Category Archives: Fortified

Limiting God

Posted on Jun 16, 2022 | Download

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15 ) "And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? IF YOU THEN ARE NOT ABLE TO DO THE LEAST, WHY ARE YOU ANXIOUS FOR THE REST? (Luke 12:25-26) Do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, NOR HAVE AN ANXIOUS MIND. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, A TREASURE IN THE HEAVENS THAT DOES NOT FAIL, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."(Luke 12:29-34)  Covetousness “is an insatiable desire for worldly gain.” Covetousness is an insatiable desire to find fulfillment, meaning and purpose in things, instead of in God. The spirit of covetousness leads to and is the mother of many other sins. [Ex:] Coveting another man's wife leads to adultery (2 Sam. 11:4,5).—James Cagle: The Valdosta Daily Times At the heart of covetousness is idolatry, and at the root of idolatry is unbelief. Unbelief is the basis for all sin-when we choose not to take God at His Word, there is unbelief steeped within our hearts. His Word says that He will provide for our every need if we will seek Him first! That is a promise we can take to the bank. So many times though, we expect all of His promises without fulfilling the conditions, or we just don’t trust that God will hold up His end. The result: anxiety/fear and anger. These emotions are a check engine light for our hearts. My #1 question to myself when I’m feeling anxiety/fear or anger is “Am I abiding in Jesus?” To abide means “1 : to remain stable or fixed in a state. 2 : to continue in a place : will abide in the house of the Lord.” If I’ve been abiding in Jesus, then I’ve remained stable in His Word and in prayer and fixed my eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:2 and Romans 12:1-2). If I’ve been abiding in Jesus, then I’ve continuously, faithfully come into the House of The Lord (Hebrews 10:25) and walked in loving community with His precious Body (because the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” 1 Corinthians 12:21). If we love and want to abide in Jesus, then we cannot neglect fellowship with His Body, the Church! Christ is the Head, yet no one would ever say, “I only need the head and not the body.” How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again they tempted God, AND LIMITED THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL. (Psalm 78:40-41) Psalm 78 recaps much of Israel’s history and all the mighty miracles God worked on their behalf through the Exodus and in the wilderness: He split the Red Sea in two. When they had no water, God made water gush from the rock. When they complained for meat because they had no gratitude for the manna, God provided more meat than they could consume, but because of their covetousness, complaining, and craving, it became sour and a plague broke out. And yet after all these things, the people still tested God with their unbelief. “Would He provide this, and that, and then another thing?” “Wouldn’t it have been better if we’d remained slaves in Egypt?” “There are giants in the Promised Land!” Jesus Himself exhorted us not to worry. Worrying is of course not limited to what we will eat or drink or to what we will wear. We can apply these truths to whatever it is that’s got us worrying. Our children. Our marriages. A diagnosis. The state of our world. Whatever it is, Jesus is instructing us not to have an anxious mind because it limits His power from being displayed in our lives! By our own worry, we effectively reject the mighty Hand of God instead of grabbing hold in faith and watching Him move on our behalf!  There is ONLY one way to combat and crush the anxiety, fear, and anger in our hearts and minds, and that is to ABIDE IN HIM - not just with our mouths but with our whole being-actively, meditating on His Word and allowing Holy Spirit to change us through prayers of thanksgiving and repentance, and faithful fellowship with the body of Christ! We know what we ought to do; we have head knowledge of our Savior and how we’re “supposed” to feel. But abiding is how we make the connection from our heads to our hearts, and it becomes REAL in us! It becomes our authentic core BELIEF! “Abide in Me [Jesus], and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 Precious Abba, I pray Jesus’ sweet prayer over all who would believe in You: “I do not pray for these alone [His disciples], but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You [abide in one another]; that they also may be one in Us [abide], that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.  “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am [abide], that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them [abide].” John 17:20-26 Amen!!!

Tilling our hearts

Posted on Apr 21, 2022 | Download

The surface of our heart can often be under prepared for the work that God has promised us. Hosea 10:12 tells us to break up the soil, the untilled ground of our heart. It doesn't say that the soil is bad, or that it is without nutrients. It says that the top layer is hard. And for anything good to grow, the top layer must be broken. How does the top layer of soil in our heart get hard? Most hard hearts starts with an emotion that is allowed to be defined by lies instead of God's truth. It would be easy to say that a "situation" caused us to get hard hearted. But is that actually true? Saying a circumstance made our top soil hard declares that we don't have a choice. God gave mankind free will. Blaming a situation would undermine His Word. So, as life happens around us & to us, emotions arise. These emotions can be positive or negative. The positive are gifts from God to be enjoyed & cherished! The negative are natural yet need to be handled in a healthy & Biblical way. This means reminding ourselves that it is easy to let emotions dictate our behavior. It's easy to put our emotions above our will. Allowing emotions to drive behavior is making them an idol & letting them be elevated over God's will for us. God's will for us is to walk in the Holy Spirit & not our flesh. When we walk in His will we see the Holy Spirit fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If we do not invite God into the negative emotions, they are left open & unhealed. Unhealed emotions can be accessed through thoughts by our enemy. He then reinforces lies via repetitive unchecked thoughts. These emotions & thoughts become graves. A heart unsurrendered to God & undefined by His Word can quickly become a graveyard of negative emotions & lies we live by. A place in our heart where we go to mourn or grieve or protect ourselves but that is hardened by death. In John 10:10 Jesus said, "the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Jesus has promised life & life to the full! That does not sound like death, pain, or graveyard living. We are going to ask God to identify to us the emotions & thoughts that are keeping our heart a graveyard instead of a garden. Because the enemy does comes to steal, kill, and destroy, we want God to show us what emotions the thief has been trying to bury us under. We are going to do that by holding them up the the Light of God's Word. This is us taking captive our thoughts & at spear-point, make them comply. Like 2 Corinthians 10:5 says "We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture rebellious thoughts & teach them to obey Christ." I have been reminded recently that pride & doubt are two emotions that have kept me digging graves since I was a child. When I feel hurt or fear, I want to be comforted so I run to pride in hopes that it will make me feel vindicated, justified, safe. My flesh wants to protect itself from attack by becoming the judge. Or I run to doubt to escape. If I blame myself for others poor treatment of me...if I agree that I am worthless, or the problem started with me, then I can avoid doing the hardest thing; like holding up a healthy boundary, or confronting behavior that is unholy, or waiting on the Lord to defend me. Absorbing shame or guilt can feel like an easier burden than trusting God is working it all out. Both directions get me back to the graveyard of death & destruction. Both harden my heart to God & those around me. They steal my joy, peace, hope, and courage. But when I identify the emotion is fear, betrayal, hurt, or rejection then I can turn to the Truth that God is the judge, that He is good, that I am His daughter & that He protects me. I can counter each lie that floats into my mind with truth. I keep scripture verses in my pockets for this very purpose. When I feel my thoughts starting to get out of control or pushing a non-Biblical theme I pull one out and read it aloud. With thousands of thoughts a day trying to define our emotions we have to be vigilant. Proactive. And repetitive. When we know the Truth, no thought of "what if" or "you should say this" are going to hold up unless they align with God's Word. The Bible says that "The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to Him and are safe." Proverbs 18:10 We are not designed to be graveyard living. God invites us to engage our negative emotions with Him and turn to Who HE is for protection. It is who God is that frees us. It is who God says we are that helps us glove up & do the dirty work of breaking ground on the hard top soil. He gives us courage to dig up the lies we have been in the graveyard tending, & hold them up to the Light & God's Truth. So what are you feeling? Right now, ask God what emotion you have been allowing to overpower your will? If you cannot identify an emotion, what situation or life circumstance is on our mind. It is time to dig up the lies! Let's get to the root & expose it to Light!  Ask God to show you the thoughts, the lies, and the root emotion. Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. We recognize that You are a helper. That You speak exactly what God says. We also know You are safe. You wait right beside us. You are not frustrated by our fear or trepidation at going back to the graveyard of emotions & lies. Will You help us break up the fallow ground of our hearts & minds? We need help identifying. We need You. We receive You & say thank You in advance for the fresh & new that You are doing in us. We thank you in advance for the resurrection life you have for us. Keep us focused. In Jesus name, amen.

Who is Building?

Posted on Mar 23, 2022 | Download

The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the Lord, the God of Israel. So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do. We have sacrificed to him ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel replied, “You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us. Ezra 4:1-3 NLT Could you imagine the inside sabotage that would occur if the enemy was allowed to join in the Temple build? What about holiness? Could the temple be holy when built with hands that hated, despised, ignored, blasphemed, and opposed God? This is the Temple God would dwell! We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). And God has commissioned our lives to be built upon Him. He wants to be on the throne of our hearts. All of us for Him (Mark 12:29-30). Can He sit on the throne in our lives if it is made of lies? No! We must fiercely cast out the lies and all things that come against or try to usurp God. Abba God, I do not want the Temple you dwell in, in my heart and mind, to be made up of anything contrary or against You. I don't want Your enemy supplying materials or help to build the foundation or walls. Help me root out the disguised enemy. Help me see the traitor thoughts that threaten the strength of the walls. I want this build to be a place for You to dwell and be holy for You. Will you make it, me holy? Will You set apart, sanctify my life? I submit all lies and thoughts to You. Point out the places that do not meet Your standards and need to be rebuilt for Your namesake.

A Pattern of Transparency

Posted on Mar 2, 2022 | Download

My son walked into my bedroom on the day we had to put our sweet dog, Hazel, down and asked me where she was. She was there when he came home from the hospital all the way until he was 3 years old. He loved her very much. He could tell something wasn’t right because mom and dad were sad and Hazel wasn’t at home. When he asked me where she was, I had several things run through my mind. “Hazel is at your grandma's house, son!”  -- That wasn’t a lie, but also not the whole truth. “She is at a friend's house…resting.” -- That was farther from the truth, but not a total lie. All these things ran through my mind as his sweet, innocent face stared at me waiting for an answer. I ended up telling him, “Hazel is in heaven with God. We won't see her for a while, but one day we will.”  -- He asked me several more questions but in the end he was satisfied. After he walked out of my room, I had the thought, “Why am I trying to skirt around telling the truth?” I realized telling him the truth would make me uncomfortable. It could bring up questions that I may not feel prepared to answer. It would make me face a part of parenting I wasn’t prepared for -  teaching my child about grief and how to deal with it. Basically, I didn’t want to be transparent with him because it would make things difficult on me. This was such a distortion from the enemy and I didn’t even realize it. Over the next several days, as I processed the fact I tried to lie to my son to make myself feel more comfortable, I tried to remember times where I had done that before.  I realized - I have done it with friends, college professors, co-workers, and definitely my parents. When did this lack of transparency start? Answer: When I was a teenager. I wouldn't want to talk about things that forced me to be fully honest, tell my feelings, or that made me feel inadequate or uncomfortable. I believed this distortion from the enemy. This was not a pattern I wanted to impart on my kids and if I desired change - I needed God to change and equip my heart. The bible has a constant theme of transparency all throughout it. The Lord pleads us to transparency starting in Genesis, the very first book of the Bible. Adam and Eve walked in Eden, naked. They were fully exposed with nothing to hide mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically. They walked in full transparency with the Lord. This is how God intends our relationship with Him to be.  We can share that same transparency with our kids. Do you want to establish a pattern of transparency for your kids? Here are 4 ways we can pursue a pattern of transparency: 1) Don’t shy away from awkward questions. Start when they are young!! My oldest son is four years old now and he has no filters. He feels like he can ask me, and usually anyone else, anything that comes into his creative mind. Cultivate that! Give them age appropriate and honest answers. The road to transparency starts early! 2) Be willing to apologize to your kids. Telling your kids when you do something wrong is a great way to teach your kids how to be transparent. Don’t let the parental hierarchy keep you from being an amazing example of how we are meant to be before the Lord. 3) Be vulnerable. There will be times when your teenage kids want to ask you hard questions. Questions like, "Did you drink before you were 21?" or, "Did you have sex before you were married?" What about, "Have you ever questioned that God was real?" When you don’t want to answer a question because it makes you feel weird, awkward or uncomfortable - answer anyway. Teach them that their questions have a safe space to go and that safe space is with you. If it’s not with you then it will be with someone else. Remember, breaking the pattern is hard. It starts with the weird questions and ends with the hard questions. 4) Always point your kids back to the Lord. When your kids ask you questions that are hard for you to answer - it is the golden opportunity as a parent to point them back to the Lord. Maybe you have to admit that had an addiction -  remind them of how the Lord brought you out of it. What if you have to answer all the questions about sex - tell them of the Lord's design and intention for sex. Or, when you have to walk them through gracefully ending a toxic friendship - remind them of how the Lord prunes the leaves in our lives to bring the healthy fruit. These conversations that are hard for us are ministry opportunities. Always lead them back to the Lord. Before we have to think about questions to ask our kids to get them talking, let's start answering their questions to keep them asking. Create the safe space. Be vulnerable. Be transparent. Be honest and open with your kids when they ask the weird and hard stuff. It is how God intended our relationships to be.

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