THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

I am studying the full armor of God in great depth. The reason why I am studying this part of scripture is because my fist novel is about spiritual warfare. As I have studied this I have noted that most of the armor of God is defensive in nature. Ephesians 6:14-17: “14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation.” (NIV)

I don’t see any offensive weapons in this passage so what are we to do? Just cower and let the devil attack us? In the last part of verse 17 there is a slight mention of an offensive weapon. “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

RealLy? Are we really supposed to fight the devil with words? Come on now. How can words defeat the devil?

Words were what caused the initial fall from grace for Adam and Eve. Satan tempted Eve with words. She at first resisted the temptation but eventually succumbed. The Word of God also was the way that Jesus resisted temptation when out in the wilderness. If it is good enough for the Son of God then I think it may do alright for me. Just saying…

I think it is more than this though. If you read through the story of creation God spoke all of creation into existence with the exception of man, whom He formed from dust. God created through words. The devil seeks to destroy through words. Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

When you speak the Word of God into situations which are evil you speak life into death. So to memorize scripture and write it on the tablet of your heart is wisdom. It is the only way to protect your heart from the devil and the death which he hopes to sow in your soul.

THE TEMPLE OF GOD

When Jesus died on the cross the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom to signify no separation between God the Father and those who accept Christ as their Savior. In i Corinthians 6:19 the Word of God says: Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.” (NLT)

So if we are the temple of God how do we keep our temple a place which is welcoming for the Holy Spirit? In Ephesians 4:29-32 the Bible says:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”

I have struggled some with this passage because I have encountered people who are just plain wrong. If they are wrong is it not my duty to correct them? I mean some of these people claim to be Christians and they are full of vengeance and wish to do others whom I care for harm.

I am currently in a situation like this and it is vexing to say the least. As I meditated on this scripture I realized that it really isn’t about me at all. It is about my relationship with the Holy Spirit. If I don’t want to make the Holy Spirit sad I will be silent. That doesn’t mean that I am not going to pester God about it, for I will. What it does mean is that I will not go off on this person as much as I want to.

I know this person claims to be a Christian but I don’t care for the kind of Christian they are. If they are a Christian then it is my right to go to God about their behavior. It is His prerogative to influence them to change, for He is the Holy Spirit and last time I checked I wasn’t.

I have come to the conclusion during this meditation that if I want the Holy Spirit to live in my heart I have to give Him room to sit on my throne. That is very hard to do when you are sitting on the throne of your heart and playing like you are God.

BEING BULLIED

I was eleven years old when my life changed dramatically. I had always been a healthy child full of life and joy. Then one summer day I got a horrible headache. I remember my mother being gone in the evening. I think she had to help out at church with a wedding. She told me to stay inside but I didn’t, I went out to the barn to hang out with my cats. The barn was a favorite refuge for me in that time of my life and it seemed to lessen the pain of the excruciating headache.

That was the last thing I remember doing before I went into a coma. I had contracted Viral Encephalitis and was in a coma for six weeks. The doctors didn’t expect me to live. Then they said if I did live I would be a vegetable. My mother did not listen to them nor believe them. She maintained faith that I would be healed.

After spending two months in a hospital I came out in a wheelchair. Quite a different reality from what I had been before I went into the hospital. My mother drove me to a nearby town for physical therapy. I hated it even though I loved the therapists. My mother encouraged me not to try to walk because she was scared I would break a leg. I find it amusing that she thought God would only heal my mind but not heal my legs. One day I remember waking up from a nap and looking at my wheelchair at the end of my bed. I said,”This is ridiculous, I am going to get up and walk.” I got out of bed, pushing the wheelchair aside and walked out into our living room. My mother almost had a heart attack when she saw me walking. lol

Reclaiming my health was the easy part of being healed. After that illness I was bullied horribly. It was such a difficult behavior for me to understand. I didn’t have one cell in my body which was capable of that kind of evil. I had always been the one to step in and stop others from being bullies. I had a lot of questions for God during this time but the main question was, “Why me?”

During the age when most kids are thinking about who they are going to date, or which party they will attend I had no invitations to either. I was strikingly beautiful and fairly intelligent but I was considered “weird” by my peers. I became a track star and the only friends I had were kids from other towns which I would meet at track meets.

Since I didn’t have any friends I turned to God. I spent many a lonely night with Him. Searching his word and memorizing scripture. I developed an awareness of Him which has blossomed into a beautiful and fragrant meadow within my heart and mind.

I knew there was no way I was going to stay in the town where I had been bullied. I did well in high school and went to college on a track scholarship. My mother forced me to stay close to home even though I wanted to go to Oregon to be by my cousins. I got my degree and got married then left the state as soon as I could. I didn’t want to be close to the origin of so much pain.

I rarely go back home due to several reasons but I do still have questions for God. Why did He allow such harm to come to me through the wickedness of others? Why didn’t He visit that disease on one of the kids who deserved it, instead of me?

The only answer I have come up with is that I was meant for so much more than that little farm town could ever envision. If I had been popular I may have not gone to college. I certainly wouldn’t have achieved the two degrees that I have now. I may have married a young man from that town and been forced to live there for the rest of my life. I doubt that I would have started this blog or even become aware of the talent that God has given me as a writer. Bullies forced me to escape from the simpleness of their existence. I thank God every time I do go home that that is not the place I live.

But it is more than this. I think that I was set apart by God because He has a work to do through me. In Mark 6:4 the Word of God says:”Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” (NLT)

So if you feel out of place in your family and are being bullied at school, take heart, you may be destined for much greater things.

UNEQUALLY YOKED

I have a dear friend who is a wonderful Christian and she is married to an unbeliever. He is not a bad man in any way. He is a wonderful husband and a terrific father to their child and their grandchildren. Yet she yearns to have fellowship with him in her Christian walk. This is commonly referred to as being unequally yoked. There are times she has been tempted to leave but the Lord has sustained her in this marriage.

She has sought me for advice. I knew that this was addressed in the Bible so I sought God’s Word for my counsel. In I Corinthians 7:12-16 the Word of God states: (12)”But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. (13) And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.(14)For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. (15) But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. (16) For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”(New King James Version)

What could this mean? Does an unbeliever achieve sanctification through the faith of their spouse? When you understand the concept of marriage through God’s eyes you must understand that when two people are married they become one to God. If an unbeliever marries a believer, when God sees them, His eyes must look through the salvation that the believer has before he looks at the sin of the unbeliever. The believer is in essence a covering for the unbeliever and may cause mercy to rain down where judgement would otherwise strike.

The children are considered holy because the believer is there to lead the children down the right path. Without the believer in the midst the children would be doomed to find their own way into God’s kingdom.

Yet I knew there was more in the Bible. I had read a verse about how a woman should respond in this situation. I mean if a believer is married to someone who does not know Christ should she not be preaching to this man twenty-four times seven?

That would be the way we as humans would think but the Word of God reveals a different path. In 1 Peter 3:1 the Word of God says: “(1) In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over (2) by observing your pure and reverent lives.”

I find it interesting that God gives the unbeliever an out to marriage but holds the believer to a higher standard. They are to remain married for the benefit of their spouse and as well as successive generations. I am so grateful to God that he has given my friend wisdom to hold true to His word even before she became aware of the truth.

I’M GOOD ENOUGH

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. I asked a friend of mine if he thought he was going to heaven. He said “Yes, I have been a good person. I have always lived by the golden rule.” Wow, I thought. This guy thinks he is going to heaven based on what he has done for others instead of what Christ has done for him. For the record he was a nice fella but he wasn’t that good.

Unfortunately I think a lot of people feel this way. If they are basically good people and don’t have a lot of animosity towards others, then they think God will allow them into heaven. This is based on works, not faith. It is hard to reason with someone who has this kind of arrogance.

I used to think that way when I was a little girl. I didn’t see why Jesus needed to die for me. I didn’t even cuss. I was kind to everyone and stuck up for the kids who were being bullied. I remember having a talk with my mother about this and she said that even my good works were as dirty rags in comparison to the holiness of God. She got this idea from Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (NIV)

I think if I had bothered to confront the arrogance that this man held I would have had a fight on my hands because he truly thought he was good enough, on his own accord, to get into heaven.

As I was thinking about this this evening, I meditated on what holiness really is in relation to God.

Let’s say you have one person that you really don’t like. They have bullied you and misused you. They refuse to listen to you and shun you when you are trying to tell them how to do things better. Maybe they get angry one day and kill someone you really love. They were scum of the earth and that was an understatement. They have given you every reason to hate them. But instead of hating them you sacrifice the only son you have on a cross to reconcile them to you so that they can live with you eternally.

That is what holiness is and no one can touch that with their good works. The only way to heaven is through the blood of Jesus covering your sins.

BLOG

i have been sharing with my friend, Kathy, why I started this blog. I initially started it to launch an attack on the evil that is present in the family court system. I was so fired up back then. I knew I had been done wrong and I was ready to fight back. I did a bit of ex-husband bashing and slinging mud at the lawyers and judges who defeated me. I was ready to change the world. I intended to take on the devil and expose his lies and deceit.

There was one problem. The more I sought to defeat the devil by exposing him, the more depressed I became. I looked through all of my court records with the eyes of a victim. Thinking that each action had been meant to defeat me. I became so depressed. My only goal at that time was just to make it to the next day without ending my life.

Soon after launching this blog I met my friend and mentor, David Roberts. He shared with me that as a Christian it was my responsibility to bring light to darkness. I fought back. I wanted to expose the darkness of the family law system. I think that you should expose evil and try to change it but I wasn’t doing it in the right way. I became consumed with the evil which had sought to destroy me.

Soon I realized that blogging about what the devil had done may not be what God intended me to do when He called me to be a Christian writer. Slowly, but surely, I started changing my focus. I opened my heart to what God wanted to say to those who live in darkness. I started climbing out of the depths of despair. With each step I sought to glorify God more.

As I think back to what I went through in the family court system I realize that the people who intended to do me harm have unintentionally set me on a path of bearing fruit for God’s kingdom. As I realize this I know that I have forgiven them for the harm that they intended. For this harm, when transformed by God, has produced much good.

As I have looked at my statistics for this blog I have now exceeded 12,500 subscribers and some of my top countries this month are those who are communist. Wow! Who would have thought that the light that God has placed in me would be capable of shining into countries which have forbidden His Word?

Going through the custody battle was a very tough battle to fight. The Lord has sustained my love for my children through it all and has been kind enough to sustain their love for me also. It is amazing that what I once considered a horrible and dark storm in my life has now displayed the beauty of a rainbow. Each of you who has chosen to subscribe to my blog has added to that rainbow and I want to extend my gratitude to you.

Be not deceived. I am not thankful for the people who meant to do me harm. God will deal with them. Nor am I grateful for the horrible slander and attacks I have gone through when the devil used people to attack my character and take money from me which they did not honestly earn. What I am thankful for is a God in heaven who can turn the evil which others intended for me into good which God has intended for those who are struggling and lost.

Genesis 50:19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV)
I can only hope that through the evil which was visited upon me that maybe I have helped someone else reach for the glory of God.

Romans 8:28. “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”

I am so thankful to God that His purpose for my life was to cause me to see the rainbow which others meant to be a storm which would drown me. That is truly the sweetest revenge. Glory to God!


BLESS

Recently I felt led by God to bless my pastors at Freedom in Worship with a bag of home baked goods. They are a dear sweet couple who have a heart for ministry to the homeless. I had felt the urging from God to bless them when they lived close to me but at that time I was having difficulty figuring out how to feed myself and I did not know if I had the finances to feed others also. The Lord has blessed me to a point where I really don’t care if I have enough money to feed myself. If He wants me to feed others who are serving Him I just need to do it.

While I was progressing in my faith to this point the Lord moved this sweet couple into a different neighborhood. I have a patient in that neighborhood. I decided I would do a blessing drop at their home when I was out visiting my patient.

I had messaged the wife of the pastor and told her my intentions. She messaged me back that if she was not home I could just leave it on their porch. As I drove up I saw three of their neighbors outside. They looked a bit scary and I did not know if my food would survive being left on their porch. So I decided to knock on the door just to check to see if anyone was home. The pastor opened the door and I was able to give the blessing to him directly. I was so relieved!

When I put the bag of baked goods into the hands of the pastor he asked me why I did this. I replied, “Because I love you and you are my brother in Christ.” This was spoken from the depths of my Spirit. I love this couple like they are my family. I am deeply grateful for this church because it has caused me to seek worship with Christ in such a way that I have no bondage of sin or pretense of appearance when I am worshiping.

In my study of God’s Word this morning I was studying the church of Ephesus. This church has died and the city of Ephesus is in ruins.

Why did it die? Because it lost it’s first love which was a love of Christ. The love of Christ is what feeds the growth of church but if that love does not blossom into love for others it is like a vine with no leaves.

Most Christians in America are concerned about the threat of Isis on the church. I would encourage fellow Christians to be more concerned over what actually causes death in a church. Isis can not kill us, we are assured eternal life through the blood of Christ which covers our sins. A lack of genuine love for our Savior and others is what will do us in.

PLANS

i was talking on the phone yesterday with a sister of mine in Christ. This sister has a way of allowing me to minister to her which just brings the Holy Spirit right out of me. I feel like I need to keep a pen and paper handy when I talk with her because she stimulates my mind in so many ways it is supernatural. I get a lot of ideas for blogging when we are sharing with each other about our walk with God and I need to start jotting these ideas down.

Yesterday we were discussing about how important it was to be patient and wait upon God. I shared from a sermon I heard on the radio during the day and then started telling her about Jeremiah 29:11. I told her that God’s plans were to “prosper us and not to harm us, to provide a future and a hope for us.” I told her that that was where most people stopped when reading Jeremiah 29. I told her if they went on they would be shown how to tap into the goodness which God wants to give us.

The key to unlocking what God intends for us is found not in Jeremiah 29:11 but in the next verse: 12 “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (NIV)

I used to be vexed by this verse because I figured if God had good plans for me, then He was God and He should just carry those plans out right? I mean, really now, why hold back the good things? Could it be that He really needs me to seek Him with my whole heart to open up the door of goodness? Why would He need me to do that?

Because the door of blessings is busted open when we seek Him first, surrendering our will to Him, submitting to His plans for our life instead of following our selfish desires. If we don’t seek Him with our whole heart we may be misled into thinking it is all about us instead of others.

You see when you seek Him with your whole heart you are truly seeking good. He is the source of all good and He will fan that flame in your heart to become a raging fire which will melt the frozen hearts of those who do not know Him. Only God knows what true goodness really is. Even the best of us can not claim to be a fraction of holy when compared to God. He so desires to have you focus on Him, laying aside your selfishness and greed, seeking to bless others instead of becoming a burden.

Yet it is not only about what we are seeking. This passage is also about what we are leaving behind. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Well there is no one that I know that is held in captivity or has been banished to exile. So that is a bit ridiculous isn’t it? No, not really. When you carry sin in your heart, which you have not repented from, you are choosing to live in bondage.

So simply put if you want the good plans that God has for you to come to fruition take the following steps: Seek Him with your whole heart and pray to be broken free from the bondage of sin and then sit back and watch the blessings rain down from the heavens like a spring rain on dry and parched land.

FREEDOM FROM SIN

In one of the Bible studies I am in we are studying covenants with God. As I was working through the homework this morning I was reading in Exodus 6. We were only supposed to read 6-8 and that was all wonderful but when I went on to verse 9 I became concerned.

This passage of scripture is a promise of God for deliverance. It happened with the Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians. The Word of God says: “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord, I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.(I am thinking the judgments referred to what He intended to do to those Egyptians) (7) I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (8) And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.”

So this is all good right? I mean they had been slaves for over 400 years according to God’s Word. This was a promise of freedom. I am thinking they would take this promise to heart and run with it. So what did the Jews do?

Verse 9 tells us; “So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.”

Wow! This is like being locked in a cage where you are beaten over and over again and stripped of your rights, then someone says “Hey I got a key to get you out of there!” You look at the key and say, “No, that is okay I don’t have enough energy to open the door, nor do I want to.”

Crazy isn’t it? Think about addiction, depression, grief, envy, sexual immorality, selfishness, greed, deceit, abuse, domestic violence, anger and bitterness. Each one of those are like a slave master and can be a cage of evil. The key to freedom is acceptance of Jesus into your heart, believing that His blood is thick enough to cover your sins and worship of Him will break you free of the cage of sin. I can assure you when you break out of the cage of sin through acceptance and worship of Jesus, that is where true freedom reigns. Hallelujah!

TRANSFORMATION

I heard the words on a Spring morning as I was struggling to break free from the embrace of sleep. “Not my will but Thine be done.” They lingered in the air as if they were a misplaced star in the heavens. What did this mean? I knew this was the Holy Spirit speaking within me, yearning for a different path, one which I thought may be filled with struggles and grief. I mean Jesus said these words right before he was crucified. Right? Yet I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit gave me a choice. There was not a question mark at the end of this revelation but a period. It was a statement for my life. I had begun on the path of transformation.

It took me a few months to realize that I needed to escape from the bondage of some past relationships. Men whom had lured me into following the desires of my flesh were to be weeded out of the garden of my life. But some of those men were Christians. They had done so much to help me out, I argued, didn’t I need to keep them as friends? I realized when I searched my spirit they were the vexation that troubled me the most. So I have released them to God. If they are truly Christian He can help them find a wife (not me). I know for certain I am not supposed to be yoked with anyone that fed my flesh and starved my Spirit in the process. That is a living death.

I was still tempted to indulge my idol of self worship. I mean God didn’t want me to isolate did He? I have some very beautiful pictures that have been taken of me and when I put them on dating websites I get quite the traffic. Then I get a lot of free dinners and a lot of men wanting to lead me down the path of sexual immorality. I don’t have any desire for premarital sex. What I do have is a desire to have intimacy in the covenant of marriage, where God is present. It was apparent that even the men on Christian Mingle were looking for a roll in the hay. After I testified to them about my view on premarital sex there was never a second date. I praise God for that, keeping me pure in that sense is a big victory for Him and me both.

Yet I was still craving distraction from God’s purpose. Sometimes I want to go out. I mean staying at home is kind of a drag on the weekends. So I put my picture up on Elite Singles. I took it down the very next day and within a week deleted my profile entirely. I realized that those dating sites were a waste of time. It was me trying to find my mate instead of giving it over to God.

As I sought to displace the distractions in my life that were keeping me from God, I became involved in two Bible studies. I have also been known to attend two different churches on the weekend. Then God led me to start a Bible study this weekend for women. I have become so busy it is amazing. I can truly say that I have never been happier in my life. To break free from the bondage of sin is such an energy producing high. I told the leader of one of my Bible study groups that I was having so much fun with God I thought it should be illegal.

Yet some of my friends worry about me. They are dear friends and I love them and am grateful for their concern. They wonder how I can do all that I am doing and not become exhausted and burnt out? This is my answer. I have searched the Word of God to verify that my intense energy and concentration comes from the source who gives eternal life and I have found a scripture in Isaiah 40:28-31: “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (NIV)

I am telling you that hope in the Lord is a much better high than any drug and gives strength and more energy than any protein drink. It is sin which weighs you down, not sacrifice.