Friday, September 15, 2017

Darts

See, I told you…nobody likes you.

Kaylee stared blankly at her phone screen displaying her friend’s latest Instagram post. Once again, she had not been invited…left out. Smiling faces of many in her youth group tore at her heart and she quickly scrolled down in an effort to bury the pain rising in her chest. But oh, how the darts kept coming.

Nobody wants you with them. You’re so awkward and silly, they don’t like you.

………………………….

“Thank you for submitting your piece to our website. Unfortunately, we're not able to use it right now, but...”

No, no God, no. Brandon’s heart sunk into his stomach. Why? I tried so hard and now I’m rejected again?

He scanned the email once more, just in case he read wrong, but to no avail.

The darts began to fly.

What did I tell you…I’m not good enough. There’s so many other writers that can write better than me. I knew I shouldn’t have submitted that. I just made a fool out of myself again…

…………………………

“Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this opportunity I have to come before Your throne. I’m so unworthy to be called Your daughter, yet I praise You for…”

It didn’t take long.

Now hold it, are you really His daughter? Just look at you. You stumble all the time and make so many blunders. How could someone like you be a Christian?

Laura sat with bowed head and open Bible in her lap. She felt so dry…so distant from her Savior…she longed for renewal in her spirit. Oh, how she wanted to be encouraged in the Lord. But recently, she just felt so depressed. And now of all times, the darts were coming again.

Where is God in this mess?! I feel so lonely. I’m so sinful and stupid, I just can’t go on.
She tried to keep praying but the words just wouldn’t come, instead, tears began to flow. Angry tears.

Where are you, Father? I miss You…come back to me…I’m starting to think You’ve left me.

One thought lead to the next…the attack was real. Laura eventually closed her Bible and wandered to the kitchen to get a snack. It was no use to keep trying right then.

………………………

To the ones of you who identified with our friends Kaylee, Brandon, and Laura…
...don’t give up the fight.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. {Ephesians 6:10-18}

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers…  Like it or not, we are in a battle. A battle against the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of Satan. And like it or not, God is the author of truth, and the devil is the father of lies. And like it or not, you are an object of the devil’s attacks. 

However, God has not left us alone to fight. He has given each one of us a perfect set of armor to combat against the lies…the darts…that our enemy hurls at us.

Oh, and they’re fiery darts at that, intended to keep us from being who God wants us to be. We have an enemy who does all that he can to get you to doubt God and His goodness to you. He shoots darts of discouragement, jealousy, doubt, past sins that have been forgiven, you fill in that blank. The war Satan wages against us is not at all random, it is very intentional and direct. Believer, when you are passionately following Christ and striving through His power to obey the Holy Spirit, expect attack at any moment. 
No one is exempt from it! And so often, we don't fight. We lay our armor down. We quit.



Nobody likes me. I’m not good enough. God has left me.

How often we believe these and other lies! How often we let the flaming darts of our adversary hit us and take us down! How often we just give in to the fight!

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. {Ephesians 6:16}

Here is the secret. Faith.

Are we owning the truth in the Word as our own and using it to combat our adversary? How often do we believe the darts attacking your identity in Christ, self-pity, temptation to sin, discouragement, and etc, and disregard what the Author and Finisher of our faith has said in His inspired and infallible Word?

The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. {Psalm 119:160}

You may be asking, how can I fight with my shield of faith and armour God has given me? While I’m far from perfect, here are some things I've learned and been taught that have been encouraged me to be a faithful warrior and ward off my attacker.

                   1. Pray. Prayer is one of your most powerful weapons, my friend! The enemy tries to limit your prayers because he knows your prayers (in Christ’s power) limit him. Don’t stop praying!
           2. Use fighting verses. I have a selection of favorite verses I have memorized and can immediately pull out during a fight. A few of them include 2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 6:10, Psalm 18:32, Proverbs 15:3, and Ephesians 3:20. Sometimes if I know that day is going to particularly taxing, I find a verse pertaining to my situation and use that. In the moment though, you can’t always do that, so it’s good to be prepared.
            3. Spend time in the Word. I recently read a note in a study Bible about the armor of God. It said that the armor Paul referred to in his imagery was the Roman armor, and their shields were covered in leather and could be soaked in water. The wet leather would extinguish any flaming darts that were shot their way. I found this quite interesting and it made me think. How do we strengthen our shields so that we can stand against all the fiery darts the enemy may hurl at us? We strength our shield of faith by saturating ourselves in the Living Word...the water of life!  Spend time with Jesus. Spend time in prayer and realize how utterly incapable we are of walking in holiness without His abiding and beautiful strength in us. Soak your shield in the water of the Word.
           4. Believe God is who He says He is, and that His truth stands firm no matter what your feelings! Hannah Whitall Smith once said: “I do beg of you to recognize, then, the extreme simplicity of faith; namely that is it nothing more nor less than just believing God when He says He either has done something for us, or will do it, and then trusting Him to keep His word.”

I have one more thing I wish you to encourage you with. No matter times you fall short of the glory of God, no matter how many times you let your shield down, no matter whatever...
His grace still reaches. Friends, our God is the God of second chances. He is the God of forgiveness. He is the God of mercy. 
Every time you stumble over a rock in the path or get knocked down, He is there, hand outstretched, saying "Be of good cheer, you are forgiven. You are loved beyond what you can even imagine. Get up, my child...your Daddy is here to help you." Remember that, my brothers and sisters...God's grace multiplies more and beyond the tumbles you take.  Yes, the battle is hard. Yes, it's oh so hard to stand at times. I know from experience. Sometimes the darts are flying so fast and furious and you seem to not have any strength to continue on. But don't ever forget that He is with you. No height or deep place or sickness or calamity or valley or hurricane or persecution or depression or ANYTHING can separate you from His unending love. 
His love reaches farther than the east is from the west! His love is perfect! His love rescued you from your sin! Next time those darts come flying, let’s stand our ground and fight for what the Lord and His truth says!

Press on, my friends! There’s a victory to be won! But praise be to GOD who gives us the victory in Jesus Christ our Lord…greater is He that is in YOU than he (the enemy) that is in the world!

Fight valiantly! The King reigns…and His Son! 
1 John 4:4, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Ephesians 6:13, 1 John 1:9, 1 John 5:4, Philippians 4:1

Monday, September 4, 2017

Lazy Praying

Oh my, how lazy we can be. How lazy I have been.

Brothers and sisters, we are in a war. That phrase can become so cliche. But it's far from so...it's a stark dead reality. The devil is out to destroy the truth, destroy any possibility of anyone being saved, destroy us all and take as many with him to hell as possible.

We're in a war. A terrible, bloody war fighting for the eternal souls of men and women.

And we seek our own comfort? We seek our pleasures? Why?
I cannot afford to waste one moment. Not one. Not during this, Lord. Open my eyes, help me to see where I need to see and watch what I need to watch. Put me on guard.

"He wants to damn us. And if we're already saved and he can't unsave us then he wants us powerless."

One focal area of the enemy is on believers...the church. If the believers are faithful then his power is limited. Oh that you and I and the remnant of the faithful would fight all the more harder, because those that should be in the fight are sitting on the side enjoying a picnic and being lulled to sleep with cotton in their ears to the battle.

I encourage you to take some time and listen to this message. It is so eye opening and challenging. It is long, yes, but it is what we need today. We need to be woken up! We are sleeping during a war! Our eyes need to be opened! We need to see this battle and the enemy for what it is and rise up and fight!

May we never lay down our armor...instead may we fight valiantly as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
For Him. In His power. Stand strong.
Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 2:11, 2 Timothy 2:3-5


Friday, September 1, 2017

Gratefulness: A Short Encouragement

Recently, I've been reading through the epistles, and it seems one theme keeps popping out at me...

Give thanks in all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

It's not difficult to give thanks in the easy things...but what about those hard things, or trials? We're tempted to grumble or have a wrong attitude.

abstract, art, blurBut the Lord calls us to thankfulness...in everything. Oh, how often I fall short of this! How quick I am to complain over what is in my life, and miss the blessings around me! I've noticed though, when I start looking for the things I can be thankful for, instead of focusing on the negatives, my outlook changes so much!

So in thinking of this, what are you thankful for today? Share in the comments! Whether it be small or large, let's encourage each other in gratefulness and joy in the Lord today.

 "Gratitude determines attitude." 
                                                                          1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, August 18, 2017

Commissioned by Christ


Knock knock.

I glanced toward the front door from where I’m sweeping in the kitchen. “Oh, Mom, looks like some Jehovah’s Witnesses!”

Mom emerges from the hallway and graciously answers the door, explaining to our visitor’s thanks, but no thanks. They accept the offered tract and go on their way to the next house.

While I don’t agree with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I think we can learn some things from them. Honestly, when was the last time we went door to door sharing our faith in Jesus? For that matter, when was the last time we even randomly shared the Gospel with anyone?

community, crowd, pedestriansOuch.

Right before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave His disciples (and that includes us) one final instruction.

Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. – Mark 16:15 {NKJV}

Brothers and sisters, we have a commission. 2 Corinthians 5 says we are ambassadors for Christ, to implore people to be reconciled to God. It’s true, God could have chosen other means to bring people to salvation, but He chose to enlist us. He gave you and I a job to do. Are we carrying it out?

Perhaps the cashier you talk to just found out they have a cancer, and are scared to die. Maybe your friend feels like no one cares for them and is thinking of ending their life because they have no hope. What if that person you meet at library ends up in a fatal car crash on their way home.

And we have the answers. 

Why ever are we keeping silent?! Because we’re scared of what people will think of us? Because we’re afraid of not having the right words? Why? This is a lost and dying world we live in. Every day thousands of people cross the great divide. Maybe we could have told them.

Granted, I am learning in this too. These are questions I am asking myself.

I must ask though, what does it matter if people think we’re weird? We’re following Jesus and to the world, yes, we will look like radical nuts. But in the scope of eternity? It doesn’t matter.

If we had discovered the cure for cancer, I bet you we would be out telling everyone we could so that their loved ones could be spared. Excuse me, but we have the cure for sin and have been sent to tell others about the Good News. Sadly though, I think too many of us are being quiet.  

Yes, they won’t always listen. Yes, they will sometimes laugh at us. But our job is just to be faithful. It’s a comfort to know that it’s not our job to make people accept Christ. 1 Corinthians 3 says that Paul and Apollos planted and watered, but it was GOD who gave the increase. Our mission is just to tell of Him and trust Him to grow the seeds planted. How, though, will the seeds be planted if we do not plant?

My fellow warriors, let us be faithful to share this glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us step forward in His victory and raise our swords high as we tell others about how they can be saved from the wrath to come.

So tell that cashier Jesus loves them. Leave that tract in the restroom. Attach that Bible verse on the end of your comment. Share with your friend what God has done in your life. Wherever we go, let's spread the news of salvation. 
For Him and His glory, charge forward faithfully!

Edit: This article was featured on the Rebelution blog on August 31st, 2017! All glory to Christ! 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Where are the Warriors? An Allegory

A king stands tall on a cliff, gazing out over the vast valley before Him. His eyes take in the dreadful scene of a great and mighty army – the enemy – who are camped there. He watches them sharpen their weapons, preparing to use them on some unfortunate soul. He hears their coarse laughter as they relish in the fact that very soon, some life they might take in death. He sees them prepare the traps that they will set in devious ways to seize any unsuspecting character who does not stay alert. He knows that they are well armed, for their goal is to take down as many as they can. They are prepared for battle, and ready to obey the voice of the one who leads them – an evil, deceitful, and sly captain.

He solemnly turns back to His own army. He knows that He does not have many soldiers – it seems that there is one man to three hundred or so of the enemy soldiers. It saddens Him to know that in His land there are many who are devoted to the crown, but not to the mission of the kingdom. Yes, they love the King and the benefits He gives them as citizens of His country, but they live for their own pleasure, and only pay homage to Him when it fits their comfort. Therefore, when the call for valiant persons to come and serve in His army went out, most shied away in unwillingness. They do not like to entertain the thought of going to war. “We do not have time to fight; we are too busy otherwise,” they said. But the king knows this is not true. The sad reality is that the majority of the people do not see the importance of the battle. “I shall fare quite all right,” they claim, but they do not see that daily they are caught in the traps that the enemy has set for them, believing his lies and little by little, letting the evil captain take more and more of their possessions. If only they would join the fight that the King has proclaimed, and be watchful for the enemy…but alas.

The King clears His throat, and begins to speak to His vigilant artillery. “My faithful regulars. You are loyal to the crown and to your King. You have sacrificed your comforts to join the army of your kingdom, and this is a noble cause for which you have given yourselves to.” 

He sheathed his sword and continued speaking. “While we may be few, we are mighty, for we will be victorious. But you must fight faithfully, for if you do not fight, then you the warriors will of a surety lose this battle. I have supplied you with a perfect set of armor. Keep it on and ready to use at all times, for you know not when your enemy will attack. Remember, he prowls.” He emphasized the words, penetrating them in the ears of His listeners. “The enemy is deceitful, and will attack in cunning ways. We must be strong to fight back the threats he sends us, and to fight for others in this land. Be ready at all times, my warriors. The battle is real.”

The gathered army bowed their heads in respect to their King, realizing the seriousness of His words. However, He continued, having more to tell them. “But serving in the army of the King does not mean you only will fight. No, being among the ones gathered here has great privileges. Indeed, tell me how many of our country’s number may stand before the very presence of the King, as you do now? Very few. Only those who enlist in the army of the King can have this opportunity. Those in my land know me as their King and Protector, but only you, who enter into close quarters with Me, can know Me on an intimate level. My friends, will you follow to battle this great army below us in the valley? Will you stand strong in the promise that your King and His kingdom will come through triumphant? Will we fight together valiantly?”

The group knelt, and with one accord replied with meaning in every word. “Yes, we will follow You faithfully, even unto death. We will fight for You.”

The king raised His sword high above His head.  “Are you ready to go with Me?”

Hundreds of swords flashed upward in the sunlight and a strong shout went forth. “Let us go demolish some strongholds! For the King!”

Friday, July 7, 2017

Little is Much: Changing Your World


We often aspire to great thoughts of changing the world. Perhaps this, in our mind, looks like becoming a world renown preacher, or author, or missionary. You fill in that blank.

But really, how is this done?

action, adult, affectionIt's by taking time for that one sibling or friend...it's stopping to pray when someone asks you to lift them up before the throne...it's helping wash those dishes when your mom is wiped out. It's going forth with the Gospel to a lost and dying world, one person at a time. It's being faithful in the little things that God has called us to. Remember, even a grain of sand can make an impact on a marathon runner’s foot. Be faithful in your mission...to build the kingdom and to glorify the Lord, wherever you go. It's being the hands of God to the people He's put in our lives. You are placed with a purpose. Change your world right where you are. Glorify Him right where He has called you.

In the book of Nehemiah, we read that everyone had a job to do, even if it was small. Together – they were faithful – and built the wall in a record time. In the same manner, God has called each of us to different positions – whether large or small (according to our standards), they all are building for the kingdom. They all have an impact. They all build for Eternity.

I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian.  -Katie Davis-


One person at a time...one deed of kindness at a time...one prayer at a time...

"Little is much when God is in it."


And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Who you really are

For the hurting, discouraged, or lonely heart...

I write this for you.

I know how it feels to be left out of stuff.

Yes, it’s rough when everyone was invited to that event except for you. It’s terrible to know you're drifting apart from one of your closest friends. It’s hard to not feel accepted by the people or peers around you. It’s no fun to experience these things, and I will be the first to admit that. I’ve been there. We all desire to be accepted…to be loved…to be wanted.

But recently I’ve been thinking. Even if people 
are ignoring and leaving me out, even if they are having fun without asking me to join in, if they aren’t accepting me...

God accepts me.
God doesn’t ignore me.
God loves me.
God wants me.
God cares for me.

Even though it may seem the entire world is against you, you can rest assured of this fact…let me make sure you don’t miss it…

God is for you.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 8:31, 38-39

God is behind us, supporting us, helping us! Because He sent His Son to completely change us and save us, we can claim the truth He offers in His Word. I want to share seven of these truths with you today, because maybe you’re feeling inadequate. You’re thinking, “No one really cares for me… so I guess I’m just pretty much worthless.” My dear friend, if you are a child of the Heavenly King, then this kind of thinking is nothing more than lies from the devil himself. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and what He says about you and your identity is what is true, not what the devil wants you to believe.

Without further ado, here are seven truths of the child of God that He wants you to believe…because they are true.

#1: You are forgiven.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 
Psalm 103:8-12

Other verses that support this truth: Isaiah 1:18, Acts 10:43, Romans 8:1, Ephesians 1:7-10, Colossians 1:13-14, 1 John 1:9.

#2: You are free from the bondage of sin.

Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. 
Romans 6:6-8

Other verses that support this truth: Psalm 118:5, John 8:36, 2 Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1, Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16.

#3: You have hope because of Jesus.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. 
Hebrews 6:19-20

Other verses that support this truth: Psalm 25:3, Psalm 71:5, Proverbs 23:18, Lamentations 3:25, Romans 5:1-5, 2 Corinthians 3:12, Hebrews 10:23, 1 Peter 1:3-4.

#4: You are loved beyond comprehension.  

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 8:35, 37-39

Other verses that support this truth: Psalm 86:15, Jeremiah 31:3, Zephaniah 3:16, John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5,  1 John 4:9-11, 19.

#5: Your life has a purpose.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11

Other verses that support this truth: Proverbs 16:9, Isaiah 43:7, Jeremiah 1:5, Matthew 28:19-20, John 15:16, Romans 8:28, Ephesians 2:10.

#6: You are valuable.

But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. 
Isaiah 49:14-16

Other verses that support this truth: Genesis 1:27, Job 33:4, Psalm 17:8, Psalm 139:13-15, Luke 12:6-7, John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 3:5, Titus 3:4-7, 1 Peter 1:18-19.

#7: You have a forever friend.

…For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. 
Hebrews 13:5a-6

Other verses that support this truth: Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 27, Psalm 73:23-26, Psalm 91, Proverbs 18:24, Isaiah 41:10-13, 1 Peter 5:7.

So yes…you do matter. You are important. You are created in the very image of God, and His love for you will never, ever, end. Jesus is always with you. Cling to Him. It's when you're weak that He is shown to be strong. Rest on Him, and never give up.

In reality, all that matters is being right before the Lord. That is what life's about - Him. He's the only reason you even exist. What a joy and comfort it is to know that you are 100% loved, accepted, and cherished by your Creator!


The verses I shared are not an exhaustive list, but just a handful of ones, since I couldn't share them all here. ;) May the Lord use the ones I selected to encourage your heart today. Remember who you are in Christ, friend!


Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  
Hebrews 12:1-2

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  
1 Timothy 6:12