Archive for the ‘Spiritual Life’ Category
None of us, not a single person, is exempt from the enemy’s tricks. If he can’t get you down one way, odds are he’ll try a different approach–probably one you weren’t thinking.
I am not unaccustomed to falling for the enemy’s tricks. I’d like to think I get better and better at dodging them, or having the wisdom to see them coming, but there are times when I look up from a self-degrading thought, or a feeling of depression, and I realize I fell for one again.
How can we become knowledgeable about the enemy’s schemes to try and take us out? How can we fight offensively to protect ourselves before an attack ever comes?
We have to know our trix button. Think of it as a weakness, a little crack in the windshield of your life that if satan could make bigger would cause more and more problems for you.
Mine? Food of course. If you know my journey you’re familiar with my struggle to stay fit and healthy. It is an everyday choice to honor God with the things I put in my mouth. The enemy knows this, so if he can wiggle his way in there just a bit he can wreak havoc in my thoughts and actions often before I even know what happened.
What about you? What’s your Trix button? Maybe yours is pride, or lust, or discontentment with your life. Maybe you compare yourself to others, or have a problem with negative words and thoughts. It’s important to know where you’re weak so you can put some extra armor around your vulnerable spots.
Silly rabbit, trix aren’t for me. Don’t fall for the enemy’s trix. Know your weaknesses. You can bet he does.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.–Paul
Last night I woke up to use the bathroom and I heard a strange noise coming from the kitchen. It wasn’t a normal house noise, it was calculated, happening every five seconds or so, like something or someone was tapping on the kitchen counter. Of course it could’ve been a mouse, but when the house is dark, and you’re half asleep your mind has a funny way of playing tricks on you. I quickly crawled back in bed, woke up my husband and told him what I heard. “It’s just my phone,” he said in a thick groggy voice. He probably wouldn’t even remember the conversation if I asked him about it now. I crawled deeper into his arms and tried to fall back asleep.
I don’t believe in ghosts. But I believe in evil spirits. Now, I’m not trying to scare anyone. Good and evil spirits are very real. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt a strange vibe in our house at night. Several times, my husband himself has woken up and prayed over us because of the feeling in the room. I don’t want to scare anyone, but I do want to bring awareness.
I remember the first time I learned how to take care of an evil spirit. I was probably 8, and we were heavily involved in a production at our church called “The Bride.” The Bride was a play about Jesus, God and the church, represented by a little girl. There were angles and demons and actors and dancers and lots of good looking make up to make everyone look real.
Me and my mom were walking down the hall one night and we ran into one of the demons actors. She was scary and I cowered behind my mom. The actor knelt down and told me a few words I haven’t forgotten to this day.
“You don’t have to be scared. All you have to do is say the name of Jesus and tell me to get lost and I have to obey.”
She went on to explain the power behind his name and how all demons, real and fake, were not anywhere near as powerful as Jesus.
I like remembering that. I like knowing that even if there are ghosts in our attic I have the power of getting rid of them with just one word. One Name.
I know I’m not the only person who’s ever experienced this. Share your thoughts on your own experiences and let us gain the boldness and power to protect ourselves, and our families from the attacks of the enemy.
I’ve learned a lot about waiting in my short life span of 23 years. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that in the waiting God can be trusted to bring about the best possible outcome. Maybe it won’t be the outcome you expect, but we can trust, that whatever it is, it is the best for us.
When I am struggling to trust God in something it helps me to take a look back on my past to see how God came through in other areas.
I can remember the first time I really learned to trust God with the outcome of a certain situation. I was raising money for a leadership trip overseas. I wrote support letters and saved all I could, but I was coming up short. Very short. It looked like I wasn’t going to be able to go. So I prayed and made the decision in my heart that if I was supposed to go on the trip, the money would come. Two days before the money was due, my uncle Paul gave me a check for $2,000. It paid for my trip in full with more than enough left over so I could help a friend with his money as well. God came through. Yes, it was at the last minute but sometimes I think He gets a thrill out of sweeping in and rescuing us when it seems like there’s no hope. That way, there’s no mistaking who gets the recognition for making it happen.
Another friend of mine tells the story of how she and her husband couldn’t get pregnant. For seven years they prayed and tried everything to conceive but nothing happened. When they gave the situation up to God and decided to trust Him with the outcome, they ended up pregnant, two weeks after a pastor prayed over them to conceive. My friend tells me that during those seven years she ministered to many people bringing them to Christ. If she had been a mother earlier, maybe those people wouldn’t have followed her in prayer to receive Christ.
So, what are you waiting for? Most of the time it is in the waiting that God teaches us to trust Him. The problem is we might miss the lesson because we’re too caught up in what we think is best.
What are you waiting for? Think back over your past and recall those times God came through for you. Has He ever let you down?
What are you waiting for? Do you need to drop your worry at His feet and decide in your heart that whatever it is will happen if it’s what God wants for you?
What are you waiting for? “We know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him…”
What are you waiting for? Trust Him.
Last week we took some vacation time and headed up to Colorado. There’s nothing quite like the crisp cool air and the mountain range scenery that puts you right at ease. There’s also nothing quite like a 17 mile hike–remind me next time that when I go on vacation, I need to actually go on vacation. But that’s a whole other blog post.
Cody, our friend Troy, my brother Jacob and I embarked on the trail early one morning. The air was cool and I was wearing a jacket, but it didn’t take but five minutes of walking up steep ravines with a 30 pound pack on my back to work up a good sweat. The jacket came off and I settled in for who knew how long!
After about two and a half hours of walking I was getting pretty tired. I was at the back of the group, a good two to three minutes behind the leaders. Cody of course stayed with me and as we were walking up a rather steep climb he said something that stuck with me.
Interesting. As I made it up the mountain and around the winding trails I thought about how true that phrase is for life. For someone who tends to always do things fast, it was a great reminder for me that slowing down and making sure each step counts, is actually a better way to live than trying to rush through everything. I drew a parallel to almost anything I could think of that people deal with in life and this phrase fit them all perfectly.
Training for some big race? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You have to work up to your goal over time. You can’t just run as fast as you can and expect to condition yourself.
Single and wising you weren’t? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You can’t just start dating the first guy or girl that comes along because you don’t want to be alone. Take it slow and figure out who you are first.
Writing a book? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Writing is a process of discovery. If you try to rush into it you may miss something vital to your story.
Parenting a toddler? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You’re probably not going to see the fruit of your labor right at the beginning, but over time, with lots of hard work, prayer and probably tears, as you commit your children to God you will see what they will become. I’m not a parent, but I am a daughter.
Waiting for a job? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Listening to God’s direction and being patient is the only way to make it through this seemingly dry spot in your life. It might also be the time when God is trying to do the most in your heart as you trust Him with the next step.
Dissatisfied with your life? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Like me on the mountain trail, we have to make sure every step counts. Don’t fall for the quick gimmicks. Nothing in life worth anything happens fast. Put in the hard work, follow God’s direction and overtime you will walk into your purpose.
What about you in your current stage of life? Do you need to adopt the motto that Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast? You never know how it might help you make it up the mountain of your life and come to the other side to the beautiful view that awaits you.
When I was younger I told a lie. Ok, so I told lots of lies and most of those lies were told so I wouldn’t get into trouble. The problem was, every lie I told got me into deeper trouble when the lie was found out. Because the lie is always found out. The truth always has a way of surfacing given enough time.
You know that feeling you have when you tell a lie? It’s almost as if you float out of your body and watch yourself. You get this quick sweaty feeling all over your body and your heart rate picks up a few notches. You wait, holding your breath to see if the lie was a success and when you realize it was, you want to let out that breath, but can’t. You end up holding that breath for weeks, maybe years, you hold it for as long as the lie lasts because you know at any moment it could be found out and then it would all be over.
I remember the way it feels when you finally decided to tell the truth. You let that breath go and this enormous weight lifts off your shoulders. You realize life on the right side of truth isn’t so bad and you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
The truth is always the best rout to take. Even if you think a lie will save you from trouble or embarrassment, imagine the trouble or embarrassment you’ll have to face when that lie is found out. Because the lie is always found out. The truth always has a way of surfacing given enough time.
Please, tell the truth. It’s the right thing to do.
“Community is the catalyst for life-change.” I stole this quote from a good friend and co-worker, Robert Davis who is our LifeGroups and Missions Pastor. He couldn’t be more right.
I started a life group over three years ago in my little one bedroom apartment. People came and people left, but the ones who stuck became the core of our group. We’ve been together for over three years and the relationships we’ve built have been life-changing. I met and got to know my husband through life group. Another couple also met and are now married due to the group. My best friends are in the group, but we didn’t start out as friends. It took time, patience and intentionality to grow into what it is now.
One of my favorite stories is about a guy named Kelley. When he started coming to the group he was sporadic. He’d come one week and then we wouldn’t see him for the next three. Kelley suffered a seizure and because of that his drivers license was taken away. Not being able to go anywhere on his own, his parents started bringing him to life group every week. We began to build a relationship with Kelley.
One week, I asked if he would lead the group. He was hesitant telling me he’s never really done anything like that before. I told him it would be ok, and to pray and ask God to show him what to share. The next week, Kelley came with an amazing lesson. Later, he shared with me that it had been the first time in a long time to open his Bible to get ready for the lesson. Since then, our group has been able to hold Kelley accountable to reading his Word and growing in Christ. Kelley is now starting his own life group at our Yukon Campus where he lives!
Community is the catalyst for life-change. God used our relationship with Kelley to mold and shape him as he molded and shaped each one of us.
I encourage you, if you are not in some kind of Biblical community, find one! I know it can be hard to find the one that fits, but when you do the life-changing benefits far out-weight the search.
Community changes lives. Are you living in community?
Which one are you in?
Over the course of my 23 years of life I’ve discovered our life will always fall into two categories: Building or Breaking.
Building—This is when things are fun! Opportunities seem to knock on every door and every window. The direction of your life seems laser focused, and you wake up with a sense of joy and anticipation for the things to come. This is when you are building toward a goal, or vision that God has placed in your life!
Breaking—This is when things are painful. Sometimes it feels like NOTHING is happening and nothing WILL happen for the rest of your life! You don’t feel like you have any real direction, and sometimes it feels as if every breath takes effort. If you’re smart, this is the place where you cling to God with everything in you. But sometimes it’s the place where your faith feels like it’s hanging on by a thread!
I’ve experienced both seasons of building and breaking. Right now, I’m in the building stage. But here is a truth that you should never forget: Without the breaking season of life, the building season would never be possible!
Share your thoughts on why that is! What season are you in right now?
In our day and age, truth is a lost virtue. No longer is there an absolute truth. Truth is more of a relative term, to mean anything the believer wants it to mean. If it’s truth to them, than it’s truth.
Truth–noun: the true or actual state of a matter; conformity with fact or reality; agreement with a standard or original.
When we look at the word Truth, we see that it’s meaning points to something. It must point to a standard or an original idea, item or origin, otherwise, why would we need to measure for truth?
An example would be to take a blue pen, that is the original item before us. The truth of the matter is that the pen is blue. You can’t say that the pen is red, because that would not be true. However, many people, especially from my perspective in working with students, will try to argue that the pen is red. Why? Because they don’t want to believe in an absolute truth.
Taking the meaning a bit deeper, let’s use the Bible for our standard of Truth. Hopefully if you are a Christ-follower this is what you use for your standard of truth. But sadly many professed Christ-followers would admit that the Bible does not represent absolute truth for them. Truth is truth. Truth is not what you make it. Unless of course you’re believing lies.
There is a whole other angle we can come at with this subject. Many of you know my passion for truth as it pertains to freedom from insecurity. To know and believe the truth about yourself is to be free. The truth really does set you free, as the Bible says. But knowing truth, and believing truth are two separate things. Do you know the truth of who you are and who you were created to be? Do you believe that truth and are you walking it out in your life? Or are you stuck, with lies blurring your vision of the truth? No wonder we struggle so much with believing truth! We first have to believe in an absolute truth before we can believe the truth about who we are.
Truth is a lost virtue. But we desperately need truth! What can we do to get it back?
Are you free? I guess that would depend on how you look at the question. If you live in the United States, you would answer that question with a yes, since it is a free country. But even then, would it really be true?
What I’m talking about is personal freedom. Freedom from our personal addictions, freedom from our vices, freedom from our insecurities, freedom from those things that hold us back. I’m afraid a lot of us would say that we are not free from those things. But even if we were, would we really be free?
I guess that depends on how you look at freedom. What does it mean to be truly free? Is there even such a thing? You see, freedom is a paradox. The more liberated you become of something, the more controlled you will become to something else.
Take these ideas for example:
- Let’s say you’d like to win freedom over laziness. To win freedom over laziness the more controlled by discipline you will become.
- What about self-indulgence? If you want freedom from self-indulgence, you’ll have to become more enchained to self-control.
- Instead of being a slave to sin, we have to become slaves of righteousness.–Ro. 6:15-19
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey? –Ro. 6:16
So which is it for you? Are you free in the freedom that brings life, or are you enslaved to the things that you obey?
Freedom is a paradox.
I heard a great message yesterday from a pastor at HillSong church, in Austrailia. He asked a great question that I think many of us need to realize for ourselves:
Which Side of Need Are You On?
He explained that there are two sides to Need:
Needy and Needed
Are you a needy person. Do you live your life with the attitude of “what can people do for me?”
Are you a needed person. Do you live your life with the attitude of “What can I do for others?”
As mature Christ-followers it’s time we see ourselves as people who are needed. We are ministers first and foremost, no matter what organization pays our salaries. We are here to be used of God to meet the needs of others.
Which Side of Need Are You On?