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!

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Why Ignorance isn’t Bliss

Why Ignorance isn’t Bliss

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Is. 54:10, NIV)

I like a story that is so intriguing that it keeps you in the moment. It’s that story that can’t be easily broken by way of predictable plot twists and tired story lines. But it enraptures you and the writer leads you down the unknown path. It is those times that you trust the story, trust wherever it is headed. You are willing to follow.

We can’t live in those moments in real life which is why we look forward to them when we are allowed to escape reality.

mountain3

In the real world we are expected to face the truth about tragedy and disaster, dishonesty and impending doom, responsibilities and change. We are expected to talk election, figure out the best candidate and make the right choice. We count on each other to make the proper decisions based on what we know. And many times it is too much. The burden weighs on us, sapping our energy and spirit, leaving us jaded, confused and looking for a way out. We turn to ways to open the preverbal door of altered reality—and it comes in many forms.

It sometimes escapes us that there is a God who cares and who has purposely not equipped us to carry such weight. The doom we fear is to be averted. It is through prayer and relationship that we find peace and direction on what to do when we don’t know what to do. When we forget the source of our hope we forsake our solid foundation, our guiding light, our eternal beacon. We can live blissfully, not because we live in ignorance, but because of what we do know.

What do we do while we’re waiting for Change?

What do we do while we’re waiting for Change?

Waiting sometimes feels like wandering in darkness—seeking the light. We’ve prayed about change we feel it on the horizon and then…and then…nothing. It’s like God put up the preverbal finger and said, “Wait here, I’ll be with you in a moment.” What do we do while we are waiting on change?

 

don't grow weary

Be diligent and faithful in your present situation. Sometimes we become frustrated during those periods of quietness. In our restlessness we complain, withdraw our integrity, become weary and convince ourselves we will do better when something better comes along.

 

Walking in the darkness

We forget that God says”… Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, (HCSB-Col. 3:23). And that doesn’t just mean working like a boss at that dream job, but it means bringing that same enthusiasm to that ‘dead-end’ job, to that place of work where you feel undervalued, underappreciated; it is bringing it 100 percent to that job that you absolutely detest. When God has us in a holding place it is the perfect place—for now—withdrawing our diligence can delay our progress. When we become unfaithful, it dishonors God and makes waiting difficult, if not impossible.

Remember the last thing God instructed you to do and do it

We are always looking for something new—a fresh idea, a new venture—it gives off the sensation that life is moving, and progressing. But often new is not what we need. We need to pick up where we left off.

Do you remember when you got bored and uncomfortable with the path He’d placed you on and you decided you’d try something else? You were sick of hearing about the success and progress of others—new positions, promotions and acquisitions; there were the constant invites to friends’ and family members’  grand openings, baby showers and weddings and then of course there were the Facebook posts and Instagram pics. You thought I’ve got to be doing something wrong.  I must have missed it.

You walked away from it–quietly step away and into something more intense, interesting, easier, faster, and less humiliating–something that promised quick success only…it didn’t bring much of anything except a different spin on your ongoing frustration.

It is during times like these that God is testing a couple of things:

  • Obedience to Him
  • Trusting Him in what He has assigned you to do

Remember it was about 15 years between the time Samuel anointed young David as king and the time he finally begin to reign over the tribe of Judah. Preparation takes time and if your heart isn’t ready you aren’t ready.

Remember the last thing God told you to do. Are you doing it? Are you doing it with integrity? Well, keep doing it. He knows exactly where you are.

Stop Complaining

Complaining sabotages everything for which we work. Again, we read in the Word, “Do all things without murmuring and disputing.” (KJV 2000 Phil. 2:14) Complaining produces energy that is counterproductive to the results we want. It’s like putting bad gasoline in your car. It’s not going to perform as it should no matter how hard you press on the gas pedal.

Believe it or not complaining gives off negative energy and draws to us the exact opposite of what we want. Contrary to what we have heard expecting the worse in hopes we’ll get the opposite doesn’t work. The Word also tells us whatever we sow we reap. It we are constantly speaking negativity guess what we’ll get in return? Speak what you want and what He has promised you. Fill the atmosphere with positive words. Declare what God’s Word says about what you’re going through—and his Word always affirms His goodness.

Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing. The only one that can keep you from getting to there is you. Pressures may come but God has provided everything you need to make it. Take hold of the tools and resources. Renew your inner man daily. But whatever the cost, don’t give up.

Trust God. We trust that he has heard our prayers and that he cannot and will not forget or forsake us. It is His word. It does not change. When the world around us seems uncertain, His help and His presence are certain. You can count on it.