Sunday, February 12, 2017

Are You Being Targeted?

As I was driving home the other day, a song came on the Christian radio station I keep on in my car that said, "the devil has a target on my heart and my soul".

There have been so many things lately that truly made me see this in another light. From the movies being made and deemed "normal" and completely "okay" by a large amount of Christians (i.e. "Fifty Shades of Grey"), to the music that's being played, the hate people spew on one another, baby's being killed every second, and marriages being broken apart on a daily basis. You can clearly see Satan at work in our world.

Here's the thing: Satan knows he cannot have you or get you to hell once you've accepted Jesus into your life (John 3:16, once saved you cannot lose your salvation). He cannot touch you; so his next priority is to keep you from making an impact on the world and bringing others to Jesus, whether it be convincing you that your sinful actions are okay, deceiving you into collecting ungodly friendships, filling your head with lies (i.e God doesn't love you, you're too broken to use, nobody cares about you, etc), or wells up pride inside of you and creates broken marriages...he hates Christians living a full and purposeful life for Christ. He has no power over you unless you allow him that power; again, he cannot touch you, but oh boy can he mess with your mind!

1 Peter 1:13
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Romans 8:5
"For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit."

I think one of the biggest lies Satan and his army have done a splendid job of convincing us of, is that if we have made mistakes, God can no longer use us. That there are certain things we can do to separate ourselves from His love and that He is too disappointed to use us to make an impact on the world. This is SO far from the truth!

* King David committed adulatory and murder
* Paul killed thousands of Christians
* Noah got drunk
* Abraham slept with another woman besides his wife (per his wife's request)
* Jacob stole his brothers inheritance
* Moses had an anger problem
* Eve directly disobeyed God
*Peter denied God 3 times

So you're telling me, you are believing Satan when he tells you that you've made too many mistakes for God to use you? If you go through the books of the Bible, you will almost always find the people who the world would deem "too far gone", "too broken", or "sinned too badly" were the exact people God used for the most good. If He only used those who seem to have it all together, what would stop people from giving MAN the glory? When God uses those who haven't had the greatest track record, have many many faults, or have made a ton of mistakes, their impact MUST be seen as a miraculous work from HIM alone.

Satan wants you to stay focused on yourself. If you're focused on all the ways you have failed, you cannot focus on all the ways God has overcome.

I know this is hard to get past; y'all, I struggle with this almost on a daily basis. I have made mistakes in my past, hurt people, been hurt, have been so focused on my own misery that I wanted to take this life God gave me....and I STILL make mistakes. I will never be even close to perfect this side of heaven. But you know what? God likes to use perfectly imperfect people just like me. Because of my "brokenness" I have been able to talk to people about things that I wouldn't have had the chance to do had I had a perfect past. God doesn't make bad things happen to us; bad things happen because we live in a broken and sinful world, but God can (and WILL) bring good out of EVERY bad situation that happens.

Peter wrote a letter to a group and said these words (good words, that we should still adhere to today):
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."

Friends, life is hard. And to be honest, we usually don't help matters by moving away from our heavenly Father when things get tough. We don't want to bother Him, disappoint Him, take up His time, or sometimes we just don't know what to say to Him...but do you know what's so amazing about our amazing God? He doesn't care about any of that. His eye is on the sparrow and KNOWS when it falls, do you not think you, being His child, are more important than the birds? Peter denied Christ 3 times, and God still loved and DIED for him, do you not think He can forgive anything you've done? God knows every number of hairs on your head, do you not think He can make time for His children to come to Him in times of trouble, anger, stress, sadness, or pain? The bible tells us that when we do not know what to say, the Spirit will intercede on our behalf...even if we just come to God so confused and lost that all we can say is "Lord, I don't know what to say..." do you not know that He knows every detail about your life and your HEART and knows exactly what you need?

One of my amazing mentors gave me analogy one time, and it has stuck with me since. Imagine you waking up and starting your day. Jesus was with you through the night, and is there the moment you wake up. You go about your day, and He sits at your table waiting for some one on one time. Pours Himself a cup of coffee and just waits. You go about your day, telling Him "I'll be there in just a minute, I need to finish ____". You continue your day passing Him by trying to get your day together, run some errands, and find time to finish your tasks. Before you know it, it's time for bed. And you never sat down with Him. HE was there the whole time, we just don't stop, be still, and just BE with Him.

This is exactly what happens everyday. God is omnipresent. He can be there for everyone all at the same time. So to say He doesn't have time for us, is belittling the very promises that He has made us.The more we take time away from God, the more time we give Satan and his lies.

There is no stand still in our walk with Christ. We are either moving towards Him, or away from Him.

Who has your heart? Who have you entrusted it to? Giving our hearts to earthly things will never satisfy us. That is how Satan distracts us from God's calling on our lives and makes us discontent. People will leave, things will fade away and rot, money will be gone (you can't take it with you when you die), whereas heavenly things will last forever. Building relationships, telling others about Christ, giving, volunteering our time....these things will make impacts that nobody can take away.

Matthew 6:19-21 
 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Monday, November 14, 2016

America The Hypocrite

I'm going to get a little bit political, a little bit biblical, and a little bit blunt for a minute.

I'll be honest, I was both relieved and worried when I heard the results of the election. Relieved, because the candidate who lost was so far down the immoral line that it terrified me to know they may be the one leading our nation down a path of even more unrighteousness (in the biblical moral sense). Yet, the one who was elected also has beliefs that I do not agree with.

There are a few things that have stuck out to me in the midst of the election. As always, the media digs up so called "dirt" on every candidate, which can be a good thing, but is mainly done to cause strife, drama, and hatred. Seriously, it's not to inform the people, it's simply to make people go crazy and force peoples votes one way or the other. It's like a big scam...the media doesn't report the news, they make it and tell us what they want us to hear.

So let's start with the dirt dug up on Donald Trump. Women all over are outraged, horrified, and disgusted with the information leaked of what he said about women and the alleged accusations against him. Whereas I, too, find these things utterly horrible, I have a few questions for you: Your protests, fits, anger, dismay, and hatred towards him...
  • Where is that anger when women and children are being kidnapped and sold into sex trafficking? One of the sources I read (I'm sure there are many numbers, but this will do for my point) says that each YEAR there are 800,000 women and children trafficked across international boarders. 
  • Where was your anger when you watched your friend be treated with disrespect in her relationship?
  • Where were your protests for your friend/sister/mother/daughter when she went bar hopping and slept around with degrading, one night stand men? (is this not a form of disrespect to them as a person as well as their bodies?)
  • Where was your fit when men talked to you with less than respectful language? When men hit on you just to get something out of it then drop you like a bag of dirt when his temporary need was met?  
  • Where was your anger when you researched the product you buy and found out the food you eat is made by children being enslaved? Starved? Beaten? Raped?
  • Where was your sadness and broken heart when you allowed your friends to feel dirty and unloved to a point that they ended their baby's life before it even entered the world?
  •  Where was your anger when you hear of the number of women being raped every year and not having anyone in their life to support them?
Would you allow people to go back and review your entire life, then make public every single ugly/racist/foul thing that came out of your mouth and every mistake you've ever made? Maybe broadcast it to every news station, church, and your family reunion? 
My point is said so well by Jesus Himself.

"Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” " -John 8:1-11

I don't condone Donald Trump's words or action. My point is this: "You who has never sinned, cast the first stone." We all have a past. We have all made mistakes..some big, some small. We ALL have things we wish we could take back or go back and re-do. But this is the beauty of Christianity. It's not about US. It's about HIM. It's about our past being wiped clean when we ask forgiveness. It's about compassion, mercy, and grace. And these are all things we could give a little more of. Our nation doesn't need Trump to save us...we need Jesus to save us. The hate will not stop with one man. It will only stop when we go to THE ONE who actually has the power to make a difference in the hearts of America....the hearts of the entire WORLD. 

Jesus is, and has always been, the ONLY Savior of the world.

You guys. Throwing fits (from EITHER side) will only make this world a more difficult place. Spewing hatred towards people because of thier beliefs, skin color, or background is not a peaceful life to live. Stand up for your beliefs, for who you are, but we have got to STOP with the degrading/hateful/bashing/racist/judgemental/evil words and actions. 

Words have the power to give life, or take it. And right now, we are killing our nation.

It's time we join together. Stop getting so freaking offended by every word spoken. Grow a spine. We have become a nation that takes for granted EVERYTHING we have been given. Wealth, freedom, work, religion, BRAINS....what would it be like if people went out and got jobs again, no matter the pay...just stood up and said "I want to make something of myself, and I'll do whatever it takes to get there"? What would happen if we spoke words of encouragement to people even when we felt down ourselves? What would it be like if we prayed even in the GOOD times? What would it be like if we lived purposeful lives? Lives lived in persuit of BETTER, not just for ourselves, but for our future generations? For our children and grandchildren to look back and say "Because of him/her, I have _______ and I will do everything in my power to use it wisely."




Life isn't easy. Life isn't free. Freedom isn't free. Money isn't free. It all takes work; it all costs something. It's past time we get up off our bum and say enough is ENOUGH.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fighting Your Fears

What do you fear?

  • The unknown
  • Other people's opinions
  • Life
  • Failure
  • Financial struggles
  • Love
  • Raising a family
  • Being hurt
  • Change
I have had every single one of these, and still to this day struggle with some from time to time. Today, however, I am thankful to say that I am growing and moving forward. I have allowed fear to take over my life as early on as I can remember (as young as 4 years old). I've realized over the last few years that I've given Satan a hold on my life and faith by giving into his lies. Today I say no more. No more standing on the edge of the stairway looking down but never taking a step. No more watching others live their lives fulfilling God's purpose for them while I sit back on the sidelines wondering if I will be good enough.

1 John 4 says:
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment."

Punishment. We think we deserve punishment instead of love from the Father. The guilt of our past failures and mistakes causes fear because we think, any moment, God will give us what we deserve. (Or at least what we think we deserve.) Something we too often forget, is that God has told us He decided over a couple thousand years ago that He was NOT going to give us what we deserve. We deserve eternity in hell. We deserve His wrath. But He, being a good Father, saw fit to give us grace and forgiveness.

This well known verse says it all:
John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Why do we not believe this verse? Why do we still condemn ourselves when condemnation is not from God? For me personally, I know I continually think I've just failed too many times for God to be able to use me. I'm afraid of failing Him again,and wondering how many times it will take before He gets tired of forgiving me and loving me after my mistakes. My heart gets weary. I get tired trying to be perfect. Did you know that there is not a single perfect person that has ever walked the earth outside of Christ Himself? He is our example for sure, but nowhere in the bible does it ever say we will be sinless this side of eternity. It's not possible, because we are not God. It is so hard for me to trust sometimes; hard for me to trust that He will still love me, that He hasn't left me when those really hard times come, and that He will still be there no matter what.

In Psalm 28:7, King David says:
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him." 

"My heart trusts in Him." That is such a simple phrase, yet it has the power to calm a storm, enable a man to walk on water, stand up and walk, or get through some pretty tough times. 

So why do we still live in fear?

I know personally, my fear starts growing bigger than my faith every time I cut off my daily connection with Christ. When I don't have that constant connection, my heart is more susceptible to attacks from the enemy. I start worrying, stressing, and wondering what the future holds. I try to take my life in my own hands because, sometimes, it just feels like God isn't doing a good enough job. (Have you been there?) I saw a quote the other day that I fell in love with, and it is something I absolutely need to keep close by as a reminder!

"If you think you've blow God's plan for your life, rest in this. You, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful."

Wow. Talk about a slap to the face. When our fears become greater than our faith, we tend to try and take control of things ourselves...but I don't think we really get to the depth of why we are doing that. And it truly is simple: we either believe we are powerful enough to overcome all of these trials, stresses of life, and problems on our own and do a better job than God, or, we don't want to bother Him with our little problems. It's truly just the pride of our own hearts that puts us in messes like this. When our boat is rocked a little, instead of going to our knees or running to Him to give us wisdom, we start panicking that it's all going to fall apart. Where is our peace? Why are we not comforted? Well, it goes back to that connection.

Here is an example:
If you wake up late in the morning, rush to get ready for work, run out the door, speed through traffic to make it on time, get to your office/client's home and start your day from the beginning at a brain frazzled pace, how do you think you're going to react if anything else seems to go wrong or fall apart that day?
If you set an alarm with enough time so you have a few minutes of devotion or prayer time in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, get in your car, and turn on some praise and worship do you think your day would be different? How do you think you would handle any problems that pop up unexpectedly?

John 14:27 says:
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

Psalm 9:10 says:
"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."

I haven't completely overcome my fears, and I promise you I won't ever be perfect this side of heaven. But I am slowly learning how to deal with them and use God's tools to combat them. Instead of sinking into depression or anxiety like I would have done in years past, I turn praise songs on or go to my bible and search out verses where God assures me He is always there and has my WHOLE life in His hands. What an amazing promise, to know we don't have to fix everything on our own, but that NOTHING comes into our lives before passing through God's hands. That doesn't mean we won't struggle or have trials, no, we are promised those will come; what it DOES mean is that nothing that comes our way is a surprise to God

Isn't it time to fight your fears? Stand up and let Satan know he no longer has power over us. We are sons and daughters of the Most High King. The Creator of everything there is. We have a Leader in this battle against Satan that WILL win the fight, and that outcome will never change.

 It's time to take God's promises to heart and stand FIRM against those fears in your life, knowing He has control over it all, and has never once left your side. No matter how hard things get, no matter how lost you feel, no matter how big of a mess you feel your life is, Jesus is standing right beside you, holding you, waiting for you to hand everything over to Him.

I will leave you with these lyrics of an old hymn.

Is Your All On The Alter?

You have longed for sweet peace,
  1. And for faith to increase,
    And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
    But you cannot have rest,
    Or be perfectly blest,
    Until all on the altar is laid.
    • Refrain:
      Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
      Your heart does the Spirit control?
      You can only be blest,
      And have peace and sweet rest,
      As you yield Him your body and soul.
  2. Would you walk with the Lord,
    In the light of His word,
    And have peace and contentment alway?
    You must do His sweet will,
    To be free from all ill,
    On the altar your all you must lay.
  3. Oh, we never can know
    What the Lord will bestow
    Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
    Till our body and soul
    He doth fully control,
    And our all on the altar is laid.
  4. Who can tell all the love
    He will send from above,
    And how happy our hearts will be made;
    Of the fellowship sweet
    We shall share at His feet,
    When our all on the altar is laid.