It Takes 2 to Tango!

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Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) 

The tango is a South American dance that cannot be done with one person. Likewise, the devil cannot destroy God’s creation without the assistance of the one being destroyed. So often we like to blame the devil for the situations that we are in but the truth is the devil can only lead and it’s up to us whether or not we’ll follow.

God has given us a clear (not to mention simple) Word in telling us that if we resist the devil, he’ll move on. However, while this part of the verse speaks volumes, it is only part of the solution. The full verse says, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee. The problem that many of us face is that we are not submitting first unto God. We will never be able to resist the devil in our own strength. Sorry but you and I are just not that strong. We must first submit ourselves unto God so that we will have the power to resist the devil because there is power to be had when we walk in obedience to God! 

Food for thought: If you dance with the devil, you will be burned…

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OBEY YOUR THIRST

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I find it amusing that the slogan “Obey your thirst”, came from a company that was trying to sell more sodas. What in the world? In the commercials for this particular soda you’d see professional athletes playing basketball like really hard and then the seller announces in an attempt to convince the consumer that if you have a real thirst, there’s only one drink that will quench it. Hill-larious!!! What’s even funnier is that this campaign actually worked! The fact is that not only does soda pop not quench your thirst, but also it dehydrates you!

It makes me think about a familiar story in the bible about a woman at the well. The woman is coming to the well to draw water and she has an encounter with Jesus Himself. Imagine with me for a moment that if this woman could’ve had theme music as she walked to the well, it would have been Beyonce’s Irreplaceable!

This woman had been with five different men and as she walked to the well, she had a man waiting at home for her! In the song Irreplaceable, Beyonce is singing to her now ex-boyfriend, “You just don’t know ‘bout me. I can have another you in a minute and in fact he’ll be here in a minute” Then the hook says, “To the left, to the left!” To express her kicking him to the curb.

So correct me if I’m wrong but she’s kicking this guy out of her house only to go out and get another one just like him?

I can remember the summer that this song came out. It was on heavy rotation on the radio. I don’t even listen to secular music but I couldn’t help but hear it and even catch the words. It became the anthem for many women. Women were chanting, “To the left, to the left!” These women were, in essence, standing up and letting the men in their lives know that if he doesn’t treat her right that she would go out and get another man— just like him? Am I the only one who finds these lyrics disturbing?

If I can’t deal with you and your attitude, why in the world would I want to go out and get another you? Is not the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

We’re drawn to the soda because it’s sweet and tingly and fun to drink but it actually only intensifies the very thing that we’re trying to get rid of—our thirst. Can you imagine if athletes really kept sodas next to them as they played a grueling game of basketball or tennis or even baseball? It probably wouldn’t be a very long game because somebody’s going to pass out!

When the woman at the well attempted to draw her water, Jesus told her that if she were to draw water from His well that she would never thirst again. Jesus wasn’t talking about a natural water so at first this goes over the woman’s head. She’s like, what kind of water do you have that if you drink it you will never thirst again?  But Jesus was talking about a deeper thirst. A thirst that caused her to sleep around in a desperate attempt to find love and satisfaction. He’s telling her that if she would leave those men alone and stop trying to chase after a physical pleasure but chase after Him, that she stands to fill her deepest need.

I’ve been in her position and I had somebody tell me that it was Christ that I needed and not the frivolous things that I was running after. I can remember thinking to myself, that it sounded way too far-fetched to be true. But oh, how much I wished that it could be true because I really was thirsty and I wanted so much to be satisfied!

Well, I found out that it really is true. One taste of His water and you’ll know that it’s what you need above all else! Don’t be fooled by counterfeits that look really good, taste really good, and even feel very good. (I’m not going there; I promise!) Those things only succeed to leave us needy and addicted because although we realize that we’re not full, we’re foolish enough to think, Oh, maybe if I just get a little bit more then it will work. 

 

Believe it or not, a great and loving God created you. He created you to be satisfied in Him. Why? Because He knows what is best for you and only He can give it to you.

Make your way to the well of the Only Living God and then you will find that “You’ve got the right One Baby—Uh Huh!!!” (Yeah, I know; another slogan for soda! Sue me!)

Scripture Reference: John 4

A GOD OF ORDER

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The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the face of the deep. (Gen. 1:2 NLT)

 

In the beginning, the earth in which we now live was in a chaotic state. There was no order to it. The bible says that it was empty. I can’t help but wonder if it was empty because at the time, there was no purpose for it. However, once God established purpose for the earth, order was necessary.

Have you ever felt like your life is chaotic? Does it seem that everything that you want to do is out of your reach because the resources are just not there? I’ve felt that way. When God has revealed to me what He wants me to do, there were times that I’d dismissed it because I can’t wrap my mind around how I would manage it. Can you imagine if God had said, “Let there be light.” And the light had said, “I don’t know how I’m supposed to get light from darkness…” and because it couldn’t wrap its “brain” around what God said to do, darkness remained.

I realize just exactly how ridiculous that sounds and perhaps it’s a really poor analogy but go with me for a moment… If the waters and the land and the light had the sense to obey God’s Word immediately, what’s wrong with us? Sometimes I think that the worst thing that I was given was a brain to think for myself!

I believe that I have said this before but it is worth repeating. When God created us, He created us on purpose. Not only did He create us on purpose but also He prepared everything that we would ever need to live on this earth. Therefore, if He is calling you to do something, do it! It may look chaotic and void but you will not have to struggle and strain to get what you need. It will be by the Word of God that the darkness will become light; that the emptiness will be made full; that the chaotic will fall into order.

 

Food for thought: God is mighty enough to bring order into my chaotic life.

WHOSE REPORT HAVE YOU BELIEVED?

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Why do your feet look like that?” “Dag! What size shoe do you wear?” “I sure hope that my child doesn’t grow up to have feet like yours!” These are only a few of the comments that I’ve heard about my feet over the years. For the most part I’ve been able to laugh them off. You see I pride myself on being able to successfully laugh and even assist in making jokes about myself.

I come from a huge family of jokesters and pranksters. You don’t grow up in a household with five brothers without your fair share of lumps. In my family, immediate and extended, if you don’t know how to take an emotional gut-punch then you just might not survive. But although I’ve successfully taken these good-natured punches through the years, at the end of the day, I still take off my socks for no one!

We live in a critical society. Particularly in America, if you don’t look a particular cookie cutter way, you are said to be flawed and what’s more, you are quick to believe it. God says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, but we are more prone to listen to what our society dictates to us rather than listen to a perfect and flawless Creator.

The comments that have been made about my feet most of my life have shaped the way that I view myself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked God, Why in the world did you make me this way? But as Romans 9:20 says, who am I, the created, to ask the creator why He made me this way?

It has been said that flowers personify beauty. Did you know that there are more then 270,000 types of flowers? Can you imagine a rose telling a lily that it wasn’t beautiful because it didn’t have a long woody stem? It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Although some may prefer the rose to the lily, they are both equally beautiful created by a God that is too creative to make everything exactly the same. And so it is with us. You were made the way that you were made for a reason. Since when does different mean flawed?

We can no longer let the opinions of others dictate what we believe about ourselves. It is time to search the Word of God and learn and accept what He says about you because His is the only opinion that matters anyway!  Do you wanna know what He had to say about my feet? He said, How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who bring good news! (Romans 10:15 NLT) Hey, you might just catch me in sandals this summer…

 

 

DO YOU REALLY TRUST GOD?

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If God were to ask you today, “Do you trust me?” you would probably say of course I do! But unfortunately, God does not always ask us with words but He asks us with a test. The thing is that God already knows whether or not we trust Him but He needs for us to understand that we need to trust Him more.

We love the idea of making Jesus our Savior. Even the sound of it denotes a romantic image of Christ. Oh Lord, I’m in trouble! Please save me! But when it comes to making Jesus our Lord, the brakes are pushed abruptly while we sort out what we’ll allow Him to be Lord over and what we’ll handle ourselves.

I used to think that I trusted God completely but the truth was that I only completely trusted Him in certain areas. Then I grew to trust him in most areas but He still was not allowed in certain areas of my life. Needless to say, God was not satisfied with having part of my heart because partial trust is really not trust at all.

To say that God began to test me in these areas would be an understatement. It was more like; God was making me take my SAT’s in these areas because the tests seemed to be really unbearable and unending! I just knew that I was being brutally attacked by the enemy while God just sat back and forgot all about me.

I’ve heard it said that if He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all. The Word of God says that He is our Prince of Peace. If there is an area of your life that seems to be out of control causing you a lack of peace, check your heart and find out if there is a trust issue because God will not send his Peace where He is not made Lord!

GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED

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Did you ever notice that it seems like while you’re doing your best to follow God’s Word…when you’ve forgiven who you need to forgive and you’re walking in love with those who don’t deserve it…when you’re biting your tongue until it bleeds in order  not to blast a person who’s obviously being controlled by a demon! Why does it seem like those others who are not doing half of what you’re doing, seem to be living happily ever after and you’re still struggling??? It just boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

Why does God seem to hand down a bunch of rules that we (His kids) are to follow and then let the world watch us suffer? Aren’t we supposed to be a light to the world? Aren’t they supposed to be jealous of us? However, the entire world seems to be having fun while they shake their heads at us in pity.

This is really the deception that so many of us tend to fall into. And when I’m not careful to stand on the Word of God and look to Him as my comforter, I too am deceived.

I’m going through I guess what you might call a wilderness experience right now and I’ll tell you, it is not fun! As a matter of fact, sometimes it is down right excruciating. Sometimes I have to look up at God and through my blurry tears ask Him, what on earth are You doing to me? How much more of this do I have to take?

Now those of us who have had good parents know that growing up, there were some things that you were just not allowed to do. You may have had a curfew; maybe your dates had to pick you up at your door; and if your parent didn’t trust one of your friends, that friend had to be dropped! You thought, what’s their problem? Why can’t I live my life the way that I want to? Why can’t I do things my way? I’m not a baby! I can take care of myself.

But when we look at many of those kids that were able to do things their way, we’ll find that they are sad excuses for adults today, assuming of course that they’re still alive. What’s more, most of us will admit that we appreciate the chastisement of our parents because had it not been for a kick in the butt when we needed it…

Those other kids always seemed to be having so much more fun but was it worth the price that they paid later?

The Word of God tells us: Be not deceived, God is not mocked. What a man sows that will he also reap. They that sow to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption. And they that sow to the Spirit, will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Gal 6:7)

The law of the harvest says that when you plant a seed, it doesn’t come up today. It takes time. On top of that you must water it and expose it to the sun and in due season what you’ve planted will come up. But don’t think that if you’ve planted apple seeds you’ll get watermelons. You will reap what you’ve sown. In other words, you will get back what you’ve put in. And even though you’ve put a tiny seed in the ground, what you’ll get is one hundred times the size of what you put in.

Christians love to talk about the thirty, sixty and one-hundred fold blessing that you’ll reap when you sow to the Spirit. But there is also a thirty, sixty and one-hundred fold penalty that you’ll reap when you’ve sown to the flesh. That’s scary. That alone makes me want to do the right thing!

God has not passed down a law that he will not hold us to. Not just His own children, but all children are held to this law. We all have a payday coming. And since He is God, He misses nothing! He knows when we are sleeping; He knows when we’re awake. He knows if we’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. In other words, when you do the right thing when it’s absolutely the hardest thing to do; when your hands are shaking and your heart is breaking (oooh, look at that! I’ve got a little poet in me! lol) you will reap a harvest of joy. You will end up the winner. God Himself will reward you!

It doesn’t seem like it as time seems to stand still and you’re waiting for justice to come into your situation. But don’t get it twisted; God will not be mocked!  The bible says that before any dot or tittle of His Word fails, heaven and earth will pass away. There’s too much at stake for God to break the rules for you! He has to stand by His Word! The bible says that He esteems His Word as higher than His name!

So this is just to encourage you. If you’re just about ready to quit because you want to enjoy your life like everyone else seems to be, just remember, sooner or later, it’s coming down. And when payday comes, you don’t want to find out that instead of a paycheck, you owe! Don’t let the enemy deceive you into taking matters into your own hands. Your harvest will be worth the tears!

 

 

WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WEREN’T GOOD ENOUGH?

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Have you ever wondered to yourself when your insecurities started? I know that I have on numerous occasions. All I know is that for as long as I can remember, I have been uncomfortable in my own skin. I was never enough of whatever it might be. I wasn’t smart enough; not talented enough; not pretty enough; for a long time, not shapely enough; and then more recently not thin enough… There was always something with me!

One day a very good friend of mine told me that she was about to post some pictures of us from back in junior high on a popular social network. I begged her not to explaining to her that I hate to see pictures of myself in any form (to this day, I’m still very camera shy). She responded to me with a very profound question. She said, “Who told you that you don’t look good in pictures?” I have not been able to get her question out of my head since she asked it. Who told you that you don’t look good in pictures has been ringing in my brain for months!

Recently, my eight year old daughter came home upset and crying because a couple of thirteen year old girls told her that her beloved jump rope that her father made for her was “ghetto”! I had never seen my daughter come so unglued over something that someone (besides her brother) said to her. She was crushed!

She threw the jump rope in her toy box and refused to play with it again. God immediately spoke to my heart saying that this was the start of insecurity for her. As you can imagine, this disturbed me and although my first thought was to go outside and rip the arms of those teenagers off at the neck and then beat them with it, there was a bigger picture here.. .I tried talking to my daughter telling her that she can’t let other people’s opinions of her drive her but she was hearing none of it. Why should she? Her mother hadn’t even learned to hear it yet!

There are a lot of voices out there screaming at us women today; the voices of the media, acquaintances, even friends and family, communicating to us that we or something that we cherish doesn’t measure up or isn’t good enough. We can’t avoid hearing them but we can avoid agreeing with them.

We have got to learn to speak up to these voices and let them know, “You can have your opinion of me and my stuff but you don’t get to have my security along with it. My security is mine to keep!” And although it might sting, it doesn’t have to devastate. You can walk away with your head held high knowing that you are accepted by the Beloved just as you are and He will never reject you.

 

Our Challenge: It is time to combat the voices with the Word of God!

 

GOD IS A HEALER

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He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, (Luke 4:18)

Have you been hurt or crushed by life? Have ever had your heart set on something only to have it snatched away from you? Do you know what it’s like to be brokenhearted? I do and I’m sure that you do too. It’s a feeling like no other. It’s a feeling of utter helplessness. There’s no pill for it; there’s no operation for it; it’s just there!

My tried cure has always been to just live harder but that doesn’t work because that lingering sense of doom is still with me everywhere I go. My other solution has been to build up walls as security so that nobody can get in and hurt me again. The walls are successful in keeping people from getting too close but they also end up imprisoning me! But I can’t take down my walls because what if I’m hurt again?

God has come to heal our broken hearts. He knows that it’s difficult to live in this world. He knows that it’s scary for us and He understands our pain. He wants to heal us. Having a sick heart is just another way to bind us and distract us from what we were truly called to do. Your God does not want your heart to be sick. He wants you to be well. He came as a healer for you. There’s nothing that has happened to you and me that God cannot heal.

Jesus said that He was sent to heal the brokenhearted. In other words, that was His purpose and therefore His focus. He came to heal you. Does that sink into your heart and give it some hope? Maybe like I have, you’re thinking, ‘But you have no idea what I’ve been through! I don’t know that this will ever stop hurting.’

Trust and know that if He came for that purpose as He said, then He’s already got a plan to heal you. He’s just waiting on you to put your heart in His hands and let Him do it. God is not a man that He should lie. If He said that He would do it, then all that’s left for you to do is to trust and believe Him.

Food for Thought: Do I trust God as the keeper of my heart?

Scripture References: Luke 4:18; Numbers 23:19

 

THEY WILL KNOW YOU BY YOUR FRUIT

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If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times! You look just like your mother! Oh my goodness, you sound like your mother! You even talk like her! You act just like your mother! You are your mother’s child!

Don’t get me wrong now! My mother is beautiful inside and out! In fact, when people accuse me of being like my mother in any way, I realize that it’s intended to be a compliment. Well, except maybe, when my sister says it…

I get sick and tired of hearing how much like my mother I am because I hear it so often! People will actually stop me in the street and say, “You must be Rose’s daughter!” I want to flip back, “Well, that’s what I’m told.” But I don’t. I just smile sweetly and take it for the compliment that it’s meant to be—through clenched teeth of course.

What if someone came up to you out of the dead blue and said, “You must be a child of God!” or “You sound just like God.” or “Oh my word! You bear a striking resemblance to God. Are you His child?” Unlikely you think? Well think again.

As children of God, we will stand out to the world as such when we are walking in our fruit. What are fruit you ask? The plain definition of fruit in this case would be the result or the benefit of having the Spirit living inside of you. I use a capital S in Spirit because I am referring to the Spirit of God.

The moment that we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in our lives, His Holy Spirit enters in and brings everything of God with Him. That includes His ways. Having His Spirit in you means that love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, goodness and faithfulness all set up shop in your temple. You may be thinking, I have that some of that some of the time but not most of the time.

There are days when I can walk in love like no other. I mean, I’m kind, patient, merciful, faithful and all of that. But soon, my husband and children come home and it’s back to the drawing board for me!

What’s the difference between two people, who are born again, but one is nasty and the other is sweet as honey; one is faithful and the other can’t commit to anything; one is judgmental and the other is merciful? The difference is that one walks in their fruit and the other doesn’t.

As born-again’s we have two natures. We have our old nature which is the nature of our great, great, great, great-grandparents, good ol’ Adam and Eve. And then we have our new nature, which is the nature of God that enters when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior. We can still choose, (which many of us do) to walk in our old nature or we can walk in our new nature.

Most of us find it easier to walk in our old nature because, one, it’s what comes naturally to us and two, it makes more sense to us in our own mind set. It’s easy to conclude that if they hit me, I should hit them back. It’s easy to conclude that when there’s chaos around me that I should be afraid and react.

But walking in the fruit of the Spirit is not natural at all because it’s Super Natural—because God is Super Natural! Our flesh will always want to react in a way that feels good to it; I don’t care how saved you think you are! We must deliberately and purposely walk in the Spirit.

In the world that we live in today, where hearts are growing colder and colder and it is drilled in our heads to look out for number one, it is not an easy thing to walk in the Spirit, but it is certainly possible as well as necessary.

The Word of God tells us that our flesh (our old nature) is constantly at war with our spirit (our new nature). It will always be a struggle (for some more than others) to walk in love and kindness while we’re here on this earth because as human beings, it does not come naturally for us. That is why we must get into the Word of God so that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

What in the world is going to distinguish us as children of God out there if we look nothing like Him? How can we stand out to the world if we blend in with everyone else? We’re not trying to stand out just for bragging rights. We’re to stand out so that the world will be compelled to look to the Savior when they see how well it works for us. Isn’t that what we’re here for?

People are suffering; people are dying needlessly. There is a living Savior Who is willing to bear the burden for them but they need to be pointed in His direction.

FEAR GOD

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They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

                                                                                        (Psalm 112:7)

 

Don’t you just wish that the above verse meant that we don’t have to fear bad news because we’re not going to get bad news? Oh, how I wish that were the translation! However what this verse is saying is that we shall have no fear of bad news because our God is greater than our bad news and if He’s on the inside, we can overcome it.

When I was preparing to write this devotional, I looked up phobias and my mind was blown by the amount of phobias that there are out there! Just to name a few:

  • Aeroacrophobia- Fear of open high places.
  • Bibliophobia- Fear of books
  • Carnophobia- Fear of meat
  • Ergophobia- Fear of work
  • Bogyphobia- Fear of bogeys or the bogeyman

I don’t know about you, but when I began to read about all of the phobias [I won’t lie] I related to some, but many were just plain ridiculous! But one thing that we know about fear is that they’re driving. What I mean is, fear will cause you to move in a different direction in order to avoid a thing. If you’re afraid of heights, you’ll avoid them. If you’re afraid of bugs, you’ll avoid them. But what if you’re afraid of God; do you avoid Him too???

The fear of the Lord is not the kind of fear that you would have for a spider or a pit-bull. The fear of the Lord is a reverent fear. In other words it is an understanding that He is supreme so I need to be on His side or I’ll be in some trouble!

I have struggled with fear all of my life. I am no stranger to fears. As a matter of fact, the things that I’m most afraid of are the things that the devil loves to dangle in my face causing me to run for cover every time.

Do you know something? I am tired of running! I am tired of having the same reaction to my fears that I’ve always had because the enemy of my soul feeds off of those reactions and continues to keep coming back again and again with the same things because they’re working!

If you’re like me, and you struggle with fear, it’s time to look that devil in the eye and let him know that you are not falling for it anymore. It doesn’t matter if you’re afraid when you say it. Say it afraid and watch the Lord give you the strength to mean that thing! And when you mean that thing, He’s going to step in and prove you right!

If you want to learn the fear of the Lord, learn Him, for He is good! There’s a verse in Psalm 34:19 that starts out annoying but ends in victory. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them ALL!!!

This verse tells me that, yes, we will have to face much bad news but we do not have to fear because God is going to deliver us from all of it! I know, what you’re thinking. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could just skip the bad news and get right to the deliverance? But how will we know that we are overcomers if we’ve never overcome anything?
Food for thought: Fear God, fear nothing else. Don’t fear God, fear everything else!


Scripture references: Psalm 34:19, Psalm 112:7