Friday, 1 September 2017

Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Prayer!

There is no doubt that prayer is a power weapon we have in our spiritual arsenal.  It is however one that for me I find very challenging.  Mostly because I find myself listing all my woes, or wants, to the Lord.  But that is the great thing about being on a journey with the Lord as your Saviour.  That's the amazing thing about "running the race"!  You learn ALL the time!  You improve, you find lack and find a way to change things.

My prayer life has improved much over the years.  From moments of shear desperation, to  moments of joy.  I am learning that the model of how to pray that the Lord gave us, is a great one to follow.


Firstly, we honour God as our Lord and Saviour, maker of heaven and earth, 
Secondly, thank Him for all we have,
Thirdly, ask for His forgiveness, and extend forgiveness to others,
Fourthly, prayer of protection from the evil in this world,
Fifthly, acknowledging that all power and all glory is His...

That is my take on it at any rate.  There is so much power in prayer.  We can focus on WHO is in power, we can acknowledge to ourselves WHO has control of our environment and our circumstances.  We can choose to remove the power of the enemy over us by FORGIVING, and releasing the hurt dished out by others, to the Lord.  We release power into our lives by acknowledging that ALL power is from God. It is HE who is ALL-powerful.  It is Christ who delivers us from evil and He gives us the ability to forgive.  

And what a mighty weapon it is to be able to be thankful in times when things are hard, when things seem hopeless.  It changes our perspective, it shapes how we see where we are and what we are going through, and it helps us to continue on, knowing that God is with us always


How do we utilize prayer as a spiritual weapon:
  • Humble yourself and seek the Lord in Prayer.  It changes things.  2 Chron 7 v 14:  If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
  • Pray whenever, wherever, always, and pray not only for yourself.  Eph 6 v 18:  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
  • Pray - yes, in faith - yes, but do your bit too by striving always to live in the will of the Lord.  Job 22 v 27:  You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfil your vows.
  • Pray when things are bad, BUT also when things are great.  James 5 v 13:  Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
  • A powerful tool is prayer when you pray for your enemies.  Matt 5 v 44:  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
  • Pray that you will be aware of any traps from the evil one.  He knows how we think so he plays to our weaknesses.  Prayer protects you.  Matt 26 v 41:  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
  • Pray that when you read the Word it WILL do a work in the renewing of your mind because in the renewing of your mind to the Lord's will, it protects you from conforming to the patterns of the world which, due to media and peer pressure can be very hard to resist.  Rom 12 v 2:  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
There are many more scriptures which speak to the power of prayer.  We should also see prayer as communion with the Lord.  Spending time with your good friend, or your spouse, strengthens that relationship.  So too does spending time with the Lord.  As your relationship with the Lord strengthens, you become more aware of the spiritual warfare around you, and you are able to pray more effectively, in your own life and for others.

Prayer!  An awesome and powerful weapon of spiritual warfare, given to us freely!  Don't let the "how to" of prayer stop you from just "doing it"!

God bless
Tracy

Previous Warfare post - No. 1:   Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Worship
Next Warfare Post - No. 3:  Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Love 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Worship

Over time, A LOT OF IT, I have come to realize that a lot of what we go through is a spiritual battle.  I have learnt very very slowly, that I have weapons at my disposal.  This morning when I woke up I read Psalms 103.  It starts off with worship and praise for our God.  It got me thinking about worship and how at times in my life, when I had no other options, no other resources, no answers, I felt the Lord encourage me to worship.  I know eventually I will learn to worship before I run to the end of myself....😵

Ps 103 v 1:  Bless the Lord, O my soul;  and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

And it is in worshipping the Lord, that we leave the outcome of our circumstance to Him.  It is a way we can show the Lord that we trust Him and that we know He can do anything, no matter how things look.

We should have a relationship with the Lord and if we do we will discover some things that are our responsibility in this relationship.  One of those things is Worship.  When we worship, we are looking up (figuratively and possibly literally).  In doing this, we take our eyes off our circumstances and troubles and look to the One who can do whatever He feels is required in our circumstance.  Worship helps us to correct our focus.  It should be on Him!

Our relationship to God is, for me, one of Father and daughter.  I know that if I came to my father in need he would do anything in his power to help me.  I know not all people have a relationship with their father, or maybe not a good one, or maybe no relationship (or no father) at all.  But from a normal perspective, as children we can rely on our fathers to help and be a guiding hand.  Your father would not necessarily resolve your problem for you, but he may guide you and support you through a problem.  He would be there offering assistance and wisdom.


This is what I believe our heavenly Father does for us as well.  We worship Him, and He sees where we are, and what is going on in our lives, and like a good Father, He wants to help you.  But sometimes its not the help we wanted or expected, right?!  But we have to believe that as our Father He has our best interests at heart.  His word says that He will never leave us, nor forsake us (Heb 13 v 5)  We have to trust Him to His word and I believe that worship says that.  I believe when I worship the Lord I am telling Him that I trust Him, that I honour Him, that He is my Father, and that I know He will undertake for me in my circumstances.

I believe that worship is a weapon of warfare.  When I worship the Lord, I surround myself with the love of the Lord, and He protects me from the evil one.  Whether mentally, physically, or emotionally, I can trust that my worship of God, elicits His protection of me.
Eph 6 v 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

So I encourage you.  Utilize the weapons at your disposal.  Spiritual warfare is real, but our God is greater than anything in the world.  1 John 4 v 4: You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  

Worship draws God to you, His power and might He brings to your defence, and He surrounds your with His love and protection.  What a great and powerful weapon He has given us.

God bless
Tracy

Next Post:   Weapons of Spiritual Warfare - Prayer







Tuesday, 8 August 2017

What you See is not always what Is!

10 years ago today, our little family was devastated by the beginning of an emotional tsunami!  Our greater family was split, our lives were smashed from all we accepted as the norm.  What we thought we had, we thought we lost!  It was crushing.  It was the beginning of 6 years of hell on earth for us, we thought!  Followed by 4 years of trying to pick up the pieces and begin healing....

But, what we thought of as devastation, was actually a rescue boat!  It was a way God used to separate us from a greater threat.  It was something so awful that nothing could prevent this family split!  But, praise the Lord, God used it to make sure we separated from that which was threatening to completely destroy my children!

Now, 10 years later, I thank the Lord for all that hurt and all that pain.  I thank the Lord for those who created this devastation in our lives.  Because God used them to keep a greater enemy away.  God used them to expose the true viper in the nest.  They were just tools He used to protect us.


We used to think that perhaps this all happened for their salvation.  The salvation of those who caused this destruction.  As it turns out, one of them did turn to the Lord.  But the day I learnt about the true enemy and what had been happening right under our noses, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  God used them to save us, not to harm us!

My point is that sometimes situations look like something that they are not and that the only way through is to implicitly trust God and know that He has the bigger picture that we do not.  I also believe that in time He reveals the bigger picture to you when you are where He wants you to be.

I think of Job!  Man, he must have been so confused.  So hurt!  So frustrated!  He was certainly not reaping something he sowed.  Yet his suffering had a purpose!  Centuries later his story helps people, heals people, guides people.  Our suffering this thing had a purpose!  We just could not see it.  We railed against it, but also chose to trust God along the way.  I cried buckets of tears.  I raged at the Lord.  I lost my sense of humour.  I lost my sense of value.  But we limped on!  Now, on the other side of it, God revealed the "why"!  And now I rejoice in all that we went through because of what He ultimately protected my family from.

Going through hell?  God has got this!  Trust Him.  He will show you when you can see!

Jeremiah 29 v 11:  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 38 v 18:  For I will declare my iniquity;  I will be in anguish over my sin.

Psalm 91 v 2:  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;  My God, in Him I will trust.”

God bless
Tracy

Friday, 4 August 2017

A Blogger Recognition Award!

Wow!  I am blown away by the goodness of the Lord.  I have not blogged nearly as much as I did when I first set out.  There was always so much to say, so much encouragement to offer, so much encouragement received.  I could not help but spend loads of time in this bloggy community of like-minded women.

Blogging has helped me focus on what is important.  Writing about what encouraged me in a situation often times encouraged me more than my intent, which was to encourage others.  To blog consistently about the Lord, His word, His hand in our lives, has helped my sanity as a Christian woman in the "big bad world" we live in.  

At the moment, I don't blog much, and not because I have nothing to say.  Its more that I don't know how to put in words what is going on in my heart and mind.  So, for me, maybe that is a sign that the timing is not right, and that maybe my goal to encourage and uplift, and focus people on the Lord may not come through.  


So, thank you Debra, from My Weakness His Strength for this awesome nomination.  It is a timeous reminder for me that the Lord wants me here.  It is a huge encouragement for me that although there are periods of quiet where words don't flow, He is in that too!

So, to the rules of the Nomination!  Here they are: 
  • Thank the blogger that nominated you and provide a link to their blog 
  • Write a post to accept your award
  • Give a brief summary of how your blog began
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select 15 of your own nominees for the award
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them then provide a link to the post you have created

Hmmm, a brief summary on how my blog began.... Well, I had been curious about a blog I saw my niece had and started looking into how she had done that.  I needed an outlet for the "emotional soup" inside 😆.  Then I googled "Christian Women Bloggers"  Wow!  What a community!  There are hordes of us out there!  Then slowly but surely I created my own blog.  My first "post" was in March 2011.  I chose a name, figured out by MUCH trial and error how to decorate it!  There were some doozie moments of weirdness from some of my errors lol!  My intention at first was to have a space to write what was in my heart through my quiet time, but the Christian women blogging community is so encouraging and so inclusive that I began to realize that part of who I am, who God created me to be, is an encourager, and what an amazing space to do that in.  


Two pieces of advice for new bloggers
  1. Ask questions... Don't be shy!  Ask away!  Its how I learnt and I, in turn, have been asked lots of questions.  I must have rattled lots of cages trying to figure out how to connect something to my blog, how to add a button, how to CREATE a button, how to get a certain background, how to connect to a bloghop, etc!  I found that every single blogger I communicated with, helped me.  And its a great way to connect with like-minded people. 
  2. Remember that it is YOUR blog, YOUR voice!  Say what you feel the Lord wants you to say, but always run what you say through the filter of the Word.  And read over your stuff!  I am sure I have blushed many times rereading an already posted blog post and seeing HUGE glaring spelling mistakes 👀😋.

Now, to nominate 15 bloggers:
  1. Maryleigh, from Blue Cotton Memory writes beautiful words of upliftment and encouragement.  Her posts, her pictures, are always a blessing to me.
  2. Stacy, from She Stands ALWAYS seems to be emotionally and spiritually connecting with me through her words.  She blesses me BIG!
  3. Chelle, from Until we see Jesus...Face to Face always digs deeper into the word and encourages with the grace and mercy she finds in Jesus
  4. Joan, from The Beauty in His Grip always encouraging with her words
  5. Dawn, from Enthusiastically, Dawn ALWAYS has a smile on her face.  She is enthusiastic!  And that is a great encouragement!
  6. Laura, from Journey in Faith another great encourager who is an overcomer.
  7. Eileen, from The Scenic Route is a wordsworth whose words bring a smile, a laugh and much encouragement.
  8. Lisa, from Lisa Buffaloe was one of the first bloggers to ever communicate with me.  What an inspiration she is. Great blog and a true overcomer in Christ.  
  9. Barbie, from Embracing Every Day, great lifestyle blog that encourages and uplifts
  10. Marja, from Fresh Insights On Ancient Truths, she is a very level-headed practical God-fearing, writing blogger who always encourages and points to the truth
  11. Jerri, from Undaunted is a no nonsense overcomer in Christ who inspires and encourages with her words.  
  12. Cheryl, from Homespun Devotions, Cheryl, without fail, has an encouraging word, and the Love of Jesus just shines through.
  13. Lori, from Hungry for God always has a practical slant in her words as to how we are to thrive as children of God.
  14. Deby, from Gods4ever also inspires and encourages with her practical down to earth posts.
  15. Anita, from A day in the life of- encourages us blogging about her walk with the Lord in her day to day life

I must say that I found this exercise very difficult but also very inspiring.  I have not spent much time reading the blog posts of others of late so I really had to go search some of my favourites out.  However, doing so reminded me of what a blessing it is to read all their posts and be encouraged and blessed by them.  I hope you are encouraged by them too.

1 Thes 5 v 11:  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

God bless
Tracy





Friday, 30 June 2017

Lord.... A Little guidance please!

When we don't know what to do, we call out to the Lord and demand that He ask Him to guide us!  We, personally, are in a catch 22 situation.  Kind of between a rock and a hard place and we really really want to do what the Lord would have us do.... And WE JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS!

So we waver and debate back and forth and question and wonder and and and...

Truly, we just get more frustrated.

On a spiritual level, after reading the Word, one has a sense of what God might expect of you, and so you choose to do that.  For us it was, "Stand firm"!  "Don't make 'a plan'!"

And then your thoughts start to wonder.  And then you hear bad news all around you.  The economy is collapsing, politicians are doing it all for themselves, and not the people!  You begin to fear, and in that fear you begin to doubt, "did you hear right?  Should I stand firm?  Should I do nothing?  Should I not maybe be doing this or that?  Did I hear from God or was it my own imagination?  Oh what a vicious circle.  Round and round it goes...

My hubby phoned me while on the road and said we need to make a plan, we need to maybe do this other thing.  So I got frustrated and instead of having a quiet time and seeking the Lord's word, I just started scrolling through facebook as one does... But God right?!  He knows facebook better than anyone.  He can use anything to get your attention...

Let me just show you what the Lord showed me whilst scrolling....

First, a profound and direct scripture on a facebook friend's wall...


This is so spot on for we in the Western Cape are experiencing terrible drought and our business has been severely affected by it... I feel the Lord not only wants us to trust Him in this time, but to remain fruitful too...

Then another encouragement...


and another....


and another...


and these words....

When all hope seems lost, will you still hope? When you can't see a way out, will you remain unwavering in your faith? When nothing makes sense, will you keep on believing that He who promised is faithful?

Lord, a little guidance please!  Um yes, indeed!  Plenty guidance!  Plenty to hold on to!  To be excited about.  

And then to end off with, part of my quiet time of this morning....


Confess God's word with your mouth, so that it becomes what you believe, what you speak and what you do...

God often guides without actually giving directions.  We want directions!  We want life GPS!  But that is not how God works because He wants our faith to grow, and His power to be shown in our experiences and in the testimonies we can bring!  I can truly say, God has given MORE than a little guidance here for us!  Trust Him to do the same for you!

I hope this has encouraged you!

God bless
Tracy

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