“Well, what had happened was…”

(2 Samuel 22: 17-20) 17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. 20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”


When I think of enemies, I do not think of human beings.  I guess to me, people are just people.  Yes, there are dangerous people.  Yes, there are groups of people who wish to do harm to others.  However, deep in my heart I understand that the only true enemy is the one who seeks to destroy souls.  Satan.  It’s okay.  You can say his name.  He’s just not that scary…he has, after all, been defeated.  Sure, he’s the enemy of our souls…but because of God’s word we have knowledge, and because of His word become flesh (JESUS) we have victory.

Just like with hope, we have to claim our victory.  Our thoughts and words are powerful, and when we use wisdom to control them, we are always a step ahead of the enemy. 

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (Proverbs 18: 20-21, The Message)

“You choose.”  That’s the love of God…freedom of choice…spacious places away from the deep waters…God delighting in us in the midst of our worst disasters.  So our words, they have to echo the love of God that is manifest in our lives.  Our words have to declare TESTIMONY.  That means we no longer keep it to ourselves.  We have share our rescue stories.  Imagine if you lived through a major tornado or hurricane, only to find yourself injured and buried beneath a pile of debris…but someone comes along, just when you have lost your voice and your last drop of hope, and piece by piece they remove the broken hunks of wood and shards of glass until at last you are gently pulled from the ruins.  Isn’t that a story you would share for the rest of your life?  Well, we have to quit thinking in physical terms!  You have a story to tell!  The testimony of Christ our Lord is exciting, and sharing it with others is how we overcome:  “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” (Revelation 12:11).  You see, our words work together with the blood of Christ to overcome Satan.  That is power, friends…power entrusted to us by the One who delights in us.  Our enemy is powerful, of that there is no doubt, but the same power that conquered death and hell is what dwells within each of us.  Even if you were the only one, you would still triumph.  Thankfully though, we are not alone, and together, sharing our testimonies, operating in love and compassion, praying for one another, using the wisdom and truth of God’s word to guide us, we win.


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for my testimony.  Thank you that I have a story to tell that can encourage others and spread hope.  Thank you that, through my difficulties and pain, You are made larger and your active love in my life is made evident to others.  Let my words be a source of everlasting life, and as You have delighted in me…I will delight in You.  Amen.

Let’s Tell Them What We Have!

Acts 3:1-8- Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

 

As of late, I’ve really been burdened with this thought: “Am I helping the people that are placed in my direct path every day?” So often we want to travel across the globe or change our life entirely to feel as if we’re doing something purposeful. But, I felt God dealing with me about this subject specifically not too long ago. So when I read this Scripture, my heart felt such joy!

See, Peter and John were simply traveling the same road they were used to traveling. They were headed to the temple to pray. While on their set path, they encountered a lame man, longing for help sitting right there… just right there!

How many days have flown past us in which we didn’t “see” hurting, helpless people traveling the road right beside us? Have we been in such a hurry to get to where we’re going, so caught up in our earthly responsibilities, that we honestly just forget to look? And then, if we do remember to glance around, do we just say, “Hey! You should come to church with me?” And by saying that, do we feel that our “job” is done?

One thing I noticed in this portion of Scripture is that Peter and John, although right at the door of the temple, did not use that line. (Peter DIRECTED his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us. I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”)  Peter was ready. He was attentive. He was anointed. He saw an opportunity to bring glory to Jesus Christ, while helping a hurting soul, and he didn’t let it pass him by! And because of the attention, the statement, and the actions they took OUTSIDE of the church house, a miracle was wrought in that lame man’s life that day.

And then- look at what happened next! (And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and ENTERED THE TEMPLE WITH THEM, walking and leaping and praising God.” If we do what we’re supposed to do in our daily lives; if we allow ourselves to be led by Jesus Christ; if our lives are a testimony to the goodness of our God; those around us will want to come to church. We may not even have to ask! We can offer something else… exhibit something else… so powerful and full of hope that they’ll be asking us where to go!

Through that one act of obedience, a domino effect is sure to occur. I remember this saying I heard in Sunday School years ago, “You may win one that wins many…” People notice life changes… Victory stands out… Hope and peace are contagious… Whatever part you play in planting a seed that brings about salvation in someONE’s life, will be used to reach many more, so long as life goes on. (Acts 3:9-10- And  all the people saw him walking and praising God,  and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.)

While getting people to a church service is a fantastic idea, we don’t have to wait for that. God has instilled within us a power and an anointing to draw them to Him in the grocery store, on the side of the road, and/or in McDonald’s parking lot. YOU, ME… all of us were commissioned to GO and tell the world of the Gospel and the hope of Jesus Christ. Let’s follow Peter and John’s example going forward! Let’s stop. Look. Listen. And offer what only Jesus Christ gives!

 

Prayer: Lord, thank You for this example and reminder of what kind of power you’ve placed within me. Forgive me for neglecting to use it. Help me to change this beginning today and continuing from here on out. Give me Your eyes, to see those right on my path that need You! I love You, Lord. I’m grateful for Your relentless mercy. In Your name I pray, amen.

Umm… You Can’t Talk to Me!

Mark 1:32-34 – That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak… … … they knew him.

The mind can be quite the playground for the devil if he’s allowed access. Whether you have trouble with anxiety on a regular basis or not, I guarantee you’ve had times in your life where you’ve assumed the worst of situations, drove yourself mad for a few days, and then realized all that negative energy was in vain. While you may have “turned out okay,” those moments in between had you worked up, distracted, and ineffective in radiating positivity and the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Can we all now raise our right hands and plead guilty to that?

But let’s try and remember a few things:

1- “If destruction fails to entangle us, distraction will do it’s best.”- Beth Moore

This is why it’s so important that we keep our minds fixed on Jesus. He is the only one that provides true peace and clear direction. We should daily “feed” our Spirit with things that will keep our thoughts in order and our positivity on point. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3  God is not the author of confusion, but of peace… 1 Corinthians 14:33

 

2- “Don’t let the devil put a question mark where God has already put a period.”

If you read the account of Jesus in the wilderness, Matthew 4:1-11, you’ll see where Satan tried to tempt Him. He even used the very Scriptures to try and cause Jesus to rethink what He knew to be true; twist it in a way that would cause Him to fail. But, he did not succeed, for Jesus had kept His mind pure, so that the words in which God had spoken could not be taken out of context. Even in his most vulnerable state, because He kept his thoughts aligned with God Almighty, He wasn’t hindered in the slightest! Know the Word of God and hold to it tightly! For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

 

3- “Faith can move mountains. Doubt can create them.”

The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17 But, what is faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 Faith is as solid and strong as cold, hard evidence. When you’re communing daily with Christ, there is an assurance He gives that can’t be explained, only experienced. So, when decisions need to be made, we don’t have to stress or try to figure it out on our own. We can ask Him to lead us, and that faith we’re carrying will hold us until the task is completed. There’s no need to analyze every possible outcome so we can better understand what He may be doing… that’s when problems arise! Satan’s entrance takes place here and he will start feeding you worries and “what if’s” to get you off track. Remember what God said and don’t stray from it! Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

4- “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” -Jesus Christ in John 14:12

We will also do the works that He did… and even greater? Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am. And what did He do in Mark 1? He would not permit the demons to speak… We don’t have to listen to the devil’s lies. John 8:44 We can refuse to even let him speak anything at all into our lives. Rebuke him in the name of Jesus Christ and go forward living life victoriously and confidently. This can be done! We have the power to achieve this through Him! Romans 8:11

We are children of the Most High King. The devil has no place, no power, and no authority in our lives! When you start to doubt what you know to be true, when fear begins to creep in and invade your mind, when anxiety steals your peace and cripples you, tell him to shut his mouth! Remind him that he does not have permission to speak to you. Remind those demons Who you belong to… because they know Him!

 

Prayer: Jesus, I thank You for reminding me how victoriously I can live every day of my life through You. Going forward I will not permit the devil to speak any lies into my life. I am Your child, and I know Your voice. You are the only One I will listen to. In Your precious and powerful name I pray, amen.

MERE WORDS!

(Isaiah 36:4-5 ESV) 4 And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? 5 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?

I think I’m feeling unsettled right now about what I’m hearing. Everyday seems to be filled with words, words, and more words! People are speaking their minds about politics, the economy, elephants and donkeys, budgets, which public bathroom we should use; guns, entitlements, taxes, refugees, illegal aliens, deportation… words, Words, WORDS!!!

Everyone has an opinion about everything, and, of course, their opinion is always correct. “If you elect me, I will do so and so…” “No, if you elect me I will do such and such.” “If you marry me I will make you happy.” And the rhetoric continues building each day…

In our passage of scripture, Hezekiah was being tormented by the Rabshakeh (the name given to the chief cup-bearer or the vizier of the Assyrian court; one of Sennacherib’s messengers to Hezekiah). The Rabshakeh was threatening Hezekiah in behalf of his boss, the king of Assyria.

First, he tried to weaken Hezekiah’s faith by asking, On what do you rest this trust of yours?” In other words, prove the existence of your God. I can’t see him! What makes you think He will come through for you? Then, the Rabshakeh insults Hezekiah by implying that he had no strategy for victory—mere words! Notice, Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war?” He was basically telling Hezekiah that he was just full of hot air! All the words in the world would not help Hezekiah against his enemy. Finally, the Rabshakeh reminded Hezekiah that he had burned his bridges and could not rely on the King of Assyria for assistance. Those days were gone! His words were strong and meant to strike fear into the heart of Hezekiah. Listen to his tone…In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?

What the Rabshakeh didn’t understand was that Hezekiah wasn’t trusting in him OR the king of Assyria! Never did! And, he wasn’t going to start now!

Rabshakeh’s implication that mere words would be useless ultimately backfired! In the next chapter, Hezekiah used MERE WORDS to PRAY to God concerning the threat from the king of Assyria. MERE WORDS, when backed by faith-filled prayer IS strategy AND power for war. MERE WORDS (prayer) caused God to intervene and give Hezekiah an overwhelming victory.

So, use your words… And, use them wisely!

PRAYER: Father, I will use my words to thank you for the many times you have intervened in my life to produce blessing on my behalf. And, I intend to use my words to establish an ongoing atmosphere of faith! I trust You! Amen.

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