When the Enemy Comes

It was just after my husband got baptized when they asked me to do a video of my testimony. Life was going really well. I was working at the church, we had a stable small group, I was volunteering in women’s ministry; about to embark on leading my first Bible Study. Everything seemed to be in place. I felt innocent and free so I said, “Yes!” Being convinced of the power of healing and transformation through faith in Jesus Christ, I sat in front of the camera with joy. Little did I know that my pot was about to be stirred.

It started pretty small. A few offenses here and there, constant banter of gossip trying to deepen the offenses, a rift between me and my supervisor at the church. I thought I was being stalked. You read that right, someone was watching me and it scared me. A new manager was hired at my husbands job. This man was out for blood and his aim was to take out anyone who didn’t dance on his command. For months, my husband walked on eggshells. He worked long hours and weekends trying to keep the peace. Life was growing difficult with both of us working on the weekends. I resigned my position, on my last day of work, my husband called to tell me he was laid off and on his way home.

In the middle of all of this, the video was finalized. The enemy was doing everything he could to keep that video from seeing the light of day. About a month before the video was to be released, a storm sat over the foothills where we live. A torrent of water rushed down the hillsides into the cities that lay at their feet. The home where the film edit took place was flooded. Thankfully, a first draft had made it’s way electronically to the pregnancy center. Nothing is left of the video other than the few scraps that were taken out of the initial edit. After all of that, the pregnancy center was talking about not using it at all. It grieved me. It is a true miracle that this video made it to the airways.

I honestly thought I would be blessed as a result of telling my story. To have so much commotion at one time left me confused. I blamed myself, believing that I sinned and grieved God. It never occurred to me that the video would be a player in what seemed like my life being laid bare. Instead of landing on my face in prayer. I fell on my back. I was a dead bug scrambling to hold on to life.

It’s been four years. I have learned a lot. Most of it lies in how I was being raised up in Lord. It is called sin doctrine (a.k.a. religion). I was believing a lie. Religion says that you are a sinner striving to do good. When bad things happen, there is sin in your life. I’ve had to go back to the beginning of my faith cry. Jesus died for all my sin, I am forgiven past, present and future. I am forgiven. Religion and grace cannot coexist. I choose grace. There I can put the blame on the one who caused the calamity, Satan. I declare God is good and the lover of my soul. Satan is my enemy. The mistakes made during that time are covered by the grace of God. 

If there is calamity on your life, take a look at what you are doing for the Lord. You are likely stirring up the powers that aim to keep the Kingdom from growing.  The enemy is after God, not you. It isn’t personal. If you can take the blame off of yourself and God, things will start to turn around. Remember: God is for you, who can be against you? If Satan comes against you, he is already defeated. What is coming against you has to end. It is a matter of getting understanding from the situation, putting the blame on the one who caused it, and seeking God for relief and restoration. God cannot fail in this because His promises are always true. Freedom lies in understanding that we have overcome by the blood of the lamb. When the enemy comes, land on your face and pray!


Hope and Patience

Hope asks us to look beyond what we see to what we long for. If we can fix our eyes on Jesus when sorrow and fear enter our circumstances, we will be lead into hope. Can you envision the restoration coming your way? He is riding on a white Horse toward you. In His eyes is peace. In His hands is rest. Restoration is His speciality. Be patient, brothers and sisters, He is on His way! 

Photo props: Pearl via Lightstock 

Love in the Midst of Calamity

When calamity hits, hope seems far away. We need a rescue yet the hand of God is distant. Love is a rescue when we need security and hope. In this moment, could you say His love never fails? Can God’s love for you be your safety net in this time of trouble? Your story of love and hope can be an encouragement. In the comments, share your story of where love gave you hope for a rescue. 

The Blessed Life

Ah, yes, the blessed life. Christians truly live under the blessings of God. It makes us special. But what happens when circumstances seem to reveal the opposite? Where do you land when things go wrong, when you get sick, someone stole from you, or you lost your source of income? Let me be totally honest with you, I thought that when I gave my life to Jesus I would have an easy life. I actually thought I would not have trouble in my life anymore. I was so ready for life to be on easy street because, frankly, life without Jesus was hard! I guess from the outside looking in, you might think I was experiencing hardship. But for the first three years of pursuing faith in Jesus, life was changing for the better, consistently. I could see very clearly where God was working and blessing with a yes and Amen. Then…the bottom fell out. I should say, it seemed like the bottom fell out. A lot of really tough circumstances hit my life all at the same time. It’s like my seat in heavenly places disappeared and I fell into hell. While that may sound dramatic, if you build your belief system of a blessed life as no trouble in your life, it will be a big wake up call when difficult times hit. What happened when trouble hit was an education only Father God can give.

I have to back to when my son was learning a new Bible verse. It was John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I took a “that’s nice” approach to the scripture, I encouraged and facilitated the memorization and maybe spoke into it without really experiencing a revelation of the meaning of it. Little did I know that the timing and the scripture were prophetic. I needed to take heart and know that Jesus has overcome all the trouble I would go through. God was trying to prepare me for what was to come. I ignored it because it didn’t fit into my blessed life bubble.

So, what did Father God teach me? He taught me about sanctification. What’s that? It is God transforming us into what He created us to be in the first place. He is changing us from sinner into saint. Sanctification is the process of transformation. I call it the burning fires of God (see Hebrew 12, read the entire chapter for context). Why would it be the burning fires of God? Well, let’s take the process of making gold as an example. While gold automatically has value, it is not shiny and useful when it is mined out of the earth. It looks like a rock with gold coloring. In order to make something of use out of the gold, it has to be refined. Fire and heat are required to refine gold. Refining it makes it shiny and makes the rock soft enough to be shaped into something for use. God wants to use us to change the world, we have to be transformed so that we can be used. While there is an instantaneous transformation at salvation, sanctification is a lifetime process that we undergo as we endure the troubles and victories of life. It is the process of learning how to love and trust God and to love others. I don’t believe that sanctification ever stops, although, I do believe that sometimes refining is intense and sometimes refining come easy.  Some call these hills, valleys, and mountains. I like to call it life on earth, being subject to evil, the interference of other’s free will choices and learning to trust God in the midst of it all.

So what does this have to do with blessing? Well, in the midst of difficult situations and circumstances, it is easy to fall into a belief system that says your life isn’t blessed anymore. I am here to say, it is impossible for you to lose your spiritual blessings. What God showed me about blessing during troubled times is that I have to remember the simple things He has done, my identity as a child of God, and that He is with me the whole way through. Trials throw us into a time where gratitude for the simple things, for the simple blessings, brings joy in the midst of trouble. It is a time where we need to remember what we have been blessed with: salvation, provision, protection, victory and more. In the meantime, we wait patiently on God to show us the way through tough times. Take heart new believer! Jesus has overcome every trial you will have. Rest and know that you are blessed.