Monday, July 30, 2012

One Word To Victory


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Spiritual warfare is not a topic we want to think about. But the longer we ignore it, the heavier the weight of its oppression can become, just as I mentioned in today's Proverbs 31 devotion, The Invisible Battle.

Whether we like it or not, Christians are engaged in a battle every single day. All around us there is a war taking place in the spiritual realms. It's not a war we can see, but it's a war nonetheless.

As a baby Christian years ago, I doubted whether or not this war was really taking place. When I would read scripture verses about this subject, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept. For example, Ephesians 6:12 which says "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." 

Rulers, authorities and powers of the dark world? Spiritual forces of evil?  Sounds a bit fictional, big screen, drama-ishBut unfortunately, I learned the hard way that doubting is exactly what the devil wants us to do.

When we fail to believe that he is really on the prowl, as the Bible tells us, we will neglect to put on God's armor, leaving ourselves open for attack, and helpless to defend ourselves when it happens.  

Worse yet, if we do not live in a state of spiritual awareness, we may be so oblivious to what is really going on that we don't even realize we are in a war until life seems to be spiraling out of control, and our negative emotions, stress, worry and discouragement have taken our hearts hostage.

We may even try to blame God, instead of the evil one who is really to blame.  Of course, there are times when God allows difficulties in our lives to convict us of sin or teach us valuable lessons, however, in either case, the devil can get a foothold in our heart if we aren't careful.

So what do we do? How do we win against this invisible battle where our joy and peace hang in the balance?

One word:  STAND

Ephesians 6:10 tells us how to stand, why to stand, and what to stand against:  "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (NKJV)

Stand in the Lord. Stand with our armor on - His Word in our hearts and prayers on our lips. Stand against the devil, ready to fight.. All this "standing" in faith equips us for battle and preps us for victory, while forcing the devil to do some 'sitting' in our life. Back seat sitting, that is.

You see, the battle we are fighting is internal - not external.  The devil doesn't want to take our 'things', he wants to take our faith.  So we don't need external weapons like a soldier in an army; we need internal strength and perseverance to keep trusting in God's promises, even when life is hard.

We need His supernatural ability to persevere through difficult and stressful circumstances, even when we feel like giving up, or giving in.

We need His Word tucked into our hearts, especially when our hearts are laden with worry or stress.

We need to STAND strong in our faith, even when our minds are telling us to sit and quit.

My precious friend and fellow P31 sister Whitney Capps said so eloquently last weekend at our 12th annual She Speaks Conference, that "Satan does not have the creative authority to have power over our lives, but he wants us to doubt God's protection and provision." 

Yes, the devil can cause problems - but our doubt compounds them and gives him validity. Yet when we  believe that God protects and provides, we are able to stand strong in the battle, facing the enemy in strength that can only come from God.

It is our faith which enables us, and entitles us, to the power and authority of Jesus over our lives.

And when Christ is for us, who can be against us?

Do you feel as if life is spinning out of control, and you are helpless to stop it? Have you wondered if God has forgotten you, or punishing you? Have you considered quitting, or throwing in the towel, and succumbing to a life void of joy and peace?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then my friend, you are in a battle. A battle for your heart, which can only be won if you ask God for the strength to STAND.

If you have been under attack and sense a new motivation in your spirit to begin standing firm in your faith again today - will you leave a comment professing your commitment to trust God in your circumstances and with your life? The army of God is even stronger when unified!

* Click here to read a recent post regarding a new form of spiritual warfare happening today: The Devil's Latest Scheme.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

God Is Always Up To Something New

Last weekend, our 12th annual Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference took place, and I never cease to be amazed that despite how many amazing speakers and messages that we hear ... there is one biblical promise which becomes the heartbeat of the conference every year.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"  

Of the six hundred and fifty women who attend She Speaks every year, many of them opt to participate in a speaker evaluation group. In this small group setting, the speaker track attendees have the opportunity to provide two brief messages in a small group setting, and receive an evaluation/loving critique of their presentation from the group leader and each of the group participants. 

Trust me when I say, that every year as a group leader, the minute we all walk into the room to begin, one can almost taste the nervousness in the air. Each woman is sitting on the edge of her seat; anxious about sharing her testimony; hoping she remembers the biblical teaching she has prepared; fearful of being evaluated, aka, judged; and probably asking herself why in the world she signed up for this.

But over a two hour time frame, each women stands up and shares what God has laid on her heart.

And every year, I sit there listening - in awe. 

In awe of the power and sovereignty of our God and how He can take even the worst of circumstances and turn it into something beautiful. In awe of the strength, perseverance, and faith of each woman there.  In awe of the fact that they said "yes" to God, when the devil was trying to convince them that they had nothing to offer. In awe that they have come as new creations. 

You see, every year I find it difficult to fill out their evaluation forms, because the tears welled up in my eyes make it hard to see my paper - and who wants an evaluation form with tears splattered all over it?!  But witnessing first hand the tangible, visible evidence of God's promise to throw out the old and do something new in a shattered life causes overwhelming emotion.

Sexual abuse. Marriage infidelity. Alcoholism. Arrests. Parenting heartaches. Divorce. Physical abuse. Teenage promiscuity. Death. Drug addictions. Pornography addictions. Abortion. 


Yet each woman is there to share how she has overcome that pain, in Jesus Christ. To share how their faith has made them whole, and they have overcome their broken past. 

They come to satisfy their hunger to be used by God, and to allow Him to turn their pain into His purposes. Not only with dreams to be platform speakers or best selling authors,  but longing to be strong spiritual leaders in their homes, their workplaces, and their churches. 


Isaiah 43:19 says "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland" 

These sweet women have embraced God's promise that He is doing a new thing in their life. They perceive it, and they want to be empowered to carry out the dream that God has placed on their heart.

Maybe you have been wondering if God could use your pain for His purposes. Maybe you have felt like you have nothing to offer. But just maybe you have been listening to the wrong voice.

God has the power to take whatever you have been through, and whatever you are going through right now, and not only transform you from the inside out, but use your life as a shining, visible example of His sovereignty.

God desires to do something "new" in you, and when you say yes, the adventure begins.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Devil's Latest Scheme

When I first saw the commercials last year, I admit I was somewhat interested; but after watching the show one time, my intrigue went from curiosity to overwhelming concern, with a trace of anger.

The television series I am referring to is called Long Island Medium.  In case you aren't familiar, it is a series where a woman named Theresa Caputo claims to be a spiritual medium, gifted with the ability to hear and talk with the dead with the intent of giving people messages from their deceased relatives.

I can honestly say that I will never again watch any episode of Long Island Medium, but unfortunately not everyone feels the same way.  According to reports, the show has been averaging 1.9 million viewers in its second season, up from 1.3 million viewers on average during its first season. And is scheduled to start a 3rd season in September.

1.9 million people are now falling prey to the devil in sheep's clothing - or should I say, trendy clothing with a big blonde hairdo. Theresa is an entertainer who claims to be helping people with her gift of talking with the dead. However, in my opinion, she is causing imminent harm to not only those whom she thinks she is helping, but possibly up to 1.9 million viewers who are being deceived by Satan's latest schemes, of which we are warned about in Ephesians 6:10-11 which says,  "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes."

This latest scheme is proof that the devil will use whatever he can, even 21st century technology, to try to pull the wool over the eyes of people who are desperate to believe that there is life after death, but are not convinced that that after life is either heaven or hell, as the Bible states. 

Unfortunately, Theresa Caputo knows nothing about life after death or higher beings. She has been quoted saying that she does not believe in God, but depends on a "spirit guide" to help her with her quest to channel the dead. Even had she not stated her lack of belief in God, it is obvious, because the Bible clearly condemns any use of mediums, psychics, or spiritism. 

Whether referring to talking with the dead, reading horoscopes, tarot cards, palm readings, fortune tellers, astrology or even playing a Ouiji board game - practices based on the concept that some type of spirit, or 'god', or a deceased loved one can communicate with the living is wrong, and against God's ways. 

In the case of the Long Island Medium, people are amazed at the facts she seems to know. It doesn't take but a few minutes to see the look of shock and awe on a person's face when she tells them truths about their personal lives or families that she has no way of knowing. I admit, it's convincing, and quite obvious that somehow she does have the means to know information that she has not been told - that 'somehow' is known as 'Satan'. 

Ephesians 6:12 is one example of proof that demons exists, and that they are hard at work in their game of deception, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Also in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, we read that Satan disguises himself in ways that would be attractive. After all, if he showed up looking like a fiery demon, I doubt anyone would choose to follow. That passage says: "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve."   

In many areas of life, sin appears to be good and pleasurable, and we get pulled into thinking if it seems fun, or pleasing, or looks attractive, that it's okay. Until that sin wraps its way into our hearts and wreaks havoc on our lives, in the hopes of pulling us so far away from God into such a deep pit of worthlessness, that we can never find our way back. Although watching this show seems innocent and interesting, it is spreading an addiction to deception.  

My prayer is that although Theresa thinks she is helping people, shedding light on the unseen world, that she will see the damage she is actually causing to people who are grasping at straws to believe in something good and helpful.   I have even considered that she may not be aware of how she is actually getting the information, because she is blinded by the devil's deception in her own heart.
Although Theresa Caputo seems like a very nice lady, and genuinely thinks she is using this gift for the good of others, the truth is, she is simply being used in a scheme orchestrated by the powers of darkness that we are warned about in God's Word. If information, guidance and supernatural intervention are not from God, then it is from the deceiver. As long as she continues this masquerade, other people will get hooked as well, and possibly destroyed by the enemy in the long run.

Will you join me in praying for Theresa Caputo? That she will find the real source of guidance and that she will hear God's voice above all the voices fighting for her attention? That she will dicover the one true God, our only divine source of guidance before it's too late? 

Will you pray that the millions of people watching this show will awaken to this scheme, and put on the full armor of God to protect their hearts from the enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy them from the inside out?  If you have been been intrigued enough by this show, ask God to cleanse your heart, and make a commitment to turn the channel when it comes on.

Let's stand firm as a nation against the things of this world that are not of God.  When we storm the throne of heaven with righteous anger and pleas for intervention to overcome evil, God always hears, and in the end, the victory will be His. In fact, it already is.

What are your thoughts on this subject? 

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Monday, July 9, 2012

5 Easy Tips for Fighting Off Stress


My new book, Stressed-less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World, will be released October 2, 2012!  I am so excited to partner with you in the journey of becoming stressed-less! 

 But why wait until October 2?!  Sign up today to participate in my 10 Day Stress Detox beginning September 4, and be the first to know when pre-orders will be available!

Psalm 5:1-3
O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.  Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

On several occasions, God has woken me up in the early morning and nudged my heart to meet with Him.  In fact, one morning last week I woke up before daylight and sleep escaped me. No matter how hard I tried to catch a few extra zzzzz's, I couldn't shake the feeling that my Bible was calling my name.

So just before sunrise, I wrapped up in a robe and went out on my deck to sit in the early morning light. As I listened to the soft chirping of birds and crickets, I filled my lungs with the fresh morning air and began to read my Bible and talk with God.  Before I knew it, an hour had passed, and the time came to get on with my daily routine.  

I knew the day was still going to be a hectic one. Stressful situations were the same as they were the day before. Difficult circumstances still had to be dealt with.  Busyness still swarmed around me. But my morning was not not routine at all.  I could tell a difference in myself. I felt refreshed, re-energized, renewed, lighter. I felt happy. I felt good. I felt at peace.

Just as I mentioned in today's Proverbs 31 Devotion called Breakfast Buddies, I experienced once again the benefit of having breakfast with Jesus. Unlike many other days where I ignored God's whispers to arise, this day was off to a great start.

Not because anything had changed in my life overnight, but because of what God had done in me that morning. He had called me into conversation, spoken to my heart, lifted my burdens, strengthened my spirit,  and helped me to have a more positive perspective about things that had been causing me stress and worry.

In Psalm 5:3, David states that each morning, he would bring his requests to God. He did not say that at the end of the day, he talked with God. He did not say that occasionally he would find some free time to pray while he was riding his camel from one city to the next. Nope, he said "each morning", as in, EVERY morning.

Each one of our lives is busy. Stressful. Maybe even chaotic. So how unfortunate it is that we take for granted the opportunity to have Jesus wash our stress away for the day, simply because we are too tired, or too busy, to give Him our devoted time in the morning.  

Notice how in Psalm 5, David not only spoke to God in the morning, but then "he waited expectantly" to hear from Him.  David knew that peace could only be found in God, despite the stress or adversities that he was facing.

Do you enjoy being stressed, distressed and depressed? Are you okay with spending your days worrying, fretting over problems, frustrated with life, and wondering if anything can ever change?

I certainly don't want to waste my life feeling that way, and I'm sure you don't either. Stress is a part of life, but sweet friends, Jesus is the answer to your stress.

Psalm 5 tells of an afflicted man who knows he cannot make it through his day without starting it off with God. David is a godly role model for us, and provides insight to 5 easy-to-remember tips that will help us embark on each day equipped and empowered with God's strength.

Those 5 tips are simply:  1. Awake   1. Arise   3. Pray   4. Wait   5. Praise

I am certainly guilty of not always giving in to God's nudges for early morning conversation, yet I know that when I do, the little bit of sleep I sacrifice is a small price to pay for the blessings I receive in return.  
Have you ever witnessed the power and strength and blessing that comes when you spend time with God early in the morning?  How has having breakfast Jesus made a difference in your life? 

If you have never considered the importance of getting up early to spend time with Jesus - or if you feel consumed by stress and have been desperately searching for relief to help you get through the day - will you commit to giving Jesus a try?

Leave a comment and share your experiences to encourage others, or post your new commitment!

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