Living a Life Without Vanity

It’s been two months since I’ve updated my blog. I don’t spend much time on the computer nowadays; God is doing so much in the midst of our lives. Ups and downs… but mostly ups and mostly amazing. 🙂

I was brought back to a couple scriptures God had specifically spoke through to me over the past several years and I see how He’s been bringing hopefulness to me in the midst of my Israelite mindset (clueless and doubtful despite His faithfulness).

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no on can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

It is easy to become impatient and want everything now, but that leads only to vanity. For our labor not to be in vain we must accomplish His tasks in His perfect timing, with His perfect wisdom. It is not enough to attain wisdom – a life lived solely for this purpose is futile. We need practical application and must always work only for the glory of God.

God wants to sanctify us; our bodies, minds, memories, thoughts, emotions, and spirits. To do so, He destroys Satans attempts of ensnaring us. He knows our hearts and intent and in the perfect time advances us toward His ultimate purpose of perfection. ~1 Kings 1:5; 1 Chronicles 28:9 and; Psalm 91.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2

Placing God first in our lives is the wisest choice. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

God is building me up; molding me; transforming me into the perfect creation He has designed me to be. All that comes my way (and all that doesn’t because God intervenes to protect me) is to be followed with praise and thanksgiving. For none of His work is done in vain.

Lord, thank You for Your continual communication. Thank You for helping me in time of need and for Your company when I’m alone. You are who I turn to in all things. Thank You for Your protection. Continue to bless me and my family – whatever it means in Your eyes. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Stages of Grief – Deliverance

Denial — “I’ll be fine.” “How surreal.” “It’ll all work out.”
A heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that could be left behind.
Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!” “I don’t deserve this.” “Who is to blame?”
A realization that denial cannot continue. Difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.
Bargaining — “If we just pretend then it will be okay.” “We can just go back to the way it was.”
A hope that somehow reality can be avoided.
Depression — “I’m hurting.” “I’m lonely.” “I don’t have anyone to turn to.”
The beginnings of understanding toward the the certainty of an end. Because of this, silence can take place and the refusal for visitors – while much time is spent crying and grieving. This process allows disconnection from things of love and affection. A very important stage of grieving.
Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.” “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.” “It really will all work out.”
In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their circumstance and make plans to move forward.

Ruts

I read an analogy on ruts and it caused me to ponder my current situation.  I realized… I have created some ruts for myself.

When it’s muddy out and we make our way down the messy roads, we drive in the same spot and make some ruts.  Those are hard enough to get through, but then the sun comes and the ruts are nearly as difficult driving out of as driving in them.  After this happens, the only way to get rid of the ruts is to scrape the road and completely redo it – meanwhile, the road is good for nothing.

We can use this occurrence in correspondence with our lives.  Often times things get murky and muddy and when we stay in our comfort zones all we create for ourselves are ruts – they may not be that bad but then the sun comes and though things aren’t as murky the ruts are now obstacles.  Staying comfortable may seem to be what’s best in a particular moment but it’s not the most efficient in the long run.

Staying in our familiar place is more comfortable and if for nothing else at least we know how to handle it.  When we go outside of that comfortable place we enter an unknown which can be unsettling, but we need to step up and choose to step out.  It won’t always start off the easiest, but we’ll learn, adapt and change and eventually we’ll be on smooth roads again.

Thankfully we’re not doing this thing alone – He is right there helping us and teaching us, if we’ll only listen and obey.  Praise God!

The Courage to Heal

As a former wrestler at the hands of spiritual and emotional depression, I know how important encouragement and hope are to those who are in the struggle. Others who continue in their battle with this very real enemy, hold a special place in my heart. I pray for those in such a dreary mindset – it’s not easy to be in it, nor easy to conquer.

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25

When we are anxious or tormented by inner thoughts of excessive fear and concern, we can feel overwhelmed and depressed. Depression literally comes from pressing down all the anxiety and troublesome thoughts into our spirit.

Although it is a common struggle in lives today, thankfully, God provides ways out of depression. Bondages can be broken and fears can be driven away through the anointed words of the Bible, revelation through the Holy Spirit, and divine intervention through His servants. Pray, and ask God to reveal Himself to You and refuse o believe anything but the fact that He has heard Your cry.

But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you. Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well. 1 Samuel 16:14-16

Depression is widespread and varies in intensity from the “Monday morning blues” to suicidal despair. People become depressed for a variety of reasons. Saul’s life reveals the cause of a particular kind of depression: the Spirit of the Lord left Saul when David was anointed by Samuel (v. 13). In addition, “a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him” (v. 14).

There is a spiritual and psychological principle at work here. The distressing spirit from the Lord illustrates that in the absence of the Spirit of God, men are vulnerable to evil spirits. God alone governs the physical and spiritual realm. However, unless we submit to Him and His rule in our lives, we are no longer protected from evil and its destructive effects. It is in this sense that God is said to have sent the spirit.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.” Luke 22:31

Although the world most often views Satan as the equal opposite of God, he had to ask to tempt Simon. Therefore if the cause of the struggle is in the hands of our loving God, Who knows what we can bear, than we can trust that the length and weight of the struggle is bearable. The trials are allowed and supervised by the One who knows every detail about His creation, He knows our thoughts (Psalm 49:11) and He knows our hearts (Luke 16:15).

We are also told in the Word that God uses such struggles in our lives to be glorified. We are urged to be glad that we suffer as it is an opportunity to grow more in the likeness of Christ (Romans 5:1-5).

Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. Acts 3:7

Not only did God heal the man from this passage as Peter proclaimed it in the name of Jesus, but did so with immediate results. This type of healing is not just for Bible stories of old, but can be experienced today as well and with the same type of results.

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Do not be afraid, just believe.” Mark 5:36

God can raise the dead in the physical sense, emotional sense, and the spiritual sense. We must take heart and believe. Sometimes we must convince ourselves that we truly believe, because the greatest threat to experiencing this miraculous healing from Christ is the enemy within ourselves. We feel doubt, we give in, and we except it as part of who we are. It is not part of who we are.

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boys father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me to overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24

God can make healing possible even for the man who doubts. We can ask God to help us with our doubt and we can take captive our thoughts to the truth of God’s Word.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

When we do experience a healing or deliverance we are to never let our guard down. Satan will attempt to deceive us into believing that God didn’t actually do what He said He’d do. He’ll bring it back when a certain circumstance could cause a reaction. Be alert and disciplined in your actions. Call on the name of Jesus and rebuke the attempts of the enemy in His Name. As children of God, we are given authority in Jesus’ name over our enemies and that includes our own flesh.

My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes… The Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy, the Lord accepts my prayer. Psalms 6:7-9

You defend them. Psalm 5:11-12

The eyes dimmed are symbolic for a failing strength, grief, longings unsatisfied, or hope deferred. The frequent weapon used against the psalmist is the tongue which is as deadly as the sword (Psalm 57:4; 64:3-4). With most who are tormented by depression, the words by those around us, and especially those we care about, can be seen in the cycle of overwhelming discouragement and emotion. But we can rejoice because we have a defender. Go to Him to plead your case, be real with Him and pray for Him to reveal ways to help you in your present circumstance and He will when you get in the Word. It is only in His courtroom that one can experience redress for such attacks.

If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:11

Forgiveness is essential for healing as well as in the defense against the enemy. God gives us power and awareness through the Holy Spirit. It is our advantage over Satan, being prepared against his attacks. God does not leave us unarmed. We are to surround ourselves with those who inspire us, encourage us, and help us, and healing can then begin.

And don’t let Satan “outwit” you into thinking God can’t do this, or that what you’ve done or experienced is too big for Him to heal your pain, or forgive your wrongs. That is a lie.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

Victory is obtained through and by God alone. Nothing we do outside of God’s will, will change our circumstance. Pray and ask what He would have you do; listen, let go, and let God. Healing will happen in His perfect timing. Hold on, it will be worth it!

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. You will fill me with joy in Your presence with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. Psalm 16:9-11

Psalm 16:9-11 are words assurance by the psalmist; a confidence obtained only with God as refuge. The Lord will not abandon His children.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the lord, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13

Trust God. He’s proven Himself to be true, time and time again. Trust Him.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. John 14:27

The peace that Jesus offers is real and present. We can only find this kind of peace in Him. All else is temporary and only leads to a deeper hunger.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. Psalm 7:17

Praise must follow deliverance as surely as prayer springs from need if God is to be honored. Praises are to be given in anticipation of the expected answer to prayer. Use your words to glorify God. Speak things as if they were so ([God,] Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. Romans 4:17b). If one is struggling in their walk with God, praise Him that He is strong; if angry, praise God that He’s giving the gift of loving others; if depressed, praise God that He’s giving joy!

It is through our hardships and trials that God is perfecting us: when our faith is tested, it develops perseverance; perseverance leads to knowledge; and subsequently growth. It is in every experience we are to strive to find pure joy because God is forming us into His likeness (James 1:2-4)! Choosing joy takes courage and is no easy task. It is the day by day standing on God’s awesome Word. It’s not easy but it is possible with Christ, Jesus.

Be blessed!

Special Note: I battled depression for seven years. After several months of hearing from God, I experienced immediate healing and deliverance by choosing to believe that He did in fact do so. I have been made aware by revelation of the Holy Spirit of Satan’s tricks to bring me back to that dark, lonely, and secluded place. It has gotten easier to choose joy, though I still have my very hard days. Believing and standing on His promise and reminding myself (and the enemy) that in Christ I am set free, removes the tempter from my presence and I have conquered his feeble attempt again. It takes courage – courage to trust God.

Hope, Perseverance, and Worship

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”- Romans 12:12

“Be cheerful in confident expectation, persevering through burdens, continually in worship.” Romans 12:12

It is in Christ we have hope; a confidence of expectation, to persevere through our burdens and trouble, and the ability to worship always. It is in Christ that I can lift my head in all the moments that I just can’t do it on my own. My prayer this morning, in the words of the apostle Paul, is for those who are without hope.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) but God demonstrates His own love for us in that Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23) Who was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25). You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6); Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living (Romans 14:9).

We are sinners and the debt to sin is death. We are all condemned to eternal death because we have chosen to sin against God. Sin has separated us from Him. But God has provided a way for us to be with Him. Jesus Christ. As the ultimate living sacrifice, Christ came, living a sinless life, bearing the sins of the world in His death on the cross, and upon conquering death He rose on the third day.

If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-11).

Faith and action come together to reveal a surrender of the will. Don’t be deceived that believing is enough or that confessing is enough – demons believe and shudder (James 2:19).

Making Christ the Lord means allowing Him the due authority over our lives. If we confess He is Lord, we choose for Him to be the controller of our lives; we choose to adhere our lives to His. We entrust our beings into His perfect hands.

When we reconsider the sin in our lives and heed the remorse it causes (repent), we choose eternal life, if not we will be dead (perish) and choose eternal death (Luke 13:5). With repentance, we become a tree bearing good fruit. Acts of the sinful nature are adultery, fornication, impurity, lust and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, quarrels and contentions, jealousy, indignation and passionate fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions and disunion, factions, heresies, envy and murder; drunkenness, revelry and orgies, and the like (Galatians 5:19-21).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love and charity; joy, cheer and delight; peace, rest and prosperity; patience and perseverance; kindness, usefulness and goodness; assurance, faithfulness, and loyalty; humbleness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Jesus said if we love Him, keep His commandments. He promised that God would give us a Helper Who would abide with us forever. The Spirit of Truth, in which only those who know Him can receive. Jesus promised not to leave us alone (John 14:15-18), but that He would send the Comforter to teach us all things, and bring to our remembrance all the things that we have heard from the Lord (John 14:26). It is from God through the Holy Spirit we are given the ability (power) that enables us to live as God commands us to. He wants no one to perish but wants all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

He gives us armor to wear, giving us protection and power to accomplish His Will. He gives us our helmet of salvation, redemption, and forgiveness. It is in Christ’s sacrifice that we remember to protect our minds and imaginations. We guard our eyes to keep us from temptation and focus only on Christ. He gives us our breastplate of righteousness to keep our heart and emotions safe that we wouldn’t be governed by our feelings or things in our environment, but by truth. He gives us Truth to wrap around us like a belt to safeguard us from error and sandals of peace to guide our steps. We are to plant our feet in His Truth and He will empower us to stand firm against attack. He gives us faith as our shield to protect against the enemy’s fiery arrows, fellow soldiers to stand against his schemes, and God’s Word as the sword of the Spirit to always be ready to deflect attacks and pierce hearts with The Truth (Ephesians 6:10-20).

God doesn’t want a blind or naive commitment. As a builder estimates the cost to build or a king evaluates military strength before a battle, so a person must consider what it means to become Christ’s disciple. Jesus makes it clear that the cost is everything; a complete surrender (Luke 14:28-33). He wants the commitment to be personal and real. He wants time invested and for us to desire Him because He desires us.

Consider Hope.

God bless.