How to Survive a Spiritual Landmine

If you’re reading these words here today, then I’m sure you’ve experienced it – the spiritual landmine, a blast that rocks your world when you least expect it. The blast may be small, just enough to blow smoke in your face and get you all worked up, or it may be catastrophic: a death, a financial disaster, legal issues, major illness, a terrible accident.

Whether big or small, the spiritual landmine can have the same effect: to rob you of your joy and victory in Christ. How do you survive when your whole world shifts? How do you carry on?

………………………………………………..

It’s nights like this when we’re still transitioning to Daddy’s second-shift job, so this mama is taking care of all the homework, all the practices, all the kid needs and pet needs and food needs.

All. The. Things.

And of course, nothing goes smoothly.  We can’t find all of the shin guards, and supper is rushed, and we don’t even know where the middle boy’s practice will be yet. Nevertheless, the mama and the kiddos make it to soccer practice on time, and after practice is over, they make it home safely again.

Just as they pull in the driveway, she dares to think for one second that maybe this won’t be so bad. She can handle this second-shift switch. She has the Lord with her and in her, and with His help, she is able!

Then it comes, the attack.

The kids disobey repeatedly one right after the other, requiring discipline and delaying bedtime; the dog eats food from someone’s plate, and then, the straw that breaks the mama’s back, the dog poops. Inside the house.

And this mama, she’s sorely tempted to throw a little temper tantrum; a few tears do leak down her face as she wavers between right and wrong. But instead of giving up, she cries, “Mercy! Have mercy on me Lord.” Because in a matter of seconds, she’s been reminded of how great her need is, how quickly she is prone to sin.

I can’t, Lord. I just can’t, she silently pleads….

 

Read the rest about how to survive a spiritual landmine here at my friend Rebekah Hallberg’s blog!

 

Suddenly the day that was going so well, the life that was on track, falls to pieces. You've stepped on a spiritual landmine. Now you're in survival mode....How to Survive a Spiritual Landmine

 

 

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Not By Might: The Power to Persevere

Walking shoes laced tight, I stand at the bottom of the fog-topped hill.  Already I’m weary and I haven’t yet begun the climb. With a sigh, I put one foot in front of the other and I’m on my way to the top.

Halfway up, I find myself breathless with calves and knees complaining, but I’m determined. I must be ready for the race in two weeks, and the hill I will face there is twice as large, twice as steep.

A few feet more and doubts start to creep in about my abilities, about my body’s abilities. And then I remember that persevering isn’t just for the spiritual realm but for this physical world, too, for my straining muscles and my apathetic mindset.

Music pulses through the headphones into my ears…

 “Greater things have yet to come,

Greater things are still to be done

in this Ci-tyy-yyy-y”

If I look too far ahead, I see only the fog stretching before me, creating the illusion that the hill stretches on forever. It will never end, I hear the voice in my mind and it grows louder with each step. This weight battle will never end for you. You might as well just give up now. Did you really think you could do this?  Do you really believe you will succeed?

I face a choice.

I can listen to my cramping muscles and the voice of that snake, the Enemy, or I can buckle down with God-dependent effort, determined to persevere even in this as long as the Lord allows it.  It’s the story of my life, really: keep fighting or give up.

Is there any middle ground between the two?

Often when we face life's "mountains" we feel the need to power through in our own strength. Whether we are on a weight-loss journey, a habit-kicking journey, a faith journey, whatever journey we are on, we depend on ourselves for success. What happens when our strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

 

I hear the chorus again,

“Greater things have yet to come..”

And another voice echos in my mind.

Greater things not just for this city but for you, Daughter.  You will reach the top. By my power, you will see success. With My strength, you will persevere. You CAN do this.  And greater things will come, but you must fight for it. You must fight the whispers of the Enemy and the desires of the flesh.  You must learn to lean on Me, even in this. I will give you the power to persevere.

The fog clears as I near the top and my strength is renewed. When I round the corner and the incline levels off, I feel a sense of relief, but I also want it to be over. I long for rest.  However, the walk isn’t finished yet. In fact, it’s only just begun.

I keep plodding ahead, one foot after the other, asking the Father’s glory to be revealed in even this small thing, asking for knees that bend without pain and breath that comes easier.  A few blocks later, I realize I’ve come full circle to face the hill again.

But this time, I have faith.

I know I can do it because I’ve done it before, with His help. And no matter how much my body protests, I drag it up the hill once more.

It strikes me then, the connection between the spiritual and the physical. How I often run straight to complaining when I face “hills” in life. I start out grumbling and already thinking about giving up.

Believing I might be able to “power through” until the trial is over if I could just see the finish line, I search the foggy path ahead, eyes straining to see through to the end.

But the end is not for me to see.

What I am given is just a few feet ahead of me.

As long as I focus on those few feet in front of me, I remain strong, but when I look ahead to the stretched out future, my resolve falters.

 It’s then that I turn to the Father.

I’m reminded of the prophet Zechariah, faced with the task of encouraging the Jews to rebuild the temple and re-establish themselves in Jerusalem. They faced many obstacles and nay-sayers, as well. In fact, they were just the remnant of the Jews who lived there before, only a few compared to the former.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground…”

Zechariah 4:6b-7a

In this passage, Zechariah experiences a vision. Through this vision, the Lord Almighty reminds the prophet that the work needing done would happen not by human strength, but by the power of His own hand.

He also promised to give the remnant the power necessary to complete the construction of the temple.  Even more than that, He reminded Zechariah of His almighty power to remove any obstacles (mountains) that might get in the way of completion.

Continuing on, verse nine contains a promise that He will complete the work. And the next verse down in that same chapter we read this powerful phrase:

 Who dares despise the day of small things…?”

Zechariah 4:10

According to Nelson’s Quick Reference (Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary),

“To the eyes of men, the temple project was but a small thing…but to the eyes of God, it was a source of great joy.” (p. 614)

My friends, we will face many hills in life, and mountains will stand in our way. Often, we’ll be tempted to quit before we’ve even really begun. The power to persevere on our own quickly walks out the door when the going gets gruesome.

It’s when we turn to Him for strength that never ceases and the will to persevere that we finally hit our stride.

Often when we face life's "mountains" we push through in our own strength. What happens when that strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

Keeping in mind that He delights in even the small things, small acts of obedience, small steps up a great hill, we cling to that power to persevere.

Even more, those hills that we face can feel like level ground in grip of His grace.

But not by our might,

only by His Spirit.

Greater things…

Jen :)

Sharing this with: Tell His Story, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

Spiritual Warfare Verses That Pack a Punch

Spiritual warfare often sneaks up on us when we least expect it.

Two weeks ago, I shared about my personal weight issues here on the blog because the Lord just wouldn’t leave me alone about it. I was afraid to open up that part of myself, but I trust that He knows best. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and even resulted in a speaking engagement for me.

Needless to say, I was elated! It felt like a major spiritual victory to walk in obedience and see such immediate fruit.

Of course, as soon as I began to rejoice in the work the Lord was doing (in spite of me!), the murmuring voice began.

You’re not a speaker.  Who are you to think you have something to say?

You just ate donuts last night, and here all these people are praising you for keeping up the good fight. You’re a fraud.

You’re not worthy.

You’re not worthy.

You’re not worthy.

I felt the arrows of the Enemy, and I even let a few of them pierce me before I remembered who that voice belonged to.  Even once I recognized the slippery snake, I struggled to ignore his murmurs.  And the more I resisted, the louder he became.

Fighter Verses that Pack a Punch - spiritual warfare often sneaks up on us when we least expect it. These fighter verses help us use the armor of God to fend off any attacks of the Enemy! Spiritual warfare verses

I found myself in the midst of an unexpected spiritual battle and I felt unprepared. I had not put on the full armor of God that morning, so my belt of truth was quickly slipping as the arrows came in quick succession.

I cried out for mercy!

Our Father was quick to answer with truth from His word. He reminded me of my pre-approved status. He reminded me that I am a work-in-progress, not yet complete, but fully loved, fully accepted.

My friends,  when you experience a victory in some area of your life, don’t be surprised to find the Enemy lurking just around the corner.

He loves to set a trap for us when we are the most joyful, the most productive, the most faithful, the most determined.

He delights in seeing us fall from the greatest heights to the lowest depths.

We must be prepared for spiritual warfare, my sisters, for the battle is coming.  The Word aptly describes Satan as a prowling lion seeking for someone to devour.

Spiritual Warfare: Fighter Verses that Pack a Punch - spiritual warfare often sneaks up on us when we least expect it. These fighter verses help us use the armor of God to fend off any attacks of the Enemy! Spiritual warfare verses 

 

One way to be prepared is to put on the full armor of God, specifically the sword of the Spirit.  Use these spiritual warfare verses to reign in the attack of the evil one!

Spiritual warfare verses that pack a punch!

Spiritual warfare verses when facing temptation and discouraged by sin:

Romans 7  and 8 – Anytime you feel stuck in sin or discouraged in your walk, read these two chapters. They are too lengthy to post in entirety here, but these verses from chapter 7 sum up the transition between the two well:

22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Spiritual warfare verses when disappointed in our short-comings:

Phil. 1:6

  “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Rom. 8:1

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

2 Cor. 5:17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Use these Bible verses to fight back when you experience spiritual warfare. Hang this free printable in a highly visible area as a constant reminder to use your Spiritual Armor!  Bible verses|spiritual warfare|fighter verses|encouraging scripture|faith-based resources for women|christian women|free printables| Bible study |devotionals | help for discouraged women |work-in-progress faith

Spiritual warfare verses when feeling unloved or unlovable:

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Zeph. 3:17

   “The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Spiritual warfare verses when experiencing trials:

Psalm 34:17-18

 “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Spiritual warfare verses when you feel you have nothing left to give:

2 Cor. 12:9-10

 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.(emphasis mine)

For when I am weak, then I am strong, even when you don’t feel it.

For when I am weak, then I am strong; keep saying it until you believe it.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Jen :)

To access your free, high quality printable, simply sign up below and click Subscribe! Then, check your email to confirm your subscription. Once you’ve confirmed, look for a welcome email that will contain the link to the printable.

Print it out, hang it where you will see it often. Or save it to your phone or tablet for easy access. Enjoy!

To access your free, high quality printable, simply sign up below! After you confirm your subscription, look for a welcome email that will contain the link to the printable. Print it out, hang it where you will see it often. Or save it to your phone or tablet for easy access. Enjoy!

For more scripture that packs a punch, visit the link-up below!

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

 

 

#TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

 

PLEASE NOTE: We want to foster community and transparent conversation with one another, just like we’d do if we were meeting in real life. So we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic and that you mention The Loft in your post. Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

So grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic :)

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 5 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are:

Leah
Kathy
Arabah
Jen
Rebekah

 

 

Now it’s time to link up!

 

This Week’s Topic: “Fighter Verses” (What are some of your favorite, well worn scriptures? Which ones do you find yourself going back to again and again? Tell us what spiritual warfare looks like for you and how you use God’s Word to be victorious. We look forward to learning from each other!)

Next Week’s Topic: “Potluck” (Periodically, we’ll have a “potluck.” This is a blogging version of bring-your-own-dish. So pick a post and link up any post you want to share with our community!)

 

Add Your Link Here:

 

 

Also sharing with:

A Little R & R, Cornerstone Confessions, Messy Marriage, Whole Hearted Home, Jennifer Dukes Lee, My Freshly Brewed Life, Faith Filled Fridays, Grace and Truth

When Temptation Lingers Near

A few years ago, we endured a time of discouragement and trials galore.  My husband and I were both under a lot of external stress, both personal and from ministry, and our marriage temporarily suffered.  I faced the temptation to give up nearly daily!

I felt like one of the Israelites in the desert, bemoaning my situation and feeling helpless to enact change.

I share this story with you today, hoping that it may encourage you if you’re facing a situation that seems impossible, or even unbearable.  I hope you find comfort in the fact that you are not alone and that He always provides a way out! :)

…………………………………………………….

It’s almost supper time, but the stove top sits empty and no pleasing aromas fragrance the air.  I’ve not even yet decided what to cook, let alone made any sort of preparations.  Instead, I’m sitting in my bedroom trying desperately to pray while my preschoolers whine for attention right outside of the bedroom door.

My husband, weary from our recent argument, sits slumped over just outside the door at the dining room table.  He’s grumbling over the budget and seems unaware of the noise around him.

There is no peace, no quiet.

But I need to pray because I am one moment away from falling into temptation.  One moment from allowing my impatience, anger, resentment, and frustration to spill over onto my family.  One moment away from blowing any chance at doing right.

At this moment I am certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Satan has set his sights on me; I’m being tested.

Life is difficult; marriage is difficult; parenting is difficult. And just when we decide to make changes in our lives, the enemy strikes even harder. And we face even greater temptation. Find out how to overcome when temptation lingers near.

It isn’t the first of such evenings in my home.  In fact, our marriage relationship has been under strain for a few months now, and I’ve grown oh-so-weary of “fighting the good fight.”  However, this past week, God has shown me the truth of my situation; I haven’t been doing my part, either.

I have been selfish.  I have been lazy.  I have been avoiding the time with my Lord that I need.  Thus, I recently resolved to make some positive changes, knowing full well that temptation would linger near.

So as I sit here in my room praying while the chaos rages just outside of the door, I laugh.

Yes, I laugh!

It’s absurd, even comical, that every other person in my home would suddenly become distractions at the very moment I attempt to find peace.  I want to complain to the Lord that I’m trying so hard to do what is right, to seek Him in my moment of weakness, but He’s not making it very easy!

Just when we've decided to make changes in our lives, then the enemy strikes hardest! A little story about temptation and finding a way out. "It's almost supper time, but the stove top sits empty and no pleasing aromas fragrance the air ..."

In that moment of laughter, I realize the truth that as long as I’m trying to do right, to obey God, Satan is not going to leave me alone.  In fact, He’s even going to use good things like bible study and prayer against me by causing frustration and chaos at just the right moment.

Thankfully, now that God has shown me the truth of the matter, Satan cannot win.  I see his game plan for what it is, and prayer is a powerful tool!

Sorry, Satan, I’m getting up from my throne of self-pity and frustration, and I’m cooking supper tonight.

 

Lord, I thank you for always providing a way out for us, even when it seems impossible or unbearable!  I ask that you would encourage my sisters in Christ today to look for the way out when they face temptation. Help them to see the truth in whatever situations they face.  Remind them that You are with them always, every step of the way, even when it doesn’t feel like it.  Give them the strength they need to resist temptation and to flee the Devil and remind them of your unfailing love and grace for them because of your Son, Jesus Christ.  I ask all of these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth