A God Story: My Obedient Walk to the Castle 🏰

A God Story: My Obedient Walk
to the Castle 🏰

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Trusting God does not mean believing he will do what you want, but rather believing he will do everything he knows is good.”

Ken Sande

Some days I find myself asking God just to come down and talk to me through a bush or a donkey. Some days, I feel like walking with Christ is a bit of a guessing game. Do you ever feel that way?

I am currently walking out of perfectionism and always wanting to do things right. Nonetheless, some days it feels like a real guessing game. I am more risk averse. I prefer to get it right and not mess up. Do you struggle with this too?

There are days where I feel like figuring out what God wants me to do is a guessing game, which is why I find myself sometimes wishing God would come down and tell me exactly what to do in a 1+1 =2 type of way. I like clearer directions that are not ambiguous.

I know our Father does speak to us. Jesus makes that very clear in John 10:27-28.

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

I, however, would sometimes like it to be a bit blunter and more confirmed if you get what I mean. Of course, where would faith and free will be if He did that all the time?

I promise you nothing can stop divine intervention, especially when one makes it their mission to keep seeking and knocking for God’s will (Matt 7:7-8). I want to tell you about a God story that happened to my husband and me this past April, which will also explain why two newsletters were missed. Please forgive me.

We were not planning to buy a house this year. We decided with my mom’s heart surgery, me still in school, and the amount of time we had lost with one another due to this year being so hectic, it was not worth it. Well, God had a different plan.

One day at the end of March, I woke up and felt the Lord tell me to get our family and my company taxes in order because we needed to buy a house. I was a bit confused, mainly because I was not prepared to buy a home this year, let alone in the area He wanted us to buy. I immediately responded to the Lord’s request, and by the end of that day, our taxes were filed, and by the next day, we were pre-approved to buy a house. I couldn’t believe how fast everything was!

When the finger of God is on you, it's incredible how quickly things get done sometimes!

If you have been paying attention to the real estate market over the last few months, you know it is highly emotional and irrational. When it was time for me to buy a house, I never thought the inventory would be as low and competitive as it currently is.

Usually, houses get listed each day, but like many, Richmond, Va.’s market was not like that. All new listings were released on Tuesday or Wednesday, and no new listings would be revealed until the following week when the previous listings were removed, assuming the listing was sold.

When we first started looking, there was only one house we could look at in our budget, and it was a lemon. I remember leaving that house, talking to God, saying, “Well, God, if this is the house you want us to have, then it will work, but this house doesn’t get me excited at all. Did I miss hear you, God?”

We continued to look at houses over the next few days, and everything was lame and terrifying. A few days later, I was becoming a bit overwhelmed with all variables you had to keep in mind, the price of square feet, how quickly houses were selling, and how much more people were paying over asking. At one point, our relator looked at us and said, “be prepared to pay up to 50,000 over asking if you like a house.” Like… say what now?

Each night, Austin, my husband, and I would pray for God’s will to be done. We prayed for the seller’s heart. We prayed that God would bring us the house that was right for us. In the meantime, we chose to be obedient to where God was leading us to.

Then five days after we started this process on Wednesday night, Austin and I were lying in bed looking through Realtor.com when God led me to the Castle. As I started to look at the pictures, I began to freak out with excitement. I looked at my husband and told him I had found our house! I was 100% sure it was ours too! Immediately His peace and confidence flooded me, assuming me it was in fact the house He had for us. Crazy, right? No, that’s just our Father!

I never had the worldly experience of saying “yes” to the wedding dress, but that is how that moment felt. It was like YES; this is our house – this is the house God has for us. The house was bigger and better than I ever thought I would get in a first house.

The house God brought to us was the perfect size to start and raise a family in, invite friends and family over, and such. It felt like the house was uniquely designed for me and my unique ways. It was love at first sight for us too, so much so that we nicked named our place “The Castle.” Why? Well, because the house sits at the end of a cul-de-sac on top of a hill overlooking all the other homes.

Long story short, we looked at the house the next day, put an offer in, and by Tuesday morning, we found out we were the new homeowners. We were excited that the Lord had blessed us with this home because eight other people had offers on this house. While I am delighted that the Lord brought us a more functional and larger home, the home itself is only part of the God story.

You see, I was a bit lost on which path the Lord wanted me to walk in April. I was getting persecuted for my faith at a company I contract with as a mental health coach, my mother was going through heart surgery, and I was falling behind in my duties at Renew Ministries.

Additionally, I was confused about growing Renew, if God even wanted me to continue with Renew Ministries, and what God wants this ministry to do and be. Yes, I was full of doubt and confusion. I felt very lost, but I knew the Lord was with me and would guide me. I kept praying and asking for direction, but I felt like it was not coming, and I grew impatient.

I realized that I was worried about how God would do His part – a part that I had no control over – when all I needed to focus on was being obedient to what I already knew to do. That is what buying a house taught me – great obedience and trust in the Father. My confidence in hearing the Lord grew. It was one of those moments where you want to shout to your mom and say, “Look, Mom, I’m doing it!”

Not once did I get stressed out about buying a house. Not once did I lose sleep over the place. I always knew it would be ours. The peace I had during the home buying process was surreal.

That is when it hit me. It wasn’t about getting it right per se. It was about DOING what God had asked me to do. It was about being proactive and responding to His requests, not thinking about the results of doing what He is asking.

The best way to describe it is to think of a sidewalk square with an “X” on it. The Lord told me to walk to a specific sidewalk square, and that is what I did. Wherever the Lord told me to go, I went, and I didn’t think, catastrophize, or worry about what the next step would be. I just responded to His requests. I knew He would tell me the next step once I got to the first step, and He always did. I had complete security in that. I remember the first house we looked at. God told us to go, and I was so confused, but God wanted to see how responsive and trusting of Him I would be.

My biggest takeaway from the house buying experience with God was how to efficiently be obedient to Him and not question Him or figure out how He would do His end. It’s not about thinking ahead and being strategic in months to come. It is about doing what God is asking you to do right now.

Every time I would go where God was asking me to go, the next request would be revealed, but I might not have been given that next step if I didn’t take the first step. It is so easy to allow the devil and the Spirit of Fear to overwhelm you, causing you not to move or project into the future everything you don’t want to happen. Yet, God’s asking you to trust Him, move when He tells you to move, and remember that you aren’t alone because He is always with you.

Where are you dragging your feet?
Where are you consciously being disobedient because you feel like you can’t do it or are unsure?
What will it take for you to choose to be obedient to the Father and do what He is asking?

In closing, we moved into the Castle in mid-June and then took the last week of June to celebrate my birthday and take a much-needed vacation. Unfortunately, with all the chaos and part of our house still being a construction zone, I lost track of time because sometimes life happens so fast. I apologize for that.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your everlasting, unconditional love. I know there are times I am not obedient to You, and I repent for that. Would you please help me always to move when You say move? I want to do Your will Father and not my own. I know You have good things in store for me, even if I don’t understand them. I know I can trust You with my life, and You will not let me out of Your hand. Would you please help me to do Your will with gladness? If I have missed moving or doing what You want me to do, please bring that to my attention. I want to be a Warrior in Your Kingdom. Grow me. Teach me. Equip me. Help me only to do Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Stop Compromising with Fear of Rejection Now

Stop Compromising with Fear of Rejection Now

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:17 NLT

25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

John 12:25,26 NLT

Do you love your life?

What do you think is important in life?

Most people think that food, clothing, power, money, and pleasure are important things. Are you living for those things? Seriously, ask yourself this question because I am talking about life or death here! You get to choose what you will do, but at the end of your life or if Jesus comes back first, you might not get a second chance!

Jesus makes it clear in John 12:25 that when we love our life, we fail to recognize that the soul is more important than the body. To love one’s life here and now on earth is to concentrate on one’s own success causing a person to lose what matters. Please know how God defines success and how the world defines success are very different. The ways of God are usually opposite of the world’s methods.

Are you concentrating on worldly success or godly success? I encourage you to watch out and be mindful of where your focus and heart are, as you might be losing what really matters. And living for Christ is what matters.

Perhaps that is why it is so hard for many of us to crucify the flesh? Most people allow their sensations, urges, and ultimately their body to dictate their life.

If we neglect our soul’s welfare, we indirectly lose our life. Whereas on the other hand, there are those believers who have their priorities in order.

Before I continue, please know if this message stirs up a negative emotion inside of you, please investigate it. I encourage you to be curious about what is causing you to get upset or angry at what you read instead of shutting it down. What I am talking about here is very serious.

To put it differently, if faithful followers of Christ love their own lives more than their Master, Jesus, they will lose the very thing they seek to maintain. One’s love for the Father must be such that all other passions are, by comparison, hated.

It’s vital to realize true disciples of Christ MUST be willing to suffer and experience rejection from humans even to the point of death. Yes, I wrote that! Are you ready to suffer and experience rejection for Christ?

Most believers are not, even though they say they are. Let me ask you, how much do you compromise to avoid rejection?

When you see someone who could benefit from hearing about Christ, do you boldly speak up about the life-saving power of Christ, or do you shy away? Or when you see someone who may need prayer, do you offer to pray for them, or are you too afraid of upsetting them? Or better yet, do you only think about Christ in the morning, and that’s it?

If you find yourself not speaking up about Christ because of FEAR of what one might say to you, please know that you have made humans your god.

I hate to break it to you, but serving Christ means making a RADICAL lifestyle change. As disciples of Christ, we are no longer from this world. We reside in the Kingdom of Heaven, and if that is truly your home, you will not act as the world does! Jesus makes it very clear He doesn’t like lukewarm water.

So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth (Revelations 3:16 NKJV).

Where do you need to make changes to your goals, interests, hobbies, career choices, or habits?

Whether you realize it or not, to follow Christ means going the way He went! On the contrary, following Christ does NOT mean walking down the path of earthly power and honor. Let that sink in for a moment. The devil is fooling a large portion of the body of Christ. They think they are serving Christ, but in reality, they are lukewarm at the very best. Unfortunately, some of the believers in the body of Christ might not make it to heaven – dare I say. If I don’t say it, who will?

Remember, everything Jesus did was to glorify the Father! Are you glorifying Him in everything you do or just some things?

When you choose to follow Christ and are serious about that choice, you must live for God’s glory alone. Again, some believers in the body of Christ are double-minded. They are trying to serve both the Father and the world. Let me be very clear, YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS (Matt. 6:24). Which one will you pick? I am talking about a life-or-death choice here! There are no gray areas, which should be a good thing as some of you prefer thinking in absolutes or black-and-white.

To serve Christ means following Him. It’s like Simon Says type of following too. If you read your Bible, you know His disciples obey His teachings and resemble Him morally. They do what He said and exemplified. We are to do the same. We must apply the example of His death to ourselves.

What does Jesus really mean by “hating” your life in this world?

Here are four points to help you understand what Jesus meant.

1. Jesus wants you to be 100% committed to living for Him. He wants this so much so that you need to “hate” your life by comparison. If you don’t hate your life in contrast, your life will always compete with how He wants you to live and how you want to live. We know which one will win too.

  • Take a second to reflect on your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you reflect and highlight where you choose your life and ways over His.
  • Please don’t beat yourself up about this. Learn from it. Grow from it. Repent. Give yourself grace. We have to walk things out sometimes. No one but Jesus was perfect.

2. When you love your life, you start to become selfishly protective of it. It’s all about you! What happens is you begin to guard your time and energy so jealously that you squander it on your OWN pleasures and purpose.

  • Your life is not about you. I know, I know the world says it is. It’s not. Your life is about glorifying the Father and living for Christ. Now, you are uniquely designed to do something specific for God’s Kingdom. I promise you God’s will for your life will be more satisfying than anything you can imagine. God’s not asking you to be a robot but to make Christ the dominant thing in your life.
  •  Have you asked the Father what He made you do?

3. However, hating your life means consistently growing in Christ and using your resources to follow Christ. It’s putting godly values before your values. It’s about obedience. It’s putting others before you. It is most definitely putting what Christ says above what everyone else says.

  •  It does not mean that you long to die, are careless, or foolish with the life God has given you.
  • It does mean that you are free from self-centeredness and willing to die for Christ if doing so would glorify the Father.

4. By laying down our mission to strive for advantage, power, money, security, and pleasure, you can serve God lovingly and freely. You remove the competition, if you will.

  • Laying down your life for Christ is ultimately releasing and surrendering control to Christ. I promise you when you do this; you receive eternal life and the most satisfying joy you can imagine

As Warriors for Christ, we are promised the constant protection and presence of our Master. Boldly and courageously serving Christ now on earth as a true disciple means you will receive God’s approval in the coming day. Remember, whoever suffers shame, rejection, reproach on earth will be microscopic compared to the glory of being publicly commended by the Father in Heaven.

Where can you start being bolder for Christ?

Where are you serving two masters?

What can you do to truly start living for Christ?

I encourage you to read Daniel if you need some encouragement or your faith to grow!

Prayer:Father God, I repent for being doubleminded. I repent for not being braver and more courageous in my walk with You. Please forgive me. I want to be fearless in my walk with Christ. I want to be a true disciple. Holy Spirit, I ask you to help me live as Christ lived. Your Word says You will give me the desires of my heart. Well, I am asking You to start changing my desires to Your desires. Father, show me how I can renew my mind to Your Word. I ask You to highlight where I am failing to serve You. Father, I surrender my entire life and being to You. I ask that You help me to do Your will and glorify You in everything. Thank You for Your love and for helping me live only for You and not for me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Breaking My Autonomy with God

Breaking My Autonomy with God

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:17 ESV

Over the last few months, I have been consciously working with the Lord to break my high autonomy. The Holy Spirit has recently shown me where my need for independence and control is sabotaging my walk with the Lord and putting me into disobedience. He has shown me that I must work to break this stronghold within me so He can use me and take me where He wants me to go. 

 

He asked me to write about what He told me last night. I hope it helps you become more obedient to the Lord and opens your eyes to His marvelous and brilliant ways that sometimes don’t make sense until they do.

 

Last night at around 9 pm or later, the Father spoke to me. He told me, “I am going to break your autonomy. Your autonomy is a part of your flesh, not of me. It is hindering you greatly, and it’s time we crucify it. You asked me to remove every vine that does not produce life from you, and that is what I am going to do. The question is are you going to work with me or against me?” He said all of this after I had worked a 12-hour day and was just about to get in bed. Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to do was do more work. 

First, let me share some of my desires with you. I want to be obedient to the Lord. I want to grow my faith and operate in the mind of Christ. I want to turn away from the world's ways and do God's way. I want the Father to prune me of my fleshly and selfish ways. I want to build a ministry that helps people grow stronger in the Lord. I want to join with the Father to develop Warriors for Christ.

Recently, I have been working with the Father to prune me, and I have grown tremendously by having this desire in my heart. I have asked Him to help remove every dead branch from me (John 15:2). I have meant it in my heart, which is necessary for God to work in you. I told the Lord I was willing to do whatever He needed me to do. The number one thing I want more than anything is to do God’s will in my life. 

 

Once I heard the Lord speak to me about my autonomy last night, I shared it with my husband after writing it down. You see, writing down what the Lord was telling me was the obedience and sanctification part of breaking the core parts of my autonomy. God wanted me to write down what He was telling me, so I could write about it later. Initially, I didn’t want to capture what He was saying. 

Can we say LAZY!?

Typically, when I am in the Spirit, receiving connections and revitalizations, I lazily ask the Holy Spirit to remember it so I can do what I want to do. Why? Well, because usually, it is at a time that I see as very inconvenient. Do you hear the self-righteousness in my thinking? Yuck, Father, God forgive me. I repent!

 

 The Holy Spirit usually reminds me, but always in another inconvenient time where I would rather be doing something else. You would think I would have caught on to this insight sooner since the Lord has been doing this for the last 7 years, but I did not. I was foolish. Again and again, I would not do what the Holy Spirit continued prompting me to do. Ultimately, this caused me to forget the insight, or the insight would come across flat once I did share it. However, this time, I understood what God was getting me to do. I finally got it! 

 

He was using these inconvenient times to break my autonomy, teach me about commitment, and show me how to work for Him. (I used to struggle with perfectionism, procrastination, and the fear of discomfort. These are all ingredients that can lead one to lack commitment or responsibility). Since I don’t have a boss and can easily not do what I need to do, I need the Father to help hold me accountable. Especially because Renew Ministries is not mine, it’s the Lord’s, and I must steward this ministry well. 

You see, my flesh desired to do life one way, and it was against God's way. Anything that is against God is anti-Christ!

I have never done well working for a boss. I do not know why, but the second I am micromanaged or work for a company that lacks vision or leadership, I quickly start butting heads with them. Now, I am a very loyal person, but I don’t do well when I see corruption in a company or when I care more about the company than it appears the owners do. What I have learned is for me to grow this ministry, I have to learn how to work for the Lord in a way that represents Christ. I have to let go of my assumptions and judgments and do what God tells me to do. It’s not my job to judge people. And allowing other’s sin to stop me from doing right is foolishness. It’s just like what Paul says in Colossians 3:23-24:

 

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

Therefore, sometimes what the verse above means is doing things you don’t want to do. At times, you definitely don’t want to do it. 

On top of that, God is working to break the fear of poverty and the employee mindset within me. I need Him to do this because much of what the Lord is asking me to do does not bring immediate income. Therefore, God has been trying to teach me how to let Him guide my time and schedule instead of what the world says I should or should not do. That means doing things that may seem weird, awkward, or contrary to what the world says. If you have a fear of man, this will be hard to do. I encourage you to trust the Lord and not focus on what people may say about you. Besides, do you really care what a human has to say about you over the Father? 

My high autonomy has caused a great deal of tension and unnecessary stress in my life. I have been fired from jobs, I have refused to work, half-assed things I didn’t want to do, allowed fear of perfectionism to isolate me, allowed fear of failure to paralyze me, and I have thought I was better than I was. Just like a horse must be broken, my autonomy and pride needed to be broken. Earlier this year, the Lord told me my pride would break this year, and I welcomed the sanctification. I am so happy I agreed to let the Lord break it because it has been so freeing and amazing. 

What I have now learned is:

  1. God will ask you to do things when you don’t want to do them in your flesh. He is not necessarily going to follow the 9-5 schedule. Sorry. He’s not. He is going to tell you to do things when He wants you to do them. Sometimes it will work with your schedule, and other times, it’s going to feel like you are wasting your time.
  2. One reason you aren’t doing what God is asking you to do might be because you feel uncomfortable doing it. You will need to decide if you are going to trust yourself or the Lord.
  3. God may ask you to sacrifice something important to you so you can do what is essential and helpful for His Kingdom, which does not revolve around you.
  4. When God asks you to do things you don’t want to do, what He is actually doing is helping to grow and prune you to be more like Christ. Never tell God to wait. Tell your flesh to wait instead.
  5. Lastly, you are going to need to decide who your master is going to be. Is it going to be your flesh or the Father? Are you going to serve your flesh or the Father? Remember, you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). 

The more you choose to obey God and do what He asks, the more you will grow in Christ and produce great fruit that will survive the fire. The fruit the Father produces is the MOST satisfying fruit there is. It is easy for humans to grow fruit we believe is essential to God, but it’s hindering our walk with the Lord in reality. Sometimes we think we are doing right when what we are really doing is being self-righteous. I invite you to ask the Holy Spirit where you are falling into your flesh. The answer will save your life. 

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, please highlight where my flesh is getting in the way of the Father’s will for my life. Father, I ask you to prune me. Cut off every branch that is dead and show me how I can work with you in the pruning of the good vines. Thank you for everything you do for me. I pray that in everything I do, your will is done and not my will. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Let’s Talk Recognition…. Do You Crave Human Recognition or Recognition from God More?

Let's Talk Recognition... Do You Crave Human Recognition or Recognition from the Father more?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven

Jesus, Matthew 6:1

What type of recognition do you crave? Recognition from the Father or humans? Would you say it is a mix of the two? Or can you confidently say that you are free from fear of man and the sin of competition, bitterness, envy, jealousy, perfectionism, or other sins that can cause you to crave human acknowledgment?

I ask these deep and layered questions to get you thinking. At first glance, it is easy to say: “I only care about what the Father thinks, not humans.” But, then on a second look, you may find yourself metaphorically dancing in front of humans to impress them or to get them to like you.

Have you ever done this?

I have, and that is why I want to share with you what the Lord told me by providing my latest example of where sin overtook me in a sneaky way.

Now before we dive into this, let me first explain recognition in a psychometric stance.

Someone with high recognition wants to be viewed as a socially desirable person to people. He or she may need the approval of others and is quite concerned about his or her reputation. Such a person’s reputation is a large part of what drives him or her to achieve acknowledgment.

However, a person with low recognition is unconcerned with his or her reputation and does not crave acknowledgment from others. He or she does not usually seek approval and recognition from others.

Where do you think you fall? It may be difficult for you to provide yourself with a clear-cut answer, as other psychometrics can mold this psychometric, but do your best to give yourself a number between 1 and 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

As for me, I am someone who once had a very high recognition score. Over the years, the Father and I have been working to lower my fleshly need for human recognition, and we have had great success. I have walked out of a handful of bad habits and grown more secure with the Father’s love. Big picture, I care more about what God says than humans do now, but it has taken me some time to walk out my need for human recognition, and I still fail. While I do not stumble like I once did, I still do stumble. However, now my stumbling is a little bit more subtle than it used to be.

One of my favorite things to do at night with the Father is to spend time reflecting on the day with Him. I like to invite Him in, and I ask Him and the Holy Spirit to highlight any worldly behaviorisms I partook in and anything I need to repent for, and where I could do things more like Christ.

I did this a few days ago regarding Rochester. The Father answered my invitation by showing me where I sought after human recognition over His recognition. It surprised me too because it was so subtle. The devil can be so sneaky sometimes.

It was my mom’s and my first Friday in Rochester, MN. I had gone with her to an appointment that would take about an hour and a half. Sometimes I could go back with my mom for the appointments, but this one I could not. After the nurse came and got her, I asked God, “How would you like me to spend my time?” I heard God answer by saying, “Why don’t you go across the street and get yourself a Starbucks Passion Fruit Tea. I know you like those, so go get yourself a treat.” That is what I did.

As I was leaving Starbucks, I heard a megaphone. I decided to follow the sound. Immediately I began thinking to myself, “hmmm…, is there a protest going on? I thought Rochester was a nice town.” (Not to imply non-nice towns have protests, but Rochester is the friendliest & calmest town I have ever been to. Therefore I was surprised when I heard someone on a megaphone).

As I was thinking that and following the noise, I began walking next to two nurses questioning the noise. We started talking, and the next thing I heard was the word “revival.” I knew it was street preaching or a street revival. I had to introduce myself. I got so excited. Before I continue with this story, let me first tell you the assumptions I fell for without asking God what He wanted me to do.

When I get excited, I can be impulsive, can you?

First, I assumed that since God wanted me to get Starbucks, He wanted me to go over and say hi because everything God-related must be from God. Well, we know that not to be true. But it’s an easy ploy to fall for, but we have to remember the Father did not want every church that exists to exist.

Secondly, I got caught up in the excitement of what these people were doing and forgot to ask the Lord what He wanted me to do. I do try to remember to always pray to God before speaking, but I forgot. I try to do my best to let the Father’s light shine through me, but this time I (accidentally) allowed my flesh to take control. Nonetheless, hanging out with these people was awesome. Their faith, boldness, and love for the Lord genuinely exude out of them. It was a huge encouragement to talk with brothers and sisters in Christ-like these. Together we prayed for a nurse and a police officer. We also had a great conversation with one another. I know my faith, boldness, courage, and fearlessness for the Lord grew with this street fellowship.

However, amid this fantastic experience for me, I was falling into my flesh quite a bit. Of course, it took me a few weeks of meditating with the Lord for me to see it, as this is how sly the devil can be. You can automatically agree with his schemes, not even realizing you are doing it.

These individuals were much braver than I was; at least, that is what it looked like. They seem to be more obedient to the Father too. I was amazed and encouraged by their obedience to the Father, and if I am honest, I found myself feeling less than and a bit jealous and envious, which is the fruit of the devil, not the Spirit. The couple I spoke with was from Florida, and they would travel around the U.S.A. and go where the Father told them to go. They didn’t worry about their finances, as they knew where God sends one, He provides too (Isaiah 58:11). I found this to all be so encouraging and faith-building for me. I was so encouraged. I began to buy the lies that I was not good enough. I felt like I needed to prove myself to them and show them what I was doing for God’s kingdom. I began to compare myself and the path God has given me to their course. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to do more. While I can do more for God, the intentions were a bit wrong, if I am honest.

If I reflect with the lens of the Holy Spirit, I see my fleshly actions much clearer. I wanted the glory instead of giving it to the Father. There were numerous times where I was trying to show off my skills, capabilities, talents, and knowledge of the Word. I was falling into spiritual pride, and I wanted them to recognize my abilities. I was trying to get their approval.

Do you see all the self-righteousness I was doing?

I wanted to be the focus instead of letting God be the focus. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Where you were so inspired and encouraged by someone, you began competing with them. Perhaps it was by trying to “top” their story, or maybe you kept bragging about what you were doing as opposed to listening. Whatever it was where you were trying to get favor with them, the humans, or the Father?

Jesus warns us about this in Matthew 6. He begins His sermon by warning against the temptation to parade one’s devoutness by performing deeds to be seen by others. In Matthew 6:2, Jesus continues by saying when people do such a thing, their only reward is the reputation/recognition they gain while on earth.

Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get (Matthew 6:1,2 NLT).

Admittedly, I fell into this. The Holy Spirit showed me that the Father would have rather me listened to them, loved them, & encouraged them. He wanted me to observe them and let them know I was listening. God told me earlier this year that humility and illumination were my words. What I see now is He was using that experience to help grow me in humility and meekness. Instead, I got caught up in the excitement of it all, which, I believe, is what caused me to fall into my flesh. I wanted to share with them about me and what I was doing for the Lord when God only asked me to listen, observe, and love them. Righteously so, as Philippians 2:3,4 tells us not to do what I did!

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (NLT).

Even 1 Peter 2:11 reminds us to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against our souls (NLT).

I am delighted I obeyed the Lord and went and got Starbucks. I am thankful for the experience I had. I am incredibly appreciative of the Holy Spirit taking that opportunity to teach me how to act more like Christ and represent Christ better. Sometimes, the only way we can learn is by messing up and then allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the only one who can change you, and when the Spirit convicts you, change will come about if you let it. I am so grateful for this growth!

In closing, where do you fall into selfishness? What creates envy and jealousy inside of you? Where do you crave human recognition over the Father’s? I encourage you today to pray to the Holy Spirit to help you learn these answers about yourself and then ask the Spirit to help change your heart. It is easy to be fooled by this world, but with the guidance and discernment of the Holy Spirit, you can quickly detect the world’s schemes, but you have to listen and pay attention to the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Son, Jesus, to save me. I know there are times where I crave human recognition overdoing things Your way. Please Forgive me. I ask You to help me turn away from sinful and fleshly desires and only do what You want me to do. Please help me to see when I am participating in my flesh and not in my Spirit. Thank You for growing me, and thank You for using every opportunity to make me more like Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Survival Secret #6: Never Take Your Armor Off

Survival Secret #6: Never Take Your Armor Off

Part 6 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Oh that we would hunger to be filled with the Word of God; for there is no greater armor, no greater strength, no greater assurance that He is with us, and in us, when we go forth in battle equipped and nourished by His instruction and determined to stand firm on His promises.

Billy Graham

Good Morning, Warrior for Christ!

 

We are at the end of the newsletter series 6 Survival Secrets for Successfully Battling the Storm.

 

Survival Secret #1  The Father Wants to Rescue You!

Survival Secret #2 – God is Never Going to Abandon You!

Survival Secret #3 – God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle

Survival Secret #4 – Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Survival Secret #5  Give Yourself Grace

Survival Secret #6 – Never Take Your Armor Off!

What do I mean by "Never Take Your Armor Off?"

Always keep God’s Armor on your body! Sometimes God’s Armor is misrepresented as something you constantly put on and off. That’s not the case. 

You want to always keep God’s Armor on you! It can take time to renew your mind to keep this armor on you. That’s okay. Start with one thing, and after you have shown consistency for a few weeks, put on another piece of God’s Armor. 

Remember, spiritual warfare is a way to freedom, not a way of life. Sometimes it might feel like it is perpetual but remember in Christ. You have already won!

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His[boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places (Ephesians 6:10-12 AMP).

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness (Ephesians 6:13-14 NLT).

Life storms can be exhausting and discouraging. Remember to rest in God. He wants you to have rest and peace. The Lord is your joy and strength. It can be easy to think and believe you can only have joy and strength when life is going well, but that’s a load of baloney.

It can also be super easy to get overwhelmed and feel discouraged when going through a tough season or a storm. That’s okay too. When you catch yourself wallowing in self-pity, get up, get rid of it, and get back on track. 

Focus on what God is telling you to do.

If you are not sure what God wants you to do, then do the last thing you know God told you to do.

It may feel you are even ignoring the storm when you do this. However, what you are doing is choosing to go by faith and not by sight. Just as horses wear blinders to prevent them from getting spooked or distracted, you too are encouraged to put on spiritual blinders to keep you focused on God. 

Do not focus on the storm, but on God redeeming all that the enemy took. Glorify God. Get excited about seeing how God will flip this on the enemy. It is amazing how a storm or a tough season can be the best thing in your life as it can put you on a more excellent path.

When you walk with Christ, you are Victorious.

The war is over! The devil will try to fool you about that truth but remember that you have already won! That is why I encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the storm. The devil wants to take your attention away from Christ, don’t let him. 

He can only do this by you agreeing with his magic show. I say, “magic show,” because that is what it can feel like to me. The devil is going to get you to look over here at the top right corner, while at the bottom left corner, he’s doing the “sneaky” parts that make up the magic trick. Please stop it. Do NOT give the devil attention. He’s not worth your time. Glorify God. Tell that scoundrel to go in the name of Jesus.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9 NLT)."

God is always with you. Be fearless and courageous.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your love, joy, peace, and strength. Thank You for being my rock, advocate, protector, and healer. Thank You for redeeming everything that the devil stole from me. I ask You to help me wear Your armor. Please grow me into a strong, courageous, and fearless Warrior for Christ. Teach me. Train me. Develop me into the person You want me to be. Please help me to use trails and storms as a way to glorify Your name. Thank You for helping me always to desire Your will over mine. I love You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Survival Secret #5: Give Yourself Grace

Survival Secret #5: Give Yourself Grace

Part 5of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Ephesians 2:8 NLT

You are not going to do everything right. You will mess up. You will make mistakes. You may even try to get God to move by doing good works instead of through your faith.

Stop believing you have to be perfect or do something right to be worthy or used by God! That kind of thinking will cause you to drown in bondage. Thinking like that is proof that you agree with the devil’s lies, not the Father’s truth or Word. Remember, no human being is perfect.

God knows you are not perfect. He doesn’t ask YOU to do things perfectly. Instead, God asks you to trust Him and live according to His Word. God wants you to be obedient to Him, not your excuses. Within that request, He asks you to give yourself and others the same grace He gives you!

 

God wants you to be kind to yourself. He does not want you to belittle or hate yourself.

You are going to have days where you do accidentally make a mistake. Or maybe God humbles you, and your eyes become open to your pride or some other shortcoming in your flesh that the Holy Spirit is working out of you. When God convicts you where your flesh is dominant, don’t get upset. Instead, rejoice! Yes, maybe you will feel deep sadness by this conviction. That’s a good thing. That means you care, and you want to do it God’s way.

We all have blind spots. When the Holy Spirit illuminates that blind spot inside you, rejoice because God is helping you become righteous! There are so many marvelous things that occur when the Father does this, and you feel this conviction because only the Holy Spirit can change you. It’s that conviction that goes right down to your belly that will help you renew your mind to doing something the way God encourages it to be done instead of how the world screams it should be done. That conviction is what is necessary for you to break up with that self-righteous way of thinking.

Maybe you responded with worldly thinking or had a lapse in judgment. That is okay. You are not perfect. You are a human. I will keep saying that because it is so crucial that you understand that you will fall short or mess up at times. Again, that’s okay.

What is not okay is when you choose not to listen to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. What is also not okay is when you decide to criticize yourself, hate yourself, inflict pain or punishment on yourself, wallow in your self-pity, or respond with anything other than grace. You have the mind of Christ, and if you have a relationship with Christ, then you know He would not put you down. He might correct you humbly and with love, but He will never shame you or be mean to you.

If Jesus will give you grace, and the Father will provide you with His grace, then why aren’t you giving yourself grace? Do you think you are better than the Godhead?

It doesn’t matter if you see it or not. When you fail to give yourself grace, you believe that your opinion is more important than what God says about you, and that is self-righteousness at the very best. When you start depriving yourself of grace, you encourage antichrist thinking inside of you! And you know what happens?

That storm you are walking in picks up speed and power. Everything will start to become worse, harder, more overwhelming, and the Spirit of Fear will gain leverage. You will feel discouraged, afraid, anxious, and weak because you are surrendering your God-given authority over to the demonic forces.

Now watch out because if you struggle with an Unloving Spirit and the Spirit of Self-Pity, then know they are potentially coming to knock on your thought door too! And oooooh, those spirits are ugly and mean! These spirits are going to tell you that you are not loved by God, by your family, friends, or even by yourself. They will say God cannot use you and tell you your life is pretty much over! Specifically, Self-Pity will try to make you feel bad about yourself and encourage you to wallow in the woes of mePsh, what a literal lie from hell! Stop it! Break it off, now in Jesus’ name!

Be the Warrior for Christ you are in your spirit and rise up declaring what God says about you!

The power living inside of you is mightier than all of the demonic forces in the world combined. You are going to have to break agreement with those Spirits by saying what God says about you! It’s okay if you don’t know the verse verbatim; just say what is in your heart.

Now, if those spirits challenge you, don’t get in an argument with them. Instead, tell them you will go look up the verse, and while you put your finger on that address, with your God-given authority, tell them to get their crap and go! They can’t stay. Break agreement with them and repent for even agreeing in the first place.

It’s important to remember sometimes Spirits come and train you to think a certain way and leave, and other times they are still within you. These spirits may try to come back because you are choosing to agree with lies that you aren’t good enough, worthy enough, or capable. Or your mind might produce those thoughts the Spirits trained you to think! But God says YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS YOU (Phil. 4:13).

What Paul is telling us in Philippians 4:13 is you can do all things which are in God’s will for you to do. Guess what? It’s in God’s will for you to show yourself unconditional love and grace. How many times does the Bible say to love?

Well, I tell you that I have never counted. Still, my quick internet search says that the word “love” is mentioned 442 times in the King James Version (KJV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) mentions it 759 times. The difference in number is due to certain words not translating directly into the word “love.”

My point is that God wants you to love everyone, and that includes yourself. Start showing up and responding with love in all things!

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13 KJV).

Paul tells you that love is the greatest of the graces because it is most helpful to others and God. Love allows you to be others-centered, not self-centered. Yes, loving yourself allows you to show up more for others because you are not obsessively focusing on yourself, acting like the world or God’s kingdom revolves around you! The opposite of love is hate, and hate comes from the devil, and all things that come from the devil rob you from life! Stop it!

Give yourself grace.

When you give yourself grace, do you know what you are doing? You are permitting yourself to be a human, make mistakes, not be perfect, and grow in Christ. Giving yourself grace is giving yourself the permission to be as you are, with the understanding that you are still walking things out.

We are all walking something out. Now the size of it might vary, but as Paul says, we all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:32). It’s in our weakness that Christ’s power is made perfect (2 Cor. 12:9). Choose to let Christ’s power rest on you!

You cannot make decisions with the information you do not have. You can only make decisions with the information you have at that time and with the guidance of God. Sometimes you will make bad decisions. Even if you pray and acknowledge the Lord in all things (Prov. 3:6), you will have to take a leap of faith at some point.

You might be unsure what God is really asking you to do, so you step out in faith. Guess what? You might leap on to the wrong path. That’s okay. Pray to God. Ask for His guidance to be clearer, repent for the miss-step, and once you hear what He is asking of you, move.

This world is harsh. Please don’t make it more difficult by being a jerk to yourself. God is made stronger through your weakness. The Bible doesn’t say that God blesses the proud, arrogant, or people who believe they are all that and a bag of chips. It says the opposite:

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
(James 4:6 KJV)

You see, my Warrior, God’s grace is what benefits you. God’s grace enables you to resist the devil, to draw closer to Him, to weep when you sin or act doubleminded. God’s grace is what saves, but God does not want you criticizing yourself in His grace because that too is doublemindedness.

You cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24) and accepting God’s grace and beating yourself up is straddling the line of light versus darkness. Accept God’s grace and allow yourself to breathe. Forgive yourself for messing up. Rejoice in the opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes. For it is God that blesses you to cleanse your hands, purify your hearts and minds.

Part of humbling yourself is learning how to give yourself grace and forgive yourself as the Father does. It’s also part of surviving the storms that the enemy brings. As you continue to walk in godly humility to humble yourself, God will exalt you!

Survival Secret #5 might be the most important one for you to remember. It’s the one that can help you keep the peace that Jesus has given you. Choosing to provide yourself with grace amid hardship will help you continue renewing your mind to God’s ways.

It’s effortless to hate on yourself. It’s incredibly easy to do what the world encourages when you feel you have messed up or are facing a storm because you are afraid. But God makes the foolish things the wisdom of the world (1 Cor. 1:20). Beating yourself up will only fuel the storm because the storm is not coming from God. Yet sometimes, it can be encouraging to remember that your life storms are what will put you on your God-given path! God can redeem everything if you let Him. If God is for you, who can be against you? I hope it’s not you!

Prayer:

Father God, Wow! Thank You for your amazing grace. Thank You for sending Your only begotten Son. Jesus, thank You for Your selflessness and obedience to Your Father. I know that I don’t always do things the way You encourage. I know I don’t always give grace to myself or others, but I am asking You to help me better give and receive grace. Please help me to be obedient to Your Word in everything I do. Please help me keep my eyes on You, not on my feelings, antichrist thoughts, or what the world screams. If I am doing anything against Your will for my life, please recorrect me and make my path straight as Your Word says. Thank You for all my blessings. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for softening my heart and developing my character to be more like Your Son, Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Survival Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Survival Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!

Part 4 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Focus on giants – you stumble.

Focus on God – Giants tumble.

Max Lucado

We are continuing forward with this series, 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm. Here is a quick recap:

Secret #1 is the promise that the Father will come and rescue you. He wants you to be with Him more than you do! Thank the Lord for the Father’s love and zeal towards us.

Secret #2 is God will never abandon you nor forsake you! He is always with you, even when you feel He’s not.

Secret #3 is God will never give you more than you can handle.

Today we are talking about Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!

I find this to be the best secret of them all! By leveraging this secret in every area of your life, you will QUICKLY begin noticing the victorious changes that will happen in your life from doing so. Unfortunately, it seems most people forget the power of Keeping Your Eyes FOCUSED on Jesus!

Do you know what most people do instead? They keep their eyes focused on the storm, tribulation, suffering, or the giant in the situation. Essentially, they are focused on what they can see. They allow their carnal mind to take charge, causing them to go by sight, not faith. However, Paul clarifies we are to go by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). As the only way to please God is with faith (Heb 11:6).

When you focus on the problem of a matter, you stumble and turn away from God. Even if you do not realize it, what you are saying to God is that you would rather depend on your own resources than trusting Him. It’s just like what Max Lucado says – “Focus on giants – you stumble. Focus on God – giants tumble!” Survival secret #4 teaches you how to rise over your obstacles! The only way for you to rise in a storm is by focusing and believing in God’s promises, not your circumstances.

Jesus tells His disciples in John 16:33:

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (NLT).

It seems people forget the last sentence in this verse. I cannot begin to tell you how many pastors I have heard use this verse in discussing resilience and the truth that hardship will come to you, but they always leave out that last part. The most important part of the verse is where Jesus’ promise and peace come into play.

Yes, on earth, you will have trials and sorrow, but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.

Jesus tells us to take courage in Him because He has overcome the world. Do you see the victory in this truth? If Jesus is part of the Godhead and the Holy Spirit is the greatest power to exist, do you see how victorious you are when you choose to remain in Him (John 15:4)?

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me (John15:4 NLT).

What Jesus is telling you in John 15:4 is that you are to make constant, moment-by-moment decisions to follow Jesus. You cannot be passive about this. You must be proactive! That is why the Word reminds you so many times to keep your eyes focused on Him!

You must remember, when the devil is trying to bring you down – he has already lost because Jesus has already overcome the world. It’s done. Jesus overcame the world by rising from the grave. Rest on that truth instead of getting caught up in the lies the devil is trying to sell you, typically through fear.

Here are five ways you can abide in Jesus:

  • Believe Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 4:15)
  • Receive Him as your Lord & Savior (John 1:2)
  • Do what God says (1 John 3:24)
  • Continue believing in the Gospel (1 John 2:24)
  • Relate in love to the community of believers, Christ’s body (John 15:12)

John 16:33 contains a powerful promise that is also offered to you! Jesus promised the disciples peace through their union with Him. The world, Satan’s system, is the opposite of God’s. Satan will give believers terrible trouble and opposition. But that’s just a fact of life. The truth is that Jesus has beaten Satan’s system, won the victory, and overcome the world.

With Jesus, you are never alone. Not only is there a body of Christ to rejoice and mourn with you (Rom. 12:14), but Jesus is also always with you as we learned in Survival Secret #2. Despite the inevitable struggles you may face, you are not alone! If the Father did not leave Jesus alone, He’s not going to leave you either! The question is, what are you going to put you focus on? What are you choosing to believe?

Jesus Christ does not abandon His disciples to their own struggles! You have to remember the ultimate VICTORY has already been won. You can claim the peace of Christ in the most troublesome times. Jesus wants you to have peace! He gave you peace, but not as the world gives it.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid (John 14:27 NLT).

Stop focusing on the problem and focus on Jesus. You have to believe that Jesus will show up for you because He will. You have to begin saying to yourself, Well, I cannot wait to see how Jesus turns this on the devil’s head. Sometimes the chaos of a situation is the exact strategy of how God will work it out. Do you remember how Peter tried to stop the high priest’s servant, Malchus, from taking Jesus in John 18:10-11? Peter didn’t recognize God’s plan, nor did he stop and pray to ask what the plan was! Peter just reacted in the midst of confusion and pressure and was actually going against what God wanted and needed to happen. Imagine if Jesus did not go to the cross!

Never does Jesus promise the absence of trouble. Instead, Jesus supplies strength and comfort for every burden you are called to carry. Jesus offers peace. It is the peace He modeled every day. Jesus’ peace did not flee conflict, pain, or death. Perhaps you have noticed that the more intense Jesus’ difficulties were, the more apparent His peace became. How did He derive this peace? Through an intimate relationship with God, the Father! Jesus allowed the peace of God to move into His heart and life to restrain the hostile forces (sin, fear, and doubt) and offer comfort in place of conflict. Jesus will give you that same peace if you are willing to accept it from Him! Are you ready to accept the peace Jesus offers?

As mentioned above, many people assume the word peace means the absence of conflict. Jesus promises His peace will become apparent in the very middle of trouble and conflict, but you have to keep your focus on Him. The devil is like a magician. He wants you to focus over there so over here he can do his trick.

Trouble can help remind you to ask for Jesus’ peace! Sometimes the Father will immediately stop the storm when you ask. But, more times than not, God’s answer will not usually mean the problem stops, but He does promise that Jesus’ peace will see you through that difficult time.

In closing, are you relying on Jesus’ peace in the face of trials? Or are you focusing on the circumstances?

Prayer: Father God, help me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus instead of the problem. Help me surrender my cares to You so I can keep my heart free from trouble. Father, help me to rest on Jesus’ peace and Your love for me. I ask You to help me grow in the peace and rest that Jesus offers me. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Son to die for me. I am choosing today to receive the promises and gifts You have given me. I ask You to help me keep my eyes on You and not on what I can see. Father, help me to use my faith to change what tomorrow brings. Thank you for growing me in Your faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

SURVIVAL SECRET #3: God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle

Survival Secret #3: God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle

Part 3 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm3

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved."

 -Psalm 55:22 ESV

I hope everyone had a joyful Easter. What a beautiful day to reflect on the power of Jesus and the VICTORY He gave us through His selfless sacrifice.

We are continuing forward with this series, 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm. Secret #1 is the promise that the Father will come and rescue you. He wants you to be with Him more than you do! Thank the Lord for the Father’s love and zeal towards us. Secret #2 is God will never abandon you nor forsake you! He is always with you even when you feel He’s not.

I cannot speak for you, but just those two secrets bring me so much comfort. Amid a storm, it can be incredibly easy to forget these truths and turn your attention to the storm instead of your Protector, Jesus Christ! Of course, God has more than six secrets to help you battle the storm. One thing that is so awesome about God is that there is so much wisdom, power, and truth in the Bible to comfort you.

Let's move to surviaval secret #3: God will not give you more than you can handle!

In 2012, the Christian hip-hop band, Group 1 Crew released a song called “He Said.” There are a few lyrics in this song that have always stuck out to me.

"So your life feels like it don't make sense And you think to yourself, "I'm a good person" So why do these things keep happening? Why you gotta deal with them?
You may be knocked down now But don't forget what He said, He said
"I won't give you more, more than you can take And I might let you bend, but I won't let you break
And No-o-o-o-o, I'll never ever let you go-o-o-o-o" Don't you forget what He said"

Those two highlighted lines brought me so much comfort when the Holy Spirit made them come alive to me. (To hear the song, please click on the link below the lyrics).

 God will not give you more than you can handle. He will stretch you, push you, and grow you, but He will never ever let you break! Wow. That’s awesome. God is always there with you (Deut. 31:6). Praise Jesus 🙌🏼!

Perhaps, as the song says, you feel like your life is not making sense with all the obstacles, challenges, and schemes in front of you. Maybe you’re wondering what is going on and where is God? It’s easy to get discouraged and feel like God has forsaken you, but those are lies from the devil because God’s Word says the opposite.

Our Father is so merciful. He PROMISES not to give you more than you can handle (1 Cor. 10:13). Again, God will not give you more than you can take. 

Sometimes it feels like Christians can quickly adopt the mindset of I am a believer. Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to me. I want an easy, obstacle-free life. But guess what? That’s chasing a fantasy. Everyone faces hardship. Everyone experiences suffering. 

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV).

From this verse above, we know the following:

  • Temptation does not come from God (James 1:14-1:15).
  • Trouble does not come from God because God gives life and is the source of love and blessing.
  • Everyone faces temptation, so don’t feel or act like you have been singled out. 
  • There is no shame in being tempted. 
  • As a believer in Christ, you can resist all temptation because God will show you how to resist it. God will even help you resist the temptation by helping you. 

Temptation is not limited to the lust of the eyes or living through your flesh. The soul’s three enemies are summarized as the world, the flesh, and the devil in Christian theology. Therefore, the temptation may come in the form of a lie as a thought that you think is yours.

 For example, perhaps God is asking you to move out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. And let’s also say for this example you struggle with Fear of Poverty. Well, the principalities of darkness could either be inside of you or have trained you to think in a certain way. When you contemplate trusting God and being obedient to His command, you may be bombarded with thoughts such as, but not limited to: 

  • How will I pay my bills? 
  • I can’t do this. This is too scary. 
  • What if I fail? 
  • What if I can’t do it? 
  • God, I can’t do that. That doesn’t make sense. How will I pay my bills? This request can’t be from you! 
  • Or other catastrophizing and fear-filled thoughts

With those thoughts, you may notice tightness, extra energy, or jitters running through your chest, and it will feel uncomfortable. You might find yourself worrying about tomorrow, which is a sin, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 6. If you are a bit like me, maybe you want to run away and hide. I get it but understand all of that is not from God, but the devil.

Notice all of these thoughts come from not trusting God, but self. What does Fear do? Fear wants to control you and keep you from moving forward! Fear wants to stop your future! Isn’t that partially what Jesus warned us about in John 10:10? 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10 NKJV).

As mentioned above, God does not give temptation or trouble. However, He will provide you with tests and commands. Of course, tests can be scary, especially if you fear failure or you struggle with perfectionism. But God tests you for your benefit. Again, everything God does is to promote life and develop your character to be more like Jesus. The tests God gives you help you see where you need to grow, and then He will help grow you in that area if you choose to agree with Him. Again, He respects free will. 

As for those commands, God gives to His body. Well, those are impossible to uphold for a reason. That is why we must have Jesus Christ. We need His grace, mercy, love, and hope. We need Jesus to help us successfully navigate the tests and commands. 

The only way we can do the hard things like tests and commands that God gives us is to do it in UNION with Him! Yes, that means it might not be on your timetable, but it will be a result you are grateful for! When you remain in union with God, you are able to handle anything!

Here’s the most important key! You must do it by remaining in God’s love and loving others. 

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NKJV).

When you remain and abide in Him, God will help you! Here are some ways that God will help you resist temptation: 

  1. God will help you recognize the people and situations that give you trouble. If you aren’t sure, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your memory those instances you missed. 
  2. God will help you run from anything that you know is wrong.
  3. He will help give you discernment to choose to do what is right and pleasing to Him.
  4. He will encourage you to pray to Him and give Him all your concerns and fears. Then He will encourage you when the time is right to step out in faith, but you will have to choose to trust Him.
  5. He will help bring people into your life who also love Him and offer support when you are tempted.
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT).

I do understand how difficult walking through storms can be. Maybe you’re like me thinking; I wish God didn’t believe I could handle so much. Suddenly, you realize how awesome it is. He trusts you to SUCCESSFULLY and VICTORIOUSLY go through storms with Jesus. The issue is the devil has conditioned our human brains to focus on the storm and not the Father’s glory. I fall into this trap too. 

It’s like what Paul says in Romans 5:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation (Romans 5:3-4 NLT).

Paul is telling you that perseverance can develop godly character if you allow it. God wants to use your trial to glorify Himself. He is hoping under the test you will look to Him to work out His purpose through every obstacle and problem you have. The cool thing is when you look to God to do His will – God will give you, His endurance. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that Jesus’ grace is sufficient for you, for your power is made perfect in weakness. When you get God’s seal of approval, you are filled with supernatural peace, hope, and joy. Jesus is always ready to give you, His yoke. The load will be more manageable. However, don’t fool yourself. It’s easy to be filled with God’s peace, joy, and hope and habitually keep reaching to retake all of the load. That’s okay. You’re walking things out. Just keep repenting and asking for the Holy Spirit’s help. You have to keep your eye on Jesus, not the problem (Hebrew 12:2; John 16:33). It’s precisely what Paul means when he says, If God is for you who could be against you (Romans 8:31). If that verse is not real for you yet, please ask the Holy Spirit to help it become real for you! You have to have a revelation on this stuff, which will be between you and the Father. 

 

PRAYER: Father God, Thank You for sacrificing Your only Son so that I could live in your freedom. I come to You today asking for Your help and strength. Please help me to see where I make life harder for myself. Please show me where I am glorifying the enemy in my life. Highlight all the areas in my life where I may be causing trouble or opening myself to temptation. Father, if You are testing me and I am failing – help me to see where I am failing. Father, I want to do Your will for my life. Somedays, it seems so scary and terrifying. Nonetheless, it’s what I want. Please help me to walk boldly, courageously, and fearlessly towards Your will for my life. Always remind me that You are with me and love me. Thank You for Your Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Survival Secret #2: God Will Never Abandon You!

Survival Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!

Part 4 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

The world’s philosophy is, “What can’t be cured must be endured.” But Paul radiantly testifies, “What can’t be cured can be enjoyed. I enjoy weakness, sufferings, privations, and difficulties.” So wonderful did he prove God’s grace to be, that he even welcomed fresh occasions of drawing upon its fullness. “I gladly glory … I even enjoy—my thorn.”

– J. Oswald Sanders

Last week I wrote about how our Heavenly Father WANTS to rescue you! He wants to save you and bring you home to Him. As I said last week, when we find ourselves in a storm, it can be pretty easy and natural for us to focus on the storm’s lack, hopelessness, fear, unknown, and discomfort. (Note these are all our senses – our carnal mind, not the mind of Christ which we have).

 Many times, that is what the devil tries to do. He sells you antichrist thoughts for you to believe against God’s Words, which makes it antichrist. These thoughts and sensations feel very real because that is how the devil tempts you – through your carnal mind and five senses. It is incredibly easy for one to be swayed by what he/she sees and feels when walking through a hard time.

Remember, the devil knows how to stir you up. He’s watched you and learned about you. But, our God is bigger than the devil! Our God reminds us His Armor is what protects us from the devil’s schemes.  

Our Father knows the intense difficulty all believers will face on this earth. He knows that believers will face suffering and persecution because Jesus faced it too.

If you think you are better or more significant than Jesus, well, I’m here to tell you, you are not. Since the Father knew that we would live in and face an evil world dominated by evil spirits, He has provided us Jesus’ authority and many verses throughout the Bible that says He, our Heavenly Father, will NEVER leave you, abandon you, nor forsake you!

You must understand that in Christ, you have the greatest riches, gift, possession, and survival raft ever created. What is it, you ask? It is possessing Jesus who promises I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)! This verse indicates the impossibility of Christ deserting His own.

Part of what Hebrews 13:5 is telling us is that we must learn to be content with who we have, what we have, and where we are – even in the midst of the storm. Now, many of you will first think of your material possessions before you think of your relationship with Christ. As a believer in Jesus Christ who is not from this world, you must understand and have the revelation that God’s sufficiency for your needs is all you need. If you don’t have this revelation yet, that’s okay. Keep praying and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you. It’s like what Jesus says in Matthews 7:7:

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you (NLT).

Sometimes we call God a liar – unintentionally, of course. How do we do this? Usually, it’s through our actions and how we are responding during a storm. It can be easy to agree with God when things are going well in your life, but it can be an entirely new story when things are unstable in your life. I can’t speak for you, but when the Holy Spirit convicts me for thinking, doing, or believing that God is a liar, it goes to my bones. I immediately repent and consciously pay better attention, so I don’t fall into such a trap again – at least in the same area where I was convicted.

For instance, some Christians who focus on accumulating money or who may struggle with Fear of Poverty may be saying through their actions that God cannot take care of them the way they want. Yet, the Word clearly says,

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus 

(Philippians 4:19 NKJV).

Now yes, this promise is in congruence with the description of a believer’s faithful stewardship. In other words, if a believer has given their material resources to God, even to the point where the individual’s livelihood was endangered. God would supply their every need.

You see God’s asking every believer to walk in faith, not sight. The Father wants you to put your COMPLETE trust in Him. Now, He also understands it’s going to take time. That’s okay. If you are a babe, toddler, kid, teenager, young adult, or adult in Christ, you can always ask God to help grow you to fully and completely trust Him. But you have your part of doing as well. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26).

It’s incredibly easy to take Philippians 4:19 out of context and use it to soften the Christian walk. Especially for the Christians who are squandering their money on themselves with seldom thought for the work of God. Remember, God’s about servant leadership and sacrificial love. Yes, in a general sense, God will supply His people’s needs; however, Philippians 4:19 is a specific promise to those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ, will never suffer lack. Another reason, for you to rely on God, not yourself or what the world says! Let me ask you, are you using your resources and materials to glorify the Father or yourself?

Yes, you have a part in all of this. God gave you free will, and He’s going to respect it. You have your work, where God has called you to be obedient, and God has His work; you can trust Him to do it because He cannot lie nor change (Hebrews 6:18).

Here’s the thing though, feeling rich, poor, anxious, insecure, hopeless, or fearful can cause you to fall for the lie to love money, which in turn can cause you to lack compassion for others and fall off God’s track for you. Trusting in God to meet ALL your needs will dissolve and wash away all contentment, and isn’t that the scariest part of all storms? You feel like something terrible is going to get in the way? Do you feel like God will not help you? Or maybe you worry God will not come in time!?

God’s ways are perfect (Ps. 18:30). You can trust Him to do what He promises! Below is a sampling of things God promises when you are in a storm:

  • Do not fear for God will strengthen me and help me (Isaiah 41:10)
  • The Lord is good, a STRONG refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him, (Nahum 1:7)
  • The Lord is my light, my salvation, and the strength of my life; who should I be afraid of? (Psalm 27:1) With such protection, I need not be afraid of anyone or anything!
  • Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

Psalm 22:55 tells us to Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. This verse tells us that in times of trouble, the best course is not to run away from the storm but to cast the burden of the storm(s) on the LORD. It’s like I said above; God wants to do more for you than you may realize. He really does want to do all the heavy lifting! All you have to do is trust Him, stay obedient, and do what He says! Psalm 22:55 is telling us that God is requesting us to now and forever permit Him to bear the burden of our cares! Let God have it! It doesn’t matter if you understand or can even see how God can fix the situation. It’s not about you; it’s about Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths!

Are you letting God direct your paths? Or are you fighting God for control because you are afraid and don’t believe He has you?

Sometimes it can be encouraging to remember that not even Apostle Paul’s prayers were answered the way he hoped! God said to Paul; I will not remove the thorn, but I will do something better!! I will give you the grace to bear it. Paul, I’m going to provide you with what you need most deeply. Paul wanted God’s power and strength to accompany him during his preaching, and God saw the best way to give that to Paul was to keep him in a place of weakness. As humans, we can easily buy the lie that our life on earth needs to be easy, comfortable, and effortless.

I know it might be difficult for our human brains to comprehend what God told Paul and tell us with this verse below, but it is better than you may think.

And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:9 NKJV).

You see, God is telling us the companionship of the Son of God inside us, and the assurance of Jesus’ strength and grace is better than the removal of trials and suffering! It really comes down to where you are going to put your attention and how you will choose to show up! Never is God upset that you may be afraid or have a concern. He gets upset when we allow that fear to control us and stop us.

We see this with Paul. Instead of Paul grumbling and complaining about the thorn, he would rather boast in his infirmities. He would get down on his knees and thank the Lord for them. Paul would gladly endure them only if the power of Christ may rest upon him, which Jesus did!

You have to remember, like Paul, to be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV).

Express thanks to God, by praising Him and trusting that He will meet all your needs when you are obedient and faithful to Him. If He doesn’t answer your prayer like Paul, then rejoice and allow God’s grace to be enough for you! The Father will meet you where you are! He wants to do more of the work for you anyways. He needs an open and soft heart.  

As we close this survival tip, let me ask you: 

What do you need to start or stop doing to believe that your God is with you wherever you go?
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NKJV).

Prayer: Father God, thank You for always being with me. Thank You for never leaving me. Father, help me to keep my eyes on Your grace in the midst of a storm. Give me the strength to always glorify You. Help me to trust You and not to lean on my own understandings. Father, I acknowledge I may not always understand why I am walking through a storm, but I know I can always trust You. I ask you to help me understand Your plan for my life. I thank You for redirecting me and establishing my steps. Father, I give You all of me and my life. I ask that You do Your will in every aspect of my life, and I thank You for your love, gifts, and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.