But you know what? There is a very real enemy with a very real intention to steal, kill and destroy the testimony of Christ in a believer’s life or any chances of others looking to Him for salvation and new life. How do I know? I’ve been feeling the heat. For real!
Real. That is what I pray this post will be. For your sake and mine. I feel sometimes we spend so much time convincing ourselves to focus only on the good and tip-toe around the “bad”, not wanting to share or burden or divulge our struggles. But we ALL struggle. We ALL wrestle. We all have bad days or weeks or months or years. I’m learning the duration of bad can be truncated if we change our responses. If we look to God. If we look to His Word. If we seek His guidance from His Spirit. If we choose to worship and praise regardless of all that may be attempting to muffle our voices. If we choose to share our needs with others.
feel free to scroll past the detailed woes and get to the message
My past couple of weeks in a few words (or 276, but who is counting?)… layoffs in my organization, job safe, reassignment, more work hours, less time to invest in book launch, daughters reminding me how fast they’re growing, promising job prospect for hubby, steps of obedience, layoffs in my hubby’s organization, his job safe, he loses a co-worker/friend to cancer, grandfather-in-law not doing well, pressure building, old habits tempting, anxiety rising, disappointment mounting, reach out to my girls for prayer, concern for my daughter’s friends who are hurting, God shares it’s time to be faithful right where we are and look to Him more than our hoped-for-outcomes, come to grips with this and accept His will, long hours worked, uneventful Valentine’s day, puked on at 5 am before leaving for work, realize I still have vomit in my hair while at work, amazing husband helps with both ill daughters, amazing husband awakes at 2:30 in the morning not well at all, work deadlines loom, dehydrated children, feeling like I’m not there for my LES girls a third week in a row, inadequacy knocks at my door, begin feeling icky, excited for book publication, reminded God is with us in the fire and this may be the spiritual labor pains of something beautiful being born, saddened at the news of Grandfather passing, blessed to know he is reunited with several loved ones and grateful for our special time just days ago, grateful for the amazing women God has brought into my life, amazed at the love of my husband for his family and myself, rejuvenated by the sunshine and warmer weather we have been blessed with today, elated to see Rise Up! in a local magazine, grateful God shares with us ways to contend the enemy in His Word, now fighting my own stomach woes while I try to get all that is bumbling around in my mind, out, and be a blessing to others in the process, really need to go buy more toilet paper - twelve double rolls in three days is just crazy!
If you read all that, you see it has been INTENSE. If you didn’t, I understand, it can be difficult to partake of someone else’s pressure when we have our own to contend with – and my heart and prayers go out to you. Now, would you mind taking a look at 2 Chronicles 20? This is how we are SUPPOSED to deal with the enemy when he comes seeking to defeat.
11. Worship, praise, stand, give thanks, and praise the Lord, before the known outcome!
(2 Chron. 20:21, 22, 27, 28)
12. Know there is blessing on the other side of God’s victory (2 Chron. 20:26, 27)
Perhaps you’re not in a battle right now, God love ya! Keep this passage and its lessons in mind when the next trial comes your way. If you are in the midst of the fire RIGHT NOW, I feel you. I’m praying for you. I know you’re praying for me. Please also know, I will take your prayers to my prayer closet, if you feel comfortable sharing any specific prayer requests with me via Facebook or Voxer. Much love and be encouraged to rise up, take your position and stand firm. He's got this for you!
Change. It is on the horizon. Our oldest will soon have her driving permit. Our youngest just became a teenager. We’ve been told colleges are already seeking out student athletes in our daughter’s sport. Our other daughter is already making decisions for high school. Change isn’t taking place with just them. It’s taking place in my husband's and my life as well.
He is potentially getting ready for a life change; one that is welcome, but changes no less. I’ve recently (like last week recent) taken on another new role in my career, absorbing time from my schedule I had sort of already anticipated, thanks to the Holy Spirit. I enjoy change, but not necessarily the “EXTREME MAKEOVER” kind of change, where everything happens all at once, forcing priorities to be rearranged and reconsidered. I mean, it’s fun to watch on TV because no one likes to wait to see the transformation, but that kind of change in real life is kind of crazy!
Sometimes, when I stop for a moment to think about it all, it gets to be overwhelming. The “old me” kind of flips out a bit and I apparently “short circuit”, tempted to rely on former coping mechanisms. Then, it’s like I have to slap myself in the figurative face a few times and remind myself, “You are NOT that lady anymore. She is gone because you have been changed by the power of God. Do not go back there. As much as others like to remind you they never thought in a million years you would be here, be grateful a million times over YOU ARE.”
And then I want to cry. One, God IS SO GOOD. Two, life as I’ve known it is really about to change. Three, it is both exciting and terrifying sometimes to have what was “out there” for so long, suddenly be close to home, if not sitting pretty, right in the backyard ready to skip its way right into the corridor of our home. Then I’m reminded, we’ve been prepared for this. All these years of learning and growing, this is where it’s time to live.
I’ve sensed for several weeks now God whispering this idea that I have been in His heavenly classroom for the past four to five years. Goodness gracious, so much has been learned. Things I wish I would have known growing up, or at the very least as a teenager. Life might have been a bit different. But it wasn’t, and I’m OK with that. The knowledge gleaned (or should I say imparted) in the past several years may now be shared with our daughters, not through test and lecture, but by being given the opportunity to experience through application and living.
As I expressed at the beginning of the year, my heart for 2017 is “this is His year”. I pray I keep my arms wide open and live saying “here You go Lord, it’s all yours… marriage, children, career, aspirations, body – my life is Yours!”
Will you join me in prayer for the season I’m about to enter? One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from the divine classroom is after first needing Him in my life, I truly need the support, prayers, and words of encouragement when life gets sticky and I’m tempted to approach new life opportunities, with outdated habits.
Take care and God bless!
Christian and non) countering, and both through the eyes of God (as defined by His Word).
Many activist right side supports newly instated immigration laws. Many left side activists abhor these same laws. Christians on the right express it is our duty to uphold the law and protect. Christians on the left expound we are to respond with love and extend. Both are accurate.
Hebrews 13:17 instructs us to, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
So on the side of the right, there is justification for obeying the law, because of obedience to our leader, or President. We also see there is biblical protection (also safety) as they watch out for our souls.
In Matthew 22:37 – 39 Jesus commands, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 28:19 states, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations…"
We see in Scripture the FIRST commandment is to LOVE THE LORD, and THEN love our neighbor and go. The left does have reasoning to empathize with our neighbors.
Matthew 25:34 – 40 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’
Romans 8:2 – 4 says, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For that which was impossible to the law, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh 4 that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
Once we become a believer, we are called to live by the law of the spirit and leading of the Holy Spirit, who shares with us all we need to know, see John 14:26.
Matthew 7:21 – 23 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’"
Folks may think they are doing that which Jesus would do but actually miss the mark in their personal and unique lives because of their lack of submission to the Holy Spirit – leading to flesh-led activism, rather than Spirit-led obedience.
So when non-believers (both on the activist left and right) point fingers at what a believer “should do” with use of the Bible, lovingly dismiss it. There is no authority in the Scripture used, as they have yet to believe God is God and Jesus is the Savior of the world. Love THEM, but dismiss the accusation. For condemnation being received from left-ish and/or right-ish positions, encourage them to ask themselves (after you’ve first asked yourself), “Do you FIRST love the Lord Your God with all YOUR heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you know your position, remarks, and most importantly actions, are led by the Law of His Spirit in your life?
How does the combination of your love for the Lord and the leading of His Spirit in your life compel you to love others – refugees, immigrants, the widowed, the orphaned, the poor, the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned, the stranger, the murderer, terrorist, activist, fundamentalist, nonbeliever – the President?
If we’re honestly asking ourselves this and praying for His love to lead and guide us by the law of His Spirit, we should know or soon discover where our position should be, and what He is compelling us to do about it. He may call us to give money, go on a mission to reach out, open our homes, or pursue a change in congress. OR, He may call us to equip those in our homes, community, or churches to respond. Regardless, both sides of Christianity are called to “Pray for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” - 1 Timothy 2:2
We are also cautioned, “…if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.”
So to answer her question, my thoughts are that each believer should seek God’s will through prayer and the Word and respond as His Spirit leads regarding the situation with the refugees and immigrant laws and every other hot topic in our global society. All while praying for our President, who is our leader, regardless of whether we wanted him there and agree with his statutes or not.
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