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Christian Life Is A Battleground

Greg Laurie Daily

 

 

 

 

At Every Turn

Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ~ Ephesians 6:17

During the Korean War, a unit known as Baker Company was separated from the regiment, and enemy forces were advancing on them. For several hours, no word came from Baker Company. Finally, radio contact was made, and when asked for a report of their situation, Baker Company replied, “The enemy is to the east of us. The enemy is to the west of us. The enemy is to the south of us. The enemy is to the north of us.” Then, after a brief pause, a voice continued, “And this time, we’re not going to let them escape.”

It seems that way in the life of the believer. The Enemy is at every turn. Yet some Christians don’t realize that the Christian life is not a playground but a battleground. They are oblivious to the fact that a war is raging. And in this war, they are either winning or losing.

In a battle, it’s always better to be an aggressor instead of a defender because the defender is simply waiting for the enemy’s next attack, hoping he will survive. If we, as believers, are always defending, then the Devil is in the superior position. But if we are attacking, then we are in the superior position. When the apostle Paul wrote about the armor of God in Ephesians 6, he mentioned one offensive weapon: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (verse 17, NLT).

Make no mistake about it: there is authority and power in the Word of God. God’s Word sticks. God’s Word breaks through. God’s Word impacts. When the Enemy has you surrounded, keep him on the defensive with the Word of God.

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His Plan Will Stand

You Are Closer Than You ThinkTODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel — that will stand.”  (Proverbs 19:21, NKJV)

 TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

God is strategic. He has laid out an exact plan for our lives right down to the smallest details. He knows the people you need to meet in order to fulfill your destiny. He knows who is going to give you a good break and who is going to put in a good word for you. He knows when someone is going to need to be there to help you out of a difficult time. God has it all figured out. He is not vague or approximate. He is orchestrating your life right down to the very second, causing you to be at the right place at the right time so you can meet the right people that He has ordained before the foundation of the world.

You probably can look over your life and see how, time after time, God directed your steps to the exact moment. If you had been ten seconds earlier or ten seconds later, things would have played out differently. That’s God orchestrating His plan. That’s God ordering your steps. All you have to do is stay faithful to Him and follow His leading because in the end, His plan will stand!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father, thank You for orchestrating my life. I trust that my times are in Your hands. I trust that You are working things out for my good as I keep my faith and hope in You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Joel & Victoria Osteen

CONFRONT TO CONNECT

Wisdom HuntersFaithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.Proverbs 27:6 (NKJ)

Confrontation means there has been a disconnection. Something has severed trust. It may be relational, emotional, or financial. Maybe you feel you have lost someone’s love and respect. Whatever the reason for the disconnection, confrontation needs to seek a reconnection. This is what a caring, faithful friend does. They seek to reconnect where there has been a disconnect. Your salvation in Jesus brought you into relational wholeness with heaven so you could model the same on earth. Scripture teaches, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians5:18).

However, if ignored, delayed confrontation deteriorates into disconnection. It dilutes understanding, trust, and intimacy. This is why wise leaders keep short accounts and speak freely and early about their concerns. If a leader ignores his or her obvious feelings of frustration, they will naturally distance themselves from the team and the organization. But if they confront early on, in a spirit of respect and understanding, they stay engaged with the enterprise and the individuals, and therefore avoid creating a culture of control and distrust.

This is true in marriage. A wife may confront her husband when she does not feel loved. This is a natural response when she feels distant from her spouse. Depending on the context of the confrontation, the husband may respond positively (if he is smart!) or he may push back defensively if he senses a combative or controlling spirit. It is normal and healthy to desire and seek out relational connection. This is how God has wired people. Just make sure you set yourself up for a successful connection and not an aborted one.

Your husband is much more receptive to receiving your emotional advances when done in a spirit of respect. Use questions like, “Sweetheart, can we sit down sometime today to discuss the children’s schedule for the upcoming week?” This gives him time to process and prepare. If he feels pounced upon or backed into a corner, he will react defensively. In this situation, healthy confrontation gives a couple the organizational connections they need to be more effective in managing their family responsibilities.

Caring confrontation creates a culture of teamwork and trust. A connected culture creates communication channels that build great organizations. Sadly though, a disconnected leader encourages disconnected individuals who then feed disconnected departments that facilitate disconnected divisions that ultimately lead to a disconnected and dysfunctional organization. So, most importantly, start by connecting with Christ. Vertical relational reconnection facilitates horizontal relational reconnection. Sin subtly or not so subtly severs relationships, but confession leads to connection. David, a most effective leader, said it well: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin”(Psalm 32:5). Therefore, make your motives and methods of confrontation for the purpose of reconnection. Friends who care confront to connect.

Taken from the March 16th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1” … http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

Your Life Is Shaped By Your Thoughts

Written by Rick Warren on Purpose Driven 

“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2a (NLT)

You cannot become all God created you to be until you understand the five factors that influence your identity. The first two are chemistry (how you are made) and connections (your relationships). You are a product of the way God created you and of the relationships in your life.

Your identity is also influenced by your circumstances and your consciousness.

Circumstances are the things that happen to you and around you — none of which you control. You are a product of the trauma, troubles, suffering, shame, shock, pressures, and pain that have shaped your life. Perhaps even abuse has affected your identity. If you’ve ever had a series of failures or a catastrophe, it has left an indelible mark on who you are.

Consciousness is how you talk to yourself. You know what? If you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself, you probably wouldn’t be friends anymore, because our thoughts are filled with the lies we’ve heard from other people that we’ve let simmer and fester. When we repeat other people’s thoughts in our head, they go deeper and deeper in our consciousness, and they begin to shape our identity.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (LB). Your thoughts don’t have to be true to hurt you; you just have to believe them. If you tell yourself your marriage won’t last, then it won’t. If you’re afraid you can’t do something, then you won’t. Your thoughts run your life!

Your circumstances may be out of your control, but God is in control of everything. Your thoughts shape who you are, but you can change the way you think. Your circumstances and consciousness have shaped who you are, but the way you respond to your circumstances and the thoughts you choose to believe will shape the rest of your life.

Talk It Over

  • What is your natural response to a difficult situation or circumstance? Do you run away or face it? Do you worry or trust God?
  • How do you need to change the way you think?
  • Who or what around you influences your thoughts in a negative way?

I am fearfully and wonderfully made….

The Enemy’s Strategy

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14

This morning I was having a rough start getting out of bed. My paralysis was giving me fits. I shook my head and growled, “This body is a pain… I hate it!”

Body_ProblemsWhy was that so awful? Because the Enemy has a deep hatred of my flesh and blood and all I was doing was agreeing with him. He gets a charge when I bad-mouth my body. And he would like to get you to do the same.

Why? Because your body, even underneath wrinkles or fat, and despite the ravages of illness or old age, is made in the image of God. Your heart, mind, hands, and feet are stamped with the imprint of the Creator. Little wonder that the Devil wants you to be ashamed of your body!

This morning I had, once again, to plug my ears against the lies of the Tempter and remember that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I rehearsed the old, familiar truth that God has a plan for this flesh and blood of mine. That’s why the Devil considers my body a threat—he understands that when I yield to God my body, albeit paralyzed, my feet and hands are powerful weapons against his forces of darkness.

The devil is only a fallen angel. He is a deceiver. He is doomed for destruction. And until then, he has one goal in mind: your spiritual defeat, emotional malignment, and physical frustration. If he tries to get you to agree with him today… don’t.

I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, O Lord.

Devotional shared by Joni and Friends International Disability Center

NEW NORMAL

Wisdom Hunters
 
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

 

New normals are a test of our trust in the Lord. They call us to get on our knees in prayer and cry out to our Heavenly Father. They are transitions we go through in life when we move into new seasons: health challenges, a job transfer, a new church or an empty nest. New normals are more difficult because it is the first time we have experienced these realities. Patience, flexibility and trust facilitate adjustment to a new situation. Adapting to change and focus on God is necessary.

For example, a close friend may move overseas or to another part of the country. Since you are geographically divided, you now keep up by email, calls and visits. Or, if you’ve lived as a single adult for years, but are now married, you focus on the person of your dreams. Hence, friends from your past life don’t receive the same attention as your best friend, your spouse. A new normal in relationships is hard. If you try to be everyone’s friend, you risk becoming no one’s real friend.

Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. Luke 6:26

Make the best of your new normal by seeing God in the middle of your circumstances. Whether adversity or euphoria, either is an opportunity to draw closer to Christ. Accept new normals as your friend not your enemy.  It is a nudge toward the Lord, not a wedge between you and the Lord. Our Savior Jesus Christ specializes in doing new things. He makes a way of hope in our wilderness of worry and streams of faith in our wasteland of fear. See your new normal as God’s new thing.

What is your new normal? A boss who is more demanding? A child who is pushing the boundaries of their freedom? Life after divorce? Life after a loved one’s death? Financial limitations? Relational stress? Abundant resources? More opportunities than you ever imagined? Steward well what you have, so the Lord can trust you with more of His blessings. Accept your new normal as an opportunity to adopt new ways to know God. Learn how to lean into the Lord. Your new normal is the next step in following Jesus. Perceive it, believe it, receive it, embrace it.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. Revelation 21:5

Prayer: Heavenly Father, by grace and through faith, I accept my new normal as Your normal.

Related Readings: Isaiah 48:6, 65:17; Jeremiah 31:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:4

You’re more than a donut hole….

I can’t help but agree with this which is why I had to share. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Married people in successful relationships and folk with the gift of singleness (those who don’t need relationships like apostle Paul) tend to be Judgmental or non-empathetic towards people like me. (Single man needing a wife or a woman needing a husband) yes I said needing! I hear it all, “you’re like a doughnut and need to fill your center with Jesus“, (PLEASE) then I ask what if you’re a donut hole? (Like a Dunkin munchkin) and they say, “you need to get bigger with Jesus on the outside. You need to fast more, you need to go to church more, you need to pray more, you need to read your Bible more, you need to eat more roughage,” I hear it all. 

They’re almost arrogant in their statement when they say “LONG AS YOU GOT KANG JESUS YOU DON’T NEED NOBODY ELSE.” Okay let’s just say you’re right, my question is why didn’t God say that same thing to Adam in the garden? Adam, why you tripping I’m right here, you don’t need nobody else I’m all you need, feel your center with Me! Now I hear the Bible scholars say well he needed Adam and Eve together to be fruitful multiply and replenish the earth. I don’t agree because God could’ve made 7 billion people at the same time within six seconds and placed them strategically all over the earth.

The truth is God did it this way for a reason. He took Eve from Adam’s side for a reason, and placed inside of Adam a love for Eve like no other and vice versa. (We’ll get into that on another post.) God is love and with in Himself lies the most intense and greatest of all intimacies and He just wanted to share it as a gift to the human race. That’s why falling in love/choosing to be in love, a deep soul intimate connection and sexual intimacy feel so good because it’s God’s gift we’ve just perverted and distorted it.

Although there’s a joyous side of love there’s also pain, heartache, tears and confusion, but I still try. Now I understand the “you need to be whole” conversation but I still believe that two people touching and agreeing can bring God into their circumstance and let him be the ultimate healer. So for all you perfect people out there that don’t need what I need, pray for me. And for all you single people out there like me that want to be in love, keep believing in true love because it does exist, and when you find it love and appreciate it like it’s your last day on earth. Let’s trust God together.

Love
f.

Post courtesy of The Real Fred Hammond’s Facebook page.