People the time is now for the church to take a stand. We are reminded in Ephesians to put on the whole armor of God. That is not for good looks, but so that we are truly prepared for the spiritual battle around us. We have Christ living in us as the Holy Spirit, the 3rd part of the trinity. We have been given the mind of christ through the Holy Spirit. Stop groveling in fear and stand up in the power that the Blood of Jesus has covered you in. We are not weak, No we are powerful and we are to walk with boldness. We are mighty warriors that have been equipped with the strongest defense, WE ARE FIGHTING from VICTORY. Jesus has already won the battle, and our enemy does not have power and authority over us. We are told to stand on the ROCK of Jesus, that is the truth of what Christ taught us so many years ago. Stand up my fellow soldiers, arm yourself, pray heaven on earth and go to battle. We have Christ Jesus leading the charge. Lock shoulder to shoulder and do not waiver. Stomp your feet and cry out the battle cry of Jesus. Rush at your enemy with bold confidence and watch the enemy cower in fear and defeat. Crush the enemy just as David crushed Goliath. We have a big and mighty God that is in full control. Jesus has the keys and nothing can take them away from him. Draw your swords and start speaking out the powerful and mighty words of Christ. It is time for us to start living in the full authority we have been given as Children of God.
I read the words “Be a prepared soldier” this morning as I was doing my bible reading and I can’t stop thinking about what this really means. In 1 Peter 4:1 It says that since Christ suffered in his flesh for us, now we also must be a prepared soldier, having the same mind-set, for whoever has died in his body is done with sin.
So I have been thinking about what does a prepared soldier look like. The first thing I thought of was, that they have armor on, so that they can be protected from attacks. They also need to know who the real enemy is so that they are not caught in friendly fire. Knowing where the war zone is makes a difference on how you battle. Also knowing who makes up your squad so that you have confidence when going into battle.
We are to also have the same mindset as Christ, which requires us to dig through the new testament to really discover what that means. In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John you get a really good picture of who Jesus was and the mindset he had at all times. Even when he was being attacked he stayed calm and peaceful. He spoke the truth of what God’s word says and spoke with authority. He did not accuse but spoke with authority, always calm in the midst of storms, trusting and having faith in the Father. Jesus would pray all the time, many times when he was exhausted from preaching and teaching his followers. But as you read he was always refreshed after he spent time with the Father.
We have been given the armor of God. In Ephesians 6:10-20 we are given some of the most powerful words that prepare us for battle. In the passion translation it says to be supernaturally infused with strength through your life union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.
Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.
Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace. In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One! Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies. And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword of the spoken Word of God.
We stand strong because we have Christ in us. By the power of Christ we stand victorious. When a soldier is prepared for battle knowing that you have a strong force with you gives you the confidence you need. We have Christ in us and so we have all of the strength that we need for the battle before us. It also means that we fight from a place of victory not from defeat. In fact it says that we will rise victorious. It also means that Jesus has provided us with authority over the principalities that come against us.
Then it continues to tell us to put on the complete set of armor that is provided for us. That the armor will protect you, as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser. It is obvious that it is very important to make sure we have our armor on, otherwise it would not be written in the bible so many times.
The next clue of what we are battling is important. For it says we are in hand-to-hand combat but not with human beings, rather with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. It tells us that they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. So knowing what the real enemy is lets us know the strategy that must be taken in this battle.
So we are to be prepared to do hand to hand combat, but not with our spouses, family, people around us. No! it says we battle with evil spirits and demon-gods. So we have to stop fighting with the people around us and start focusing our battles on the true enemy. When we shift our focus to the true enemy we will be victorious. The word of God tells us that and the word of God does not come back void. But we really need to have all of the armor on us not just some of the armor. Take authority over the principalities
That all means that the following pieces of armor are very important for us to be prepared soldiers. The belt of truth to strengthen you to stand in triumph. The body armor is God’s righteousness or as it says in the Passion translation Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. Your feet are wearing shoes of peace. Yes that is peace!!! Look at how Jesus walked in peace but he always spoke the truth no matter who he was talking to. Take up your shield of faith that can extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One. The shield of faith can extinguish all of those arrows.
Our salvation is the helmet that covers and protects our heads. This protects us from the thoughts and lies that the enemy uses trying to convince us that we are defeated. Take up the spirit sword of the spoken word of God. It is a double edged razor sharp sword. It can cut deep and when we speak the word of God it pierces the enemy to the heart.
Our battles happen all around us, so we must stand strong, and pray passionately in the spirit. Pray blessings upon the believers and pray for the revelation of God to be released to the non-believers as the seeds are planted.
Now you have some important keys to help you be prepared for the battle. But it also tells us in 1 Peter 4:1 it says to have the same mind set as Christ. That made me think about what the mind set of Christ was. Jesus was a humble servant that came to serve rather than to be served. Jesus was always showing grace and mercy to the down trodden. He had such a loving and passionate heart for the people that he was sharing the good news with. Jesus always spoke the truth and he was always in prayer, staying in a close and deep relationship with the Father. Jesus knew the Father’s heart just as we should know the Father’s heart. Jesus showed us in everything that he did what the Father’s heart is all about.
We win in the battles when we take our eyes off of the people and focus on the real enemy.
As we go through our day-to-day business we can many times take our eyes off of Jesus. We get so focused on work, family, social issues, health issues, the list is long. It is nothing to feel ashamed of, or frustrated about. What I have learned as I grow stronger in my walk with Christ, is the discovery of new ways to bring my focus back to where it belongs.
We can all face struggles and hardships that can seem so overwhelming, but in the middle of what seems the darkest place in your life there is hope, love and joy. I have learned this so well over the years and I am still learning. But as I take each day I have learned that they are always better when I take time to look up instead of focusing completely on the things that are coming at me.
When we focus on the things we hear on the news, social media, personal struggles, illness, etc. we can begin to lose focus on Jesus. Take time in the middle of your day, to just stop and thank God that you are alive, that you have a place to live, a job or anything else. Breathe deep and just look up at the beauty in the sky, ponder on how God makes clouds so that they float and don’t drop to the earth. Look at how the mountains and the trees stand tall to worship our Lord Jesus. We should be doing that as well. You will feel and see a difference as it takes you off of the things around you. It breaks through the lies that you may be believing.
I had a very interesting morning, just conversing with God, and pondering what walking with Christ looks like to me. I look back and I can see the progress that I have made over the years as I changed from the inside out. But I also realize that there is always constant growth and change that happens within us as we ponder the word of God. It never fails to amaze me as new things are highlighted to me each year as I read my bible. As I gain new insights from my local church Pastor to other teachings I listen to as I hunger to know my Heavenly Father so much more. But with that hunger is also a hunger to share what I know with others. My heart is for the world to come to know the Heavenly Father that I have come to know.
As I was reflecting this morning I recognized areas in my life that I had released offenses, but I also realized that I was still holding on to other offenses such as ones with my husband. At that moment it was like WOW I have been believing that I am good in this department, when I still have work to do in it. Holy Spirit was so kind as it was highlighted to me and I had a heart change in that moment. I found repentance in my heart and prayed for the offenses to be removed and given to Jesus and for a new profound love to replace it, that is new every day and just becomes more and more profound, just as the love of Christ for me.
As each of us grow in our walk with Christ, we should be releasing our old natures. So many times as humans we say oh “that is just the way I am”, “I can’t change”, or we just live by our emotions rather than by the Spirit leading us. But we are reminded in Ephesians 2:4-7 that we were dead because of our sin, but we were given life when Christ was raised from the dead, for we were raised from the dead along with Christ and seated with Christ in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. These are powerful words to me and they should be to you as well. When we live by our emotions and the flesh then we are still living in sin. We have been given new life and we are now seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. We walk by the leading of the Spirit over our Soul and Body. We no, longer should be walking by our Soul or Body leading us.
That is all part of the growing process as it says in 1 Peter 2:2 that we crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it we may grow up in our salvation. The key word is grow up in our salvation, that means that it is a continual process a weeding out of the old rotten weeds of anger, resentment, offenses, bitterness, unforgiveness, to name a few. In the word it says that God is the potter and we are the clay. Clay is shaped and molded into something beautiful. That is exactly what our Heavenly Father is doing with us as we grow spiritually. I call Jesus the roundup that destroys the weeds that are in me. Holy Spirit highlights them to me and I surrender them to Jesus. For yes they have to bow down to Jesus the name above all names.
It does not make us weak to release the ugliness of the world, of our old nature. NO! We are stronger, because we have Christ in us and that gives us the supernatural ability to be strong enough. To release our old nature and to become new in Christ Jesus. It does not happen over night, but it is a process that happens every day of our lives. But the first step is always coming into relationship with the Father. The next step is always allowing Holy Spirit to come in and point out the things that are causing you to fall short, the lies that you are believing about yourself and others. That process of pruning out the old to make way for the new healthy vines to grow is tough at times, and easy at other times.
What I am learning is that when we go through our toughest struggles is when we can discover the most about ourselves and grow exponentially. For me it allows me to dig deep and to become more self-aware of the areas I am falling short. I don’t get angry about it when I realize these things, no my heart wants to repent and I ask Papa to forgive me for the known and unknown agreements that I have made. I surrender it to Jesus who carried it to the cross. I then embrace the new or upgrade that happens in me. It is like I am cleansed from within as I release the old and allow the new to takes it rightful place.
I learn not to seek hope and joy from the world around me, or even the people around me, but instead from Heaven above. Yes think of the joy and hope knowing that I am already seated in the Heavenly realm with Jesus. Wow, that is something to celebrate. But that is not just for me but for you as well. God chose us and wants us. Remember he leaves the 99 for the 1. Father God is always trying to bring the one back into his loving arms.
In this walk with Christ we are always growing. We should not be staying the same, but we should be becoming mature in Christ. I was a child for so long because I did not grasp this and I failed to seek and to know Christ. But now I run as fast as I can to know more and to grow. I want to be the torch that carries the light of Christ to others. But that does not happen when we carry our old nature with us. If we continue to carry bitterness and hate, or to look down on others we miss the mark. Walking with Christ and being a torch requires growth and depth to who we are. It requires us to weed out the ugly and to replace it with the love of Christ. We learn to be merciful and to shower grace upon others. We become compassionate to the plight of our fellow-man, and love them and lift them up. We desire to serve others rather than to be served. We humble ourselves before God and before others.
To be a torch means that you are always seeking the Lord, you are always looking inside so that you can grow. The soil of your heart has to change, and to become fertile with the word of God. Having a heart that is filled with God’s love is what carries a torch. The light of Christ can put out the darkness on whatever it shines on. I want to be the torch to snuff out the darkness of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. My desire is to see revival come alive and for the light of Christ to shine on everyone. I want to see salvation come to billions across this world. Let’s all be the torch that we were created to be and not be afraid to walk in the light of Christ. Together we can illuminate the world with the Love and Light of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
Our beloved Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation. It is hard for our human minds to truly grasp the magnitude of the love Jesus had for us that he would be sacrificed so that you and I could gain freedom. That freedom was freely given by our beloved Jesus. At any moment Jesus could have called upon the angels and they would have rescued him, but no he kept his eyes focused on the freedom that his sacrifice would bring.
Jesus was a ransom that God paid to save us from the empty life that we inherit here on earth. The price that was paid for us was more valuable than anything of value here on earth. Things such as gold and silver can lose their value over time, but the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God never loses its value. God loves us so much that he chose Jesus to be the ransom long before the world began. Stop for a moment and think of what that really means.
Before creation had even happened God thought of you and I. God knew that we would fall away, but God had a plan to bring his beloved children back to him. The love that God has for us is so vast and immense that you could never fill a vessel with it. That love is greater than the universe.
Think of what Jesus went through so that we could have everlasting life. Jesus suffered mockery, ridicule and torture beyond imagine. Jesus lived that perfect, sinless life listening to Father God to guide him in all things. Jesus was the perfect, first-born, lamb that was led to the slaughter for all our sins. In those days you had to have a lamb that had no imperfections sacrificed during the Passover.
Our wonderful Lord Jesus had a crown of thorns crushed upon his head, drawing blood as the thorns dug into his head and brow. I can see the droplets of blood running into his eyes, but he endured on. He did not lash out in anger, as he was mocked by the guards. He did not take his eyes off the prize even after he was offered up as a sacrifice. It would have been so easy for him to say Father crush my enemies. But no, instead he remained quiet and endured for us.
Even after the mockery from the guards Jesus had to endure being lashed with a leather whip embedded with metal. Historians have recorded that many that were beaten this way never survived. But Jesus our Lord was not a common man and he endured keeping his eyes on us the beloved prize. If only you can imagine being whipped with something that would cut all the way to the bone. It was known to tear through the flesh, ripping a body, revealing internal organs. Yeah, that is what they used on our beloved Jesus. His body was cut and ripped apart by this terrible leather whip. Jesus did not have welts, no he literally was ripped open with every lash of the whip, having flesh tore from his body, cutting deep into his flesh and bone.
As if that was not enough, than Jesus was forced to carry the cross that he would die upon. Picture our Lord Jesus, beaten, bleeding and then struggling to carry that big heavy cross so that we would not have to. All the while he kept his eyes focused on the love he had for us. The love to bring us into salvation and freedom in our faith of knowing Jesus.
Did you know that Jesus was sacrificed on the same day that the Passover lambs were sacrificed? Back in those days the Priests extended the time for killing the lambs that were brought, so that it was from noon until twilight. These hours coincide with when Jesus was on the cross.
I hope that you can see just how much love Jesus and the Father have for us the beloved children. Even in his body that was destroyed he trusted the Father and knew that he had to finish the task at hand to bring freedom and life. The life that we receive when we believe and have faith in Jesus is greater than any life here on earth. The life of salvation is a gift that is freely given to us through grace and mercy that the Father poured down upon us.
What a love that Jesus had for every one of us. That is such a reckless and wild love that endured to win us back. We no longer have to live in the power of sin, for when we walk with Jesus sin loses its power over us. We are no longer enslaved under the power and authority of sin. The blood of Christ has washed us clean, making us righteous in the eyes of the Father.
Father God gave Moses the law but that could not save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. Yes, as humans we have a sinful nature. But God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Romans 8 reveals so much about Gods love for us.
As we are heading toward Palm Sunday and Easter just think about how strong Gods love is for us. Think about how much Jesus loves us that he suffered so that we could be free, that we could be healed. Take time to thank Jesus for the suffering he endured to bring you into the glorious gift of salvation, that was freely given. There is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation and we surely don’t deserve salvation, but Jesus has given us salvation through GRACE and MERCY.
Thank you Jesus for the love you have for us that you freely gave your life for us. The love you have for us is greater than anything we can ever imagine. It is an endless love that is never-ending. Jesus you are our hero.
There is a song out that I heard for the first time about a week ago. Ever since I heard it I keep thinking just how true the words are to the song. The song is titled “Fear is a Liar” and I have to agree. Fear tries to come at us like a big bully, it tries to frighten us, it can immobilize you, make you inactive. But the things that fear tells us are all lies. Fear is really just a big smoke screen of deception. That is right deception!
Fear can tell you that you are not good enough. But God says that you are good enough, you have been chosen. You have been made special and unique for you are Gods creation. God has adopted you as his own children (Romans 8:15). When you became a Christ follower God’s spirit joined with your spirit, and now you are children of God. When you know that you are good enough, you walk with your head high and you have confidence.
But fear wants to beat you down into nothingness so that you want to just give up. There are so many different lies that are driven by FEAR, and every one of them is not true. Girls all the time think they are not pretty enough, because they are comparing themselves to others. God made you beautiful, and special. You were given those eyes, that nose, hair that is straight or super curly. You get the idea each of us was created to be special. But fear knows that if we walk in that confidence than God wins and fear is defeated.
I think that fear is always looking for a new way to try to immobilize us. When we realize that what we have been hearing and agreeing with is a lie, then fear uses a new tactic. Sometimes fear will even try to lure you back into submission by reminding you that, you are used to feeling defeated so why not just come back and partner with it. Well God did give us a spirit of fear, NO! God gave us his spirit when we became Christ followers. Now you have authority over the spirit of fear. Fear only has power in your life when you allow it. Take back control over your life.
Fear wants you to be a slave that cowers under its rule. Fear wants to make you think that it is mightier and stronger than God. I say no for God is bigger and mightier than fear. God is the creator of all things. God knows you so well that he actually knows how many hairs are on your head. God wants you to walk in the authority that you were given. You were created to shine. To walk in confidence that you were chosen.
God chose you, it is never you that chooses God. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17) Is fear trying to tell you that no ones loves you, or that you don’t belong? Can’t you see, that is all just a lie. For you are always loved by God, and you do belong to God. Even the unbelievers and the broken are loved by God, for Jesus is always with you ready to meet you where ever you are.
For some fear takes control of their lives through anxiety, depression, shyness, or panic attacks. All of these things can cause you to avoid people. It causes you to isolate yourself from others. Some people have such a tremendous fear that they will not even leave their homes. My heart hurts for everyone that is struggling with fear in any of the many ways that it manifests itself.
But today I am partnering with God. I want to help others to be empowered to overcome the lies that fear has placed in their lives. For the majority of my life I was so shy that I would avoid people, I would avoid going to places that were crowded, and I really just isolated myself from having friends or much contact with others. I did not have any friends for they could not be trusted, or they would judge you. This affected me in relationships of all kinds.
But what I discovered a few years ago was completely different. God empowered me to step through the fear and all of a sudden I found freedom. You to can have that freedom. It is time to stop allowing fear to be the Warden of your prison. There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Jesus. Jesus has the keys to your prison cell and he wants to bring you into freedom that only comes through him.
When you allow Jesus to release you from the strangle hold of fear, you find that you have more confidence in yourself. You open up and discover that you have friends, that truly want to be around you and that love you. That is when you realize the smoke screen that fear was using to keep you a prisoner. Stand tall today and say no more. Call fear out for what it really is. Surrender your prison sentence to anxiety, depression, etc. to Jesus. Then stand and walk in the boldness of Christ Jesus. Allow Jesus to give you strength to overcome.
I was reading my bible last night in the book of Joshua and a couple of verses just stuck out to me, they kept me engaged in conversation with God and I am still pondering them this morning. When the promised land was being divided and the tribe of Manasseh was receiving their allotment it says that they were unable to occupy some towns because the Canaanites were determined to stay in that region. It also says that they asked Joshua to give them a couple of other cities because the Canaanites were to powerful and they had iron chariots. Joshua gave them two other cities as well but also told them that they were strong enough to crush the Canaanites.
I remember the promise that God made to the Israelites before they crossed the Jordan river. God promised them that no one would be able to stand against them for God was with them. God said I will not fail you or abandon you. Then again Joshua reminds them that they are strong enough to battle the Canaanites. Yet they failed to ever remove them from the land. I wonder what caused them to have a lack of courage and to doubt that they could take the land that they were given. So different from the way Caleb responded at 80 years old as he took the hill country where the descendants of Anak lived.
God gave them a promise of rich and abundant lands. Then they went to battle and destroyed 37 kings and conquered the land. They saw first hand that God was with them as long as they worshiped only the true God. Yet even after that promise from their provider and Father above, they failed to follow through. After everything that they witnessed in the wilderness, the crossing of the Jordan and then the battles that entailed. It made me wonder what caused them to lack faith and confidence or the courage to do what God had promised them. As I thought about this and talked to God about this I began to think about the promises that God has given all of us. That we are children of God, that he is our provider and protector. Yet many of us fall short in grasping and reaching for those promises. I even began to think about the promises that God has given me.
I began to realize that it really always comes down to who are you going to believe. The promises that God has made to you or the lies that cause fear and doubt. Are you going to cower in fear because you think that there is no way things can work out. It is alright to admit that we let fear control us at times it happens to the best of us. I have spent a good part of my life believing things that were not what God was saying. But I was weak and I was not weighing it against what God says. Even now as I am stronger in my walk and relationship with God fear can try to come in. But now I recognize it and stop it in its tracks. It is easier to stop the fear when it is small. For fear can morph and make it look like something is bigger than God, and we can begin to believe God is powerless. That is when anxiety and panic can set in.
GOD IS NOT POWERLESS AND NEVER WILL BE POWERLESS
When you are facing that giant in your life, stand tall and strong like David did against Goliath. Cast your stone at the giant and watch the giant fall when you declare who God is and how powerful God Almighty is. This is easier when you are in relationship with the Lord. Just like David even in his darkest moments he would tell the Lord how he felt and how overwhelmed he was but then he always finished declaring the goodness of God and what God would do. This is what happens when you are in relationship versus just having religion. You automatically go to the Father to see what he says about what you are facing. You look at the pit of despair and you say no my God is greater than that, God did not give me a spirit of fear.
When you are in relationship with Father God, then you listen to what he has to say. You ponder and apply his promises to your heart where he resides in you. The word is where you weigh the things that are on your heart to see if they align with God or with the enemy. But if you just listen to the lies of the enemy then you start to react like the Israelites and you think I can’t. We have a God that says you can in the face of the biggest or darkest struggles of your life.
I encourage you to take some time and get to know Father God and Lord Jesus. Ask them what the truth and promise is for today and for tomorrow. Remember when God is for you, who can be against you. There is no problem in this world that is too great for God. The things that each of us face in life are nothing to Father God. God is the great creator and he cares about every one of you. God cares about the things you are struggling with. We have a big, big God and he is more powerful than anything that we face. Call on the name above all names Jesus. Spend time in the word so you know who God really is and you know the truth of what God says about you.