The Lord’s Prayer

women kneeing in prayer

Recently I had the honor of sharing with a group of women.  As I prayed each day prior to the day, the Lord began to speak to me about giving them insight to the Lord’s Prayer as given in Matthew 6:9-13.  I felt the Holy Spirit say give them a new meaning, one they can use when journeying deeper in their relationship with Me.  I call this a Jesus Habit. Prayer and studying God’s Word are a true level of connecting with Him in an intimate way.  It’s important to attend church or a Bible study to gain insight from others, however, your quiet personal time with God will bring new meaning to your relationship with Him.

Read Matthew 6:9-13, take note of my comments and write ones of your own as God speaks to you.  There is meat in these scriptures.  Use this as a guide in your daily prayer time.  I would like to say, don’t let others or the devil make you feel as if you have failed if you do not hold to a specific time of day or a hard rule of when and where to seek God.  He is always with you.  So whenever and wherever works! The point is just do it!

One more thing, get a Bible! Don’t relay on your phone, tablet or iPad, even a computer.  There is nothing better than the written Word in a tangible printed way.  Write in the margins, add pages using some of the new techniques used by art journalers. Let your Bible express your love for Jesus.  As your relationship matures your Bible will reflect that relationship, or provide a history of your journey, no electonic device can show your love better.

v6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” 

Intimate, private relationship with God – praying and studying His Holy Word alone grows your relationship with Him.  Empty platitudes spoken in public prove  nothing but expose your pride.

v7-8 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” 

Do not be meaningless, repetitive, God knows your mind and heart’s motive. He knows before we ask so be honest. Come surrendered and humbled, lay yourself open before your Lord.

v9 “Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” 

Recognize His Authority, Who He is, the great I AM. Then declare His  Holiness… Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord for the whole earth is filled with His Glory.  Isaiah 6:3

v10 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” 

Acknowledge the need for God, and the need for all people to know Him, we have a responsibility in representing Him to the world through our life and in spreading the Gospel with those we encounter.

v11 “Give us this day our daily bread.”

We are depend, so make our-self dependent on God for all things.  Acknowledge that only God can give you what you need…physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Matthew 6:33 says “seek Him first, His Kingdom and His righteousness and you will receive all you need.” 

v12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

God forgives us of our (debts) sin, through this we have an example of forgiveness for those who hurt or sin against us.  We cannot claim God’s forgiveness if we harbor anger and unforgiveness towards  others.  Ask God to continually and daily to reveal any bitterness we may hold in our heart.

v13 “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the   kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” 

God does not tempt us with evil,  James 1:13 says “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.“ Ask God to guide you and give you discernment.  God will deliver you from evil when we stand in God’s strength and authority based in His Word.  James 4:7  tells us to “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.”  Finally have confidence in God,  I Corinthians 10:13  confirms God is there for us, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 

This afternoon of sharing turn into an amazing day of lives changed through God’s Word.  I am but his empty vessel, set on a course of sharing truth, and the life changing experience found in living and serving the one truth God…Jesus Christ!

Be Blessed,

Laurie

 

Prodigal Daughter; The Road to Repentance.

progical daugther BOver the last few months I have had the honor of ministering to the women incarcerated at our local county detention facility.  When God first called me into this ministry I had no idea of how much I would grow as a Christian and how God would push the boundaries of my life and my husband.  In bringing the Gospel to these hurting women God has help me look at my own life and the personal need for repentance.

Jesus said, “they that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32 KJV

The New Testament (which literally means “new covenant”) was written primarily in Greek. So it is often helpful to look at the original Greek words used in the Gospels to gain a better understanding of what God is teaching us. In Greek, the word used for “repent” means “a complete and total change of mind.” In order to truly repent we must deliberately turn away from our old way of life and strive to follow a new path.

Let’s look at Luke 15 and the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  In these scriptures Jesus intended for the younger son to be a character to which we could all relate.  We have all been guilty of disgracing our heavenly Father by placing our personal desires and cravings above all else.  God is very much like the father in this story because He loves each of us just as that father did individually, uniquely and unconditionally.  God has been with us always, for better or worse.  We must believe that God stands by us at all times, even when we choose to worship ourselves and harmful behavior instead of Him.

In the story, the son travels a great distance to separate himself from his father.  Do we not do much the same when we make choices that are contrary to God’s design for our lives?  Because of those choices we experience spiritual separation from God.  The son reaches his all time low in verse 17 when he comes to the revelation that “he came to himself” in the King James Version.   The son realized that his behavior has brought him financial, physical and spiritual poverty.  He decides to return home and ask his father to allow him to work as a servant.  The son believed because of his “sinful” behavior his father would never forgive him but just maybe he would consider allowing him to be a servant.  He made a humbling personal choice to turn away from his sins and return to his father, this is the essence of redemption.  How many times have you thought God will not forgive me? Not this time…I really messed up this time.  I’m here as a testimony that God’s love for us is at the heart of His forgiveness.  Just like the father in the parable…the father in seeing his son coming in the distance called to his servants to bring a fine robe.  In this the father re-establishes his relationship with his son, showing the son his love and forgiveness.  As scripture says “still a long way off” the father meets the son on the road.  God meets us along our journey, walks along side us encouraging us to continue discovering who we can be as His child, loved and valued.

I’m so glad God is not like us.  His capacity for forgiveness and compassion has no boundary.  God wants nothing more than for us to turn away from our sins and turn toward Him.  Amazing that we can return to Jesus just as we are…not “fixed”, we have only to make a commitment to meet Him along the way and GOD WILL BE THERE!  Deliverance and Freedom becomes real for you and me.

Thank you Doug for your support in this journey!

Be Blessed, Laurie

Thank you to Michael K. Mason for the wisdom he shared in his book “Amazing Grace”.

Murdered Innocence

 

 

 

 

 

“The devil…he was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
James 8:44 NASB

Today we live in a sex fueled world…in culture that does not value sexual integrity and purity. Instead, it values instant gratification and pleasure at all costs. Throughout history and today women are exploited for sex. Men have used women to satisfy their sexual desires without regard for the women they prey upon. Teenage men today are caught up in the age-old game of how many notches (sexual experiences) they have on their belt is as prevalent today as it was yesterday. The young women who become their victims are spoken about and many times unknowing shared by a group of young men. Each time they have sex with her they take a part of her soul. This begins a cycle of shame for most young women.

The dating world gives way to sex before marriage making it as common going out to a movie or having dinner. While you believe this is part of dating the reality is its sex out of marriage. Sex outside of marriage breaks down your ability to express the highest form of physical love created by God to build intimacy between one man and one woman. You will carry those pre-marital experiences into your marriage. Innocence dies through these experiences.

The Big Lie:  Women today believe the only way to receive and feel love is by giving their bodies over to men through sex.  Sex is fun and not meant exclusively for marriage between one man and one woman.

Fact:  A healthy woman usually only gives her body to someone she thinks of night and day and with whom her heart and spirit have already connected (unless there is dysfunctional or addictive behavior involved). And when she gives her mind, heart and soul, her body usually follows right behind. The four are intricately connected.

Fact:  Men use the words “I love you” to get sex. A male can enjoy the act of sex without committing his heart or bonding spiritually with the object of his physical desire. While a man needs mental, emotional and spiritual connection as well…his need to gratify his physical desires leads the way while the other needs follow behind.

 

Truth: Intimacy can best be defined by breaking the word into its syllables: “in-to-me-see”. This connection with your husband or wife is a longing to be seen and accepted for who you really are deep down inside, as well as to see the other person deep down inside so that you truly know each other. God created the act of sexual intimacy as a gift to give a husband and wife a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bond with pleasure beyond description.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become on flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:24-25 NASB

Ok, so where does this truth leave you? Let’s look at where you are now in your life.

1. You are unmarried and still holding on to your sexual integrity. If this is you…fantastic! Hold on to that! Find other like-minded Christians to help you stay accountable and pure. In the book, “Every Young Woman’s Battle”, the following is a glimpse of what an amazing gift is waiting for you in marriage.

Imagine what it is like when two sexually pure people get married. He has guarded his heart and she is the only naked woman he has ever seen. And she has never been held so intimately that she knows the smell of any man’s skin but his. She has no one to compare his gentle touch and caress to. No comparison. No disappointment. No guilt or shame. Their sexual intimacy is shared  between two bodies, two minds, two hearts, and two spirits that unite to become one-flesh union. When this level of intimacy is experienced within the commitment and safety of a loving marriage, it can be one of the most earthshaking experiences this side of heaven.

2. You are the parents. Pray for God to give you the strength and courage to set boundaries, speak freely and honestly about your mistakes. Get together as the mother and father and discuss how you will approach your children about dating and intimacy. Don’t just go with what you did…today we must take steps to keep our young people safe from the pressure put on them. Make sure your home leads by example in every area by setting a godly standard in your personal life, as well as music, movies and social media. Ask the difficult questions or if necessary seek out a trusted Christian mentor for them. Make sure they have accountability with others of the same-sex i.e. woman to woman or man to man.

“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.” Romans 12:2 NASB

3. You have blown it. You find yourself sexually compromised and like a broken record you just keep going around and letting the scratch or crack hang you up. There is hope! Jesus paid the price at the whipping post and cross for you! You can bring all those past experiences before the Lord ask Him to forgive you. You also need to take that extra step and lay down your pride and confess with your mouth to another Christian. Those experiences can either anchor you to the past or thrust you into the future. Start today by renewing your mind daily in the truth found in the Bible. The closer you draw to God, the more you know Him, He will reveal and heal your mind and body. Take steps to become accountable for your life.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NASB

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.” James 5:16 NASB

Do not lose hope it may take time. There may be residual physical damage, however, it is God’s desire that you live a life of joy and peace walking in His love and grace.

I hope these words are of encouragement to you. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can ! Simply ask Jesus to come and dwell within you bringing His Holy Spirit to guide you and ask forgiveness from the sin in your life. Acknowledge the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for you and that He is the son of the one true God.

Be Blessed,
Laurie

Know the Enemy

spiritual-warfare-rurfbattle

The devil is out to get you.  Why is this concept so hard for many to believe?  Why do our churches rarely ever address the power in the darkness and how it brings havoc to our lives?  Why don’t they teach us how to fight Satan?  I’m going to leave that question for you to address with your pastors, elders and leaders.  I would like to share some discoveries I have made through experience as well as the inspired writing of John Hagee.

The older I get the more blessed I feel.  I look back on my life and I now can recognize the battle fought for me in the heavens. God has sent His angels to war for my life many times when I didn’t deserve saving.  Jesus saw something in me, something I couldn’t see and He rescued me for His plan.  Because of His love I am a vessel used by Him to bring glory to His kingdom.  Now at 61 years young I am discovering my place in His kingdom and the true meaning found in this scripture…

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”  Psalms 139 13-16

Jesus love me first and I was precious to Him and His intention for me was there from the beginning.  As I devote time to studying His Holy Word, worshipping Him in a community of like minded believers and attending meetings lead by Godly people who speak truth my faith and love for Jesus Christ grows in passion and strength. Knowing God is key in doing battle for His Kingdom. As I position my life as a servant to Jesus Christ…I am changed.  Let me be perfectly clear I am not without sin.  I still make mistakes, bad decisions, Satan and sin still know me and call me by name.  However, I can fight this battle because I have Jesus on my side.

Satan sends his demons and spirits to disrupt God’s plan.  Understanding him and how he operates will help you win the battle.  When you identify his lies and method you can use the power God has given you to destroy the devil’s attempts to keep you captive.  The more you study the Word of God, the more the Holy Spirit reveals the areas in your life that need to come under the total authority of God’s Word.  Once revealed, it is essential that you take action.  However, if you choose not to separate yourself from these destructive influences, you allow the evil forces to grow stronger.

“Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”  Matthew 12:45

Battle Truths 

  • Do not be deceived; the devil’s forces are active in and beyond the walls of the church.
  • Underestimating the devil is suicide; it is akin to becoming an ally with the opposition for your own defeat.
  • Rationalizing sin is Satan’s substitute for confession and repentance.
  • Satan’s primary target is our mind, we must guard against thoughts that are contrary to Scripture and submit them to the directives found in God’s Word.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 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.”  2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Satan takes pleasure in using demonic spirits to influence people serving in ministry and involved in church because he uses them to spread his doctrine of strife, doubt and discord like a deadly virus.  You must ask yourself…Where is my thought life taking me?

“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.”  Philippians 4:8

“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.”  Mark 11:23

Satan uses doubt to bring distrust into any situation.  He will sow seeds of doubt in our belief in the supernatural power of Jesus because he knows if he can hinder our ability to fully grasp hold of God’s power through His Holy Spirit…Satan loses.  The devil’s ultimate goal is to stop your ability to accomplish your divine destiny.

SATAN’S DEMONIC SPIRITS

Spirit of WORRY

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-33

Anxiety attacks you emotionally and physically.  Worry is faith in fear not in God.  When you sense the spirit rises up within you seek God and the truth in His Word. You cannot change what you will not confront.  What you will not conquer will conquer you.

Spirit of FEAR

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.            Revelations 1:17-18

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,  surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

Fear paralyzes the mind; it weakens the will and destroys the dream within you.  Once the spirit of fear has a hold in your life it sets a course to destroy your life and future.

Spirit of RESENTMENT

The definition of the word resentment is a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.  Anger towards any person whom you perceive has offended you.

King David cried out to the Lord to be healed from those that offended him.  I believe the feelings brought by being offended was far more dangerous than the actual offense.    Being offended leads to resentment which in turn leads to bitterness which is emotional poison.

Read Psalms 17, 27, 35, 109 and 143 for help and healing.

“No mature Christian who is seasoned in the Word has any reasonable excuse to live their life offended.”  Brian Houston – Hillsong

Once you are held captive by this evil spirit relationships are destroyed, it takes the joy and peace out of your life.  You will find yourself continually finding reason to begrudge those around you.  Something as simple as not being invited to a social event when you thought you should be can stir up jealousy and bitterness.  It also gives way for pride to distort your self worth.  Being passed over, losing a contest, missing an opportunity for a bonus or promotion.  Cain fell victim to this spirit and killed his brother Abel.  King Saul chased David across the hills of Israel in an attempt to prevent him from becoming king.  Satan’s plan is to fill your mind with this emotional poison.   It is said that resentment is cyanide of the soul.

Spirit of REBELLION

God has a definition for this spirit,

“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.”  1 Samuel 15:23

“You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.  But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.”  Deuteronomy 13:4-6

This spirit resists or defies any form of authority.  Our churches today have allowed this spirit to corrupt society like never before.  Their watered down sermons focus on        self-pleasing, instant gratification rather than God-pleasing and sacrifice to serve.  Our leaders are failing to teach basic precepts found in the Word of God.  One essential precept is submission to righteous authority.  This lack of submission or obedience has caused truth to become a blurred gray area in which people make up their own belief, truth, and identity.

Our children turn to gangs to find the boundaries they are not receiving at home.  There is a generation that is quick to loot and burn, they partake in acts of violence against those who have take an oath of service to protect us all in the name of “right to protest”.  Many times they cry racism as an excuse for their behavior.

This vicious spirit uses domination, intimidation and manipulation to undermine us.  They are strongholds that have infiltrated our lives and the lives of our love ones.

  • Domination: sole purpose is to control others, it demands attention and power,
  • Intimidation: forces people to do things they don’t want to do, uses bullying and exploitation,
  • Manipulation: managing someones actions or emotions in an unfair manner, manipulators force or seduce others to achieve their own end results, it is motivated by self-gratification.

The spirit of Rebellion makes idols of our wills, opinions and lusts.  God will not share His throne with any other man or spirit.  Only through repentance and submission to the will of God can we be free from rebellion’s grasp.

Be a Warrior not a Victim

How can we become God’s warriors?  Acknowledging the existence of demonic spirits and their master Satan is the first step.  Knowing that we are all victims in some way.  We must identify the weak points in our armor.  All of us are unique therefore everyones armor is different.  Know yourself through honesty and humility, submit yourself to Jesus Christ.  Spend time understanding His love, coming to Him totally surrendered, heart and mind open, asking for forgiveness…God can break the bondage you are captive in.

We must be mindful of the battle which is raging between Satan and his demonic spirits and our Heavenly Father.   God created us for His pleasure and divine purpose, Satan destroyed that prefect union in the garden through lies and temptation.  God came to earth in Jesus Christ His son, to make a way to repair our brokenness, bring atonement for our sin and infuse us with His supernatural power through the Holy Spirit.  His love for us is greater than any weapon Satan can muster.

“For you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”  Exodus 34:14

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”  Exodus 20:3

Our Heavenly Father gives several warnings to His people about worshipping other Gods, this warning is as important today as it was in the old testament because Satan has learned how to disguise himself today among social and political issues distracting us from our true purpose.  Unfortunately, it’s working…we are in end times as spoken of in the Bible, we as believers must arm ourselves and use all the supernatural power available to us through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

It’s only through repentance and submission to the will of God that we can be freed from these spirit’s evil grasp.  We all are suffering under one or more of these spirits, our emotions must be carefully guarded to protect our supernatural peace…what the Bible describes as “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7

My prayer for you and for myself is that God would give us discernment and reveal any area of our life that would invite a demonic spirit in and through His grace remove it from us.  Giving us the wisdom to see with His eyes the devil’s lies before they can bring harm to us and those we love.

Thank you to John Hagee for his insightful writing. Much of this post is from his book “The Three Heavens”.   I strongly suggest you purchase this book there is so much to grasp, such amazing insight and wisdom!

Be Blessed, Laurie

The Road We Travel – Part II “In the Eye of the Beholder”

in the eye of the beholderFor ladies young and old our appearance plays a huge part of who we are.  In a world so caught up in how the physical body looks the road to feeling comfortable in your skin is difficult.  Every form of media tells us we have to look like a A&F models.  In fact some of you may not know but when A&F launched one of their first catalogs the young men were shirtless.  Their catalog looked more like a glamour magazine than advertising clothing.  In their stores they put large screen TVs with videos running of young people scantily clad with clothing that looked two sizes to small.  This has been going on for decades.  During my time braless halter tops and mid-drift blouses with one inch zippers on jeans were the rage.  Bathing suits had less fabric than underwear.  Today, plastic surgery to increase or decease your body is common.  Products that will help you lose weight, grow your eye lashes, hide wrinkles are billon dollar industries.  Satan wins this battle everyday.  All of this creates insecurity, low self-image and unworthiness.  To further complicate things the devil has us believing we need to look like a princess to catch and keep the prince.  Unfortunately, how we look often determines whether doors will open or close in life as well.  So in all of this how do we as Christian Women find our truth, our identity and value.  How do we balance obsession with a healthy view of self?  

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB

First, I want to address your appearance.  I believe it is important to take care of yourself.  Eat healthy, moderate exercise and take care of your physical body.  I truly believe everyone has an optimum weight that is not so much a number or size but how we feel and how our body functions.  We need to find a balance, a comfortable place one that can be maintained without obsessing.  I guarantee this will be a life long challenge, maybe as a woman your greatest…to keep how you see yourself from becoming an obsession.  I can prove this with one example.  Have you ever been shopping for clothing and nothing you try on looks good or fits? Be honest for me that’s most of the time! If you are young finding your unique comfort zone now will help you as your life unfolds.  Learning how to love and feel good about yourself is not the true solution to overcoming how you see yourself. Your identity MUST be found in Jesus Christ, only when you find it in Him will you be able to discern and fight the devils traps.  It is vital for you to understand how precious you are in God’s sight…so valuable. Loved and valued so much that Jesus went to the cross for you.  You also should value your life because you were made in His image; you are His most precious creation. His love for us is truly unmeasurable. And as a Christian woman, you are the daughter of the King; redeemed and made into royalty through the work of the Cross. But when you make “feeling good about yourself” a focal point, you quickly take your eyes off Christ and become wrapped up in self. Unhealthy behavior will feed a continuing cycle of obsession and balance.  Sometimes in an effort to find yourself the devil will speak lies to you causing destructive behavior.  Getting help is essential, please don’t let Satan use self-inflicted physical abuse to destroy you. 

Scripture tells us that you are not to have confidence in yourself but in Christ only.  It’s important for you to focus on how our Lord sees you, how what’s in your heart is the measure of who you are in Jesus. Your confidence and strength must come from the heavenly Father.  Any other source is fueled in pride.  You will walk a fine line in this as well.  You need to continually be asking Jesus to refine away your prideful thoughts and realize that you are who you are inside and out because of who created you.  You must believe that God created you in love and that He loved you first. 

 “For we [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, set apart for His purpose and] are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory and take pride and exult in Christ Jesus and place no confidence [in what we have or who we are] in the flesh.”  Philippians 3:3 AMP

Paul tells us that he counts all his personal accomplishments “as rubbish” compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.  This must be your priority as well. When you understand that it’s not about you but about how you can serve a God who loves you.  When you make your life pursuit in knowing God and loving Him as He loves you freedom is found. 

“But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ.”  Philippians 3:8 AMP

Jesus could not be more clear when He says, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” 

 And Jesus was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].”  Luke 9:23 AMP

It may seem hard to believe that self-denial, rather than self-esteem, could actually be the solution to female insecurity. But when you let self fade into the background and become consumed with Jesus Christ, your personal insecurities will melt away. You no longer look to yourself…your talent, beauty, or uniqueness to find confidence. You must not depend on others for accolades because gratification through objects and people don’t last but are just a momentarily.  Instead, you learn to find your confidence in who He is, rather than in who the world says you are.

Charles Spurgeon said, “If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.”

The world would lead you to believe that you have “beauty within you” and that if you could only learn to love yourself “just the way you are” you would be confident and happy. The TRUTH, as Spurgeon so plainly put it, “We do not actually possess any beauty or goodness of our own accord.” 

“Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.”  Psalms 53:3 NASB

The only beauty, confidence or worth you can ever have is in Jesus Christ. And His loveliness will only come shining through in your life when self has gotten out of the way. 

As John the Baptist declared, “I must decrease, but He must increase.”  John 3:30 NASB

Rather than trying to build up your self-esteem and “feel good about yourself” (which doesn’t produce lasting confidence anyway) you are to let thoughts of self fade completely into the background. Remember that to “deny yourself” according to the Bible literally means to lose sight of yourself and your own interests. You will only gain lasting security when you look away from yourself and toward Jesus Christ. 

God’s Word is full of information about your identity and position as a believer in Jesus Christ. Let the wonder of God’s perspective on you soak in. Do you fully realize what it means to be:

The question “who am I?” is not nearly as important as the question, “who is He?”  Learning to see yourself through God’s eyes is key for He is the Beholder.

Be Blessed,  Laurie

I AM DEVOTIONAL – Part 3 Our Enemies Along Our Christian Journey

The third enemy that we will face immediately is the lust of the flesh…

The flesh is without a doubt the toughest enemy, it’s that evil tendency of our inward self. Accepting Christ as our Savior and surrendering our all to Him does not ensure that sometimes our old, sinful cravings will not return. The Bible teaches that the old nature, with all its corruption, is still there and that these evil temptations come from nowhere else. In other words, we are our own worst enemy. War has been declared!

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want”
Galations 5:13

It is the battle of the self-life and the Christ-life. This old nature cannot please God. It cannot be converted, or even patched up. Thank God, when Jesus died He took us with Him, and the old nature can be made inoperative and we can …“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11. This is done by faith.

This is a life long process, because all sin begins as a thought in our mind! We cannot fight the inward self without “knowing the Word” I’m not talking about memorizing scripture…I’m talking about hearing God speak to us through His Word! Pressing into Jesus will bring freedom, the Holy Spirit will bring the power to destroy that “old nature”. Paul warns us…“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14

Now the Bible says in Matthew 10 “we have been given the authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness”! So with that authority we can speak to our flesh and tell it “no more”. With that authority we can destroy anything that will prevent us from completing the work set before us by Jesus Christ therefore the devil, the world nor our own sinful nature can separate us from our Lord when we confess to Him and seek His forgiveness and love!

Be Blessed, Laurie

Light Bulbs, Turkeys and Atheists

coffee cup and Bibleby Cy Ricker

Over the past couple of days I’ve been thinking about a variety of things.   John chapter 8 gives account of Jesus challenging the Pharisees about casting stones at a woman found to be in sin.  Then in John chapter 10 we see how the thief comes to steal, kill, & destroy. This morning at city life church a friend of mine pointed something out to me about this particular passage. Our thoughts on this passage have always been directed towards the devil, being the thief Jesus is talking about. But at a closer glance, I see that Jesus could be speaking about the Pharisees being the thieves here as well as He did in chapter 8.

How often do our actions and words contribute to the death of something we don’t understand or agree with. There is, after all, life and death in our tongues.

Last week I mentioned seeing turkeys and that God had shown me something through that experience. The simple version is that everywhere I’ve been people are the same. We are all alike. As Christian people we want everyone to experience God the way we do. The reality is this, not everyone will experience God the same way.

This has been a blister with believers for a very very long time. It’s such a bitter-sweet spot. Some experience the fullness of God through worship, while others experience Him through a Word, while others experience Him through both. Some experience His healing through confession while others experience it through silence. Some want the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven while others say His Kingdom is already here.

The commonality I find with almost every personal subjective view is thisAll believers want to see people set free. To see people saved.

I think the enemy gets great pleasure out of watching Christian people argue over how a person is saved or how their walk should look.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my past as a believer. Sometimes the mistakes have been because I spoke too soon and other times it’s been because I didn’t speak at all.

This morning Pastor John at neighborhood fellowship/city life church spoke about how he once defended the Gospel to someone in his Bible study who didn’t quite see things the way he did. Through the experience he found that Holy Spirit was a much better defender of truth than he had given Him credit for.

At Pentecost all the people were in one accord. Shortly thereafter things were scattered out again so the gospel could reach the ends of the earth. God is still looking for people who want the same thing, for the lost to be found, and the found to be in unity.

My message to everyone from now on is simple…once we get a hold of the love of God and the kind of love He has for us, nothing else matters because our existence is supposed exude or display that very same thing or love towards each other.

In no way shape or form do I want to perform like a Pharisee. Even though my actions don’t and won’t affect the sanctification Jesus has given me, I want to act in a way that’s pleasing to Him.

Some of my thoughts might seem a little scattered out throughout this post, but the one thing we have to get out of this life is that Jesus goes to great lengths to meet each individual person where they are to draw them into a deep and rich relationship with Him. We can’t limit or criticize how that’s accomplished.

Brother Cy pastored a Cowboy Church in Kansas and is currently evangelizing in the Midwest by bringing speakers together to minister at revivals.  You can read more and follow him on Facebook at Chainbreakers Alive https://www.facebook.com/groups/1266878356715062/permalink/1401767416559488/

Fathers are an Unforgetable Influence on Our Life

I had the privilege of receiving an amazing message from Pastor Rick at Palm Valley Church in Mission, Texas this past Sunday. Usually Father’s Day messages tend to be about how today’s dads are not doing a great job.  Many times in the media and in society dads are depicted as stupid, inept, or absent in their families lives.  Contrary to conventional thought Pastor Rick shared some great thoughts on just how much fathers have the ability to speak truth and love into their children.

Fathers have a tremendous influence on us and on shaping who we become as adults by their words and actions.  As children we yearn for their love and approval in all we do.  Our father’s moments of interaction with us become records we play and replay over and over again in our mind throughout our lives.  Words are powerful and a child’s spirit can be either built up by dad’s encouragement or broken when he speaks untruth and negativity.

Four Phrases from Dad that need to be the Top Recording in His Child’s Mind

  1. “I love you!”   A child has to know they are loved by dad.  They need to hear it.  That love has to be expressed unconditionally, (not limited by conditions; absolutely), and irrationally, (without the faculty of reason; deprived of reason).  It must confirm who they are and backed with action.  Everyone receives love differently.  Some require the spoken words accompanied by quality time spent together.  Others need physical affection through touch and to some love is demonstrated through the giving of tangible gifts.
  2. “I’m Sorry!”  When dad makes a mistake he must admit it and ask for forgiveness.  There is no room for side stepping truth or making excuses.  Dad, let your child know you are not perfect.  Humility brings freshness and hope to relationships.  Dads need to model repentance through their words and actions.
  3. “I believe in you!”  Your child’s self worth is formed by your affirmation in the smallest of things.  Affirmation motivates your child to try harder.  Affirmation empowers your child and it influences their lives by creating in them strong and healthy self-images.  Tell them “You’re Awesome!”  Acknowledge even their smallest victories and successes.  As they grow and mature they will replay that record repeatedly whenever faced with a difficult life challenges.
  4. “I’m praying for you!”  Dads let your child know that you are praying for them.  Let them know that you pray for their future, their education, their friendships, and their future spouse. They need to hear your words, your prayers, and your open conversation with God.  If they hear you talking to God they will talk to God and they will know that their life is important because, “dad prays for me!” 

  

Here are three generations of men I love dearly.  Grandpa Doug has passed his legacy of love to Andrew who became a new father on June 5, 2015. 

Seek Peace

Scripture: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14 NIV

Observation: This is a good follow-up to yesterday’s SOAP. If we will seek peace we will stop doing evil. We will not delay justice and we will no longer call good bad and bad good.

Application: As I desire to allow God to reign I will automatically seek peacefulness with others and justice will result.

Prayer: Father, help me to desire your will for my life so that evil will not prevail. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Let God Reign

Scripture:  When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.  Ecclesiastes 8:11 NIV

Observation:  When justice is delayed, injustice becomes the order or more precisely disorder of the day.  All we have to do is look at our society and see the truth in this scripture.    Delayed justice has led to a complete flip-flop and the inmates seem to be running the asylum.  Isiah 5:20a says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…”  We have forsaken our Lord and his truth and our upside-down world is evidence of that!

Application:  I must pray for God and his justice to reign in my life and our world today.

Prayer:  Father, we have caused there to be great injustice in this world. I must take responsibility for my part in allowing it to happen. Reign in my life and help me to be bold in the face of injustice and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.  I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug