Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Atencion! Atencion! Wake up and realize that we are in a constant war.  A war that is far more devastating than the natural or physical wars that have plagued human history.  Far more dangerous than bombs, grenades, mind-fields and semi-automatic weapons.  I am talking about spiritual warfare.   Whether you believe or accept it, the devil is out to get you.  But not just harass you, not just torment you—but literally to steal, kill and destroy you and everything in your life.   The bottom line is Satan and his kingdom are constantly trying to oppose anything relating to God and His kingdom.  And I mean everything!  Saved or unsaved, Christian or non-Christian, love God or hate Him Satan is still out to attack you.   Why?  Because we are all God’s creation although we are all not God’s children.  So even if you are not a child of God (i.e. someone who has accepted the gift of salvation and made Jesus Lord and Savior of your life), the mere fact that you exist and are a creation of God, makes you a target of Satan and his antics.  Even those who side with him.  Because in the end he blinds us to the fact that he is leading us away from eternal life with God and into eternal damnation and torment with him.

Thinking about all of this can really be overwhelming and even scary.  Why does it have to be like this?  If God is all powerful can’t He just end all of this sin and suffering and wipe out the devil now?  These questions have come to my mind and undoubtedly to the mind of many.  I personally don’t profess to know these answers and honestly I don’t believe anybody fully does.  There are just some secret things, some mysteries that we won’t understand in this life because we do not have the mind of God and His ways are so beyond our understanding.  Things  we will never know until we meet God and if He chooses to reveal these things to us.  Honestly, sometimes the way God operates and the ways of the world don’t always make sense to me.  But this is where faith and trust come in.  Trusting that God is in control and that in the span of eternity all things will be made right.  No more sickness, suffering, trials or difficulties.  That divine justice for the injustices and difficulties we suffer will be served if not now in this life, then later through the course of eternity and after the ending of this  corrupted world as we know it.  Since constantly complaining about it , arguing with or being angry with God will not change how He chooses to run His world (believe me we all have our times—we are after all human beings and God understands), why not take heed and use the tools God has equipped us with to navigate this war we are in and be victorious in the context of where we are now.

To win this war knowledge is of the upmost importance:

The devil attacks through 3 main vehicles:  through you of yourself, through other individuals (i.e. family, friends, coworkers, strangers) and through circumstances and situations. Many times these things work in conjunction or overlap.  The second thing is that he uses  the weapons of DOUBT, DECEPTION and DIVISION .  I hope to share more on these things in another post. But the amazing thing is that we have the authority to overcome every attack of the enemy.   That is, if you accept the Lord Jesus as your personal savior and become adopted into the family of God.

The bible says  after being  raised from the dead that:

“… Jesus came and spoke to them(the disciples), saying “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18)

As believers:

“Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ (Galatians 4:7) 

and furthermore

“…if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:17, NIV)

So really what does all this mean?  It means that being an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ we stand to receive  the supernatural and substantial benefits of God’s kingdom now and through eternity.

To name a few we are:

1) Heirs to peace—peace in the midst of chaos, trials and seemingly impossible circumstances

-Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.       Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27, NKJV)

-You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV)

-“..the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7, NKJV)

2) Heirs to God’s  strength 

-It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect (Psalm 18:32, NKJV)

-For You (God)  have armed me with strength for the battle (Psalm 18:30, NKJV)

3) Heirs to God’s unspeakable  joy

“….Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  (Nehemiah 8:10, NKJV)

“ You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV)

4) Heirs to the God’s impenetrable protection and defense 

 -I will say of the Lord , “He is my my refuge and my fortress

My God, in Him I will trust (Psalm 91:1, NKJV)

-“for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (Deuteronomy 20:4, NKJV)

-No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  I will not leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5, NKJV)

5) Heirs to immortality and eternal life

-For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16, NKJV)

-Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life (John 5:24, NKJV)

This doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the benefits of being a co-heir with Christ. However, in regards to spiritual warfare, it means that we have the power to live in victory and authority like Jesus did on earth and still does in the heavens.  That God’s very Spirit, the Holy Spirit  works in us and through us to overcome the devil and the demons that operate under him. It was under the teaching of Reverend Eugene Harris, while taking an intercessory prayer class at Greater Allen Cathedral that I really had a better understanding of these concepts as he presented them.  To summarize, remember God has established His kingdom.  And the Kingdom  of God is ever advancing, invincible and has ultimate power.  God and His kingdom reigns and rules over every aspect of existence:  the components of the universe, the earth,  the natural world and the spiritual realm including angels, Satan and demons.  When Christ died and was resurrected, he was given authority and power over God’s kingdom, which essentially means power over any and everything.  As children of God we are citizens of that great Kingdom.  Yet not just average citizens, but figures of authority because, ” God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places… “(Ephesians 2:6).  In other words, as Reverend Eugene so clearly put it:  we have been established in government with Christ.  Just like any high-ranking citizen in any government seat, we have certain privileges, benefits, rights and jurisdictions in the Kingdom and when we claim jurisdiction for God’s kingdom, the old rules no longer apply.

For example when Columbus or other explorers of old landed on new land and planted the flag for Spain, England or whatever country they represented,  the old rules of that conquered land no longer had application. The new land is now under the jurisdiction of the conquering country.  In the same way when we go representing the kingdom of God and establish jurisdiction, Satan and his demons are limited to and must submit to the laws of God kingdom.  Satan can do nothing without God’s allowance and demonic forces are limited to the rules and regulations of God’s kingdom.  Hence, in this fallen world, cancer wrecks bodies, people are lame and the blind can’t see. But when you walk with the power of God and take authority as a citizen of God’s kingdom those old rules no longer apply.  In the kingdom of God at our command and in our authority through the power of God, the blind see, the lame walk, cancer must die,  demons must flee and miraculous things  take place.  Jesus performed great signs, wonders and astounding miracles here on earth. Yet he tells us that “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing and they will do greater things than these…” (John 14;12, NIV).  Imagine we have the power to do greater things than Jesus did.  Now that’s astounding and maybe even hard to believe. But believe it!   He has given us “authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy…” (Luke 10:19, NKJV)

So beloved, take authority over depression, sickness, debt, anxiety, distractions.  Tear down everything that dares to oppose God’s will for your life.  Arise in God’s power! Arise in  your authority! Arise as the royalty you are and as a child of the Most High!

Because Jesus rose in power on the third day….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise,

stillirise323

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So this next blog represents a period of spiritual and emotional confusion for me.   I really felt uneasy about writing it for many reasons.  One of which is because it shows  me at a very vulnerable place.  Perhaps why the Lord would have me write it is because not only will it help someone else but help to bring complete healing to me in that tiny part where I probably still need it.  Here we go…

So I thought he was “the one.”  You know,  the one God had chosen just for me. Tall, handsome, seemingly honest, gentle, attentive.  He seemed to be a man of good character, hardworking and our purposes could have meshed.  Most importantly–He loved the Lord.  Whereas this was something I really didn’t care about before, as I had recommitted myself to Christ it was an absolute must.  No one is perfect—there were some  minor concerns.  But not anything major that seemed apparent to me. When we like somebody we find a way to explain away anything, won’t we? You know how it is.  Now I am not a person that shares my business with too many people ordinarily.  I wouldn’t even say I have a best friend. I have a few close friends, friends,  many associates–but not a best friend.  Well earthly friend anyway. Depending on the stage of my life I have been in, there are different people I have confided in about different things.  Uncharacteristically, I spoke to  quite a few people about this particular person and our dating situation.  That was probably mistake #1.   Too many opinions and too many voices instead of listening to God’s still small voice.  At one point I didn’t know what to think. Depending on who I spoke with there were basically 3 types of reactions:   there were those who discerned immediately that something was not right based on wisdom or  what they felt in their spirit; there were those who didn’t say much but had a watch and see attitude and  finally  there was the 1 or 2  who thought this person was the one for me.   Long story short, he was not what he presented himself to be.  He was dishonest, deceptive and not someone I would want in my life.  What the bible calls an angel of darkness disguised as an angel of light.  Now  my intention is not to bash or criticize anyone in writing this.  I am not without sin, so I have no business casting any stone. I can only pray for this individual and keep it moving.  But the lessons I learned from this one situation are lifelong and priceless.

You see, because I wanted this relationship to work badly and was trying to force my own plan instead of really taking time to discern what was God’s will, it was a prime opportunity for the devil to come in and cause complete chaos and confusion. Needless to say I didn’t heed the warnings of those who opposed the relationship.  I thought they were being negative. I wanted to hear and see what I wanted to hear and see.    As a matter of fact, once I saw that certain people weren’t on board I confided in them less and talked to those who agreed with me more.  Perhaps if I had listened to them from the beginning as the Lord maybe was warning me through them, I may have avoided some of the headache and heartache I endured.  Secondly, I was relatively young in my walk with Christ so  I naively thought because the friends who agreed with me  had a prophetic gift, that they must be right (this whole thing with prophecy is another topic). That they most certainly must know what they are talking about.  This person had a dream or a vision or this thing was said prophetically in prayer–for me it could only mean they were confirming what is true.    But I Peter 5:8 says “be sober, be vigilant;  because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour”(NKJV).   Now do I think these friends are evil  or maliciously meant to steer me in the wrong direction?  Do I blame them for what happened? Absolutely not.  Now don’t get me wrong–for a while I wrestled with why some of the things that were said to me were said if it seemed God was saying this is not the person.  But, I truly believe that their intentions were pure and they were well meaning in what they shared with me.  Maybe they just wanted to see me happy, are still maturing in their prophetic gifts, who knows.  But I don’t knock them.  These are still very good friends of mine, they are powerful women of God and I have learned from them in many ways.    But you see the enemy can work through anyone–friends, family, husband, employer, me, you–anyone, even unintentionally.  The devil does study us to know our areas of weakness and can play on our desires.  Although I was not actively looking for  someone, maybe in my subconsciously hoping for that life mate to come along, the devil created a situation where there was deception and poor judgement on many levels.  It was my responsibility to seek God first for His instruction, guidance and wisdom on the situation.  No one else.

Secondly, we cannot rely on others to be responsible for us.   In Matthew 26 just prior to Jesus being betrayed by Judas and turned over to the Jews for crucifixion, Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray and took 3 of his close disciples, in other words his close friends with him.  Being distressed he asked them to  “…Stay here and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38, NKJV).  But the bible further goes on to say when he was done praying, “then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? (Matthew 26:40).

When the Lord showed me this scripture, it gave me such clarity.  It spoke 2 things to me.  One was that Jesus had to stay awake for himself.  If Jesus’s disciples who walked with the great Messiah daily and did great things by his power,  couldn’t stay awake for him,  did I really expect my friends to be completely vigilant for me or have all the answers? I am not saying God doesn’t send people to accompany us and help us along the way.  I have some wonderful people in my life–friends, family, spiritual mentors, etc.  But ultimately we have to be intentional and proactive about watching for ourselves and ask God to grant us the grace to decipher the plot and schemes of the enemy in all forms.  Secondly, it just highlighted the fact that Jesus is truly the only person we can completely depend on.  Notice in the scenario above that Jesus was the only person that stayed awake.  It is as true for us today as it was back in Gethsemane.   No one will be as watchful for you or defend you like Jesus:  no friend, no family, no pastor, no mentor.  He will be more vigilant for you than you are for yourself.  He will stay  awake even when you fall asleep.  He will never fail or steer you wrong.

This situation also really emphasized  that in everything, I mean everything I must seek God’s guidance.  Even down to who I should take counsel from and when.   Sure I had heard this before.  Hearing it is one thing, but living it really made it so much more clear.  Not because people are close to you means you are meant to share everything with them.  There are some things that are not meant to be shared with anyone.  Things that should stay between you and God. He wants you to share every detail of your life with Him anyway. He wants to be your best friend.  Now, before I talk to anyone about anything, I try to make it a habit to talk to God first.  He is my best friend.  He is the best counselor and His wisdom is unparalleled.  Next, there are some things that are meant to be shared only at a particular time.  When God instructs you in His perfect timing.   Lastly, God will instruct you on  who to share with.  Interestingly,  one of the friends who initially thought this person was right for me, eventually said that she felt the Lord saying to not discuss this situation any further with anyone, even her herself, unless He leads me!  Apparently the Holy Spirit began to show her something too.  She never asked me about him again except to say maybe he wasn’t the right person and to be sure about what I was feeling.  God is amazing that way. I still didn’t even listen completely to that initially, but eventually I got it.  Eventually we all saw that this person was not true.  The Lord may not have you share something with certain people if they are not equipped, mature or  in the right place spiritually, emotionally, morally, etc. to counsel someone on that particular issue and vice versa.  There may be things that should not be shared with you because you are not quite there yet to advise others on that situation.  We all have areas, myself included where we are lacking and need to grow.  But it is through our trials and difficulties, even self-inflicted, we grow.

I could write probably 10 posts alone in regards to all that I learned through this experience.  If led I will share more another time.  I don’t know who the one is for me and thank God I have reached a place where I really am not concerned.  Although it seems this person is not the one and despite how hurtful it may have been,  through this experience I have strengthened my prayer life, matured spiritually and gained valuable insight and knowledge that I never had before.  My spiritual eyes were opened and I began to recognize when God was speaking and when He was not speaking. I learned to ignore the idle talk and not jump based on emotion.  The bible says “ALL things work together for the good of those who love him…”  This was truly the case for me.

In life you may fall sometimes to ultimately rise higher.  The key is that you must  be determined to get back up again.  I know I am….and yet still I rise….

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

stillirise323

My childhood was a true testament to the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child”.  My village primarily consisted of 5 people I fondly would call “the Committee”.  They consisted of my maternal grandmother, my biological mother, my biological father, as well as my aunt and my uncle who raised me.  No  decision regarding me would go unnoticed or could be made without the conferring, analysis and blessings of the committee.  Needless to say growing up it was a little annoying! Yet honestly,  I would not be where I am today without the love, support and sacrifice of these precious people that have shaped my life.  I am so thankful for how God has used them to help me.  It seems to be a rare thing, but I am further blessed in that I have very solid maternal and paternal extended family networks as well. No family is perfect and every family has their issues, but for the blessing of my family and the unity  among us I am grateful.

Now Jamaican people and Caribbean people in general don’t play when it comes to education.  I came from a typical stern Jamaican household.  Phrases like “your book come first” and ” go study your lessons” were commonly said  to us children.  The type of family where instead of a brand new Atari for your birthday, you might get a shiny Webster’s dictionary.   We were probably  the last on the block to get cable television (and I am not exaggerating)  and it would be a treat before then to just  glimpse cable at a friend’s house.  We had the  kind of house where you would be nervous about singing a song from the radio because you knew undoubtedly something to the effect of “I hope you know your lessons like how you know that song” was soon to be coming your way.  To say education was important is an understatement. Do you know what I’m talking about? Somewhat strict and I would dare so many times over the top. But you knew you were loved, the best was done for you and we  had a safe, joyous, carefree childhood.

So this week a core part of  my family are here visiting.    As always, despite the chaos and confusion that comes with family and large groups, I am elated they are here.  Food, laughter, love, the freedom and joy of just being you, being loved in spite of yourself—these are just some of the blessings of my family to me.  But how many know especially in a family where everyone has not accepted salvation through Christ,  you as the lone Christian,  may make  it easy to become lax and slip into some old ways.  I know I am guilty of that. I have to be cognizant of it constantly.  Now these are the folks who have seen me at my absolute worst.  They have gotten the worst of my temper flare-ups, the sting of my tongue and my impatience.   Have I gotten better?  Absolutely—glory to God.  But there is still pruning and work to be done.  I can admit that there are still some habits that have to be broken and stripped away. I certainly  am a work in progress.

But beyond having fun and spending time with my family, God from beforehand began showing me that this is a time to be a witness to my family; to be a reflection of his glory; to continue to plant and water seeds that will draw them to salvation. It’s not enough just to pray for salvation for our family members  and loved ones.  We have to be a visible billboard of what it is to receive and live salvation in Jesus Christ.   We have to speak Christ, live Christ and literally transform into Christ to draw others to the kingdom. Even when they tap on your nerves or you don’t want to be bothered from time to time.  This never became more clear than when my grandmother took sick late December  2012.  The family was meeting up in Atlanta for the Christmas holiday and the Lord had been talking to me intensely about salvation for my family, something I pray for regularly.   But in particular her.  I knew my grandmother, based on what I understood, knew the Lord and had some relationship with him.  But there was a question as to whether she accepted salvation.  Don’t get me wrong, my grandmother was a great woman.  She was such a giving and selfless person to all. It was primarily from her I saw the importance of serving others.  She never had a chance to complete school or have many opportunities that we so easily take for granted, but she sacrificed tirelessly so that the next generations could progress.  She was constantly helping others, even those outside the family, in need.  Yet I can’t say I grew up seeing her walk closely with the Lord.   I went down for the holidays and in the excitement and bustle, I almost forgot to talk to my grandmother about accepting the Lord as her  savior.  I will never forget that morning in December 2012, the day I was leaving.  I went to greet her as I normally do.  Ordinarily, if she’s in the bed  I will jump in beside her.  That day she was sitting in a chair.  I turned to her and said “May May are you saved”?  She shook her head no.  I asked her if she wanted to accept the Lord Jesus as her personal savior and she said yes!  Now it’s not like I hadn’t talked to my grandmother before about Jesus.  But in the past there was always some resistance and somewhat of a theological debate regarding scripture and what has to be done to be saved.  This time there was no resistance.  I lead her in the prayer of salvation and she accepted Christ.  I got on the plane to fly back to NY a few hours after.  I would not know how monumental that moment was until some time later.  Why?  Because 2 days after that happened my grandmother got sick and was admitted to the hospital. She became severely ill and after a valiant fight, my beloved May May passed 3/14/2013.

When they say God is good all the time it is not just empty rhetoric.  This experience with  May May was just an indisputable example of God’s goodness and mercy.  He knew he was calling my grandmother home soon, but He was merciful to give her the chance to get her soul right with him and gave her the grace to receive eternal life in the kingdom of God.  I am honored he would use me to lead her.  Truly to God be all glory.

So you see, being a witness of Christ is not just spitting out bible verses or always necessarily talking to others all the time about being saved.  Yes directly talking about salvation is important. But every move is significant–every gesture, every action, your tone, your words, your emails, anything you do can be used to reflect God’s glory and draw others to the kingdom.

The great apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 3:6, ” I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”  As servants of God, working to bring people to the Lord you don’t know whether you are planting (putting the initial foundation or idea about Jesus Christ into someone’s heart or mind) or watering (i.e. building on the foundation already laid out by others).  But really it doesn’t matter.   Live like Christ, be that effective example that exemplifies who Jesus is and whether you are planting or watering, God is sure to do His part and draw an abundance of people to His kingdom with your help and efforts.

I would say to you as well as to myself, what good is rising if you are not lifting others with you?   May you continue to rise always.

Peace and blessings,

stillirise323