Crushed

Keep this in mind! The enemy’s goal today is to crush your spirit. Recently I’ve been watching this couple who’s life God has really been working in. Last night we got a phone call from them telling us their dog had been ran over and killed. They loved their dog like we all love our animals and they were heartbroken over their loss. Was this really the unfortunate fate of an unlucky dog with bad timing, or just an accident or the work of the enemy? It’s hard to know what is behind every heartbreaking moment in our lives, but keep this in mind, the enemy doesn’t care how he crushes your spirit so long as he accomplishes his goal. And we all go through these moments in life, but especially in times when spiritual progress is taking place. Maybe you’re reading this and your heart has been broken. Keep this in mind what David said in the 23rd Psalm. “He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Our God is a restorer of crushed and broken hearts—Praise God! What needs to happen when you’re crushed under the weight of any kind of loss, rejection or betrayal is go to God in prayer and ask Him to restore you just like the word says.

Life is unfair and accidents do happen, but our enemy is ruthless, but God! Think about it, if God were not a restorer of crushed and broken hearts, we all would stay hidden in our homes living in despair. But God is a restorer of hearts!Let Him counsel you today back to the strong and powerful person He created you to be.

Make Him Lord

It is not enough to make Jesus Christ your Savior. For all that Christ purchased for us on the cross, we should eagerly and energetically make Him Lord of our lives. You can be saved and born again and still not make the ranks of a disciple. A disciple of Christ makes Christ Lord, and that is not just making Him Lord on Sunday, nor is it making Him Lord only over certain things or areas of our lives. He never saved you and me to only be Lord when it’s convenient. And no one can make Christ Lord for you. Only you can do that. Jesus deserves the right to be Lord of all. That means He should be Lord over your mind and your mouth. Make Him Lord at home and at work. Make Him Lord over your eyes and ears and over your hands and feet. Make Him Lord of your marriage and over your children. Make Him Lord over your money. There are people calling Jesus Lord who haven’t made Him Lord. And Jesus said, “But why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do the things which I say?” Luke 6:46

Living in obedience to Christ and His word is how you make Him Lord. Putting Him first is how we make Him Lord. Honoring Him in all we do is how we make Him Lord. Let me encourage you not to settle for making Jesus your Savior. Make Him Lord. Take the next step and take it everyday you wake up and get out of bed. Make Him the ruler and master of your life. If He has granted you the free gift of eternal life, you can make Him Lord for the time you have here. There are great rewards for those who make Jesus Christ Savior—and Lord.

Not of God

Everything that sounds right and spiritual is not of God. We are at a day and time when hardly anyone knows the difference between what is of God and what is not of God. Just because hands are lifted high in worship or the shout is “Hallelujah,” doesn’t mean it is for God. Every declaration that is right and spot on and spiritual is not of God. The devil is such a deceiver that even he will join in with true worshippers, but only as a mocker. I’m taking what I find in the Word of God and drawing the conclusion that the same things take place today. Here’s an example: Acts 16:16-18 “Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.”
That demon possessed slave girl was saying what was right and it sounded spiritual, but it was not of God. And in our world today, we are flooded with what sounds right and spiritual, but it’s not all of God. You say, “Does it matter?” It did to the apostle Paul, so I would say it should matter to us. How did Paul know what the girl was saying was not of God? Well, first Paul understood what she was saying was not of God “after many days.” It said he was greatly annoyed meaning what was coming out of her mouth didn’t bear witness with Paul’s spirit, even though it was true what she spoke. The girl didn’t include herself as a servant of the Most High God. Paul was keenly aware of the schemes of the enemy as we should be. It was on their way “to prayer” when Paul understood what the girl was saying was not of God. If you ever come to the place of knowing what is of God and what is not, it will be the result of a fervent prayer life.

This, You Must Do!

1 Samuel 30:6 “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” After returning from a battle, David and his solder found their homes burned to the ground and the wives and children taken captive. Those solders were following their leader, but exhausted and now completely grieved by their loss to the point of stoning David to death and David was aware.

David had a choice, just as we do today when it seems everyone has turned on us and you have no strength to take another step. David chose to strengthen/encourage himself in the Lord. And maybe that’s what you need to do in this moment. Don’t wallow in defeat and don’t wait for those around you to come and lift you up and strength you. Many times remaining weak is a choice, and being strengthened is up to you. You may be down today with everyone against you, but if God is for you, you can renew your strength. You can play the leading role in your own encouragement. How? Where do you begin in strengthening and encouraging yourself in the Lord? Start by praying to God and confessing the truth about how you feel at this moment. After that, talk to God about what you know God would have you live and engage with those around you. You can strengthen yourself in the Lord by speaking the truth over your life out loud. Listen for a moment to uplifting praise music. Ask God to give you a word to repeat through you day, or a phrase like, “God is for me!” Believe deep in your heart that God alone is the strength of you life. Do not live long in the defeat of a moment, but rally yourself in the name of Jesus, because the enemy has not won. Strengthen yourself for the sake of those held captive. After David strengthen himself in the Lord, he lead 600 men to go on a rescue mission to take back their wives and children. Two hundred of those men didn’t have enough strength in themselves to go all the way, but David with 400 men took back what was stolen. Today you can count your losses and lay down or you can strengthen yourself and go on a rescue mission for what has been stolen from you. No one can decide this for you. Only God can renew your strength.

Spot the Sniper

One of the most challenging assignments in the military has to be that of a sniper. Snipers are unique individuals highly trained with their weapon and disciplined to remain statue-like still in the midst of unfavorable conditions. They also must be willing to take kill shots from great distances and then willing to live with their actions. Snipers understand their life depends on the ability to strategically position themselves and remain hidden. Very few soldiers qualify for this critical duty, and those who do are exceptional and remain silent about their exploits.
You must know also that Satan has his own highly skilled snipers who’s goal is to take you out. If you ever become a target because you are a threat and show to be working for the kingdom of God and making extraordinary advances, just be consciously aware there is a sniper in the distance with cross hairs on you waiting for the perfect circumstance to pull the trigger. These satanic snipers have taken many of God’s people out of the service of the Lord. They blend into the environment of your circumstance so well, you think it was something else or someone else that hit you. I know about satanic snipers because I’ve been hit more than once, and only by the grace and power of God I’m still serving in the Lord’s kingdom today. So as you mature in your faith, understand this truth and don’t be an easy target! And whatever you do, don’t let the enemy take you out.
—Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
—Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.

Smart Dog

I saw this and thought, “That’s a smart dog!” It really is amazing what dogs can do. Instinctively when Rascal sees another animal on the television, he runs toward it barking and growling. Now that’s not that smart, but he can tell the difference between an animal and a human. He can do the normal smart dog performance such as a hand shake, speak/bark on command. He can high-five, turn around and even give a hug. But on this particular morning, as shown in the picture, Rascal inspired me. Hopefully you can see this, but he is laying down in a rectangle of light shining through our living room skylight. Is that a coincidence or did Rascal intentionally lay down in that spot? It was intentional, and not only was he laying down in the light, but he was facing and looking towards the one he loves the most in the world, my wife.

Be inspired today to get in the light and by faith look towards your Savior. How do you get in the light and look towards Jesus? The best way is to open up God’s Word and ask God to shine His light on you. Feel the warmth of His love as you read those eternal words. Stay there for a while to demonstrate your devotion to Him. Jesus’ light is still shining even in a dark world.

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Come Sit for a Spell

Recently as I drove through the neighborhood I saw this sign on the front door that stood out to me. Kristen and I had been talking about the tall stand up signs near the front doors of homes that simply say, “Welcome.” You’ve seen them. They add a nice decorative look to the front of the house. I thought a professional thief just might interpret that sign the wrong way. The sign I saw however was different, it said, “Come in and sit for a Spell.” I know that means to come in for a period of time, but when I read it, immediately I thought, “No, I think I will pass because I’m not remotely interested in a spell being put on me or anyone else.” HERE’S the reality of that sign—witchcraft, sorcery and spells are an abomination to our God, but they are the practice of many in our society today. Why would anyone else engage in such dark practices when they could simply pray to the Light of the World? It seems like our whole world today is under some kind of blinding spell and we don’t see the evil because it dresses well and talks nice. But don’t you know that even the devil disguises himself as an angel of light? Come out from among them and don’t go into their house. Don’t live under the spell of their charm. Listen, don’t even dabble in darkness, but walk in the light. God has an answer for the sorcerers in society.

Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Pins and Needles

You can’t live on pins and needles. I know there are those today living on pins and needles because of this election, but that is not what God has for you! Pins and needles are for those who do not know the living God. Pins and needles are for those who have no alternative but to fret and pace and bite their nails and glue themselves to the television. I know the rebuttal, “you don’t understand what all is at stake.” I think I do know, but even with the clearest understanding of what’s at stake and who comes and goes through the Whitehouse, my faith and my hope is not in men or women. If you are a child of God,you shouldn’t put your faith and hope in them either. The alternative to pins and needles is trusting in God, and no, you can’t do both. The alternative to pins and needles is more time spent in prayer for whoever is elected. God can still change the heart of any man or woman, but He expects us to pray and ask that He will. The alternative to pins and needles has to do with where your focus is. By faith look to God and be delivered from election pins and needles. All hell may break lose, but it never has to break lose inside of you and me. You may wonder if I’m saying, “Don’t keep up with what’s happening,” but I’m not. I’m saying, “No matter what happens, don’t be moved,” because our God is watching and sees everything.

Psalms 37:7 “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”

Wash Your Hands

Everywhere I look I see the sign, “Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.” I see the signs and I hear the repeated commands, and I’m not against washing my hands frequently with soap and water. In fact, I’ve heard it all my life, but never so much as in the days of this virus. You might wonder at this point, who is not washing their hands? The problem I see in the days of aggressive hand washing, demanded distancing and face covering, is that hands are being washed, distance is observed and mask tolerated, but hearts are still dirty. Imagine living in a world where people were so bothered by the evil and sinfulness of men that everywhere you went you saw the sign, “Confess your sins frequently!” How much more critical is it to our health and well-being to confess our sins than to wash our hands. I didn’t say, don’t wash your hands. But the truth is, all the soap and water in the world cannot wash away the smallest sin, and it only takes one sin to separate us from Holy God.

Let me ask you, do you confess your sins? Who have you confessed them to? Be careful here, because God may want you to confess your sin to someone other than Him. Yes confess to God, but because of the frequent temptation of sin and its destructive power, you may need to confess to another person. Maybe this is where we have missed the mark in our Holy walk with God. Maybe this is why we can’t get the power to overcome the sin that keeps knocking us down. Who would you include in the most intimate and ugly place in your life? Find someone to confess your sin to, not to get their forgiveness, but to get their prayer support and accountability needed to overcome. Confess your sins and be healed. Confess your sins and watch God work. Confess your sins and look for doors to open. Confess your sins frequently and keep your heart clean. James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [you] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [you] double-minded.”

Leave a Trail

Do you leave a trail? What kind of a trail do you leave? If the room was clean and picked up and later you find toys strewn all around, it’s a great bet your children or grandchildren have been there. Sometimes food plates or empty soda cans are the signs kids or teenagers and even some adults have been there. Most of us leave a trail whether it’s dirty clothes or dirty dishes or misplaced books, magazines or iPads. Some track in dirt on their shoes leaving a trail. Today when I was entering a terminal train at the airport in Cincinnati I got on the trail of another follower of Christ. Think about it, a follower leaving a trail behind for people. The evidence I found was an encouragement to me, but could be of eternal significance for someone else. I’ve seen this track trail before, but not nearly as much as we should see this trail. The evangelistic track was placed where everyone in the area would see it, but was there for the one seeking God.

Psalms 96:2-4 Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim (publish) the good news of His salvation from day to day. 3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. 4 For the LORD [is] great and greatly to be praised; He [is] to be feared above all gods.

So, what kind of trail are you leaving? Do you leave a trail that says, “A follower of Christ was here?” Why not start leaving a trail behind today with a gospel track? Spiritually, we should be littering our world and communities so that those searching can find their way to our Savior Jesus Christ. Leave a trail!

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