Tag Archives: spiritual warfare

Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers

As we remember our fallen forces who fought and died to protect our freedoms, there is one fallen I glorify God for today. Jesus, God’s Soldier, sent into the final battle of the ultimate war, fought the good fight of faith and won the war, securing freedom for all who will choose citizenship in His Kingdom. Because of Him, as we honor our fallen, we also celebrate Pentecost Sunday today, when life that sees no death poured breath into those who were the birth of the Church – God’s Kingdom people on earth.

Jesus paid the ultimate price to set all who will believe free from sin’s death – the penalty of eternal separation from God. Because of Jesus’ willing service, freely giving His life, God, through Christ, made a way for the dead to truly live. So today I remember; and I thank my Savior for purchasing my freedom. As I seek to honor those who gave their life to protect the interests of this nation in which I live, breathe, and have my being, I pray to live in such a way that honors my Savior, who made a way for our fallen to rise again to life eternal with Him.

If you have not believed this truth of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection in the battle for your eternal destiny, I pray you choose to believe and receive it today. Jesus took your death, so you can take hold and possess His life. May you be raised up out of death to the new life God has waiting for you.

“(Jesus) Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭2‬:‭2‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

““For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭9‬-‭10‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭21‬ ‭NASB1995

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2‬:‭21‬-‭25‬ ‭NASB1995

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭9‬-‭19‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

Morning Prayer: 5/23/23

Father, I thank you for Your mercy as this scripture comes to assure my heart of Your forgiveness for my selfishness practiced yesterday, leading to my missing an opportunity to minister to others in Your love and grace. It makes me exceedingly sad when I fail You.

Thank You for demonstrating Your perfect patience through Christ toward me. I praise You for loving me enough to discipline and teach me so I may grow strong in following You in faith’s trust (Hebrews 12). Help me remember, and may I be found faithful at Your coming.

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)

To Fulfill All Righteousness

Matthew 3:13-17 NIV

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus didn’t need the baptism of repentance. He was perfect in all His ways, living for the will of God. So why did He seek baptism?

“Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

Jesus is our example in righteousness. He had nothing to repent, but He did have a call to do all the will of God. It didn’t make sense to John’s way of thinking, and maybe not to ours, but doing things the right way is important. It shows obedience to God, accomplishing His purpose, and expressing our trust in Him that does things His way even when it doesn’t make sense or seem necessary. What was the result, proving Him correct in seeking this baptism?

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.””

His obedience obtained God’s fresh and witnessed anointing for all He was called to; and it provided those watching the assurance of God’s approval of Him as Son.

We don’t always understand the purpose behind the requirements of God for those He calls into some specific ministry, but our understanding is not required. All that is required is our willingness to trust and obey. Many of these requirements are set to test whether we will humble ourselves before God and trust His way of being and doing as we head into the ministry He has for us. Plus, there is power and authority that comes when we trust God enough to do His will His way. Failure to follow scriptural protocol can, and most often does, work against us, rob us of anointing needed for our success, and even serves to close doors that would have opened had we simply trusted God’s design.

If we believe the inerrancy of God’s Word and that His directives have purpose that works His good in and through us, we will trust and obey, even when it doesn’t make sense to our finite minds.

The Tireless, Ongoing Spirit of Praise

“Over the years, I’ve become convinced that praise sets up a mantle of protection around the people of God. Praise is an atmosphere through which the Adversary cannot move.”

These are my words, written on my heart. I didn’t write these words. They come from the pen of Jack Hayford. But I could have written them, for this is my truth, too. Is it yours? More from Jack’s pen…

“If you and I really entered into this truth, it would transform our lives. And it’s not simply because praise can insulate or protect us. It’s more than that. It’s because God is worthy, . . . worthy of the best of our praise, the depths of our thanksgiving. As you ask the Lord to teach you more and more about the tireless, ongoing spirit of praise, it will change your circumstances, and it will change you!”

Jack speaks my over-and-over-again experience. Change comes when we quit fretting, fearing, and dreading, look up to Him Who loves us, and turn our hearts to knowing Him, trusting Him, and believing He is able; He is faithful; and He loves to amaze us. At just the right time, when all hearts are where He desires they be, His will comes to pass and we rejoice in awe of His wonder at the glory we walk into.

Indwellers

A house is made to be occupied: it is a dwelling place. In a house of wood, brick, and mortar, left empty, rot happens. If good doesn’t occupy it, mice and rats will. These occupy, not to build up, but to tear down and destroy. They further and increase rot.

Demons – evil – are like mice and rats of the sole. They are vagrants set on destruction or intent on possessing that which belongs to another. Our only defense is to choose who has access to this dwelling place of our soul.

We must choose to be occupied, filled up, and possessed by God. He will fill us with the goodness of His power, peace, presence, person, providence, perseverance, and pleasure. Failure to choose Him, we give ourselves to an emptiness that makes us vulnerable to every form of infiltrator.

We can neglect our body, heart, mind and soul – intended as God’s dwelling place – and let the rats wreak their havoc. Or we can surrender full occupancy to God and be filled to the full with Him. Choose now. Now is all the time we know we have.

Morning Prayer: 4/13/23

You, Lord, tell us that we have the mind of Christ and we must not be double minded – struggling between the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit. Thank You for reminding me of this and helping me see how subtle the struggle can be.

There have been so many times I thought to do something, ignoring it because I didn’t think it was Your thought, only to wish I had listened. That is a flesh mind struggle. Instead of trusting You for the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God to control me, I waiver, vacillate, and procrastinate. Forgive me, Father.

I lay my mind at Your feet and take up Yours. I trust You. Make Your thoughts known and make me faithful to obey. In Jesus, amen.

Morning Prayer: 4/10/23

‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭16‬:‭9‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

Father, if there is any part of me that is not completely Yours, reveal it, please, Sir. I desire You in all Your fullness. Only You can make me whole and wholly Yours. Only You can make me Holy, one with You, being all You created me to be, accomplishing all Your good will and purpose according to Your good plan and way. Here am I, O God. I bow.

When Angry, Choose Life

““You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that

• everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court;

• and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court;

• and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” – Matthew 5:21-22 NASB1995

What’s Jesus saying?

1. ANGER

Scripture tells us to be angry, yet do not sin in our anger, giving the devil an opportunity (Ephesians 4:26-27). It tells us that the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20). Anger is the beginning, uncontrollable emotion that is the first step toward harming, or even killing the one anger settles on. It is the doorway by which Satan gets a stronghold that allows him to lead us away from God, bringing discord, bitterness, hate, and disunity: all of which are sin that does not accomplish any good.

2. Devaluation – “You good for nothing”

God created every person and poured Himself into His creation (Genesis 1-2). And God so loved the world that He gave (John 3:16). When we devalue what God values, it is sin, standing in opposition to God and making nothing of the gift of His Son. We are called to love as God loves, which includes pouring oneself into the lives of others out of love that has nothing to do with whether the good done to them is deserved by them (1 John 4; Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13). Failure to value others leads to a lack of appreciation for them. It leads to a lack of care and failure to give self for the benefit of others. We will not give the time of day, much less energy and resources to the benefit of those we do not value.

3. Murder – “You fool.”

Anger causes us in an instant to devalue a person, killing their mind, soul, spirit, and strength of identity with our words of insult and demoralization. We cooperate with the devil in killing the spirit (emotional stability) of a person when we belittle them, which is hate, by:

  • stealing away their confidence and courage;
  • killing their strength of character and stability of life; and
  • destroying their growth into a mature, sound minded individual of worth and value.

So, what do we do when we realize we used anger as a weapon of destruction?

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.” – Matthew 5:23-26 NASB1995

God, the true Judge, hears the cry of the downtrodden and oppressed. So be quick to repent, first to God who causes us to realize our sin; then to those sinned against. Even children need to see a parent who is strong and brave enough to say, “I was in the wrong. I failed you, injured you, and I am truly sorry. Please forgive me and pray for God to help me do better.”

Once forgiveness is sought out, repent: change your ways to align with God and His ways. Find ways to correct others and express upset constructively, in ways that serve to build up, and not tear down. Remind the one your angry with of the good they possess as a person and the potential that is in them, encouraging them to be and do their best at every opportunity and in all times.

It’s not sin to be angry. It’s not sin to express one’s anger. Sin comes when anger is unjustified, or when the expression of it adds injury to insult that can lead to a type of death. Be angry when it’s rightly warranted, but sin not, and thereby close tight our doors against a devil who is roaming to and fro, ready to pounce on any given opportunity (1 Peter 5:8). Address issues of anger properly and life, made stronger, stable, and secure, will spring forth to build us up for God’s glory.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:6-11 NASB1995

Morning Prayer: 3/11/23

Lord, let Your mighty spiritual awakening and great revival begin in me. O God, refresh and restore my life, myself, my soul, the essence of who You created me to be: the me You planned while knitting me in my mother’s womb. Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me. Know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me on righteous paths to Your everlasting way.

Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence, I pray, nor take Your Holy Spirit from me; but draw near to me as I draw near to You. Fill me to overflowing with the Power of Your Presence in me.

Restore to me the joy of my salvation in Christ. Renew a steadfast Spirit in me: more steadfast than ever before, in ever growing strength of stance. Then use me as You will: teaching transgressors Your ways and converting sinners to Yourself, bringing them to their own life giving, eternal relationship with You.

Make Yourself known in, to, and through me for Your glory and crown; Your Kingdom come, on earth as in Heaven. This I pray, in Jesus, Amen.

Morning Prayer: 2/24/23

Philippians 4:4-7; Psalms 95:7-11

Father, Your peace that passes understanding has walked me through many storms on the raging seas of life. I am so grateful to You for that peace, and I crave it in these troubled days in which we live.

The wind and waves of storms tend to catch our attention, distracting us from focus on being attentive to You – listening for You. Forgive us when distraction wins, leading us to fight the wind and waves from fleshly panic and prideful arrogance. Empower our hearts to turn to You with full focus. Grant us spiritual ear buds that cancel out the noise that leads to fleshly responses on storm tossed seas. Focus us on You, Your presence, Your wee small voice sounding, “This is the way. Walk in it.”

With focus on You, grant us to enter into and remain in Your rest. Empower us to hear and heed Your instruction and walk in Your Spirit to victory over the destructive forces around us. We need You, Father. Make us attuned to paths of righteousness where peace resides and rest rules; where we are made visible lights, drawing others to You. In Jesus, amen.

Praise God for the Empty Tomb

I was listening to a song, the words of which say “the cross has the final word.” Truly though, did it?

Before hanging me on one, please hear me out.

When Jesus was brought down off the cross, men had to carry him and bury him; and Satan – shouting “VICTORY!” – thought he won. But then…three days beyond the scenes of the cross, Jesus took a breath, sat up, cast off His burial clothes, and walked out of that grave, defeating sin’s death. With an undeniable shout of glory from Father’s mercy seat, the devil wept.

At the cross, the work was finished. At the now empty tomb, new life has come. The grave is where The Final Living Word spoke loud and clear.

Live FREE!

In my Galatians 4 reading today, this stands out to me:

“Now Hagar is (stands for) Mount Sinai in Arabia and she corresponds to and belongs in the same category with the present Jerusalem, for she is in bondage together with her children. But the Jerusalem above (the Messianic kingdom of Christ) is free, and she is our mother.” – 4:25-26 AMPC

Living a Kingdom life now – realizing oneself as citizen and representative of the eternal Kingdom and behaving accordingly – is the walk of freedom that is found in Christ.

Adding to this thought as I pray over it, the fact that the eternal Kingdom “is our mother” fills me with joy. As we follow Mother in knowing how to live for and serve our Father and our King in the power and filling of His Spirit, we find true freedom. We can look at The Kingdom and know how to live on the earth.

The Kingdom is always full of light, for God is the Light, therefor, we are light in Him. Darkness is a facade. Trust God to light up life and make the path clear. He will.

As Jesus is always present in the Kingdom, so He is always with us. He, somehow, is with each of us individually, and all of us simultaneously, without having to divide Himself or His time among us. We are one with Him. Live that.

And as the Spirit fills all things and flows freely throughout life there, so He is in us who seek Him. Trust His flowing Presence, and release yourself to His rhythm.

As this Trinity is eternal and fills all things, so they fill us and make us one with the Eternal. Having our focus set here in God’s Kingdom, empowers our Kingdom life on earth. Walking out life here in this blessed estate, we walk free!

  • We are freed from fear, knowing death has no right over us, as we are already walking in Life: eternal, abundant, and full, settled in desire to truly trust God to accomplish His plan and purpose in and through us. Jesus had no fear of death, because He trusted God to fulfill His plan.
  • We are freed from the cares of this world, knowing the Father cares for us from Kingdom stores. He cares for us watchfully and affectionately, never leaving nor forsaking us.
  • We are freed from the opinion of fleshly beings knowing we walk as Kingdom citizens, pleasing the Lord.

Whatever comes to this life on earth, we know is temporary and it cannot truly harm us who are eternal with Christ. Jesus took our separation from God on Himself at the cross, so we will never have to be separated from Him again. He is with us through whatever comes. He will help us.

This world may kill our flesh, as it did Jesus, but the essence of all we are is already eternal – and safe with Him who gives us Life. We are one together with Him. Live FREE.

Love’s Mercy

Luke 6:32-36 NASB1995

As I begin looking at this morning’s “Refresh” scripture, I am led to read it in context with the entire chapter. In Psalm 139 Father highlights this passage, causing me to pause and ponder.

“Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.” – Psalms 139:21-22 NASB1995

This thought process reveals our human tendency to attach evil to the people who practice it. But is it true that God hates those who hate Him? I don’t believe so, and here is why.

One: God so loves the world that He willingly and freely gave His one true Son as propitiation for their sin. The world / worldly is defined by a mindset that is against God and God’s truth. In other words, the world / worldly moves in opposition to God, His will and His way, which is the defining character of that which hates God. But God doesn’t hate the people of the world. He loves the world and made the ultimate sacrifice to prove it.

Two: attaching sin to the sinner is to keep an account of wrongs suffered. God’s word tells us that love does not do that. God is love. He does not act in opposition to His own word and dictates. He is the perfect example of all He calls us to. Proof?

Jesus says of Himself that seeing Him, we have seen the Father. He is the personification of the Father for us. On the cross, He did not take the sin against Him into account, but instead prayed for God to forgive them, “for they know not what they do.” In this act on the cross, Jesus was exemplifying the Father’s example in Isaiah 43:25.

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

In the midst of Israel’s sin, God forgave them out of loving desire to fulfill His purpose of maintaining relationship with them. He says He did so for His own sake. He detaches us from our sin for His own sake so He can continue to love us and reach out a saving hand to us for His own sake, that His purpose and plan may be fulfilled, on earth as it is in heaven. We are called to do the same.

God hates sin, and sin cannot stand in His holy presence. When God turns His back, He is turning His back on sin, refusing it. Sin separates us from a right and good relationship with God, but it does not separate us from His love. He still loves us though our sin hinders our realization of that love. Sin is what God hates, not the sinner; He sent His Son to die for the sinner.

When we grab hold of God’s loving hand through Christ, the death of sin found in separation from God is immediately broken off of us. And as we begin to walk in Love relationship with God, He delivers us from that which leads us to sin. He engenders a hate for sin in us that causes us to turn from sin and walk with Him. But He also places His love in us, thus we hate sin while still loving the sinner; and we are able to forgive the sin in order to have a relationship with the sinner, making us useful to God in being the hand of Christ to a lost and dead world.

There is no sin God has not forgiven except the sin of refusing the work of God accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. So we who are God’s children through Christ are called to love as He loves. We hate sin, but we love the sinner. We do not walk with the sinner into sin, but we are ready to help them find the love of God for themselves. Holding hate toward the sinner because of their hate toward God revealed by their surrender to sin’s grip only hinders us being the picture of Christ to them, following His example as the image of God to the world.

Take Up Your Cross, And Smile

I’ve been meditating on and praying through the “refresh” verse of the day meditation and prayer on the YouVersion Bible App each morning. Today went into following Jesus, which led my thoughts to “take up your cross daily.”

Usually in taking up the cross, most I know – including me – talk about taking our sin / sin nature up, or our sickness or whatever malady plagues us and hinders us: bearing up under it and pressing on despite it. Even just thinking about that is hard and heavy. So I asked God about that, and He brought to me a new understanding.

Jesus bore the hard and heavy of our sin, paying the penalty once and for all. He took that sin and shame to the depths of hell and left it there along with sin’s death. He now gives us freedom from it as a gift. All we need to do is receive it. We have no need to keep bearing that which is removed far from us in Christ. We need to take up our freedom in Christ and walk in it.

Jesus also bore our stripes for sin and sickness. By His stripes, we are healed. We don’t have to take that up and carry it. He bore that for us. And He helps us bear it now while we walk to full healing, whether that healing comes in this life or the next. Our health may prove a challenge, bringing opportunity to trust God and see all He will do in the midst of our struggle, but it can’t stop God’s purpose in us. There is always a way to serve and shine for Him when we seek His heart in every opportune moment.

Jesus also tells us that we should yoke ourselves with Him. Like Simon of Cyrene, Jesus is there to help bear our cross, but He does so willingly, not because He is required to by some enemy force. He says, “My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” (Matthew 11:30 AMPC)

As I think on that, I realize the view God has of the cross Jesus bore. That cross was not the sin and shame, sickness and death we look at. God sees freedom for His children. He sees the humility, selflessness, and obedient heart of Christ, which now lives in us. He sees mercy made new every morning, compassion that fails not, forgiveness made free and clear. He sees a willing heart made ready for God’s will. He sees Life, abundant and full.

Our cross to bear up under is yoked with Christ. It is freedom from sin and shame, sickness and death. It is one of willing surrender to the will of God, knowing that all He calls us to, He helps, provides for, and empowers us to do. It’s a cross set to please Him, honor Him, glorify Him. It’s a cross of eternal purpose that displays grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, selflessness, courage, strength, joy, contentment, assurance, power, and more.

The cross God left His children to take up daily and bear for all the world to see is light, easy, and an honor to His holy name. It has nothing to do with our physical strength, health, or struggles in this life. Those are simply opportunities to shine His Light and experience His power made perfect in us. Our cross has everything to do with our eternal perspective and assurance; with love for God and others that does hard things made easier in Christ.

Nothing can keep us back and hold us down when our heart is set on the eternal perspective of God’s purpose, plan, and provision. We experience God as we daily take up the heart of God, the mind of Christ, and the eternal perspective of a Life made new and easy in Him. By the understanding that God will complete and fulfill His purpose through our willing surrender, we partner in the cause of Christ to carry out our ministry to the glory of His name.

Suicide: The “Why” and “What Now” – Part 2 of 3

Enemy: Fear

“And the Philistines pursued Saul and his sons, and slew Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, Saul’s sons. The battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers severely wounded him. Saul said to his armor-bearer, Draw your sword and thrust me through, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through and abuse and mock me. But his armor-bearer would not, for he was terrified. So Saul took a sword and fell upon it.” 1 Samuel 31:2-4 AMPC

Fear of being overtaken by his enemies, only to be mocked and humiliated by them, led King Saul to a soul-death that led him to commit suicide. Many in battle commit suicide rather than face their fear. Fear is a powerful enemy against the health and wellbeing of one’s soul.

Satan loves to exploit our fears. Fear makes us vulnerable. Add to that grief and feelings such as guilt, anger, blame, inadequacy, shame, loneliness, etc., and it’s a poisonous mixture to drink. Experiencing the loss of a loved one by suicide too often mixes up a brimming cup of such poison for those left in the wake of it.

Fear of one’s own inability to trust God, struggling with thoughts and feelings of anger towards Him, are enemy arrows to one’s soul. Fear that God will leave us because of our anger toward Him, failing to trust that God understands our struggle and keeps His word to be with us in trouble furthers the assault. The assault of fear can come without warning, leaving one feeling hopeless and helpless. It often attacks family members and friends who feel they should have been able to do something to prevent a beloved’s suicide.

Some believe that suicide is “the unforgivable sin”. The struggle of a loved one that led to their suicide can cause us to question whether they had a saving relationship with God. Lack of assurance that a loved one who died by suicide will be with us for eternity can cause a fear and frustration that wreaks havoc on the soul (mind/thought life, will, and emotions). The hope I would breathe into this equation is…

One: the only “unforgivable sin” I see in scripture is blasphemy (denial and belittling) of the work of the Spirit found in the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ (Matthew 12:25-32). And…

Two: salvation only takes an instant and can come in the last breath (Luke 23:39-43). As long as God is, there is hope.

The counter to fear is faith – faith to BELIEVE and TRUST God. In Hebrews, we are instructed that faith to believe and trust God brings us into His peaceful rest. In the place of God’s rest we find truths that are effective weapons to thoughts that fail to consider God’s power, presence, and provision.

Fear cannot stand where faith to trust God’s unfailing love resides. When we know God is love and His love never stops or leaves us, fear leaves. Even when we can’t “feel” Him because of our pain and grief, trust in His love assures our hearts that He never leaves nor lets go of us. Trust in His love that desires none to perish, but all to come to repentance, clings to hope for the personal work of grace leading our beloved to His mercy even in their last breath. Trust in a loving God refuses to give up on Him.

As one considers suicide – whether contemplating committing it, or being forced to cope with the aftermath of it, fear is an enemy arrow to the heart of one who must realize they are on a spiritual battlefield. Unless we realize there is an enemy of God who constantly watches for opportunity to destroy the work of God in and through us, we will fail to deal with fear as a weapon against us. Like Saul, we will give up on life and fail to trust that God can and will make a way where there seems no way. Giving up on life denies God’s faithfulness and His power.

Fear is overcome by keeping focus on God with faith’s hope, trusting His unfailing love to walk us through to victory.

Suicide: The “Why” and “What Now” – Part 1 of 3

Trusting Love: the Cure for Soul Death

Yesterday Father led me to call a precious friend and ask a simple question regarding her coping with her beloved’s suicide: “How is your trust in God through this?” The answer was as I suspected: “Not good, Darlene.”

Then God led me to find a devotional series on coping after the suicide of a loved one, asking Him to use the thoughts therein to inspire my heart as to how to pray for this beloved family in this unfathomable time.

The first day was introductory and one paragraph sums up the path to healing. “There is help. There is hope. This help and hope is found only in Jesus Christ. He alone gives genuine comfort to your inward being. He alone gives healing to your heart. Only Christ can replace anguish and hopelessness with transcendent peace and enduring joy.” (Julie Gossack, Hope Beyond Despair)

Today covered the suicide of Samson after Delilah’s betrayal, and this one telling fact that opened my heart to a slew of understanding. The truth is this:

“It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death.” (Judges 16:16 NASB1995)

They may try to grasp it, but the battle raging against their mind, will, and emotions weakens their grasp on truth, robbing their strength, and turning them to willingly receive the lie. Trapped in the vale of the shadow of soul death leads to an agony they cannot overcome on their own. Feelings of being unable to get out of their situations or to trust love, grace, and truth from family and friends, or even God, they choose death.

The truth God is giving me is that those who succumb to suicide first suffer soul death. Their own thoughts and desires over life situations nag them until their soul dies, making them feel useless, worthless, helpless, hopeless, and insecure to the point of seeing no sense in continuing on with life. Their nagging thoughts – influenced by the lies of fleshly comprehension, worldly desires, and demonic designs – get such a hold on them that they cannot believe the truth countering their beliefs given by loved ones, nor even by God.

Many who survived a suicide attempt bear testimony that in the instant physical death was upon them, they recognized the truth that their concerns were based on lies. That they can overcome the issues at hand because they are loved and cared for by a God who deems them worth the cost paid in full by Jesus Christ. Because of Him, they are not helpless. There is hope.

I believe that instant of life to their soul is God’s reality reaching them as a hand to pull them back. That being true, I believe that same hand reaches the heart of those who succeed at their suicide commitment, which gives hope to my heart that, though the hand of God did not pull them back to this life, it did pull them up to eternal life. As long as there is our loving God who desires that none perish, but all come to repentance, there is hope for God’s mercy and love to prevail, even in the instant of death.

For family and friends left behind in the wake of their beloveds suicide, here’s the thing to realize and watch for as you cope with the reality of a loved one’s self induced death. Feelings that God failed in preventing the death in such an unimaginable act is a weapon against our own faith to trust God, hindering our ability to perceive and receive His help for our grief. Struggling with our own inability to help our beloved and prevent their demise leads us into a depressive struggle with our own sense of failure, inadequacy, and helplessness that can produce hopelessness. Blaming self or others in the equation that look to be the straw that pushed our loved one to such an end produces hate, unforgiveness, and bitterness that can prevent our ability to help others, or to be helped in our grieving.

These issues open us to constantly struggle with the why, what, and who questions that can put us in an onslaught of our own troubled thoughts, leading us into our own soul death situation. This struggle is, at least in part, a reason we too often see suicide come to groups in multiples. It explains why many fall away from loving relationships after suicide and even leave faith in a good God. Turning from faith, family, and friends removes from our lives the very things we need for help in healing, which robs us of the support that is needed to keep us safe from a soul death battle.

My prayer for my friend and her family is that trust in God be restored and firmed up. God constantly reaches to us, offering Himself to us and placing His resources in our path to pull us back from the brink. He does not force Himself on us: trusting Him is a choice He will not remove from us. If we earnestly seek Him, taking time for a close examination will reveal His presence reaching a hand out. If you’re reading these words from God’s instruction to me, this is His hand reaching out to you, giving insight and understanding that will help if you can grasp it. And God will help your grasp if you choose to trust Him in the midst of your struggle.

Friends speaking concern and trying to connect are also God’s hand reaching out to help you find soul life. God’s word touching your life is His loving presence set to draw you to Himself. But it is our choice to grasp the hand and open up to God and those He sends to help us.

If you are one who lost a loved one to soul death leading to suicide, God’s love for them leaves hope that His hand of love pulled them into eternal life in an instant of their own realization and acceptance of His loving care. If your grief is causing a thought life and emotional onslaught of bitterness and anger leading to the beginnings of your own soul death, grasp God’s love for You. Let Him lift you from death to life. Trust in God’s unfailing love is life, abundant and full. No one and nothing can rob this truth from us who choose to rest in His grasp through believing faith.

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.” — Deuteronomy 30:19

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

I stepped into a spiritual battle with a friend under siege, which, of course, placed me in line of fire. This is what God is firming up in me.

Take your stand and stand firm.

  • On The Rock of salvation.
  • In the knowledge and assurance of God’s Love.
  • In the security of His promises.
  • Fully dressed in the wedding clothes of Christ.
  • Fully suited in the armor of God with spiritual weapons in hand.
  • Constantly dressed in readiness with Lamps alight.

Stand firm in Truth – know what truth is…

  • About God.
  • About God’s Word.
  • About His power, sufficiency, faithfulness, watchful care, eternal plan, and sure purpose.
  • About the situation and circumstances.
  • About heart issues.
  • About the true battlefield and enemy forces in heavenly places.

Stand firm in Trust, earnestly and watchfully believing and expecting God to be God and do God.

  • Be stilled in quiet faith – enter His rest where peace and calm prevail.
  • Cease striving in own strength.
  • Let be and know with assurance that God is God: the good God who works good in and for each of us, according to His perfect will, plan, and purpose.

Stand firm in Thankful praise and worshipful adoration.

  • God’s throne in our lives is revealed and lifted high on the praises of His people.
  • Praise bows the heart to submit to His will.
  • Grateful submission to God resists Satanic influences, causing them to back off and flee.
  • Grateful praise draws near to God who responds by drawing nearer to us, bringing us under His wings, into His shadow, hedged in by His Presence.

Stand firm as a Testimony of a faithful servant of God: keep living Him into life.

  • Be His image bearer.
  • Be His ambassador, knowing His authority over, in, and through you.
  • Be intentional in faith, love, and action.
  • Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
  • Be His witness.
  • Be found faithful at His coming.
  • Be love as He is love.
  • BE real – strive to BE simply because He is.

Soul Care

God wants our all to grow strong and be in good health. As I read this verse, to my understanding it is giving priority to the requirement of our soul’s health and growth. As our soul prospers, so will our body and life.

The soul is our mind, will, and emotions. The mind here indicates our thought life. The will points to our desires and passions that dictate our choices and decisions. And our emotional health indicates the dictates of our feelings in any given moment.

Our emotions are good and intended to help our lives, but not as the leading role for life. Our emotions can prosper and help us only when they are dictated by right thinking and good choices flowing from the dictates of the Spirit controlling our desires and passions.

The soul is covered in scripture as one part because, to function properly, the three aspects that make our soul must function as one. As Father, Son, and Holy Presence work as one, so must our mind, will, and emotions. When mind, will, or emotion go off in their own direction, separate from the whole, that is when struggle, dysfunction, and instability takes hold of our lives.

Give some focus to soul care today and may your entire being prosper as your soul grows stronger allegiance to God and His ways.

Tactics of Persecution

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬-‭13‬, ‭19‬

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. …

“Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

Satan is the author of persecution. He tempts to the dark side. It is his goal to use the things we face in day to day life to tempt us away from faith-filled trust in God. The tempter desires to tempt us away from a life that honors God as God. He wants to ruin our testimony and rob us of peace, joy, and hope so we are ineffective as Christ’s ambassadors, the image bearers of God. In doing so, he causes us to doubt our Christian faith and walk away from God.

A man once said something ugly, condemning my Christian faith, then in one breath, quickly adding, “and no: I’m not persecuting you.” I don’t remember saying anything to him before or after. He was a passer by I did not know, nor have I seen him since. He spotted me as who I was in Christ, said whatever it was he said followed by the part I remember, and walked on, leaving me looking at him with “How rude” on my stunned face.

On one hand, he was correct. He was simply the unwitting instrument in the hands of him who was using the man to persecute Christianity. On the other hand, he was allowing himself to be that instrument, seemingly without understanding it’s source and purpose.

The same is true of a deadly diagnosis, the sudden death of a loved one, or any number of tragic events that leave us wondering where God is and how He could let such evil come upon one who loves and trusts Him. Anything that tempts us to doubt, fear, and turning from God is Satanic persecution of our Christian faith.

I believe Satan’s being the author and perfector of persecution is why God warns us to realize our battle is not against flesh and blood, but demons and principalities (Ephesians 6:10-18). Not only do we tend to focus anger toward the instruments of persecution, failing to love even our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but we fail to realize enemy tactics of persecution through the temptation to doubt God that comes with our daily struggles.

This belief regarding tactics of persecution coming from the enemy of God has protected me from giving myself to fear, doubt, and unforgiveness. It has helped me separate the sin from the sinner so I can walk in God’s mandate regarding love and prayer. And it has kept me from allowing the fruit of God’s Spirit to be stolen and buried by the evil intent brought to life’s circumstances.

“… Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” – ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37‬:‭1‬-‭9

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬-‭11‬‬‬

Morning Prayer: 12/7/22

Father, life is filled with continuum experiences, granting us understanding. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately, mainly that You are good and we cannot fully understand Your goodness this side of glory. Evil is the opposite end of that continuum. As we do not know the fullness of Your goodness, we cannot fathom how evil bad can get.

Your call for us to overcome evil with good is vital to our days, Lord. Grant us daily to draw in closer to You so our understanding of what “good” is grows.

Out of the heart flows the wellsprings of Life. May our hearts be cleansed and made good as You are good, and may that goodness flow freely from our lives surrendered to You who are good, the source of good, and the only one who can make us truly good. In Jesus, amen.

Morning Prayer: 11/29/2022

Father, thank You that You are taking me deeper in true understanding of trust in You. Trust in You does not just look for what I want and believe should be. Trust in You realizes when things look and are going all wrong, You are still doing something awesome in the situations and circumstances of our lives and the lives of those we love. We may not understand why You allow what You allow or go about things the way You do, but we can know there is good purpose in it. Help me rest things securely in Your capable hands, pressing forward in the things You call me to without fretting while waiting on You to do what only You can do. Show me when I fall away from true trust, and grow me stronger in the wait as an ally to Your will, way, plan, and purpose. In Jesus, amen.

Call to Trust

God is calling me (and I believe He is calling all He calls “My people”) to greater trust.

I am in a spiritual battle right now that God is impressing on me as being training ground for increased trust in Him. I stand in awe of His accomplishment in this experience. You are going through something right now that is God’s call to greater trust in Him. God is getting “My people” ready. Cooperate with Him and choose to trust Him.

Believing God feeds trust. Unbelief kept Israel from entering God’s rest because it reveals a failure to trust. Our trust in God increases and releases our faith, which, in turn, strengthens our ability to believe Him. I am discerning that the strengthening of our trust is vital to our ability to stand in these days that are coming at us. I discern that an evil like this generation has never seen or imagined is coming around a blind corner, something we can’t fathom. End of days? Maybe. But for sure an evil beyond our ability to survive without trust in God for it.

We know we’re living in evil days and we know worse is coming, but this thing coming is beyond comprehension to even think. Trust in God is all that will get us through. Blind trust, that doesn’t have to see to have faith that believes God’s love and faithfulness, is the call of this hour. We cannot stand firm without it. We will fall. Proverbs 3:5-6 is vital to live out now.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5‬-‭8‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬; ‬‬‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5‬-‭8‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Today’s Prayer Continued: 11/12/22

Father, thank You for leading us to know that recognition of our great need of You in right and true relationship is our first act of worship. Thank You for reminding us of these things. I praise You that when we seek You wholeheartedly, You keep Your word to make Yourself evident to us and cause us to know You. Father, we — I desperately need You and Your wisdom in these days. We greatly need a fresh wind of Your great vision for us in this time in history. We need You in our every breath. Please breathe on us with the freshness of Your Spirit flow. We need You in our every footfall. Please show Yourself strong as You faithfully direct our steps to paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Make us fervent as Your house of prayer in these days. May we be found faithful at Your return. In Jesus, amen.

Morning Prayer: 11/12/22

Lord we need You. You are our first, most vital need and necessity whether or not we recognize our deep destitution apart from You. Please sweep across this nation bringing about a mighty spiritual awakening and great revival. Open our eyes to see You, our ears to hear You, our minds to know You, and our hearts to understand You and Your ways with believing faith. Make us to know our true need and our deepest shortfalls. Cause our hearts to turn to You through earnest repentance, truly seeking Your face. Remove our heart of stone and grant us a heart that is circumcised to You and pliable in Your hands. Forgive our great sin against You and, by Your faithfulness to Your word, heal this land. Restore our strength, renew our minds, and banish everything in us that is not of You. Then glorify Yourself, granting us godly leaders and making us a light of Your goodness, grace, and might in the earth. Until Jesus comes, we seek You with earnest expectation and hope in Your mercy made new every morning and Your unfailing love and compassion toward us who believe.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen!

God’s Light in Dark Days

I’m going through a series of devotional studies on days of darkness in life, encouraging trust in God, the knowledge that He uses such seasons to prepare us for the purpose He has for us to live out in the light. God does not take us through the deep, sunless valley without working His good will through it. I believe this season of grief in the passing of my husband from this life to the next is such a valley.

These days are filled with the grief of missing him. Giving away his clothes was hard, but it was easier than seeing them set, unused in his absence. We don’t believe in letting such needful things remain in closets and drawers, rotting, when others can get good use out of them, so giving them in his memory was a blessing in this darkness. It shined a light that helps me see the goodness of God in these days.

Reminders of Johnny are everywhere, making me smile and hurting my heart at the same time. I reach in the cabinet for a glass to find the set bought specifically for him, ones more narrow and sculpted in a way his arthritic hands could more easily grasp, and tears fill my eyes. The kids moved his chair across the room for me, because I kept looking over expecting to see him there. The heartache, eased when I see it, by this simple act of loving kindness from my kids, them being God’s light of love to me in these days.

The heartache of closing out the imprint of Johnny’s labors as he worked hard to leave me in good shape to carry on, is constant within me. Though I smile, I can only hope the Son-shine is visible, for there is no sunshine in this heartache.

Some days I feel overwhelmed and alone. But in the midst of the worst of such days, God lovingly reminds me, “Yes. Though I walk through the deep, sunless valley of the shadow of death, I fear or dread no evil for You are with me. Your rod -to protect – and Your staff – to guide, they comfort me.” And He is clearly guiding me as I deal with these financial issues. (Ps. 23:4, AMPC)

God shines His light on my next place of footfall as He uses lawyers and accountants to help me navigate the financial and property transfers. He reaches out through loving, praying friends who help bring some sunshine to my dark days. One went with me yesterday, helping me go to the clinic and tend to business there, something I was finding too hard to do on my own. Another friend called, helping gear my heart to areas of church family gatherings where I can plug in. She also asked if we can get together next week for a meal. She is an acquaintance I don’t know well, but I look forward to knowing her better. It helps when others reach out a leading, loving hand and say, “come”. It gives light in the midst of the darkness.

God is helping me: protectively leading and guiding me. I’m seeing His light peeking through the heavy cover of this deep, sunless valley, shining, ever beaconing me through the darkness, assuring me that the other side is drawing closer.

There will always be days when missing my sweet man will bring the shadow. But life abundant and full continues as I trust God to do His good work in and through me. Even in this darkness, God is faithful, who will also do it. (Ps. 37:5)

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭24‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Morning Prayer: 10/9/22

Let God’s Love Transform Lives

Father, thank You. You led me through a study on patience, the fruit born by Your Spirit in us and lived out through us in Christlikeness. That led to a deep study of love, for “love is patient.” Which led me to this devotional study aid. Love lets Your love transform lives: my own and those around me. Love is patient, trusting Your transforming power and the transformation process.

Love, a bookend flavor of Spirit fruit – it with self-control, holding all other fruit together; love for You first, then for all others as one should love self; love, out of which all other fruit flavors flow. Love patiently waits for Your transforming power to accomplish it’s purpose in those around us and in oneself.

Love is patient. And because it is patient, it chooses to forgive, not holding a grudge or tallying insults, but trusting and praying for Your transformation to be fully accomplished in self and in those we patiently love. Father, I pray to love as You love, not wishing any to perish, but all to come to repentance and be transformed.

Let Love – God is love – abound in me, producing patience that practices kindness; not being jealous or arrogant. Let Your love empower me to act becomingly; not seeking my own desire, nor being easily provoked, nor taking into account a tally of wrongs suffered, but rejoicing in righteousness and truth. Fill me with that love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, knowing that true, godly love never fails. This I pray in Jesus holy name, amen.

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-7‬‬‬

Choose Now

Choose Now

Trust God’s Plow

Past hurts, traumas, insults, bitterness, etc., harden us. We can let God deliver us and turn experience into a victory that ministers healing to others, or we can set in our hardened condition and use our past as excuse for being bitter, angry, hardened, untrusting, etc.. Our past can enslave us or we can walk free.

It may not be easy: bringing the ugly to the surface where it can be properly dealt with can hurt for a bit. It can take time as God works here a little, there a little to free us up. But the pain caused by the work of healing is better than sitting in our hardened state, becoming harder, and bringing others with us into a state of hard heartedness as we hurt them.

Matthew 13:18-23

Morning Prayer: 9/20/22

Father, thank You for teaching us that love is from You, through You, and for You; for You are love and You manifest Yourself through us. We cannot truly and fully love apart from You.

Thank You that You direct our paths. Thank You for the highlights in Your word today that point me to dig deep into the subject of loving as You love. Not counting searching through the scriptures for all I can find on the subject of love, You led me to 196 days worth of written daily studies to aid me in that journey. One hundred and ninty six plus days. That tells me that this focus on growth in this area is important to You. I will begin in 3-4 days time.

As I think about that, it dawns on me how this is a continuation of my study on patience, for love is necessary to one’s ability to practice patience in difficult circumstances.

One thing that grabbed my attention today is Psalm 41:1a, which says, “How blessed is He who considers the helpless…”. That grabbed me as I realized that none of us can truly do anything apart from You. We are all helpless apart from You. Yet I expect to love well and be loved well, forgetting that You are love, and You alone are good. Only You can make our love good, fulfilling its intent and purpose.

So why am I shocked by my own struggle when I try to do something in my own strength and fall short in my love walk, thus sinning against You. And why am I devastated when another person’s love actions toward me, done without thought of You, fall so very short. And if I am surrendered and filled with You – Your love, why would I give myself to feelings of insult toward any other helpless person. Shouldn’t I better understand their limitations? As Your word advises, “love covers a multitude of sin” (1 Peter 4:8).

Father, forgive me when I forget my need of You and fall short in my love toward others. I am helpless without You. Fill me with Your power filled love so that You may love through me. Empower me to love in Your name. This I pray in Jesus name, amen.

Morning Prayer: 9/18/22

Father, my heart’s cry and great desire is to live as if heaven matters, building up treasure there, being driven by eternity. Thank You that, through Christ, my flesh is crucified and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Empower me now to love You-Him in kind, knowing that, as one belonging to You, my flesh is crucified with its ungodly passions and desires. Fill me with Your Spirit so the fruit of Your nature is born forth in me. As I live by Your Spirit, may I be found faithful to walk by Your Spirit, giving You all glory and accomplishing Your purpose and plan for my life and living. By Your gace, make it so. In Jesus, amen.

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:13-26‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬; ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1-17‬ ‭AMPC‬‬