The Devil Doesn't Play Fair
Have you ever had a week where anything that could go wrong went wrong? The past two weeks we’ve had a domino collapsing party around our house. One thing leads to another to another to another. There are moments where I sit down and say “Lord, what are You thinking here?”
You might wonder if I’m being a drama queen. Well, I’m not generally that. My husband was called with a bad medical report, so we had to scramble to go have more tests run. I was not exactly scrambling because I had been hit with a severe case of sciatica and was having trouble walking. One of my online accounts was hacked. We had two major mistakes on some billing --- you know those kind where you’re on the phone for hours with several different people who can’t seem to understand what’s going on? (You all have those and know how fun they are.) Then, when it was time to go for my hubby’s test, I was afflicted with some weird tooth problem. Oh yeah, and did I mention it began on the weekend, so I had to bite the bullet, so to speak, and it was quite painful, for days. There were some other things as well, which I’ll spare you the details on, but I think you get my drift.
When we’re in a state of battling one issue after another, guess what? We get tired. We get frustrated and we sometimes lose our focus. I’m the one who’s always teaching about standing firm in times of trouble. I’m the one who tells people to stay in the Word, in prayer, keeping that sword drawn against the enemy, right? So, I guess it stands to reason that I have to be tested. I hope I passed the test as these trials seem to be lessening by today. (Only God knows.)
What I want to share is that even though I teach those things all the time, I found myself at a couple of low points where I was so exhausted and negative thoughts were pounding my brain. Did I exhibit perfect peace and joy in my trial? I don’t think I did. I got kinda grumpy and even thought about hosting a full blown pity party one night. But….I did realize at one point that the enemy was joining in to bring me down. He does that! God, on the other hand, is so gracious that He tipped me off to the devil’s schemes. What a Father!!
I was lying on the bed with an ice pack under my hip, and holding another one on my jaw when a couple of thoughts hit me that seemed strange. They were dark, ugly thoughts that really weren’t like me at all. Not that I’m perfect by any means, but they were self destructive thoughts that I do not ever have. Thoughts of giving up, resigning from everything, blaming God. As miserable as I was that day, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me, warning me that this is how the enemy works---kicking you when you’re down.
Thank God I took His authority over the whole mess! I began to pray differently, stop whining, and reflect on how blessed my life really is. I put my earphones in with my praise music flowing. I felt the heaviness lifting off within a few minutes.
My point in sharing today is that you are going to have some rotten days, maybe even weeks. Things don’t always go well, even when you’re giving it your best shot. But when you’re in the middle of the storm, remember that your enemy will jump right in there to try to bring you down. You have to put on that whole armor of God and stand firm. Don’t let that devil get a victory just because you’re tired or sick. God will deliver you out of it!! When the storm is past, you will look back, as I am today, and see how distorted things can become when you let your guard down. And you can remind yourself of one of my favorite scriptures, “and it came to pass…” ha. It will pass! Things always change and things always get better. “The testing of our faith produces endurance, so that we may be complete..” James 1:3.
You Set your Alarm Clock, but what about Your Spiritual Alarm Clock?
I saw a joke today about how many pastors were posting on social media about setting clocks so that no one would miss church, but most of them aren’t warning anyone about missing the critically important season we are in. It wasn’t funny to me. I’m not pastor- bashing; I don’t do that. I am a pastor. I’m just asking a question: how many are truly preparing their flocks for some serious times coming soon? If you are in a church where all you hear in sermons is how happy, prosperous days are just around the corner, you are in trouble. I will never tell you that God is not faithful or that he doesn’t bless us. It’s undeniably true that He blesses, protects us and is good. But, friends, we are on the brink of some treacherously serious days, and we must get prepared.
Some have already turned away from this or deleted it because they don’t want to hear it or believe it. Ignorance can be bliss….but only for a short time. We can’t do anything about that except pray for them. I am so concerned about the body of Christ who is sitting in ignorant bliss each week, hearing messages about how God is about to make them rich and deliriously happy...any minute now, if they just claim it or decree it. If you are on social media, you see countless memes with these messages too. Granted, they can be encouraging when you’re a little down but where are the ones warning people that time is short, and it’s time to get hearts right?
God is warning His people. He is sending us dreams and visions, highlighting scripture as we read it, and shaking our spirits to say, “Wake up! Pay attention! Judgment is coming to America!” Take a little walk through history. Every time our leaders have done any action that negatively affects Israel, we have a major weather event that shakes cities or regions. God keeps trying to get our attention, but we blindly go on our merry ways. Pastor Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, once said, “If God doesn’t bring judgment to America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” So true. God is not kidding around about us getting our lives in order, His order.
God wants you to come to Him; get clean. Repent of things in your life that don’t please Him. Have a clear conscience, a pure heart, washing clean the channels through which He speaks. Then He will show you what is coming and what you personally need to do. He doesn’t want His people to be taken by surprise, and devastated by world events. He spelled it all out in His Word, which most people don’t read or take to heart. If you only pull out a few verses here and there that make you feel good, you are missing the greatest opportunity of your life---to know the true and living God! And to understand His purposes.
I’m writing this because I encounter Christians every day who tell me they don’t want to hear this. They choose to blindly go on to the mall and ignore the warnings. How is this going to benefit your family, your children, when times get rough? Please take time to go to the Lord and ask Him if I’m speaking truth? When tragedy strikes where you live, will you be the one God uses to encourage others and lead them to Him, offering hope and peace in the storm? Or, will you be falling apart, writhing in fear, angry at God because you always heard in church that you would be raptured before any tough stuff came along? Ask believers in other countries what they think about that, as they are suffering for Christ daily?
I feel an urgency to warn people. If you are paying any attention to world events, and you have read the Bible at least once, you know I’m telling the truth. Don’t hide your head in the sand. It’s quicksand, my friend. I’m praying that you wake up and smell the coffee, which is boiling over at this moment. Take heed, be obedient to your Father, and turn away from those who sugar coat the gospel for their own gain. Time is short and God is calling His people to prepare so that we can be vessels for His use in times of trouble. You will need His peace in the storm. You likely will not have it if you have not prepared beforehand. Learning how to press into Him and hear His instructions and guidance will be your salvation and hope. I pray you do this now.
God is Always There
Hold Onto Hope
The LORD delights in those who trust him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:11
Have you noticed lately an increase in the prayer requests you’re receiving? And not just the number, but the intensifying gravity of situations as well? Recently I’ve found myself interceding and sobbing over urgent text messages and emails like never before. Life is serious at times. I was going to describe to you some of my heart wrenching stories from the past two weeks, which included even my own family, but then I changed my mind. I think that if you are hurting and struggling over something painful, hearing other stories probably won’t make you feel better. But just know that you are not alone.
As I prayed about sharing a message of hope today, I was reminded that the Bible teaches us that in the world we will have trouble. Jesus said “take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He has overcome the world! We haven’t quite gotten it yet. We struggle and battle through the painful attacks that hit us. The enemy of our soul is relentless. He kicks us when we’re down, shooting those flaming arrows right into an already bleeding wound---in short, he plays dirty. Many times we never see it coming. The other night I was awake and praying at 3 a.m., feeling a bit sorry for myself and asking God why certain things are hitting so hard. He reminded me that I teach about spiritual warfare and then I forget that I’m a target too!
God is our Abba (Daddy) Father. He loves us so much. He is always with us. He walks with us through the fires. He is our Comforter and our Strength in times of trouble. Often He allows certain situations in order to refine us, mature us or develop our faith because that’s what a good Father does. We don’t usually enjoy those times of discipline or teaching. We just want a happy, safe little world where nothing goes wrong.
The Bible teaches us that evil will abound in the last days. We are headed that direction and things will escalate as time goes on until the day Jesus returns for us. As believers, we must learn to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10) We are in training for harder times coming. As we endure these difficult days, we are building strength and learning how to minister to others who are struggling. We are also learning how to stand strong regardless of what is happening around us. There was never a plan for life to be fun and easy all the time. If it was we would be shallow, immature, spoiled brats. He says He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we are His, and submit ourselves to Him, He will protect us, provide for us, shield us from the enemy, and lead us to victory over the darkness. He’s done it for me time and time again.
We must get up every morning alert and discerning, praying on the whole armor of God, pleading the blood of Jesus over ourselves and our families, feeding on the Word to build our faith, and then going out into the world armed and ready for the onslaught. (Ephesians 6:10-18) If and when we do all that, we are in a stronger position to face the things that come, and many times to ward them off, with His help. We lower the risk of being blind-sided or feeling hopeless.
The Lord sees your tears, hears your cries and is compassionate. Never doubt that. He is here for you. His arms are out to you, wanting you to trust Him and believe that He is faithful. Tell Him everything---your fears, your anger, your pleas for what seems right. He is listening and He loves you deeply. And, He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) Expect good things; expect answers to your prayers. Expect His Presence to flood your soul with peace even when the issue is not yet resolved. That is worth so much!
If you need prayer and would like me to lift your needs to the Lord, please leave me a message on the “contact Nancy” link on this home page of my website. I will be honored to pray for you. You are not alone.
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