"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." - James 4:7 NKJV
Romans 6:18 says we are free from our slavery to sin, and have become slaves to righteousness. When I read that, I see that I can be a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness, but either way I am a slave, but I tell you what, with the two options before me, it’s really a no-brainer which one I will choose.
James 4:7 tells us that we are firstly to submit to God. That’s easy, especially when we realise that God has an amazing plan for our lives. He loves us and wants to bless us, so in submitting to Him, we are lining our will up with His will. We are allowing Him to be in control.
Next, we are told to resist the devil. John 10:10 tells us that Satan’s plan is to ‘steal, kill and destroy’, but God has given us authority over Him through Jesus Christ and enemy knows that and that he cannot defeat that. That’s why the verse above says we are to resist him. Don’t surrender to him because Jesus already won the battle for us. The enemy has no authority unless we give it to him, so as we stand our ground on the promises of God’s Word and resist him, he doesn’t have a choice. He has to flee.
So, let me encourage you in this, whatever promises in God you are believing for, stand strong today knowing that God is also on your side. Because of Jesus, you are already the winner.
“I declare that the devil has to flee from me because my trust is in the Lord. I will stay close to Him at all times. I will be by His side, and He will be mine…”
“I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”- Psalms 91:2 NKJV
God is our refuge and our fortress. How awesome is that? A place of refuge is a place we can seek shelter for protection when we are in danger and it is a place where to rest and recharge and a fortress is a military stronghold. This speaks of God’s strength and ability to protect us, but there is so much more.
Psalms 46:1 also tells us that God is our “strength” and He is our “ever-present help in trouble”. So often we feel like we are facing things on our own, but we aren’t supposed to. Not only is God our protector, He said He will be with us and He will strengthen us. That means that when we face our struggles, we aren’t along. He is with us and He will face them empowered and equipped in and through Him. Every challenge we face, every struggle we go through, every trial we endure, we do it with Him - never alone. Hebrews 13:5-6
Don’t ever think, “This is too hard”, or “I’ll never get through this”, or anything else that might get you down. God promises to be your shelter, He promises to be your strength, He promised to be with you and and He promises to be your very present help. That means His is always close by and never somewhere far away.
Press into Him today. He is with you every step of the way and He isn’t going anywhere else. You are not alone, so let your response be like that of David, “In Him I will trust.”
“I declare that my protection is from the Lord. He is my shelter; He is my strength and an ever present help in my times of trouble. In Him I will trust…”
"Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing." - Psalms 37:25-26 NLT
David writes this Psalm as an old man and he indicates that he has witnessed time and time again God honour those who live for Him. What an amazing picture he paints — they are never abandoned and their children never beg for bread. Not only that, he sees the evidence of God’s generational blessing on their lives because he says that even their children are a blessing.
It’s easy for us to recognise that we are blessed by God, but what many don’t realise is that the blessing isn’t just supposed to stick with us — we are blessed to be a blessing. Many times throughout the Bible we see verses that speak about this. Here are a couple of examples: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25-26 NIV) “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Corinthians 9:8-11 NLT)
Don’t ever feel that you need to hold onto everything tightly. If you struggle with generosity, ask Father to help you become more like Him. It will require faith and trust as well as obedience on your part, but as you bless others, you will begin to see God’s blessings increase in your life in a way that could only be attributed to Him.
“I declare that my provision comes from the Lord. I have never been forsaken, and my children have never gone without. I am blessed to be a blessing…”
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” - Psalms 18:6 NKJV
I’m sure that you will agree with me that life isn’t always easy. When things are going great for us, it’s easy for us to acknowledge our Father and His blessing on our lives, but sometimes, for all of us, things can be really tough, and it’s important to realise that God always hears us. That’s why I find this verse and others like 2 Samuel 22:7 and Psalms 120:1 to be encouraging as they remind us of that very fact. God hears us!
If we look in verse 2 of the same chapter, we see David declaring, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust.” David has complete confidence in his Father because he remembers the many times throughout his life, where God had already proven Himself faithful.
Did you notice that in this verse it doesn’t say, “In my distress I called upon the Lord and He ignored me,” and it certainly doesn’t say, “He had trouble hearing me”. David actually says, “He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” So, no matter how far away your Father seems to you, know that your cries always find their way to His ears. That’s how important you are to Him.
“I declare that I will continually depend on the Lord no matter what surrounds me. I will call upon the Lord. He will hear my voice and He will answer me…”
“For ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ." - 1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV
Have you ever found that God does things different than you do? Sometimes what seems to be an obvious answer or choice isn’t what He chooses, but that’s because He sees much more that we do, and He is always working for His glory.
A number of years ago, I injured my ankle. I was believing for a miracle, but after an X-ray confirmed it was broken and a cast was fitted, I was forced to concede. At that moment I said, “God, if I have to wear a cast, then I want you to somehow get glory from this.” After four weeks the cast came off and the doctor said he’d never seen something like that heal so quickly. I told him I’d been praying to which he said very little.
One year later I was back at the same doctor’s office for a severe staph infection. What amazed me was that in addition to the treatment plan, he said, “Oh, and you also need to pray because that seems to work for you.” One year later, and God was still able to get glory for something. I suddenly saw a much bigger picture.
We may not immediately see what our Father sees, but as we have the mind of the Anointed One and His anointing, we can better understand and trust that He has all things under control.
“I declare that I have the mind of the Anointed one and His Anointing. I choose to allow my mind to be fuelled by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God…”
“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” - Psalms 27:13 NLT
Read that again: “I am confident that I will see the Lord’s goodness.” This is something we need to settle in our minds. Surrendering our lives totally to God can be a challenge if we don’t know what our Father wants us to do. “What if He wants me to go to a poverty stricken area… or somewhere dangerous… or to give away things that I’ve worked hard my whole life for…?” Well, what if He wants to do something you’ll think is awesome…?
Too often our reservations are based around what we want, but here’s the thing, we don’t own our lives. We were bought with the valuable price of Jesus own blood and if you have accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour, then you have surrendered your life to Him, but that is actually really exciting — God Himself says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jer 29:11 NIV)
He has great plans for you. You can safely trust Him, even with your ‘what if’s’. You don’t need to be afraid of what your Father has for you. Regardless of what He asks you to do, say, be or even where to go, His plans have a purpose for an incredible outcome. You can be assured of your Father’s goodness, so be free and lean into Him. You will be amazed at how incredible the journey will be.
“I declare that my confidence is in Jesus Christ and because my confidence is in Him, I will see the goodness of the Lord…”
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.” - Jeremiah 17:7 NKJV
If we read Isaiah 43:13; 1 John 3:20 and Jeremiah 23:23–24, we see that God is omnipotent which means He is all-powerful; omniscient which means He is all-knowing; and omnipresent which means He is everywhere (or all-present). Being all-powerful, all-knowing and all-present, means our Father has an incredible perspective when it comes to anything about our lives.
When I read the above verse with this in mind, it changes the way I view it, especially when we look at the intended use of the word ‘blessed’ in the original language. It isn’t referring to someone who has been blessed, this verse actually reads, “The man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord is a man who is continually being blessed.” How awesome is that?
I don’t know about you, but I want to live a blessed life continually, and since God is all-present, all-knowing and all-powerful, and He wants to love on me and see me blessed simply because I’m His child, what better thing can I do with my life than trust Him and place my hope in Him? No one else even comes close to being like Him anyway.
“I declare that I am being blessed because my trust is in the Lord, not in what I see. I will not fear because my confidence is in Him…”
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." - Psalms 32:8 NKJV
What a powerful thought - God said He will instruct and teach me. Many people look to coaches, mentors and trainers for advice. They might compare themselves to others, compare their churches to other churches, or wonder what other people would do in a similar situation.
Whilst none of those things are wrong, they shouldn’t be our first response - Our Father should be. Many years ago the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” (W.W.J.D.) became really fashionable. It’s worth us considering that phrase again instead of thinking “What would someone else do?”
God has a good plan and purpose for our lives, and if our desire is to fulfil His plan so we can honour Him, then we are best off going to Him each day for His direction. Many people pay top dollar to be trained or mentored by someone, but our Father will do it for free. He lives in you, He won’t leave you and He’s available for you all day, every day. We just need to develop a listening ear to what He is saying.
So, why not make the decision to start fresh today? Increase your time in His Word and in His presence? There is no greater benefit for your life than to be trained by God Himself.
“I declare that my ear is tuned in to what God is saying. I choose to study His Word; I choose to pray; I choose to spend time with Him. As I am growing in Him, He is growing in me…”
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” - Galatians 2:20 NKJV
Only a few days before Jesus hung on the cross, He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and had people crying out “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!" Then, only a few days later He stood before Pilate hearing people scream out, “Crucify Him!” Finally, the prayer He prayed as He hung on the cross was, “Into your hands I commit my Spirit.”
I don’t think this was just a prayer Jesus prayed before He died. He had it pretty tough in the last days before His crucifixion, but I think Jesus was able to pray that prayer because He knew that God had a plan and He was saying, “Father with all that's going on, with all is about to happen, I still trust You with my life.
I wonder how easily we find it to trust God. When everything around us seems to fail, when people let us down, when things seem to not be working, never give up. God is still there for you. Stand your ground and continue to pray like Jesus, “Father, no matter what I see before me, I’m trusting you to lead me today. Into your hands I commit my Spirit.”
“I declare that faith is the foundation for my life. It is no longer all about me; it is about Christ alive in me. The life I live, I live by faith in Jesus Christ who loved me and gave Himself for me…”
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” - 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” - John 14:16 NKJV
If you’ve ever experienced fear, you know it can be crippling, but did you know that fear is only a twisted form of faith? The enemy can’t come up with anything original - he isn’t a creator.
In Matt 14 when Peter walked on water and began sinking, Jesus did two things we need to notice. Firstly, He caught Peter by the hand. Know that for what your Father has commissioned you to do, He will be there to help you get it done. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, and He is always with us. You will never walk alone!
Secondly, the original language indicates Jesus asked Peter, “In what did you doubt?” When fear raises its head, it is saying, “I need to be noticed because I am powerful!” Our enemy wants us to doubt that our Father is for us because when we doubt something or someone’s ability, they no longer become an option. Well, we serve a God that has the name that is above every name. Let that which you fear be that which you doubt.
So, no matter what you might be afraid of, God is always more powerful. He is the only option you and I will ever need, so don’t give in to fear. Stay calm and stand strong. Your Father is much greater, He is always with you, and He is on your side.
“I declare that fear has no place in me. God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear. He has given me His Holy Spirit. He is my Helper and He lives in me. I therefore have a spirit of power, and of love and of sound mind…”