The Battle is God’s

Yesterday was my grandson’s second birthday.  I had talked with my daughter, his mother on the phone the night before and had promised her I would take him to see her after church.  Though I don’t want to deprive either of them the opportunity to know each other and spend time together, I find it difficult to hear her speak of her illusions regarding my grandson which are so far from reality. She has illusions of me handing Joshua back over to her someday very soon when she still has so much to accomplish before that will happen.  It saddens me to see how far out of touch she is with reality.  I was not looking forward to facing this yesterday.

During the worship service in church yesterday I could sense a spirit of oppression all over me.  I was distracted and I failed miserably.  I could feel the Spirit of the Lord prompting me to raise my hands in praise to worship Him, yet I was not obedient.  Instead of raising my hands to praise Him and handing the struggle I was having with this spirit of oppression over to Him allowing Him to fight the battle for me, I chose to hold on to it and continue the struggle.

Pastor Chase came to me and asked me to share part of my testimony with the church.  I was caught off guard.  I wasn’t prepared.  I was distracted and still struggling because I had not been obedient to the Holy Spirit.  The devil would have loved nothing more than for me to have refrained from sharing part of my testimony.  Yet I agreed to do so even though I was struggling, so he didn’t win completely. 

I feel that because I was not obedient to the Holy Spirit and chose to remain in this struggle, I was distracted and failed to meet the mark so to speak.  Because I had failed to lift my hands in praise and because I held onto the struggle myself instead of handing it over to the Lord, the devil had succeeded in distracting my focus from the Lord where it needed to be.  I feel that because I was distracted and engaged in this struggle I failed to allow the Lord to use me to the full extent for Him to bless others.  I learned a very valuable lesson!  The battle was not for me to fight!  It was His battle to fight for me and He would have gladly done so if only I had been obedient to Him and handed it over to Him. 

It is so critical that we walk in constant obedience to the Lord in order to not miss a given opportunity.  I never want to miss another opportunity for the Lord to use me as His instrument to bless others to the fullest.  How wonderful it is to know that my God is an awesome God who will fight these battles for me and defeat the enemy if only I will walk in faithful obedience to Him. 

Exodus 14:14 tells us “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Deuteronomy 1:30 says “The Lord your God, who is going before you will fight for you in Egypt before your very eyes,” and in 4:22 “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.”  Joshua 23:10 says “One of you routs a thousand because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised.”  Nehemiah 4:20, “Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there.  Our God will fight for us!”  2 Chronicles 20:15 tells us the battle is not ours but God’s.    I will be obedient because I never want to miss another opportunity.  I will hand the battles over to God and rest in His promises to fight the battles for me because they are His not mine.  I pray that whatever you’re battling today, you will hand it over to the Lord.  God Bless!

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Away From Me Satan!

The devil started on me early this morning!  I woke up and checked the statistics on my blog and he said, “Ha! Only 25 viewed your blog yesterday!”  I said, “Yep!  That’s 25 people in 5 countries that would not have read it if I had not written it!”  Then he began trying to convince me I’m not mentally sound in thinking anything I would say might benefit someone else; that I’m annoying others with my blog as opposed to helping them; that completing and publishing a book is a pipe dream; people are reading my posts and laughing at me; and pointing out all of my weaknesses.

I sat on my patio this morning thinking, “I recognize the fact I am under attack, perhaps I need to focus on fighting this battle this morning as opposed to writing my blog post.”  Then it occurred to me, “That’s exactly what the devil wants!  He wants to discourage me and distract me!”  I told myself, “Get up, get on your knees in prayer, get into the Word and get busy writing”.  I knew I had to keep my focus on the Lord and not let the devil distract me and keep me from doing what the Lord has assigned me the task of doing.  So I came to my computer, opened my Bible, prayed and read Matthew 4:10 “Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

This is how we fall into the bottomless pit of depression.  The devil deceives us and distracts us from where our focus needs to be.  He wants us focusing on all the things that are wrong in our lives, all the hurt and pain we have experienced, all the wrongs we have endured asking ourselves, “What’s wrong with me?” and saying “Oh, poor pitiful me!”  The only thing wrong with us is us allowing the devil to deceive us and distract us.  God created each and every one of us in His wonderful image. He loved us enough to send his own very special Son to suffer and die on the cross for us so we could be reconciled with him. 

Please don’t let the devil win!  Don’t give him control over you!  Don’t let him deceive you and distract you!  Tell him, “Away from me Satan!”  Focus on those things which are good in your life.  You can begin by focusing on the greatest gift of all, the gift of salvation!   The gift of eternal life in paradise!  Our lives on this earth are not even a moment in time in comparison to eternity.  Don’t let the great deceiver deceive and distract you.  Get up! Get on your knees in prayer!  Get into the Word of God and His promises to you!  Be blessed!

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Task Accomplished!

Being the child of an abusive alcoholic, I was never really taught how to receive or give love.  I’ve spent the majority of my life looking for love in all the wrong places and trying to earn the love of others.  Other than loving my mother and my siblings I think my first experience with truly loving someone was when I held my first child for the first time.  For months after she was born I was overwhelmed with the emotional attachment.  I had never experienced anything more powerful. When I was pregnant with my second child, for months prior to her being born I was concerned that I would not be able to love her as much as I did my first child.  I somehow felt that I would have to divide my love between them.  However, when she was born there was no division of love.  I loved them both equally.  My love was simply multiplied.  When I adopted our oldest daughter, she had been led to believe by others that I would never love her as much as I do my biological children.  However, one thing I have learned about love is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, love comes from the heart.  I came to love Holly just as much as I did my biological children.  Joshua is my grandson who I am raising and I couldn’t love him any more if her were my child.

Other than loving my children and my grandson I love my husband more than anything on this earth. He is my soul-mate, my best friend, my partner in life, my provider, my protector and my greatest supporter.  Ephesians 5:22-24 tells us “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”  I love my husband dearly.  I respect him, trust him, appreciate him, believe in him and have faith in him.  I share a connection, a bond with him that I’ve never experienced with anyone else.

Ephesians 5:25 tells the husbands, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  As God’s children, we are the church.  The Lord loved us enough that he died on the cross for us before we were born, knew Him or ever loved Him. I know my husband loves me enough that he would give his life for me.  If he didn’t he would have never made the decision to go to Afghanistan and risk his life to care for and provide for me.

When the Lord revealed to me that He was not first in my life because my husband was, I was a bit overwhelmed.  I was willing to be obedient to Him but wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to actually do that.  It seemed like a huge task to me and I knew I was going to need the Lord’s help.  Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength.”  Luke 14:26 says “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”

For a while after the Lord sent Steve to Afghanistan in order to make room for Himself in my life to help me come to put Him first and love Him above all others, I was angry and pouted with Him.  I was confused!  In Ephesians He tells us to love each and in Luke He tells us to hate our parents, our spouses, our siblings, etc.   Then I realized He didn’t mean for us to hate them, we are simply to love Him above all others and put Him first in our lives.

I was finally able to put Him first in my life. I was able to do this when I realized my desire to seek Him and be obedient to Him in order to remain in His will and purpose for my life comes first.  It was a rearrangement of priorities.  Over the course of my life I had developed a pattern of putting everyone else’s needs and wants before my own which often meant stepping out of the Lord’s will and purpose for my life.  However, I was still left with the challenge of loving Him above all others.

The Lord recently reminded me of a conversation our oldest daughter, Holly and I had after her dad and I had gotten married in which we were discussing love.  She told me that she was glad her dad and I had met and gotten married because he loved me a lot and he was happy.  She went on to say that he loved her also.  I could sense she was feeling that perhaps his love for me might mean his love was divided between us.  Much like I thought being a mother to multiple children would mean dividing my love between them.  I tried to reassure her by explaining to her that the love a husband feels for his wife and the love he feels for his children is in many ways a different kind of love, neither of which is less valuable or meaningful than the other.

I pondered this for a while and the various relationships in my life such as my husband, my children and grandchild, my mother, my siblings, etc.  I experienced my feelings changing for the Lord when He revealed to me that my relationship with Him is the most intimate relationship I will ever experience because though Steve knows me, Steve will never know my inner most thoughts, feelings and desires the way the Lord does.  The Lord knows my thoughts before I actually think them.  He knows my feelings before I actually feel them.  He knows my desires before I actually desire them.  Steve grew to love me.  The Lord loved me enough to die for me before I was ever born.  If that is the only thing the Lord ever did for me that was more than enough.  I began to have feelings unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. A sense of peace and comfort that is unexplainable.  Then the Lord revealed to me a hierarchy of love.  We are to love Him above all others.  Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.  Wives submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of us as Christ is the head of the church.  This does not mean that we love anyone less or that our love is divided.  Just as I love my children in a different way than I love my husband doesn’t mean I love my children any less.  The love I have for my husband is a more intimate love because we are one and he knows me like no one else on this earth does.  The love I have for the Lord does not mean I love my husband any less.  The love I have for the Lord is a more intimate love because my relationship with Him is the most intimate relationship I will ever experience.  Task accomplished!  Lord I love You above all others and You are first in my life.

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Turn Pain Into Joy

For the vast majority of my life I did not seek a personal relationship with the Lord.  Though I knew Him, I didn’t read His Word, communicate with Him through prayer, and seek His will and purpose for my life or His guidance and direction.  I drifted around like the lost child that I was feeling sorry myself and blaming everyone and everything around me for the painful things I had experienced in my life.  Not only was I being subjected to painful experiences but I was inflicting my pain onto others by doing and saying hurtful things.

The devil is the great deceiver who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  1 Peter 5:8 says “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  For so many years I was certainly not self-controlled and found myself in many bad situations as a result of bad choices and others who were not self-controlled.   The horrible things I have done and/or experienced in life were definitely the work of the devil. I was allowing him to use me in order to try to destroy others as he was using them to try to destroy me.  It took me realizing this to be able to forgive those who hurt me.  I don’t blame those people any longer because I realize they, like me were simply poor and lost souls who were also deceived.

Verses 9 through 11 goes on to tell us to “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To Him be the power for ever and ever amen.”  In my opinion, it is impossible to ‘stand firm in the faith’ without being in an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord.  It is through His Word that we obtain the knowledge required to discern His truths from the lies in order to not be deceived.  It is through communication and prayer with Him that we learn to recognize His voice and adhere to His guidance, direction and leading.  When we are not doing these things we open ourselves up and subject ourselves to painful experiences in life.

The amazing thing is that God knew the choices and mistakes we were going to make before He created us and put us in this world, yet He loved us enough to create us anyway.  He loved us enough to send His only begotten Son to die on the cross for us in order to be reconciled with Him.  God is a God who gives us free will to make our own choices and decisions.  He knew the suffering we would endure from our choices before He created us.  It is from this suffering that we learn obedience while He cultivates us into the unique individuals He created us to become.  Hebrews 5:8 teaches us that Jesus himself learned obedience through suffering although He was the Son and once He was made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.  Who are we to look at our experiences in life and feel we deserve to learn obedience through any other means.  The Son became the source of eternal salvation, what is He preparing you and I to become?

For many years I walked around with my head hung in shame and self-condemnation for the mistakes I had made through the course of my life.  It took me realizing that those things which the devil intended to destroy me, the Lord intends to use for my benefit and the benefit of His kingdom.  I can see now why the devil has tried so hard to destroy me.  He has wanted to destroy me because I have made so many mistakes in my life, been hurt so much and hurt so many that the Lord can use me as powerful weapon.  The wonderful thing is that my God is a miracle working God who can turn it all around.  All of the pain and suffering I have experienced and inflicted, He can use for my good and the good of others. 

The other day I was looking at the statistics of my blog and realized it is being viewed in fifteen countries around the world.  It is my prayer that the Lord is using me to encourage some of you to never give up, to seek Him and find hope in Him.  I know the Lord has to be using me to reach others because the devil tries to tell me every day that I am wasting my time when I sit down to write my post.  I refuse to be deceived any longer.  I WILL stand firm in my faith and I WILL be obedient to the Lord and I WILL allow Him to use me, my pain, my suffering and my experiences to reach others and do good for His kingdom.  He will make all the pain and suffering worthwhile and meaningful.  He will turn my pain into joy.  He can take my mess and make it my message to lead others to Him.  He can turn your pain into joy also, if you will only be obedient and seek Him. God Bless!

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Let Go and Let God

It is said that patience is a virtue, yet it is not one of my strongest characteristics.  Proverbs 14:29 says “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.”  I suppose it would be safe to assume this scripture clearly explains the consequences of so many of my actions during the course of my life.  

Job 6:11 says “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?” If you’re like me it can sometimes seem that the end will never come when you’re going through a difficult experience in life.  It can be frustrating when you’re waiting for something to happen and it just doesn’t happen soon enough to satisfy us.  My generation is a very spoiled generation that wants what we want and we want it now.  Instead of waiting on the Lord, His perfect timing and His grace to see us through our difficult times, we all too often step out ahead of Him and act independently.  This is when we get ourselves into a mess and miss out on much of what the Lord has in store for us. 

I don’t pray for patience anymore because it seems I’ve had to exercise it so much in my life, yet it remains a muscle that can’t seem to be worked into shape for me.  Oh and believe me, each day presents sufficient opportunity to exercise it without me having to pray for it. 

It is during these difficult times that we must also exercise our faith and trust in the Lord to accomplish those things that seem so impossible.  He is truly the only One who can provide a great outcome for us.  So there comes a time when we have to let go and let God have our situation to do what only He can do.  So with whatever it is you may be facing today, LET GO AND LET GOD!

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Don’t Be Deceived

For a long time I blamed others for my problems and my pain.  A part of forgiving others is undertanding that Satan is the source of our problems and our pain.  He works through others to cause us pain and if we’re not careful he can deceive us and cause us to hurt others through our words and actions.  He can also deceive us and cause us to make bad choices that can cause problems for ourselves. For so many years of my life I made bad choices because I felt I had no other choice.  The truth is I always had another choice. John 10:10 refers to Satan as the thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  He will try to  deceive us in anyway he can in order to steal our joy and destroy our lives.

In order to prevent ourselves from being deceived we must have knowledge of the truth, God’s truth.  We gain that knowledge by spending time in His presence through prayer and His Word.  As Christians we should never stop learning and growing as children of God.  Spend time with Him today and everyday.  God Bless!

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Our Heavenly Father is Our Source

The other day I made a post titled “Troubled Times” in which I discussed Matthew 24:1-14 where Jesus explained to the disciples what the last days would look like.  I discussed wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine and the rising costs of food and fuel.  That post was not meant to frighten anyone, only to encourage all of us to evaluate our relationship with the Lord in order to ensure that we are in good standing with Him and being obedient to Him in order to be ready when He comes.

 I don’t believe in coincidences.  I honestly believe with all my heart that everything that happens to us serves a purpose.  This morning Pastor Chase preached on the unrest in the Middle East and the rising costs of food and fuel. Coincidence?  Once again, I don’t believe in coincidences. After church I knew I had to get home and make this post to not leave anyone in fear, but to assure you that our God is in control.  We are His children.  He knows our needs and He is our source for all things.

In Exodus 16:4 the Lord told Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you”.  In Matthew 6:31-33 Jesus tells us, “So do no worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. 

Pastor Chase called all who are in need of a job down to the alter.  I went for myself and for Steve as well because we want so much for him to be able to come home to be with his family.  Steve’s name was placed on the monitor.  A stateside job for him will be prayed for and his name will remain there until our Lord answers that prayer.  I’m believing and trusting Him for that because He is our source for all things.  Seek Him and trust Him to be your source for whatever your need is today.

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