Saturday, October 25, 2014


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Psalms 19:12-14
(12) Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
(13) Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
(14) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
1 Peter 1:3-5

(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
(4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
(5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Thank God for the Holy Spirit that He has given to all those who trust in Him to be their righteousness and salvation! How sad when believers do not understand the keeping power of His Spirit in them, the resurrection power unto "newness of life" that is theirs, and the hope to which they have been called! That "hope" is a surety that His salvation is theirs eternally and is preserved for them just as they are preserved for it. How it must grieve the heart of our Father Who provided all for us! Some think it is their "faith" that keeps them. Yet the Word says it is HE Who keeps them, BY HIS POWER, through faith. Not faith in your faith being strong enough to keep you, or faith in your faith to persevere, but trust in HIS keeping power that is given you when you believed into Christ and became His child.

Trust...relinquishing anything on your part...unto Him, Who alone is able to save you to the uttermost and keep you. Even when your "faith" fails, He will not, because He abides in you and is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). I remember the revelation it was to me when the Lord made me to see it was "Christ in me" Who was my hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), not my perseverance. All that I thought was my perseverance had been Him persevering in me all along. I read that many times, yet I really was not grasping it. Christ in me...suddenly that became very real and tangible and I had peace that He would indeed act to do all in me according to His finished work and His promise. I have His presence truly in me through the Holy Spirit. He is real. He abides in me. He is my hope of glory. Not my willpower, my strength of spirit, and not my "faith" but His presence-His resurrection life. I trusted myself into Christ, and He came into me, and He alone is the keeping faith abiding in me, faithful to keep me through all in this world. I trust His faithfulness, not my faith. I trust the faithfulness of His Word. Not because I have to keep "believing hard enough." That is faith in my faith. But His presence in me when I trusted His power to save me, is the same saving power that continually works in me to keep me. Faith abides in me because He abides in me.

Those who think to be kept by their faith in their faith, have missed the joy of their salvation and their eyes again are on themselves, and something in themselves to keep them. In my own experience, the Lord showed me again and again that my own faith would fail. The "trying of our faith," I believe, is not so that we can muster up enough faith, but sometimes it is to show us our faith is misplaced. When we come to the end of it, realizing it is only another aspect of our flesh trying hard, we finally are able to relinquish all unto Him, and He directs our trust, our rest, our reliance to Him alone and His FINISHED work. Maybe it's a blessing that I am a weak person in the flesh. I do not have a strong willpower. I am a quitter by nature. I don't have strong inner or physical strength. I've had to "give up" many a time when faced with adversity, because I am not a strong person. Yet in doing so, I have found the Lord to be my strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I have found His strength to be perfect in my weakness I have found His faithfulness not to fail when my faith fails. I have found the Lord to be my all. I have to feel sorry for the strong person who thinks it is their strength of faith or will that is keeping them and enabling them to persevere to the end. Sometimes a strong will is truly only a stubbornness in our flesh, which is all the harder to be broken so that true faith can take over. They have not found the Lord's rest. Oh they would say it is the Lord helping them (and it is more than they realize), but they are depending on their ability to have enough faith and inner strength still. May the Lord show us our own faults. As the Word above says, "who can discern his errors?" We can't.

We cannot discern our own hidden faults and the errors in our thinking and our ways. Only the Lord can make us see the errors in our faith, our thinking, our living, as we come into His light and ask Him. As in my last two devotionals, "Morbid Introspection" and "The Lord As Our Portion," we must be made to see our own searching only leads us as far as our own thinking and understanding can, and we cannot be made to see where we are blind, to see ourselves as He sees us (Proverbs 3:5-7). And when we are brought to the end of our resources, our strength, our faith, and even all hope, it is so that we are finally in a place to see by His light, by His Spirit in us, and to see the Lord Who is our portion...our all in this life, and to see it is all of Him from our saving to our keeping and our being made into His image. Each moment of our giving up, and our seeing Him as our portion, is our true growth spiritually. In the end, it is not our misplaced faith that will keep us, but His power that will keep us unto eternal life. He has given us His Spirit as a guarantee of that (Ephesians 1:14). In this life, the more we relinquish to Him, the more we enjoy that life in Him and the power of it to deliver us here and now from the corruption of the world we live in, and the more He is glorified in and through us in this pilgrim journey. The more that life is manifested through us, the more we are able to bear fruit for eternity and receive Heavenly rewards.

Faith...complete reliance on Him, all He is and does, relinquishing all of ourselves unto Him and into His care, is truly a surrender of faith, not a striving of faith. There is a "faith" that is a human work of the flesh, or a striving, and there is that which God continually tries to bring us to...a trust and relinquishing up of ourselves to Him, trusting all He is and has done, in surrender. It's as though the soldier, during a battle, saw that he was totally surrounded and there were no more hope so he gives up, relinquishing himself entirely into the hands of another, and all that they will do to them and for them, and depending entirely on their mercy. True faith is wrought in us by God when we are finally at that place of giving up...surrendering to Him. We are entirely at His mercy. And when we are there, we find Him faithful. We learn of all He is to us and in us and then He is able to truly manifest Himself to us. True faith is not a striving to keep on believing. True faith is a giving up of oneself to the One Who is faithful, ceasing all striving, just depending on Him to do what He said. When we do, we are finally at rest in His finished work, and we have peace. We have given up the care of our souls and the keeping of it into His hands. There is no longer a striving of faith. We rest in His security. We are assured He will never fail or forsake us. Faith - "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," is the substance and assurance and evidence in our hearts of the power of His finished work and His promise to save us to the uttermost and keep us for all eternity. God puts that kind of faith in our hearts by His indwelling Spirit, Who is that guarantee (Ephesians 1:13-14). All born again believers have that promise and guarantee, but not all enjoy it in this life, but strive and struggle to have "enough faith" to keep themselves, because of lack of understanding of what that "finished work" is. They never fully enter His rest because of unbelief. They haven't realized it's only the power of God that can conquer the giants in the land (Numbers 13:27-33).

As long as His presence is in us, He will provide the keeping faith, through His faithfulness, that we will be kept by His power. He has told us that "He will never leave us or forsake us" (Hebrews 13:5), and that His Spirit, once given, would "abide in us forever" (John 14:16, and 1 John 3:9). It does not say, "unless" or "but" or "if" there. It simply says His Spirit in us, will abide, remain in us forever. So often people take "if", "but" verses in other places of Scripture and add them where they are not meant to be. So they read those verses out of context and obscure their meaning. In their minds they are then convinced it is up to them to strive in faith to be kept, or they will lose what only the power of God can keep. They have changed the Scripture to read that they are kept through their striving of faith in God to give them enough power to keep persevering, rather than being kept by the power of God. It is Christ in them, that is the power and presence that keeps them through that is enabled by that power and His abiding presence...His persevering faithfulness, in us. It is not "the perseverance of the saints" but the perseverance of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us that keeps us.

There is a huge difference in these two kinds of "faith." One, is of human flesh and effort, one is of the power of God. What is it then, to be "kept by the power of God through faith?" It is a rest in His power to keep us because of His presence in us when we were made His child, through the finished work of Christ, and His Spirit that will abide in us forever, not a faith in our perseverance or level of sanctification. In that resting place we are able to walk in the power of His salvation and stand against whatever the enemy throws at us, dressed in full armor. He is always at work in us to enable us to see our flesh in His light, and to reveal more of His own power and faithfulness and provision for us. If each trial and suffering we go through becomes an opportunity for us to say, "Lord help me to see myself through this, and to see You and Your faithfulness," He will reveal Himself to us. Every suffering or loss becomes an opportunity for us to know Him more, and to know our own errors more clearly. Our normal reaction is to be defensive of our own flesh, our own ways, and to try to muster up more strength in ourselves to hold on, which we perceive as our faith. Sometimes the severity of the trial is so that we are broken, brought to the end of ourselves, and our own defenses and strivings, and yes, even to the end of our own understanding and "faith." What we thought was faith in God, is really now seen to be faith in ourselves. The sooner we see and let go, the better off we'll be! Even if the suffering does not end, the ability to endure it with all He provides and to glorify Him in it will be greater. We may feel devastated, shipwrecked even, but then just as though we were in a sinking ship, seeing no hope to survive, we see the lifeboat that is Jesus Himself, and we relinquish ourselves to Him to carry us through. He did not start this journey with us, across the turbulent sea of life, only to have us lost at sea. He intended to keep us and bring us safely to the other side (Matthew 8:23-26). What He begins, He has made full provision for in order to bring to completion. We are kept by His power, to the end, regarding our salvation; yet, temporally, we are not always victorious in keeping ourselves from the corruption of this world, if we are looking to our own faith to keep us in it. We may fail Him in the trying of our "faith" but He will never fail us in the proving of His faithfulness (2 Tim. 2:13).
2 Timothy 1:12

(12) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Philippians 1:6
(6) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Dear Abba, I thank You so much for the confidence, assurance, and faith we can have in You, because of Your faithfulness. Your promises are true and faithful and will never fail. I have nothing to boast in. I only see in myself my own failures, my own weakness, my own sin and shame. I see again and again, Your faithfulness to me, Your working in my heart, my mind, revealing Yourself to me, drawing me to You, correcting me, teaching me, being light to my path, and again and again sustaining me with Your great love and mercy. I see You and Your work again and again over the years for me and in me, revealing Yourself, giving me faith and hope in You alone, showing me that You are faithful to the end and I can rely completely on You and on Your Word. I ask this for my brothers and sisters in Christ, in Jesus name, amen.

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


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Psalms 16:5-8
(5) The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
(6) The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
(7) I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
(8) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

"These are very blessed things spoken of, both as they relate to Christ, and to his people in him. Jesus in his human nature, uniformly made Jehovah his portion, and looked unto him to maintain his cause, and carry him safely through his vast undertaking. He not only considered it his meat and his drink to do his Father’s will, but his redeemed he considered a goodly heritage. And what is it to his people but the same? They who have chosen God for their portion, find that portion to be a goodly one, and are fully satisfied with Jesus, for they need no other." ~ Poor Man's Commentary, Robert Hawker

There are many disappointments in this life, many sorrows, many hardships that we all must go through at one time or another. People can hurt us, disappoint us, not live up to our expectations, and life can take unexpected turns, leading us where we don't want to go. For the believer in Christ, he learns through all of these things, that Christ alone is his portion. We soon learn that if we make anything else in this life that, we will be unsatisfied, and maybe even plunged into despair. When we first came to Christ, asking His forgiveness, receiving His Spirit into our hearts, He became our portion. But it took time as we learned of Him and grew in our spiritual walk to learn to trust Him to be that to us. Though He IS our portion - the portion of every believer - we fall short of trusting Him to be that in our lives. It is as we learn to abide in Him daily, eating and drinking of Him, that we learn to partake of the satisfaction that only He can bring.

John 6:53-56
(53) So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
(54) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
(55) For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
(56) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Acts 17:28
(28) for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.' We need to see that all that happens to a child of God, is to enable us to be more and more free of ourselves and this world's grip, and to see God alone as our sufficient portion. The more we learn that, the more satisfied and at peace we become, regardless of circumstances, good or bad. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being. We find that to be true when we turn to Him in dependence upon Him as we learn to serve Him. We learn that to do His will becomes our "food and drink."

John 4:34
(34) Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

We look to relationships to satisfy a longing in our hearts. Sometimes the Lord gives us those blessed relationships in family and friends. Sometimes we find ourselves alone, without the human companionship we long for. Either way, we must learn that the Lord is our portion. If we are not satisfied in Him first of all, we will never be satisfied in a relationship either. We'll demand from others what they cannot give, and we'll never find them to satisfy. But as we give up our needs and longings to Christ, He becomes our portion, and to live for His will and His glory becomes food and drink to us. Every other relationship will be an extension of that which we have in Him. He'll make us a blessing to others around us. As the Lord becomes our portion in this life, we are able to bring that same life to others, so that He may become theirs as well.

What is the "food and drink" of my soul? What do I spend my energy on? What is my delight? Lord, cause me to see You more and more as my portion! Help me to see the things that distract me from that. The more I see Him as my portion, the more I desire what He desires for me and from me. The more I see this world being overtaken by evil, and an antichrist mentality, the more I see the Lord alone as my portion. This world is not my home. My citizenship is in Heaven, though I am a pilgrim on earth. The more I have eyes that are heavenward, the more I see my true purpose in this world, and the clouds fall away, and the way seems more and more clear to me. I see all that happens to me in a different light, and from a different, heavenly, perspective. Life has meaning and purpose that no man on earth can take away from me. Nothing that happens to me can separate me from my portion with Him. In fact, the more life throws at me, the stronger that awareness of Him as my portion becomes, and the greater my satisfaction in Him.

Joshua 18:7a
(7) The Levites have no portion among you, for the priesthood of the LORD is their heritage.

"But how beautifully are we again told in this place, that the Levites were not included in these grants: the priesthood of the Lord being their inheritance. Dearest Jesus! here again I behold thy loveliness. Thou art our inheritance, and our portion forever; for thou hast made us a nation of kings and of priests, to God and the Father. Revelation 1:6." ~Poor Man's Commentary, Robert Hawker

We may wonder why we have no inheritance in this world when it seems those who hate God prosper and have so much, and seem to be so successful. They persecute believers. They steal, kill, and destroy all that belongs to Christians in this world, taking it as their own. They oppress the poor and the weak. It seems that the wicked are inheriting the earth, not the "meek." But we have a greater heritage and one that is eternal, and even now in this world, He is our portion to sustain us and satisfy us, with promise of what is to come. Others may have their portion now, but only for a short while until they are held accountable for all they have stolen and devoured. We must wait for ours, patiently, enduring as we do. Yet there is no doubt of the value of that which we wait for, expectantly.

Romans 8:31-32
(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(32) He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Abba, the unspeakable gift you have given to us is beyond our comprehension! Don't let us miss, even now, the portion You have for us as we walk here in this living in it but not of it. Cause us daily to remember that You are our portion.

Psalms 73:25-26
(25) Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
(26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Amen! May it be so Lord Jesus!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


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"An idol is any thing which usurps the place of God in the hearts of his rational creatures." -Webster's 1828 dictionary

We think of many things when we think of an idol. We think of statues made to be worshipped as gods. We think of things in our lives that perhaps we have too much affection for, or that we spend too much time on. We think of people that we hold in too high of a position in our lives, rather than God. But the surprising thing I had to learn in my own early walk with God was that my greatest idol, which had to go, in order for God's Spirit to have His way in me, was my own religious, self-righteous flesh. I was given to morbid introspection. I thought it necessary in fact, in order to live a holy life. I looked inward constantly to examine myself and was always finding things to "give up" that I thought would make me holier to God. I found something wrong with everything. I was continually miserable and never had assurance in my heart that I was ever pleasing to God. How could I be? The more inward I looked, the more sin I saw. I began to think anything I enjoyed was an "idol" and God didn't want me to have it. The funny thing was, the more I gave up, the more those things preoccupied my mind and heart.

Morbid introspection is nothing more than our flesh trying to improve itself, or trying to clean itself up and make itself righteous. I was trying always to "crucify" my own flesh instead of "reckoning myself dead with Christ to sin and alive with Him" (Rom. 6:11). I was trying hard to do what God had already done! Of course my attention then was always on me. It couldn't be on God because I was preoccupied with improving myself, with making myself holy, with performing in a way I thought God expected me to, and with how I was doing. I sought to have more faith, but with eyes on myself, my faith was only in my faith, rather than in His faithfulness. I became an idol to myself. I looked to myself for what I should have looked to God for. Self-introspection usurped the place of the Holy Spirit in my heart.

It is impossible for our sinful fleshly nature to improve itself or to keep itself (Rom. 7:18). If that were possible the law would have been sufficient. It is impossible for anything holy to come out of any action of my flesh, no matter how religious it appears. It is impossible for me to live up to the standard of God's righteousness which is absolutely perfect, not breaking one jot or tittle of the law. If I am looking to myself, my introspection, or my works to do that, I have become an idol to myself.

For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:2-4)

When we live under a "law principle" we are actually guilty of spiritual adultery, since we have been married to another...dead to the law, we are married to Christ, and He alone now is our righteousness. We live under a new law - the law of "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." Living under constant introspection, trying to "die" to self, was only another way of living unto a "law principle" in myself, by my own righteousness, rather than living in complete trust in His righteousness alone in me to do all. The Lord so clearly convicted me of this and made me see that rather than looking to myself, I was to look to Him, not only as my righteousness but that I could trust Him to reveal true sin in my heart, and cleanse me and keep me. I did not have to do that by always introspecting and giving up things. In fact when I gave up the introspection, I was able finally to see things from God's perspective and that those things that I thought I had to give up in order to be more pure and holy were not important to God at all. They produced no righteousness in my heart, nor did they truly subdue the flesh (Colossians 2:20-23). In fact He began showing me things in my flesh I had no idea were there. Truly, the more I was introspective, the less I truly saw myself, and my self-centeredness. Now, I began to truly see. We can't truly see ourselves by looking inward. But as we come to God's Word, the mirror of our soul, daily, presenting ourselves to Him, His Spirit pierces our hearts. We need not introspect, but we do need to let God inspect. He does that by His Word. He does the changing in our hearts by His Spirit indwelling us as we continue to learn of Him and abide in Him.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)

It is only as we come before God, eyes on Him and allow Him to search our hearts that we can see. In light of His holiness, we see our own "undoneness" (Isaiah 6:5). It's only then, as we take His side against our flesh, agree with Him, and trust Him to enable us to walk in the righteousness of Christ that is now in us, that we are truly able to overcome and subdue, by the Spirit, the deeds of the flesh. First we have to understand that we already have that righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), if we are in Christ, and now we must "put it on" by faith. We must let Christ live in and through us as our life.

For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:19-20)

I had no assurance in my heart before God while introspecting, but always a fear of condemnation and failure to "measure up." Once I realized I did have assurance in the finished work of Christ and His righteousness, I was free to truly live in His love and for His love, and that is what filled my heart. My mind was now on Him, not me. My motives were led by His Spirit and His love in me, not a fear of judgment anymore. Not a fear of never being able to measure up and having to do more and more to be pleasing to Him. I found rest in His finished work. I want to please Him now more than anything because of my delight in Him, and His wonderful salvation and grace! Once He was in the right place in my heart and mind, as my only righteousness, other things in my life had more pleasure. I was able to enjoy God's creation because I saw His glory in it. I was able to enjoy the pleasures of life because it caused me to rejoice in Him and His love revealed in them, and give Him glory for them (James 1:17). They were in their rightful place. No longer did they have a hold on my heart as though I needed them, nor were they idols in my heart, but they were instruments of God's glory. Morbid introspection causes us to deceive ourselves because we find loop-holes in our thinking to set up a law to follow, but making sure we give up something and hold on to something else. The flesh can never please God because it is always trying to please itself, even while it tells itself it is seeking to please God.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:5-8)

Paul, though he attained a level of righteousness according to the law that probably few others had, thought it nothing at all in comparison to gaining Christ. How much more should we consider our own "holiness" nothing but dung and rather have the true righteousness of Christ.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (not faith in my faith, but trust in His faithfulness)—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Philippians 3:7-10).

Religious flesh though appearing to try to please God, will always only please itself. Morbid introspection is religious flesh. It is self. It is usurping the place of the Holy Spirit in our lives and hearts and minds so that it can never please God. It must be brought to the cross and done away with, just as every other deed of the flesh, by God's Spirit.

Father, open our eyes to see our flesh, even our religious flesh, and enable us to be free of it, trusting in Your righteousness alone, and Your life in us alone to be our life.
If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


To listen to an audio version of this devotional, click here (to save it, right click and click "save as")


"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world." (1Peter 5:8-9)

There are many voices we listen to every single day. They go through our head and we have to process them. If we are unaware of the source of those voices...those thoughts...we can be easily manipulated by the enemy of our souls, and by others. We MUST be aware of who is speaking to us and who we are listening to. Brainwashing can happen to the best of us, when we take in the thoughts of others and make them our own, allowing our minds to be under their influence. But where is the influence coming from? Do you know who is speaking to you? Who is convincing you?

We have a very real enemy of our soul, that we must learn to recognize, if we are going to be able to stand and overcome opposition in this life. This enemy knows all about our sinful flesh, its appetites, and our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. He's been at work deceiving men and women for thousands of years, and is more expert at it than we imagine. He's persistent, cunning, wise, knows how to set us up for defeat and how to come in for the capture and devour once we step into the snare he has set up for us. Many times our own thoughts seem to be telling us something, yet are they our own thoughts, or are they coming from this enemy of our soul? Can you tell the difference? Who are you really listening to?

Many times when I've been in dark depression, the Lord has had me to stop and just listen to the thoughts that have gone through my head that day, and ask myself, "who am I listening to." When I do, I realize each of them are contrary to what the Lord speaks to His children. They are contrary to the salvation, the peace, the victory, the love, the very life that I have in Christ, and they are all lies of the enemy masquerading as my own thoughts. "I might as well give up," "nothing good is ever going to happen for me," "nobody cares about me," "my life is useless," "I'm too bad for God to ever forgive or change or help," "I just can't make it, I don't have what it takes," "I probably never was saved to begin with," "God can't love me," "there's no hope for me," "I might as well do as I please, I can't please God or anyone else anyway," "I can't, I can't, I can't"... and on and on it goes. All have one thing in common...the focus is on you, what you feel, what happened to you, and what you can or cannot do. You've heard it! All of us who are Christians at one time or another either have heard it or will. Discouragement is one of the enemy's favorite weapons. Nothing makes us weaker in our faith and less productive as a Christian. The "slough of despond" is one of the hardest places to get out of. It's like quicksand and you sink deeper and deeper in it.

Who is it dragging you into this slough of despond? Yes, the enemy can "put things into our hearts" if we let him, just as he did Judas Iscariot. If he can convince us to believe his lies, he has us in his grip.

"During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him," (John 13:2).

He tried to do the same with Jesus, but Jesus counter-acted with the Word of God and defeated Him, giving us an example of how we should both recognize the voice of the enemy and how we should respond immediately, not letting him have a foothold (Luke 4:1-12).

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." (Ephesians 6:10-11)

Yes if we stand in God's Word, in His armor, with His shield of faith, using the Sword of the Spirit, he will flee from us, yet, as long as we are on this earth in this body, he will always look for a more opportune time.

"And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time." (Luke 4:13)

"...and give no opportunity to the devil." (Ephesians 4:27)

That is why it is so important to give no opportunity to the devil at any time, through our flesh, through our laziness in not being in the Word or prayer, through putting ourselves in temptation's way, etc. We "put on" the armor of God through reading His Word and fortifying our minds and hearts with it, being "strengthened in the strength of His might." We must learn the voice of our Savior and trust it. It is not a mysterious ritual "putting on the armor of God," but a daily being strengthened in His Word as we take it into our minds and hearts through faith, yielding ourselves in obedience to it. His Word of truth speaks to us, and exposes and puts down every lie of the enemy. It enables us to recognize the voice of the Lord over the voice of the enemy. It enables us to stand firm without fear when the enemy tries to terrorize our hearts. It picks us up when we fall, and puts us back on the straight path when we stray. We learn that we will only accept what the Lord speaks to us, and we will quickly learn to turn away all else.

"Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly." (Psalm 85:8)

Is the voice in your head condemning, defeating, discouraging, causing you to doubt God's Word? Is this the voice of God? "He speaks peace to His people." He does not speak any of these. Even if he convicts, it is to bring you back to the peace of reconciliation to Him and walking in His light again, not to condemn or destroy. The enemy's voice is to destroy you and separate you from God and all He has given to you to walk in this life in victory, enabling you to bring God's light to others effectively. Does this voice in your head cause you to run toward God or away from Him?

When we realize the voices of despair, fear, torment, doubt, discouragement, and all are from the enemy, we need to act quickly, and no matter how convincing those voices are, no matter how right they seem to be, no matter what they are saying to you, or how they make you feel, you need to exercise yourself to take up the Word of God against them, and whether you feel it or not, you need to take it and say it out loud and say it to yourself over and over, submitting yourself to God, and in this way resisting the enemy. He will flee once he knows you know God's Word is true and cling to it, submitting yourself to Him. No magic formula for rebuking him, or casting out demons or whatever will work to free you from the schemes of the enemy. You have to learn to stand dressed in the armor God gave you. He has given us all we need, but it is up to us to "put it on."

You are not your weaknesses, you are not your fleshly failures, you are not your are a new creation in Christ Jesus, risen with Him to a newness of life. Satan wants you to think you are your sin, and you are your weakness, and you are what your flesh hopelessly shows you that you are. Christ has risen you above it in Him. This is where He sees you. This is where we must learn to dwell and to walk.

Yes, this is a battle. We are in a war. We'll have many battles until the Lord comes to take us home. We have promise of full redemption one day where this corruption will put on incorruption, where we will be like Jesus, where we will never be defeated again, where we are above all principalities and powers in heaven or earth. Praise God! We have a hope that is sure. This is why it is so important to understand our position in Christ and how secure it is. If not, we have no solid ground to stand on. It's the strength of HIS salvation that we are to be strengthened by to stand. Right now we can stand in faith of that position and inheritance awaiting us, sealed with His Spirit, until that final day, as we face each battle here below. We know the enemy of our souls WILL be defeated ultimately and silenced forever. If we don't stand firm in our faith, we won't stand at all (Isaiah 7:9).

"and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev 20:10)

We are told to continue in patience, enduring, as we wait for Him!

"Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown." (Rev 3:10-11)

What a blessed hope! Such a short time now we must endure, compared to the eternity that is soon ahead. He's coming soon. We must be ready for His return at any moment. Let's not let Him catch us off guard, wallowing in the mire of despondency, but actively walking in faith in Him, even when the world and many in the "church" itself are against us. Amen! Come Lord Jesus! The Spirit and the bride say, COME!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.