Promises or Lies

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.

 

Freedom and Redemption from a Victim Spirit

For those that know me they may be surprised that I ever lived with a Victim Spirit.  Actually I was even surprised when I realized where I came from to where I am now in my walk with God.  For me it just shows how great the name of Jesus really is for redemption and freedom come and transformation happens.  Sometimes when we take a glimpse back we realize that we have been freed from more than we can imagine.  I was actually shocked as I made this realization tonight.  I was thinking I have never felt like a victim in my life, I have always faced things head on and never felt defeated.  Then there were these little flashes of things from my past and how I had responded to those things. It was like Holy Spirit giving me little snippets of things I said at various times in my life.

What those snippets revealed to me is that I have walked on a greater journey with Jesus then I could have ever imagined.  I realized that I had lived a huge part of my life with a Victim spirit without even realizing it.  What I realized is that the victim spirit can be very subtle at times and at other times it is a big loud mouth.  Sometimes it even likes to bring along friend such as a spirit of fear and worry.  Why it is no fun to have a party if you don’t have friends around, RIGHT!!!  It was rather shocking to realize how easily we can partner with a victim spirit.  It starts convincing us that we are just not getting any breaks in life, whether it is relationships, jobs, a place to live.  We begin to focus on everything that is going wrong, I am sick all the time, we don’t have enough money, these are just some of the ways it sneaks in.  Then fear and worry can come in to make it even worse.  You have trouble sleeping because you are worried about how you are going to pay the rent or buy food.  Or maybe it is, am I going to survive what this disease or illness that I was just diagnosed with.

You may be reading this and saying but that is not me.  I don’t have a victim spirit, well I hope that is true.  Like I said I was surprised when it was revealed to me tonight.  But  Holy Spirit revealed was that when we start to believe lies then we start to partner with those lies.  It starts out small and then it can morph into something even bigger.  For instance I grew up in a home with a mom that was not very close to me or my sister.  Her life was more important than spending time with her kids as they were growing up and I had to grow up at 13.  That was when my parents got divorced and my mom was out every night until all hours of the morning.  What I have come to realize is that in that moment when I had to step in and help raise my sister, I started to partner with a Victim spirit.  I believed that is just life and oh well you have to deal with it.  For years I would complain to others about how terrible my childhood was.  I would focus on all the wrongs that my mother did.  Fast forward to now and I have found forgiveness in my heart, and now I remember the times that were clouded when she was a good mother.  I get enjoyment telling her of those moments as she struggles with Alzheimer’s.

Then at 18 I got kicked out of the house and sided with the victim spirit again.  I did not deserve that, my Dad was just being mean and cruel.  I was being picked on for no reason, why do these things happen to me.  I am just unwanted and unloved, but oh I have this man in my life that makes me feel better.  But then the abuse starts and you again partner with the victim spirit.  You pity yourself because of the situation that you are in rather than looking at the good things going on all around you.  Oh you are homeless and living out of a car or a tent, well that was part of my life when I was 18 and 19.  Again I wanted everyone to have pity on me for what had happened to me.  But the real truth was that I was not a victim during those times.  Everything that happened to me was because of an action that I took.  In reality I was living out what my actions had resulted in.  Yes I made some terrible choices but when I was living in the moment and for years after that I did not associate it with terrible choices.  No I made comments like well I just can’t pick good men in my life.  Life is just to hard as an adult, why does everyone pick on me.  Why can’t I get a break.  I have the worse Mother in the world.

I think you can begin to see the picture, I wallowed in self-pity.  I would even cry out to God and ask why are these things happening to me.  What did I do to deserve this, nothing ever seems to work out.  Why won’t you allow me to have a child when people who are drug addicts and child abusers can?  Some of you may be having one of those moments where the realization is hitting, oh I have believed the same types of lies about myself.  But I can tell you there is hope and it is Jesus.  The name of Jesus is greater than any other name and there is no equal to the name of Jesus.  I started to partner with that victim spirit back in 2008 when I was told I had Hepatitis C.  Oh I wallowed in self pity, and then I convinced myself that I deserved it because of the sinful life I lived when I was 18 and 19.  I was ready to give up on life and to just stop fighting feeling like there was no use.  But now I can look back and see that at that moment I chose not to partner any longer with that victim spirit.  After a couple of days I stood strong and I started to all on the Lord.  The Lord walked with me on that journey and it brought freedom and self discovery in the process.  It brought happiness and hope in the middle of some tough times.  But I came to really know that Jesus is always with me and he never leaves me.  Really he is always there just waiting for us to call on him or to reach for him.  Jesus will always be there to meet us in the darkest most broken places of our lives.

I stopped feeling like there was no hope.  I stopped telling everyone how terrible my life had been.  I stopped focusing on everything that had gone wrong in my life and I started to focus on the things that had gone well.  Yes in my past I had many years of hard struggles that seemed unfair, but the truth was that in the middle of the hardest struggles good things were happening.  Now they are just faint memories and I don’t remember names or faces of some.  But I will never forget the loving Christian woman who took me shopping for clothes and some things for a home after I lost everything in a fire.  Some complete stranger spent a day showing me the love of Jesus.  Or the families that provided me work when I was living out of a car in Arkansas.  They gave me some work to make a few dollars and then fed me a meal and gave me a place to sleep for a couple of nights.  Again they were Christians that God placed in my path.  As I look back I see similar things all through my life.  I started to see that those memories were all clouded before by the lies I was believing from the Victim Spirit.

But when I stopped believing the lies all of a sudden I can remember all the good people who were in my life during some really difficult times.   I can look back and see how blessed I was even when I was far away from God.  The greatest things is that no matter how broken we are we are never to far away from God.  All we have to do is call out to Jesus.  Just that one name can bring redemption, and healing in your life.  It took me over 30 years to figure this one thing out.  For so long in my life I did not think God really cared about me.  Why did God allow these things to happen.  But I have been blessed with wisdom as I walk with Jesus now.  My eyes have been opened to the blindness that I walked in for so long.

You may be struggling with a victim spirit in your life, and you may not even realize it.  My prayer for you is that you find freedom in knowing that when you walk with Jesus you are not given a spirit of fear or of being a victim.  Rather we are given a spirit of a sound mind.  Yes a sound mind!!!!  As we discover the freedoms that come from Jesus peace and comfort begin to wash over us.  I did no special thing to find freedom.  In fact I had been walking around for the last couple of days thinking that I had no idea how to relate to someone who was living with a victim spirit.  But alas I was surprised to have it revealed to me tonight.  That just lets you know that true freedom comes from Jesus and when you walk in that freedom your old ways fall away to reveal the new you.  If you still are not sure just look for the friends of a victim, fear, worry, self-pity, sorrow.  But Jesus brings us hope, joy, love, peace.  What I have learned is that our actions can bring on circumstances that we have to deal with and live with, but we can get strength from Jesus to bring us through those things and to be stronger on the other side.

Lord I ask you to bless every reader with your peace, love, joy and hope in the midst of whatever they are going through. Jesus just bless them with someone who will walk into their lives and show them your love in some way.  I pray for the blinders to be removed so that they can have a clearer picture and shift their focus to the good things that are happening around them.  Jesus cover them in peace and comfort in knowing that you are with them no matter what they are going through.  Amen.

The Word of God is a Healing Salve

When you read God’s word and you start to apply it to your heart, your life, whatever you are facing it becomes a healing salve. God’s word is not just a temporary bandage that you apply to a wound. It is a healing salve that you apply over and over as needed.

The way I see it with a bandage you put it over the wound and you leave it alone until the wound heals. But a salve is something that you keep applying over and over as you watch that wound heal. When the salve is applied there are no scars for it has healed you from the inside out. God’s word is just that, you apply it to every situation in your life.

The application of God’s word to your life brings peace in a difficult situation, it is like a soothing melody of the goodness of God.  Things such as The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  This is something that brings peace and calmness into my life in times of trouble.  I see a picture in my mind of the Shepherd that is constantly protecting the sheep to keep them safe from all harm.  That is so comforting to me as it reminds me that God is watching over me, that I have a protector and comforter that sings to me to bring peace and calmness to my life.

You do not find the healing salve of God’s word; however; when you just read your bible and you don’t apply the truths to your life.  Or maybe you don’t even think of going to your bible in the middle of your struggle.  The world has no healing that is going to take away the pain, hurt, sadness, heart ache, etc.  What the world offers you only compounds what is ailing you.  But there is a remedy that can heal your heart, it offers hope for the hopeless.  It is a pain reliever for a broken soul, that can bring you joy in the middle of sorrow.

Take some time and write down those special versus that can bring you peace in times of trouble.  Then you can quickly apply the healing salve of God’s word to your heart and allow the healing to begin.

Surrender and Trust in God

We all have things that we are dealing with.  Some of those things are small and then some of them are large.  But those struggles can be a little easier when we just stop and take some simple steps.  I would like to say that I discovered these a couple of weeks ago, but the truth is that the bible points out time and again these are steps that we should be taking.

You say WHAT there are steps that can help in the struggles of life?  Yes there are steps that can bring peace and comfort in the middle of the struggle.  I am in the middle of a struggle to get guardianship of my Mother that has Alzheimer’s but I have had roadblock, after roadblock because of her boyfriend.  Just to understand he has been living with her for 15 years for free, so he is afraid he will lose a place to live.  So because of his fear he has not been willing to work with my sister and I on appointments that we needed our Mother to go to.

My Mother is at a point where she is very confused and does not understand things, so someone has to make appointments and take her to all of them.  It took 2 months before I was able to get her to a lawyer appointment, but I really just want you to understand some of the ongoing struggle.  Two weeks ago my husband so kindly called to talk to her boyfriend and to see if he had made a doctor appointment for her that we needed, so that we could go to court for Guardianship.  He said No, and she is not ready for that, and I am not going to do that to help you out.

When my husband got off the phone he looked at me and said he is not going to do anything to help you in this process.  I looked at my husband and said we need to pray.  He looked at me and said yes, like OK we will later on tonight.  I again looked at him and said we need to stop and pray.  My husband looks at me and said “Oh you mean now”.  I said yes NOW, God knows our hearts and God knows the situation.  This is something that we are unable to change, but God can change this situation.  I said this needs to be Gods will not our will, even though we want the best for my Mother.

At that moment we stopped everything we were doing and got down on our knees.  I prayed fervently and called out the truths of what God had shown me.  But I said I surrender this to you Lord and I trust that you will take care of everything.  I said Lord you know our hearts and I know you will do what is best in your plan for this situation.

The next day I was at a Youth Conference and the first speaker has a message about when Jesus walked on the water and Peter stepped out of the boat.  Now I have heard these verses discussed in many different ways, but that night it was different.  Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and that he would meet them on the other side.  Even though he was not in the boat he never said that he would not be with them.  Suddenly I had an aha moment.  You might say WHAT!!!   Jesus had told me to get in the boat on this journey with my Mother, and he said that he had laid my path to walk.  But he never said that it was all going to be easy, in fact the BIBLE says we will face trials and tribulations.  But that does not mean that Jesus is not walking with us and it surely does not mean that he won’t be on the other side of the lake.

The rest of the weekend and into the next week I kept thinking about these things and I would continue to talk to God and reaffirm that I trusted that God had this situation with my Mother taken care of.  Then less than 5 days later I get a message from my Mother’s boyfriend.  He is being driven by fear which I know is not of God, but I know God allows confusion just like what God did with the Egyptians when the Israelite’s were fleeing Egypt.  Suddenly he has made a doctor appointment for my Mother and he is desperate for me to go to court to get Guardianship for my Mother.  In fact he was telling me I needed to go to court as soon as possible.

The hardest thing for many of us to do is to stop and surrender what ever is going on in our life.  We want to help our kids find salvation, we want to see our families do better, the struggles of life are many.  But what if you stop struggling and stressing about those things, you start getting on your knees and surrendering them to God.  God knows your struggles, but if you are anything like me you want to fix things yourself.  It can seem really hard to just stop and surrender.   But I think that if we would all stop trying to fix things ourselves and instead we would get on our knees and surrender things to God we will see change.  Stop trying to make everything our will and instead ask God to interject his will into our struggles.  We may start to find peace and comfort.  We may start to find out that life is not as much of a struggle.  We may really discover what it means to rest in the Lord.

God That Makes The Impossible, Possible

We have a powerful and loving God that looks at us as his children.  Our God is the creator of all things and there is nothing that is impossible for his power.  For there is nothing that is more powerful than the one True God.  Just take a moment and think about the power to be able to speak creation into existence.  The song “So Will I” says our God that has no reference that was there before the beginning of time.  God that spoke and galaxies were formed, planets came into existence.  There is no one or anything else that has the power of creation, only our wonderful, amazing God.

The word of God never comes back null or void, God is always faithful and keeps his promises.  When we seek God and we hear his promises they will be returned but we must keep our faith and trust in God.  When God makes promises he does not say that we won’t hit rough spots along the way, but the word says that we keep our Faith and believe that God will be there at the end and in the middle.  In Matthew 14 is the story of Jesus walking on the water.  In this story Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and to go to the other side.  This are instructions, and with these instructions he does not say the sailing will be smooth, he just instructs them to get in the boat and go to the other side.  Does not Jesus do the same thing with us in our lives?  That is where faith steps in.  When Jesus sent them to the other side he implied he would meet them on the other side.  They had just seen Jesus feed the 5,000 with a few fish and some bread.  Yet doubt still stepped in when the seas were rough and they saw Jesus walking on the sea.

As I have gone through life there have been many times that I had to get in the boat and sail across the sea.  On those journeys some of them have been smooth sailing and others have been on rough seas.  However, when I have hoped on what God has told me and I keep my faith that he is good to his word and that all of his promises are AMEN, I have made it to the other side.  Jesus never tells us that things will always be rosy and uneventful on our journey through life.  But he does tell us to keep on our Faith in him.  When we keep our eyes on God then in the middle of the storm the path that seemed impossible suddenly becomes possible.  Suddenly there is a solution, a ram is provided for the sacrifice because you trusted God and his word just as God did for Abraham.

I have watched in my own life God turn the completely impossible that I could see no solution at hand.  But when I stopped trying to do it on my own.  When I stopped and humbled myself to the Lord God.  When I called out in my brokenness that I can’t do this but you can.  When I surrendered control over to the higher power of God.  Then light would begin to shine on the storm I was in.  The winds would calm, the seas would calm and I could see Jesus standing there taking control.  Reminding me that he never breaks his promises.  I have openly said to God I know you will provide a way and suddenly there was evidence that he was listening as I watched things change suddenly before my eyes.

Life is full of storms, trials and tribulations.  Some of them are small and some of them are enormous.  But this I know God can make things change that seem humanly impossible.  When we surrender our control, God will amaze you every time. Sometimes we look with expectation for a major change when we should be celebrating with thanks and reverence the small things that are happening, that will lead to the major change in our battle.  I speak of these things from experiencing first hand the ways that God has done this in my life.

I should not be amazed but every time I am.  I can see time after time that God has brought a solution and breakthrough.  But, first I had to surrender my battles to him.  I have had to learn to trust on the Lord, to go to his word that tells me he is faithful and he is always good to his promises.  Time and time again God shows his Glory, Love, and Grace as things change on this journey of life.

I watched in 2012 as I was looking for a job clear across the country and trying to sell my house.  I put my faith in God, and I prayed every day that he would make things happen.  Then on the day that I declare “I have Faith that you will provide a job and that you will sell my house”, I received a job offer and I received an offer on my house.  Yes it took 6 months instead of my 6 weeks but God was faithful along the way and I always kept my faith.  In 2015 when my husband and I said God we will go where ever you send us, we trust you and will go no questions asked.  Bam!  Suddenly my husband gets a job offer for a temporary job, that then turned to a permanent job.  When we said we will sell everything we have to follow you Lord.  God started to send people to our house and they would walk through the house and buy things as they went.

God is amazing and powerful, nothing is to great for God to handle even the craziness of the world.  Remember God is overseeing everything, even the governments of the world.  Maybe we should stop focusing on everything that is wrong with government and start praying for God to bring change and reform to our government.  When you are having struggles with that person at the office, or the family member, maybe you should ask God what he says about the situation.  Then hand over the control to the true authority and let God take care of things his way.

I just can never say enough about the goodness of God and his faithfulness.  I have seen over and over the impossible achieved and I am left with no explanation other than it was God at work.  Open your hearts and cast all your fear and worries at the feet of Jesus.  Let Jesus handle those issues, those struggles, relinquish control.  There are some things that are just flat-out humanly impossible to change, but God can always make changes.

Spiritual Battles

I came to a huge realization tonight that I know many struggle with.  I had been walking for the last 3 months feeling confident as I was advancing ground in one spiritual battle and was blind to the fact that I was losing ground on a different spiritual battle.  That is right we face spiritual battles every day, some of them are very small and easy to stand strong and win the battle.  Other spiritual battles are sneaky like guerrilla fighters in a battle somewhere in South America.

In the battle I was making headway, I was constantly in prayer and I kept repeating and declaring everything that God had told me about the situation.  Now this battle is very personal since it has to do with my Mother who has Alzheimer’s.  Every time I would face a new issue I would pull out my bible and journal.  I would start to pray and then hunt for the things that God had told me about her situation months ago.  I would continually make declarations as I went about my daily tasks.  Standing strong and celebrating my victories big or small.  But I had failed to realize that another struggle I was having was really a spiritual battle that was attacking from the flank.  I had left myself unprotected and vulnerable because I was so focused on the huge battle in regards to my Mother.

What was even more frustrating for me is that it was starting to become clear to me two weeks ago, but I did not dig further to ask Holy Spirit what lies I was believing about myself.  Oh that can be really scary at times to ask.  I went far enough to say yeah I was being attacked by the enemy, but now I am good.  Boy that was another lie, I was believing.  I let this go unchecked and my insecurities started to surface.  I was even to the point where I was questioning whether to stay involved with our Church Youth Group.  The first step is recognizing the spiritual attack, step two is taking action against the spiritual attack.  I had failed to take action other that saying yeah I was having a spiritual battle.

Let me elaborate a little more.  The back story is that I lived most of my life feeling very insecure in who I was.  I always believed that I did not belong, that I did not know how to talk to people, I did not have anything in common with people, that no one would or should like me.  I know it really sounds sad and pathetic.  These things all came from my parents saying I did not measure up, moving a lot in school and so never really making many friends, and not having Jesus in my life.  This is how I lived my life for most of my 50 plus years, these lies helped contribute to failed marriages and relationships.

But things started to change back in 2009 when I met my current husband.  He encouraged me and he saw things in me that I did not see.  Then as we grew in our walk with the Lord, I became more confident.  But the real breakthrough happened back in 2015 when we found our current church.  I started to step out in faith, even though I was uncomfortable and did not think I would fit in.  My confidence grew as I started to make friends with different people at the church.  I even would tell people how I found freedom from shyness and insecurities.  I walked in confidence and I found out that I belonged and I could relate to people.  But even though I walked in confidence I would still have battles every once in a while trying to convince me that I did not belong.  However, in 3 years I had held my ground always going to God when the attacks came.

Then just like that Holy Spirit says it is time to quit working so I can be there for my Mother.  Yes, I was obedient and quit trusting God in all things.  I walked with bold confidence as I found out that she was getting worse and pressed into God when I hit roadblocks.  When her legal affairs were no longer in order, I prayed and made declarations of Gods goodness and that Gods promises are always yes and amen.  Papa God is so good, and he will not forsake us.  When he makes promises to us he will always keep them.  We must learn to be patient and to hold on to our faith and the truth that is written in our bibles.  I know you think ok so you have it all together, but no I did not.

The stronger I was in the battle to get things setup for my Mother, to eventually move her to live with me, the more I became insecure believing that the students in our youth group would no longer need me.  I had lost my confidence with them, and I thought I had lost my connection with them.  The lies were coming at me non-stop.  Things such as you are not needed anymore, the students no longer want to be around you, you have nothing to offer the students.  I even skipped going to Winter Camp with them because I felt they would not need me.

Then last night at youth the truth hit me hard and furious.  Our wonderful Youth Pastor got up and spoke about how she had to battle with insecurities while at Winter Camp.  As I listened to her, it was like she was speaking directly to me.  I heard Holy Spirit saying that is right, you need to remember who you are.  You are a child of God, a beautiful and wonderful daughter.  You were created to breath new life and to plant seeds in the lives of these students.  You were created to show them love with no boundaries.  I suddenly realized that I had been so focused on other things happening that I had almost missed something that was just as important.  I realized that I needed to spend some quality time with God and break off agreements that I had made with the enemy.  I realized that I needed to start speaking life and truth into this part of my life as well.

Sometimes we can feel so confident because of how well we are handling one battle that we are blindsided that there is another battle happening at the same time.  For me it was my personal insecurities.  What battles might be going on in your own life that you have been blindsided about and unknowingly been agreeing with lies from the enemy?  I hope that this helps encourage others in those battles we all face day-to-day.