Category Archives: The Enemy

getting rid of the huisache

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Huisache (wee – sach) ~a native plant in Texas.  In the spring, it puts forth beautiful yellow flowers and when you look at the shrub it has nice green foliage, inviting to deer and birds.  One small problem, huisache will take over your land if not maintained and kept under control.  It seems that the more you try to mow it down or cut it down, the more it seems to spread. So in other words, the more you try to physically disturb it, the more it grows.   The problem is you have to get down into the plant’s root system.  Something we’ve learned about controlling the huisache at CHR is we have to be intentional in the fight. We fight the root of the problem by spraying the stems and leaves of each plant with a very strong and powerful herbicide and let it do its work.  Then he can come in and pull out the dead plant, root and all.

Seeing my husband working our land, reminds me of how God works in us. As “pleasing” as the huisache can look from a distance, once you get up close you see the thorns and you learn how it will methodically overtake your land.  Sounds just like the Enemy.  He made rebellion against God—which is the root of all sin—seem very attractive.

So just like with the huisache, I have to fight the lies, the doubts, the deception the Enemy whispers to me, desiring me to turn my eyes away from my Father.  I have to be intentional day by day, moment by moment.   I must keep my focus on knowing the Lord and believing in His promises.  Then, and only then, will I be ready and equipped to fight the battle against the one who wants me to turn away from God.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV


living in the dusk

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Ephesians 5:6-14

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch a sunset.  Watching as the bright of day closes and darkness is waiting on the peripheral . . . waiting to snuff out the light.  Dusk, that moment in time of partial darkness between day and night. 

It’s a moment in time I want to briefly stop and appreciate His handiwork in the sky, but dusk is not a place I want to live in, but it seems to be a place I can wander in.  It’s not that place of Light, and it’s not that place of Dark.  

Dusk, where the shadows provide
                places to hide.
to escape.
                to avoid.
to divide.
                to decay.

Dusk is that place where the empty words of my enemy wants to woo me back into Darkness.

Words that want to come back to haunt me.

You are not loved.  You are not valued.
You are not worthy.  You are not pleasing.
You can’t do anything right.   Guilty.
 

Those are empty words, fruitless works of darkness.  E.M.P.T.Y.

I have to take those things of the darkness and expose them to the Light.  His Light.  Jesus changes who I am.

My life in the Light is full.

My life in the darkness is empty.

Living in the dusk is simply waiting for the darkness to come.  It will steal the Light away.

Are you living in dusk?

 

 


stay alert

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“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)

It happens when I least expect it.

The room is filled with smiles and laughter as friends come together. Each one brings uniqueness to the mix. Lively chatter is flowing around. Yet, there’s something unsure looming in the air. And then it happens.

Or maybe it is a smaller gathering, just a few people around. Someone says something that strikes a chord, uses a similar tone, or a personality quirk continually surfaces. And then it happens.

Or maybe it’s in a personal conversation. A friend or a loved one is sharing a hurtful experience, asking for wise counsel. And then it happens.

What happened . . . ?

Minutes before, my heart was full of joy, and then I seem to be swallowed up by a torrent of hurt, painful reminders, a raging sea of confused emotions. Sometimes anger seems to well up and simmer inside me.  And when I see this happening in my life, I ask, how do these things happen to me?

So I pray.

On the surface, I’m sure these thoughts seem silly to others, and yes, at times, even ridiculous to me. I ask, am I allowing these outside coincidences to inflict such emotion in me?

And so I pray. I pray and I wait. I go to the One who knows my heart. I go to One who knows me better than I know myself.

In that place, I am reminded there is someone else who waits. Someone else lying in wait, hiding around the corner, prowling around looking for those places in my heart where there has been hurt and rejection. My great enemy, the devil, is waiting. Waiting for the chance to swoop in and hijack my emotions. He is looking for any opportunity to trip me up, to cause me to stumble, to fall back into the emotional wreck of the past.

The enemy scouts around like a roaring lion, prowling, looking for the perfect opportunity

  • To resurface hurts caused by another through the personality of someone who crosses my path.
  • To remind me of past mistakes.
  • To rub me wrong causing division or discontent.

holding back nothing to get into my mind and my heart.

So I pray to be alert, asking for supernatural protection of those places when I see those red flags, detection of the enemy.

Alert. I can only be alert when I daily pour myself into the Truth that I am loved and adored and pursued by The One who loves me. I must trust Him to be the cushion, to be the distance, to be His Perfect Love in my heart.

So when the enemy comes with rejection or hurts or disappointments {which I know are going to come}, my heart and my mind will be less vulnerable to the sea of offense.

 


renewing

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The other day while thumbing through some notes found in the Bible I had used for many years, I ran across these words that had been shared in a past study.  I had to smile because of the coincidence of the content and my *2014 word* RENEW —— Coincidence?  Ummm…. no, I don’t think so!

Renewing the mind is a little like refinishing furniture. It is a two-stage process. It involves taking off the old and replacing it with the new. The old is the lies you have learned to tell or were taught by those around you; it is the attitudes and ideas that have become a part of your thinking but do not reflect reality. The new is the truth. To renew your mind is to involve yourself in the process of allowing God to bring to the surface the lies you have mistakenly accepted and replace them with truth. To the degree that you do this, your behavior will be transformed.  (source unknown)

Growing up with parents who enjoyed antique shopping and a grandmother who had her own little shop, I spent quite a bit of time being my dad’s “helper” when it came time to refinish many of the furniture finds.  Some of the pieces were unbelievably ugly, and often I would think “there’s no way this piece is going to ever find its way into our home.”  But as my dad would painstakingly strip away the layers upon layers of paint, the beautiful original wood would be exposed.  After all the steps of the taking away the old were complete, the process of replacing it with a new finish would result in a total transformation of the piece.

So stumbling across the words I had written down years ago, the message was clear.  The transformation that I desire is not just a switch of one behavior to another, but it is a process.  And just like refinishing furniture, it’s tedious and messy work.  It’s not a one-time exercise, but it is one that I need to do daily. This renewal must come not only from the outside in, but more importantly from the inside out.

What does this look like?  For me, the old are the lies that I have allowed the enemy to whisper into me; it’s the walls that I had built up over the years to protect myself; it’s the healing of hurts and scars.  The new is daily asking the Spirit to show me the things I have hidden deep in the recesses of my mind and heart.  To show me, to break my heart and my mind of anything that blinds me, no matter how much it may still hurt, from His Truth.  

The great Exchange – new for the old.

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HIS voice

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Which voice are you listening to?


but you don’t know my story . . .

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The old hymn sings . . . “Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that is greater than all my sin.”

The preacher says . . . “When you’re forgiven by Christ, you are forgiven – fully, freely, finally, and forever.”

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.
Ephesians 2:8

But the past, the old flesh in me says, “But you don’t know my story… you don’t know my secret.”

Guilt.  Guilt, those lies the Deceiver craftily spreads throughout my mind and into my heart, he whispers in my ear.

Truth.  Christ knows my story.  Yes, every little detail – even the parts that I don’t want known.  He knows the secrets I hide in the dark places.  He knows because He created me.  He knows because He designed me and He knows every bent of my very being.

On the Cross, He knowingly took my sins – those known and those secret – and He made my sins no match for His Grace.  And the Cross shows how deep my sin goes, how impossible my circumstance is apart from His sacrifice for me.  The shame, the pain, the ridicule, the disrespect, the hurt He endured . . . the very things my own sins have caused myself and others. His Grace took what I so deserve.

There is nothing on my own, absolutely nothing, I can do to save myself, to earn God’s approval, to get myself out of any pit of destruction – known or secret – I’ve chosen to put myself in.  N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
Nothing but accept His gift of Grace and Mercy!

His Grace far outstrips anything I’ve done.  

He knows my story, secrets and all . . . and He forgives me.

I am Forgiven.  Fully.  Freely.  Finally.  Forever.


mouse trap

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Growing up, one of my favorite games to play with the cousins and friends was Mouse Trap.  Definitely a classic board game.  Building the elaborate Rube Goldberg’s like mousetrap was only half the fun . . . the other half was laying in wait, hoping to turn the crank trapping all the other players in the cage.

We were going through some old games the other day and discovered Mouse Trap hidden at the back of the cabinet. Taking all the pieces out of the pretty beat up box reminded me how much I had enjoyed that game not only growing up, but also playing it with my own kids.  But what really struck me was thinking how much this “kids” game is just like the “traps” we face in life.

Satan delights in taking something good, twisting and turning it in our minds and hearts, directing our focus on to something we want.

Something we want so badly that we elevate “it” above God.  We get so wrapped up in what we think is something we need, something we think we just have to have, right now – no matter what.  Our focus is sidetrack, going after the bait that’s been carefully placed, enticing us – laid out right there in front of our eyes.  We forget the many wonderful things our Creator, our Abba Father has so lovingly given us.  Once our eyes and heart become transfixed on satisfying our desire, Satan steps right in ready to meet that craving with what he wants us to have.  It’s never anything that is good for us. Never.

The cage is coming down on us, ultimately drawing us away from God.

Just like any good stalker, the enemy has been watching us carefully.  Watching.  Waiting.
Looking for those weaknesses, those times when we will say yes to his bait. He studies our emotions, looking for any vulnerability – loneliness, hurt feelings, fatigue, dissatisfaction, uncertainty . . .  anything to get our minds distracted away from time with our Father.   We get so caught up in the twists and turns, the enemy’s bait pulls us in, urging us to take the bait right now.

Doubt sets in.  His best scheme.

“Did God really say . . . ?”  – Satan wants us to question The Truth.

“Are you really saved?”Satan wants us to question our salvation.

We even begin to rethink God’s Word to justify our choices, to justify our sin.

But I don’t have to play Satan’s game.  He may be laying in wait, setting up a trap but I’m not helpless against his schemes.  I have an Abba Father who protects me, a Savior who intercedes for me, and the Spirit whose got my back and my front and my sides.

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. ~ James 4:7

 


the palms of His hands

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What a great reminder this quote was the other day when I ran across it.  This summer I was blessed to be part of a women’s Bible study time focusing on True Identity – knowing who I am in Christ.

And knowing the more I agree with God about my identity, the more my life will reflect Him.  The more I wholeheartedly live in my True Identity, the less opportunity I give the enemy to steal my Identity away from me.  

So when the accuser whispers out the lies he crafts to deceive my heart~

You’re not good enough, you’re not loved, you’re not respected, you have no real purpose

Just look at them – their life is much more exciting, they have more than you, they’re so much better than you.

Really. . . you can’t compete with her!   You’re not pretty enough, or skinny enough, or talented enough, or smart enough .

And you call yourself spiritual? – God doesn’t care about you.

You’re a bad mother, a lacking wife, a disappointment – you have no legacy. 

Remember that time you ______ (fill in the blank with any sin).  You think He’d forgive you for that??? You’ll never change. 

. . .  and as you know with lies, there is truth mixed in with the deceit.

I don’t have to live in that place of failure, of defeat, of deceit.  Because I was worth dying for!  And His word tells us that there is now therefore no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

My Abba Father calls my name, Daughter.  I am love unconditionally, and I am redeemed by His blood, and am no longer a failure.

The Truth is found in the palms of the One who died for me.

The Truth lives in my heart.  And my life is in the palms of His Hands.

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See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
Isaiah 49:16 


for chains to fall

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He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away the chains.
Psalm 107:14

I’m learning much about silence in prayer during this season.  But even in the silence I can find the comfort, the peace this mother’s heart needs, I find it daily in His Word.  The wordless responses are met with His Promises.

For all the children . . .

I pray for Grace to be made real in their lives.

I pray for the sweet calling of the Holy Spirit to be met with openness.

I pray for the look in the mirror to be met with fearless honesty with the Creator, the one they’ve called Abba Father.

I pray even when they feel lost to themselves, even when they question, that they are never lost to Him who died for them. 

AND

I pray for chains to fall as . . .

 one of them is struggling, coming to terms with the hard parts of his story.

You’ve broken the chains of many, Lord.

My son has chains too.  Not chains made of iron but from the sins he forged on his own free will, thinking this is a freedom, an identity, maybe an escape.  But these chains are entangling, not liberating, because they have taken him away from You.

The Word says, “The Lord sets the prisoners free.

How we want so much to hear the sounds of the chains falling, never to be picked up and put on again.

How much we so want to hear him say how You have done great things for him and set his heart free.

How much we want him to recognize his conforming to the world is the worst kind of slavery.

We don’t know the reasons Lord.  We don’t fully know the challenges he faces, only in part.  But we do know that You know all of them.  We ask that the chains be broken link by link by link, so he can turn again to You.  And the things that have captivated him will lose their lure and he will understand they are the tools, the schemes of the enemy.

You’ve broken the chains of many.  Break his.


the contender

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For look! The wicked bend their bow,
They make ready their arrow on the string,
That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.
Psalm 11:2

Contend –  strives in opposition or against difficulties;  to struggle against;  to wrestle, grapple, battle against a foe.

~Praying this today on my son’s birthday . . . 

Lord, my family has been contended with.
The enemy has assaulted my family fiercely and taken the son we love
 captive to do his will .
He has sent his fierce warriors to plunder my home and our hopes for my son, but the enemy will not succeed.
He has tried to steal that which belongs to you and he thinks he has won.
Lord, you created this son, and at his birth I gave him to You.
Go after the enemy, Abba FatherContend with those who contend with us!
Take back what is Yours!
You told your people once, “Your children I will save.”
Save my son, Father!
I pray that he will come to his senses and escape from the trap of the devil.
Wake him up in the enemy’s camp and provide a way out.
Unlock the chains on his hands and his feet and his heart, and let him run to you!
Your Word tells me that you will pursue your foes into darkness and whatever they plot against the LORD, You will bring to an end.
I’m counting on that Father.  I’m counting on You!
I ask you to bring back my son and all that has been stolen from us.
Strike down the enemy and bring this matter to a firm and final end.
I can see my son returning to You, held up by your strong arms, a captive set free from sin.
May he be among those who listen to your Voice and follow You.
You give us eternal life and no one can snatch us out of your Hand.
I pray my son will be brought into the safety of your Love.
The wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows straight against the strings to shoot from the shadows.
But I take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
You give us the victory through your Son, Jesus Christ.
Let that victory come to our son today!

But this is what the Lord say, ‘Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.’ ~ Isaiah 49:25

taken from Prayers for the Prodigal


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