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By Lisa Ross (4/4/12)
Checking the clock, I rush through the living room, turn off every light in the house, and gather all of the items I need to get out the door. I wonder why I can never seem to be early for anything?! Tripping over the dog, I reach for my sweater and…poof!…it’s gone. Vanished into thin air. I clearly remember laying it on the back of the couch for an easy grab on my way out, but now it’s gone. Seriously?!
So I drop my laptop case, my purse, and my lunch bag in front of the door; turn the lights back on; and I begin to scrounge around behind the couch. Nope. No sweater. I stuff my oversized hand in the undersized cracks and find nothing. Knowing it’s crazy, I actually lift up the couch and peer into the nether-realm beneath—where no man dares to tread. Dust bunnies, a pencil, an old troll guarding the gate (I made that last one up), but no sweater. As I sit there on the floor, the dog looks at me quizzically, convinced I’m here to play. I’m really not in any mood for the face-licking that is about to…ugh! Gross! There goes my make-up!
Frustrated, running late, and covered in dog slobber, I mentally retrace my steps, KNOWING that my sweater can’t be anywhere else. I can see in my mind’s eye where it was JUST lying on the back of the couch. I can visualize myself placing it there and I remember thinking what a great place that was to leave it. Aiming an exasperated breath upward to remove the hair that has fallen into my eyes, I can feel the irritation climbing up, out of my throat, and proceeding forth from my mouth. I complain how nothing is ever where it’s supposed to be and why can’t anyone just put things where they belong?!
And then, it hits me. I’ve lost something far more important than my sweater. I’ve lost my shoes! No, not the flats that match my now dog-hair-laden outfit. I’ve lost my shoes of peace—a much more important part of my ensemble than that silly ‘ol sweater!
In my morning rush, I ran around and relied upon my own strength—and, worse…my own premenopausal memory (yikes!). The truth of the matter is, I allowed myself to take my eyes off of God. What I should have done was to stop IMMEDIATELY and pray. The moment I felt my heart begin to speed up, my mind begin to race, and my face begin to do “that thing” it does when I’m irritated…I should have stopped and put my shoes of peace back on, because, the longer I go barefooted, the more calloused I get!
I forgot that Ephesians 6 tells me that my struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, as I blamed my lost sweater on members of my family who weren’t even home at the time. I had to remind myself that all this unrest I was feeling was just a scheme of the devil, and I needed recognize it as such and put him in his place!
A lot of people just write these kinds of things off as minor, everyday frustrations. It’s normal…par for the course. Well, not to get all super-spiritual on you, but it’s these little things that Satan uses to get a foothold in our hearts; left unchecked, footholds easily become strongholds. If Satan can warp my attitude and keep me frustrated, I won’t be able to walk in the fullness that God has planned for me. What if someone I passed by on my way to work needed prayer and they saw how “beautifully approachable” I look when I’m angry? I doubt they would want anything to do with me or the God I’m supposed to represent.
So my encouragement for you today is, even in the midst of a near meltdown, you can reclaim the power of God as you remember He is with you. He has given you all you need to be able to recover from everything—from minor irritations to full-blown attacks. By His Word, God has bestowed upon you a double-edged sword that will help you fend off the devil and reclaim your peace of mind. It’s just a matter of stopping, the moment you recognize what is going on, and saying, “Oh no, you foul Devil. Not this time. Jehovah Shalom is on the scene!”
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. – 1 Peter 3:10–11
So what about the sweater? When I finally calmed down and prayed, God showed me that I had moved it to the kitchen, near the ironing board, when I was pressing my pants. Feeling rather sheepish, I put the sweater on, then I apologized and thanked Him for His goodness!
*still a work in progress!*
Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?
(author unknown) submitted by Chuck Bean (3/7/12)
Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.
Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!’
Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple out ran Peter and got there first. He stopped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.
Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side.
Was that important? Absolutely! Is it really significant? Yes!
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.
When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.
Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, “I’m finished.”
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the folded napkin meant:
“I’m coming back!”
The Supernatural Armor of God’s Love
By Gale Loveland (2/27/12)
One of the most well-known scriptures that reveal God’s Love for us is John 3:16. It is incredible! God so love the world that He sent His Son, Jesus for us. But long before that God showed His great love for us, long before Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We find His first demonstration of His incredible, limitless love for us in Genesis… “In the beginning…” before He even created us. How? Before He created us, He created everything else. Everything we needed to live and have a fruitful, fulfilling life. Everything! Nothing was left undone or overlooked, no need, no want, nothing. Then and only then, He created man and woman to live with Him in the beauty, abundance and wonder of all He had made — for us.
In the beginning God created… so God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them — the Lord God …breathed into their nostrils the breath of life, and they became living beings, and He put them in the beautiful Garden of Eden He had made.
Genesis 1:1, 27; 2:7-8 paraphrased.
God spoke to me of this message of His love:
“I created you in My image and breathed life into you; My life. I am in you. But before I created you, I created a beautiful Garden with everything you would ever need; a paradise we could enjoy together. In it I walked and talked with Adam and Eve. I long for those days. I created you out of love. I long for your love and fellowship. I long for you to know Me, trust Me, follow Me, love Me and share My love with others. I long for you to spend eternity with Me.”
Combo # 5
By Othello Lofton (2/17/12)
You’ve been hit before but never this hard. You’re lying face down in the center of the ring, in a pool of your own disappointment. Your enemy is advancing. He plans to finish you off. You try to get up but the weight of shattered dreams and delayed destiny weigh you down. The bell rings, crying out its shrill promise of a brief rest and one more round. You drag yourself to the rickety wooden stool in your corner.
“I don’t know if I can beat him.”
“Sure you can kid.” The gravel in your wizened old coach’s voice keeps his emotions at your pain lumped in his throat.
“It’s like he knows all my moves.” You desperately wish Coach would throw in the towel.
“Then show him combo #5!” His wisdom and patience washes over you, refreshing you. “It’s right here.” Coach lifts up the old, worn, breathing playbook to your eye-level. “We’ve read it, practiced it, and now, you’re going to use it to win this fight!”
You read over Matthew 4:1-17 again, for the first and millionth time and begin to understand the powerful steps to this winning combination.
- Fast & Pray. Fasting and Prayer are inseparable. Fasting without prayer is starvation. Fasting is a futile endeavor lacking power and purpose when not powered by the presence of prayer. Matthew 4:2 tells us Jesus fasted forty days and nights before his first major battle.
- Stay in the Word. Matthew 4:4 says, we “live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Your time in the Word will likely be one of the first areas of attack. If the enemy can keep you from reading the Word, he can keep you from hearing from God.
- Resist Temptation. Verses 5-7 detail a simple and effective defense against temptation. Tell the enemy, “No!” We are heirs to the kingdom, if Jesus is hands off to temptation, so are we. The Bible says to resist the enemy and he will flee from you. Resistance is NOT futile!
- Praise! We don’t fight for the victory, we fight from the victory!” Jesus has already won the battle. Verse 10 reminds me of an old gospel song with the lyrics “don’t wait until the battle is over. Shout now!” Praise God in advance of the outcome. God is working for your good to give you a future and a hope.
- Get moving. Do something! Verses 12 – 17 detail the beginning of Christ’s ministry. After He rebuffed the enemy in the wilderness, Christ immediately went to work. We should endeavor to do the same. A few years ago I fell in love with the turn of phrase, slang, if you will, “Do Work.” It means to stay busy, make moves, get up, don’t be lazy, and do your best! Our everyday Christian life, from the schoolroom to the boardroom should be built around “doing work”. Many people paint, write, sing, etc. but it is your own personal experience that has informed and shaped your style. You are uniquely qualified to fulfill a specific purpose on Earth. NEVER let the enemy convince you otherwise.
The bell is ringing. It’s time for the final round. Now, get in there and…
KNOW God, KNOW Love
By Gale Loveland (2/12/12)
Jesus said to him, “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40, emphasis mine.
Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. I do believe that is the problem in the world today. People love their neighbor as they love themselves ……. which is very little, if at all. Even Christians, don’t love themselves enough because they don’t love God enough. Why? You can not give love if you have not first received it. Have you really received, and do you on a daily basis, sometimes even moment by moment, receive God’s love? We’d like to say a resounding “Yes!” But if that were true the devil would be out of business.
Love is a word we toss around a lot. So much so, that I wonder if we really know the depths of the meaning and reality of God’s love.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is Love.” 1 John 4:8
The love of God and for God is what I would like to explore and delve into over the next weeks that we may live the life of LOVE that God has called us to. So, I ask, do you KNOW the love of God? Have you received It to the fullest? My prayer for myself and you, who read this, is that we may receive and give fully, as God intended:
That God would “grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith; that we, being rooted and ground in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height– to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:15-19 paraphrased
One of my favorite forms of spiritual warfare
By Greg Pope (2/4/12)
One of my favorite forms of spiritual warfare is, Ignore!
I once heard a Pastor by the name of Kris Vallotton tell a story about a demon that manifested nightly in his bedroom. Each night it would come and hoover at the end of his bed.
It had menacing looking red eyes that stared at him. Kris was bound by fear and each night would try something different to make it go away. He rebuked it. He prayed over his room. I honestly can’t remember everything he tried or exactly how long this went on. But I do remember what finally took care of the situation. One night he decided to try a new tactic.
So…. that night when he awoke to find the demon hovering at the end of his bed with the red eyes staring at him. He just looked at it and said, “Oh, it’s just you again”.
He rolled over and tried his best to sleep and not act afraid or respond to this attack.
Well, that was the last he ever saw of that demonic presence.
So it is, with the more subtle types of warfare that we come up against daily. We need to be able to find the Peace of God in the middle of our circumstances. We know that’s what He wants for us, so….. Let’s start Believing for it.
This is not to say to forget the other types of warfare. I believe the Peace of God comes much easier when we are staying in His Word and spending quiet/quality time with Him.
I would love to hear what circumstances you’re using to warfare for the Peace of God. Send your awesome praise reports to Supernaturalarmor.com, as God walks you through them.
Who are you listening to?
by W.T.B. (1/28/12)
Ephesians 3:12 says, in Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Based on that we should approach God through prayer and talk to Him constantly.
Seriously, if we’re not communicating with Jesus, then who are we listening to? I’m as guilty as the next, but I’ve taken steps in the right direction. That means:
- less news, more prayer
- less non-edifying shows, more reflection
- less negative talk, more glorifying praise
And I’ve become a good listener because of it. If I were to spend time getting to know you wouldn’t it require me to listen? So, if I want to spend more time with Jesus and get to know him better shouldn’t I learn to listen?
Spending time in the Word is how we learn about the Lord. Spending time listening is how we grow with Him. If we keep listening we will be changing all the time. People will see a difference in you.
Just take a few moments and be silent. If you listen, I have a feeling you will be touched by His presence.