The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Gerd Altmann at Pixabay.com
Our Heavenly Father planned for us to be conformed to the same image as his Son, Jesus Christ. In other words we are to emulate him.
However, our carnal flesh prefers to conform to the ways of this world. Now, the celebrity culture means many of us seek to live our lives as close as possible to those we admire and believe represents the epitome of success.
Jesus is, and was a celebrity in heaven, before he came to earth. However, he chose to set his privileges aside and made himself poor, so we could become rich in the things that truly matter, such as an eternal destiny beyond our wildest dreams, peace of mind, freedom from guilt and fear, hope for our future, and the absolute assurance of an Almighty God’s protection and provision.
Now in this current climate of the Covid-19 virus and the resulting havoc wrought by each nation’s lockdown measures, doesn’t this sound attractive?
Unfortunately, even though Jesus has already paid the price for us to have and enjoy an abundant lifestyle of Kingdom privileges, we have a spiritual enemy, who is determined that we should not.
So he fights. He intimidates. He lies, both about us and to us!
And when you measure the quality and effectiveness of our lives against the life of Jesus whilst he was on this earth, it would seem that Satan’s tactics are succeeding in most of our circumstances.
Dear reader, we can either remain passive, or fight back. We can either accept the status quo, or get on board with God’s programme and engage in spiritual warfare.
How do we do this?
In prayer! By standing our ground in faith. By choosing to live our lives as victorious overcomers.
So, are you praying?
Are you praying effectively?
Are you praying without ceasing (i.e. developing a consistent prayer lifestyle)?
Are you emulating Christ, or seeking to emulate an ungodly celebrity’s lifestyle?
If the former, you are ensuring a victorious future. If the latter, you are most likely heading towards a disappointing denouement.
Apoorva Gupta, a writer at the Thought Catalog, makes the following observation:
The choices you make and the decisions you take have a long lasting impact on your life. They make us special, put a bar of distinction between us and everyone else. Our lives are a series of choices we’ve made so far. We live with those choices for the rest of our lives.
[…] We can’t undo the past, but we can always learn from it. Choices are the building blocks of our lives and despite all the mistakes one makes, a new day brings with itself new opportunities and a whole new world of choices.
If you are interested in reading the rest of what Gupta has to say regarding how choices shape our lives, click here:
Reader – you have a choice. So, choose you this day whom you will serve, whom you will emulate!
Carol (aka Lady Cee)
Effectual, fervent prayer avails much!
Do you need a resource that encourages you to develop a consistent and confident prayer life? If so, don’t hesitate to check out the links below.
I recently shared a post about Iago (a character in the Shakespearean play Othello), who became so angered when his superior did not choose him for promotion that he set about destroying this man’s marriage.
The Bible tells us that anger rests in the bosom of a fool. Well. I certainly don’t wish to be a fool, nor do I want to be considered a fool in God’s eyes.
In fact, I don’t want anger to rest within me, to make its home in me. I don’t like the idea of me making anger comfortable in my life, allowing it free bed and board, so to speak.
I am referring to the type of anger that is corrosive. The kind that destroys either yourself as you harbour it within your heart, or motivates you to hurt others.
The Bible shares various stories which reveal how unrestrained anger can eventually escalate out of control and manifest itself into something evil. Cain killed his own brother (Genesis 4:3-8) and Haman plotted to annihilate all Jews (Esther 3:1-6).
I recognise and admit that I’ve struggled in the past to reign in my anger, so that it does not harm me, so that I do not stew in resentment or bitterness because of what people have done, or said, which has hurt me.
When I look back over my life, I can see that I failed to obey the Bible’s command to let go before sundown, any issue which arouses my anger. And, if I’m honest, I still struggle with this sundown deadline.
However, as I seek to be changed into Christ’s image, and as I consider more and more all that Jesus willingly suffered on my behalf, in order that I might become a member of God’s family and be conformed to the image of his Son, the greater has been my desire to deal with those areas of my life which are contrary to God’s will, contrary to his Word, contrary to my standing as a disciple, and decision to take up my cross and follow Christ.
To me, unrighteous anger is like an illegal immigrant. It needs to be discovered and deported! In fact, unchecked anger has to go, since it opens the door for the Enemy to come in and take up residence within our lives! I am sure you are familiar with that old adage about giving someone an inch and them taking a mile. We can be sure that the devil is no different.
Dear reader, are you seeking to walk in life as a victorious overcomer? Then let me encourage you today to examine your hearts. And if anger, has been a long-term bed-fellow in your heart, recognise it has the capacity to cause significant internal damage.
Jesus went to a lot of trouble and suffered immense pain, so we can be made whole, so we can lead victorious lives. Now, we can acknowledge the huge cost Jesus paid on our behalf, and avail ourselves of the abundant life he desires us to have, or we can pander to the carnal dictates of our flesh and continue to live our lives, as victims. The choice is ours!
Victim, or victor? Which will you choose?
Carol (aka Lady Cee)
Choosing to walk as a victorious overcomer
Are you looking for a resource that will help and encourage you to develop a consistent and confident prayer life? If so, don’t hesitate to check out the links below.
I came across this 2mins video yesterday and just felt I had to share it with you all. If you’ve seen it already forgive me – maybe God wants to draw this to your attention once again.
It would be easy to make the Covid-19 virus situation turn you into a victim. Don’t! Resist the temptation to complain and/or criticise. Instead, be a part of the solution. Be an instrument of blessing.
Whether through your prayers, and/or through practical, loving action, become a burden-bearer, a joy-disperser, a victorious overcomer.
Women of Warfare followers and visitors, I pray you are keeping safe and well, and taking advantage of any lockdown situation you may be in, to draw closer to God.
Have a blessed week!
Carol (aka Lady Cee)
Are you looking for a resource that will help and encourage you to develop a consistent and confident prayer life? If so, don’t hesitate to check out the links below.
I came across this post today, which really touched my heart. So on the off chance that someone needs to know how loved and special you are and that there is nothing you may be going through or have faced that you can’t come through, I am sharing this post.
You matter and there are reasons you can continue this life despite how hard it’s been.
If someone has spoken negative words over your life, if someone has assessed you in a negative light, if someone’s wrong estimation of you has hurt, offended, or immobilised you, I’d like to encourage you today dear reader. You do not have to accept what that person has said as the last word.
God’s estimation of you and God’s Word to you and over your life, is what counts.
He has said that:
You are fearfully and wonderfully made
You are chosen and precious
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you
You need not fear or be afraid because He is with you.
Read God’s Word, so that you are familiar with what he had said about and to you, so you are aware of how he feels about you.
Accept God’s Word. He is not a liar, nor is he ever going to change his mind or act contrary to what he has said.
Speak God’s Word to and over yourself. His Word is alive and active, so release its power to work within your life TODAY. Don’t wait for tomorrow, or for a more convenient time, or for when you “feel in the mood”.
Choose to be a victor!
WoW followers and visitors, I wish you a victorious week.
CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com
“As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection – a time to release old thoughts and beliefs and forgive old hurts. Whatever has happened in the past year, the New Year brings fresh beginnings. Exciting new experiences and relationships await. Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future.”
― Peggy Toney Horton
For years, decades even, I could not let go of the malicious things people said and did to me. Believe me when I say, I was not being totally paranoid. I had people in my life who’d decided they were going to systematically target me and undermine my self-esteem, my reputation, relationships and career prospects.
Christian or not, when such spiteful and unwarranted behaviour continues from day to day, week to week, month to month, even year to year, it can take its toll on your character, on your relationship with God or others and, on your ability to grow and develop as an individual, as a disciple of Christ. It can even take its toll on your ability to enjoy every-day life.
As the years clocked by, I allowed these people to get into my head. I allowed bitterness to take root in my heart and I allowed resentment to influence my actions. I became a victim.
It was only when I suddenly woke up to the fact that if God loves me unconditionally, cares about me and has complete control (which I did believe), and that if God is omniscient and therefore aware of my predicament and the actions of those perpetrators (which I had no doubt that He is and was aware), then my Father God must be allowing the circumstances—and if He is allowing it, then it is for a reason.
My choice at that point was to either submit my will to His, or rebel against it. Submitting would demonstrate to both God and Satan that my frequent prayer: “not my will Lord God but Your will be done, in and through my life” was not just an empty platitude.
It took much fretting, agonising and dying to self before I understood that God was not going to respond to my complaints, or cries of outrage, or bargaining, or unhappiness. I finally had to accept that my Father God responds only to faith and obedience.
Now, I’m not saying that I’ve arrived, or that I’m perfect (far from it!). However, I can now confidently declare that I no longer see myself as a victim. I can humbly testify that my predicament gave me ample opportunities to make mature choices, appropriate God’s strength, use his spiritual weapons and learn to walk in life as a victorious overcomer.
I share this post, having been inspired by today’s devotional reading, which focused on the following verse of scripture:
…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal…
(Philippians 3:13 NKJV)
Dear precious woman of God,
Dear WoW follower or visitor,
We are at the threshold of a brand new year.
And so dear reader, as you enter 2018, where applicable, may I encourage you to leave behind any disappointments, failings, grudges or other victim behaviour from your past?
May I encourage you to enter into this New Year with a godly resolve to be the best person you can be as a new creation in Christ?
May I encourage you dear Child of God to appropriate and live the best life (i.e. the God-quality type of life) that you possibly can, so you may be that bright spiritual light, that sanctified dispenser of salt, that God-glorifying and victorious overcomer, you have been called to be?
This Week’s Prayer Focus:
Let’s pray for the New Year ahead and the fresh opportunities it brings to walk in a manner that pleases God, to grow in our knowledge of and relationship with him and, to enjoy our every-day lives.
Loving Father God,
I want to praise and thank you for your goodness, mercies and blessings throughout this current year.
Thank you for keeping both me and my loved ones safe from harm, danger and evil. Thank you for supplying my daily needs. I ask that you keep me ever appreciative of your divine presence, protection and provision. May I never take my salvation for granted, or squander the priceless privilege, which you have granted to me as your heir.
Lord God, you already know what 2018 has in store for me. I choose to enter this year with an expectation that whatever I face, you have given me the ability to reign in my circumstances through Christ, who strengthens me. You have given me the spiritual resources to emerge as a victorious overcomer.
I commit my dreams, goals and vision into your hands. Your Word advises me to commit my works to the Lord and to acknowledge you in all my ways, so that you may direct my paths. I therefore do so in faith and with confidence that throughout this new year, you will cause all things (both good and bad), to work together for my advancement and welfare.
Lord Jesus, I want to thank you that you ever live to make intercession for me and I thank you for being a faithful high priest. As I offer my life as a daily sacrifice and in service to my Father God, I ask that you make it acceptable in His sight. I ask that you cause my accomplishments, worship and prayers to rise as sweet incense before God’s presence.
Holy Spirit, I acknowledge my need of you and therefore call upon you. Enable and empower me to walk in agreement with God’s Word and in obedience to His will. Fill me afresh with your anointed presence each new day. Fill me with the peace of God that transcends natural understanding. Fill me with the wisdom of God, so that I know what to do, how and when to do it. Give me ears to hear and understand my Father God’s guidance and direction. Help me to recognise His voice, to differentiate between what He is saying, what the Enemy implies and accuses, or what my selfish instincts dictate.
Father God, thank you for hearing my prayer today. I believe you’ve heard me and because I have asked in faith and have prayed in the name of your Son, Jesus, I am confident that you will grant my request. Amen.
Sunday’s Supplications invites you to not only read the posts but also participate in the prayers. Each fortnight, I hope to introduce a new theme and prayer focus. You are welcome to print off and use each prayer provided, either verbatim or adapted for your particular circumstance. Even better, you can construct your own prayer and share with others by linking to this post. Please note, you do not have to be a blogger to participate.
***** ***** *****
Women of Warfare followers and readers I wish you a successful and triumphant year, filled with God’s abundant blessings and perpetual favour.
Have a wonderful week!
CREDIT: The above CC0 images come courtesy of Pixabay.com
Now this is not a flippant question, politely asked yet not genuinely concerned about or expectant of an answer.
This is a genuine desire to come alongside you, to discover what your dreams or problems are, what your achievements or struggles have been. This is a question asked from a genuine desire to know you, to encourage you, to weep or rejoice with you, to be your friend.
…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother – Proverbs 18:24
And so I ask again, how are you?
As 2017 moves to a close, are you satisfied about where you are in life, in your relationship with God? Are you content?
I decided to look back in my writing journal to see where I was at around this time last year. I found an entry which I’d written on the last day of 2016. As a part of this post‘s message, I include an edited version of the journal extract below:
It’s been a while dear diary. It’s been a while. And what brings me back to this journal? Well, War Room. The movie. Wow! I watched it last night. And I also started reading the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer (a main character in War Room).
Am I glad that I purchased these items! Am I glad that God (or the Holy Spirit) prompted me to do so! Am I glad for the inspirational contribution to my life from the author and writers/producers of these works.
Wow! I feel challenged. Stirred up. I feel a new sense of determination to pray and intercede like never before. I feel challenged and able to take on the task that God gave me years ago, to pray for my family, for my loved ones… to intercede for those issues he lays upon my heart.
Mum did it faithfully for so many years. However, there came a time when she was not able to carry on because of the Alzheimer’s disease. How I wish I was as consistent and faithful in prayer as dear mum had been. Don’t get me wrong I pray. And if there are serious things happening, I’d most certainly tackle the situation with prayer. But I’ve not been as persistent as I believe I should and need to be.
But I want that to change. I want to be a doer of God’s Word, an executor of his will. I want to please him. I want to glorify him. I want to emulate Christ. Be a faithful follower. Disciple. He deserves that. He so, so, so, deserves it. Deserves my loyalty. My faithfulness. My 100 per cent commitment. My instant and total obedience.
After all he has done for me. After all he has done for the entire world. After all that he has made available to me, so that I can walk victoriously in life, so that I can use the power of attorney with which he has entrusted me, to help make the lives of my near and dear ones divinely protected, safe, secure.
He is worthy. So very worthy. And I have spent too much time wallowing in self-pity. Sulking because I didn’t get the life I desired and thought I deserved. What could be more precious, of higher quality than the Zoe life, the God-ordained destiny, the glorious future of a blood-bought child of God, who has been redeemed from the hand of the Enemy? Redeemed from the curse of the law? A life where I’ve been made an heir of God and joint-heir (i.e. equal heir) with Christ?
What could be better than knowing WHATEVER happens to me, God is able to cause all things to work together for my good? That has to mean for my utmost welfare, my personal development, and my eventual success—right?
So why, would I act as if there is no hope? Why would I live on a low spiritual plane—as if I’m in the same boat as those who do not know God, who do not revere God, who do not acknowledge or believe in him? Why?
The only reason is because of deception. Deception by the Enemy and even of myself. Because if you are a hearer of God’s Word and not a doer you are deceiving yourself! It says so quite plainly in the Bible! (See James 1:22)
And… because of immaturity. Yes! Despite being a woman with several decades clocked up, I’m still acting as if life owes me a gold-plated, everything-in-the-garden-rosy, pain-free and problem-free life—especially since I became a child of God and consider myself to be a prayer warrior!
But Jesus didn’t have life easy. Even God does not have things easy.
Don’t believe me?
What about that time when Satan tried to overthrow him in heaven? What about the two-thirds of angels that mounted an insurrection? And now that they’ve all been thrown out of heaven, what about the havoc they wreak on this earth, defiling hearts and motives, causing people (God’s created masterpieces), to blaspheme and blame him for demonic atrocities?
So if Christ did not have it easy, and if God doesn’t have it easy why on earth should I be any different?
I blame the children’s fairy tales. I blame Hollywood. Make-belief fantasies which make us feel that there’s an unadulterated and perpetual happy-ever-after that we deserve. And if we don’t have it, if we aren’t living it, then we feel cheated.
Get real Carol! Go LIVE the life that God has blessed you with when you gave your heart to Christ. Go LIVE the life he ordained for you to enjoy—the abundant, victorious life he has graciously and generously made provision for you to freely partake and enjoy.
Go LIVE that life with the realisation that an abundant, God-glorifying life does not guarantee you a problem-free, or pain-free future.
Does the above resonate with you in any way?
It’s amazing how quickly one can forget your vows and intentions.
It can also be discouraging to realise that once again another year has passed and those cherished dreams have not materialised, those troubling situations remain virtually unchanged.
So, where are you dear friend in terms of being a victorious overcomer?
Have you taken stock? Have you evaluated? Or have you given up?
Whilst writing the last sentence, a verse of scripture came to mind. It’s from Philippians 4:13 and says:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Perhaps this verse is a pertinent message from God for someone who is reading this post right now.
If so, then to God’s Word let me add the following encouragement:
You can do it!
You can move from a place of defeat, despair or disappointment to a position of personal strength and empowerment.
You can walk in life with your head held high and with God-confidence.
You can change your status from victim to victor!
I don’t have to know your circumstances. I don’t have to know what negative and overwhelming odds you’ve faced or what difficult situations are currently challenging you.
I don’t have to know the specifics of your life, yet whatever you may have experienced, I believe you can move forward into the New Year with faith, determination and purpose. In fact, I’m absolutely convinced that you can emerge a conqueror.
And what makes me so sure?
Because I know and believe God’s Word
Because I’ve experienced the integrity of God’s Word for myself
Because, before I released this post for publication, I’ve prayed for you.
Granted I don’t know who you are and of course I don’t know what you’ve been going through, or what lies ahead of you BUT I know a man who does. I know a God (a living, breathing, AWESOME God), who cares enough for you and me to number the hairs of our heads—not just count them but number them!
So stop and consider that for a moment. Can you imagine such incredible depth of detail regarding someone’s love for you? Do you know anyone who cares about you that much?
God loves you dear reader and the above detail mentioned is only ONE of many ways in which God has revealed his unconditional love, concern and commitment for you.
Now sometimes Satan, or circumstances, succeed in distracting us from acknowledging this fact. And sometimes Satan and/or situations rob us of our faith and seeks to displace our trust in God and stir up irrational fears.
Dear reader, dear precious woman of God, we’ve just celebrated the fact that God sent his only Son (Jesus Christ) into the world to make a difference in our lives. Are you utilising the strength of Christ, the power of prayer, the anointing of the Holy Spirit to enforce and enjoy that difference?
As we pass from this year into the next, I pray that you and I will go into it with the strength and confidence of Christ. I pray you and I will go into the New Year with a hope that acts as a stabilising anchor for our souls. I pray that you and I will pass over into the New Year with a peace that surpasses normal understanding.
Dear reader, my prayer is that God blesses us with true heart-felt and immeasurable joy. Furthermore, I pray that we will experience an unshakeable inner knowing that God is in control and is able to do exceedingly abundantly above our highest hopes, thoughts, desires and dreams.
Women of Warfare followers and visitors – have a great, God-glorifying New Year in 2018!
CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com
I have a confession: one that I’m really not proud of. But tonight at church, and really for the last couple weeks, I honestly have just felt…nothing. It’s like I’ve been spiritually numb. But tonight was different. I was actually getting angry. I was sitting in the pew, and just inexplicably fuming, being critical of […]
I wanted to share this post with you today as an illustration of my belief that every day we are presented with a choice – will we grapple with life as victims, or soar over our circumstances as victorious over-comers?
When life doesn’t run as perfectly as we’d like, it’s easy to blame God, or others, even ourselves. But when we do so, we garb ourselves with the debilitating cloak of victimhood.
Prayer, praise and pressing through that temptation to sulk, wilt, complain or despair, is hard work and excruciating to our flesh but it forges a path to victory, it silences the Enemy of our souls and it is glorifying to God!
My guess is that whatever has happened to you in the past, whatever injustice you have suffered, whatever unfortunate happening has occurred, if you have spent days, weeks, months, years, obsessing over that situation, it has not changed your circumstance by one iota!
Am I right?
So why do we do this?
Why do we repeat negative thought and behaviour patterns that have proven over time to be non-effective, even perhaps self-destructive?
May I encourage you dear reader? May I suggest something to you that might seem challenging?
Get over it! Move on!
Dear reader, I am not being harsh or unfeeling and I am not being unsympathetic. Believe me, I’m speaking firstly to myself and then to whoever happens to be reading this post, to whom my message may apply.
Quit cursing, nursing and rehearsing
I get it. You feel bereaved.
Someone’s words or actions have left you feeling angry, or bereft, even savaged. And you are hurting over that sense of loss.
Do you acknowledge what happened? Yes!
Do you allow it to be your focus, to the point that it immobilises you? No!
Stop nursing the hurt or outrage. Stop revisiting the scenario in your mind. Stop allowing it to haunt your waking moments, your get-into-bed routine. Stop examining in minute detail what was said or done, how it made you feel, how you wish you could make that person pay for what they did, or how their words, their actions, have left you feeling used and abused, or rendered you bottom-of-the-barrel in the estimation of others.
Are you not permitted to be open and transparent about how you feel? Yes!
Should you begin to manipulate the responses of others toward those who’ve hurt you? No!
Quit cursing, nursing and rehearsing:
Refrain from rueing the day you ever got involved with so-and-so. Stop wishing God will take vengeance—on your terms! Stop vowing to never speak to that person again, or deciding I will never, ever allow myself to be hurt in that way again.
And definitely, absolutely, stop talking about it in negative terms to other people. Stop filling the ears of friends and loved ones with “tales of the un-respected”. Stop inviting others to share your biased view point.
Stop being a victim!
A change is as good as a rest!
So what should we do if we consider ourselves to be a victim of someone’s malicious gossip, spite, or unwarranted attack?
In the natural realm, whenever we’ve sustained wounds, whenever we experience a debilitating or potentially harmful condition, we take appropriate action. We seek expert advice and assistance.
And, if we’ve applied corrective measures, if we’ve been operated upon, we require recuperation. We allow time for a full recovery.
Now during this period, how well do you think we’d recover, if we kept removing the bandages, or undid our stitches and began poking around in our wounds?
How do you think we’d be received, if we invited everyone we knew to look at our sores, or examine our scars, again and again?
Woman of God, what if you should find yourself in need of surgery, or some other form of medical intervention? Would you think or believe that you will never recover, regain strength, return to your normal self? Of course not!
You trust the surgeon. You believe the prescribed medication will do its job. You know if you adjust your lifestyle and obey the expert’s directions, you will eventually bounce back.
In fact, dear woman of God, if in the natural, you did sustain a sore or serious wound, would you not apply salve, or seek appropriate assistance in order to alleviate pain and encourage healing? Would you not consider it irresponsible to allow it to fester unattended?
So why not apply this same way of thinking when it comes to your emotional hurts and wounds?
Women of God – Apply that Spiritual Salve!
Biblical truth reveals:
…he (Jesus) was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed!
(Isaiah 53:5 The Living Bible)
So who is the expert when it comes to inner hurts?
Who can and has prescribed the correct spiritual remedy for your specific ailment?
Who can assist you in your recovery programme?
The Holy Spirit!
Do you believe this? Then may I encourage you dear reader to accept the opportunity for inner healing that Jesus’ blood has purchased for you? May I encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful and FREE spiritual resources that have been made available to us as children of God?
What are those resources?
The Word of God.
The person of the Holy Spirit.
Dear women of warfare, I am not only seeking to encourage you to increase your prayer life, pray fervently and effectively, I am also wanting to encourage those to whom it is appropriate, to adopt better behavioural patterns, so that we are not stumbling through life as walking wounded women (victims) but living as authentic, spiritual overcomers (victors).
I am seeking to inspire you to imitate Jesus, trust your Father-God and co-operate with the Holy Spirit.
As women of God, let’s rise up to the level of thinking and acting that enables us to experience abundant life—the life for which Christ so cruelly suffered, in order that we might freely enjoy.
Are you with me?
Then let’s start by making a personal pact with ourselves. Let’s quit mourning about what cannot be undone. Let’s stop obsessing over the whys and the wherefores… the he said this and she did that… the if only… blah blah blah.
After all, if it’s not changing the situation, if it’s only entrenching us in ungodly and self-harming paradigms, leading us into self-sabotaging re-actions—is it not foolish to continue engaging with such pernicious ways of thinking and behaving?
Women of Warfare followers and visitors – arise and shine! Let’s make a quality decision to allow the love and power of God to become our focus, so that his glory can be seen upon us and can be manifested both within and through our lives.
From now on, let’s make a decision to quit mourning and moaning about the past and move on.
Let those in agreement, say aye or Amen!
Do I enjoy playing the victim, or am I willing to change?
***** ***** *****
If you know anyone to whom this message may be timely, please don’t hesitate to share it. Have you found this post helpful? Let me know what aspects resonated with you, or what your response is to my message. Thank you for your time.
CREDIT: the above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com
Don’t let what you have gone through define you. But allow the lessons learned to teach, mold, and guide you to who you were meant to be! With Love, Dr. KL ❤ Author of “Everyday Isn’t Perfect”: http://amzn.com/B01GNLNQ28.
I’ve not written in my writing journal since 1stJuly.
I’ve not worked on my project since 30th June.
I’ve not been actively writing on my two blogs.
I’ve been lackadaisical for 15 days – possibly longer!
Even today, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Didn’t feel like pursuing my passion. Didn’t feel like writing.
At the back of my mind, I’ve known I should push past this feeling and just get on and do. I know when I put my mind to it that inertia flees and the interest returns. Even now as I write, I sense the spark of enthusiasm igniting. And, strange though it may sound, even my fingers feel exhilarated, as they move across the keyboard. I’m back – just like that!
So what kept me away?
At least that’s part of the story.
The other part is that the Enemy is at work. I know he is. I know he does not want me to succeed. He does not want me to fulfil my potential. He wants another of God’s protégés to go to their grave with their gifts and abilities, dreams and vision still sheathed, undeveloped, unexpressed and unused.
And yet, even though I’m aware of this, I give in to uncool feelings. I give in to my I-don’t-give-a-damn inertia of the moment and allow it to take me into extended periods of self-sanctioned slothfulness, or complacent inactivity. And whilst I’m doing this, I hear a little voice saying “I don’t care” and I listen to that voice and silently endorse its rebellious attitude.
But now, as I write, I realise that deep down I do care. I realise that voice was not me at all, or if it was me, then it was the voice of the old Carol, the non-productive Carol, the I-do-things-when-I-feel-like-Carol-and-right-now-I-don’t-feel-like!
I know when I behave this way that later I’ll be remorseful. Later I’ll beat myself up for all the time I’ve wantonly squandered, watching NCIS, or watching some other person who has fulfilled their dream, whether it’s purchasing a house in the country or abroad, or cooking their way to celebrity fame, or some writer whose script has been made into a film or TV programme. I know it but yet I give in to the voice and call of apathy.
And during this time, I surf. I stalk the sites of other writers and bloggers. Successful writers and bloggers. I read. I admire. And I feel jealous. I read. I admire. And I hope to one day experience similar success. One day!
But that day has not arrived yet.
I have no one to blame. No one to point the finger at, as the reason for my sudden stagnation. No one but me, myself and I!
I can’t even blame those who stir my anger, who orchestrate scenarios designed to humiliate, whose antics provoke me to sit and stew over the way I’m being treated, or grieve about my loss of self-esteem. I can’t blame those whose actions or words I’ve allowed to distract me from my goals and my determination and my vows of self-discipline; whose targeted tactics I’ve allowed to sap my motivation. I can’t even really say: “the devil made me do it!”
Because in reality I am more mature than that – aren’t I?
I know better than to give in to that listless, why-bother? mode – don’t I?
I know I should gird up the loins of my mind and let the negative thoughts go, let the offending persons go, whom the Enemy uses following key moments of achievement, sustained productivity, or exuberant success, to knock me off my man-made pedestal.
I know I should let them go from my thoughts, let them go from my desire for retribution, let them go from the un-Christ-like deliberations entertained within my heart. I know I should do so, and do so quickly, graciously, mercifully, the way God does for me, but to do so feels all wrong to my hurting heart, my wounded pride, my stomped-upon ego, my self-righteous sense of justice.
And that’s the issue.
The “me”. The “my”. The “myself”. The interminable preoccupation with “I”.
It’s an issue because God’s Word says:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20 NKJV)
Christ decided that I was worth the cost of giving up his reputation, his equality and standing with God, so that he could fulfil his Father’s will and die for me, so I may experience Zoe life (the God-type of life), so I may experience reconciliation with God, so I may experience the stupendous, supernatural benefits of salvation.
Without Christ’s death, none of this would have been possible. And without Christ choosing to lay down his life and humbly submit to his Father’s will, there would have been no glorious resurrection.
Christ was mocked. He was rejected, he was falsely accused, even betrayed. But he found a way to rise above his circumstances, and fulfil his calling. Despite the misunderstandings. Despite the mud-slinging. Despite the malicious intent of people around him. Despite the Machiavellian manoeuvres of his arch-enemy.
This same Christ lives in me. This same resurrection power is available to me.
And so I have a choice. I can listen to the Enemy’s lies and suggestions and give in to the fleshly dictates of my heart, or I can do what I need to do—add works to my faith, add obedience to my knowledge, add self-discipline to my intentions and, having done so, emerge from the plots of pernicious folk, from the schemes and snares of Satan, from the inadequacies of Carol, as a purpose-driven believer, as a triumphant dream-achiever, as a victorious overcomer.
I can choose to be a victor.
By God’s grace I can, and by God’s grace I will!
Today, I choose to silence that rebellious voice. I choose to lay down my fleshly inclinations. I choose to rise up and resume my place as a victorious overcomer.
Lord, I choose to decrease and allow you to increase in my life. Father-God, let not my selfish will be done but your perfect will. Kingdom of God come, be manifested in my circumstances. Will of God be done, in and through my life, today, tomorrow and always!
As you know this blog focuses on encouraging myself and others to walk as victorious overcomers. Its aim is to see women released from the shackles of any circumstances in their lives that seeks to keep them imprisoned as victims.
If you are anything like me, you can feel overwhelmed by the things we believe, or have been told that we should do or be. We should be the perfect wife, mother, lover, cook, whatever! We should be able to juggle impossible schedules. We should be this… We should do that… And the endless list continues.
Women of Warfare, if you’ve allowed yourself to become a victim of false guilt, other people’s demands, your own lofty goals, or frantic schedules, I hope the following post will encourage you.
Every amateur gardener experiences the frustration of planting their garden only to later find holes chomped into the leaves of their prize plants. It looks unsightly and it’s annoying!
There are many ways of getting rid of the pesky slugs and snails but the quickest and to my mind, the most effective, is to use slug repellents.
Many a time I’ve looked out of my bedroom window only to espy one of these creatures moving with focused determination towards a patio plant, to feast on its lush green leaves.
Quick as a flash I dive down the stairs, rush into the kitchen, grab the salt and make my way into the garden. It’s amazing how quickly these snails can move when the motivation of a nice succulent plant propels them!
Now, I know they’re God’s creatures but I didn’t invite them into my garden and if these creatures do decide to gate-crash, they should at least have the decency to see and not touch—certainly don’t have the temerity to chomp and chew. How dare you! My garden is not a free, eat-as-much-as-you-want salad bar!
So, you can understand why I have no compunction about pouring salt upon the cheeky blighters and watching them (with no small sense of satisfaction mixed with a tinge of disgust) turn into a yucky patch of slime. No compunction at all!
Why am I telling you this?
Because dear women of warfare, as victorious overcomers, we will often encounter situations in life that seek to chomp and chew its way into the succulent leaves of our spiritual growth. Satan, our Enemy, is the equivalent of these garden pests.
Any chance he gets, he will attack our minds, and try to destroy the fresh green foliage from all those positive Word-seeds sown into our hearts. He wants us to remain his victims.
So, don’t be passive. Don’t be complacent. Use your Satan-repellent. Use the Word of God!
Those of you who have read my posts for some time know that every now and again I share something from an excellent devotional resource that I use, the UCB Word for Today, written by Bob & Debby Gass.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Even if you don’t get on with daily devotional books (for a long time I didn’t!), you can read it as a straight forward book, or dip into it from time to time (as I started out doing). Before you know it, I’m sure you’ll become a fan (as I have!).
The following is an extract from last month, which I feel led to share with you all.
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MIND-SETS ARE patterns whereby your mind automatically operates a certain way. That means you can set yourself up for misery by reacting to the same people and circumstances in the same way, and expecting different results.
Maybe you are saying:
‘After all these years I thought he’d change…’
‘No matter how hard I try, my family doesn’t appreciate me…’
‘How come I’m the only one who makes an effort to stay in touch?’
It’s easy to blame your problems on others.
‘Look what he’s doing.’
‘Look how long I’ve waited.’
‘Why doesn’t she call?’
We think the answer lies in getting the other person to do what we want, but that kind of thinking is self-defeating; it gives control to others.
Your happiness isn’t determined by other people, even though you’ve convinced yourself it is.
An experienced counsellor writes:
‘If you don’t like the same results… try pushing a different button. Look at your relationships. Is there a situation that’s going downhill despite your best efforts? Are you waiting for something to change, instead of doing something different? Stop pushing the same button, and ask God for clarity to see the situation honestly and to act with wisdom and responsibility.’
You’re not a victim of circumstances; you don’t have to stay stuck or keep going in circles.
Paul says, ‘Put off… your former conduct… and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.’
The word for you today is: you can change!
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WoW followers and visitors, I hope you find the above useful, even timely. If you enjoyed reading and know someone who could benefit from this post please do not hesitate to share it. And why not drop me a line and tell me what you thought about it in the comment box below? I’d really appreciate your response.
*Free postal copies of The UCB Word For Today (UK and Republic of Ireland only) are available from: FREEPOST RLTX-ABUL-GRAR, United Christian Broadcasters, Westport Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 4JF
A: It is a 5min free write blog event hosted by Kate Motaung. Every Thursday Kate announces a one-word prompt on her blog at 10pm EST. The link-up is open for a full week, until the following Thursday evening. For further details on how to participate visit her blog at: Heading Home.
Dear readers before I continue, I have to make a confession. Although this post began life as a 5min exercise, it has since been amended and refined!
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CC0 Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Five Minute Friday Prompt: SING
I don’t know why but Maya Angelou’s book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, came to mind, as soon as I saw this week’s prompt.
In the context of this blog’s purpose (which is to encourage women and to motivate us to walk as victorious overcomers), I see Christian woman who are habitually defeated or depressed, as akin to caged birds.
Most birds have the potential to sing joyously with abandon, to soar, to explore and enjoy their freedom but caged birds, in effect, have had their wings clipped.
Continuing with the above analogy, the cage (representing limiting beliefs, negative behaviour and Satan’s lies), both confines and defines.
Now of course the caged bird can sing but is its song true? Does it sing with the same harmony and sweetness as its counterparts that enjoy liberty?
Women of God, it is our choice whether any negative circumstance in which we may find ourselves, serves to imprison us. It is our responsibility to ensure that our Bible-based confession, or our testimony of faith becomes the spiritual song God hears, thus enabling him to liberate us.
Let us follow the example of the following writers, who confidently declared:
Behold God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For YAH, the Lord, is my
Strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.
(Isaiah 12:2 NKJV)
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with
Songs of deliverance.
(Psalm 32:7 NKJV)
So, let me ask you dear Women of Warfare, how do you sing? As a caged bird, or as a potential bird of paradise… a beautiful bird of liberty?
The following is a long-playing instrumental music (don’t be put off!). I am not expecting you to listen to the entire album but you may enjoy listening to it playing softly in the background, whilst you read this post. And then when you have finished reading, please don’t rush away. I’d certainly encourage you to sit and listen for just a little while longer. Allow the Lord to minister to your soul and spirit.
Dear fellow-bloggers, friends and visitors – forgive me!
A few mornings ago, as I was worshipping the Lord, the phrase Praise, Prayer & Worship Wednesday suddenly entered my head. I then realised that I’d missed last month’s feature post. I am not sure whether anyone noticed. If you did, please accept my apologies!
I cannot believe how fast the month has flown. So fast, in fact, I hadn’t even realised that the last Wednesday of February had come and gone.
Now, I obviously cannot roll back the time. So for the benefit of anyone who did notice and perhaps missed this feature and, because I truly want to honour God on this blog, I’d like to focus today’s post on doing just that. I want to praise and glorify my Father God.
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I have come across many in my life who for various reasons have rejected me and systematically seek to rob me of my dignity. They do not welcome me into their presence.
And there are those who, whenever I happen to be in their midst, never miss an opportunity to show me their contempt, to subject me to mockery, ridicule and scorn. Yet who are they? Are they not fellow human beings? Are they not fallible flesh and blood individuals, just as I am?
However, for some reason, these people have elevated themselves above me in their thinking, in their behaviour toward me. They have lifted up themselves in their own estimation and chosen to exclude me from their ‘acceptance’ club. They continually seek to hurt me. And they often succeed.
But I thank them. Sincerely!
Because the weight and constancy of their unkind treatment has opened my eyes to the expanse of God’s continual grace, lovingkindness and mercy.
Yes. My wonderful Father God, who is God indeed, who is exalted above the heavens (you can’t get higher than that!), finds it in his generous, loving heart to include me, to make room for me in his life, to even want to share that life (eternal life, abundant life) with me.
I know from personal experience that when I enter into that atmosphere of sincere praise and worship, when I enter into God’s awesome presence, when my spirit connects with my Father God’s—I sense the holiness, the loveliness, the majesty of his awesome being. And when I reflect on the privilege that this wonderful being has granted, in inviting unwanted and unworthy me into His throne-room, I am overcome and overwhelmed.
Charles Green, a contributing author to the Spirit Filled Life Bible (NKJV), says:
Man was created to live and breathe in an atmosphere of praise-filled worship to his Creator.
My first thought as I read this was of a fish taken out of water, taken out of the ideal environment in which it was created to survive and thrive. To fail to offer God the fruit of our lips, and our free-will sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, is to be like a fish out of water. It is removing ourselves from the atmosphere and environment in which we were created to survive. And guess what? The Enemy of our souls, is always seeking to discourage us from praise, prayer and worship, because he knows that therein lies our spiritual strength.
Satan, my enemy, (and yours!) has sought to surround me with pack-bullies. He has worked hard at promoting an atmosphere of contempt around me. But I refuse to be hemmed in by thoughts of intimidation, fear and rejection. I refuse to be defined by the words and actions and attitudes of those whom the devil deploys to come against me, who walk in the counsel of the ungodly, choose to stand in the path of sinners and sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1).
And so Father God, today I want to celebrate your goodness. I want to praise you:
I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
And I offer you my heartfelt prayer:
Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for your acceptance. Thank you for that wonderful sense of peace that your awesome presence exudes. Help me to bask in that holy presence, to allow your peace to soothe my soul.
I worship you today in spirit and in truth. Accept my humble sacrifice. May my offerings of praise, prayer and thanksgiving, rise like sweet incense to your throne. Amen.
Have you been hurt – by a colleague, church member, wife, husband, close relative or friend? Then use that hurt to propel you into the arms of Jesus. He is able to relate (remember Judas!). He is able (and willing) to comfort, strengthen and restore. Just ask him!
Why not accept today’s invitation to visit with your Father God?
It is an open invitation. Spend time saturating yourself in his presence. Spend time cultivating an atmosphere of praise, prayer and worship around you, so that your Father God can heal and restore you. So that he can lavish his love upon you – the way you deserve. So that you can become the person, the victorious overcomer, God created you to be.
Fellow Christian bloggers and visitors may I encourage you to make God’s presence in your life a priority?
Perhaps like me, each New Year you have an expectation that this year will be different. You look back at the past 12 months with disappointment because goals you set at the start have not been accomplished, hopes you had were not met and dreams you cherished were dashed. When this happens year after year, it is tempting to become cynical, or pessimistic, defeatist or even indifferent. Que sera, sera, you say to yourself (whatever will be, will be!) yet secretly you feel disappointed.
If the above scenario speaks to you where you are at, don’t become like Alexander Pope, who said:
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
And please don’t give up on your goals, or on making plans for the future. That is precisely what the Enemy wants! Someone has said that “a failure to plan is a plan for failure!” Goals are not just for the highly ambitious, or for the career-minded. If you want to enjoy success, as depicted in Psalm 1:3, if you want to walk as a victorious overcomer, then you need to plan to make these things happen. If God has thoughts and plans for your future, then why not you?
Set Some Goals – Devise a Plan
May I encourage you to hold onto God’s Word this year? May I encourage you to focus your plans around His promises?
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that our Father God has good, positive thoughts about us and pre-ordained plans. Depending on which version you read, He has plans to give us a future and hope (NKJ), or plans to give us an expected end (KJ). So what are your expectations for this year?
Do you expect more defeat, more disappointment, more reasons for discouragement and more experiences of failure?
If so, then you are listening to the wrong voice and you are entertaining the wrong thoughts. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Make no mistake about it – he hates you! His aim in your life is to steal your peace, kill your hopes and dreams, destroy your expectations of God’s blessing and supernatural manifestations in your life. He wants to steal, kill and destroy your faith, knowing full well that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Be Aware of Satan’s Tactics
And sometimes, because we are beaten down by life’s battles, because we have abandoned hope, because continuing to nurture our expectations in the midst of struggles, trials and temptations or because overcoming opposition feels too hard, we allow ourselves to become a prey of Satan’s manipulations.
We pay heed to his accusations:
against our Father (Has God said? Did He promise?)
against ourselves (You’ll never make it! What makes you think it will be different this time?)
and against others (They’ll let you down! Nobody cares about you! He/she can’t be trusted!).
And if we keep accepting his poisonous lies, if we keep focussing on the negative scenarios which he paints in our mind’s eye, then before we know it, instead of being dressed in the protective armour of God and standing our ground, we find ourselves clothed in the garments of depression and oppression. We begin to flounder in the marshy fields of fear, frustration and failure. We succumb to despair, or unbelief and become his victims.
Don’t let last year’s disappointments, or past hurts dictate this year’s outcome for your life.
Take a Leaf From God’s Book
God says we are to imitate him like dear children, so I’d like to encourage you this New Year to follow his example of faith, optimism and persistence. In Genesis, we read about God’s hopes and dreams at the very beginning. He plans to build a community of people who will dwell in a secure place of abundant provision and divine protection, who will live forever, loving and obeying him, enjoying close fellowship with him.
We read how God creates a beautiful paradise and places Adam and Eve within it. However, along came the Enemy in the shape of a serpent. We learn how Satan sowed contrary thoughts in the minds of God’s people and upset his plans. From all appearances, it seemed as if Satan had successfully sabotaged God’s dream.
But fast forward to the book of Revelation and we see that God’s original dream for his beloved creation, finally comes to fruition. In between these two books, we read of his disappointment with people, his hurt, his anger. We see again and again, the undermining of his plans for His chosen nation, Israel. However, he never loses hope. His expectation for the future, for the ultimate realisation of his plans, remains intact.
Hope Stabilises Your Emotions
According to the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary,hope is defined as follows:
1a desire for something, with some confidence or expectation of success.
2A person, thing or event that gives one good reason for hope.
3A reason for justifying the belief that the thing desired will still occur.
4Something desired or hoped for.
The Bible tells us that hope is an anchor for our soul (i.e. our mind, will and emotions). When the storms of life assail you, let down your anchor of hope. Anchor yourself to the truth, to the promises of God’s Word.
If God (who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent), experienced disappointment and delay to his plans, should we as lesser mortals expect any different?
Let your hope be in God and in His Word. God and his Word are one, inseparable. Do you believe this? If so, understand that God and his Word are unchangeable, unshakeable. So let expectations of His goodness, mercy and power abound in your hearts. Let godly expectations and hope reign over disillusionment.
God Has Pre-planned Your Future
Why not entrust your future into our Father God’s hands? Entrust this year as part of that bright future, into his safe keeping. Ask God to reveal to you his thoughts and plans for your life. Keep a record of your hopes and expectations. Review them regularly. Pray about and make preparation for them. Ask God for wisdom and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to do, how to do it and also to help you accomplish it.
When plans go awry, when things appear to be the very opposite of your hopes, dreams and expectations, remember God’s dream, as revealed in Genesis. Remember the Bible’s end from its beginning and encourage yourself in the Lord.
Don’t adopt Alexander Pope’s philosophy and mind-set. Instead:
The hospital doctor has told me they are unable to help my mother as she is not responding to treatment. Therefore, once the current infection in her body has taken hold (the source of which they say they are unable to identify), it will take her life. It could be days. It could be weeks. I am numb with disbelief.
I have a choice—choose to be a victim and succumb to anger and resentment (and believe me I have struggled with these)—or choose to be a victor.
But how does one emerge a victor in such a scenario?
One refuses to listen to the lies of the Enemy who whispers: how can God love you when he has not answered your prayer for miraculous healing? How can God love your mother when he is allowing her to die from such a cruel disease and without dignity?
One let’s go of the desire to dictate to God what he should do… how he should “prove” himself to you by manifesting his might and miraculous power within your mother’s life—surely her healing would bring glory to him?
One let’s go of the desire to determine how He (who does all things after the counsel of his own will) should perform, and genuinely say: “not my will O Lord but your will be done”. One accepts that you may not understand… the situation may not seem glorious or victorious, but God IS nevertheless in control.
One continues to pray and to believe God’s Word—even though circumstances may scream the exact opposite of what you have prayed and believed… even though circumstances question the very integrity of God’s Holy Scriptures. After all, neither Satan, nor man has the last word.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. Desmond Tutu
One humbles self. I am not omnipotent. I am not omniscient. I am not omnipresent. I am a servant of the most High God—He does not serve me!
One dies to self. Dies to the temptation to be immature… to try to bargain, to sulk, to throw your spiritual resources (faith, hope, trust in God) out of the window.
One refrains from asking: “why my mum?” After all she has done. After all her faithfulness to God, to the Body of Christ, to the Great Commission, to her church members.
One rejoices in the fact that God has honoured me to be the daughter of such a beautiful, godly mother. One celebrates her life, her example and, as Proverbs 31:28 decrees will happen, one rises up and calls her blessed.
One prays for her… that she will be comforted by the Holy Spirit… that the Lord will minister to her with that peace which surpasses natural understanding… that God will continue to strengthen her with might in her inner man and that He will be the health and brightness of her countenance.
One commits her into our Father God’s hands knowing that He loves her with an EVERLASTING love, knowing that his mercies are NEW every morning, knowing that he is able to cause ALL things to work together for her good, since she has been called according to his purpose.
One trusts in the Lord with all their heart and refuses to lean on their limited understanding.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
One forgives. And one lets go those who have not celebrated or appreciated her the way you believe they should. But if not quite able to do this, one shares their heart, their feelings openly with the Lord (who sees and knows all things) and one asks him to work within your heart and bring you to the place where you desire to do God’s perfect will and also obey it.
One submits to the washing from the water of God’s Word, to the Word’s sanctifying fire, so that the dross of self-serving demands and ungodly attitudes are purified from one’s life.
One prays with new understanding and listens to the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit and sees from a new perspective.
One says along with Job: “shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10).
…hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
(Romans 8:24-25 NKJ)
QUESTION: How do you deal with disappointed hopes?
a skilled fighting man, especially one belonging to earlier times
any distinguished soldier or veteran
someone notable for strength of spirit or indomitability
Chambers 21st Century Dictionary
I wonder what image came to mind when you read the title of this post.
Was it the bloodcurdling scream of a fearless combatant charging into battle, brandishing a sword or club?
Well, that is not the warrior’s cry I am speaking of here. I am not referring to the war cry of a superhero. No! I am speaking about the whimper of a wounded one. I am describing the desolate tears of an injured soldier on the battlefield of life.
Dear wounded warrior, be assured. God sees your tears and recognises your fears.
Did you know that he preserves your tears in a bottle? Fancy that! We preserve vegetables or fruit but God preserves our tears. How loving and precious is that?
Don’t believe me? Listen!
You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one [tear] in your book. (Psalms 56:8 Living Bible)
In fact, the Bible gives clear evidence of the lengths to which our Father God has gone, in order to show us how much he cares. Isaiah 49:16 tells us that we are inscribed upon the palms of his hands.
Have you ever felt as if your life has been ruined? Do you ever feel despondent about your future? If so, what is your response?
In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 we read about a woman whose distressing experience of childbirth prompted her to name her son Jabez. The literal interpretation of this name is: He will cause pain.
Can you imagine being saddled with a name like that? Particularly as in bible times, your name was a reflection of your person, a prophetic foretelling of your future. Every time someone called you, spoke to you or about you, they were affirming and confirming the meaning of your given name. They were re-affirming your destiny: “He will cause pain!”
Fortunately, Jabez decided he was not going to accept the cards that life had dealt him. He was not going to allow his life, his future to be determined by his mother’s response to a painful experience. He decided that his mother would not have the last word. This unlikely warrior decided to take charge of his fate and change the course of his destiny.
So Jabez enlisted the help of the only person who possessed the power and resources to alter the course of his life. He turned to God in prayer. He appealed to his Father in Heaven and made a specific request regarding how he wanted his life to be—and God granted him his desire.
Jabez could have chosen to wallow in self-pity and remain a victim of his circumstances. He could have lived a life of misery and defeat and felt justified about blaming his misfortune upon his mother.
Instead, he chose to turn his predicament into a prayer project. He chose to refocus his eyes and thoughts and fix them upon God. He chose to cry out in faith and believe God for a future filled with blessing, increase, favour and protection. He decided to superimpose his words and his desired future over his mother’s negative declaration.
And note, Jabez was not only concerned about his future, his own well-being. He cared about the well-being of those around him and asked God to preserve him from evil and keep him from causing pain to others.
Wounded warrior, God loves you. He has seen your trials. He has noted your tears. He is willing to act on your behalf. Will you rise up in faith? Will you refocus your thoughts? Will you refuse to accept the words the Enemy whispers into your heart? Will you take those hurtful words that were flung at you by family, friend or foe and instead of absorbing, or mulling over them, allow them to provoke you into calling upon your Father God and believe Him for the wonderful destiny he’s ordained for your life?
Dear warrior, I know you have the strength to rise up and win. I know God has empowered you with his Word and with his weapons of warfare.
So will you take a leaf from out of Jabez’s book? Will you direct your petition to God—not just for yourself but also on behalf of others?
And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:10)
Characteristics of a Victim/Victor
A victor is a conqueror, an overcomer—someone who enforces the victory Christ wrought over the Enemy, within their life… someone who uses their authority in Christ, their power of attorney, to bring victory to the lives of others.
Whereas, a victim is someone who is deceived, or continually defeated by their circumstances. A victim is someone who remains passive in the face of the Enemy’s attacks, whether that attack is directed at their own life, or the life of their loved ones.
Please don’t misunderstand me. A victorious life does not mean a problem-free life. However, as victors, we are to reign over our circumstances, rather than allowing those circumstances to overwhelm us. How do we do this? Romans 5:17 indicates we can reign in life through Jesus Christ. However, as humans, we are weak and finding that continuous strength to stand victoriously in situations that may have devastated us, sought to undermine us, is sometimes just not there, or can be the furthest thing from our mind. In times like these, we should emulate David, who finding himself feeling disheartened and overwhelmed, called out to His God in prayer.
Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Self-sabotage or Kingdom Rule?
Have you abdicated your throne?
Yes, we are to submit our lives to God and allow him pre-eminence in our lives but the onus is upon us to rule, subdue and take dominion… the onus is upon us to enforce God’s Word and the principles of His Kingdom on this earth, in our circumstances, in our communities, even in our church. Jesus has already won the victory for us – that is why the Bible calls us “more than conquerors”!
It takes discipline and perseverance to be a victor (Hebrews 6:12)
I believe it takes the same amount of energy to wallow in despair and pessimism and remain a victim. So, why expend that negative energy? Is it not better to use our strength to fight for victory, fight for a change in our circumstances, fight to maintain a sound, well-balanced mind, fight for what God has freely given to us, fight for his will, plan and purpose to be effected in our lives? Do you agree? Then (as Paul encourages us to do), let us fight the good fight of faith, let us lay hold of the eternal life, the abundant life for which Jesus’ blood has so dearly paid (1 Timothy 6:12; John 10:10).
How does a victor persevere? Through hope, through faith.
Hope anchors the victor’s soul in peace, the peace that surpasses understanding (Hebrews 6:19, Philippians 4:7). Hope stabilizes the victor’s emotions. Hope protects the victor’s mind. Victors may feel cast down by adversity, by the afflictions of their life. They may sometimes succumb to the lies and taunts of our adversary the devil—but like David, victors choose to speak the Word of God to their souls (see Psalm 42:5-6, Psalm 43:5, Psalm 27:13) and, in doing so, victors choose to awake, choose to arise, choose to clad themselves with strength, put on their armour and stand against the wiles of the devil. The victorious lifestyle does not just happen – it is a choice.
Now victims sabotage their own well-being. How? Through unbridled fear and unbelief, which in turn leads to pessimism.
And how does pessimism stamp its hallmark upon a victim? Through compliance! Through permission! Through heart and soul agreement about the ‘reality’ of their circumstances (whether that agreement, compliance or permission is done out of ignorance or not)!
Each time a victim chooses not to stand on the truth of God’s Word but focuses upon the undesirable circumstance, their heart despairs. Despair is loss of hope. And as we saw above, hope anchors our soul (i.e. our mind, will and emotions). Therefore, where there is no hope, emotions become erratic, the thoughts of our mind negative and our will undisciplined and contrary.
Fear or Faith?
A victor is motivated by faith. However, a victim is immobilised by doubt and fear.
Victors heed the Apostle Paul’s direction that we: “…continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel…” Colossians 1:23.
On the other hand, victims give credence to and empower their circumstances by failing to look at Jesus who is the author (originator) and finisher (completion) of their faith; choosing instead to concentrate on that which is temporal and therefore, subject to change (Hebrews 12:2-3; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Am I saying that we should pretend our problems, trials and tribulations do not exist? No dear reader – I am most definitely not saying this! I am not advocating that we live in denial. I am saying acknowledge your difficulties yes, but deny them the ability to permanently distract, distress and disempower you.
Whose report will you believe?
You are a born-again believer. In whom, or in what do you believe?
Do you believe in an omnipotent and gracious God… a loving and compassionate Christ… a resourceful and helpful Holy Spirit? (That takes care of the “in whom do you believe?”).
Do you believe in your fear-induced thoughts… the seeming impossibilities of your circumstances…the perpetual goading of the Enemy? (And that takes care of the “in what do you believe?”).
Women of Warfare! – Choose to exercise hope. Choose to live by faith. Choose to be a victor!