Used By God?

The Voice of the Martyrs Facebook Timeline headline says– “LAOS Pray that new believers facing angry relatives will not waiver in their faith.”

How many times has the Devil weaponized family and friends against believers?

The Devil has come to kill, steal and destroy– by any means necessary. Jesus said, ” “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:53

In Ephesians 6:12 we are informed– “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

How many times has the Devil weaponized someone at our churches?

Here’s the most revealing question– How many times has the Devil weaponized us?

Deception hides amongst the well-intended. It thrives on emotional reactions. It drives misunderstandings and miscommunications as a destructive force, tearing through walls of relationships as though they are nothing but smoke.

Make no mistake– the Devil intends to use us to tear down everything God is doing.

May God grant us all discerning eyes and spirits, increasing our sensitivity to where He is at work so we can join in with Him through prayer, supplication and surrender completely to His Holy Spirit.

We need to ask Him to reveal where we may be, now or in the future, deceived by His enemy and the enemy of our souls. Lay aside every assumption and belief of being “right”. Step back and just wait for Him to reveal what He is doing, where He is working– who He has chosen to work through.

We cannot allow ourselves to be weaponized– used– by the Devil.

To surrender everything we believe, everything we “know” to Him– recognizing that He knows all and sees all– that is wisdom. It is necessity— right now.

Who’s “tool” are we? Who’s purpose is being fulfilled through our actions and treatment of others?

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.” 2Cor 10;3-7

The Spiritual Damage Of Anorexia

I’m a former anorexic and bulimic, reformed through Christ. This post has been a long time coming.

To look at me now you can’t tell I was near death at one point from practicing anorexia.

The Spiritual consequence is what I want to get into with this post. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about that before.

Fasting is an important part of our growing relationship with God. When we fast unto God, we deny our flesh to set aside our physical wants and needs temporarily to focus on seeking God. We fast to repent, seek God, grow in our faith and understanding, and to actively put Him completely first. The focus is God, not our body, not the avoidance of food.

Anorexia is a tool the devil uses to corrupt that. Fasting not only becomes an obsessive practice of focus on ourselves. Opportunities open for the demonic to gain footholds in our lives, choices, beliefs, vision, perspective and practices. The devil sells us the idea we can obtain perfection.

When Jesus is our Lord and Savior, God sees us as perfect because Christ is in us.

Through the practice of Anorexia, the devil causes deformity within our spirits and our understanding. The devil clouds our vision, and converts our perception to a distorted view and belief system– the belief that our body is the enemy we need to fight against.

The Bible is clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood. We are transformed through the renewing of our minds, new creations through Christ Jesus.

Striving for perfection, we work hard for acceptance and approval of the world. But like a small kid in a game of Keep Away, or Monkey In The Middle, we never lay hold of it. The constant effort steals focus, energy, confidence– reality. The bar gets raised higher. It’s always just… out of…

Reach

God accepts and approves of us because of Jesus. We don’t have to prove our worth to Him because Jesus showed us how much He values us by dying on the cross, and rising up again. We are wanted, welcomed by God.

Jesus made it possible to have acceptance from our Creator. We can have a relationship with Perfection Himself, and He is working to make us the best version of ourselves– for His glory.

We have a choice: We can work really hard for a distorted version of perfection that’s never within reach. Or we can rest in God’s approval and meet Him in the changes He makes as He perfects us His way.

I have experienced both. I prefer God’s way.

What Does Living Water Look Like, Feel Like, Taste Like?

I have noticed that women within the Church are sometimes, many times even, deficient in living water because of a lack of Spiritually fulfilling resources. Especially single women, divorced women, and widowed women. As a teenager I experienced this firsthand, and then later as a divorced adult. Maybe that’s why I feel sensitive to it even now.

This deficiency in the living water, it’s not from a lack of interaction with God, or even a failure to be filled by God’s Holy Spirit. Not at all, not all of the time. In fact, it’s easier to spend time with God in those instances of a woman’s life, because her heart isn’t so divided, her attention isn’t so fractured and distracted, or demanded.

Then, what do I think it’s caused from, some may ask?

God created women with an ingrained designed need for fellowship, a meeting of the heart and mind, a desire to be heard and cherished. That need becomes deprived when women are separated from healthy interactions. That’s why the devil has worked overtime in the Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, because he has been at war with women through the men in their lives, creating an environment where they cannot thrive well, cannot grow to their full potential without the proper nurturing, cherishing ,valuing of them, or the allowance of them to reach their full potential as healthy individuals. The devil has waged a full on war against women, with very little opposition. Because those outside of that particular part of the war have been hesitant to “interfere” (really it’s hesitant to help, withholding the needed love and compassion from them to reach out and help them rise up above this twisted mindset, effectively putting Satan under their feet), it has been allowed to continue and just accepted as “That’s just the way it is over there”. The perception that America is “the great satan” is a lie that has effectively been intertwined into cultures where women have become undervalued, abused, neglected and not at all cherished as God has created them to be. Satan lives, thrives within that mindset, not within any specific nation.

In our Western Christian mindset, there are denominations who also do not value women or allow them to become all God intends for them to be. In the church mindset (and, not every church, not every church in any one denomination, and not any one denomination overall), women are limited in the roles they can serve in. Why is this? Different interpretations and applications of Scripture create specific “doctrines” that lock churches into mindsets that are not always accurately Scriptural-based. In Galatians 3:28 it specifically states “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

So, often, there is a distance already placed and understood between single, divorced and widowed women within the church. They aren’t often given the special considerations they need, that God desires for them to have. The fellowship that provides that refreshing living water is not always available for them. It forces a deeper reliance on God, but it also can place a wedge in their heart keeping them from effectively being ministered to. It creates a wall that blocks them from the resources that God desires for them to have.

The Church desperately needs to seek God to begin learning and teaching how to help women in various stages of life, to be helped and encouraged to grow to their full potential. There has to be a culture within the Church of both humble submission to Church leadership and then a healthy trust relationship and covering for women in all stages to reach the full potential that God has placed within their lives and hearts.

We have yet to see many women reach the full potential, but I believe that God wants to supersede that, and make some deep adjustments in mindsets and attitudes.

The well of living water within the Church should always be readily available through fellowship and healthy interactions with others. Then we will experience an even greater outpouring of the living water from Heaven that God will continually pour out upon us all.

If anything scares the devil, it’s the stronghold over women being broken.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women at the well, He broke the strongholds over her life, her mindset, and the mindset of those in her city. He did that by speaking the truth to her, by knowing her, by interacting with her. We can do the same, just by getting to really know the women in our own lives, by listening to their stories, by helping to foster an environment that allows them to reach that full potential God has for them. ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4&version=NASB )

Christians: we are the Church. It’s not a building that enforces doctrine and teachings, or creates environments. We can make all the difference that God wants us to.

The Power of Life and Death

When things are changing, like life constantly seems to do, and tense moments take over our reactions and thoughts, our tongue can be our worst enemy. The phrase from Scripture in Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit”, has been echoing through my thoughts all day.

It’s honestly a pretty rare thing for my husband and I to fight, I mean really fight. We snap on occasion, we argue, we disagree, but for the most part we don’t really fight. So, this past weekend while we are both going through so much in our own emotions about this whole stressful moving process, well, we got into an argument, and then a full on fight. And I realized: fighting with my best friend really just sucks.

I have been aware for sometime of the necessity to build others up because the world is constantly tearing us all down. And, sadly, it’s not just the “world”. It’s those closest to us who know our vulnerabilities, and in that heated moment of arguing, swoop down and sink their words into the jugular of our trust in them.  Seriously. Who doesn’t get into an argument and fight with every motivation of doing or saying everything possible to “win”?

It’s hard to rise above our tempers. It’s hard to forgive so things don’t build up.

Ephesians 4:26 says, “”In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…” Anyone who knows me, knows that when there is a conflict, I try to talk things out both as soon as possible, and as thoroughly as possible. And, those who value me and any sort of relationship with me, they talk with me and pray with me. Because we cannot live at peace with someone when we are hurt or angry, and I sincerely do my very best to not ever let the sun go down on my anger, because then the sinning comes in the form of mean thoughts, hardness of heart towards the person things are unresolved with, all sorts of things. My mind and emotions become the Devil’s playground, and I don’t want the Devil anywhere near my thoughts or emotions.

I have lived and learned: no good comes from harboring anger or not acknowledging it. It leads to the death of relationships. It leads to the death of dreams. It leads to the death of being effective for Christ in our everyday lives.

There is no “winning” when there is death because of what we say and/or how we say it.

My daughter’s youth Pastor had her group do an activity where they hammered a nail through a piece of wood. Then he talked about how that wood was damaged. Sure the nail could be removed, but there would still be a hole. Then he told them that’s what our words can do. You can say something , and even apologize, but it still makes a “hole”. You cannot take back your words.

That’s definitely some “food for thought”.