I decided to go on a three-day fast a few weeks ago. I was hurting and crying. Depression was trying to creep in. I didn’t want to get out of bed and my attitude at work was horrible.
Nothing I tried helped and no one could help me, but I was reminded of what Jesus told his disciples. This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. I was desperate and willing to do whatever it took to get what I needed. That meant no food. No television. No social media. It was a fight, but I was tired of hearing my flesh, my wants and my desires and I wanted to hear God.
I usually pray throughout the day – standing, sitting down, lying down, walking, but this day I was lying prostrate on the floor, on my face, crying out to God, asking Him to help me. I didn’t pretend like everything was alright. I didn’t tell him what I normally tell my family and coworkers.
No, I got honest with God. I know He knows and sees everything, but I told him anyway. Then, I told him what I wanted Him to do for me and that I was giving him three days to do it. I know. That’s pretty bold, but that’s how God wants us to come before Him. Besides, a lot can happen in three days. Jesus is a great example of that.
Each day, God gave me scriptures to read. Here I was crying because I felt rejected, but God began to show me in the scriptures how I rejected Him. You see, any time you reject the truth, you reject Him . When I realized what I had done to Him, all I could do was cry, repent and ask for His forgiveness.
By the third day, the Lord said, I have done what you asked.
The following morning, the Lord said, Whatever you fight to get, you will have to fight to keep. God did what I asked. It was His job to give it, but it was my job to keep it.
This reminds me of the parable of the lost coin. That woman became so desperate to find her coin that she lit a candle and swept the whole house.
Sometimes we lose things because we don’t understand the value of what we have. Because she was diligently seeking it, she found it and when she found the coin, she acknowledged what she did. She didn’t blame anyone for this. I found the piece that I lost.
What that woman did was what I had to do to get back what I lost. I lost my joy because 1) I couldn’t see my value and 2) I couldn’t see the value in the words that God gave me. I stopped believing what He said and I didn’t trust Him like I should. I was acting like Esau – like I was going to die if God didn’t give me what I wanted now. But I forgot that God hated Esau (flesh).
Today, I’m so grateful for what God has done, but I’m asking the Holy Spirit to help me not to take what God did for me lightly or for granted – that I keep, protect and guard what He has given me because what He has given me is too valuable to lose.
If Jesus won’t lose all that the Father has given Him, then I shall not lose all that He’s given me.
[Scripture references: Matthew 17:21; Luke 15:8-10; Romans 9:13; John 6:39]
Nehemiah made a decision to rebuild the wall. The moment he decided to do something for the Lord and His people, opposition came.
The enemy came in the form of men. The enemy called Nehemiah and the people weak. The enemy mocked them. The enemy told them what they couldn’t do. The enemy sent threats. The enemy tried to set a meeting with Nehemiah to harm him. The enemy even lied on him. But despite all of this, Nehemiah and the people finished rebuilding the wall.
Some of the people that came into your life were not sent by God. They were sent by the enemy to distract you, cause you to lose focus, get you sidetracked, slow you down, stop you, get you discouraged, bring fear and to stop you from finishing what you started. They were also sent to pull you away from God and good works rather than push you toward Him.
We all have lost focus at one time or another. I know I have, but if you’ve lost it, you can get it back.
If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off (Matthew 5:30, AMP).
We have to learn to cut off anything that keeps us from finishing. I know what it’s like to hold on to relationships because I didn’t want to be alone or because I wanted to feel accepted or loved. I was so afraid of losing something that I began to lose the joy and peace that God gave me as well as respect for myself. And unfortunately, I began to spend less and less time with God.
The distraction doesn’t always come in the form of a person, but whatever the distraction is – if ‘it’ causes you to sin, if it causes you to disobey God, if it takes you away from spending time with God – cut it off!
Jesus said, This is the Father’s will who has sent me, that of all which he has given me, I will lose nothing (John 6:39).
If Jesus could say that, then we who are in Him can say the same thing.
I will not lose what God has given.
I will not lose my business.
I will not lose my children.
I will not lose my spouse.
I will not lose my mind.
I am not going to lose anymore.
(Excerpt from last night’s bible study)
In Luke 5, Jesus tells Simon to go out where it was deeper and let down his nets. Simon wasn’t by himself. His partners, James and John (the sons of Zebedee), were also with him. When they did what Jesus told them to do, they caught a lot of fish and their net broke (vs 6).
In John 20, the disciples are having a meeting with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus had now risen from the dead and he came to the disciples while they were meeting and said, Peace be unto you; as my Father has sent me, I am sending you. After he said this, he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Ghost (vs 22).
In John 21, Simon Peter goes fishing again. The other disciples (Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee and two others) decide to go with him. Again, they caught nothing. This time Jesus appears to them on the shore. This is his third appearance after the resurrection. He doesn’t call them his disciples or his friends, but instead he calls them children and asked if they had any meat (vs 5). They said, No. Jesus then tells them that if they throw the net on the right side of the ship, they will find fish.
They threw the net, but they were unable to pull the net back in the boat because there were so many fish. In fact, they are described as dragging the net (vs 8). Simon Peter then helps draw the net to land (vs 11).
What caught my attention was that even though they caught 153 fish that day and they dragged their net, the net did not break (vs 11). It did not tear. No fish escaped. They lost nothing.
I’m sure if some of you read and study these passage of scriptures, the Lord will reveal something different to you, but this is what the Lord shared with me.
I blessed you before, but you lost some things. But if you will let me do what I want to do – if you will let me fill you the way I want to fill you, this time when I bless you, you will lose nothing.
Your net will not break.
possess: to win; to own; to contend; not giving way to adverse circumstances
More and more people are choosing to live a healthier lifestyle. They are going to the gym every day. They are drinking more water. Some have even decided to become vegans. I, on the other hand, am like Paul, who believed every creature of God is good and is to be received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 3-4). While I’m so glad that we’ve decided to take better care of our bodies, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if we cared for our souls the way we care for our bodies?
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (Matthew 16:26)?
There are some things that are hard to get back. We see this when Esau sells his birthright to his brother. We also see this in the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). This wasn’t her only coin. She had nine other coins, but it wasn’t until she lost one that she understood the value of what she had. She knew something was missing in her life and she wanted it back.
I’m not sure how this woman lost her coin, but what I do know is that this woman lit a candle, swept the house and searched diligently through the dust and dirt until she found it. To find it, she had to separate herself. No distractions. In fact, her friends and neighbors aren’t mentioned until after she found the coin.
There are some people and situations that you will have to walk away from. And no, that’s not being mean. That’s being wise. It means you are learning to guard your heart with all diligence. It means that you now understand how precious you are and you are pulling away from anything or anyone that will pull you back into what God pulled you out of.
One of the tricks of the enemy is to get you to join yourself to the wrong people while separating you from the right people. Sometimes our relationships look like the picture below.
The ox knows how to plow and the donkey knows how to plow, but it’s just not wise for them to plow together. It would be better for the ox to plow with an animal that has its nature or character. It should be joined with an animal that would work with it and not against it. I know we didn’t choose the families we were born into, but we can choose our friends. Choose people who will help you, not hold you back.
Another way the enemy tries to get to your soul is through sexual immorality. There is no need to boast about what foods you don’t put in your body if you commit sins that affect both your body and soul. We’ve heard it and we have read it, but I don’t think we really understand that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit – that He is in us to help us. He helps us to win and to overcome temptations.
King Lemuel begins Proverbs 31 by sharing with us the words of his mother. I believe the best advice his mother gave him is found in Proverbs 31:3 – Give not your strength to women (Proverbs 31:3). Throughout the book of Proverbs, we read about the strange woman (2:16), the evil woman (6:24), the whorish woman (6:26), the foolish woman (9:13) and the adulterous woman (30:20). His mother wanted him to join himself to a wise woman who builds her house (which includes him), not a woman who is known to tear apart her house or break up other people’s houses.
Have you ever watched the movie, Fireproof? Do you remember the salt and pepper demonstration? Michael glued two salt and pepper shakers together to show Caleb what happens when two souls become one. At the end of the demonstration, Caleb started to pull the two shakers apart, but he was warned not to because he would either break one of them or even worse – the both of them.
The reason why satan tries to break up marriages or tempt people to lay with someone who is not their wife or husband (fornication as well adultery) is to destroy souls. He wants to ruin you emotionally and spiritually. He wants you to feel so used and damaged that you think it is impossible for God to ever use you. He wants to put an end to what God wants to do before it is even started.
Some of you are carrying unforgiveness, hurt, shame, fear, bitterness and anger because of who you joined yourselves to. They all weren’t bad people, but they were the wrong people simply because they weren’t right for you. But these things that you are carrying contaminate your souls. They wear you down and make you sick in your body. They hinder your prayers and they keep you from moving forward.
But most of all, these things weaken your faith in God. It will cause you to back away rather than to draw near to God. The enemy recognizes the power of one (unity). He knows the power of love and he doesn’t want you to love like you used to. He knows the power of your prayers (John 14:13-14). And he knows what your faith can do – overcome him! For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4).
In Luke 21, Jesus warned the disciples of the signs that will precede his return. The first thing he mentioned was deception (vs 8). Many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ…but don’t follow them. The purpose of deception is to get you to exchange what is of value for something of little or no value. (Esau exchanged his birthright for one morsel of meat; Hebrews 12:6). After he lists all the events that will take place, he says, In your patience possess your souls (vs 19).
The soul consists of the mind, will and emotions. The enemy attacks your soul because that is the area where you think, feel emotions and make decisions. When a person is deceived, he is made to believe something that is not true. He is misled by a false appearance. Deception has caused many ‘believers’ to leave the very place where God sent them or planted them to grow. It has even caused them to leave families (spouses and children) for what they thought was better.
Your soul is precious and valuable. You are precious and valuable to God. Don’t exchange what you have for something that you don’t need. It is important that you take good care of your body, but also guard your soul. Choose your thoughts and be careful with your words. Don’t be impatient like Esau who acted like he would have fainted had he not eaten right away. Wait on God. And don’t be deceived like Eve. One of the reasons why she ate of the tree was because it was pleasant to the eyes (Genesis 3:6). Let us make sure that whatever we do is pleasing to God, and not just to our eyes.
Possess your souls.