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
Today, I wanted to revisit the armor that God has provided for us to fight against the powers of darkness in today’s world. But before I get into that let us also look at a well know battle between a boy and a giant, read 1 Samuel 17. Focus your attention to verses 38-40, “Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.”
Notice how Saul’s armor and sword did not fit David. David would have surely lost the battle if he tried to fight Goliath with someone else’s armor. This is truth for all of us, God has given each of us our own personal armor to be worn at all times. It is especially important that you do not compare your armor “relationship with Jesus” to others around you. Everyone’s relationship with God is unique, just as you are uniquely created by God. As you draw closer to God through worship, prayer and studying His Word a deeper level of surrender happens and the Armor of God develops within you. It is important that you fellowship with other believers because as scripture tells us “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 Please know that it is just as important that you do not compare or judge another’s journey with Jesus because the devil will spin it for his purpose. You may find yourself thinking, “I will never be as good as…know as much…pray as well”. We must also be incredibly careful to not let pride interfere with the fit of our armor. The devil uses comparing and judging our fellow believers to slow down and even damage out relationship with God. Instead learn, rub up against those you admire, let them speak life into your personal relationship with Jesus. Praise God for what He is doing in the lives of those around you as well as your life.
TIP: When you study God’s Word, know the background of the scripture, who is God talking to, find yourself among the recipients. God wants to put you right in the scriptures, when sin is revealed He is always faithful to show you a way back. God is a mighty Hope Dealer!
Now let us look at what God’s says about your personally designed armor and how it will protect and guide you in your journey with Him.
Chapter 6 of Ephesians opens with and continues in verses 2 through 9 admonishing us on our behavior as His children. He speaks to us with love yet encourages us to self-examine our ways. God further through the next 8 verses instructs us on who we are fighting, how he operates, and He then lays out how we should be clothed in the Armor of God through which we are able to war against the evil of this world and live victoriously in Jesus Christ.
Verse 10 – Finally (listen) BE STRONG “Dunamis Power” in the supernatural Holy Spirit for it prevails, it conquers – we find it in Him alone. The Amplified version says, “be strong in the Lord draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him and in the power of His boundless might.”
Verse 11 – Put on the full Armor of God
Not just what you think you need… put on ALL God is providing. Stand firm not being moved from the truth of Jesus and what has been done on the cross, this is God’s complete protection against the devil’s attempts to destroy you. The devil openly schemes – he plots using underhanded, tricky, sneaking, a large-scale systemic plan to capture you and destroy you and your future.
Verse 12 – Remember who you are fighting (wrestling – intimate, up close and personal) take in an account our flesh, mind, wrong thinking, generational mindset or those currently around you, physical circumstances, they are ALL just tools of the enemy, it is satan’s plan to lie, steal and destroy.(John 10:10) The primary wrestling arena is not here on earth – but is a spiritual battle fought in our mind and spirit the consequences are suffered in our flesh, you must ask yourself where is your focus? Is your thoughts, actions coming from your spirit or flesh?
When we look at verse 12 we find God has broken down of the evil forces out to get you into four divisions in satan’s kingdom; “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood contending only with physical opponents, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly supernatural places.” AMP
1. principalities (rulers) – fallen angels, his highest ranking rulers
2. powers – those given authority to execute the will of those rulers
3. world forces – who walk in the darkness of this age (right now) with or without spiritual blindness being used by satan to carry out wicked deeds, people who are in authority and use that authority to carry out satan’s plan
4. spiritual forces of wickedness – earth bound demons who are satan’s servants who do his bidding, these also can include those in 1-3, wicked enemies as a whole who are moving through the earth looking to torment you – looking for entrance/strongholds/sin/an opening.
Heavenly places speaks of a place which encompasses all spirit beings. One place of this area is where God’s throne is…where God sits with Jesus and all of God’s angels also exist. There is a dark side as well in this spiritual place where satan and his evil spirits exist. The heavenly places, sometimes spoken of as realms are a mystery for us, to profound to understand but we get some limited understanding from God’s Word. There will come a time when we will no longer exist in the flesh but in this spiritual place.
Verse13 – take up the full (whole, complete) Armor of God, for strength and knowledge in order to stand firm (spoken again Verse 11) now also further described as happening in this evil day. It is our responsibility to dress for the battle. Are you willing to do everything necessary to fight?
Take up , put on , stand firm speaks of the work required by you in order to fully arm yourself, this scripture also tells us this armor must cover us completely, nothing left exposed, not even a thought left free roaming able to be corrupted. Take Note: Whenever God uses the same words in this case “stand firm” it is because He is either issuing a warning or He wants us to pay close attention to what He is saying. This stand firm is vital to our relationship with Him and our survival her on earth.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.” We must be fully equipped using everything God is providing, Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
Verse 14 – Standing firm (therefore – consistently) we are required to wear the armor of God… Belt of Truth(having girded your loins) is the truth spoken over us and about us by our Heaven Father it directly confronts the lies that our enemy wants us to believe. Builds confidence in God’s words over us, a resolve to live by truth. This truth holds everything together, we must love “truth”, there is no other.
Girt is defined as all over, fasten, securely, sealed. Today the world would say truth is relative to whatever you are feeling or are involved in? The world says make up your own truth, if you believe it then it must be true. The devil slyly tells us the lie of “if it’s not hurting anyone else go ahead indulge yourself.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 tells us “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.“ Romans 1:25 also says “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature(flesh) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.”
Verse 14 – Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness (defined here as what was done on the cross through to blood of Jesus.) When Jesus died on the cross your sins, they, all of them, every single one, was not only forgiven but washed away. Stand up and stand firm, right posture, be confident, cleansed, made free, whole, delivered, assurance…live it, walk in it, claim it! If you do not you are missing out…from this grows peace, joy, restoration. This breastplate covers our chest and shoulders it protects our heart, and spirit. Many times when sharing a word, I encourage women to build their Spirit up in the truth of God so that it is stronger than their mind and that only then will they be able to make Godly decisions and fully walk in the truth of Jesus Christ. Proverbs 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”
Verse 15 – having shod (perfectly fit, custom, labored) your feet with the preparation of the gospel ofpeace…readiness (fully prepared, fitness, eager, awareness) in any circumstance knowing through Jesus we will be taken care of NO matter what our eyes see, and ears hear. Ready to fight for truth and ready to receive God’s blessing, ready to go where He sends you, your feet are fitted to carry you the distance through Jesus….2 Timothy 4:2 “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. “ Our readiness comes from knowing God and His Word, Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Verse 16 – in addition to all (above all), taking up Shield of Faith extinguishes the “flaming” arrows (put an end to forever, annihilate, finish off, terminate, cease)
Isaiah 54:17 says “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will prove untrue. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me, ”declares the Lord.”
Acts 16:31 “They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing (testimony/teaching), and hearing by the word of Christ.” You are justified and proven by God…your identity, whole being. When two or more put their shields together they form a wall.
vs17 – Take Helmet of Salvation is knowledge that we have been rescued, our salvation is through faith, our sins no longer counted against us, not only our pasts sins, but those today and in the future when we repent in humility, God sees our motive and our heart. We look forward without fear for the day we are taken home to be with God.
1 Peter 1:13 says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
the Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, instructions for life, the ultimate offensive weapon uses to aggressively protect you with a clear strategy . A gift from God to know Him personally, intimately. His Word gives you all you need to understand and fully receive God’s great love for you, it teaches us how to live for Him and receive all the benefits of that life now on earth.
Jesus declares the power found in God’s Holy Word when He was being tempted in the desert “It is written” each time He was tempted by satan.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
Through His Word comes the power to wear and live fully protected.
Verse 18 “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
This is the last piece of the Armor of God, just as important as the other pieces it is to be used by all of us. Peter used the gift of tongues in bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to a crowd of 3,000 on the day of Pentecost. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to the disciples and told them to wait for it. He has promised it to us as well. Just as we desire to have every other piece of Armor we should hunger after this amazing part as well. Read Acts 1-2 and Acts 15:7-9 for a closer look at this amazing gift.
Everything God works in you starts from within and manifests outward.
Divine physical healingstarts from within you not in the physical realm, but it starts within you by FAITH in the spirit and it manifests outwardly as physical healing.
So does your gift of speaking in tongues/your personal spirit language with God it begins within your spirit and the Holy Spirit within you.
When you were saved you received the Holy Spirit, however there is a release of the spirit that you must ask for. This release is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, is about the release of the Holy Spirit from your spirit to your soul to your body. The gift of speaking in tongues is the overflow of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said “out of your bellies shall flow rivers of living water” At salvation we receive Holy Spirit , at baptism we release Him…This baptism of the Holy Spirit is separate from Salvation. It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us which is our helper and comforter, helping us to walk in the will of God and complete the work God puts before us. When that Baptism has reached from the Spirit to the soul, the body then manifests physically as vocalized by the sound that you hear that’s when the overflow has reached our physical body as speaking in tongues.
If you have asked God for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, sought it out in earnest but you have not received the gift of speaking in tongues that does not mean the Holy Spirit has not be released in you.
Let’s look at a couple of scriptures to gain a better understanding…
I Corinthians 2:9-14 says that there is a fellowship between the spirits and that they communication spirit to spirit. No one knows the Father like the Holy Spirit and no one knows you like your spirit (your mind can be deceived).
1 Corinthians 14:2 tells us that when we speak in tongues we are speaking to God not man.
1 Corinthians 14:4 “One who speaks in tongues “edifies” himself… meaning “edify” to be strengthens himself, builds in, personal, intimate with God.
Romans 8:26 says “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” When we pray in the spirit the Holy Spirit himself prays for you.
1 Corinthians 12:10 says “and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.”
The gift of tongues maybe our mightiest weapon against the forces of darkness. There is much more to learned about this piece of the Armor of God, I pray God will illuminate this truth to you. I will leave you with this question…Why would you not want all God has for you? Every piece of His Armor for you!
Hebrews 12:10b says, “He disciplines us for our good so that we may share in His Holiness.”
Correction in scripture is sometimes described as troubles, tribulations, hardship, or discipline. I do want to make it truly clear that God does not bring hardship upon you. You live in a fallen world, trials and tribulation as spoke of in the Bible will come despite all your efforts to avoid them.
God uses your life circumstances to refine you. Do you ever find yourself asking God why me? Many times, these circumstances are because of something you have done, our choices, behavior, wrong thinking, selfish desires and motives.
Read Isaiah 53:2-5 written hundreds of years before our Savior Jesus would be born…God reveals His plan. He knew all along that it would take a Savior Jesus Christ, His very Son to save you from yourself.
“The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who have wandered off and gotten lost. We have all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we have done wrong, on Him, on Him. (Isaiah 52:2–5 MSG)
What is God’s purpose in discipline? What blessings can you expect when you surrender to it?
Hebrews 12:5-10 says tell you what you need to complete the tasks He has for you. He is preparing you for something better more valuable to Him!
“In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So, do not feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, do not shrug off God’s discipline, but do not be crushed by it either. It is the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that is why you must never drop out. He is treating you as dear children. This trouble you are in is not punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline is not much fun. It always feels like it is going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” (MSG)
Hebrews 12:13 says that your behavior must be refined by Him for His work to be completed in you…”make straight paths (obedience and love) for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint (lacking self-control), but rather be healed (controlled through obedience to God’s Holy Word).
Now let us visit Romans 8:26-39 (paraphrases are my revealed understanding)
26 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. The Holy Spirit strengthens you.)
27 He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (2. He teaches you to pray accurately. 3. He prays perfect prayers through and for you.)
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (4. All things work for your good as you pray, love God, and desire His will)
29-30 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (5. You are destined to be like Christ…living here and now a resurrected life.)
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (6. Since God is for you, who can be against you or ultimately do harm to you? What do you need to overcome? What lie must be broken and truth revealed?)
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (7. God provides everything you need.)
33-34 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (8. God, the Holy Spirit will show you where you have made a mistake, but He does not and will not continue to beat you up…repent and receive that freedom…stop remembering, let go. Speak the Word of God out loud…the devil is a liar!)
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (9. God loves you! He desires a personal relationship with you!)
36-39 Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (10. Nothing can separate you from His love! You are His child loved and valued above all of God’s creation. Your past, your freedom comes through Him conquered through Him because of His love for you. 11. Nothing can separate you from His love! You are deeply rooted and grounded by His love!)
These days have an air of uncertainty however, my sisters in Jesus Christ you should know without a doubt who you belong to and that nothing can separate you from God! Praise and Worship your SAVIOR TODAY WITHOUT HESITATION! Do not let the devil distract you from your purpose and God’s will for you!
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 don’t 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…. illness such as hives and 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 King James Version of the Bible doesn’t use the word “worry” so let’s 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.”
John 10:10 give us a clear picture of the devil and how he works however, it also gives us the promise of our Savior Jesus Christ! “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
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 medication, sleeping aids only “Dumb you down” interfering and clouding your ability to hear 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!
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!
Finally, I leave you with this… Romans 8:14 says “live by the Holy Spirit” Through the Holy Spirit we are transformed bringing our flesh into obedience. We must continue to allow the Holy Spirit to change us. Today, Claim your position as daughters and sons of the Most High King Jesus!
“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
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.’”
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
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
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
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.
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!
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
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!
For 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 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!
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
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.