“The Schemes of Satan”

25 Sep

 

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 ESV

Satan is sly and cunning. He will do everything he can to catch us off guard. His goal is to see us fall. After all, he wants the ones that he doesn’t have.

A scheme is a large scale systematic plan. Satan is very patient. He knows our weaknesses. I’ve seen it said before he knows our “favorite” sin. Here’s a quote I found on pinterest.com, “The devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you’ve wished for.” The Bible says “Be watchful, your advesary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8).

Satan is very crafty. He is always planning a method of attack. He will attack our family, our health, our finances, etc.  His method of attack may come through an addiction or another person. I believe him to plan slowly and strategically. If he can’t get us one way, he will most definitely try another.

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to BOTT radio. I’m not sure who was speaking. The speaker said this, “The primary battlefield for Satan is our minds.” This is very true.

Satan tries to get us to believe his lies. I know; from personal experience, I have to battle his lies-on a daily basis. If I don’t, the lies play into my emotions. If I let the lies play with my emotions, it isn’t good. My emotions will get out of control.

Some of the lies I battle are:

  • “I am not good enough.”
  • “I am not pretty enough.”
  • “I am not smart enough.”
  • “How can God love me after all I’ve done?”

Satan is even brave enough to twist God’s word.

We must battle his lies. The best way to battle the lies of Satan is with God’s word, the Bible. In fact, God’s word is the only way we can battle against the lies of Satan. We need to know God’s truth to battle the lies of Satan.

For example:

  • “I am not good enough.”  “I am God’s workmanship.” Ephesians 2:10
  • “I am not smart enough.”  “I have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16
  • “I am not pretty enough.” “I am made in the image of God.” Genesis 1:27
  • “How can God love me after all I’ve done?” “He love me enough to die for me.” John 3:16 “He casts my sins as far as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12

So, it’s very important for us to know and memorize God’s word. It’s very important for us to stay armed with the armor of God. Being sure to place the helmet of salvation; which is to protect our minds and picking up the sword of the Spirit; which is the word of God. The sword of the Spirit gives us weapons to fight the battle.

Until I wrote this, I never realized how the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit was in the order of the armor of God. I now realize God did that for a reason. The helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit go hand in hand.

So, ladies, let’s be prepared for the day by equipping ourselves with the armor of God. We must do this on a daily basis. Believe me, I don’t do it like I should. God has given us an arsenal of weapons, and we need to use them. We need to pray daily for God to put on our armor.

 

The Whole Armor of God Prayer
by Charles Stanley

Want to start your day of right? Say this simple prayer by Charles Stanley every morning…
_________________________________

Good morning Lord. Thank you for assuring me of victory today if I will but follow Your battle plan. So by faith, I claim victory over_____________________(list some things you know you will face today).

To prepare myself for the battle ahead, by faith I put on the belt of truth. The truth about You Lord—that You are a sovereign God who knows everything about me, both my strengths, and my weaknesses. Lord, You know my breaking point and have promised not to allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able to bear. The truth about me Lord, is that I am a new creature in Christ and have been set free from the power of sin. I am indwelt with the Holy Spirit who will guide me and warn me when danger is near. I am Your child, and nothing can separate me from Your love. The truth is that You have a purpose for me this day—someone to encourage, someone to share with, someone to love.

Next Lord, I want to put on the breastplate of righteousness. Through this I guard my heart and my emotions. I will not allow my heart to attach itself to anything that is impure. I will not allow my emotions to rule in my decisions. I will set them on what is right and good and just. I will live today by what is true, not by what I feel.

Lord, this morning I put on the sandals of the gospel of peace. I am available to You, Lord. Send me where You will. Guide me to those who need encouragement or physical help of some kind. Use me to solve conflicts wherever they may arise. Make me a calming presence in every circumstance in which you place me. I will not be hurried or rushed, for my schedule is in Your hands. I will not leave a trail of tension and apprehension. I will leave tracks of peace and stability everywhere I go.

I now take up the sheild of faith, Lord. My faith is in You and You alone. Apart from You, I can do nothing. With You, I can do all things. No temptation that comes my way can penetrate Your protecting hand. I will not be afraid, for You are going with me throughout this day. When I am tempted, I will claim my victory out loud ahead of time, for You have promised victory even now because I know there are fiery darts headed my way even as I pray. Lord, You already know what they are and have already provided the way of escape.

Lord, by faith I am putting on the helmet of salvation. You know how Satan bombards my mind day and night with evil thoughts, doubt and fear. I put on this helmet that will protect my mind. I may feel the impact of his attacks, but nothing can penetrate this helmet. I choose to stop every impure and negative thought at the door of my mind. With the helmet of salvation, those thoughts will get no further. I elect to take every thought captive. I will dwell on nothing but what is good and right and pleasing to You.

Last, I take up the sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word. Thank You for the precious gift of Your Word. It is strong and powerful and able to defeat even the strongest of Satan’s onslaughts. Your Word says that I am not under obligation to the flesh to obey it’s lusts. Your Word says that He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world. So by faith, I take up the strong and powerful sword of the Spirit, which is able to defend me in time of attack, comfort me in time of sorrow, teach me in time of meditation, and prevail against the power of the enemy on behalf of others who need the truth to set them free.

So Lord, I go now rejoicing that You have chosen me to represent You to this lost and dying world. May others see Jesus in me, and may Satan and his hosts shudder as Your power is made manifest in me.

In Jesus’ name I pray… AMEN.

 

 

 

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Haughtiness and Pride

10 Jun

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

I’ve been studying on haughtiness and pride. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter. I’m human. So, there are times that I mess up when it comes to pride.

Now, I’d like for you to understand I’m not trying to come against a certain people group. The subject of pride affects all of us and the way we think. It doesn’t matter about who or what “group” we identify with.

I didn’t realize this was gay pride month. I’ve been seeing a lot of profile pictures with the word pride across it in all capital letters and rainbow colored. I’m thankful that we live in a country where we can have freedom of speech.

Yet, God’s word teaches against pride. Pride and haughtiness is an abomination to God. It doesn’t matter; Christian or atheist; straight or gay, or whatever you identify yourself as… God hates anyone with pride and haughtiness.

I’m a Bible believing Christian and I struggle with haughtiness and pride. Without God, I wouldn’t know when it rears its ugly head. God continually teaches me. I know I MUST let God dig out ALL of my pride as part of my sanctification. Yet; like all of us, I’ll never be perfect on this side of heaven. I will give into my flesh and let my pride come out.

I MUST continually pray for God to search me and know me. If I don’t, I won’t realize when my pride comes out. Also, I don’t know when I need to repent about my pride. God is always faithful to answer this prayer for me.

Without God, I can be very prideful and full of haughtiness. Through my study on the subject, God has been teaching me about humility. After all, Jesus was the perfect picture of humility. He exemplified humility from before His birth until His resurrection. After all, He left the splendor of heaven to live among us. Jesus was and is the greatest example of humility. In my opinion, His greatest act of humility was when He was hanging on the cross. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.” (Can be found in all of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

How are you with haughtiness? This following quote comes from Merriam Webster. It describes haughtiness. “The word has strong negative connotations. Someone who is described as “haughty” is proud in the worst way. This is not the pride a parent feels for a child who’s worked hard at something, and it’s not the pride a marathoner feels for completing a race. The word haughty communicates a kind of pride that is obviously full of contempt for others deemed inferior or unworthy. ” Even as a secular quote, it states that haughtiness is the worst.

The best example of humility…read about Jesus in the Bible.  I’d also recommend reading, “Humility, The Journey Towards Holiness” by Andrew Murray. With this combined with prayer, God will show you about your haughtiness. He’s faithful to those who diligently seek Him. He draws near to those that draw near to Him.

Pray and cry out to God. He will show you what you need to change. He will change your haughtiness and pride into humility.

I also read this study. This is where God pricked my heart and showed me a lot.

https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/pride-test-2/

The Journey to a Better Me

26 May

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My journey to a better me started in 2009. I had placed a lot of bad experiences in the back of my mind. Let me tell you, a person that can only do that for so long. The experiences of my childhood came back like rushing water that comes from a broken dam.

When I first started my journey, there were things that I didn’t want to deal with. I didn’t want to get to the roots of my issues. To tell you the truth, I was afraid of what I’d find. So, I didn’t totally use the counsel I was receiving at the time.

Well; in 2013, God showed me that I needed to get to the roots of my issues. God “jump started” my healing when I attended a Woman at the Well workshop held by Shannon Ethridge. God showed me some things in the 4 short days I was there.

I decided I was ready to dig out those roots; no matter how much it hurt. I was ready to heal. I was ready to become a better me. I knew God could use my story to help other hurting women, and that’s what I wanted to do.

Since then, God has dug up a lot of roots out of me. He continues to dig out roots more and more; which I am thankful for. I surely couldn’t do it without Him. That’s for sure!!!!

A couple of years ago, I became a part of a sex trafficking ministry. Through that ministry, I met a young woman. I shared a little of my story with her. She told me about OAGW (Overcoming Abuse God’s Way). This would turn out to be one of the best blessings for me.

Through OAGW, I was able to work through childhood abuse. Yet, I still wasn’t getting to the roots of things like anger, bitterness, resentment, self hated, etc. I was a work in progress.

The leader; Janet Napper, offered life coaching to me. I had heard of life coaching, but didn’t know what to expect. I’ll tell you that it’s like counseling but on a much deeper level. God showed me right quick that I had to be willing to dig some more roots out.

Last year, my church, started CR (Celebrated Recovery). Celebrated Recovery is a Bible based program that is drawn from the Beatitudes in the Bible. Matthew 5:3-11. It’s for those with hurts, habits, and hang ups; which I believe is all of us. I don’t believe we can escape this life unscathed.

I also chose to do the step study. Step study help me dig up some more roots; especially when I did my personal inventory. The inventory included events of the past, how it hurt me, and my responsibility in what happened. I’ll say; the inventory included the good and the bad.

Now; over a year later, I still continue to meet with Janet. I continue to attend CR. I resigned from my position on the sex trafficking ministry; which was through God’s guidance. God has allowed me to become Outreach Coordinator of OAGW.

I also decided to go back to school. I’ll be going in the fall; which I almost can’t believe. I’ve been out of school for 26 years. I am excited!!!!

Yet, God isn’t done yet. Like a song says, “I’m unfinished.” God is still working on me. I’ll never arrive on this side of heaven. I won’t reach perfection until I’m in heaven. I’m excited about the future God has laid before me.

Those Without Sin; Cast the First Stone

30 Jan

“And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This is one of my favorite accounts of Jesus setting a woman free of her sins.

See, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. She was being intimate with someone besides her husband. I’m sure she thought she wasn’t going to get caught.

Of course, here come the Pharisees and scribes.  Instead of being concerned about their sin issues, they were concerned about what this woman had done. They actually caught her in the act of adultery.

The law was if someone was caught in adultery, their punishment would be to be stoned to death. This goes back to the book of Leviticus. In Leviticus, God gave more laws to the Israelites. The penalty for anyone caught in adultery was being stoned to death. (Leviticus 20:10)

Well, here comes  Jesus in the midst of all this commotion. All of the “religious” leaders already had a stone in their hand. Jesus saw this woman on the ground. She was crying because she knew she was about to die.

Jesus walks to the group of men and the woman on the ground. The Pharisees and scribes told Jesus this woman had been caught in the act of adultery.

They told Jesus; according to the law of Moses (Leviticus 20) she was to be stoned to death. The men decided to test Jesus. “This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭ESV

Now, no one knows what Jesus wrote in the sand. I believe He was drawing a boundary between the leaders and the woman. (Please do not quote me on this because the Bible doesn’t state what He wrote in the sand.)

Anyway, Jesus tells them, ““And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”” John 8:7 ESV.

Once again, Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground. One by one, the people started walking away. There was no one there to stone her.

Yesterday, someone told me that I wasn’t a Christian. I was told I acted one way in church and another out of church. I’m not saying that I didn’t do anything wrong. I know that I’m not perfect. 

Anyway, I tell this person, “Yes, I am a Christian, but I’m not perfect.” This person was like the religious leaders with this woman. He/she was ready to stone me without looking at his/her wrongs.

There are a lot of people that think just because you go to church and trying to follow Jesus, that we are supposed to be “perfect.” Well, we are not perfect. We are forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Yes, we mess up. Yes, we do wrong. In those times, we must repent of our sins. We can’t be concerned about someone else’s condemnation of us. In Romans 8:1, it says, “There is NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” It also says in 1 John 1:9 (ESV), “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.

We can defend ourselves when someone accuses us of not being a Christian. Our words must be spoken in love. We don’t have to stand by and let Satan lie to us. After all, there is NO such thing as perfect people.

 

 

I Knew You Before You Were Formed

29 Jan

Psalm 139:16 ESV  Your eyes saw my unformed substance

I was getting ready for church, and I kept thinking about this verse. I knew God was telling me something. I said, “Okay, God.”

Psalm 139:13-16 speaks of the Creator knew before I was even thought of by my mother. It says that the Creator formed my inward parts and knitted me together in my mother’s womb (v.13). God says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (v.14). My frame was not hidden from Him when I was being made in secret. God intricately wove me in the depths of the earth (v.15). His eyes saw my unformed substance (v.16).

My Creator; God, knew that I was going to be formed. He knew that He was going to form me; inside out. When God made me, He made someone special. See, I am a child of God. I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Since I am His child, I am a princess.

I’ve been trying to learn about God’s love. I’ve felt worthless and unloved. I’ve had a lot of rejection in my life. I have a negative attitude towards myself.

Anyway, the more I learn about God’s love; the more He reveals to me. Last year, God revealed something to me. God was wooing me before I was even born. He wanted me as His. He wanted to adopt me as His child.

When God revealed this to me, I couldn’t believe it. That’s what Psalm 139:16 states. God saw my unformed substance. He saw me before anyone knew I would be born to inhabit the earth. Isn’t that wonderful?! I serve an awesome God.

You may want to question God and ask, “Why did You put me here to suffer?” I know I have. I’ve learned that hurt people hurt people. Some people give into temptation and do some bad things to others. So, I’ve learned it wasn’t God’s fault. It was the fault of the people that abused me.

If you are like me, and have doubted God’s love, I will strongly recommend you read Psalm 139. I know God will speak to you. I know He will reveal some things to you. All of you have to do is pray for revelation. Don’t let Satan keep making you feel worthless, unwanted, unloved, rejected, or ignored. Tell Satan, “God’s word says that He created me. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I pray for any of you that are feeling like God doesn’t love you. I encourage you to read the Bible. Search out God’s love through every verse. God does love you because you were created by Him.

Shifting the Blame

23 Jan

“The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We are living in a time where people want to blame others for their bad decisions and poor choices. They want others to pay for what they have done. These people don’t realize they are responsible for their poor choices and bad decisions.

As always, a great example, starts back in Genesis with Adam and Eve. Eve ate of the fruit that God specifically told her not to eat. She offered it to Adam. Adam accepted the offering from his wife.

The above verses state the shifting of the blame. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent.

In Genesis 3:13, God asks Eve, ““Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” God asked Eve what she had done. He didnt ask anyone else, only Eve.
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In s few verses before that, we see Adam blame Eve. “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:9‬ ESV.”The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭ESV Once again, the only person God asked Adam. 

After this, God kicked them out of the garden of Eden. In fact, He placed an angel to guard the garden. Adam and Eve would never be able to return to the garden.

Because of their disobedience, they both have to pay for their consequences. This is what happened to Eve: “To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The same happened to Adam. “And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭ESV‬

I have to admit. I have been like Adam & Eve. I wanted to blame others for my hurt. I gave God all kinds of excuses why it wasn’t my fault. I also thought that they needed to pay for the my wrong doings. I wanted them to pay the consequences; not me.

That was until I was able to start going to Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a Bible centered group for people of all ages with hurts, habits, and hang ups. It’s a great study to go through. It sure has taught me some life lessons.

We first learn to step out of denial. We are told to quit denying our past mistakes. We are told to not deny our wrong doings in situations. I had to dig deep to see my wrong doing in each situation. Thank God for my sponsor. She helped me to see where I was wrong in situations I didn’t see where I done any wrong doing.

So, things haven’t changed since the time of Adam & Eve. We want to blame our parents, family dysfunction, friends, etc. We want to blame everyone and everything but ourselves. We always want to point the finger at someone else instead of pointing it at ourselves.

Our society expects wants others to pay for their consequences. The lazy expect the government to pay for their food, health care, and schooling. The feminist women’s movement expects the government to pay for abortions and cancer screenings.

These people don’t realize the government isn’t paying for anything. That money has to come from somewhere. That money comes from taxes, which comes from the average working American citizen.

We do NOT have the right to try to make someone else pay for our poor choices and bad decisions. Just like with Adam and Eve, we have to learn with the consequences of our choices and decisions; good or bad. God gave them each their own set of consequences for their disobedience.

Are you in denial of any wrong doing and trying to blame someone else for your decisions? Do you want them to pay the consequences for the decisions you have made?

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. What am I denying?

2. Who am I blaming?

3. Why am I blaming that person(s)?

4. What is my part in the situation?

Here’s a prayer that I pray that comes straight from God’s word:

God, I pray that You search me and know me. Know my thoughts. Search my innermost parts. Search the deepest, darkest parts of my heart, soul, and mind. Show me what I need to change. God, give me revelation. In Jesus Name, amen.

I can promise that if you pray this with a heart wide open to God’s correction, God will show you what you need to change. It doesn’t always feel good for Him to dig in the deep, dark places, but I guarantee you that it’s well worth it. God will change you. I am living proof of that.

By the way, there is one person that has already taken on the consequences of your poor choices and bad decisions. He paid the ultimate price to take you consequences upon Himself. That person is Jesus. He is the only one that can right the wrong’s that have been done to you. He can also right the wrongs that You have done. All you have to do is repent and ask Him to forgive you. He is faithful and just in His forgiveness.

 

“Get Back Up Again”

9 Jan

Proverbs 24:16a ESV    for the righteous falls seven times and rises again

I have learned a lot about myself in the last month. I am all about performance. This stems from experiencing a lot of rejection.

I think I have to look a certain way, act a certain way, or be a certain way. Just like anyone else, I want to be loved and accepted. So, there are times, I will go above and beyond just to be loved and accepted.

Needless to say, this has carried into my spiritual life; my walk with Jesus. It’s hard for me to accept my imperfections. It’s hard for me to accept when I mess up. I think that I disappoint God.

I get to the point of giving up. I say, “What’s the use?” “All I do is disappoint God, anyway?” I will “beat” myself up. I am very self-condemning. I have a habit of negative self-talk.

When I am at the point of giving up, God keeps me from completely giving up. I have a dear Godly lady that has told me that I am a fighter. She has told me that I am not a disappointment. She told me, “Christina, when God looks at you, He sees His Son.” She has told me numerous times,” A righteous man falls seven times, but gets back up again.”

I am trying to accept that I am going to fail. I am trying to accept that I will make mistakes. I am trying to accept my imperfections and my humanness. I am trying to learn not to self-condemn. I do NOT want to give up. I know that God has big plans for me, and I do not want to go to hell. There’s a saying, “Satan doesn’t want the ones he already has. He wants the ones he doesn’t have.”

So, if you mess up don’t self- condemn yourself. Don’t let Satan make you feel like a disappointment to God. Remember, “When God looks at you, He sees His Son.” Remember, you are human, and you are imperfect. So, it’s a fact, you will mess up from time to time.

DO NOT GIVE UP!!!! DO NOT LET SATAN KEEP YOU DOWN. Show him that you are victorious through the power of Jesus Christ. “Do not fight for victory; fight from victory.” JUST GET BACK UP AND KEEP TRYING.

Here’s an excerpt from Toby Mac’s “Get Back Up”

We lose our way

We get back up again

It’s never too late to get back up again

You may be knocked down

But not out forever.

So, it’s not about how many times we fall down. It’s about how many times we get back up. So, be sure to get back up.