Posts tagged ‘Satan’

The Power of Words: 4 things you must know about your words

Proverbs 18:21- the tongue holds the power of life and death…

We need to stop trying to get God to agree with our words, and get our words in agreement with God.

James 3:1-2- dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed we make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every way.

Basically, if I could learn to control my mouth, I can learn to control every other thing in my life. When my mouth is out of control, my life is too.

1. The tongue is disproportionately powerful.

James 3:3-5- when we put bits into the mouth of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships for example, although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small speck.

James 1:26- if you claim to be religious, but don’t control your tongue then you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

Too many times, we have allowed our lives to be capsized by our little tongues.

2. The tongue is inherently evil

James 3:6,8- the tongue also is a fire , a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body , sets the whole course of ones life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. …but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

3. The tongue is divinely tame able. The only way that we do this is via the Holy Spirit.

Exodus 4:10- but Moses pleaded with The Lord, “oh Lord, I’m not very good with words. I’ve never been me I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue tied nd my words get tangled.” Then The Lord said to Moses, ” who makes a persons’ mouth. Who decides whether we speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, The Lord? Now, go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what you say.”

When God changes us, he begins with our tongue. Satan wants to occupy our mouths. As a believer, Satan can’t hurt me, but he can try to get you to turn your mouth against yourself. By doing this, he makes us powerless and helpless.

4. The tongue is contrastingly productive.

James 3:9-12- with the tongue, we praise our God and curse human beings. Out of the same mouth come praise and curses. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water slow out of the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Bad news: we can speak death.
Good news: we can speak life.

We have to make the choice. Either control our tongues, or our tongues will control us.

Change Your Sound Pt 8 : I know who I am

There is an identity crisis in the Body of Christ. Satan doesn’t have to steal our authority or power, but if he can steal our identities, we effectively stop ourselves.

Matt 3:13- the baptism of Jesus – after he was baptized, the spirit of God descended like a dove….and said,” this is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

It took 30 years for Jesus to get baptized and begin his public ministry. God affirms Jesus’ publicly before he even begins ministering.

-stop trying to earn or prove God’s love for you. It is important that we believe this and know that God approves and accepts us. As soon as you accept Jesus as Savior, you become loved unconditionally. He will never love you any less or any more. It is a changeless love. So God affirms Jesus before anything of note happens in his life.

Following his baptism, instead of beginning to minister, Jesus went on a 40 day fast in the wilderness. Perhaps this was to get his heart ready and to reveal the full scope and relevance of his ministry. This happens in Paul’s life as well in Acts.

During his fast, Satan meets him and begins to tempt him. Matt 4 details this for us. satan attacks his identity.

He attacks our identity by twisting scripture for his purposes. He only attacks his identity, because if he can get Jesus to lose focus of who he really is! he can render his entire ministry of no regard.

When you know who you are, you will not be….

1. Performance driven-when we know who we are, we understand that we don’t have to win his approval. When I really know that I belong to God, and that he loves me and affirms me, it sets me free.

Satan attacks Jesus first where he is weak because he had not eaten. (V3-4), but Jesus already knew that he was the cornerstone and the bread of life. In verses 5-7, he continues attacking Jesus’ identity again by challenging him to jump from the highest point of the temple. Jesus answers by telling him not to put God to the test.

2. When I know who I am in Christ, I will not be arrogant. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone about what you can or can’t do. When we are challenged, we must rest in who we are in Christ. Our boldness doesn’t come from arrogance, but from a deep knowledge of who we are in Christ.

Arrogance will keep you jumping off of stuff, just to prove that you belong. When we know who we are, we can blow negative things off because we are secure in our identity.

In verses 8-10, Satan offers Jesus the entire world if he will only bow and worship him?! Jesus rebukes him.

3. When I know who I am, I will not be selfish. It would have been easy for Jesus to accept Satan’s deal and skip the pain of the cross. However, he saw outside of himself and saw us, who would need him to endure the torment, so that we could be blessed and restored back to God. He paid the full price so that we could have a relationship with God.

My Testimony

“Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit, says the Lord. “

 

This has become the story of my life it seems. I can remember sitting in my supervisor’s office almost 2 years ago with tears fighting to come down my face. I was resigning. The job was not working out. I was frustrated by my own inability to please them, and torn by the voice of God telling me to do something that seemed unnatural to me. I had just come off of a three day suspension for things that I still don’t understand, and during that time, I felt God speaking to me. He told me that Human Resources was not my home anymore. He wanted me to go back to school. And while He had told me this several times over three years, my actions continually told Him no.  Yet, here I was now, backed into a corner where my only recourse was to finally surrender. In the immediate aftermath, it didn’t feel good. But as I started thje process of getting accepted into alternative certification program, and eased back into classes, life felt better.

 

That first summer, we were good. God intervened a few times, but we still felt self sufficient. Going into the fall was when we thought that the bottom dropped out. We were wrong. I was proud, expecting to get hired just because I felt like I was awesome! That fall and spring were challenging, as we weren’t able to make the kind of cuts that we needed in order to survive. Again, God was faithful, but I still felt like as the man of the house, I deserved to be the one who made the money. It made me feel worthwhile. It was my identity. And with each new defeat, my identity took more and more of a hit. I had to learn how to ask for help. I had to learn how to receive help with the right spirit. I had to learn how to open up to others. And going into the second summer, I was so sure that I was ready for a teaching job. I applied for jobs and had two awesome interviews. Both jobs went kaput, and all of my other applications yielded nothing. At the time I thought that I was settling for a job in the library of an elementary school. Yeah, right. In the past year, God has humbled me. He has built my faith, because there have been some dire needs, needs that haven’t completely gone away month to month, that God has provided for. However, in the process I was broken so badly that I completely gave up at several junctions. My pride was wounded, I was bleeding all over anyone who dare got close to me. I was hurting because I could not understand why God would have me leave a good paying job with benefits, to live out in the desert. I’m no Moses.

 

It turns out, that there is some Moses in all of us. This past year at the elementary school has been one of the most amazing times of my life. I have learned that I LOVE kids. I love watching them succeed. I love watching them struggle and then find solutions to the problem. I love giving them hugs and fist bumps. I love playing jokes on them. I love teaching them new things. Even as recently as a year ago, I didn’t love any of those things. I loved my kids, but I wasn’t all that concerned about others children. God expanded my world exponentially, and enlarged my heart past the point of breaking. He laid it wide open, and allowed 400 children to take up residence. This has happened to such a degree that I have almost shed tears in interviews when I talk about these same kids.

 

Fast forward a bit. Struggling to pay rent month to month. Struggling with bill collectors and collection agencies. A truck that was repossessed. God paying rent on some months. A little money here and there for food and gas. We are surviving…not thriving by any means. Then my wife is told by her school that they are not renewing her contract. WHAT??? So, now both of us are looking for jobs. My wife applies for a job, gets and interview and is hired the same day. I was so happy for her, because she never lost faith. I wouldn’t allow her to lose faith. At the same time, I was so jealous and hurt that God had “apparently” not given me any consideration. Can you imagine driving to a marriage retreat with these issues running around in side of your head? When we had about 20 minutes to reach our destination, I finally opened up to my wife. I told her everything. I expressed my feelings using the words that I knew, but not really finding an adequate way to say to her “I’m proud of you. I’m happy for you. God loves you. Evidently He loves you more than me, because I’m the forgotten one.” Self pity stinks to God. It doesn’t move Him. Just a side note.

 

We get the retreat and the speakers are talking about surrendering to your spouse; putting them above your own wants and desires. I felt so convicted, and as we talked and prayed for one another, I repented to both her and God for my anger and  how it was manifesting, and had manifested over the past couple of years. My Pastor and I were talking a little later, and out of nowhere he told me that I just needed to give up trying to make this teaching thing happen. Where did that come from? Anyway, I did just that. I mean, I REALLY did just that. I gave it up. It sucked to not carry it around anymore, but it also felt so good to not worry about the fall.

 

Now, here is where the story picks up dramatically. Monday after the retreat, I am called by one school district about an interview for the following day. I go to the interview and absolutely nail it. During that interview, a second school district calls. They set up an interview for that Friday. I don’t nail that interview. However, before that interview I have an encounter with God that I will never forget. It felt like His presence surrounded me in the room that I was in. I sang and worshipped and prayed to Him, and His voice spoke to my heart. He told me that for our family, the season of lack had come to an end. As I spoke those words aloud, I could just feel peace entering my heart. I screamed them at the top of my lungs, just to be sure that Satan could hear me. The air was energized with something life changing, something sure to alter our lives for generations to come. Then, God asked me if I wanted this job. Without trepidation, I said yes. Now, I have spent 7 years of my life teaching people how to nail interviews. I was an interview pro. This interview, however, bombs. It angers me. It hurts me. And then I sulk about it. Which brings us back to the original verse..

 

“Not by power, nor by might, BUT BY MY SPIRIT, says the Lord.”

 

I go to church on the following Sunday so that I could repent and surrender again. Nobody else is there but God and I. And in that silence, peace returns to my heart. The following Monday, God speaks to me as I’m praying. He tells me that the school district that I had the horrific interview with will be calling me. So the entire day, I’m looking at my phone every time it rings, only to see people trying to collect the monies that I already know that I owe them. Finally, during the time that I am feeding my son, the phone rings. It’s them. I can’t answer because I am too in shock. I call them back. They want me to interview with the Assistant Superintendents. I freak! Now to fast forward some more.

 

Our church is preparing for God to move in a mighty way. In our current state, we can not take part the way that we wish too. Trying to find an offering has been frustrating, especially when you don’t even have enough money for this month’s rent presently.  But as we praised and worshipped that Sunday, I felt God speak to me again (seems to be happening quite a bit these days). He said this.

 

“I have set this job aside for you so that you and your family can take part in what I am doing in this body of believers.”

 

Then shortly afterwards, I saw a vision of me signing my contract. It was a surreal moment, and I continued to worship God even after church had been released. I didn’t want to move. I wanted to stay right there in that place with God until He was finished with me.  It’s so nice to be able to be pulled away by God.

 

Yesterday, I am at home preparing for this interview. I feel peace. As a matter of fact, the only thing that I can think about if how great God is. And it is that song that stays with me as I go into the building. I am dressed to the nine, black suit. I’m looking good and feeling better. During the interview, the vibe is very friendly. I am still on guard because the questions are just as challenging, but I still feel like God is speaking my heart to them. Matter of fact, I laid my heart bare before those two men in a way that was all at once uncomfortable and cleansing. A few times I almost cried during the interview as I spoke about how God has changed me and how ready I am to show my students the kind of love that they need in order to succeed. At the end of the interview, the Principal from the Jr High walks in. They tell me that we will be moving on to the second part of the interview. She looks at me and says

 

“Justin, I only have one question for you.”

 

I nod my head.

 

She says, “Would you like to come and work for our school district?”

 

All I can do is say YES!!!

 

Handshakes all around. A hug from one superintendent. Then they scheduled me to come in and sign my contract. MY FIRST CONTRACT!!!  As I left the building, I waited until I got into my car, and then I screamed, laughed, cried, laughed, screamed, cried, and laughed all at once. My emotions were so frazzled, the release feeling so good. And God saw my thankfulness. I know that He did.

 

See, in the past 2 years, I have learned that my power and might amounts to nothing. I can not do what God has not willed for me to do. I can not be successful apart from God’s will. I am destined to fail at even my next breath if God decides to take me. But when God’s Spirit enters the mix, everything changes! It is His Spirit that does the work through us. Then, and only then, can we truly know Him, and success. The past 2 weeks, I have begun to dream of the future again. For 2 years, I hated even considering the future. I only saw more pain and hurt, more lack. Yet, even before I got the job, God has already birthed it within me. And it spurred me to dream.

 

This is our story, yet I believe that this is just the beginning. I won’t dare say that we have emerged from the test. I just believe that God has allowed us to experience His goodness in a new and exciting way. I love the Lord. He did it again! I’m a teacher now!!!!!!!!  It still feels like I dreamed this. YES LORD!!!!! HALLELUJAH!!!

 

Be blessed, folks!!

Just a Blurt

There are some times when God blesses with such expediency that it sends shock waves through your system. Times when we see the results of Him moving with such precision that it is astounding to us. I just want to say this morning that God can touch any of us at any time that He pleases. His arms are not too short, neither are his ears deaf, his eyes short sighted. His plans are fool proof. His goals are recession proof. His dreams for us are failure proof. And while our faith will never be perfect, all it takes is just a little for God to move mountains on our behalf.

Yesterday evening at prayer, my wife and I really took the opportunity to pour out our hearts to God. We lifted everything up to Him, praying for whatever came to mind, and whatever cause came to mind. We prayed for the Kingdom of God to be born anew in our hearts, that the passion and fire for God that we knew once in our first conversion would never be stifled again. We prayed for those who had blessed us, and those that we will be able to bless in the future. We prayed that this year of shifts and changes, this year of tests and trials in the hearts of Christians would be so beneficial that Satan would be fearful even now of results yet to come forth. Friends, there is something so powerful in the works, but it begins in our hearts and minds. It begins in our spirits. As we strive connection with God and our fellow Christians, the things that we will see happen in this calendar year will have ramifications throughout the rest of our lives. I realize this sounds so vague, and I’m no prophet, but I just feel in my heart that God will astound us this year, and because of this, we will go forth and conquer new ground at a frantic pace.  So, I just want to encourage you. Stand firm. Speak life. Stay close to God. Don’t despise the things of God, no matter how insignificant they might seem to us. Esteem what He esteems as important. When you fail, get back up and look ahead, not behind. Don’t spend so much time focusing on what was lost that you can not see what has been gained. Seek after wisdom. She is readily available. She stands in the middle of the streets, calling out to us with a frantic voice. Seek understanding.

I know that this is a different kind of post, especially from me. I just have this overwhelming feeling, this sensation, that what God is working in the spiritual realm is going to shake this earth to it’s core once again. And I pray that we would be ready, a people centered in His will, kneeling patiently, waiting to submit to His every whim. God is so good to us, friends. His love endures forever. Give thanks, and know His power.

 

Be blessed.

Who’s Keeping Time?

I’ve been a little AWOL the last week or so, and I must apologize. Thing is, last week was life changing. Along with the other members of our Destiny Church Worship team, I spent 3 glorious days basking in the presence of God. It was an experience the likes of which I have NEVER been privy to before, and when it was over, I felt sad. I understand that we were in a bubble for that period of time, and the things that were spoken, prophesied, and declared were to strengthen us for when we left that bubble. Now I am truly strengthened, knowing what God told me about the future, and resting in what He reaffirmed as a calling and direction for my life. It’s exciting times, family. Which leads me to another thing, the issue of timing.

 

See, if I learned anything from my dad, it is that timing is everything. My dad was the kind of man who would be early for everything. Being late made him absolutely livid! I find that I am the same way. When my wife and I were dating, if I told her that I would pick her up at 6:45, I would always be pulling up at around 6:20. It wasn’t that I was hoping that she would be ready sooner. To me, it was just the principle of showing her that I value her time so much, I wanted to be early just to make sure that everything was in place. Even in marriage, nothing chaps my hide more than being late. It’s been a source of a few disagreements over the 9 years that we have been wed. So to say that my sense of timing is hardwired, well, that would be a major understatement.

 

And while I sometimes think that is a bad thing, I also believe that God created me like this, with some kind of innate sense of the timing of things. I also understand though, that due to my own human leanings and agendas, I take this to far, and seek to dictate to God what timing should be, and how it should work. But when God says that His timing is not my timing, I have experienced enough of this to know that it is true. I go back to Ecclesiastes 3:1 which simply says that there is an opportune time for everything in the earth. That time is God’s to decide.

 

I was recently having a discussion with a good friend of mine about this very thing. God has shown this person a very powerful vision for what will be in the future, and it has left this person a little dissatisfied with the present. In my opinion, this is a natural reaction. I would liken it to someone who died and went to heaven, and experienced all of the goodness of being directly in the presence of God, only to be told by Jesus that it wasn’t their time yet, and that they had to go back. I would think  that being back among the “lesser” things would create a deep sense of depression, and a realization of the true lack of the earth.  But what happens in those situations is often completely the opposite of what God intends. When God shows us a vision or a dream of what is to come, it is to strengthen us. It is to give us resolve to fight tooth and nail to obtain what God has shown us. In my opinion, there is nothing more frightening to the Devil than a Christian who knows what lies ahead, and is willing to plow over him repeatedly in order to get it. That kind of dogged determination is often missing in our lives, so God helps us refocus sometimes.

 

Here is the other part of it though. We have to expect Satan to try and steal that vision away from us. We have to know that he will try and disrupt the word that was placed in our hearts, that very word that causes us to burn with desire for God’s will. It’s just like the “Parable of the Sower” in Luke 8. Some seeds were planted, but were immediately taken up by birds and carried away. This signifies how Satan will try and steal God’s best for our lives by distorting our sense of timing, sending hardships to cause us to lose focus on the vision, and ultimately killing us spiritually because our faith and hope both fall by the wayside. This is something that I have to be cautious of. As I said before, God showed my wife and I something that is really exciting. It is something that was totally unexpected, and while it would be easy to dwell on that day in and out, it would diminish the present-day work that God is doing in my life to hopelessly pine away for the future.

 

God’s timing is perfect. I told my friend that the vision God showed Him will happen, but while we wait on the fulfillment of it, God will show us ways to become better, so that when the vision becomes a reality, we are better prepared to nourish it and care for it, and grow it out to it’s full potential. It’s hard to wait. I know for sure that it is, but when we place our faith in God’s timing, things have a definite way of working out in a way far better than we could ever have imagined.

 

We have to remember that God is not slack concerning His promises. If He said it, if He showed you the vision, it’s gonna happen. The true outcome rests with our faith in His perfect sense of when.

 

Until next time, be blessed!