Looking Back – Satan’s Web of Deception, Self Abuse

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I am currently studying a five-day Devotional entitled, Don’t Look Back, day four to be exact. Last week I shared an earlier devotional on the same subject. You’ll recognize the red title if you look it up.

Today, the lesson is focusing on how looking back feeds the flesh. Looking back is a form of self-abuse in itself, but it also causes you to return to your past. The reason we look back is because we find comfort in our experiences. God instructed Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Once out, they no longer had the comfort of food or shelter. These creature comforts were important to them and somewhat balanced the harsh abuse they experienced as slaves.

When you look back do you look for the comforts often derived from a negative experience? Did your spouse, partner or parent mistreat you and then lavish you with gifts? Did people befriend you to gain what you have? Where you punished and then fed well to offset the punishment? Did your boss promise you the raise and then give it to someone else, and placate you? These are all past experiences that people choose to recall because, despite, the abuse – they were familiar, and oddly enough safe memories of experiences past.

The Israelites blamed Moses for the discomfort they were experiencing in the wilderness. In Exodus 17:3 NLT, they cried, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst.”

They had little food during the wilderness period and complained about the good things they had in Egypt, such as good and shelter. They cried, “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:5-6 NLT.)

The crux of this story is that their comfort was attached to the abuse they received as slaves. Your story may not be fraught with physical or emotional abuse, but looking back instead of forward is abuse in itself. As I shared in the earlier Post, you cannot look in the rearview mirror and focus on what is behind you, and expect to move forward and avoid potholes at the same time. There are many scriptures in The Bible where God instructs us to have faith and look ahead. One of the most notable is Lots’ wife’s experience. The angels instructed them to leave Sodom, and leave their belongings behind, and God would spare their lives. They were also instructed not to look back at the destruction cast down on the city. Lots’ wife defied God’s command, looked back anyway and was transformed into a pillar of salt.

When we experience life’s challenges we can do one of two things, operate in the natural or choose to follow the Lords instructions. It is safe to say that most of us have not learned from the experiences God has shared about looking back. We still seek the (dis)comfort of our past because we find relief in those experiences. God continues to impress that while the transition may be difficult, the unknown is not to be feared because He is with you. He provided the Israelites with daily manna and he will do the same for you. Consider the transition lessons in faith, dependence, and obedience. God cannot guide you if you will not look forward and follow His instructions. Times may be tough, but provisions are provided, just as the manna was provided daily. Faith in God is the key to transition. We often find ourselves in the midst of the storm because we do not focus on God and His ability to change the circumstances. Our career advancement stalls because we look at our past and what we have accomplished, or not, and not what God will provide. Our relationships fail because we look at past experiences that shackled us, for whatever reason, and not at the strength of our current relationship. We look at our neighborhood and want more, but feel we cannot attain it because nothing in our past demonstrates the ability to have more. We look back most often when we are not satisfied with our life.

Most importantly, we look back to when we were not saved, before we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, a time when we relied on ourselves, when we managed on our own, made mistakes, failed and wallowed in misery, rather than looking to God for direction, depending upon Him, and being obedient to the Word.

Satan uses the deception of looking back as a control mechanism. He encourages us to back at the past, relive the experiences that are wrapped in abuse and find comfort in slavery. He wants us to remain enslaved where we will never experience the blessings God wants to bestow upon us. He wants us paralyzed, cemented in salt, forever frozen in time.

God has given us free-will, liberty to choose. We choose to look back or focus on the present and what lies ahead. We choose the known and the uncertain. It is safe to say, life is not static, we all experience change and challenges, the key is that the challenges are often the very lessons we need to prepare us for the next step in our walk with Christ. Looking back retards our growth as Christians. Rather than looking back, take Jesus’ hand and walk with Him. The unknown is less frightening when we grasp the hand of a loving parent.

Don’t look back for a sense of comfort. Look to the future, live in the present, and God will lead you into your blessings. God will never leave you or forsake you. The chorus to a Sunday hymn, In The Garden, sums up our relationship with our Lord, Saviour and Father:

And he walks with me
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Serenity Prayer7

Images – Google Images; Biblestudytools.com;Bibleverseimages.com

Scriptures – Biblegateway.com

Resource/References – YouVersion.bible.com;Lyrics, In the Garden,Google.com

Visit my Young Christian Warriors site. The earliest Posts were written to help parents guide and train their children to access the Word of God to direct their steps. Later Posts were written for everyone, though I believe the Posts to parents can serve as reminders for all ages.

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, dailyinspiration-lisasthoughts.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

God Loved Us First

L O V E

God breathed life into us. He created us in his own likeness. He gave us Free-Will and saved us from sin through the sacrifice of His Son. He loves us when we conform to his will and his way, and when we stray. He loves us!

How then can we hold back love from others? Love is not a commodity to be traded for goods, services, and kindness. Love is a gift to be given freely with no expectation of return.

The Christian definitions of LOVE confirm that it is a gift from God, and in turn should be a gift from us to others. It is not a practice or a choice, it is a commandment. Love seeks the welfare of all, those you are in agreement with, those you oppose, those who mean you harm, those who ‘have your back’, those in the group of mankind that you have no relationship or knowledge of. Love is a blanket that warms the earth and changes the outcome of hate that infects the world and causes chaos and derision brought on my Satan. Love is the remedy to many ills, beginning with you. It frees you from hate, intolerance, anxiety, and strife. It removes the boundaries or restrictions that once held you hostage. Love is enlivened through obedience. And, through our obedience, Love strengthens our relationship with the Lord.

Love is an intentional act. When we feel oppressed, angered, or mistreated, we should purposely replace those feelings with love. Why? Love is not a feeling but an action. It is the power God gave us when he sacrificed His son. Love is the way we move from feelings to obedience, to dependence, to freedom, and our relationship with our Father, our Lord, and Savior.

Clarifying Bible Definitions of Love

Love is a deep enduring concern for others’ welfare; affection, friendship (Gen. 37:3; Matt. 5:46). An essential characteristic of God that comes only as a gift (John 3:16).

Christian love has God for its primary object and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments, (John 14:15, 21, 23; 15-10; John 2:5; 5:3; 2 John 6.)

Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse or a feeling, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom. 15:2, and works no ill on any, 13:8-10; love seeks the opportunity to do good to ‘all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,’ Gal. 6:10.

Images – LAB Photos; Google Images; Bible.com

Scripture – Bible.com; Crosswalk.com

Resources – The Student Bible Dictionary. Karen Dockrey, et al. 2000. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. W.E. Vine. 1996

Visit my Young Christian Warriors site. The earliest Posts were written to help parents guide and train their children to access the Word of God to direct their steps. Later Posts were written for everyone, though I believe the Posts to parents can serve as reminders for all ages.

~God’s Divine Influence
~God’s Unequivocal Love
~There’s more, visit the site.

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Love Your Enemies

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Loving your enemies is perhaps one of the most difficult commands to obey. Not only are we instructed to love our enemies, but also to pray for those who persecute us.

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When we stop loving our enemies, we fall into the hands of Satan. We have observed the world in flux, chaos reigns. It is time for us, deliberate Christians, Christian Warriors, to love our enemies more than ever before. Our love will turn the tide of hatred. The more we hate, the stronger Satan’s army becomes. The more we love, the stronger the Lord’s presence in the world will be felt.

Warren Wiersbe summarized Matthew 5 by saying,  “we must measure ourselves not by others but by our Father. This includes our words (vv. 33-37), our responses to injuries (vv. 38-42), and our dealings with our enemies (vv. 43-48).”

To quote Francis Bacon, “in taking revenge, a man is but even with the enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.”

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Today, I challenge everyone to pick up your cross, obey our father, and begin loving our enemies. Once we accomplish this, we will begin to experience the fresh air of freedom, absent of strife, and chaos. We will begin to breathe deep breaths and exhale misery and turmoil. We will be obedient followers of Christ, standing on the front line in the face of adversity hand-in-hand with our Lord.

Images – Google Images; YouVersion, Bible.com

Resources – Nelson’s Quick Reference, Chapter-by-chapter Bible Commentary. Warren Wiersbe. 1994

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

The Peace of God

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As Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I feel it is important to share our experiences with the Lord. This is my testimony.

Hearing the voice of God lead you and direct you is the most rewarding experience in life. It is greater than giving birth or anything else that is satisfying in your life. It elevates you and takes you to a place of peace that is greater than our understanding. You experience serenity and the reverence of God. I can’t even image the ‘peace’ we will experience in heaven. NKJV, Philippians 4:6,7 is clear and succinct.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Every believer has the ability through prayer to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding because at this point we have entered into God’s heavenly space.

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‭‭This peace exceeds anything we can understand, and when you find yourself there, your relationship with the Lord becomes so much more fulfilling. You long for the indescribable experience and desire to continually live in it. The indescribable peace guards our hearts and minds, we are in the presence of Jesus. The resistance you once felt to obey the Word falls away. Suddenly you no longer doubt, question, stray from, or desire the world as you did before. Having entered this space, I can say, the world no longer draws me as it did before. You see the war, the strategies the evil one uses to lure you into an immoral life has been exposed. You no longer want to conform to this world, your mind has been renewed and your sole purpose in life is to prove what is good and acceptable and perfect in the will of God. Your behavior changes. You no longer hold precious the things of the world. You simply long for our Lord and Savior and an ever-growing relationship with him. When you experience God’s peace, the scriptures make sense. They are no longer intellectual jargon, but become ‘The Truth’, without question or premise. The world becomes less inviting, it loses its hold on you. You enter into God’s will. It is more than good, it is perfect and pleasing to your being.

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This experience brings meaning to ‘humble yourselves’. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, Humble means to make low, to be abased; lowliness of mind. Abase, to bring to a humble condition. You are brought to a humble condition when you lavish in this peace. You can’t be anything else but humbled because you know your righteousness is Gods and not our own. Our salvation is bright and unyielding. It is clear we are filthy rags but loved none the less. Grace and mercy become living words and the peace becomes real.

Praise the Lord for this experience. He is my strength, my refuge, my rock, my Savior and my Heavenly Father.

Images – Google Images, LAB’s Collection
Scriptures-Biblegateway.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

 

 

LOVE – Truth in Action

 

 

This month the central theme has been obedience and dependence, and today we add a third, love. I consider these three actions as defining elements in our lives.

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Two require submission and one action.

Love is one of the three things God gave us: Faith, Hope, and Love. We abide in Love through Faith and Hope. Obedience and Dependence are the vehicles in which Faith, Hope, and Love operate.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT

Obedience and dependence do not require outward interaction, they are a state of being. Love, on the other hand, requires a second party and is an action taken.

God’s love is eternal and our wellspring. It never dries up, we never have to search for the living water. He loves us and it is our place as Christians to love others.

The first step in loving others is loving yourself. The question is, if you are commanded to love your neighbor as you love yourself, how can you love others if you do not love yourself? To love others, you have to first forgive yourself for all your actual and perceived sins that haunt you. Once you have accomplished this and believe you have been forgiven, then and only then can you show God’s truth, which is love, through your actions. 

It is important to note that, we are not saved through our works, we do not live in the Old Testament dispensation. Through the New Testament, we are new creatures in Christ and live through GRACE. We cannot be saved through this action, we are saved by grace and only grace. The action is only a demonstration of our faith.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

Further, we should not misinterpret this act as a deed, it manifests itself as action. It is not a work that we do to receive Gods love, it is a gift. God loved us first, and because He loves us, we love others and act to meet their needs. We love others sharing Gods love for us through our actions.We are a branch of His tree. Our actions are demonstrations of God’s love for us.Love4

Fruit of the Spirit3Love is the most important Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. Without agape love, Christ-centered love, we cannot show the other Fruit listed. It is through the action of Love that all other Fruit of the Spirit is given life.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

Christian love

As Christian Warriors we must all strive to love others as an action. This simply means we step out of our comfort zone to assist others in need of help; others can be a co-worker, friend, family member or stranger.

I find that when I am nudged by the quiet voice of God, I need to step out of my comfort zone. Take a moment to discover when God nudged you and caused you to pay greater attention to others. We should all become more aware and present in the moment. It is important that during these moments we take immediate action. If we do not take action, i.e. the failure to take action, you will find these moments tend to haunt you.

Practice displaying God’s love through your actions. As we do so, we become more Christ-like and mature in the Word as Christian Warriors. You’ll become the person others speak about saying, “I don’t know what it is about Sam, there’s a warmth and caring I sense when I am around him.” This means others are beginning to sense the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. It also is a sign that you are doing God’s work.

Love is truth in action!

 

From Verse-by-Verse Commentary, 1 John 3:18, by Grant Richison, June 17, 2001, BibleStudyTools.com.

Scriptures – BibleGateway.com; BibleHub.com; Bible.com

More on Fruit of the Spirit from Lisa Blair:
lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com/Posts – Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice, Feb 22, 2018; Valentine’s Day, Temporal Love, Feb 21, 2018

YoungchristianWarriors.com/From Punishment to Correction and Healing, Feb 21, 2018; Core Values Early In Life, Sept 23, 2017; Children-Fruit of the Spirit, Sept 22, 2017; Activating the Fruit of the Spirit in Children, Sept 19, 2017
Images – /bible.com/111/1jn.3.18.niv; Google Image

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox.

Blessing + Instructions = Fulfillment of Gods Promise

 

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

I know without question, God unconditionally loves us. Remember Summer Bible Camp singing, ‘Jesus Loves Me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…’, what I didn’t know as a child was, God always blesses us, but wants it to be an interactive experience, hence the blessing is accompanied by ‘instructions for proper use’.

Most of the time, we receive the blessing, forge ahead and later ask, why is the blessing less than I expected? We see the blessing in its fullest. We acknowledge the blessing. We do not follow the instructions associated with the blessing.

If we unpack the scripture, we read:

  1. We are called to be free.
  2. We should not indulge our freedom in the flesh.
  3. We should humble ourselves.
  4. We should serve one another in love.

 

The Instructions Mean:

1. We know we are called to be free and received Jesus as our Lord and Savior on our own recognizance, we were not forced to ‘saved’, it was our own passion to desire more of God,  we chose to be saved. We think this gives us a license that emboldens us. Spiritually we are emboldened and equate it to its root, to encourage. In the flesh we are not emboldened, we translate the term as, empowered, generated by self-endowed, blazon, and self-righteous attitudes.

2. We know we should not indulge in our freedom through self-indulgence, yet becoming emboldened we forget it is not our own doing, but a gift from God, and is intended to be used to serve others, not ourselves.

3. We know we should be humble, but instead, we insert ourselves as the subject of the equation. This means we omit our Lord as the subject, rather giving ourselves the credit. Being humble takes practice and requires honesty to give credit where it is due.

4. We know we should serve one another in Love. Loving our neighbor and treating them as we treat ourselves in the Great Commandment, Jesus said, “this I leave you…”

These four steps will maximize our blessing. Yet being human, we get caught up in our own aggrandizement and forge ahead without using the instructions. How many of us have bought something and when it arrived we unpacked it, separate the parts and began putting the item together only to find that we should have read the instructions? Prayer is much the same, we can receive the prayer without applying the instructions and receive part of what God intended, or we can gratefully receive the blessing, thank God for answering our prayer, and follow his instructions to fulfill the blessing as intended.

Our problem is that we are not selfless people as God desires, we are self-absorbed people. We tend to follow the instructions but seldom through to the end. As we mature in the Word through our actions and deeds the instructions become involuntary and becomes one with us. We are free, but should not indulge the flesh, and should always be humble and loving.

Big order, but one we should work to strengthen and apply throughout the day because we will never meet perfection on earth, but we can continue to strive to be ‘on the way’.

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One practice in learning to pray is to strengthen our understanding and application by memorizing scripture.

I’ve included a few, but do not stop here, search the Bible for other scriptures to help you mature in the Word. I view this process as a lifelong commitment.

Scriptures

“We love because [God] first loved us.” John 4:1

“Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  John 4:11-12

“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we are dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4

 

 

 

Images-Google Images
Scriptures-Bible.com; BibleStudyTools.com

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Valentine’s Day, Temporal Love

Today is Valentines Day. It is the day to display and recognize a loved one, but not in the agape kind of love, the Christ-like love, the outpouring of love for all of humanity, kind of love, it is – temporal love.

The topic of love, agape love, is hard to achieve yet mandated by God. It is one of the main reason Jesus was sent to earth.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.”
‭‭John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭NASB‬‬

This type of love can only be accomplished through Jesus Christ. We have to be dependent upon him and his love to even begin to love others, even those that have hurt us, lied to us or abandoned us in some way.

We need him because it is impossible for us to love others, as we love ourselves. Most of us do not love ourselves and, therefore, cannot love others without him.

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NIV

Gods perfect love and unmerited favor are the only way we can love others and let others see God in us.

“And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love”. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭13‬ NIV)

Can we take this step today and ask God to be present in us and help us live a life that demonstrates agape love?

 

Additional explanation of AGAPE LOVE

1. More about agape love definition from Wolfram Alpha.com

Agape love –  selfless love of one person for another without sexual implications (especially love that is spiritual and nature.)

2. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, 1996, pp. 371, 382.

Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9, 10… Christian love as God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all and implicit obedience to his commands, John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10; 1 John 2:5, 5:3; 2 John 6. Self-will, that is, self–pleasing, is the negation of love to God.

Agape love, as used of God, expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects producing and fostering a reverential “love” in them towards the giver, and a practical for“ left towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to see together.

Scriptures – YouVersion, Bible.com, 2/14/2018
Images – Google.com, Safari.com

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