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.
I am a Christian Warrior and you are to. Everyday of our lives is a battle, not with flesh and blood but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Yes we face a battlefield every day. Are you praying for a family member that is lost to God at the moment? Maybe you have a family member or a friend that is fighting a terrible illness the list can go on. Every time we pray we are battling in the spiritual realm for the people we care about. But we should also be fighting for the people who we don’t even know. Yes I know it is always easier to pray for someone you know or love, but we are called to fight for the weak, the lost, our governments and so much more. We all become guilty of focusing on ourselves or our families and friends so don’t beat yourself up.
This is a struggle that I believe all Christians face. Yes I know some amazing prayer warriors and I so want to be like them. Don’t get me wrong I spend time praying, but I always feel like I am coming up short. I don’t know if there are others that may feel the same way. When we pray it is not a competition, and we don’t have to make long elaborate prayers. There is just as much power in a simple prayer as a long drawn out prayer.
But I want to remind you that you are already prepared for this battle that comes at us daily. How do I know this, well remember that as a believer and follower of Christ you have Christ in you. Yes you have the DNA of God that is intertwined with your spirit. When we pray we are training for the battle at hand. You were created to be a strong and powerful force, and God has equipped us with the armor of God for the battles that we face.
What the Armor of God!! Yes in Ephesians 6:10-18 it talks about the whole Armor of God that we have at our disposal. I think that is awesome, for I picture myself as a Mighty Warrior prepared to go to battle and take on the enemy. The other great thing is that when we go to battle we are not alone. We always have Jesus and Heaven’s Armies ready to fight with us. Now I think that is AWESOME. Now the enemy we have to battle is the Devil and his goal in life is to kill, steal and destroy us. He is not really strong, but he likes to manipulate, twist the truth, try to make us believe lies about ourselves and our situations. Be strong and don’t allow the enemy to have the upper hand.
As the warrior of my home and family I am a gatekeeper that should always be ready and prepared. I need to have my Helmet of salvation on to protect my thoughts. I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so I am saved, I am made righteous and my sins are washed away by the blood of Christ. This helmet is strong and impenetrable, unless you allow the enemy to make a crack in your armor. Just as in any battle a foothold can suddenly turn into a major strong hold, so when you hear lies coming against you, stop them in their tracks with the truth of what God says about you. You are a son or daughter of God, you have been adopted into the Heavenly family. You are righteous because Jesus paid the ultimate price for your life. Stand your ground, by having a strong foundation in Christ Jesus. When you really know who Jesus is and you have a strong relationship with Jesus, you form a foundation that will stand the test of time.
Next you put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. If you don’t have all of the armor on, then you lack protection. The breastplate protects the heart and vital organs of any warrior. The belt was used by Roman Soldiers to help support the weight of the armor and to also hold it in place. This was a wide and mighty belt that they would wear. Then hold up your shield of Faith to stop the fiery arrows of the enemy. Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and now you are equipped. But that last key piece is pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
God has prepared us for battle and when God leads us into battle it is to win. Just as God did for the Israelites when they went into the promised land. When God is leading you it is to win not to lose. Now going into battle is not always easy, just look at the battles that King David had in the Old Testament. God never tells us that things are always going to be easy, but God has prepared us to handle the battles of life. How you handle the battles comes down to choices that you make. If you just give up then you have let yourself and others down, it was not God that let you down.
When I go to battle it should not only be for myself and my family though. We should all be battling for changes to happen. For salvation for the people who don’t know Jesus. For leaders of the countries to seek God in the decisions that they make. We should be fighting and praying for healings, and we should be spreading the Good News to advance the kingdom. When you battle don’t be afraid to ask for a blessing from God along the way. Look at Jacob he wrestled with God all night, but then before God left he asked for a blessing and received it. Be brave and don’t let fear stop you or hold you back. God has made you a brave and mighty warrior a force to be reckoned with. Remember Jesus has already won the battle. Stand strong my Mighty Christian Warriors.
Do you think that the Kingdom of God is something that you might see someday in Heaven? Let me share this amazing truth, when Jesus came to earth and was born as a Son of Man, he brought Heaven to Earth. The Kingdom of God is all around us. It is not small but instead it encompasses the Universe and beyond, for God holds everything in his hands.
Today at church I was reminded that in the gospels Jesus spoke of the importance of seeking the Kingdom of God 126 times. Now that shows me that it is something that Jesus felt we really needed to know about. We are reminded every time to seek the Kingdom of God first. How do you seek the Kingdom of God, you ask. You can start with praying and making declarations, get in Gods word and look for what God has to say. Remember that the name of Jesus is greater than anything that comes against it. Nothing can even conquer the name of Jesus. Jesus has all authority, and we can trust him on all things.
I began to think long and hard about what priorities are in my life. Am I letting fear and worry take control over my life, or maybe anxiety or depression is something that you may be struggling with. I started to think which kingdom am I seeking in the middle of my struggles as I go through the day. Am I seeking the Kingdom of God, or instead my own private Kingdom that is not very great. This made me delve even deeper into my thoughts on what I am doing. I realized as I listened to the message at church that when I allow worry or fear to overtake my life, I have given power to the lies that God does not know what my struggles are and God can’t help me. That was an eye opener for me.
I began to realize that the Kingdom of God should permeate all aspects of my life. When I heal the outside by shifting my focus it heals the inside. I began to think about the truths that the bible tells me about Papa God.
As I was thinking about these things, Holy Spirit reminded me that God was already working in my life. I was reminded of God telling me to cast all fear and worry at the feet of Jesus in a family situation I am dealing with. I had already experienced a change in my perspective when I had done just that. When I had shifted my focus on God the problems that I was facing were not as large. I had found myself speaking out how mighty and powerful our Lord is. The other thing I realized is that when I start speaking the truth of God, I tend to become loud, it is as if I want to make sure that the enemy hears the truth. But instead maybe it is that I want to really empower my spirit within, for I know that I begin to feel more confident and bolder.
My encouragement to all is to seek the Kingdom of God in all things, great or small. Thank him for breathing breath into your lungs, for the roof over your head, that you have another day on earth. The list can go on and on, but nothing is too small to take to God. When we seek the Kingdom of God, we discover the Glory of God all around us. We can look into the sky and see Gods Glory looking down on us. We begin to see Gods tender mercies around us. The fogginess in our lenses we are looking through changes and something new is revealed to us.
I don’t know about you, but my way is not better than Gods way. My way tends to have a lot of bumps and bruises that happen. I can begin to feel like the world is going to crash in around me. But with complete confidence I can say that when I shift my focus from what is happening to seeking the Kingdom of God, it all changes. No the problem is not resolved instantly, but I have faith and trust in the Lord Almighty that he is taking care of the situation. Yes I still have to be diligent in the things that I need to do, but I don’t have to be weighted down with a ton of bricks while I am doing it. When I have a change in my priority I have an internal shift as well.
My encouragement to everyone is to find time in your day to always seek the Kingdom of God. As you do this you will have joy in your heart, you will encounter the Glory of God around you, a peace will wash over you. I have found it to be life changing and I am praying that it will be life changing for you as well.
As I was looking at my bible reading plan for the last few days of 2017, I realized that it was going to re-reading the book of Revelation. I gave a big sigh and made a comment to my husband about how I get discouraged as I read the book of Revelation. But then I had a heart check as I started to think of how my reading of the other 65 books of the bible are easy and I look forward to them. I thought about everything that I have learned as I have read over and over different parts of the bible during the last two years and I have grown spiritually because of that. I quickly felt foolish for thinking that I would not gleam more about Jesus in Revelation as well.
Fast forward to this morning as I read the first 4 chapters of Revelation. I found myself re-reading verses and then talking to my husband about what they said. I was having one aha moment after another. So, then I decided to take it a step farther and I started to also read it in the Passion Translation. What is great about the Passion Translation is that you get some history behind each book before you read and then it goes in to explanation of the actual words that were used in the original scrolls. My heart started to come alive with a new hunger and thirst to discover more about my wonderful Jesus.
As I delved into all this reading I came to realize that Revelation does not mean death and destruction. It instead means UNVEILING, that just makes my heart sing. At the thought of Jesus unveiling more about his kingdom, who he really is and just what he has accomplished after he rose to be with God. Did you know that just in the first chapter there are at least three different references to God never-changing? We hear it over and over in Christian songs, but sometimes we fail to truly grasp the magnitude of these words: God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!!! That is right! How important for us to remember no matter what we are going through, God is unchanged, and God is still powerful.
In the first four chapters you read the various letters to the 7 churches, but even though those churches no longer exist, people still exist that are doing the same things. These letters are words that you need to apply to your heart and ask Holy Spirit to help you find the areas you need to change. They tell us of the wonderful gifts that Jesus has for us when we repent from the things that are not Godly. They show us a picture into how beautiful it really is in the throne room; just how powerful and mighty God is. It reminds us that we have been made children of God. That we were chosen, and that Jesus wants to give us so much more than we can imagine. True wealth does not mean money riches, but rather spiritual riches. I myself am not rich; however, I am rich beyond measure spiritually. God has opened my heart and revealed so much to me already, and I know there is more to come.
I have come to realize that Jesus is always chasing after us, he is waiting with his hand outstretched just asking us to grab a hold and follow him. Open up your hearts and minds so that you can discover this wonderful Jesus and the mighty Kingdom of Heaven. When you open your heart to follow Jesus just like the disciples did thousands of years ago, you will have your life transformed. Take the time to read the book of Revelation with your heart in a different place. When you read with expectation that God will reveal more to you, it will happen, the bible will come alive as it speaks to you and transforms your life.
I had a big revelation last night as I was heading to bed and getting ready to pray. I had unknowingly been believing lies of the enemy. What shocked me even more is that I have a strong faith and trust in God, but there were some areas of my life that I had been saying would not change. I know this was a game changer for me last night! What really got me was that I should have stopped believing the lies years ago. One thing that you should know is that I have experienced first hand what can happen when you believe God versus the enemy. That is why I was in disbelief when I had one of those aha moments yesterday.
Lie number one was that I have back problems and that they can never be corrected. I have been believing this lie since I was a teenager, let’s just say that was a long time ago. At 16 I was told that I had 13 vertebrae that were to close together and that the vertebrae’s in my neck were fusing together. Oh, and that there was a slight curve to my spine. I have struggled all my life with pain in my neck and in my upper back, going to Chiropractors to find some relief over the years. The pain can be so bad that it causes me to have migraine headaches. I would explain the pain as feeling like bone on bone rubbing together or someone squeezing your spine as hard as they could. Yesterday I was in severe pain and I was not finding comfort at all. I kept taking over the counter pain relievers such as Excedrin Migraine trying to help ease the discomfort. In fact, the first thing I told my husband yesterday is that nothing can be done for my back. I will always have problems with my back because this is what I was told as a teenager.
Lie number two was that I will always have migraines, and nothing can be done for them. As I mentioned above I get migraines a lot when my back is bothering me. Yesterday was no exception, as I woke up with back pain and a terrible migraine starting. Again, I told my husband that there was not much that could be done. I even said that I was concerned because over the last 2 weeks I have had a migraine every day. Now from my perspective I was speaking pain and discomfort over my life, and worse saying that nothing could be done.
Lie three was that nothing would help my sleeplessness. This is something I have struggled with over the last 4 years, either having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. I had watched God take sleeplessness away from my husband, but I was still speaking it over myself. Yesterday I caught myself saying I will not be able to sleep this week because we are not at home and the fan is to noisy. Some of you may be starting to realize that there are areas in your life that you have been believing lies as well.
Last night as I was preparing to go to bed I was starting to pray, and I had one of those Holy Spirit moments. I suddenly realized the lies that I have been speaking over myself. I was shocked and in disbelief, for I am always talking about speaking life into situations and the importance of not agreeing with what is happening to you. The Holy Spirit was reminding me of the fact that I was so thankful for baby Jesus and what that really represented, and it was like someone hit me and said do you realize what you just said and what you have been saying over yourself that goes against this. The number one truth is that no name is greater than the name of Jesus. That is right no name is greater, not back pain, not migraines, not sleeplessness, or allergies, just to name a few. The name of Jesus is mighty and powerful. Everything will someday bow to the name of Jesus. This stopped me in my tracks during my prayer time. I started to speak the truth of how powerful the name of Jesus is. Then I nailed to the cross the agreements that I had made known or unknown with these different aspects of my life. I started making declarations of what I know about Jesus. For I know that pain and sickness do not come from God, but rather they come from the enemy trying to steal some part of our lives away. Anything that can be a foothold of doubt. It is not a surprise but when I started speaking differently over myself on these things, suddenly last night I slept well, not terrible back pain today, and no migraine today. Instead I woke up rested and full of energy. I had a bounce in my step because now I know just as God has healed me in the past, God will also deliver me from backpain and realign my back. I will rest in Gods arms and the enemy can no longer steal the night from me. I refuse to own migraines as a part of who I am, instead I stand strong on the fact that I am a Child of God.
As we approach Christmas I am reminded of the forgiveness that we have been shown by our wonderful God through the birth of our Messiah Jesus Christ and the sacrifice of his life for our sins and salvation. That act of love, kindness and forgiveness can many times seem like something that is unfathomable for our human minds to wrap around. But the truth is that it did happen and as believers in Jesus Christ we receive that forgiveness, even when we mess up, we need to ask for it and to repent from the sin we committed. But because of the forgiveness that we have received, we are also told that we need to forgive others that have sinned against us. Oh, that can be such a big struggle as it is so easy to spin the pain, anger, hurt that has happened or been caused by someone out of control. It can morph into an uncontrollable anger, or you fall into a pit of despair as you wallow in self-pity about the wrong that has been done to you. You many even go to the point that you share the offense, or offenses that have happened to you with others seeking their thoughts to build upon your justification for the reason why you should be hurt, angry, offended, etc. for what someone has done or said to you.
But as we look at what the scripture tells us we see that we are to find forgiveness in our hearts. Let’s look at the Lords Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. As you see it says to pray for forgiveness of our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us; it does not just say forgive us of our sins. In fact, as you continue into Matthew 6:14 it says “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. I don’t know about you but those are some sobering words to think about and to apply to your heart. In Mark 11:25 it tells us that when we pray, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. It can seem like an impossible task to forgive someone that has hurt you or sinned against you in any way. But then think about the forgiveness we are given by our beloved Jesus, who was sacrificed so that we could be viewed as righteous.
I ask you what is forgiveness? Wikipedia says, intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense. Then I looked up the Greek word that is used in Matthew and it means to send away, omit lay aside, let go. My Vines bible dictionary says that it is a verb. It means to cancel debts. To me when a debt is cancelled you have a zero balance, so that means there is no offense, no sin, you just lay it down and give it to Jesus. It sounds easy enough, and that is what we are to do, but finding true forgiveness in our hearts can really be a struggle. Yes, some things are easier to forgive than others, but the scriptures say all sins against us, not just the ones that are easy to forgive and forget. As I read and pondered what forgiveness looks like it really made me start to look at my life and to allow Holy Spirit to guide me on a journey to uncover areas in my heart where unforgiveness was dwelling. I believe that forgiveness can be one of the hardest things to truly do. It can seem so easy to say, “I forgive you”, but how many times do we really mean it when those words come out of our mouth or are even a thought in our heads?
One of the things that I have come to realize on my journey with forgiveness is that it is really an intentional process. It is intentional because until you act nothing can be done. You must make the conscious decision that you are going to cleanse your heart of unforgiveness. Sometimes the unforgiveness can be so deeply rooted in our hearts that we don’t even realize it is there, because we have made justifications to feel the way we do, or to act a certain way toward someone because of things they have done or said. I have broken down the process I used on my journey, in the hope that it will help you. I had to work through 40 plus years of pain and hurt that had come from my mother and some other people in my life. As I walked this journey I found that every time something new happened, I had just added it to the list of things that they had done, I had a laundry list of hurt and pain that had happened over years of my life, from early childhood all the way into adulthood. This was a long process for me on some and short for others in my life. But the outcome has been wonderful. Trust me it is not always easy, and for me it did not happen overnight, but rather it was a 3-4-year struggle for one person in my life. I found that I had to keep going back and working through forgiveness, but it has changed me and made me a better person.
Find that quiet place where you can spend time with God. Then ask Holy Spirit to show you who you need to forgive. Write down the names that you get and if there is anything specific that has happened. There might only be one thing or there could be many things. As I went through this process for some it was short and simple, but for others I had a laundry list after years and years of things that had happened. Remember that this is a continual process that we should apply to our daily life.
It can take a while to figure out the what. For me I found that when I sat down and just started to write what was on my heart that had been pent up for years and years, I filled 6 pages. But then as I read those pages that I had written I was able to pick it apart and find the various ways that I needed to forgive and accept things as they were. Yes, as we forgive it does not necessarily change the other person, but it changes our heart. Forgiveness it really us voluntarily forgiving someone that does not necessarily deserve our forgiveness, just as Jesus has done for us.
I say to confess your sin because I have come to realize that when we hold unforgiveness in our hearts it really is a sin. As we go through the forgiveness process and we work on healing those places in our heart, we must ask for forgiveness from our Heavenly Father. The sins could be many such as unforgiveness, or judgement. Or maybe instead you have made agreements with lies such as shame and condemnation. Remember that the Lord does not condemn us, or bring shame upon us. This helps us to cleanse our hearts and move forward on this healing journey. What I found for myself is that I had to repeatedly go to God on this because I would forgive all things, but then the person I had forgiven would do something new and all the old pain would come crashing back in. For me it took 3-4 years to completely forgive my mother. But for others it may just be a one-time thing of talking to God about how and why you have felt the way you did for so long. The more you work on forgiveness and letting go of offenses the easier it becomes.
This can be the hardest part. Maybe that person is no longer alive, well by you going to God and confessing and talking to God about the problem and asking God to forgive you, this has taken care of the problem. But if the person is still alive it can be a good thing to reach out to them. For instance, I realized I had to ask my sister to forgive me for all the years that I had spoken poorly of her, judged her, etc. Sounds easy right? Well she is not a Christian and so when I asked her for forgiveness and I explained all the things I had felt over the years when various things had happened she said all is good. But 1 year later she threw it all back in my face saying that I hated her because of the things that I had confessed to her. When that happened, I did not get angry, but just explained that when I ask her to forgive me for the things I had thought, it did not mean that I hated her. My suggestion is to prepare your heart because whether they are a Christian or not; as well as their spiritual growth can make a difference on how they react to what you are telling them. I have found that for some things I just forgive people instantly and chose not to take offense to things they say or do. Not allowing offense to be a part of your life is part of forgiveness and it is also a part of showing grace.
As you walk in forgiveness you start to find freedom and you look at people differently. For me my heart has changed toward my Mother and so now I am able to care for her as she struggles with Alzheimer’s. But it has also helped me so that I choose not to take offense at things that are said and done. I take the time to think about not what they say or do, but what is there heart saying. We live in a broken and sinful world, but as we walk and grow spiritually it brings a new awareness to ourselves. From my perspective as I have learned to walk in forgiveness, I feel closer to God, and I have a peace in my heart instead of anger, and pain.
As I have been reading Romans I just felt a tugging on my heart to go deeper, so I felt that I needed to go deeper in Romans 1:16-17, which talks of God’s Good News.
Romans 1:16-17 NLT For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes – the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Have you really thought about the Good News that Paul is talking about in these verses? How great it is that by faith in Christ and believing that Jesus died to take our sin away and that Jesus was resurrected that you find freedom in salvation. This salvation is for everyone who believes, both Jew and Gentile. That is the greatest news of all.
It is through faith that a righteous person has life. We are made righteous in the eyes of God because as believers in Christ Jesus, we are washed clean and made righteous by the blood of Christ. This makes me want to shout from the rooftops because it is so great. It is not by our works that we are made righteous, it is by our belief and faith in Jesus.
Saving everyone who believes. Believes means accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of. So, do you accept as true and feel sure of the truth that Jesus was both a son of man and the son of God? Do you accept as true that Jesus was sacrificed on the cross to wash us clean as the ultimate sacrifice for mankind? Do you accept as true that Jesus was raised from the grave on the 3rd day? If you say yes to these than for sure you are a believer. If you say yes to only some of these you are a partial believer, but I recommend that you take time to read the book of Romans in the New Testament so that you can discover the truth of what God did for mankind through the sacrifice of his beloved son Jesus Christ.
When you believe, the next thing is to realize the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus was for mankind. Jesus did not die to save the righteous, but rather to save the unrighteous. Jesus was a sacrifice to bring salvation to those that are unrighteous, by making them righteous by the blood that Christ shed for you and me. None of us are perfect and we will never achieve salvation through our works, rather it is a gift of God. Salvation is nothing that we can earn, and we need to always remember that. I am not saying that good works should be avoided, but rather that our good works will not bring us salvation. It is only by believing in the blood of Christ washing us clean that we are made righteous and truly receive salvation.
Just as Romans 3:21-22 says But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
The key is placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
True for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. That is wonderful for Jesus meets each of us where we are in our brokenness to make us clean in the eyes of the Father. Because, of the blood of Christ washing us clean Father God sees us as righteous and our sin is washed away. That is not freedom to continue to sin, but it is freedom to repent and turn away from a sinful life. Remember that we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God has freely and graciously declared that we are righteous. God did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. (Romans 3:23-24)
I just think it is wonderful and amazing when you discover the love, grace and mercy that Father God has shown us. God has always wanted to bring us back to our first love, him! As you read the bible you begin to realize that God is always chasing and fighting to bring us back in right standing with him.
You call yourself a Christian, but are you really a Christian? In this current environment many people call themselves Christian, but you would not know it by their lifestyle. There are many individuals out there that say they are Christian, but they continue to live in the world, not repenting from their sinful lives, or seeking a relationship with Jesus Christ. Then there are individuals that may call themselves agnostic, or atheist, but if you really talk to them, they may believe parts of the bible but not all of it.
I hope to clear the waters on some of these various descriptions that people use to describe themselves when it comes to religion. I have come to learn these things by looking at my life and how Jesus has opened my eyes. I hear so many people say they are Christian, and I was one of them. They do not go to church very often, don’t read their bible, they are not in relationship with Jesus, still cuss, drink, and basically follow the ways of the world. For instance, I found Jesus at 19, but I went right back to following the ways of the world, occasionally, I would go to church, but found it boring or felt unwelcomed. I would pray or talk to God when things were not going well. Oh but then nothing when things were going well for me, I would stop praying. I did whatever I wanted not thinking about the consequences, to myself or others, I was more focused on myself then on others. I would have compassion at times for others, but not like I do now. This probably sounds like some of you and it is nothing to be ashamed of, it just lets you see that you might need to shift your focus, from yourself to Jesus.
What I have come to realize is that when you are living your life this way, you may be a Believer, but not a true Christian. You believe in God, you believe in Jesus, but you think you know what is in the bible, and who has time to read the bible to really know what is in it! You might go to church every Sunday, or just on special occasions, (Christmas, Easter) or you don’t even go to church because you have been offended, or you think they are a bunch of hypocrites. That was me, because every church I had been in after accepting Jesus in my life, judged me on what I wore, where I lived, etc. They did not accept me for who I was broken and lost looking for answers.
Then you have a life changing encounter with Jesus, that transforms your life. You start to find the time to read you bible and you discover you really did not know the truth that was in the bible. You start to discover that the bible has stories that pertain to things happening now just as much as in the past. You start to change without even realizing it, because Holy Spirit has been busy giving you a heart change. You understand that judgement is only for God, but it is ok to point out sin in a loving way, but there should not be judgement and condemnation; as Romans 8:1 tells us.
That every Christian is at a different place in their walk. Some are baby Christians, where others are farther along in their walk with Christ. You hold your head up proud that you are a Christian, and people around you can tell by your actions. You stop living in the world and focusing on yourself, and you start to shift your focus to others. There is a confidence in your walk, you talk of God in most of your conversations, you stop cussing and many stop drinking. But, we should not be worried about what other Christians are doing compared to us, our focus should be on ourselves and how God will look at us. We need to stop looking at the splinter in our fellow mans eye, and instead look at the log in our own eye; just as scripture says.
There are some out in the world that call themselves atheist or agnostic, but as I listen to some of them when asked questions, I think they are really just confused. For some that happens because of well-meaning Christians standing on a street corner condemning everyone, instead of spreading the love of Jesus and speaking from the heart of God. Some have never taken the time to read the bible to know what is really in it, and many of them believe in something spiritual but they can’t put a name to it.
I really encourage those that are not sure about God or Jesus to just take the time to read through the new testament to get to know the amazing and wonderful Jesus that I know. I think you will find it life changing, but then again who am I! I am just someone who loves Jesus and I want everyone in the world to know the love and sacrifice that Jesus made for all of mankind. Yes! For you and for me. Jesus loves the sinner for he is chasing after the lost sheep to bring them back into the sheep fold. Just remember that Jesus will leave the 99 to chase after the one lost sheep.
Are you someone that is super shy? I was one of those people, I was so shy that when I was in junior high and high school people thought I was stuck up. If someone would come up and talk to me then I would have slight conversation with them, but I would never approach someone. Especially if I did not know them well, and even then, I was unsure of myself. I was always afraid that I was going to say something they thought was stupid, that I would sound dumb. In fact, I was really convinced that no one would like me for who I was, so I spent a good part of my life trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. Let me tell you that never turned out very well. In the end I was the one that would get crushed and that would just push me into a greater fear. I was even my own worst enemy, believing things about myself that no one had ever spoken over me except for myself. There were lies that were in my head, and they plagued my life for 52 years. Those lies kept me a prisoner, afraid to be around people or to do things with others. I was just content in my little world of work and animals. The truth is that it was only in the last couple of years that I figured out that shyness is really a fear of man. Fear of what they will think, am I good enough, smart enough, funny, cute, the list goes on and on. I believed that no one would want to be around me, and this caused me problems in relationships and it kept me from having any close friends growing up.
Then back in 2015 God really was talking to me and was really encouraging me to step out and trust in him. We moved back to Tri Cities, Washington area, after moving away in 2012. When I moved back God got my husband and I into a really, great church. After about two weeks of us attending, I heard the Lord tell me ministry, and I was like what can I do in ministry. I am afraid to talk to people that I don’t know. So, when we went to church that Sunday my husband told me to go up and talk to someone to see if there was some way that I could be involved as a volunteer in Women’s ministry. I was so afraid that he had to literally take me by the hand and walk me up to someone to talk to. That was just the beginning, I ended up getting involved as a volunteer with a Ladies Brunch that they were going to do for Christmas, and I started to meet people, and suddenly I was not feeling as fearful around people. But the Lord was not done with me on this journey.
In December of that year I got hired at the church to work as an Admin. for the pastoral staff. As part of that I was going to be helping the youth pastor on Wednesday nights. Well that took me on a new journey, and I had to get past my fears of not fitting in, so that I could connect with the students. I would struggle for the whole year of 2016. As I went on a mission trip I kept hearing these lies in my head that I was not supposed to be going and that I did not matter, but on that journey, something great started to happen. I had someone tell me that God had given me the boldness of a Lion and that I did matter and that I was supposed to be on the trip. Suddenly, I started to see Lions up in the clouds, of course no one else saw them, but I saw them for a whole year. I even had one of the students in our youth group come up and give me a word that I was bold like a lion and was no longer like a tiger. Then she explained the difference between a lion and a tiger to me. Even though I was not sure about that boldness I kept walking in boldness and trusting the Lord along the way. Just let me say that when you trust God, you never get let down.
Now I walk in a wonderful freedom that I found on this journey, and that freedom only comes from the Lord Almighty. The first step is always the hardest, but after that they start to get easier. What I have found is that I matter, I am wanted, people like to be around me and that I have all kinds of friends. Now I look for the individuals that are sitting in the back corner hiding from everyone, so that I can call them into something greater as well. Oh, don’t think that I don’t get self-doubt that comes back to haunt me on occasion, but now I am quick to stop those lies and to speak out the truth of what God sees in me and says about me. I walk with my head up high, and I walk in a new-found boldness and authority that only comes from Jesus.
My encouragement to anyone that is walking that same road is to call on God, and trust him as you start to step out of the fear and into the light. Feel the weights fall off and you have a bounce in your step as you walk in new found freedom and you encounter new growth way beyond anything you could ever imagine. When you start to listen to the truth of the Lord, it brings you freedom. Freedom brings you so much more. Stop believing lies about yourself and ask God to help you take the first step. Ask God to give you strength and to take away the fear that is churning in your stomach. I know it can be hard and frightening, but the Lord can give you a boldness beyond anything you can imagine. Please believe me you start to see things through different lenses and you start to feel better about yourself.
Let’s talk about prayer, it is a subject that many don’t think about very much. Some people say that they pray on occasion, others will say that they pray more often. Trust me I am no expert when it comes to praying. A good prayer life can look many ways, there is not one clear cut approach; however, everyone should be spending at least a small amount of time praying. Prayer can be short or long, and it can be as simple as having a conversation with Father God, or on your knees pouring out your heart.
There is not a perfect way to pray, and there is no hard and fast rule about praying; however, you do need to pray to see breakthrough and change. Pour out your heart to the Father, he wants to know you. Spend time in prayer thorough out the day. For instance, when I wake up most days I thank God for giving me another day on earth, another day to be with friends and family, another day that I can share the love of Christ with others. Then as I go through my day, I will just talk with the Father; what does that look like, well I walk out the door and just see beauty in the sky. I throw my arms out and look up and thank God. I am driving, and I start to get frustrated with another driver, but conviction stops me, and I thank God for teaching me about patience and not to judge others. I change from complaining about the other driver to praying a blessing on that driver. For about 3 years I drove 87 miles one way to work, so I had a lot of time that I was in a vehicle. That became my quiet space, and the best God time I could have. I would pray and talk with the Lord about my struggles, dreams, any and everything that was going on with my life. The cool thing was, Father God was listening, and when I would be on my way home I would hear him talking to my heart through the songs that were playing on the radio. Just a side note I only listen to Christian music, as it is medicine for my Spirit. So, as you can see prayer can be elaborate and focused, or it can be a simple conversation with God. But you will find that when you start to spend more time with the Lord in prayer, changes will start to happen in your life. You begin to have a shift in your spirit and you start to see things through the Fathers eyes, instead of through yours.