Joykeepin vs the Joykiller.

First off I am no match for Satan but Christ  in me is and I have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit who all are a complete match for him. Jesus always is my advocate at the throne.  I have been under an attack most of this year.  I am not sure I can plainly explain how this works but here goes.

Satan has a plan for your life. Satan uses much more than our past to harm us.   He loves to get in and confuse and create chaos in our present by distracting, dividing and conquering. He will make the right seem wrong and the wrong seem right. That’s the reason Eve plunged the world into sin as Adam was silent. Adam was right there with her and ate after her. The silence of Adam is why most fail to his prey.  Satan only has the power we allow. If we are deceived we are doomed until we get a clue because God said “having done all” putting your amour on “to stand” standing in the truth of God’s Word “stand” don’t back down and fall prey.   If he tempted Jesus – who should have certainly had sure footing with the Father- he will surely tempt us who are mere man. Jesus didn’t use his God powers to tackle the Devil, he used what can’t be argued. The Truth.

The Truth is the only foundation against a Father of Lies. The Truth is the light in the darkness. It’s the voice saying true things overriding the voice saying “maybe, might be, could be, what if, I don’t know why, and but….. It overrides fear and deception. Truth begins with I know this is right because ……… I know this is true because…… I know I can trust this because……… there’s rhyme and reason for the truth.

Understand if he can get your joy he has your strength. The clear test for an attack is the lack of joy. Neh 8:10 The joy of the LORD is your strength. Therefore no joy = no strength. It’s that simple and clear.

Without actually taking authority over your life and using the same thing Jesus did- the WORD- we are all going to be oppressed and spend our wheels until we get a clue and cry out to GOD for help and deliverance. We’ve all been there. He comes to kill, steal and destroy. Not the physical but the spiritual. He doesn’t need a body count, our possessions or things. He needs to make us grope and search in our circumstances and own reasoning for answers that GOD is clear about already so we miss opportunity and God’s will. That kills our purpose. That keeps us ineffective and always trying to try. It destroys our goals. He steals what God had intended for us to be blessed with.  I have experienced this first hand. It begins with self justification and ends with shattered dreams and ruined lives. Not a bit happy about finding myself deceived by him and rebuilding from the ruins of that kind of deception. By the power of God in us and the will of GOD for us, and the Word of God to us, to the glory of Him we have to stand against it. We have to believe God and realize the father of lies counterfeits God’s plan. He is subtle and makes his counterfeit look so real. It’s the oldest trick in his arsenal. We can take our future back and create a past Satan can not use against us if we walk in the Spirit and the Word. It’s really that simple. But if anyone is oppressed and being deceived they can test it by finding out if they are moving in truth or feelings. If they are confused or clear. If they have the joy and spiritual blessings God intends in Ephesians 1 or are they still trying to find the right combination of performance with GOD that brings that joy. God’s joy comes from letting the Lord be our joy which provides our strength. Neh 8:10. Remember if you have no JOY… you have no strength. The number one thing Satan comes after is our JOY.

Think about it this way. When I was a little girl my mom would say to clean my room. I loved playing much more than cleaning my room. It would pop my bubble to have to stop playing and clean. It took all day because I dreaded it and was unhappy to do it. I cleaned it but wow I  did it by pushing through being sad. Immature huh? Well I was just a kid. Yet many Christians get asked by God to do certain things in his Word and they push through.  They do not act  like they are blessed to be able to offer something to  a King who has sacrificed so much for them. They instead “suffer for Jesus” as if they have been asked to take castor oil.

Joy makes all the difference in the world in approach to the will of GOD. Without it we get frustrated and have to push through instead of walk through.

Sometimes the battle gets weary. We know GOD is for us and we have to hide ourselves in the fray in him. Satan wants to destroy God’s plans by having counterfeit plans for our lives. He sometimes covertly works through any means possible to find the smallest chink in our armor. Please know that yesterday’s victories aren’t sufficient for tomorrows battles. We have to be vigilant and trust what is true. Each day we need grace and the Holy Spirit power that keeps us from being ensnared. I know this from personal experience. Nothing is worse than getting far down a path and finding out you should have never taken the journey. It was easy to get there and I even justified each step of the way. I decided who GOD was and framed him to allow all of my choices. You couldn’t have told me I was wrong at that time. (And many tried to warn me) I just kept on going until I found myself confused and with many hurts. I became frustrated with God because I thought he was leading me but realized I was deceived. There was no reason to think God was in it which is the ultimate irony. Nothing I had chosen to do violated Scripture but the path I had chosen was very unwise. That’s the thing we think wrongly about Satan. We think he tries to get us to do evil. Most Christians in their right mind won’t do pure evil. But they will head in the wrong direction and lose focus and get entangled with things God didn’t assign to them. My entanglement lead to a couple of years of being in the wilderness. I would still be in that wilderness if it hadn’t of been for God using people to reach out to me. I dismissed many before these few who finally got through.  I was drowning and had no clue. It occurred to me when I got back in my race that I had hardly read my Bible daily, had earnestly cried out and prayed only for relief and rescue and that I was not hearing from God all during that time. I was dismissing good advice right and left from clear headed people who could objectively offer soundness.  I cherish being out of that wilderness and will protect with my life now no matter how it looks to the world.

I remember when I was delivered. It was at a Dennis Jernigan freedom conference with Dean Briggs speaking. My friend  had invited me to go. I heard identity in Christ and freedom presented in a way I had never heard before. It revealed how deceived I was, how wrong I was about much of my belief about how God loves us. When I realized what Jesus did to redeem my soul and to put me on solid ground it opened up my heart to something I had never experienced, intimacy with God. I finally felt the complete connection of being his and he being mine. I left there with hope. I had been hurt a lot in life. I never felt as if I belonged or could be loved. Then God with his perfect timing sent a lady to invite me to a Bible study.  I had started to attend the Thursday night Bible study. God orchestrated the most magnificent circumstances to actually pull me from the pit of deception I was in. Little did I know that Satan was forming a counterfeit plan. As much as I was free there were two pieces of the puzzle for God yet to do. The first was for God to build my trust. I was beginning this new intimacy with him but from previous damage by my Father and  in my life I didn’t really fully trust God. I said I did and I tried to but there was an unsettled place in my heart that thought God would let me down too. The second was finding out how God sees me. Realizing that I am priceless to him gives me confidence in GOD that is unshakeable.  I know by his character and how he sees me I can have joy because I am his and he is mine. It might look dark and might feel like the wind is being taken from you. Yet, there’s joy unspeakable that you can’t explain to anyone fully because it defies what you are going through. It’s there no matter how much you cry or fail. You know that you know that GOD will make a way where there seems to be no way.

Good Friday? Are You Kidding Me?

This was originally written March 2009. My mother was dying and everyone I know is going through something so I thought I would share. Sunday is coming!!!

Where my feet may fail.

I have been studying church history and the history of Christianity in general and I have wanted to honestly absorb what happened the week that Jesus died. I wanted to absorb the enormity of the unspeakable gift and sacrifice of God to fallen man. I have seriously pondered and thought what it must have been like those last few days to be part of the ministry of the Son of God. I realized how beautiful the picture was that Christ, in his last act with the disciples became a servant, washing their feet. I have often thought that if I had to use only a few words to describe all of Christianity, servant would be in the top 10. Yet I don’t think of servant as making things happen for the good of others but more of being available to serve as opportunity presents. The extra mile in the journey that comes up naturally and without “work”

As we look at the cross we have to think about how the followers of Jesus felt before his death. Circumstances had to look bleak hopeless and unreal. The day of agonizing prayer in the garden as the disciples slept, the betrayal, and the subsequent arrest and ultimate crucifixion was to be remembered in history as “good” Friday. Good? Is that our definition of good? No, it would never be viewed in an earthly way as a good day if the events were happening to us. Jesus even said he endured it and despised the shame.

Mary has lost her son, grieving as a mother would. The disciples are wondering if it was all real or a joke since their teacher, master, and Saviour now was laid in a tomb. Preparations were being made to bring the necessary spices to embalm him, meaning they didn’t think he would rise from the grave. Agony, grief, pain, doubt, fear, regret and “what ifs” were plaguing their thoughts as Satan was  enjoying the moment. God was all the while, working unseen,  finalizing the atonement that would secure our justification. I was playing this over in my mind, trying to embrace everything I was reading in the Bible about it when it hit me like a lightening bolt right in the center of my heart.

We all have our Good Friday seasons. We have those times in life when it all seems bleak and our hearts are weary. I was struggling with divorce, single parenthood, being single and relationships, finances, and all that encompasses being hurt with betrayal of infidelity and a childhood that was emotionally abusive. The pain of my own flaws and failures as I didn’t know how to unconditionally love or care for other’s happiness. I was violated beyond description in some ways a true victim but in others a raging victim of my own doing. I couldn’t tell the difference at times and I wanted to die often to be frank. I am a witness and case in point to the fact that with human eyes and a fallen heart we can sometimes lose the picture and feel hopeless. We can ourselves make huge choices that leave scares. Our ability to make mistakes is endless. I was falling apart, losing my self in an ocean of agony, grief, pain, doubt, fear, regret, and “what ifs.”

The pain was real and deeper than ever before. It was the culmination of many things and many years. I had a skewed view of who God was, what He should be doing, and how life should turn out for me and how He should take care of my needs. I won’t go into tons of detail but I was at rock bottom. This meltdown came after I had just learned a powerful lesson about God’s grace but with the agony that was gripping me, grace or anything profitable wasn’t clear to me.

I had been to countless hours of Christian counseling and still nothing broke the spiral I was in over the complicated mess my life had been woven into partly my own doing and self deception, partly by my past and partly Satan’s plan.  I also did not understand the fellowship of the suffering of Christ in which my trials were to reveal my character so that each trial would mold and make me more like my master. EVERYTHING God set into motion regarding my salvation has been done for me. I keep trying to do it but it’s already been taking care of. Walking in it is all that I am asked to do. Take the journey not make the journey. I often wanted to approach the trial as a soldier but instead approached it as a helps victim because that was all I knew to do. Whine and cry about my circumstance and keep trying to lift myself up by the boot straps. It was a dark, dreary, disillusioned and depressing time for me. Then………… as I write this with tears of joy…more of my story later… let’s go back to the tomb for a moment before I tell the rest.

Two women approach the tomb to take spices. They didn’t expect what they were going to find even though Jesus had told them. Catch this! The Son of God told them verbally he was going to raise from the dead and they doubted, they were taking spices to embalm him forever. Thank you Lord, for the human element you made apparent in your Word so that I would know there are times we just don’t have enough faith. They didn’t expect to find the stone rolled away, they were spoken to by an angel that Jesus had risen and ran back to tell the news. The disciples were found mourning and didn’t believe it. They too, the very people who had walked with Him and seen the miracles, and had heard his words, they too doubted. It took time for it to sink in. How many times have I stayed in mourning when the good news was right before my eyes?

When the message gripped their hearts, and dear ones is has to grip our hearts, our heads can’t fathom it. THEN……THEY KNEW!!!! THEY KNEW!!!! HE’s ALIVE!!!! We are forgiven!!!!!!!!! All that he had said and all he had done was indeed real and was TRUTH. They were set free by THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE. All the while as darkness was encompassing them, Jesus was working behind the scenes he had paid the debt we all owe for sin and cannot pay, he had conquered death so that we can live, and all so that I can be forgiven by his imputing righteousness on all who believe and will believe down through the ages. Christ living in me.

Ok, back to me. I have been through a very dark time as I described above, a time when I didn’t trust God enough for what He promised to do. I didn’t see God realistically or Biblically. I had no clue that all I was going through had a purpose. I started digging deeply into God’s WORD to see what was real and what was not. I started looking at God, my Father, for the first time in a way that was different. I don’t see God the same way I did in the days when I wanted him to endorse every prayer and make life all better. Waving back to him saying come on catch up to me and my ambition.

Today, I truly know I am resurrected, restoration has begun in my heart and healing is taking place. Circumstances haven’t been greatly changed, I am still single, finances are still low as a matter of fact sometimes negative, and the past is truly and realistically what it is. But hallelujah my mind is being renewed, my sins are forgiven and my view of it all is different and what I have been through no longer has control of me. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply my being was hurt or how thankful I am for that valley of these last years.

The chains of it all have been released as I realize who and what I have in Christ. I couldn’t have learned that apart from the Holy Spirit teaching me in the Word. Praise the God of heaven and earth who will never leave us. Who is raised from the dead. Who was and is the true I AM. Unconditional love drove him to a cross to claim …… it was the joy set before him…….

Friend if you are going through a season or even a life of pain as I testify to you there is a day when you will realize this. God won’t change the past, but you can trust in faith that He is faithful with sustaining grace to know that whatever happens or has happened in this life is for a season and a reason.  The season may be whatever length it is but there is a far and better country. The reason always points to the lamb.  My peace and joy doesn’t come from my circumstances being miraculously changed for my good, but in knowing God, that He loves me, is with me, and will never leave me. His character is paramount to all the truth that He is.  He paid for me with His own Son’s life and is forever my Good Shepherd. Storms will come and go, winds will knock me down,  I will still be flawed but not eternally condemned. Praise the One who is raised from the dead, praise be to the One who sent Him for my redemption.

Praise GOD for saving grace that has set me free to be at peace with God. I hunger daily for His Word and have found not reading it to be like neglecting my relationship, I sing praises to His name, (in Dallas traffic much to the laughter of cars around me.) I want to learn, grow and share with others the wonderful news of salvation. If that is all I do the rest of my life it will satisfy me. I want to reach out to those who are lost and share this Good News!

My life is in the hands of God. So, I leave you with this. If you do not have a personal relationship with God, I want to let you know I can tell you how or if you are going through a season of trials I stand with you in prayer and love as you embrace what God is teaching you. I want this post to glorify our LORD and humbly send it to you… KNOW THIS, RESURRECTION IS COMING!!! What a glorious thought. It may be in heaven but we have a day out there when all pain is gone and tears wiped from our eyes. I would love to hear your testimony or praise if you want to share.

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.