There is an Everyday Victory: Part II

Living in everyday victory is not about God performing miracles every time we get in a jam. It is about us taking authority over that which God has entrusted us.

I think of the years my husband and I struggled financially as we pursued careers. We never had enough money for this or that and we were either borrowing or making arrangements to pay this bill or that bill or simply living without. We were always praying for some miraculous deliverance. And often God came through in a great way. But eventually it was pretty clear that our struggle was not because God wasn’t churning out miracles fast enough, but it was indicative of deeper, more complicated problems. It was a house that was too much for us, there were financial situations that we’d gotten ourselves into years prior and were still paying the price. There were times that we moved too quickly, not consulting God on our move or simply ignoring that unction because we wanted what we wanted. Getting back into a place of financial peace meant reconciling some long standing, missteps and changing our way of thinking. We had to find out what the Word said about financial health. We had to know Him and the power of His truth about it.

 Renew Your Mind with the Word

We didn’t need another miracle, we needed a revelation. And that revelation came by renewing our minds with the Word of God. God wants us to live and walk and breathe in his revealed word. It is revealed to us as we walk with Him daily. It is revealed to us as we listen and give place to the Holy Spirit that lives on the inside of us so that we may hear him all the time.  Jesus came so that we could live in victory. And that, my friend, is the greatest miracle.

Think of it, when we set out on a new journey we carry a map or listen to our GPS, following it as we go along. It is only when we (as we humans do) get off track, take a wrong turn that we have to stop and get special directions and have our path clarified. That often means going back a mile or two or it may mean continuing on ahead. Or perhaps there was construction and we missed the detour. But we wouldn’t expect that we’d have to pull over every five miles to be redirected; perhaps we would occasionally but not all the time.

Our healing, our victory often has to be walked out step by step. It means conquering fears, speaking the Word. It means casting down thoughts and imaginations that are contrary to the Word. It means clinging and holding on to the truth as if our lives depended on it. It may mean making natural changes in our daily lives.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (2 Cor. 10:4)

But…I just… Can’t

So often our problems feel everlasting. It feels as though they will surely consume us. We want to hold up the white flag in surrender. It’s as if God has gone on a long journey and forgotten us. It feels as if God just isn’t going to come through this time—for whatever reason. He’s God, he just does that sometime, we think. But that would make him a liar. If he lies to you then that would make his entire Word one tall tale. And we know that is not true!

So you don’t feel like you have victory. I’ve been there. Many days I don’t feel anything. But we must regroup and command our feelings to line up with the truth. As we walk and meditate in this truth, our feelings will follow. Remember that our weapons cannot be seen with the natural eye. And the truth is our real enemy cannot be seen with the natural eye either. This battle is spiritual. God has equipped us with everything we need to live and walk in victory. Yeah, he loves us just that much. He wants you to live in victory more than you probably know.

Maybe your faith is tainted by unbelief. You want to believe. You just…don’t. Well, confess it (he already knows anyway). Now get back into that Word and stay in it until His truth is the only thing you believe and His face is all you see. His grace will carry you. He wants this for you real bad. But it is your choice to walk in it.

And whether our victory comes by miracle or a process with many ebbs and flow—we already know how this ends (yep spoiler alert)—we win. As long as you don’t give up, you win. You are the victor!

There is an Everyday Victory

There is an Everyday Victory

I love stories of miracles—narratives of spontaneous and sudden help. Miracles give us hope for change and remind us that there is a higher power behind our victories. We can’t argue with the results because we see the change right before us. Oh, the thrill they give us.

But, you may not believe in miracles or maybe you think that they were ‘a thing’ back in Jesus’ day but there’s no one around to perform them anymore.

I believe in miracles.

I’ve witnessed them. I know that the power of God is available to heal or change a situation in an instant. But there is something even greater. Greater you may ask? Yep. Greater.

Signs and Wonders

Jesus’ ministry was all about signs and wonders and miraculous healings and deliverances that sent that nation reeling. But they were just that—signs. And what are signs but an indication, that that which we seek after actually exists.

A few weeks ago when my daughter and I went downtown Nashville looking for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum there were so many surrounding buildings I found myself searching up and around trying to pin down this place to which we’d never been. Suddenly I looked to my right and stretched across the great stone wall leading to the entrance were the words: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I was there. The sign attached was not the museum but an indication of that very place. I didn’t have to ask anyone if that was the building. The sign was my indication. The miracles and healings Jesus perform were signs of who he was. For those that were uncertain the signs and wonders said—yes this is the Christ! This is the one the prophets spoke of. Look no further!

 

And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them,  so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. (Matt. 15:30-31, ESV)

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 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: (Matt. 11:3-4, ESV)

 

So what about now? Where are the miracles? Where are the signs to this present generation that this Christ’s power is yet in the earth?

Miracles are yet being performed. And certainly they are a great sign for those that don’t know him. But for those that know him there is another level of power because Christ lives within us. With this power we can walk in divine health and continuous victory every day. It is the power to speak to mountains in our lives, command them to move and watch them move. Just as he did. Yes, His power lives in us!

 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, (Ephes. 3:20)

Will Satan attack us? Yes. Absolutely. But the greater one lives in us and every day we walk out our faith with this knowledge. We war knowing that we are already victorious. Simply put God is asking us to live in faith and to walk it out day by day by taking authority over the power of the enemy.

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (Heb. 10:38)

He wants us to walk in divine health and victory. We do this by using our faith daily. If we are constantly living in sickness or disease and struggle and strife, we may want to examine our walk and our relationship with Christ. You see, we may love him. We may truly love him. But do we know Him and who we are in relationship to Him?

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (II Cor. 2:9-10)

Next week I will discuss more about this victory we have in Christ! But for now, know that His power is in you.

The Truth about an Unchangeable God

The Truth about an Unchangeable God

I get it. The world is in a constant state of transition–perpetual progression toward ultimate enlightenment, or something to that effect. The thing is, change is certain and we are expected to keep up or be left behind like some obsolete artifact.

And how blessed am I that I have a 14-year-old daughter who prides herself on being part of a generation that gets it? She constantly reminds me that she is not moved or shocked by the behavior of popular culture. It’s just the way it is, she says in one breath. And in the next she adds, You need to keep up. Quietly I mumble that I don’t want to keep up. You see I realize that there are things I don’t need to know or be subjected to because I am grounded in the truth that I possess.  I am open to change but not if it is contrary to truth. God is truth. He doesn’t change. Oh, there are many that would disagree with that statement. There are others that wish he would change. But they really don’t want that.

 Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. (Lam. 3:23)

He is perfect. What else could he be? We, on the other hand are subject to external sources and soulish desires. What is good to us today may be detestable to us tomorrow. But we can depend on God to be all that he is today and forever. He doesn’t bend or move or sway with popular culture or changing world views. They will transition forward and back again. He is not shaken by the times. He created time. But His unchangeable nature makes our changes less scary. We don’t have to fear the future or be shattered by tragedy or hard times or calamity. He is our anchor and solid rock. When we are shaken we remember that we are grounded in Him and we become stable. He is our source of truth in a world where truth is unreliable and questionable. And in our moments of confusion we can look to him to reassure us of where we should stand.

It is because of He is unchangeable that we know we will be O.K. We will make it. We will be victorious. We will see the end of our faith. He has promised that to us. And that will not change.

 

Your Christian Walk: a habit a hobby or a lifestyle

My boss has Celiac disease, which causes a serious allergic reaction to gluten. The body reacts in such a way that it rejects the ingestion of this protein with an angry vengeance. The thing is gluten is such an intricate part of the American diet he often struggles when eating out, which, is more often than not because he travels a lot as part of his job. His dietary lifestyle is so drastically different from the rest of the team we center our team lunches and outings around where he can get a decent gluten-free meal. I often think of what a pain this must be. I mean, he can’t have too many spontaneous food outings or even enjoy a good old fashioned potluck.

I think about how set apart his lifestyle is. I’m reminded that as Christians we are called to be set apart as well. (I Pet. 2:9) We are chosen by God, set aside for his purpose. Yes, we are called to be different. Our lives do not represent the status quo. But too often they do. Too often our Christians walk is not a reflection of what we say we believe. We ascribe to Christian ideals—goodness and kindness and such but our lifestyle plays out in a manner that is flexible and changeable depending on what is going on around us.

 

Is your Christian Walk more of a hobby?

My husband and I like to bike ride. We hit the trails with our mountain bikes when we can but not nearly often enough. In fact although we’ve had the bikes for a couple of years they still have a beautiful glossy finish which gleams as we ride. But we don’t sweat it too much. We’ll ride when we get to it. Those bikes have a cozy spot in the garage.

When our Christian walk is more of a hobby we practice it when we get to it. If we are plunged into a midst of a crisis he suddenly hears our fervent and desperate prayers. Or, there we are at church walking with heads up clutching our bibles while averting the stares of parishioners that give us that “what are you doing here?” stare. And our Bibles are certainly accessible if we need to reference them. But we hardly ever do. After all, they are the same old stories we heard as a kid. Besides, the good Word we hear on the Sundays we visit church is usually enough. No one would mistaken us for anything but a Christian—that’s pretty darn certain. Right?

Is your Christian Walk more of a habit?

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Good habits provide structure and expectation. They make us more predictable and create a definable cadence to our lives. We love to say that we have good habits. Habits may be based on some strong belief system or simply the way we’ve always done things. Going to church may be a habit. It’s a good idea to hear a good, inspiring message to get us through the week. When our Christian walk is a habit we “do” Christian things more often than not and no one would mistake us for anything more than a Christian—and that’s almost a solid fact.

Is your Christian Walk a Lifestyle?

The Bible says that if you are a part of Christ you are a new creature. The old you is gone and there’s a new you. A lifestyle change is broad and far-reaching. You take great means to protect it and nurture it because it is your life.

When your walk is your lifestyle your relationship with Christ becomes more intimate. It is one that is personal and necessary as you seek to please and honor the one that has given life to you. You sacrifice and give up things that were once dear to you but are no longer, because they are an offence to the one with whom you share this relationship.

You shy away from relationships that dishonor Christ. Your lifestyle is changing not in one area but in all.

My boss’s kitchen is quite different from mine—filled with rice and oat flours, Xanthan gum and such. He makes no apologies for the great pangs he takes in selecting restaurants. He never complains. It is his way of life. He protects his health. He doesn’t risk it to appease our group or anyone else because in the end he is the one that would suffer.

A Christian lifestyle is not always convenient for the ones around us. Some may be offended by the way we live. They may find it tediously annoying to witness the careful way we choose to always honor something or someone we cannot see but claim to know.

Are our lives perfectly coiffed? Absolutely not. But as we walk daily he guides us.

With this lifestyle we are more prepared for the obstacles that will surely come our way. Prayer is not awkward monologue as we reach out to a strange, distant bigger than life force. It is dialogue between us and our Creator—it is private, personal and comforting because we know that he hears us. When tempest threaten our peace of mind we may not know what to do but we certainly have access to the One who does. When it is a lifestyle our mental breakdowns lessen. This is not to say that fear won’t creep in but our path is straight and our steps are assured.

Why you don’t receive your heart’s desires

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4, ESV).

 The cliché declares the heart wants what it wants. It enforces the belief that we have these heart-felt desires of which we cannot control. We roll with this as if our heart is apart from the rest of our being—a separate vessel that we must submit to regardless of whether we want to or not. The heart wants what it wants. We are often told to follow our heart as if the truth of every issue of life flows from it. We can depend on it to guide us everlasting peace. These beliefs are both true and untrue. Allow me to explain.

The unregenerate heart

We are born with an unregenerate heart which simply means that it has not been changed by the power of God. It is the heart connected to our sinful nature. It is the heart of which Jeremiah spoke of when he said, “The heart is desperately wicked.” The unregenerate heart does not and cannot submit to God. If you don’t know God as savior it is possible to diligently follow your heart and be completely, perfectly and utterly wrong. If we don’t have the spirit of God ruling our hearts—which is given to us when we are born again—we will not be obedient to God. And even with all of our good intentions we will follow our fleshly, natural desires, never coming close to pleasing God.

“…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8)

Our hearts are submissive to the world view. We react to what is going on around us, pressed on every side to fit in with what is normal or seemingly necessary. Our desires and wants for our children and families become a reflection of what the world deems right and necessary—the way spend our money and time, our view of political and social issues, the way we love and seek to be loved. We become the walking billboard of the self-absorbed and progressive view of the world in which we live, rolling with the order just to keep up.

When we seek God with this heart it is not a reflection of his will but our own. God allows us to choose, of course, but it doesn’t mean he will be a participant or an approver in our wrong choices, even when our hearts are hungry for it.

Shining the Light on our Desires

But you say, what about us who are born again? What about those who desperately want to please God? God speaks to our spirit and in our innermost man we know what God knows. But even as born again believers our soul is often bent towards the world’s belief. If our desires don’t fall in line with the Word of God, they can be just as undesirable as that of someone who is not walking with God. Even as Christians we often absorb what we see, feel, and experience, and live out of this fleshly nature. We become prone to the same desires as the world, seeking to satisfy a longing that can only satisfied by a true and intimate relationship with God.

How do we change our heart’s desire?

We change by renewing our mind with the word of God. We find out God’s take on things and line our thinking up with his way—even if we feel something differently. We remember that he knows best.

It’s funny, but looking back at my life only five years ago it’s amazing how my desires changed as I sought a closer relationship with God. For so long, I was bent on a plan that I thought suited me. When I reexamined many of my desires they sought to look the part of someone I thought I needed to be. Many of them were prideful and self-serving based on deep-rooted insecurities and fears.

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

When we seek intimacy with God and truly set out to know and do his will not only will our desires change but we will begin to receive what we ask for because we are in alignment with His purpose and plan for our lives. His desires become our desires and his plan becomes plain.