Twisted.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38&39

I recently watched “Twisted” by Andy Stanley which inspired me to write this blog.

"Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil." - Ephesians 6:11

The devil is real and he roams the earth. He has a plan for your life, and if you don’t recognize the lies he tells you, in time it can become fatal. Sometimes it can be a scary thought. But at the same time, when you have God with you, it can seem a little pathetic. The devil is obsessed with you. He has been observing humans since the beginning of time. He is desperate to see you fail. 

Story time:

 One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.“Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.

Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”

Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God.You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence. -Job 1:6-12

Satan is given permission to test Job. Literally everything was taken away from Job. To sum things up, Job was tested multiple times, yet his faith in the Lord remained and in the end he was blessed by the Lord twice as much as before. (Job 42:10) 

The story of Job shows us how determined Satan is in messing with our minds, and it also shows how he uses others in the process. Jobs friends and even his wife tried telling him different lies about his life and what God was trying to show him through his trials. His wife even told him to curse God. “His wife said, “Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you? Curse God and be done with it!” (Job 2:9)

Satan cannot force you to do anything. He does not have access to your mind. He can put things in your path, and observe your emotions, but he only has the power to tempt you. He knows how humans work, because he’s been around since we were created. 

"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

Recently I have been reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (my homeboy for life) This book can be summed up as the spiritual battle between good and evil from Satan’s perspective, and how Satan attempts to destroy faith and promote sin in our lives. The book really portrays how much God loves us and how Satan uses lies in our lives. Lewis does an excellent job of portraying how Satan will take the truth and twist it just enough for it to become a lie so easy for us to believe. In the fourth chapter it discusses prayer.

Years ago I was extremely naive spiritually and I didn’t understand how serious faith was. I went through a traumatic time, and in a matter of 24 hours my life was changed. During that 24 hour period all I did was pray. Praying that the circumstances would change and that good would come out of the situation. To sum it up the circumstance did not end the way I expected (or would have liked.) After that, I literally stopped praying. I just never opened my mouth to speak a prayer. And lately God has been speaking into my life just how important speaking prayer is, and how absent it has been in my life. Within the past few years I realized that prayer is definitely a crucial part of growing in Christ. But because of that traumatic time I just couldn’t pray the same. So I journaled. I wrote prayers, I thought prayers. But never in the past 4 or 5 years in my life did I open my mouth and pray a sincere prayer from my heart. 

Until a few days ago. And it was liberating. 

But that’s the thing. The devil liked that I wasn’t praying. He enjoyed the fact that one instance could have changed my prayer life forever. It could have stunted my growth spiritually, and it did for a while. Even though I was doing other things such as writing and meditating, it wasn’t as powerful as crying out to God with the voice He gave me, making the devil flee from my life.

What I’m trying to say is it starts small. Hitler did not wake up one day believing that the extermination of the Jewish population was a brilliant idea. It was something that was planned meticulously. Most likely, some sort of truth in his life was slightly twisted into a lie that he believed, and overtime it grew and became more dangerous. 

With all of this said, the devil has a plan for each of our lives, but God has a bigger plan. 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11

Think of things which are holy, and you will experience God’s peace.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” -Philippians 4:6-9

Don’t let the devil lie to you. Resist him and he will flee from you.

"So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." -James 4:7


All the days of my life.

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

-Proverbs 31:10-12

All the days of her life.

Not just when I meet my soulmate should I bring him good, but my whole life. Everyday.

"Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

-Song of Solomon 2:7

It’s okay to be single, it’s worth the wait. A love that God creates for you has unlimited potential for blessings. Don’t try and rush things, and don’t settle for second best. Listen to what God has for your life and follow it. He’ll lead you where you need to go.

 ”So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.”

-Genesis 29:20

This verse encourages me. It assures me that even though the wait seems long in this moment, the moment will pass quickly. 

Basically, I have come to realize that God will give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4). He knows what’s best for my whole life, not just in the here and now. So my best option is to listen to Him and focus on becoming the virtuous woman I am called to be, so that whoever He puts in my path will observe and see that. Not me, but who I am in Him.


Perfection.

August 31, 2011

I will never be perfect, and neither will you.

(Quick disclaimer: this blog is completely based on my own opinions and experiences. I do not wish to force anyone to agree with what I say, but simply felt the need to share my discovery.)

Legalism:  strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code. (merriam-webster.com) Somehow we have created this idea of being saved through good works. I believed this for many years, and now God is revealing to me His true character.

I love to read, self-help books especially, and one day I came across a book that quickly grabbed my attention: “Mere Churchianity” by Michael Spencer. I am not finished with the book, but reading it has caused me to challenge the way I view religion. 

Within the past few years I have struggled with the constant need to be accepted, and a great way to gain acceptance is to serve others. Serving is a very good thing, but I made it into my own manipulation process. “If I want to be noticed and accepted, I will help this person and do whatever it is they need done. Then they will let me in their circle.” This was a lie I told myself for such a long time. Soon I had so much on my plate that I burned myself out, and when I attempted to step down from certain things I felt guilty. There were times where I was even rejected because I had been giving for so long, it was expected of me.

“Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” –John 6:29

The craving to be perfect consumed me. I wanted to do all the right things to impress all the right people. This is what made me happy, I made it my god. This caused me to believe that God was someone who constantly graded me based on my performance of what I did, how often I did it and how well I was doing it. After much heartache and realizing how far from true that is, I found God, the right One.

It’s so weird because I have been a Christian my whole life. I faithfully attended church, and accepted Jesus as my Savior at a very young age. But at the age of 20, I finally found God, and now I can’t help but to share my recent discovery. 

I now realize that Jesus died for the sinner. I will never be a perfect person that is why He was nailed to the cross. If perfection was attainable, He would not be necessary. There is no point in me ever trying to be perfect, because it will never happen and that is okay. The parable of the prodigal son is a great explanation of how God loves us even after we walk away from Him, but Michael Spencer breaks this parable down in his book and I like how he describes it:

“The Christian life isn’t a denial of the prodigal son parable, with the prodigal suddenly becoming a good boy and making his father proud. It is lived at the point where the empty-handed, thoroughly humbled son kneels before his father and has nothing to offer. The son can do nothing but be loved. He is empty and has only one recourse – receive the gift of all things and eternity.

The exhausting effort to be a good Christian denies Christ. If you insist on securing your own holiness and acceptability, you disqualify yourself from receiving anything from Jesus. He came to earth to save sinners, not good Christians.”

I recently finished reading the book of Hosea. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this Old Testament book, it is an emotional story about a man who married a woman who acted as a prostitute. Though she kept walking away from him, he still loved and cared for her. The book describes this relationship as being similar to God and Israel. At the time, Israel continued to serve false gods and sinned against Him. God expresses his anger, but continues to love His people.

“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’” –Hosea 10: 12

“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy.” –Hosea 11: 8&9

God loves me (and you) no matter my issues. He chose us before we even considered Him. He loves us even if we walk away. 

I don’t have to do anything to become accepted, because I was chosen.


What’s stopping you?

I’ve been so overwhelmed by the business of life lately. Different things have been pulling me in so many directions, it’s gotten a little intense. So I cut a few things out in hopes that  my stress level would die down, but then it just left me thinking about the things I could be doing. The things I want to do, but can’t.

Then God whispered, "What is it that you can’t do? I gave you everyday, and I give you strength. If I put the desire in your heart, what’s stopping you?"

And then I realized that sometimes, the things you feel you cannot do are the things God is calling you to do. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength, don’t let the devil lie to you. Don’t let him keep you from what God has for your life.

Gods plans for your life are great and most likely, it’s going to be difficult to get where He wants you to be. So why wouldn’t the devil lie to us? If it’s going to be strenuous for us to achieve what God has planned, than that’s his most opportune time to step in and say “you’re not strong enough, you can’t.”

So be brave. Be courageous. Listen to God, and live in peace.

”..For simpletons turn away from me—to death.
    Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
 But all who listen to me will live in peace,
    untroubled by fear of harm.” -Proverbs 1:32&33

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly." -Matthew 11:30

Matthew 5:43-48
Pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:43-48

Pray for those who persecute you.

(Reblogged from godsradicaldaughter)