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Our Compassionate Father Cannot Heal from Afar—Only Up Close

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Abby falls down and scrapes her knee. It’s not a bad cut, but it’s dirty. She runs to her daddy crying, “I fell down! It hurts!”

“Let me see it,” her daddy says.

“No!”

“Please, let me look at it,” he insisted. “I cannot help you otherwise.”

“Oh, okay,” She said with hesitance.

Her daddy looks. “We’ll need to clean it up and then we can put a bandaid on it.”

“No, no!” Abby runs away. The father lets her go because he knows that it’s nothing serious at this point.

At dinner her father asks, “How’s your knee?”

“It’s fine,” she quickly responded, looking down.

“Can I see it?”

“No, really it’s fine!

A few days later Abby starts limping. Whimpering, she finally goes to her father. “Daddy, my knee hurts!”

“Let me see it. Oh, sweetie, it’s become infected. Let’s take care of that right now,” said the father, taking her hand and moving toward the bathroom.

Abby pulls away and flees again. She knows it’s really going to hurt now!

~~~~~

We are much like Abby aren’t we? We want our problems fixed; our pain removed. We want God to wave His “magic wand” from afar and make it disappear! We want God to treat the symptom without getting to the root cause. The process is too painful. We’d rather just avoid the issue.

But God doesn’t work that way. He might leave you alone for a while in an area in which you are not ready to face. But just like Abby’s daddy, you can be assured your heavenly Father will bring up the matter again in order to prevent a more serious condition. He knows that unattended and ignored issues will cause you more harm—stunt your spiritual growth, ruin relationships, prevent Kingdom usefulness, etc….

God doesn’t force us to be open and transparent; surrendered. He knows that takes trust and a willingness to change. He knows we often don’t understand why it has to be “this” way. But He wants us to come to a place where…

Even when we don’t understand what He’s doing, we can trust His heart*

A place of walking by faith not by sight (2 Cor 5:7); of truly believing that He is good, wise and wants the best for us—even when it may temporarily hurt.

To what kind of issues am I referring?

  • Wrong thinking (thinking/beliefs that don’t align with the Bible)
  • Bad attitudes (complaining, judgmental, resentful, etc.)
  • Prideful, un-submissive spirit
  • Repeating sinful area in which you’re not seriously addressing.
  • Fear, other weak areas (like my emotional “yoyoness”)

These problems require more than an easy fix. They require a deep soul searching with God to get to the underlying cause.

I know it’s hard! We don’t like revisiting painful pasts or admitting our sinful ugliness. We’d rather avoid them altogether! But the longer we wait, the harder and more agonizing it will be. Trust me, I know from personal experience! The good news is we can learn how to do this. (See my blog, 5 Steps in How to Actually Deal with Pain.)

Let your heavenly Daddy address those difficult areas in your life; He will be gentle. Don’t expect healing from afar. Father God wants to be close to you as He tends to your wounded knee.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Ps 139:23-24)

Until next time my friends, go to your trustworthy Father with your pain. Don’t run away like Abby did!

For more help see my book On My Father’s Lap

 

*Trust His Heart by Babbie Mason

 

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

The Master’s Garden- Excerpt

I am so excited about the message of my 4th book, The Master’s Garden: An Allegory of Abiding in the Vine, that I just had to give you a taste!  It has just been released. So I am including the beginning of chapter 1. You can read the first few chapters in the “Look inside” feature on Amazon.

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Chapter 1 A Strange World

Imagine. A world containing very unusual plants that can think, see, hear, and speak—a kind of plant-animal hybrid, so to speak. This world, called Plantasia, was beautiful—filled with all types of plants from the tiniest flower to the towering giant redwood.

The Master Gardener created this strange world for His pleasure. He was good, loving, powerful, all-wise, and very patient. Most of all, though, He was pure and perfect.

Now the Gardener loved all the diverse vegetation in this world which He had made, and wanted nothing more than for each plant to love Him in return. He gave these unique plants the ability to choose whether to come under His loving care or remain in the wild and live on their own.

When plants agreed to come under the Gardener’s care, they were grafted onto the roots of the Vine and became permanently His. Now this Vine was no ordinary plant. He came directly from the Master Gardener Himself and there was a special bond between Them. Their union enabled embedded plants to connect with the Gardener in a personal way.

Plants belonging to the Master Gardener thrived under His tender care. He knew their exact needs. He abundantly supplied them with light and Living Water and fed them with His Word. His Living Water carried nutrient truths up to all parts of the plant, helping them to absorb the vital minerals. This life-giving liquid not only sustained them but also promoted extraordinary growth.

In addition to these three essential ingredients of light, water, and food, the Gardener used other measures to help His plants flourish. He pruned, divided, transplanted, and sprayed as needed. He did this out of His lovingkindness; longing for each one to achieve its full potential.

The duty of each individual plant belonging to the Gardener was to grow and be beautiful in His eyes and to reflect His wonderful qualities. In order to accomplish this, they needed the strength of the Vine. If they tried to grow roots outside the Vine, ugly and distorted growth resulted. The more they lived their lives through the Vine, the more they flourished. How much and how quickly they developed into what they were meant to be largely depended upon their willingness to cooperate with their Keeper.

Each plant was designed to reveal the character of the Gardener differently. Some were grand, like the mighty oak. Others were very prolific, like the squash. And then there were those who were just small and dainty, like the lily of the valley. Each was uniquely fashioned, cultivated, and valued by the Master Gardener. All brought Him distinct pleasure as they displayed His handiwork and fulfilled His plan for them.

Together, all the Gardener’s plants showed His greatness and majesty. It was a sight to behold! Their beauty was so appealing that it drew wild plants to want to know the wonderful Gardener and be placed under His nurturing care.

However, there was an even more important reason why all plants needed to belong to the Gardener…

In the beginning everything was perfect. In this newly created world, the Master Gardener planted two individuals into a beautiful garden and told them to enjoy growing there. They were instructed that their roots could go anywhere, except for one small area.

So they flourished and frequently enjoyed the presence of the Gardener as He walked among them—until one dreadful day when everything changed.

You see, the Master had an evil enemy. He used to be one of the Gardener’s helpers but wanted to usurp the Gardener, so he was kicked out of the garden. This enemy wanted nothing more than to get revenge and sought to destroy this perfect garden. On that fateful day, he tricked the two plants and enticed them to penetrate their roots into forbidden territory. Little did they know it was contaminated. They became infected with a deadly disease which eventually spread throughout the entire garden and the rest of Plantasia. But the good Gardener couldn’t leave them in this dying state. He had to make a way to rescue His precious plants.

Therefore, He planted His special Vine into the world, One that had the very same qualities as the Master Gardener. The pure and perfect Vine grew and experienced all the same difficulties as any plant does—and even more. Yet He grew exactly as the Master Gardener wanted, and pleased Him in every way.

~~~~~

Sorry to leave you hanging like that, but I kind of did that on purpose!

So until next time, my friends, if you want to learn how to abide in Christ the Vine I know that this crazy allegory will help you! Now available on Amazon at greatly reduced prices in print, kindle and audio-book formats.

And because I really want you to have a copy of The Master’s Garden, I am also offering 3 FREE bonuses for a limited time onlyincluding a complete and unabridged copy of the classic Hinds’ Feet on High Places. Click on the link below to learn more.

The Master’s Garden 3 Bonus Offer

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What Can Be Gained in the Loss a Pet?

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There I was in the laundry room, cleaning Rascal’s litter box when suddenly I heard him wail. Rascal was lying on the floor having a seizure. Immediately I took him to the animal hospital. But I knew he wasn’t going to make it. He was DOA.

Just like that! No warning, no sign at all. My precious Rascal of 12 years was gone.

I know, he’s just a pet, just a cat. But God used him in so many ways to comfort me and bring me joy through the years—especially after I lost my most precious one of all on earth—Ed, my soulmate. And my Rascal was the last living thing that Ed and I shared together.

Memories flooded into my mind. I saw Ed holding Rascal and Whitefoot, his brother, in his arms when they were 3 months old. The picture below is one of my very favorite pictures of Ed.

But of course, along with those memories–comes pain.

Why, Lord, why? What can the loss of my kitty do for Your kingdom? I know the answer—so do you—it’s found in Romans 8:28. “And we know….”

I DO KNOW—not precisely what good will come from the loss of my kitty, but that good will come of it. I have tons of evidence of God’s goodness and faithfulness to me these last 35 years of walking with Him. His grace has been sufficient, even with the loss of my soulmate. He is producing fruit for His Kingdom. 

Focusing on the character of my wonderful God and keeping an eternal perspective are the only things which have enabled me to thrive and not just survive these last 10 years without my husband.

Pondering on those last few years with my man on earth reminded me of something very important.

Before Ed passed away, he was meditating on Psalm 116:15:

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.

That verse used to really baffle me—until the Lord showed me that I was only looking at my side of the relationship with Him—of the joy I would have when I saw my Savior’s face. But what about His side? Relationships are 2-sided, you know.

Jesus also looks forward to enjoying each of His children when He brings them to their heavenly home. Because then, there will be no more hindrances interfering our relationship with Him—no more barriers of sin or the physical realm.

What joy!!! How exciting!

But there’s more…

My Rascal’s passing brought this new insight:

When we buy a special gift for someone we love, knowing with absolute certainty it will bring them much joy, we can hardly wait to give it to them; to see that smile on their face. So too is our loving Father greatly anticipating the time He can freely bestow all the wonderful things He wants to give us—which He has bought for us with His Son’s blood.

Can’t you hear Him say?

“Just you wait! You’ve only seen a glimpse of My glory, of My goodness; only experienced a smidgen of My joy! You haven’t seen anything yet!”

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor 2:9)*

 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Rev 21:3-4)

Yes, I will miss my Rascal, and I will continue to miss Ed. But this thought that the Lord is also greatly anticipating our reunion comforts my aching soul. And who knows, maybe He’ll recreate Rascal on the new earth as well as all the other precious pets I have lost.

Until next time, my friends, picture your Savior waiting at heaven’s door with welcoming open arms saying:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant…come and share your Master’s happiness!”

(Mat 25:23)

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

God Wants to SHOW OFF through YOU During this Pandemic!

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We often don’t understand what God is doing, but we can be sure it is for a very good purpose. This Covid-19 pandemic is one of those times!

I wrote this blog a few years ago, but the truths within are timeless.

~~~~~

During the last few years, God has been revamping my life. He had me leave the home and garden I love, and move into a city apartment with an ugly view. Plus, I’ve had one problem after another with the sale of my home, resurgence of debilitating sciatic pain, serious ministry issues, and a myriad of other small to medium-sized problems. “What in the world are You doing, Lord?!” was my cry. “I just don’t understand!” [Maybe you’ve been there too?]

I want to trust God. Truly I do.

But a month ago I failed big time in that department with a full-blown pity party. (See how to leave those pity parties here)

I didn’t want a repeat of that futile and displeasing-God event, so I am choosing to trust Him now.

But it’s really hard sometimes.

Seeing my heart, God in His kindness led me to read the book, “Momentum” by Lance Witt. In one section, the author was talking about the time when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son. Then this jumped off the pages:

“He trusted God to do the miraculous in order to keep His promise.”

I realized that’s what God is doing here in my situation! He wants to show Himself to the world through me.  He wants to demonstrate that He is faithful and capable of getting me through this abundance of trials with His abundance of strength, joy and peace. I’ve learned this truth before when I lost my husband to cancer, but I needed a reminder.

If you remember the story of Abraham and the promised son, he didn’t trust God when He delayed 10 yrs. He succumbed to Sarah’s suggestion to help God fulfill His promise by fathering a child (Ishmael) through her handmaiden (Gen 16:2). Oh my, the consequences of not trusting in God! (Ishmael was the father of Muhammad and the originator of the religion of Islam.)

Nevertheless, Abraham did learn that God is true to His Word. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. That’s an even greater miracle than fathering at the age of 75!

So when God asked him to do the unimaginable of sacrificing the promised heir, he believed that God was going to do an even greater miracle by raising him from the dead (Heb 11:17-19).

Our magnificent God wants to demonstrate to the world—to the lost and the saved—that these unexplainable things can only happen through His divine handiwork.

Abraham had to wait 25 years before God’s promise was fulfilled. What in the world are you and I complaining about?! We need to lose our Impatience!

When God delays on delivering a promise, it’s often for a greater display of Himself—of who He is and what He can do.

God wants to do miracles through you—let Him!

“And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 38:23)

So until next time, my friends, whatever your baffling challenges may be—pandemic-related or not—keep this in mind: God wants to display His glory through you so that the world may know what an awesome God you and I have! Let Him be a Show Off! He is the only One who has that right!

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

More Tactics to Use AGAINST the Enemy of Your Soul

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Whenever you step out and start serving the Lord, Satan isn’t happy. He will try to discourage you. That’s what’s been happening to me.

My last few blogs have been on spiritual warfare and how to defeat our greatest enemy. I knew going in that I was going to jostle the hornet’s nest in writing them. Nevertheless, I had to obey Jesus, my Commanding Officer.

The point? Satan has been using one of his most effective tools against me–discouragement.

Any of you been there?

Even though I was guarded, and recognized that my melancholy of late was due to spiritual attack, I still couldn’t seem to shake it. Although I did have respites from the gloom it continued to return again and again and again.

Why, Lord, why? Am I sinning? Do I have unconfessed sin? Did Satan win another skirmish? These are all valid questions I asked. But do you know what I discovered?

In this case I didn’t lose the skirmish. I didn’t sin. Emotions in and of themselves are not a sin. It’s what we do with them that counts. In my sadness I did:

  • Turn to God
  • Speak His truth to my soul
  • Persevere and do what I needed to do.

Not perfectly, and only with His enabling grace, but I did the best I could with a heart to follow God.
That’s when my precious Lord gave me this new insight:

Discouragement/sadness is not my enemy it is a tool of the enemy.

Satan tries to make me sin; he tries to stop me from fulfilling my God-given mission. My battle is with him not my cloudy mood. If the blahs remain, but I keep doing what I know to be right (i.e. not sin):

It means I have won, not lost the battle! It means I have persevered!

And if I get relief from my melancholy, but it returns in short order, it’s simply just another attack from my enemy. (I have to remember my first blog in this series that the struggle is normal.)

Here’s another thing I realized:
I know why Satan has been attacking me a lot lately.

First, he’s annoyed that I’m revealing some of his tactics. Secondly, I am going full force with my workshops on “Handling Your Emotions God’s Way.”

Do you see the connection? I sure do!

I am an emotional yo-yo. It’s one of my vulnerable areas. Of course the devil will attack me more from this angle! I’ve seen that time and time again.

God is allowing these strong repeated assaults to:

  • Make me stronger
  • Help me identify Satan’s schemes quicker
  • Pass these new insights on to you
  • Keep me fully relying on Him

In what areas are you vulnerable?

Friends, sometimes Satan’s attacks are subtle. Sometimes they are intense frontal attacks. Sometimes they are repeated, fierce and unrelenting attacks—or a combination of them all!

I cannot and will not quit! I hope you won’t either!

Our biggest weapon is:

Greater is He [Jesus] who is in us [believers] than he [Satan] who is in the world. (John 4:4)

P.S. After writing this I don’t feel so blah anymore! Thank you, my Deliverer! But I must remain en-garde!

Our “SECRET” Piece of Equipment and How to Use It Against the Enemy

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You’ve heard it over and over again—get into God’s Word. You know you should but can’t seem to make time for it.

Perhaps you’ve tried but you got stuck (like in Leviticus). Maybe you just didn’t understand it, didn’t know where to start, or didn’t get much out of it. So you stopped.

There are many reasons why we don’t read God’s Word more. One of them is that the Evil one doesn’t want you to know what it says. For inside its precious pages are the defensive and offensive equipment you need to:

  • Have victory in your life over sin
  • Grow spiritually
  • Spread the Good News of the gospel
  • Not be controlled by life circumstances
  • Not be controlled by your emotions like this emotional yo-yo used to be
  • Plus….

Of course, your enemy will do everything he can to prevent you from knowing its secrets. God isn’t hiding the truth from us; Satan has blinded or diverted us away.

However, reading the Word alone isn’t enough.

We must learn how to use it in the day to day situations of our lives.

We need to put on the defensive gear of God and take up our offensive weapon of the Word of God (Eph 6:10-20).

So here are 2 strategic keys in using God’s Word against your enemy.

Strategic Key #1: Be Specific

The term “word of God” in Ephesians 6:17 (rhéma) means a specific truth of the Bible. Waving the Bible at the Evil One won’t cut it. You need a specific truth, the right and appropriate one for the specific attack.

For example:

You are angry at the auto repairman. You’re trying not to lose your temper. What verse/truth of the Bible will help you the most here?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1:1)

OR

A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Pr 15:1)

They are both true, but it’s obvious the second verse will help you more in the heat of the moment.

Consider this scenario:

Your husband walks in the door and just tells you he got laid off. Panic arises. How are you going to pay the bills and put food on the table?! Which verse is most applicable to your situation?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Eph 2:8)

OR

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)

I think you know the answer.

Strategic Key #2: Use God’s Truth with Force

We need to decisively and forcefully use the appropriate truth in the midst of an attack. Be assured that Satan is no wimp and he’s not approaching you lackadaisically. Using the sword of the Spirit half-heartedly against him won’t work. This is a battle not a game. You must use God’s truth with force.

  • Believing what you are saying or thinking
  • Trusting that God will come through
  • Saying it to your soul with conviction and out loud if possible
  • Repeating it emphatically as needed. [See an example here]

******

Satan wants to keep you unmotivated to know and use God’s Word effectively against him. He knows he’s defeated. He just doesn’t want you to know that.

He’s lost the war, but he certainly has won too many skirmishes in my life—and in yours! I’m sick of it!

My friends, we are soldiers in the army of GodIt’s time we learn how to wallop our enemy!

Stay tuned for more strategic keys against our enemy next week.

 

Note: If you need help in getting equipped please contact me and I will help you get or find the training you need.

 

Photo by Unsplash

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

CHRIST’S BOOT CAMP: Training Ground for a Victorious Life

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You’re waiting at the station for the bus to take you to boot camp. You’re nervous, scared; not knowing what to expect. You’re leaving an awful lot behind. Will all this be worth it?

Did I scare some of you in my last blog—that if you believe in Jesus as your Savior you’re in Christ’s army? I hope it was enough just to get you moving toward training ground instead of turning yellow and running.

You need not fear! Your Commander will equip you with the basics of Christian living so that you can win your battles. His training includes your whole being of body, soul, and spirit.

At Christ’s training camp you will get physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in shape. That is key to living a victorious life in and for Christ. Your goal is to get and stay in shape so that you can have energy and stamina for serving your General. You will learn:

  • To think correctly with God’s truths (Rom 12:2).
  • The disciplines of Christian living: reading and studying God’s Manual—rules and regulations, instructions, basic info about the system (God’s ways), and communicating with your Commander (prayer).
  • To overcome fear of the enemy.
  • To please your Commander in chief by learning who He is (character).
  • Teamwork
  • The importance of the chain of command and obedience.
  • The consequences of disobedience

At boot camp you will get equipped with defensive gear and maneuvers. You will also be given your only, but very powerful, offensive weapon—the Word of God (Eph 6:17).

At first glance this weapon doesn’t look like much, but the weapons with which we fight are not of this physical world, but spiritual (2 Cor 10:4). You will learn how to use each specific piece of arsenal (truth) to obliterate each specific tool and lie of the enemy.

You will learn to recognize the enemy’s tactics and devious schemes.

The truth that your enemy is a defeated foe; that he has already lost the war at Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection will be drilled repeatedly into your head.

Victory is assured. Consequently you will have great confidence, courage, perseverance, endurance, hope, and joy.

Although tough, training will be worth it!

As an extra bonus, a sense of comradery will develop as you work together with your fellow soldiers for the same purpose.

Where is the nearest training camp for you?

  • It’s right in your living room as your Sergeant (Holy Spirit) teaches you His Instruction Manual.
  • It’s in the local Bible-based church.
  • It’s in small group Bible studies and fellowship meetings.
  • It’s on the radio and internet where others teach the truths of God.
  • It’s in biblically sound books, magazines, and blogs. 

May I highly recommend that you find a sister/brother in Christ to guide you—a discipler or mentor, especially if you:

  • Are newly enlisted.
  • Have never had basic training.
  • Are not experiencing the abundant life.

Ask God to bring a trainer into your life; ask Him to teach you. He wants you to get the foundational knowledge and understanding necessary to live a victorious life. But unlike the army, He won’t draft you in or force you to go to boot camp or even yell at you like a sergeant!

If you need assistance in finding a discipler or mentor feel free to contact me.

Until next time, my friends, learn all you can so you can live victoriously in Christ—you’re fighting a defeated foe!

 

Originally published 7/24/19

 

You’re in the Army Now—That is, Christ’s Army!

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When I became a Christian I didn’t understand that I had actually enlisted into the army of Christ. I don’t think most of us do, unless you live in a country where Christians are severely persecuted for believing in Jesus. Even after I recognized that we Christians are in spiritual warfare with the enemy of our souls, I certainly didn’t want to be on the front lines. Hey I’m a writer! I want a desk job stationed in Hawaii—out of danger.

But the truth of the matter is:

Satan will go after you no matter where you are stationed.

It is also true that the devil goes after those who are serving God wholeheartedly with more force. However, Michael Youssef of Leading the Way gives us some excellent food for thought. He said:

“If you retreat from the call of God on your life; if you retreat from [the] battle…it will not be long before the enemy goes after those other things in your life too…. After a short period of time you begin to find that your prayer life is fizzled out, going to church is just a routine, your fellowship becomes a social event….

[But] when you go on the offensive…when you don’t wait till the enemy comes to you, you will have victory in all the other areas as well. Your prayer life will be vibrant, your worship is going to be powerful, your fellowship dynamic.”

That makes sense to me. If you know you’re going into battle you will arm yourself, be on guard, plan a strategy, and consciously rely on your biggest resource—God. You would never go into battle unprepared! But that’s what most of us are doing.

We have been caught flat-footed and unsuspecting!

Now that you know, what will you with that knowledge?

Listen, I am not suggesting you go after Satan. Let the Commander of the army direct where you are to go, and in which specific battles you are to engage.

Like I said in my last blog: like it or not we are in a battle!. Therefore get prepared. Put on His full armor every day. Become equipped. Get on the offensive by studying the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), so you can use it specifically against your enemy.

“Get yourself ready! …They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. (Jer 1:17, 19)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual forces of evil…. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Eph 6:10-13)

Stay tuned for next time, my friends, we’re going to boot camp to learn how!

 

Originally published 7/17/19

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

Struggling as a Christian is NORMAL—We Are in a BATTLE!

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Do you ever struggle? With repeated sin issues, with desiring to change a bad habit or to follow through with your resolutions—only to fail again? What in the world is going on?

We’re at war with the enemy of God and our souls!

I think many of us believe that there shouldn’t be a struggle once we’ve decided to change or move forward in an area. If we’re growing in Christ and making progress why do we still have difficulty? BECAUSE:

  • We still have a sinful nature exerting its influence.
  • The world is still pulling on us.

                              And

  • The evil one is still trying to discourage us.

You and I need to sink this truth deep into our minds and hearts:

There will always be a struggle, a battle, in this fallen world!

Only in heaven will there be no more sin. Satan and his demons will be locked up in hell; unbelievers and their unredeemed sinful souls with them. And our sinful natures will be totally gone—no longer there to grieve the heart of our dear Savior! I can’t wait!!!

It’s natural for us to want the battle to be over. I get so tired of fighting.

“I don’t want to be in a battle! I don’t want to fight anymore!” says the little girl in me; stomping her foot.

But I don’t have a choice! Neither do you. The enemy of our souls is not giving up until he’s locked up.

Deceiving us to believe there shouldn’t be a struggle is one of his tactics.

He wants us to get discouraged; making us think we can never change—“What’s the use?” —and give up.

We need to become more aware of his conniving insidious schemes. We need to learn his tactics so we can be on guard against them. As Paul said, “…In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Cor 2:11)

Satan has already lost the war. He was defeated on the cross by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Don’t let him win those one-on-one skirmishes with you. Don’t fight the devil alone either—he is too strong for you. Call in your Commander in chief, Jesus.

He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. (Ps 18:17)*

Don’t let Satan steal your joy, peace—your abundant life.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Jn 10:10)

Fight for it with Christ’s power. Victory is assured! Don’t live from a defeated point of view! But realize that you are indeed in a battle—if you’re a Christian—like it or not.

 

Originally published July 10, 2019

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

*Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Having a Pity-Party? 10 Tips on How to Leave!

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Are you feeling sorry for yourself and just can’t seem to get out of this “woe is me” mentality? I’ve been there more times than I can count!

On the tenth anniversary of my soulmate’s passing (March 16), I found myself in one of those full blown pity-parties. But I didn’t want to be there.

As I was bawling my eyes out, my kind Lord showed me a way out by giving me a silly allegory in which my negative emotions were personified (inspired by my favorite book Hinds’ Feet on High Places). It was the ticket I needed.

I shared it on Facebook and it resonated with so many women that I decided to follow-up with this blog. You can read that short allegory here: I’m Leaving This Pity-Party!

Are you stuck in a pity-party? Are you tired of your ever-present companions of self-deprecation, discouragement, doubt, despair, and discontentment? Here are…

10 Tips to Help You Leave that Pity Party

1.  You have to want to leave

This is probably the hardest step. Breaking the hold of longtime “friends” and habits is difficult, but not impossible. Look at the negative consequences of remaining and the benefits of leaving. This will help you to do the next step.

2. Decide to leave

It’s a choice. The how will then follow. As the saying goes: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”

3. Enlist God’s help and trust that He will make a way of escape.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Cor 10:13)

(My way out was a funny allegory!)

4. Examine why you’re having a pity-party

What is causing you to have this “woe is me” mindset? Without knowing the root, you will only be treating symptoms. Use pen and paper to help you. However, please do this self-evaluation with the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, you might wind up staying even longer.

5. Get the right perspective and focus 

When you have a greater understanding of God’s character and ways; when you understand that this is not all there is and that whatever you are going through will not last forever—you’ll be able to shift your focus off yourself and onto God and eternity. 

6. Praise and thanksgiving

Remember what God has done for you. Think about the many blessings He has given you. At the very least, think how Jesus saved you from eternal agony to everlasting bliss. Everything else pales next to that! 

Choose to sing praises to God—when you do, departure is guaranteed!

7. Don’t make it harder to leave by doing something that’ll make your mood worse.

Pity-parties often spiral downward. When I was grieving on that 10-year mark of Ed’s home-going, traipsing down memory lane would have only gotten me further away from the exit door.

Before you open up that bag of chips or waste the time away with useless or harmful behavior…

Stop and think if it’s really helping you!

8. Fight

Fight by speaking specific truths against your specific issues. Do so emphatically, repeatedly, and with strong conviction [See an example of how to do that here].

9. Surrender. Put yourself—your emotions, thoughts, desires, needs, will, every part of you—on the altar; better feelings will soon emerge!

10. Open the door

…and receive God’s love, comfort—whatever you need to walk out that door.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Rev 3:20)

So until next time, my friends, open the door when Jesus comes to rescue you from your pity-party. All your negative naysayers will leave (and if they don’t, kick them out with Jesus’ powerful truth and presence) His party is way way better!

 

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

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