Monday, November 29, 2010

Ezer Rejoicing

What is the word of your testimony? I hope you’ll share it with me here. In the first chapter of Mark we’re already reading about the miracles Jesus performed. This is one of my favorite testimonies.

Mark 1:40-45 (NKJV) -Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed." As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.

One day while sitting in the stench of my own sin, I read this and cried out to God, ‘Lord, if You’re willing, You can make me clean, too.’

And with just as much compassion, He said to me, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’

And just as the leper was free from leprosy – I was made clean from my sins.

And just as the leper that was made clean had to share his story, so must I.

I cannot imagine having leprosy. In biblical times, lepers had to announce themselves when in public, calling out, ‘Unclean. Unclean.’ How shameful.
How much more shameful would it be if we had to announce ourselves upon arrival anywhere, ‘I’m unclean, I’m filthy with sin.’

Satan wants us to live in the lonely little corner of life beneath the sign, shame - where so many of us find ourselves daily.

Jesus says that yes, He is able, He is willing and He will make you clean.

Are you willing to ask Him – today?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ezer Standing V

Again, Sun Tzu said, ‘One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.’

Through the reading of God’s Word we gain insight to His ways and His will. We learn how He does things. We learn about His heart. Through spending the time it takes to prayerfully hear what He’s saying to us through His Word, we gain the faith, wisdom and strength to perform what He requires of us. (Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God.)

Many scholars read the Bible and walk away unchanged. Simpler minds can read God’s Word and come away a new man. Some can read it believing they’re objective or even on a fault-finding mission, and discover themselves on the pages. How can one man walk away changed and another leave it still hungry for what it contains?

Heart change – once the heart receives from God, the mind can believe. Is your heart teachable? Is it reachable? Are you prepared to give it away? Only when you let go can God change it and create in you a new heart, one like His. (Create in me a new heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.)

Learning God’s Word, we’re more than a soldier reading through an instruction manual. We are being empowered to truly love and receive love, we’re being transformed. He who fights greatly has the heart for the battle. I would not be your first choice to be the poster child for being a vegetarian – I love meat. I would not be the woman to look to for pro-choice matters – I hate abortion. But I want to know that God can depend on me to declare His Word and live it to the best of my ability – to the best of the ability He’s placed within me – which is far greater than I know!

Though not a typical Thanksgiving's Day blog - I am thankful most for the God that loves me -no matter what!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ezer Standing IV - Afraid to Fight

‘All warfare is based on deception.’ ~Sun Tzu

I hate that line! We all hate the idea of being deceived. It’s happened to all of us. Whether you’re a jilted lover, a shocked parent or a businessman that’s just been swindled – the deception causes hurt and shame. But this is how our enemy battles, and these are the wages of his war, to envelop us with guilt, shame, hurt, pain, anguish, failure, fear, sickness and death.

The other day we celebrated Veterans Day. Thank you to our veterans! But as I noticed on line the many notes of thanks, I also noticed the notes of a few that were bold enough to say: Thank you for doing what the rest of us are afraid to do. And that’s just it. We’re afraid to fight.

‘One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.’ ~again from Sun Tzu

We’re afraid to fight even for what matters. Around me I see those afraid to fight daily battles, for the rights of their children, afraid to fight for the defense of unborn children, afraid to fight for their personal convictions. We’ve become accustomed to the idea of being ‘politically correct’ or to the idea that we’re not ‘giving up’ – we’re just ‘moving on.’ I want to make note here that I am not aiming this at anyone! As in every battle – there are times to retreat and regroup or cut your losses. As long as you’re submitting to what God requires of you – I applaud you! The whole point of a battle is submitting to your commander – so that you can win His way. The ways that seem right to a man, in the end lead to destruction. The bottom line is to do things God’s way – and that’s why it’s so important to be in His Word – so that we know His ways, and submit to them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ezer Standing III - Deception

‘All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe that we are away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out bait to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.’ – Sun Tzu, from The Art of War

How cold. How calculating. How hateful and hurtful. But this is how war is waged. This is how the enemy of our soul plans to overpower us. If we don’t know this, we cannot prepare to battle him.

The enemy has tried to take many things from me. He’s tried to take my children, my health, my marriage, even my life. He’s not fought fairly – if wars can be fought that way. I’ve overcome many battles. The Bible tells me that we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

It appears that I’ve lost battles as well. But the war is not over. When Satan is near, he wants us to think he’s far away. When he’s using force, he wants us to think he has no power to use against us. When he’s about to attack, he wants us to think that he is unable to. When he is weak, he wants to convince us that we cannot win – that he is too powerful a foe to battle against. Deception.

Many who claim to believe in God – say they do not believe in a devil, they’re eating right out of his hands. If we are not even aware that we have an enemy, how can we possibly triumph over him?

We cannot live in fear, though. It’s merely a tool Satan uses against us. ‘Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.’ –Again, the Bible.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ezer Standing II

‘Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.’ ~Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Spiritual battles have the most at stake. If we don’t understand the strategies of war our enemies employ – they may win.

God is a god of peace and love – but He’s also a jealous god, a god of war. Only when you stand with Him, can you win.

To those who will not fight, I quote:
‘War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.’ –John Stuart Mill, 1806-1872

When I watch Revolutionary War movies, I can’t see the honorable or the advantage of fighting the way the British fought – standing in lines in clear view of the enemy, waiting for enemy fire. Why would you sacrifice your soldiers this way?

In the battles between good and evil - life and death, there are many unnecessary casualties – warriors not prepared for war, that don’t know how to use their weapons, that don’t understand the strategies and sacrifices to be made, that don’t wear the proper protection or that stand out in front of the enemy thinking he won’t dare fire upon an innocent, unarmed player.

‘Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.’ ~Sun Tzu

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ezer Standing

We’re not sitting ducks.

We face a barrage of attacks from Satan and his minions every time we try to step up to do something for God. Once we’ve established daily time in the Word, we gain the footing we need to stand against the enemy.

Pastor Mark Cowart has given us a list of seven strategies of opposition which include: ridicule, discouragement, your past, the threat of attack, internal conflict, false accusations and false prophecy. He’s taken a look at each of them – and the study is phenomenal. I wish you could all be here in Colorado Springs at Church For All Nations so you could hear it for yourself. He’s an amazing teacher with an incredible anointing. He’s also given us an acronym for getting out from underneath the attacks of the wicked one. W-O-R-D: be in the Word; be on the Offense; Replace the lies with God’s truth; and Dream again – with determination. Pretty powerful stuff!

I cannot exaggerate the importance of consistently being in God’s Word. It’s our instruction manual for life on Earth.

But we need to be on the offense, as well. It would be detrimental to sit around just waiting for the enemy’s attacks or worse yet – to believe those attacks won’t come. What enemy doesn’t just love a sitting duck?

In Ephesians 6 we find the armor God has given us for protection in battle. Sadly, too many of us try to walk into battle without protection and weaponry, and even scarier, too many of us don’t acknowledge the battle!

Dig into Ephesians chapter 6 – read it, study it and apply it! There are Bible studies available – in Christian book stores, thrift shops and even here on line. We have no excuse to walk naked into battle. We’re warriors, poised for war! Take up the offensive positions!

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV) 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. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ezer Rising VII

As the ezer rises, the only place found to stand is upon the Word of God. You cannot find sure footing in the sand, only on the Rock. Jesus is our Rock.

Exodus 33:21 (KJV) And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock

Deuteronomy 32:4 (KJV) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he

Deuteronomy 32:18 (KJV) Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

Always, consistently – stay in God’s Word. Stand on His Word. There’s safety there. God’s perfect will and love will fill you and empower you – through His Word.

This morning I challenged fear, again.

Does my drinking glass fear that each time I drink from it that it will somehow fail me? Besides the obvious, that an inanimate object cannot know fear, no. If my glass falls to the floor and breaks, I dropped it. If my drink dribbles onto my blouse, I’m the one that began pouring before it reached my lips. I control my drinking glass – the vessel I purchased to use as I please. I have my favorite coffee mugs, my favorite tall glass, my favorite soup mugs – I seldom pour cola into my soup mug, but I can if I choose to – because they all belong to me.

I’m God’s vessel. He purchased me for His own good pleasure. He paid the price so that I could be useful, used by Him. I willingly yield to His control.

From an old poem of mine:

Oh, dear Lord, let me be Your pen, every now and then, write with me.
Oh, Lord, just now I pray, that You would choose today-
to speak through me again.

The power of the pen is not in the ink, but in the commitment to the paper. Until the pen is put to paper – it’s powerless.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ezer Rising VI

So we’ve got it! We need to be in the Word every single day. If we’re a Christian, that’s our first essential. It teaches and equips us to do everything else we need to do. If you’re not a Christian, you’re fighting a losing battle. You cannot fight your way into heaven. Your name is either in the Lamb’s Book of Life, or it isn’t. That’s the easy part. Message me if you need to know more.

Now that we understand we need God’s Word daily, prepare yourself for the fact that Satan isn’t going to let that go uncontested. Whether he’s whispering in your ear about the million other things you need to do today, or your Bible is ‘conveniently’ out in the car because you took it to church last night, stand your ground. Lines like ‘I’m too sleepy’ or ‘I don’t understand what I read anyway’ are lies you’ve fallen for before that the enemy will keep using until they stop working.

Simply reading God’s Word – and allowing God to speak to you through it may be enough to get you on your feet and well on your way past discouragement. That’s not okay with Satan, either. He’s not going to give up. He wants you discouraged. He wants you doubting yourself, your salvation and your abilities to do anything for God. Without the reassurance you need from God Himself, it’s easy for Satan to lie to you and get away with it.

When are you going to stop harping on this, Helen? Well, most likely, never. Throughout our Christian walk, the temptation to make God wait on us may always be there in the backgrounds of our mind – or it may just pop up to try to sabotage us from time to time. Always, get back to the Word. If you’ve neglected it for a while now, begin again. God is the God of new beginnings.

What next? Come back for part VII….

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ezer Rising V

Okay, so some of you didn’t find yourself in the last post. You read your Bibles every single day. The angels are celebrating your commitment. I rejoice with them. What a way to seek after the heart of our Father!

This post isn’t aimed at everyone either, but to those who read the Word out of habit, like they take their vitamins every morning. I think some people even read their Bibles out of the superstitious feeling that if they don’t something will go wrong that day. So is it a good-luck charm?

Today I want to challenge you to examine your motives when you read God’s Word. Are you looking for something? That’s okay. But be ready to receive what God’s desiring to pour into you, as well. If you’re looking for a ‘word in due season’ – something to provide encouragement for your day or the answer to a question, great. But be open to the idea that God may be pointing you toward something you didn’t go there for.

When you’re looking for something you’ve misplaced, isn’t it great to find something else you thought you’d lost forever, or discover something you didn’t realize you had in the first place? God has nourishment and blessings and instructions and commands and even correction for us that we might not have been looking for when we opened our Bible covers. I love digging a purse out of the closet to discover there’s money in it I’d forgotten about. I love finding a note I’d written to myself with a nugget God gave me, refreshing me once again. But I love it best when I’m reading God’s Word and I find that He’s talking about me, that He’s written something there just for me, that I need right now. He knew I’d need it today since before I drew breath!

He’s good like that!

Look at your routine. Is it just a routine? If it is, you’re missing a lot.