Tag Archives: victory

The WALL

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“If God sends us on strong paths, we are provided strong shoes.” Corrie ten Boon.img_6281

The book of Nehemiah recently came alive for me. No longer the boring Old Testament story about rebuilding some crumbling wall, it became a manifesto for stepping out for God, following His plan despite the enemy’s attacks, and persevering through adversity. Now that, I can apply to my daily life.img_5581

It has been said that the Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground. As much as I wish it were otherwise, the fact remains. We become soldiers when we enlist to follow Jesus. But thankfully, God equips each of us with the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, and the shield of faith. He has given us all we need to overcome. And best of all, we fight from victory, not for victory!

Just like in Nehemiah’s day, anytime we attempt to build, or rebuild, our lives for Christ, there will be adversaries. We must be aware of the enemy’s devices. His attack plan always includes three weapons: ridicule, confusion, and discouragement.img_3585

“Are you serious? What can you do? There is so much to do and you are so little.” The enemy whispers to our mind, ridiculing our resources and abilities. But we must remember, when we are weak, He is strong. Nothing is impossible with God.

Pray. Lean in on God. “Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God and He will give you the peace that passes understanding and guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”(Phil. 4:6-7) Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.img_5126

We must stay focused on the vision the Lord has given us. Don’t get sidetracked or offended by the words people say. Persevere. Nehemiah had a mind to work. We must settle our minds too and keep your eyes on the goal.

The beginning is usually exciting. Midway through however, the enemy doubles his efforts by launching confusion. God is not the author of confusion. He gave us a sound mind. When confusion hits— run to the Word. Bathe yourself in Scripture. Only the Word of God is a plumb line to clarity. His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We can trust His Word to lead us.img_6248

Next, the enemy attacks with discouragement. These subtle attacks from within often arise when fatigued. Many heroes of the faith, like Elijah, battled discouragement following huge victories primarily because they were exhausted. Warren Wisby said, “It’s always too soon to quit.”

Frustration can also trigger a quitter mentality. We must not focus on the rubble around us, but rather on the Great Redeemer within us, who is more than able to fix all our broken down walls.img_1799

Finally, the enemy pulls out his big gun— Fear. He threatens, “If you keep going, there’s going to be bigger attacks. You want that?” He means to stop us. But God said, “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”(Neh. 4:14b) img_7130-smile

We must guard the vulnerable areas of our lives and stand firm in the evil day. Stand in Lord and in the power of His might. Fight the good fight of faith. Remember who we are in Christ. We are more than conquerors! Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.img_7916

We must get our eyes off the enemy. Fight. Not be idle. There is no armor available for our backs. There is no retreating in Christ. So much of the battle is remembering who we are in Christ. We have been given weapons. We must use them. Take the thoughts captive and resist the enemy with the Word, like Jesus did in the desert.

“Our God will fight for us.” (Neh. 4:20) That is what the Nehemiah and the people said. They were bombarded with attacks, but they persevered. They had minds to work, hearts to pray, eyes to watch and ears to hear. They accomplished their goal to rebuild the wall.img_2079

What a great example for us. We too can fulfill our God-given purposes. We overcome as we defend our place on the wall in this world. If God be for us, who can be against us? We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! Go for it baby!img_5452

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War of the Roses

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Weeding one morning, I savored the victory as I plucked tiny sprouts and tossed them in a pile. Satisfied with my work, I stood to scan the shrubbery. I spotted a cocky monster towering the center of one of our rose bushes. It had grown unnoticed for months to reach such size, but its day had comewar-of-roses-close-up-blooms-photo.

I approached cautiously since our lovely plant also boasted an army of thorns. I went in, glove free, flinching with each jab from my traitor roses, barely managing to tear a single limb from the weed, unable to reach its meaty base.

Determined to beat them both, I continued pursuit, but that demon was hunkered down good. Choosing pain over defeat, I dug in, eventually forcing the beast into submission.

As I nursed my bloody arm and gathered the remains of my victim, God, the Master Gardener, revealed a truth to me: Bad habits of wrong thinking are spiritual weeds.

In infancy, these mental weeds are easy to pluck up, instantly gratifying, even refreshing.
Yet, when left to burrow deep in our hearts, extraction requires spiritual surgery. And surgery ain’t for sissies, honey. Healing up, neither. Still, freedom is worth the effort and pain.war-of-roses-triple-buds-photo

False beliefs lie camouflaged deep within our psyches: jealousy, resentment, judgmental spirits, bitterness, unforgiveness toward others, and ourselves.

The world excuses these things, blames them on our genes. Red headed Aunt So-and-So had that same fiery temper, Uncle What’s-his-name was an alcoholic too. But don’t be fooled. Justifications are branches on the tree of bondage.war-if-roses-tree

Bad habits are morbidly comfortable. Mere pruning isn’t enough. Parts may rip off at first, but for true healing, the root has to go. We may feel we’ve lost a limb, and we have, but God can be trusted. He knows what we don’t need. He is with us in the transition. He will send love, and loved ones, to encourage us.

Ironically, we often fight the Lord as He yanks at our false beliefs and habits. Like my conspirator rose bush, we lash out, unknowingly protecting the very thing that is strangling us. But God can handle it. He has taken scars for us before.

When the scales finally do fall from our eyes, we choose to endure the pain of ripping. Toxic relationships have to go, boundaries must be marked, and new mental habits birthed. Battlefields are bloody.war-of-roses-wet-battered-blooms

But we are never alone. The Lord is our front and rear guard. If He is for us, who can be against us? He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

And know this: God doesn’t waste pain. He will use it all for good, when we surrender it all to Him. And we will reach our fullest potential when the snares of false friendships are untangled and we release ourselves from the lies we’ve believed.img_5322

Then, God will reveal His plans for us, plans to help us and not to harm us, visions He sowed in our hearts at birth. Hindrances wither and dreams blossom to their intended splendor. We walk in victory as magnificent roses. And our Master Gardener gets all the glory.