Friendship

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

Examine Your Foundation

First a little background for those who may not know me personally…I was not raised in a Christian home, in fact, my adopted parents were atheists who lived in the world and embraced a belief system which was extremely self-gratifying. I am a Born-Again Believer; I make this point because I will be talking about how our foundation in life dictates how we think and live.  I don’t remember ever discussing the existence of God or the meaning of this life other than how important it was to have money, live high, have power and reputation within your community.  This reputation was tainted with a worldview of wealth and position.

The long journey of casting off, surrendering my belief system or foundation built from my childhood and adult life experience has been long.  God has never given up on me and so today I celebrate the new foundation God is helping me build based in truth.  I wanted to share this with you because I make this point…IT IS NEVER TO LATE…God is waiting for you sweet sister!  He wants to establish a foundation of truth under you that will redefine you and give you an identity in Him.  Complete deliverance is what I am speaking of…Freedom from your old life!

Daniel had a foundation built on Godly principles, it is here we find how his foundation in God stood the test and kept Daniel from harm.  Daniel was a young man with Godly character and integrity.  Read Daniel 1-2 for details.

Daniel’s foundation is available to us if we allow God to work within us.  Sisters it is not too late to break the destructive patterns in your life and embrace Godly truth.  We know that the patterns we establish early in life, whether good or bad, will impact our future decisions.  Our choices direct the lives we lead.  These patterns form our foundation.

You and I must begin this journey of freedom by taking the scalpel of the Word of God in hand…”For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.

Begin by asking yourself these simple questions; Are you keeping your word? Do you hold grudges, speak negatively about those around you? Do you finish what you start? Are you easily distracted? Is your gaze on what is instructive and positive or destructive? Only you and God can answer these questions truthfully. Now is the time to let God reveal His truth about the condition of your foundation, ideas, attitudes, and behaviors that do not line up with God’s Word.

Remember, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.   Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, think about these things.  As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

Most of the time wrong thinking, believing a lie keeps us from the peace spoken of here.  God has given you a gentle spirit, one that is not anxious, that has ability to live God’s truth as you journey through life.  Let these words encourage you.  Here are some practical steps to growing, redesigning your foundation according to God’s way.

  1. Discipline yourself to do two necessary things you do not like to do every week.
  2. Fix your eyes on a clear, specific goal.
  3. Study the “whys” behind God’s commands.
  4. Write out the promises you have made and take responsibility for all your actions and emotions.
  5. Monitor and adjust the motives behind your actions.
  6. Tell the truth no matter what the cost.
  7. Live the truth even when it is not popular…are your words gratifying God or man?
  8. Align yourself with a woman of God who you can be accountable to in every situation.

In today’s world we must be woman of God who are deeply rooted in God’s Truth and trust in God, not vulnerable to polluting ourselves with pride and lies.  Like Daniel we must be a people faithful and trustworthy, a servant of God. Who’s love for God pours out from every cell within our bodies. Remember you are who God’s says you are and not the world…loved, valued, unique, beautiful, with purpose, designed by the creator, the daughter of the Most High King.

Here is a prayer to help you in your journey…

Lord, give me insight into what makes a healthy, effective woman of God.  Make me sensitive to Your Spirit and show me the areas in which I need to grow and develop.  Show me those in my life which speak Your Truth and help me to distance myself from those who do not.  Help me represent You in every situation.  Rebuild my foundation God, I give you permission to use the scalpel of Truth to do surgery on my mind and spirit.  As you reveal attitudes and beliefs that do not reflect you God help me to let go and invite Godly thinking in.  I desire to have my mind, body and spirit transformed by your truth God so that I would reflect you with every breath I breathe.  AMEN

Sister Laurie

The Armor of Light Our Only Defense

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!  We as believers have a tremendous responsibility in how we speak and interact with others. Before I begin my next writing God has given from Romans 13; I want to address a situation I was witness to yesterday, in fact two situations.  Unfortunately, each of these situations happen with the same believer who I know well and regard as a sister in Christ.  I know she had best intentions however we must be ever so careful with our words.  Our tongue can do the devil’s work!  Let me explain…

First Situation:  During a Sunday morning greeting around a cup of coffee at church a young woman who is a growing believer approached a sweet sister in Christ with a typical greeting.  The usual “How are you?” was exchanged.  This young woman had recently stopped dating a man, who had followed her to church a couple of times.  The concerned sister started a deeper conversation, fishing for details…well-meaning but the result left the young woman in anguish.  You see this young woman’s marriage ended several years ago.  The relationship was a violent one, abuse and drugs were a huge part of the marriage.  This young woman spent years broken and held captive in this relationship.  Over the last 5 years she has been delivered from her traumatic past.  She is now walking in the light of Jesus full of hope.  Somehow the conversation got around to the fact that she was divorced, the sister began down a path that divorce was breaking a covenant with Moses, negatively speaking she pointed out how this young woman needed to seek reconciliation.  Without knowing the details or what this young woman has been through this sister now becomes God’s judge and convicts this young woman with her words.  I might add mixing biblical truth with condemnation.  Do you see what I am getting at…WE MUST BE CAREFUL WITH OUR WORDS?! I believe the sister was speaking out of her flesh and not out of her spirit. We must always speak out of love and ask God to give us words of encouragement no matter what the circumstance.  Fortunately, I caught the tail end of the conversation and the young woman now crushed, privately asked me to clarify and pray with her.

Second Situation:  I attended a prayer meeting and one of the prayer requests was for us to pray for a woman who son had served in Afghanistan and was killed in action several years ago. The woman bringing the request was a family member.   Based on what is happening over there currently, all the grief of this loss has come back along with the sense that this young man sacrificed his life in vain.  I want to say that this scenario of someone suffering loss and how we as believers in our effort to bring comfort fail.  I have heard this question asked so many times…”Was he a believer?” “Was he or she saved?”  What difference does this make? Can you see how these questions can send the one asking for prayer down a dark road, dwelling on where the loved one is now?  Does that change the way we pray for those loved ones hurting in their loss?  Definitely Not!  Even if the family members are not believers God still is working and will still bring comfort. Can you see how distressing this can be for the person asking for prayer?  Once again be careful what questions we ask and how we respond when loss is involved.  This is a time when little words can be spoken and listening ears are needed.  Offer prayers of comfort.

Ok, thank you for listening I pray you carefully consider my words. I will get off my soap box…

Romans 13:12-13TPT says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes. And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon. We must live honorably, surrounded by the light of this new day, not in the darkness of drunkenness and debauchery, not in promiscuity and sensuality, not being argumentative or jealous of others.”

Today I want to talk about the darkness spoken of in these verses.  Last week I offered words of encouragement and with intent spoke of the urgency of  this hour. Verse 12 continues this thinking because for we are closer now, this moment to meeting Jesus face to face closer then we were this morning. Right? Think about that…does that inspire you?  The darkness of living in this fallen world will soon end for believers! Hallelujah!

Let us move forward and see what God is now teaching us…Verse 13 is a warning to put aside certain behavior, put your seat belt on the Truth is about to challenge you;

Depending on your translation you might find…

Rioting KJV, gluttony GNV, carousing NASB or orgies NIV in the Greek “komos”  letting loose, carousal, binder, binge, spree.  This might mean overspending, loss of self-control in behavior or speech. Excessiveness or greedy, unreasonable.

Drunkenness KJV, GNV, NASB and NIV in the Greek “methe” use of an intoxicant, intoxication, that being any kind of substance, a condition of disgrace.

Chambering KJV, GNV, sexual promiscuity NASB, sexual immorality NIV in the Greek “koite” cohabitation outside of marriage, aggressive infliction, perversion of God’s design for intimacy.

Wantonness KJV, GNV, debauchery NASB, sensuality NIV in the Greek “aselgeia” licentiousness, recklessness, lasciviousness, carnality, shameless behavior, pursuit of physical sexual pleasure, lust.

Strife KJV, GNV, NASB, quarreling NIV in the Greek “eris” to quarrel, wrangling, bickering, contention, rivalry, an unsavory, immoral desire for power or control.

Envying KJV, GNV, jealousy NASB, NIV, in the Greek “zelos” unfavorable zeal, malevolence, resentfulness, indignation, mistrustfulness, a strong and relentless desire for what belongs to another

Why am I defining these undesirable behaviors? They are common in this day, even we as believers must examine ourselves and motives regularly.  Let me paint a picture of how this warning must be taken seriously and how we as believers must teach our love ones the dangerous traps hidden here.  During the spring in America, there is a common practice among young people primarily college age to travel during spring break and gather with other young people.  Often this is a time of reckless abandonment to all that is decent.  Romans 13:13 captures much of the conduct during this week…it has been hailed as a time for “the rite of passage”. Passage of what? Innocence and purity? It is a time of relentless evil and awful indulgence.  What a price is paid by the participants…the shame and regret they carry long after.

The Spirit pleads “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23ESV

Again, the Holy Spirit cries out to us…”So, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him at His return spotless and blameless, in peace that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him.”  2 Peter 3:14AMP

This obedience is for you and I, to protect us and prepare us for the future.  Paul says in Ephesians 5:27TPT Jesus in coming and here we find a picture of how He desires to find us…”Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred, living sacrifices. And live-in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.   Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.” 

Let us stay as far away from sin as possible…”But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for nor even think about gratifying the flesh in regard to its improper desires.” Romans 13:14AMP

Right now, examine yourself…how can you be ready, are you properly dressed, completely immersed in our Lord Jesus Christ…How can you clothe yourself in the radiance of Jesus Christ?

There is a fork in the road one way leads to the world and instant gratification that only satisfies for a moment…do not delay take no detour choose the other route… put on the Armor of Light, Jesus Christ!

  Sister Laurie

Live Each Day in the Light

“To live like this is all the more urgent, for time is running out and you know it is a strategic hour in human history. It is time for us to wake up! For our full salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes.  And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon.”  Romans 13:11-12 TPT

Today, I am continuing in Romans 13…there is so much to embrace!  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to find my self saying “Oh Crap!” as our King comes to carry me home. How about you?  There is no doubt that I will be take home either through my flesh dying or in the twinkling of as eye with others.  “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead who believed in Christ will be raised imperishable, and we will be completely changed wondrously transformed.” 1 Corinthian 15:52 AMP  Will there be a moment when we say “But I…” “Just one more…” That’s where the “Oh Crap” comes in.  I don’t know but if there is a possibility of that feeling or emotional I do not want it!  I want to be able to say…”I AM READY!”

In Romans 13 it says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns.”  What is this darkness? The darkness is unbelief…the darkness is lukewarmness…the darkness is  persecution. The darkness is every kind of conflict, natural catastrophe, calamity, and war.  Jesus speaks of these in Matthew 24, it is the darkness of the present hour.  How do you receive these words?  Does it put a sense of urgency in your spirit?  This is truth…one way or another a new day for you and I is coming, it is about to burst forth…the long night of this earthly existence is almost over.  When you think about eternity which you and I are currently living; let me explain…eternity started the moment God placed your spirit within your flesh growing in your mother.  Psalm 139:13-14  That spirit…the true you was created by God and it continues now.  When you except Christ as your Savior it like an electrical shock to that spirit, a rebirth, like heart surgery repairing your true self so that you might live as God intended. The main truth I want you to grasp here is the earthly life is so incredibly short, it is but a twinkle in the twinkling spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:52.  Eternity has no earthly language to define, we try with words;  infinite or unending time, endless life, sometimes defined as what exists outside time.  We can put a beginning to eternity as spoke in Psalm 139…but we cannot fathom it’s unending.

So, I now get back to my original thought, my devotion to Jesus has been fueled by this truth…I do not want to be ashamed at His appearing if that is possible, no regret, nothing left undone…Today I just can not bear that thought!  Heavenly Father…reveal those things that MUST GO in me, let me be fully ready, let me not miss an opportunity to speak life and truth…let me love where love is needed, give me compassion, let me see with your eyes and live with Kingdom values.

God gave us the sunrise to remember that Jesus, the Son has Risen.  There is just something life giving and wonderful about a sunrise…clean crisp air…the pure light as it makes it way through the trees, over the mountains.  It touches our emotions and now let it touch your spirit with hope and truth…igniting a fire within you that cannot be contained! Jeremiah 20:9 says, “If I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak His name anymore,” Then my heart becomes a burning fire Shut up in my bones. And I am weary of enduring and holding it in; I cannot endure it nor contain it any longer.”

Look up a New Day is coming…

Sister Laurie

How to Fight Worry and Anxiety

Late last year I blogged this message, with everything going on today I felt it fit today’s circumstances… Worry and Anxiety are weapons the devil uses to keep us captive, steal the true joy and peace that God has for us.

These spirits act purposefully to destroy and distract us, they are inhibiting our faith.  So that we cannot rise up and live in victory.

Are you addicted to worry?  When you do not have something to worry about do you take on the worries of someone else?

It is impossible to live in worry and live in peace at the same time…Worry is the root of anxiety. It brings physical manifestation…. hives, illness, disease.  I have been witness to divine healing over many of these manifestations when women caught in the devil’s grip are set free.  Instantly, they have received freedom physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The KJV of the Bible does not use the word “worry” so let us be clear about who and what this spirit is…

Fret – In the Hebrew this means a snare, violently agitated, to grieve, be angry, burn, be hot or provoked – in the Webster Dictionary it is defined as uneasy, distressed or troubled, anxious; to be tormented with distributing thoughts.

Matthew 6:25 is a warning to “take no thought” or don’t let your mind rest in negative thought

Philippians 4:6 tells us to “be careful for nothing” KJV or in the NASB “be anxious for nothing”

Worry does not make anything better…

The devil uses the spirit of worry to torment us!

A description of worry would be “To seize by the throat with teeth and shake or mangle, as one animal does to another or to harass by repeated biting and snapping”

After a few hours of worry do you feel beaten up? Worn out? All those destructive thoughts going around and around in your head?  Continually exaggerating and building, more and more until…

Matthew 6:25 – 27 puts it like this in the AMP version “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by worrying can add one hour to the length of life.”

 Let me break it down for you….

Peace is not something you can do for yourself in Galatians 5 the Bible says it is a gift of the fruit of the Spirit…Holy Spirit meaning only by abiding in Jesus Christ will we have peace.  John 15:4 says “abide in me and I will Abide in you.”

No amount of self-control will bring you peace or break your anxiety.  Drugs, anti-depressants, anxiety meds, sleeping aids only “Dumb you down” from hearing from God or receiving His healing, supernatural power.

So what is this abiding Jesus is speaking of?

First, it is a union we are actively pursuing to understand because the work was already done at the cross our part is to be in a personal intimate relationship with Jesus.  We are united to Jesus by faith by believing Jesus has cleansed us by paying the price through the whipping post and cross. He then went to hell and claimed the keys to God’s Kingdom here on earth to give us authority over the devil.  Are you getting the whole picture?

Second, this relationship is built on our obedience and pursuit of Jesus. 

John 17:7 says “If you abide in me and my Word, I will abide in you.”

Colossians 3:36 says “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” 

Ephesians 5:18 tells us “be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

You MUST allow His Word to fill out minds, surrender our will to His Will for us…our relationship to Jesus is intimately connected to what we do with our Bibles.

As God’s Word dwells in us and the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, our prayers change – your prayers become God’s Will – truth and revelation will open your eyes!

I read an article by Terri Copeland she made this statement, I will be stealing it and speaking it to others…”The Word is so unchanging and unfailing that He, God has bound Himself and the existence of all things to it. It is God’s most tangible gift of Himself to us.”

Third and last…Abide in My Love John 15:9 says “Just as the Father has loved Me, I also loved you; abide in My love.”  You MUST rest in this love, the love of Jesus Christ in verse 13-16 says “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do what I command.  No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”

Peace is not something you can do for yourself in Galatians 5 the Bible says it is a gift of the fruit of the Spirit…Holy Spirit meaning only by abiding in Jesus Christ will we have peace. 

John 15:4 abide in me and I will Abide in you…

Fourth, that authority I spoke of early…we have the authority to cast out this spirit…Jesus told us he would send a helper so that we could act in authority, just as the Acts church did so can we!  Nothing has changed…the Holy Spirit is within you as a believer! Make you stand TODAY!  In the name of Jesus reclaim what you have lost…declare and decree that the devil will not hold you captive through worry or anxiety ! Today, Claim your position as daughters and sons of the Most High King Jesus!

Blessing, Laurie

JesusTruthBeliever 6/29/2020

Praying in the Spirit

 “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.” Ephesians 6:18

This perfectly placed scripture comes as the conclusion to Paul’s teaching on the Armor of God.  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and specifically “Speaking in Tongues” is the final weapon within our spiritual armor to fight the devil and his army of tormentors.

Everything God does in you starts from within and moves without, every work in you by the Holy Spirit starts from within will manifest outward.  As an example, divine physical healing starts from within you not in the physical realm, but it starts within you by FAITH in God, the power of the Holy Spirit which is spiritual-supernatural, and it manifests outwardly as physical healing.  The gift of speaking in tongues, an intimate prayer-spirit language with God, 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 activate with faith and desire.  This release is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11

 “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:8

“John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Luke 3:16

“For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5

“And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 11:16

The gift of speaking in tongues is the overflow of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at salvation we receive Him, at Baptism we release Him. When that Baptism has reached from the Spirit, to the soul and then the body it is manifests physically as vocalized by the sound that you hear, that’s when the overflow has reached our physical body as speaking in tongues. When we pray in the Spirit the Holy Spirit Himself prays for us.

Let’s look again at God’s Word 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 the meaning of this “edifies” is defined as strengthening oneself, building up of faith in a personal and intimate way that only the Holy Spirit can provide.  This gift of intimacy with God is for everyone.

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.”

1 Corinthians 14 is a dedicated Chapter in God’s Word which broadens our understanding of speaking in tongues and its appropriate use.  I encourage you to study the truth found there.

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 doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit has not be released in you. Tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit is a process, not all of us obtain the gift of tongues immediately.  For me it was a long process to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This process for me was centered in believing I was truly a child of God, worthy and loved.  Grasping what Jesus accomplished on the cross for me personally.  My prayer is that you will not let the devil hold you captive as I was for so many years, that you seek help from other believers and that God Himself would reveal to you that you are sanctified in Jesus Christ.  Here are the most common reason believers are stalled in this area of their relationship with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

1.  Over thinking -You cannot understand, you over think it, the world has taught us that everything must be proven on man’s level.  Better yet is man’s belief that we make our own truth.  This is almost laughable because most movies coming out in the theater today have a supernatural element because we have a need deep within us for the spiritual truth that only God can satisfy.  You need to agree with God that He alone is supernatural, creator, giver of all life and that this will remain  a mystery, our ability to have spiritual(supernatural) power is a gift only Him gives…the devil will bring worry, unbelief, chaos and confusion to block this beautiful outward spiritual gift.

2.  Pride – Pride keeps people from speaking in tongues for fear of what others will think, or how they might appear. Tongues is the language of surrender, it is the language of emptying yourself of every thought that doesn’t belong to God’s Kingdom, it’s an understanding that there needs to be less of me and more of God, not your will but God’s will, your ego is telling you who you think you are instead of seeking who you are in Him.  It’s a LETTING GO!  

3.  Fear – Letting the “what ifs” take control, what if it is just me, want if this is fake, what if this is a demonic spirit?  What if it’s just all emotion? Hype?  God’s Word tells us in Matthew 7:9-11, “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!’  If you ask for the Holy Spirit to be activated within you and the gift of your own spirit language to be manifested, you must prayerfully ask God for this gift not based on your discernment.  Remember, God is not going to give you something bad, God only gives good.

4.  Inaction – Waiting for something to happen, while this is a supernatural gift from God, the Holy Spirit is not going to come down and start moving your tongue. I used this for an excuse for years, I would say “Well that’s fine that Sue or John speak in tongues.  God can move a mountain so if He wants me to speak in tongues…He will do it.” Wow, if’s almost as if I was darning God into action.  So how will this happen? When you surrender to the Holy Spirit and give Him surrendered sounds, syllables, you allow the Holy Spirit to be the author.  When you pray in your own words you are adding your meaning to your own words, sounds and syllables, when you pray in tongues you are removing meaning from your sound, syllables and allowing the Holly Spirit to attach His own intentions and purposes.

Have you ever prayed for something and you just could not put it into towards, the desire for God to know was overwhelming, an almost groaning happens, tears, overwhelming emotional, it is at that point the Holy Spirit wants to move and intercede for you giving your requests and concerns a supernatural heavenly sound.   It’s in your control, it’s the language of faith, so what is your part? Our part is to give it sound and God’s part is making it spiritual, remember everything spiritual begins as God’s command then it turns into an act of faith and the result is a miracle.  The gift of tongues is a miracle, so how much more can God do? Surrender to this gift today!  1 Corinthians 14:39 says “do not forbid to speak in tongues”.

In closing I would say for you to go to the scriptures, allow God to reveal His truth.  I have only touched on one of the ways the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is revealed.  There are two more commonly recognized ways in which the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues is manifested.  Having one of them doesn’t necessarily mean you will or have received them all.  Briefly, speaking in tongues in a public setting is a form of prophesy and will come with an interpretation from a different person.  Both are considered individual in nature and given to some but not all.  Praying in the Spirit is for everyone and occurs both in private and when praying with or over someone for a specific need.  Sometimes those needs are unknown however, in our faithfulness to God we pray and allow God to hear and respond.

Your Sister in Jesus Christ, Laurie

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

 

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