(If you want to skip the spoiler, go straight to paragraph 2.)
This Memorial Day, I have taken the rare opportunity to immerse myself in fiction. I have spent the majority of this day in the world of Panem fighting the Capitol with Katniss Everdeen a.k.a the Mockingjay. She’s the face of a rebellion against the slavery that has been enforced by the Capitol for 75 years. The Capitol has taken absolutely everything she holds dear. Her family, her friends, her home they have turned them upside down. They have even succeeded at turning the man she loves against her to the point that he sees her as an absolute threat that must be killed. The Capitol has brainwashed him to the point that he really believes she is the one who killed his family and friends, not them.
This is where I am the books, blown away by the mind control of the enemy. In these books, the Capitol has used the people’s TVs to convince them of their impotence against the Capitol. They’ve used the Hunger Games to force the people of Panem into constant submissive fear. They fear the Capitol’s Police Force, their children’s names getting picked for the games, never having a full belly. And as I read I can’t help but think of the mind games Satan plays on us. The strings he pulls to make afraid to leave our homes, afraid to take that crucial step toward freedom. He crouches at the doorway like a roaring lion, a toothless Tiger as harmless as a kitten playing with a ball of string. Yes he still looks ferocious and terrifying enough to keep us from taking that step towards rebellion and freedom.
Will there be a battle to gain that freedom? Absolutely! But there’s already been one, on the cross at Calvery. We need only to step up and claim that victory as our own. We have to gather together the courage to take that step toward freedom. That’s the one thing He can’t do for us. He won’t force us to accept His gift of salvation. Neither does He force us to claim his victory as our own. He simply waits patiently on the other side of the door, encouraging us to take that step. Willing us to believe Him and His words of Truth over the Toothless Tiger’s.
Honestly I think that is what Jesus longs for more than anything else, for us to believe Him. Not just in Him, but to believe Him. To trust His Word, His Spirit’s leading and comforting us every step of the way. To believe the life-giving truth that Jesus loves us, I mean really loves you … personally. And that everything He did, does and will do is completely out of an intimate love for you.
That my friends, is the stuff rebellion is made of. It started at the cross and hasn’t stopped since. Rebellion against Satan. And the weapon we weild is a weapon of Love and Truth.
Jesus loves you.
Take a step through that door past the kitten and into His arms – you will never regret it.
Posts Tagged With: Satan
(If you want to skip the spoiler, go straight to paragraph 2.)
Friday was an anniversary of sorts for me and my ministry. And looking back over it all I am so overwhelmed with how far we’ve come and how much things have changed. And looking forward at the calendar, things are still changing! It’s all very exciting, and a little nerve wracking as I’m trying my best to simply keep up with everything that God is doing. But He is so faithful and He has held me through it all. I am so blessed by you all and the work that I have been called to do for you. It has changed me in ways I NEVER could have expected and yet I look at myself today and I am so very thankful for the work the Father has done in me. I love myself today. I love who I have become and who I am. I don’t know that I could have said that four years ago; at least not in a completely honest way. I didn’t love who I was because I wasn’t looking at myself from God’s point of view. I wasn’t seeing my situations, my past or my faults through His eyes of complete love. I was choosing to see them through Satan’s eyes of condemnation. When I think back on how I treated myself it makes me want to weep. I never gave myself permission to fail. And when I did fail, I would lay there and let Satan beat me brutally – because I thought I deserved it.
Last Thursday I visited a home for troubled girls. I didn’t really sit and talk with any of the girls, but I was able to hear a few of their stories and experience a small nibble of their day with them. I walked the same halls they walk, I ate the same lunch they eat, and I talked with their teacher. And through it all I realized how alike we all are. We all deal with the same demons, we all fight the same Enemy, we all allow him to beat us verbally until his face turns blue. And we do that because he has us convinced that we deserve it.
There was a time when we might have deserved it, if we had lived before Christ came. But we don’t. We have the luxury and privilege of living after Christ’s death. And what a privilege it is! Because of Jesus we can look at ourselves through Son-glasses. Glasses that were forged through the fires of hell as Jesus walked through them FOR US, because He knew that they were far too hot for us to stand.
In a strange way I almost envy those girls. Because at the ripe old age of 17 (give or take a few years) they will have walked through something so tremendous, with Jesus, that their faith will be far less shakable throughout the rest of their lives. Their foundation for their life will be so much firmer having gone through what they have been through. Not to mention the works that the Lord will have them do once they have finished the program! Yes. While I do not envy their sufferings, I do envy the relationship with Christ that will come from those sufferings. These girls will be leaders, strong leaders, you just wait and see! God has big plans for them!
“And Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ Then he bowed with all his strength and the house fell upon the lords and upon the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.” Judges 16:30
-Turn to Judges 13 and the story of Samson so that you can read along.
-What is Samson’s mother not to eat? “drink no ______ or ______ drink, and eat nothing ______” Why? “for the child shall be a ______ to ______ from the womb to the day of his death.”
-Manoah never doubted the word of the Lord, how can we draw strength from his story? What notes can we take that might lead us to walk with more faith in our own lives?
-God’s name is Wonderful and He is the God of wonders, what does that mean to you personally?
-What “inciting incidents” have occurred in your life lately? What “horrible things” have been done or have happened to you that may be leading you down an unexpected road to Egypt in order to save lives?
-The Israelites bound Samson and gave him over to the Philistines, how is that any different than killing him themselves? If you hire a hit man to kill someone, you are still found guilty of murder, though you didn’t commit the murder yourself. Think about this in a spiritual sense, as a brother or sister in Christ, have you ever bound someone and handed them over to the Enemy? Has anyone ever done that to you? How would that happen anyway?
-“then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands.” The imagery of this verse calls me back to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. They too were bound hand and foot when they were thrown into the fire, yet when they emerged their clothes nor their hair smelled like smoke. The only change to their appearance was that the ropes that had bound them had been burned off. Have you been bound and thrown into a furnace of life? Know this, the angel of the LORD – Jesus, is with you in that fire. In what ways has His presence been with you and comforted you in this time?
-How are your bindings being burned off?
-What things in your life do you see as useless that God may be trying to use for your good?
-Know this, YOU are not useless. I am learning that this is the Enemy’s ploy against us. Satan wants us to believe that we are useless in the eyes of the LORD, yet nothing could be further from the Truth. We are God’s own flesh and blood and Spirit and so much more valuable to Him than we could ever think or imagine. Believe this, God wants to use you in a mighty way my friend. Perhaps through this very circumstance that life is handing you now…
-The Israelites as they came out of Egypt and were stuck between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, they saw no hope for life. They saw no way out of the mess they were in. They said to Moses, “were there not enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to die”. Little did they know or understand that they were on the verge of the largest miracle they had ever or would ever see. They didn’t know that their God could part the sea; He had never done that before. All they knew was what was right in front of them, trouble headed their way and fast. But Moses, he looked to God. The One who makes ways where there are no ways. The One who sees and the One who Saves. This place that you’re in, where it looks hopeless and deadly, are you standing on the edge of the Red Sea on the verge of parting? Is God, perhaps, about to do something that He’s never done before? Raise your eyes above your circumstances. He is with you and not against you. And because God is with you then WHO or WHAT can be against you? Like Samson ripping the gates off the hinges at Hebron, is God about to rip some closed doors open for you, part some sea, light up a new path?
-Delilah was desperate to discover the source of Samson’s great strength, but we know it don’t we?
-The Spirit of the LORD is our great strength as well! Delilah has told these lords over and over again that she knew the source of Samson’s strength, only to have it be discovered that she did not. Yet she did not give up in seeking his source of strength. She was persistent in a way that many of us can glean from today. Because the very thing that she was seeking is something, someONE whom we are told to seek while He still can be found. We too should seek after the gift of the Holy Spirit diligently, because God is willing and generous in the gifting of the Holy Spirit!
-It is significant that the story mentions Delilah tormenting him before his strength left him. What does 1 John 4:18 tells us about torment and strength?
The love that it speaks of is God’s agape, unconditional, love. Not our love for Him, His love for us. In His love for us there is no fear. Rather, when we are focused on His infinite love for us, His love causes our fears to flee.
-Was Samson’s weakened state permanent?
Neither is our own state of emergency. It is not permanent, it is but a brief and momentary trouble, and it will not last forever. Praise be to God!
-The Philistine lords called Samson in to “entertain” them; they called him in so that they could mock him and torment him. Is this very thing that causes their demise?
On the day that Jesus died on the cross the Enemy mocked Him and spit at Him, yet it was this very thing that caused Satan’s demise as well. And the very same is true for us. The Enemy taunts and mocks us like the Philistines mocked Samson and like Goliath mocked David. However, the very rock he uses to trip us is the rock we use to slay him! Satan has no power over you!