3 Strategies Satan Uses Against Us

When you look at this picture what do you see?  The game of chess is an interesting game where one tries to capture the king to become the victor.  I love how the game of chess provides an opportunity for the underdog to win.  It’s not over until it’s over.  Even if all the major playing pieces are taken, it’s possible to still win.  In this game, the pawn can become a queen.  The pawn is merely an underdog until it makes its way to the other side and changes the trajectory of the game.

The game of chess requires perseverance and patience.  How many of us give up before the end of the game? Is it because we are weary and tired?  Or have we lost the confidence to believe that we can win?  In life, Satan can play us like pawns in his game of evil.  He throws temptations in our path trying to lure us away, he whispers lies in our ears to make us doubt and seduces us to believe life is better in the green grass.  He waits until we are at our weakest, most desperate moments to make his move.  He is evil and uses sneaky strategies to make us move where he wants us.  We don’t have to fall victim to Satan’s evil schemes.

3 Strategies Satan Uses Against

  1.  Unforgiveness-  Satan’s role in our lives will always be to tempt us.  When there is unforgiveness in our lives, Satan will always use this against us to tantalize us to the point of destruction.   Unforgiveness opens a door for the enemy to cause division and chaos in our lives.  Satan seduces us into believing holding onto unforgiveness is a better solution than forgiving others.  Forgiveness provides an open door for unity, harmony and peace in our world.  Forgiving others allows an opportunity for the underdog to win.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NIV

“Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven–if there was anything to forgive–I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

2.  Making Fear greater than God.  Satan will do anything he can to elevate our fears, trying to make them greater than God.  One of his primary purposes is to instill fear in our lives and take our focus off of God.  The other day we were at the park and my daughter said, “I’m thirsty.”  I said, “There is a water fountain over there, go get a drink of water.”  My daughter said, “I want a drink of water, but there is a wasp over there.”  I went over to inspect the situation to find the wasp had already left.  I told my daughter the wasp was gone, but she would not go near the water fountain because she was still afraid she would get stung.  How many times has the enemy done this in our lives?  He instills fear in us so we can’t go where God is trying to lead us.  Even though the wasp wasn’t there anymore she still wouldn’t go near where it was.  Allowing fear to dictate and control our responses and actions will always keep us from God’s greater plans.  When Fear > God, we will always live defeated life that is stuck.  When God > Fear, we will always live a life that is filled with God’s abundance and victory.

1 Peter 5:8 NIV

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 

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What I am Most Thankful For……

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s a season for giving thanks, fellowship, serving one another and sharing a meal with each other.  It’s a time we can enjoy each other and share what we are thankful for.

Or maybe it’s not.  Maybe Thanksgiving reveals everything we don’t have and haven’t accomplished.  Thanksgiving may be like a magnifying glass examining the little details of our lives that expose everything we are not.

To cover up our flaws, we assemble the perfect table and meal, making it seem like we have it all together, but really we’re falling apart on the inside.

Can you relate?

Of course, I am thankful for my family, our health and how abundantly blessed we are.  It’s so easy to thank God when things are going well in our lives.  It’s not so easy when they are not.

When things are falling apart and I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread, I am most thankful for Jesus.  I am thankful that even in my messes, I am complete in Jesus.  Even in my suffering, I am blessed.

It’s amazing when Jesus meets us in our messes, our storms, and flaws–He turns them into life’s greatest blessings.  

If I never experienced failure, I would never know the deeper meaning of perseverance–How God makes the impossible, possible.

If I never trained for a marathon, I would never have known the power of God’s strength.

If I never went through the loss of our son, I would never experience the deeper meaning of God’s love and His glorious plan that one day we will see him again.

If I never had trials in my marriage or as a parent, I would never have realized the value in growing my patience and building a stronger foundation in Jesus.  

To remove our messes, our struggles and flaws are to remove God’s glorious blessings.  


What am I Most Thankful For?  Jesus.  

I am not thankful for my trials but am thankful to have Jesus to walk with me in my trials.

When I struggle, I think of Job.  When his cattle was destroyed he still gave thanks.  When his family was killed he still gave thanks to God.  When his crops were destroyed he gave thanks.  When his health was at stake, he gave thanks.  When everything was taken away from him, he never stopped thanking God.  His thankfulness in his devastation produced a greater blessing he could have ever received than if he focused on everything he didn’t have.

No Jesus + Everything = Nothing.

Jesus + Nothing= Everything

Even when I have nothing, I have everything in Jesus.  There is always something to be thankful for.  I am nothing without Jesus.
  
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”  (1 Thes. 5:18)

Behind every trial, there is a greater blessing.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks not just for what we are grateful for.  Thank God for everything in between–the struggle, the trial and our flaws and you will be blessed beyond measure.

When we GIVE THANKS in our trials, it helps us focus on God’s GOODNESS and that His LOVE endures FOREVER.  

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1)

A Thanksgiving Prayer-  

THANK YOU, Lord Jesus, not only for our family, our health and the food we will eat this THANKSGIVING But also for our TRIALS we have endured this year.  We are not thankful for our suffering, but thankful that you are good and know what is BEST for US!

THANK YOU for giving us what we NEED not what we WANT.  You Always have the best plans ever!  THANK YOU for going AHEAD of us and PREPARING  a place for us, even in our STRUGGLES we know this is only our TEMPORARY HOME.

THANK YOU for our circumstances that are beyond our control, they TEACH US to depend and lean on you making us closer to YOU.  THANK YOU for unanswered PRAYERS, they help us to TRUST in you, in your PERFECT PLAN.

THANK YOU for WALKING with US in the fiery furnace.  If you we didn’t have your hand to hold onto we would never know you are ALWAYS with us and will NEVER leave US.  THANK YOU for your FORGIVENESS when we fail and make bad choices.  THANK YOU for your LOVE and ALWAYS being there even in our MESSES.

THANK YOU for our DESPERATE Moments when we feel like we have nothing left, we can always depend on YOUR STRENGTH.  THANK YOU for our roadblocks and detours, they show us that when we follow Jesus, He knows the WAY!

THANK YOU for our failures and losses, they show us there is no greater reward than Jesus.  THANK YOU for your perfect gift of ETERNAL LIFE!  No matter what we go through it does not compare to the glorious reward of HEAVEN when we accept Jesus as our Savior!  THANK YOU for your PERFECT LOVE AND PLAN!  AMEN

What are you Most Thankful For this Thanksgiving?

What will you give Thanks for?

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Crumbs From the Table

With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am sure we are thinking, what can we do with all of our leftovers?  There is a division in our household whether or not leftovers should even be allowed.  Leftovers are a great solution for a quick meal in a busy family household.  However, there are definite rules for the leftovers in our house.  They can’t be kept in the fridge or eaten past 3 days and they can only be heated up once (so only take what you will eat).  And whatever is leftover from the leftovers usually goes into our dog’s bowl.

How do you approach leftovers in your household?

Would you be happy to have leftovers?

Leftovers make me think of the Syrian Phoenician woman in the Bible.  This woman approaches Jesus and cries out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!  My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”  Jesus did not answer a word.  So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  The woman came and knelt before him.  “Lord, help me!” she said.   He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”  “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.”  And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  Matthew 15:21-28

The Syrophoenician woman’s name is not mentioned in these verses, but her story is such a powerful one.  She recognized Jesus had the power to heal the sick and sought His help on behalf of her daughter who was possessed.  His disciples tried to encourage Jesus to send the woman on her way.  Jesus then replies He is only there to save the lost sheep of Israel, meaning bring the good news of the gospel to the Jews.  Jesus and His disciples had just entered the city of Tyre, a city of Gentiles.

Jesus’ presence in the city could not be kept secret.  He was trying to explain to the woman, a person wouldn’t give a dog their meal first without eating, then that person would be hungry.  He was explaining let the lost sheep eat first.  The woman understood what Jesus meant and replied she was willing to settle for crumbs from the table–mere crumbs would be sufficient for her.

Can you imagine this scene?  A desperate mother kneeling in the presence of Jesus, recognizing He is her Lord, asking for healing for her possessed daughter, who wasn’t going to stop until she received an answer.  Because of her faithfulness, Jesus granted her request.  He recognized she was a woman of great faith, who was willing to settle for whatever Jesus gave her.

I will be honest.  I don’t know if settling for crumbs would be good enough for me.  Sometimes in my set ways, I want the whole meal.  This woman’s faithfulnesses impresses upon me because she recognized that the crumbs were enough and all her daughter needed to be healed.

Would you be happy with mere crumbs?

Sometimes in life, I want it all.  If I could choose what I want, I’d choose to have good health for my family, a nice house, a good job, and happiness all the time.  But life doesn’t work that way does it?  We can’t have everything all the time, can we?  The power of God’s will is greater than anything we could ever desire.

 This woman’s faithfulness allowed her to see the crumbs of Jesus are greater than anything this world could ever offer her.

God's leftovers are better than any meal we could ever have.Click To Tweet

To pick and choose what parts of life we do and don’t want, we miss out on God’s greatest blessings along the way.  Keeping our eyes on Him and being content with His provision leads to the most victorious life ever in Him. His leftovers are greater than anything this world could provide.  So……..

Who wants leftovers?

 

Are you willing to accept crumbs from the table?

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10Click To Tweet

Prayer:  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”  Matthew 6:9-13

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10 Thanksgiving Bible Verses

I love Thanksgiving time!  It is a time to gather with family, cook together, eat lots of food and celebrate what we are thankful for.  This year may be a tough season for many of us.  Some of us may have experienced job loss, an unexpected illness or have financial struggles.  The list is endless of what makes our seasons tough.

There is one thing we can always count on, even in our rough seasons—God’s promises.  We may experience storms and struggles in life, but there is always something to be thankful for.  We may not want our circumstances or even like them, but God will use them for His glory and will produce the greatest blessings.

This Thanksgiving let’s give thanks to God not just for the good we are thankful for but for everything in between;  the good, the bad and the ugly.  When we do, we receive God’s greatest blessings when we are thankful in all circumstances (Thes. 5:18).   

Here are 10 Bible verse to Remind us of God’s Goodness-

1.  “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” 2 Corinthians 4:15

2.  “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” 2 Corinthians 9:11

3.  “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds”  Psalm 9:1

4.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”  Philippians 4:6-7

5.  “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:16-17

6.  “This is the day the Lord has made;  We will rejoice and be glad in it.”  118:24

7. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” 1 Chronicles 16:34

8.  “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High”  Psalm 7:17

9.  “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

10.  “In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted”  Isaiah 12:4

There is always something to be thankful for.  

What are you thankful for?

What Bible verses remind you of what you are thankful for?

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Anchored in Hope

I will never forget the time we had to take our daughter to the hospital when she fell off a stool.  It was dinnertime and she was wiggling around on a not so stable wooden stool.  I had asked her to please stop wiggling around because she was going to fall and get hurt.  She was 5 years old at the time and was working on her listening skills.  I turned around to plate my dinner then heard a loud crash and immediate screaming.  I turned to see streams of blood running from my daughter’s finger.  She had smashed her pinkie finger under the wooden stool onto the tile floor.  I immediately picked her up and applied pressure to her finger with a paper towel.

We knew she needed more than stitches.  As I drove her to the hospital, fear filled her mind with what was going to happen when she arrived in the emergency room.  She was deathly afraid of needles and hospitals.  Our son had died a year earlier and her perception of hospitals was, when a person gets sick they might not come home.  I kept reassuring her that the doctors would fix her finger and she definitely was coming home with me.

After the doctors examined her, they confirmed she needed surgery.  In life, there are some things that can only be explained as God orchestrated moments.  Because the next part of the story I never imagined happening, not in a million lifetimes.  Since Brooklyn’s finger was an open wound she needed IV antibiotics.  She needed to stay overnight and receive her surgery in the morning.  We were in the same hospital our son died.  As the attendant was wheeling my daughter down the hall, everything looked so familiar.  I asked, “Are we going to the intensive care unit?”  He said, “Since the new hospital was built, the old intensive care unit is now used for surgery overflow patients.”

If you can even imagine, we were taken to the very unit our son had died only a year and a half prior.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.  I started questioning God, “Why did you bring me here?”  Our Father in heaven knows exactly what we need to achieve wholehearted healing.  He knew what I needed even when I didn’t.  He knew I needed to face my fears head on even if it hurt.

When we let go of what we hold so tightly onto, God will fill it with something so much greater and better.

Brooklyn had a successful surgery, everything went well.  After we were discharged, I asked Brooklyn, “Will you walk into Bowen’s room with me?”  I knew if God brought me all the way here, I mine as well visit the last place I held our son alive in our arms.  When I walked into the room I received an overwhelming gift of peace that went beyond understanding.  I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with me, telling me ‘You don’t have anything to fear or worry about, I have your son and am taking care of him.’  I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders that I have never felt before.  When I walked towards where God was asking me to go, I received the greatest reward of hope and peace.

I received another gift that day.  The hospital where our son died was a place of horror for me.  That day, God replaced my horrific memory with a new one.  The same emergency room door we walked out of with empty arms, is the same door we walked out of holding onto our daughter’s hand.  God was a replacing our painful memory with a healing one–one that offered an endless amount of hope.

Have you ever felt hopeless in your situation?

Our daughter is ten years old now and remembers the day she fell off the stool.  Her finger is a daily reminder of how God restores and renews us.  Whenever she sits on a stool we still mention don’t wiggle around!  It’s amazing the pearls of wisdom that come out of the mouth of babes.  She recently sat on a stool that was anchored to the ground.  She discovered she could wiggle around all she wanted and the stool would never fall.  She said, “I need this stool to keep me safe.”  She recognized there is safety when things are anchored to a strong foundation.

Hebrews 6:18 NLT

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.”

God keeps His word and promises.

Hebrews 6:19 NIV

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,”

 

Like an anchor holding a ship safely from drifting off,  our hope in Jesus ensures our safety.  A ship’s anchor goes down to the bottom of the ocean to ground it.  Our anchor is secured in the true heavenly sanctuary that anchors to God Himself.

When storms come our way we can be kept safe when our hope is anchored in God. Click To Tweet

 

Are you anchored in Hope?

 

What gives you hope in your storms?

 

God is faithful, He will never leave you.

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Getting Out of the Grave

 

Have you ever gone fishing in hopes to catch the big one?  Our family has done our fair share of fishing, coming from Alaska.  In Alaska, the king salmon is one prize fish that everyone tries to catch.  The king salmon only run at a certain time, once a year so there is a mad rush to catch the big one before they are gone.  People are so crazy about catching king salmon, there are even fish derbies to determine who caught the biggest fish–which can weigh up to 100 pounds!  People spend years trying to catch the big one and still never catch a king salmon.  However, when a person catches a king salmon there is no going back, they are hooked.

No doubt fishing in Alaska is one of the most amazing experiences a person will ever have–there is a joy and art to it.  However, fishing for the big king salmon makes me think how we go out to lure and hook the big fish, but eventually the desire to catch the big one, lures and hooks us if we’re not careful.

Have you been there before–caught in the trap of chasing more?

I am painfully aware and convicted of how many times in life I’ve been a victim of chasing my own desires to find fulfillment and satisfaction–only to be left weary, disappointed and depleted.

In life there becomes a healthy balance of chasing our own desires versus God’s desires to find some sort of satisfaction and fulfillment.   Sometimes we can get caught up in chasing our dreams for the big one, whatever that may be–a bigger house, better job, nicer car or more money.  Then somehow, someway we get stuck in a place where we don’t want to be, missing out on all of God’s greatest blessings along the way.

Trying to catch the big one makes me think of the Israelites.  

Graves of Craving Numbers 11:4-34

Moses, the leader of the Israelites, had been leading them through the desert for about 40 years to take them to The Promised Land.  In this time of wandering, God was teaching them how to rely and depend on Him for all their needs.  God had provided the Israelites with shelter, water and a bread-like substance called manna.  After while the Israelites became dissatisfied with God’s provisions.  They were tired of wandering around the hot desert and eating the same old thing every day.  They whined and complained and desired something more.  They asked Moses if they could have some meat.  The Lord honored their request and sent quail, not just for one day but for a whole month!

There was so much quail meat, that each Israelite had an equivalent to 10 homers which is 100 bushels or a little over 22 barrels of meat.  Their indulgence and engorgement infuriated God.

“While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague. So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy” Numbers 11:33-34.

In our lives, there is a fine line between being content with what we have and being greedy.  In the case of the Israelites, their greediness for more left them unsatisfied and became the death of them.  In fact, their greediness dug their own grave.

God used the Israelites greediness as an example for generations to come.  The place of their overindulgence was located in the desert and named Kibroth-Hattaavah, which means graves of craving, desire and/or greed.  Their greed and burning desire actually dug their own graves.  It’s not wrong to crave worldly things but our cravings become a sin when our worldly desires become greater than God.

 

“Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death never satisfied” (Habakkuk 2:5 NIV).Click To Tweet

Satan would like nothing more than for us to believe, overindulging in our desires will bring us fulfillment and satisfaction—when in reality our self-fulfillment will only lead to emptiness and temporary satisfaction.  There will always be another desire to fulfill.

When is enough ever enough?

When we reside in what God desires, we will never desire more of what the world wants and be eternally satisfied.Click To Tweet

How do we stay out of the Grave of Craving?

  1. Trusting in Him.  Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding.”   Trusting in the Lord for His provision keeps us straight on our paths, so Satan can’t lure us away.  Keep taking those steps of faith, God will always lead you in the right direction and firmly secure your feet on the straight path.
  2. Being content.  Philippians 4:11-13 NIV, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Being content with God’s provision and trusting it is enough, will provide us with more than we ever need.
  3. Prayer and Thanksgiving.  Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;  for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  4. Allowing God’s desires to be our desires.  Psalm 37:4 NASB, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”  When we allow God’s desires to be our desires we will always be eternally satisfied.
  5. Staying alert and aware.  1 Peter 5:8 NIV, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Keeping our eyes and focus on God will keep us out of the grave.
Satan will always try to use our cravings and desires against us to fulfill his evil plan.Click To Tweet
When our cravings and burning desires are greater than God, they will always be the death of us.Click To Tweet

Our steps of faith will keep us out of the grave.  Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10).  He didn’t die on the cross and stay in the grave, he resurrected from the grave so that we could live an eternal life with Him be filled with His abundant blessings.  We aren’t meant to live in the grave but be resurrected with Jesus to live a life with eternal fulfillment and satisfaction.

God can handle our circumstances and turn them into something so much better and greater.  Getting out of the grave of our circumstances will be hard, but I promise you, dear friend, God will hold your hand and never let go.

Have you been a victim to Satan’s sneaky tactics and not even know it?

Have you ever been stuck in the grave with your circumstances?

How has God led you out of the grave?

We were never meant to live in the grave with our circumstances but in the Victory of Jesus!  You were made to be victorious!  God’s love and grace are transformational.  We become victorious when His Word is alive and active in our lives!  Please let me know if you have any questions!  You are loved!  

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The Scars of Life

 

Everyone has a scar.  Whether it be a scar from a childhood fall or an old battle wound, we all have them.  Some scars are more visible than others, whereas some scars are not.  Some scars are intentional to mark a rite of passage into manhood, to indicate which tribe a person is from, or worn as a badge of honor.  Some of the most painful scars of those that lie deep within a person’s soul that they don’t dare let out for fear of the pain it would cause.  Whatever the origin of the scar, there always lies a story.

After trekking 3,000+ miles from Alaska crossing Canada and the United States this past summer, my son had his good share of mosquito bites from all the campgrounds we visited.  Unfortunately, my son is the type of person who has allergic reactions to mosquito bites and as a result, there are welts and scars left behind.  Many times I had to remind him to stop picking at the bites because they would leave a scar.

He said, “I like my scars because they remind me of my stories.”  He was right.  We may not always like the stories behind the scars, but they make up who we are.

Do you have scars?  What story do your scars tell? 

I will never forget a woman I met on an airplane ride on the way to a friend’s wedding.  I sat next to her and her son–in which it was obvious they had both been in some type of accident that resulted in burns on their body.  At the time, I was a nurse in a trauma/burn center so I had an idea of what burn victims went through.  As the plane ride progressed I introduced myself to the woman that I was a nurse who worked with burn victims.  She immediately seemed relieved when I told her who I was.  I asked her, ‘do you mind telling me your story of what happened?’

Behind Every Scar Lies a Story.

Her story is unimaginable one that is a living nightmare.  Her family was driving home when a person under the influence of narcotics crossed the center line of the highway and hit the driver’s side to driver’s side head-on.  Her husband had been driving, she was in the passenger seat and their two sons were sitting in the back seat.  The vehicle burst into flames immediately upon impact.  Nearby witnesses rushed to the scene. Leslie and her son got themselves out of the vehicle.  No one could even go close to the vehicle because of the flames.  Leslie walked toward a Good Samaritan on the highway and asked, “please get my husband and my other son!”  The Good Samaritan saw Leslie wearing a cross necklace and said to her, “ma’am they are in a better place.”

In an instant, she lost her husband and her son.  Because of this man’s negligence, Leslie not only had to deal with multiple surgeries and heal from her burn wounds but also deal with the grief from the loss of her loved ones.  My heart broke for Leslie as she told me her story.  When we were about to exit the plane, I noticed Leslie had a little limp.  I asked her, “Do you want me to get a wheelchair for you?”  She said, “After all my hours of physical therapy, once I was able to get out of the wheelchair, I never had any intentions of getting back into it.  I don’t care how long it takes me to get somewhere, I will never return to that wheelchair again.”  Wow!  Her response amazed me.

Leslie’s story reminds me of the man who was paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus approached the man and asked ‘Do you want to get well?’  At first, the paralyzed man doesn’t answer yes or no, he responded that he had no one to help him get into the healing pool.

“Then Jesus said to him, “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked”  (John 5:5-8)

Why do you think Jesus told the paralyzed man to pick up his mat first and then walk?

The mat, in this man’s story, represents a place of dysfunction which allowed him to lay paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus tells the man to pick up his mat, so he couldn’t revisit his place of dysfunction again.  Jesus desired for the man to be fully healed not stay in a place of sickness.  It was probably hard for this man to live his new life as a healed walking man.  The only life this man knew for 38 years, was one of begging and lying paralyzed on his mat.   But then Jesus came and changed everything not only for this man but for us as well.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed”  Isaiah 53:5

Jesus desires for us to be healed wholeheartedly in Him–He was wounded for our transgressions.  Our scars tell our story.  When we hide behind our scars we omit God’s greater story.

How do you choose to present your scars?  In shame and disgrace?  Or to tell God’s story of restoration, healing, and grace?

Jesus came to heal the sick–he was bruised for our iniquities.

“When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Mark 2:17).  

There is healing found in the wounds of Jesus--by his stripes, we are healed. Click To Tweet

Our scars remind us of God’s story of what He is able to do in our lives.

Not every scar is visible.

Do you carry around deep scars that lie within afraid to reveal your story?

Leslie told me she was glad her scars were outwardly visible.  She said these scars were a reminder to others of the deep scars she had inside.  The scars she had outside were nothing compared to the pain of the scars she carried around inside.  I love how Leslie’s story progressed because she allowed for God’s love to progressively heal her.  It wasn’t a quick and easy process, it has been a long hard journey and continues to be hard some days.  If you can imagine she even came to the place of forgiveness to the man who took her family away from her.  Her willingness to forgive and trust in God’s plan allowed for her to stand on the path to wholehearted healing and never live in that place of brokenness again.

How do you carry your scars?  Do you allow for God’s greater story to be told?

Jesus has scars too.

The scars in life can be hard and painful.  Nobody knows our scars better than Jesus because he has scars too.  His scars tell the greatest story ever told–one of redemption, forgiveness, healing, love, restoration, and grace.  There is healing in the scars of Jesus.  He died for all of us–so we could be healed.  In verse 53 of Isaiah “by his stripes we are healed,” the Greek word healed is sózó which is translated saved, healed or rescue.  The origin of the word comes from safe or well.  Jesus came so we could be saved, healed and rescued from our iniquities and pain!

You are loved, my friend! I pray you seek Jesus for your wholehearted healing.  He has the power to heal, forgive and resurrect our circumstances into something greater!

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The reference from the Greek word sózó came from the website http://www.biblehub.com/greek/4982.htm.

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Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

To Celebrate or not to Celebrate?

With the day of Halloween approaching, many of us who are Christians, have our views about whether to celebrate this holiday or not. Halloween like any other Christ-centered holiday has been turned into a secular holiday. Originally Halloween was a holy holiday for the saints. In fact, the word Halloween comes from the word ‘hallow,’ which means ‘holy.’ Halloween began as ‘Hallows Eve’ meaning holy evening. It was the night before ‘All Saints Day’ which is dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and the faithfully departed.

According to The Free Dictionary, hallowed means “to make or set apart as holy, to respect or honor greatly; revere.” We use the word ‘hallowed’ in the Lord’s prayer “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9

So how does a holy holiday meant to honor the dead, become about worshipping devils and demons?

Halloween is believed to have been derived from a pagan holiday, Samhain, which was celebrated on the same day as Hallows Eve by the Northern Celtic People. Pagan resources will say this holiday was ‘Christianized,’ when really it’s origination is entirely Christian, having originated from the Roman Catholics.

To celebrate All Hallows Eve, the Church held a vigil, where they worshiped, prayed and fasted (in honor of the dead) prior to the day of the feast. Even though both holidays may have similarities in celebration of the dead, the pagan and Christian holidays are separate, not associated with one another.

Is it true Halloween is on the same day as a pagan holiday? Yes.

Is it true the origination of Halloween was in fact intended to be a holy holiday? Yes.

Halloween, just like any Christian holiday has been altered to conform to secularism. Christmas has become about Santa Claus, Easter has become about the Easter bunny and Halloween has become about the devil.

Does it mean that Christians should not celebrate these holidays just because they have been secularized? Of course not! Otherwise, we would not celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas or the resurrection of Christ on Easter. Just because the world changes the definition of something doesn’t mean Christians should conform to it.

Romans 12:2 ESV
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As Christians should we participate in this holiday?

If we participate, does that mean we are conforming to the pattern of this world?

Our decision to celebrate or not celebrate should be based on the truth and God’s desire for us. Whatever we decide, I don’t think there is a wrong or right answer. How we choose to celebrate or not to celebrate, can shine Jesus’ light to others.

As Christians, when we allow our children to participate in Halloween it doesn’t mean they are worshipping the devil. Halloween is an opportunity to open the doors of the church for those who normally don’t attend. That is why we see churches inviting the community in by hosting trunk or treats or fall festivals. It is a chance to expose Jesus to non-believers.

Even though the world has made this holiday about evil and darkness, it is an opportunity for Christians to shine the light of Jesus.

What better way to shine the light of Jesus than in the dark?Click To Tweet

As Christians, we can make choices in how we celebrate this holiday. We can choose not to allow our children to dress up as vampires, murderers, demons or devils. We can carve jack-o-lanterns with a cross and put a candle in it. We can hand out candy that has a Bible verse on it. We can pray for the boys and girls who come to our door that may not know Jesus.

How we choose to celebrate or not to celebrate this holiday can be a light to others. If you choose not to celebrate, share why and allow it to be a light to others during this dark holiday. If you choose to celebrate, let it be for the glory of God. Let His light shine through your family for others to see.

How do you celebrate or not celebrate Halloween?  Please Share! 

What are your thoughts on Halloween?

Happy Halloween!

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIVClick To Tweet

FREE Printable 7 Ways to shine the Light of Jesus Click link to download.

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5 P’s To Pray Over Your Marriage

Marriage is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet 40%-50% of marriages end up in divorce.  If marriage is such a blessing, then why do so many marriages fail?  I think there are many factors at play–a person’s background and upbringing, parents who had a loving successful marriage, children, poor role models, trials, dysfunctional habits.  But I think one of the most important factors that help couples STAY together is PRAYER.

A study written by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement stated out of 1156 couples, those who prayed together on a daily basis less than 1% ended in divorce.  The study went even further to analyze what the couples did at home together.   Were they apart of the same denomination?  Did they attend church together?  Did they share the same beliefs and values?  Did they do any worship activities at home?

The study found there was a higher level of marital satisfaction when the couples shared the same religious practices at home which included reading the Bible together.  Unfortunately, despite knowing this information, only 4% of Christian couples pray together on a daily basis.  The important message from the study was if you want a strong marriage that is long-lasting and able to endure trials and hardships, develop a consistent pattern of prayer and reading your Bibles together.

Who is ready to start praying!?!?!?

It all starts with prayer.  Here are 5 P’s to pray over your Marriage.  Make a commitment to pray together for the next 30 days and see what happens.  If you are ready to start reading the Bible together there is a Bible reading plan as well.  Those who pray together stay together.  Those who read their Bibles together become deeply rooted in God’s word.  God’s word then becomes alive and living in their lives.

5 P’s to Pray Over Your Marriage

1.  Prosper

Pray for your marriage to grow, flourish and prosper.  Pray your marriage will bear God’s fruits and grow deeply rooted in his love.  Pray your communication with one another will be effective and prosper.  Pray for unity, peace, and harmony with each other and in your marriage.

Verses to pray, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 4:3, Ephesians 3:17-21, Colossians 3:13-14.  

2.  Preparation

Pray God will equip and prepare you for what he has in store for you.  Pray for patience along the way, because it will be tested.  Patience prepares us for God’s plans.  Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be working within you to dwell richly in your hearts.  Pray for strength and courage to endure and persevere any trials that come your way.  Pray to be in a position of readiness, to be alert and aware of anything getting in the way of God or putting your marriage at risk or in danger.  Ask God to rid our hearts of any arrogance, pride deceit, malice, anger or bitterness (Mark 7:21).  

Pray for God to fill your heart with His desires.  Pray these verses over your marriage, Psalm 37:4, Romans 12:12, Galatians 6:9, Philippians 4:13, Joshua 1:9, Colossians 3:16.

3.  Praiseworthy

Pray your marriage will be a godly example, admirable and meritorious for God.  Pray that you will be gracious towards one another, express gratitude and thankfulness.    Pray you are gentle, kind, patient and forgiving towards one another.  Pray you will see your spouse through God’s eyes and praise your spouse daily.  Pray you will love your spouse the way God loves them.  Pray you will be encouraging towards one another and build each other up (1 Thes. 5:11).

Pray these verses over your marriage, Philippians 4:8, Ephesians 4:32, Galatians 5:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 115:1-2.

4.  Purpose

Pray your marriage is a godly marriage that shines the light of Jesus (Matthew 5:15-16).  Pray God will be the center of your marriage giving your marriage power and purpose.  Pray you will not get in the way of God’s purpose and plan your lives and marriage.  Pray for God to be Lord over our lives and marriages.  Pray for your husband to allow God to be Lord in His life and be the spiritual leader he has called him to be.  Pray you will give love and respect to one another.  Pray for willing and obedient hearts that allow God’s purpose and plan to become alive in your lives.  Pray you will allow God’s will to be done in your lives and marriage.  Pray God will use your marriage for his greater purpose and plan.

Pray these verses over your marriage Romans 8:28, Psalm 138:8, Matthew 5:15-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11.

5.  Protection

Pray for protection against Satan, lies, doubt, temptations, sin, and discouragement.  Pray the enemy will stay out of your marriage.

Pray the armor of God over your marriage in Ephesians 6:10-20.  Pray your marriage will stand strong in the Lord by putting on the armor of God.  Pray you will not fight against each other but in prayer against the enemy.  Pray you will stand firm in God’s truth by buckling the belt of truth tightly around your waists.  Pray the breastplate of righteousness will guard your hearts.  Pray your feet will be fitted with readiness by putting on the shoes of peace (the gospel).  Pray the shield of faith will be an extra layer of protection that will extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Pray the helmet of salvation will help protect and guard your minds against doubts, lies, and temptations.  Pray you take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers to stay alert and keep praying.

Most of all, pray you will stay committed and dedicated to prayer and reading the Bible.  Praying these verses over our marriages gives power and purpose to our marriages.  If you don’t have a Bible, download the YouVersion Bible app to your phone to be able to look up Bible verses.

There is so much more than we could add to our list.  If there is something lacking in our marriages or that we’re struggling with–cover it in prayer.  Maybe both sides struggle with patience or need to communicate better.  Or maybe there needs to be more encouragement towards one another.

It doesn’t matter what our circumstances are or if we are going through a trial.  When we are covered in prayer and in God’s word, nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38).  Prayer keeps us protected against the enemy attacking our marriages, keeps us alert to what we need to pay attention to and keeps us in communication with God.

Every marriage will endure trials and hardships.  Is our own strength and love enough to get us through?  No, but God’s strength and love are.  The love of Jesus is the glue that keeps our marriages together and builds us stronger than we ever were before.

When we fail or fall short, God’s grace makes up for our short comings (Romans 6:23).Click To Tweet

Is your marriage worth fighting for?

How do you get through your trials?  Where do you find your hope?

We need the love and strength of Jesus to help our marriages prosper, be prepared, be praiseworthy, be purposeful and protected.

Do you desire a strong, long-lasting marriage that is filled abundantly with God’s eternal blessings?

Those who pray together stay together.Click To Tweet

Marriages are worth fighting for.  I fight my battles with prayer.   

Will you pray and/or read the Bible with your spouse for the next 30 days?  

Pray these verses over your marriage and watch them come alive in your life.  God’s Words and prayer are transformational when they are active and living in our lives.  

Whatever we lack in our lives, we are made complete in God.  In Jesus, we have life and have it to the full (John 10:10)!  In God, we lack nothing.  We don’t need to look for another source to fulfill us when God is in the center of our marriages.  I promise, your faithfulness and patience will reap great rewards than you could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!

Marriages are not meant to defeat us but to fill us abundantly with God’s eternal blessings Click To Tweet

Have a blessed week!

Print out this Free Printable Bookmark to help guide your prayers or print out this post.  Keep this handy in your Bibles so you can reference it when you pray and read.  You can also follow along with the 30 day Bible reading plan to help fill your hearts with God’s Words!

Marriage Prayer-Click to Download PDF

       

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I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

This post was first published on www.alaskachristianwomensministry.com.


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What to Do When You Don’t Like Your Life Season

I’m excited to share Janet Thompson’s new book Mentoring For All Seasons that just came out September 12th!  I am honored that I had an opportunity to be a contributor to her new book.  Be encouraged by Janet’s post how we may not always like every season we are in but can help each other succeed by mentoring or being mentored.

Janet’s Post

We’ve all heard it said, “There’s a time for everything.” Or “You’re just in a season, it will pass.” In fact, it’s Scriptural—

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The good and pleasant seasons sound wonderful and just what God wants for us, right? It’s so easy to think that God couldn’t possibly want what we perceive as a bad or unpleasant season for us. And yet this Scripture passage tells us that God made both, and while we’re alive, we’re going to experience every season—the good and the bad—under heaven.

Pastor Rick Warren often says that life is like a roller coaster: if you’re going up and experiencing a good season, brace yourself because in about three weeks you’ll probably find yourself going down into an unpleasant season, screaming all the way!

We try so hard to hold onto those feel-good seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we should have times of joy, dancing, laughing, loving, and peace. But when the not so good times roll, we need to remember that God has not left us. He’s walking right beside us through the mourning, weeping, uprooting, and war seasons, and that’s when a mentor is so helpful to remind us that she made it through her tough seasons and we will too.

 

CLICK TO TWEET

 

The focus of my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture has Forgotten is for us to remember how good God has been in all the seasons of our life. God never abandons His children. This is a message we need to share with each other and with the culture, especially during these challenging times we live in today.

Reasons for Not Liking our Life Season

Usually, we don’t like our life season because:

It’s painful or uncomfortable.

We’re jealous and like what someone else’s life looks like more than our own life.

We’re living with the consequences of our, or someone else’s, behavior or decisions.

We’re discontent or discouraged.

We’re not sure if God still cares about us.

What would you add to the list?

We all have difficult seasons we want to end. Or maybe we’re in a wonderful season that we never want to end. Many life seasons we have no control over, even though advertisers and the culture would try to make you believe differently. They set us up to fail either way by thinking if we just drink the right cola, take the right pill, own the right car, use the right cosmetics and anti-aging products, eat the right food, reach success . . . every season of our life will be heavenly. The aging clock is going to stop and somehow God made our lives to be different from everyone else’s life.

But that’s a lie and those who buy into it will never be content because everything God lists in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a season that everyone will experience.

What to Do When We Don’t Like Our  Life Season

We probably feel like crying, screaming, maybe yelling, getting depressed, ignoring, or trying to get out of it. If we’re honest, we’ve all been there.

But soon we realize that the only thing that works when we don’t like our life season is to ask God how He wants us to deal with it, and then listen carefully to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It’s that still small voice we hear guiding us when we cry out to God. We might not know how to get through the season, but God does. So often He’s talking, but we’re not listening.

Someone on a friend’s Facebook post asked how my Christian friend knew what God wanted. Did he have a direct line to God? I thought, Yes he does! Every Christian has a direct line to God the world doesn’t understand, and one we don’t use nearly enough: praying to Jesus who hears every word and the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us even when all we can do is groan.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

While writing this post, I met a woman whose husband has cancer. As she shared her story, I heard in my mind hug her and pray for her. Mind you, we had just met, and I had already told her I would be praying for her husband and their family since I understood having had breast cancer three times. But as she kept talking, I knew I was to pray for her now. So I said, “Let me pray for you,” and stepped forward to hug her; but she didn’t realize that I meant right then. I knew God meant right then! She needed it and she was so grateful.

I had tried to talk myself out of it, and how many times is God trying to tell us what to do “right then,” but we’re dismissing His words of wisdom to see us through this season and on into the next one. That’s when a mentor can step in and do just what I was able to do for this woman, even though we barely knew each other. Can you imagine how much comfort can come from two women who have a personal mentoring relationship?!

God doesn’t want us going through any season alone, but He also doesn’t want us listening to anyone who isn’t giving us biblical wisdom. That’s why in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, every season has Scripture to study together that applies to the various issues women might experience in that season.

Being a mentor, or a mentee reaching out to another woman for guidance, doesn’t mean the mentor has all the answers or the Bible memorized. It just means she’s willing to search God’s Word and pray together for Him to tell you both what to do in the life seasons you might not like right now; and then, you both reach out and help someone else going through something similar.

And that’s exactly what Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us we need to do when we’re going through a life season we don’t like!

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness released 9/12/17 is available now for purchase.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet at:

womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries


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