Purposeful Faith

Category - devil

On Secret Sins and the Secret Place

Secret Sins

Post by Karina

Sin. It’s a tricky thin, isn’t it? Those of us in Christ don’t want to participate in it, but somehow we easily fall prey to it. We all know there is no hierarchy when it comes to sin. Lust is just as wrong as adultery. Anger is just as wrong as murder. It all quenches the Holy Spirit and it all breaks the Father’s heart.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15

Recently, I had 3 consecutive weekends of attending 3 ridiculously dynamic women’s conferences. I was literally on the highest of highs. It was amazing! I am very much still processing all that God spoke to me and all that He did during those 3 weeks. He marked me beyond words.

After all of that spiritual activity, the enemy hit me hard. I don’t normally attribute much to him, but this was nothing but him. He was waging war for my soul in the worst way. He attacked my mind with no holds barred.

I don’t tend to deal with outward sins as much as I do with inward ones. You know the ones I’m talking about…envy, comparison, anger, bitterness, apathy, etc… The list really could go on and on. If you’re anything like me, those inward sins can bring more shame and guilt than the outward ones. It’s quite easy to hide these sins from the world. Honestly, the shame and guilt came very close to knocking me out for the count. I felt as though I was spiraling out of control. The past few weeks of battle came out of nowhere. I had been beautifully walking out my calling. God had been opening many doors of connection and I had experienced some of the sweetest times of prayer and worship.

One of the events I attended was Beth Moore’s conference called LIT. It was geared to women in their 20s and 30s. Christy Nockels led Heaven touching worship. And Beth, along with Jennie Allen, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine and Melissa Moore all shared about this call to communicate. Everyone spoke to the fact that it is a weighty call and there is a cost to it. In order to fulfill this call, we need to first be filled. This filling ONLY comes from time spent in the secret place of God and us. This time with God is not reserved for those who may minister from a public platform. It is for EVERY believer because we all minister and share Christ in some way. We all have a measure of influence.

I’ve been contemplating how such a door was opened in my life for the enemy to slip in could have occurred. I know I’m a flawed human, but I never want that to be an excuse for me to be comfortable living in sin.

Realize the enemy will attack who God has created you to be.

A week ago, I heard a sermon about how the enemy will specifically come for us in direct opposition to who we are. I hadn’t ever thought of that before. If we are a person of faith, He will bring doubt. If we are pure in heart, he will bring corrupt thoughts. If we have the gift of healing, he will bring illness. He sees our potential. He wants to destroy that potential by whatever means necessary. He wants to destroy the impact that God wants to accomplish through us.

The key to fighting this is to pray against him breaking any strongholds he is using to keep us bound. And then, we replace those thoughts with Scriptures that call out our identity and God’s desire for us.

Don’t let the enemy bring dissension.

I am all about community, but over the past few months, the enemy has been working overtime to create division among several friends and me. He has authored confusion and offense and all manner of hurt feelings. In those times, we are to pursue unity despite our emotions. Our emotions say isolate. The enemy wants us to isolate. But the Lord’s heart is for us to be in fellowship.

We must have brave, hard communication. We speak truth in love and always share our hearts in grace.

Camp out in the secret place.

Everything flows out of the secret place. Everything we do. Everything we say. All that we are flows from this place. Anything done in our own strength will falter and fail. The Holy Spirit must be our strength. He is the only source of power in our lives. Much of that power is harnessed when we allow Him to renew our minds in His promises. This power can only be accessed when we have spent time alone with Him in prayer, worship and studying His Word.

This time is non-negotiable. If we forgo it, we forgo everything. We forfeit the word He wants to speak to our hearts. We forfeit all of the good works He prepared for us. We forfeit the ministry that would touch the lives of others so that they may come to know Him. This time in the secret place is how we overcome and walk in victory.

I want to live in such a way where I am aware of the enemy’s schemes and where He doesn’t have such easy access to me. I don’t ever want him to think he can easily deter me from my calling and purpose.

Let us live in the overflow of the secret place…

Overwhelmed by His presence
Over our heads in His Word
Overcome by His wonder

Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

On My Going Dark + 4 Solutions to Bad Enemy Assaults

Enemy Assaults

We all have Bonnie Tilley to thank for this post. She said she wanted to hear the story. Here goes: Sometimes you get doing something so big with God, the one who is anti-God doesn’t like it so much.

We normally don’t even realize this is the case. Why?

Because we figure:

  1. Loving someone isn’t big enough for Satan to oppose.
  2. Praying for someone can’t really be that valuable.
  3. Deciding to finally be repentant and obedient doesn’t add up to too much.

But, oh no, friends, this kind of dedicated obedience to God is just what is opposed. It is just what the enemy wants to squelch before it takes off and down the track. He wants to see it go up in flames, because when you move where God is – and he doesn’t want you to meet each other. He’s against that.

So, I was opposed. I know it’s so. I have this book coming out, Fear Fighting. Savior God used it to save me. Writing it, with him, released my soul from the war-torn barracks of fear. This book somehow became a peace pilgrimage with God; it saved my heart and medevacked me out of the heart throbbing places of tension, turmoil and tumultuous living. It’s no joke.

This is why I know you – not getting my daily emails for 2 days – was a mission of the enemy. This is why I know the other problems bubbling up in the last two days are also his approach. This is why I know, today, the foggy head and throbbing headache was more than a random occurrence. This is why I know my site going down was intentional. This is why I know I must be making some spiritual progress.

There is always more than meets the eye.  Let this fact meet your eye, right now.

Behind the scenes of your problems, is often – the problem-maker. You can’t see him. But, he’s working.

What are you up against?
What is trying to get you to move away from God and into a self-focused, self-preservation attitude?

Consider it for a moment.

You see, I was standing firm on Jesus. I was sure. Sure, doubly sure, the Lord, My God, was going to free hearts through this book. Sure, he would get all the glory. Sure,  beyond a shadow of a doubt, He had great plans for me. Satan hates people “sure” about Jesus. If you get “sure” about Jesus, Satan will surely send something to throw you off.

4 Ways the Enemy Attacks:

  1. Out of left field. If you’ve learned a new way to stand firm on Jesus, He’ll aim to hit you from a new direction, you’d never expect. What are we to do?

SOLUTION: We’re to expect the unexpected and then get protected with the armor of God.

2. Through the words of a person. I can’t tell you how many times a friend has spoken an unfriendly word that has lived on in the echo-chamber of my mind. It resounds as the ultimate form of discouragement.

SOLUTION: The only way to combat it is to take God’s truth and to wield it with reckless abandon.

3. Through our own fleshly desires.
“Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”  (Matthew 16:21-23)

SOLUTION:  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Col. 3:2)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Ro. 12:2

4. Via Blocked Plans. 
For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, did, again and again–but Satan blocked our way. (1 Thess. 2:18)

SOLUTION: Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. Ps. 37:5

So, here I am today, very much still well. I am as well as I always was. I am as joyful as I always was. Because, when you realize who is for you – it doesn’t so much matter what is coming against you.

I have the conqueror, the victor and the King on my side. So do you. Dumb little gnat-like issues won’t get me down. Don’t let them get you down either. By his love, abounding in you, you are on to something…

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that you are greater, higher and mightier than anything that comes against me. I will rest in you, I will trust in you and I will follow you. Keep me keenly aware of what is coming against me, so that when it does I can find my strength in you, once again. Amen.

More Reading:

Finding Renewal in Christ
When Your Picture Is Not Pretty
When Prayer Goes Unanswered

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Beat Enemy Attacks: 1 Simple Way

Beat Enemy Attacks

I walked. I not only walked, but I felt like I was in that place, that very special place, you only get to once in a while. It is that place where you mind stops thinking about the million and one things it has to do, and it starts thinking of Jesus. That is where I was. Each step was a movement with God and each prayer was one I knew he heard.

I turned the corner and walked next a fence. Still, I honed in on Jesus – his power, his life and his resurrection and what that meant in my life. Peace sat heavy- until, a bulldog scared the living daylights out of me. He was right next to me, moving along the fence, jumping and trying to attack. I jumped in fear. But, then I remembered, that dog can have a loud bark, but he can’t really touch me.  A fence is between us. I am safe. As fast as I was fearful, I returned to being faithful.

Thank you, God.

The enemy jumps on us the same way. He’s ready to bite our heads off. But, what I’ve realized is – the enemy’s bark is worse than his bite when we trust God at his words. He can only bite us if we hop over the fence and enter into his territory. If we get caught up in the sound of his voice. Only then are we destructible and torn apart.

But, if we walk in God’s territory, in places of trust, hope and love, he can’t touch us. Try to scare us he may, but he can’t touch us.

We are protected. We are safe. God puts a shield before us. He puts his armor around us. He places the mind of Christ within us.

When we walk in the Spirit, the enemy can only destroy the flesh. What is spiritual can’t be touched by him, unless we allow it.

It releases us. We don’t have to walk around in fear, afraid of the next catastrophe ready to befall us or the next dog ready to bite our head off. No. We move in faith.

My daughter is afraid of dogs. I lift her high and hold her tight. Nothing can harm her when she is in my arms.

God is doing the same with us. We are lifted above the fray above the mania when we take his words and say, “By golly, I’ll believe those things.”

I’ve been working on this. What I’ve found is – if I can walk with God’s eyes to see, I’ll walk in a way where the enemy lets me be. Each step I take to thwart him, discourages him. Each move I make in faith, is like a fake – where I move left and he moves right and we don’t hit each other. I think it is working.

But, of course, upon reflection, I can see why: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

What if today, rather than living ready to run from attacks, we lived ready to run into the full and unwarranted favor of God? What would it look like if we grabbed his Word and let it work, as if we really believed it? How discouraged might we make the very opposition in life, rising up against us?

God, may we keep our eyes on you. May we keep our gaze steadfast. May we know that nothing can touch us with your armor around us. In you, we are safe. In you, we are full. In you, we are brought to life. Thank you that you are within us and He who is within us is greater than He who is in the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

When You Think, “There is No Way”

no way

We all have our monsters. The real vile ones are from days of old; they give us night-shivers to remember. The fast ones whip us, encouraging us to more quickly chase perfection. The obnoxious ones form in our mind, informing us we are no better than our worse fears. The slow-moving one arrives like an envelope with amounts past due, they point to the depths we can never climb. But, the worst – the absolute worst – are the types that tell us our big God is small. They that tell us we fooled ourselves; God doesn’t really come through for our likes.  These ones are beasts. Tall. Ferocious. Salivating. Beasts. Throwing insults.

(Goliath) said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?”
And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 1 Sam. 17:43

Our Goliath-monsters speak too, you know?

Am I not threatening enough –  that you think you can beat me?

Am I to laugh, that you think you can beat me with prayer?

Am I an imbecile, that you speak thousand-year old bible verses and think they’ll work?

Am I not injurous enough, that you believe in something you cannot see, when you see the heights of me?

Am I not pleasurable enough, that you would come at me with the thought God makes you enough?

Ba….Ha…ha…ha!

Look at her…

The finger points.
The chants ensue.
We stand there. Nearly naked.
Sweat dripping.

We feel the assault on a God who seems silent.

We wait, looking left and right hoping to do something. Needing – to do something.

What giant monster taunts you?

What does he say?

When I was a waitress, we used to say, “I’m in the weeds.” It means someone is about to dump a plate of spaghetti on your head because you’ve gotten too far behind. It also means that the appetizer you’re holding should actually be dessert and you are pretty much hated by multiple tables. You crawl under a table cloth at the at point. You are stuck. You hate yourself.

I have a book coming out a couple of months. I’m in the weeds. The monster is there. He speaks,
“Kelly, you have no time, you have no ability, you have no power to succeed.
What others have 
in talent, you don’t. You’re an imposter.”

Yet, when I fight to hear God’s voice. Something surfaces.

When you hear insults over invading love,
you can be sure that you’re hearing the insidious voice of a monster,
not God.

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands…All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Sam. 17:45-47)

I love how David talked back. We, good girls, don’t do this enough. We’ve been taught to cross our legs, dot our i’s and cross our t’s, but we’ve hardly been taught to snap back. We’ve hardly been taught to stand up for ourselves.

But, what if, rather than being women of subservience to bad monsters, we talked back?

What if, instead, we got defiant, not reliant on these voices?

I almost see it… women, rising, a valiant insurrection,
not directed at husbands or people who annoy us,

but at the internal voices of lies.

I want that.

I want to talk back to these insidious voices with truth
so insurmountable it instigates a movement of unstoppable women for Christ.

Imagine that.

Now, that little monster voice tells me, “Kelly, you’re sounding extreme again.”

But, you know what? I shush it up and go “bad-girl” on it.

I laugh in it’s face.
I spit.

I say, “God can do all things. So, shush it up! I am tired of your lies. You’re a dog that I should laugh at you.”

David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. (1 Sam. 17:49)

1 Stone.
1 shot.
1 sling.
1 vote of full confidence in his Lord.
1 belief that it didn’t matter what he had, but who he had.
1 ounce of trust that miracles can and do happen.

David didn’t need much.
I don’t need much.
You don’t either…

…but, God.

God is the everything we need.
He is the Filling to our gap.
He is the Provider to our debt.
He is the Answer to our need.
He is the Way through our dead end.

Find His life to gain life.

That thing that looks too big to accomplish – is smaller than God.
That thing that seems like it will kill you – cannot overcome the life of Christ.
That thing that plagues you with a screechy voice – is silenced by the peace of God.

Let the monsters speak, because there is one who speaks louder.
Who rides higher. Who is greater. Who will ride in victory, apparent, in glory before all mankind.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. Rev. 19:11-15

The fight is on your behalf. If you don’t believe Jesus can win for you – I don’t know who can.

Next time the Goliath-monster starts spouting off again, tell him to shush up and sit down, Faithful and True is on your side! And, with Him, you’re about to win.

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8 Ways To Prepare to Win Against the Devil

Win Against the Devil

The devil loves us weak.
God loves it when we renew our S.T.R.E.N.G.T.H.

Do you know what this looks like?

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Is. 4:31

Can you imagine not growing weary or faint?  Do you soar?
Or has the devil  kept a toe-hold on your coattails, preventing you from ever flying?

It’s easy to let that happen. To stay down.

Just this morning I was driving and a little bug kept hitting my car. I started to get frustrated, “Why is he tailing me? He’s making a mess of my window,” I thought. What I failed to realize was that only 2 minutes before, I had been worshipping. This little pest stole the moment.

win against the devil

We all have pests chasing us. They try to steal God’s place of glory in our heart. These little nuisances are often what the devil uses to drive our hearts away from God. We usually allow it.

What tends to be hard for us to accept is that straight up bible knowledge won’t always save us. Why? The devil doesn’t care how much scripture you know. He doesn’t even care if you have the whole bible memorized. He doesn’t care if you have a PhD in Christian Apologetics. He’s never worried about the mind, the devil is always worried about the heart.

My warning to the church? Let’s not get so enthralled with our mind, that we lose our heart in the process. Some churches, I believe, are allowing this.

This horrifies me. I don’t want to live my life as a bible-toting mouthpiece, but as a woman wielding Jesus’ power in the world. 

What about you? Might it be time to fortify your heart, the inner place? So the inner radically changes your outer world?

8 Tangible Tips to Renew S.T.R.E.N.G.T.H.
and Win the War against the devil:

war against the devil

1. Scripture list: Hunt the bible and dig out the best verses. Carry these on a sheet with you, post them on your morning mirror or hold them in your wallet. No matter what, rely on these words as if they are your crutches and you have no legs.

2. Train your mind to immediately notice the taunts of doubt, discouragement, devastation and despair. How? Take inventory of your feelings. When you hear those stinkers hit you, refer back to #1.

3. Respond with truth. The devil takes ridiculous statements and massages them to sound plausible in your mind. If you answer back with a hard-lined, get-out-of-here, truth-filled comeback – he will not as easily want to come back.

Example:

Devil: “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. It is written…” Mt. 4:6
Jesus: ‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ Mt. 4:7

After 3 attempts and 3 successful comebacks, Jesus won his wildnerness encounter with the devil. Keep on fighting the fight and the fight will subside.

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Mt. 4:11

4. Engage your mind with holy and you will find yourself committed to peace.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phil. 4:8

5. Need Jesus all the time. All the time. Not a little bit of the time, but every time. Just think, if you are always calling on Jesus, how can the devil be calling you astray? 

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Lu. 19:10

This means, call out, when you feel unsure. Call out when you feel heavy. Call out when you feel hungry. Call out when you feel tired. Call out when you need wisdom. Call out when you hit boredom. Call out when life gets futile.

6. Glorify God, out loud. Speak proud. Speak with the full strength of Jesus Christ behind you. Speak like one whose team, every time ends up as overcomer.

It sounds like this:

You reign and rule Jesus. You will win. Every time.
You are holy and mighty to save Christ. You will bring me through.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Period.

7. Thank God. If you are saying thank you, the devil can’t as easily put a bag over your head and plumage your mind with the idea that you are being stolen, ruined and left in some far off land where God can’t see you. Instead, you will rise up in wonder at all the riches God is raining down on you. Thankfulness is like a rainbow on a dark and rainy day. 

8. Hope. Endlessly believe in the power of God.

This is what it sounds like when put in action:

God is greater than my problem.
God will win in the end.
My light and momentary affliction is creating for me an eternal glory that far outweighs the here and now. 2 Cor. 4:17
Jesus stripes healed me once and they will do it again and again. He is healer
It may look like a windstorm today, but God is pushing into me his image and I will stand firm.
The Lord is doing an inner work; it transcends my vision. 
God will always be faithful. I can walk in complete assurance of this. 

war against the devil
Soar.
Grab hope.
Fly high.
Glide.
Find new heights of faithfulness,
God will be your strength.

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5 Personal Vulnerability Points That the Devil Attacks

Devil Attacks

I didn’t know where the thought came from. Like an unwelcomed visitor, it showed up unannounced. It just pushed its way in – and sat down.  Holy had to leave. It doesn’t do well with things vile, deplorable and downright not from God. Worship left the air too. All eyes were on the house warming gift of worry in the middle of everything; it was tied up with the bow of anxiety. It’s a horrible gift.

In me, what felt like a temple, now felt tainted.

 Devil Attacks

Certainly, I let in a monster that wasn’t supposed to be around, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. When you let this kind of thought in, they don’t leave – they are rude like that.

So rude, that sometimes they keep you up all night as you try to wrangle them like untamed and bucking broncos. They rise and let you know how tall they are. They contort around you spelling out the word D.O.O.M.

I hate them, usually.

Knowing this, I come to these very important question…

How do I block the random attacks of the enemy that arrive like arrows in the night?

And, are there certain conditions that make me more vulnerable?

I think there are. Paul lets us know that we should be wise to their schemes (2 Cor. 2:11).

If we want to stand firm, we have to keep up our defenses up and our knees down to the ground.

You see, to be aware is to stand active in prayer.

So that your heart does not pursue an enemy affair.

 Devil Attacks

Prayer is our best defense. God is our best offense.

Beyond this, if we know when the devil is prone to attack us, we can raise up our requests and calls for protection during these times. In essence, we can F.I.G.H.T back!

5 Times the Devil Loves To Attack Christ Followers…When they are:

  1. Famished.
    If you are hungry for life and not filling up on God, you are prime meat.
    If you are hungry for food and are feeling a little off kilter, you are a tasty choice.
    If you are head in iPhone, not soaking in the love of God, you are often – toast.
  2. Irritable.
    If you are off-footed and nearly falling, even more the devil knows his punch will knock you out.
    If you are in a bad mood, he knows you will open the door to his negativity.
  3. Gullible.
    If you are open to lies, he will feed them to you.
    If you are willing to listen to pride, he will lure you to it.
    If you are up for misunderstanding God, he will distort him to you.
  4. Hurt.
    If you are discouraged, he will lure you to quick-fixes.
    If you are beaten in relationships, he will feed you bad words about the another person.
    If you aren’t seeking God, the devil will seek you and make you wonder if God is really good.
  5. Tired.
    If your mind is confused, he will confuse it some more.
    If your will is weary, he will wear it down to its breaking point.
    If people get testy, he will test your limits.

We can’t blame everything on the devil. Nope. That would miss this thing called flesh (Gal. 5:16) that works in its own self-serving way. But, when the devil is at play, the fertile ground described above is primed soil ready for insecticide-ridden hands.

Yet, when left protected and guarded, God grows something new –  it is called perseverance and determination.

 Devil Attacks

F.I.G.H.T.!!!

Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

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Shame Tells Bigger Lies (You Likely are Believing)

shame tells lies

I can’t believe I am saying this. With this admission, it seems like stadiums of people might stand up and boo me. It feels like there should be a grand coronation with a broken crown, for me, the mom who stinks the most. And here is why (and boy, do I hate to admit this): I hate playing with my kids.

There you have it.

Give me games, give me coloring, give me a purpose, but give me a room and a little one dreaming of pretend games – and I am lost.

I know, I hate me too; I see the other moms.

I am not like them: the ones who get on the floor for hours, aching back and all, the ones who are 110% in at the park and the ones who crafting all day long.

These women, they make me look bad; they point out the truth: I am not enough.

Are you hearing the voice of not enough too?
Not enough at work? Not enough with your family?
Not enough with your friends? Not enough of anything?

I could see “not enough” every time I looked into that innocent face. I could see it in his eyes – I was letting him down. Every look at him seemed to speak, Kelly:

You are a failure mom.
Your kids won’t love you.
You are not enough.
You will always stink.

If we aren’t careful, our failure will attempt to define our future.

This thought made me sit upright at the prospect of something deeper a nugget: If our thoughts are trying to kill relationship, rather than build relationship, they probably are not from God.  This truth hit me like a lightbulb.

Then, I started to think:

Evil wants to make our perceived failure into our destined future. 
It wants to hand us an eternal label that says, “Unstable and liable to fail.”
It wants to rip apart our families with the lie, that things can’t change.

It is at work to tell us, “You stink and can’t ever be better.”

This message always leads us to do one of three things:

1. Give up because we know how worthless we are.

2. Get mad at others because we feel angry that they are making us be this way.

3. Overdo it by being too involved, controlling or overbearing.

That evening, I decided to take a step back from my truth, the truth I didn’t like to play. I looked at it for what it is: I don’t like pretend, I do like the zoo. I don’t like pretend, I do like cooking. I don’t like pretend, but I do do fun things.

The fact that I don’t like pretend does not equal the fact that my son doesn’t love me. LIE!
It does not equal the fact that I am bad mom. LIE!
It does not equal a standing of doomed mother. LIE!

Relieving myself of the pressure, left me room to consider. It left room for me to love myself and him without getting burned. Stepping back leaves room for God to starve the bad and to feed in the good.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jo. 15:13

Jesus laid down his life for me. I have a little one that I can lay my life down for too.

I can sometimes do what I don’t like, I can play pretend, because I love him. I love him so much. I love with big and bold and wide open love. And, with Christ, we can do things we don’t like, even if we fail, even if we end up eventually yelling, “Get in the car. We are making an emergency trip to the library.” Even then, we are okay.

The love of Christ leave us, always, more than okay; it can’t go anywhere on the children of God. It always sees, always cares and always endures.

Shame has no place in the center of love.
Shame can’t exist in the presence of patience.
Shame can’t grow amidst self-forgiveness.

And, so we look at ourselves and say, “If Christ can love me like this, I guess I can love me too.” For, how can we really love, if we don’t have a base of love to work from?

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

If I find his love in me, Christ’s love will work through me.

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5 Ways The Devil is Scheming To Nab You

Devil

Hey, little child of God, I have something to tell you, so listen up.

Happiness is over there. Do you see it? Go ahead, suck in what it could be. Feel it. Relish in it. Why not? Don’t you deserve it – for all you have suffered? Aren’t you tired of being stuck?

I mean, look at you! You idiot!

You marginal fool, why aren’t you doing anything,
something,
to change everything?

You are stuck in a church that is not ideal.
You are stuck in a house you don’t want to be in.
You are stuck with a family who doesn’t get you.
You are stuck with a job that is horrible.
You are stuck with friends that don’t really care.
You are stuck in a life that constrains.
You are stuck with kids who are unruly and disobedient.
You are stuck with a spouse who irritates.
You are stuck with a body that is ugly.
You are stuck with health issues that you can’t beat.
You are stuck with pressures and problems.
You are stuck being overweight.

Look at you, your life is horrible. I think, I really think, you should have so much more.

Psst…did you know? It doesn’t have to stay this way…you can do things about it. Now listen up before your whole life is ruined, before all the marbles are dumped on your head and before you find yourself in a burnt heap of ashes, here is my charge for you:

1. Take control. What God hasn’t stepped in to do, you can do. Those he hasn’t changed, force them to change. Drive your power in.

2. Seek happy at all costs. If something doesn’t make you happy, flee from it to find frolicking fun elsewhere. You only live once, you don’t want to sit around missing out. Fulfill your desires and feel good.

3. Remind yourself of all you don’t have. 

“You dumb idiot. While everyone else is getting ahead, you are falling backwards. Do something about it. It’s not like you are that good of a Christian anyway; you always mess up. You failure. Give up.”

Speak like this to yourself and you will be bound to get somewhere.

4. If you can’t get what you want, find another way to make yourself feel good.

Drugs, sex, alcohol, shopping, porn, controlling, demoralizing, taunting, instigating, stealing, worry, abusing – it doesn’t really matter – just fill your deep need to numb the real belief you are unloved, uncared for and shipwrecked. The moment of controlled power will feel intoxicating.

5. Put yourself first. You are the only one who can fulfill your deep needs. You have to fight hard to get what you want. Defend yourself, arm yourself, distance yourself and put up an armored stronghold around your body. You are a walking fortress; keep it that way or you will be ruined. Shoot, if necessary.

Other quick tips:

– Keep your eyes on what you see before you; make a snap judgement and abide by feelings.
– Don’t let the word “patience” fool; God really isn’t working for you.
– Don’t serve anything, or anyone, that doesn’t lead to success.
– There’s no one who can come through – like you can.
– You’ll miss out if you don’t grab the world’s cup tightly – and suck it up.
– Put yourself first, no one else will take care of you.
– Get super wise and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
– Mock those who are poor in spirit, “Weaklings!”
– Doubt “hope” and stick with “despair” and you’ll fill up with indulgences of the world, for sure.
– Embrace shades of grey and blurred lines between good and evil – you can rationalize things that way.

devil

With this, applause to you! Cheers for you! Great glory to your work! Great progress to your name! Great power to your charge! Great impact to your step! You will do it; you will find pleasure in all you ever wanted, in the enticements and in the lure of your eye.

You know you want it.
So, step in, grab it and bite –
it is the best apple you will ever eat,
even it it makes your blood run cold,
even if 10 minutes after you feel nauseated,
even if the shame adds thirty layers of chains to your hide,
even if you trap yourself into a box you can’t seem to claw your chained way out of,
at least you will have joy for a moment, ecstasy for a minute and rule for an hour.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Jo. 10:10

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From Commander To Surrenderer

Surrenderer

You can do it.
Make it happen.
You’re the boss.
Lead the way.
Get ‘er done.

Life makes us more into commanders than surrenderers doesn’t it?

I have been thinking about this lately, because, sure, I pray to God, I ask him for help, I follow his lead, I read his Word and I go to church. But, how much of my life do I manage, manipulate and mangle rather than letting him mend, mold and make me holy?

In many ways, I step up to God to say,
“You are my helper. Assistant. But, you are hardly my rescuer.”

Which translates to:
I’ll call on you in prayer God; you better pull though when I ask.
I have the day-to-day interactions covered, you handle the miracles.
I can figure my way out of the small; I will circle back on the big.
I am the boss of my office; I will call you, the assistant, if I get overwhelmed.
I will buzz you in if there are some things I really don’t want to do.

Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD. La. 3:40

I am a large part pride and, I entirely hate to say this, a small portion trust.
I often think I can help myself better than God can help me.
I run over God with the tread my dirt-laden wheels that head to reeking lands.
My direction and intentions leave me with a flat tire and no way out.

Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help (including Kelly Balarie or [insert your name here]. Ps. 22:11

Trouble is always near. So is the devil; he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8

God waits.
He sees our trouble.
He is acquainted with our adversary.
He knows our door out.
He knows his door in.
He calls us to it.
He pleads for us.
He advocates for us.
He waits.

Will we call back to him?

Like a child with a breakage, knowing daddy will run to rescue?

Like a mother of a terminal one, knowing her great physician will save?

Like a distressed homeless one, knowing the benefactor has good?

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Ps. 55:2

He will handle our all as we hand over our all.
He loves our all, we need not be afraid of his all.
He brings us to his all as we seek his all.

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5 Ways Your Faith is Tricking You

Your Faith is Tricking You

There is under-the-table game you cannot see.
Its aim is to trick you, to train you and to teach you in ways other than Christ’s.

You think you are doing good,
because good you try to do,
but the only good you really do is for you. TRICKED.

You are too busy with life,
to find life in the Word. TRICKED.

You let people consume your time,
then you find no time with God. TRICKED.

You believe the more you control your world,
the more your world won’t batter you. TRICKED.

You believe your yesterday is at work to invalidate
the love God is showering on you today. TRICKED.

You believe that you can’t be forgiven,
for forgiveness could never cover the vast sea of your wrongs. TRICKED.

You believe that all joy, riches and happy days should follow Christians. TRICKED.

You seek knowing and loving the blessings over the blesser. TRICKED.

You are so much better than that other sinful man. TRICKED.

You cling, like a mother with a delinquent child, to avoidance and denial rather than crying out to your maker. TRICKED.

When we seek after rainbow, puppy dog and flower Christianity,
we end up loaded with cute things, but far from Jesus.

As a result, our heart holds bitterness and anger at the one who failed us. We see God as a failed Santa, rather than a gracious father. We see God as a punisher rather than a lover. We see God as an acquaintance, rather than a trusted confidante.

There are some hard lines to Christianity – and rather than tiptoe around them as if they don’t exist, sometimes, just sometimes, it is valuable to take a deep and hard look at them to say, “This is what I am called to and, heart, please follow through. God help me.”

5 Ways We Need to Get Real with Faith

– 1. As Jesus called the disciples to leave treasure behind, we must leave behind treasure that stands above the riches we find in Christ.  

“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—  no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Mt. 10:9-10

– 2. Expect to find unexpected persecution.  

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Mt. 10:22

– 3. If you can’t stand or speak in the face of pain, the Spirit will give you the words.

At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Mt. 10:19-20

– 4. People will hate you.

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Mt. 10:22

– 5. Standing firm in faith, means standing in joy in heaven. 

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” Mt. 10:33

Dying to self, means coming alive to Christ.

“To live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21

When we keep our eyes, not on the sleight of hand, but on the hand of God – we see that we can endure to the end with his help. We see that there are tricks, traps and talks set to deter us. We see we must “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves,” (Mt. 10:16) so that we can be sure that no one deceives us. (Mt. 24:4)

We get real about faith and we are equipped to really stand to the end.

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