5 Things Believers Must be Mindful of…

5 Things Believers MUST be Mindful of...

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Please don’t think there are ONLY 5 things that a believer must be mindful of because that’s not the case. There are many things that believers must remain aware of, but today we will go over 5 of them.

1. Make Up Your Mind Not to be Curious About Evil

Take a second to reflect on all the times mentally you were curious about evil! I know I have been. A few years ago, I was incredibly curious about the mentality serial killers had. Oh, and don’t get me started on some of the videos Facebook lets “slip” through the cracks. It is challenging to get those horrible images out of your mind’s eye if you are anything like me.

God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 12:30-31 not to even investigate the idolatrous practices of pagans. Why? Because He knew they might be tempted to introduce those wicked practices into worship of the one true God.

We must remember that knowledge of evil is harmful, especially when that knowledge becomes too great of a temptation to resist. The truth is YOU DO NOT need to be curious about anything that comes from the kingdom of darkness. If you are thinking, well, I am because I want to know how it ends. Then let me save you some time. It ends in destruction, torment, pain, suffering, and torcher.

2. Be Mindful of Who You are Listening Too

Jesus made it very easy for us when He said, “You will know a person by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20). Before you choose to listen to anyone, especially on topics that pertain to your life, observe their fruit first.

In Deuteronomy 18:10-13, the Israelites were forbidden to contact anyone who claimed to communicate with the unseen world. We are held to the same standard today!

The verses provide 8-means of communication with the spirit world, which God calls abominations. They are witchcraft (a witch/warlock), soothsaying ( a seer; false prophet), one who interprets omens ( a palm reader, fortune teller, astrologer), a sorcerer (witch doctor), one who conjures spells (wizard), a medium (spirit medium – talks to the dead), a spiritist (a seance leader – communicates with spirits), one who calls up the dead (necromancer).

Instead, God asks you to be blameless, which means listening to God’s voice alone. If you are a new believer, this can be more difficult. Even as an older, more experienced believer, this can be difficult. God does encourage us to have godly counsel to help us. Therefore, you have to pray for God to bring you the right people to speak into your life. You will also need to test that person to make sure their fruit matches their words.

As you wait to find godly people to help you and guide you, stop going to your horoscope and stop thinking someone other than God can tell you your future. Instead, pray to God and meditate with Him.

3. Be Mindful of Your Gut Feelings

Romans 14:23 says: But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

The Holy Spirit lives in your gut or belly (John 7:38) and creates that “gut feeling” or “intuition.” Therefore, YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO IT! The Holy Spirit is the greatest power of all – so it’s not going to be wrong or lead you astray. Now, of course, you can feel like you have a gut feeling, and it not be the Holy Spirit. While the Holy Spirit will never be wrong, your conscience is not an error-free guide. It can be easy to mix the two up or not know how to differentiate from the two.

Your conscience must be renewed and educated to the Word of God, which will also help you discern when it’s your will versus the Holy Spirit.

As believers, we must be mindful of when our gut is telling us to do something. IT IS A SIN TO VIOLATE YOUR CONSCIENCE. If you do anything that you believe is not right, then you are sinning! To go against your conviction would leave you with a guilty or uneasy conscience. The reality is anytime God is showing you something that may be wrong for you, you need to avoid it. In moments where you are unsure, take a leap of faith. First, pray, asking for clearer direction. Then wait for a moment to see if the sensation in your gut grows stronger. If it doesn’t do the option that brings you the most peace. If you do get clearer direction, then move forward.

4. Be Mindful of Your Brother/Sister in Christ

In 1 Corinthians 8:4-9, Paul is acknowledging many things that we must honor:

  • Behind idols are dark powers

  • There is no other God but one that is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

  • Not every Christian (new or old) understand the liberty which they have in Christ

When Paul says “weak,” he doesn’t mean physically weak. Instead, it is a term describing those who are excessively careful in matters of moral indifference. For instance, it is not wrong for a believer to eat pork as far as God is concerned. It would have been wrong for a Jew to do so in the Old Testament, but a Christian is at perfect liberty to partake of such food. However, a Jew converted to Christianity might still have doubts about this. He might feel that it is wrong to eat a roast pork dinner. He is what the Bible calls a weak brother. It means that he is not living in the full enjoyment of his Christian liberty.

We must be mindful of where our younger sibling in Christ is and work to honor them.

Think about how you can help keep them safe and growing for Christ.

5. Mindful of What's Driving You

Proverbs 14:12 – There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Remember who you are and where you are concerning the Father. If you aren’t sure if something is biblical or not, do yourself a favor and look it up!

In a broader sense, the way which seems right to a man is his own way,

Self-will makes more sense because you see through this perspective, believing you have more control over the variables than you really do. The path of self-will usually doesn’t like divine guidance or human counsel.

 

The path that seems right to you:

  • It might offer you more options and require fewer sacrifices

  • Does this align with Jesus at all?

  • Does this solution look attractive because it allows me more time to do what I want?

  • Because it doesn’t ask me to change my lifestyle? Because it requires no moral restraint?

The right choice often requires courage, hard work, and self-sacrifice. Don’t be enticed by apparent shortcuts – they only make the path longer!

The self-will path ends in disaster and spiritual death.

It is incredibly effortless to make God and what He wants us to be mindful of the last priority. Instead, we have to make God and His ways a priority. Part of living as a mindful believer is clarifying your priorities and making sure what is number one to you is number one to God too.

Where is your focus? Is it on Jesus’ peace or the world’s worry

Where is your focus? Is it on Jesus' peace or the world's worry

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

I think it is fair to say a lot has occurred in the last two years. The world is very different from what it once was. With the ever-changing COVID news, the vaccine, and what is occurring in Afghanistan, it is hard not to think about the future! There are many unknowns that many of us find ourselves wondering about, stressing over, and ultimately freaking out about.

Perhaps you are finding yourself catastrophizing – projecting what you hope not to see in the future. Or maybe you cannot sleep at night because your mind is so concerned with the realities of tomorrow, in three days or a month.

When you find yourself worrying about the unknown, afraid of the unknown, or not having peace about the future, the Bible calls this the Fear of the Unknown of the Fear of Tomorrow.

The Fear of the Unknown is very real! It can create insomnia, steal your peace, increase your worry, stress, and anxiety, and even cause you to be paralyzed with fear. However, as believers, we must hold on to the truth that our Father in heaven did not give us a Spirit of Fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). Since He did not give us the Fear of the Unknown, we must keep God’s armor on us and defeat this lying spirit.

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus teaches about worry. Let’s take a look:

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today (NLT).

First off, the command “do not worry” does not mean you have a complete lack of concern. God knows you will have concerns, which is why He asks you to cast them on to Him because He cares (1 Peter 5:7). Additionally, that command is not encouraging a person to be unwilling to work and supply their own needs. God cannot bless sin. He tells us to work and live within our means.

Please note that concern motivates a person into action, whether praying to God or being obedient to what God says to do. At the same time, worry keeps a person motivated by fear causing them to hyperfocus and harp on things they do not want to see in the future or things that they cannot change. As followers of Christ, we are not to be self-sufficient but to rely on the Godhead!

Ultimately, Jesus is highlighting kingdom priorities! He is telling us what attitude towards life that His disciples MUST exemplify. Jesus reminds His disciples that they do not need to OVERLY worry about food or clothing because God will take care of them. After all, they are more important than the birds and the lilies. Jesus is trying to get us to see the bottom line here: disciples of Christ need never to let their fleshly desires of worrying about clothes or food take precedence over serving God.

You can trust God to provide food and clothing! He knows what you need, and He will give it to you at the perfect time! Even that money you are working for comes from God! It all comes from Him.

When you worry about what you will eat or wear, do you know what you are telling God? You are telling Him that you don’t trust Him to supply your most basic needs! If you do not trust God to supply your most basic needs, then how can you trust Him with His promise in Jeremiah 29:11?

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 (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).

Worry causes a person to pay attention to all the elements they cannot change instead of putting their energies to work in effective ways. Jesus makes it very clear there is nothing effective about worrying! Do you know what worry does?

When you worry, a dual temptation is put into motion. First, you begin distrusting God and what His promises are. Remember, God cannot lie, so you are calling God a liar in turn and unintentionally. The second temptation is you begin to agree with Fear as a practical action. You start to feel like you are proactive while agreeing with those fear-filled, demonic thoughts. What is the end result? You become double-minded and begin trusting the devil more than God. That is a dangerous place to be. When the devil has you on the hook, it’s easier for him to take you down even further or even devour you completely.

Whereas when you trust God in those moments of concern, casting those concerns on to Him, and believing through faith that He will come through at the perfect time, you also move into action. This is how deceptive the devil can be. He wants you to believe trusting in God is not the same type of action as agreeing with his Fear thoughts. Isn’t it amazing how he perverts the truth to trick us? Agreeing with God and His word takes less mental energy than choosing to agree with the devil and spending your bandwidth consumed with what you don’t want to see happen or have no control over.

When you work for God and wait on His timing, you won’t have time to worry! Seeking first to honor God as King and conform your life to His righteousness creates a vortex around you. When worry comes knocking on that vortex, it will always find you as occupied and unavailable. Can you say VICTORY?

When you find yourself worrying or afraid of the unknown, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, take note as that worrying indicates that you do not trust God in that area. Rejoice over this understanding because now you can go to the Father in prayer, discuss the matter, work to renew your mind to trust Him, and ultimately trust Him! Adversity is an opportunity to grow in God’s love, power, and authority, not crumble surrendering to the devil.

In verse 26, Jesus is teaching the disciples about TOTAL dependency upon God instead of humanity’s self-sufficiency. It’s easy to find yourself believing your future, finances, decisions, and anything else only depends on you and you alone. Again, that is a lie from hell! As believers, we are to depend completely on God! Besides, all you have comes from God. He will provide for your needs. He will give you a great future.

When you find yourself worried about the future, your finances, what you should eat or drink, change your focus. Perhaps you might be thinking, “Well, why is anyone hungry then?” Well, that’s a great question. But notice Jesus was not teaching that every case of hunger will be satisfied. He was teaching us to focus our minds, channeling our efforts and directing our energies not to mere bodily maintenance or things that give us pleasure, but to God’s eternal promises and purpose! Besides, man is not to live on bread alone (Matthew 4:4). Next time you find yourself worrying, ask yourself:

How can I become less worried about money and more focused on serving the church, visiting the sick, and learning the Bible?

Plus, doctors finally agree with Jesus about the ill effects worrying causes. In verse 27, Jesus tells us not to worry about those needs God promises to supply! What has worrying accomplished for you? It has accomplished absolutely nothing constructive for me. However, it has created more oppression, problems, and hardship in my life. Hmm, that sounds like someone… oh right – the devil does that!

It is common for people in today’s world to feel “lazy” while waiting for God to supply. In reality, you are working to grow your patience (fruit of the Holy Spirit), teaching your soul, and developing your spirit to place your life and needs in God’s hands!

The bottom line is worry has no place in the lives of Jesus’ disciples. It is the unbelievers who choose to showcase the fruit of worry. The followers of Christ have kingdom principles and a favored relationship with the mighty King, sealed with a promise that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide them.

If you are finding yourself worrying, then see the worrying behavior as an opportunity to settle the question of priorities in your life! When you become a born-again believer, you enter a new kingdom and come from a new world! That means you are to be different than unbelievers whose priorities are comfort, money, fashion, security, technology, popularity, or whatever the trend is for that season.

In Matthew 6:33, when Jesus says “seek,” He says that is a command to fulfill a continuous obligation. To seek the kingdom means both to submit to God’s sovereignty here and now and to work for the future coming of His kingdom. When Jesus says “to seek his righteousness,” Jesus is saying to seek and to live as God requires. He is telling us we have to be completely and totally loyal and committed to the Father. When you are fully loyal, you will turn to God first for help. You will work to fill your thoughts with His desires. You will take His character and emulate it. You will serve and obey Him in everything.

Remember, all worldly things compete for priority. Any of them can easily and quickly bump God out of first place in every area of your life. When your priorities are right, all things shall be added to you! Are you consistently looking for ways to honor, represent, and always remember who your Lord and Savior is?

At the end of the day, you do not yet exist in the time frame of tomorrow. You are not even guaranteed to be alive tomorrow. You must remember to stay present. The truth is you exist right here, right now and today has its own matters that God is asking you to attend too. Do yourself a favor and continue practicing taking your thoughts captive. Tell those thoughts that you do not yet exist in the future. Today has its own agenda – choose to be a good steward of today!

Verses to bury in your heart:

Anxiety, Fear, and Worry:

Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

John 14:1; 1 Peter 5:7 – I refuse to let my heart be troubled, instead I cast all my cares on to Him because He cares for me.

Matthew 6:34 – I do not worry about tomorrow but stay present to today. For tomorrow has its own worries and today’s trouble is enough. For I exist right here, right now. I am trusting God with all of my needs and my life.

Sleep:

Psalm 56: 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 23: 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 3:24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Psalm 3: 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

Prayer:Father God, thank You for all Your promises and everlasting life. I come to You in prayer asking for Your help and guidance. Please help me to trust You as Lord in every area of my life. Please take away my fears and help me defeat the thoughts I have. I want to trust You with everything. Please help me to see that I can trust You with my life. Help me to believe that You will take care of me and that I am more important to You than the birds and flowers. Father, I know You love you, and I only want to do Your will in my life. I know I do not always trust You with my future and I am so sorry for that. Please help me to change my thinking and trust You in everything! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Contemplative Question of Why Worry? God Help Us!

The Contemplative Question of Why Worry?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18 NKJV

Why Worry?

In 2019, I found myself on a journey with the end goal of retraining my mind and heart not to be troubled (John 14:27) and casting all my cares on to God (1 Peter 5:7). I can honestly say worry has become a more fleeting thought. I am not 100% free from it, but I rarely get consumed with worry and fear.

Yes, I have times when concerns come, but I now cast all my cares and worries on the Father (1 Peter 5:7). Usually, my concerns or worries disappear within a few hours at max, unless I am sleep-deprived. Oh me, that’s another story when I am tired! It’s quite a peaceful way to live. I encourage and invite you to also embark on such a journey! If I can do it, you can do it!

I know many people worry. I have read studies that the average person spends 4 hours a day worrying, and the average parent spends 9 hours worrying!! Come on, guys, that’s wasting your bandwidth. That’s a lot of time worshiping the devil when you could be praising the Lord Jesus! Plus, it is merely practicing poor stewardship with your time, energy, and even finances. Stewardship is vital to God. Now, don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes we don’t realize we are in a battle with the devil until we are already spiraling and consumed by the fear. That’s okay, repent and shift your eyes back on Jesus. If you can’t get out of the death trap, call a friend who is strong in the Lord to encourage you.

 

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness (Matthew 25:21)!'

For me, everything I worried about or became overly anxious about rarely – if ever – happened the way I imagined it would. Now, I know this is not always the case. As I am sure, there are times when fears happened, but I can’t recall any. I know in those moments, what I feared and the reality I walked through never wholly aligned. I always made things worse than they were! That tells me that those events were not nearly as bad as I imagined, but that I allowed fear to consume me and stop me. Plus, it is true you can do all things through Christ (Philip. 4:13), but you have to remember to rely on God’s power and not your own. Invite Him into everything!

Now, I want to take a few seconds to clearly say fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Job makes this very clear.

What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me (Job 3:25).

Job said that, and it happened just as he said – the thing he feared came upon him!

Please remember, fear and faith are equal in dimension. They both demand fulfillment. They are both spiritual principles. One represents God, and one represents the devil, but they both demand fulfillment.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We humans do work to create our most dominant thoughts (Prov 23:7). I believe this is why Proverbs spends so much time teaching us how to protect our hearts, walk righteously, keep our focus on God, and understand the power of godly wisdom!

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;

turn your ear to my words.

21 Do not let them out of your sight,

keep them within your heart;

22 for they are life to those who find them

and health to one’s whole body.

23 Above all else, guard your heart,

for everything you do flows from it.

24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;

keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;

fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet

and be steadfast in all your ways.

27 Do not turn to the right or the left;

keep your foot from evil.

(Proverbs 4:20-27)

Both the Bible and Neuroscience say we work to create our most dominant thoughts (Proverbs 23:7), which is why our hope in Jesus has to be bigger than our fears. For that to occur, you must trust the Father.

Your hopes need to be based on God’s known will and knowledge for mankind on the earth. Knowing God’s will requires reading the Word because it tells you what His (God’s) plans are for mankind. What’s even better is as you start to read the Word, your mind will become renewed, and then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2). But understand God cares about what is in your heart. If you can’t read the Word as much as you wish, let Him know. Invite Him into everything!

As a believer in Christ, you must guard your heart. The word “heart” in Proverbs 4:24 and Proverbs 23:7 is referring to your soul – your mind, will, and emotions. Remember, it is Jesus who can liberate you by setting your soul free from sin (John 8:34-36). It’s easy to forget this: when you participate with fear thoughts, you are sinning (Ephesians 5:11; Philippians 4:6-8)!

It’s my experience and what I observe in my clients that all worrying is a waste of time and is entirely unproductive. Oh, that’s right, the Bible echoes this truth too (Matt 6:27).

And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life (Matt 6:27)?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to meditate on what I hope NOT to happen, primarily when my thoughts could manifest it! I notice, many of my clients occupy a large portion of their bandwidth with concerns, anxieties, worries, or stressors. These thoughts either happen, do not happen, or not to the degree they anticipated. Either way, isn’t it better to spend your bandwidth growing in God’s security than Satan’s torment? Isn’t His power more potent than that of the enemy?

Usually, I make a point to check in with my clients (and even myself) when I see that their worries didn’t happen as they feared. It can help one objectively learn how to navigate concerns, bring awareness to their thought patterns, and help them see they could benefit from learning thought-control (2 Cor. 10:5). Some even start to see the nonsense of worrying. It’s all about the future, and what if this or that happens! Just stop it! I believe in prophetic abilities, but when it’s driven by worrying… nope, I don’t buy it! I don’t buy it because God is NOT motivated by fear but by faith. Since He is inspired by faith, we are, too, be moved by faith as well!

A few of the significant issues I saw in myself and the clients who were addicted to worrying failed to trust God, themselves, and were selfish. They were inflexible and unaccepting of “tough seasons” or when life didn’t go as they wished. They wanted God’s will to be precisely what they hoped their life would look like. But, God will not mold to your will for your life; it’s the other way around. Does this sound a little bit like the book of Job?

These clients focused on what was missing in their life. What they were lacking. When they could have been praising and glorify God for what they had! You see, a grateful and thankful heart is a must-have mindset in God’s kingdom. You have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). I don’t know about you, but there is not a single place in my Bible where Jesus complains. He always asks the Father to bless what He already has (John 6:11).

But ultimately, they fail to trust God!

It’s hard to give thanks to someone you don’t trust because you are too busy trying to protect yourself…from God! Omniscient, omnipotent God? You don’t need to protect yourself from Him. He loves you. He is love (1 John 4:8). Plus, you cannot outrun Him or keep things from Him. He knows you better than you know yourself (Jeremiah 1:5). Take everything to Him through prayer. Think of prayer as an invitation to God, which invites Him into what is weighing you down. He will always R.S.V.P yes, and He will always help you if you let Him.

My point is this: What you are worried about, and the narrative that goes along with that worry will most likely not happen the way you see it! Now it can, especially if you spend a lot of time feeding those worry gremlins. I realized that all the time, energy, and bandwidth I WASTED on playing out those “what if” games of worry were just that a waste of my time and a huge distraction! It was just the devil trying to distract and consume me. It was the enemy trying to stop me from achieving God’s will for my life. Praise Jesus that He is stronger than the devil.

Before Austin and I got married, we had a pretty big argument about the FUTURE. I mean years in the future. We were arguing about bridges we weren’t even near crossing yet. I was worried and obsessed that one of my fears with him was going to play out. My fear was that if this plays out, our relationship would be over. It is important to highlight my behavior here. I was trying to control and protect our relationship instead of offering and releasing our relationship to God and allowing Him to do His will in it. Job did the same thing with his children. I had not yet become one with God. I had not allowed His nature and my nature to become one, especially in the area of my love life.

When His thoughts become your thought, you are spiritually changed. When His ways become your ways, you are spiritually changed.

Now, mind you, this is before I knew the Lord like I do now. Anyway, we got into some nasty arguments over this topic and the hypothetical what-if events. Still, the issue was real because I focused on conceptualizing my fears as realities or actual possibilities. Well, guess what?! When it came time for that fear to “play out,” the entire situation changed by 180-degrees. We fought for nothing! Literally, it all worked out. One reason I believe it worked out is that I started to trust God with the situation. I asked for His will to be done, and I asked for Him to be glorified through it. I became one with Him and reminded myself that I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4;13). If God wanted the “thing” I feared to happen, I knew He would make it worth my time and give me everlasting peace to handle it. God only gives us life. He will use suffering and temptation to refine us, but that refinement gives us life!

In 2019 when I was on the journey to surrender my worries to God and retrain my brain to trust God, that was my biggest takeaway. Things do work out when you trust, believe, and become one with the Father (Romans 8:28). It all works out when you trust God, but you must give up your life to glorify the Lord. The second part of my statement is vital! Jesus said it himself in Matthew!

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it (Matthew 16:25).

In closing, where do you need to become one with the Father? Where do you need to make His thoughts about something your thoughts? It will take time, but God is outside of Newton-time. Therefore, it might take you a few seconds to a few days. Or maybe it’s a place where you are in bondage, and if that’s the case, it can take longer to walk out of – but remember, all things are possible with God. Anytime I have been in a place of bondage and chose to start walking out of it, I walked out of so much more than what I thought I would. Plus, look at it this way: If you start now, you will be further on the journey away from said bondage in 30-days from now. Please don’t wait. Start now!

Prayer: Father God, thank You for your love and everlasting peace. I come to You in prayer, asking for Your help to get free from my worries, fears, and anxieties. I know worry is a waste of time, but I don’t have the revelation. Father, I ask the Holy Spirit to give me that revelation to get free from worry. On days where worry is really consuming me, I pray that You quickly help me see the enemy’s ways so I can shift my focus back to You. As I set off to face my fears and grow more in You, I ask that You reveal to me more of Your love. For Your perfect love saves me from fear. Holy Spirit, please comfort me and whisper scripture to my Spirit man as I face my fears in the Father’s strength. Father, I surrender to You all my fears, worries, anxieties, and stressors. I pray that You help me to only seek and desire Your will for my life. If I am doing anything that is against Your will, please change my heart. Help me to give you all of me! 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.

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!

Be Brave and Be the Person God Designed You to Be!

Be Brave and Be the Person God Designed You to Be!

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

— Isaiah 64:8

Are you celebrating the individuality and uniqueness that you have to offer? Or are you comparing yourself to everyone else? Limiting yourself to be the person God designed you to be? 

There is no one else on this earth like you! Out of 7 billion-plus people in this world, there is only one you! You are special. You are one of a kind. You are the apple of God’s eye (Psalm 17:8).

Do not follow the crowd because you are fearful of embracing the person God created you to be. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Following the world’s way and remaining in fear is precisely what the devil hopes and wants you to do (John 10:10). Besides, if the majority were “right” in their choice of living and thinking, wouldn’t they be happier? More prosperous? More courageous? More hopeful? 

As a mental health coach, I am always amazed to see the amount of hurt, pain, and suffering in people who have conformed to this world. I am convinced this is why Paul says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).” 

Paul warns us not to follow the world. I believe it is because he knew how it would ultimately destroy us. The only thing that can save you is renewing your mind through the Holy Spirit’s help and reading your bible. 

In fact, God tells us to keep His Word as the apple of our eye. 

Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye (Proverbs 7:2).

In all my years of working as a mental health practitioner, plus being someone who enjoys researching human behavior, I have noticed something eye-opening. Those who have a pure and robust relationship with Christ had minimal to zero “problems.” Yes, they had problems or obstacles in life, but they remained at peace because they genuinely trusted the Lord. They depended on Him, not themselves. I can’t say the same for anyone else! I think that is saying something. 

If you feel you need to change, it’s important that change is encouraged and influenced by the Godhead (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). What will this feel like? Well, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will do this in a way where you feel CONVICTED to change, not condemned. The devil is the one who makes you feel condemnation. Therefore, if you notice fear is your motivator, then the devil is the one who puts that on you. God is love, and He is going to convict you to change, not condemn you! He will also make away. The Father will never ask you to do something you cannot do! 

Do not be afraid of being judged because the truth is, people will judge you no matter what you do or don’t do. You cannot please everyone! When you walk in truth (John 8:32) and grow your relationship with Christ, the things you fear will begin to fall off of you, or you will start to walk out of them. 

Perhaps fear of man is something you struggle with, and you know this. One thing you can do is pray to God, asking for His guidance and help. Then you can go to the Word and find scriptures to meditate on to help you renew your mind (Romans 12:2) even faster. I once was terrified of man because of the extreme abuse I dealt with as a child, then one day, God brought me to this verse: 


No man shall take me out of His hand, for I have eternal life (John 10:29). 

I began meditating on this verse as much as I could. When I noticed I felt afraid of what a man could do to me, I would quietly recite this verse to myself. Immediately I would be comforted by the Holy Spirit and reminded that if a man did chose to assault me, it would be temporary. It would end, and I would go be with the Lord. It’s like what Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)

How you feel is how you feel, but please know your feelings are not the truth. Your feelings can lie to you and limit you. In fact, some neuroscientists are saying that our emotions have an emotional maturity of a 2-3-year-old! Let that sink in!!! 

You are entitled to your opinions, just as others are entitled to theirs. But that doesn’t mean either one of you is “RIGHT.” God’s Word is the TRUTH! Therefore if your opinion contradicts that, then most likely you too are wrong. Don’t let your pride consume you! Be the person you have always dreamt of being, and I pray that person reflects God’s light. Because whatever you do, if you aren’t reflecting God’s light, you will never be truly satisfied in life (John 6:35).

Jesus replied to them, I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually] (John 6:35). 

Unsaved people, and unfortunately, even some saved individuals, will judge you regardless of what you do or don’t do. Therefore the best thing you can do is courageously follow Christ. Besides, give them a few seconds and they will go back to thinking about themselves again! It’s your life – be smart – follow Christ!

Remain alert. Keep standing firm in your faith. Keep on being courageous and strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Make yourself happy by CHOOSING to follow Christ! It is through the shedding of His blood that you are saved! Besides, people who judge are only motivated by their self-righteous insecurities, unhappiness, and other negative emotions and feelings. Essentially, they are a slave to the devil (Romans 6:20). 

Please do not be afraid to embrace the one-of-a-kind individual God created you to be. He knows you better than you know yourself, so please trust Him (Jeremiah 1:5). Do not be afraid to do what you desire to do because you fear what people will think or say about you (this would be fear of man). Remember, as you continue seeking God, He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

I promise you can’t please everyone, but you can please God, and it’s simpler than you think! It is also so much more satisfying than trying to please man who can’t agree on everything but just some things. Even still, there is someone who disagrees. Man is lost. God is not!

People who love you and honestly care about you will not judge you but encourage you to do what makes your heart sing and achieve your dreams. God does this as well. In fact, God is your biggest fan!

Surround yourself with people who encourage you, people who make you feel great about yourself. Avoid hanging out with people who drain you or create negative energy within you. 


Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm (Proverbs 13:20).


You were born into this world for a reason. You have a purpose.

PRAYER: Father God, Thank you for creating me to be me. Thank you for your unconditional love for me. Thank you for your forgiveness when I fail to love myself as you have designed me. Father, help me to walk boldly in the skills, talents, and uniqueness you have given me. Help me to grow my character to be more like Christ. I want to see myself as you see me. Thank you for helping me to see and love myself as you love me. In Jesus’ name. 

Does Your Spirit look Like this….?

Does Your Spirit look Like this….?

Understanding God’s Love Series

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

No one ought to be confident in his own strength when he undergoes temptation. For whenever we endure evils courageously, our long-suffering comes from Christ.

Augustine

The Fruit of the Spirit

Last week, I discussed what the fruit of love is and looks like. The newsletter ended with Galatians 5:22-23, which is the fruit of the Spirit. Today I am going to break down the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I understand that it is easy to read these words, but my goal is to make the fruit of the Spirit come alive in your mind’s eye! I am going to do that by breaking down the fruit of the Spirit.

The first piece of the fruit Paul lists out is love. Now, I have already spoken about what love is, but I will share a quick recap.

Love:

God’s love bears little resemblance to the emotional meaning so often given to the world. God’s love is shown by Jesus. I believe love is the foundation for all of the other components of the fruit of the Spirit to gain its richness.

Love is ultimately saying I am going to treat you well because you are a child of God. Think: If God loves you (and He loves all), I will love you too.

God’s love is a choice, and it takes maturity, wisdom, and discernment to walk in. Jesus showed the perfect example of love. I encourage you to create your own Bible Study, where you study how Jesus operates when interacting with people and his disciples. Ultimately Jesus shows love as self-sacrificing and unchanging. The Father demonstrated this kind of love when He sent His only Son for sinners. Can you imagine sacrificing something you love or want so others can be blessed?

Now hope (trust, confidence) does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5; parenthesis are mine).


This is the kind of love, hope, and desire you will need to practice if you want to participate in God’s love. It’s not ALWAYS doing what is best for you, but what is best for others. Now the Father and Jesus provide plenty of examples where they had healthy boundaries and act on those boundaries. Please do not view love as a place for people to walk all over you. At the end of the day, there will be times when you may not do what is best for another because that other person is a stranger to you. That’s fair enough. However, there are always opportunities to act in love toward strangers. It’s the willingness and sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of another without thought of return. How can you make sure people benefit for the better when you are around? What are the things you can do?

For starters, you can hold the door for someone. Or you could allow someone in line behind you who has fewer or more items to go in front of you. Additionally, you could buy someone’s food that is in line behind you. You can always create an opportunity where someone benefits without you gaining any return from them.

Love forms the foundation for all the other fruit identified by Paul. If you do not have love as your foundation, you will misrepresent or misuse the other parts of the fruit of the Spirit.

Joy:

Joy is an inner sensation that abides rejoicing despite your external circumstances. Joy comes from God’s presence!

 

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11 NKJV).

Joy is gladness of the heart. There is always something to be glad about. For instance, God loves you. He chose you. He wants you. God is also good. So be glad about that at the very least!

And as the Bible reminds us: Listen, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart on the right course (Proverbs 23:19 NIV). If you are struggling to create a glad heart, then change your thinking. Remember, as a man thinks, so he is (Proverbs 23:7). There is plenty of things to be joyful over.

Therefore, joy becomes a choice.

Understand joy is not happiness. In fact, happiness is fleeting, but joy is everlasting. Believe it or not, no one wants to be happy all the time, but people do want to feel joy. You can be joyful and unhappy. Joy is not dependent on happiness.

According to Ed Diener (2013), (the world’s leading expert on subjective well-being), happiness contains both an affective (feeling) component and a cognitive (sensation) component. Happiness is more of an experience, you could say. It is best thought of as the total amount of pleasant emotions people feel, plus their cognitive evaluation of how satisfied they are with their life as a whole or with a specific aspect of their life, such as job, marriage, or hobbies (Dean & Biswas-Diener, 2013). Think of happiness as the experience of frequent, mildly to highly pleasant emotions, the relative absence of unpleasant feelings, and a general sense of satisfaction with one’s life.

Joy is having gladness or delighting in the Lord.

….for the joy of the LORD is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).


In Psalms 16:9, David says, “No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety (NLT).” David had found the secret to joy. Regardless of what is going on externally in your life, you can feel real joy (God’s joy). Despite your deepest troubles, David understood that his relationship with God determined his outlook in life. Some people base their happiness and joy on external circumstances. Doing so is stupid, reckless, and dangerous! Why would you allow others, events, and other variables you cannot control to dictate your internal joy, peace, or happiness? That seems scary and like a losing battle! That’s like putting a sign in the front of your house, that says, Come on in, and take whatever you want from me! The result of allowing external stimuli to dictate your internal peace is a rollercoaster from hell that you cannot get off of until you change your mindset.

It’s by celebrating God’s daily presence and what He has done for you! This is how you will find contentment and joy. As you walk with God and He unfolds His plans for you, I promise your joy will increase and grow strong. Remember, disciples, are to base their joy and life on God, not circumstances.

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

 

Peace:

Peace is an inner quietness, trust, and stillness in God’s sovereignty and His promises (Word). The fruit of peace in work in your life is the tranquility of your mind, which in turn frees you from worry or fear. It is holding on to what Romans 8:28 declares:


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Peace is the profound agreement with the Bible’s word and that God remains in charge of the universe. Allow God’s peace to enter your heart (Colossians 3:15). He has you. He loves you. Let Him have your worries and stay focused on today.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

Longsuffering (Patience):

Simply put, it’s controlling yourself and how you respond or react when you are exposed to annoying, frustrating, and inconvenient things. It’s being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I promise the Holy Spirit will increase your endurance and help you successfully deal with the things that annoy you. You have to want this too! Free will is real!

Please note longsuffering is more of a marathon or lifestyle change than a race. You have to train for it! In short, patience or longsuffering has restraint or calmness with others. It is the opposite of a short temper. It is quietly and calmly handling or processing disposition and or bearing injury.

Kindness (Gentleness):

Kindness is acting charitably or benevolently towards others, as God does towards you. Kindness is responding to other people’s needs. Think – acts of kindness. Or merely being attentive to the needs of those you love and care for, but also strangers. There are some basic needs that we all have in common. Help people meet those needs.

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself (Proverbs 11:17)

Goodness:

Goodness is responding to do nice and considerate things to others, REGARDLESS if they deserve it or not. Goodness does not react to evil but absorbs the offense and responds with a positive or loving response/action. Goodness is generosity! What are some ways you can be generous to your loved ones and to strangers?

 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also [for the Lord repays the offender].  And whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you (Matthew 5:40-24). 

The last three fruit pieces are more general character traits that need to be valued by Christ’s followers. Values are personally chosen life directions. It’s your moral compass.

Faithfulness:

Faithfulness is having faith in others and God. Seeing the best-case scenario, not the worst. What Paul also means is being dependable. Keeping your word and doing what you say you are going to do. If you asked everyone in your life if you are reliable and trustworthy, what would they say?

Gentleness (meekness):

Think of humility. Think of how John the Baptist was. Gentleness is being considerate of others or mindful. One can still get angry as Jesus did in the temple but remain in control of him or herself and respond with love. Please note Jesus was not angry at the people, but at the sin. And, who is the Father of sin?

Self-control:

Self-control (self-discipline, sound mind, temperance) is having discipline or victory over the lusts of the flesh, the ability to harness and control one’s passions and lusts. I do believe this is why the Father encourages fasting. It takes discipline to not buy into those hunger pains or follow the carnal mind’s cravings.

Self-control means having the restraint not to do something even though your flesh desires it. While self-discipline sucks at the moment, in the long run, it feels great. However, not developing self-discipline can cost a person his or her life. Ironically, it is those sinful desires or lust of the flesh that provide an illusion of fulfillment and power but only lead us to slavery and the fruit of the devil.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16). 

The best way to see where you are with the fruit of the Spirit is to rate yourself on a scale of 1-5.

(1) never true of me; (2) rarely true of me; (3) occasionally true of me; (4) frequently true of me; (5) Always true of me.

  1. I respond from a place of love, regardless of my annoyance or dislike for the individual.
  2. I am joyful.
  3. I do not worry or fear many things. Instead, I have peace (calmness/tranquility) inside of me.
  4. I am a patient person.
  5. I am a charitable and kind person.
  6. I am nice and considerate to everyone, not just those I like.
  7. I am a dependable and trustworthy person.
  8. I am courteous and considerate in my relationship with others.
  9. I am a disciplined person. I harness and control my passions and lusts.

The assessment above provides insight into how well you are operating in the fruit of the Spirit. Remember, you do not need to do this alone. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13 NLT). Allow God to work through you. Today I encourage you to take a few minutes to pray to God, asking Him which fruit do you need to consciously work to improve in? He will tell you, and when you start to do what God wants, life gets better!

Prayer: Father, I want to grow spiritually and emotionally. I do not want to be enticed by the world’s ways. I do not wish to adopt worldly behavior but Jesus’ behavior. I want to do Your will and not my own. Help me to use Your strength to grow and operate in the fruit of the Spirit. In moments of weakness, please correct me and show me how to respond – how to represent You and Your glory. Father, Thank You for all You have done in my life. Thank You for helping me grow in the fruit of the Spirit. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Reference: Dean, B., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2013). Positive psychology coaching. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Wearing God’s Breastplate of Righteousness

God’s Armor: The Belt of Truth

Part 2 of 7

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

“Truth and the breastplate of righteousness—being right with God— strengthen us in all our endeavors. We need the shoes of preparation on any of life’s fields, along with the shield of faith—like football pads— to protect against the enemy’s attacks. The helmet of salvation, like a football helmet, also keeps us safe. Praying each day and putting on the full armor of God will help us gain an automatic first down—a deeper connection in God’s zone— and a sure win on any playing field.”

Jake Byrne

Good day to you! It is going to be a great day! Are you ready to experience all God has in store for you?

We are continuing forward with the psychology and Jesus series. Primarily I am writing about how to live intentionally and proactively with Jesus Christ. Remember, the devil is like a roaring lion waiting to see whom he can devour. Are you going to become the devil’s prey?

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Since the devil couldn’t care less about your prosperity, success, or cultivating a thriving life, he is going to do everything he can to stop you! You know he’s going to attack you! It’s one of life’s guarantees, but Jesus said he came to give you an abundant life (John 10:10). Therefore, the question arises, are you going to focus on the trials or the abundance Jesus brought to you?

Last week we talked about how to put on and apply the Belt of truth successfully. Today we are going to talk about wearing your BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS effectively and courageously.

First, let’s unpack the word “righteousness” concerning the Word and God.

Righteousness means “right standing with God.” Doing things God’s way, not the world’s way! The old English of righteousness is “right” and means wise, way, or manner. When you begin to trust yourself, you may find yourself operating more in your God-given gifts and talents. From there, your ability to discern wisdom will significantly grow, and I encourage you to practice that. The more you do something, the easier it is to build in it. The more you do it, the better you will get!

Now here is where things can get tricky. It would be best if you remember your worth. You must retain your worth concerning God and how God sees you, not how you see yourself. You must remember, in God’s eyes, you are fantastic, excellent, and loved. You must remember that God will never leave you or forsake you and that he is always with you regardless of whether you feel it.

Part of successfully wearing God’s armor is remembering how much God loves you, even if you won’t allow him into your world. God loves you, even if you aren’t living to His standards. The only difference is when you live by His standards, you become right with God; therefore, you are righteous. However, God will always accept you, and that’s powerful whether you realize it or not.

History of the Breastplate of Righteousness:

The Roman soldiers would have fastened the breastplate around their chest. Now there were two types of breastplates back then. The first type was fashioned by joining several broad curved metal bands together using leather thongs. The second kind was a type of chainmail made up of small metal rings linked together until they formed a vest.

The purpose of both types of breastplates was the same – to protect the soldier’s vital organs.

And guess what? That is precisely what God wants to do with you. When you place on the breastplate of righteousness, you are allowing God to protect your vital organs. Successfully wearing this armor comes down to whether you know what is in right standing with God – what God approves – versus what God does not stand for, agree with, believe.

If you choose to sin, then God can’t stop you from doing it per se. He can influence you and encourage you not to through the Holy Spirit, but you have free will. When you sin or do something outside of God’s encouragement, desires, or law, you have taken off the breastplate armor, saying, “Hey, God, I got this! I don’t need your help anymore.” Now, this is dangerous because, without that breastplate, the fiery darts from the enemy can begin to penetrate you.

He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion (Isaiah 59:17).

Application of the Breastplate of Righteousness:

Here’s the thing, God offers His righteousness to every believer in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5; Philippians 3:9).

If God offers His righteousness to every believer in Jesus Christ, then what does it mean to put on and successfully wear the breastplate of righteousness?

Well, first, it’s choosing to believe and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It’s understanding in your heart, not your mind. It is knowing you cannot be righteous (or in right standing) with God until you see Jesus as your Lord and Savior – as the Son of Our Father in Heaven. It’s learning to stand firm against injustice and corruption (Leviticus 19:15; Hebrews 1:9). Isaiah is a beautiful chapter in the Bible that talks about doing things even if you sense fear. It’s choosing to move forward even with the sensation of fear and trusting God to be your advocate and protector. Lastly, it’s knowing that God promised His protection against evil forces for those who have faith in Jesus (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

The application of wearing the breastplate of righteousness is more about walking in faith, your beliefs, and how much you apply God’s word in your life. If you’re a part-time believer, you’re going to get part-time results.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

In closing, think about how you participate in life. How do you respond to hardships? … to trials? Do you believe God’s promise his protection against the forces of evil for those who have faith in Christ? Do you focus more on your trials or Jesus’s abundance?

Take some time today to figure out how you can wear the breastplate of righteousness better. Do you need to love as God loves? Do you need to forgive as God forgives? Are you thinking with the mind of Christ or the carnal mind? 

Where does your breastplate of righteousness have holes? 

Prayer: Father God, I see how important it is to live righteously and obedient to You. I do not always do a great job of that. Please help me to successfully wear the Breastplate of Righteousness. Help me to do Your will in everything. I ask that You help me glorify You in everything I do.  Father, I thank You for growing me and pruning me to be a great, strong, and courageous Warrior for Christ. Thank You for giving me wisdom and understanding. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God’s Armor: The Belt of Truth

God’s Armor: The Belt of Truth

Part 1 of 7

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

" Keep calm and put on the armor of God"

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We are continuing forward with the psychology and Jesus series. However, it’s important to live intentionally with vigilance and focus. Remember, the devil is like a roaring lion waiting to see whom he can devour.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Since the devil couldn’t care less about your prosperity, success, or cultivating a thriving life, he is going to do everything he can to stop you!

What do you do?

First, remember the devil has already been defeated (1 John 3:8)! However, the enemy has done an excellent job of being a sore loser and perverting things. Think about it – most people pray about their problems when God says to pray for your solutions and desires (Mark 11:23).

Secondly, we must put on the armor of God and USE IT! Merely wearing the armor of God is not enough to defeat the enemy.

Today I am going to discuss how you can successfully apply the first piece of the armor of God to defeat (once again) that stubborn lion! Over the next few weeks, I will explain the history and the application of each piece of God’s armor.

We will be starting with Ephesians 6:10-14 for today, and throughout the next weeks, we will discuss the remaining verses. I am going to copy the Amplified Version as I think the brackets add further understanding.

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)

The Belt of Truth is the first thing Paul tells us to put on!

History of the Belt of Truth:
The belt of truth refers back to the leather apron belt that hung in front of the Roman soldier’s lower abdomen and groin. Small brass plates were also strategically placed onto the apron to provide the highest possible protection.

I think the brass plates were added because low blows (if you get what I mean) were expected and included from the devil. He will hurt you where it hurts the most, and when he does it (when you allow him to), he’s going to laugh with pleasure. The devil couldn’t care less about playing fair. He’s out to DESTROY YOU!

Interestingly, the belt of truth would have been the FIRST piece of protective gear the soldiers would have put on themselves. It protected the soldiers’ most vulnerable and sensitive areas.

To me, it makes sense that the belt of truth was called this due to it being the first piece of protective wear the soldiers put upon their bodies. Why? It is hard to protect yourself from anything when you are unable to identify truth from a lie! God’s Word is TRUTH! It’s life. It is the way! If you do not have scripture buried in your heart, you will not be able to stand your ground because you will not know how to discern the truth. Therefore, it is that much easier for the enemy to devour you! If you cannot decipher between a lie and the truth… well, you are in more trouble than you may realize.

Application of the Belt of Truth:

Think of the belt of truth as accurate or correct living, living God’s way. Remember, the devil will fight you with lies. He will twist, manipulate, and pervert God’s truth. Therefore, we must decipher or discern information concerning God’s Word.

The belt of truth prepares one to be ready for action. We are to always be prepared to fight the enemy off (1 Peter 5:8).

How can you prepare yourself in every circumstance? By making sure that you are a person of truth. You must know God’s truth. That means knowing the good news about Jesus, understanding in your heart why you believe in Jesus, and living as a person of integrity as someone honest and trustworthy.

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world (1 Peter 2:12).

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed (1 Peter 3:15,16).

I am always amazed at how quickly people accept and agree with the words spoken over, at, or to them. You must be careful agreeing with others before you have thought about it or gone to the Word of God. Instead of just foolishly agreeing with people on unfamiliar areas you are unsure about, say the following instead:

“I hear what the person is saying regarding this subject. I don’t know if that is true or simply their truth. Since I seem curious about it, I am going to look into what they are saying before I go any further with participating with their thoughts.”

It is crucial to apply God’s truth to all the enemy’s lies. I encourage you to start adopting a God filter, where you run everything you hear through God and His Word before buying into it.

Prayer: Father God, help me to wear Your belt of truth successfully. I want to be a warrior for Your army. Teach me Your ways and how to fight successfully in Your name. Thank You for teaching me how to discern the real fight and successfully defeat the enemy in Jesus’ name.