Cardboard Box

cardboard box

I felt led to revisit this old post and share it again.  Perhaps I’m not the only one who needs this today.

If you’re following God’s plan for your life, Satan, the enemy of your soul, is going to attack you in any way he can.  He wants to discourage you, squeeze you into a place of depression like a smelly cardboard box, and fill your head with lies about you and your future.  Remember, lying is not only what Satan does, it’s who he is.

But God is with you, and He never lies.  He said He’ll never leave you so hold that promise in your heart and visit it as often as you need to.  You’re not alone.  You’ve never been alone.  You may feel like it, but that’s part of the box, the trap the enemy has set for you.  If you feel alone, you’ll act desperately.  You’ll do things you know you shouldn’t do.  You’ll go somewhere you shouldn’t go or try to reconnect with someone God told you to stay away from.  What you think is a punishment or harsh discipline may instead by God’s hand protecting you.  He has so much more for you.  Don’t go after what He doesn’t want you to have.

But if you’ve fallen into the trap, if the enemy has already tricked you into that box, call out to God.  Just whisper the glorious, powerful name of Jesus.  Let His name come from your lips and flow from your spirit in adoration and trust, and He will come to you and rip that box to shreds!  Then you’ll rise from those scraps to sing praises to Him, slide around on the kitchen floor in your socks, run outside and let the rain fall on your face, and shout with joy because victory is yours through Jesus!

Then you can just toss what’s left of that box out to the trash.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7 NIV.)

Stop Beating Yourself Up

beating

Stop beating yourself up.

That’s right.  Stop being so hard on yourself for that mistake you made in the past; the one you can’t go back and change and really, do you even want to?  That mistake has made you stronger, better, and maybe it’s even shaken you awake to how much God loves you.  Maybe that was the lesson you needed so you’d realize, “I just really goofed and God is still hanging around.  Wow.  He must really love me.”

Yes He does.  He loves you in all your “imperfections.”  He loves the color of your hair as it begins to gray and has each one numbered.  He smiles when you snore in your sleep, even keeping the dog awake.  He loves how your eyes get that look somewhere between shock and sparkle when He answers your prayer and you “get it” that it’s Him. You’re welcome, He whispers.  And He loves to hear you laugh when you’re running in the rain or playing in the snow.  Yes, He loves every bit of you.

But when you hurt over your mistakes, really taking them in and holding onto them like you can never let go or never be forgiven, it’s like you’re telling God He’s not compassionate enough to understand, not loving enough to forgive, and not wise enough to help you through it.

You and I need to stop doing this.

Mistakes are just that. Mistakes. And trying to avoid all mistakes by tiptoeing through life, trying to be perfect, will only set you up for another round of disappointment on your way to crazy town while your family and friends ride in the back.

The only way to live at peace with your mistakes is to take them to God.  Seriously.  Oh sure, you can try to trick your mind into forgetting by venturing off into a bottle for some mind-altering escape, but eventually you’ll come back.  Or you can run away, treat the mistake like a grizzly bear following you in the woods.  But eventually you’ll get tired of running and that bear will catch up after he’s hibernated.  And you’ve probably heard how hungry a bear is after a long nap.

So grab onto that mistake with both hands, stare it down and admit what it is, what you’ve done, and lift it up to God.  Tell Him you’re sorry, confess what you’ve done and ask Him to forgive you, ask others to forgive you if you’ve hurt them, and then MOVE ON.

You see, God wants your mistakes.  He wants to take them off your hands because He has more important things for you, better things for you to do than wallow in your guilt like a pig in slop.  Of course this is where the enemy wants you to stay, and he will lie and tell you that’s where you belong.  But your Heavenly Father is the One who loves you, who wants to clean you up, and He is the One you need to listen to.  And He has so much more for you than a filthy pigpen full of lies.

Stop listening to the lies.  Right now.

And start believing in the truth:  You ARE worthy of the blessings God has for you.

Not because you are perfect, without mistakes, but because Jesus Christ is perfection and He loves you perfectly.  He’s got you covered.

So get out of His way, already.  Let Him bless you.  Stop trying to sabotage it all because you’re afraid; afraid you’ll somehow mess it all up.  God will be there in the midst of the blessing to help you.  He’s promised He will never leave you, right?

Then trust Him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV.)

 

Below the Surface

below the surface

There’s a great big world out there with a lot of people quietly suffering. On the surface we see the happy smiles and we hear the “I’m fine,” response when we ask how they’re doing.  But below the surface there is great pain.

Maybe this is you.  Maybe you get up in the morning and go about your day, while beyond those shallow areas of your life, those areas you let others get a glimpse of, you’re agonizing.  Maybe you feel like you’re drowning and no one cares.  Maybe you’re overwhelmed with illness or debt or violence or drugs.  Maybe you feel trapped in a relationship that brings you pain or maybe you feel locked into a situation you can’t break free from.

Let me tell you my friend, God sees you.  He not only sees the surface stuff you show the world, but He sees your heart.  He knows what’s keeping you up at night.  He knows what makes you cry when you’re in the shower.  He knows what steals your breath and your joy and what’s suffocating you right there in the middle of your life.  And He cares about you so deeply, reaching far below the surface.

God is the One who never leaves you or forgets about you.  He promises.  And He never lies and He never breaks a promise. Thank you, Lord.

You may hear all sorts of things as you go throughout your day.  You may hear that you’re a failure and you’ll never amount to much; this may be all in your own thoughts or literally from others.  Perhaps you’ll hear that it’s too late for you; you had your chance and you blew it and you’re beyond hope.  You may hear you’re all alone and you’re going to stay that way because you’re pathetic and really unlovable.  Or maybe you’ll hear that people in your life would be better off if you weren’t around.

Those are lies.  Every one of them.  Don’t try to make them “half” truths either.  Like, “Well I have failed so many times so maybe I won’t amount to much.”  Did you ever think that those “failures” are part of a greater design for you becoming YOU.  If you hadn’t “failed,” you’d keep going in that direction and perhaps that is not what God wants for you.  So He allows you to stumble a bit so when you regain your footing, you have time to see another path, another door opening that you never would have seen if you ran off in the wrong direction.  Is that failure?  Not hardly.

I don’t know exactly why God led me to write this or who this is for.  But God knows.  And He knows you my friend.  Trust that He sees your suffering all the way down to the very core.  With God in your life, you never suffer alone and suffering is only temporary when you consider an eternity of peace with Him.  You have an amazing hope to live for now and to look forward to.  Don’t let Satan or anyone else steal God’s promises from your heart.

And if you’re reading this and you’re not one who is suffering below the surface, please take a moment to pray for eyes that see and ears that hear that you may be aware of those around you who are suffering.  Maybe God will use you to wrap your arms around them and whisper, “God’s got you my friend.”

Yes.  God’s got you my friend.  Wherever you are in this great big world, I’m praying for you right now.  You are not alone.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV.)

Picking Up Arrows

arrow

If you were in a war and you saw an arrow stuck in the ground, would you pick it up and hand it to your fellow soldier to use? You wouldn’t if you knew the arrow itself was poisonous to touch.

The truth is, you are in a war, a spiritual war, and there will be flaming arrows coming at you from the enemy.  But God has provided you with the shield of faith to extinguish those arrows.

But what if you’ve lowered your shield because the arrow isn’t blazing at you from the enemy but is handed to you from someone on your side fighting with you?  You reach out, take the arrow, and realize only then that it was a trap.  You’ve been struck; the poison the enemy conjured up to specifically harm you has found its way directly to you.  No, it’s not the same as the enemy himself hitting you.  It’s much worse.  The enemy used someone you trust to inflict harm, and now the poison has entered your bloodstream.

And it hurts. You drop to your knees and wonder what in the world just happened?  Perhaps the one who handed it to you has already moved on in battle and didn’t realize you’ve hit the ground.  So you stop fighting, you stop gaining ground, and you stop obeying the command to press on because you’re hurt and confused.  You tend to your injury the best you can, unaware of what antidote to use because you’re not sure what poison has entered your system.  You just know the poison reached your heart the moment you realized it came from your own side.

Maybe you survive, take some time to recover, and return to fight the enemy. And maybe you don’t.  Maybe you spend the rest of your days a frail shell of the warrior you once were, wondering:  If only my fellow soldier wouldn’t have picked up that arrow. If only I wouldn’t have taken it.

 Satan shoots flaming arrows of doubt, worthlessness, and a number of lies at each one of us to destroy us, to annihilate our faith; hence the reason God provides the shield of faith. (Thank you, Lord.) But we can’t assume the arrows, the lies, have disappeared when we block them and they fall to the ground.  The lies are still there, waiting to inflict harm, waiting to poison someone’s faith.  And when it happens, the heart that once surged with total devotion to God now slows to a deadly beat.

The antidote?

For the injured soul who is battling against the enemy and has been handed an arrow and the poison is coursing through your veins and heading to your heart, God has provided a powerful antidote: His Word.  It is full of truth.  Drink it in deeply.  And remember if someone tries to hand you an arrow again, a lie, don’t touch it. Don’t let it enter your mind. Hold tight to every piece of your armor, especially the sword of the Spirit you carry, and press on.

And to those who may be unaware, if you see an arrow sticking out of the ground, a juicy piece of gossip, a morsel of a half-truth about someone, don’t pick it up. In fact, don’t even touch it.  You see, the poison may have been meant for another, but it will also hurt you:  You’ll be fighting on the wrong side.

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.”  (Psalm 34:13 NIV.)

Cardboard Box

cardboard box

I felt led to revisit this old post and share it again.  Perhaps I’m not the only one who needs this today.

If you’re following God’s plan for your life, Satan, the enemy of your soul, is going to attack you in any way he can.  He wants to discourage you, squeeze you into a place of depression like a smelly cardboard box, and fill your head with lies about you and your future.  Remember, lying is not only what Satan does, it’s who he is.

But God is with you, and He never lies.  He said He’ll never leave you so hold that promise in your heart and visit it as often as you need to.  You’re not alone.  You’ve never been alone.  You may feel like it, but that’s part of the box, the trap the enemy has set for you.  If you feel alone, you’ll act desperately.  You’ll do things you know you shouldn’t do.  You’ll go somewhere you shouldn’t go or try to reconnect with someone God told you to stay away from.  What you think is a punishment or harsh discipline may instead by God’s hand protecting you.  He has so much more for you.  Don’t go after what He doesn’t want you to have.

But if you’ve fallen into the trap, if the enemy has already tricked you into that box, call out to God.  Just whisper the glorious, powerful name of Jesus.  Let His name come from your lips and flow from your spirit in adoration and trust, and He will come to you and rip that box to shreds!  Then you’ll rise from those scraps to sing praises to Him, slide around on the kitchen floor in your socks, run outside and let the rain fall on your face, and shout with joy because victory is yours through Jesus!

Then you can just toss what’s left of that box out to the trash.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7 NIV.)