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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!

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

A Proven Method to KNOW God’s Will: A 10 Step Process- Part 2

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Want to make fewer mistakes in decisions? Want to live with fewer regrets? You can learn to know God’s will and make right and godly choices in any given circumstance. You can  learn how to live God’s way. The Lord Himself wants to teach and empower you. The end result will be a sweet abundant life . Trust me–there’s nothing better than being right with God!

Last time I covered the first 5 steps in a proven method which the Lord has taught me over the years in knowing His will. Here’s a recap of the first five.

  1. Prepare your heart
  2. Think things through carefully
  3. Ask questions
  4. Use pen and paper
  5. Put in the effort

Here is the rest of the…

Proven Method of Knowing God’s Will

6. Put in the time

Don’t wait until the last minute to start your search of God’s will. Procrastinating puts you in “demand mode” when seeking God for guidance. If a decision is important, it’s worth the time and effort to pray about it.

If an immediate decision is required, do your best and trust God for the outcome. That’s why it’s vital to remain in fellowship with your Lord. You won’t have the time to carefully evaluate your heart if it’s an urgent matter. Stay close to your Father so you will be able to hear His still quiet voice.

Also, determine if a decision really has to be made now. Ask questions like:

  • Can I get an extension?
  • Is this a sales pitch, tempting me to make a hasty purchase?
  • Is this pressure from others because they want it now?
  • Is this in line with God’s will as far as I know?
  • Are my emotions interfering? (See Blog: 6 Hindrances to Knowing God’s Will)

7. Read the Bible while seeking answers

This is where a lot of us go wrong. God does communicate to us in other ways, but His Word is the primary way in which He makes His will known to us. Seek God’s direction during your quiet time with Him, and then…

8. Keep your antennas up

Stay in tune with your Lord throughout the day, looking for answers in a calm, confident manner.

9. Enlist others

Ask for counsel, or at least request prayer from godly people that you trust.

10. Get confirmation

Not all “signs” or “open doors” are from God. Don’t automatically assume it’s from the Lord. I’ve made way too many mistakes thinking God was leading me when it was Satan, my strong emotions or impatience getting in the way. Don’t run ahead of God; make sure you have a green light. Others can greatly help you here.

~~~~~~

This process works! I hope you will try it.

Next time I will give you a personal example of how I applied these steps in a very critical decision.

So until then, my friends, as you seek the Lord for direction:

Praise Him before you know His will.

Praise Him as soon as you do know it.

and then

Praise Him by telling others how He came through for you again!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good…. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jer 29:11-13)

Previous blogs in this series:

How to KNOW God’s Will: Part 1

6 Hindrances to Knowing God’s Will

A Proven Method to KNOW God’s Will: A 10 Step Process

 

 

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

 

How to KNOW God’s Will: Part 1

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You need to make a decision. What job to take, which ministry to serve in, what’s the best schooling for your kids? And countless others. We are frequently faced with making spiritual and “non-spiritual” decisions. Many of us are totally befuddled when it comes to determining God’s will in any given situation—assuming that you even want to know.

So how do you know God’s will in every decision you have to make?

Well, let me tell you a story first.

When I was a relatively young Christian I went on a quest to find the answer to this very question. I had been growing in my love for Jesus and wanted to obey Him. He showed me two life-changing truths which I have used ever since in figuring out God’s best.

First, God wants you and me to know His will. Think about it. If God wants us to obey (and He does), then He has to tell us what He wants. That’s His responsibility. If you, as a parent, expect your teenager to be home at a certain time, then you must tell him what that time is. Otherwise, that’s just plain meanness.

Secondly, God told me to just stay close to Him and I would know His will. Such peace flooded my heart at that moment! You and I need not remain anxious when we don’t know what to do. (see Phil 4:6-7). This is way more than knowing about God’s rules—it’s about knowing His heart, about relating to our loving heavenly Father.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. So here are a few more keys to help you to know God’s will in any given situation:

Know What God Says

Often we don’t know God’s will simply because we aren’t familiar enough with His Word and God’s ways. The principles of how to live godly lives are described in Scripture even when they are not explicitly stated. Since God’s direction will always be in line with His Word, it makes sense to know it.

Know God’s Overall Purpose for You

God has great plans for you, but first and foremost He created you for a loving relationship with Him. That means we need to be more like His holy Son.

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. (1 Thess 4:3, see also 1 Pet 1:16, Rom 8:29)*

Secondly, it means knowing your God-given mission. Discerning God’s will always falls under these 2 overarching purposes—godliness and your specific life’s purpose.

Ask

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5)**

Just be sure to ask in a humble, undemanding way with pure (unselfish) motives (James 4:2-3).

For additional help in praying, go to the website page on How to Go Deeper with God in Prayer.

Trust that God Will Answer You

If you cry out to know right from wrong, and lift your voice for understanding…Then you will understand what is right and good, and right from wrong, and you will know what you should do. (Pr 2:3,9)***

If you come to God His way—He will answer! Believe Him ( See Pr 2:1-13,  Mat 7:8, James 1:6-8). 

God has never failed to show me His will when I approach Him in the correct reverent way. Granted,  I may have to wait much longer than I desire, but He always comes through!

God is capable of clearly communicating to you. You simply have to be open and listening. You don’t have to be a theologian or even mature in the faith (though that helps!). God knows how to get through our thick skulls! He Himself will teach you how to recognize His leading.

…We have received God’s Spirit…so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. (1 Cor 2:12)**

And that includes wisdom for any given situation!

There’s way more to come. I hope you will stay with me in this 5 part series. Meanwhile, my friends, keep seeking.

For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Mat 7:8)**

 

* 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.

***THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Let’s Go to the Movies: Keeping the BIG Picture of Eternity Before Us

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

You’re sitting in the theater with surround sound, watching an action-packed 3-D movie. You are engrossed; all distractions are gone. You are pulled into the action as the film comes to life. It seems so real.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get half that level of awareness toward our eternal future with God in heaven? Life is often filled with so many difficulties that we lose sight of our ultimate destiny; robbing us of the abundant life we were meant to have (Jn 10:10). Having an eternal perspective is one of the main keys to the abundant life.

When my husband, Ed, was fighting cancer keeping an eternal perspective was the only thing that got me through. It still is—now that he is gone to be with Jesus. I can’t wait until I join him. Heaven is a present reality for Ed as well as for your loved ones who have passed from this life to the next through Jesus.

But it’s a reality for us too—but only in the future.

Can the “there and then” truly become more real in the “here and now”?

YES!

Here’s how:

Picture yourself in a theater. Here’s the feature playing on the big screen:

A never-ending story of total peace, utter bliss; every longing filled to overflowing. Glory and majesty fill the screen. There is no hint of evil or sin anywhere; only goodness and love. There’s our holy triune God interacting with all the angels, saints, and our saved loved ones. Extravagant riches and rewards abound. A continual sense of awe and wonder permeates the story. Singing and exquisite music fill your ears.

That “movie” portrays a sure promise of our future reality. Do you see it?

OR…

  • Is your view obstructed with the troubles of this world where all you can see is pain and suffering?
  • Are the distractions of pleasure, work, hobbies, children, and others pulling your eyes away? Are your eyes fixed on the world instead of Jesus?
  • Is your vision unclear because you haven’t got into God’s Word; you don’t understand what you are seeing. You’re looking at life through your eyes and not the lens of Scripture (=not wearing 3-D glasses)?
  • Are you looking at the screen but with arms crossed; refusing to believe what you are seeing is available for you?
  • Have you turned your back to the screen because you are mad at God for some hardship?
  • Are you even in the theater? Do you even know and believe that there is an awesome heaven waiting for you? Jesus is your ticket in.

This is not all there is! This is not our home.

All these people [from the Hall of Faith] were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People… looking for a country of their own…longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Heb 11:13-14,16)

We were created to live forever in an intimate relationship with our Creator. Until that day “let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you” (Pr 4:25) onto the movie screen of our eternal home .

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Heb 12:2)

My readers and I would love to know what verses enable you to keep your eyes toward heaven. Please post them in the comment section.

See you at the moviesand oh, don’t forget the popcorn!

 

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

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!

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!

 

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

Don’t Be Content with Only a Surface Understanding of God!

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Angie is sitting at the bedside of her beloved mother. She’s been ill for such a long time. Fervently Angie has prayed for God’s healing. But her mom is not only still sick but rapidly failing.

“Why hasn’t God healed her? Doesn’t He care? He’s healed other people miraculously. Why won’t He do the same for my mom? She loves Jesus and was walking in step with Him when the bad news of cancer came. She didn’t do anything to deserve this!”

Confusion~doubt~anxiety

Ever been there? I have. Whenever our circumstances conflict with what we believe to be true, turmoil in our hearts ensues.

What is Angie’s problem? Her lack of understanding of God’s Word and His ways. She’s taking verses about God’s healing out of context. Like these:

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who…heals all your diseases. (Ps 103:2-3, emphasis added)*

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Mat 4:23, emphasis added)*

However, God doesn’t promise to heal everyone—at least not this side of heaven (I personally know about this one). But He does promise to work all things together for good for His children (Rom 8:28).

Angie knows some of God’s truth, some of God’s ways, but what she thinks to be true about God is not in keeping with what she is currently seeing. Hence the conflict in her heart.

If we only have a surface understanding of the whole Bible, we could easily assume something incorrect about God—like He’s not caring, good, in control, or faithful—at least not to us individually.

One of my pastors continually admonishes us not to take verses out of context, or make a theology (the way you think about God) based on only a few verses.

So how do you resolve the conflict that arises in your heart during these times?

  • By believing that the Bible contains the actual words of God Himself.
  • By repeatedly reading the entire Bible.

It’s baffling to me how many Christians have never read the whole counsel of God. But let me tell you that the more you grow in your knowledge of God and His ways, the more you will be able to see how it all fits together so beautifully.

  • By accepting and submitting to what God says even when you don’t like or understand it

You will never understand everything about God. 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. ”As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is 55:8-9)*

Lord, my heart is not proud…. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself…. (Ps 131:1-2)**

  • By repeating what you do know to be true about God and choosing to believe it in this current, seemingly contradictory, situation.
  • By acting as if that knowledge is really true.

When you do step out in faith, God will come through and you will gain experiential knowledge; your confidence in God will increase. Actually God allows these confusing situations to test your faith and/or to lead you into a deeper knowledge and trust of Him.

So my friends, when you can’t seem to make sense of a confusing situation, don’t stay upset. It’s ok to struggle through an issue—just don’t jump to some erroneous conclusion about God. That’s what Satan wants! Instead, go to God and His Word for answers.

Don’t be content with only a surface understanding of God’s character and ways.

Let Him take you deeper by way of these disconcerting times.

 

*The Holy Bible, New International Version® THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society®
Used by permission. 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.

Feeling Lonely? 8 Tips in Overcoming Loneliness

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Do you ever feel lonely? I often do. That’s why sensing the presence of God is so important to me.

But I know I am not alone in my aloneness.

The human race has been plagued with this malady ever since the fall of mankind.

There are many reasons why someone might feel lonely—even when not actually alone. I have “good” reason to feel lonely. I’m a widow, live alone, and now I’m a stranger in a strange land—the “new kid on the block.”

But do I have to be continually beleaguered with these feelings? NO! In fact, you and I need not be controlled by any emotion. Being an emotional yo-yo, I’ve had lots of experience and opportunities to demonstrate that victory is won through Christ. The first key is to:

Address the Source

For me, when I experience loneliness I feel that:

  • No one cares.
  • I don’t belong.
  • I have no value.

But these feelings are not based on truth! They are a byproduct of dwelling on the negative. Just because someone doesn’t call, visit, or whatever does NOT mean they do not care. People do care. And even if they didn’t, God does! I do have value. I am precious in His sight. I belong to Him. He bought me with His own Son’s blood. He is always with me (Mat 28:20).

On these facts, I must focus. This is the second key in overcoming times of loneliness:

Focus on God and the Truth

Think about what is true (Phil 4:8). Speak it to your soul—with conviction and out loud if possible.

The third principle in escaping lonesomeness is to

Understand We All Feel Lonely at Times

Even our precious Savior experienced loneliness. Feeling lonely is not a sin. It’s simply part of being human in a fallen world. It becomes a sin when we let it control our actions.

Focus on Others

Get involved with people. There are many ways to accomplish this—attend functions, invite others to get together, volunteer, communicate with people (and not just electronically!).

Turn it Around

Our good God always has a good purpose for everything. Use your loneliness for good. Reach out to those who are also lonely. You’ll be able to empathize. Trust me—being an instrument to encourage another soul will dispel all feelings of loneliness!

For me, having time alone is a good thing since I am a writer and need that time to fulfill my God-given calling.

Stay Productive

—especially in regards to fulfilling your God-given purpose. When I am carrying out God’s will for my life I feel significant and all feelings of loneliness are dissipated. What productive things can you do with your alone time?

Make Right Choices

Don’t add to your loneliness by trying to fill that emptiness with things, food, drugs, entertainment, unhealthy relationships, etc. Now that is going to take major effort!

“The greatest challenge is to get over the initial hurdle. At such times [feeling lonely] one does not feel like… [doing the right thing]. But I find that when I take the step of faith to do what I know I should do, my feelings begin to change.”1

Stay Close to Your Redeemer

In so doing, you’ll be able to sense His presence more frequently and not feel alone. I have found my relationship with God to be my most effective defense against loneliness.

To summarize we can simply say:

Get your eyes off yourself!

Whatever the cause of your loneliness, if you employ these principles you may have occasional visits of loneliness, but you don’t have to live there!

 

1David Jeremiah Overcoming Loneliness p 107

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Ahhhhhhhhh! 8 Steps in Getting Relief from Our Burdens: Part 2

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We don’t have to live downtrodden; carrying such heavy loads. We have help. Last time I gave you 3 steps in relieving your burdens. Here are 5 more.

Step 4: Allow the Holy Spirit to enable you.

By cooperating with God, the Holy Spirit will not only teach you but enable you to bear your load.

In our backpack of burdens many of us have a burden that’s not only difficult to carry but one that constantly pricks us—just like the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Three times he begged God to remove this thorn, but God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9).

As a widow I have found that Jesus is not only enough—but MORE than enough. God’s power is sufficient for any and all burdens!

Step 5: Let others help you

God often sends people to relieve our burdens. There are many examples in Scripture (see the story of Moses in Ex 17, 18; Num 11)

We are not to do life alone. We need each other.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)**

Jesus is our example here as well. He asked others to pray for Him. He received help from others for His daily needs of food and shelter. It takes humility to ask for help. Imagine the second Person of the Godhead asking mere humans for help! If the God-Man asked for assistance, surely we too can admit our need.

Step 6: Bear your part

Understand that some burdens can be completely removed; others cannot. And some God chooses not to take away—like that thorn in the flesh. For those that aren’t removed, you will have to bear some of the load. But His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Mat 11:30). Remember He is empowering you to carry your part.

Step 7: Be Grateful

Although not explicitly stated in the Matthew 11:28-30 passage, an attitude of gratitude will greatly help lighten your load. Jesus was a thankful Person; it’s part of His character. Learn from His example. When you are heavy laden, praise and thank your Savior and He will lift your heavy spirit.

Step 8: Get specific

All burdens are not created equal! Exactly how to release a particular burden will depend upon its type. I obviously cannot cover all that here. But to get you on the right path:

  • Begin with prayer, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide you.
  • Find biblical passages that address the area in which you are struggling.
  • Meditate on them.
  • Share it with others in getting specific answers. At the very least they can pray with you and for you as you learn to release it to the Lord.

There is one burden I do want to cover—the biggest burden we all have—guilt. That’s for next time.

One last thing:

Don’t add to your burdens by following your own way.

When you’re in the yoke, totally submitted, Jesus will keep you from going astray. You won’t have the additional burden of figuring out the path ahead or the consequences of future mistakes. He knows the way and you can trust Him to do His part; to pull His weight (99.99999% of it!). That in itself is a tremendous relief!

 

*The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

**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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