Search This Blog

Monday, June 17, 2024

Get That Monkey Off Your Back



An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. 

—Proverbs 18:19, 29:11 (NLT)




Have you ever been hurt by someone and struggled to let those feelings go? If you allow offenses to tear up your life, you are more challenging to win back than a fortified city. You have put up your walls, and no one has permission to enter your protected space. Misunderstandings and disagreements separate you. Your life is locked down. No one can reach you. Sometimes, not even God.


Not letting go of feelings caused by hurts, whether big or small, leaves you wounded and emotionally broken. Misunderstandings that make us feel offended or hurt are a part of living with others. But when you don’t let hurt feelings go, they can grow into a spirit of offense where you judge all your relationships with your emotional wounds. 


What is a spirit of offense? Simply put, it is feeling resentful because of an actual or assumed insult. Sometimes, it is an actual offense; other times, it is an unintended slight that is misunderstood. 


Regardless of the other person’s intention, we must deal with our hurt feelings. The offense becomes a problem when we don’t process the hurt and let it go. When we nurture what has offended us, that offense consumes every thought we have and affects our ability to live in the freedom Christ has given us.


Jesus made you a new creation in Christ. He came to heal your wounds. You choose to allow the Holy Spirit to take those bad feelings. You decide to forgive and allow Him to heal your life. 


We may be made new in Christ, but we often judge the intentions of others based on the wounds of our past. Those wounds have been crucified with Christ, but our minds and hearts may not realize it yet. To receive healing, you need to be renewed in your mind by the truths of your new identity in Christ. The Holy Spirit works in you to heal the memories of those emotional wounds. When the Spirit of the Lord works in you, your mind and heart become free of the baggage of that old man. It becomes easier not to react to others because of past hurts. It becomes easier to deal with what others say or do. It becomes easier to capture our thoughts and not judge other people's intentions. 


Never assume a negative intention from another person. Don’t guess another person’s intent or what they expect from you. Ask what they mean and what they expect. You may disagree with them, but listen to what they say. And be open to sharing your needs and expectations without anger and bitterness. You might discover that the person you thought had intentionally meant to hurt you had no such intention. You might find that there was a reason for something you never knew. 


After sharing and listening, if you still believe the offense was purposeful, what will you do with it? Sometimes, we are insulted and just have to let it go. Forgiveness is the only answer. We have to forgive. Without forgiveness, we are in bondage to the emotional wounds of that old man who is dead. Forgiveness sets us free. It cracks our fa├žade and brings down the walls we have constructed so we can experience the healing grace of Jesus.


To overcome an offense takes humility. You have to let go of what you feel is your right to hold on to your hurt feelings. The Holy Spirit helps you to crucify the emotional pain to receive the healing grace of Jesus.


Being offended by someone only involves two people—you and someone else. Seeking advice from a third person might cause a more significant issue. Sometimes, when seeking help from someone uninvolved, you create another problem. Listen to the Holy Spirit as to whether you need to seek a third person’s counsel.


Intentionally pray for the person who has hurt you and pray for your own willingness to deal with your grief. Forgive even when you don’t feel it. When you live by your hurts, you judge not only the person who has offended you. You react to others out of old wounds that were crucified with Christ. Accept the person who has offended you. It is hard but an important step to experience Christ’s healing.


Walk in the Spirit and deny the lust of your flesh to be hurt and offended. Control your temper at all costs. The Holy Spirit empowers you to control your emotions. You earn the respect of others when you overlook wrongs—whether intentional or unintentional— that have occurred.


God created us with the need to be forgiven and to be forgiving. Forgiveness flows from the cross. Are you tired of old wounds determining your life? 


Let go of that monkey on your back. Isn’t carrying him around all the time overwhelmingly heavy? Learn how Jesus has healed you. Learn your new identity free from the old baggage of past hurts and wounds. Let Jesus' grace and forgiveness always reign in your heart. Without mercy, you will live in a perpetual state of reacting to other people out of the emotional baggage of a past life. With mercy alive in your heart, Christ's love will flow continually, freeing you to experience a joyfully fulfilling life.





Friday, June 14, 2024

Walk in His Forgiveness


And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

—Luke 17:5



After Jesus had shared His teachings on forgiveness, the disciples, recognizing the crucial role of faith, humbly asked Him to enhance their faith. This request wasn’t a desire for a spiritual boost but a profound acknowledgment of the faith required to walk in love and forgiveness, a faith as significant as that needed to believe in miracles.


The source of forgiveness is rooted in God's never-ending love and mercy. It is His initial love and forgiveness towards us that enables us to extend the same to others. Without embracing God's forgiveness, we are unable to offer it to others. The Scriptures guide us to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. God, in His infinite mercy, extended His forgiveness to us even when we were steeped in sin. This forgiveness is freely available to all, but it is only those who accept this gift through repentance and faith who are welcomed as children of God.


In the same way, we are to forgive others for what they have done to us, just as God has forgiven us. We forgive whether or not the other person repents or wants our forgiveness. However, we cannot restore a relationship with someone until they repent and forgive us. 


The failure to understand the difference between forgiveness and restoration in different situations has caused suffering. In marriage, we should forgive our spouse for anything, even unfaithfulness. But if there is no repentance on our spouse’s part, it would be foolish to trust him in certain situations. We should forgive someone for stealing from us whether or not he repents, but that doesn't mean we need to trust him in a situation where he might steal again. Complete restoration of a relationship is dependent on repentance in both people. 


God couldn’t restore a relationship with you until you accepted His forgiveness for your sins. Likewise, you cannot have a restored relationship with someone else until they accept your forgiveness and repent of their anger toward you. 


In the series The Chosen, Matthew is extremely hurt by Simon Peter’s anger toward him. He goes to Jesus about it. Jesus suggests to Matthew that he needs to apologize to Simon for hurting him when he worked with the Romans to come after him for taxes owed. Matthew hadn’t considered the hurt he had caused Simon in the past. Matthew finally decides to apologize to Simon, and Simon doesn’t know what to do with that forgiveness. He lashes out and pushes Matthew away. But repentance in Matthew had already begun its work in Simon. Simon eventually forgives Matthew, and they have a new relationship based on mutual repentance and forgiveness. 


The enemy uses unforgiveness to destroy you. He uses it to destroy relationships. Don’t keep unforgiveness in your heart. Forgive as Jesus has forgiven you. Just as God couldn’t make you receive the forgiveness He offered you, you cannot make someone accept the forgiveness you offer. However, when you forgive someone, forgiveness in you can draw them to repentance. It is the goodness of God that draws all of us to repentance.


Forgiveness is the greatest miracle. You have Jesus. You have the faith to forgive. Walking in forgiveness is walking out His love in your life. What you have freely received, freely give. Walk in His forgiveness today.




Thursday, June 13, 2024

Your Promise, My Promise



For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

—Isaiah 44:3 (NIV)



Life may appear without hope to some, Lord, but to someone who knows they are filled with You—who believes Your truth in their heart—it is a life bursting with abundant promise. My heart hungers to know this new person You have made me completely. My thirsty soul consumes Your Word to understand who I am.


“I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,” You promise me, “to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise” (Isaiah 43:20b-21, NIV). 


You made me to know You in my innermost being, Lord—not just to know about You but to know who You are in me. You have chosen me to be Yours. You have called me. You have justified me. You have glorified me. If You are for me, who can ever be against me? What can I say about these things? (Romans 8:30-31). I can say I believe them. I can say that these things are who I am as a new creation in You. 


You have blessed me with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3-4). When I hunger and thirst to know the righteousness You have given me, You fill me with understanding. When I ask, You generously give me with Your wisdom. (Matthew 5:6, James 1:5). I see Your spiritual blessings instead of my natural limitations. I see Your strength where I am humanly weak. When I hear Your Word, I am renewed by it (Romans 12:2). I guard Your Word in my heart. I guard the treasure of Your life within me. You yield Your truth in me. You produce Your life in me. I see with Your eyes instead of my own. I see Your promises instead of a life without hope. 


You satisfy me with good things, Lord. My soul is continually renewed to soar like an eagle (Psalm 103:5). Nothing that comes against me has any power against who You have created me to be. I stand in Your victory over anything that comes (Isaiah 54:17). I condemn the devourer who comes to steal the Word from my heart. I submit to the authority of Your truth, and the enemy flees (James 4:7). He will keep trying, but he has nothing to refute Your Word with, Lord.


My life reaches beyond myself, Lord Jesus. It impacts others. My life either speaks life or death. It offers either despair or hope. It imparts failure or success. It kills a heart or encourages someone to reach beyond their natural limitations—beyond what they sense—to receive the spiritual understanding of what You have given them. I can’t encourage others to accept what I don’t spiritually understand is true. Continually teach me, Holy Spirit. Teach me the spiritual truths of who You are in me. 


I was created to praise You, Lord. I was created to know You—to have a relationship with You—to be filled with Your spirit of wisdom and revelation in my knowledge of You—to be enlightened to know the hope of Your calling—to know Your power toward us who believe (Ephesians 1:17-19).


“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38, NKJV).


I believe I’m joined with You—one spirit with you, Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). You pour Your life into me. You continually fill me again and again. My mind always hungers to know You. My heart always thirsts to believe. I draw from Your ever-streaming, never-ending abundance to never thirst again (John 4:14). I am loved. I am cherished. I am accepted. You have made everything right. I walk by faith and not by what I see or feel. What is not of faith is sin for me, Lord (Romans 14:23). I won’t give in to the temptations of despair and discouragement when nothing appears to change. I repent for the times that I have. Jesus, I have Your faith. I have Your hope and promise. Your promise is my promise.  Upon those I love—upon my children and theirs—upon those I care for—upon those I pray for—upon those You bring into my life—You pour Your life and Your blessing. 


In You, Jesus, mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed (Psalms 85:10). Grace gives more grace (James 4:6). Love breeds love through generations. It is Your promise that I am Yours and that You never forget those You love. Praise you for never forsaking me.


“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,” You promise me. “Your children shall know me, And great shall be their peace” (Joel 2:25, Isaiah 54:13).


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

By His Stripes



Four years ago, I faced a debilitating illness beginning in April and lasting through December. During those months, I had three hospital stays and home health. I was told that I would have this condition for the rest of my life and would have to learn to manage it carefully. Throughout those long months, I studied and prayed over Scripture and sought the Lord. Yesterday, a devotional I wrote during my healing journey popped up on my website. I was shocked to see that it had 779 viewings. But I shouldn’t be. People are hungry to believe there is healing in Jesus and He wants them well. I share this devotional with you with all its grammatical errors, just as I wrote it four years ago. I’m so overwhelmingly thankful for the abundant life Jesus gives me daily. I never want to take His precious and powerful grace for granted. Healing is His promise to be received every day. Jesus wants you well. He gave His life for you to receive it.



August 24, 2020



Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

—1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)



Jesus bore our sins so that we might be free of sin and filled with His righteousness. Peter writes that by His stripes—by the wounds He took for us—we WERE healed. His death on the Cross not only paid for our sins. It paid for our illnesses. And He paid it all in FULL. We are saved and healed by the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. 


I have been on a journey in the last few months, learning what the Word says about healing. And I discovered something that I wanted to explore in-depth. Jesus not only saved me at Calvary. He also healed me. The Scripture very clearly teaches me that Jesus didn’t do a partial work on the Cross. It was a complete work. I am sharing some of my journey with you. I’m not here to tell you what to believe. I’m just sharing what the Word has revealed to me.


“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV). By the beating He took—by the deep gashes in His torn flesh—by the gift of His precious blood, I am healed.  I am whole in my spirit, in my mind (aka soul), and in my body.


I can be healed in the spiritual realm, but that healing may not be revealed in my physical body. Just because I feel sick or have an illness doesn’t mean that Jesus hasn’t healed me. To take hold of the Truth that Jesus did a complete healing work for me on the Cross, I choose to believe in His healing just as I once chose to believe in Jesus’ salvation by faith. When I believe the Word about healing, I choose His spiritual Truth over what I feel. His Truth transforms my mind and the way I perceive. I have greater hope. Healing progresses as my faith grows stronger each day to believe that I am whole.


"Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases" (Psalm 103:2-3, NLT). Don't we sometimes forget the good things He does for us?  The Word says never to forget these good things. We must choose to hold on to His Truth deliberately. And what is the Truth in this Scripture? Not only does He heal all my sins. He heals all my diseases.


"He sent His Word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death" (Psalm 107:20, NLT). God sent His Word and snatched me from the door of death. Yes, this refers to salvation from spiritual death, but I believe that it also refers to deliverance from physical death. Healing is part of Christ's payment for our sins (Isaiah 53:5). 


How do we get this kind of faith to believe? “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17, NKJV).  Faith is our response to the grace of Jesus. We learn from hearing His Word. Because faith without works is dead, we must act on what we believe. Don’t we want an alive faith? We know that without faith, we can't please God (Hebrews 11:6). 


My measure of faith grows stronger by taking in and digesting the Word of God.  “My child,” God says, “pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them and healing to their whole body” (Proverbs 4:20-22, NLT). His Words are life, and they bring healing.


“Have faith in God,” Jesus said. “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours” (Mark 11:22-24, NLT).


What mountain in your life do you wish to throw into the sea? Is it an illness? Is it fear? Have faith in God. You don't throw your mountain into the sea. God does when you speak by faith what you believe. When doubt is conquered by faith, nothing holds back the power of God. You believe. If you believe Jesus said, it will be yours.


“Because you believed,” Jesus told the Roman officer, “it has happened” (Matthew 8:13, NLT). And the officer’s servant was healed within that very hour—because he believed.  The woman with the issue of blood was healed by her faith when she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. We believe by faith. We speak what we believe because Jesus died so we might have life.


I believe by faith in the healing Jesus bought for me with His life. He personally carried my sin to the Cross. Now I am dead to sin and alive in Him. But not only just alive spiritually. By His wounds, I am healed.


“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT).  Thank you, Jesus, for loving me with your life. I won’t let the enemy steal the seed of faith you have planted in my heart.  I choose your purpose for me—to have a rich and satisfying life.


“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jeremiah 17:14, NIV).


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Love as Jesus Loved You

It is the night of the Last Supper. After communion with His disciples, washing their feet, and revealing Judas is the disciple that will betray Him. Jesus informs His disciples that He is leaving them and they cannot come. They are devastated. The one they had given their life to follow would leave them. And amid their emotional turmoil, he tells them something else:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

These words were part of Jesus’ last words to them, so they were certainly very important. Jesus commands them to love each other as He has loved them.

Many Christians believe they are unable to love as Jesus did. They may work hard to reach that target, but they find themselves falling short. Would Jesus give His disciples a command He knew they could not keep? Of course, He wouldn’t. Then why is it so hard sometimes for us to love others? 

Perhaps, we don’t understand the love of God we have received.

God loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us. God doesn’t love us because we are nice or beautiful, go to church, or keep His commandments just right. God doesn’t respond to us based on what we do for Him. We can’t do anything worthy enough to receive His love. God responds to us based on Jesus’ unconditional love for us on the cross. Jesus met the conditions of God’s love. He earned it. We can’t.

God’s purpose in creation was to give Him pleasure (Revelations 4:11). He wanted someone to love and for them to willingly love Him in return. Adam and Eve were created for His pleasure, and we were created for His pleasure and fellowship with Him. 

God’s purpose in creating us was to have a relationship with Him. When religion, instead of relationship, becomes our focus, we begin to tie God’s love for us to something we do for Him. When we believe God loves us and acts on our behalf according to our performance, we hold others to the same standard. Our love for others is then based on how they treat us. If God based His love for us on how we treat Him, none of us would be worthy of love. 

We had no beauty or worth to pay the price. We had no works worthy of the price. Only Jesus’ unconditional love for us did.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God’s love has never been conditional. He loved us at our worst. Most Christians believe you are saved by grace through faith, no matter your past. But for some, that is where grace ends and religion begins.

Religion focuses on outward behavior instead of the inner witness of a changed heart. Religion says God demands you do everything perfectly. Trying to prove your holiness to God becomes a burden instead of freely living righteously out of your relationship of love in Jesus.

God isn’t focused on your behavior. God is focused on your heart. It is wrong to lie, steal, commit adultery, or any other sin. What we do is nothing more than the product of our relationship with God or the lack of our relationship with God. God always looks at the heart.

You will never fully receive God’s love if you believe He judges you according to your performance. Love is a decision, and God decided to love you even though you didn’t deserve it. There is nothing you can do to earn it or deserve it. You must receive it as a free gift.

When you understand how much God loves you, it becomes easier to love others. When you love others as Jesus has loved you, your behavior will change toward them. If you love your spouse the way Jesus unconditionally loves, you will never be unfaithful to them. If you love your neighbor as Jesus loves you, you will never steal from them or bear false witness against them.

How does the world know that we are His disciples? John 13:35 says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

A Pharisee, who was a lawyer, asked Jesus, “Which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus answered him in Matthew 22:37-40.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The Pharisees wanted Jesus to name the most important commandment— “You shall not.” But instead, Jesus named the most important—“You shall love.” 

Don’t mentally try to earn God's love thinking, “I must do this, or I must do that.” You will become focused on yourself instead of Him. Jesus has already made the decision to love you with His life. You freely receive His love that loves the Lord will all your heart, soul, and mind. You freely receive His love to love others. You can never love with His love when you try to earn what is impossible for you to earn.

Whether you realize it or not, you will treat others as you believe God treats you. Once you understand how much God loves you, love will flow out of you toward others. You will freely give away the love you have freely received. 

You will love as He has loved you.


Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Work is His



Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

— Philippians 1:6



What race is God asking you to run? Does it seem too enormous to you? Does it frighten you when you think about what God asks you to do? Or does knowing God trust you to believe Him for the impossible humble and excite you?


We have come too far in Christ to shrink back now. We live in the last of the last days. There is no time for fear or anxiety. God is looking to each of us to fulfill our part of His plan. He depends on us, and we must give our lives to do what He asks. Nothing is more important than listening to His voice and doing as He asks.


God could choose anyone, but He chose you. So, whatever God asks of you, consider it an honor that He would use you to accomplish something for Him. You must push aside any fear, draw upon the power of God living deep within you, stand on His promises, and step out in faith to see it done. You will never know what God can do unless you step out and allow Him to show you.


When the children of Israel prepared to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the river was at flood stage. To all appearances, it was impossible. God commanded Joshua to instruct the priests to step right into the river. God assured Joshua that if he did, the water would miraculously part so that he, the priests, and the rest of the Israelites could pass through on the dry ground.


Can you imagine how Joshua felt?  People watched him and the priests, looking to see if the water would part as he had promised. But this wasn’t Joshua’s moment to shrink back in fear. He chose it as his moment to obey. Standing on the edge of the Jordan River with its water rising higher, Joshua obeyed God’s command. The priests lifted their feet to take the first step into the current. As they obeyed, the water parted just as God had promised Joshua (Joshua 3:17).


It took Joshua’s courage and obedience for the waters to part. Because of his obedience, all the Israelites passed into their Promised Land. This shows the power of one man’s obedience to God. Do you realize that your obedience affects others? When you obey God, other people are impacted, which opens the doors for them to receive God’s promises.


Obedience to God is not always easy or without conflict. Joshua had to fight his thoughts and emotions and refuse to allow fear to flood his mind. If Joshua had listened to those thoughts, he would never have obeyed God. But he rebuked the thoughts and the feelings they evoked and boldly stepped out. Joshua experienced God's superseding, supernatural, and supreme power the moment he obeyed. 


Those who stand on the edge and allow fear to keep them from God’s plan in their life will never experience the power of God as Joshua did. If they want to experience God’s power and see Him miraculously working in their lives, they must be willing to rise up, step out, and do precisely what God asks of them.


Perhaps, this is your season for God’s dream to take root in your heart. But the time will come when you must stop thinking about your dream and act. If you don’t, your dream will only remain a dream and not a reality. When you finally act on that dream and move forward to do what God has asked, that is the moment you will see God supernaturally part the waters before you.


Is God asking you to step out in faith and start something new or do something that seems impossible? Is He calling you into an area of ministry that seems overwhelming?  Has He placed a dream in your heart that seems beyond all your capability?  That is the whole point. Whatever He calls you to do is impossible in the natural. It takes His supernatural to accomplish.


Whatever God tells you to do, pray about it. Seek Him, and let Him prepare your heart. When His time is right, He will one day speak to your heart and say it is time to get off the edge and step into the water. If you do as He asks, you will see His power moving in your life as never before.


If you know it is time to step out in faith, take your eyes off the impossibility of what you see, and fix your eyes on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). What He starts, He will always finish. That’s why Paul said, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).


The word “confident” means to be fully persuaded or thoroughly convinced. Paul says, “I am fully and completely persuaded and convinced…that he which began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Be confident that God Himself will move you toward the goal.  He will not stop until you have reached the end. 


God is with you at the beginning of your journey and will empower you to make it to the finish line. You may not always feel like an overcomer, but God's grace is moving you to your Promised Land one step at a time.


Joshua’s obedience resulted in all of Israel passing over into their Promised Land. Your willingness to obey will also make the way clear for others to follow and experience the power of God in their lives. When you obey God, He imparts power into your life that is more extraordinary than you could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). However, such power belongs to those who obey Him.


God will empower you to do the most incredible thing you have ever done. It may seem as impossible as crossing the Jordan at flood stage, but His grace and power will supernaturally pick you up, carry you toward the goal, and bring you to the end. 


What is the step of faith you need to take? What promise is waiting for you across the river? What is stopping you from taking the next step of that precipice? Is it time for you to stop just thinking about what you see and start acting on what God has given you to do?  Don’t look at yourself. You cannot part that river. Look to Him, the author and the finisher of your faith. It is Jesus in you who accomplishes the impossible. It is Jesus who began a good work in you and completed it. When you step out in faith and obey God, you finish strong because Jesus finished strong. 


Whatever God asks of you, your obedience will increase the blessings of His power in your life and affect blessings in the lives of others until the day of Jesus Christ.



Friday, June 7, 2024

For Your Victory


The time for our victory has come. God has provided us His spiritual armor but doesn’t force us to use it. We surrender to the Holy Spirit and receive His power to be victorious. If you want the abundant life Jesus has given you, you must fight the good fight of faith. Satan will do all he can to steal your victory in Jesus, but he can’t. Jesus has already won it, and it is finished. To fight the good fight of faith, you exercise the armor of God.


The Word of God is your Truth. But it makes no difference if you don’t know and believe it.  The righteousness Christ has given you is your inherent right to all His promises and your authority over the enemy. When you allow the gospel of peace to claim your mind and heart, faith shields you against the attacks of the wicked one. Faith receives what grace has provided. The helmet of salvation guards your mind against the devil’s lies. The sword of the Spirit—the spoken Word of God—is your weapon to declare God’s Truth in your life and defeat the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy the abundant life Jesus has given you (Ephesians 6:10-18).


Notice that the first piece of armor is the Truth of the Word, and the last is God's spoken Word. The Word is absolute Truth; when spoken, it can break strongholds and produce life. All the other pieces of armor help you to stand firm and speak the Truth of God’s Word with His authority. When you put on the armor of God, the enemy cannot take what is yours in Jesus.


You fight against the enemy—not people (Ephesians 6:12). He comes against your faith and brings the battle to your mind. You will face discouragement quickly if you aren’t equipped to fight your battle. When you start to believe God for something, that is when your battle begins. You don’t just stand against him one time. You stand against him again and again. Standing builds your faith to receive the promises of God. When you stand, you set your mind on the things of the Spirit. You have life and peace no matter what you face (Romans 8:5-6).


God’s Word overcomes everything that comes against its Truth. No weapon shall prevail against it. You shall condemn anything that comes against its Truth in your life. This is your inheritance in Christ Jesus. You are the righteousness of God in Him (Isaiah 54:17, 2 Corinthians 5:21).


Looking at yourself through your eyes, it is hard to see Christ’s righteousness. You only see the imperfection of your humanness. But things change when you keep looking into your heart with the Truth of the righteousness He has given you. The revelation of your right standing with God will transform you from living in fear to fighting with faith. Submit yourself to God, and the enemy will flee (James 4:7).


You fight the good fight of faith when you forgive as Christ has forgiven you. When you live in God’s peace, you are standing on His Truth and at peace with Him, yourself, and others. You believe your worthiness in Christ and that you are forgiven, and you forgive others as Christ has forgiven you.


For faith to be effective, you must be convinced that the faith Christ has given you will quench the fiery darts aimed at your mind and heart by the wicked one. Each of us has the same measure of faith in God (Romans 12:3). Exercising your faith will make you an overcomer (1 John 5:4). Don’t give up. When you are in a battle, your faith is what is tested. The enemy tries to make you give up on your faith and what you believe. He wants you to say faith does not work for you.


When you fight the good fight of faith, you put the Truth of your salvation on like a helmet to protect your thoughts. God’s Truth continually renews your mind (Romans 12:2). When your mind is renewed by Truth instead of the enemy’s lies, the incorruptible seed of the Word is sown in your heart and produces fruit in your life. You have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law that is above these (Galatians 5:22-23). You have the fruit of the Spirit inherent in your relationship with Jesus. You know your battle is won, and God’s promise is yours.


When you are in a battle, your emotions get out of control, and your understanding is compromised. You have to consciously put on the Truth of your salvation. When the Truth of His righteousness convinces you, you experience His peace and wisdom. Intentionally, review over and over in your mind who you are in Christ.


The last piece of armor declares the power of God's Word and engages all other armor pieces. It is the sword of the Spirit—the spoken Word of God. You battle successfully in warfare by agreeing with God’s Truth and speaking it instead of speaking any lie of the enemy.


You have the power and authority Christ gives you to defeat the enemy. But God doesn’t speak His Truth for you. You open your mouth and declare it. You wield the sword of the Spirit. You put on the Word of God and speak it over your life.


And you pray! “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:18, NLT).  


Prayer is your personal intimacy with God to receive the understanding of His Truth and guidance in your life. Your prayers not only impact your spiritual life. They impact the lives of others. Be persistent in prayer and believing for yourself and others. Put on the full armor of God. Live in an attitude of prayer at all times, and pray in the Holy Spirit. 


The battle you are in was won over two thousand years ago, and the enemy you face was defeated over two thousand years ago. The enemy has only as much power in your life as you allow. God has given you all you need. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. 


“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20)!




Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Sword of the Spirit

Would you like to render an incapacitating blow to the enemy when he tries to attack your mind and life?

In Ephesians 6:17, Paul wrote, “And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Paul calls the Word of God the “sword of the Spirit.” 

To understand Paul’s message concerning the sword of the Spirit, we need to know what he meant when he called the Word of God a “sword.” Paul used the Greek word “machaira,” the same word used to describe the type of sword a Roman soldier used in battle.

The Roman soldier continually trained for war. He practiced with his sword every day, striking a tall wooden post firmly fixed in the ground. This post became the soldier’s enemy during practice. He practiced by hitting certain places on the post lined up with his opponent's vulnerable areas. The purpose of sword practice was to learn how to take advantage of his enemy, hit him in his weakest area, and disable him. He was taught not to cut his enemy but to thrust with his sword. A stroke with a sword’s edge, even made with much strength, would rarely kill someone. A powerful, forthright stab was usually lethal even though it might pierce his opponent only a few inches. 

Paul had this in mind when he wrote, “And take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” 

The Greek word for “word” in Ephesians 6:17 is “rhema,” which refers to an utterance or a spoken word by God. To have a sword that penetrates a blow to the enemy, we need a specific, quickened word from the Word of God engrained in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. When we speak the word the Holy Spirit has given us, we wield God’s power to render the enemy a debilitating blow.

Just as a Roman soldier only needed a well-placed wound to eliminate his enemy, a well-placed quickened word from the Lord has the power to eliminate Satan’s attack. 

The best example of the power of the Word of God—the sword of the Spirit— is found in Luke 4:3-13. When Jesus went into the wilderness, Satan continually and aggressively attacked him. Each time, Jesus answered Satan’s attack with a Word from the Holy Spirit. 

After Satan tempted him with food, Jesus drew out the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and rebuked him: 

“It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’” (Luke 4:4). 

Satan did not respond to Jesus’ spoken Word—the sword of the Spirit.

When Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world in trade for worship, Jesus wounded him again with another Word.  He said: 

“For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Luke 4:8). 


Satan again had no answer to the sword of the Spirit.


When Satan tempted Jesus to prove His deity, Jesus answered him again with another Word by the Spirit.  He said: 

It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (Luke 4:12).


This time Jesus pierced Satan with a devastating blow. Jesus had replied two times to the devil with a specifically targeted Word. Still, this third time the devil finally gave up and “departed” (Luke 4:13). Satan was rendered powerless in the wilderness by the powerful words Jesus used like a spiritual sword against him.

When the Holy Spirit quickens a specific Scripture to you, and you use it against the enemy, the enemy will eventually “depart” from you. He has no comeback to God’s Word so he cannot engage you in further conflict. The Word of God is the supernatural sword of the Spirit that renders the devil powerless. 

Open your heart continually, and let the Holy Spirit reveal the Scriptures you need to withstand the devil’s attacks and force his departure. With those Scriptures in your heart and mouth, you have God’s spiritual sword to render your enemy helpless. The enemy will come at you again at some point. But if you pierce him with God’s Word spoken out of the abundance of your heart, you will be able to render him helpless again. When you submit yourself to God, you resist the devil, and he flees from you.

The Holy Spirit was sent to guide you into all truth. A Word from God that speaks directly and quickly to your heart is a deep inner assurance and witness of the Spirit. Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and His Word will be opened to you.


Get That Monkey Off Your Back

    An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Sensible people...