Hope

All I see is darkness. I don’t even see shadows, nothing but cold blackness. Suddenly in front of me is a red cage with its door open wide. Then out of the darkness I see a reddish, disfigured being. I know it is a demon and its presence sends chills up my spine. It reaches for me with its claws to drag me into the prison of the cage.

I wake up screaming. My heart is racing and my breathing is shallow. I sense fear in my bedroom.

I immediately begin to pray.

What was that about, I thought, though I quickly knew.

The enemy of my soul was trying to draw me back into the prison I once was trapped. He thought for a moment he could bring such despair that I would gladly give into his plan. But what he didn’t remember is that the one whom the Lord sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) I believe he was hoping that I would forget that promise. But I quickly held onto the truth.

I was wondering why everything was red. Doesn’t red represent the blood of Christ? But in a negative context it can represent anger and war.

There are so many reasons to be angry today. So many reasons to be in fear or frustration and apathy if we do not keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith.

In this season we, the body of Christ, are being tempted, tested, and tried. There were seasons in the past and in other regions where the same darkness seemed to cover the land. Today the darkness and deception appear to be taking dominion throughout the world. It is taunting the believer as Goliath taunted the children of Israel. Like David, we have authority to declare to any giant we face that our Lord will not be mocked and we can bring it tumbling to its demise.

I wonder how dark it was during the time of Noah? For 100 years Noah was mocked and ridiculed. Yet he continued to do what he knew the Lord told him to do. He heard the Lords voice above the laughter of the world. Despite the taunting, he pressed on to accomplish what he had set out to do: obey the Lord. In that day people continued as they always had, there was eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage. Nothing to them had changed. They continued in any sin they were enjoying and ignored the God of creation.

Today it looks as if the darkness is winning in every corner of the world. Do I think it is as dark as it was in the days of Noah? I couldn’t tell you. But the darkness and evil that accompanies it sure is gloating. It did as well in the days of Hitler. But the world has become smaller because of the internet. We now witness the evil giants rising and laughing, as they prepare to subdue.

The only thing I know is that the Lord will return one day and warns us that, like in the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Lord. (Matthew 24)

There is chaos and division in our land. We MUST stay in the Word of God to stay in truth because lies are spreading like a forest fire. We must believe what the Lord says above anything the world declares as truth. We must be careful what our eyes, our ears, and our hearts feast on.

These have been trying times for many. Personally, our family had been hit by the death of my father. I listened to my dad’s words that he wanted to share. He had mentioned over a year prior how much the Lord had impressed on his heart to be careful of compromise. He had taken the steps to hear God’s voice and follow his words. As the days got closer to him passing, he felt like the Lord was doing inventory in his heart and called out to the Lord to clean out any area that was not dedicated to the Lord. He ached for the church as it had fallen into compromising with the world above obeying the Lord. He warned that the church, and many who have called themselves Christians, were confusing love and grace for compromise and alignment with sin. And he is right.

So, when I had that dream of the demon pulling me back into bondage, I knew the enemy was trying to lure me back into compromise, back into laziness, back into the apathy that I once lived in. You think you are free but instead you are a prisoner of your own mind, your own unforgiveness and your own bondage.

Yes, there is darkness on this land, but there is freedom in Christ.

Like I have stated before, the Lord said:

“I’ve told you this so that my peace will be with you. In the world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (GWT)

Today we need to hold on to those words. He has overcome the world! The trials and struggles we face will be the catalyst that will free us from whatever is holding us each in bondage. Those very trials will cause our faith to grow strong as James stated in James 1.

The Lord warns us in Hebrews to be careful that we do not refuse to listen to his words. Because of his great love, He WILL shake what needs to be shaken. Why does he do this? It is because he knows that sin leads to death. It takes us away from his presence. He loves us so much he will allow us to go through storms to get rid of those things that keep us in bondage.

I’ve shared before in my blogs that a storm or wind is coming and that you will need to hold on to him with all your heart, soul, and mind. “Winds of Adversity” September 30, 2018. But I also shared that his glory will visit us. “The Spirit of God is Hovering Over the Earth Today” March 19, 2019.

I believe that God will come in his glory with so much power. But are we prepared?

There is darkness on the land, but God is going to pour out his glory to those who are calling out to him. He will reveal himself to those who are seeking his face. He loves us SO much he is calling us to open our hearts to him and he pleads with us to be careful of compromise. It creates a lukewarm heart and he states in Revelation that he would rather us hot or cold. We should look different than the world.We need to be a light.

Are you ready? As long as you are still on the earth, as long as there is still breath in your lungs you can call out to him. He is not a religion. He is the creator of the universe and more. He loves you so much he does not want anyone to perish.

My dad was an evangelist at heart and he loved the Lord with all his heart. As a tribute to his life, I quote with all my heart John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)

The Lord is going to return one day. In the meantime, you can be surrounded his light amid any darkness, as he walks through this world WITH you. Be encouraged.

God Bless.

The Warrior

The battle blazes and the fight continues. The warrior looks up and sees another flaming arrow flying towards her and her comrades. Without hesitation she maneuvers her shield high into the air, stopping the arrow from piercing her or those she has grown to love and admire. It almost knocks her off her feet. She is not wounded, but exhausted.

This particular battle has been raging for some time. She has been using all her training techniques but lately she has been distracted by other cares. Her mind is on things that take her thoughts to places that her commanding officer has warned is a distraction. Lately it seems she cannot focus.

She knows she has to learn to think about things that bring hope and not allow thoughts of despair to paralyze her. The commander has warned her to think about things that bring peace, especially while in battle. She must stay sharp.

Whoosh…another burning arrow flies right towards her. Suddenly a shield swoops in front of her and she hears the thud of the arrow bouncing off of it. This time the shield belongs to her friend. She turns towards her friend. They lock eyes. A smile crosses her friend’s face.

“Don’t worry,” she says. “I got this one.”  They nod at each other as they turn to continue the fight.

The warrior thinks to herself, “My commander is right, my thoughts are distracting me. That arrow could have hit me.”

“Charge!” demands the commander.

The orders produce a power that shakes her from within. With no more distracting thoughts filling her mind, the warrior and those with her charge the enemy with all of their strength. The battle turns from defense to offense. The warrior does what is second nature to her and begins the hand to hand combat with her sword. Strength infuses her weary body.

Suddenly the enemy runs in terror. The hooves of horses can be heard pounding away from the battle ground. The warriors holler in unison as they chase the enemy away. The slaughtered enemy that lay at their feet begin to disintegrate into black smoke, then disappear. They are not of human form but come from devilish soil. At that moment a shout of victory echoes throughout the camp. Another battle has been won. 

Joy fills the air where despair once resided.

Tonight there will be a celebration, a celebration of victory and hope. The tired soldiers can rest for a time. The grateful warrior turns to thank the commanding officer for the training and the tenacity he has taught her. As she reaches out her hand, he pulls her close for a huge papa bear style hug.

“Well, done my child,” he says patting her on the back. “Well done. You didn’t give up when you wanted to. You didn’t quit.”

“But I was distracted by despair. An arrow could have hit me when I lowered my shield,” the warrior says embarrassed by her actions.  The commander simply laughs a hearty laugh as if it isn’t a big deal. “But you weren’t hit. Your friend shielded you. That is why you need one another. Besides, I already won this battle. Did you notice how fast the enemy ran?” he said in triumph between deep chuckles.

She did.

“They always run when they see me pull out my sword. They know that I will only allow my children to go through just so many trials. Once I pull out my sword they screech in their tracks, abruptly turn around and run in fear.”

She knows that his sword is extremely sharp and destructive. As he swings it  in demonstration a brilliant light radiates off the metal causing the entire land to flood with the light.

No wonder the enemy runs away with such speed. There is nowhere to hide. They understand they can be annihilated by the commander at any time so they cower at his greatness. 

A thought rushes through the warriors mind. “If  the commander is for me, then who can stand against me?”

As she lets that sink in, peace floods her mind and her heart.

The battle was his all along.

_________________________________________________

That is a synopsis of a moment in the spiritual realm of a warring believer in prayer.

As believers we will always be in some sort of battle. Here are a few things we must remember as we fight in the battle of prayer.

  1. Ultimately every battle belongs to the Lord.
    Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV)
  2. We do not fight people.
    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
  3. We need one another.
    “As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.”
    I Corinthians 12: 20-21 (ESV)
    “Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (GNT)
  4. There is a time for rest.
    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

God is merciful but also fierce. He will defend his own. We have to trust him. We may be warriors but we are also his children.  Be strong, fight diligently and rest in his grace.
God bless

What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31  (NIV)

 

“The Warrior is a Child”
Twila Paris

Lately I’ve been winning
Battles left and right 
But even winners can get
Wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears

They don’t know that
I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
“Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because his armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies
That lay me at his feet.

They don’t know that I go
Running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child.

 

 

 

 

Laughter of the Lord

You read about God’s judgements. You read about his glory. You know that he is all-powerful, but does he laugh?

We’ve had so much conflict in our great land. Racism has been fed by angry souls and taken an embodiment of hostility. The earth itself seems angry as it is spurring raging storms and floods in our nation. Laugher –that is accompanied with joy –seems foreign.

The writer of Psalm 37 explains that we are not to worry or fret about evil people but to trust God. (Good advise during the times we are experiencing right now–a must read). He continues to explain that as we commit everything to the Lord he will help us. He encourages his readers to let go of anger and trust God. The Psalmist sees that madness (wicked people with evil schemes) is surrounding him, but he is reminded that God will take care of those that put their hope and trust in Him.

Despite what we he sees with his eyes the writer continues in verse 13: “But the Lord just laughs for he sees their day of judgement coming”. (NLT) In other words those that are fighting the Lord, those that are putting up their fists in anger and trying to destroy his goodness do not phase him. It would be like a toddler arguing with his parent. His parent looks at him smiling as he knows that no matter what the child does or says, he is ultimately in control of the situation.

Psalm 2:4 is another example, “But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.” ((NLT) Again people think that they have the power to destroy his plans and destroy those he has anointed but God is ultimately in control.  David explains in Psalm 59, that Saul and his men are trying to attack and destroy him. But he trusts in his Lord and knows that the Lord laughs at those who think they’re stronger and more mighty than his plans. That is why David is able to trust in his God.

It’s like being in 1st grade and another 1st grader comes over to bully you. Suddenly your Dad walks up behind you and shakes his head and laughs. He knows he can protect you. The bully sees your father and quickly shrinks away. We have a God that is our refuge and strength. He delights in his people. He delights in us individually. And we actually bring him joy because we are his children.

Zephaniah 3:17 states, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fear. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (NLT)

God desires to give us that same laugher in the midst of our trials. When Job was going through so much excruciating struggles his friends actually said something positive to him.  They told him that God would fill his mouth with laughter once again and his lips with shouts of joy.  When Sara was told that she would have a child in her old age, she laughed in unbelief but God fulfilled her desire and she named her child Isaac, which means laugher.

There is power in joy. That is why James states to count it all joy when trouble of any kind comes your way; because when your faith is tested, it will give you an opportunity to grow.  (James 1:1)

In the days of Nehemiah the people of the land wept as they heard the law of Moses being read. But Nehemiah encouraged them and said, “This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the JOY of the Lord is your strength!” -Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

So the question is, does God laugh? I believe he does. He is consumed with joy and expresses it with laughter. On a personal note:  When I was younger I remember calling out to the Lord to meet my needs and wondered if he cared. Deep inside the very depths of my being I heard a deep and jolly chuckle. Then I heard the words, “I will always take care of you!” I hold on to those word still in this hour knowing HE WILL take care of each of us.

He is a God of judgement, a God of strength and power and yet a God of joy and laughter.  Amen.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!” Philippians 4:4