Under Fire

soldiers

“Cover me! I am going in!”

“Go! I got your back!”

This is the beauty of relationship. For this reason, relationships are important, to watch over each other and cover each other. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. When one is weak, then the other stands up and covers them with their strength.

Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor;  for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 

If you haven’t figured it out by now, we are in a war. If you are a follower of Christ the attack is intense and personal. It is a spiritual war and the enemy, our adversary, is relentless and cunning. He uses gorilla tactics and his attacks can sometimes be so subtle you won’t even recognize where the attack is coming from. He will misdirect your attention, cause confusion and offense, then before you know it you may find yourself fighting your ally.

Marriages go down in flames from “friendly fire” when they do not recognize who the real enemy is.  

Again, if two lie down together, then they keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:11-12 

Who is the three chord strand? It is husband, wife, and the Holy Spirit. For the marriage to be strong, Christ must be in the center. Not only the center, but the foundation. Both husband and wife must be firmly rooted in Him.

The attack always starts in the mind. The enemy will throw things at you from without and then try to speak to you from within. He will attempt to keep you busy focusing on the “issues” until the whispers of his accusations will begin to drown out the voice of Holy Spirit. Rather than renewing your strength in Him, you will grow weary and you will look to place blame on someone or some thing.

You are not fighting a visible enemy. Your husband/wife is not your enemy.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Ephesians 6:12 

You have a battle plan 

warfare
The weapons of your warfare are POWERFUL! 

The marriage covenant is until death (not a death sentence). Love lays His life down for His beloved. You may never be required to take a bullet for your husband/wife, or stand in front of a train, but you are required to lay down and put to death:

  • Pride
  • Selfish Ambitions
  • Un-Forgiveness
  • Bitterness
  • Anger
  • Offense

Allow the Holy Spirit to breathe life into you and fill you with His fruit of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It is in the small things that strengthen your marriage. The small daily acts of kindness towards each other nurture a lasting, healthy, honoring marriage. It is dangerous to neglect each other. Neglect is an open door for the enemy to wreak havoc. When you understand your spouse is a precious gift, and the representation of Christs love for His church, you will understand that laying your life down is actually living and glorifies God. When two become one, and Christ is the center, and you love each other and serve each other as unto the Lord, then you will experience life and life abundantly in your marriage. You will experience the peace and joy of knowing that no matter what the world has to throw at you, together you will be just fine.

Practice these words:

  • I love you
  • I am sorry, please forgive me
  • I forgive you
  • Let’s pray

Cover each other in prayer, with understanding and patience. Worship together and serve together. Then when that enemy comes with his attack you know you have each others back.  Just because this is war, you do not have to be a casualty. You have the victory. Stand strong, hold your position, and take the camp.

Be Free & Stay Free 

How To Get Unstuck

trap

Do you ever feel like you are stuck? You know, for every two steps forward you take a step back and you feel like no matter what you do, you just can’t get ahead, as if you are stuck in waste high mud?

Do you ever feel so bogged down by anxiety and uncertainty, and you find yourself in a position you just don’t want to be in and you don’t know how to free yourself from it? And to make it worse… you are trying to trust God through it all and He just feels distant, then you begin to doubt your own faith?  It’s like you have Jobs friends in your head telling you why you are going through what you are going through.

job-4
Hey, Job, it must be your fault! Maybe you don’t have enough faith!

Imagine, in one day Job lost everything. Then to add insult to injury he was covered in boils. His friends sat with him, not having any explanation as to why this was happening, they decided it must be some sin he committed and he was being punished. Then along comes his wife, being as comforting as his friends, she tells him to just curse God and die. Wow!  Poor Job. He was having a very bad day. And you thought you had it rough?

And God called Job a blameless and upright man. Still, in mans eyes, he lost everything.

That’s the way it is, right? When we are going through it, it is difficult to see the end in sight. As we are being stripped away of what we hold dear, it hurts, and it is confusing. Our emotions run the gambit as we try to hide and we rationalize. Then when nothing makes sense we start to place blame; on others, ourselves, God.

Certainly there has to be a reason for all this! Right?

Remember, you are never stuck with God.

So, what do you do when you are in the valley of uncertainty and everything and everyone seems to be against you? When your strength has crumbled and it is all you can do to even pray, what do you do?

I read an interesting article about how to get out of quicksand and I saw some spiritual parallels to it.

  1. Drop everything! Let go of the excess baggage. Sometimes we take on too much because we do not know how to set boundaries. We say yes to everything because we are programmed to believe that is what “good Christians” do.  Sometimes just because something is good, doesn’t it mean it’s good for you. You can get so busy doing so many good things, you miss out on the good thing He has for you.
  2. Get Away, step back. Jesus set the example with His constant communion with the Father. It is hard to hear Him when there are so many distractions. Get away from the noise and quiet yourself.
  3. Get horizontal. Humble yourself before the Lord and follow the example in Psalm 139: 23-24: Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
    Test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there ispsalm_139_23-24-white-800x800 any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

When you ask God to search your heart, He will. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Be still and listen… His voice is sometimes a whisper and it is His desire to lead you.

What is He showing you? Is there confession and repentance needed?  Is it something from your past, maybe a hidden and forgotten injury?  Is He calling you back to your first love with Him.

Rest. Just like in quicksand, the more you struggle the more likely you will be to stay stuck and possibly sink. Breathe! The more of Him you breathe in, the more bouyant you will be. Trust Him, He will not let you sink. No matter what is going on around you, or the storm clouds hovering over head, He speaks to the storm and He says, “Peace, be still.” Don’t go by what your natural eye sees. Let your faith arise.

Beloved, your steps are ordered by Him. He directs your path. He goes before you and He makes those crooked places straight. He is the voice that whispers, go this way.

I remember a particular time I was going through… stuff. Everything was stripped away from me, all of my comforts, and I felt so alone. My emotions were on a perpetual roller coaster ride. To be honest, a lot of what I was going through was stuff I brought on myself through disobedience. Instead of trusting His faithfulness and provision, I tried (and failed) to fix my mess myself. Ugh! Not a pretty place to be in. I could keep the facade up for only so long before He allowed me to come to the end of myself. What looked like complete abandonment was actually Him calling me up. He lets us come to the end to get our attention. It was at this time He spoke to me and Romans 8:28-29 had a brand new meaning to me.

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.  For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.

Pay attention to the word ALL. He said ALL things. So, what does that mean? It means the things we have created and the things others have done to us. ALL things! I knew with repentance of my disobedience (SIN) and forgiveness, even the mess I created was not too great for Him. His forgiveness and love is greater than any sin. I had not and could not sink so low He could not reach me with His strong arm. It is His mercy and grace that even this should become a part of my testimony and would work for my good and to His glory! This is the love of our Father!

My friend, no matter what that mountain is you are facing. No matter how deep the pit is that you are in. Echo the words of Job and say, “Though You slay me, I will trust You.”

He delights in you. There is no need to try to hide from Him, because you can’t. Even if you make your bed in hell, He is there. (Click Here )

As I am writing this I am listening to this song and I want to share it with you.

 

Be Free & Stay Free

 

That Was Then, This Is Now

cps-mistakes

It is true, there is not one person who ever lived who was perfect, except Jesus. Even though He was tempted in every way we are tempted, He did not sin.

So, the good news is… because He was without sin and died and rose again for us, having paid the penalty for our sins, He reconciled us to the Father.

When you are in Christ, there is no condemnation. As far as the east is from the west He separated us from our sins.

Sometimes the enemy wants to remind us of our past. He will take the voice of those closest to us and sometimes he will even speak in our own voice. By listening to this condemning voice we can be hindered and weighed down with guilt and shame. We may even start to believe we are not worthy of Gods great love and forgiveness towards us.

Remember this, Gods love for us is greater than any sin we have committed. Once we have confessed and repented He is faithful and true to forgive. He is not waiting for you to mess up so He can throw it back in your face again. He has something so much greater for you and it is His desire you let go of the past and trust and believe Him.

Who you were is not who you are.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 2 Corinthians 5:17

So the next time the accuser comes knocking on your door, do not even bother answering it. When those voices rise up in your ear and your mind, shut them off. Take control of your thoughts and remind yourself…

That was then, this is now.

You have a bright eternal future before you. Refuse to let it be stolen from you by the lying deceiver. God is greater!

Be Free & Stay Free 

Precious Bouqet

dandelion-2

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. Romans 8:28

Be Free & Stay Free 

Master Gardener

tree

I admit, I have never been accused of having a green thumb. When I bring a plant home, it is almost as if I can hear Taps being played in the background. I have either drowned them with too much watering or they have dried up because of my neglect. Poor things.

I have learned some things though, in this journey of How To Not Kill My Plants 101.

Plants need good soil, the right amount of water and light, and the proper size container.

Now, some plants do better in bright light, while others prefer indirect light. Some like wet soil, while others prefer almost dry. But, one thing they all need is good soil.

As I thought about my one remaining live house plant, it occurred to me that I am like a plant. We all are.

Are we rooted in good soil? Is our foundation rooted firmly in Him? Is our soul being watered daily with His Spirit? Are we living in His light and shining? Or have we been side tracked, discouraged, or distracted by the concerns of this world? Have our roots become bitter from hurts and disappointments? Are we hiding from the light because we carry shame and regrets that we are not meant to carry?

Ah, my dear friends, let us flourish and remain a reflection of His light to a very dark world. Let us go before Him and offer ourselves to Him and allow Him to prune away anything in us that is not bearing fruit. The pruning may sting, but that is the way we grow.

For a fruit tree to bear fruit, the gardener has to prune the dead limbs, because the dead limbs serve no purpose but to drain the rest of the tree of it’s life. Pruning produces more fruit.

I pray, as you submit to Him, He will fill you to over flow with His Spirit and His fruit will spring forth in and through you for life giving nourishment to you. And all He places in your path will know you carry the Spirit of the living God.  May His mercy and goodness create such a flow in you that you can not contain it.

Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

 

What Are You Searching For?

Man-searching

We look high and low for something to numb us or someone to fulfill us.

Addictions come in many forms. Drugs, alcohol, relationships, impulse shopping, social media, etc…

Because there is that something in each of us that is reserved for Him. He planted it in us. Because He desires an intimate relationship with each of us. He loves us that much and He is a jealous God, that is why nothing or no one can fill that void we have. He said it is for Him.

The beauty of this is…. what we can not do for ourselves, He can and will do it for us.

Look as much as you want… but until you call His Name, Jesus, you will never find what you are looking for.

Come home to Him. He loves you!

Nobody Greater (click here)

Be Free & Stay Free