We know that the world’s original harmony was wrecked by sin. Like a Molotov cocktail thrown into a backyard garden, sin exploded the world that God had made, fracturing and dividing it. Instead of wholeness, brokenness; instead of health, illness; instead of friendship with God, alienation; instead of peace, strife.
Because we live in this fallen world that is yet to be fully redeemed, we can only glimpse the fullness of God’s peace. Scripture tells us, however, about God’s original intentions for the world he made. Consider the Hebrew word shalom, which is often translated “peace” in English translations of the Bible. While such a translation is accurate, comparing the word peace to the word shalom is like comparing a twig to a log or a boy to a man. When we think of peace, we tend to think of an inner sense of calm or an absence of conflict.
When our lives become comfortable, we tend to gravitate to self if we do not stay alert. Alert – Do not gravitate to self. It is during these times that we begin to think about the success we are having is our own. We designed and orchestrated it by ourselves. All success is defined by God. He knew us before we were born. He designed our path leading to our destiny. We may be in control of how our success is playing out as any good manager does, however, our success is guided by our creator and not us. We reflect Christ through our behavior and actions. Our behavior and actions are our witness to the world.
We should become comfortable living wisely. If we do, we will know God’s Will for our lives and follow His path. Our motives should always be pure, which is not always easy in this time of focus on self, i.e., we live in a world of self-gratification. Satan is the author of self-gratification, and if we are not careful, we will be lulled into his camp. We begin to see our success as our success. We lose sight that we may have planned the course, but God controlled the steps that led to our success. John 3:30 puts it this way, He must increase [in prominence], but I must decrease. (AMP) He must become greater; I must become less. (NIV)
We gravitate to self and elevate self when we are successful. The opposite of this scripture occurs when we are deceived and lulled into a place of lust. We increase self and decrease Gods’ prominence in our lives. Proverbs 1 challenges us to think and act differently than the world. The world is enticing and without warning, you can be seduced. The evil one is cunning and knows what you lust after eager to provide it if it draws you away from God. I am speaking from experience. There was a time when the CEO of the company met with to discuss my future with the company. He shared that my future was bright if I followed my Vice Presidents instructions without question. As I listened, I immediately became suspicious. I was the school administrator of one of their schools. Shortly after the initial meeting with the CEO, the Vice President visited and told me to sign over a check to corporate that was intended for the school. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He wanted me to commit an act of fraud with a smile on my face, thus giving me access to a corporate career. I informed him that was not possible knowing I would be fired if I did not comply. Ephesians 4:14 says, people are cunning and crafty and create deceitful schemes. This was definitely one of those moments. This experience forced the question, do I become greater and relegate God to become less; or do I become less, and allow God to become more in my life? I decided that I’d rather lose the job and follow the Word of God being a good steward of the school than become a slave of the evil one bound by fraud and deceit.
Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches that we are to leave our former way of life, to put off the old self, which is corrupted by deceitful desires and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Through Bible Study and instruction, I knew that this was the evil one’s ploy to corrupt me and position me to become one of his slaves. I told the CEO I could not commit a crime to gain success. I was also emphatic that as a child of God, I knew it was not only illegal but one day I would find myself standing before God trying to explain why I allowed myself to fall into this trap of sin. I told the President of the Board what happened, and the Board fired the company and promoted me. Now do all stories end this way, no. Herein lies the challenge, should we learn the wisdom of God and apply it in our daily lives, regardless of the outcome of our actions, and live according to His word, or do we relinquish His power over our lives and live a worldly life? Do we rely on our (carnal) wisdom or Gods’ wisdom? 1 Corinthians 3:19, NLT is very clear, true wisdom comes from God.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness”.
Gods wisdom is the only true wisdom. Back to the subject matter – do not gravitate to self. Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs to give us an instruction manual about living life wisely and not falling prey or being lulled into a life that increases us and decreases our Father in Heaven. God is our sovereign, and there is no other like Him. Fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. He alone is the source of wisdom informing us how to live life wisely.
Part of this lesson was taken from the BSF lesson I recently committed– The Kingdom of Solomon, the remainder was God inspired. The take away is: Never gravitate to self, never think that your ability to plan makes you lord over your life. It is the Lord who directs our steps. Every plan we make should be held in humility before God and surrender it to His ultimate will for our life. Ask, and He will show you the things you do not know, Jeremiah 33:3. Live a Godly life, a wise life, give God all the Glory, and do not gravitate to self. Decrease so He can increase in your life.
DO NOT GRAVITATE TO SELF, DON’T BECOME A VICTIM OF THE EVIL ONE’S PRACTICES TO DECEPTION TO DISCONNECT YOU FROM YOUR LIFELINE. GOD IS YOUR LIFELINE. ~ Lisa Blair
Resources: BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, International Images: Google Images Scriptures: Biblegateway.com
We are empowered to demolish Strongholds! Take action and create the change we want to see through prayer.
~ LISA BLAIR
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 sounds as if it was written for times such as this, and why not, it is a living document and is always relevant. It is timeless and is not bound by Greenwich Mean Time. Our battle is ongoing and will end when Christ returns, until that time we must fight.
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor 10:4-5 NIV
Sam Storms (Commentary, Taking Everything Thought Captive For Christ, 2 Cor. 10:4-6) opens, “We live in an age of angry atheism; not simply a casual and indifferent disregard for the existence of God but a militant opposition to all things religious.”
These scriptural verses are packed with power. The key words of this study are ‘divine’ and ‘demolish.’
God gave us the power to demolish strongholds. This harkens back to Ephesians warning that we are in battle as long as we live on earth. Paul explained the battle in military terms identifying our power in terms of armor. We should not take this lightly. The novel, Tale of Cities expresses this as living in the best of times and the worst of times. Today, the best of times is governed by our advancements in technology, ecology, and medicine. The worst of times is governed by Satan’s stronghold on all things earthly, twisting truth, and redefining humanity to destroy the earth.
We are in the worst of times because there is militant opposition to all things religious, and the best of times because there is an increasing number of people becoming Christians. We, Christians, have been given the responsibility to militarize ourselves, to put on the armor and demolish the strongholds of the evil one. God has given us the power to DEMOLISH STRONGHOLDS. We have DIVINE POWER. My question is why are we not using the power God has given us? I belong to a global organization, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Every member throughout the world collectively studies the same lesson, gaining understanding, wisdom, and knowledge about the Books of the Bible. It is important to mention here because it demonstrates that we can come into one accord if we choose. Just imagine if all Christians throughout the world held a common prayer vigil until we broke the spine of the evil one. We have the one tool that can change the tide of destruction but cannot come into one accord to accomplish this mission, God’s work.
Today, let us engage people in our sphere of influence to pick up the Sword of the Spirit and go to work. Change begins with one person. If each of us asks one other person to pray for peace and the strength to stand against the winds of political upheaval, social media, and inhumanity, we can begin to affect the change. We can use our divine power to counter the militant opposition to all things religious and demolish their strongholds on our global society.
Previous Posts on Similar Topics, this site and YoungChristianWarriors.com:
Be Strong in the Lord, 9/19/17
Fear Cannot Overwhelm Us, 3/21/19
2.2. Billion Christians Strong, 1/14/19
Demolishing Strongholds, 9/28/18
Greater than Kryptonite, 2/13/18
Liberation through Action, 4/17/18
Looking Back, Satan’s Web of Deception, Self Abuse, 8/29/18
Satan’s Cycles Our Experiences, 9/7/18
The Dark Times, 4/27/18
Today We Proclaim Change, /29/18
Prayers Break Through the Second Heaven, 9/4/18
Images – YouVersion. Bible.com. Roger Cole; Google.com
Scriptures – Biblegateway.com
Resources – Sam Storms Enjoying God. Samstorms.com; Biblegateway.com
When we are weak and doubting, He is STRONG. ~ Lisa Blair
God is ever present in our lives, yet often we feel defeated and lost. Why? It seems we often attempt to travel unprepared to succeed. We enter the battleground without our armor. Rest in this meditation. Seek Him first.
The devil uses fear to hold us back, cripple, and paralyze us. I will not stand in fear any longer. The truth is stronger than fear. God is truth.~ LISA BLAIR
We never walk alone. As kids we had a favorite blankly or stuffed animal that gave us comfort in harrowing moments, even the boggy man backed down.
Today, as God’s children we have His hand to hold. We have the power to overcome all situations, circumstances, and consequences. Hold on to the Word. Hold on to Jesus. No trial is greater than God.
“When the resurrected Jesus appeared to the frightened disciples after His death, He greeted them, saying, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). Now He could give them, and us, a new understanding of resting in what He has done for us. As we do, we can find the awareness of a confidence far deeper than our ever-changing feelings. Jesus came to bring peace into our lives and our world.” ~ AMY BOUCHER PYE
God changes us by pruning away the dead sprouts and leaves.
~ LISA BLAIR
I heard a great sermon a few Sunday ago, it was food for thought. The sermon focused on “the God who never changes is always working to change us into His likeness.” What does that mean you may ask? Well, according to Pastor Steve Hage, when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we enter into a new relationship with our stuff, you know the secular things we cherish, our humanness prone to sin, and our ways of thinking and acting. Our salvation is the new beginning, but it is only the beginning. The things we brought with us must be removed. There was an innocence that was lost after the Fall. We regain that innocence when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. The Lord will continue to prune those parts of us that do not reflect His image. Generally, the pruning takes place in the valley of challenges where the devil can do his work under the veil of shadows and darkness. Most of us think and have been taught that darkness is the absence of light, not so in this context. Darkness is the absence of the knowledge of God and our inability to stand on His Word.
For many Christians the absence is not the void of not knowing, it is the process of not applying what we know, it is doubting instead of standing in faith. The truth is, mountain top experiences do not cause us to evaluate how we reached the mountain top. It is sunny, bright and warm. It is not until we find ourselves spiraling down, and in some cases landing in the muck and the mire of the cavern before we begin to question what is happening to us. Why do we spiral down, at times it is of no fault of our own, or we may have made mistakes (man-made errors), and still other times, Satan asks God for His permission to sift each of us. In Job 1:9-11, God gave Satan permission to sift Job. In Luke 22:31 Jesus was reported to having said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat.” Satan asked God’s permission to sift Job and Peter, and he asks God to give him the authority to examine you and me as well.
God allows us to be sifted to prune away disobedience, sin, selfishness, pride, anger and self- righteousness to name a few of our human traits. He gave us free-will to make our own decisions but will use them to exert His will over our lives. The Providence of God means He wisely directs and permits all that happens in His creation. “God does not override our will, but He does direct circumstances to accomplish His will.” (BSF lesson 23, People of the Promised Land).
“We can trust God’s good purposes even when we do not understand what He is doing. Living by faith gives God’s children joy and brings Him glory. We must trust Him to show us all we need to know. Only God knows His infinite purposes for everything that happens. God leads his children by His Word and His Spirit and other good gifts-our parents, natural abilities and good desires. “We do not need to look for signs to know what to do. Knowing our heavenly Father is in control is more than enough for us.”
Our Father never changes, but He works to change us into His likeness. This process is most evident when we topple from the mountain top into the valley, or on our way back up to the mountain top. Like Peter, God has a plan for our lives. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always part of His plan for our lives.
Washing others feet is an act of intentionality. Why did Christ wash others feet? He did so to teach us humility.
~ Lisa Blair
The story about Christ washing feet is a parable. Washing feet is metaphoric. Christ was demonstrating how to humble ourselves in service to others. This story illustrates a spiritual lesson – we should always behave in a spirit of humility, loving others, and becoming like Christ.
There was a time when I thought serving others was bending low. [I was self-righteous before I was born again.] I learned that Christ was not literally asking us to wash feet [though we can, and some ministries do], He was referencing our behavior towards others. We are to treat everyone like Christ treats us, friend and foe. We are to operate out of love, not carnal self-indignation which is a sin. It is not our place to condemn others. It is our place to love them and acknowledge that God judges, not us. So many of us, including me, jump to judgment, especially during these times, and want to wish our leaders and others into the cornfield. There is an old adage, ‘hate the behavior, not the person’. I believe that this is a lesson many are struggling with today. It is easy to condemn, though Christ did not condemn us because of our sins. He died on the cross for us because He loves us. We must practice caution to walk with Christ. This means we must deliberately change our carnal habits to live our lives employing the Fruit of the Spirit, our suite of traits to love others, to be at peace, to be patient and tolerant, to be kind, to exude goodness, to be gentle, to be faithful, and maintain self-control. We must learn to maintain the stance of being humble in all things, to attain inward purity. It is not the action that is important, it is the intent of our action that is important. Our actions will not deliver us to heaven.
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:9 NLT
I am a Christian, a retired teacher, a mother and a grandmother. I love to read and I love the Lord Jesus Christ! Unless otherwise specified ,all visual illustrations are from the YOU VERSION APP of the Bible.