Sunday Devotional: Victory Cannot Depend on our Circumstances

When the road is smooth and dry, it's easy to go along in any vehicle. But if it's a dirt road, and the rain has been coming down, it will soon be mud, and not any vehicle will do. If the way is uphill, a car with a bad engine will struggle, while it's just fine on the downhill slopes.

When life throws us a curve ball, do we continue to walk in victory, or do we hang our heads in defeat? 

When we struggle with addiction, it's when we hit these lows in life that it becomes hard to coast along. The only way we can continue to live in victory over our struggle is to rely upon God. He is the miracle worker. He thrives in doing more than we can do, and loves His children enough to want to help us overcome in times of need. Instead of sinking into the pit, we can be delivered to a firm place to stand.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)

Only be preparing ourselves for times of trouble by leaning on God in all circumstances can we learn to have victory no matter what our life throws at us. It starts with a simple choice. First, we have to rely upon the truth, and point out the lies. Satan loves to convince us that our circumstances dictate who we are and how we behave. But God wants us to know that peace is possible even in the storm. 

Next run to the Lord in prayer. Tell Him your problems and lay them at His feet. Leave those worries and problems there, and don't pick them back up once you get up off your knees again. 

Then lean upon God and determine not to allow the problems of this moment steal your peace or joy. By relying on the strength of God, we will be fine on the uphill slopes, and the mud will not keep us from moving forward. He is able to deliver us and give us peace in any situation. My prayer for you today is that you put these three simple steps into practice no matter what circumstance you're going through today.

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Sunday Devotional: Bringing Dead Dreams Back to Life

When we were younger, we had so many dreams. We believed we could do anything, become anything, accomplish anything. Walking, talking, reading, riding a bike--these all seemed like impossible tasks until we overcame them, so if we could do that, nothing was outside our grasp. Then reality hit and some dreams became dead to us because we found out they were too difficult for us to accomplish on our own especially when we didn't have the resources to overcome them.

No matter how much we try to push ourselves to overcome the thing, it was impossible to do on our own. Inspired initiative is when we hear God say, "Arise from the dead." (Ephesians 5:14). Only when the inspiration comes from God are we able to arise our dreams from the dead and do the impossible thing. Because God's words come with miraculous power and the resources we need to overcome any obstacle.

But there's a catch to it.

God doesn't give us life until we do as He says. In order to "arise from the dead," we have to get up. In order for the man with the withered hand to heal, he hand to "stretch forth" his hand (Mark 3:1-6). God gives the order, and we have to take Him at His word and move when He says to. If we believe Him and get up, we'll find that God gives us overcoming life immediately. We'll find strength where we had none, help where we didn't see it, and the power to overcome when we were overwhelmed.

So what is God asking you to do today that you think would be impossible? What dream did you think was dead, but God is telling "arise?" My prayer today is that we take God at His word and move forward, believing that He will give us the power to overcome any obstacle.

Remembering the Warrior in Me

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5)

We are called to be warriors, to overcome the world, but so many of us (myself included) cannot even overcome our own flesh. My warrior is buried beneath many pounds of fat. If I needed to move quickly into battle, I'd be in big trouble. My warrior is being crushed under the weight that I have put upon her shoulders, and it's time to break free.

But I know that I cannot do this on my own. I've been trying to do that for years and the result has been an over 100 lb weight gain.

So today I'm remembering something:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

This struggle is not a physical one. Sure, it's about diet and exercise, but it's more about remembering who I am, what God has called me to be, and how Satan does not want me to be there. I have potential. And God would not call me to be something that he would not help me to become. I need to rely on Him and trust Him and allow Him to create in me the warrior that He sees in me.

And not sabotage His efforts by believing the lies that my personal demons tell me, the first of which is: "You can do this on your own."

It's obvious that I cannot. I've been trying for over 10 years to battle these demons on my own. And it's time instead to stop making this about food and start making it about nourishment.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:10)

God will nourish me. He will fill me with that which I truly need. 

In prayer and diligent Bible Study, I know that I can fill the emptiness in me that food cannot fill. By God's grace, I will remember the Warrior in me...