The devil is a liar

LiarHas anyone ever said to you, “You’re a loser?” Do you know that those words are intended to wound you, upset you, break you down, and pull you off track? Do you also know that those words come straight from the pit of Hell?

The devil is a liar. There’s no truth in him. And all he has to spread his evil around this planet is people; the same people who God created in His image and loved enough to send His Son to the cross… the same people who God uses to spread the Good News of His love and salvation.

That’s why it’s so difficult to not believe the lies when they come at you… because they can come from anywhere, straight out of the blue: friends, co-workers, loved ones, even family… people who you care about and that you know care about you.

So how do you fight back?

2 Corinthians 10:4 in the NLT says, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”

This is why it is so critically important to know when the devil is using someone’s words to hurt you. And we must know how to fight back.

It’s not worldly weapons. It’s not screaming back at that person, however much we want to and think that will make us feel better. It won’t. It’s a spiritual battle and it must be fought with spiritual weapons.

The Word of God is our spiritual weapon.

What  does God say about me? What does God think about me? What has God done for me? What has God promised me? Those are the questions we have to ask ourselves. Those are the things we have to remind ourselves. And as we do, the lies will sting less and less and eventually, we will rise above them, forgive that person, and move on. It’s the only way to fly.

Advertisements

Cherish

IMG_4880My little bird is leaving the nest. Not my son, my new daughter, Bethanie. She’s only been here six months but our bond is like superglue… we stuck together on contact. My little Rhema student is going back home to Maui and leaving a crater in my life.

As I type this, she’s baking cupcakes. All those mothers of daughters already know what this is like. Mothers of sons, on the other hand, might not be so accustomed to this phenomenon.

Teenage boys generally don’t bake. Mine doesn’t, anyway. Kill animals? Yes. Track mud all over the house? Yes. Play incessant war games? Yes. Prepare delicious food on a whim without ever being asked? No.

So this week (actually last month, I just couldn’t find the emotional strength to post this,) she is packing and cleaning and preparing  to go home to her family and her sweet fiancé, and I am dreading and pouting. This gives me just the tiniest glimpse of what I will face when Jaxon leaves home. Gulp.

Let’s just not and say we did.

I didn’t have a daughter; I wish I had. But let me say this. I’m asking God and believing Him now that my future daughter-in-law and I will have the same kind of sweet relationship Bethanie and I have had while she’s been here.

I love you, hunny bunny, and I thank God for this precious time we had together. See you at your wedding.

Celebrate life

Celebrate lifeSo, I found a new show to watch on Netflix and it has rocked my world. No, it’s not Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy; nothing that gritty, nothing that would get tweeted about or invent new words. This show is about something more precious and less celebrated… life.

Call the Midwife is a BBC production based in London’s poor East End in the 1950s. It chronicles the lives of young nurse midwives and the women and families they tirelessly served. Never have I seen a show more full of love and committed to life. These young women were so passionate about helping babies into the world, and they had such high regard for life. Sad to say, I don’t imagine a show like that taking off in this country where we are obsessed with making things as convenient and hassle-free as possible.

But these midwives cared deeply. They cared about the new babies and the frightened mamas and the freaked-out husbands and the overbearing mothers-in-law. They held the hands and wiped the brow of all involved. And they did it in love and in expectant honor of the life that was coming into the world, no matter the circumstances.

I imagine that’s how God looks at us… each one precious, each one worth saving, each one loved, no matter what. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Oh, to demonstrate just a fraction of that love. He died for us and we didn’t deserve it. He honors us with His love, even when we are jerks. He lifts us out of our troubles, even when the mess is entirely of our own making. God loves each and every one of us… for no other reason than we are His children, created by Him, and worth loving.

Trouble, trouble, trouble

TroubleI knew you were trouble when you walked in. What a great line. This girl is on to something. And yes; I am going to turn a pop song into a devotional. I’m weird like that.

Take a look at John 14:26-27 where Jesus is giving instructions and encouragement to His disciples before He goes to the cross.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The disciples are naturally freaking out at what He’s telling them, but Jesus says, Let not your hearts be troubled. If you ask me, they had every reason for their hearts to be troubled. They had laid down their lives to follow Him and now He was leaving. I would have been ticked!

Why did Jesus tell them that, and what does it mean for us? Jesus knew our hearts would face trouble. He knew what was coming for Himself, for His disciples, and for all of us, both in those days as well as the future. He was preparing us for what He knew we would encounter in this life.

He’s saying, don’t let your heart be troubled, even though you’re going to want to. You’re going to feel trouble in your heart, but don’t let it camp out there. Don’t allow it to take root and fester. Don’t let fear build a home where it doesn’t belong.

The Amplified translation makes it even plainer: Peace I leave with you; My own peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled. (John 14:27 AMP)

I want you to read that last line again.

Do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.

That’s quite an admonishment.

Don’t let it happen. Don’t let fear and trouble stay and make a comfortable nest in your life. It will knock at the door, you can count on that; but send it packing. Stand up in the power of the Holy Spirit on the inside of you, rebuke fear in the name of Jesus, and move on. God’s got your back. And through Him, you can be fearless, unflinching, courageous, and immovable.

Pump up the volume

listeningHearing from God is not as hard as it sounds but it’s harder than it looks.

What the?

It’s easy because He’s always speaking. It’s hard because we have to be quiet.

Why do we have such trouble with this? I mean, people have been telling us to be quiet and listen since kindergarten, right?

I believe part of our problem is that we are warring with our true selves… our earthly minds are fighting against our spirits. The mind says look it up in a book, read up on it, ask our friends. The spirit says, get quiet, look to His Word and listen to The Father.

So many times, I already know the answer in my heart, but my head gives me a hundred reasons to question it. Other times, I feel totally buried under confusion and frustration and I want to throw the whole situation away rather than trying to find out the answer.

What is the solution?

Matthew 7:7-8 says, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Have we asked God for the answer we need? Do we try every possible route before it dawns on us to ask God? The Answer Giver is waiting for us to make our request. He is waiting on us, not the other way around.

God, help me to ask You first. I know You have the answers I need. Help me quiet down my mind and pump up the volume on Your Spirit within me. I know that’s the only way to flourish in this crazy life.

I don’t know all the answers, but I know the Answer Giver, and that’s the best place to start.

My heart song

Unto youUnto you, oh Lord, do I bring my life. (Psalm 25:1 AMP)

I don’t even want to think of the mess I would have made of my life if not for the Lord. Can you imagine what situations He must have saved us from? The tragedies we have avoided? I have had struggles aplenty, but they have not destroyed me and my hope remains intact because I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. His mercies are new every morning. His faithfulness endures to a thousand generations.

Unto you, oh Lord, do I bring my life. (Psalm 25:1 AMP)

My future is bright because I have given it to Him. My heart is fulfilled because my future is in His hands. God is good and He’s never failed me. I’ve seen Him turn my mourning into dancing. I’ve seen Him turn my mistakes into wisdom and knowledge and understanding.

Unto you, oh Lord, do I bring my life. (Psalm 25:1 AMP)

I’ve seen Him. I’ve seen the Father. I’ve seen His awesome power. I’ve seen His tender loving kindness. All these things are there for the asking. All for the children of God. All for humanity… the heart of God. We are His beloved. You are His beloved. Your very life and future sent Jesus to the cross. Don’t let it be in vain.

Unto you, oh Lord, do I bring my life. (Psalm 25:1 AMP)

Things I learned from Pretty Woman

Slippery little suckersThe way I reference movies in this blog, you’d think I was a major movie buff like my friend Bo or my cousin Marcia. I’m really not, but I tend to think of examples from movies to make my point. Who knows why.

So, you know that scene in Pretty Woman where he tells her that she’s a very bright, very special woman, and she responds, “the bad stuff is easier to believe”?

Why is this?

This morning I read a scripture that I’ve seen a thousand times, but in a new light. (Amazing how that happens if you stick with it.) John 16:33 AMP says, I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

It’s a really good promise, right? And it’s easy for us to believe the first part of this verse, but the second part? Not so much.

I know very well that in this world I will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but am I equally confident in the promise that He has overcome the world, and deprived it of its power to harm me?

That’s harder.

Through His work on the cross, Jesus Christ overcame the world, for me. But to live my life inside the protective benefits of His accomplishment, I have to believe it and act on it, by faith… taking steps, even leaps, without seeing the floor. His Word and His promises will sit there with no power unless I believe them and act on them.

So this morning, I thanked God that through Him, I am an overcomer. I thanked God that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I reminded the devil that he is defeated through the all-powerful and all-encompassing Blood of the Lamb which covers me and my family. And I forged ahead.

And when I slip and fall, which I tend to do, God will catch me and perhaps exclaim, “Slippery little sucker.”

Love… for the win

Love for the winI love the movie Little Women. In one scene after Great Aunt March passes away, Marmee exclaims about the old, drafty house she left behind, “Her blessings became a burden because she couldn’t share them.” That may be the only thing to come out of that particular actress’s mouth that I have ever and will ever agree with.

…Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything… (From 1 Peter 4 The Message)

What do you have to offer? Offer it. What do you have to share? Share it. And love like your life depends on it. Do it so God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit. I can’t say it any better.

Be the miracle in someone’s life. Be the conduit through which God helps someone back to their feet. That’s real love. And yes, I know it can be risky. We’ve all felt the sting of giving love that isn’t returned or is mocked. But that’s the very definition of love. We give it even when it isn’t deserved. Jesus certainly loves us whether or not we deserve it. And if you think about it, do any of us really deserve His love? I know I don’t.

So if I’m supposed to be like Him, then I have to love like Him. Love sent Him to the cross. And through His perfect love for me, I am saved.

Love won on Calvary. Love still wins today.

Mortal combat

Mortal combatLife and death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21) You can bring life to something, or you can kill it stone dead. Your mouth, your words, it’s all your choice.

I recently heard a preacher talking about dealing with sickness, and specifically how to believe God for healing. He made a point that I may have heard a thousand times but I heard it differently this time. I heard it in a deeper and more all-encompassing way and it changed my thinking completely.

He said, “You have to speak to the sickness like it’s a living, breathing entity that’s trying to kill you.” He was specifically talking about cancer. He said, “That cancer is a deadly enemy, and its sole purpose is to kill you. One of you is going to die; either the cancer will die, or you will die.”

In that moment, I saw in my mind an image of a massive oak tree with branches spreading out to all the areas in our lives where we have to engage in this kind of mortal combat. There is much beyond just sickness. The truth is, we need to attack whatever it is that comes against us with this ferocity; speak to it directly, with faith and in authority, and command it to go.

How do we get that authority? We get in the Word and find out what God has to say about it. Then we believe it; really believe it and not question it. You can’t make an enemy leave you alone unless you are convinced of its defeat. You can’t command that thing to go unless you have the revelation knowledge and understanding that Jesus bore that on the cross so you don’t have to.

And you know what? It doesn’t make sense to me that I have a right to tell sickness to leave my body because Someone else paid the price for my healing. I don’t fully understand why Jesus did it, but it’s my job to know that He did, and armed with that information, I can step into battle and win.

Tweak me, oh Lord

Tweak me oh LordRecently, I was reminded of a Bible story about a Pharisee and a tax collector who went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee was very pleased with himself saying, “Thank You that I am not like these other people. I’ve got my life together.” The tax collector buried his face in his hands and said, “I’m not even worthy to look in Your face, but I repent of my sin and I want to make things right with You.”

The story concludes like this: I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:14 AMP)

Which one are we?

No matter what a giant in the faith we may be, at times we all need a course correction. The only One that didn’t was Jesus. But He was tender enough before The Lord to be open to tweaking. Remember when He said, “If there is any other way, please let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless, thy will be done”?

Many cups will pass before us all. We get to decide how we’re going to handle them. I’m open to God’s tweaking. Are you?