The Roaring Lion

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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)

The devil is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour so we must be alert and sober minded (1 Peter 5:8).

In the darkness, this lion is scary. In the darkness, this lion’s roar echoes in our mind and our hearts, especially late at night and when we are alone. In the darkness, the lion puts fear in us. In the darkness, we are not who God called us to be for we are called out of darkness and into the light (1 Peter 2:9). We are called to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

WHEN we are alert and sober minded, we can shine the light of Christ and what seems to be a threat will no longer be one.

To be alert is to be watchful for possible danger. It is to be weary and aware. When you are aware, you are prepared. Are you aware of the devil’s schemes? Better yet, are you prepared for them? Are you wearing the Full armor of God? Are you spending time with God who can teach you how to stand against the enemy? The Holy Spirit can teach you ALL things.

To be sober minded means you are serious, sensible and not intoxicated. Do you have a mind focused on God or is it polluted by things of this world? Do you think on things of above? The Bible tells us to think on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable— anything that is excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). When we think on these things the devil doesn’t have an opportunity to tamper with our imagination.

When we shine the light, we can see this lion has no teeth. In fact he is like smoke trying to cloud our eyes from seeing his nothingness and empty threats.  His sole power source is leeched from you. Your imagination. Your fear. Your lack of knowledge, trust and faith in the power of God. And your decision to remain in the darkness.

The extent of his power over us, is the extent of power we give.

Nothing can hide when we shine a light on it. This is one of the devil’s tactics; to keep himself hidden. To bombard us with feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, loneliness, anything and everything that will stop us from seeking forgiveness and coming into the light, that is Jesus Christ, because once our darkness is brought into the light, it is exposed and vulnerable and can be destroyed. Jesus is light and in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). So to strive to be like Christ means we must rid ourselves of any darkness we recognise in ourselves.

We are not perfect which is exactly why we all need God’s grace. God tells us “ask me for what you are lacking and I will give it to you”. Do you need knowledge? Ask for it! Do you need faith? A desire for God? Strength? Ask Him! (Matthew 6:26; 7:7; John 14:13-14; Luke 11:13; James 1: 5-6).  He is a good father who will not withhold any good thing from His children and yes I mean YOU (Psalm 84:11; Matthew 6:26; John 15:16).

You Are Loved

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Your presence in this world matters. There is a purpose for your existence.

You are not merely a ‘cosmic accident’ birthed from nothing, out of nothing.

There is creative thoughtfulness and love embedded in your DNA.

You are very specifically and intentionally made for this generation.

As humans, we are created in love, for love, to love.

We know this because God is love and we are created in His image however we die in the image of our decisions.

When we fail to love, are not loved or abuse love then something goes wrong.

The ‘original’ love we were created to give and receive becomes corrupted, distorted and defiled.  Our original spiritual DNA falls away from our Creator and the essence of our being changes.

It is at this point that we begin to feel confused about our identity.

When we don’t know who we are in Christ, we will look for our identity in every other nook and cranny of this world.  We need love but if we are far from the creator, then we do not know where to go to receive it so each person looks to themselves to answer this question instead of to God, who is the author of love. Our understanding of love will then be shaped by people, movies, social media, music and it’s a mess. Accordingly, our definition of “love” will constantly change which is why we need our firm foundation, our rock.

We need the truth about love. God IS love AND truth. He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His love stands firm so go back to the heart of your Creator. Get to know Him, get to know your true self in Him and let Him show you the plans He has for your life. It is guaranteed that He will exceed every and any expectation you have. Take a leap of faith into the arms of God and just let Him love you.

Prayer
Dear God,
I ask that you help me to know you more, to love you more and to seek you. Make your ways known to me. I am sorry if I have gone astray and played by the rules that suited me but from now on, I choose you. I want everything you are and I choose to follow you. Please teach me your ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Stay In Your Lane

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What would happen if you were driving in a four-lane road and instead of focusing on YOUR driving within YOUR lane, you began closely observing all the other drivers across the lanes?

It wouldn’t be good to say the least.

It’s one thing to be alert of your surroundings while driving but it’s another thing to be completely distracted and consumed by them.

When you’re distracted, you are not focusing on the task at hand.

You are not doing what you are supposed to be doing.

God has called each of us to a specific purpose.

If we are constantly distracted by what everyone else is doing, we will not be able to clearly see our purpose let alone do what God is asking us to do.

Taking our eyes off our “lane” can cause us to become discontent, envious and ultimately unhappy in our own lives because we start a game of comparison.

We begin comparing our lives to the lives of those around us. Too often we compare people’s “highlights” to our “behind the scene” moments.

This is a dangerous game to play and a quick way to destroy our own happiness.

No life is perfect and every person faces difficulties.

But how often do we start this game of comparison in our minds?

I wish my husband would…

I wish my child was more like….

If only I had [insert thing you want] THEN I would be happy

Instead of appreciating what we have, we focus on what we don’t have.

Instead of appreciating the people we have been blessed with, we actively deprive ourselves of the joy they bring by focusing on all the things that are “missing”. These are the people we should be building up and loving. Instead we are tearing them down with our words, bad attitudes, sarcastic remarks and hidden undertones.

We do the same at our job. Instead of appreciating the opportunity to connect with others, earn a living and impact on the lives of those we deal with, we get distracted.

We compare ourselves to our colleagues and fixate on their “lane” and pretty soon, we’re left discontent and unhappy. Not because our circumstances changed but because we began focusing on the wrong lane.

This vicious cycle will continue to tear you down and steal your joy unless the cycle is broken. How? Gratitude. Be thankful.

So remember,

  1. Get back in your lane.
  2. Fix your focus.
  3. Value what you have.
  4. You are blessed beyond measure.

PRAYER

Dear God,

Thank you for your indescribable gift. Sorry that I am not always grateful and do not see all the wonderful things you have blessed me with. Please help me grow in thankfulness towards you and love towards all.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

A Relationship with Jesus

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See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  (1 John 3:1)

The first step to having a relationship with Jesus is to choose Him. To say “God I want all of YOU and none of me. I surrender my life to you.”  

In a world that distracts us even blinds us from God we often don’t ask ourselves if we have really given our life to God. The disturbing truth is most of us haven’t. That’s why the road to life is narrow and few find it (Matthew 7:14). Only by surrendering to God, can He work through us and show us the path to life.

God does not force us to accept Him. We must choose Him. That’s why He gave us free will.  We either accept God and submit to Him OR we submit to the enemy. By our choices, we condemn ourselves to death or we are saved by God’s grace and set aside for Him.

Now, some of you may stop reading this or even stop seeking God because you don’t want to hear the truth. Why? Because you are comfortable in your sin. Because you want to keep watching that TV show that’s ungodly, or keep listening to that music that’s offensive or keep going to places that give birth to sin. But when God sets you aside, you need to live by HIS standards. The Holy Spirit WILL NOT let you live like the world because you do not belong to it.

Let’s make it clear. There are two choices. There is nothing in between. “You are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Romans 6:16).

Here’s the amazing part. The result of choosing to be slaves to God is that He honours us, protects us, loves us, blesses us and makes us His children and heirs in His kingdom. “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:6-7).  We see that once we receive the Holy Spirit, we can become children of God.

Are you ready to surrender your whole life to God?

I don’t mean saying a quick 30 second prayer (if that!) before you sleep. We can’t divide our life and give some time to God, some to work, some to study and keep parts to ourselves. “The idea is to live all our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honour and glory of God” (R.C. Sproul).

With You

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.    (John 1:1)

God is with you.

It is important to know this because you won’t always feel it.

Having faith means we cannot be led by what we feel but by what we know and what we know comes from the truth found in God’s Word.

We are reminded constantly that God is with us, that He will never leave or forsake us and that nothing can separate us from His love.

Even in times of trouble, we are not abandoned.

We will face troubles in this life (John 16:33) and when we do, we have a safe place to go to.

 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9:9-10) 

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in his dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5)

 …because the name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10)

 The Lord will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Psalm 91:4)

 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. They will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust (Psalm 91:1-2)

The Lord is our haven, our strong tower which we can run into.

We run into Him by calling on His name, seeking Him diligently in prayer, fasting, the Sacraments and ultimately by spending time with Him and in His presence.

Our lives are no surprise to God and He promises to not only be with us but to lead and guide our lives if we so choose.

PRAYER

Dear God,

I thank you for always being with me. I don’t always feel you, but I know you are always at work in my life. I pray that you help me to live a life led by your truth which does not change and not by my feelings which are ever changing. You are good and faithful desiring only the best for my life. You are all I want.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love Your Enemies

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But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)

Not everyone will like you.

As humans, we tend to judge and categorize people.

We cast them away, write them off and give them as much value as a speck of dust.

Perhaps you don’t do this but maybe you’ve experienced it.

In the midst of this, it remains your choice as to how you treat those who don’t like, or even hate, you.

The way you react reveals the true nature of your heart and speaks volumes about YOUR character.

Our human nature encourages us to respond in a like manner. To hate back. To gossip, slander and bash people with our words (often, behind their backs). This is an act of weakness.

To act divinely, that is, beyond our mere mortal nature, means we dig deep within ourselves and choose to love those who dislike or hate us.

“Wait, what?! How do you expect me to love someone who I hate or who hates me?”

This is not any easy thing to do which is why it is an act of strength that begins with a choice.

Make the decision first.

What kind of person do you choose to be?

Choose love, and the strength to grow into this genuine love will follow. Keep choosing, seeking and desiring love. God will meet you there and help equip you so that you can grow further into the image of Christ.

After all, Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that (Martin Luther King, Jr.).