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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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Maranatha: He is Coming

Did you know the first ever marathon ran in history was by a Greek soldier?   He ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.  He ran an approximate 26 miles to deliver the good news of their victory.

Who knew that one man’s race for victory over 1,500 years ago, was setting the stage for the race many would run known as a marathon. I can’t even imagine running 26 miles after fighting in a battle, probably not having that much food or water and running in sandals (I don’t think they had running shoes back then)! My body would feel tired, hungry and exhausted if I didn’t get enough food, water or sleep.  This motivated Greek soldier didn’t exactly train for those 26 miles, he just ran!

Well anyone who has ran a marathon knows going out to run 26 miles the first day isn’t the best way to run this long race. There needs to be a gradual increase of miles over weeks and months. Rest periods need to be incorporated as well as adequate nutrition, hydration and sleep to be able to perform well enough to cross the finish line.

Running races can be compared to the race we run in life.

How do you run this race of life?  As a sprint or a marathon?

Do you live life like a sprint, trying to rush through life getting many things done in the little time you have? Or do you take the marathon approach–taking time to equip your self so your prepared for what lies ahead?  I for one have tried to live life both ways and found sprinting through life doesn’t get me anywhere faster except more weary and depleted. When I try to speed through life taking short cuts, I end up missing all of God’s blessings He intended for me along the way.   I usually have to backtrack my steps in order to get back to where I originally started.  I realized speeding through the process never got me anywhere anyway.

In my stubbornness and disobedience God has showed me…..

Taking the marathon approach to life may be harder and longer but the reward is so worth it in the end.

So how can we make it to the end when there are days where life feels so heavy and defeated like we are climbing up a steep mountain going nowhere?

Or where can we find our strength on the days we feel as though we can’t take another step or carry any more burdens weighing heavy on our hearts?

Everyone’s race of life looks different.  Maybe you or a loved one is battling cancer.  Maybe you have gone through a failed marriage.  Maybe you have a prodigal son or daughter, praying they will return home one day.  Maybe you are a widow.  Maybe you are struggling financially trying to make ends meet.  Maybe you lost your job.  Maybe you have an estranged or strained relationship hoping it will be restored.  Maybe you battle addictions or are enslaved to your circumstances.  Maybe you have gone through a terrible loss.

These trials and struggles we face can be so heavy and burdensome.

Whatever race you are running, know God is with you and He never leaves you.

When there are days we are weary and burdened and the finish line seems so far away– rest in what God is able to do for us.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

How will we ever be able to run this race and persevere to the end if we don’t allow God to carry our burdens or seek Him to find rest? 

God can carry our burdens for us much better than we can do on our own.  This race we run, is not for nothing.  The pain we go through is not to be wasted.  God cares about the struggles we endure and go through.  We can always turn to Him and seek Him for our every need.

”…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1

Carrying our heavy burdens on our own makes persevering to the end so much harder.

How do you run this race of life?  With God holding your hand or trying to run on your own?

Whatever race we run when we seek God, we will always persevere when we allow him to have our struggles.  We will always persevere when we stand in his presence and allow his truth to be alive in our lives.  We will always persevere when we hold onto His promises that “now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22).

In the marathon race we run, there will be days we are weary and need his strength—then God reminds me, Maranatha “Our Lord is Coming.”

“Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” Revelations 22:7

No matter what happens in this life we can rejoice because our Lord is coming.  Until then we will keep running this marathon until Maranatha, the day our Lord will come!  I promise you the reward is greater than anything we could ever imagine.  The enemy would like nothing more than to defeat and destroy us.  He can never change what God has already done for us.

Keep running the good race, the Lord is with you!

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


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The Victor’s Crown

Four years ago I had the unbelievable opportunity to participate in the 2013 Boston Marathon. It was unimaginable I was there. I looked around at the sea of runners thinking, how did I even get here? I didn’t feel worthy to be there, nor did I feel qualified even though I met the requirements to enter. This race was for elite runners and I wasn’t even close to that category.

However, none of that mattered once the gun went off. Everyone started running full speed ahead to achieve the same goal—crossing the finish line. This is where we were put to the test.

Were all the early morning training runs and nutritional diet going to pay off to get us to the end?

Marathoners are a different breed. Who in their right mind gets up at 4 a.m. and runs 20 miles? I didn’t consider myself a marathoner, just someone who needed to put the pain to the pavement. I was searching for a place to heal and God led me to running. Running is where I spent time with God.  In my training, God taught me so much. He showed me my hands and feet weren’t really mine anyway, they were His. He showed me I wasn’t really running for myself, but for Him.

When I was weak, His strength carried my feet further than I could ever carry myself. Running was a way to use the feet He had given me for His greater purpose. Running was a representation of what my son was doing in heaven. Even though he never had the chance to walk on this earth, he is now running in heaven.

At the beginning of the race, many runners ask each other, “What is your goal?” That means what time do you want to complete the race in? Most runners say they run the race to have fun and others say they just want to finish. Every runner receives a medal for finishing the race. At the finish line, it’s usually a time to celebrate the ending to the grueling endeavor someone just spent months training for. But this time it was different. In 2013 was the year of the Boston bombings. This day will forever be engrained in my mind. Moments before the bombs went off, strangers congratulated me for finishing because they saw the medal around my neck. After the blasts, congratulation turned into ‘I’m sorry.’

The instant the bombs went off the medal around my neck lost its meaning. It no longer mattered that I completed the race. What mattered were the lives that were injured and lost. Their lives were more important than winning the medal.

What happened that day was the result of pure evil. Satan may be able to change the meaning of worldly medals, but there is one thing he can never take away or change—“the crown of life.”

Revelations 6:2
“I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”

In the Bible, there are many uses for crowns. Gold crowns are worn by kings and queens to symbolize their royal status (2 Samuel 12:30). Crowns are worn by high priests to represent their holy status (Exodus 29:6, 39:30). Another type of crown is a wreath of flowers (made of laurel, pine or olive branches), which were worn at banquets to honor someone in celebration. These crowns were also used at the Isthmian games and won as athletic prizes in Corinth.

All of these crowns mentioned above—their meaning can be changed in an instant. The word used to describe the crown mentioned in Revelations 6:2, is ‘stephanos’ which means ‘the victor’s crown.’

There is no amount of evil Satan can achieve to change the meaning of the victor’s crown.

Ironically the crown of thorns worn by Jesus the day he was persecuted, is considered the most victorious crown we can wear as Christians. What the Romans used to mock and persecute Jesus, God used for His ultimate victory.

The victor’s crown is a symbol of victory.

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelations 2:10

There is no crown greater than the victor’s crown.

Revelations 3:11-12
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.”

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt defeated?

I sure have many times.  Chances are, in our defeat, we are listening to the lies Satan is whispering in our ears.  In the race we run, we don’t have to be extraordinary or wait until we achieved something great.  In our worthlessness, God gives us his worth through Jesus Christ. Satan can never take away our crowns when we wear the crown of life.   We can rejoice because the promise of God’s truth reigns victoriously over our feelings of our defeat.

Satan is the defeated one, not us.

Never let the enemy take away your crown.  We are victorious in what Jesus Christ has already gone ahead and done for us!  Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

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FREE Printable with 7 Bible Verses Reminding us of God’s Victory!  Click Link to Download Victorious Bible Verses-3

a portion of this post is a modified version from chapter 22 of “Waiting for Heaven:  Finding beauty in the pain and the struggle”  by Heather Gillis.  

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


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Training For Heaven

The other day my daughter and I were on our way to a youth ski race. Kids on different ski teams compete against each other by going down the slalom course. The top 3 kids who achieve the fastest time in their age group win a medal. Usually my daughter is excited to go to ski team to have the opportunity to ski for a few hours. But this day she was having a little trouble. She groaned and complained how she didn’t want to go. She didn’t want to compete, she just wanted to ski.

I tried to sugar coat the situation and encourage her, she was going to have fun. She had already won three medals in the three races she competed in. In my attempt to encourage her I said, “Don’t you want to win another medal?” Her response was very convicting. She said, “I’ve already won enough medals, I don’t need another one.”

She was right.

Honestly, I didn’t care if she won or not. I just wanted her to to have fun and do the best she could. It was more about changing the attitude of her heart and working through it. Then I was convicted by her words.

How many times have I been trapped in the lie of achieving more? And when was it ever enough? Click To TweetI am reminded of when Paul was speaking to the Corinthians of the imperishable crown.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets a prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Paul was using the analogy of running a race to represent how are we living our physical and spiritual lives? In the worldly races we run, there will only be prizes given to the top winners. Even though everyone participates in the race, not everyone wins a prize. Only those who perform and achieve the best times win. Paul was teaching the Corinthians, what is the point in running a race to obtain a prize in which we only receive ourselves? If we are going to go through the training and effort in running the race, we should not do it just for ourselves. We should run to obtain the crown that lasts forever in which everyone receives who runs the race.

Paul’s words asks a deeper question. ‘What race are we running anyway?’ ‘Are we training to win another medal or training for heaven?’

Even though my daughter had performed very well in her previous three races, unfortunately this day she was disqualified. She assumed because she did so well previously she would do the same in this race as well. At the end of the race she had missed a ski gate. In the ski race, if a racer misses the ski gate they are disqualified—their time doesn’t count and are ineligible to receive a prize.

“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Paul was warning the Corinthians don’t become lackadaisical when running the race, be purposeful and intentional. When we run aimlessly, we become careless and lack discipline to complete the race to the end.

Oh how we can become disqualified from the race when we allow sin to reign and rule in our lives. We can become overly confident that we have already received and obtained the prize of heaven and become lax in our walk as Christians. God showed me an important reminder that day. He made me question what race am I really running, and what am I running it for?

Am I running to win a crown that will perish or the imperishable crown of life that is everlasting?

Don’t become disqualified from the race, keep your eyes on the prize. The race we run as Christians has already been won. When we participate in the race, we partake in the victory of Jesus—receiving a crown that never perishes! There is no greater prize a runner could receive than the reward of heaven. Heaven is the ultimate prize. That day with my daughter was a reminder to stay focused on the reward of heaven, so we can endure and persevere to the end.

Paul leaves us with words of encouragement. He knows the race we run as Christians will be hard. He knows it will take discipline and training. In all of our efforts, Paul reminds us we are all in training for heaven. When we run the race for the Lord, we will never be disqualified from receiving the greatest reward ever in heaven.

Keep running the race, keep fighting the good fight, You are victorious in Jesus Christ!

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


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Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “If God is good, then why does He allow Bad things to Happen in this world?”

This is a very loaded question and will take more than this one blog post to answer.  The truth is we live in a broken world, that dates back to Adam and Eve the very day they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree.  But God is a loving God who created us and desires a relationship with us.   Yes, looking at our world we live in, it is corrupt, there is evil and devastation.  However, God allowed us to have free will and make our own choices.  God doesn’t make us do bad things, we choose to.

God’s love is a holy love. One that forgives and selflessly gives eternally forevermore. One that never leaves us.   There is never an end or amount of God’s love. But sometimes God’s love doesn’t feel very loving does it? Let me explain.

Six years ago my husband and I endured the biggest tragedy parents could ever go through—the loss of our son. He was born with an undetected kidney disease that was incompatible with life. He lived only two short weeks on this earth before he went to heaven. When he died I couldn’t believe God didn’t heal our son.

We prayed so hard for him to be healed, didn’t God hear our prayers? If God loved us then why didn’t He heal our son?

As time went by, I went before God with this very question and His response was “I did heal your son just not in the way you asked me to. He indeed is healed and living a life that is free from disease, pain or sorrow, he is no longer suffering.” Wow, God was right, He answered every single one of my prayers just not in the way I imagined.

Our life may have been filled with grief and pain, but there is not pain that God doesn’t already know.

God’s love is a sacrifice.

Our tragedy made me see more than ever, God’s love is a sacrifice, one that He sacrificed for us through his one and only son. The pain of our son’s death gave me a glimpse of the pain God went through when Jesus died. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Who am I to say I want this part of God’s love but not that part?  At the cross Jesus didn’t surrender half of His life for us, He surrendered all of it.  His love isn’t something I get to pick and choose the parts I do or don’t like. To know God’s holy love, to know the suffering of Jesus, is to know all parts of God’s love.

At the Cross, I lay it at your feet.

Every sacrifice requires 100% surrender. Our surrender is an offering to God.  The Hebrew word for offering (hiqrib) means “to present, bring near, offer.” How perfect is God’s plan, that He made an altar (the cross) for our burdens to be laid down as an offering, to bring us closer to Him?  The life we once lived before our son, died along with him.  The only chance we had to have a life filled with joy again, was to lay down our pain and grief at the feet of Jesus and allow God to crucify them at the cross.

I am crucified with thee.

At the cross, our surrendered burdens are crucified.  They were never meant to be carried beyond the cross.  Every act of obedience, every act of faith no matter how big or small, becomes a living sacrifice to God.   Our surrender allows God to become more in our lives, not our burdens (John 3:30).

God knows what it takes to produce the greatest blessings ever in Him, not anything this world could ever provide for us.   He knows what we need to rid ourselves of anything getting in the way of Him.  Through fasting, prayer, walking away from worldly riches, making sacrifices for God’s greater good, our love becomes a living sacrifice. We become an example to the world what makes us rich and loved isn’t by what we put in our wallets, closets or garages but what God puts into our hearts.

“For where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). Our sacrifices allow God to produce His greater work with in us.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] 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.” Romans 12:1-2

This is where I die.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Every resurrection needs a surrendered offering, a sacrifice/death, and a burial.  This is how God’s holy love works to resurrect our circumstances and make us new in Him!  God’s holy love is the ultimate love.  He holds nothing back.

God’s holy love doesn’t mean we will be without tragedy or heartache.

At the cross lives a holy love, one that suffers, knows our pain and carries our burdens.

At the cross is where Jesus meets us in our pain and shows there is nothing we go through that he hasn’t already been through.   No one knows our pain and suffering better than Jesus. His love is the ultimate sacrifice.

There will always be another storm in our life but know we can always trust in God’s promises, His goodness, and love.  When our feelings get the best of us here are some great reminders.

In God’s love, we can find freedom from our burdens by resting in the truths of God’s love.

God’s love is always good and pure.
God’s love is always faithful.
God’s love is eternal and never runs out.
God’s love is perfect and always prevails.
God’s love is a relationship.
God’s love is where we can find rest.
God’s love is a sacrifice and is forgiving.
God’s love comforts us.
God’s love, loves unconditionally.
God’s love is extravagant and abundant.
God’s love paid our debt for sin.
God’s love gives selflessly.
God’s love never fails and conquers all.
God’s love heals, restores and renews.
Nothing is bigger or greater than God’s love.

Have you experienced and accepted God’s holy love?

How has God’s holy love restored and renewed you?

Jesus is my healer.  His holy love makes us complete!  I pray God’s holy love will abundantly fill our hearts and homes this week.  You are loved!

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

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The definition of the Hebrew word for offering was obtained from www.biblestudytools.com

A modified version of this post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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The Power of An Invitation

I will never forget the first time I attended my first Bible study in 2012.  I had been a Christian my whole life, went to church, read the Bible, but never attended a formal Bible study.  I could name a million reasons why I didn’t attend before then;  busy with motherhood, I worked during the week, I had to take care of the house, etc.  It’s funny how God has a way to always point you in the right direction.

I was at a point in my relationship with God where I knew He wanted me to take the next step towards a deeper relationship with him;  but I didn’t know how.  One day I was standing in the preschool parking lot talking with a friend, pouring out my heart to her.  I had just started to attend the same church as her.  As she was listening to me, she had opened the door to something bigger than I could have ever imagined.  She invited me to a Women’s Bible Study at the new  church I was attending.  I immediately accepted the invitation.  I was excited, because I knew God had used her that day not only to invite me, but to point me in the right direction towards what He had desired for me.

The day I stepped foot into my first Bible Study, I was hooked and I never looked back.  Once I started, I couldn’t get enough.  I wanted more.  Her  invitation to Bible study changed my life.  I never knew how much I was missing until I entered into God’s presence, opened up the Scriptures and allowed God’s truth into my heart.  My friend was faithful in listening to God, to invite me that day.  I only had to enter through the open door, God did the rest.

 

God used my friend in a big way that day.  I am so glad she listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to invite me that day.  Her invitation changed my life.  God’s words are what transforms our hearts, nourishes our souls, and gives life to our spirits.  God’s love is not meant to be hidden, but shared with everyone.

Just imagine if the three wise men never accepted God’s invitation to see the birth of baby Jesus.  They would have missed out on seeing the birth of their king.

Just imagine if Paul didn’t accept God’s invitation that day on the road to Damascus when he was blinded by the light.  We would have never seen God’s ability to  transform Paul’s heart, from someone who persecuted Christians to someone who risked His life to save them.

Imagine if the Disciples and the Apostles never accepted God’s invitation to become followers of Christ.  We would have missed out on the greatest message ever told. We would have never seen God’s ability through the Holy Spirit to grow the church.

We are merely vessels God uses to carry out His greater plan.  We are all apart of God’s great amazing story of the gospel.  If we never shared it with anyone, imagine how many  people miss out on the beautiful message of the gospel.

The worse thing a person can say is ‘No.’  God will continue to pursue their hearts.  You only need to be faithful in prayer of how God can use you.  

There will always be 101 things keeping us away from studying the Bible.  Not one of those reasons are ever good enough to keep us away from spending time with God.  When we give God the time He has given us, He will provide all the time we need to get everything else accomplished that He desires for us.

Have you been prompted to invite someone to church or Bible study?  You never know how God will use you to impact the life of someone else.  Your invitation might be the very thing a person needs to take their next step.

Have you ever accepted an invitation that changed your life?

How has Bible Study impacted your life?  

To learn more about why studying the Bible is so important Click Here.

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


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God’s Timing is Perfect

Have you ever been waiting on God? Waiting for Him to answer a prayer you have been praying for a long time? Have you ever wondered when is God going to answer MY PRAYER? Or is He ever going to respond?

I think we all have been there—In God’s waiting room. Waiting for answers, waiting for results, waiting for the unknown. Sometimes waiting in God’s waiting room, He teaches us valuable lessons we would have never learned if we weren’t in waiting.

I do think God answers our prayers; just not always in the way we may want or like. God may answer us with ‘Yes!’, or ‘No,’ or even ‘Not yet, or not now.’ But these in fact are God’s answers to what we ask of Him. Just as a parent doesn’t give a child everything their heart desires, because they know what is best for their child, is the same thing God does with us. His delayed responses or answers is not a way to punish us, but a way to help us learn what He is trying to show us.

There are so many lessons we can learn from God’s timing. Here are three things I have learned.

3 Things I Have Learned From God’s Timing: In God’s Timing I learn,

1. It’s Always Perfect- God is God. He has the most perfect plans ever. We cannot put a deadline on His timing. When we give God a deadline we are demanding our desires to be God’s desires. It doesn’t work that way. God’s ways and desires are so much better than ours. God created the heavens and the earth; He knows what He’s doing. Will you trust God with the plans He has for you?

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

2. He has the best plans ever– If I never waited for God in His timing or always went ahead of Him, I’d never know how great the reward of His plans really are. How many times have you gone ahead of God, looked around and said God ‘where are you?’ Then realize, you never consulted God in the first place? I sure have, many times. My impatience has made me make some not so good choices at times. I have learned when I don’t wait on God, I get myself into a whole lot of trouble. I can almost see God tapping his foot with His hands on His hips, saying “If you just wait for my timing, I will have something so much greater and better ahead for you, Just Wait For ME!”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

3. How important it is to grow my patience- If I never had to wait on God, I would never learn how important it is grow my patience. Waiting in God’s waiting room, grows our patience. We need patience when going through and enduring our trials. If our patience was never tested, we would never know we needed the patience’s of God to get through what we are going through. If we didn’t have patience, how could we ever accomplish what God is asking of us?

Sometimes in our waiting, God reveals to us very convicting, yet valuable lessons. In His waiting room, sometimes I realize, maybe God is really waiting on me? Maybe God is asking me to do something that I have not done yet. It is God’s waiting room, He reveals what is in my heart, what He desires of me and that I only need to trust in Him.

God never wastes anything, especially the time He has given us. He desires us to use the time He has given us in a certain way, the way He created it to be used. When you feel like you have been waiting for a long time or don’t seem to ever have enough time, ask God “How can I use the time you have given me more wisely?” “Please Lord, Help me be patient and wait for your timing.”

There are great rewards in our patience.

What have you learned from God’s timing?

Have you been in God’s waiting room for awhile? What is He trying to show you?

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The Struggle is Real

The other day I was sitting in Sunday school class and the pastor asked us questions about storms we go through as couples.  Couples raised their hands and said they had struggles with finances, loss of a job, unexpected sickness, a baby born were some of their responses.  Our pastor then asked, “How many couples have had a miscarriage or lost a baby?”  A surprising amount of us raised our hands.  No one would have ever known by looking at the couples in the room, that we had these deep struggles.  
There are so many of us that go through struggles in life that we keep hidden and in the dark. Many of us walk around with smiles on our faces but in reality, there are deep struggles going on inside.  
Some of us may have struggles that are hard to even admit.  They might be something we are ashamed of or the enemy has whispered lies that have led us so far astray we don’t know how to get back on course. 
 
The struggle is real.  We all have them.  Even godly people of the Bible had struggles.  
For example, King David had a wandering eye for another man’s wife, which got him into trouble.  One night when David was walking around his roof, he saw a beautiful woman bathing who caught his attention.  He was intrigued and sent someone to find out about her.  The messenger returned and informed King David, her name was Bathsheba wife of Uriah, one of his soldiers in command.  Even though King David knew she was married to another man, he slept with her and she conceived a child.  
To make matters worse, David covered up his mistake.  He concocted a plan for Uriah to return from the field and lay with his wife, to make him think he conceived a child with Bathsheba and not David.  When David discovered his plan didn’t work and realized his mistake would be exposed—King David had Uriah killed by putting him at the front line of battle.    
Talk about scandal!  King David’s wandering eye not only led to adultery but also murdering another man to cover up his mistake!  David had some real struggles.  
At what point do you think David should have came forward his struggle?  
If David had just opened up to God about what he was dealing with or asked someone to pray for him, the scandal could have been avoided.  Just imagine all scandals that could be avoided in our own homes and communities if we would just let someone pray for us?  Or if we would just entrust God with our struggles?
David did not go on to live the rest of his life allowing sin or his struggle to reign over him.  After being approached by the prophet Nathan, David said to him, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13).  David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  Through David’s repentance and turning away from his sin, is what transformed his life to become apart of one of the greatest plans ever—the bloodline to Jesus.  
David had to learn the hard way.  His choices did not come without consequence.  Nathan tells David, “The LORD has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.  But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die” (2 Samuel 12:13).    
Scandals.  They are everywhere.  Our government.  Our homes.  Our communities.  Our schools.  Even our churches.  The very place where we think we can feel safe and entrust another in prayer, is the very place the enemy attacks the hardest. 

No one is exempt from the enemy’s trickery, even godly people, even the anointed and appointed.
Here is the Real Truth. 
“But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 1 John 1:5-7
The struggle is real.  We are all human, we all fall short and make mistakes.  (Rom. 3:23)
Behind every struggle there is an enemy force at work.  
The dark is where the enemy does his best work.  
The enemy desires to keep our struggles hidden in the dark. 
When our struggles are brought into the light, the enemy can no longer reign over us.  
Bring your struggles into the light.  
1.  The best way to expose the plans of the evil one—bring them to the light.  
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11 ESV
2.  No amount of darkness can ever extinguish the light of Jesus.  Keep his light inside of you.    “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5 ESV
3.  Follow Jesus He knows the way.  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12 ESV
The enemy has us scared to believe we will be persecuted and abandoned if we expose our flaws.  He  disillusions our minds to think keeping the struggle in the dark is a better option than getting help that is so desperately needed.  

Imagine what our world would look like if we were free from the reign of the enemy and exposed his evil plan by illuminating it with light?  Suicide wouldn’t be an option.  Abortions would not occur.  Divorce would be non-existent.
We don’t have to learn the hard way, like David did.  We can put an end to the enemy attacks, by allowing someone we entrust to pray for us.  Allowing their prayers to intercede on our behalf.  By surrendering our struggles to God and getting the help we need before it leads to our destruction.  
Hold onto God’s promises.  Stay in His Word.  Stay faithful in prayer!  This will allow our struggles to be brought to the light and allow God’s divine power to fight our battles for us.  
 
Do you have an an accountability/prayer partner that can help you get through your struggles?  
 
Do you have a pastor you can entrust? 
 
Do you take your struggles to God and allow Him to fight your battles?
 
I pray and hope this post is an encouragement to you.  If you are struggling with something, please don’t keep it hidden in the dark, bring it into the light.  Don’t let the enemy silence you.  Entrust another to pray for you, take it to God.  Allow God to fight your battles for you.  
 
Keep praying our hearts and minds will be guarded against the evil one, before it is the death of us.  The enemy is relentless and won’t stop until he has destroyed our lives, our families, our marriages, bank accounts, it is endless. 

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Why is it Important to Be Alert?

I will never forget the day I went hiking on a popular Alaskan trail this summer with a friend and all of our kids. It was a beautiful day. We came prepared wearing our hiking gear, brought our bear spray, filled our camelbacks with water and brought snacks for the kids. We were the first hikers of the day to set off on the trail.

As we approached the pseudo summit, we had stopped to take a water and snack break. As we were looking around at the beautiful mountain, I had spotted something across the field about 500 ft. from us. I could see something pacing back and forth. At first I thought it was a dog, but then soon realized it was a wolf! Right next to the pacing wolf was another wolf!
We immediately put our dogs back on their leashes and instructed the kids to get together in a huddle around us, stay together to go back down the mountain. As we were walking off the mountain we were praying for God to please keep us safe and protect us from the attack of the wolf pack! I am happy to report we made it safely off the mountain, but were so glad we were alert to our surroundings. If we were not paying attention, the situation could have been so much worse.

Our situation on the mountain that day reminds me of when Jesus took the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Matthew 26:-45). Jesus knew the time was approaching when Judas was going to betray Him and be taken away by the Roman soldiers. In the garden, Jesus is overwhelmed with sorrow and asks Peter and two other men to keep watch while Jesus prayed. When Jesus returned from praying, He finds His disciples sleeping. Jesus says, “could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matt. 26:41).

According to Mark 14:41, Jesus goes away and comes back two more times, each time telling the disciples to keep watch and pray. But each time Jesus returns, He found the disciples sleeping. After the third time, of warning the disciples to keep watch and pray, it was too late. A crowd armed with swords and Roman soldiers appeared to take Jesus away.

Jesus knew before the crowd and soldiers came, they were about to be faced with threatening circumstances. Jesus wanted His disciples to not waver in the face of temptation. He was trying to warn them to keep watch and pray so they would not fall victim when confronted with threatening circumstances. Instead the disciples fell asleep.

How much more prepared would the disciples had been if they were alert and listened to God’s instructions?

Jesus was trying to warn the disciples that night in the garden, to remain physically and spiritually awake to keep them from falling into sin. Having an encounter with the wolves that day was a reminder how important it is to be alert not only to our physical surroundings, but our spiritual surroundings as well. Satan can be so quick and deceiving. Like the wolves, he is lurking around ready to attack at any moment.

What a great important reminder to stay awake and alert to Satan’s schemes, because he is sneaky! I for one have been a victim and didn’t even realize it.

Just as Jesus instructed the disciples to keep watch and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, is what He asks us to do.

Stay alert in prayer; it will keep you close to God’s truth and ready in threatening circumstances. Click To Tweet
Even though we were prepared for the hike that day, we weren’t necessarily prepared for our encounter with the wolves (a threatening situation). God heard our prayers that day and kept us safe as we hiked off the mountain. In that situation, our prayers are what kept us safe.

We become more alert and watchful when we are devoted in prayer.

“Devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2 NLT

“Be alert and always keep praying.” Ephesians 6:18b NIV

How do you stay spiritually awake?

How has staying alert and watchful kept you safe?

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Born to Fly

This post is in honor of my daughter’s 10th birthday.

A letter to my daughter:

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since you have been on this earth. Where has the time gone?  It’s hard to believe when you entered into this world you were only a mere 3 pounds 8 ounces! You came way too early, I was not ready. How glorious it was to hear your screaming cry as you first encountered this world! You have never ceased to amaze me from the day you were born. Even though you had so many odds against you—they didn’t matter, you defied them all!

 

You have been fearfully and wonderfully made by the hands of God (Psalm 139:4).

 

You have taught me it doesn’t matter how big or small a person is to be able to make their mark in this world. What you lack in size you make up in spirit.

 

God has given you not a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

 

You are one of the most determined people I know. When everyone is swimming down the current you are swimming up. You are a perfect picture of what perseverance looks like.  Keep swimming, never give up!

 

The first moment I saw you, I knew God had big plans for you (Jer. 29:11). Everyone in this world has been born with a purpose–my sweet child you were BORN TO FLY!  No matter how many times you fall you always get right back up and want to try again. Most people would have given up long ago when they can’t get it right, but not you. Never lose your determination or will to keep trying.  It will take you farther than you ever know.

 

Never let this world tell you, you can’t. Never believe you are anything less than who God says you are. I am glad God has made you small, so everyone can see how big your heart is. Your heart is filled with a kindness for others like none I’ve ever seen. Keep treating others with kindness and love to as many people as you can, in as many places as you can, for as long as you can. Your kindness shine the light of Jesus to others.  His kindness and love is a language everyone can understand.

 

“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  Matthew 5:11-15

 

Your heart will continue to grow immeasurably more when you allow God’s desires to be your desires. Keep allowing God to be a lamp unto your feet so he can always guide your steps and way.

 

You have been a blessing in so many ways and you have no idea how much I love you.

 

I know we have our stumbling and roadblocks at times and had to face adversities, but I’m so glad we have each other and God to walk through these times together. I pray you will always seek God for truth, wisdom and strength, He will provide for any of our needs if we just ask Him.

 

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding.”  Proverbs 3:13

 

I pray you will bloom wherever you are planted. I pray God’s seeds that  He has planted in your heart will take root, flourish and grow into something beautifully amazing, greater than you can imagine. I can’t wait to see all God has in store for you. He will use you for great and mighty things, one that only a small person with a big heart can do.

 

“But I have raise you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”  Exodus 9:16

 

Don’t be in a hurry to grow up to fast.  You only have 18 summers as a child.  Enjoy everyone of them.  You have the rest of your life to be an adult.  Cherish your childhood, you can never go back once you leave it.

 

There will be times we fail.  Never allow your failures to define your past but propel you to try harder and strive to do your best in the future.  Failures don’t limit us, our fears do.  Never allow your fear to be greater than what God is able to do.

 

I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13

 

At times it will seem like you are up against battles as big as giants. Always remember David when he faced Goliath. He didn’t see the giant, he saw God’s power. When everyone else saw defeat, David saw through God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).

 

God’s plans are always bigger than what we are up against (Jer. 29:11). There may be times you fall, but keep getting back up. God’s plans will always provide a way for you to FLY!  God LOVES you more than you will ever know.

 

It seems like only yesterday you were in diapers running around the house. Now you are doing cartwheels around the house. It seems like yesterday you lost your first tooth and now you are ready for braces. It seems like yesterday you were in kindergarten.  It seems these moments keep going by faster and faster and before I know it, you will leave for college.

 

I appreciate who you are.  God is equipping and preparing you to do great and amazing things!  You are loved beyond measure.  You are and are becoming such a lovely young lady. Keep being you, because everyone else is taken. You are one of the biggest blessings in my life and am so honored to be your mother.  And never forget you were BORN TO FLY!

 

I love you so much.

Love, Mom

I love this picture of my daughter enjoying herself in her muddy mess

 

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