weathers, grows rigid, and is torn as time goes by…yet God wants us to have confidence because our everlasting existence is found in our spirit.

We find ourselves distracted by this fear, making bucket lists, living indulgent lives trying to get it all in.  Paul writes to the church in Philippi these wonderful words while in prison…Philippians 1:23-26TPT, “So here’s my dilemma: Each day I live means bearing more fruit in my ministry; yet I fervently long to be liberated from this body and joined fully to Christ. That would suit me fine, but the greatest advantage to you would be that I remain alive. So, you can see why I’m torn between the two—I don’t know which I prefer.   Yet deep in my heart I’m confident that I will be spared so I can add to your joy and further strengthen and mature your faith.  When I am freed to come to you, my deliverance will give you a reason to boast even more in Jesus Christ.”

Notice the words in italics…Paul knows that his task of equipping, discipling and loving believers is not yet done.  He even says his desire is to be spared so he can add to their joy and strength as well as grow their faith.  He knows the wonder and pure joy of going home to be with Jesus, yet his spirit knows that his time on earth still is full of purpose.

The thief on the cross heard these words from Jesus…”And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”” Luke 23:42-43NASB

Death is better than to remain in the body, however, to stay in our temporary tent and serve God is to live in the joy of sharing Jesus with those we encounter.

Paul has found how to live in confidence, he keeps on living because he is compelled to continue teaching, serving and loving those God has placed around him.  We must pattern ourselves after Paul…

Paul knew with confidence that Jesus breaks the power of death in two ways;

  1. We live in confidence because Jesus destroyed the fear of death by breaking sin and death’s power over us through His death and resurrection.
  2. He gives eternal life to you and me when we make Him our Savior, in that, we now live with confidence to see Him face to face in Heaven.

Now with confidence embrace this truth… “In Jesus, my sisters, after listening to and reading in God’s Word the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise,  who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB personalized.

In closing my sisters in Jesus Christ, I urge you to live for Christ, make the most out of every day.  For not only is your time short but those around you time is short as well.  Embrace them in the love of Christ.

My prayer for you is that when you feel anxious or fearful, ask God to give you the confidence to live for Him and be set free from the fear of death.  Speak with the authority of heaven and cast out any spirit of anxiety in you!  Ask God to increase His power within you to say as Paul did…”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Sister Laurie

This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Confidence by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India.  It is available on RightNow Media.com