In the Ring…

A boxing match kept coming to my mind….The punches, the spit, the blood, the countdown, the adrenaline, the exhaustion…

I’m not a fan of boxing. I don’t like watching others fight for fun or money. But, I know many are. I admire the athleticism and endurance it takes to fight, but I still don’t like to watch it. This correlates perfectly with the punches we take on in this life. It’s not pretty to watch others get hit over and over and it doesn’t feel good to be hit so hard that your head spins and your “teeth” fall out.

Do you ever feel like you are in a battle? Like you may get hit multiple times in one day and then out of nowhere once you manage to get up on to your feet, you’re taken down again? Each and every time you wonder if this may be it? The big one. The KO. But, it’s not. You wake up the next day with one heck of a shiner, feeling weak and sore from the fight, but a little bit stronger and quite honestly surprised you’re still going.

If you feel like you are in a battle, it’s because you are. And it’s warring every day. We are in a battle and it’s not against flesh and blood. It’s not with the people throwing the punches or our own bodies. It’s not with the bank or your boss. It’s not with your spouse or your ex. It’s not with your parent or your child.

Paul writes…

 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

Our opponent thrives on division, wars, conflict, stress, and despair. His MO is to give us a KO. To knock us out of the running. To keep us from sharing that God is LOVE, still loves, will always love. To keep us from sharing how He works and how He is already wearing the Championship belt.

He doesn’t call us to fight as the world fights, but in the Spirit. In truth, peace, faith, His Word, and prayer. (Ephesians 6) This is war against an enemy who wants the EXACT opposite. He’s relentless in his pursuit to deceive, steal peace, intimidate, keep you away from the Bible, and away from heartfelt sincere prayer. I know this…because I’m fighting too.

When we fight with the weapons of the Holy Spirit, even to exhaustion, God promises…”no weapon turned against you will succeed.” (Isaiah 54:17)

In the heat and hurt of the battle, remember that He helps us fight our enemy. We are not on our own. It may feel daunting when you see that next fist coming at you, but his days are numbered and yours are infinite in the mighty hands of Jesus.

In preparation for this article, I looked up the word “Uppercut”. It’s defined as follows: “The uppercut is a punch used in boxing that travels along a vertical line at the opponent’s chin. It is, along with the cross, one of the main punches that count in the statistics as power punches.”

How fitting. I don’t know what a cross punch is, but it is because of the Cross that we have victory. No matter how beat up you feel, chin up fighter. I’m cheering you on, praying you through, and fighting in the ring next to yours.

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The Gift of Forgiveness

For anyone who has blown it and felt the grace of forgiveness, to anyone who has known a forgiver, to anyone boggled by someone else’s forgiveness, we know it’s a supernatural gift and can only come from above. It’s the exact opposite of what the devil wants for our lives.

Do you realize the gift forgiveness is for ourselves? Not just to receive, but to grant. When Jesus tells us to forgive, it’s because He knows it’s the only way we can live the abundant life He died to give us. Forgiveness is a choice. Refusing to do so adds more pain, heaviness, bitterness, anger. It poisons us and affects the people around us.

When we choose to forgive, it’s not natural. For me, the process started with “Lord, I want to forgive. I have that desire. Will you help me?” And, every day, sometimes every twenty minutes, I’d ask Him…”Help me forgive”. The alternative hurts too much. Take this pain and burden. It’s not immediate, but over time, if we humble ourselves and ask for His help, He will show us how and start clearing out the pain and bitterness, making room for more of Him. The forgiver will start to feel relief like never before. This is a gift Jesus wants to help us receive through His strength alone. For our own good on this earth.

Through this process, He opened my eyes to my own sinfulness. To what He’s forgiven in me. To how we all fall short. To how the person who wronged me may be completely unaware to the amount of pain they have caused. “Jesus forgive them, they know not what they do”. To the fact that I’m sure I have harmed others without knowing the extent. To the fact that forgiveness frees us. To how sweet it is to be forgiven. Ask and you shall receive. Give and it will be given to you.

This entry is to let you know that forgiving someone else is as much a gift as being forgiven. The deeper the pain or betrayal, the harder it is to do so, but the sweeter the reward. I don’t wish pain, loss, or betrayal on anyone, but the gift of forgiveness after the fact is something you can’t learn or experience without it. When you feel the kind of pain that can alter the trajectory of your life and make the decision to forgive instead, you will be moving in God’s will for your story rather than the devil’s. He has a path he wants you to take as well and that’s as far away from God as possible. He wants us to follow our pain, Jesus wants us to give it to Him through forgiveness.

Jesus knew what He was doing. He knows that without offering forgiveness for the wrongs others do to us, we carry more pain than He died to remove. When you can honestly love them in Christ and wish them the best, you know you’re on your way.

Forgiving is not condoning. Forgiving is loving and forgiving as Jesus loves and forgives us. It’s not easy, but it’s a gift waiting to be unwrapped. Ask Him for the scissors today.

 

That’s a Lie!

whisper

The devil is a liar. He has always been a liar. He lied to Eve, he lied to Jesus, and he lies to us. In John 8:44, Jesus says this about the devil “when he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and a father of lies.” His lies are fuel for low self esteem, insecurity, and fear. If we can identify these lies and counter them with the truth, we are headed in the right direction. The devil’s lies put us in bondage. He strives to keep us there, but God’s truth will set us free. Here are a few of the lies the devil loves to literally pummel me with, maybe you can relate. Or maybe just putting them out there in black and white will remind me the next time he’s in my ear. He loves to do that.

  • Nobody cares what you have to say
  • It’s all your fault
  • If he didn’t want you, no one will
  • You’re a bad mom
  • You’re a burden
  • You are not worthy of real love

Ouch! I know they are hard to read, they are even harder to hear. I’m putting them out there, because I KNOW they are lies. Every single one of them are lies straight from the devil and I want you to know they are too. Don’t let him steal or destroy one more day of the abundant life God desires for you to live. Bring the lies to the light and watch the darkness disappear. Know that you aren’t alone. God knows the devil is a liar. He lied his way right out of Heaven.

When these or other lies are whispered in your ear just as they were to Eve, recognize them for what they are. They are NOT the truth, they are lies. Turn to God and ask Him who you are to him. Ask him how precious you are and remember that he DIED for you. Jesus’s life and death point us to the truth and the truth is that God would rather send his own son to die for us than to live without us for eternity. There are a few people on this earth that I would die for, but I can’t think of any that I would lay either of my children down for. That’s an unfathomable love. Remember THAT love when the lies come back….. because they will.

I can’t wait for heaven when the ultimate liar is silenced forever and we can live in the peace and splendor of God’s presence with zero shame, guilt, fear or lies. Now, that’s heaven!