WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Spiritual Warfare”

Spiritual Footholds

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The Bible warns us not to give the devil a foothold. But what is a foothold and why is it so dangerous?

And do not give the devil a foothold.Ephesians 4:27 (NIV)

When I hear the word foothold, I imagine a mountain climber scaling a steep incline. A foothold is a place where a person’s foot can be placed to support them securely, especially while climbing. It is a reliable position from which further progress may be made. A foothold can be a good and necessary thing. But when you add the devil to the equation look out!

We are told that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Paul refers to our earthly bodies as a tent in 2 Corinthians. As you read on, consider your body a type of residence.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.2 Corinthians 5:1 (NIV)

The warning God speaks of has to do with our emotions. The devil preys upon feelings of anger, bitterness, depression, guilt, shame, fear, and worry. Examining the verse in front of Ephesians 4:27 provides us with more information. It explains how we provide the devil with footholds.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)

Ephesians 4:26 is not referring to a just anger due to sin or unrighteousness. Rather, sinful anger hurts others. Proverbs 22:24 tells us to avoid those who are quick to anger and Proverbs 29:11 calls those who give full vent to their rage, fools.

It takes discipline to take every thought captive, but it is a sure way to keep the devil from our door. When we succumb to self-pity, depression, or any other negative emotion, we allow the devil to get a foot inside our house. Ephesians 4:26 instructs us to deal with our anger before the setting sun. In other words, do not let anger fester in your heart for very long. Take care of it quickly. Resolve the matter otherwise, it can lead to bitterness and a multitude of negative emotions. This can be applied to worry, fear, shame, depression, or any other emotion that does not glorify God. Seek help in prayer and through the Body of Christ.

When we provide the devil with a foothold and we do not slam the door on his foot, he will push his way into our abode. Once inside our home, he is no longer a foothold but rather a stronghold. He has gained more control. It will take a lot of “work” to evict him. So, slamming the door on footholds and bolting the lock as soon as the devil withdraws his sore foot, is a much wiser option. The robber and thief would love to usher in havoc and rob your peace of mind. Prayerfully consider your emotions and ask God to rid you of any footholds the devil may have in your life.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

The Holy Archer And His Arrows

**Arrow

An archer must pull back his arrow to make it fly. Before releasing the shaft, it should touch the bowman’s face. With proper aim, the arrow will hit its mark.

If God is our archer, we then, are His arrows. And even though His quiver if filled beyond our knowing, every shot is carefully planned before it is lovingly released.

When positioned in His mighty bow, we will experience the confusion and pain of backward friction. Yet, we can take heart, for we are in the most skillful of hands. God will send us forward, when His aim is perfected, to hit the proper mark.

Each arrow (beloved child of God) is drawn close to God’s cheek before it is released. What comfort! There is a special moment of communion as He takes aim, before freeing us from the restriction of His mighty bow.

Then the Lord will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord God will blow the trumpet, and go with whirlwinds from the south.” Zechariah 9:14 (NKJV)

Maybe we will land in some new terrain or ministry. Possibly, the mark we hit needs to hear about Jesus and His incredible blood sacrifice. God may even shoot us into a dark forest filled with principalities and powers of darkness, an arrow intended for spiritual battle.

For they intended evil against You; They devised a plot which they are not able to perform. Therefore, You will make them turn their back; You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces.Psalm 21:11-12 (NKJV)

If life seems difficult, cumbersome, confusing, even painful… hang on! God may be launching you into something great. Focus on living for Him and stay in the present, but seek His will for your future. Do not let the worries and troubles of each day discourage you. They might be the sharpening agents necessary for God to launch you toward HIS intended target.

He fills His hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.Job 36:32 (NIV)

 God cannot miss His mark because He is without sin. What is the biblical definition of sin? Literally, it means to miss the mark. It is a Greek term that comes from an archery term meaning to miss the bulls-eye. Romans 3:23 says that “ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Therefore, even though God’s aim is always perfect, man is sinful; thus, all of us have missed the mark, not getting our arrow to hit the perfection of God.

And since all of us are missing the mark, all of us require His grace. Missing the mark does not mean we are off the team. No, God knows what we are made of and understands that our heart’s desire is to serve Him, even when we fall short.

 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 3:25 (NKJV)

Sin affects our relationship with God. To get back on target, we must acknowledge our sins and ask for forgiveness. Sin separates us from God and He turns a deaf ear to our prayers. Repentance will enable the Archer of the Universe to once again interact with His arrow, skillfully shooting him forward so that he hits a bulls-eye.

To find available books by Cheryl Zelenka on Amazon go to: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cheryl+zelenka&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acheryl+zelenka

Are You Spiritually Lethargic?

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A lack of energy and enthusiasm is called lethargy. It is a state of being in which one is drowsy. Some would describe a lethargic person as lazy or slothful. The lack of enthusiasm to pursue spiritual matters is a symptom of spiritual lethargy and the cause of spiritual immaturity and stunted growth.

Lethargy is an attitude and a dangerous one at that. The Bible warns the devil is a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. If we are drowsy, we are not alert. Those with a spiritually lethargic attitude will either miss the devil’s approach altogether or discern it but lace the energy or desire to thwart it.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)

The author of Hebrews exhorts believers to be sober and vigilant. Vigilance calls for hawk-eyed watchfulness and attentiveness. If we have our spiritual eyes closed, sleeping on the watch, it is likely the roaring lion will succeed in devouring us, or at the very least acquire a nibble or two.

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now, our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Hebrews 13:11 (NKJV)

The book of Hebrews was written to a church struggling with spiritual lethargy. Apparently, they had settled into a deliberate state of spiritual infancy. Having received the gospel of faith, they opted to maintain a diet of spiritual milk and forgo the benefits of solid food. Healthy children do not consume a liquid only diet their entire lifetime. No, instead they move on to the pleasures and blessings found within foods that are more substantial.

For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14 (NKJV)

Spiritual growth necessitates an investment of time and effort. It requires a determined perseverance to draw near to God. Just as children long to know more of their parents, we too should long to know our Savior more intimately.

Consider Proverbs 21:25, not only in a physical sense but in a spiritual one as well.              The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.”

When apathy becomes our attitude, we lack the energy to love and serve God. Furthermore, we are commanded to love and serve each other. A lethargic spiritual attitude does not lend itself to service.

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13 (NKJV)

The world should see us as aliens, holding onto a very bright light that guides. We are not supposed to fit in or see eye-to-eye with the politically correct and the spiritually lost. It is far too easy to become the frog that falls asleep in a lukewarm pot of water. As the heat is slowly brought to a boil, it meets an early demise.

So, shake off all lethargy and put on the armor of Christ. Read the Word, every day. Do not simply carry your Bible into church and allow your Pastor to spoon-feed you. Supplement the feast he provides by gathering the spiritual manna God provides within His living Word. Cast off any lethargic attitude that succumbs to bottle-feeding alone and take up your own spoon and fork! As iron sharpens iron, find someone who will sharpen and encourage you as you run your spiritual race home.

Awake, O sleeper, awake!

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; So shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.Proverbs 24:30-34 (NKJV)

Obstacles

_Never Give Up

Most of us have had an occasion where an unexpected trial or obstacle has knocked us flat, interrupting everyday plans and routines. And when a stumbling block appears out-of-the-blue, a bucket full of emotions is sure to follow. Since God created us with the capacity to express our true feelings, we should do so. God values honest communication.

But once we have vented our frustration, fear, anger, and confusion over the obstacle, we must pause and consider whether God is trying to get our attention. He is a master teacher, always looking for new ways to equip and instruct His children. Once we have accepted the reality of our situation and faced our unhappy hindrance, we can move forward in a way that glorifies God. How? By embracing our new circumstances with the faith that we serve a loving and compassionate God. This is not easy but by doing so, our time in the valley will prove to be a valuable lesson filled with God’s wisdom and strength.

While we work through struggles, our spiritual eyes should search, watch, and wait for the Holy Spirit to speak. Have you found yourself incapacitated, unable to move or work? Maybe God wants you to slow down, or direct you down a different path. Maybe He wants to teach you something that will better equip you for future ministry. Is a lesson of love, forgiveness, or patience in your near future? What about endurance? Do you know how to spiritually persevere? There is also the possibility He is testing your faith. He tested His disciples, Noah, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and Abraham just to mention a few.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Ephesians 1:18 (NKJV)

 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.Romans 5:35 (NKJV)

 Whatever the obstacle, we know God will be right beside us. We can rely on Him to be our strength. He is glorified when we are weak for He often uses our weakness to shine brightly to unbelievers. They will watch as help and provisions come our way and scratch their heads as we move through our hardship without fret.

Do not fret—it leads only to evil.Psalm 37:8b (NIV)

 Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

 And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 CO 12:9-10 (NKJV)

There is no obstacle before us that has not been planned or approved by God.

He is not in the business of discouraging His children and He knows our limits. When we reach those limits and surrender our helplessness to God, we are in the right place spiritually.

Christ alone will see us through. No other but our Savior Jesus Christ will mediate our needs before God. With love, He will provide a way for us to surmount our obstacle and continue onward in our spiritual race. Do not let the challenges and heartaches in life crush you. Through Christ, we can bring the victory of heaven into our experience on earth

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.Ephesians 6:10 (NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV)

If God is testing you, as He did with so many others in the Bible, be encouraged by the helps the Father provided for them as they dealt with obstacles. And if the devil has been given permission to sift you, remember God knows you have the ability (with His provision of strength and power) to overcome.

The devil knows he cannot destroy us. The victory is ours through Christ. But our enemy will look for every opportunity to make our time on earth unproductive. He will tempt and encourage us to sin, harass us with fear, speak lies and tickle our ears to the point where we doubt the love of God. Satan wants to steal our hope. Do not let him! Persevere while you face your trial because the testing of your faith will develop spiritual maturity, enabling you to overcome every obstacle the devil can conjure.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.James 1:2-4 (NIV)

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

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Spiritual Gates

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Gates serve several purposes in the physical world. They keep the good in and the bad out. They are a means for entrance or departure. Gates provide protection. There are also arrival and departure gates. Since Jesus spoke in parables, and analogies are seen within parables, let us consider how gates tie into the spiritual matters of our heart.

The first mention of a city gate is found in Genesis 19:1. At the gate of Sodom, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, greeted angelic visitors into the city. Gates were places of central activity, business transactions, and the place where court was convened. Public announcements were also proclaimed and publicized in this location. A gate was where rulers met and counsel was given.

Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. Genesis 19:1 (NKJV)

 Gates were a big part of a city’s protection against invaders. Babylon had at least eight gates, which were a part of the walls surrounding the city. The gate of Ishtar was a double gate and a real showpiece with dragons and lions. The entrance into a city and the Processional Way were artistically built to boast of the ruler’s power and strength. When nations warred against each other, the city gate(s) was a prime focus for possession. To control the gates of one’s enemies was to conquer their city.

“Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.” Genesis 22:17 (NKJV)

For a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.Isaiah 28:6 (NKJV)

In this world, our walk with Christ will be filled with spiritual battles. We are aliens in this world so; our thoughts and actions are not usually in agreement with the “politically correct” view of our friends and family, neighbors and co-workers. Furthermore, if we are vocal in our objections referencing abortion and gay marriage (and other issues), we will quickly find ourselves under attack.

It is likely that we will be labeled prejudiced and judgmental, even ignorant. Some believers have already undergone vicious attacks that have caused unjust imprisonment, along with threats to job security and future employment. Yet, God prevails. His purpose and will are accomplished through His chosen ones whom He has equipped to do His work. We are to be “bold and stouthearted” for His glory.

God’s thoughts and ways are above our own, but we should strive to be imitators of Christ. Our thoughts and actions should be above the ways of this world. There is a gate to the wisdom, understanding, and the knowledge of God, but it only opens through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When we accept Christ as our Savior, the gates to our mind, heart, and spirit open and the scales of deceit fall from our eyes. Indeed, the eyes of our heart become enlightened when we submit to God’s sovereignty.

“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Ephesians 5:1 (NKJV)

 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” Ephesians 1:18 (NKJV)

Proverbs 4:23 provides us with a warning…. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Diligence calls for a concentrated effort that is meticulous, rigorous, and thorough. Blue Letter Bible speaks of diligence as a guardhouse.

In the Bible, the word “heart” is usually a reference to everything that makes you…. YOU! This includes thoughts, feelings, understanding, personality, and passions. It is the total sum of our character. Therefore, it is something we must actively guard and defend, if we care about the kind of person we want to be. We should be very aware of what and who we are allowing access to our heart. We must play an active role as the “gatekeeper” of our own heart.

And I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.” Nehemiah 7:3 (NKJV)

If we leave our heart-gate wide open and unattended, all kinds of thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and past-times will enter in and THEY WILL influence us. There will be a reshaping and transforming of our character. Some of the things that enter in will be good, but the bad things will have an effect on our character and taint all within us that is good.

 Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”    1 Corinthians 15:33 (NASB)

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV)

Remember to keep watch over your heart today. May it be open to the goodness and blessings of the Lord, but discerning and wary of anything the enemy may try to slip past your heart-gate. Strive to be holy… for HE is holy. Imitate Christ in all things and remember to resist the devil …. For then he must flee. May the gate to your heart be well oiled with prayer and thanksgiving.

Pearls and Diamonds

Diamonds

We are God’s treasure.  He took great care in our design.  Just as every snowflake, pearl, and diamond is unique, so are we!  However, it takes pressure to turn a lump of coal into a diamond or a grain of sand into a pearl. 

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a Merchant looking for fine pearls. When He found one of great value, He went away and sold everything He had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)    

Intense pressure causes great suffering and turmoil. The transformation of our spirits, as we are sanctified, must endure pressures just as a grain of sand or a diamond in the rough must experience.  In the end, we will be the spiritual diamond or pearl our Lord desires.  However, before the Lord can press and transform us into the gem He has envisioned, we must lay down our wills and submit to His.

When we undergo the incredible, but often-painful process of transformation, we will find comfort within the pages of God’s Word. People, even with good intentions, will often leave us unfulfilled and empty with their sincere attempts to encourage and help.  Thankfully, the Bible is filled with every encouragement and hope we will ever need.  The promises of God are sound and true.

We are told that the devil is a prowling lion. He watches and waits for opportunities to pounce and devour. In order to gain spiritual ground, he won’t hesitate to act in our moments of grief, confusion, or pain.  So, we must always be on guard and discerning, his attempts to discourage often occur during our times of weakness and stress! 

This hungry lion knows where to attack and so he will set out to rob us of hope. He knows the weak spots of every believer and looks for unprotected or damaged areas in our spiritual armor.  Therefore, let us keep our spiritual sword sharp, which is of course the living Word of God.  Ready yourself for battle for Satan is not compassionate and will show no mercy or grace. In order to gain spiritual ground, he won’t hesitate to attack when we are at our weakest.  

No soul, pearl, or diamond, will remain in the dark ocean or the pitch-black earth forever.  Something will come along to propel it to the surface.  You will be discovered, admired, loved, and treasured by the ones who find you.  The Almighty God already knows about your beauty.  I am speaking about those around you who finally discover your value, as you live out His purpose for your life.

You are the pearl in Matthew 13:45-46.  God is the Merchant.  When finding you, He sees your value and sells everything He has in order to purchase you.  Jesus purchased you with is blood.  You are His treasure.  Think about your value and your cost to God.  With this in mind, will you now stand up and endure the sanctification process of your heavenly Father?

“Deep in the center of the earth, a diamond is formed. Though many will admire its beauty and usefulness, when its formation is complete, none views the process by which it is formed. It is hidden, unseen, in the darkness.  So is the work of God in the heart of man.”  -Diane Dew                                                        

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)

“Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21 (NIV)  

Pray Away Confusion

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This devotion is found in my book FACING STORMS: DEVOTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION. Available on Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Storms-Devotions-Thought-Meditation/dp/1502487551/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430870978&sr=8-2&keywords=cheryl+zelenka

“Storms can bring fear, cloud judgment, and create confusion. Yet God promises that as you seek Him through prayer, He will give you wisdom to know how to proceed. The only way you will survive the storm will be on your knees.”  ~Paul Chappell

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints,”   1 Co 14:33 (NKJV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Confusion has the ability to rob us of the peace given by God. It can ransack our sleep and distract our thoughts. It is the cause of much mental stress and many health issues. Without the guidance of God, we will not escape its fog or snare. Indeed, prayer and quiet meditation are required to sort out the troubles that greet us every day.

Since God is NOT a God of confusion, He is the God of peace, we can conclude that our head scratching is the result of personal sin, bad choices, or a spiritual battle has ensued. Confusion is an instrument of deceit often employed by the enemy.

He is a talented deceiver who continuously invents ways to confound the children of God. Relentless and ever watching, he waits for moments of weakness to attack. He will invent new ways to baffle and bewilder even the most spiritually mature. Nobody is beyond his reach.

Thankfully, everyone belonging to Yahweh is engraved on the Father’s palm. We are under His eternal protection. We are always before Him and continually on His mind. He will never abandon us to this foe.

One of the most deceitful and heinous ways the Devil achieves our befuddlement is by misusing God’s own Word. The enemy knows the scriptures well; so don’t be surprised when you become perplexed by his subtle lies for they will be mixed with gospel truth. He may be cunning and clever but we have the Holy Spirit within us and He will always provide the necessary discernment needed to cast him off. If we resist the Devil he must leave. Complacency has never won a war.

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NKJV)

Prayer brings us into the throne room of God. We can always lay our petitions at His feet with the assurance of knowing our prayers have been answered, in His way and in His time. However, there are times when we will find ourselves entangled in spiritual warfare. Who knows the reason? There is a multitude of possible answers but for whatever reason, the Lord will ask you to persevere and fight. With the armor of Christ, you will not only fend off fiery darts, but with the Living Word you will attack this fallen angel.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”       Ephesians 6:12-17 (NKJV)

To carry a sharp sword, one that is effective in bringing down strongholds, a soldier of Christ should be in the Word daily. It is the bread of Life and we shouldn’t neglect our spiritual diets. An undernourished body is weak, so too is an undernourished spirit.

It takes diligence and a true conviction on our part to seek out God’s truth. We are responsible for our own spiritual walk and should heed the example given to us by the Berean Jews. They heard what Paul preached, but they did not take it for truth until they had examined the Scriptures themselves. They worked to verify the truth. They were involved and active in their spiritual education.

“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 (NIV)

We too must study Scripture when trials or events cause us confusion. We should also search the Bible if a Christian leader says something that causes a check in our spirit. The Holy Spirit is a guardian of truth, and unsound doctrine will set off our internal alarm. Don’t rely solely on others to feed you. Go directly to Scripture and study it yourselves. The Holy Spirit will be your guide.

“ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”           2 Timothy 3:16-17

We live in challenging times and it will only get more difficult as the return of our Lord draws near. The Bible warns us that false prophets existed in Paul’s time, and they do so even now. These men and women come to tickle our ears and tell us what we want to hear.” 1 John 4:5 (NKJV)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” 1 John 4:1 (NKJV)

“They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.”            1 John 4:5 (NKJV)

We cannot pick and choose parts of the Bible to believe and obey, and then create our own truth. God is love, but love also involves truth, order, and discipline.

The Devil wants to beat us down and convince us that God has left us in our spiritual desert forever. This is a lie! The Father brings his children out of their wilderness in His time. Sorrows are for but a season.

Confusion will discourage the best of us but the best way to attack it is with Scripture and prayer. Ask God for direction and wisdom if you are struggling with decisions or suffering from doubt. Request the Holy Spirit to direct you to truth and then be prepared to face the facts and realities He reveals. The truth and revelations may cause you to make choices or personal life changes.

2 Timothy 2:7 (NIV) commands, “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”

If you are facing trials, struggles, or you simply have questions and concerns, diligently seek the truth. Like a buried treasure, you will find the answers and a cherished prize. Be a Berean today! Don’t let confusion rob you of the peace of Christ.

STUDY THESE WORDS DURING YOUR QUIET TIME:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV)

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV)

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.” 1 John 4:5 (NIV)

“What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes bt I do not hear Him.” ~ Oswald Chambers“Storms can bring fear, cloud judgment, and create confusion. Yet God promises that as you seek Him through prayer, He will give you wisdom to know how to proceed. The only way you will survive the storm will be on your knees.”  ~Paul Chappell

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints,”         1 Co 14:33 (NKJV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”                 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Confusion has the ability to rob us of the peace given by God. It can ransack our sleep and distract our thoughts. It is the cause of much mental stress and many health issues. Without the guidance of God, we will not escape its fog or snare. Indeed, prayer and quiet meditation are required to sort out the troubles that greet us every day.

Since God is NOT a God of confusion, He is the God of peace, we can conclude that our head scratching is the result of personal sin, bad choices, or a spiritual battle has ensued. Confusion is an instrument of deceit often employed by the enemy.

He is a talented deceiver who continuously invents ways to confound the children of God. Relentless and ever watching, he waits for moments of weakness to attack. He will invent new ways to baffle and bewilder even the most spiritually mature. Nobody is beyond his reach.

Thankfully, everyone belonging to Yahweh is engraved on the Father’s palm. We are under His eternal protection. We are always before Him and continually on His mind. He will never abandon us to this foe.

One of the most deceitful and heinous ways the Devil achieves our befuddlement is by misusing God’s own Word. The enemy knows the scriptures well; so don’t be surprised when you become perplexed by his subtle lies for they will be mixed with gospel truth. He may be cunning and clever but we have the Holy Spirit within us and He will always provide the necessary discernment needed to cast him off. If we resist the Devil he must leave. Complacency has never won a war.

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NKJV)

Prayer brings us into the throne room of God. We can always lay our petitions at His feet with the assurance of knowing our prayers have been answered, in His way and in His time. However, there are times when we will find ourselves entangled in spiritual warfare. Who knows the reason? There is a multitude of possible answers but for whatever reason, the Lord will ask you to persevere and fight. With the armor of Christ, you will not only fend off fiery darts, but with the Living Word you will attack this fallen angel.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”                     Ephesians 6:12-17 (NKJV)

To carry a sharp sword, one that is effective in bringing down strongholds, a soldier of Christ should be in the Word daily. It is the bread of Life and we shouldn’t neglect our spiritual diets. An undernourished body is weak, so too is an undernourished spirit.

It takes diligence and a true conviction on our part to seek out God’s truth. We are responsible for our own spiritual walk and should heed the example given to us by the Berean Jews. They heard what Paul preached, but they did not take it for truth until they had examined the Scriptures themselves. They worked to verify the truth. They were involved and active in their spiritual education.

“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 (NIV)

We too must study Scripture when trials or events cause us confusion. We should also search the Bible if a Christian leader says something that causes a check in our spirit. The Holy Spirit is a guardian of truth, and unsound doctrine will set off our internal alarm. Don’t rely solely on others to feed you. Go directly to Scripture and study it yourselves. The Holy Spirit will be your guide.

“ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”           2 Timothy 3:16-17

We live in challenging times and it will only get more difficult as the return of our Lord draws near. The Bible warns us that false prophets existed in Paul’s time, and they do so even now. These men and women come to tickle our ears and tell us what we want to hear.” 1 John 4:5 (NKJV)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” 1 John 4:1 (NKJV)

“They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.”            1 John 4:5 (NKJV)

We cannot pick and choose parts of the Bible to believe and obey, and then create our own truth. God is love, but love also involves truth, order, and discipline.

The Devil wants to beat us down and convince us that God has left us in our spiritual desert forever. This is a lie! The Father brings his children out of their wilderness in His time. Sorrows are for but a season.

Confusion will discourage the best of us but the best way to attack it is with Scripture and prayer. Ask God for direction and wisdom if you are struggling with decisions or suffering from doubt. Request the Holy Spirit to direct you to truth and then be prepared to face the facts and realities He reveals. The truth and revelations may cause you to make choices or personal life changes.

2 Timothy 2:7 (NIV) commands, “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”

If you are facing trials, struggles, or you simply have questions and concerns, diligently seek the truth. Like a buried treasure, you will find the answers and a cherished prize. Be a Berean today! Don’t let confusion rob you of the peace of Christ.

STUDY THESE WORDS DURING YOUR QUIET TIME:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV)

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV)

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.” 1 John 4:5 (NIV)

“What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes bt I do not hear Him.” ~ Oswald Chambers

 

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Storms-Devotions-Thought-Meditation/dp/1502487551/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430870978&sr=8-2&keywords=cheryl+zelenka

There Is Power In the Name of JESUS!

*Power

“The safest place in all the world is in the will of God, and the safest protection in all the world is in the name of God.” ~ Unknown

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV)

“For whomever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:13 (NKJV)

“By stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30 (NKJV)

The name of Jesus holds great power. In Philippians 2:10 we are told that God has given His son a name that is above any other name. The name of Jesus will cause every knee to bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.

Romans 10:13 states that anyone who calls on the name of Jesus shall be saved. When you call out to the Son of God, and acknowledge Him as your personal Lord and Savior, you accept He died, rose again, and was resurrected into heaven. Only upon this confession of faith will you find His protection. The children of God are given His assurance of provision and He is their strong tower in times of need. They find shelter under His mighty wings.

God will deliver believers out of all kinds of tribulations and challenging circumstances, so long as they have not been designed for our welfare and spiritual grown. In that case, God will walk us through the adversity, providing the necessary discernment, wisdom, strength and courage we require.

Satan and the demons tremble at the mere mention of His holy name…JESUS. In fact, spirits of darkness think twice about harassing God’s children when the name of Jesus is mentioned in their prayers (Luke 10:17). Jesus won the battle over darkness long ago when He pinned the sins of the world to His cross. The victory is His, and therefore ours as well.

During times of supplication, what does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name? Quite simply, it means to ask by the authority of Christ Jesus. With our confession of faith, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:13-14)

Our Savior offers up petitions on our behalf, both day and night, before the throne of God. Jesus is our advocate. When we ask in His name, it is with the intent of aligning our will with His and accepting His absolute authority over us,including our present circumstances.

Imagine a knock on your door at 2am. Before opening and giving entrance you ask, “Who is it and by whose authority do you come?” If they say, “In the name of the police department or Homeland Security,” you will most likely open your door and permit entrance. Now consider how much MORE AUTHORITY we have by using the name of Jesus!

Are you are gong through a spiritual battle? Call on His name! Speak His name out loud. You will accomplish little to nothing through your own might. Chaos and confusion will only fasten themselves to your situation. We fight against principalities and powers of darkness and at such times of spiritual battle, the power of His name will bring down strongholds.

We have a glorious promise in James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”Calling out the name “Jesus” will certainly speed up the departure. We assert our position and inheritance in Christ when we call out the name of our Savior. For further protection, God has provided us with the spiritual armor of God. Be sure to keep it well oiled with prayer.

If you are facing trials of pain and suffering, God knows how weary you are and wants to help. He has unimaginable power and strength to share. This is why He COMMANDS us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for       I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”Did you notice the words COME, TAKE, and LEARN?

I pray, dear reader, you learn to quicken your response to Christ when you find yourself in need. Don’t hesitate to call out, “Jesus!” A one-word prayer is all you need for God to send a legion of angels to your defense. Jesus is your champion and with this fact you, and I, will always be victorious.

“Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!
 Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.All the earth shall worship You
 and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah   Psalm 66:2-4 (NKJV)

“Then the seventyreturned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” Luke 10:17 (NKJV)

“By stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30 (NKJV)

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13 (NKJV)

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“Jesus is a name, which is especially sweet and precious to believers. It has often done them good. It has given them what money cannot buy-that is, inward peace. It has eased their wearied consciences and given rest to many, when it says, “Your name is oil poured forth” (Song of Solomon 1:3) happy is the person who trusts not merely in vague notions of God’s mercy and goodness, but in “Jesus.”

*Adapted from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW by J.C. Ryle (Chapter 1) http://www.jesus.org/is-jesus-god/names-of-jesus/what-does-the-name-jesus-mean.html

 

Plumb Sings I NEED YOU NOW

*Need
“And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”   Romans 16:20 (NKJV)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkig2dttSNw&feature=youtu.be

Calamity and Confusion

A-Past

It seems like overwhelming circumstances enjoy a grand entrance. Calamity doesn’t care about being convenient or whether she fits into our daily schedule. In fact, inopportune moments are her favorite time to appear.

 Therefore, it is no surprise that these unexpected situations and times of affliction stop many of us dead in our tracks. Some of us will need a mere moment to catch our breath and remind ourselves to focus on God and not our crazy circumstances. The wind may have been knocked out of us, but we pick ourselves up and stand because our gaze remains heaven bent. 

But for others, their trauma may be so great and their pain so overwhelming, years will pass before they are able to look back up into the eyes of God and once again stand. The wind was not only knocked out of these suffering souls, but their faith was challenged.  Trust in a loving God was questioned and doubt hampered their healing process. Deciding to once again to continue on in their spiritual race is monumental. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

So, when a sudden calamity comes your way does confusion and fear stand in the forefront of your mind? There is a difference between the emotional feelings experienced due to an overwhelming or sudden hardship and the confusion found inside chaos and fear. We are told that, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

If fear is overwhelming you as you face your struggle, toss it aside. Fear will torment you only for as long as you let it rule your heart and mind. The Shepherd does not want His sheep exhausted and overwhelmed with anxiety. Furthermore, fear hinders your ability to hear His voice and follow His leading. Remember, Jesus Christ is the PRINCE OF PEACE, not fear!

Standing back up after adversity has knocked us sideways requires perseverance. It also requires a clear head. We are told to cast off every thought that goes against the knowledge of God. If we are questioning the love of God, we need only to remember the loving sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV) 

Your trial will refine you. Your struggle and pain will teach you many things. Gems of wisdom and knowledge are laying at your feet, so pick them up and continue on in your journey. Don’t let confusion and fear hinder your purpose in this life. Take every one of your thoughts captive and run the race set before you with endurance and the blessed peace of Christ Jesus. 

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”  Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NIV)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27 (NKJV)

“’I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity;  I, the  Lord, do all these things.’” Isaiah 45:7 (NKJV)

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