April 23, 2017

Jesus Loves Me

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I was lost
I was in chains
The world had a hold of me

My heart was a stone
I was covered in shame
When He came for me

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

Jesus, He loves me, He loves me, He is for me
Jesus, how can it be, He loves me, He is for me

And it was a fire
Deep in my soul
I’ll never be the same

I stepped out of the dark
And into the light
When He called my name

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

He holds the stars and He holds my heart
With healing hands that bear the scars
The rugged cross where He died for me
My only hope, my everything

Singer/Songwriter: Chris Tomlin along with Reuben Morgan, Ben Glover

*  ~  ♥  ~ ✞ ~  ♥  ~  *

Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by it’s name.
Because of His great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.
Isaiah 40:26

Don’t you love reading such amazing verses about our Creator?  I know I do.  And you have to think—if He cares that much for the stars and their names—how much more does He love and care about you?  As you listen to this song, I want you to just sit and soak in all His love for you.  Try to name all the ways He has shown you this past week and write them in a notebook.  The Creator of this world is totally in love with you!

There is nothing that you can do to make Him love you any more or any less than He already does.  He even sent Jesus His Son to this earth, to go before us and to suffer and die for us.  He allowed His only Son to go through a lot of hard on this earth, to experience the loss and suffering, the hurts and trials that we would go through after Him.  He paved the way for us.  He wants the best things for you.  He doesn’t want you to settle on a life where you are striving and trudging along to the next event. He wants you to have an abundant life—full of Him and full of joy!

This world can get a hold on you if you aren’t intentional about living for Jesus. Romans 12:2 says,”Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good,pleasing and perfect will.”  It would be so easy to throw in the towel and just live like the rest of the world.  How many hard things are we allowed to go through in order to bring Him glory?

Is this you today?  Have you been in a valley for so long that you forgot what a mountain looks like?  I want to tell you that He sees you and He has not forgotten you. Whether you need freedom from a stronghold or you need financial provision…. Whether or you are waiting on God to heal a loved one or yourself, have courage and faith!  He has overcome this world!

I have told you these things, so that you may have peace in Me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 16:22

* ~ ♥ ~ ✞ ~ ♥ ~ *
Let us pray:  Dear God, You are almighty and trustworthy.  You love us so much and You give us grace and mercy so freely.  You are our Stronghold and our Portion forever.  We praise Your Name.  Thank You for sending Jesus to die in our place.  We have a place to lay all our sorrows and troubles…at the foot of the Cross.  Lord, I pray for all who need You today and don’t know You.  Or maybe they have just moved away.  Help us, Your people, to be the light and the hope that they need to come to You.   We love You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

My Crazy Diet and Views of Exercise

crackers

Ok, we have all done it..thought some ridiculous diet would help us lose weight and KEEP IT OFF or had crazy ideas about how we should exercise.  I am not sure where these crazy ideas come from or why they become ingrained in our brains, but it seems during each stage of life there is a new way of thinking about how weight loss and getting fit should be done.  We have all fallen subject to them.  I have had my own crazy diet and views of exercise over the past 25 years.

Starving Myself
My earliest memory of these, unknown to my mother, was in the 10th grade. After gaining quite a bit of weight one summer while moving to a new town, I thought the only way to lose weight was to restrict my calories. My mother sent me off to school with lunch money only to spend it on a pack of crackers and a diet coke from the vending machine, all equaling about 150 calories of nothing nutritious.

I later recall hearing and feeling my stomach growl continuously while practicing piano in the afternoon and staring at the clock wondering when we would eat dinner. Of course my mother was so proud that I inhaled everything that was on the table and saved no leftover’s…but I was famished!

What I Thought About Exercise
As a Kinesiology major in college I taught “aerobics” (as it was called back then). But my one fitness ambition was to be a runner. It did not come easy for me, but I was determined to accomplish it.  I remember attempting to go for a run the fall before turning 21 years old and thinking, “If I don’t condition myself to run a whole mile straight before my birthday, I will never get it. I will be getting too old.” Ha!  (Did you laugh out loud reading that as I did?)  How crazy was it to think I would never be able to get in shape at an “older” age.  Today, at age 42 I think I could run circles around that young 21 year old girl.

college step  me running

 

 

 

My Point
To truly learn how to have a healthy lifestyle, we have to develop a healthy mindset.  Romans 12:2 says,

Do not conform to the things of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your MIND so that the perfect will of God may be done.

When we start my praying for God to transform our mind, we may have a new view of how we should eat and exercise to take care of them body He has given us.  And perhaps learn what good nutrition is and break the perceptions we have of exercise and view of self.

With the right mindset and healthy way of living, I am happy to say I no longer follow a crazy diet and view of exercise.  I am curious: what is the craziest thing you have ever done and how have things changed for you?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

In Good Health,

Crystal

CHRISTLife — FORTY: Embracing A Glorious Future

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What an opportunity, privilege, and awakening we have experienced in the last 39 days of this study.  We have been made aware again, or perhaps for the first time, that God created us because He loves us.  He created us on purpose to have a relationship and fellowship with Him.  We didn’t come crawling out of some swampland.  We came out of His heart.

We discovered that the ideal mirror to look into is not our bathroom mirror but the mirror of God’s Word, which is His Truth and His Love.  It is the “reliable, unchangeable grounds for accepting ourselves.” (Ruth Myers)

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1

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Yes, we each came into this study with images of ourselves influenced by our past; many of those were negative experiences, failures, and hurts.  But God chose this time, this study, and each of us to destroy those images and replace them with His image of us from His Word, transforming our minds to line up with His mind.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern  of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2

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For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

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Through this study we have begun to recognize and accept God’s description of us, His followers.  We “have chosen the way of Truth” (Psalm 119:30, NKJV).  I flipped back through the book, CHRISTLife, and was blessed to read again what God calls us:

created, child of God, daughter, called, chosen, loved, saved, sanctified, desired, beloved’s, bride, quilt-free, blessed, clean, redeemed, forgiven, righteous, purified, justified, alive, alert, new, holy, victorious, obedient, Christ-like, delivered, united, fruitful, transformed, temple, priest(ess), filled, complete, receiver, empowered, strong, enlightened, belong, accepted, approved, friend, citizen, servant, worshiper, worthy, delighted in, favored, honored, royal, nurtured, satisfied, secure, treasured, competent, beautiful, bold, confident, overcomer, anointed, purposeful, witness…and more!

Wow!  After reading those I’m breaking out into a little song and dance—what about you!?  Those affirmations fill me with hope, and confidence for now and for my future. As Ruth Myers said, “In God’s unlimited view, He sees our increasing glory as His Spirit transforms us into finished works of art.”

…Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

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Ladies, these “works of art” (us!) weren’t created to hang on some museum wall and gather dust.  We weren’t even created to walk this dusty earth forever.  Oh no, God has created us for purpose: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Our hope will be complete when we meet Jesus face to face (Isaiah 33:17).   Our future will be for all eternity, worshiping and serving in the presence of our King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 1:5-6).

Time after time in the Scriptures, God shares His desire and plan for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  Here are just a few passages for you to look up as you study today:

John 3:14-17, 17:2-3
Psalm 16:11
Romans 6:22-23
1 Timothy 6:12
Titus 1:2, 3:4-7
1 John 1:2, 2:25
Jude 1:21
Revelation 3:5

Ecclesiastes 3:11 even tells us that He has set eternity in the hearts of men, even though we can’t fathom everything He has done for us.  God loves us, God has chosen us, God planned from before time began for us to spend eternity with Him.  That desire is in His heart, and He placed it in our hearts—and Jesus went to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-4).

If you have given your heart to Jesus, then you have everything you need to spend a glorious future in the very presence of our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It’s time to embrace your true and deepest identity, for “God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).   “I AM Who God Says I Am!”

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

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Dear Lord, we have completed the study of this book, but I pray that we never stop studying from Your Book what You have to say to us and about us.  Thank You for loving us and choosing us to be Your children so that we can spend both here and in Heaven a glorious future with You.  I pray that You, the God of peace, will sanctify each lady in this study through and through.  May their whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.   The One who “…calls each of us is faithful, and He will do it”(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

CHRISTLife — Twenty: Alive With His Life

cl alive with his life

When you were born again in Christ, did you sense that your innermost being was passing from death into life?  Ephesians 2:1 and 2 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air.  But….”  (read on, dear sister!)

But God—so rich is He in His mercy!
Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful
and intense love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead (slain)
by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses,
He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ;
[He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life
with which He quickened Him, for]
it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve)
that you are saved (delivered from judgment
and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).
Ephesians 2:4 and 5 AMP

To satisfy His intense love for us, God through Christ made us alive in union with Him.  He gave us the same life He gave Jesus Christ so we could be saved!  Oh, what mercy and grace!

Alive” what does that mean to you?  To get a good perspective, I looked up the definition of “alive.”  Some definitions that struck me were—’not just living but alert…active…vital…and energetic’.  Romans 6:11 NLT, “So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive [alert, TLB] to God through Christ Jesus.

Then I found this quote from Adolf Deissman, a professor of theology in two major universities in Germany from 1897 to 1935.

“Just as all men live in the air, and cannot live without air,
so the Christian lives in Christ…To be in Christ is to live a life
in which Christ is the atmosphere which we breathe.”

Christ is the very atmosphere in which I “live and move and have my being” (Acts 17:28 NIV).  As Michael W. Smith’s song, “Breathe” states,

I’m desperate for You, I’m lost without You. You are the very air I breathe!

This union with Christ has given us full access to “the life-giving God” (1 Timothy 6:13 Message). Even Jesus refers over and over to God as His/our source of life:

…I (Jesus) live because of the Father…
John 6:57

For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself.
John 5:26

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.
Luke 20:38

John 17:20-26 records Jesus’ prayer for all future people who would become believers (that includes us).

I pray also for those who will believe in Me
through their (the disciples’) message,
that all of them may be one, Father,
just as You are in Me and I am in You.
May they also be in Us
so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.
I have given them the glory that You gave Me,
that they may be one as We are one—
I in them and You in Me—
so that they may be brought to complete unity.
Then the world will know that You sent Me
and have loved them even as You have loved Me.

Do you see that, ladies?  Jesus asked His Father to spiritually unite us as He and the Father are united.  The only way that is possible is for each of us to have the same Spirit—“I in them and You in Me.”  Our spiritual aliveness is from the life of Jesus Christ Himself, “The very Source, the Author of life” (Acts 3:15 AMP), and our unity is because of that oneness in Christ.

When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He was determined that we would remain in Him—to be alive, alert, vital, and active—so He gave us the wonderful gift of His Holy Spirit to help us.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you
another Advocate, who will never leave you.
He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth…
you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.
John 14:16-17 NLT

It is the Spirit who gives life…
John 6:63 NASB

How do we continue to grow in this aliveness?  We need to renew our minds (Romans 12:2 KJV).  We do that by daily feeding on “The True Bread of God… anyone who feeds on Me will live because of Me” John 6:33 and 57 NLT.  This is Jesus’ promise to us.  The world would like us to think that if we satisfy our own cravings and lust that we will really live.  Oh, they are so misled (1 John 2:15-17)!  Those things will never satisfy the hunger that was placed in us when we were created.  It can only be satisfied by Christ, Himself.

I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”
John 14:6

…the man/woman who does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:17

As I learn and grow by spending time in His Word, I know Christ better.  As I know Him better, I fall more in love with Him.  In that love, I am alive, alert, active, and vital for Him.

“You are the God who preserves alive all living things (1 Timothy 6:13 AMP).
I acknowledge that all of my life—physical and spiritual—
is in Your hands and under Your control.”
—Ruth Myers, page 87

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Dear Lord, thank You for desiring us to be alive in You.  We are desperate for more of You.  You ARE the very air we breathe.  Help us to renew our minds and satisfy our hunger by feeding on Your Word daily.  Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who sustains, comforts, and guides us in our aliveness in You.  In the Name of our Living Lord, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.

 

CHRISTLife—Five: Acknowledging Wrong Images

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Wouldn’t we all like to pretend that there are no negative and unhealthy images of ourselves hidden in our hearts and minds!?  But the fact is that there probably, almost assuredly, are.  I would prefer if the bad self-images would run off like water on a duck’s back, and the good self-images would be like water on a sponge, which soaks into the core of the sponge and still remains visible on the outside.  Former experiences and people from our past all have an effect on us, whether good or bad.

Our emotional reactions to situations are often “clues to negative images of ourselves” due to past experiences, whether we remember those experiences or not. They influence our attitudes and behaviors.  2 Corinthians 13:5 (AMP) tells us to: “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves….”  To better understand ourselves and our “inner identity album,” we need to examine our viewpoints and beliefs.  They have been formed either from previous bad experiences or from good experiences. We need to separate the bad from the good so we can get rid of the wrong images that distort the truth.

An example might be that as a child in school your teacher gave you a hard time because you were left-handed, you wore hand-me-down clothes, and/or you couldn’t see the blackboard from your seat.  That experience might have distorted your view of those in authority.  It might also have caused a negative self-image to grow in you that has led you to believe you aren’t good enough and you can’t do anything right for those in authority over you.  Your emotional reaction might be to withdraw or to be defensive.  Ruth Myers says this, “We need to become more objective in our viewpoints and beliefs. We must learn not to color the facts with our misguided conclusions and opinions” (pg. 23).

Do you ever hear yourself say, “If only…?” Yes, I know I have said that at times and I’m sure you have too. When those negative, unrealistic “If only….” thoughts come into your mind and even on your lips, you (and I) need to begin to replace them with reality and God’s Word.

“If only my situation would change…”
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

“If only I hadn’t committed that sin in my past…”
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

“If only my parents had been better examples…”
…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Romans 12:2

Recently I saw the movie, “The Guardians” for the first time.  Although just a whimsical, fictional story (of which I will probably forget most of it in short order), there was one line that popped out at me.  Jack Frost asks, “How can I know who I am, before I know who I was?

Obviously, I am contemplating this question from the perspective of this study as well as God’s Word.  Check out Psalm 139.  Here are just a few verses in response to that question:

O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me…
You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion…Every day of my life was recorded in Your Book…
How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.

We are His!

In Jeremiah 31:3, God tells us, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love; with unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.”  Because He loves us so, He wants to help us.  Let’s not waste time wishing the past had never happened.  We have today, and we have God’s Word.  Let’s take on the privilege, the responsibility, the hard work, and the joy of rejecting all the unrealistic and false images in our “inner identity albums.”   With God’s help, let’s replace the lies with truth—His Truth.  How freeing and uplifting that will be when we aren’t carrying around the burden of those lies anymore.  Then, too, our negative reactions will be replaced with responses that bless and glorify Him.

I want to encourage you to go back to chapter 5, page 25, and read again the Scripture references and answer the questions in light of God’s love for you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends You,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalms 139:23-24

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Dear Lord, thank You for this first week of our study. Already, You are revealing to each of us wrong images from our past that still produce negative emotions. We thank You that Your Word is The Truth. As we study together, help us break down the negative past and rebuild our lives based on the truth that is Your Word. ‘I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath’ (Psalms 116:1-2). In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

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Girls with Swords: Chapter 10 Weekly Review – “Sword of Light.”

Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes,

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

Yes, here we are at the campground listening to the birds chirping every morning, as well as sipping coffee, taking walks along the nature trail, and above all, learning so much about our Sword from Lisa Bevere.  No doubt each woman has their own special chapter that might have ministered to them the most.  For me, it was Chapter 10, our current chapter.  So, let’s head on down to the bonfire to see what my 4 girlfriends have to say about it.

Teresa 

“We can’t see the whole picture NOW (the earthbound temporal realm). Because there is more than what meets the eye, “we need the sword of light and discernment”  to see what our eyes are missing in the Big Picture.  (Lisa)

If we do not recognize the Light, the darkness will overtake us and the ones we love.  Paul’s letter to Timothy described the last days as:

People will—-

  • love only themselves and their money 
  • be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful 
  • consider nothing sacred 
  • be unloving and unforgiving
  • will slander others and have no self-control
  • be cruel and hate what is good 
  • betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God
  •  act religious, but will reject the power that could make them godly (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

These are not issues brought about by circumstances of where you live, but about where your HEART is.  Just as Lisa said: 

  • The Word of God is the lamp that lights our paths while it judges our actions as surely as it discerns our hearts.  Without the light of God’s Word, we would all be running around in the dark, afraid of what we cannot see. 
  • Without the insight of God’s Word, it is easy to mistake an enemy for a friend and someone’s past for their future, because the shadow realm distorts our perspective.  But when the light is brought to a situation, you see what is actually before you.

Jennifer 

Satan uses his schemes, plots, and tactics to divide us from God and each other.  Lisa presents three methods of countering Satan’s attacks.

1.  Love – – Biblical love teaches us what true love really is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Mark 12:31. 

  • “Hate lives in the dark; love lives in the light.”  (Lisa)

2.  Power – – Satan attempts to make us think we are not worthy or good enough by using our past sins against us.  Remember:  “We are descendants of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession”  (1 Peter 2:9). 

  • Our #1 assignment is to be an ambassador for Christ and to let His will be done in our lives.
  • “You are his prized possession, redeemed to proclaim all that He did when He called you out of a life of darkness to live forever in the glory of His light.  That’s the power of your testimony.”  (Lisa)

3.   Sound Mind – – Our thoughts can breed a multitude of negative thoughts.  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is”  (Romans 12:2).

  • “The Word of God has the power to renew your mind and change it from unsound to sound.” (Lisa)

 Tonya

We are a society that almost automatically labels those around us; we label ourselves just as much. Often times these labels focus on our negative characteristics, what we or others may see wrong on the outside, or on our brokenness. But there is more beyond those labels.

Lisa says:  “Discernment is about knowing what is really going on, so that heroic daughters can turn what others see as a disadvantage into an advantage. The discerning warrior will know how to turn evil around for good.”

God gifted us with discernment so that we could see the good and the bad, so that we could help encourage the good and help us see ourselves and those around us for what He created us to be. 

As the much loved scripture says: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Diane

The following words from Lisa are ones that stuck out the most to me:

  1. Discernment and true intercession have the power to release restrained captives into their destiny.
  2. Throughout His earthly walk, Jesus discerned the work of the Evil One, then interceded by bringing light, truth, and healing into the darkened days of earth.
  3. Discernment realizes when others are blind and then intercedes based on their ignorance rather than on their actions. The cross ended our separation from God, but his intercession didn’t stop there; Jesus not only rose from the grave; he ascended into heaven and is interceding for us.  (Romans. 8:33-34)

(Diane’s testimony sums up ‘Discernment and Prayer’ beautifully)

  • I was once held captive, restrained by Satan’s slithering grasp. I was so blinded by the darkness my life was quickly becoming. 
  •  I cried painful tears every single day.  Every time I cried, I wished someone would see me crying, and then maybe someone would pray for me; I had no strength or words to pray for myself.
  • Then I came across this passage:  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.  (Romans 8:26-27)
  • I then realized that God saw every tear that fell from my eyes, not only did He catch them in His hands, but He also prayed each one away.  In those teary moments, God’s spirit interceded for me. He was the One I was wishing for all along to pray for me – -I just didn’t know it at the time.
  • Because of the dark we find God’s light.
  • Because we have found God’s light, we are able to help others find God’s light.

IntercedeForOthers.jpg

**********   

After Diane spoke, Praise and Worship began.  This is usually the time I reflect on what my friends have just spoken about.  As I said, this chapter really touched my heart.  To be honest, I have never considered myself an intercessor. Oh, I talk to God all day but, sometimes I have this vision of intercession as being on your knees hours at a time.  But, Lisa listed other ways we intercede:  speak up for another as an advocate, speak into a conflict that needs resolution, stand up for the downtrodden and silenced. 

Oh yes – -I am an intercessor!  I get great pleasure doing that!!  I walked back to the cabin in the moonlight and felt the presence of the Lord all around me. 

Let’s Pray: 

Father God, how we thank You for Your Sword of Light.  May we become a discerning daughter, and ready to be a vessel to set free those who are being held captive by the enemy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Girls with Swords: Chapter 10 – “Sword of Light – Overcoming Satan’s Designs” (pgs. 156-159)

Who: Satan

What: His schemes, plots, tactics

When: ALL THE TIME

Where: In your home, in your family, in your neighborhood, in your city, in your state, in our country, in the world. In essence: EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE he can find a way in.

Why: To divide us from God and each other

How:  The isolation tactics of guilt, judgment, shame, and suspicion (pg. 156)

Reading through the above list may seem daunting and a bit scary to you. In one sense, I hope it is. I say that because if you do not understand the reality of Satan working in this world, you will not prepare yourself. You will not be ready for the battles that will eventually come your way, if they haven’t already. When these battles come, they are a prime opportunity for Satan to try to wiggle his way into your life. But if you know his tactics…if you know his schemes…if you know where he can target your weaknesses…you can better prepare yourself NOW.

Our author presents three methods of countering Satan’s attacks – love, power, and a sound mind.

Love

“Hate lives in the dark; love lives in the light ” (pg. 157).

Biblical love is something that is impossible for us to achieve on our own. Thankfully, we have a Lord who is capable and wants to work through us to show that love to our broken world. He wants us to seek Him. He wants to teach us what true love really is. We get a glimpse of it in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (HCSB)

Taking this one step further, we are not called to just love our spouse or family in this way.

And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these (Mark 12:31 MSG)

The first commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is to love others (some translations say “your neighbor”) as yourself. Humans, generally, are a pretty selfish bunch. We are pretty self-centered and pursue what pleases our own selves to the detriment of others. Jesus is saying in this passage that we are to love everyone around us (no exclusions) as much as we love ourselves.

When we walk in love, in the light, our perspective changes. We are no longer looking for the things someone did to wrong us or the ways in which someone should pay us back. When we walk in light, when we are “Jesus with skin on” to those around us, we defeat Satan’s schemes. He cannot do his dirty work through us when we love every person we come into contact with. The light snuffs out the darkness. Strongholds are broken, relationships are restored, trust is rebuilt, Satan flees, and the Lord rejoices!

But, I must restate again… we cannot do it on our own. We must seek God to learn how to live out this type of love. Study His Word and let Him show you how to love others as yourself. Ask Him for answers and He will give them.

Power

“You are his prized possession, redeemed to proclaim all that he did when he called you out of a life of darkness to live forever in the glory of his light. That’s the power of your testimony” (pg. 158).

The second way we counter Satan’s attacks is by knowing our position with God. Satan tries to divide us from God. He attempts to make us think that we are not worthy or good enough. He uses our past sins against us however he can. But, ladies, we must remember that we are descendants of a ‘chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession’ (1 Peter 2:9). We were called out of darkness to proclaim the glorious riches that we know exist in Jesus Christ our Lord. The power of the Holy Spirit resides within each of us, as believers, to do His work here on earth. We must seek Him and allow that power to work in and through us to effect change in our world. Ultimately, our #1 assignment is to be an ambassador for Christ and to let His Will be done in our lives.

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Sound Mind

“The Word of God has the power to renew your mind and change it from unsound to sound” (pg. 158).

One of the ways Satan attacks us is through our mind. Our thoughts can wreak havoc, breeding a multitude of negative thoughts before we even know what happened! Lately, I have felt so distressed with the events of our world. I was bogged down in the misery, tragedy, and ugliness of the events that surrounded me. Day after day, I would read another news story about a tragic event in the world and my thoughts would spiral. Thankfully, my Lord (and some good friends!) helped me through this time. It does not take long; Satan will use any trick in his arsenal to try to get you. He will target you however he can.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. Romans 12:2 NLT, emphasis added

This is my life verse. God brings it to my attention quite often. I constantly need to remind myself that I need to change my mindset. I need to counter Satan’s attacks by centering my thoughts on God and His Truth. When our minds are filled with God’s Word, we can immediately wield it against Satan’s attacks.

Love, Power, and a Sound Mind. It all comes back to God’s Word. Satan wants to divide us from God. We must stand firm and wield our weapon of truth and light in the midst of these attacks.

*****

Let’s Pray: Father, Your Word is Holy and True. We know that Satan wants to defeat us. He wants to destroy our relationship with you. Thankfully, Lord, we know that the ultimate victory is already won. Strengthen us in our daily walk, Lord. Help us live out a bold faith. Give us courage and strength to face the attacks when they happen and to turn immediately to You for wisdom and discernment. We thank You that we can come to You at any time, with any need, and we know that You will hear it and answer it in Your perfect timing. Thank you, Father. We love You and praise Your Holy Name. Amen.

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Getting Past the Hurt

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My sweet Megan!

I have a friend who used me in hopes to gain something better for her daughter through a sport they are both involved in. After realizing that I was not able to offer any more than what she was already receiving, she got angry at me and started speaking badly of me. I am hurt, #1 because she was just using me and had not intention of actually being a friend #2 because of the negative things she has been speaking about me. I want to forgive and move on, but am struggling with complete forgiveness. How do I move on? I need some life coaching!! I need to know what a woman of God would do to resolve & get passed this issue!!
~S

My dear S,

It sounds as if rejection is at the root of this issue and I believe that once you deal with that rejection by healing the wound in your heart, you will be able to move forward.

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

All of us are created with three God-given inner needs: for love, significance, and security. Because people fail people, it is essential not to let other people define who you are. Realize that rejection can easily skew your view! Now I realize that there was more to your hurt than the initial rejection of thinking she was a true friend but finding out she was using you…. but please stay with me through this discussion because I believe it will help to talk about rejection as a whole and I promise to bring it together for you at the end! 🙂

Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

How do you accept yourself when others reject you?

1. Focus on the facts, not feelings.

First off, you must admit the rejection of the past and acknowledge its pain. Ask God to bring to mind every rejection from your childhood to the present, and then consider the circumstances of each situation. {Yes, we bring past hurts to present situations}. Then, acknowledge the wide range of feelings of rejection you experienced with each past event. Release to God the pain AND the person(s) involved. Ask God to heal the physical, emotional, and spiritual damage caused by each of these painful experiences of rejection.

Lamentations 3:19

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitternessand the gall.

2. Claim God’s acceptance and unconditional love

Confess God’s love for you and all the ways He has shown you His love {like Christ dying for you}. Cite Psalms 139:1-18 and praise God for your life and His divine creation and plan for it. Convey your appreciation to God for His love of you by loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love others as He loves you.

3. Choose to forgive those who rejected you

Consider all the hurt and anger you feel over your rejection. Realize the cost of withholding forgiveness {a bitter spirit building up inside you, which will cause trouble and spread to those around you}. Commit to forgiving those who rejected you just as Christ forgave those who rejected Him (including you). Write down their names, their offenses, and the pain caused you. Then release each person, offense, and pain into the loving hands of God.

Colossians 3:13

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

4. Expect future rejection as natural in a fallen world

Empty yourself of the pride that drives your desire to be accepted by everyone. Since gaining everyone’s approval is impossible, commit yourself to pleasing God. Empathize with others who feel rejected by friends, family, employers, business associates, or anyone else important to them. Embrace the truth that as a believer, you will experience rejection, just as Jesus did. You are not exempt from being rejected in daily life.

1 Peter 4:12

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you,

as though something strange were happening to you.

5. Secure Scripture in your mind to produce new thought patterns

Purpose to renew your mind by selecting meaningful scriptures to read. meditate on, and commit to memory. Plan a specific time each day to read God’s Word and pray. Partner with someone who will hold you accountable for applying God’s truth to your heart.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.

6. Thank God for what you have learned through your rejection

  • “Thank you, Lord, for using my pain to make me more dependent on you.”
  • “Thank you, Lord, for using my pain to make me less dependent on people.”
  • “Thank you, Lord, for using my pain to make me more dependent on Your Word.”

Psalm 119:71

 It was good for me to be afflicted
 so that I might learn your decrees.

7. Encourage others as an expression of Christ’s love.

Give compassion to those who are hurting as someone who has been hurt. Lift them in prayer, faithfully praying for them and with them. Ease emotional wounds by embracing those in pain and encouraging them to talk.

Hebrews 3:13

 Encourage one another daily

8. Draw on the power of Christ’s life within you

  • “I will see Christ as my security whenever I feel insecure.”
  • “I know that I have all I need, for Jesus will meet all my needs.”
  • “I will daily set aside my selfish desires in favor of His desires, saying ‘Not my will, but Yours, be done.'”

Philippians 4:13

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

While rejection is real and it hurts, we need to make sure that we are keeping our feelings in check as they can be so deceptive. We need to be careful not to take on someone else’s issue as our own and through forgiveness and loving as Christ loves, we free ourselves from hanging on to the yuck that keeps us from moving forward in such circumstances. No it is not easy, but it IS possible as God calls us to this in His Word. Seeking God through such trials and letting Him soothe your deep wounds is the only way to live free and get past the hurt. I pray this guides you though healing and is a blessing to you <3

Lord, give us Your unfailing compassion as we walk through tough relationships and help heal all the places we are hurting. We yearn to not stay stuck, but to get past out hurt and break free for good. Thank You for the guidance we find in Your Word. May You get all the glory as our hearts and relationships are restored, Lord! In Your Son’s matchless name we pray, Amen <3

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Love Letters from God by Diane Meyers – “Renewed”

My story is made up of many love letters written from my heart to God’s heart and from His to mine.  I open up to Him with a pen in my hand and a journal in my lap.  The Lord speaks to me through my writings, and I am beyond excited to share with you bits and pieces of different letters I have from God.  I share parts of my story so that God’s love, power, grace, forgiveness, and perfectness may be showcased.  As you read I pray the Lord grabs a hold of your heart and fills you with hope!

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will it—His good, pleasing and perfect will. –Romans 12:2

 

Dear God,

Some days I feel like an alien.  I feel so disconnected from this world.  I spend so much wasted time trying to fit in, and it just never seems to work out well for me.  It is like vinegar and water; I just don’t mix well with the rest of what this fallen world has become.  I always craved to be different, but not at the cost of others not liking me or thinking I am weird.    Why do I even care so much what others think of me?  I struggle with this feeling of trying to stand out in Your love but not finding the courage to stand up all the way.  I lack confidence in my differences.  There is a part of me that still wants this world to accept me.  Why, Lord, do I feel this way?  I desire to stand out in Your life.  I know this world is not for me.  I know You have made me new!  Please show me Your way and give me Your courage to find what I am missing.

Love, Wishy-Washy Diane

Love Letters from God

 

Dear Precious Child of Mine,

Believe it or not, I am happy to hear that you feel like an alien.  I am pleased that you feel disconnected from this world.  This makes Me smile.  This means you are living in line with My desires for you.  You were not created to fit into this world; you were made to stand out in My love.  When people see you, they should be drawn right to your heart, where I am found.  Reaching towards the empty dreams this world has to offer will only leave you further away from standing in My truth.  In order for you to feel like you belong to Me, you must let the thoughts of who you truly are reign in your mind.  The best parts about you are the ones I give you daily, if you only ask.  Ask for My strength and you shall receive, ask for My cleansing and you shall receive.  Ask for My confidence and you shall receive, ask for my courage and you shall receive.  I have created you for a purpose you must not let anyone try to convince you otherwise.  I can guarantee that you will feel weird and out of place in this world, but I can assure you that the more you feel out of place, the more you will feel My perfect love for you.  Do not lose heart, stand firm in the life I have created you for, not the one you may find more convenient living in this world.  This world has nothing for you.  This world will only bring you down.  I am the perfect example of how to live in the world just not of the world.  Focus on Me and renew your thoughts with My truth so you are able to stand all the way up reaching toward Heaven for every little thing that you need to stand out with confidence in a world that so desperately needs My love.

Love, Your Perfect Creator

 

Lord,

Thank You.  Two words that do not seem enough for all You do for me day by day.  Are there any words that mean more than ‘thank You?’  All I can do is express my gratitude through my actions.  You are alive in me!  I want to make sure I am showing YOU off through my interactions in the world all day long.  You are the best part about me, and I desire to share that best kept secret with everyone I come into contact with.  Lord, let my love for You be so strong that it never fails.  I know now that I do not want this world to accept me.  I pray this world accepts You, and I am praying that You give me Your strength to be a vessel for others to find acceptance from above in You.  Thank You for all that You do, Lord.  Thank You for understanding.  Thank You for helping me get rid of the lies and hold fast to Your truth!  I love You so much, Lord.  May You see my thankfulness and love for You through the times I am not conforming to this world, but standing out and up completely!

Love, Your Alien

© Diane Meyers 2013

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1.  Do you sometimes feel out of place in this world, as I do?  How does this make you feel?
  2. What is holding you back from feeling accepted from God above?  Is it lies that are cluttering your mind?  Practice renewing your mind moment by moment. Focus on God and His truths throughout your day.  Journal about the impact this action has on your life.

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 7 – Preventing Relapse (pp 212-219)

It starts with the little slips, in small stages. It’s the big ones that push us over, really.  So we aren’t paying attention to the small snowball that we have started rolling down hill.

For me, it could be folding laundry before it’s turned right side out, or hanging clothes before they are ironed. I may start going to bed without washing my  face, or skipping teeth, and prayers go by the wayside; I will start fresh tomorrow. I rationalize, minimize. I leave dishes in the sink at night instead of waking to a clean sink. I may have had a backache or a toothache and tell no one.  I make a doctor appointment. I get a prescription and tell no one. I hide the bottle. I’m gone. It can happen that fast.  If we aren’t enmeshed in Him!!!  We must plant ourselves at His feet daily. It’s like water for us, friends. He is our Stronghold now and what an awesome Stronghold!

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See, the slippery slope is gradual. It’s hiding things from loved ones, it’s lying or maybe just omitting important details of our lives to the ones we love. Like Adam and Eve naked in the garden, we try to hide from God. We stop talking to Him because why would He want to talk to us when we are deliberately disobeying Him? This, dear friend, is dangerous because cutting Him out is like making a conscious decision to go back to your old way of life! I’ve been there, more than one time. I started this journey of sobriety in 2002 and stayed sober for a year. I got pregnant with my fourth child, had a c-section and I was off and running on a two year relapse. You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to be a slow learner. You can stop that snowball before it becomes an avalanche.  

How many times have you heard that relapse is part of recovery? I heard it over and over. Each time I picked up that 24 hour chip, someone made me feel better by saying that. It doesn’t have to be part of your story; relapse, that is. This chapter gives us a handbook on maintaining sobriety, preventing relapse, and keeping that momentum going for God! Evaluate-Meditate-Prayer!

John Baker gives us the guidelines and the how-tos and the why’s of evaluating, meditating, our prayer life and its importance to our maintaining sobriety. I love the check-up on our HEART, don’t you? I heard early in my recovery that when I had a craving I needed to HALT! It meant was I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  If I was, I needed to take care of the issue and stop hard and turn it over to God. It’s like this: If you’re hungry, eat something. Angry? You must let that one go before it becomes a resentment. Lonely? Reach out to your accountability partner or, better yet, step out of yourself and help someone else. And last, are you tired? Rest!!! The Bible tells us so many times that our bodies need rest so that we can listen to Him and allow Him to fill us back up.

This is a spiritual condition, my friend. We have to make sure we are relying on God and not ourselves, or anyone else. Don’t allow anyone to live in your head rent free! Isn’t that a great analogy that the author gives? Make sure you are giving yourself credit for the good that you do. In our daily moral inventory, we are keeping up with our mess-ups, but why not end that on a positive note? Think of something good you did that day and pat yourself on the back and say good job!  You are so worth it! Celebrate any victory because your Father celebrates you! Thank Him for the little things…a good parking place, money for extras this month, etc. Thank Him for things yet to come, the blessings He has in store for you. This keeps you in a grateful mode and away from the slippery slope. Claim His word and soak in His promises. His word is the pathway to His heart. This is vital to your maintenance program.

Romans 12:2 says “But be transformed by the renewal of your mind, by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Don’t you love the “new this and new that?” Perfect will of God? Everything in His word exhorts us to expect restoration and renewal!

Joel 2:25-26 says “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm and the caterpillar and the palmer worm, my great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God, that has dealt wondrously with you and my people shall never be ashamed!”  Amen.  He doesn’t want us to be ashamed!  Renewed, restored, and totally relying on His ability!

Last but not least, if you are feeling weak, and the enemy is creeping in, claim James 4:7, “Resist the devil and submit yourselves to God and the devil will flee from you.”  Together we shout a big NO to the enemy and a big YES to Jesus. Together!  Shall we?


Let’s Pray:
Lord, thank You for Redeeming us, for loving us and forgiving our wrongs. Daily we disappoint You and yet Your grace is freely given. Lord, we need You to stay with us, help us maintain our healing so that we may carry Your message to all still hurting. We have come a long way! And for those still struggling, keep them safe until they surrender. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.



If you would like to send a private message to Kim in regards to this blog, please send it to: Kim@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com