It’s Time to Break-up…

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

Yesterday, I mentioned a group of 3 girls. That group and their negative comments that had sucked the life out of me. Even in the midst of correction for their poor choices in words, there was an additional lesson in my encouragment to speak kindness to each other: Would you tolerate this negativity in a romantic relationship? If the boy you liked, or you were dating called you “fat, ugly, stupid, or crazy…” and then proceeded to tell you he was “just joking,” would you allow it? Or would you break-up with him?

Of course, their response? Kick him to the curb.

So, question for you: Why do we allow these terms to define us? Why do we allow Satan to creep in and tell us lies? Badger us with his emotional assault, and endless abuse? Isn’t it time to break-up with him, too?

Fear, you don’t own me
There ain’t no room in this story
And I ain’t got time for you
Telling me what I’m not
Like you know me, well guess what?
I know who I am
I know I’m strong
And I am free
Got my own identity
So fear, you will never be welcome here. (The Break-up
Song, Francesca Battistelli).

Fear. Lies. The devil’s tactic to keep you in a state of defeat. But the truth is…you can defeat the enemy. Paul mentions a strategy for battle in Ephesians 6, even mentioning who this enemy is.

We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:12-17, NLT

We have an enemy who feeds us nothing but lies about our worth and our purpose, our calling. And we know exactly how to break up with him. We CAN defeat him. With the belt of truth, and the sword of the Spirit, those things that God says are “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable” about us in His Word. Remebering that God offers protection from the evil one simply because we are His. We just need to call on Him to help us fight the battle.

So we can finally break-up with that no good scroundrel…once and for all!

If you are ready to break-up with the devil, and conquer the lies he throws your way, join me for a 30 day exploration of the lies we believe, and the truth God reveals. The printable Bible reading plan includes daily Scripture, as well as a song you can add to your playlist, or sing along with in the car in praise for the truth God provides to you and about you. Truth that is able to conquer any lie.

You can also subscribe to the entire playlist on Spotify.

Taming Your Thoughts with Truth

Our thoughts can hold us captive. Especially if we are among those who suffer with anxiety. Even if you don’t, Satan often attacks us by placing negative thoughts in our minds. Thoughts that are far from God’s truth. 

What are we to do about them? 

Paul gives us instructions in a couple places in Scripture about what to do with our wayward thoughts. First, in 2 Corinthians 10:5, he instructs that in our war against Satan, “we destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Second, he reminds us in Ephesians 6, just who our enemy is, and where we find our truth:

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17, NLT

I am a follower of Christ, and I am a pastor; but I am most certainly NOT immune to the attacks of Satan. In fact, I am probably more susceptible to his schemes because I am a servant for Christ. Something he can’t stand. Satan’s game he plays with me happens to be in my head. 

So, I devised a plan some time ago to suit up with God’s word daily. So I could combat the lies the devil tried to throw at me so frequently. 

Below you will find a tool for you to use with some common lies Satan tells me, and the truth straight from His Word that God wants me to know instead. Place this where you can be reminded of the truth about you daily. Where you can go to war, and be ready for battle each and every day and defeat the enemy who wants you to believe otherwise!!

To hear more about taming your thoughts listen to the newest podcast episode here!

Shut the door, and get yo’ praise on

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Psalm 100:4, NLT

I have always enjoyed music, and have been singing in a choir of sorts since I was in 4th grade. My fondest memories have music attached to them. And when I need to shut out the voices in my head-music is my go-to.

Music. It is also how God has pursued me. Did you realize this? That God is always pursuing you? Like someone desperately in love, He sends you messages to let you know He is present. That He is always there. To remind you of Him. To show you His love.

They are often subtle. Not always burning bush moments. Or a booming voice shouting from the heavens.

Sometimes they are songs.

That is how he has always spoken to me. Even before I knew how much He loved me.

I could go on and on about the ways in which He used songs to speak to me before I realized it, but one song I remember specifically is one we sang in my high school choir. One I watched 20 years later as a teen from youth group sang it again at that same high school. I still remember that song.

Shut de do, keep out the devil. Shut de do keep the devil in the night.

Now, there has been some controversy about the original song. The dialect. The “supposed” culture it may have originated from. It’s origin. However, I like to research songs. Why they are written. And I always research lyrics, especially those our teens are singing…I want to know what they are ACTUALLY singing and saying.

Oh, Satan is an evil charmer, (shut the door, keep out the devil)
He’s hungry for a soul to hurt, (shut the door, keep the devil in the night)
And without your holy armour, listen to me, (shut the door, keep out the devil)
He will eat you for dessert, yes, he will. (shut the door, keep the devil in the night)
(Source)

And if you aren’t convinced by the lyrics, well because of the controversies, then maybe this will convince of you of the devil’s prowess: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8, NLT

So…He can use music to get the message across that you need to rely on Him. He can use music to help you shut out the faulty messages that the devil keeps pounding in your brain. He can send you music to remind you that you are not alone. He can send you a lyric to calm you. To answer a question you sent Him in a prayer. To remind you of your worth.

He can send a song to save you. To pursue you. So you finally accept Him.

He can speak through songs. It is in fact why musicians continue to write them, Sing them. Praise Him.

Because He can speak through a song.

Maybe you don’t know how to find the right one. Those old hymns don’t speak to your heart. You are an old, school rap child. In need of a sick beat. Not an organ (though He speaks through those, too). I get it. I am, too. So I am here to help Him speak through the music. As the spirit leads me on Monday’s I will share a song He has placed on my heart, and share it with you. May it remind you that you are not alone. May it send a reminder of your worth to Him. May it come to save you, help you accept Him. May it speak to you, and help you keep out the devil with His song.

Not Today

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I’ll sing the night into the morning
I’ll sing the fear into Your praise
I’ll sing my soul into Your presence
Whenever I say Your Name
Let the devil know not today. -Hillsong

These are the words of a song I heard while driving home on a summer afternoon a little over a year ago. I heard it a day on which Satan had been beating me up badly. “You are not good enough. See, look at what has happened. What will people think of you now?”

I had just found out I was about to become a grandma…and my biggest worry was everyone else’s expectations of me.

But, really I have been here for a long time. Living up to everyone else’s expectations. What I needed to look like. How my kids should act. Who I should be at church. At work. As a parent. How I carried myself. Whether I said “ask,” or pronounced it “ax.” I never thought I measured up to what the world expected, and Satan uses this any time he can.

Not today!

I started posting that message all around me when his voice started to get louder, as the expectations of who I needed to be became too much to handle.

It’s on my bathroom mirror, so when I look into it each morning, see something different than what God sees, and start to pick apart my flaws, my first response instead is “Not today, Satan!”

It is on my coffee pot so I can repeat it to myself before I get my “cup of courage” and the day becomes too crazy. It even adorns the mug I use each morning as I hurry about the house, or spend time in His word.

It is on my steering wheel as I head into work, on my planner while I work; all to keep those all too familiar “not good enough” thoughts that creep up in this particular place at bay as I walk into classes feeling incapable-“Not today, Satan!”

It serves as a reminder that all the expectations that the devil places in my head. The ones that make me feel inadequate, are the world’s…not God’s. He created me. My edges. My weaknesses. My struggles. My mistakes and flaws are made perfect through Him. And, everything the world thinks is a fatal flaw, God will use for His glorious purpose.

They remind me that the devil has never filled my head with anything but lies. Tore apart my soul, and tries daily to strip me of my worth.

He didn’t succeed yesterday. And, he won’t today. No. No. Not today.

Until His voice is louder

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“Whose voice is loudest in your life?” -Sadie Robertson

“You failed again.”

“Not good enough.”

“Yep. Told you they were right. Nothing redeeming in that one.”

“No one cares. No one is listening. Where is your God now?”

“Mmmmhmmmm. You messed up good this time. He isn’t coming to save you.”

Imperfect. Failure. Incompetent. Naive. Ineffective.

The voices that drown out the loving words of my Father, are the ones of criticism and contempt. These take residence in my head. Mess with my deepest insecurities and doubts. And, after they do, then Satan has done his job. Had me believing all the lies he and others have told me.

But, this is the thing about the devil:

“He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies.” John 8:44, MSG

And, the Liar fills our heads with them, too. Our homes. Our hearts. Our relationships.

I don’t want the loudest voice occupying space in my head to be the one that tells me how horrible I am. How unloved and unworthy I am. I don’t want the one occupying space in my home, my relationships to be the author of destruction.

I want the voice that speaks the loudest to me. The one that drowns out all the nonsense and lies of the world to be words of encouragement.

I don’t want the words that are the loudest to be reminding me every time I fall (because I do…flat on my face!)…but, to remind me of all the times I have gotten back up, and to gently pick me up when I don’t feel like I can go on, because that voice gives strength.

But, how do I push away those other voices-those dirty, lying, abusive, no good to me voices?

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Stay in His word. Armed with His truth!

Just as Jesus was as he walked with Satan in the wilderness. Even the King of Kings wasn’t immune to the incessant, lying schemes of the enemy (Luke 4:1-13)

When Jesus needed sustenance, the devil used his voice to attempt to diminish God’s ability to provide: “Come on, Jesus. Can’t you provide your own bread if you are so great?” (v. 3)

When Jesus was suffering, hurt, broken, ready to give up…he offered him a way out; not once, but twice. “Come on, Jesus. Don’t you want all of this? This kingdom before you instead of that cross?” Jesus listened to God’s voice (v. 6-7).

“Come on, Jesus. Just jump and give up already! Your God will save you, won’t he?” (v. 9-11). But, Jesus once again listened to God. Each time rebuking the devil with God’s voice. He will be my provider. He will meet my needs. He is my one and only God. I will not test him.

Our critics. Our naysayers. The insecurities the devil knows so well…because he does. He knows them. Those negative thoughts cannot become the loudest voices in our heads.

The voice that needs to shout above all the lies that Satan attempts to throw at us while we walk in the wilderness needs to be our Father’s. The one that reminds us we are not failures, we are worthy. We are not imperfect, we are wonderfully made. We are not incompetent, we are qualified through Him; made powerful through His strength.

When the devil tries to tell us anything different, we shout the truth. When the devil tries to convince us to give up, we remember God’s word that encourages us to persevere. We make His voice the only one allowed to have permanent residency in our head.

Until His voice is the loudest!

 

Satan, Back Off! I’m a Child of God!

“Stay alert! Watch out for the great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

That devil…oh, he is a sly one. Just as God knows our strengths and weaknesses, the devil does as well. He seeks us when we are at our most vulnerable, telling us we are unworthy, not beautiful, not good enough, not smart enough. On and on. Convincing us to believe his lies. He also seeks us and finds us at those times when we are strong, and he tries as he might to give us any reason to deny God’s goodness and work in our lives. The devil tells us all sorts of lies.

Those lies are one of the reasons I keep filling my closet with clothes. To cover up all the negative things that Satan wants to keep telling me. To cover up all the things I don’t want others to see.

“We were made for more than this. More than this failure. More than this cycle. We were made for victory.” Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave

Victory is possible by believing the truth God reveals about ourselves. His truth will devour the devil and his endless prowling every time.

Satan wants us to remember the sins and failures of our past. He wants us to keep living with regret, shame, and defeat. However, God says in Isaiah 43:19: I am about to do something new. Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

So….

When Satan says, “You are all alone. No one understands you,” God says, I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

When Satan says, “You are too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too this, too that,” God says, You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

When Satan says, “You are not worthy! No one would ever love you!” God says, I have loved you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Satan tells us we have nothing of worth to say, that no one is listening to us, or can hear us. God says, I have heard you from my sanctuary; your cry has reached my ears. (Psalm 18:6)

Satan lies to us, tells us “You are weak. You are not strong enough to handle this.” God says, You can do all things through my strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Satan nags us. He says, “Your a bad mom, dad, grandparent, friend; but God says, It’s alright if you got angry, if you gave your child candy before dinner, because “the godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again” (Proverbs 24:16)

Satan whispers, “No one will help you, not even God! But God says, Look up at the mountains, and see that your help comes from me, the maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

And then the devil tries one last time. Once again he says, “Face it! It’s too hard! Just give up now! God gently reminds us, Continue to fight the good fight, you will finish the race if you have faith (2 Timothy 4:7)

The devil has never whispered anything of worth to me, or anyone else! I have a weapon against his constant badgering. A weapon to defeat him and his nonsense. It’s the Bible. The Word of God. The message that tells me I am worthy. I am strong. I am a good parent. And I am never alone! The one who tells me I am a chosen child of His. A chosen child of God.