Friendship is a precious part of life. Real joy comes from friendships established with Jesus Christ at the center. Much like marriage God has a plan for true friendship. God put it on Pau’s heart to l write to us in Philippians about the significance of God centered relationships. Our friendships should be a reflection of our relationship with Christ.
Today, social media has changed the face of relationships, instead of personal interaction…sharing a coffee or meal, watching a movie, taking a walk or just quietly sitting together enjoying someone company our relationships have been reduced to how many likes our post, tweet, photo receive. Social media is a platform to create a fantasy, a false you. How many of you have observed someone creating an untrue image, an exaggerated condition, even a totally made-up situation to gain attention. People are using social media to hide what’s really happening, they filter their photos so that people can’t see their true self. Suicide has risen because people have become isolated using social media to express some of what they are feeling yet those responding somehow are unable to decipher their true desperation, their feelings of hopelessness. We answer with an “I Care” emoji, or even “I’m praying for you” these empty responses are so swallow without any true cost. Texting is causing indifference and further isolation. There is a price in godly relationships…time, comfort, even financial at times. What if when that distressing tweet, post, text came to your attention you got in your car and showed up? It is in our nature to gather, have physical contact, true affection, pray together, share our sorrow…this is friendship.
Before we take a look at Paul’s opening words in his letter to the Philippians let me share a little background about this intimate letter of love and friendship. Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while he was in prison, he had visited and established a church in Philippi among the gentiles which within itself is one of God’s miracles, Paul was a Pharisee before coming to Christ and the people in Philippi were gentiles so a relationship between these two was very unlikely in fact gentiles where seen as unclean. Yet God’s love and truth broke the social barrier creating a deep love for these people in Paul. True friendship and love between believers cannot been attached to a worldly perspective.
1-2 Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does! Philippians 1:1-8MSG
Paul understands the value of friendship, he recognizes how the relationship he has with God and the tangible friendships…better said love and affection he shares for those dear friends in Philippi have sustained him during his imprisonment and trial. Our love for Jesus should be reflected in our friendships. This is why, it is so important to gather and fellowship with other believers only they can fill the need for friendship as God designed. When we have a friendship with someone which is like minded in their belief in Jesus, it deepens our relationship with God and allows our true beauty and purpose to emerge.
It saddens me greatly when I see bitterness and misunderstanding between believers, how can we possible say we love God and yet hold grudges, offense and jealousy in our hearts. The answer is we cannot. I urge you my sister to seek out broken friendships and mend them. Start praying that God might lead you and if a softening is needed that the Holy Spirit would work in both of you.
Sometimes guilt or shame is holding you back from forgiveness. These are two very different feelings; guilt is focused on something we have done, while shame focuses on the person…self. Shame says something is wrong with me. As women shame is fed by a misconception or confusion tied to our identity. It is a constant feeling that we are not good enough. This is bound to a worldly perspective, a lie of the enemy, an experience. Shame is an epidemic effecting everyone…it is everywhere, every nation, every culture it is related to addiction, depression, violence, homosexuality, bullying, aggression, eating disorders, suicide and more.
The righteousness we find through Jesus Christ is the antidote for shame. Shame is the opposite of righteousness. Look at what shame did for Adam and Eve, filled with shame they, hide from God, covered their bodies, they felt they had to protect themselves from God. This is Satan’s trap, a weapon shrewdly used. Shame has destroyed the beauty God intended for friendship, fellowship, intimacy with God and people. BUT God has given us the fruit of righteousness that is to be “right with God”. Isaiah 32:17-18 says “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever. Then my people will live in a peaceful surrounding, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.” This kind of life and friendship is available to us right now.
Now think of your relationship with God…If your relationship with Him is fractured how can you fully embrace and receive what He did for you on the cross? How can He help you mend and restore broken relationships? How can you love and sustain godly friendships? Right now, go before your Heavenly Father and ask Him to forgive you and reveal hidden shame that is affect your ability to love as He loves you. Speak with confidence and proclaim who you are in Jesus, immerse yourself in godly music, fellowship, study, and prayer. Give the enemy no room to corrupt who God says you are.
Dear Sisters…Paul prayed this prayer for his friends, his brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and now I pray it for you my dear sisters in Christ Jesus…”So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11MSG
Blessings, Sister Laurie
This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Friendship by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
First a little background for those who may not know me personally…I was not raised in a Christian home, in fact, my adopted parents were atheists who lived in the world and embraced a belief system which was extremely self-gratifying. I am a Born-Again Believer; I make this point because I will be talking about how our foundation in life dictates how we think and live. I don’t remember ever discussing the existence of God or the meaning of this life other than how important it was to have money, live high, have power and reputation within your community. This reputation was tainted with a worldview of wealth and position.
The long journey of casting off, surrendering my belief system or foundation built from my childhood and adult life experience has been long. God has never given up on me and so today I celebrate the new foundation God is helping me build based in truth. I wanted to share this with you because I make this point…IT IS NEVER TO LATE…God is waiting for you sweet sister! He wants to establish a foundation of truth under you that will redefine you and give you an identity in Him. Complete deliverance is what I am speaking of…Freedom from your old life!
Daniel had a foundation built on Godly principles, it is here we find how his foundation in God stood the test and kept Daniel from harm. Daniel was a young man with Godly character and integrity. Read Daniel 1-2 for details.
Daniel’s foundation is available to us if we allow God to work within us. Sisters it is not too late to break the destructive patterns in your life and embrace Godly truth. We know that the patterns we establish early in life, whether good or bad, will impact our future decisions. Our choices direct the lives we lead. These patterns form our foundation.
You and I must begin this journey of freedom by taking the scalpel of the Word of God in hand…”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.” Hebrews 4:12.
Begin by asking yourself these simple questions; Are you keeping your word? Do you hold grudges, speak negatively about those around you? Do you finish what you start? Are you easily distracted? Is your gaze on what is instructive and positive or destructive? Only you and God can answer these questions truthfully. Now is the time to let God reveal His truth about the condition of your foundation, ideas, attitudes, and behaviors that do not line up with God’s Word.
Remember, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, think about these things. As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9
Most of the time wrong thinking, believing a lie keeps us from the peace spoken of here. God has given you a gentle spirit, one that is not anxious, that has ability to live God’s truth as you journey through life. Let these words encourage you. Here are some practical steps to growing, redesigning your foundation according to God’s way.
Discipline yourself to do two necessary things you do not like to do every week.
Fix your eyes on a clear, specific goal.
Study the “whys” behind God’s commands.
Write out the promises you have made and take responsibility for all your actions and emotions.
Monitor and adjust the motives behind your actions.
Tell the truth no matter what the cost.
Live the truth even when it is not popular…are your words gratifying God or man?
Align yourself with a woman of God who you can be accountable to in every situation.
In today’s world we must be woman of God who are deeply rooted in God’s Truth and trust in God, not vulnerable to polluting ourselves with pride and lies. Like Daniel we must be a people faithful and trustworthy, a servant of God. Who’s love for God pours out from every cell within our bodies. Remember you are who God’s says you are and not the world…loved, valued, unique, beautiful, with purpose, designed by the creator, the daughter of the Most High King.
Here is a prayer to help you in your journey…
Lord, give me insight into what makes a healthy, effective woman of God. Make me sensitive to Your Spirit and show me the areas in which I need to grow and develop. Show me those in my life which speak Your Truth and help me to distance myself from those who do not. Help me represent You in every situation. Rebuild my foundation God, I give you permission to use the scalpel of Truth to do surgery on my mind and spirit. As you reveal attitudes and beliefs that do not reflect you God help me to let go and invite Godly thinking in. I desire to have my mind, body and spirit transformed by your truth God so that I would reflect you with every breath I breathe. AMEN
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!
Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:8
God gave me this verse this morning as I was contemplating who I am in Christ Jesus. How I am His alone and in this earthy life we are call to respect, honor, and obey Him that is to truly fear the Lord our God. I wanted to break this verse down for you so that you might meditate on your position in God’s Kingdom as His daughter, the Daughter of the Most High King.
I might add what it means to be his daughter by the definition of the word daughter which means; His offspring, out of Him, His descendant, His progeny, and His inheritor. Amazing, to be His unique in every way…
In the scripture the words “Keep me” suggests that we never want to lose our position, we are asking God to prevent any situation, circumstance, or person from separating us from God, a position we already hold and one that we should value more than this life here on earth.
“Apple of the eye (His eye)”, see your reflection in God’s eye, not as you might think of yourself or how others see you for in the big picture those do not matter only how God sees you matters. Young’s Literal Translation says, “the daughter of the eye”. To be the apple of His eye is to walk in beauty, to be loved more than any of God’s other creations, you are His chosen, His favorite, the center of all God has created, God’s focal point in the universe, He is proud of you, you are cherished, you are loved, precious in His sight, you are of great importance to Him and so He keeps His eye on You! You must see yourself as He alone see you! You are already the Apple of His eye, for you to understand and walk in that position you must grow your relationship with Him, through His Word, daily worship and through fellowship with other believers.
“Hide me” from my unseen and seen enemies for they are your enemies God! In you God we find all the security we need, our confidence comes from You and not the world. Who are our enemies? Sweet sisters, your enemies are anything that would separate you from God, things that do not bring Him honor, spirits and principalities (Ephesians 6:12) that would cause you to lose sight of your Forever Father and God. They would lie and tell you that what Jesus did on the cross was not for you…remember John 10:10 “the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy”…
1 Peter 5:8 says “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The word sober here refers to being ready, watchful, knowing truth of how the devil might ensnare you.
“In the shadow of Your wings” Oh God, yes we receive this supernatural protection only You can provide, it is so powerful that we need only step into the shadow of Your wings, there sisters we are protected and provided for…it is there in just Your silhouette God that we are safe. Father God, you are wooing us there to come closer to You when we step under Your wing we can rest like never before, it is refreshing. Let this knowledge, this rest lift you sisters into the heavenly places, there you are nurtured, your broken spirit restored. It is here you experience His marvelous kindness, and you are completely free.
This is my prayer for you today! To encounter all God has for you and to know that you belong to Him. Blessings, Sister Laurie
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”.
No one is immune to doubt. It can and does happen to us all. You’ve just got to know how to handle it when it comes. Let’s look at the life of John the Baptist for answers.
Jesus said this about John the Baptist,
“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11:11
John was greater in the sight of Jesus than Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, or any Old Testament character you can name. Yet John doubted the most important thing of all by questioning whether Jesus was really the Christ.
While John the Baptist was in prison he became so discouraged that he asked two of his disciples to go to Jesus and ask Him if He really was the Christ. This amazing man of faith was lost in doubt and unbelief.
Think about who John was. He was separated unto God and filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in the womb. Luke 1:15
It is believed he lived in the desert near the Dead Sea with the Essens, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were a people who were super-legalistic who practiced many rituals of self denial. He certainly had not lived what we would call an easy life. He was described in the Bible as wear animal skins and eating locust. John was separated and focused on his purpose.
His entire life was committed to preparing the way for the Christ. John is the one who saw Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29. John shared the truth of God with thousands of people from many nations declaring, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2
John would see the Spirit of God descending upon the Messiah in bodily shape as a dove. That came to pass when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
There are many scriptures that tell us John had zero doubt.
“I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” in John 1:34. In Luke 3:16 he said, “but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” And in John 3:30 he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Jesus responded to John’s disbelief and doubt….”look at all that has happened….see the truth of who I am and believe!”
This is the same thing Jesus is saying to you…look at all I have done and what is written in the scriptures and have faith.
Don’t let the devil lie to you and blind you from truth…dig in, for “It is written” those powerful words that Jesus spoke to Satan. Those are our words now….
Don’t be fooled by the world…our need for something tangible, something emotional we can feel. Overcoming doubt is not about feeling better; it’s about getting back into faith that only comes from the Word of God.
Romans 10:17 says “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
You must stand strong, immerse yourself in God’s Word and know that this battle is won on a spiritual level.
In 2 Peter 1:12-15 Peter writes Jesus will always bring you back to remembering who He is through His Word. He left us this Word because He knew we would face doubt in our flesh.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 spells it out clearly…”For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
The Scriptures are more sure and faith building and doubt destroying than if you and I were witness to seeing the risen Christ or hearing an audible voice from heaven! Why? Because the Truth of God Word is always with us, to study, meditate and pray through.
The only sure way to overcome doubt is to place your faith in the Word of God and depend on that more sure word of prophecy. Don’t allow your five senses to dominate your thinking. You must come to a place to where God’s Word is more real to you than anything you can see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. When you’re in doubt, refer back to the Word of God just the way Jesus told John the Baptist to do. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Facts say you are here, sitting in this chair, struggling because of your decisions, wrong thinking, SIN….truth is God is right beside you waiting for you to activate your faith by standing on His Word which activates His ability to bring you the deliverance you so desperately desire.
Every word within the Bible is there with a specific purpose. It reveals God’s love for us, gives us advice, teaches us about consequences for our decisions, provides hope in what looks like a hopeless situation and so much more.
God inspired every Word with you in mind…
2 Timothy 3:15-17 tells us “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
I love that God tells us that “from childhood” yes, He is saying you always knew that the Bible is God speaking to you. This is true because remember we are spiritual beings and within that spirit is God’s truth there when you were still in your Mother’s womb. See Psalms 139:4 and 139:13.
2 Peter 1:21 further gives us the truth of all scripture “for no prophecy(Word from God, Scripture, Bible) was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
I want to encourage you to meditate not just on this next bit of Scripture but to firmly know in your mind and spirit that God’s Word is for you completely.
That being said…Please read Matthew 14:24-33.
When the wind swept down from the hills and whipped the Sea of Galilee into a treacherous storm, the disciples found themselves in a fight for their lives on the waves. Then Jesus – as He so often does – came walking through the swells and impossible waves as living peace. When the men in the boat saw what their eyes told them they could not, Peter must have been so compelled by this display of power, that he cried out to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s really you, then have me join you on the water!” And Jesus did not say no. He did not scold Peter for having the audacity to think he could join Him in the miraculous, instead he invited him in. “Come and join me!” As long as Peter’s faith rested on the power of Jesus, he joined Christ in miraculous power. He did what people should not be able to do.
Then, the waves got his attention. He began to believe the ‘ridiculousness’ of it all; his mind let seeming logic begin to break down his child-like trust in the Jesus that stood right in front of him. As Jesus lifted him from the place where he sank, I can hear Him speak these words with the gentleness of a friend, and the disappointment of a coach who saw full potential denied. “What little faith you have! Why would you let doubt win?”
A dear sister in Jesus Christ, Michelle Loss wrote that amazing description of that day on the sea and how Jesus took Peter’s hand and gave him the confidence to keep moving forward.
She further shares this amazing word of encouragement… As she read Peter’s experience, “the Spirit whispered, “The invitation still stands.” Jesus is still inviting us to join Him on the waves. To let our hearts fully believe in the power of Christ to allow us to partner with Him in the miraculous. To remember that Jesus bought and paid for a royal inheritance, a promised land, and the power of the Holy Spirit for each of us. Now. The temptation to look at what we think we understand, to let the impossible waves crush our faith, will always be waiting along with Christ’s call. But eyes that are fixed on Jesus, enable our feet to move. To see our advocate standing peacefully over the chaos, calling to us, “Come and join me!””
This is true today for you and for me, no matter what the world looks like, the chaos, the repeated violence, the lies we hear daily which have lulled many into a state of fear and uncertainty. We have a King and a Kingdom to which we belong…Have NO Fear! God is with you!
Without hope we become sick. Heartsick…Sick physically, mentally, and spiritually. This sickness leads to depression and in this fallen world we live many times leads to suicide. Satan is the hope killer. He is out to steal, kill and destroy God’s most precious creation US. This is a tough blog to write because recently a young, beautiful mother of three that I had prayed with and shared Christ with took her own life. Satan stole this young woman’s life…the lies he had been telling her finally took her life.
My heart is broken that those around her, me included did not see the signs. Did not see the urgency that for her tomorrow will never come here on earth. I can only speak from a peripheral view, I know that the system failed her, the church failed her and yes friends, family, and those of us who said “I’m here for you” failed her. Ouch! Yep! That is right….we all blew it! We are in a battle, a spiritual one and until Jesus returns, we must arm ourselves and have a battle plan to help those lost and even ourselves.
Her death by suicide left me crying out to God for help. Why? How? What are the signs? When does someone reach that point of isolation that they no longer have the will to live? Here is what God has spoken to me. I know this is just the beginning of understanding and there will be a lot more revelation. I wanted to share this with you…please reach out! Please be watching those in your circle of influence…God loves ALL His children equally, believer, non-believer we all belong to Him.
I want to talk about what Satan did…maybe it will help us the next time. Did you know that in the Bible there are seven instances of suicide? I have always said that every life circumstance is in God’s Word and the way out is there too.
King Saul (1 Samuel 31:3-5)
Saul’s Armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:5)
Samson (Judges 16:25-30)
Abimelech (Judges 9:50-55)
Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23)
Zimri (1 Kings 16:15-20)
Judas (Matthew 27:3-5)
“Nowhere in these seven instances, or anywhere else in the Bible, does it indicate that the act of suicide is an unforgivable or unpardonable sin.”
The most well-known Biblical suicide was Judas. After he betrayed Jesus the Bible says in different versions of Matthew 27:3-5, he repented himself (KJV), he was seized with remorse (NIV), he felt remorse (NASB) and he was gripped with remorse (AMP) one might say he (Judas) was full of despair and so he chose to end his own life.
“Despair” is a complete loss of hope. It is defined as “the complete loss or absence of hope, or desperation; a state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behavior, or anguish; severe mental or physical pain or suffering, or desolation; a state of complete emptiness or destruction.” When we breakdown “despair” we find “emptiness”, “isolation” or “destruction.”
It is in that emptiness; the devil has isolated us from hope and from God’s Truth. The devil’s lie become our truth. This is how Satan operates and when possible he pushes us to self-destruction.
“Isolation” is separation, loneliness, sadness because one has no friends or company. Feelings of depression, despondency, a state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage, unpopular, forsakenness, rejected, abandoned, or deserted. This isolation causes us to stop seeking friendship, to stop reaching out, cut the ties of accountability.
While Satan is busy building his lie within us, he spreads out and starts to build walls, systems, wrong attitudes, and approaches in those who are supposed to help. This young woman I am speaking of life was filling up with rejection, programs that did not work, expectations and conditions, like a circus animal jumping through never ending hoops for a “well then maybe”.
I must say right here that I do not have the answers, know how to fix the broken legal systems, social services, and all the other agencies that are supposed to work at helping.
Where is the church in all this? Biblically we are called to help those who are lost…help without condemnation. I do know we fail here. Why is it that the drug addict does not feel comfortable in every church? Why does not every church host meetings and Bible studies which focus on breaking substance addiction, fighting depression and anxiety as well as teaching life skills. Statics tell us that the best recovery and sobriety successes are happening in meetings and programs that are Christ centered.
Sorry for the soap box preaching right there…let us get back to ways we can fight the hope killer, Satan.
Scripture has quite a bit to say about Satan, yet most Christians are ignorant about him. God has given us warnings about our enemy, and we need to have an understanding of Satan’s plan. Christians as well as unbelievers are under constant attack by him but have no idea of the battle they are in. They think their lack of joy, broken relationships, and failures in life originate with them, “It’s my fault, I deserve this” when in reality their troubles are because they are following the voice of the enemy, they have listened and believed his lies for so long they have become their truth.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB
The thief here is Satan; 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that we must “Be of sober spirit (watch carefully, diligently) , be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
The devil is jealous of us, his only desire is to destroy God’s most valuable, cherished and loved creation us, His children. Here in John 10:10 God reveals how the devil operates.
Steal: in the Greek “klepto” meaning without permission, sneak, surreptitiously, secretively; the devil takes our hope, steals the gift, the process of destruction begins here. He speaks lies, tearing down little by little in a very subtle way. At first this “klepto” is undetectable. This stealing extends to how we see, it inhibits us from reaching out either in our own despair or when we see others suffering.
Remember who the devil is, he was cast out of heaven and is driven to destroy all God has created, he is a “kleptomaniac” because he is driven in his actions and cannot stop. His actions are uncontrollable, his intention is to cause emotional pain, and he uses our need for love, acceptance, and attention (pride) to start this process of death. He is the hope thief.
Kill: in the Greek “thuo” to rush, breathe hard (deny air), to rush, attack, without warning, rapid, aggressive, violent, you are unable to cope, brutal, he attacks indiscriminately anyone one who is vulnerable, susceptible, spiritually weak, they are easy prey, exposed. Satan’s movements are quick, once he has you believing there is no hope he is quick to cut off your air supply “God’s truth”. The devil is an assassin, a killer who has a well thought out plan, he is set on a course of action.
Remember who Satan is and how he works. He suffocates us with his lies. Pushing you to a place where hope dies. He is the hope killer.
Destroy: in the Greek “apollumi” to put an end to the existence, perish, destroy completely, complete separation, rejection, broken covenant, suffering, punish, death, the devil set out and succeeds at attacking you emotionally and spiritually, he obliterates with darkness the goodness of God, moving you to a place discarded and broken…this is where the devil takes your life. Violently separating you from God’s truth to the point of death. Hopeless, desperate, reckless, uncontrolled decision and actions live here. Our thoughts move into darkness where madness, irresponsibility, recklessness, and perversity dwell, yes, death is here, suicide, murder, homicide, assassination.
Remember who the devil is and how he is intent on destruction. His lies and this fallen world pushes us to the point of death physically and spiritually. He is the hope destroyer.
Satan is a liar and murderer. This part of him comes from his true nature, which, according to the Bible, consists of arrogance, vanity, envy, and selfish ambition. When we act in such a manner, we align ourselves with Satan as enemies of God. This is why the mark of a child of God is humility and absolute surrender to our Lord.
We have to know our enemy in order to destroy him, God has given us a directive, a plan and the authority to bind and cast out every ploy the devil may try, God’s Word has every answer, every weapon we need to fight and win the battle. This truth is found in the second half of the verse it says “ I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Abundant life is ours when we put on the armor of God and heed God’s warnings about this world and the work of Satan. Ephesians 6: 10-18 says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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.”
The apostle Paul had plenty of opportunities to feel despair, yet he did not. He says in 2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing.” NASB What was Paul’s secret? His hope was not based on his earthly circumstances. He held firmly onto the knowledge that God is in control and that his afflictions had meaning for all eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies 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.”
God also gives us clear instructions that we cannot live without the help of fellow believers…
Matthew 18:20 “ For where two of three have gathered together in My name, I am there is their midst.” The devil lurks in darkness and in the places you feel isolated. We must reach out for help from our fellow believers. If the devil can get you isolated he can take you down, he will keep you thinking; I can’t share, no one will understand, it’s embarrassing, awkward, humiliating (you see God tells us to live in humility, but the devil tells us that humility make us look weak, vulnerable and uncomfortable) God loves weakness because it is in your weakness Jesus can come in and arm you with His righteousness to fight. God wants to be your defender, that lie we believe that we do not need help is one of the biggest lies satan tells.
James 5:14-16 clearly tells us to reach out for help and the sickness spoke of here is not just physical but mentally and spiritually, “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
Finally, if we look at verse John 10:9, yes the one just before God’s warning concerning the devil we see…” I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” Jesus is promising to keep us safe, the word pasture here means “the provision of truth or spiritual food for us to grow in knowledge of God and become disciples who have been given authority as spoken in Matthew 10:1 “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” We are an extension of those twelve and we must walk in the fullness of that truth while we live here on earth.
I am here, please reach out if you find yourself going down that dark alley of despair and isolation. You can contact me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JesusTruthForever or at Jesustruthbeliever@gmail.com.
God’s Word says give the devil no room in Ephesians 4:27.
If we neglect that which Jesus left us to protect us, we commit spiritual suicide.
We MUST present our bodies as a living sacrifice, Holy unto God, then the devil cannot infiltrate our temple. Psalm 91
When we serve God halfheartedly and live double lives, we open the doors to the demonic. We cannot be free from what we are part of.
How you get to this place of guaranteed complete deliverance?
We must build a foundation in Christ to strengthen our temple against attack. Psalm 19:7-11 and 1 Corinthians 3:10-17
The only way is by loving and knowing God. You have a promise to be set securely high (seated in high places with Christ Jesus) because of your intimate relationship, with Him, which maintains through study of His Holy Word. Strongly rebuke any idea, thought or action which is in conflict with that Holy Word. You must use this victory formula…
Set your love on Jesus Deuteronomy 11:22
Continue to increase your personal knowledge of His mercy, love and kindness Isaiah 63:9
Trust and rely on Him and know that He will never forsake you Hebrews 13:5
When you find yourself under attack…CALL ON HIM Genesis 35:3
He ANSWERS, gives you extra protection, delivers and honors you Psalm 61
Because of all these elements…you WILL have Freedom, Long Life, and the PROMISE eternal Life today and forever with the FATHER!
CONFESSION TIME: As believers and disciples of Jesus we must be transparent and sometimes transparency means that we must humble ourselves in such a way that isn’t easy. Here is my testimony. God is never late, and He is always right on time. We are the ones who stall, stop even ignore His call to us. Today God is right on time…this moment has been coming and His grace is the reason I am able to testify. It is nothing I have done but what He has done in and through me. Back in 1970 I had the opportunity to be baptized, in fact I walked out into the water…however guilt, shame, unworthiness held me back that day. That day I have claimed to be my baptism day for 50 some years. This became my answer, Yes I lied, why you might ask? I wanted to belong, so I played at being a Christian all the while, I lived in the world allowing the devil to direct my life. There was help along the way, I chose people that were hurt and lost just as I was, so the cycle of shamed and unworthiness continued. BUT today is the day! YES! God loves me and He has chosen me, forgiven me, my salvation comes by grace, TODAY I stand before God and man and say I AM WORTHY AND LOVED! I DO BELONG TO HIM WHO SET ME FREE! I claim Romans 6:4 “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Today it is time to break off that lie, walk fully into truth because I serve a Loving God who forgives! I AM HIS UNASHAMED AND LOVED!
The ministry God has called me to takes me into places and with people that you might call lost with a capital “L”. You must be incredibly careful how you label those that have yet to discover there is much more to God than salvation. All sin in God’s eyes is equal however some sin has a more obvious effect on our physical bodies as well as our spirit. In studying for my ministry exam, I stumbled upon a well written explanation about sin. I wanted to share with you my understanding in the hope that it will help you have a deeper insight as well.
Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Ouch! I’m going to repeat that statement…Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Eve was deceived by the serpent (Satan) with simple words that got her thinking…”I want more, why not?” See Genesis 3:1-6 This is at the center of all sin. It may not look like pride or self-exaltation sometimes because as the sin grows it causes us to keep making poor decisions, mixed with reasoning and rationalizing. Our outward actions reveal our sin and then we “hide” Genesis 3:7-8, cover up. We soon find ourselves hiding through addiction and behavior that disguises the sin even from ourselves. This is why sin and evil are often compared to darkness, we hide in the dark…sin is the absence of light. It is a force that is active and has a harmful effects usually very gradual or subtle.
The Bible tells us that sin originated in an abuse of the freedom given to Adam and Eve who are God’s created beings that He equipped with a will. God did not create evil. Evil disregards the glory of God, His plan or will for us as written in the Word of God. The devil has cleverly sown discontent into our thoughts, he has turned our yearning or spiritual hunger for God into a thirst for self-gratification. This thirst cannot be satisfied in anything not centered in obedience to and faith in God. The result is a decision to step out of God’s protection and enter into moral failure. God permitted this freedom of choice for reasons known only by Him. We are unable to search out and understand God’s reason by human reason. God, in providing us with a mind and spirit truly free to make moral decisions, has allow the possibility of failure. Without that possibility there would not be genuine freedom or true personality.
Sin originated in the free choice of God’s creatures. Instead of believing and trusting God, responding to His love and provision, we have let wrong thinking fed by Satan exalt ourselves above God. I know you are thinking not me…anytime you make a decision and that little voice, your spirit, says not a great idea, yet you still follow your decision; you just made your decision and action over God’s will. So, your decision was better than God’s. That is where self-exaltation happens. The essence of sin is the substitution of the satisfying self for the original and highest purpose in life…seeking God and the relationship we were created to have with Him.
Apostle Paul says this will be a struggle for everyone. Romans 7:14-25 outlines the struggle we have within ourselves against sin, Paul says “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells 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 am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” NASB
Thankfully, we have a Savior, Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself so that we have through repentance…forgiveness of our sins. The fight is on, how can we break the stronghold of sin? First, there is no way we can minimize sin even the slightest sin. No sin is too small for us to overlook and fail to seek forgiveness. James 1:13-15 warning us about the origin of temptation and sin…”When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation. Instead it is each person’s own desires and thoughts that drag them into evil and lure them away into darkness. Evil desires give birth to evil actions. And when sin is fully mature it can murder you!” TPT.
We must not let our minds dwell on some temptation or wrong desire, we must stop ourselves from reasoning. Recently, I was ministering to a group of women and one of them boldly spoke about being a homosexual, she went on to say “If all sin is equal and everyone sins then my sin is no worst and acceptable.” Justifying sin never works, if we make sin a habit or a way of life, it will bring spiritual and eternal death, a final separation from God. This lost woman has set her sin and self above God, His protection and love. The Bible says, “So 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.” Philippians 4:8 TPT Sadly, she has let an evil thought and desire incubate into action. She cannot see that she is the glorious work of God, she is blinded from what is real, honorable, admirable, and so much more. I am praying that she will have a supernatural experience of God’s unfailing love for her and that she will come to the cross in repentance.
I know in many of my other blog articles and many times when I am speaking before a group I use my life scriptures. A life scripture is one that you hold dear to your heart and meditate on when your mind moves into wrong thinking. These scriptures break evil strongholds, they will lead you in freedom and moral character pleasing to God and healthy for you. God has given His Word in order for us to have authority over sin and live in peace until Jesus returns.
Here are mine… 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” NASB
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” NASB
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” NASB
Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” AMP
Hebrews 4:12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is supernatural and powerful, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword(a weapon for good). It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where our spirit and flesh (sinful desire) meet! It reveals and surgically removes any wrong thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.” Personalized and paraphrased
A special thank you to the authors of “Bible Doctrine, A Pentecostal Perspective”, William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton. Their research and insight bring a profound understanding of God’s Word and His desired relationship with each of His children.
My prayer that these words help you to go deeper and run harder in your pursuit of God and live the life He has designed for you. Blessing, Laurie