Wow! What an amazing finish to this year! God so blessed me to finish “His” book: Don’t just breakthrough, BREAK FREE! I say His book because I had totally different intentions when I started writing the tome. But beloved, God had to bring me through various trials and deliver me from some things in order for me to understand the gist of what I was writing about! Including: stubborness, unforgiveness, pride, homelessness, joblessness and debilitating sickness. I payed the price with blood, sweat and tears! It took me nearly 7 years to finish this book!
I now realize if it had been published when I first started writing it, it would have been verbiage and not experience. It would have been words but no substance. It reminds me of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. God had to allow me to be thrown into the fiery furnace to test this word that I was proclaiming; He had to test my faith by fire! Luke 22:31-32 says, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail! So like clay, instead of being burned up, my faith has been refined into a beautiful vessel! Hallelujah! A vessel for salvation, a vessel of hope, a vessel of light to the lost, depressed, and those that are struggling to live another day!
Many of you may know I’ve recently lost a dear loved one. You never really realize the magnitude of death until it knocks on your door. When I was writing this book, for some reason God put on my heart to write: “From time to time, God will send you a travel companion to help you along your way [on life’s journey]. Although you may be tempted to get upset when they leave, don’t!” Page 237. I could not understand at the time why I had written that as I never really lost anyone close to me to death. While editing the final chapters of the book, when I reread that sentence, I wept. Beloved, God knows the trials we will endure before we can ever conceive of them. Surely, we can never understand why God allows good people to die violently, but oh how He loves us and protects and keeps us in the midst of life’s storms. I love you and God bless you!
First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! This past year the enemy may have taken away a job, home, dream, loved ones or material possessions. But the one thing that you are in control of that he can’t take away is your joy! But it depends on you. You have to make up your mind; make up you mind to succeed, to push on, to fight every step of the way this new year. Even though some days it may have looked like you were down for the count, wounded in the battle of life, or are still trying to recover from a crash landing.
It’s disconcerting that people take addictions seriously but often take emotional well being for granted. The same rule must apply: ONE DAY AT A TIME! The fight starts and begins in your mind before it ever reaches your will and your flesh. As children of the Most high God, we all are given different tasks, assignments, and jobs to do in this life. Many will be assigned a visible platform, but most often, the hardest assisgnments are the ones that are being fought behind the scenes; in our families, on our jobs, and in our communities. That’s where the real work takes place: face to face, hand to hand, and heart to heart. But we must and can only do what we are equipped to do at any given time in life. When we think we have so much to give is often the time we most fall. But we mustn’t remain, we must get back up learn more about ourselves, behavior, character and strive to improve…to do better, be better. We must allow ourselves to make mistakes, mess up, fail. Beloved, that’s the only way a child of God truly moves more towards God’s light. Most, we must allow others that same right to learn as they go and make mistakes without holding them in judgement or unforgiveness. For we all have fought a grave battle, and some are striving daily to heal severe wounds.
We are all on life’s rollercoaster, gallantly reaching high points but yet falling as fast at the same time because we live in this frail body called flesh. We must find out what God has called us to do and do it to the best of our abilities, though we are like mere babes learning how to walk this life while constantly falling…learning as we go. ln 2017, allow yourself to fall without criticism, harsh words, judgment or guilt, but with patience with yourself, encouraging yourself, and most importantly, loving you every step of the way.
I don’t know about you but I’m so glad God is so gentle and loving through each trial that He teaches me valuable lessons that I’m more than willing to learn while being patient with myself and finding the strength to keep going, to keep fighting the good fight of faith…likewise we all should grant the same right to everyone else who may cause us offense. Sometimes we forget who the real enemy is. Though Christians, we aren’t excluded from spiritual skirmishes. God is teaching me that the real victory comes from choosing to choose love in spite of…not letting life’s situations cause us to become bitter or unforgiving. For I believe everything, every situation and even every heartache has a purpose though the finite mind can hardly understand. This new year, take the time to mend combat wounds then go into your prayer closet and await further instructions.
We are all in this confusing, twisting, binding enigma called life that will never be fully explained perhaps until we go to our final resting home. So with that I leave you…love, laugh, forgive, celebrate and most importantly, cherish family. And as goes that old Southern hymn…hold on old soldier…You can make it…You can win!
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.
Beloved, sometimes we are overcome with a certain emotion or feeling regarding things we may want, circumstances in our lives, or a decision that needs to be made. But how do we know it’s from God, or are we being mislead? A fervent Christian will pray, read the Bible and fast in order to better understand what God may be speaking. But, what if you have done all of that, waited a sufficient amount of time, and still haven’t received an answer? What do you do?
When praying, reading your Bible, and fasting isn’t good enough.
Beloved, the action you take thereafter is critical to the outcome. The problem many people face today is being mislead by their emotions, but thinking that God told them to act. That’s what I want to talk to you about today. What I have observed is, many claim to hear God’s voice, but do not wait on His hand. I’ll amen myself to that! Thank you! If a leading in your spirit is indeed from God, He will give you concrete evidence to confirm what He has told you without a shadow of a doubt! James 1: 17 says:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
That means when God gives it to you, there will be no desperation, no questioning, no gray areas, and no confusion! What I’m noticing is the problem lies in the waiting. Many people feel in their spirit that “God said” that this was from Him; the key word is feel, and that’s where a lot of people get confused. They act on feelings as opposed to waiting on God. They are mislead because this situation is what they want, and in their own strength, they try to force God to agree with their decision, so they move prematurely. They then swear it was God’s leading, and when a disastrous end is the result, they blame God and are angry at God.
“God, how could you let this happen, you told me this was from You! How could you let me go through this so long if this wasn’t sent from you? Or, how could this be impressed so heavily upon my heart if it’s not from you?”
Sound familiar? Here’s the answer to why most people fail in hearing God’s voice:
You act on your feelings instead of waiting on God to reveal if indeed what you felt in your spirit came from Him!
The hard part is waiting. Beloved, the enemy is a machiavellian, he is manipulative, crafty, and cunning. That’s why the Bible says in Matthew 24:24:
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
That’s why God admonishes us to diligently trust Him and not our emotions.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not depend on your own understanding (ISV).
As you have read, even pious Christians can be greatly mislead. If there’s doubt: wait! If something doesn’t seem right: wait! If there’s confusion, don’t make excuses: wait! Don’t take action, but wait and at the divine time God will lift the veil and reveal everything! You know, sometimes God allows you to go through these things in order to sharpen your spiritual weapons. He’s teaching you how to categorically discern His voice from the enemy’s voice. The answer to your situation may take years, but don’t allow your emotions to cause you to make a wrong move; wait for God to confirm what you think He has told you.
If you are willing to wait until you get a clear answer, it will show up!; either through a person, a revelation, a dream, or God will reveal it to you in front of your very own eyes! Beloved, before you make a devastating mistake that may take years to recover; wait for God to emphatically reveal His will before you take action.
When we think of temptation we may relate to the anecdote of satan, a physical presence in the form of a snake, tempting Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Eve is enticed and tempted by the captivating fruit that she desires, but in which God told her was forbidden.
I want to talk to you today about a not so obvious temptation; one that is hidden but its bite is as viscous as a snake’s. It’s very subtle, often times catching you off guard and causing you to act out of character.What I’m talking about is emotional temptation. It’s a type of temptation that the devil uses to break your peace. It is when he assigns demons, thru people, to harass and entice you to react negatively or cause you to lose control.
Satan knows your weaknesses. Most temptations are physical: lust, adultery, stealing, alcohol, drugs. e.t.c. But what I’m speaking about in this text are inward temptations: fear, doubt, anger, rage, vanity — to name a few. Temptation that deals with your emotions. Satan often sends his messengers through people to break your confidence, question your looks or abilities, aggravate you, get you flustered and frustrated; which causes you to deflect. By theory you’re a nice person but you have been so severely tormented and harassed by satan’s tempters, it causes you to forget who you are. It causes you to forget your inner beauty, good manners, compassion and dignity.
Some of you don’t even know who you are anymore. You’ve been hijacked by the devil! You used to be loving, kind, and gentle, but because of the circumstances of this life, you’ve turned inward: feeling victimized, feeling sorry for yourself, and letting bitterness take hold, in which you then give back to the world.
If you don’t know who you are the devil will steal your identity! Emotional temptation by the enemy causes you to momentarily be used by the devil by losing your temper, retaliating, and seeking vengeance. After the damage has been done the end result is embarrassment and degradation, then satan leaves just as quickly as he came and you’re left wondering what just happened. You were a pawn to do satan’s work. If you are not wise you will fall into his trap every time, causing destruction upon yourself. If this is your weakness you must be very mindful and prayerful regarding this area of your spiritual walk. Ask God to give you discernment and give you wisdom every time you’re provoked emotionally, not to let satan use you.
Beloved, we have to use common sense as well. If it doesn’t look right, sound right or true, if it doesn’t feel right, it’s sent from the enemy! Walk away! Or if you are in an environment where you can’t walk away, remain silent or try to ignore the offense. Resist the urge to respond, argue, fight. If God leads you to speak on the situation, do so tactfully and kindly then leave the rest to God. Resist the urge to retaliate or seek vengeance. Vengeance is the Lord’s.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
He will take care of the person. You may feel violated, taken advantage of or victimized. Resist the urge to defend yourself from emotional temptation, otherwise you’re walking into the fire. It will take disciplining and training yourself in order to not be provoked by condemning or confronting situations.
Through subjective life experiences, you have learned to respond to situations a certain way; whether good or bad. Pray that God breaks the bad habits. Further develop your good habits.
Signs you’re dealing with emotional temptation:
-Always angry, upset
-Holding a grudge
-Closed off from people
-Used to give freely now holding back
Ask God to remind you who you are, then ask Him to remind you of your first love: Him! If you don’t have a personal relationship with God ask Him to show you how to love like Him; if you do, ask God to help you fall in love with Him again, only then can you love people despite the devil working through them. We must be reminded how the Bible says we should love:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Print this out! Hang it on your mirror, refrigerator, dresser. Get these verses into your spirit, Beloved. Live it, don’t just simply read it! Only then will you be able to look contempt in its face, walk away with peace in your heart and let God fight your battles.
2 Timothy 1:6,7
The word of God teaches you how to fight. When you face trials and tribulation, you will either succumb to the attack or put on your God appointed armor and do battle! Caveat emptor: It requires discipline! Just face it now, if you’re born again and you choose the call of The Great Commission, you will face a life-long spiritual battle with the devil! The life of Christianity is not passive. It is not desperately sitting back waiting for the battle to be over, but contrarily picking up your spiritual weapons and fighting back until you have penetrated the enemy’s ground! So many Saints struggle in this area of their Christian walk. They endure a life of harassment, mental torment and persecution from the devil. Often settling for their health, joy and peace to be taken away from them. If you have a dogged determination and stand firmly on God’s promise, you can take back ground stolen from you, your family members and loved ones; precious lives the enemy has destroyed.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Beloved, one must be spiritually prepared, and not blindly walk into encampments set up by the enemy to destroy you! What are those encampments? Your household, your job, your friendships, your business dealings, your finances, your health! Sometimes the attack is so vicious it may feel like you are stepping on land mines all around you! Satan works through people, including yourself! More, some battles you will lose! Others you may have to keep fighting a lifetime with the enemy not budging!
There was a beloved pastor’s wife whom I knew of. This beautiful, humble soul was stricken with cancer at an early age. It was reported that she had suffered 21 or so grueling surgeries! One can barley tolerate the thought of one let alone 21! Sadly to report, after many decades of prayer, the church interceding, and fighting the devil, the First Lady eventually lost her battle to cancer. Some things we will just have to endure that only God will know the answer to. But, we must not lose hope! It will take persistence, consistence, and diligence to keep fighting the good fight of faith! When severe pressure is upon us, hard as it may be, we must not cave in and quit or give up. Even when you feel like you can’t pray, God knows your thoughts before you even think them–keep your mind on Him! When you feel like you can’t read your Bible, turn on worship music and let the words minister to you! Remembering:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 KJV) You cannot give up!
The “night” matures us spiritually, it makes us more Christ like. When you first gave your life to Christ, there may have been overwhelming joy and great anticipation of your new christian walk: you joined a church, attended new believer’s classes, and supplied Christian books to read. There was a general feeling of euphoria that you were finally on the right path in life. You felt God’s touch on your life and some, God may have delivered out of deep bondage. But along the way, you began to face situations that challenged your faith, situations that tested your will, situations that you couldn’t find the answers to in a self-help book! My friend, you may have experienced devastating, life altering situations that resigned you to that of a fetal position, on the floor weeping like a baby, the pain hurt so badly! Beloved, this may have been your night, BUT! The Bible says that if you will just trust in Him with ALL your heart and ALL your mind (Proverbs 3:5), your joy will come in the morning! Amen!
I find that there are different stages of our christian walk. After conversion, you first learn how to pray, how to maneuver the Bible, and what it means to live a God called life. Secondly, God then begins to show you what your calling is in Him. Along with that calling, rest assured, will come an assigned fleet of demons whose job it is to do everything in their power to disprove the anointing on your life! The next phase will be a phase of the testing of your will and your faith. Indeed, the hardest stage for the called in Christ! In this stage you will experience extreme torment from the devil, even though you may be doing all the spiritual work! For those that may be saying this is not my testimony, this message is not for you!–but those on the front line of spiritual warfare, those that are experiencing extreme harassment from the devil because of your anointed call in Christ! The devil vehemently hates it when another pastor is birthed, another church is planted, and when another sinner gives his soul to Christ!
You will go through periods when God’s voice will seem reticent, or you may question: ‘God where are you?’ It will seem as if all hell has broken loose in every area of your life! You will be persecuted on every side, and may feel as Paul did on his Christian journey:
For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. (2 Corinthians 7:5)
It may seem as if you are screaming out to God with all your might and yet your voice is inaudible. You may even become angry at God in His silence. It’s a time of testing, tearing down, building up, and strengthening you. It will cause you to go deeper in the work of Christ; deeper in study, deeper in spiritual preparation, deeper in prayer, deeper in fasting. His silence is teaching you how to adamantly trust the word of God and not your feelings! No matter how dark the valley is, He’s teaching you to fear not the evil one, He’s teaching you that, although you cannot see Him, or feel His presence, He’s fighting right beside you! It’s like the parable of the footsteps in the sand. Some things you will look back on and wonder in amazement, how you made it through! Amen! It’s because God carried you! We were wounded and ready to be slaughtered, yet a loving Savior picked us up where our strength failed, and carried us the rest of the way! Selah!
The longer it takes us to completely trust and have faith in God, I believe the longer our spiritual growth will be stunted in our Christian walk. Christianity requires proactively growing in Christ. There will be trial and error in our growth yes, but to grow in Him with a purpose and a plan, that requires diligent study, prayer, and a concerted effort to make time with God daily. Beloved there is something to be said about spending time in God’s presence! The anointing comes down! There is a sweet peace. God will give you wisdom, knowledge, and signs and wonders. He will give you secrets, direction, and ideas your mind could never possibly conceive on its own.
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. (Acts 5:12 KJV)
In the latter part of the Christian walk, you may enter into a place of supernatural discernment. You will have Godly wisdom and a deeper understanding of spirituality! Those called began to teach, edify, encourage, prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:4-12). There will still be testing, but it will not destroy you like it used to! You’ll know the exact spiritual tools to apply against your enemy and come out a victor! Amen! You will have a concrete belief in God; no trick, lie, or scheme from the devil will be able to dissuade you. You know it’s a war between good and evil, and you will distinctively know your place in the battle. You know that silence does not mean neglect. You know that you and God are in this together!
Lastly, the valley experience changes your attitude! You may have walked with Christ for years but still have a defeated attitude! Instead of thinking you are a victor, and knowing that you are already equipped to win the fight raged against you ( Luke 10:19), you are numb because of persecution, and are thinking defeated thoughts.
To live a victorious life in Christ, there has to be a turning over of mental thinking to the side of victory. Your spiritual language has to change. You have to learn to always speak positive words over your life and circumstances no matter what your physical eyes may be telling you. You have to learn how to see with our spiritual eyes–the eyes of faith!
Additionally, your mind set has to change. A lot of people may quote the verse, say the Christian slogans but deep down inside, perhaps because of continuous oppression, have not come to a place where they believe what they are even saying! If you have a certain call on your life the opposition can be so intense, that you have given up on the inside! You’re spiritually dead! You have been sowing, but sadly feel like you are not reaping. It’s a testing beyond your imagination! With all your might and knowledge about God, you’ve got to take God at His word, getting in your spirit man the living word!
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 KJV)
People often talk about the character of God. That is a culmination of His teachings, His anointing on the lives of the Biblical prophets, and His grace. The devil tries to undermine God and His work in your life. Fight hard with all that is within you to not believe him! There is an evil, vile, more diabolical level of spiritual warfare in this day and time. Satan’s kingdom has become more perverted, more wicked. Its mission is not the ungodly–he already has them under his control–but specifically to attack the saints of God! The death in the valley is so gruesome beloved, let us not forget the saints that are literally fighting a physical battle with the devil; having been permanently scarred, maimed, and tormented. Those who have lost their lives for the sake of the Gospel! As we continue to carry the weight of our cross–with blood, sweat and tears–let us remember: the battle is not between us and the devil, but between God and satan!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
In the book of Jonah, God called Jonah to go and deliver a prophetic message to the city of Nineveh; a great and wicked city. Jonah refused to go and fled to Tarshish. Jonah 1:3 says Jonah went down to Joppa and got on a ship, trying to flee from the presence of Lord. Because of his disobedience God brought great wrath and turbulence upon his life by way of a raging storm. But when Jonah cried out to the Lord (Jonah 2:1-9), God received his prayer (vs 2: 10).
When we willingly disobey God His covering will not be over us, therefore we become vulnerable to all kinds of curses, dark places, and torture from satan. In contrast, the great thing about God is that it is never too late to come to Him. Unfortunately, usually it is when we have come to the end of ourselves and realize we can’t make it on our own. Oh but how loving is our Father, with arms outstretched wide, He rescues us from the hands of our enemies. Verse 2:10 goes on to say, ” So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” In Galatians 5:17 it says, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these two are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Many times God may tell us to do something and we simply refuse. The main root is disobedience which often arises out of fear, unbelief, and the most damming of them all–doubt! We doubt God can do what He sent us to do, and we doubt God’s ability to carry us through to the end. In the midst of life’s tide will come sharks, piranhas, and the proverbial whale. But, do we just let satan throw us overboard to be eaten alive because we selfishly don’t want to go through pain, hurt, and suffering that is often required to walk with God? Or, do we stand up, while inside the belly of the whale, and start praising and worshiping God; stirring up a commotion, agitating its loins, and upsetting its stomach so much so that it has no choice but to regurgitate us out? Light can not live inside of darkness. Either of two will happen: darkness will conform to light, or the light will be too powerful for the darkness and it will have to flee! Hallelujah! Will you heed the voice of God pertaining to your life? God may allow you to be overtaken by the enemy for a moment, but will retrieve you–despite your disobedience, so He can show you how faithful and merciful He is. It’s situations like these that God allows us to go through to increase our faith (1 peter 6,7). When you first started on this Christian journey your trials may have been small, but as you pass one faith test after another, you will begin to see that the level of faith required to go through the next situation will need to be of a higher magnitude. Will you walk bold like David did and face your Goliath, or will you do as James 1:23, 24 says and forget what kind of man you are? Intermittingly, we sometimes forget what God has already brought us through, forget who we are in Christ, and forget that Romans 8:37 says that we are more than conquers.
Moreover, when we finally accept God’s will for the thing that He has called us to do, when it does not go the way we think it should go do we start to murmur, judge and complain? We begin to usurp God’s authority and do His job for Him when all he simply told us to do was obey! The assignment He sent you on was for Nineveh’s (other person’s) deliverance, not you! But, you’re complaining, “why is this person in my life?” “Why am I going through this?” Some of you are even praying and wishing harm on the one that God sent to you to intercede for! Because you are subject to pain in the process, you get angry at God for not punishing the person (vs 4: 1,2). God had to show Jonah the mercy of His heart through a plant (vs 4: 9, 10). Just as Jonah was as passionate about that perishing plant, so was God about His perishing people (vs 4:11). Beloved, God will send us as laborers to the harvest when He is trying to reach unsaved sheep. It takes maturating in Christ not to look at a trial subjectively. It takes a selfless person to love another human being that is perishing in darkness; to suffer for that person so their soul can be saved (1 corinthians 13:2). Instead most run away from Ninevah. We must have a willing heart and sensitive ear to listen to the voice of God and follow His direction for our life. Instead we let hurt, pain, and anger toward’s a person paralyze us, thus saying “no” to God and forfeiting the person’s salvation. Oftimes, God is already speaking to the person’s heart, calling them out of darkness. God needs you to be His physical body to reach out and embrace them. The people you are assigned to will most often react to you in anger and hatred because like you–before you surrendered to God–they are trying to run away from God’s calling on their lives. Beloved, don’t run away from God. Did He not tell us to, “pick up your cross and follow me?” Matthew 10:24. As Christians this life is not ours, 1 peter 4:2 says, “that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” Saints, we are ambassadors for Christ.
By Puah Neiel
1 Samuel 17:1-9 NKJV
1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. 8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”
It was a nice sunny day and I was in a jovial mood while on my way to church. Upon arriving and finding my seat I was asked by a cherub faced young man to read a scripture in front of the congregation. My gloom immediately turned into doom! My heart started palpitating, mind racing, and sweat beads began to drip slowly down my face. I took a deep breath as I gave myself a moment to gather my thoughts “wait a minute, I said, God has not given me the spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and a Sound mind!” So I started standing on the word…going back and forth between fear and the word rather. Then I heard a quaint voice that said,“ Just talk to me.” Immediately I felt a quickening in my spirit. At that moment it gave me confidence and boldness, so much so that when I got up to speak I forgot I was even scared!
In opposition, the same week I had to attend training for my job. Sitting front row, it seemed as if I was the one most appointed to give an analysis and articulate my understanding to the group of what we were concurrently learning. A sinking feeling began to knot up in my stomach and dread engrossed me. “It’s happening all over again,” I say to myself. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had just defeated this area! Each time I was called upon I began to stumble over my words, lose my train of thought, and I started panting very heavily. It was quite draining—oh and did I mention EMBARRASSING. At its conclusion, there I sat yet again withdrawn and in anger.
That was my battle at Gath. The Bible records Gath as being a Philistine city that was infamous for its lineage of giants. I was always an ambitious and courageous person so when I started experiencing panic and anxiety attacks at the height of my career I was taken aback. Public speaking was a dominant part of my profession. It came about all of a sudden; one day I found myself in a room full of people, palms sweaty, heart palpitating and panting for air. It was the beginning of years of anguish, frustration and disappointment. It has brought me before the Lord many nights, with bitter weeping and deep prayers. Because of this fear I pondered deeply about how I would be able to sustain a living, take care of myself, and my future. Before I knew it worry began to set in and I was slowly succumbing to depression.
It’s inevitable; we will all have to face giants in this life. Your Goliath may be a drug addiction, alcohol dependency, struggles with weight, pornography, a physical or mental handicap or some other debilitating strong hold. I implore you to hold on, keep fighting; until you throw in the towel the enemy hasn’t won. Don’t let the devil lie to you and tell you you’re defeated. When you get knocked down don’t stay down for the count, you have to get back up, sometimes it will take all the strength we have. But unfortunately, this is when many of us falter and give in, considering ourselves as failed. Proverbs 3:5 admonish us to “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Even though you may be experiencing great hardships, God is allowing this situation to build your character. He’s strengthening your spiritual muscles and teaching you to depend on Him only, not in your flesh.
On the way home from training that day, God was speaking to me. He told me I would never be victorious if I am so concerned about what people think about me. He revealed to me that I had a problem with trying to please people and that I put too much emphasis on what people thought about me. Psalm 118:8 clearly warn us, “it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Also the Lord was building up my faith in Him. I was so used to the safe, the familiar. Everything had to be comfortable, and in order before I made a move. When I started experiencing panic attacks I had to learn how to function outside of my job security, family, and friends. God had to isolate me and bring me to my lowest point in order for me to humble myself and acknowledge that without Him I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Furthermore, God asked me, “Did you ever believe I could deliver you?” Wooah! That was a wake up call. Actually I hadn’t. In the back, tiny corner of my mind I had succumbed to defeat; that this is how I’m going to have to live the rest of my life. Although I was diligently praying, in my heart I had not really believed that God could free me from this. He had allowed this situation in my life until I made up my mind to believe that He could heal me.
Moreover, when we pray for healing in areas we may be struggling in, God doesn’t just drop deliverance in our laps like, “Here is the patience you asked for!” No, often we will have to go through a trial or test before deliverance comes. But how many of us are willing to go through? I admit, not me! I want it to be over as fast as possible. It hurts to face our shortcomings, fears, and limitations. But in our darkest hour we have to truly believe that God loves us and that He is standing right there with us in the midst of the war. “For He Himself has said ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’” Hebrews 13:5. If we don’t press in and go through, how can we ever know we can be victorious?
The area in your life where you are being attacked the most is the area where God is going to use you! The devil is doing everything he can to get you to not believe in yourself, break your confidence, and run you down. He knows your ministry is going to be powerful that‘s why he’s viciously attacking you! Beloved, heed Paul’s words to Timothy,“ Fight the good fight of faith…”1 Timothy 6:12. Face Goliath! Don’t give up! When the enemy comes in like a flood, ride on the tides of the word. After an attack it’s ok to give yourself some time to regroup, but then go back into your prayer closet and stand courageously against your foe. Look him squarely in the eye and boldly proclaim as David did, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine [your trial].” (1 Samuel 17:37)
In conclusion, our enemy isn’t our circumstances, but opposing spirits sent from the master deceiver to thwart God’s kingdom. It’s a spiritual battle! Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. We must remember that no matter what weapons and tactics the enemy uses to intimidate us, God is commander in chief. 1 Samuel 17:47 “ ….the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.” Amen!