Freedom from Strongholds

When Satan tempts us with a fleeting thought, we have two choices: we can ignore and dismiss it or entertain and dwell on it. If we dismiss it, we are free from its bondage. If we entertain it, we are in danger of falling under its oppression; and those who are not Born Again risk the possibility of possession by demonic beings (2 Peter 2:18-19).

It only takes 3-6 weeks to develop both good and bad habits. These habits develop a stronghold in our soul, and often in our body as well. Breaking negative habits is often a difficult and expensive endeavor. Even if we push these negative habits into our subconscious mind and stop them for a season, current events may trigger these old feelings and habits again.

We will revert back to them as a form of comfort, rebellion or a desire to be in control of some aspect of our life. Each time these habits resurface, they deepen the scars in our soul, and it is increasingly more difficult to extricate our self from them (2 Peter 2:20). Life triggers issues from our past and we respond to current conflict with unhealthy behavior patterns. ( http://www.theophostic.com )

We can completely escape from the strongholds of these habits only as we surrender them to God for healing and allow Him to guide us to resolve the inner conflicts, which connect us to them. If we repent of our sins and relinquish control of our life to Jesus Christ, He will slowly replace the negative aspects of our personality and soul with His divine nature and spiritual fruit (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 2:22-23; Ephesians 4:13).

Prayer:
Father God, Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace, is our only hope and solution for freedom from this sin-cursed world. Help us to put on our new self in Christ and to walk in Your true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). We look forward to being like Christ when He returns (1 John 3:2). People today close their ears to Your Truth, deceive others as they are deceived, and seek solutions for their problems apart from You (Jeremiah 6:10-14). However, You always give strength to Your people and bless us with peace regardless of the circumstances we encounter in life (Psalm 29:11).

Thought for the Day:
Only those who surrender their life to the Prince of Peace will ever experience true peace in this life and in the next.

Our God in the Valleys

We often confuse a temptation, and the verses dealing with it, with trials and tribulation. People quote the verse that God does not tempt us and use it to mean that God does not allow overbearing tribulation and trials in the life of an authentic Believer (James 1:13). They insist that trials are an attack of our archenemy – the devil.

However, temptation is an allurement to sin, and tribulation is a negative circumstance through which we are forced to live. There is a difference. Some preachers and teachers attribute all adversity in our life to Satan and his minions. However, even if Satan does cause the difficulties, he can only function with God’s permission (Job 1:8, 2:3).

Although God does not tempt us, God does ultimately allow trials, tribulation and rejection in our life (James 1:13; James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6; Romans 12:12). The key to entering the depth of intimacy with God, which we all desire, is how we handle difficulties. If we lose our joy and peace when life tilts out of our control, then we are trusting in our self, and in our misconception that God will not allow His people to suffer.

God does allow tribulation and persecution in order to prove His love for us as He did for Job, or to teach us that He always walks through tribulation with us and turns everything around for our eventual good ( Acts 14:22; John 16:33; Romans 8:28, 35-37). He is our God even in the valleys of life. He teaches us to view life as He sees it, temporary and fleeting, and He instructs us not to trust in this world for our fulfillment (James 4:14).

Those who suffer most in this life learn the best that we rejoice in God’s presence and not in His presents, which He provides for us. Everything He gives us can disappear in smoke, but no one and nothing can take His presence away from us (Romans 8:38-39). The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, but God’s Saints bless the Lord either way (Job 1:21).

Prayer:
Father God, we can put all of our trust in You because You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). You live within us and go through every trial and rejection with us, encouraging us from the inside out. No matter what we lost yesterday, we find Your mercy and grace with each new morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Whatever You allow to be taken away from us, You replace with more intimacy with You.

Thought for the Day:
Every trial is a seed for a miracle that God has planned for our life.

The Battle of the Ages

The Battle of the Ages is Satan’s attempt to annihilate the Messiah, so that he could remain as ruler of this world (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12:1-6). Jesus came from the seed of Abraham, and Satan tried to stop Israel throughout the ages. Thanks to President Harry Truman, God returned part of the land to Israel, which He promised to their forefathers. The figurative fig tree has blossomed ever since.

The symbolism in Revelation, chapter twelve shows Israel as the woman clothed in the sun. She is the mortal enemy of Satan. Jesus is the child delivered by this woman from the seed of Abraham. The fiery red dragon is Satan. The seven heads, ten horns, and seven diadems of this dragon depict Satan’s dominion over seven past worldly kingdoms, ten future kingdoms, and the seven members of the revised Roman Empire, the modern day European Union.

World War II was acclaimed as the war to end all wars, and so it should have been after the destruction and degradation to human life that accompanied that war. The Korean War and multiple modern wars ensued after that one, however. The world will also see another war, which is described in Ezekiel 38-39.

This entails the Middle East and Russia attacking Israel, and the stage is set for that war even now. With no remaining world allies, Israel will stand alone, only to see the salvation of their God once again. Thankfully, in God’s economy, He does have a war planned that will definitely end all wars. It is the Battle of Armageddon.

With the armies of the world gathered in the valley of Megiddo, Satan will attempt once again to gain ascendancy over God; yet God defeats them with one word and ends the battle of the, as well as all human conflict forever (Revelation 19:11-16, 21:4). King Jesus will take His throne and rule and reign on earth forever (Matthew 25:31).

Prayer:
Father God, it is so wonderful to read Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation and to understand Your timetable for humanity and the culmination of all things. We thank You for Your grace and mercy to save us from eternal damnation in the flames of hell with Satan and his demonic forces (Revelation 20:10). We pray that people whom we know and love will be strengthened by Your Spirit’s power in their inner being, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:16). We look forward to spending eternity with them all in Your presence.

Thought for the Day:
Satan was able to bruise the heel of the woman’s seed, Jesus, at the crucifixion; but the seed of the woman will crush Satan’s head at the end of the Millennium.

– Revelation 12:7-8

Worthy of Our Love

Authentic Christians are so in love with God that things in this world lose their appeal. As we contemplate His goodness, the memories warm our heart. We burst out in joyful songs because of His righteous treatment of us. He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in loving kindness. He is good to us all and all of His works are full of His tender mercy (Psalm 145:7-9).

God is the Lord of hosts of angels and His magnificence fills our hearts with respect and awe (Isaiah 8:13). As we read about His work through the ages, we realize that His thoughts and methods are much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Sometimes they do not make sense to our finite, human mind; however, hindsight always gives us a glimpse of His wisdom.

We trust in God’s loyal love and rejoice in the salvation that Christ’s redemption provides for us. We sing of the benevolent and bountiful ways in which He deals with us (Psalm 13:5-6). He hears our prayers and is our shield from danger and our strength to deal with life’s unpleasant experiences. Our heart trusts in His goodness, because of the ways He always works out everything for our good (Psalm 28:6 Romans 8:28).

We cannot help but to rejoice in God’s bountiful provision and give Him continual thanks night and day for all that He does for us (Psalm 28:7). God is high and lofty above the earth and lives in a high and holy place with our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Father inhabits eternity, yet cares enough to revive the spirit of the depressed and to forgive the heart of the contrite (Isaiah 57:15).

Prayer:
Father God, heaven is Your throne and our earth is Your footstool. You made all of these things by Your wisdom, understanding and power, or they would never have come into existence (Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15; Isaiah 66:1-2). You are the one and only, true living god, our eternal King. The earth and nations tremble at Your righteous anger, and many come to You in repentance (Jeremiah 10:10).

Thought for the Day:
God is always nearby and never far from any one of us, even though He fills both the heaven and the earth. – Jeremiah 23:23-24

My New Life in Christ

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, I transitioned from high school to college. My jet black hair, cut in a long shag, hung down past my shoulder blades. I wore long flowered dresses and flowers in my hair, as I flirted around the edges of the Hippy movement. I did not participate in the drug or free-love culture, but I was definitely a flower child.

About that same time, I read The Cross and The Switchblade, by David Wilkerson. Through the pages of that book, I found Jesus as my Savior. As a student at the local junior college, I joined the Baptist Student Union and met a fellow Catholic who was also looking for a more intimate relationship with God. We dated and felt led to rent two old homes in downtown Pensacola, FL.

God soon filled them up – one with young women and the other with young men. These young people, on their way to Pensacola Beach, were hitch-hiking, or riding the rails across the country and jumping off just two blocks from these two homes. We dubbed the boy’s house – a beautiful, old, two-story Southern Colonial home – the One Way House.

We offered the sojourners the solace of three days and nights with clean sheets, three square meals and a shower if they agreed to attend the nightly Bible study. Many of these young people accepted Christ as their Savior. Then, on the final day of their stay, they either traveled on their way or stayed on in the area.

We helped those who stayed to find a job and affordable housing, and they continued coming to Bible studies every night. Our reputation soon spread. We had about 150 people meeting every evening of the week with a hunger for God’s Word.

Each day, those who did not have jobs would clean the homes and then help to cook meals for lunch and supper. Those who worked gave their earnings toward the household budget, and we had all things in common, just like in the book of Acts (Acts 2:44, 4:32). On one particular day, one of the men fixed three pancakes each for the eleven people who were at the house during lunch time.

As we sat down, three new travelers came in the front door. Without mentioning a word, two of the men and I agreed through our facial expression to give our pancakes to the newcomers. As the cook placed three pancakes on each person’s plate, all fourteen of us ended up with three pancakes. God multiplied that food and our faith at the same time.

Another afternoon, I went to the freezer to thaw out something for supper that night. The huge chest freezer was totally empty. Several of us joined hands in the kitchen and prayed for God to provide. With the final “Amen”, I opened the freezer and found a huge ham inside, which we cooked with scalloped potatoes, green beans and home-made bread – compliment of our pancake chef.

God continued to bring salvation and miraculous provision to us throughout the years that He anointed the One Way House ministry to function. We made life-long friendships and many of us continue to pray for one another even now. Coming from all walks of life and various states, we all had one major aspect in common – the love of Jesus Christ for each other and for the lost world. What a great way to start my new life in Christ.

God’s Timing for the Ages

God’s Timing for the Ages

Society today scoffs at Believers in the same way that people in Noah’s day mocked him (Matthew 24:37). God’s mercy and grace have dealt with mankind since the beginning of time. However, if we reject God’s call to repentance, He will pour out His righteous wrath on our sin, rebellion and pride.

God gives us His precise timeline in His Word, which includes detailed information from Genesis to Revelation. These specifics alert us to His plan, which is unfolding throughout world history, as well as in current events. These prophetic words warn us of both coming destruction and Godly deliverance, which awaits us in the near future.

God’s final judgment on the nations and the devil is called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 5:17). God even gives a specific timeline of events during the Great Tribulation period, as a warning of His coming judgment (Revelation 10:1-7). God uses this time to accomplish three main purposes: To judge unrighteous nations, to save those in Israel who are willing to believe, and to end Satan’s dominion on the earth, which Adam and Eve relinquished to him in the Garden of Eden.

Repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus Christ allows Believers to escape the terrible Day of the Lord and to enjoy eternity as the Bride of Jesus and co-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom of God (Joel 2:31). As we put our trust in the Lord, we can draw near to His presence continually throughout the day; and experience, as well as share with those in need, the miracles He provides through every trial we ever encounter ((2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Psalm 73:28).

Prayer:
Father God, we suffer now on this planet because of the sin rampant in the world; however, You always make all things beautiful in Your time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We know that You work out everything for the good of those who are called according to Your eternal purpose and who love and obey You (Romans 8:28). We bless You, Lord, for Your mercies and comfort, even in our tribulation in this present age. You are our refuge and our strength in any time of trouble; therefore, we have no need to fear (Psalm 46:1-2).

Thought for the Day:
God’s plan for the ages is amazing and brings us to our knees in humility and gratitude.

Head Over Heels in Love

We do not need another person in our life in order to feel loved, affirmed and validated. We do not need any one to complete us, because we are complete in Christ in us (Colossians 1:27, 2:10). The more time we spend in silence, peace and rest in His presence, the more we come to know His love, which transcends any human love ever possible.

God fills us through our entire being with all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:19). He proved His love for us by sending His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live eternally through and with Him. This is genuine, authentic love, which we did not earn or deserve. There is nothing we can think, say or do that would discourage His love for us.

Most Believers understand that God’s hand upholds the earth in perfect balance, and keeps us all living and existing on planet earth. However, we often take for granted those issues of life, which require no thought. Things like air to breath and eyes to see. However, each of these miracles is evidence to us that God loves us.

God gives us the gift of life each and every new day. The fact that we wake up is proof that He loves us. Sadly, so many people do not truly believe that God actually chose us and adopted us as His beloved children. All through the day, He sends people, events and natural wonders to remind us of His love for us.

God also reveals His love to us in nature, and by the numbers on a clock, through an escape from a catastrophe, a hug from a friend, a letter from a distant relative, a smile from a stranger, and through so many unexpected ways throughout the day. If we are not too busy to notice His little love notes, this makes us feel so precious, cared about and surrounded by God’s love.

Prayer:
Father God, Your unrivaled peace and joy flood our soul as we sit at Your feet. They flow through us and out of us to everyone You bring into our life. You restore to us the joy of our salvation when we fail You, and You hold us up by Your generous Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12). We can never thank You enough for the myriad of ways, which You prove Your love to each one of us individually. You always keeps us in the palm of Your hand (Isaiah 49:16). As long as we have Your love, it is enough to sustain us throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
In actuality, God is head over heals in love with us. – 1 John 4: 8-11

I Surrender All

God calls us to love Him with our whole mind, heart and soul, and then to love our neighbor as well as our self (Luke 10:27). We help one another when we fall into desperate times, and we share comfort in grief and provision in deprivation. Jesus is our ultimate friend, who sticks closer to us than our dearest brother (Proverbs 18:24; 1 John 3:1).

God’s Holy Spirit restores our life to stability and order as we follow His leading through each moment of our day. We embrace His will for our life, follow His precepts and obey His Holy Word. God hears the prayers of the afflicted (Psalm 10:17). He encourages us and listens to us when we cry out to Him (1 John 5: 14-15; Psalm 54:2). He keeps every one of our tears in a bottle and records them in His book (Psalm 56:8).

We cannot enter heaven through our own good deeds or morally upright behavior. We cannot go to heaven by joining a church, getting baptized or living in a Christian home. Jesus is the only way, truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Salvation is a free gift from God and there is no way we can boast about our accomplishments (Ephesians 2: 8-10).

Surrendering our life to Christ is the first step of sincere faith and total submission to Him. He forgives us for our self-centered lifestyle and calls us to turn complete control of our life over to Him. He adopts us into His family, and He holds us, protects us, nurtures us and comforts us in all of our affliction. He constantly reassures us that He has everything under His control, so that we can surrender all to Him.

Prayer:
Father God, You defend the fatherless, the oppressed and the widow. You remove the terror from our life (Psalm 10:17-18). Your love for us defies description, because it is more than we can comprehend. Thank You for all that You do for all of us each and every day, and for plucking us out of our old lifestyle and giving us this wondrous new life in You. We will live each day in Your will with the knowledge that You already secured for us our eternal destination with You.

Thought for the Day:
Eternal life is a free gift, but only those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, and who surrender control of their lives to Him, will receive it.
– John 3:36

Healing Through Grief

When our feelings threaten to overwhelm us and their intensity frightens us, grieving them will help us to cope in healthy ways. To receive healing it is necessary to face our grief and to actively surrender it to God. Trying to ignore our pain only makes it worse. Our Inner Child will find a way to interject our heart-felt feelings into our day at the most inopportune times. Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is normal. Showing our true feelings can help others to grieve as well.

Everyone grieves differently. We all have our own unique personality and needs, which color our grief process. Some take longer than others to grieve. We never fully recover from grief. Familiar places and aspects of life will trigger our grief, sometimes at the most unexpected moments. Holidays, a special song, a child, a Bible passage, a piece of clothing, a facial expression, a motto, and many other experiences may trigger our feelings of grief all over again.

This is a normal and a necessary part of healing. It is healthy to allow our self to feel the grief, and then to put it into God’s perspective. We can compare it to what God did for us during other times of loss and what He is doing now as well. Circumstances may continue to trigger our feelings for years after our loss. It is important to allow our self to feel that grief, rather than to bury the feelings or to lecture our self or others for the way we feel. They are legitimate feelings.

Patience with our self and others who are grieving is very important. Those in grief need our care, patience and understanding. We allow our grief to process naturally, by refusing to put parameters and expectations on grief. Grief often resembles a roller coaster; but it is also a ferry, which will transport us to the future stages in our life with more compassion and understanding for others who encounter grief in their life too.

Prayer:
Father God, strengthen our inner being after a loss in our life and reshape the beliefs and thought patterns that contribute to our fear of the future. Remind us to read Your Word and to copy down verses, which comfort us in our time of fear and grief. From Your scriptures, we will gain guidance, wisdom, courage and encouragement. They are our spiritual vitamins, which strengthen us more each day.

Thought for the Day:
God is more powerful than all of our needs, and He will provide for us according to His glorious riches. – Philippians 4:19

Victory Regardless of Trials

Biblical guidelines help to establish a routine in our life, which encourages wisdom and safety. Prior to our relationship with Christ, our spirit was dead in sin and our soul was carnal at best. Our body reaped the negative results of our sins and we were children of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). Satan used us as tools for his evil plans (Proverbs 16:18).

If we continue to practice a sinful lifestyle or to maintain a worldly attitude and world view, the Spirit of God does not dwell in us (Romans 8:9). We are not truly Born Again. We prayed a prayer, but did not consecrate our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God only forgives the repentant heart of the penalty of our sins. He brings us out of the kingdom of Satan’s darkness into His glorious light (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Our only true liberty comes by choosing to live under the grace and mercy of God. Jesus advises us to deny our self, to bear our burdens through His peace and to follow Him (Matthew 16:24). When we do, we find true success in our life and live victoriously over every set back and obstacle (Romans 8:31-39). God showers us with His blessings and we feel His love flowing over us like a waterfall.

Authentic Believers derive our identity from the fact that we are God’s child, as well as from the wonderful account of His love for us. The human, Adamic nature is wiped clean and we no longer dwell in the flesh or focus on aspects of this world. Once we come to Christ, He replaces our former carnal tendencies with His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Through His regenerating power within us, we live a life honoring Him and furthering His Kingdom on the earth.

Prayer:
Father God, increase our concept of what it means to live in Christ and to dwell in victory regardless of the trials in our life. We are secure in Your love and mercy. Remind us that our husband, Jesus Christ, desires a pure and holy bride without spot or wrinkle (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25). You provide Your grace so that we will choose holiness and not live a destructive life of debauchery and lust.

Thought for the Day:
As authentic Believers, nothing will ever separate us from the love of God as we live a victorious life in Christ. – Romans 8:38-39