Our Response!

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

As always, when I post something using a selected verse of scripture, I encourage the reader to read the entire passage to maintain the context!

Whenever we run into the naysayers and those who would attempt to make us feel foolish about our beliefs and faith, we merely have to recognize the enemy at work. We remember–if God is for us, who can be against us? Only those who are influenced by the enemy! The Lord knows those who are His and so does the enemy.

The enemy–that old devil–knows who is already acting on his behalf–they are his and they do all he influences them to do. These are the liars, the murderers, the thieves, the child molesters and abusers, the manipulators, those wearing sheep’s clothing–masquerading as Christians when they do everything in opposition to God’s Word. These proclaim to promote–love–when in actuality they promote lust. These proclaim that only part of God’s Word is true and the rest is ancient mythology. These proclaim that modern society should rid itself of the Truths of God’s Word and simply allow everybody to do whatever they want. These do not understand that without God and a standard of morality, man will cease to exist as have some civilizations.

Whenever man has chosen to do whatever the flesh desired, others suffered the consequences of those actions. We still are.

When see arbitrary behavior that denies God’s existence and His intent for mankind, our response should simply be–“We know who we are, Satan and we will obey God, not you!”

When thoughts come into our minds that could lead to depression-our response is, “The joy of The Lord is our strength!”

When someone says we are already defeated our response is, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!”

When our wallets and bank accounts are almost depleted our response is, “All my needs are met through Christ Jesus!”

When we receive negative reports from doctors our response is, “By His stripes we are healed and made whole!”

When someone attempts to make us believe we are nothing our response is, “We are children of the Most High God and joint heirs with Christ Jesus!”

For The Word says we are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices–his MO. And when we recognize who’s behind an incident, we simply say what God says and keep it moving. We don’t have to argue about it–God has declared and we stand on what He says, not the enemy who was thrown out of heaven because of disobedience and rebellion.

Hallelujah Jesus! We are Yours and You are ours–our comforter, and guiding light; You reveal all Truth to us and we will hear and obey You–giving the devil no place in our lives!

Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Peter reminds every born-again believer to stay alert clear-headed so we’ll know when we see the enemy at work. He identifies our enemy as “the devil”–the one who was thrown out from heaven–the one who was and is angry with God for creating us out of love (his creation was for function–the singing angel)–the one who has determined within himself to destroy all of mankind, by any means possible and he’s succeeding–at least with those who are not paying attention.

The devil prowls-stalking those who seem befuddled and who stumble at the least bit of adversity and are not operating with a clear mind.

The devil roars–making enough noise to drown out a person’s ability to hear God clearly and what God is saying and unfortunately, many are listening to the roar that drowns the still, small voice of Holy Spirit, who is trying to protect us, but we do not hear.

The devil devours–with some people, he simply swallows them up whole–those who have never believed God, the work on the cross, or in the Risen Savior.  With others, he eats hungrily, ravenously, because he can’t get enough of the gullible and fearful and every time he devours someone, he is strengthened in his resolve to have us all for either breakfast, lunch or dinner. He seeks a weakness in our character and speaks to our minds, influencing thoughts and what we continue to think about we will eventually act upon and then once he has convinced us to live outside the safety net of those who are preaching and teaching The Word in Truth, he pounces–blinding eyes from seeing Truth and Light, and stopping up ears from hearing truth, tearing us from limb to limb and then he sits–only for a moment, licking his chops, enjoying the havoc and chaos, he’s created and when he has fully digested us, he moves onto the next person.

And this is why we–Born-Again Believers–must always be suited up, ready for battle–with our heads and hearts protected from the onslaught of negativity and rebellion fueled by the devil. Now, we’ve already been told what to look for so we can recognize the devil at work: he lies, steals, kills, destroys, and is a master of deception.  When we know The Word, have an intimate Relationship with the Father and Hear Holy Spirit when He speaks, we will never be food on the devil’s dinner table–we are neither breakfast, lunch nor dinner, for we are fully persuaded and convinced, no weapon (none of the devil’s attempts to cause us to fall) formed against us shall ever prosper!

Remember–the weapons we use are not carnal–man’s creation, but spiritual and they are more than capable of bringing down strongholds and overthrowing wickedness in high places. Stand tall, in full armor, with the shield of faith and The Word as sword–at the ready and move forward–knowing the battle is not ours; it is the Lord’s and we win–victory in Jesus!

Dancing With The Devil! (Part 2)

We tend to wonder why—young girls become drunks or alcoholics—never understanding what led to their behavior. Someone invited the devil to the dance and he led the dance, to his tune.

We tend to judge the behavior of others without really knowing or understanding how a person got to the place where they are. We didn’t or don’t know—the circumstances under which they were encouraged to dance—the devil’s dance—and saw no way out.

It’s time we either show others how to allow Jesus to cut into the dance or encourage them to leave the dance hall. When Jesus enters into the dance, the devil has to flee, but we don’t have to follow Jesus’ lead. He allows us to choose the rhythm and beat to which we’ll dance and if we choose to follow the devil’s lead, He’ll let us.

In order to stop the music the devil has implanted in our minds, we must submit to God—totally yield our thoughts and will to Him—resist the devil’s influence by walking off the floor and then watch him run, when the beat moves into holiness—a tune he cannot stand.

So while we enjoy watching others dance to the tunes they hear, we must be careful that we don’t allow the tune the devil plays to influence us by allowing him to lead in the dance. Don’t be fooled. The devil only knows one two-step: deception and manipulation—he’ll deceive with his charisma and manipulate you into thinking he actually knows how to dance. He will convince with each turn and dip—his ability to be smooth, when every step he takes—leading you—is a lie and he’s leading you astray. He’ll persuade you to—live like you want to live—it’s your life and nobody else’s business. He’ll tell you that, “trying drugs won’t hurt you;” he’ll justify being a thief, a liar, an abuser, a sex addict, or anything else that keeps you from being blessed by God.

Are you still allowing him to lead?

Need another dance tune? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that all who believed in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.” The devil hates that tune as much as he hates you—so don’t dance with him—give your life to The Lord and allow Him to lead you in the dance of life—positioning you to be blessed in all things!

 

Dancing With The Devil (Part 1)

Surprised are you? About the title I mean. We’ve all been caught up with dance crazes from long ago and many people frowned upon the types of dances from back then the same way we do now. However much I love dancing, this is really not about a new dance craze; it’s about the dance craze that most people do until they come to the realization that this dance—is one we should all sit out—becoming a wall-flower in the dance-hall of life.

James tells us to, “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us,” (4:7). So, if that’s true, why do so many people think that they can entertain the devil and escape the consequences that are bound to result from being around him?

Perhaps, I’m being too subtle. We engage in a dance with the devil when—we think we can “try” drugs and escape addiction. We think we can be “sexually promiscuous” and escape the consequences of our actions—unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, damaged self-esteem, and negative labelling by others. We think we can “listen to peers” especially children and disrespect parents and other adults without dealing with the consequences that could end up in locked out of a home and locked into a system that does nothing to promote well-being. We think we can “hang out” with the dope dealers and not get burned when they do. We think we can “steal our way” out of poverty only to discover that theft is not the way when we get caught and go to jail. We think we can “outsmart” parents and the law until we see our faces plastered on social networks or the news—on the most wanted criminal postings.

Anytime, we think we can do wrong and get away it—we’re dancing with the devil leading us into darkness and possible death. We must remember that the devil—that master of deception and father of liars—gets his kicks from seeing us getting into hot water with no way out of it. He laughs at the follies of his followers, cheering them on from the sidelines—showing them how to get swallowed up into the pit in which they have fallen.

Think about the people who believe that gambling is a way out of debt. The devil is leading this dance all the way to the poor house or suicide. He encourages the loser to try, “just more time” and then sits giggling hysterically when they lose even more. He loves to watch how they scramble trying to manipulate others into letting them have more money to lose and some resort to stealing because they believe—they need just more try.

Think about the people who live in abusive situations in which the devil manipulates the abuser and the abused. He convinces the abuser to keep abusing in order to control others, but then he also convinces the abused to believe the abuser when they apologize, beg for forgiveness and then they stay—for more abuse.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2–tomorrow! In the meanwhile, I hope your dance card–has been tossed aside–never to be used again.

Eyes On Me!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you” (Psalm 32:8,9 NIV).

There are so many eyes–looking upon everything we do–judging, evaluating, assessing, criticizing, not knowing who we really are or who is guiding us. Or do they?

If the Lord is giving us instruction, and teaching us how to get to the destination He has planned for us, and counseling us as we journey in life, we have no need to be concerned about what others see–for they will only see our willing obedience to God, doing what must be done to obtain the goal. However, whatever we do, whatever others see–will determine whether we need to be “controlled or forced” to do something.

In spite of what many think, our obedience to God is out of a desire to please Him, not because He forces us to do anything. If we have a heart for God and we are hearing Him, we know that He only wants the best for us and we only want to please Him.

For those who do not understand God’s love or His plans, His Word will seem harsh and brash and controlling. But God–never forces or controls us to do anything–He gives us freewill to choose and to accept the consequences of our actions. When we choose not to understand or hear Him, we are left with those entities that will control–demonic spirits that lead us down the opposite paths of those God wants us to travel.

On the path to hell (and it is real), everything glitters and has much more appeal to our senses–sight, smell, feel, taste, hearing–it all looks good, smells good, feels good, tastes good and sounds good, but is it–all good? NO! The enemy deliberately makes everything that opposes God look better than anything God wants us to have because he–the devil–wants us to be miserable and to hate God.

Not convinced of the devil’s controlling influence? Take a good look around at our society--at those who are influenced by greed, drugs, and all other lusts of the flesh. The gambling looked good–easy money–until it’s all gone and now people have to steal to support their habit. The same is true with drugs and alcohol–controlling substances. On a personal level–hygiene takes a backseat to fulfilling the desires and cravings of those things which control the mind and behavior. Feelings and cravings in the lower extremities of bodies control–making sexual appeal for anyone more desirable and pleasurable than doing things God’s way. Even food controls–for those who lack discipline and self-control, overeating–which leads to health problems and early deaths. Oh, yes–the enemy controls, but God instructs, teaches, and counsels and leaves it up to us to hear and obey.

Whose eyes are upon you, today–the loving eyes of the Lord or the gleaming eyes of the devil? They know and we should, too–just by looking at what we do!

Keep Away!

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV).

Considering the work that needs to be done, promoting the Gospel, there is no time for believers to remain idle–doing nothing. Paul understands the temptation that accompanies idleness. Idle hands are tools for the devil to conspire to do evil. Even when we think there is nothing more to do, we should pray–without ceasing–for others and for self. If we cannot think of anything else to do, our thoughts should focus on those who need encouragement or a helping hand. We may not have anything to do for ourselves, but there is always a brother or sister who needs help, doing just about anything.

For this reason, Paul admonishes those who are doing what is right to stay away from those who are doing nothing but creating problems. When people have nothing else to do–they complain and murmur and start vicious rumors and conspire to influence hatred and dissent. Paul understands that it is the little foxes that spoil the vines and a little disgruntlement when ignited by bitterness flows like molten lava, destroying everything in its path.

Realistically, every believer who will do, is doing, and looking for more to do. True believers understand that our work is never finished because Jesus has not returned. True believers reach out to others to encourage and admonish. True believers will pray for someone at in a heartbeat, when requested, or even when there is no request. True believers look forward to each day, eagerly waiting to see what God will have them do. True believers live with purpose and are always trying to fulfill the purpose. True believers understand that laziness does not create value or worth. True believers–know how to hear and obey God–and therefore never have time to be idle.

Even when imprisoned, Paul did not stop promoting the gospel, interceding for others, encouraging others, to remain faithful to the Lord and to adhere to God’s Word. He understood that every waking moment was an opportunity to bring others in the knowledge of Christ and used every opportunity to do just that. We must work while it is day (have an opportunity) for when night comes (the deeds of darkness prevail), success at anything becomes difficult.

If success is what every believer wants to see–we must stay away from those who claim to believe God, but are too lazy to study His Word for themselves and know His purpose for their lives and seek fulfillment. Keep away from those who would influence you to become as they are–idle believers.

 

Submission Is A Good Thing!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

So many people tend to think that the word “submit” is a bad word; especially as it pertains to women “submitting” to their husbands. One of the reasons for this disdain of the word is the fact that many have mis-taught the context of the word in the Bible. For clarity’s sake, the definition for submit–deferring to another’s opinion or authority makes it clear that submission is a good thing.

We must learn to accept the fact that none of us know everything and recognize that when we don’t know; it is not a judgment against self to defer to the opinions or authority of someone who does know. Not recognizing the authority of another is not only stupid, but could have detrimental results–depending upon the situation.

James tells us to submit to God–yield, defer to God’s authority. Resist–turn away from, run in the opposite direction, close ears to, anything the devil has to say and when we actively resist the devil, he will flee from us.

The best way to do this is to make sure understanding of The Word has been a priority in life. When we see the attempts the devil makes to cause us to believe anything God did not say; we simply speak The Word against what the enemy has said and do it as often as needed. The devil will get tired of hearing The Word and eventually leave a person alone–for a season. He will return, but if The Word is buried deep in our hearts, whenever he returns, we’ll be ready.

God knows more than we shall ever know! Fact–not opinion–and we know because we have not created a universe and He has. Therefore, we should acknowledge His authority and defer to His authority so we can defeat the enemy at every turn. Submission to God–is a good thing–it guarantees us victory over the enemy!

 

[tags element not working this morning on WordPress]

#God   #James   #Victory    #devil     #Mary M. Hall-Rayford

Who’s Really Against You?

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

In the previous verses, Paul expounds on how the Holy Spirit operates–interceding on behalf of God’s people.  God has predestined the path of believers and when we move along that path, an arc of safety precedes us.  Even when it appears that we have lost our way, we discover that we need an experience to bring us even closer to God so He allows us to explore and discover–just how great He is. “And we know all things work together for our good.”

So, who is it that is really against us?  Who interferes with our thought processes trying to get us to believe a lie? Who is it that tries to twist God’s truth and cause some to believe it? Who is it that really wants us to fail so we won’t have a reason to praise God?  Who is it that hates all that God loves?

Don’t get angry with people–get mad at the enemy who influences people into doing what he wants them to do. There are people out there, who by their own confession, do not believe God, in God, or in His saving grace.  They deny the divinity of Jesus and ridicule the role of the Holy Spirit. It’s not their fault.  The enemy has deceived them and others who have led them to feel this way.

Get mad at the devil and make sure that when you wake up every morning, he trembles. Wake up praising God and looking forward to seeing Him operate in not only your life, but in the lives of others.  Help those you can when you see a need.  Pray without ceasing for people all over the world. Love like you’ve never loved people before in your life.  Tell people they are loved.  Show them they are loved.  Remind them of God’s love.

The devil will slink away from you when he knows that because of who you are and Whose you are, he doesn’t stand a chance. God’s got this!  Make sure you know who is against you and power up–with the Holy Spirit to keep the devil on the run!

 

Beware The Enemy

The Word tells us that we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (or his influences). When we read the Word with understanding, we come away with knowledge and insight to detect the enemy at work within our jobs, our homes, our community, and our nation.

The enemy’s job is to steal, kill, and destroy; he is the father of liars and a master of deception. And since we know that God is not the author of confusion, guess who is? If he can confuse, he can delude (tricking people) into seeing what is not or what is not, is. Know your enemy well; recognize him for who he is and how he influences. Don’t attempt to war with flesh for the Word tells us that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God in pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations (delusions) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4,5).

Do you recognize these traits illustrated in your loved ones: Are they stealing your joy by their behavior and conduct; are they killing the desire within you to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ; are they attempting to destroy everything you have accomplished or dreamed; are they lying to you every chance they get, and are they attempting to deceive you with tricks because they think you’re stupid?

Don’t get mad at them, get mad at the devil and stomp on his head! Put your foot squarely on his neck and remind him that he has already been defeated and that you’re going to make sure he stays that way. Pray, praise, and pray some more. Pray in the natural and pray in the spirit—and teach your children how to recognize him as well and have them join in the prayer and praise fest—at home, in the car, on your job, in their school, wherever people are—expect the enemy’s influence to be present—but don’t give in to it. Recognize him at work and call him out on it. No weapon—none—that he can toss our way can in any way hurt us—unless we allow it. Glory to God in the highest! We praise You for the victory—in all things at all times. Hallelujah!