Welcome to a Place of Grace for You...read and take courage!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Are you stuck in a RUT?

Psalm 27: 2-3                                 
“When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me , even then will I be confident.”
David has a strategy: when the enemy is advancing, he declares they will stumble and fall.
He declares from the original Hebrew meaning: “They are brought down; their attempts fail, they have been overthrown; they are brought to ruin; they are under my feet!”
 When tribes or troops settle/camp/ abide around him with a hostile purpose; when they are relentlessly bringing opposition; David already knows what he was going to believe. He says his inner man/his soul will not call to mind or consider or bring to remembrance fear or dread.
When the battle is raging and rising against him with accusation, when the suddenness of ambush is on the scene, when the enemies are attempting to lure him to yield ground to their mindsets and their   attempting to devour him and his goods; David boldly proclaims (as noted in the original Hebrew) his plan:  Trust in the Lord, rely and hope in His name, His mercy/grace, His word, and His salvation.
When adversity comes knocking at your door, when illness and affliction come, when distress and upset come, when pain /heartache come - what message is your mind receiving?
Have you ever stopped to listen to your patterns of thought? 
When we develop patterns of thoughts or mindsets in a particular direction, our soul man will automatically revert to a particular set of ideas be it positive or negative.
This is described as a habit or a rut.  Dr. Carolyn Leaf describes these ruts and that in the makeup of our brain there is actually formed  long, deep tracks or furrows due to thinking in particular ways, that science proves can be seen on brain imaging.  These furrows are made by repeated ways of thinking over and over, so that when faced with certain events or circumstances certain ways of thinking can take over almost involuntarily. These ruts establish themselves as undeviating predictable routines of thoughts. 
Let’s picture  a gravel road as it softens with moisture and becomes the rut thru frequent travel upon it.  Even to the point of when a car might slip into a rut on the road, the car wheels can be forced to go in a certain direction.  The more traffic going into the rut, the deeper it can become. Our brains actually work in a similar way as this gravel road.  Our brains have a “neuroplasticity” which causes neuropathways (ruts, trenches, courses) to be formed by repetition.
When we allow negative thoughts, one-by-one, form in our thinking,  we are giving permission to the enemy.  We are giving him place (in our brain) to establish his will (his rut, his cycle, his course) in our lives, and ultimately take from us what Jesus rightfully died to give us: wholeness in every area of our lives.  Thus, every bad choice we make is given birth by negativity in our thoughts in some way, causing us enslavement by our enemy.
How can we re-landscape the territories of our hearts and minds for Gods thinking patterns to reign, rather than the ruts, cycles, and entrenchments of our enemy?
Well, it becomes a matter of choice.
Choosing one thought over another guided by the Holy Spirit.  Choosing LIFE thoughts.  As we choose, we use the authority God gave us and God does the work of establishing the renewing of our minds, new ruts, new patterns and cycles of righteousness.
Adapting the right thinking can convert negative thoughts into positive ones. 
Lets take Psalm 23:3.  It says: “He leads me in paths of righteousness.”  Hebrew for paths is trench, track, course, cycle or rut. Thus, God is saying He wants to develop within us ruts of righteousness!!
So, how could we develop a righteous rut? The Hebrew word pictures for “path” may give us some insight. The first Hebrew letter of that word is mem, which refers to water.  Often in the scriptures water is meant to symbolize the Holy Spirit.  Thus, for us to walk in the path of righteousness it will involve yielding to the flow of God’s Spirit within us, His leading, guidance, direction, etc.
Next is the Hebrew letter Ayin, which is symbolic for seeing because it is a picture of an eye.  Seeing with our spiritual eyes are invaluable to the path of His righteousness in our lives.  The Bible says in 1Cor.4:18 That we should look unto things that are not seen, instead of the temporal /physical realm of seeing.
 When we cast our vision upon what Christ has done for us, his finished work, we see His victory in turning our every trial into His triumph! Seeing with our spiritual eyes is seeing thru the eyes of Faith.  As God’s righteous saints, He calls us to live by faith in all matters.  Our Faith, as noted n 1 John 5:4, overcomes the world.  Faith, our spiritual eyes, keeps us on His track for our lives.
Next, is the Hebrew letter Gimel.  This is a picture of a camel with the idea of its repetitive behaviors; rolling, walking; circling.   I believe God is causing us to see here the idea of repetition, and that developing good habits are key to staying on course.  Repetition is also how we learn, doing something over and over until it becomes a pattern for us. I believe God created us to be creatures of habit.  He wired that in us.  He knows how we learn best.  In order to maintain righteousness we need to maintain habits of righteousness.  God tells us in Rom 5:17 some good habits to reign in life: to receive His righteousness and His abundance of grace.  As we become in the habit of receiving, our “good habits” will follow suit - simply in producing fruit.
The last Hebrew letter of this word “path” is Lamed.  This is a picture of a shepherd’s staff. Certainly God is our shepherd providing for us. The word “staff” in the Hebrew means support of every kind, a place of leaning, a place of rest.  I don’t think it is coincidence that God would use this picture of a staff. His path for us is a place of rest.  
Isn’t that what the finished work of Jesus Christ pictures? 
He has done the work, He has triumphed over every foe and destroyed every work of darkness, redeeming us wholly and completely.  As we rest on His promises for us, we see (by faith) His provision is every area of our lives.
Through yielding to the flow of the Holy Spirit, walking by faith, receiving His grace and His righteousness and by living a life of resting in His provisions; God shows us what the rut of righteousness can look like.
Back to Psalm 27, David had developed righteous ruts when he encountered his enemies.  No matter what he was seeing with his eyes, he made choice to use his faith and see his victory and their demise and destruction.  He was confident in the work of his God, and that it would be his complete salvation.
 Lets be like David, in seeing his victory, and become stuck in the rut of Christ’s finished work, no matter what the circumstance, we see His victory!

Guest blog from Liz Sutter.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cast your cares - say yes!

The post below is by Liz Sutter who shares regularly with us at Place of Grace for You's Bible study.  She mines nuggets of gold from the Word and we are happy to be the beneficiaries!

1 Peter 5:7    Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking to whom he may devour.
Faith furnishes a firm ground to tread upon the enemy of our soul.  Without this firm foundation we cannot advance the ground of our promised land.  Faith that Jesus Christ has completely provided for His people through His finished work enables us to set down the weight of our problems.  Jesus says He has given us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness(2 Pet1 :3).  His provisions are pressing on us , but first we must lay down/let go of that which is taking our attention, to receive His covenanted wholeness for our  souls.
Faith does the casting or the giving up of the care unto God, and faith does the receiving of the abundance of continual promised supply. Our cares bring a division in our soul, separating us into parts, attempting to weaken our faith.  This separation scatters us in different directions, which can lead to us concentrating our thoughts upon our trouble - literally giving thoughts to trouble.  Our cares can break apart our promised land that has been assigned to us.  As. Dr. Caroline Leaf says,’ our thoughts occupy mental real estate in our minds.’  When we do not guard our thoughts, part of our promised land (our sound mind), our mental  property will be invaded , taken over by our troubling concerns and enemy settlements.    In Matt 6:31 Jesus teaches us “Take no thought” saying “what shall we eat,” “what shall we drink” for he already knows we have need of these things.  As we hold to these cares, we are frustrating the supply of grace and provision already pressing on us.  The finished work bought for us a promised allotment, portion, share, a destiny, an assigned position in His kingdom.  We are inheritors of the blessings of Abraham!!!  The Greek root meaning for care is ‘to differ’.  When we hold onto our care, of lack, hopelessness, addictions, fear, or any trouble besetting us, we are disagreeing  or differing with the covenant promises that God brought us into, we are believing something different than God believes.  When we surrender to Him our cares, we are simply agreeing with HIS TRUTH of provision and wholeness in our lives in every area! Faith is to agree with God, to have the same opinion of, to be of the same mind, to see eye to eye, to be united with, to say YES!
The verse continues with a caution to be watchful unto prayer, alert, aroused from passivity, to rise against one, to take our stand in Christ’s authority against our adversary so as to possess our inheritance. Our adversary is our opponent at law, the prosecuting attorney arguing a case at law in a courtroom.  He is equipped to bring the lawsuit of darkness against the believer, seeking binding, and damaging and devastating consequences.  His aim is to bring a judicial verdict which declares some disapproval or approval, a sentence of condemnation.  The Greek roots say “to point out, to show or exhibit, to expose oneself to the view of one, giving evidence and proof”. The devil is also referred to in this verse meaning false, slanderous accuser, backbiter, one gives allusion to, one who reminds of, or gives reasons of because and a criticizer to hurt and malign, to sever or condemn a relationship.  The roots of devil in this scripture give us a picture of being violently displaced from a position gained. He knows our position in Christ, often more than we know it.   Also pictured is a tree casting its fruit because it has been violently shaken by the wind.  We, the believer are this tree and when we are shaken by a trouble, or care we have a choice to either hold onto our fruit/our goods/our promises, or to let them it go.  The devils plans and purposes for our promise land is to cause us to let it go, let it be taken, let it be stolen.  The scripture says he goes around as roaring lion.  Satan would have us believe he has overcoming power and authority. When in fact he has been striped of all his power - for this reason, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  As a lion prowls, the devil is seeking to be our companion, to encompass us all around/at every side, he seeks to demand of us, require of us, follow us, tread down and crush us. The enemy is ever plotting against our life, and comes to devour us.  This word devour in the Greek means to drink down/to swallow.  It is the same Greek word used in 1 Cor.15:54, “Death has been swallowed up in Victory”.  Its so interesting how the Holy Spirit records these two verses, where the enemy is seeking to swallow us up in destruction, he and all of his plans have already been swallowed up in the Victory won for us at the Cross. 
Jesus has conquered all for us!  Through his victory our inheritance is sure!  By His unfailing love and amazing Grace we can REST assured our cares are taken care of!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Jesus loves me - this I know. I know this - right? How?

"Jesus loves me".  Yup - yes He does. Saying it is good. Knowing in your "knower" is best. Think about people you love and that love you.  Chances are good memories come to mind. Why is that? Because you recall the love of other people based on past experience.

My most favorite time with my hubby is when we recount how we met, fell in love and traversed the years. Why? We are remembering the history of our love together.

You think I'm going to say to recount how God has been faithful and you have seen His love in your life.  Well yes - that is a marvelous thing, but I want to take you back a little further. Sometimes we credit God with things (typically hardships) that ended up producing good when all the while your enemy was the instigator and God turned that bad to good. Ready to go back?

We're going back to Scripture.  STOP please.  Read the next few sentences out loud and preferably to someone else.

When Jesus came to earth, the announcement from the angels was, "Glory to God (translates "have a good opinion of God"), peace on earth (Jesus is who? The Prince of Peace), goodwill towards men."

So like this: "Humans - have a good opinion of God, Peace is on earth and He is God's good will towards you." (That is from the ARV - Arin Rentz Version.)

Jesus changed everything and God is NOT mad at you. Not a news flash to you probably, but hold on.  Look again.

When the leper came to Jesus and said, "Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean."  Jesus touched him and said, "I am willing, be cleansed."  LOOK AGAIN!  He touched him - Jesus touched him.  Jesus didn't need to do that - the leper only wanted to be clean, but Jesus went above and beyond.  He touched someone who had not experienced physical touch in years!  He went above and beyond - why? Because His will is good towards us.  He LOVES so much that He exceeds what is required in the situation and shows His goodness.

I hope you're still reading out loud.

Feeding the 5,000.  There were how many baskets left over?  Twelve.  Did there need to be any left over?  Nope. Jesus went above and beyond - why? He LOVES us so much, His will is good towards us that He goes beyond what is needed in the situation.  Similar situation happened in the feeding of the 4,000. Baskets left over.

Water into wine at the wedding.  Would life have gone on if Jesus had not done this miracle? Of course. So they would have been terribly embarrassed. No one's life was in danger or sick or such. Jesus could have just matched what the quality of wine they already had, but no. He went above and beyond again. So much that the banquet master took note that the new wine was better quality than the first (which is typically the best according to custom). Why? Because it is yet another example of God's goodwill - the goodness of God towards us shown through His son.

Last one I'm highlighting. Prodigal son.  Don't tune out - look again.  Father was looking for him. Ran to greet him - RAN.  And not just greet him - bowled him over with bear hugs is more along the lines of the Greek words used to describe the meeting. Didn't even wait to hear the son's speech. Robe, a ring and sandals.  A feast - not your average KFC family meal.  A feast! To celebrate the fact that his son was home.  Did the Father scold? Demand repentance? Turn him away? Make him a servant instead of a son? NO! The Father went above and beyond - why?  Because this is yet another story of God's goodwill towards us - the goodness of God and a picture of what He thinks about us.  While we were still sinners - He sent His Son (His goodwill) to us to deliver us before we even knew we needed it.

Is anyone smiling yet?!?  Is this sinking in? 

Every single time I remember these stories and look again to see the extra length that Jesus went - the above and beyond - the little details that are not actually little at all, HOPE rises in my heart. 

The prattle of the enemy is suddenly silent because I am remembering and believing - reading with my very own eyes - how good God is and wants to be to me.  The things Jesus did were always superabundant, beyond what was needed. THAT is our God.  THAT is our GOOD God.

Why is it important to remember this truth?  Because your enemy would have you forget.  Because your enemy would have you live otherwise. Because your enemy would be SO happy for you to believe wrongly that God sends sickness to teach a lesson or that God sends poverty to humble when your enemy is the author. Why would you fight something that you think is from God?  Why would you resist if you thought it was God trying to teach you a lesson.  OPEN YOUR EYES and LOOK AGAIN.  Re-read the stories if need be.  See the goodness of God.

If sickness was from God, then Jesus went around undoing God's will and we KNOW that is not true. In fact, Jesus said out of His own mouth in John 5:30 he only does the will and pleasure of His Father. We also see in the Scriptures that Jesus went about healing ALL who were sick and oppressed of the devil (OF THE DEVIL, not of God).  Let that sink in please.

Understand the Old Testament and stories from that period in history were BEFORE Jesus, before His life that changed everything. Believe right that God is good all the way through and that His will is ONLY good towards you. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.  You get to change how your life is lived out by simply believing rightly about God.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Are you looking thru eyes of the curse, or the eyes of the Cross?

Below is a guest blog from Liz Sutter.  Get a cup of coffee and read each word. It's the truth that we KNOW that brings freedom, not the truth we speed read or glance over. Let the Word settle in so you'll know it and live free like your Savior intended.
Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in the God of my Savior,
The Lord God is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.
These circumstances, or situations as stated above in vs. 17 portrays a very hopeless, desolate, defeated existence. The Hebrew further words give further definition painting the picture of no signs of life, not even a sprout, the land not yielding produce/food, no rain, laborious press/demand, dead works with no fruit/oil, no meat or nourishment at mealtime, no brightness/joy, picturing sheep cut off from the flock/fold as with Israel wandering in their sin in the wilderness/Israel without a Shepard, exhausted of weeping, strained at looking for relief or refreshment.  Cut off from completeness, fulfillment, accomplishment, prosperity. TO BE CUT OFF  FROM WHAT HAS BEEN FINISHED. 
What we are looking at is a picture of ground that has been cursed.  Man was created on the sixth day.  In  vs. 17 there are specifically six sentences listed of lack.  Six is the number of man’s labor, as distinct from God’s true rest. It is the number connected then with human labor and sorrow.  It marks all that is not of God.  It is also 5 plus 1, the number of Grace of God made of no effect by mans addition to it, or corruption of it.  It is also 7 – 1, coming short of the spiritual perfection, thus the number of imperfection.   Six is the human number, the man destitute of God, without God, without Christ.  Doesn’t this explanation shed light on what is going on in this “type” of ground? It is life without God…without the thought of God, without hope, without meaning. 
In vs. 18 Habakkuk then sees something different and says something different. He is now rejoicing in the Lord. The Hebrew states he is Triumphing, Jumping for joy, Dancing, Leaping for Joy, declaring The God of My Help, speaking of The mighty deeds of His Right Hand, Delighting in Jehovah’s bestowed benefits, in His salvation, in His rescue, In His victory.
A.     Habakkuk has had a change of perspective and a change of speech.

Instead of looking at the cursed ground, he is now looking thru the eyes of the cross.  He sees the mighty deeds of Christ who is at the Father’s right hand, he sees the Victory won for himself and his people, he sees His salvation! What could make him happier, that he could now declare to His people, God’s people, that their freedom has come, their Hope has risen, and their life eternally rescued from the grips of their enemies?!? This is what causes him to dance in delight and leap for joy.  He is now recognizing that on the other side of trial, defeat, and hopelessness, there is triumph through the work of the cross!! On the other side of Trial, there is Triumph for those who chose to believe.
He declares the Lord God is my strength!!
The Hebrew picks this up with multiple meanings of the word strength:
 An army, warrior, wealth, prosperity, capability, my force, my captain of the host, my leader of the army.  The Hebrew language here creates the picture that in the day of your warfare, It will be the day of the sending of the ROD of the Messiah's strength out of Zion.  The mountain of Zion is where He rules in the mist of His enemies, and strikes through the enemy’s kings in the day of his wrath.  
For us in the new covenant promises of God, we are now kings and priests of God bestowed with the authority of Christ, symbolized in this passage with the ROD of the Messiah.  This Rod for us today is the Name of Jesus, that through that name all must submit.  It is the ultimate weapon that has been given to us by the finished work.  This passage highlights God through Christ ruled in the mist of His enemies so we could Rule in the mist of our enemies, and that no power of darkness would be able to conquer us.  That by this authority now given to us miracles happen, devils are defeated, and we reign in Life.  Now  faith through Grace and His Rod of authority  comes on the scene and that which was impossible with man, is now possible with God through the finished work. 
The writer speaks of feet that are like the feet of the deer…. feet symbolizing the response of man to God’s direction.
The Hind of deer are the most surefooted of all mountain animals.  They hold their head high and don’t look down as they are moving towards their goals.  Their legs are well suited for running, chasing, and evading danger.  They leap effortlessly over obstacles and are always looking for pasture (rest), and longing for water (the Holy Spirit).  So God is saying to us through Christ, we are:
1.     Spiritually Strong - The Lord being our strength (giving us the transfer of authority to reign in this life) Even in the presence our weakness, and shortcomings, He sees us Strong because we are in Jesus!
2.     Spiritually Swift for the race.  Able to tread upon mountains and evade danger. The Bible says we are not ignorant of the devices of the enemy and we can command mountains into the sea.
3.     Spiritually Successful - surefooted and confident that we are righteous in Christ.  What a sure foundation for success.  Because Christ has triumphed, I triumph. Even as He is in this world, so am I.  His underserved favor and blessings cause me to be prosperous in whatever endeavor I put my hand to.
Then Habakkuk states that God will make him to walk the heights. In the Hebrew, this walking theme is further unfolded to mean treading , marching, trampling, overtaking, subduing the enemy.  That we are bow benders, we bend the bow(the assaults of the enemy). This same scripture is repeated in 2 Samuel 22:34 says the God causes him to stand on the heights.  This idea of standing includes:  to Arise, to stand up against, to hold your position, to endure, persist, remain, to have a fixed look, to make a servant/to stand over, have charge over, to takes ones stand in covenant, and to restore waste places.
 These ideas of standing are very clearly on the offensive as a believer.  It depicts that we are to take what is our rightful inheritance because it was bought for us by the blood of our Savior! We have an assigned seat in the new covenant, the seat of blessing.   All the cursed ground that looks desolate when given into the hands of the master, can become places where He can show forth His restoration power.  He can bring the power of His finished work to the things we see as “cut off from being finished.”
The word “heights” has the Hebrew meaning of bama -the battlefield or mountainous places, a place where the fight is going on.  God has said we have the feet of the deer to go upon top of the high place/or that we are on top of the battle. Even as He was, when He was crucified on the mountain of Golgotha, the place of the skull.  Skull symbolizing death.  Jesus was reigning over Death in all forms, and He took our place, now we take His place of Victory over Death, over the battle, over the mountain stronghold in our lives.  The enemy is under our feet as it was under His feet as He finished His work. Thank God today we stand on the top and not the bottom, that we are the head and not the tail, that we above and not beneath, that we are blessed, not cursed.
This high place above the battle, is a place of elevation - as we are seated with Christ in Heavenly realms far above every principality and power.  It is a place of where our problems cannot unsettle us, a resting.
A place where the problem is not seen through the eyes of the curse, but the eyes of the cross.  Where instead of considering the places where “the work is cut off from being finished, we consider the work that was finished.  Reality for the believer is the cursed ground, although factual, is not the truth of the situation.  It is not the whole picture for the believer. There is another side.   God is the Alpha and Omega, He has the final say, the final word in the circumstances in our lives when we believe in Him, and He says to us that the truth of the cross has changed everything.  The truth is we have the promises of Abraham that are covenanted to us by faith, not through the law, or our own efforts.
B.     Habakkuk believed the promise of the finished work , the works of Gods mighty Right Hand.
By believing the Lord was His strength, His victory, His triumph.. He received His provision.
C.      Habakkuk received his provision.  He was restored His inheritance.  The Hebrew states that Habakkuk came into his promised land.
So he changed his Perspective, believed the Promise and received his Provision.  I believe this is what God wants us to do today as well to fully come into our inheritance of all the blessings, promises and benefits of the finished work.  Why settle for the “cursed ground” when Jesus paid the price for our disease, lack, and sin. The curse has been reversed for the believer.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I Surrender All...aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

“I Surrender All”.  Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh…STOP!  I can only guess what has already run through your mind. Growing up, it seemed this song was always used as a guilt trip of sorts. It was used at youth rallies, consecration services – you get the picture.  The connotation was that people were holding back from giving their all to God and it was time to get to it. I used to think that if I gave it all to God, He might send me to Africa (a dream for some, not my cup of tea) or life would have lots of horrible things and I would have to be ok with that because I had surrendered all to God.  The sense was almost like, “you selfish person you – surrender to God because He wants you to and you’d better not wish for a wonderful life because God is sovereign and does as He sees fit”.  I’m sure the people leading had great intentions, but wow – it was stressful to me and I always felt guilty like I had not surrendered properly and God was tapping His foot just waiting for me to fully surrender.

Stick with me here and see surrendering all in a brand new light.

We were in our Sunday morning worship service today and I was remembering a few dear people who were sick and the enemy was also supplying other distressing thoughts of lack, need, etc.  Almost reminding me of how it appeared that God had not come through and worry was necessary on my part in order to properly process the situations.

The worship leader started singing “I Surrender All” and BAM! The Holy Spirit spoke in my heart. He encouraged me to surrender all, but not what you’d think.

He encouraged me to surrender the worry, the concern, the condemnation, every thought from the enemy, every picture of defeat – surrender all of it to Him.

And I did.

What a relief!

I sang those words in a whole new light. The song that had always brought guilt was now a song of FREEDOM! Jesus was asking if I would choose to surrender all the yuck to Him so I could be free and I agreed!  He was asking to me rest so He could work.  Surrender is a place of rest.

So from now on – I surrender ALL!  Every time the enemy brings up things beyond my control, or flashes images of untoward circumstances or any other concern…

All to thee my precious Savior, I SURRENDER ALL!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Throw stones - no really, throw stones!

If you've been following this blog for any length of time you have read about the five smooth stones we use to slay ANY giant in our land. We use the sling of our mouth to give thanksgiving, praise, pray in the Spirit and it is also how we show we have a merry heart and love. If you've missed the blogs explaining the five smooth stones just hop over in the archives to 2011 (March through November).

We throw stones via the words of our mouth and we choose if they are good or bad.  We can choose the five smooth stones that slay giants OR we can choose ones supplied by our enemy used against those around us (and maybe even against ourselves).

How does this happen?

The enemy is limited in what he can do. We see this in Eden when he suggested thoughts to Eve and she took them as her own, acted on them and got the results of that obedience. The enemy didn't show up as a tiger and force her into eating the fruit. No, by the words of his mouth in her ear he worked the angle of Eve's thoughts.

The enemy tries the same thing with us.  The battlefield is in our minds so he strategically suggests thoughts at just the right time to try and get us to act according to his desires.  According to what he wants to be carried out in our lives.

It can be something as small as discontent or second-guessing or worry. Something you might have thought for years was YOU, but if you step back and look at it - that thought trail ALWAYS leads you somewhere you don't want to go.  (Flashing lights and dinging sounds) - that is your enemy. He's gotten you to take those thoughts as your own and act on them. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is our Helper who can teach us how to overcome - how to get out of the rut of those thoughts and form new, good habits.

Back to the stones - the enemy provides thoughts and you give them life via your words / actions. For example: the enemy supplies thoughts of fear. You're already tired, hungry, angry, lonely, stressed or experiencing sorrow (HALTS, another blog). So he's targeting you at an opportune time (sounds a lot like when he targeted Jesus). He slides in a rapid succession of fearful images or thoughts and before you know it, you feel anxious and upset. It's like you're now looking at the situation through a different lens. You begin talking about it - acting on the fear. Where the enemy had no ground before, now he is starting to gain some because you are believing him - taking into account his report.


You can turn this thing back on your enemy in a New York minute! The moment you recognize what's going on, you change your mind. You recognize what the enemy has supplied and turn your mind to the Truth.  Rubber to the road: fear thoughts come up, you feel anxious, it persists for a bit and then...you recognize it. You grin because you realize it's not you - it's your enemy. Thank the Holy Spirit for helping you overcome. Sing a line to your favorite praise song or say, "Thank you Jesus I'm free!".  It may take a minute for your feelings to change, but keep with it. Be brave, stand strong 5 minutes longer (thank you Lisa Bevere for that one). See yourself differently than what the enemy has suggested via thoughts. Let your God-given imagination be used for your good instead of allowing the enemy to use it against you.

Remember, it actually is darkest before the dawn.  The enemy tries to get you to use the words of your mouth for destruction right before the change you've been praying for breaks on the scene. You ARE free, God has already won - the enemy would like you to think and act otherwise because it ONLY benefits him.

When the enemy supplies those thoughts that he wants to turn into words to sling with your mouth, do the opposite INSTEAD.  When he brings those thoughts, sling the powerful, giant-slaying stones of thanksgiving, praise, praying in the Spirit, having a merry heart and loving. 

Throw those stones - wide open spaces await!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

It pays to remember

Remember back with me to a few blogs ago about the goodwill of God (peace on earth goodwill towards men). If you haven’t read it, I recommend you read that piece first so it will set you in the right frame of mind to receive the revelation below.

Rom 2:12
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Don’t glaze over – hold on – yes, we’ve heard countless messages on this passage, but there is a GEM in here. Even as I type, I’m still amazed.

Here’s the breakdown so it sits properly in your mind:

No to conform one's self (i.e. one's mind and character) to another's pattern, (fashion one's self according to) to this period of time, BUT change into another form, to transform, to transfigure by a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining AND a particular mode of thinking and judging, i.e thoughts, feelings, purposes, desires to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy what God wishes or has determined shall be done, the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ and it is God’s will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure (remember from the other blog). God’s good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, well pleasing, acceptable and perfect will.

Phew – you made it through that big hunk of meat! You guessed it.  That was the actual definition of each word as it translates in the Greek. So here’s a shorter one from the ARV (the Arin Rentz Version):

No to conform one’s self to this period of time, but choose a complete change for the better the mind, your particular mode of thinking, feeling, desiring so that you may deem worthy God’s determination to bless mankind through Christ – God’s good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, well pleasing, acceptable and perfect will.

Here’s the last piece to be covered that caused me to get out of bed while the kids were still sleeping on a holiday – you KNOW this has to be good!

The word “perfect” here is the Greek word teleios.  Why is this important? Because it is the last word Jesus spoke on the cross, “It IS finished!”  “It is teleios!” God’s determination to bless mankind through Christ was finished.  God’s will – God’s goodwill towards men had just been finished.

The trading of places had been made. 

Jesus bore in His own body you sickness and disease (Isa 53: 4- look at it in the YLT translation),.

Jesus bore every curse so you could live curse free. Generational curse free, law of sin and death curse free when He hung on the cross and when He wore the crown of thorns (picture of the curse).

Jesus’ flesh was actually torn to pieces so that your well-being could be whole (Isa 53:4, 5).

Jesus took on Himself our sin so we could take on His righteousness (2 Cor 5:21).

Jesus took our condemnation so we could and would not be condemnable (Rom 8:1).

Jesus took the judgment for our transgressions and sin so that we would be able to take His blessing (many references).

Jesus took our unworthiness so that we would be forever worthy (many references).

Jesus defeated EVERY work of darkness so that we would not live defeated by them (Col 2:15)

That, dear reader, is the finished work.  That is teleios.

Paul is telling us to choose to change our minds – choose to remember God’s goodwill. Change your mind from what your physical eyes see and remember INSTEAD God’s goodwill towards you – Christ’s finished work for you.

The enemy comes A LOT with upset. Being a human on this planet comes with daily things to overcome, but we have the opportunity to choose to completely change our mind for the better in remembering the finished work.

Jesus told us that He came so we might have an abundant life. A life that reflects His abundance, His goodness towards men. Your enemy wants just the opposite. He wants you to live out your days not understanding what Christ did for you in His finished work. The enemy wants you to live like the provision to trade places has not been made. The enemy wants you functioning in a "not-redeemed" state (redeemed means to be set back above in the place of authority)..


Because it means LIFE to YOU and God's good will in your life! It means DEATH to the enemy's plans for your life.  The enemy know it means not just life for you, but ABUNDANT LIFE.

When things are rough (some days it seems to be all day!), take 10 seconds and remember that Jesus switched places with you. Say it out loud if you can. Call a friend who believes the same and tell them again what the finished work has done.

Open up your mouth with thanksgiving and say, “Thank you Jesus for switching places with me – thank you for bearing all my sickness and disease in your body so I am every wit whole. Thank you Jesus that every curse fell on your head so I live curse free. Thank you Jesus that you gave me your peace – you were chastised so I could have total wellbeing (that’s another blog).  Thank you Jesus that the Scriptures tell me (2 Cor 8:9) that you were made poor so that I would be made rich.  Thank you Jesus I AM REDEEMED! (set back above in the place of authority) Thank you Jesus I am free!  Thank you Jesus for your finished work on my behalf – I believe it today – I receive it on my behalf today.”

And when the enemy comes seconds later to steal the joy or bring condemnation, let at least one more, “Thank you Jesus I’m free!” cross your lips.

You are effortlessly transformed by remembering Jesus’ finished work.

Your mind is made better by remembering the finished work.  He does the transforming – the Scripture doesn’t say to transform yourself. It says to change your mind for the better by remembering God’s goodwill, the finished work of His Son and you will be transformed.

I’m so glad He does it because I have tried and come up with less than stellar results. I’m guessing you’ve experienced the same thing too.  Sometimes it is a little hard for me to rest and let Him work…I’m working at resting – ha!

Thank you God for your goodwill towards us – thank you Jesus for finishing the work.  Help us Holy Spirit to remember it.  Amen.

Guest blog by Arin Rentz.