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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
James 1:12 says “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Right now, let us ask God to help us understand this persevering thing, which is to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty. “God help me understand how to recognize and overcome temptation. To embrace Your truth in my life. Reveal to me the spiritual tools necessary to defeat the attacks of the enemy. Amen”
Temptation is defined as “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” Well, that is definitely clear enough…so how do we fight temptation?
Temptation is a prelude to sin, how we react and who we call on for help makes all the different in the world. There is a pattern to temptation, how it gets our attention and then puts evil desire into our mind. This evil desire turns into sin. Sin is an action word the dictionary says it is a noun, but to me a verb is a better definition. A verb is defined as “a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence” see where I am going? Sin has movement and it starts with a thought, our mind dwells on the temptation until we can no longer resist. Temptation is often a short cut, an escape, or a desire to get revenge. Many times, our genuine desire to be accepted and loved creates an unhealthy temptation to feel pleasure which leads to sin.
God gave us a hunger and thirst to have a personal relationship with Him, Satan corrupted that hunger and thirst into a “shortcut”, this is how Adam and Eve were deceived, the garden was not enough…they wanted more…to be more like God. They did not understand that they already were “made in His image” the closest and most highly cherished by God. In this deception temptation was born.
The first thing you need to understand that no one escapes temptation. Temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you. In John 10:10 God warns us “The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy”. We cannot stop there we need to continue to the end of the scripture because freedom is found in those next few words, “ I (Jesus) came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Today, I want to help you and I tune up our skills of recognizing temptation and then stop it dead in its tracks…reaching out to Jesus who is the great Overcomer.
God knew temptation would be part of our life, our ability to resist would need His help, the help of a Savior. So, God turned temptation into an opportunity. God wants us to see temptation as a stepping stone to spiritual maturity, not as something that keeps you captive. Many times we think temptation starts in our circumstances, in fact, it starts in our mind. Many times the circumstance or better said consequence comes later. God warns us in His word several times, here in Mark 7:21-23 we clearly see, “For from within, that is out the heart (mind) of men, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment). All these evil things, schemes and desires come from within and defile and dishonor the man.”
Satan uses doubt and deception to raise up temptation in your mind. He has studied you, your emotions, your body language, and he is very clever. Satan twists our human nature which is to control, compete and win into wrong thinking or sinful action. The Bible says he is the “father of lies” John 4:44, he simply changes God’s truth by a word or two to get you questioning God. The devil’s desire is to keep you from walking in God’s truth.
So, what do we do now that we have a clear picture of temptation and how it leads to sin in our lives? Here are some facts to help us see God’s Truth:
Fact One: No matter how mature you become as a believer temptation will always be there. Do NOT let the devil make you feel ashamed or guilty because you are tempted.
Fact Two: Consider temptation as a compliment, the devil only messes with those he knows carry weapons to destroy him. The real truth is the devil fears us way more than we should fear him, we have God on our side he lost that honor long ago.
Fact Three: Be realistic, you will never be able to avoid temptation completely, you cannot stop the devil from making suggestions, but you do NOT have to act on them.
Fact Four: Know your weakness, your vulnerability and the minute your mind starts dwelling on something unhealthy turn to Jesus, His truth…”Be sober well balanced and self-disciplined, be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion fiercely hungry, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 AMP
Fact Four: Get your emotions under control, speak life into yourself “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” Proverbs 18:21 Life is messy, but God never leaves you hanging!! Get your thoughts under control, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy negative thoughts and behaviors. We destroy the lies, opinions and every lofty attitude raised against the knowledge of God and make every thought obedient to the truth of Jesus Christ.” personalized
Fact Five: When temptation comes, just CRY OUT for help to God…judge your thoughts and emotions against God’s Word…have your life-giving scriptures ready to speak in your situation. Jesus faced the same temptations we do, He met them head on be saying “It is written”, this truth belongs to us as well…God’s Word will set you free.
Fact Six: We have confidence, know who you are in Jesus…you are His, created in His image. You are loved valued and cherished by God more than any human possible can…His love for you should overwhelm you completely, cover and protect you no matter what is going on in your flesh and circumstances. We live in a fallen world, be you don’t have to be fallen.
Fact Seven: Have patience with yourself, God’s work in you does not happen in a microwave, God uses a slow cooker…transforming you into this amazing, unique and powerful child of God. Claim your position, commit to think Kingdom thoughts and not worldly ones that will just fade away. Let Hebrews 4:16 AMP sink in “Therefore let us with privilege approach the throne of grace that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy for our failures and find His amazing grace to help in time of need an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment. Ask God for the power to do the right thing, make the right decision and then EXPECT Him to provide it.
“No temptation regardless of its source has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to resist, but along with the temptation He has in the past and is now and will always provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP
Today, I wanted to revisit the armor that God has provided for us to fight against the powers of darkness in today’s world. But before I get into that let us also look at a well know battle between a boy and a giant, read 1 Samuel 17. Focus your attention to verses 38-40, “Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.”
Notice how Saul’s armor and sword did not fit David. David would have surely lost the battle if he tried to fight Goliath with someone else’s armor. This is truth for all of us, God has given each of us our own personal armor to be worn at all times. It is especially important that you do not compare your armor “relationship with Jesus” to others around you. Everyone’s relationship with God is unique, just as you are uniquely created by God. As you draw closer to God through worship, prayer and studying His Word a deeper level of surrender happens and the Armor of God develops within you. It is important that you fellowship with other believers because as scripture tells us “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 Please know that it is just as important that you do not compare or judge another’s journey with Jesus because the devil will spin it for his purpose. You may find yourself thinking, “I will never be as good as…know as much…pray as well”. We must also be incredibly careful to not let pride interfere with the fit of our armor. The devil uses comparing and judging our fellow believers to slow down and even damage out relationship with God. Instead learn, rub up against those you admire, let them speak life into your personal relationship with Jesus. Praise God for what He is doing in the lives of those around you as well as your life.
TIP: When you study God’s Word, know the background of the scripture, who is God talking to, find yourself among the recipients. God wants to put you right in the scriptures, when sin is revealed He is always faithful to show you a way back. God is a mighty Hope Dealer!
Now let us look at what God’s says about your personally designed armor and how it will protect and guide you in your journey with Him.
Chapter 6 of Ephesians opens with and continues in verses 2 through 9 admonishing us on our behavior as His children. He speaks to us with love yet encourages us to self-examine our ways. God further through the next 8 verses instructs us on who we are fighting, how he operates, and He then lays out how we should be clothed in the Armor of God through which we are able to war against the evil of this world and live victoriously in Jesus Christ.
Verse 10 – Finally (listen) BE STRONG “Dunamis Power” in the supernatural Holy Spirit for it prevails, it conquers – we find it in Him alone. The Amplified version says, “be strong in the Lord draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him and in the power of His boundless might.”
Verse 11 – Put on the full Armor of God
Not just what you think you need… put on ALL God is providing. Stand firm not being moved from the truth of Jesus and what has been done on the cross, this is God’s complete protection against the devil’s attempts to destroy you. The devil openly schemes – he plots using underhanded, tricky, sneaking, a large-scale systemic plan to capture you and destroy you and your future.
Verse 12 – Remember who you are fighting (wrestling – intimate, up close and personal) take in an account our flesh, mind, wrong thinking, generational mindset or those currently around you, physical circumstances, they are ALL just tools of the enemy, it is satan’s plan to lie, steal and destroy.(John 10:10) The primary wrestling arena is not here on earth – but is a spiritual battle fought in our mind and spirit the consequences are suffered in our flesh, you must ask yourself where is your focus? Is your thoughts, actions coming from your spirit or flesh?
When we look at verse 12 we find God has broken down of the evil forces out to get you into four divisions in satan’s kingdom; “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood contending only with physical opponents, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly supernatural places.” AMP
1. principalities (rulers) – fallen angels, his highest ranking rulers
2. powers – those given authority to execute the will of those rulers
3. world forces – who walk in the darkness of this age (right now) with or without spiritual blindness being used by satan to carry out wicked deeds, people who are in authority and use that authority to carry out satan’s plan
4. spiritual forces of wickedness – earth bound demons who are satan’s servants who do his bidding, these also can include those in 1-3, wicked enemies as a whole who are moving through the earth looking to torment you – looking for entrance/strongholds/sin/an opening.
Heavenly places speaks of a place which encompasses all spirit beings. One place of this area is where God’s throne is…where God sits with Jesus and all of God’s angels also exist. There is a dark side as well in this spiritual place where satan and his evil spirits exist. The heavenly places, sometimes spoken of as realms are a mystery for us, to profound to understand but we get some limited understanding from God’s Word. There will come a time when we will no longer exist in the flesh but in this spiritual place.
Verse13 – take up the full (whole, complete) Armor of God, for strength and knowledge in order to stand firm (spoken again Verse 11) now also further described as happening in this evil day. It is our responsibility to dress for the battle. Are you willing to do everything necessary to fight?
Take up , put on , stand firm speaks of the work required by you in order to fully arm yourself, this scripture also tells us this armor must cover us completely, nothing left exposed, not even a thought left free roaming able to be corrupted. Take Note: Whenever God uses the same words in this case “stand firm” it is because He is either issuing a warning or He wants us to pay close attention to what He is saying. This stand firm is vital to our relationship with Him and our survival her on earth.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.” We must be fully equipped using everything God is providing, Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
Verse 14 – Standing firm (therefore – consistently) we are required to wear the armor of God… Belt of Truth(having girded your loins) is the truth spoken over us and about us by our Heaven Father it directly confronts the lies that our enemy wants us to believe. Builds confidence in God’s words over us, a resolve to live by truth. This truth holds everything together, we must love “truth”, there is no other.
Girt is defined as all over, fasten, securely, sealed. Today the world would say truth is relative to whatever you are feeling or are involved in? The world says make up your own truth, if you believe it then it must be true. The devil slyly tells us the lie of “if it’s not hurting anyone else go ahead indulge yourself.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 tells us “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.“ Romans 1:25 also says “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature(flesh) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.”
Verse 14 – Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness (defined here as what was done on the cross through to blood of Jesus.) When Jesus died on the cross your sins, they, all of them, every single one, was not only forgiven but washed away. Stand up and stand firm, right posture, be confident, cleansed, made free, whole, delivered, assurance…live it, walk in it, claim it! If you do not you are missing out…from this grows peace, joy, restoration. This breastplate covers our chest and shoulders it protects our heart, and spirit. Many times when sharing a word, I encourage women to build their Spirit up in the truth of God so that it is stronger than their mind and that only then will they be able to make Godly decisions and fully walk in the truth of Jesus Christ. Proverbs 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”
Verse 15 – having shod (perfectly fit, custom, labored) your feet with the preparation of the gospel ofpeace…readiness (fully prepared, fitness, eager, awareness) in any circumstance knowing through Jesus we will be taken care of NO matter what our eyes see, and ears hear. Ready to fight for truth and ready to receive God’s blessing, ready to go where He sends you, your feet are fitted to carry you the distance through Jesus….2 Timothy 4:2 “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. “ Our readiness comes from knowing God and His Word, Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Verse 16 – in addition to all (above all), taking up Shield of Faith extinguishes the “flaming” arrows (put an end to forever, annihilate, finish off, terminate, cease)
Isaiah 54:17 says “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will prove untrue. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me, ”declares the Lord.”
Acts 16:31 “They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing (testimony/teaching), and hearing by the word of Christ.” You are justified and proven by God…your identity, whole being. When two or more put their shields together they form a wall.
vs17 – Take Helmet of Salvation is knowledge that we have been rescued, our salvation is through faith, our sins no longer counted against us, not only our pasts sins, but those today and in the future when we repent in humility, God sees our motive and our heart. We look forward without fear for the day we are taken home to be with God.
1 Peter 1:13 says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
the Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, instructions for life, the ultimate offensive weapon uses to aggressively protect you with a clear strategy . A gift from God to know Him personally, intimately. His Word gives you all you need to understand and fully receive God’s great love for you, it teaches us how to live for Him and receive all the benefits of that life now on earth.
Jesus declares the power found in God’s Holy Word when He was being tempted in the desert “It is written” each time He was tempted by satan.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
Through His Word comes the power to wear and live fully protected.
Verse 18 “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
This is the last piece of the Armor of God, just as important as the other pieces it is to be used by all of us. Peter used the gift of tongues in bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to a crowd of 3,000 on the day of Pentecost. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to the disciples and told them to wait for it. He has promised it to us as well. Just as we desire to have every other piece of Armor we should hunger after this amazing part as well. Read Acts 1-2 and Acts 15:7-9 for a closer look at this amazing gift.
Everything God works in you starts from within and manifests outward.
Divine physical healingstarts from within you not in the physical realm, but it starts within you by FAITH in the spirit and it manifests outwardly as physical healing.
So does your gift of speaking in tongues/your personal spirit language with God it begins within your spirit and the Holy Spirit within you.
When you were saved you received the Holy Spirit, however there is a release of the spirit that you must ask for. This release is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, is about the release of the Holy Spirit from your spirit to your soul to your body. The gift of speaking in tongues is the overflow of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said “out of your bellies shall flow rivers of living water” At salvation we receive Holy Spirit , at baptism we release Him…This baptism of the Holy Spirit is separate from Salvation. It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us which is our helper and comforter, helping us to walk in the will of God and complete the work God puts before us. When that Baptism has reached from the Spirit to the soul, the body then manifests physically as vocalized by the sound that you hear that’s when the overflow has reached our physical body as speaking in tongues.
If you have asked God for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, sought it out in earnest but you have not received the gift of speaking in tongues that does not mean the Holy Spirit has not be released in you.
Let’s look at a couple of scriptures to gain a better understanding…
I Corinthians 2:9-14 says that there is a fellowship between the spirits and that they communication spirit to spirit. No one knows the Father like the Holy Spirit and no one knows you like your spirit (your mind can be deceived).
1 Corinthians 14:2 tells us that when we speak in tongues we are speaking to God not man.
1 Corinthians 14:4 “One who speaks in tongues “edifies” himself… meaning “edify” to be strengthens himself, builds in, personal, intimate with God.
Romans 8:26 says “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” When we pray in the spirit the Holy Spirit himself prays for you.
1 Corinthians 12:10 says “and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.”
The gift of tongues maybe our mightiest weapon against the forces of darkness. There is much more to learned about this piece of the Armor of God, I pray God will illuminate this truth to you. I will leave you with this question…Why would you not want all God has for you? Every piece of His Armor for you!
I am currently taking a class on Romans; the Book of Romans is said by many to be the single greatest work within the Bible. God inspired apostle Paul to write to the Romans from the Greek city of Corinth in AD 57. Paul had never been to Rome when he wrote the letter to the Romans, though he had clearly expressed his desire to travel there in the near future (Acts 19:21; Romans 1:10–12). Paul begins with our condition which is most easily visible in the world today…the sinfulness of all humanity.
Today, let us look at Romans 1:18-19, in these two verses God makes known an exciting and simple truth. See if you can discover where I am leading you as you ponder over these scriptures in several versions.
The NASB says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”
KJV “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” (placed it in their spirit)
Now look at it in the MSG verses 18-23 “But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such cannot see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So, nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.”
The NIV says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”
TLB says “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, evil men who push away the truth from them. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts.”
Finally, let us make this even clearer, the TPT Translations puts it like this, “For God in heaven unveils his holy anger breaking forth against every form of sin, both toward ungodliness that lives in hearts and evil actions. For the wickedness of humanity deliberately smothers the truth and keeps people from acknowledging the truth about God. In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart.
Here it is the truth laid out…we are spirit, our heart, conscience, instinct, are proof. In the above scriptures the following words are used to also confirm our knowing of God, evident, made plain, embedded. All these words reveal to us an overwhelming truth…who we are, our position and that we are supernatural spiritual beings and there is only One True God and He, our Creator was existed before you were born, He placed this knowledge within you, within your spirit. Ok, one more time, we are a spirit who knew God before we came to earth; placed in our mother’s womb, created by God and in His image that’s right our spirit is what is in His image. He also gives us eyes to see all that He created in nature. All humankind and everything in nature is God’s creation…therefore EVERY KNEE shall bow…WOW! Bottom line NO one has an excuse. Those who are non-believers, atheists and the like they just prefer to ignore this magnificent truth that we are His daughters, the Daughters of the Most High God, spiritual beings created with His purpose not yours or mine. Your Sister in Jesus Christ, Love, Laurie
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”.