Folks let’s talk about Spiritual battle real quick. It is something raging all of the time. The Spirits are at war EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s not that all of a sudden they switch their attention to the unsuspecting Christian. There is sin,temptation , doubt, and fear around EVERY CORNER! Jesus didn’t say “Let’s go on a jolly good walk in the park to find the gold at end of the rainbow.” He said take up your cross(cause/mission) and follow me”. He says follow and we follow. That can be follow me into a sweet time of fellowship with likeminded believer or it could also mean follow me into battle against the false teachers disguised as brothers and sisters in Christ. Then He can lead us into obvious blessings that overflow and then right into blessings that don’t always immediately feel like blessings. He’s GOD and has the right to lead us,call us,and command us into whatever season He needs us in to put us in the best position for battle against the adversary! He allows the shots of fiery lies to be shot our way by Satan to strengthen us and to prove His strength. It hurts! Ouch oh it hurts! It hurts so bad that it is downright tempting to walk off the battlefield hands thrown up in surrender to the wrong king. I think there is the misguided assumption that when you become a Christian that it means a warm fuzzy life carefree from pain and suffering. Like some how Jesus acts like a bandaid from all our sorrows. WRONG! He IS our healer but healing spiritually isn’t really anything like being healed naturally. It’s far grater but so are the wounds that the healing must be delt with.
As this spiritual battle continues on and the lies of Satan are being shot with cannons at lightning speed there are some things that you can do to to bring victory in the name of Jesus Christ.
1)Make sure that you’re in the Word. Cliche as this sounds it’s really your only basis to go into battle. Without it you’re useless and might as well give up the fight. You’ll be a sitting duck and very little help to the kingdom. In fact you can bring great damage to the fight at hand.
2)Let others know that you’re facing this war. Partner in prayer with as many as you can. A war is never won alone. It takes a mighty army of people all laboring together with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
3)Confront every single lie head on. Is Satan telling you something about a thought someone has about you? Go ask them directly if what he is telling you is true. They’ll appreciate you coming to them. Is Satan discrediting your value? Read the Word and see what the Lord has to say about you. Are the attacks coming in the form of past sins being brought up? Recall the moment you laid them at the foot of the cross. Read what Jesus has done for you and when the Holy Spirit entered you!
4)Get sleep. This one really isn’t spiritual at all but Satan does attack when we are weak. If you’re weary and worn out physically it can be prime time for lies,nightmares,and imaginations to swell up.
Be of good cheer dear ones as we as brothers and sisters unite against the one who fell! If a Christian family member comes to you battle weary, walk along side them to lift them up to continue the good fight. Soon they will be the one to lift you when you have been wounded and the positions of battle have been changed. Go forward with the mighty armor of God knowing what Ephesians 6:12 says “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” You have the power of Jesus Christ walk in all confidence as given the example in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 “thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” We can be pleasing to the Lord by our faithful battle not with others but with Satan alone. He WILL GO DOWN!
There is light and there is darkness. Contrary to popular belief you won’t find a middle ground between the two. It doesn’t matter if you went into the water and came out sopping wet. This thing called church membership and community living has absolutely no value without the Holy Spirit causing the old man to be laid off and new life to spring forward.
Which side do you find yourself on? Do you sit in darkness but look nice on the outside,content to look nice and catch a few of the church life benefits? Or rather do you live a fulfilled life in the kingdom reflecting the light,life,and love of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do not be pleased to be hypocrites. The world will call the pretender’s bluff and rightfully so. The truth will be found and judgment will come when the bridegroom comes for His perfect bride spotless without blemish or wrinkle. He will not be content with an unlit soul insiders a dead body.
Today Hebrews 9:28 popped out at me as I was looking for some way to start this first day of February.
It says: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Guys and gals what a beautiful promise! I need to go back and read the rest of the chapter because it could be that I’m taking this out of context. If that’s the case I still feel so closely connected to these words. Am I earnestly looking for my king? I feel like I am but a human that I am threatens to cause my eyes to wander to our own desires. Could it be the glory received of helping someone in need? Does the pride of a job well done take root? Does the flesh crave to be desired here on earth? Who do I wake up and cloth myself in modesty and cover my head for? Lastly although my list of distractions could continue for a while yet, are the post I put out there on social media edifying or just another way to gain attention?
I’ve shared these pictures before and I feel a prompting to share them again. They came out of a magazine that I find to be a blessing. My home isn’t Pinterest perfect as I cut and sticky tack these photos as a reminder to me. I hope they can cause you to pause and consider the thought I heard a few years ago “Bride behold your groom”.
Ladies and gents this month can threaten your contentment,your perceived value,or even your focus on the Lord. For myself February marks the month I would fall surrendered to my king Jesus. It wasn’t the church organization,community,or clothes that brought me to my knees. Only the Holy Spirit on February 2014 a year and four months after I had tried so hard to follow a pattern,the wrong pattern, that I knew what taking my cross and following after the Way was. Let us (myself included) learn and desire the “hard and Holy” things in life.
Happy February first. My prayer for you is if you are not fully surrendered that you might be broken and restored to oneness with our Lord. Brothers and sisters I would desire for you to wake from your slumber and lackadaisical go with the flow of the world,church association,or even Satan and start the kingdom supported race. Put on the whole armor of the Lord as your uniform of choice. This life is for keeps,souls are in jeopardy.
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
I don’t think anyone wouldn’t say that we as Christians will find ourselves at some point confronted with someone questioning our faith,trying to tear down truth,or just having a negative opinion based on our following Jesus. As comfy American Christians however the word persecution seems like a foreign concept delegated to those on foreign soil. We read what little news comes out about our brothers and sisters across the ocean and we pray for their strength all while saying “Thank you Lord it’s them and not me.” The Word would tell us that in fact if we live godly in Christ all will suffer. I am not going to claim to understand how or when that’s supposed to happen. However I personally find myself wondering “Would I be ready if it did come my way?”
I recently listened to an anabaptist based school talk about fostering a global perspective in our children. The speaker told how in Muslim families and schools the children learn to quote the entire Quran in whatever language they speak (yes my ignorance is coming out. I mean no harm I just don’t remember). This morning as I was reading vs. 13 stood out. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse , deceiving and, being deceived. Yikes! What could be worse than heads being cut off or flesh being burned in defiant rebellion against this world’s kingdom? I hear about the prisons that hold my family and at various degrees,it sounds atrocious. My imagination is vast but it cannot quite grasp what could be worse yet in Muslim homes and schools they are delivering their children on a silver platter to the gates of Hell!
This brings me to verses 13-17.
Vs. 14 It says continue in the things thou hast learned and hast been assured of. Vs. 15 Is what I’m shooting for here. And that from a child thou hast known the Holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise UNTO SALVATION THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS! We take great care to feed our children nutritious food so they may grow strong in body. How much more should we care about what we feed their hearts and minds? Is it the latest movie that they are quoting or is it scripture and song? Let’s look at the dedication of one of the false religions for a second. They are so concerned that their children have what is important to them that they dedicate them to memory so that they will have it firmly in their brains when they need it. Do we believe that the scripture is a treasure and for our and others wisdom? Why don’t we(me too) dedicates our lives to its memorization? Let’s take a look at the ending verses 16-17. ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, and is profitable for doctrine,for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;
THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE PERFECT THROUGHLY FURNISHED UNTO ALL GOOD WORKS.
I humbly ask again of not only you but of myself too. Do we feed our youth the scripture and teach them to hold it in their hearts? I’m not talking just memorizing for memory sake. I now have a vision for scripture to come alive in the hearts of our young people. I don’t want them to come in contact with persecution, if..no..when that time comes, to be found just as lost as the deceived around them. Let us give them the tools to give an answer unashamed as they step out onto the battlefield!
You know, to happen in the lives of our children we must too be armed and ready to face the adversary ourselves. We can’t pat our youth on the back with a well wish and a tool box. We must go hand and hand united as good soldiers of Jesus Christ to defend our kingdom.
*These are just my opinions based on what I’ve read in scripture. I don’t claim to fully understand but I hope through my faithfulness I and others can gain wisdom from the opened Word of God.
**Photo was totally staged. My study area is not all perfect. I had to go get the highlighter that had rolled across the floor and then remove the other notebook of where I was trying to figure out how to spell a word. #reallifefolks
***Please feel free to join me this year in memorizing the Word. Romans 8:31-37 KJV is this months passage!
Verse 12 really stuck out to me today. Not because of the song that would quote it but because of the raw honesty of “I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed am am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” Whew I sure want to remain steadfast and be able to say that when I am pressed for an answer from any foes that would come my way. I AM NOT ASHAMED! We can find it easier to stay silent or avoid uttering the Word from our lips in fear of misquoting it or even if we’re honest with ourselves lack of confidence before our peers. Who are we as the church to stay silent,sugarcoat,or go around the TRUTH of God’s Word? Paul being in prison had every opportunity to shut down in the face of adversity. We find ourselves in a warm fuzzy environment where the most frightening encounter we might face is a blatant question from an unbeliever. Would we shy away from the opportunity to stand firm on the solid foundation of our Lord Jesus Christ? For shame if we say anything less than “I am not ashamed for I know whom I believe and I am persuaded that He IS able…”
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
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.
13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
Here we find ourselves at the end of another year. With God’s abundant grace we have will be given a new year with multiple opportunities. I know for myself this year has been a year of change,growth,and exciting new doors that have opened and some that have closed. I’m not unique in reflecting on the year that has passed. Many blog posts and conversations will be focused on this passage of time. I’d like join in and reflect on the awesomeness of my God in His love and care for me in this past year.
January: I found myself preparing for my newest roommate to move in. Having the privilege to live and work along side Roxy was a joy and blessing.
February: I discovered that although for many many years I valued St. Patrick’s Day as my favorite holiday it actually turns out to be Valentines Day. I wear pink,bought a heart shaped pizza,and my parents sent me beautiful flowers. What more could a woman ask for?!? Alongside my new found favorite holiday, I celebrate in my heart the day I fully came into submission and surrender to my Lord! It fills me with all sorts of large feelings I will never be able to put into words. My life removed from God is worth nothing. That is cause enough to praise His name! https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/they-call-me-a-fool-he-calls-me-his-bride/
March: This month was filled with birthday type stuff. I turned 27 and started a new year of life.
April: I boarded a small six passenger airline and headed with a team to Florida to serve at a family healing camp. My heart grew like the Grinches heart grew while I spent time with children and families effected by RAD(Reactivate Attachment Disorder). I would never of called myself a “kid person” sure I love teaching and such but something changed in seeing parents literally fighting for the lives of their children. We are called to care for the widows and children and I can do that by supporting these awesome families that are growing little hearts that have been hurt.
June: Annual meeting was a delight because I got to connect with many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a vision that takes place in my mind when we are gathered around the communion table seeking to do the will of God. We are each humbly waiting for that day that we are one in the consummation of the marriage with Christ!
After annual meeting I packed my bags for a week of Training/working in Canada with a raddlet (kid with RAD). Whew no amount of time would allow me to tell all of the stories. Fear,excitement,drama,smells,and friendship blooming we’re all words I’d use. Originally I was planning on heading to Georgia for about a month but the child needed different care so I headed home with a switch of plans.
July: This was the most boring,lonely,horrible month ever. On the tail of the disappointment of lost opportunity I was in the house completely alone for a good portion with absolutely nothing to do and no motivation to find something to fill my time. I’m not proud of July but God uses it to draw me closer to Him. I had a lot of one on one talks with Him and my Bible was opened on my lap more than it wasn’t. I found comfort in bringing my Bible to bed with me each night as if a security blanket.
September: We (at school) really started to feel our routine set in and the normal school days began to flourish. I am very fortunate to get the opportunity to work among fellow followers of Jesus Christ as we labor for the kingdom of God! I started doing therapeutic respite in my home and I have been enjoying the process so much! It’s a unique challenge and requires me to be on my A game 100% but oh so worth giving these wonderful parents a small break from having to be the superhero for a few days. I pray that God gives me many more opportunities to support these awesome parents! https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/its-a-sloths-life-pajamaspity-partiesand-pee-peevpants/
October: My teeny tiny nephew came into the world with many prayers and much love. His arrival has been a highlight of the year for sure! Each new babe is a special miracle from God. Let’s hold our children a little closer this year as we realize some children never get to feel the love that yours does. Let’s pause to pray for the hearts of the neglected and abused children. Oh Lord you do care and hear their cries!
I got on an airplane for the third time this year for an adventure of a lifetime! Myself along with my brothers and sisters in Christ went to Germany to meet up with more of our family in Christ to support and have a love feast in their neck of the woods! Oh what a joy filled experience unmatched by anything I’ve ever been a part of before. This was the moment I got what I really was a part of. My fellowship is my everything here on earth to me.
November:This month was a fun one! Myself and three other women rented a cabin in the woods in Holmes County to find some R&R. We did all the usual things that you do there with the addition of spending a day doing fun crafty things! Somewhere along the way in the summer I took up painting. It’s a skill I hope to expand to bless others as I write letters that will bring encouragement to those that get them.
My friend Lana came out for the weekend so we could…well let’s just say check your mailbox in the next week. We had more laughs than I knew could happen! Friends sure make life fun!
I had the opportunity to be perused by a godly man in another fellowship. It was a fun opportunity that turned out to not bring peace even though it was fun while it lasted. Who doesn’t want to be valued by someone here on earth? It was a growing experience bringing me to face my vision for my life and how God has continued to call me to be faithful in all things.
I am traveling home now after a week in Missouri and Kansas. Things like Christmas,sickness,Cheesecake Factory,bonding,and large sloths are the words used for this trip.
Now we find ourselves back at January where I began a year ago. I can’t tell you what the next year will hold but my prayer is go a steadfast commitment to my Lord and Savior as I continue on my pilgrimage in the kingdom of God. I hope I meet many new friends and strengthen relationships with the ones I already have. This year has brought many Mountain View moments and yes, a few moments where I stood at the bottom of the mountain wondering why I had to start again. I can say without any stretching of the truth that the climb was worth it!
The sun rose and set every day of this past year and I got to enjoy most of them as I did life. Oh the gift that is a new day! Let us each wake to look for the gift God has given us then let us fall before Him in praise!
I love you all! Much love dear ones. If you haven’t found yourself at the foot of the cross casting your sins away, I urge you to cry out to our sovereign Lord to help you to do so! This life here on earth will vanish and we will each face eternity. I want you each to face it looking at the face of Jesus at the wedding of His people with Him to never be separated. If I can help you by answering questions or praying along side of you please let me know. We are not promised another day on this earth. Make your choice now. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/why-i-deserve-to-go-to-hell-but-i-wont/
Shadowy figures in the distant fog are easy to ignore. Walking right past the faceless bodies brings no pings of emotion that we wish could go away. What happens when the fog lifts and you lift your eyes as you make eye contact and say “Hello,God bless you and Merry Christmas.”? When the person is far away almost as if an abstract thought somehow we can justify not caring. This person must have done something terrible. This person is worthless and deserves to rot. This person really isn’t a person so let’s just walk away. It becomes much more of a blaring reality when you can imagine this woman as your bank teller, your dental hygienists,or even you. Where would we be if
we had made one choice that would of changed an entire future? I know that answer, I’d be on the other side of the cookie line.
So what does it mean to be on the side of the line that is giving? Yesterday was a day of waiting around. There was a fog plan in place which meant we didn’t get to pass out cookies right away. Held in a room full of predominately old order Amish sure made things interesting. As humans we tend to segregate ourselves into nice neat little groups. This makes us feel more comfortable ensuring that we don’t have to put forth much effort. The same was said even as we labored next to each other. There was a circle of chairs forming a tight group with backs facing us. Everyone not Amish we’re scattered around. Time came to repackage some cookies and I thought it would be my opportunity to break in with some of the Amish. I settled myself in to help. As I did this I tried countless times to make conversation. Each time being completely ignored. I’m not one to give up so I would simply repeat what I said. They’d grimace,answering a one word answer and turn away to talk in their language to someone else. I began asking myself why was it that these Amish came to this prison. It didn’t seem like it was for fellowship,they certainly don’t want any outsiders to get too close even if it’s another anabaptist,and they really seemed somewhat miserable. Then I remembered that these people are in just as much bondage as the women that are in maximum security. So I stood silently opening the baggies and as I passed it to the lady beside me I began to pray over these people that have physical freedom but are held in such tight chains and they don’t even know it.
Finally our wait was over and the rest of our cookie passing could continue. I was a bit nervous because I had no clue what to expect. Pretty quickly the unknown became known and I was comfortable. We all had a job mine was greeting the women as they entered. I so wish we could of hugged them because somehow a handshake just wasn’t enough. One young girl probably younger than me said “I’m a hugger and I’m so glad you’re here. You have no idea what this means to us.” With that she did lean in and gave me a hug and I didn’t mind. Streams of women came for the cookies,singing,and silent prayer. These women ranged in age from younger to me to 70’s or 80’s. I couldn’t help but wonder if they would ever have an identity outside of their crime. One older woman proudly announced “I have 27 days left and then I get a new life!” I felt happy for her and in the depths of my heart I prayed that it was the truth.
I made it my mission to memorize even one name and I did. I went home and looked up her crime. She was the get away driver in a burglary gone wrong. One bad choice and she wasn’t even the one to pull the trigger yet here she was. The Bible verse that says to avoid all appearances of evil has hung in my mind all day today. I wonder,would you stop right now and pray for this young woman? She is so young and when she gets out in several years could she be loosened from the chains of not only prison but also Satan?
One surprising experience was getting to go into the nursery. There were six young moms holding their precious gifts. None of these mothers have violent crimes and they all are going through a program to learn how to be a mother. You could definitely see a difference from mom to mom in how they talked about their children. My brain started wondering how will these children not develop RAD or other struggles. I found out that these children get to be with the moms for three years. It was so encouraging to see one mom with her baby’s head laying on her chest ear down. It was so sweet to acknowledge that a baby can still bond with its mother even in less than ideal situations. In those moments of us observing this child’s heart was being aligned with its mother’s heartbeat. That gave me hope for these children.
The program director said some of these moms have never held a baby or even changed their diapers yet here they were in the thick of it with no choice but to learn. In some small way I was overwhelmed with thankfulness that these babies were being raised right where they were. The moms were drug free,caring for their children,and growing to hopefully be able to raise these children in a healthy way. Once again only time will tell but these three years are giving them a chance.
You know what? We all were once in a prison. A prison of sin,ignorance,and defiance. Our drug of choice was pride and self satisfaction. We had no clue that our sugar daddy was really out to harm us. We didn’t know that the high we got was only temporary. There would be no escape in the end of our life. We were in sins prison without a hope and it was slowly destroying our lives.
It wasn’t until someone or some situation was like our cookie receiving opportunity. A message from the Lord was brought down and over time we could accept that we were loved. We could start the fight to regain our dignity. We could share our hurts and our past sin with our Heavenly Father. When our hearts had soften enough we could ask Jesus for help. He came and pled guilty for our crimes and just like that our chains were gone. Having received the Holy Spirit we could then go out into the world as if to do community service. No, not because we have to pay off our crimes but because we have been given so much that we want to serve our king and those that He loves.
Some of us might not know the real sorrow of being behind bars of a state prison however we do know what bondage feels like. The peace that come with total freedom is not something I’d want to try to withhold from someone. I think what Gospel Echoes and many other people do to bring self worth,salvation,and stability into the lives of a prisoner, is such a good thing. Not too long ago five years or so, I would of said that these people weren’t worth fighting for. I’m glad that long ago God convicted my heart that redemption is available for all. It’s not just for the seemingly squeaky clean people who get dressed up on Sunday, it’s for EVERYONE.
So maybe you’re reading this and find yourself in sins prison. I’d like for you to know that you can cry out to God at any time and He is there waiting for your call. It won’t be a golden ticket moment where you get everything you ever hoped for but it will start you on a journey of peace and salvation.
If you need a friend or simply someone to pray over you, please go to the question page on this blog and I’d be happy to pray for you.
May you find the love and salvation that can only come from the Lord!