LETTING GO OF THE LIES

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NIV

This is such a short sentence, and yet it’s so powerful! It’s one of those verses that could be divided and each sentence would work alone. But they work together powerfully!

If you’ve ever felt inherently defective and undeserving of anything good, you’ve missed so much. My prayer for you is that you can move from a position of powerlessness and worthlessness to one of power and worthiness in Christ even if no one else has treated you that way – including yourself. I pray that you will open your heart and hands to what God has to give you.

A good place to start is by submitting to God and resisting the devil. I read this verse on my phone this morning and, for the first time in my Christian life, I read it differently (and I’m kind of excited about it right now because I need this now!). Today is different because I read it as a deserving child of God. I’m learning who my real Father is, and I have to tell you, He’s powerful!

My Father has already won every battle to come. In spite of how scary the devil can make things look, it’s all nothing to God. If you follow the story of Christ, you’ll see that demons fled when He spoke. They knew who He was and they were afraid. They were afraid Christ had come before His appointed time, which tells me they knew their time was limited. Their fear also tells me that they knew they were on the losing team. They were weak and vulnerable and had no choice but to submit to Christ as the son of God!ca320ee80218a2a06ce2f66d5db8dbf3

This is the same devil and demons we deal with today. They’re the ones who whisper to you that no one likes you, that you’re inadequate, that you’re alone. They’re the ones who lie to you!

Now, be honest for a moment. If you had a friend who you knew lied to you, how long would you listen to her and trust her? You’d be foolish to believe what she said. Sure, there might be times she tells you the truth, just to keep you in a relationship. But how long could you tolerate hearing, “Jill doesn’t like you.” or “Jim thinks you’re fat.” or “You’re not good enough.” when you know it’s a lie?

So why do we listen to Satan’s lies? Because they agree with the thoughts you already have? Test them against what your loving, forgiving Father says about you, and you’ll see that they are, indeed, lies. Remember that Satan condemns and God convicts. Condemnation is bad, and you don’t need that. Conviction is good, and you need that.

Submit to God. Read His word and learn how very much he loves you. Realize how wonderful and powerful you are as the child of the One who created the universe and you with the same hands. But you need to submit to God so you have an anchor to hold onto. It’s a bit like playing on the monkey bars; you don’t let go of one bar before you let go of the bar you’re holding.

Then resist the devil and make him flee. The verse doesn’t say, “and hope he’ll leave you alone.” It puts the truth very simply – he will flee. He’ll flee from you just as he fled from Christ and his disciples. Why? Because you are a child of God, and God protects His own. This is where you let go of the other bar.

Trust me, once you’ve got ahold of God, you can let go of the stuff that doesn’t help!

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FREAK OR FIGHT?

Yesterday was rough. It was one of those days when you begin to feel hopeless; nothing is ever going to be fine, much less good, again. And, as usual, it comes down to our finances. I feel horrible admitting that my faith in God is measured by my checking balance, but that’s the truth of it.

See, when my account balance gets lower, my fear and anxiety increase. When my anxiety and fear increase, my faith in God decreases. And I know that’s when my faith in God needs to increase. I know the verses about fearing not and casting all my cares on Him. But I’m still scared.

This is the crack in my spiritual armour that I mentioned a few posts ago. This is the moment of truth. What will I do? The way I see it, I have two options: Freak or Fight.

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I’ve already freaked. I cried, worried, and what-if’d my way down a few rabbit holes. I’m still broke. And I’m still anxious. This is what I’m comfortable with. I think I probably come from a long line of freakers. My mom certainly was one.

OK, time for a quick side story! When I was about 23, I made the horribly desperate (the decision was both horrible and desperate) decision to move back home. It was a bad neighborhood, and within two days of living there, someone set my car on fire when trying to steal the radio – which was sad because it was the only part of the car that still worked well. At 2:00 am, my step-father, Frank, woke me up to let me know my car was on fire. When I asked him if he’d called the fire department, he answered, “I thought you’d want to do that.” (Now you know Frank.) The car was consumed by flames by the time the fire department got there, and my mom was screaming, “What are we going to do?! What are we going to do?!” (And now you know Mom – the Freaker.) Since the only pressing business for the morning was getting me to class, and since we had a city bus system, I decided I’d get up in time to take the bus and went back to bed. That’s what I was going to do.

So back to the question of whether I should freak or fight over our finances today. Freaking out is sort of satisfying and gives me something to do, I suppose; but it doesn’t really help, does it? And I know that every minute I take my sight off God, it pleases Satan immensely. Satan loves nothing more than to see me be anxious and fearful because that means my trust is not in my heavenly Father. I guess that means that I may as well put on the Armour of God, starting with the shield of peace.

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I know my heavenly Father is loving and gracious and good. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. His burden is light. He has unlimited resources that we can’t even fathom. Our financial situation is no surprise to him. He already has a plan for me and my family because he’s already gone ahead of us and made a way. I have no idea how things will turn out, but I don’t suppose I need to know because I know the One who is making the arrangements for things to turn out well. (I just hope his plans for us don’t require us being penniless up to that moment when he “suddenly” performs a miracle to demonstrate his glory, ya know?)

So, today I take a stand that I will fight and not freak. I will remember Matthew 6:31-34:

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or “What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Today I will cast my cares on God. I will put my concerns in his hands. And I will hope I will be smart enough to leave them there! After all, He knows me, He sees me, and He loves me. And he’s a God of  ‘suddenly’ and of Red Sea miracles.

MORE THAN ENOUGH!

I think a lot about what I don’t have enough of. Patience, time, stuff, money. Mostly money.

When Satan needs a crack in my armor, he can be sure to get in through my fear of not having enough money. Usually, he gets a two-for-one when the bills come due. When it doesn’t look like we have enough money to pay all the bills and have anything left over, I sometimes worry that God has turned His back on me and doesn’t care about me, that He’s not going to take care of me the way I think He should. That’s when I hear Satan whisper, “There’s not enough. You’re on your own.”

John 10: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Yes, Satan is a liar. And the biggest lie he’ll tell you is that God is selfish. That’s essentially what he told Eve when he said in Genesis 3:5: “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

He insinuated that God had something – knowledge – that he didn’t want to share with his creation. Until then, Eve had probably never even considered that she and Adam might have been cheated out of anything. Seriously, can you imagine the Garden of Eden being a place where Adam would ever say, “Whew! Thank goodness that cow strolled by or I don’t know what we’d have had for dinner!” No, they undoubtedly lived with the correct belief that God supplied all their needs, and in abundance. God was not and never has been a stingy God. He’s the God of abundance!

If you don’t believe me, just ask the crowd Christ fed with only five loaves of bread and two fish in Matthew 14.

Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Does that sound like a stingy God to you? No! Where everyone else saw lack, Christ saw plenty. Our God loves us and wants us to have good things, and once we put into his hands what little we have, it can multiply.

I Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him”.  And Paul drives that point home when he reminds us that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” in Ephesians 3:20.

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If you live long enough, you should never be able to look back and point at a single time and say, “Yeah, but there was that one time you left me hanging” without God being able to counterpoint, “Except that it built character and led you to a new level of faith, after which I redeemed all you thought was lost.”

Sometimes his faithfulness is hard to rely on if you were raised in scarcity, either by neglect or hardship. And it’s hard to remember when the checking balance is low, the credit card balance is high and there is no savings plan to fall back on. God is able and willing to meet your needs in full, but there is a condition.

Just as I Corinthians 2:9 tells us the good things God had planned for us are for those who love him, likewise, Isaiah 64:4 says, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”

We have to wait for God and love him. It is in him that we’re to put our faith and confidence – not ourselves, our money or our circumstances. It is his faithfulness that we are called to depend upon. It is in his strength that we can trust, not our own.

The important thing is to know, really know, and believe is that as our Father, God wants good things for his children. So the next time Satan whispers, “There’s not enough. You’re on your own,” remember that he is a liar determined to steal, kill and destroy all that is good in your life. Your Father, on the other hand, wants you to have abundance and live your life to the full. Choose carefully in whom you put your confidence. I challenge you to put what you have in your Father’s hands and let him show you what he can do with it!

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