Month: September 2015
In my last blog, I Did It Again, I talked about a problem that a lot of Christians struggle with, but the good news is that before you had a problem, God had a solution. It worked during the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth and it still works today – prayer and fasting.
A father had taken his child to Jesus’ disciples, but the disciples were unable to cast out what was in him. After Jesus rebuked the dumb and deaf spirit in the child, the disciples asked why they couldn’t cast it out. Jesus said, “This kind cannot come out by nothing except prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Whether Jesus was referring ‘this kind’ to the unclean spirits that was in the boy or to the spirit of unbelief that was in the disciples, He was showing us that there are unclean spirits that will not come out as easily as others, but they can come out. It’s just that they must be forced or driven out through prayer and fasting.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24). Christ saved you, but now there is something you must do after salvation – crucify the flesh. This is our responsibility, not Christ’s. As I said in the last blog, it is important to be on watch and prayerful because the enemy is looking for an opportunity to devour you. Thanking God when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed at night is good and asking God to bless and protect you, your family, church and friends is good, but this is NOT enough. There are traps being set and wicked plots being devised so you must set aside time to pray and fight in the spirit (not in the flesh) for what God says is yours.
Your soul is saved, not your flesh. Flesh comes with affections, passions, lusts, appetites, desires and urges. The Spirit of God that is in you wants you to obey the Father, but the flesh wants you to disobey the Father. Fasting is important because it teaches you how to say no. If you can say no to food, you can say no to the devil. Fasting teaches discipline and self control. You learn how to control your flesh instead of allowing it to tell you what to think on, what to do, what to say, and what to eat.
Some of us feed our flesh with too much television, filthy conversations and impure thoughts and then wonder why we have problems in the areas of lust, immorality and perversion. Goliath wasn’t born a giant. He was born an infant, but the more they fed him, the more he grew. (And I’m not just talking about food. The fear that was in Saul’s army had the ability to make him grow). If you don’t feed it, it won’t grow. Just like there are things your body needs in order to grow, there are things your spirit needs in order to grow (reading the word, meditating, fasting and praying).
Fasting has a cleansing effect. If it is able to eliminate toxins and poisons in the natural, imagine what more it can do in the spirit. It will drive out and kill every toxin, poison, sickness and venom the enemy has planted in your body and mind. According to Isaiah 58:6, fasting sets the oppressed free and it breaks EVERY yoke, but fasting alone is not enough. I heard a preacher once say that if you’re fasting, but not praying, you’re not on a fast – you’re on a diet. Funny, but it’s a true statement.
Jesus said, “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29). The body that God gave us and put His Spirit in was made for Him, not sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:13). I pray that we all make up in our minds that we want to please the Father. I want us to hear God say, “I am well pleased with you”. And just don’t make this decision for you, but make it for those who are watching you and who need what is inside of you. It is time for the world to see Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20), but they can’t see Him who is alive when we refuse to die. We must choose daily to die. With our mouths, we tell God to have His way, but it’s our old ways that keep getting in the way. Train your flesh to serve you so you can serve the Lord better.
By faith, I say that you will overcome the world, flesh and the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Ecclesiastes 7:8 tells us that better is the end of a thing than the beginning so don’t worry about happened in your past or about how your life started out. You are about to see better because the devil’s time is up and all those years of using you and your body is coming to an end.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, help us to give up what we want to do so that Christ can do what He wants to do through us.
Have you ever been proud of yourself because you hadn’t committed fornication or adultery or any other sexual immorality for a period of time? Not only were you proud of yourself, but you felt like God was proud of you, too. Then, you fell right back in the same area AGAIN. Now you’re ashamed, hurt, and disappointed in yourself. You took the way to escape temptation the last time, but you forgot that when Satan left you, it was only for a season. You forgot that he was coming back. You didn’t realize that he was patiently waiting for another opportunity to catch you – off guard. Peter the Apostle warned the saints to always be watchful, alert and self-disciplined because the devil is walking, waiting, hoping and looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
One of the reasons why we fall into the trap of sexual immorality is because we don’t know who we are or understand what we have. When the serpent spoke to the woman in the garden, he told her that after she ate the fruit, her eyes would be opened and she would be like God (Genesis 3:5). Before God created man, He created everything man would ever need on earth. Man was created in God’s image and likeness. Then, He gave man dominion over the principalities and powers in the sea, in the air and upon the earth. Eve was already what the serpent said she would become and what the serpent convinced her that she would have, she already had.
As Christians, some of us really don’t appreciate or value what God has done for us. We don’t appreciate what we have. We complain. We want what someone else has. We want what we should not touch. We take God for granted. We take what He has done for us lightly, but what Jesus went through for us wasn’t easy. He endured the cross, shame and suffering. The last Adam came to set you free from the bondage that the first Adam put you in.
Another reason why we fall into this trap is because we don’t believe God. We don’t believe that He has created someone for us. We don’t believe that someone will love us or respect us as God does. So we go from man to man or woman to woman searching for someone that has already been made for us (or in the making). Unfortunately, after facing many hurts and disappointments (and by the way, God doesn’t hurt or disappoint), we give up or we settle. We can receive a word that our spouse is coming, but if a certain number of years have passed and we’re not married yet, then we think that it will never happen or maybe God changed His mind or that we don’t deserve a spouse because of our past.
I’ve also found that although we talk about God’s love and we sing about how much He loves us, we still don’t understand what real love is. Many of us have brought pornography into our homes and into our marriages not understanding that what we were looking at was created to destroy relationships, not to build them. The people you see in porn videos are paid actors. It’s an act. Their behavior is not real or genuine. They do not love or cherish the one or ones they are with. Once they complete their act, they move on to the next partner. Pornography does not display real love, faithfulness or commitment. We have confused lust with love.
So…how did I get myself in this mess again? Why, like a dog, did I return to vomit or to what once made me sick? Jesus bore our sins and by His stripes, we are not going to be healed, but we were healed (1 Peter 2:24). Why engage in something that leads to sickness when Christ has already healed you?
Some of the situations I put myself in weren’t a result of being ignorant of Satan’s devices. I knew the truth, which is the word of God, but I chose to believe a lie. Although the serpent deceived me (I really thought that this time would be different from the last time), I couldn’t blame the serpent and I couldn’t blame Adam. I knew better. I knew my vulnerable areas, but I compromised – to get what God said He had already given me. Just like Eve, it started with a conversation and if you deal with loneliness (single or married), this is one of the tools Satan uses to prey upon you. I was supposed to guard my heart (for out of it are the issues of life), but instead I let my guard down.
So after the anger, hurt and disappointment, I felt stupid and used. Believe it or not, I actually wanted God to give up on me because by this time I had given up on myself (suicidal). I could no longer see any good in me. Nobody else wants me. Why does He still want me? Why does He still want to use me? Well, all I know is that even though I was unfaithful to Him, He is still faithful to me. My Maker is my Husband and He is jealous over me. He is not issuing a bill of divorcement and He is not putting me away. He hasn’t rejected me nor has He rejected you. Although you may have left your first love, He’s giving you time and space to return to Him. That’s all He wants. Return to Him and He will receive you again. Be honest with Him. Acknowledge your sins and repent so that He can restore and heal you. We have given ourselves over to the wrong people and then we wonder why we can’t love God with all our heart, soul and mind. We have formed ungodly soul ties that are designed to literally tie us down leaving us burdened, depressed, and sad.
There’s more I want to share with you, but I’ll save it for the next blog. In the meantime, be encouraged and believe that although you may be broken now, you shall be made whole.
The Lord told Isaac not to go to Egypt, but to stay in the land where there was a famine. God told him that He would be with him and how He was going to bless him, but He wasn’t going to do it in Egypt. He was only going to do it in the place where he told Isaac to stay. Although Isaac wanted to leave, he stayed because God told him to. He obeyed God because he trusted God. Some of us have been looking for a way out of our situation, but sometimes the very thing you want God to get you out of is the very thing He wants you to stay in. He may want you to stay on that job, stay in that marriage or stay in that ministry, but most of all He wants you to stay in His face. He wants you to learn how to trust Him while you’re in that situation. He that is in you is greater than what you’re in.
Life is not a struggle. The only reason why we are struggling is because we struggle with whether or not to do our will or the will of God. Jesus said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone, but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit”. Before a seed can grow, it first has to die. For us to grow properly, our ways, our attitudes and our self-will has to die. Some of us are afraid to die because we feel we are going to lose something. Yes, you are going to lose something – it’s called YOU.
Why are you afraid to die? A seed isn’t afraid to die. When it loses itself, it produces much fruit. When it becomes what it is supposed to be, then and only then is it able to benefit others. Many can eat from its tree. When you become who you are supposed to be, many can be saved and many can be set free. When we refuse to die, we are only thinking of ourselves and what we want. When we refuse to die, we rob others of an opportunity to live.
God told Abraham to take the one he loved (Isaac) and offer him as a burnt offering. Most of the offerings in the Old Testament, the priests were allowed to keep portions for themselves, but for the burnt offering, the priests had to give the Lord all, not some. What you refuse to give or sow to the Lord is going to cause you to lose what the Lord wants to give to you. Our problem is we don’t trust God enough. We’ve heard and read about what God has done for others, but let’s be honest. Sometimes we aren’t sure if He will do the same for us.
God doesn’t allow a famine to come for you to die, but He allows it as an opportunity for you to grow. A seed has to grow. It benefits no one when it abides alone. At the age of twelve, Jesus mentioned His assignment to his parents and at thirty years of age, he began ministry. Those eighteen years were His growing years. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52).
Don’t complain about you’re in. Grow in it. Your situation is not as bad as the condition the earth was in (Genesis 1). Look at what God had to work with when He created the earth. The bible tells us that the earth was without form and void, but when He finished what He started, it was very good. You may not know when things are going to work out for you, but you do know how it’s going to work out – good! Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
If God has told you to stay, don’t leave. He’s going to bless you right there. Don’t go seeking for something better. Be rooted in the word and the promises God gave you. Don’t make hasty decisions. Let God finish what He started in you. Let the Potter do what He wants to do with you. Give God time and let Him make it and you beautiful in HIS time.
It may feel bad and it may look bad now, but give God a chance to make it very good.