Stand in Truth

Wearing the belt of truth is all about knowing, believing, and holding on to the foundational truths of God’s Word — in that order. It’s not enough to have knowledge of the truth. We must believe it and cling to it! God’s Word is truth and our very hope that anchors the soul.

Too many Christians are applying their belt of truth half-heartedly or with uncertainty because they are lacking knowledge or feeding on false “truths.” Some have unknowingly tried to add a variety of popular secular beliefs (new “truth” belts) to their armor. But these false truths just don’t hold up! They are dangerous lies from the pit of Hell created to ensnare us.

John 14:6 teaches us that Jesus Christ is the way, truth, and life! Regardless of what someone may say, there is only one way to eternal life with our one God, the Maker of heaven and earth. When we believe this and hold on to Him as our Rescuer and Lord (leader), we begin to discover the truth of what we have in Him. We are no longer powerless and defeated! In Christ, we are truly free, loved, co-heirs, and more than overcomers! Christ in us is GREATER than our evil enemies!

Colossians 1:17 proclaims that in Christ, all things hold together. All things! Like the function of a belt, the truth of Christ and His Word is what fully sustains us.

Our job is to stand yielded to His battle plan: Submit to God. Resist the devil. Tightly fasten on the truth, until it’s the very core of who you are, and take your stand against the strategies of the evil one.

Scriptures:

For further study: Read Hebrews 12:1-3. Take an honest inventory. What distracts you from the truth? Be specific. Write it down. Now, jot down what helps you remain surrendered to the truth. Cast off the distractions and determine to keep your eyes on Jesus.

Stand in God’s Strength

Ephesians 6:10 urges us to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

We should rehearse this verse every day, every hour! We need to be reminded that our supposed “strengths” are micro and amount to absolutely nothing without God’s favor and goodness.

Remember, God is our leader. We’re the yielded follower. But this relational dynamic is dependent on our continual trust and acknowledgment that God’s ways are highest and best!

Newsflash! God doesn’t need us to be strong in ourselves, our abilities, or our know-how! Proverbs 3:5,6 exhorts us, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and (guess what happens next?) He will make your paths straight. Straight! I can’t even get my head on straight! But what we could never do is made possible by yielding to Christ’s ways and power!

Alone, we are in a desperately needy state. With Christ’s help, we can do ALL things. We can live content no matter the difficulties. We can live unshaken by surrounding temptations. We can live confidently when the known facts may terrify. We CAN in CHRIST!

Proverbs 3:7 takes this message even further;Do not be wise in your own eyes. GULP! Does this hit home for you like it does me? Maybe it’s because I’m female, but too often I’m simply positive that I know what’s best for me, my spouse, my kids, and the list goes on. What about you? Do you give up waiting on God when His plans don’t fit your time parameters? Sadly, when we stop trusting and take the lead, it can forfeit the gift of seeing God’s faithful and best plan play out.

What audacious pride to think that we possess any sort of wisdom outside of God shining His light on our limited understanding!

So let’s get this right. Basically, there are two essential ways we stand in God’s power.

1. We acknowledge our weaknesses.

Let’s admit our limitations. Without Christ, we are weak — and not just a little weak — we’re totally helpless and hopeless. But believer, we are not without Christ!

2. We rely on His strength!

We are able to stand strong when we look to Jesus and depend on His powerful life within us!

Scriptures:

For further study: Reread your Scriptures and list or paraphrase the main lessons that Paul learned. Write a prayer of reliance to your Heavenly Father.

Stand in Prayer

I love verse 18 of Ephesians 6! We are told to pray (in the Holy Spirit) all the time with all kinds of prayers. We are to continually pray for all the Church.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Now, I hope you are letting this word, all, really sink in. There’s a lot of all in all! This takes commitment! I don’t know about you, but I want to pray with more consistency. I want to grow in faith and in the content of what I pray for.

I believe the reasons many of us don’t pray more are because we don’t really believe our prayers will make a difference, or we’re too distracted, or we think that continual prayer is only assigned to church “prayer teams” — as if committed prayer is only a calling for a select few.

Years back, I took an amazing journey and dug into a personal study on the subject of prayer. After long, biblical word searches and reading numerous books on the topic, I was deeply changed. Prayer became a joyous passion for me — a priority — because I more fully understood how important it is and how closely it draws me to the heart of God. It’s all about drawing near to God, enjoying His presence, and then conversing with Him. But sometimes I get distracted and lose out on this awesome privilege and calling.

My hope is that God will stir your heart as you’re reading today and you’ll begin afresh with a commitment to continual, daily prayers.

We stand strong because God is able to keep us standing, but please notice the importance of our prayers for one another in the verses of 2 Corinthians 1:8-11:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

All of our prayers are needed! God longs to be longed for. For us to press in and plead for His mercy, power, healing, guidance, strength and wisdom. For us to trust Him. This means we ask and then are filled with His peace, knowing that He hears us.

We stand in prayer.

Scriptures:

For further study: John 17 is a heartfelt prayer that Jesus prayed to His Father. As you read through it, notice the conversational flow He had. In light of this prayer, what mattered most to Jesus? What were His specific requests? How can you grow in your communication with your heavenly Father through Jesus’ prayer example?

Stand Armed with the Word of God

If you’ve become disillusioned by unanswered prayer, Satan may have fed you this common lie: “Since you’ve given your life to Christ, God should do whatever you want.”

To make you insecure and discontent, he may also spew out some garbage, like, “If you really are God’s child, then only good things should happen to you,” or, “Don’t you want more of what this world offers? Come over here and I’ll show you a good time!”

In Matthew chapter 4, we see Jesus strike three heavy blows to the evil one by quoting the truth of scripture. This is at a time when Jesus was desperately famished with hunger and physical weakness. Yet He maintained the strength to STAND against significant temptations. He wielded the weapon of Scripture with short and potent precision: Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ … It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’… Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Remember, believer, Jesus Christ is the Word of God and He lives in you by the person of the Holy Spirit. You are armed with the mightiest weapon! Take hold of the Word and fight against the lies of the devil! Never neglect your weapon!

Seek out the Word of God. Delight in it. Cling to it! Live it out. Study it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Proclaim it! Let the Word heal you and set you free.

Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)

Scriptures:

For further study: Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible, but it is one of my favorites. I encourage you to read it. Maybe you could cover it over the next few days. If you really want to be blessed, record what it teaches us about the benefits of God’s Word (also known as: law, statutes, commands, ordinances, and precepts,). I promise, you’ll love this!

Stand in the Hope of Your Salvation

Take the helmet of salvation … Ephesians 6:17

We stand in the great and sure hope of our salvation! This hope is our anchor and stability (see Hebrews 6:19). With a secure hope of salvation, you can be continually filled with peace, joy, and righteousness! Don’t just casually read over the previous sentence. It’s absolutely and astoundingly true! And it’s a supernatural gift of God to possess these qualities.

It breaks my heart that so many people struggle throughout life without Christ. As a mom, I’ve witnessed the massive difference between my children wearing and not wearing a protective helmet. Concussions are scary. Who wouldn’t want to safeguard against dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, and slurred speech?

Tightly fasten on your helmet! It protects you more than you realize.

Salvation provides us with a new and powerful identity – the truth of who you are and Whose you are – transforms your mind to the mind of Christ; therefore, you are prepared for every battle!

Your spiritual enemy’s attacks are aimed to hit your mind with fear, doubt, and discouragement. Whenever he tries to accuse you, telling you that you are a lousy excuse for a Christian and that you might as well give up, resist these evil lies by rejoicing in the truth. Christ’s salvation covers you, and in Him there is no condemnation!

I’ve come to experience a deep rest through relying on my salvation in Christ. This hope supplies an unwavering endurance that will take me to the finish line. It brings reality to the words found in Philippians 1:21, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

Scriptures:

For further study: Read through Ephesians 1:3-14,17-21 and write out everything Paul teaches that you have and are in Christ. Declare your list aloud when you’re finished. You just might want to love on your heavenly Father with some heartfelt praise, too.

Stand in Faith

Your faith protects you, deflecting all the harm your spiritual enemy wants to inflict on you. Sometimes you have to actively hold and position a shield. You don’t simply move into position and hope for the best. We must actively engage our faith at all times — especially in a battle. Whether it’s a stressful situation, an ongoing health issue, or a broken relationship, life’s hard-hitting trials often cause us to grow weary. Without an active faith to strengthen us and give us hope, we are vulnerable to massively destructive attacks. These “flaming arrows” cause us even greater suffering: discouragement, despair, and doubts that threaten to steal and kill our peace, joy, faith, and our Kingdom potential.

Around six months ago, as my head hit the pillow for sleep, my heart was sick with anxiety. My mind was spinning, trying desperately to find solutions to what seemed like too much to put into words. After a few minutes of panic, I paused to pray. I cried (literally) for God’s help and He answered almost immediately. “Do what My Word says, Amy. Take up your faith! Hold on to it! Stand trusting that I am able to use all things for your good and My glorious purposes.” “Yes, Lord,” I prayed. The fear, lies, and discouragement had to stop. I spent the next several mighty minutes in all out warfare, fiercely declaring in tears the goodness of my God, praising Him for never leaving me, always loving me, helping me, hearing me … on and on I praised Him. Hope, peace, joy, and faith grew and grew and grew.

Child of God, take up your faith! Hold on to it! Stand trusting and proclaiming His promises!

Scriptures:

For further study: Read Hebrews 11 and list the various ways that these faith heroes actively displayed their faith.

Stand in Resistance

The word resist we read in the Bible is translated from Greek, and means to stand against or to stand in opposition. Resistance is not passive but passionate. It is intensely aggressive. Your enemy is, too. His attacks are like that of a flaming arrow. An arrow headed for me is bad enough, but a flaming arrow? These thermal weapons unleash additional havoc to their intended target! And of course, a skilled bowman can be deadly accurate. How easy would it be to hit an unaware, defenseless target? Yikes!

God is asking us to wake up and stop being unnecessarily vulnerable to attack. In 1 Peter 5:8 NIV, God gives us a clear warning. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” And Ephesians 4:27 AMP implores us, “Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].”

It’s time to stand up, fiercely oppose the devil, and send him fleeing! When you rely on Christ’s power and resist him, he will bolt. I love the Greek word for “flee” which paints a picture of a terrified criminal “making a break for it” lest they be prosecuted! Ha! That’s awesome! Aren’t you tired of being whipped and wimpy? Let’s scare the enemy out of town!

The following are just a few examples from Scripture of what we should resist:

  • Stand against being deceived.
  • Resist divisiveness.
  • Stand against greed.
  • Resist defeat and despair.
  • Stand against the temptations of worldliness and pride.
  • Resist hypocrisy.
  • Stand against unforgiveness and bitterness.

What do you need to add to this list? Write it down and commit to stand in resistance.

Scriptures:

For further study: Read 2 Corinthians 10:5 and continue to add to your list of resistance.

Standing Strong

Sisters, the following devotion is the first day of a ten-day YouVersion reading plan called Standing Strong. I will be posting a devotion each day this week and next week, Monday through Friday. This reading plan is a continuation of a message God placed on my heart for our annual Sisters Women’s Ministry event this past weekend at all LifeChurch.tv locations. I pray this blesses you as it blessed me immensely in my preparation!

Stand Yielded

Every day we have a choice as to whom we will serve. Yes, as Christians we say we follow and serve Christ, but let’s closely examine our declared devotion and see if we can deepen our surrender.

You see, the truth is we either serve ourselves, man-made gods, or the one true God. We may not literally bow down to anyone or anything, but our actions speak for themselves. Many of us fall into the trap of serving our own, selfish appetites or our image (a people-pleasing disease of pride). We can even be ruled by our fears and insecurities.

Fact: Christians are to be servants of Christ.

Obviously, a good servant should do the will of his master. It’s never the other way around. That would be ludicrous! Be honest. As you reflect on this day, who has been the leader — the Holy Spirit, you, or something or someone else?

If the Lord has not been the master of your days lately, you haven’t been able to enjoy all the fullness of life in Him that John 10:10 describes! Plus, you’ve been missing out on being effective and fruitful for His Kingdom.

But there is good news! His word clearly shows us how to overcome this and stand strong as His faithful servant — humbly yielding all to God. Submit yourself in total surrender. Yield to God in the very smallest ways. Don’t be afraid to trust Him completely. You’ll find He is more than worthy of your all. You’ll discover His power at work in your complete weakness. You’ll enjoy the honor of truly knowing and serving the gentle and good Master.

If we are to stand strong, we must daily choose whom we will serve.

Scriptures to read: Joshua 24:15, 1 John 2:15-17, James 4:3-10, John 10:10

For further study: Read through James 4:3-10 and 1 John 2:15-17 again. Make a list of all God wants you to do when battling pride and worldliness. Prayerfully read through your list and ask God to show you how to respond.

 

To sign up for this plan in the YouVersion Free Bible App, please visit:

DEATH TO SELF

SO, I’m beginning a new semester of teaching the SOAR Bible curriculum to a group of teen girls at my church (I can’t wait!), and I thought my blog readers ought to have bits of its encouragement as well. The following is week one, day one’s lesson in the SOAR study, Abide in the Spirit. …And, of course, if you’re looking to start a Bible study, these are all free downloadable resources at www.soarwithgod.com or can be purchased in book format through Amazon. :-)

SOAR

DEATH TO SELF

 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6-7

Are you living more out of your old nature or the new nature? Have you drifted from your first-love, Jesus, and now you’re the one calling the shots?

Jesus clearly explains in Luke 9:23-24 how a wholly surrendered follower of Christ should live.

He declares,

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

 We are called to die to our old nature daily! Daily. Actually moment-by-moment would be even more accurate. This can only be done by fully relying on Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The cross we are to carry, I believe, is the cross of dying to ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t follow anyone very well unless I have given over all self-reliance.

Remember, we are not created new in Christ to be independent and self-sufficient. God wants us dependent on Him. We are called to be slaves to God and His righteousness. Apart from Him, you and I are incapable of anything life-giving.

Have you traded a close, vibrant relationship for your own imitation of following Him?

Living from His strength is true freedom! Regardless of your circumstances, He is sufficient to supply your every need.

Respond to God now in prayer.

DIG DEEPER:

Take out a notebook and title the page with the two headings, “Old Nature” and “New Nature.”

Read Romans 6 and jot down all you learn about a believer before Christ and in Christ.

Here’s an example of what I learned from verses 1 and 2:

Old Nature                 New Nature

Sin dominated             I died to sin

Now it’s your turn to dig into the chapter and gain insight about the old-you verses the new-you in Christ.

Oh Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble

“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror, ‘cuz I get better lookin’ each day. To know me is to love me…” These are the outrageous lyrics from a 1970s Davis Mac song. As laughable as they may seem, it might not be too difficult for you to think of someone who could write similar lines!

Narcissism – extreme self-love and selfishness – seems to have risen to epidemic proportions. Sure. It’s nothing new. Rather, it’s the oldest sin in the book. Undoubtedly, the first sin of Lucifer was laden with narcissistic pride.

A sign of the times? Probably. 2 Timothy 3:1,2 declares, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud…”

But is the issue of narcissism only a potential vice for the unbeliever? Is it possible for this ultra-vanity to infiltrate the Christian heart?

I’m convinced that anyone can fall prey to the trap of excessive self-love.

It seems like now more than ever it’s socially acceptable to be self-glorifying. “Hey guys, look at me! Look what I did. Look what I wear. Look where I go and who I know.” Hey, don’t get me wrong. I do this too!

And of course, this is a heart issue. The trouble is I’m tempted to look around and mentally point my finger at those who appear narcissistic while neglecting to examine and deal with me! Ugh! This plank in my eye is difficult to remove! But if I humble myself before God and confess my sin, He is faithful to gently remove and wash away this impurity.

As Christ-followers, we know that we are called to be humble, to be set-apart (holy), and not conform to the world’s ideals. Our Christian example matters greatly as we are God’s ambassadors shining His love and truth into the darkness.

But it can be very challenging to live this out WHEN…

We focus on ourselves.

Galatians 6:3: If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

We stop serving others.

Philippians 2:3: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

We take our focus off of glorifying Christ.

Colossians 3:3-4: For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

2 Corinthians 5:15: And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

The HUMBLING truth is… GOD WILDLY LOVES YOU and ME… SELAH (think about it). Our God alone is WORTHY of ALL true glory, honor and praise!

Pray this prayer with me: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23,24