How to Keep Your Torch Burning Bright for Christ.


After indulging in food in a manner that crossed the clearly marked line between pleasure and gluttony, again. I was a little dumbfounded and overwhelmed with this habitual, willful sin in my life. I was dumbfounded because I’ve had moments when I was able to walk away from abusing food. I also was overwhelmed because here it was again, and I was tired of repenting for this same sin. Afterward, my behavior mirrored those of my ancestors in the garden of Eden. I hid and then I tried to fix my nakedness. I dug around some of my favorite Christian resources, seeking to find something on this topic. I found this blog post on Desiring God. The author wanted to encourage young Christians in their walk with the Lord. I’m not exactly a young Christian, but I am a wobbly infant in Christ (less than a year and a half). The author points at something I never considered in overcoming temptation and fighting sins. He says, “sin is conquered by bigger loves, not by bigger muscles.” All this time I’ve been praying for self-control when according to the author I need to love God more than I love sin”.

That one thought started the ball to rolling in my mind.Had my love for the Lord gone cold? Was this gluttony or idolatry? Was I trying to serve two masters at once; my appetite and God? In my defiance to honor God with food, had I made the choice which of the two I would serve?

I can still remember those first few months after Christ, the eagerness, and excitement. I remember those hours I spent reading the Bible. How every verse evoked sheer unbelief. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with all the new discoveries. I discovered that I was deeply loved. I discovered I was chosen and appointed. I discover that my life had real meaning and purpose. And that somehow I was really precious to God. It was a time marked by many changes in my life, from depression to joy. A life of futility to a life upheld by God’s eternal purposes.

Somehow I’ve lost my way along the way. Which led to me placing my affections on food, and inwardly feeling like God had arrested my life instead of redeeming it.

My weak flame for Christ had made a domino effect in my life. From my church attendance to personal worship, even down to my time in the Word. I’m sure that it even affected my personal relationships. Seeing the dangers hidden in possessing a low burning fire for God, I felt compelled to make a list.

How to Keep Your Torch Burning Bright for Christ

1.Prayer

We can do nothing apart from God. We need to confess our lack of devotion so He can heal us. We need God to remind us what stirs up our love for Him. And also what has the ability to diminish our love for Him. What extinguishes our desire for Him may be improperly positioned friendships or relationships. The content we watch on TV or the Internet. Sports. The music we listen to may also be the culprit. While none of these things are inherently evil, we are counseled to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).

2.Remembering the Things You Did Before

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Rev 2:5)

It sounds pretty simple, but this was the advice our Lord gave to the church in Ephesus. The problem wasn’t in the activities of the church in Ephesus, but that they had ceased doing them. What have you ceased doing? Do it again!

3. The Bible

I couldn’t compile this without the word of God. Scriptures are of essential importance because they focus our mind completely on the Lord. We are so often busy and so easily distracted, that God doesn’t become our sole focus. In the Bible we learn more about who God is, correcting our often incorrect thinking of God. We set our eyes on His promises. And too like Moses God allows His glory to pass before our very eyes. It’s only when our minds are on Him, that we find perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

4. Worship

Nothing re-aligns our affections more than worship. In worship, we loudly sing, “Lord I give You the praise, not the gifts You’ve given me.” The truth is we are wired to sing praises and to worship, but if not unto God then onto who? Worship keeps the King on the throne of our hearts. Yet, beloved let us not chase our feelings in worship. We don’t worship to match the last experience we had with God, we worship Him because He is worthy. It’s often through worship that we are reminded of His eternal worthiness. We become aware that out of all the things the Lord has wrought for us, we get to worship Him.

5. The Cross

How often do we forget about what Christ suffered for us? At the cross is where we found Him, we shouldn’t hope to leave there. Pity parties and self-righteousness both loses their grip when we see Him who could rightly partake in pity. When we see Him who is truly righteous, alone. We are reminded at the cross of the great love that we are loved with. It’s only then that we can muster up love and offer it to our Savior.

Saints, take fresh courage. Mourn for your sin and confess them to God, and believe you are forgiven. Remind yourself that Jesus Christ died for this sin as well, and love Him even more. Stand in awe of the mercy and steadfast love of the Lord. Thank God that you have a love that will not let you go. For the sake of suffering Servant, enjoy God. Jesus decreased from glory to humanity, from heaven to earth. He dwelled in the womb of a woman and was born completely helpless so that He could help us. He grew up in obscurity and surely didn’t live a lavish life. He wasn’t arrested, flogged, and hung for you to believe that you are not forgiven. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Luke 10:27), and fight to set your heart on things above and not on the perishing things below (Colossians 3:2).

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Discernment

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4(NIV)

The ‘time’ that Paul warned his son in the faith, Timothy is here now. The first thing we need to address when it comes to discernment is our own innate desires to want to hear anything but the truth. The people Paul warned Timothy about, is you and me. We have a desire to want to hear things that we crave. In the Old Testament, God frequently sent His prophets to awake and warn God’s people to turn back to Him. What most (if not all) of the people did was go and find their own false prophets to tell them what they wanted to hear. They didn’t want to turn from their own ways. They didn’t want to hear what the Holy One of Israel had to say (Isaiah 30:11).

We’re a lot like those people God lead out of Egypt. The people who grumbled, rebelled, idolatrous, and who were prone to forget God and His commandments. God may not have led us out of a country, yet we can put our hand to the plow and look back (Luke 9:62). We may not eat angels’ food, yet we can fuss over God’s provision. We are just as likely to buck up against God’s authority, as they did often in the wilderness.

Too like our ancestors, there are shepherds around us that could care less about our souls. We need to be quite careful about what church we choose to attend, and what online sermons we listen to. There are men and women who aren’t rightly handling the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). Rather this is done intentionally or they just don’t understand the weight of the responsibility; is difficult to know. But what is known is that they are leading many astray, by the thousands, and even by the millions. These people usually have a significant reach, since their following is so huge.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

God has not left us to defenseless, we have His Spirit dwelling within us and we have Scriptures. We should be decided that no matter who is behind the pulpit, we will open our Bibles and see if what they are saying lines up with Scripture. It’s not wrong for us to have a natural skepticism toward any teacher of the Word. There is much at hand, our own soul. Spoken words have a way of dwelling in us, hours and days after they’ve been spoken. Are we allowing lies to dwell in us? Are we trusting mere man more than we trust God’s ability to reveal His nature and His will found in Scriptures? Are we believing that online sermons and devotionals exist so that we don’t have to read the Bible for ourselves? Are we satisfied with the insight and wisdom that someone else has gained through reading Scriptures? Are we replacing the word of Truth, for music, quick devotionals, and video sermons?

Child of God, the Bible is for you. It’s not only for a class or group of supposed ‘saved and sanctified Christians’. Don’t assign God’s seal to just anyone standing behind a pulpit. Don’t assume they have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. And, don’t forget Christ is the example you follow and the only standard.

There were many images of teachers and preachers that came to mind, while I was typing this blog. Yet, the purpose of this post wasn’t to expose those who I believe may do some of the Body, more harm than good. The purpose of this post is to awake/ invite/remind the people in Christ to use that beautiful mind they’ve been given. To guard their ears and hearts from unsound doctrine. And, to depend on the Holy Spirit to expose those whom He isn’t familiar with. To bring our favorite preachers and teachers to God, and to seek His counsel in prayer. And, to lastly dig into the Word for ourselves. And, not to depend on second-hand revelation and insight. What some of us have been guilty of is watching someone else bite into a burger and describe the taste on their tongues. Yet, God invites us to taste and see (Ps. 34:8).

Are we following certain preachers and teachers because we like their personality? Do we listen to sermons because the teachers are , ‘our friends in our heads’? Do we follow them because they are following Christ? Are we following them because we like what they post on Instagram? Are we downloading their sermons because we like their fashion style? Are we watching because they are ‘cute’? While these questions seem like things I would ask a bunch of teenagers and not the body of Christ. We are susceptible to following pastors and teachers for all the wrong reasons.

Do they stir up your affections for God? Do they consistently point you toward Him? Do they actually teach the Word? When they are behind pulpit are they mostly speaking about God or about themselves? Do they make the Word of God even more exciting? Do their sermons ever convict you to the point of repentance? Does their teaching make you understand a passage more than you did before? Does their preaching persuade you to pursue godliness?

Proper teaching simply explains what the Word says, and doesn’t add meaning to Word.

There are several ministries that self-exalting and not Christ-exalting. In other words, they have a lot to say about humans and not much to say about the Creator of them. Their sermons are designed to put the spotlight on us while pulling God out when we need His strength. They teach that God is perpetually a genie and not the sovereign Most High God.They not only malign the true meaning of Scripture, they ascribe false attributes to God.

When we believe the wrong things about God, it is quite hurtful. It takes a divine revelation and time to undo our false theology. False teaching can run rapidly like weeds in a garden. It does not only affect our beliefs but our communion with God. It can prevent true worship because worship of God requires truth. God often has to deal with this by cutting it at its root.

There was a time I thought being skeptical about teachers of the Word, was expressing meanness. Yet if false teaching can affect our hearts, shouldn’t we then guard ourselves with all diligence (Pro 4:23)? I believe and know that God is pleased when we are Bereans and we examine the Scriptures for ourselves. We are all called to teach the word of God on some scale, so God expects us to rightly understand His truth as well. There are many warnings and examples of false prophets/teachers in the Bible. You don’t need my blog or any blog on the web to give you advice on how to spot false teachers because you have God’s Spirit and His word. A concordance or a topical Bible study will be extremely helpful. And if you struggle with not having a desire to read the Bible, pray about it- consistently. A desire for the Word happens when we are praying about it. I can assure you that it is extremely rewarding.

Helpful links:

Why You Should Read The Bible

When you don’t feel like reading your Bible

#Frustrated:Bible Tips

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

 

#Frustrated:Bible Tips

 

This past week my frustrated feelings had me putting the Bible to the side. I was frustrated that I couldn’t understand any Scriptures that I was reading at the time. Even with prayer and spending time on a passage I couldn’t get a clue. I felt dejected and I stopped trying. I had just recently came off of a high of God giving me a revelation in Scriptures. And, I felt that my Bible study session had to be at that same level continually. A “successful” session included lots of  journaling, marking and highlighting in my Bible. And it included me having something to post on Social Media. Both of these were signs that my session proved fruitful.

Then after a couple of days the  Holy Spirit led me to the website of Jen Wilkin. She’s an author and teaches women’s Bible study. In one of her online studies I was looking through I found this quote in the introduction: “The first several times you read a passage you will probably be confused. This is a good thing. Allow yourself to feel lost, to dwell in the ‘I don’t know’. It will make the moment of discovery stick.” This was just the encouragement that I needed. Whenever I felt lost in the Scriptures I would be inwardly bewildered and give up altogether. Certainly this is some sort of pride within myself. If noted Preachers, Teachers and Theologians have to take their time to meditate on Scriptures,so would I.

Often times I brought a me-centered thinking into my study sessions: ‘What does God want to say to me, today? What will fill me up today? What will give me what I need today?’ Yet, friends the Bible is not about us-it’s about God.

The Bible is a recorded history of the brilliance of the one true living God.

Whenever we open our Bibles getting to know our King should be our main objective. There is nothing wrong in having goals when we open our Bibles, yet learning more about God should be our main goal.

Saints, every study session doesn’t have to move us emotionally. God wants our heart yet, we have to separate from the belief that every minute in the Word should stir us up. The truth is you will have days where every word evokes emotions. Yet, everyday will not be like the former. I remember telling a friend, “oh, I stop reading I just wasn’t getting anything out of it.” While madly selfish, I’m sure I’m not the only to flip through the pages of the Bible looking for my “personalized” word. God often chooses to lead us to a chapter or passage that will give us the counsel the times may demand. Yet, if He doesn’t that doesn’t mean our time in the Word is ever in vain.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3

We should rather frame our minds in light of 1 Peter 2:2, Scriptures is for our growth. If you have children or your around children these are a group of people who are constantly growing. We may not be able to always see their growth, but we know that they are growing. Well often times we close our Bibles not feeling changed, but we are increasingly growing up into our salvation. When we learn more about God, secondarily we learn more about ourselves.

So, if like me you’ve felt challenged in your time with the Word. Don’t feel discouraged when you are lost. Your confusion says nothing about you, rather it says everything about God’s Word. If thinking about who God is and His various activities bring us to awe, how much more will His Word bewilder us?! God wants our hearts but he also wants our minds (Luke 10:27). So when we are lost or challenged in Scriptures we should not be dismayed. Just because you’ve closed your Bible not understanding everything you’ve just read, doesn’t mean that God won’t choose to unfold His truth at a later time. We need to trust a good God with our time in His Word. That He is still a God who rewards those who seek Him. So, Saints be of good courage as I lead us out with a prayer:

Lord, I firstly want to thank you for your good Word, and I pray that you will continue to give me a desire for you Word. I ask that you would increase my understanding as well. Oh, Lord I just want to know more about you. God I know your Word has many layers of treasures, and that I can never reach full understanding. Lord, I pray to seek You in Your word and nothing else. Lord, I pray for patience in Your word when it doesn’t come easy for me. Thank you for teaching me that although it doesn’t come easy, it is nonetheless rewarding. Thank you for humbling and reminding me Who should be the object of my hunt. I shouldn’t seek for a reassuring verse or something to post online, but my heart should be fixed on seeking You. Thank You for this sweet reminder. Amen.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

You Don’t Have to Earn God’s Love

Today, I had a very difficult day. I ended my night, or should I say early morning weeping into a pillow. My eyes are swollen and heavy as I write this. Somehow, I’ve ended up in a place I’ve visited before. This place of self-righteousness, and feeling a need to earn the love of God. It sounds silly, I know. It’s amazing how our brokenness and the familiarity of issues we’ve had with people, shows up in our fellowship with God.I guess I’ve had a past of wanting to be liked by people so badly, that I often put on shows. Also, I’ve dealt with feeling like the kindness of people hung over my head. I’ve always hated the feeling of “being a burden” to anyone. I would have to quickly return their kindness, to feel at ease. So, I guess if this brokenness had not shown up in my relationship with God, it would’ve never been fully brought to my attention.

I love when words flow and compliment one another, but I’d prefer that my blog would be authentic.In my mind when I’m accomplishing the list of Christian duties, then I’m bringing God glory. When indeed it’s when I’m aware of my own weaknesses and I’m completely humbled that I can too bring Him glory.

I say these things to say that you, you reading this are loved by God. There is nothing you could’ve done to earn His love, nor is there anything you can do that will make Him stop loving you. He chose in His Son before the light overcame the darkness, God has been loving you for such a long time. He’s got such awesome plan for your life.That old sin that you’re clinging to, God has something better to give you. Your weaknesses and shortcomings don’t dismay Him nor can it remove His devotion. When the Father looks at you, He sees His Son. Yet, He does see you and loves you completely. Yes, you are a mess, but God still loves you. I don’t know what you’ve been through or what you’ve experienced, but you don’t have to EARN God’s love. God’s love is pre-existing and sovereign. His love is not fickle or feeble. No matter how much or little you’ve studied, or prayed He loves you just the same. You are loved by God. You are deeply loved by God.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you would remove this manmade equation from our hearts. This action plus that action does not equal Your love. Lord, remind us that it’s through Your Son’s actions that we are reconciled with you. Lord, save us from self-righteousness. It wrecks any hope of us enjoying You. It literally takes Your most deserved praise out of our mouths. Lord, let us accept our weaknesses and not resent them. Let us do things from our hearts and not from seeking to earn your love. God, let us strive for holiness with all of our might. And, when we make bad choices may we not believe in Satan’s lies. Lord, show us how to rejoice in suffering and in failing. Lord, we don’t want to be in this place again. Lastly, Lord fills us and make us whole. We love you. I say this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.

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The Mercy of God

I purchased a journaling Bible. Ever since I purchased my big ESV and KJV study Bibles, I have loved jotting little notes in my Bible. Yesterday, I played The Sims 4 video game for far longer than I ever expected to. And, because of that I felt condemnation and was upset at my little self-control. So, I prayed that I would practice self-discipline. Starting with reading the book of Jeremiah. Yes, all 52 chapters. See, I’ve never been able to stick to reading plans or even daily devotionals because of my lack of discipline. I also, decided I wasn’t going to resent the discipline that study and prayer call for. I was offended because I thought “God is too good and wonderful for me not to enjoy these things.” God’s goodness has not much to do with these in the sense that I have my flesh and Satan sucking the fun and joy out of both. I thought that thinking that prayer, fellowship, devotions, and worship required discipline, was legalism. And, yet if we approach these things thinking, “this is why God loves or is good to me”. That is legalism. I’m just realizing I have the opposition that attempts to get in the way of me truly enjoying my God. And, I have to put these things to the side and set strict discipline concerning them.

Can’t stop thinking about the mercy of God. Despite all of their abundant disobedience God still called them, ‘my people’. Also, thinking about how prone we all are to seek and that we don’t have the desire to rely on God. Here, God is the fountain of living waters(Jer 2:13), and they dug out cisterns that can’t hold on to the water they’ve filled them with. The love of the God that saved and preserved them in the wilderness; was not enough for them. They chased after the unreciprocated love of foreigners or idols. It’s insane that we seek, even when we’ve found all that we need.

There was a time when I’d laugh and shake my head at the Israelites. I couldn’t understand when they had God so near, why did they seek idols. They had, after all, seen all the mighty acts and wonders of God. It wasn’t until later, and with more maturity that I understand, I am them. I seek for all things outside the realm of God. God has brought me to see the errors of my ways, by seeing how fickle the love and acceptance of others are. But, that’s when I’ve appreciated God’s unchanging hand. And, how no matter what I’ve done or how I’ve sinned He will always love me. That is not a pardon to do the unthinkable, but to think on that fact and be amazed by the mercy of God.

He is so merciful and so long-suffering with His people. It must be His holiness and His love that we have and could never earn, that makes us whimper to foreigners who we have to put forth an effort to love us. Is the unmerited, everlasting love of God so obscene that we’d rather work for phony, and temporal love? Do we get frustrated trusting in Him? Is waiting on God so unbearable? And, then why do we finally turn to Him in the midst of our greatest need? Why, do we tell Him to, “arise and save us”, when we’ve clearly have forgotten His saving power? Why do we try to run from Him, Jonah? Why do we have a hard time putting all of our trust in Him? Why don’t we rely on Him, but formulate back up plans of action?

I’m constantly reminded God is not like man that He’s created, no. Plenty of times in Scriptures I’ve thought ‘I would’ve given up on them, Lord.” I would’ve told Hosea, “you’ve been through enough with that wife of yours.” But, God’s mercy endureth forever(Ps.138:8). God is always willing to forgive the confessions of our sins. Always.

Not only is God eternal, but so is His very character.

I praise God for Him loving us, His former enemies(Rom. 5:10). I thank God for being so stable and unchanging. I praise Him for the mercy I simply don’t deserve. I didn’t deserve Christ’s death on my cross. I don’t deserve His immaculate Holy Spirit. I’m just thanking God for salvation, and His mercy that chose me. We would love to think it was because of our ‘cuteness’, attributes, or even the misfortunes in our past. But, no it was His mercy(Titus 3:5). And, it was His ability to love people who truly hated Him(Rom. 1:30.

I’m just blown away by God.

Prayer: Lord, make us a people who are led by your Spirit, and not by our flesh. Lord, you’ve already given us a Spirit of self-control. So, we are not hopeless or helpless. We can put down that extra cookie, turn off our favorite TV show and pick up your Word. We can put to death every sin that besets us. God may we be a people constantly after your own heart. Lord, may we never turn again to broken cisterns. And may we never create back up plans, but rely on You. May we be a people that count everything as a loss and see Christ as far more worthy. God, help us to be the men and women we know we can be. I say this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.

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Persecution: The Envitable

Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. John 15:20

 

 

This week this verse became a reality for me. Often times we read about things in Scriptures and because God hasn’t yet ordained them for us to know about the depth of it, we can read past it. Sure, I knew that persecution was sure as the sun; yet I would be lying if I said it didn’t surprise me.

There is something about righteousness that convicts people of their unrighteousness. For some reason, I believed that my personal pursuit of holiness wouldn’t stomp on others’ toes. And, I was yet again wrong. My God granted righteousness rubbed people like sandpaper.

The hardest part of all of this was being an actual follower of Christ through this. And, to follow the direction of Scriptures. I wanted to curse those who cursed me. I wanted to return their unfriendly fires. I wanted to tell my side to all who would listen. I wanted to get revenge! Instead, I blessed and prayed for them(Ro 12:14). I trusted my cause to God, I decided to believe that vengeance is God’s and that He would repay(Deut 32:35).

 

There something about suffering inside the will of God, that is so assuring and comforting. God was ever present. There is something magnificent about fellowship and worship during struggles. The happiest days could never compete with the joy, love, peace, and comfort that I experienced during the difficult days. There is something amazing about suffering for Christ’s name, it is beyond joyful and fulfilling. To taste a small bit of what Christ suffered for my sins has been exhilarating in indescribable ways.

I never doubted that this test and trial came from all of the goodness of God. And, yes there were tears. There were moments all I could do was weep. Satan has tried to use this suffering to make me hate, resent and curse. While I gave the hurt and anger of persecution to God, Satan would dredge it right back up. I constantly had to pray for those who persecuted me, to keep me centered. But, God is good. And, He gives us exactly what we need to get through it.

So, friends if you haven’t yet suffered for Christ’s name, I pray that you wouldn’t fear it. God will be with you the whole way. And, to those who understand this post on a deeper level- isn’t God good?  Didn’t He blow your mind? Wasn’t it amazing not to follow the flesh but the Spirit?

Comforting Verses for the Saints:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalms 34:19

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-14

God keep and bless you all. Thanks for supporting my blog. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, browse my little shop.

 

 

Why God Sends Us Afflictions

***I’ve been busy writing something pretty special, so just to keep my blog updated with content I’m going to share some of my personal journal entries. I hope you enjoy.***

Lately, I’ve found myself getting frustrated with Scriptures. Yesterday, I posted on social media how the Bible is a treasure. While sitting here today the Holy Spirit. reminded me of that saying. The thing is I know there are innumerable treasures to be found in Scriptures, often I just don’t want to dig. Sigh. I’ve been mostly reading the NT epistles and the book of Psalm. I find there is treasure above ground with this books/sections. Ugh. I can’t be a lazy Bible reader. I was reading the Book of Job, Elihu statements about God. A lot of the gospel in that. A lot of God’s redeeming power toward the Saints.

He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity Job 36:16

God uses what we would rather not experience, to save us. I can’t help but think about the affliction God so sovereignly planned for me. Eczema. I couldn’t explain away these splotches, or no cream could save me. I used to be so itchy I couldn’t sleep at night. I remember I had joined a Reddit board of eczema-sufferers and poured through a lot of posts. I was seeking a remedy. Well, one day a young lady posted she’d been meditating on healing Bible verses. And, while I wasn’t interested in the Bible, out of desperation I was like ‘sign me up.’ Then, I found how people believed unrepressed anger could manifest itself in various diseases, including eczema. And, I was ANGRY. I was angry at God for allowing my Mom to die. I had stuff pent up on the inside of me that happened when I was in Elementary school. I always thought it’s better to keep it inside than to be confrontational about anything. I thought I was BETTER than those who ranted and raved. I thought anger was ugly and I wanted to avoid it COMPLETELY.

Most of those people recommended therapy and all sorts of new age things. I’m not saying therapy isn’t helpful, it is. But, as a Christian, I now know that He is the remedy. He remedied my skin that felt like it was on fire. He remedied repressed anger, that I didn’t have enough time, money or skills to deal with or compartmentalize. My spirit was like a stuffed closet, full of mostly anger. All the advice I saw online was for me to attempt to pull stuff out, and put it in neater. Only God could have rid me of repressed anger.

So, I know God will use the most difficult times in our lives to open our eyes, draw us near and to save us. No one likes suffering, but it’s the best remedy. We need to be saved from the pit, we need to draw near to God and we need for God to open our eyes. And, I hope not to speak as if suffering is behind me. We will leave it behind us for good when we enter heaven’s gates.

Grace


“On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.”‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭1:4-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I was going to make this blog about Hannah and her godly traits. But, as I was journaling and inwardly rolling my eyes because of Penninah. I was reminded of grace.

I read these stories in the Bible, and I bring myself into context. I would be Hannah, and I imagine Penninah to be some popular girl in school; who I secretly admired, but yet openly was rejected by. So, I found myself inwardly doing what Hannah wouldn’t do at that table, every year. Then, the Holy Spirit tapped me on my shoulder and whispered ‘grace’.

Penninah was an unloved woman, it (v.5) doesn’t read that Elkanah loved Hannah more than Penninah; it reads ‘he loved her’. So, we can assume that though he had two wives, his love was devout and not divided.

I’m sure that much like Leah (Gen 29:32), Penninah assumed that having multiple sons and daughters would make Elkanah divide his devotion. But, to no avail. The Holy Spirit had to remind me that there are two hurting women at that table. Hannah had her husband’s love but wanted a child. Penninah had the children but wanted the love of her husband.

And, while Penninah was no angel, and did what was unpleasing in the sight of the Lord; she too was a woman troubled in spirit. Penninah should have followed Hannah and poured her soul out to the Lord. Instead, she looked forward to inflicting her hurt on another woman.

Prayer: Lord, may we be people who show grace towards the hurting who in return hurt us. May we as your vessels empty ourselves at your feet. Lord, we thank you that you are a God who hears unheard prayers. We thank you that we can always come to you, and in the solace of your Presence will you change our countenance. I thank you for loving the accused and the accuser.I pray that as you are making us into the image of your own Son, we will love like He does. I pray that we wouldn’t hold on to old wounds but allow you to heal them. For we know there is still balm in Gilead. I say this prayer in Jesus name. Amen

You Are Not Alone

 

I think where Satan can be triumphant, is when we believe that we are alone. When we think we are the only one being buffeted.(2 Cor 12:7) When we believe that we’re the only child of God, going through hardships. When he convinces us we are the only disciple counting the cost.

As if somehow, God is doing excellent things (engagements, babies, graduation, books, speaking engagements, etc..) in the lives of every saint- except you. The enemy really wants you to doubt God’s goodness! Or that we aren’t good enough to be used by Him.

You are not alone! I just experienced an attack that resulted in tears. I was on my knees pouring my heart out to God, telling Him all the lies I believed. And, how I feel that I know too much Scripture; to be here, feeling defeated yet again. How I should be able to defeat him, with the Word. Yet, I find myself not casting his lies down. Nor do I compare them with the truth.

God reminded me that I don’t need to sit and believe his lies, but I could call out for Him. I could run and hide in his pavilion.

God is breaking me down- I was (BC) so hell-bent on being self-sufficient. This desire stems from me losing half of my intermediate family (Mom +Bro). Since it’s just me and my Dad; and he’s not in good health. I felt that I would be alone and that I would have to know how to handle things on my own. Although I thought I was over this, it’s shown up again.

But, let me assure you; this Christian life isn’t easy. But, I know that it’s worth it. I know we have the ability to see anyone (who just happens to be wearing clean clothes) and think, ‘their life is probably better than mines’. Well, that’s a lie. And, it robs us of our God-given joy. We are all a mess! We are a mess God chose to set His heart on. We are a mess that is awakened with new mercies and we are covered by His grace.

You are not alone! This is hard stuff, pursuing holiness in a wicked world.You are not alone! Leaving behind what the world taught you, to cling to God’s word as the only truth. You are not alone! Sometimes..just sometimes you miss your old self and your old life. You are not alone! You’ve thought about quitting this ‘Jesus-stuff’. You are not alone! 

So, be of good courage, my brother or sister. God has not forsaken you, and He doesn’t have the ability to. You are in good hands, and you are so loved. Think about it! God will do whatever is necessary, for you to spend eternity with Him. You are so valuable, and the body of Christ needs you. Be prayerful, rely on Jesus, and He will lead you from everlasting to everlasting.

Let’s be transparent in the comments. What was a really hard part of this month for you- concerning your walk with Christ? Please, share & like. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, pick up a cool tee from my SHOP. Thank You.

 

Satan’s Bag of Tricks

For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life is not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16 (ESV)

Today, I will be discussing what is Satan’s reservoir when it comes to tempting us. First, Satan can only tempt us with what we desire. I will be comparing Eve’s temptation (Genesis 3) and Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13 and Mark 1:12-13). Since Satan used the same dirty tricks with both Eve and Jesus.

                                               The Pride of Life

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, ; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.‘” ; But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. ; For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” ; He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden‘?” Genesis 2-5

It’s peculiar that one of his attacks is the very thing that overcame Satan, pride. Satan thought He was better God, convincing some of the other angels of the exact ideal. So God threw Satan and those who he’d had turned against God; out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14). Then Satan puts a spin on it ‘knowing good and evil’. As, if to convince Eve she’d be doing God a favor; having this knowledge of discernment.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple ; and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’; “‘On their hands they will bear you up,; and ; lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Matthew 4:5-6

This proves that our enemy knows just as much Scripture as we do, and in fact probably more. Satan knew Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God. But, wanted Jesus to ‘show off’, just because Satan had questioned His authority. Here, Satan quotes two different verses (Ps 91:11 and 12). But, he was no match for Jesus who is the Word.

                                              The Desires of the Flesh

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food.. Genesis 3:6 A

Eve at this point was already convinced by the crafty serpent. She spoke no more, the Bible only describes what she does. She doesn’t speak again until God arrives and asks “What is this that you have done?” That serpent probably slinked away, already knowing it was done.

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

Jesus was at the end of His 40 days and nights without food (I can’t imagine) and was very hungry. As Luke 4:13 reminds us the enemy stalks and waits for the most opportune time. Jesus was weak with hunger, yet (thankfully) would not budge. Jesus who would begin His ministry sometime after this fast; would do miracles turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). And, feeding a great crowd with very little fish and bread (Luke 9:10-17). So, He could very well make a feast appear in the wilderness if He were as prideful as Satan is. Also, this fast would discipline His new flesh, for what He would do for all of us on the cross.

                                                      The Desires of the Eyes

…And it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of it’s fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6B

The fruit looked appealing, but it was more than food; it came with a promise. Eve had no clue how a bite of a piece of fruit would change existence as we know it. Couldn’t have known that what seemed desirable, would come with a lifelong curse for her, Adam, the serpent and their offspring.

Again, the devil took him to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”  Genesis 3:8-9

Satan attempted to tempt Jesus by taking Him on a high mountain, where these kingdoms must have look picture perfect. Now, we know even through extreme hunger and probably fatigue; Jesus would never entertain Satan. But, all of this took place so we would know how to fight back. Jesus fights back with Scriptures, so we too must fight this way. We have to press on in our studies so we can guard ourselves, by standing on God’s truth.

Yesterday, I was under attack, and just sat there and didn’t bother to fight back with the Truth. So, sometimes it’s not that we don’t know; we choose not to fight back. I knew all I had to do was to pray or pick up my Bible, but ‘I didn’t feel like it’. I cried, and the angels came and ministered to me. But, what I’ve taken from this is, I have to not be led by my feelings. I have to admit that my feelings are always quite foolish and fleshly. And, that I must deny myself more than I currently do. Jesus calls for us to deny ourselves daily (Luke 9:23-24). An awesome sermon I watched that very night, is titled ‘Denial produces Discipline’. And, I’ve been wholly convicted that I need to add self-denial into my everyday living. And, the key to rich prayer life and ‘quiet time’; is discipline.

  • I can’t seem to get over how God walked in the garden, among them (Genesis 3:8)! How awesome! You could be chatting with some friends, and someone would exclaim ‘God is here!’ What! Blessedly, when we fight the good fight, finish our race and keep our faith (2 Tim 4:7)- this again will be a very real, eternal reality for us.

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I love you, but God loves you more.