Recipe for Relief

While living in Romania, I would find joy in the morning by sitting on the porch reading God’s Word and watching Gabriel herd his sheep, and goats, down the lane. I would think about Jesus, our gentle Shepherd, and it would bring me peace. We can find ourselves at times in emotional and spiritual struggle and I hope this article brings relief to your mind during these times.

The Recipe

Read God’s Word often and ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust the Father and understand what He has written. Put on the armor of God and pray as the scriptures instructs us. Resist temptation and keep your heart clean.

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… (Ephesians 6:18)

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Walk humbly before God and thank Him for opening your eyes to see Him. Our real enemy is Satan, the deceiver, those who oppose God are still blind. Pray that their eyes may be opened to Truth from God.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2Corinthians 4:3-4)

Trust your Heavenly Father, He is at work in ways much higher than we know. He is in control and has authority over this world and He will bring justice in His time. Acknowledge His will above your own and pray as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-15.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52-54).

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Fast (Isaiah 58) and pray, financially support, and speak on behalf of those who are truly oppressed. Extend yourself to those in legitimate need: children of poverty, refugees fleeing war, orphans, children in foster-care, widows without means of support (no family), preborn babies and their parents who are considering aborting them, and the families of those unjustly imprisoned for their faith.

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:17.

Understand that God is allowing each heart to be revealed. God, our creator and sustainer, is warning us all (our entire world) to reflect and consider if we will submit to Him or not (individuals and governments). He is a loving Father and gave everything to extend mercy to us, but at some point, because He is also a just Creator, His righteous judgement will come. But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)

Remember: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (I Peter 3:12)

 Photo Credit: flickr.com/Turatti

Opting Out is Not an Option

cemetery-3210234__480Satan is real. He desires to sift us like wheat. He prowls about looking for someone to devour. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8

In visiting with a woman recently I realized that she is spiritual but does not know God. There are lying spirits that deceive people into thinking they are good, insightful and okay because they are spiritual in some way. Someone may create their own form of spirituality, but various forms of mystic enlightenment do not equal salvation and Truth.  “… for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14

God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) created everything, organic physical life and immaterial spiritual/soul life. The immaterial world is manifest in the physical; for good or evil. But many have never gone to the Manual (the Bible) to see how these two worlds powerfully interact, instead they walk on blindly according to a god of their own making. 2 Corinthians 4:4 “…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

We know that Satan is very real because Jesus said he is. John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Just as the Holy Spirit longs to dwell within a physical body and bring godly self-control and fruit into the heart, so Satan desires to dwell within working with our carnal nature to bring forth evil. Satan desires to have you, if not fully through possession, he will be satisfied to influence you; you’re mind, thoughts, desires  – especially against Christ and His Kingdom people. Don’t be a pawn in his hand. 2 Corinthians 11:3But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” God is not mocked, whatsoever you give yourself to, that is what you’ll reap (or become).

God’s Word is a sure foundation and He equips us for this spiritual battle by the empowering Holy Spirit within. Jesus said in John14:15-17 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

Opting out is not an option, you’re already in. Wisdom says, humble yourself and reach for God’s Hand and be found in Him, sure, steadfast, not only in this short life but for all of eternity. Ephesians 6:11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

Opt-in and pray. Fight on your knees. You have authority in the Spirit to pull down strongholds, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2Corinthians 10:3-5)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I Am Drawn to HOPE!

Hope Betinia

I am drawn naturally to where hope is found,
This is how I am made for life to abound.
I know that if Christ is my treasure in store,
He’ll fill my desires and I’ll need no more.

Sometimes though we are moved with pain,
And the brighter sky seems filled with rain.
How can I find this hope that I seek,
When my heart seeks answers in the worldly and weak.

When the weight of despair outweighs the rest,
My balance is off I’m overwhelmed by the tests.
The way of God’s Word seems too much to bear,
Am I drawn to an artificial answer in prayer?

Can running away to escape for relief,
Be the real answer to my deep time of grief?
But alas the Spirit does come to my aid,
And offer real hope in the midst of charade.

I’ve come to conclusion God’s way is the best,
If my hope is in Christ He will give me rest.
The assault that I feel will give way to peace,
While circumstance remains my unrest can cease.

So while there’s brief comfort in worldly relief,
I must fix my mind on a true heart of belief.
That my Heavenly Father provides me His love,
And as I’m drawn to Him then hope will come.

~ By Nancy Demary

Photo Credit: Demary

Hope – We Need It

Picture yourself in the lowest part of the earth, perhaps at the bottom of a mining shaft, fearful, stuck… but wait, for a few minutes each day the sun hits directly above, just pitright, and some light from the surface above travels down the hole. Your heart leaps temporarily, “perhaps today I will be rescued from here”. But soon the darkness and hopelessness of your lost condition sweeps in again, you are stuck, alone, in the pit, afraid you’ll never get out; at the same time afraid you’ll be discovered.

This is a glimpse into the soul of one who is stuck in the grip of sin, especially sexual sin – a feeling of no way out, and fear of discovery. Aloneness, darkness, hopelessness prevails; a battle in the mind (heart) so intense that often another fantasy comes creeping up alongside… introducing death as a good option.

Consider for a moment the important words of Jesus to us in John 10:10. The scripture says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus made this simple, clear statement. So why do many fantasize with the invitation to die, or give up — that comes from the Enemy, rather than Jesus’ invitation to live?

No FEAR

Some years ago this slogan, NO FEAR, was popularized. No Fear T-shirts were very popular and sometime later the motto was big within the extreme sports world. The idea was to go to the edge, break the limits, and go beyond what you have known or feared. The problem is that without God, people do some pretty drastic things to try and fill the void within; they try unusual things to create a euphoric state of consciousness.

This No Fear mentality has killed many souls, destroyed many relationships, and people who have lived this out have often headed in the wrong direction. Our culture, knowingly or not, takes scriptural ideas and twists them to make it look as though someone who lives on the edge is enlightened in some way. I have personally known young lives snuffed out because they went for the delusion of trying to find fulfillment in self and new cultural ideas apart from God, our Creator.

Jesus made several other simple and clear statements. In Matthew 10:28, He said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Now that’s a slogan that isn’t repeated too often. Yet, it is Truth and offers the answer on how to live a successful life now, and for all eternity; how to escape the snare of the Enemy, how to avoid ending up in hell for eternity.

Yes, FEAR!

Our Father greatly loves each person He created. And because of that, He offers to rescue us! He gave us a solution to our problems. He gave Jesus, the pure and perfect One, to die in our place, to place our sin upon Him so that we could be free and live an abundant life in Him, without fear.

way-918900__480Appropriate FEAR

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have good understanding. Psalm 111:10

Fearing God is what sets our feet upon the path of wisdom and understanding. There are no problems in life that can be solved permanently apart from God’s wisdom and understanding applied. When we trade away His desires and replace them with our own, we end up in one kind of pit or another. Perhaps your pit is not as deep and dark as the one I described earlier, but we all have places that are dark at various times in life. God has an answer for these times if we will turn to Him for help.

We Need Him

horse-3198112__480I’ve heard various illustrations over the years of hopelessness and rescue. One of them goes like this: A horse fell into a large dry well, there was no way out, it was hopeless. But then a deliverer came along and carefully began shoveling dirt into the hole until it elevated the horse to a higher and higher level to where, viola! — the horse stepped out on the surface!

Have you been down deep in a pit with no one to help you? Days, weeks, months, and even years have gone by, and it seems you’re destined to stay there forever? No fear! Ask God to send some help your way; become desperate, ask Him to help you, He will. He offers hope to anyone who sees themselves as needing help– choose life, not death. Humble yourself, confess your sin (including all heart idols) to God and see what He does. He is the only deliverer that can give you lasting hope and a changed heart. The scriptures say He will put a new heart within you, and remove your stony heart – He will give you a heart of flesh that can function, feel, and love again! Why not Fear Him and become free?

My prayer for you is Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

There’s HOPE.

God’s Word is the only hope for a mind that has been wired to sin. If you decide to surrender and open your heart to Him, be sure to fill your mind with God’s Word so that you will be successful in your journey. Get involved in a church family where you can grow and give your time and energy in ways that will bless others, instead of hurting them. Pray and ask God to remake your mind (heart) and then do the work of putting God’s Word into your mind daily — soon you will think differently, resulting in new actions that please and glorify God. There is hope!

Our culture is increasingly realizing that with the proliferation of internet availability and it’s usage in the mid-nineties, the lure of sexual sin increased exponentially; sadly, we live among a generation of sexually addicted souls. Some folks seem unaware of the dilemma we face or would rather avoid it. And the church is not exempt; among men, statistics indicate 65% are struggling with sexual sin, for women over 25%. For specific details, please go to the Covenant Eyes website  to become further educated.

While there seems to be a growing number of men’s groups within the church to address the sexual idolatry problem and provide help, women in the church are usually left outside the info circle, confused, or avoiding the problem altogether. Husbands must bear the responsibility of talking honestly with their wives about this issue, and women must be willing to acknowledge this condition and learn how to respond without fear.

Related articles are: Gateway Drugs, Self Pleasure, Freedom from Habitual Sin, High Heels on the Rocks, Exposed.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Action Steps in Response to Sin

What can I do? This question has faced many. It is very difficult for someone to discover habitual sin that has been hidden. Besides the knife in the heart feeling, and a mind racing with possibilities, it’s important to gain what is promised to us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but rather of power, love and a sound mind.”  First of all, realize that fear is your enemy and you need to choose to think rightly and get the help of a biblically sound person. Recognize the power of God to help you and allow His love to motivate you toward a godly solution.

When someone sins against you, they first have sinned against God and lived in rebellion to Him. They have failed to worship God and have an ungrateful heart.[1]

Decide to be a tool in God’s Hand to bring sin into the light (I John 1:7), this is vital. This offers the opportunity for repentance and confession (I John 1:9).  Perhaps this hasbridge-19513__480 already happened on occasion with this person; you must realize that there is a deep, deep stronghold that comes with habitual sin — especially sexual idolatry. Coming out requires much more than confession and repentance, intensive restructuring with God’s Word and accountability is mandatory. Don’t agree to just let it ride and become their monitor; that will not work.

Freedom, found in Christ, comes from walking in the light and hating sin; we must hate sin as God does. Consistent, honest openness and accountability with another party is required. It takes work. Changing the mind and its patterns concerning what is pleasing to God is vital.  Humility is a major factor in overcoming the past, and pride will fight against this all along the way.

boy-1916204__480Action Steps: If you feel sin is present, don’t allow fear and suspicion to rule your heart.  Instead, take steps toward having a conversation about what you are feeling with the one involved (Mt. 18:15-17). If this fails, find one or two to come along and assist you.

In order to prepare yourself:

1) Think biblically: get biblical counsel if you are unable to think this through yourself. Living in High Heels on the Rocks for years will have its affects. The truth presented in love (Eph. 4:15) will be needed to set everyone free, including you.

 2) Act, instead of reacting: God’s Word gives action steps that bring hope. Write out what scripture says about your situation. Differentiate truth from thoughts based in the pain you feel.

3) Pray, instead of panicking: In order to trust God through this process you need to pray and gain power over the enemy, who uses fear to derail us. Reacting will not produce righteous fruit.

4) Exercise faith in God: Trust involves believing God. Responding out of your flesh (feelings) will increase the confusion, which Satan loves to operate in.  God offers clarity to those who will trust Him.

5) Ask for help — this is so important! Do not try to handle the situation alone. There are plenty of resources available to you; there are caring people who can help. Start with your pastor, church leadership, or someone trained to help; they may need to become involved to enact biblical discipline. Glorifying God and freeing yourself, and those you love, are worth it.

Remember, Satan wants to destroy you, your spouse, and your children, but God wants to give you abundant life (John 10:10).  Bringing sin into the light is the first step to freedom.

[1] Taken from Stuart Scott, The Exemplary Husband (Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing, Inc. 2000), 287.

To read the complete article go to: High Heels on the Rocks