CONQUERING EVIL By DOING GOOD, Part 1

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Conquering Evil

Evil times are times when the worst of mankind surfaces. It is also a time when the Principality War is most visible. My last two posts shared thoughts about the present evil time, and how faith is our anchor. Today we’ll focus more in-depth on conquering evil by doing good. We are Gods army; we are the ‘ Resistance.’ It is our responsibility to resist the enemy in the time of evil. (Eph 6:13)

The word ‘conquer’ means, to overcome by force. In our case, overcoming by physical force is not possible. The Principality War is between God and Satan. The war exists in the second heaven and is played out on earth. If we are to be victorious and conquerors, we must use the weapons the Lord gave us that are described in Ephesians. Each part of the armor represents a component of our weaponry and is based in prayer.  Paul tells the Ephesians to put on the armor and explains that they must be dressed to stand against the devil’s schemes. He also shared that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (See my post about the Heavenlies.) 

Paul described the armor as Roman military uniforms. The importance of wearing the armor is still applicable today. The war is raging, and we need to dress in the appropriate attire to protect ourselves, stand, and fight in God’s army.

“13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

There are six elements that compose our armor. Each element has its attribute though they must be worn together. Failure to wear each piece leaves us exposed to the wiles of Satan and the onslaught of his demons.

Parts of the Armor Definition of Attributes
Breastplate The breastplate represents Christ’s Righteousness/Purity. It protects us from Satan’s accusations and charges. The enemy attacks through sin, and the temptation of the flesh. The breastplate protects our heart, through which spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23; Romans 3:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9)
Belt The belt is the Gospel of Peace. The belt holds everything together. It is our commitment to the truth. It refers to the truths of the Scripture, as opposed to the lies of Satan. It is the foundation of our integrity and honesty. If we don’t have integrity, we will lose the battle. (John 8:44; John 8:32)
Shoes/Sandals Sandals are the believer’s tranquility/solid footing of peace. Satan tries to place obstacles in our path. Jesus provides strength and discipline to our walk. (1 John 2:6; John 10:27)
Shield The shield is our Faith/Certainty in God’s Word/Truth. The shield combats doubt, thrown as fiery darts. Faith is a gift from God that dwells in us. (Ephesians 6:16; 2 Timothy 3:12; Romans12:3; Galatians 2:20; 2 Timothy 4:7) Use the shield of faith to turn aside everything Satan and his demons hurl at you.
Helmet The helmet is our salvation. It is being saved which protects our thought and mind from attacks. When we are sure of our salvation, we will not be moved by Satan’s deception. Our salvation is knowing that our sins are forgiven and gives us peace when the accusations of unforgiveness are hurled. (1 John 1:9; 1 John 5:11, 12)
Sword The sword is the Word of God we use when we are being tempted by Satan and his attacks. The sword is the only offensive weapon. The sword protects us and destroys the enemy and his temptations. (Hebrews 4:12; John 17:17; Psalm 119:105)

Each morning when we take out our outfit for the day, we must also take out our armor. Paul commands us to:

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:14-17 NKJV

Prayer is the thread that stitches the armor together.  So, while prayer is not part of the armor, it is the thread that holds it together.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18 NKJV

 READ, Conquering Evil by Doing Good, Part 2, tomorrow

Re-Blog – https://wp.me/p98Coa-DL
Scripture – Bible.com/YouVerison,Images – YouVersion, Google Images
Resources/References – Armor of God-WHat It Is and How to Use It. Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com; Armor of God. What Is It? Bibleinfo.com

When You Know Your Prayers are Getting Through

Your world was calm and settled, you’re an effectual, fervent prayer warrior, all is good and then chaos breaks out in your life. This is an indication that your prayers are getting through! Praying is not for the faint of heart. It is a battlefield.

When we pray, our prayers rise through the heavens to reach God’s ears. When He hears our prayers, He sends down blessings. Praying is warfare and in the case of Daniel, blessings were held up in the second heaven while Michael the Archangel fought the demons that were holding back blessings headed to earth.

“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3 NKJV

The second heaven can be considered Satan’s headquarters. From this position he and his fallen angels do everything they can to bring destruction on the earth and resist the purposes of God’s grace, blessings, and mercy.

Yes, heavens plural, there are three heavens. The first is the visible heaven, it is our Blessingsatmosphere, the second heaven is the evil ones’ headquarters, and the third heaven is where God lives. (Derek Prince, pp 128)

The sole purpose of the evil one is to kill, steal and destroy. If prayers are breaking through the heavens and people are being blessed, the evil one in an uproar. We (prayer warriors) become the enemy. Satan doesn’t focus on his followers, those who live a worldly life, he focuses on God’s people, those working to advance the kingdom of God.

Satan is 100% pure evil, and he has a plan to destroy our lives. Satan is our enemy, like it or not. The battle is between good and evil, and we are the prize. Satan desires to keep us from all that God wants for us. He is the enemy of all people, followers of Christ or not.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10 NKJV

As our prayers are being answered, he goes on the offensive and stirs up the atmosphere around us. He manipulates circumstances and situations against us. He may cause friction, chaos, loss, and illness, anything that can deter us from our mission. This is deception, he causes us to use our energy to address the things he created around us to dilute and weaken our impact as Prayer Warriors by disrupting our persistent prayer time.

It is our responsibility to learn to discern the battleground and figure out our strategy to succeed. Do we give up our time in prayer with the Lord to address the chaos the evil one created around us, or do we get up earlier, use our lunch time and go to bed a little later to maintain our prayer time? We have to learn to distinguish with our spiritual ears and eyes what is moving around us. “Discernment for the believer is seeing and understanding as God sees and understands. It is the ability to make godly judgments and right appraisals.” (Charles Stanley, pp 53)

When the world turns upside down, take time to discern what is happening and how you will approach it. Do not allow the evil one to dissuade you from your prayer time. We cannot afford to be deceived and sidelined. Our prayers matter and people lives are affected by our praying. Each of our prayers is requesting blessings and resolve to life’s situations and circumstances. The failure to pray for others and you leaves everyone prey to the evil ones’ plan for our lives, to remain slaves to him and the world.

Do not be deceived, always look through your spiritual lens and cast the evil ones’ efforts as far as the east is from the west, Psalm 103:12. Stay focused on your prayers until you see the blessings manifest. They may manifest in a recognizable way, or may take another form as God sees fit to advance you into the kingdom. Our prayers may be answered right away, sometime in the future, or not at all, but every prayer has impact and outcomes. We may see some answers to prayers and may not see others. It is all dependent upon how God sees fit to include us in the blessings.

The most important thing is to never stop praying until God leads you to do so. Just make certain you can discern who you are listening to. See my earlier Post, The Voice of God.

Resources

Books
Prince, Derek. Secrets of a Prayer Warrior
Stanley, Charles. When the Enemy Strikes

Website-Blog

Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice

Images – Google Images
Scriptures-Biblegateway.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

 

Naked Without the Armor

The Bible offers everything we need to be active Christian Warriors. It gives us spiritual authority and is our manual for living a Godly life. While in prayer this morning, something came to light. Many of us may read parts of the Bible from time to time, But we do not study what we have read. We understand what we read intellectually, but there is so much more. To understand the spiritual intent, we have to study what was read. When reading Ephesians 6:10-18, we understand we should clothe ourselves in the armor, but do not necessarily understand why we should do so, or what each piece represents. This Post will explain the what and the why. The most important point is that we are naked and vulnerable without the armor. As the adage says, ‘don’t leave home without it.’

In reading the Book of Ephesians, particularly chapter 6, we see Paul wrote to Ephesus alerting them that the enemy is always near and ready to attack. In Ephesians 6: 12, 13 NASB, he warned:

” our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”Armor2

There is no question that our struggle continues to be a war against the rulers of darkness. We can see it in our daily lives, on the news, and social media. The evil forces are in play, we see violence and hate in every aspect of life. We are in the midst of an invisible war, one that works through people. We struggle with uncertainty, fears, and doubts. Scripture makes it clear that much of our self-doubt, our difficulty in keeping healthy relationships, and many of our fears are rooted in the efforts of those same ‘spiritual forces of evil’ that plagued the Ephesians. Paul warned that we cannot be passive Christians. We cannot use the term ‘Christians’ without acting Christ-like. Christians have to exude Christ-like behavior through our actions. We must actively change our position and become Christian Warriors because we live in a time of full engagement against the evil forces of darkness. The evil one is present and works through people, he will not back down and neither can we. We are in the war, like it or not, there are no deferments. God calls for peace, and the evil one calls for chaos in all that we do. We cannot go quietly in the night, we have to rage against the evil forces that try to debilitate, paralyze and destroy us.

‘The evil one continually tries to infect us through our wounds inflicted by sinful words and actions that warp and twist our self-image’. He tells us we are unlovable, useless, hopeless, frail, weak, not good enough, and failures. He intentionally places difficulties, trouble, and chaos in our paths. He tries to destroy our inner peace and distort our harmony that should exist in our relationships with others and our surroundings.

Always be alert. It is important to recognize that we are prey to the evil forces of darkness and as in other parts of our daily living, must protect ourselves, and put on the Amor of God. The Armor of God is our invisible clothing Each morning when dressing for the day, putting on our visible clothing, is the perfect time to also put on our invisible clothing. In fact, we should begin the day with prayer and put on the Armor before getting out of bed.

The Armor

The Helmet of Salvation covers your head, mind, and eyes. 

The helmet is our invisible filter and keeps evil out of our mind. It helps our focus on the Lords will and not on sin. It helps ward off and reject harmful words and actions directed at us by others. It protects us from evil. It deflects hurtful things people say and do to us. It protects us while we live out our ‘true identity in Christ’.

The Breastplate of Righteousness protects your heart.

Righteousness is the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit that lives in us; it is a gift from God, and cannot be earned. Righteousness is much like a filter that strains out unGodly things and reinforces our desire, to be honest, trustworthy, kind, good-hearted, loving, and joyful. (Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23). It guards our mind and emotions.

The Belt of Truth holds us together. 

It keeps all the armor in place. It is like a belt or a girdle-like support strap. It supports our core. It helps keep our heart and mind focused on Christ. Without the belt of truth, we are not prepared to stand and fight. The belt represents living a life of honesty and integrity. It supports our total commitment and devotion to God Almighty.

The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace (the Good News) weaponry covers our feet.

Everywhere we walk, we walk in peace. Our footwear keeps us from hurting our feet. The gospel of peace is the Word of God that we share with others as we walk in His Word. Without the Gospel of Peace, we are barefoot and cannot walk without fear. The footwear brings ‘inner and interpersonal peace when we commit to living by God’s Word, which means forgiving those who may have harmed us.

The Shield of Faith protects us from the weaponry of the enemy. 

God gave is faith to protect ourselves from the things we cannot see and may not understand. It enables us to advance, despite adverse circumstance.

The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  

Gives us boldness to reject and attack misinformation. We can use it to defend ourselves from things we may or may not know are wrong. The sword cuts through everything the enemy can send our way. It is the only defensive weapon we have. Everything else wards off the offensives of the evil one. The sword is the way, the truth, and the light. It is the Word of God. This sword is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise. When wielded by us, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core and uncover the truth.

We are naked when we do not wear the Armor of God. Never go out without it. We put on a coat to protect us from the cold and our armor to protect us from the evil one.

Faith, Hope, Love, Dependency, and Obedience Synopsis

Finally, our March theme is affirmed by this Post. To be Christian Warriors we must have faith, hope, and love. When we are in a relationship with a loved one, we have faith in them, love them, are in a dependent relationship with them and are obedient to the values and intent of the relationship. Putting on the Armor of God is a faith move by which we are dependent upon the fact that it works to protect us. We are obedient in that we put the Armor on every day. We have hope that our armor will hold up and invite others to live as Christian Warriors, and for non-Christians, to receive the Lord’s salvation and join our family. Love, the most important of these, operates in faith and dependence upon the Word of God and his relationship with us.

Sources

Books:
The Full Armor of God, Larry Richards
Waging Prophetic War, Jennifer Claire

Websites:
The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. Bible.org, Mar. 3, 2018
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Freebiblestudyguides.org, Mar. 3, 2018
Helping Children Put On Their Armor Through Prayer, Lisa Blair, Youngchristianwarriors.com

Images – Google Images
Scripture-Biblegateway.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

Blessing + Instructions = Fulfillment of Gods Promise

 

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

I know without question, God unconditionally loves us. Remember Summer Bible Camp singing, ‘Jesus Loves Me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…’, what I didn’t know as a child was, God always blesses us, but wants it to be an interactive experience, hence the blessing is accompanied by ‘instructions for proper use’.

Most of the time, we receive the blessing, forge ahead and later ask, why is the blessing less than I expected? We see the blessing in its fullest. We acknowledge the blessing. We do not follow the instructions associated with the blessing.

If we unpack the scripture, we read:

  1. We are called to be free.
  2. We should not indulge our freedom in the flesh.
  3. We should humble ourselves.
  4. We should serve one another in love.

 

The Instructions Mean:

1. We know we are called to be free and received Jesus as our Lord and Savior on our own recognizance, we were not forced to ‘saved’, it was our own passion to desire more of God,  we chose to be saved. We think this gives us a license that emboldens us. Spiritually we are emboldened and equate it to its root, to encourage. In the flesh we are not emboldened, we translate the term as, empowered, generated by self-endowed, blazon, and self-righteous attitudes.

2. We know we should not indulge in our freedom through self-indulgence, yet becoming emboldened we forget it is not our own doing, but a gift from God, and is intended to be used to serve others, not ourselves.

3. We know we should be humble, but instead, we insert ourselves as the subject of the equation. This means we omit our Lord as the subject, rather giving ourselves the credit. Being humble takes practice and requires honesty to give credit where it is due.

4. We know we should serve one another in Love. Loving our neighbor and treating them as we treat ourselves in the Great Commandment, Jesus said, “this I leave you…”

These four steps will maximize our blessing. Yet being human, we get caught up in our own aggrandizement and forge ahead without using the instructions. How many of us have bought something and when it arrived we unpacked it, separate the parts and began putting the item together only to find that we should have read the instructions? Prayer is much the same, we can receive the prayer without applying the instructions and receive part of what God intended, or we can gratefully receive the blessing, thank God for answering our prayer, and follow his instructions to fulfill the blessing as intended.

Our problem is that we are not selfless people as God desires, we are self-absorbed people. We tend to follow the instructions but seldom through to the end. As we mature in the Word through our actions and deeds the instructions become involuntary and becomes one with us. We are free, but should not indulge the flesh, and should always be humble and loving.

Big order, but one we should work to strengthen and apply throughout the day because we will never meet perfection on earth, but we can continue to strive to be ‘on the way’.

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One practice in learning to pray is to strengthen our understanding and application by memorizing scripture.

I’ve included a few, but do not stop here, search the Bible for other scriptures to help you mature in the Word. I view this process as a lifelong commitment.

Scriptures

“We love because [God] first loved us.” John 4:1

“Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  John 4:11-12

“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we are dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4

 

 

 

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-Bible.com; BibleStudyTools.com

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Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice

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My refrigerator has a water filter symbol that changes color to let me know it’s time to change the water filter. Its purpose is to remove toxins and purify our drinking water. As I ventured to the garage to get the replacement filter, God quipped, ‘filters work, write about how you can filter out the voice of the evil one and change in your life’6B8123ED-07EF-4863-A450-AD942066208C

This could be a figurative process, but my recommendation is to take out your calendars and place a weekly or monthly reminder to evaluate what happened throughout the week or month and how you approached it. It is easier to jot down the day’s events, highlights, good and bad, so at the end of the month, you have a plus/minus chart or checklist. A plus referring to Gods voice and minus to the evil ones’ voice. 1EFF2914-4406-4CC8-AA4D-F1ED7AFB8488

What are we looking for when evaluating the chart or checklist? 784A3D0E-B85D-493A-AB76-5CDA5C051C23We are looking for our level of dependency on the Lord and whether we heard his voice and instructions and acted accordingly. This is a process, but first, we must ask ourselves, do we know how to identify Gods voice because if we cannot, we cannot be obedient.

Filters have agents in them to filter our specific toxins. The Word are the agents. Our filter is the same, filtering out sin. We need to learn how to identify Gods voice and then filter out the activities of the evil ones’ impact on our lives. We must learn to avoid the wiles of evil one, known as sin. Sin is not just listed in the 10 Commandments but every one of the components of the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s our behavior and how we approach life’s situations. The toxins are the grunts of the evil one and our folly. To eradicate the toxins, we must learn to identify and listen to Gods voice.B25734C6-BAAE-4776-B03B-AB1DD6E8BAEB Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
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John 10:27 NIV

I read something that explains how sheep learn to recognize the shepherd’s voice. Lambs, baby sheep, are not born knowing the shepherd’s voice. They are conditioned to hear his voice. Initially, the lambs simply follow the flock wherever they go. Over time they become conditioned to move towards the sheepherder’s voice, they learn that his voice equates to feeding time. When sheep hear a new voice,  their conditioning begins again. “Even sheep that are introduced to a new flock will follow the other sheep until they too recognize the shepherd.” *

We must learn to differentiate between

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God’s voice, the evil one’s voice, and our own foolish folly. We must become familiar with the Word of God by reading the Bible, and studying the scriptures. Samuel, could not identify the Lords voice the first three times he called him, and Eli told him it was the Lord that had been calling him. He began to recognize the Lords voice over time. The same is true today, we must learn the Lords’s voice through trial and error until it becomes a norm.

In 1 Samuel 10:3,1-10, we see Samuel, a young bondservant of Eli’s, learning to identify God’s voice. The chapter is about Samuel’s conditioning. One night everyone was asleep, and Samuel thought he heard Eli calling. He went to him, and Eli was asleep. Samuel asked Eli, did you call master? Eli said, no. This happened two more times, each time Eli said, go back to sleep, I did not call you. The Lord called Samuel’s name a third time, again Eli told him to go back to bed, but before he left, Eli said, if He calls again, answer ‘Speak Lord, for Your servant hears.’

“Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:8-10, NIV

When God first spoke to Samuel he did not know His voice, he learned to recognize his voice just as the sheep learn to recognize the sheepherders’ voice. Samuel learned to recognize Gods’ voice, and we must learn to do the same.

Both the Old and New Testament informs us that our Lord wants to have a relationship with us and to do so, we must learn to hear His voice. This is not as easy as it sounds, it is a process. 31500D9A-5D1C-449C-85C2-C20490C1FACDAt times we hear the evil one mimicking the Lord’s voice nudging us to do or say something that is not consistent with the Word of God, and sometimes we follow the flock that does not belong to the Lord.

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So, the question becomes, how do we know it is Gods’ voice? We know his voice because God will never tell or suggest anything that is not consistent with His Word. This means that when you hear the quiet voice if it is not the Word of God, it is not His voice. If the voice says, call in sick and go with your friends (lying); take the change off the counter, no one will see you (stealing); look at your friends test and copy their answers (cheating); refusing to help a co-worker (lack of gentleness); lying (dishonesty); and gossiping (lack of self-control).* it is the evil one’s voice you are hearing. His commands or suggestions never impart the Fruit of the spirit 2Fruit of the Spirit or Gods’ laws. We have to learn to identify which voice we are hearing. It is not exactly black or white, there is a third voice, our own, which sends us down a pathway fit for fools.  You may ask, how do we avoid the pitfalls? The answer is, we learn His voice by reading the Bible, studying scriptures, researching commentaries, going to Bible Study and discussing the Word with others more mature in how to apply the Word of God in their lives. This is a lifelong process, but like Olympians, we may fall, stumble or fail, but we get back up and correct our weaknesses.

Changing our Filter

07579BE1-ACE8-4ED8-8686-730F7E87CF6AEach week or month, recap your experiences that you have written down. How often did you identify the quiet voice as the evil one, how often was it the folly of your own making, and how often was it the quiet voice of God. Applying this process provides you the tools to manage your behavior while eliminating negative behavior. This process is similar to the steps Harm Reduction uses  where you identify the attributes you want to maintain as those you want to eliminate.

As you are assessing whose voice you are hearing and following, you will begin to quickly acknowledge whose voice it is. If it’s the Lord, you will follow him, if it is another voice you will reject it and move on. And, as you read scriptures in the Bible, you will more readily begin to understand how the Word applies to our daily activities and become stronger Christian Warriors.

Changing the filter gives you the power to eliminate the toxins that make you ill, weak and subject to the wiles of the evil one. We learn to say and do what is right, not because people are watching, but because we are Gods’ children. We learn to be obedient and not act in a way that is comfortable to the flesh; as the Bible says, ‘not as men-pleasers but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from our heart’. (Eph 6:5,6)

The voice we follow directs our path. Our goal is to become active in the Word, act obediently, and ultimately become wholly dependent on the Word of God. As we regularly change our filter, we will find fewer toxins existing in our lives. God’s voice will be acknowledged earlier and we will become more dependent upon his love for us. Our relationship blossoms and we become radical Christian Warriors.

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Note, I mentioned in yesterdays Post that God often speaks to us three times to get our attention, this is another case of speaking three times before Samuel identifies his Voice and acknowledges the Lord.

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Scriptures-Bible.com; Bible Studytools.com

* Learning to Recognize the Shepherd’s Voice. Carol Pipes. ww.christianitytoday.com. 2/21/2018

See my Post, From Punishment to Correction and Healing for more about the Fruit of the Spirit.

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Caught in The Thought

Have you ever been caught saying something under your breath, only to be ‘called out’ by a person nearby, and your immediate response is, ‘I didn’t say that’! God is somewhat like us, only he hears our inner thoughts. In fact, I believe at times he has a ‘belly laugh’ when he is focusing on us and listens in to our thoughts.

Sarah-GettyImages-171408769-57066c8b3df78c7d9e980d24Genesis 18:1-15 is one such instance when he, to use a colloquialism of the day, ‘called someone out,’ no doubt tickled and laughing. It takes place in the Story of the Three Visitors. Three Visitors visited Abraham. One says to Abraham, Sarah will have a son by next year this time. [If she was of child-bearing age, it would be believable, but she is not, Sarah was I her 90’s.] The hilarious part begins in verse nine.

“Where is your wife, Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then the Lord said, “I will surely return your way about this time next year, and Sarah, your wife, will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening from the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Genesis 18:9-15 NIV

One visitor, the Lord, asked, where is Sarah? Abraham responded she’s in the tent. Sarah was not with the men and was listening from the tent.

Then the visitor said,  she will have a son next year this time. When she heard him, she said to herself, why now, I’m too old and so is Abraham.

The Lord asked Abraham, why did Sarah laugh and say, “will I really have a baby now that I’m too old?”

Recognizing that the Lord heard her thought, she lied and said, ‘I did not say that.’ What an internal conversation. She was most likely in a state of shock and disbelief at this time. How could someone hear her most inner thoughts? Still not fully convinced, but frightened, Sarah heard the Lord reply, “Oh, yes you did laugh.” 

Throughout the Bible, there is a reference to the fact that God hears all of our thoughts. There is nothing we voice, internal conversations, or actions we take that He does not hear or see, and yet, we think we hold secret thoughts from God.  Most of us have been put on notice by God during the course of our lives letting us know He hears and sees EVERYTHING. Like Sarah, we hear his voice say, why did you say that, or why did you do that? The Lord hears all and knows all. We, humans, are arrogant and egotistical, thinking we are smart enough to keep our thoughts to ourselves and from God.

Let’s laugh with our Lord about our immaturity and then begin to pay more attention to what we think, take control of our thoughts and shift our actions, which are given life through our self-talk. Let’s work to hold honest conversations with God. Let’s begin to pray earnestly.

In my earlier Post, The Trinity, Consecration, and Lent, we discussed the premise of Consecration and Lent. Both require we enter into prayer with God, still our minds, and have honest conversations with Him. 

Now, all humor aside, I am entering Consecration today, and the issue of dependence is weighing heavily on me. I have been in prayer about how to proceed with my Blog over the next several weeks and it seems we need further discussion about what dependence means to us spiritually. Everything we do, as Christians, rests on Jesus Christ, our cornerstone. Dependence requires radical faith.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.’
Psalms 37:5-6 ESV

Spiritual dependency does not mean sit and wait for the Lord to take over and do our work for us, it means, ask for his direction and when you hear from Him move forward. His way may not seem logical in human context, but it will forge our path and direct us to our purpose.

radicaljesusTo unpack this, we are talking about radical change. You may ask, how does this relate to Consecration or Lent?  Keeping in mind that no one can tell you what to pray about, this is a suggestion – If you plan to take part in this time of introspection, you may consider entering into prayer to discuss your radical change in becoming an active Christian Warrior with God.

Psalm 36 and 37 focuses on Radical faith. “Godly living is radically different from the way we learned to live while in the world. It requires the supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit” because it is not part of the logical, earthly way of doing things. Living a Godly life requires that our speech, and conduct changes; that we refuse to respond with anger; that we let God fill our thoughts and avoid wickedness; that we honor commitments even when they may be personally costly to do so; that we think and speak in a way that pleases the Lord; and that we understand that righteousness actively rejects wrongdoings.

Radical faith in the Lord requires energy, perseverance, dedication, and concentration. When we enter this process, we have to be aware that the evil one will enter into attack mode because we have become active threats to his existence. We no longer aimlessly commit sin, we stop to think about what we are preparing to say or do instead of strategizing about how to circumvent what you know in your heart to be true. The evil one lives on the plots against the ungodly and we are entering the realm of godliness. Once we have radical faith, we become radical warriors.

Radical warriors walk by faith and not by sight. Radical warriors believe in God’s Word and not what they see with their eyes and feel with their senses. God’s Word is the only true reality.

Martin Luther said, “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him. ‘In Hebrew, ‘ Be silent to God and let Him mold thee’ Keep still and He will mold thee to the right shape.”

Whether you join others in Consecration or Lent or not, it is time for all of us to enter into radical, life-changing faith with our Lord and Savior and become Radical Warriors. To accomplish this, we must enter into prayer, and as Martin Luther said, ‘be silent’ until we hear God speak to us and lead us to a place of dependency where we stand on the cornerstone of our very existence.

Images – Google Images; Rembrandt – dks.thing.net, Public Domain, Link“>

Resources – Bible.com; Hayford’s Bible Handbook, Jack Hayford, General Editor, 1998, pp. 142,43; Nelson’s Quick Reference, Warren Wiersbe, 1991, pp 330,31

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Living Through the Muck and Mire of Life

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Over the past week or so, we have been talking about our dependence upon the Lord and how he works wonders in our lives, not because of anything we do, but because of his unconditional love for us. Just think how life would be if we did not interject our own wants and desires that derail us. Our Free Will causes problems when not in alignment with the Word. Our Free Will hears the voice of the Holy Spirit telling us what to do but ignores it, it falls on deaf ears. Free Will carries consequences. We head off blindly down a trail, not a clearly defined road, and when we look up, we find ourselves in the muck and mire, or according to the King James Version of the Bible, mud and mire.

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He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 NIV 

Think of muck and mire being something like quicksand, or a horrible muddy pit at the worst and a muddy hole in the road, at the least. The Lord plucks us out of the pits we fall into – the muck and mire of destruction. While we’re in the pit wallowing in the mud, we often feel that our situation is beyond hope, beyond help, beyond recovery. We find ourselves slipping off the rock we are attempting to perch ourselves on to stop the slippage, still trying to be in control of our destiny; and in a ruinous state of sin and guilt, unable to save ourselves.

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And, while we are slipping and sliding, seeking solid ground and exhausted, ‘in steps God’. Christ is our rock, and he takes us by the hand and plants us back on solid ground. He re-establishes our steps and leads us to safety. Whenever we find ourselves caught in the muck and mire of life, remember Psalm 40:2. Like a parent, he picks us up, cleans us off and stands us back up.

 

As Christians, we continue to grow in a relationship with our Lord, and we will continue to follow Free Will that diverts us from our path. We will continue to find ourselves in situations that nudge us to become more and more dependent on our Lord and Savior. Our experiences are lessons that cause our ears to become more inclined to hear the quiet voice that says do not turn to the left or the right; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:27 NIV.  Branches on the Canyon

The direction we take is of our choosing. We choose to follow the Lords’ voice, and we also choose the way of the muck and the mire. As Christian Warriors we must learn not to depart from the prescribed path but listen to the quiet voice behind us saying, this is the way. We must learn to tame our Free Will to stay out of the muck and mire,  however, when we find ourselves there, call out to the Lord. He is patiently waiting for us.

Our Lord is a Lord of multiple chances. As long as we are in a relationship with him, he will never turn away from us.

 

 

 

 

 

Images – Google Images
Scripture – Biblehub.com

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