February 22, 2018

Hide Them In Your Heart

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Jesus answered,”It is written: ‘Man does not live by bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Matthew 4:4

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been (or soon will be) in a confrontation with the enemy.  At times it can seem like the confrontation will never end.  Because you are His—the Lord’s—there is a target on your back and the only way to go into  combat against the enemy is with the Word of God.

In Ephesians 6:17, the Bible is called the “sword of the spirit.”  And since we don’t live in medieval times, we are highly unlikely to have a sword at our disposal.  And though His Word IS our sword, sometimes we don’t have a Bible with us either.  However, if we memorize it…no one can take it from us.

Remember Jesus in the desert alone for forty days and nights…?  He was tired and hungry and vulnerable.  The enemy came at Him on all sides.  Jesus didn’t have a Bible with Him, did He?  Psalms 119:11 says,”I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.”

After you have memorized Scripture, you must learn how to apply it.  Jesus answered the enemy with specific Scripture—actually He quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3 the verse that we started off with today.  The enemy was tempting Jesus while HE was fasting and praying.  He tried to tempt Him with bread.  Jesus had an answer.  You, too, will have to respond to the enemy. He is the father of lies and he will have many for you.  You will need Scriptures that pertain to whatever he is throwing your way, and you must stand boldly on God’s  Word.  Don’t just let it collect dust on your coffee table or sit your nightstand by your bed.  Open it and read it!  It is one way that He speaks to us.

And if the enemy isn’t backing off, don’t give up!  If he wasn’t afraid of Jesus the first time, he won’t be afraid of you at first.  But if you’re persistent, and you draw your sword, then you can rebuke him in Jesus’ name.  He will flee, I am certain. Remember, there are seasons of spiritual warfare and there is always victory in Jesus.

I remember the story of Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian who hid Jews during the Holocaust.  While she was growing up, she, her sister and her father would learn Scriptures.  When she and her family were taken to the concentration camp, she had His words to lean on and remember.  She would say them out loud some days, just to make it through. She would pray Scripture to God and wait on Him to deliver her, and He did.

You have a story, too!  A story of hope and redemption and grace.  What does it look like?  I encourage you to journal today.  Write about the things you have gone through…and what or Who got you through.  And find some verses that you can rely on the next time you feel the attack of the enemy!

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from Him.
Psalm 62:5

Let us pray: Dear Lord, You are all-powerful and all-knowing. Your love is unshakable and Your patience is never ending. You know our every thought and You know what we are going to do next. You save us from ourselves. We thank You for all that You do in our lives. You go before us and make our paths straight. Thank You for giving us Your Word. It is sharper than a two-edged sword and it never comes back void.  Lord, help us to desire to learn Scripture and to read it daily so that we know what You have said to us. We are so blessed by Your words.  And for the times that You speak to us alone. And when the time may come that we don’t have the luxury of having the Bible with us, we will have Your Word memorized and hidden in our hearts. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Esther – Chapter 3:8-11

Haman the Agagite is an arrogant, prejudiced, hateful, bold-faced liar. He was given a position of honor by King Xerxes (Ahasuerus), but that wasn’t enough for him – he had to be worshipped, as well.  And when Haman wasn’t worshipped by Mordecai, he leveled a false charge of disobedience or insubordination against an entire race of people, wrapped it up in an ingratiating package that looked like loyalty and served it up to the king.  Deceived, the king obliged him.

Does Haman sound like anyone else you know??  May I speak Southern, ladies?  Haman is the devil.  (We call all manner of things “the devil” in the south that seek to do us harm – that nosey neighbor, preparing your taxes, cupcakes…. You get the picture.)  Now Haman is not LITERALLY the devil, but he has so many of Satan’s characteristics – elevated to a high place, yet wanting the worship due the King (God); arrogant; hate filled; a definite prejudice against God’s people and a liar.  In this book, Darlene reminds us of Job’s story, where Satan has an exchange with God about Job, and she calls him a tattletale of sorts; “… who puts God’s people in the worst possible light to discredit our faith as he seeks to tempt and destroy all believers” (page 39).  I do agree, but let’s call things as they are – Satan is known in the Bible as the accuser.

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down”  (Revelation 12:10 NIV).

To accuse, per the dictionary, is to charge with a shortcoming or error, or charge with a wrongdoing, fault, offense or crime. Sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it?  Satan, per Revelation, stands before God day and night charging you and me with wrongdoings, with crimes against God, with faults. What did Haman say in verse 8?  “They do not obey the King’s laws; it is not in the King’s best interest to tolerate them.” (Esther 2:8, NIV) Furthermore, he suggests that he be allowed to destroy them (verse 9).  Unlike the King, God is not deceived! The blood of his son, Jesus, was willingly shed for you to save your life and make you a brand new person!  In Psalm 103:12, it says: “He (God) has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.” (NLT)  Not perfect?  No problem!  In 1 John 1:9, John says that “If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

Now hear me, sisters.  If Satan is working day and night to accuse us before God, and God’s not listening to him, who do you think believes Satan’s lying garbage?  We do.  What does Satan’s accusations look like?  Stop me when this sounds familiar: “You don’t obey God’s commands.”  You think God can love you with your past?”  “You’ll never be good enough.”  “You’ll never amount to anything.”  “You aren’t a very good Christian.”  “You’ve never finished anything you’ve started.  Why even try?”  “Do you really think you’re equipped to lead a small group/start a ministry/teach a class/make a difference?”  “God doesn’t care about you. Why bother?”  Lies, lies, LIES!!!   Satan is going to be punished for all eternity, and he’s trying to take everybody with him.  If he can’t get God to sign off on you (never happen!), then he’ll try  to get you to give up on God.

That’s why Ephesians 6:10-18 is so important .  It tells us how to shield ourselves “…against the devil’s schemes” (verse11).  This passage tells us about putting on “the armor of God.”  There are many ways that we can protect ourselves from Satan’s schemes, but only one way to fight back – with the Word of God, which is called the “sword of the Spirit” (verse 17).  When Satan whispers some lie in your ear, tell him (and remind yourself!) what ALMIGHTY GOD says about you!  You are LOVED (John 3:16) ! You are REDEEMED (Galatians 3:13, Psalm 107:2).  You are PERFECT (Psalms 139:13-14)!  You are a CHILD OF THE KING (1 John 3:1)!!

Enough, sisters!  Have you allowed Satan to accuse you of things that God refuses to hold against you, or even think about you?  No more!  If you see yourself as “less than,” let’s ask God to help you see the truth; you are royalty!  You are a child of the King!

 

Let’s pray:

Holy God, I thank You that You love me!  Thank you that You willingly sacrificed the life of Your son so that I can live eternally with You! God, I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s hard to see myself as You see me.  I see my faults, my failures, my attempts and where I don’t measure up. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever make a difference for Your kingdom, or if I’ll ever be good enough to be used by You.  And Satan is constantly attempting to drag me down!  Help me, Lord!   Help me to see my beauty given to me by You!

Help me to see the talents, giftings, and unique abilities that You have provided me by Your Holy Spirit.  Remind me, Lord, in ways that only You can, that I am Your child and am incredibly special.  Thank You for Your invaluable Word, Your infinite grace, wisdom and strength!  Thank You for every good and perfect gift that comes from You.

Shine Your light of love on me, Lord, so much that it pours out and strengthens others.  Help me to remember that through the blood of Your Son Jesus, Satan has NO POWER OVER ME!   Praise You, Lord!  Let my life be Your glory!  In Your Son’s name.

Amen

Girls With Swords: Chapter 1 – “You Are A Target” (pgs 3-6)

Our daily reading schedule for this week can be found by clicking this link.

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Eph6_13

We do not have to leave our homes to know that an epic battle is waging. On any given day, point your internet browser to any major news website and you will see how desperate Satan is. Violence, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, envy and judgment seem to permeate our society. In fact, it may even discourage some of you; make you doubt our God and His goodness.

Sisters, it is time to recognize and understand that we are a part of this battle. As Christians, we are automatically targets of the enemy. Satan will stop at nothing to tear apart our relationship with the Lord. That is his business. It is his only job. He wants to keep us away from reading the Bible. He wants to prevent us from fully participating in a Bible/Book study by distracting us. He does not want us to be in fellowship with other believers so he will use our insecurities or past hurts to prevent us from moving forward in our faith journey. Anything is up for grabs. Not one of us is immune. If he sees a spot to weasel his way in, he will try to do it. I use the word *try* because we hold the ultimate power. We can look to God to help us through these difficulties, or, we can allow the situation to take us captive and restrict the Spirit’s work in our life.

Which will you choose?

I say this not to scare you, but to warn you. The battle is being waged. Thankfully, we have a Mighty Savior who sends us to the frontlines fully equipped to fight the enemy and to beat crush him at his own game.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-17 NLT

The Lord gives us many defensive weapons in our arsenal to fight the enemy. We have a belt, body armor, shoes, a shield, and a helmet. However, there is just one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

What is the Word of God?

  • For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV).
  • All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:16 and 17, NLT).
  • Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path (Psalms 119:105, NLT).
  • In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:1-5, NLT).

When we tuck God’s Word into our heart, we are able to defeat the enemy immediately when he tries to attack us. Before Jesus started His ministry, Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. For forty days and nights, He fasted and was very hungry (Matthew 4:2). He refuted Satan’s attempts at trickery by repeating the truth from God’s Word. “Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus” (Matthew 4:11). By claiming God’s truth and promises and wielding them as a weapon to the enemy, Satan had no choice but to flee.

Can I get an AMEN to that?!

Ladies, I know life is difficult. It can be busy. I truly hope and pray that you will delve deeply into this study. Commit to it. Make it a part of your daily quiet time with the Lord. It has the potential to impact your life in a radical way. God wants to use us to reach the lost, to save those that we may think seem gone forever. No one is beyond saving. No one. We can be a hero in God’s army of warriors. But, ultimately, it is our choice.

Who’s with me?

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Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, as we begin our study of this book, please let the truth from Your Word soak into the depths of our souls. We want to be prepared for the battles that are coming our way and to be a hero fighting for You, Lord. Please remove anything that will prevent us from focusing solely on this study. Help us find a daily quiet time with You to read and study what You want to teach us through this book. We know You have already won the battle, Lord. We thank You that You are a God who loves us so much and who equips us with all that we need to fight the enemy. We have all that we need in You. Guide and lead us in the weeks to come. We pray this in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

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