When Words Get Used Against Us – Part 2

So if the devil can’t use your own words against you (see Part 1), how about the word of God?

Let’s look at what happened with Eve in the Garden. The devil’s approach here was to question the word of God: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?’ (Gen 3:1).

He didn’t lie to her about anything at this point; he simply asked her a question. He was testing her knowledge of the Word of God and by probing her in such a way he created doubt. We all know what happened after that but there is actually one small thing that we often overlook.

Genesis 2:16-17 says “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

But when Eve is responding to the serpent in Genesis 3:2-3 she says this: “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”

Did you catch that?

Two things actually.

Number 1: In Genesis 2:16 it says that God commanded the man. So where was Eve? Was she present when God told Adam not to eat from that tree? We don’t know. All we know for a fact is that God commanded Adam. So that would mean that it was up to Adam to tell her what God had commanded, right?

Which brings us to number 2: Somebody added to the Word of God. Genesis 2:17 only talks about not eating the fruit, but in Genesis 3:3 Eve tells the serpent that they can’t eat it nor touch it. So did Adam add to the Word of God or did Eve?

What’s my point here?

When we add to the Word of God, take away from it or change it, we get ourselves in trouble. Look, we know that Jesus was the Word at the beginning, right? So how are we going to add anything to Jesus, take something away or just change things about Jesus and think it won’t have any negative effects?

Don’t get me wrong, I can only quote certain scriptures word for word. There are a lot more scriptures that I can paraphrase and give you the gist of than I can actually quote them (something I’m working on getting better at). But when I have an issue, I go straight to the Word, I find the scriptures I need, I make sticky notes, I put them in my phone, I write them on my mirrors, whatever I have to do to keep God’s Word in front of me, I do it. And then I quote it during prayer.

So 1st, you need to know the word of God. And 2nd, don’t let the devil twist it around on you! If in doubt, go open your bible or even the bible app on your phone. But don’t fall into his trap and allow him to use it against you.

We talked about 3 different ways the devil uses our words or God’s Word against us, but there is one more.

Have you ever had a situation that you were praying about and you knew what the Word of God says about it so you claim it for yourself and in comes the devil telling you that in your situation it doesn’t apply?

I made my biggest mistake after I had become a born again Christian. It took me several months before I finally turned to God asking His forgiveness. The reason for that was the devil constantly telling me that I should’ve known better, convincing me that I must not have been saved after all or I wouldn’t have messed up in such a way.

So when I would look at scripture like Jeremiah 29:11 that talks about God having a good plan for my life, the devil would say “well, that’s all fine and well, but that doesn’t apply to you anymore. You screwed up, remember?”

Or reading Romans 8:28 that says that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose, I would hear the devil telling me “Ha! What good could possibly come out of this mess you created?”

I’m sure you have had similar “conversations” with the enemy. In the past these comments, these lies, would defeat me because I didn’t know my identity in Christ. I didn’t understand just how much the Father loves me and that nothing can separate me from Him now that I am His.

So first I had to learn who I am in Christ and how God sees me. The next time the devil tried to lie to me about what was mine I told him that he was a liar and that God had forgiven me and His word applies to me and my situation!

Oh really?

That’s when the devil plays little movies in my head, like a “Best Of” my worst moments, biggest mess ups and sins I have committed.

Remember the Blood of Jesus we talked about earlier?

Use it! Plead it! Apply it!

I don’t care how badly you messed up, once you have confessed your sins to the Father and repented, that sin is under the Blood and the devil has no right to use it against you anymore! He will try but you don’t have to let him!

So let’s look at Jesus in the wilderness one more time. He has been fasting, he is hungry, weak, and here comes the devil trying to tempt him. And what does Jesus do? He quotes scripture to the devil. One scripture per temptation.

I don’t know about you, but when the devil comes to attack me, I pull out every scripture I can think of, I rebuke him, I pray in tongues, I cry out to God, I pray hedges of protection around me, you name it, it is happening! And it is exhausting!

Jesus quoted ONE scripture. One for each temptation. He didn’t scream at the devil. He didn’t pray in tongues, He didn’t even pray to the Father for help. We know that He prayed all the time anyway. He was prayed up so to speak and ready to act when He needed to. He quoted one scripture.

And this is Jesus who was fully man, mind you. He has not yet gone to the Cross, so He has not yet defeated death and the grave and taken the keys back from the devil.

We are blessed enough to be operation under totally different circumstances than Jesus at that time. We operate under the authority and anointing of the resurrected Jesus, while He had to deal with this situation as fully man.

And the reason why He did that was the same as with everything else He did while he was fully man. To set an example for us on how to do it and to show us that it is possible. He didn’t do anything out of His own power or we wouldn’t be able to do it because we are not Jesus. Everything He did was based on God and He gave us access to that same power. He gave us access to God so anything Jesus did, we can do also.

Maybe it is time we rethink how we battle and warfare. Maybe it is time we truly understand who we are in Christ and what great power and authority He has given us. Maybe it is time to take back ground the devil has stolen from us.

Are you ready?

 

When Words Get Used Against Us – Part 1

The other day God was speaking to me about the wilderness, so to get a better understanding of it, I started to look up people in the Bible who had a wilderness experience. The first one I started with was Jesus. Now there are a lot of things we can look at when it comes to the timing and circumstances of Him going into the wilderness but today I want to focus on something else.

I want to look at the attacks of the enemy today.

When you read about Jesus in the wilderness, it doesn’t give you a lot of details to work with. The Gospel of John doesn’t mention it at all, and the other three have slight variations. Only Mark mentions the wild beasts that surrounded Jesus while he was in the wilderness, but based on what we know, Jesus was alone in the wilderness, in a somewhat dangerous place, he was fasting for 40 days and nights so since Jesus was fully man we know he was hungry, he was weak, maybe even scared.

Any time I have ever fasted I am not just physically weak but also emotionally. There is a lot going on when we stop satisfying “king stomach”. So chances are that Jesus was not just weak from hunger but maybe also concerning his emotions.

Those conditions make us vulnerable.

I have heard many accounts of people who had a great time with the Lord during their fasts. They hear Him loud and clear as He speaks to them regarding certain issues and they receive the breakthroughs they have been praying for.

Me, not so much. Fasting for me usually means a dry time where it feels as if God has completely forgotten about me and I’m all alone. I know that is not the case but it sure feels that way. By now I have also learned that a time of fasting in my case usually brings attacks from the enemy. I guess he knows I am weak and vulnerable. Maybe even cranky and irritable so it seems to be an opportune time for him to strike, right?

That’s what he did with Jesus. He tempted Him while he was in a weakened physical state.

So how does the devil attack us? We know he is the father of lies but that doesn’t mean that’s the only tool he uses.

Usually the first thing that happens is that he makes us use our own words against us. Let me give you an example:

Years ago we had a very rough time in our marriage and so I constantly went before the Lord and prayed for His help. I quoted scripture, stood on it and was confident that God would work out our situation according to His word. So far so good. But then something would happen and I would either break down into a sobbing, crying mess or I would blow up and vent, but either way the words that were coming out of my mouth were detrimental to the prayers I had spoken. Things like “this will never change”, or “I give up” were my go-to things.

Why is that an issue?

In the natural I didn’t pray and then say those things at the same exact time but God doesn’t exist inside our understanding of time. He is eternal. He sees my past, my present and my future – all at the same time.

So when I’m praying and I’m full of faith and standing on His word for deliverance He is ready to move. He might even assign some angels to help me with my situation. But at the same time He hears my words cancelling my prayers so everything He wanted to do to help is now put on hold.

Are you with me so far?

Ok, so the first way the devil attacks us is by getting us to speak negatively about our situation.

Let’s say we learned from our mistakes. Maybe we heard a few messages on the power of the tongue and we are trying really, really hard not do speak death anymore.

Can the devil still use our words against us?

Sure can! Imagine him standing there with a recorder and so here you are going through whatever it is that you’re dealing with right now and every time something happens he tempts you and tries to make you open your mouth to speak death over the situation again. But this time you keep your mouth shut! Or maybe you have even learned to praise God in the midst of your storm so instead of speaking death you are doing the opposite. You are praising God for what He is about to do in your situation.

But the breakthrough doesn’t come. Why? Because the devil is playing back all the negative words you have said about your situation in the past.

He is the accuser of the brethren, right? That is what he does, according to the bible, day and night. So your prayers come up before God and He is ready to move on your behalf and here comes the devil and he plays back what you said. Boom. Prayers cancelled. Again.

Why? You did so good! You didn’t curse. You didn’t complain. You didn’t speak death. You praised. You stood on God’s word. You did everything you were supposed to do and still nothing happened.

You missed the Blood of Jesus.

When you got saved and became a born again Christian, the Blood of Jesus was made available to you. So you go before God and you confess your sins and they get covered by the Blood of Jesus so now you are made righteous, right?

But did you also put your words under the Blood?

keep quiet

Imagine you sit in a court room and you want the judge to move on your behalf. You have your evidence as to why the judge should decide in your favor – your prayers, your worship, your praises,… – but then the opposing party comes and says, “That is all fine and dandy but our of their own mouth came this and that so if they don’t even believe that you, as judge, would do that for them, all their evidence is null and void”.

This would be the time to object and bring in the most powerful evidence on earth – the Blood of Jesus. So you repent for what you said and then you put all your negative words, your whining and complaining, your unbelief, whatever it is, under the Blood of Jesus. Now it is gone. The devil can’t use it anymore. You just took away the case he had against you.

Ok, so now we have dealt with our own words of the presence and the past.

But the devil doesn’t give up so easily. Do you ever wonder how many more times he is going to come against you before he finally gets tired of losing? I sure do. I keep thinking, dude, Jesus already won this. You might shake me a bit but we both know how this is going to end so why don’t you just give up and move on already?

Luke 4:13 tells us that “when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” Now this is Jesus we are talking about and still the devil hadn’t gotten the message that there was no point in pursuing his attacks. He simply quit for the time being only to return at an opportune time.

He is looking for weak spots. Don’t give him any!

Continue with part 2

The Weapons of Praise and Worship

This morning on my way to work I didn’t want to listen to the radio or to the news. I was feeling tired and even a little down for no real reason other than life is just really busy right now. My morning drives are oftentimes my quiet time with the Lord but today I felt like I needed more than prayer time where I tell Jesus all about my issues and hope that He will give me an answer.

So instead I put on some worship music, turned it all the way up and started singing along. Instantly my Spirit was lifted and I felt so much lighter and at peace. As I was driving down the road I began to dance along with the music in my car and just having a great time with the Lord. Not asking Him for anything, just enjoying being in His presence, recognizing His goodness and telling Him how much I love Him.

My heart was filled with the joy of the Lord and the atmosphere began to change. I was no longer worshipping, but now I was praising God for a number of different things but most of all I was praising and thanking Him for being Lord over my life.

There is a difference, you know, between praise and worship, although a lot of times we just sort of lump it in together.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, worship is defined as “reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence; extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem”.

You might be familiar with the phrase “to worship the ground somebody walks on”, which basically says that we love somebody so much and have such a respect and reverence for this person that even the ground this person walks on is to be admired.

But worship of course is not meant for a person, but for God! We worship God because we love Him, because of who He is, not because of what He does for us. We admire Him, adore Him, revere Him, respect and honor Him. So when we worship Jesus we are basically declaring our love for Him.

Praise on the other hand is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as this: “to express a favorable judgement; to glorify (a god or saint) especially by the attribution of perfections”.

When your child did a good job you praise him for it or when your dog didn’t pee in your house during the night, you praise him and tell him what a good job he did.

So what does it mean to praise God then? Do we tell Him that He did a good job?  We thank Him for what He did for us!

When you start to praise Jesus it is about your testimony. It is not just about God being a good, good father, but about your personal story with Him. All of our testimonies are unique but we can all praise Jesus for the amazing things He has done in our lives.

Revelation 12:11 tells us that we overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, so you see how your praise, which involves your testimony, becomes a weapon?

Not only do you enter the presence of God with your worship, but you change things with your praise, especially when you don’t feel like praising God right now. Let’s face it, we all had moments when we didn’t know how to get through a certain situation and giving thanks was probably the last thing on your mind at that point.

But Hebrews 13:15 (KJV) tells us “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

WorshipHandsCrowd-1

Years ago there was a situation in my marriage that seemed pretty desperate. I didn’t know what to do and my husband was about to leave the country for a job overseas for at least six months. So I told God that even though I knew He could help us no matter how far apart we were at the time, in my limited earthly thinking I just couldn’t see that particular situation working out with my husband living at the other end of the world.

That day I offered a sacrifice of praise to God as I thanked Him for all the wonderful things He had done in my life and for the good plan He has for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), all while tears were running down my cheeks.

I recalled time after time when Jesus did what only Jesus can do and I thanked Him and praised Him for it. Before long, I was praying in the Spirit while crying non-stop. But through my obedience and offering the sacrifice of praise something changed. Still in the Spirit, I calmed down, the tone of my voice became soft again and my prayer turned into praise as I was singing to the Lord in the Spirit. I started crying again but this time it was tears of joy as I was completely at peace.

A few hours later my husband came home and told me he was unable to go overseas at that time because there was a glitch in the system, so they couldn’t process his paperwork and just couldn’t figure out what happened.

He was pretty upset but I walked away with a huge grin on my face giving the Lord a shout of praise!

My former pastor’s wife used to say “you praised yourself out of several situations, I don’t see why this one should be any different!”

Praise changes things!

Why do you think you end up fighting with your spouse on the way to church or something happened that week and you just can’t get your mind off of it and you just sort of go through the praise and worship part on auto-pilot?

Satan knows what happens when you worship God and praise Him!

I encourage you this coming Sunday (and every time, really) to join in the worship service at your church. The worship team is not there for your entertainment. And they also can’t break the chains for you. Have you ever wondered why they seem to be in the presence of the Lord but you’re just on the outside looking in during service? It’s because they worship and praise the Lord while you are watching them do it.

You would be amazed when you see what happens when the entire congregation lifts up one voice in worship vs. just a few individuals on stage or spread out throughout the sanctuary.

So join them! Clap your hands, sing the songs, put your heart into it, dance and shout, because Jesus deserves it!!

 

Watch your Tongue and Learn to Wield Your Word Weapons!

Have you ever paid attention to the things that come out of your mouth throughout the course of a single day? For some of us it is really quite alarming to say the least. Or maybe you have noticed it when you listen to somebody else who is either a very positive or very negative person. You will hear it in their words all the time.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that “the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (NIV).

There was a period in my life when I was extremely negative. Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong and I found myself in a hole. Depression started to set in. I was still a new Christian and hadn’t learned one of the most important lessons (for me) yet, which was to watch my mouth and the words that were coming out of it all day every day.

I had no idea how much death I was speaking until I really started to pay attention and to change my words.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. Proverbs 18:21

Words have power. You can either speak life or you can choose to speak death but what you say matters.

In Genesis 1:3 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. He created it out of nothing, simply by speaking it into existence. Imagine the creative power in the spoken Word of God!

I know you and I are mere humans, but there is still power in the things we speak over our lives and our situations, especially if we speak the Word of God over these things.

So when the enemy comes and tries to steal from you, kill your marriage or destroy your dream, don’t give into his lies and agree with him. Start speaking life instead. Declare victory over your issues. Speak God’s promises over your life and you will be amazed by the changes you will see.

It is so important to watch the words you speak, not just for yourself but also for the people you come in contact with.

Proverbs 15:1 tells us that “a gently answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NIV). It is so easy to fly off the handle when something goes wrong, but other than voicing your frustration, it really doesn’t do you any good to use harsh words. So use wisdom when choosing your words.

Your tongue essentially becomes a sword. You can use it to cut down the people around you and wound them deeply with the words you speak to them, or you can use it to fight the enemy for the things God has promised to you.

Whether you are aware of it or not, you wield this weapon all the time, but if you’re not careful, you will do more harm than good with it.

For me personally, no matter how good I think I’m doing and how far I think I’ve come in my walk with the Lord, it is always an eye opener to see how much work still needs to be done in me, when I get really angry and I hear all these awful words come out of my mouth before I even realize what is happening.

Whatever fills our hearts is usually what eventually comes out of our mouths, whether that’s anger, frustration, hopelessness, discouragement, unforgiveness, disappointment, love or hope: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of,” (Luke 6:45 NIV).

This topic is so important and so extensive that you could fill books with it (and there are already a lot of books that address this issue), so we will continue this at another time but today let me leave you with this:

When the devil tried to tempt Jesus in the desert, Jesus didn’t ponder on the things the devil said. He had been fasting so you know he was probably very hungry, weak, tired – he was at a vulnerable state and that’s the time the devil chose to tempt him. It would have been very easy to fall into the traps of the enemy but Jesus instead chose to speak the Word of God. He didn’t think it in his head and recalled the scriptures in his mind, but he spoke out loud and quoted scripture to the devil to put him in his place!

“Jesus said to him. ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4:10 NIV).

Your words are powerful, but the Word of God is your ultimate weapon. Learn how to wield it and take back what the enemy has stolen from you!

Put On Your Whole Armor Of God

As a soldier preparing to go into battle, you would be foolish not to prepare yourself as much as possible. You may not know the enemy’s strategy or plan of attack but that doesn’t mean you enter the fight without protection. You have a helmet for your head, a bullet proof vest to cover your upper body and several other pieces of equipment to protect other parts of your body.

If your body armor gets hit during battle, it might still hurt, but the plates take the blunt of the force, thus saving you. In order to stay safe in the next battle you need to swap out broken pieces of armor and most importantly, put all of it back on of course.

The same goes for your spiritual armor (see Ephesians 6:10-18). You need to put it on daily and on some days, when the attacks just keep on coming, you may even need to put it on again and again and again.

It helps me to actually go through the motions of picking up piece by piece and putting it on, as I make declarations over myself and get ready for my day before I leave my house in the morning.

So what exactly is the Armor of God?

armor-of-god

You start with the Belt of Truth that is buckled around your waist (Ephesians 6:14). The Truth is the Word of God so this belt protects you against the lies of the enemy. Think of a boxer and the belt they wear underneath their shorts in order to cover their loins. Those hits are considered cheap shots and the same goes for spiritual low blows. They come out of nowhere and sting pretty bad. They are the unfair ones, but then again when did the devil ever play fair?

In the amplified Bible the Belt of Truth, or Band of Truth, is also referenced to personal integrity and moral courage. Think about that when the enemy is trying to deal you a low blow. Don’t loose your personal integrity because of a lie the devil is telling you or telling on you.

Next is your Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14) for an upright heart. In the midst of the battle we can sometimes loose sight of what is right. We may want to get even and sometimes we are about to loose heart when the fight goes on and on and on. So remember that this breastplate is covering and protecting your heart!

A soldier also needs boots, right? So, the armor God has given you covers your feet as well as they get fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15) so that you can face the enemy with firm-footed stability. Stand your ground. Don’t let the attacks of the enemy move you. Also, remember to walk in peace! No matter what the devil throws at you, what your coworker might do or say today or what your spouse did or didn’t do, you can make a decision right now that you will walk in peace and not be moved!

When you think about a medieval knight, a main piece of armor they carried into battle was a shield. Some shields were very small and only protected portions of the knight’s body. Other shields were pretty large, covering almost the entire upper body and even parts of the legs.

Ephesians 6:16 tells us that we have been given a “[protective] Shield of Faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (AMP). Did you catch that? It says ALL the flaming arrows, not just some but every single one!

Now think back to the different sizes of shields the knights carried. When it comes to how big your Shield of Faith is, think about how much faith you have. We all have been given a measure of faith (see Romans 12:3) by God, but it is up to us what we do with it.

Faith is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger and bigger it gets. And there is really no way around it. I can’t go to the gym for your and lift weights so you can gain strength and get in shape (wouldn’t that be great though?). Usually the people with a strong faith have been through their share of trials and tribulations and have overcome one attack of the enemy after another.

So the more you grow your faith, the bigger your Shield of Faith will be.

One very important (maybe the most important) body part is still left unprotected at this point so take the Helmet of Salvation to cover your head and protect your mind (see Ephesians 6:17). The devil loves to dump his lies and his garbage into our heads and next thing you know you ponder and dwell on all the junk he just unloaded on you. A lot of times we can be our own worst enemy because of the way we think.

Because this is so important plenty of books have been written on this subject alone, like “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer.

I told you earlier that I physically go through the motions of putting my armor on in the mornings and as I do I make declarations over myself. When I put on my Helmet of Salvation I also declare over myself that I have been given a sound mind (see 2 Timothy 1:7), that I am not led by my emotions but by God, and that I take every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).

Up until now every piece of armor you put on was to protect you. You are covered from head to toe against the attacks of the enemy so you can see how important the defense is when it comes to spiritual warfare.

However, you have also been given a weapon, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (see Ephesians 6:17).

When the devil comes at you with lies, use your sword, the Word of God, to cut right through those attacks with the truth. Whatever he tries to tell you or show you, if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God, it is not true.

The Bible is filled with promises from God that you can stand on. These are your weapons.

For example, when the devil tells you that you will always be struggling financially, tell him that your Heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) and that God will open the “windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows” (Malachi 3:10).

The Word of God is more powerful than anything else, which is why Jesus quoted scripture to the devil when he tempted Jesus in the desert. Each time Satan tried to test him Jesus answered “it is written” (see Mathew 4:4) and the devil finally stopped because he knew he couldn’t win this one.

So now that you have your full armor on, you can “stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

You are not helpless. The enemy will not defeat you. You are a mighty warrior called for a time as this. Stay alert. You got this!

Who is our Enemy and How real is He?

We all have experienced situations in which a person or a group of people have attacked us in some form or another. Maybe a coworker got jealous of your promotion and started badmouthing you behind your back. Or a neighbor got their feelings hurt because of something you did and next thing you know, it is all out war between the two of you but you really don’t know what happened to start all of it. Even worse, a family member seems to sabotage your marriage out of spite or simply because they don’t like you or your spouse.

No matter what caused it, now there is bad blood between you and this other person and things just start to spiral out of control from there.

Sound familiar?

Over the course of our lives we all find ourselves in some version or another of the above scenarios. It hurts, right? Especially if the person attacking you is somebody you really cared for and thought highly of.

It can get to the point when all you want to do is fight back and hurt them as much as they hurt you, but would that really solve the problem?

The answer is “no” and here is why:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.

According to this, our problem is really not with the person attacking us but it is a spiritual battle that many of us are not aware of.

I’m not saying that people are never mean on their own, but we need to remember that more often than not there is a spiritual underlying cause.

Shortly after I got married, my mother-in-law and I had some serious issues with each other. We laugh about it now and thank God for restoring our relationship in a way we never dreamed possible but for several years it was all out war.

It had never been my intention to hurt her, but nevertheless it happened. That hurt turned into bitterness, resentment and outright hate and when she started attacking me I did little to stop my anger from festering, allowing it to turn into hate, which lead to me opening doors in my own life for the enemy to come right in and make himself comfortable.

My hate for her wouldn’t allow me to see the hurt I had caused. I simply shut her out of my life and the life of my family for years. No matter how many times we tried to fix things, without Jesus in our lives, we were unable to forgive each other.

Because I was too angry and too hurt, she missed out on her grandchildren for several years. When she went through the toughest times of her life, I not only abandoned her, but I also added to her pain because that’s what you do to somebody who hurt you, right? You hurt them right back. Or so I thought.

So who was I fighting? My mother-in-law or the devil?

In the natural it was her, who, in my tunnel vision, was constantly working against me, causing problems between me and my husband, and making me altogether miserable, but in reality, I was fighting the demonic forces behind the scenes so to speak, that seemed to be working overtime trying to destroy my family.

He wasn’t just trying to tear my marriage apart, but also put a wedge between my mother-in-law and myself, and instead of stopping him from doing that, I aided the devil in it.

Once I understood that, it obviously didn’t automatically just solve all our problems. Far from it to tell you the truth. But it did allow me to change the way I prayed about the situation.

It was by faith that I made the choice to forgive her and for a long time I had to pray through gritted teeth “and please, Lord, bless her”, and just be obedient because the Bible does tell us in Luke 6:28 to “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”.

So the real enemy is not the person who dislikes you, but the devil trying to use that person to get to you.

Why? Why does the enemy care so much about you that he wants to attack, hurt and sabotage you?

We all have a purpose here on earth to further the Kingdom of God. We are all supposed to share the Gospel but let’s be honest for a moment, when you are all caught up in your own misery, how likely are you to spread the Gospel?

How charitable do you feel when you constantly deal with financial setbacks and live from paycheck to paycheck?

Do you step out in faith when you feel God is calling you to minister to the nations, when you constantly have somebody telling you how worthless you are and that you will never amount to anything?

Do you see where I’m going with this? As long as we are distracted by our own issues, believing the devil’s lies about ourselves, and just staying in our own little bubbles, we won’t do what God has called us to do.

So Satan is as real as God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and he will do whatever he can do derail you. The Good News however is, that Jesus defeated him on the Cross and no matter what Satan does, he cannot win the final battle.

The sooner you realize and understand that, the quicker you can start to stand up to him when he tries to mess with your life, your family, your marriage, your job, your health, your finances, and whatever else he tries to steal, kill and destroy (see John  10:10).

This is war, but we are fighting on the winning side.

Equipping the Saints

One of the biggest issues in today’s Church is that we have strayed from the nitty-gritty truth found in the Bible in an effort to accommodate everyone and not to offend anyone. We pick and choose what we want to preach and teach and more often than not we opt for “feel-good-messages” instead of the whole story.

Don’the-sword-of-the-spiritt get me wrong, I like messages I can agree with wholeheartedly, that make me feel good and give me hope.  But there came a point when my world seemed to collapse and although reciting scriptures like Romans 8:28 or Jeremiah 29:11 helped to get me through some of the most difficult times of my life, it also seemed to just not be enough anymore.

I felt the urge to do more, to stand up and fight back but I had no idea if that was even possible. A woman in my church reached out to me at that point and began to teach me about Spiritual Warfare. That’s what started my journey as the call that God had placed on my life began to get louder and louder. The call to help others, to teach the saints, and to show you how you, too, can fight back when the enemy tries to wreak havoc in your life.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11

Jesus didn’t just die for us on the cross so that we could have eternal life but also so we could be set free: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,” (Luke 4:18).

So the next time you feel the devil is trying to come into your life, steal from you, kill, and destroy (see John 10:10), remember that you are not helpless.

You have been given the armor of God as well as spiritual weapons. It is time to learn how to use them!