Who’s Whispering In Your Ear

The french doors opened up to a balcony overlooking a crowd of people gathered outside. Everyone was laughing and having fun as they talked to each other. They were the “Church” and the mood was very uplifting.

As I watched from the balcony I noticed a big, strong man walk up to the group. Several men who looked to be his bodyguards accompanied him. He walked up to people individually and began to whisper something in their ear. The atmosphere quickly changed and one by one the people who made up the “Church” became intimidated.

I realized this man was Satan.

He had something on all of us that he was holding over our heads, something we had not totally given over to God or something from our past.

With the realization of who he was I became very angry. I walked inside and as I began to pace back and forth something rose up from within me. I marched right back outside and yelled with authority,

Be quiet and get out of here in the name of Jesus!

He looked at me and without saying a word he turned around and left with his men.

One of Satan’s greatest strategies is to discourage us, by reminding us of our past. He knows if he can just get us to remember how bad we really were then we will not feel worthy of the call in front of us. If he can just make us believe that we will fail again like every other time we have in the past than we might just stop trying. Or maybe because that sin wasn’t too far in the past we feel hypocritical to move forward in our walk with God.

It is a lie of the enemy!

Because of Christ’s work on the cross we have been cleansed and are blameless before Him.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. Ephesians 1:7

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:6

Resist the lies of the Enemy and become all that God wants you to be!

Divided We Fall

 

In the short time that my husband and I have been pioneering a church in Chicago, I have realized that without unity a church is powerless. Without unity a marriage will shatter. Pride, self-centeredness, selfishness, sin, anger, and bitterness are all things that will bring about this in-house conflict.

Our lives, our marriages, and our churches are all supposed to reflect the oneness in our relationship with Christ. Instead, with divorce rates just as high as non-believers and church splits happening all the time, we are failing to be that light by not loving one another. In John 17:20-26, Jesus prays for the unity of all believers. He prays for unity for a specific reason,

“that the world may believe that you sent Me”.

He is saying that the world will look at our lives. They will look! What will they see? What they see will determine what they believe!

Psalm 133:1 says, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Unity brings strength. Even with non-Christians this is true. God looked down on the tower of Babel and said, “Indeed the people are one and they have one language, now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them” (Gen 11:6). There is nothing impossible for people who are working together in unity. With unity the church can win the world.

In the Bible, when God wanted to destroy the enemy, He sent division among them and caused them to fight themselves. Jesus said in Luke 11:17,

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation,

and a house divided against a house falls.”

The best of plans can be destroyed if we lack unity. Satan knows this and does everything he can to cause division among believers. Our focus turns off of God and onto each other’s weak points.

Personally, it is difficult for me, as a pastor’s wife, to hear some of the negative stuff people say about my husband. Over the years we have heard it all! They don’t like the way he sings, they don’t like the way he teaches, they don’t like the way offering is taken up, they don’t like when he outreaches, they don’t like how he outreaches. Why don’t they just say straight up that they don’t like him! Oh and I love this, when they add at the end, “Don’t take it personal”. Excuse me? But you just fired a personal assault on him!

Granted, being “one” does not mean we will have the same thoughts or ideas on everything. That’s ok! Division comes in when you take your eyes off of God and the purpose of the church. You let those differences take root in your heart thinking your way is better. Pride causes division!

Indeed we are one body made up of many parts. The problem is when we don’t know what body part we are. Stop trying to be the hand when you are the foot. If you don’t like the way the pastor does things, stop trying to be the pastor! That is not your role in the body. If you’re a knee be a knee! The same goes within your marriages, if you are not the husband stop wearing the pants! These things cause disunity.

Unity comes from within; it is a matter of the heart.

The Lord has been showing me even in my heart where there is disunity. When people are constantly negative it gets discouraging and I tend to get defensive. It’s a sign of pride in my own life. I don’t want other people’s actions to cause me to sin. I don’t want to be a bitter person! Just because someone is critical, I don’t want to be critical back, and I have been. I thank Jesus that He is truly the ultimate example of love and unity and forgiveness. Let us look deep within our own hearts if we have been a source of disunity in the Church or in our marriages. Let us forgive and let us love so that the world can look upon us and know that Jesus is Lord!

Spiritual Malnutrition

During the holiday season we tend to eat more junk food than normal. Who can resist the eggnog, Christmas cookies, fudge, and other empty calorie snacks we eat as we go from Christmas party to family gatherings. In my life I would say yes that sweets are a very big distraction to what I would like my diet to consist of. I can be easily diverted and thrown off course.

In the spiritual realm we have similar junk food distractions.

TOO BUSY. TOO TIRED. TOO DISCOURAGED. TOO MUCH TV. TOO MUCH COMPUTER.

And the list can go on and on.

Are we experiencing spiritual malnutrition? Are we joyless, depressed, unfruitful, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and spiritually sluggish? Satan’s strategy is to cut us off from our food supply. When we overlook bible reading, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers we become an easy victim for the enemy’s attack. Just like we become weak in the physical realm when we don’t eat food, we become weak spiritually when we don’t feed ourselves the bread of life.

In Isaiah 55 it says,

WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].

Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David. (Amplified version)

We are to come, listen, seek, and call on God. His salvation is freely offered. We are to hunger and thirst after the knowledge of the Lord and not after the perishable things this world offers. Let us not forget to strengthen ourselves spiritually! I know how easy it is to get distracted but let’s get back on course to being a healthy Christian.