“Get that (insert curse word) thing away from me!”
The man screamed at me with all his might. Not only did he scream, but rage filled him, his face became red and he appeared to want to beat me up. Very scared, I walked away. He caught up to me with his bike next to him. Fully aware he was there, I didn’t look his way. I just prayed with all my heart that he wouldn’t hit me and I kept walking. God answered my prayers. He passed by.
Now, that morning, I never set out to get verbally assaulted, but I suppose it was my fault. . .
I decided to go to the beach for a walk with God. My goal was to pray, connect with God and to listen to some worship music. I was in the zone. I was loving talking to Jesus. So, as I approached a beautiful scenic boardwalk that ended with the ocean in sight, I opened up my camera app; I wanted to remember the moment. I did see the far-off man a little to the right side of my picture frame, but he made the shot look even better, so I snapped the photo anyway.
And, that’s where my problem began. In retrospect, I didn’t consider that he may not have wanted a photo taken of him. I started to get angry at myself. I made a mistake. I should have been more thoughtful. I ruined my time with God.
It was as if, after this event, my connection to God was — gone.
And, here, it occurred to me that this whole encounter was symbolic of a greater issue: distraction.
If the enemy can’t keep us away from God, he’ll try to distract us away from Him.
How often does a to-do in your mind occur to you right when you start to meet with God?
How often does a text message come in right when you are praying?
How often do house-needs seem to demand you take care of them first?
In my case, a raging man wanted to steal away my time with God, but similarly, silent or quiet demands pull me away in the same way. Power comes when we recognize them for what they are and stay with God anyway.
If your mind gets distracted, just choose to return back to the last thought you can remember you had with God. He waits.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jer. 29:13)
If anyone had the right to be bitter, it was Jesus…
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
“Crucify him!” they shouted.
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Mk. 15:12-14)
Jesus did nothing wrong. Jesus stated the truth. Jesus was coming to do good. To help the people who wanted to hurt him. He had the best intentions. A pure heart.
Yet, he was completely misunderstood. Maybe you feel the same way today.
Maybe someone has accused you of something you didn’t do, or they’ve name-called you in the past, put you down, embarrassed you in front of other, charged you with something that you don’t deserve, criticized you in front of man, chosen someone else to get something better than you. . .
Maybe you feel like Jesus, unduly prosecuted by man.
I’ve noticed a couple of things along Jesus’ journey as it pertains to addressing hurts like these:
Saying less is saying more.
So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. (Mark 4:5)
To lay down your defense is to find God’s. The King of Glory moves in (see Psalm 48 for more on this defense).
Giving up is not losing.
In worldly terms, a person who “surrendered” in war is the loser. They wave the white flag and they’re out. They lost. They gave up. Well, Jesus “gave up” too — “and when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit (Mt. 27:50)”.
By giving up, Jesus gained everything: our salvation, eternity and a complete shut-out of the eternal power of the forces of hell. Things are not as they look. If you give up to God the offenses you’ve been carrying, you’ll assuredly gain new life too.
Bitterness has to go to accomplish God’s plan.
Jesus was mocked, scorned, abandoned, rejected, mutilated, embarrassed, shunned, laughed at. . . If anyone had any right to feel bitter, it was Jesus. How did He fight this?
Notice these words that He spoke on the cross right before he “gave up his spirit”, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lu. 23:34)
Jesus allowed no bitterness. He realized that we may not have realized what we were doing. Then, he forgave us. Who do you need to forgive?
Bitterness can be the biggest stopper to God’s plan in your life. Let it go.
While reading the final chapter of the final book in the bible, I felt horrified. This line froze me, solid: “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Oh my goodness. “All the liars” — will go . . . into the fiery lake . . .of burning sulfer. That’s me. . . “
The immensity of fear suddenly gripped my chest. I am a liar. I lie when I don’t mean to. I get defensive, thinking I am telling the truth, only to realize later my husband was right. I cover up my real emotions when people ask how I am. I don’t like to look weak even though, there are many times when I am. I am a pretender. I am a liar.
God throws people like me away — into burning sulfur.
Thinking hardly anything about wonderful Jesus, and a whole lot about horrible me, I decided: I am not enough, I may not make it “in” and how I may be fooled and not be saved.
I was under a massive spiritual attack. Friends, a spiritual attack is anytime the power of you speaks louder than the sacrifice of Jesus. It’s when your issues look massive and Jesus becomes a passive figurine. It is when faith flees and your failures and future looks abysmal. It is when your feelings get so enlarged, truth can’t squeeze in.
To stop a spiritual attack, return to the gospel. Come back to scripture and truths like these:
-It is all about Jesus.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'” (Jo. 1:29)
-It is all about the price He paid.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them.” (2 Cor. 5:18-19)
-Jesus accomplished everything, even when I can’t seem to fix anything.
“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Romans 5:17)
-Grace will change me.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8)
The provision of grace means the revision of me. Rather than hiding myself away from God, in fear that I am not enough, I can come to Him with an unveiled face, as He helps me realize that I am enough in Christ — and that He will change me.
The same goes for you. . . All of Christ is more than enough to save all of you, no matter how far off you perceive yourself to be.
Then, give thanks and worship God. By doing this, you’ll rub mud in the face of the enemy.
It’s a horrible thing to lose something. I hate it when I can’t find my phone. My husband will be waiting in the car, with the kids buckled in behind him, while I have to “run back in” to find it. I always put my phone in the oddest spot: a shelf to the left, under the covers on my bed or on the corner of a bathroom counter.
To be at a loss of a very important thing is super frustrating. Even more frustrating, the powerless feeling that you don’t know how to go about putting things back together again.
For a bit, I felt like I misplaced faith. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God or anything like that. It’s just I didn’t really believe He had good stuff for me or that I could trust in His goodness to pull through. After a series of disappointments where I expected Him to show up one way, I guess, I became upset when He showed up a different way.
So, I stopped being as tender to Him. I let a little bit of calloused skin cover my heart. I met with God, but only let Him approach me — so-deep.
Wondering what happened to my wild-belief and strong-faith, where anything is possible. I dove back into Hebrews 11 this morning to see if God wanted to bring something back to life.
“Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God…”
Yep. I got that covered. I believe there is a God.
“…and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)
I “must” believe He rewards me?
To believe God “rewards me” feels indulgent, selfish and it induces guilt in me. Isn’t faith supposed to be about all I give Him – what I do, how I love Him, reading the bible with Him and loving others on His behalf?
Yet, God hones in on this— “Kelly, I want you to believe when you sincerely seek me out — I am going to reward you.”
Faith is not only coming to God, or doing His work, receiving and expecting His reward too. We are not old rag dolls, who God uses to take advantage of to get His way or to use up and then throw out. We are children, daughters, of a Father who loves us and wants to take care of us. His heart, when we meet Him, when we trust Him, when we long for Him, when we find Him — is to reward us. It is to give — to renew, replenish, restore and reinvigorate.
When we seek Him, we’ll find Him and He’ll reward us.
Something about this idea — speaks so deeply to my heart that: God is good.
Just now, as I took a walk, I saw a twisted piece of plastic on a telephone line. Oddly, it was mangled and wrapped around the phone line in a way that seemed to make no sense.
This is how my mind is when I make a mistake. Remorse wreaks havoc in my mind, until I’m in a twisted mess of: I’ll never be good enough. I always make mistakes. I can’t get anything right. I’ll always offend God.
God doesn’t intend for us to live mangled; Jesus came so we could live untangled from shame.
So, what’s the problem with me?
The story of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, has a little to say on this subject matter.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse…and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.
“Remorse gripped Judas and he returned the money.” (Mt. 27:3)
Isn’t it amazing that he returned the money and was remorseful? Amazingly, this wasn’t enough.
Then, Judas said, “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” (Mt. 27:4)
He even realized his sin.
The priests replied, “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” (Mt. 27:4)
I only wish He’d talked to Jesus.
“…Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Mt. 27:5)
Remorse without repentance kills us internally. It leaves us in a balled up mess of self-condemnation, ridicule, embarrassment and shame. It kills our insides and has even been known to take a life.
What do you need to repent of? What do you need to release to God? What do you need to finally get over, so it doesn’t destroy you? The price Jesus paid is enough to cover over any mistake you’ve made. There’s nothing His grace won’t cover. Isn’t it about time you finally receive that grace and forgiveness too?
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Heb. 8:12)
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into the place of highest privilege where we now stand and confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Ro. 5:1-2)
I was in the waiting room for the MRI. All that was going through my mind was thoughts of, This is horrible. I am never going to survive. I am not going to be able to walk. There is no way out of this. I will be scared to death in that loud machine. I hate needles and they’ll put one in me.
All I could see there was me. It was me and my problems. Me and my trauma. Me and all the horrible pain that was ahead of me.
Add this to the fact that I was a new mom. My kid had been up screaming all night long. I had been pacing the hallway with him. I had been the one trying to hug him all day long as he screamed his head off. I think he had acid reflux.
I also had a mole that needed to be taken off my chest. We didn’t know if it was cancerous. The doctor gauged my chest. The scar still remains.
Did anyone ever tell you that we have an enemy that roams around like a sneaky, conniving villain in the night, searching out ways to steal, kill and destroy?
He’s likely come after you.
But, may I tell you? Battle Ready women, built up in the Lord, strong in their mind – those who renew their thoughts – know something that others don’t.
They know: It doesn’t matter what the enemy does; It matters what Jesus did.
You see, above our problems, our mayhem, our issues, our dents and dings of life, is a victorious King who reigns and rules. He sees everything. He knows our every tear. He sees our every way. He is a help in a time of trouble. He is our refuge and our strength. He is our way and our life.
He is Overcomer. He is Victorious. He is equipping us with all we need to fight the good fight today. We are not crushed, ruined or abandoned, we are raised up with Christ Jesus in the heavenlies.
Jesus brings resurrection life no matter what situation we’re in. Battle Ready women are not driven by their wide-ranging emotions but by heartfelt dedication to God’s truth, His promises and His purposes. This changes everything.
Rather than seeing the issue, they see the Provider. Rather than seeing the MRI, they begin to see the other woman in the room that they can minister to. This happened to me. I lifted my head there and got to know a woman with bone cancer. She was in so much pain. I prayed for her before she went into her MRI. I told her about Jesus.
How can you do this in the heat of your battle? Here are some ideas?
1. Ask God for his view of your situation.
2. Look around you and see the needs of others.
3. Talk with other people who are struggling. Understand their pain.
4. Pray for yourself, but also things that extend beyond yourself.
5. Ask God for breakthrough.
6. Give thanks.
7. Praise God’s Victorious name.
About Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously
So much has hit me in just a few years. Leaks, a flooded house, relational problems, health issues, a hurricane… It all keeps on coming. It seems like just as one friend overcomes something, another gets cancer. Just as someone needs prayer, I get hit by a huge personal life-problem. Grr… a rain cloud has set in over my house. And an enemy is on the loose. #It’sABattle
The enemy comes to steal God’s truth, kill good intentions and destroy what God loves, without apology. He’s relentless. He stops at no one, and nothing. He salivates at the thought of biting. He doesn’t care if we’re on our last leg. #IamTired
With all this darkness, I keep focusing on the darkness. Does the same ever happen to you? #Battle
Do you keep re-hashing problem situations?
Do you agonize over what could have been?
Do you fret because you wish there was another way?
Do you play out all the different options in your head?
Darkness breeds darkness. Attention given to darkness steals our attention from the light.
God says we’ve been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. (Col. 1:13)
There is wisdom in asking ourself, “Are we dwelling on light or on the dark?”.
Battle Ready Tactic #103 (aka. light versus darkness):
Darkness never brings light. To reach the light, you have to venture past darkness.
The How-Tos of this Tactic- Get out of the dark: Think of God. Think of His attributes. Think of His Word. Think of His ways. Give thanks. This moves us from dungeon-dwelling to light-bright living. It illuminates the desires, will and ways of God. It moves us out of the place of stuck-ness, to God’s better thing.
You can start to put this into action by dwelling on these six verses:
“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (John 4:4)
Translation: Christ in you trumps the enemy warfare around you.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
Translation: The devil runs from those submitted to godliness.
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luke 10:19)
Translation: Tread on the enemy, because God has given us power to do so. Nothing will injure you. Actively tread, so you don’t feel tread.
“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” (1 John 5:18)
Translation: As you shed your sinning, God effectively keeps the enemy from doing the harming.
“The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life.” (Ps. 121:7)
Translation: The God who sees you, keeps you.
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thess. 3:3)
Translation: Part of God’s faithfulness is his protection from the evil one’s attacks in your life.
Do you feel a shift?
Friend, no matter how it looks, you are not in the dark. The enemy hasn’t snuffed out your light. Your situation is not too much of a fright for God. Your days aren’t numbered and doomed. Nope. God has a purpose and plan for your life. He has wisdom and unsearchable things to teach you. He has light He wants to shed on some of your most difficult situations.
About Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously
“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!”
Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Battle Readyis a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom, like how to
· make new habits stick in just five steps
· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women
· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts
· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace
· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters
You would not use a hammer as a tool to get a baby to sleep. Nor would you use a saw to put batteries in a toy. Or a colander to fix a driveway. Specific tools address specific issues.
Are you using the right tool when addressing problems?
This is vital.
Just think, Aaron and Hur knew the battle against the Amelikites would be won through prayer, so they held up Moses’ arms.
Arms up, they were winning.
Arms down, they were losing.
One spiritual tool was their breakthrough: prayer. (see: Exodus 17)
Think, Paul in the prison.
He praised and sang – and prison doors opened. In this scenario, praise broke prison bars.
His spiritual tool was: praise and singing.
Specific spiritual tools address specific physical issues. What we see in front of us, is often broken by God above us, when we allow Him to work through us, as He wants.
If I try to pray, when I feel tired, worn and weary and I can hardly speak a word – my words may not amount to much. If I try to pray when I’ve lost all hope, my words fall flat. Yet, if I get into God’s Word and let it attend to my soul – it can be mind shifting. It is important for us to identify the season we are in and where God is moving.
Just as the enemy shifts his strategy, we must shift ours. And, we must know where God has traditionally moved in our life, what inspires us, what has broken chains and prison bars in the past. Most of us have a breakthrough point. Most of us have past approach that tends to work when all the chips fall.
Do you know yours? Your battle style?
It is vital we know our battle style. Why? Because we must be in tune to what wins our battles, shuts down our enemies, silences our fear, and pushes the needle. This way, we can win – our war.
This way, when we can’t think in our mind, we have a fallback plan. We have a vision of where God might want us to head. We have a strategy to get up and fight again. We remember what moved the needle before can do it again.
There are a lot of battle-styles. Here, we mentioned a few:
But, do you know the rest? Do you know what to do, when you don’t know what to do? Do your children? Do your friends?
Today, let’s equip not only our own hearts in being prepared to face what hits us, but let’s equip others in the same way. Let’s invite our friends to gain the wisdom and understanding of their own style. Let’s help those going through a hard time to gain new strength.
Learn Your Battle Style for FREE!
Are you curious what your Battle Style is? Download and print the FREE quiz at IAmBattleReady.com.
When you get your results, message a friend your style, and encourage them to take the free quiz. We can’t do this alone. We’re stronger together.
Bloggers, let’s reach our friends in need. Share this on social media: “Are you going through a battle? Take the free Battle Style Quiz for free at www.iambattleready.com. Discover how you best keep connected to God. www.iambattleready.com”
She is going to make me look like a fool. It’s me against her. I have to come out on top.
Deep in me, there lives a competitive beast. One that promotes selfish ambition and untoward conduct. One that looks at other gals and compares them to me.
The beast says:
I need to be super impactful, smart and powerful. Or, I’m disposable.
I can’t let others get ahead of me. No one will pay attention to me anymore.
I should desperately fear being left behind. I’ll be useless without impact.
Competitiveness is a horrible beast to be chained to. It demands we control the uncontrollable. It sets us up to fail.
Does jealousy, fear, selfish ambition or a competitive nature threaten you, like me?
Lately, I’ve become so sick and tired of it’s bullying tactics. I’ve decided – through a deep investigation of scripture – to fight back.
1. I humble myself under the mighty hand of God, knowing at the proper time (and in God’s proper way), He’ll exalt me.
2. I remember Christ rules over everything. He has all authority and every victory belongs to the Lord. If it is my victory, it is an empty one. But if it is God’s, it is fruitful.
3. I ponder the idea that by my strength, I get tired. But by His, I become empowered.
4. I bless those who hurt me, persecute me, laugh at me, talk behind my back and injure me. Why? Because God loves His creation. He is working on them. He is doing something. I don’t need to get my sticky fingers into His artwork. I can trust the masterpiece He is creating without trying to let my bitterness or irritation take control.
5. I wait on God knowing that, nearly half the time, it is by doing nothing I find He’s doing everything. Likewise, I step out when He says it’s go time, no matter how prideful, arrogant or self-serving it may seem to the world. Ultimately, I don’t serve others opinions of me, but Christ’s lordship. I follow it, stay close to it and trust it, no matter how it looks.
The beast dies when we die to our flesh and come alive to Christ. It can’t live when we stay surrendered and in-step with the Spirit. It has no rule when Christ rules. Period. And Amen.
One way to succeed at life is to take inventory of what sets you off.
Ask: What makes your chest well up with discomfort? What makes your stomach turn in rolling knots of nervousness? What makes your hands sweat?
There’s some very good news coming to you soon. With this, I’ve had to do some very hard work to see it through. Hard work makes me feel under much pressure. And being under pressure makes me feel I must perform.
Performances steal the presence of God.
It becomes all show and no rest. Performances are about: doing, striving, working stuff up, making things happen, generating results and presenting a good face.
They’re about getting somewhere. Meanwhile, God just wants to be with us.
Maybe you are there. Maybe you are saying to yourself, “I try so hard, but get nowhere. I don’t know how I’ll do it all. I am stressed out. I am overwhelmed. I am burdened.”
Right now, I believe God has an invitation for you and for me.
As I see it, I believe it reads like this…
Dear (your name),
I invite you to step away from the soul-crushing burdens of all you feel you “must” manage. I will manage those things as you trust in me. I can do far more than you can think or imagine when you trust me. I can accomplish in one minute what it takes you 5000 to conceptualize. Will you trust me? Will you let me take lead? Will you hand to me what you’re death-gripping and mishandling? Will you let go of those unruly emotions and trace them for promised lands of peace? I promise to take good care of what is most important to your soul. I won’t leave you behind. I am always true to my word.
“Defeat does not come to those who trust (in God).” Ps. 23:5 GNT
“(God) is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb. 11:6 NKJV
Above all, please know: I am with you. I am on your side. I am helping you. My hope is to give you the deep desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)