In my previous post, In The Midst Of A Cloud, I mentioned the worry of becoming distracted and being drawn out of a continuous presence with God and the joy that only comes from Him.
What if an animal suddenly appeared in the fog and surprised me?
Well, sadly, in life it is inevitable. There will always be “animals” that come looking for food, water, or shelter. What makes the difference, however, is how we handle them.
In 2003, my two older children (who were both still babies at the time) and I moved with their father to Mesa, Arizona so that he could attend law school. I remember that on certain Saturday nights, the local news would put out a special about Arizona wildlife and how to live amongst the animals. The Phoenix metro area was quickly growing, people from all over the world were moving there, and new construction was being put up constantly. We humans had invaded the territory that they knew as their home and they were confused, and some were even angry. There were tips on what to do if a predator was in your yard, how to back away from a rattlesnake, who to call should you find a Gila monster, snake, coyote, or other wild animals on your property, and more. They included tales of forewarning with past examples, including one of a child that had been carried off by coyotes because the family kept feeding the coyotes and one day it showed up to find they had forgotten to put food out. Their biggest point that was made over and over: DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS!!!
I knew this from living in the country in Kentucky, and from stray cats in the suburbs of Southern California. Unless you want an animal to stick around, never offer it food or water. It becomes dependent on you and will refuse to leave, eventually annoying you and possibly cause grief in retaliation for its anger.
So how should we handle the “animals” and distractions in a spiritual sense? The same way, don’t feed the animals.
Stress, negative thinking, sin, drama, gossip, worry, anxiety… the list goes on. It will always be there. It is inevitable that we encounter some of these things occasionally if not on a daily basis. But do we feed it? Are you offering them water without even realizing it? Maybe they are just silently sitting in the corner enjoying the shelter. The Bible gives a clear instruction on how to avoid feeding these things with our thoughts and time:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. -Philippians 4:8
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
5 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,
6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. -2 Corinthians 10:3-6
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. -2 Timothy 2:4
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. -1 Corinthians 10:31
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:21
And many, many, more…
If my thoughts and actions steer clear of the animals, when they appear I will be able to handle them in a way that my Father God approves of, especially if I am making the effort to stay in His continuous presence. HE MUST COME FIRST! However, if I take my eyes off of God and put them on the problem before me, I am leaving His presence to feed the animals. My mind quickly becomes overwhelmed and tired, unable to make sense of what is going on and missing the presence of my Savior.
It is not an easy effort to keep our flesh from luring us away from where our spirit wants to be. It has to be a constant conscious decision to stay in His lap and ask God how I should handle the animals. It requires studying the Word of God and applying scripture to each and every situation. Not feeding the animals means that sometimes, though I could possibly fix a situation, I can’t. I have to stand back and remove my hands from the project so that He can move or so that I am not dragged into a place where the cloud (see the previous post mentioned at the beginning of this post) can’t move to. While sometimes God will have me help a situation with something He has willed me to do, I have to pray and use discernment to know whether I am working in a safe garden or if there is a critter there waiting to bite me. From time to time, I have to refrain from conversations that would lead to feeding animals, possibly hurting the feelings of someone that does not understand. No, it is not easy, but it is SO worth it and over time it becomes more and more a second nature.
One key thing to remember, and though this is not the context that these scriptures intended, it makes a point:
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
What do we learn from this? Read it a few times and see if you catch this as well:
I have one last point I want to make with this, and it is the biggest.
In fact, it is more our thoughts than anything, I believe. Think on these things Philippians 4:8, remember? Maybe we didn’t physically react to an animal. We ignored it and walked right into the house and it went on its way. But when you got in the house, did you sit at the window and wonder what happened to it? Did you lay awake and worry that it was going through your trash? Did you worry that it was a skunk and was going to spray and you’d have to smell it all night?
We have to take captive our thoughts, ladies! The moment an animal appears, we need to turn from it or rebuke it, depending on the situation, and then pray every time it comes to mind. We have to make a conscious decision to not dwell on the animal but to pray about it and move on. That’s it, it’s done. No calling a friend and talking about it more than to ask for prayer to the point that another animal, gossip, has been birthed. No allowing your thoughts to run wild until you forget you left the gate open and anxiety wanders in. Keep the gates closed, don’t feed the animals, and stay in His presence. It’s not easy, it’s not always pleasant, but it is necessary to keep the animals away.
I touched on this before, but I want to repeat it again: Always remember when it comes to the animals, Ephesians 6:12.
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.
In any situation, don’t start to feed and run with the animals. Wage not, meaning don’t gossip, argue, or act nasty. Don’t fret with anxiety. Your battle is not with another person. Our battle is with the enemy of our souls. Jesus already won that battle! So wage not, but intercede! Intercede in prayer for the situation and leave it at the foot of the cross.
Disclaimer: This will more than likely be my only personal thoughts shared on this matter because I typically like to keep it between me and God. I despise the constant bickering that has become social media and with that being said, I will not be engaging in debates or arguments. I just felt compelled to share my feelings so here I am. I also want to go ahead and inform you that you will not find arguments in support/opposition towards Law Enforcement, Black is Good/White is Bad, White is Good/Black is Bad, or my political viewpoints in this post. If you are trolling, this post is not for you.
For starters, I ask that you don’t jump to conclusions as to what my thoughts are before reading this post, seeing as I am a conservative white woman. This isn’t about I’m right, you’re wrong, vice versa. I do not exclude myself from being a receiver of this post just because I am the one writing it. As the old saying goes, I had to eat it first.
I am not a racist. I believe God looks at the heart, soul, and spirit of a human being, not the outward appearance or skin color. I have met many beautiful people with ugly souls, and I am a firm believer that what’s on the inside is what counts. I have family of all race and nationalities. They aren’t my family by blood or marriage, but by choice. Not only am I speaking about my brothers and sisters in Christ, but also about those I truly count as family, as though they honestly were blood.
In fact, one of the sweetest women in my family is a black woman who was my worship leader until marriage led her to a different area of the state. (GASP!! I belong to a multiracial church!) She has been my friend for many years and we refer to each other as Twin. Believe it or not, people actually get us confused. I refer to another black woman I know and love as Auntie. My kids have never known her as anything else. Then there’s the black man who pastors in a neighboring county and coincidentally shares my last name. My husband affectionately refers to him as his brother, not just in Christ. All 3 of these, and many others not mentioned, call my in-laws Mama and Papa. And these are just the ones in America.
I also have black siblings in Ghana, West Africa. My father-in-law very recently had open heart surgery and my sister in Ghana has not failed to send me a daily message asking how her Papa is doing. Our pastor friend over there calls my mother-in-law Mama Linda and even named one of his daughters after her. Yes, her name is Mama Linda. This doesn’t even begin to include the many others who are white like me, or Mexican, Indian, Native American, etc. that make up my family. I could never mention them all by name.
Anyway, that is not the purpose of my post, just a real glimpse into the background of my heart.
The point is this- I am not in any way, shape, or form surprised by the current events and chaotic state of our nation. It didn’t surprise me this week, last month, or even last year. Why? Yes, there is the whole thing that according to the Bible certain things have to be played out, but that’s not even it. It’s because we are living in a Godless nation. I 100% believe the United States of America has turned her back on God.
What is God? 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. When there is a Godless nation, it becomes a loveless nation. A nation without God and His love can only be filled with evil and hate. It’s as simple as 2+2.
This is the reason why these sad and depressing current events don’t shock me at all. What more could we expect from a broken, ugly, cruel place that has denied the love of Jesus?
Black lives Matter. White lives matter. Police lives matter. Christian lives matter. All lives matter. It’s all overwhelmingly heartbreaking that it has come to this. Apparently if you support one you’re automatically against the other and it’s ridiculous. And as ridiculous as it all is, do you want to know who I am really grieving over? The Church.
Please don’t stand up and applaud yourselves if you feel you fit this category.
I am grieved in my spirit because I am beyond disappointed in The Church. I have prayed this past week and even had to rebuke my own thoughts. I do my best to stay out of the social media circus because all it does is harm instead of help. And you know what I’m seeing? I’m not seeing God’s people shine His light in the midst of all this chaos. I’m seeing what is supposed to be His Church tearing each other apart with their words and actions. I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what part of all this we think is going to lead us into heaven.
See, as I scroll through my news-feed and I find I can’t tell my churchgoing friends apart from my non-churchgoing friends, I am grieved and disgusted. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to be upset or even mad, but I do know the Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 to be angry and sin not.
Now, I’m not talking about the “Christians” who are nothing more than modern day Pharisees, Sadducees, and Hypocrites. I expect that from them. I’m talking about us that call ourselves the True Church of the Most High God…you know- the one that is supposed to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. The one Peter wrote to in 1 Peter 4:8 that is supposed to have fervent love for each other cause it covers a multitude of sins. The one Jesus expected to keep the greatest two commandments in loving God with our all and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Listen, we do not get to pick and choose our neighbors. How can we honestly say we love God when we’re picking which neighbors to stand up for instead of operating in the love of the Father? When the True Church begins to operate in the same hate as the world, we might as well forget about being there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun. We won’t be going. And that is a shame.
I realize by the world’s standards the things we spew out of our mouths (which is essentially where we stand in our hearts—Luke 6:45) are justified, but we aren’t supposed to be living by the world’s standards. Remember? Or have our hearts lost focus?
If anyone had the right to rant and rave about unjust persecution and the loss of innocent life it was Jesus. And if I remember correctly, His only social outburst during those current events was, “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)
Whether they are right or wrong, criminal or innocent, honest or crooked, black or white—God calls us to forgive. Will it be easy? No. But it would certainly go smoother if we fight this battle on our knees in prayer and not with our words and actions.
As I previously stated, I am truly disappointed in what is supposed to be The Church and ashamed to be included in what the world is seeing us represent right now. What I’m witnessing does not in any way reflect the God we’re said to be serving.
It’s time for REAL men and women of God to stand up and stand TOGETHER with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of color, nationality, or background. It’s time we sincerely represent the God who is love and who has called us to serve Him and our neighbor. We must be careful in our claims as The Church. We must search ourselves. Wolves in sheep’s clothing will not be making the cut.
We are called to love in word, deed, actions, reactions, justice, injustice, and at all times. The world may be allowed to decide when love shuts off, but God’s people don’t have a choice- no matter the circumstance or situation. He calls for love and requires forgiveness.
I pray we begin to walk in this before it’s too late.
Last year in March, my Mom (Janice) felt to organize a day of prayer. She created a Facebook event and we invited some ladies we knew to join us. The day went well and we all agreed that we should do it again.
This last February, Emily posted a video on YouTube that she felt led by the Holy Spirit to discuss becoming a woman on the warpath.
March rolled around again, and my Mom said again that we needed another prayer day. When I went to create the Facebook event, I was surprised to find that we were almost exactly one year from when we had done the last one… So I kept the same date, thinking maybe we would have a yearly event.
The event grew fast with women coming together from all over the world, and we quickly decided to create a Facebook group. Given the word that was given to Emily the month before, I asked her if it would be okay to continue on with the same theme. On our first prayer day, we agreed that this should not be a yearly event, but once a month. God is definitely up to something here!
Back up to before we even reached the first day of prayer, we were hearing reports of prayer requests being answered! This had nothing to do with who organized it or who was praying… It was the number of ladies UNITED together and storming Heaven with prayers on each other’s behalf.
Since then, we have lost count with how many prayers have been answered in one way or another. Not every single request receives the miraculous outcome we hope for… but very many do! Homes restored, strongholds torn down, bodies healed, finances miraculously covered, favor where there was not much hope, and the list goes on and on…
We are praying daily… but we would love for more to join us that are willing to pray for a move of God. Women who are determined, women who are weak and need others to stand in the gap, women who love God and know that Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever!
Think of it as a virtual 24 hour prayer room! No matter the day, the time, or the circumstance there is a place to find someone awake that is willing to kneel in prayer. No need is too great or small… it can even be unspoken! We will pray with you, for you, cry with you, rejoice with you… We are an army, we are sisters, and we don’t stop praying until there is an answer from God.
Not interested in the Facebook group but would like to join us on the 15th every month?
This is what God gave me one morning last week and I have felt impressed to share it with you.*
8 Steps to Becoming a Woman on the Warpath:
1- Assume the Position
2- Know Your Enemy
3- Be Sober
4- Suit Up
6- Power Up
Join me on the warpath!
*I have never done this before, nor wanted to, but I felt compelled to post this. Please forgive the million “umm’s.” 🙂
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.“- John 10:10
Most of us know exactly how it feels to have our life sought after by the enemy. We know what it’s like to have him steal our joy, peace, etc. We know what it’s like to have him striving to kill and destroy us. And most of us probably also know the feeling of weariness that comes with it…the pressure to give up and quit fighting.
Here’s the thing… Jesus ended that verse with the assurance that He is here to give us life, and that more abundantly! If He is for us, who can be against us? In John 16:33, He says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He has overcome the world! Therefore, if He has overcome the world, and He is abiding within us, then we are also overcomers!
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We do not have to give up! God’s word says, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” -2 Corinthians 4:8-9 and verse 17 goes on to say, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”
Don’t you know that makes the devil so mad?! For us to realize that we are overcomers through Christ and that the enemy cannot prevail against us… that is a powerful revelation! Even when we think we can stand anymore, God is carrying us. We are victorious!!
Staring at a stop sign
Watching people drive by
T Mac on the radio
Got so much on your mind
Nothing’s really going right
Looking for a ray of hope
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Oh, you’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know
The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling You
To see the video of this song on YouTube, click here.
Most ministries, testimonies, blogs, etc. come from someone’s pain and hurt. Some pain is physical, others emotional and spiritual. Though not all of my pain comes from the same place, the pain I am going to share with you today is spiritual and emotional. I know that this is petty to most folks, because it’s not your battle. It’s mine and I’ve tried to lay it all down. It is a very real pain that cuts to the heart.
I have always had a calling to sing. From the time I was a little girl, my heart’s desire has always been to sing for Christ. That is where my heart is. No, I don’t have the worlds greatest voice, but God has flowed His anointing down through generations in my family. A mantel that has been passed. Satan doesn’t like the kind of anointing that touches hearts. He doesn’t like any kind of anointing, so he tries to shut it down any way that he can. He will use anyone that will allow him to do his dirty work. Sometimes, they don’t even realize it.
To get to where my pain comes from, I have carried with me for years a desire to sing for Christ, whether it would be in alter service, a choir, wherever God would have me to. I choose NOT to sing worldly songs in the public eye because I feel like that would hurt my witness. What hurts is that I have a little sister, that is a Godly, praying woman, and she gets to do most of everything that my heart had desired to do. She taught herself to play piano so that she can sing what she wants. She has access to other musicians to help play for her. Sings in the choir and leads the youth choir in their worship team.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my sister dearly. She is my best friend and I’m glad that she is allowing God to use her in many areas of her life. There is this part in my heart that says, “Why God? This is not fair. You said that if I put You first, that You would give me the desires of my heart.” But if not her, it would be someone else.
I try not to let my pain manifest if I can help it. Every now and then, there is a little something that will trigger it, and I have to push it away to the best of my ability. It heals over and starts to fester up again, never really scarring over.
I feel as if I’m here with my hand raised, screaming, “Here I am God! Over here! Here I am. Use me!” I do have a servant’s heart and I do serve in many areas with the public. I’ll continue to do what He wants me to do. My main desire is to be in His will and not in His way and to lead others to Him. That is what our goal should be in the long run.
As a teen, I spent some time living in Kentucky with my Aunt and Uncle on a little farm. We had dogs, cats, goats, a pig, horses, and TONS of land to do all kinds of exploring. I learned a lot living there that I would have never learned living in Southern California in the city.
My Aunt Cheryl had an old water pump in the front yard for decoration. One day, we discovered some robin eggs in a nest inside the pump. Naturally, we all became fascinated with these eggs, just waiting for them to hatch.
A couple weeks later, summer was sneaking up on us. My Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Jerrial were out in the yard working on some things. My cousin Lynn and I were inside watching a movie and heard a lot of commotion, but didn’t really think much of it. Teenagers, ugh. 😉 Minutes later we heard a tap on the big front window. We both screamed as we turned around and saw my Aunt holding a HUGE dead black snake with a garden tool.
“The snake was near the water pump, and it was determined to get those eggs. I couldn’t let him eat them!” My Aunt Cheryl exclaimed.
Some times the devil sneaks up on us when we aren’t paying attention, just like that snake was after those robin eggs. We store up our gifts to use later and leave them in a nest, thinking they are perfectly safe… when really they are not. He’s right there, waiting for us to turn our back so he can snatch them right up and keep us from using them.
We have to be strong in the Lord. We must be diligent to do what God has asked us to do. We must not let the devil win! We must engage in spiritual warfare and make sure that satan knows we are NOT going to give in! We must pray, fast, read our Bibles, and reach out to the lost!
I beg you, please don’t let the enemy take what is yours. And if he already has, then it’s time to get on your knees. Go back into the enemy’s camp and take back what is yours! And if you need someone to pray with you and help you, remember there is a whole army of believers willing to back you up. All you have to do is ask!
God bless! Fight on!