When The Enemy Lies

Your know those times when the world is falling apart and everything you do is wrong? You feel like the stupidest person on earth and nothing anyone says helps you in the least. Guess whose game plan that is! Hint, it’s not God’s. Satan’s plan is to kill, steal, and destroy. That means that he will use every device to pull you down, if not physically, then emotionally. The enemy lies.

Granted, we have to admit that we are not perfect, but doesn’t mean that every evil thought that runs though our head, especially when we are stressed, it true. Whether is comes, from your own thoughts, the news, or someone you know, lies will try to take you down; lies that are completely false and destructive.

So what do you do? First, you have to recognize them. Jesus said,  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) He also said, ” My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) That means that you need to learn to hear His voice and you do that through reading the Word and prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Ask Him to help you hear His voice. He wants more than anything to be in communion with you, like any loving parent would. Spend as much time as you can learning to hear Him. He will be surprisingly responsive to encourage you to come closer. Do it! It’s awesome.

After you know that you are hearing God, knowing what is true becomes easier. All you have to do is ask. Even so, when we are under pressure, or have to deal with serious difficulties, it’s not always easy to realize that the enemy is at work. That’s why having a habit of spending time with Jesus is important, especially in the hard times. He will help clear your mind and keep you centered so you can see what is true and what is a lie.

And when you recognize a lie, all you have to do is rebuke it. Rebuke the lies of the enemy and claim the truth of God for your life. Thank God for His goodness and faithfulness and ask Him to lead you in all righteousness. He gave us authority over all the works of the enemy. We don’t have to put up with lies that tear us down. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matt 10:16) Don’t fall for the lies. You are amazing.

Join ISIS, Become Great

ISIS has a Join ISIS Become Greatlot to offer a young man looking to find his way in life — a chance to be part of something big, something powerful and growing, something with tremendous impact. It offers brotherhood and camaraderie. It offers a way to become great.

But ISIS is not the only way to find those things. You don’t have to kill people to become great. You don’t have to kill people to be part of something powerful. You don’t have to kill people to belong to something big.

Most people joining ISIS don’t even understand the religious aspect of what ISIS stands for. God seems to be behind the ones with the guns and bombs and the ruthlessness to use them. My guess is that most people don’t want to kill, they want to matter. For those who want to make a difference without violence, there’s another way.

Looking for greatness in God is not entirely incorrect, just misguided in who to believe. Before joining ISIS, look to Jesus. See what He says. See what He has to offer. When we become believers of His grace, we become sons and daughters of the King of Kings, royal heirs. The God of the universe becomes our amazing Father. The life that Jesus lived on earth is a model for us to live today. Everything He did, we have the ability to do. Can ISIS raise the dead? Can ISIS heal cancer? Can ISIS restore broken lives and relationships? Does ISIS provide love, joy, peace, and kindness?

Carrying a gun does not make you great. Living the life you were meant to live with all your gifts and talents leads you into the greatness of God. Anything else will always bring pain and loneliness. Jesus can make your life matter in ways you can’t even imagine. I’m not promising that life will be easy. There is still evil in the world to contend with, but Jesus will always make a way. He will always be there when you need Him. He will be everything that you need Him to be.

All you have to do is ask Him into your life. It’s that simple. He hears you and He knows you. When you pray, you will hear His voice in your heart. Learn to trust Him, He knows how to take care of you. If you have questions, let me know. People care about you. You’re not alone.

What Is Faith?

Faith is believing, not knowing.Everyone feels little confident that they know what faith is. Intellectually, we understand that faith is trust. I’m going to talk about what it is to trust in God. For most of my life, I agreed with what just about everyone else believes, that faith is trust. I believed in God and counted that as faith. I prayed. I believed that God would, and should, answer my prayers because I trusted that He would. Did He? Not as often as I wanted.  Why? Because I didn’t actually have faith.

My knowledge of God was not the same thing as trusting Him. My knowledge of a political party does not make me an active participant in that party. I have to believe their core values and act on them. It was a shocking burst of reality when I discovered that all my years of “believing” only amounted to years of “knowing.” When my faith called me to believe, I had a meltdown.

Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb 11:1) That’s the tricky part — we don’t like having to trust in something we can’t see. Yet, that’s exactly what God wants from us. That’s what faith is all about. It means that you will trust and not worry. Will the money come in? Trust and not worry. Will your son be ok in the military? Trust and not worry.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Heb 11:6)  It starts with believing that God exists. When we know that, we have to understand His nature. If we seek Him, because we want to find Him, He rewards us with what we need and blesses us even above that. Once we understand who He is, trusting Him gets easy. Read His Word and see just how generous and kind He is.

Here’s my challenge to you: check your heart and judge if you think you have faith, or you know you have faith. The way to determine that is checking your worry meter. If you worry at all, then faith is absent. If you turn to God and believe that He will do what He’s promised to do, then faith is active. Try it. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been worrying. Repent. Ask God to forgive you and ask Him for more faith to trust Him. Then try it out. See how far it takes you. We grow from faith to faith, always trusting Him more. If worry sneaks in because it’s been a habit, repent, ask for forgiveness, and move on.

Faith will save your life if you allow it. It is definitely God’s plan for you.

How Is It Possible To Be Friends With God?

 

I am friends with GodIf you have ever had the privilege of standing on a hillside away from city lights at night and looked at the expanse of stars in the sky, you know the wonder of our God. The massiveness of His creation and the beauty of it all should open your heart to want to know Him more. What is astonishing is that He wants to know us even more. But how can that be? How can the God of creation not know me?

That is the wonder of our relationship with Him. From the very beginning, before the first star was released to the vast expanse of space, God wanted to know me. He knew my name, He knew my heart’s desires, and He knew my weaknesses before a single atom was made. He knew who I would be, but He wanted to know my heart as I revealed it to Him. He wanted to be my Friend.

This is a concept almost too deep to bear. How can I be friends with God? How can I approach Him without fear and trembling? Well, He is God and He knew our fear so He revealed His great love for us through His prophets and through His Son. When we understand and establish in our hearts that God loves us more than we can comprehend, we can respond back with our human love. It is smaller and more fickle than His love for us, but it is where we start.

In that love that we feel from Him and for Him, we become friends. There is a comfort and boldness to go to Him without trembling. We can know Him as Papa and run to Him in joy. When we sit in the quiet place to listen to Him, He also listens to us. He wants us to pour our hearts out to Him. He wants us to tell Him about all the loss and pain that happens in life. If we don’t tell Him, then we hold it in and it hurts us. When we talk to Papa, we release it to Him and there is room for healing and joy.

And after we let go of our hurts, Papa crooks His finger at us to follow Him. There is more that He wants us to have. There are treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places to find. He lays out a treasure hunt in the heavenlies and invites us in to scamper and find His delights. Yes, it sounds fanciful, and yes it is real. After every delight, He crooks His finger again and draws us deeper. There is no limit to the wonder of knowing Him. The only limits are those we allow. We stop when others stop. We stop when we think others will judge us or not understand. God is waiting for those who will press in to know Him more.

He wants to know us. He wants us to know Him, and there are no boundaries in that knowing, only further possibilities. The more we reveal our heart to God and not hold back because we are embarrassed of our selfishness or greed, the more He can replace those harmful attitudes with His goodness, and His goodness reveals more of Him to discover. Our friendship with God is the reason for all creation. He is my Friend and I am His.

How To Receive Blessing

Being blessed by GodThe blessings of God belong to us.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Eph 1:3) These are real promises. Every spiritual blessing  is ours.  What does that look like? Look at the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Gal 5:22-23) Does any of that look like anything you’d like to have in your life? What about physical blessing? Jesus said: Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. (Mat 6:25) That means that God will provide all that you need in life!

Does it start to look like God wants to bless you in just about every way possible? So, if He’s so willing to give it, why don’t you have it?

One reason is because you may not think you deserve it. We’ve been trained to earn what we get. We think that if we behave ourselves, we’ll be rewarded. When we screw up, we feel guilty and don’t feel like we deserve any reward, and that blocks what God wants to do. And, as it turns out, we’re human, so we screw up all the time — so we never feel like we ever deserve blessing.

But here’s the thing, God knows we’re human. He’s known that all along, and He’s not bothered by it. In fact, Jesus died for us knowing just how human we were, and loved us the whole time. We can’t earn His blessing. He gives it freely, knowing who we are. There’s no way to be perfect, so get over it. When you mess up, repent. Give it to Jesus and let it go. Guilt, condemnation, and fear will block all the goodness that God wants to put into your life. Confessing your sins and continuing to feel guilty is not His plan. You have to know that you are forgiven when you repent.

Now ask God to bless you. That’s perfectly ok to do. He wants to do it. Say, “Father, I receive all the blessings that you are giving me.” Now watch what happens in your life. When you see blessing begin to come to you, thank Him. Be grateful, then ask for more. That’s ok, too. There’s no limit to how much blessing you can have. It’s all yours. More than you could possibly hold onto. In fact, you may have to ask Him to hold back at some point so you can take it all in.

Blessing is a by-product of living in a loving relationship with God. Once you get over feeling like you have to earn it, you can live with the grace of God on you that your spirit hungers for. Love, peace, and joy are yours. Provision to meet your needs are yours. God wants to take complete care of you. All you have to do is let Him.