Our Enemy Is a Spiritual One

TerrorismI’m veering off my usual blogging schedule because this is one of those times I feel compelled to speak out.

As we face the tragedy that took place in Orlando this week, many of us shake our heads at the senselessness of it. We can only imagine the heartache these families are experiencing, and we lift them to the Lord in prayer.

I remind myself that what occurs in the physical realm has a parallel in the spiritual. Omar Mateen isn’t the enemy. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12 NLT).

Those who don’t know Jesus [Read more…]

A Call to Righteous Living

picture of sun shining on a lakeIn light of the recent Supreme Court decision, I am compelled to shout a different message than the ones clogging the airwaves and those of cyberspace.

Let’s look at the story of the adulterous woman told in John 8. When asked about whether this adulterous woman should be stoned, Jesus said in verse 7 that the one who had never sinned should be the one to cast the first stone. Rather than stand in judgment against the sin of others, Jesus told the people to look at themselves and their own guilt before God.

The same message applies to us today. Those of us who call ourselves Christian must stop crying out at the sins of others and turn our gaze upon ourselves.

We must be the example of pure and holy living, not standing in judgment, but sharing the gospel and love of God so that others may be set free from sin.

No one is without sin, not one, (Romans 3:23) and in the eyes of God sin is sin, whether it is murder or sexual immorality or lying.

Most Christians know the story of the adulterous woman, and that no one, including Jesus, condemned her for her sin. But we Christians often fail to apply the rest of the message Jesus gave this woman: “Go and sin no more.”

If Jesus told her not to sin anymore, that means it was possible for her to do just that. My mind reels at that thought. I’m human, after all. But that is an excuse we use to escape our responsibility, as well as a weapon of Satan. If we’re convinced we can’t lead a sinless life, we’ll make little or no effort to do so.

The adulterous woman chose to live in sin. She knew full well what she was doing was wrong. And I believe that’s what Jesus is talking about when he said sin no more. He wants us to choose righteous living, to resist sin and live a pure and holy life.

Leviticus 11:44 NKJV tells us “For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

The believer is called to live a holy life. We can do that only with the power of the Holy Spirit active in our lives. We do not live under the law (the Ten Commandments), but under grace (made pure by accepting the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross). This grace doesn’t mean we can accept God’s gift of salvation and then willingly continue to live a life of sin (see Romans 6).

In the coming days, as we draw nearer to Christ’s return, let us examine our own lives. Does sin abide in us? We may think our heart is pure because we love our spouse and don’t lust after others. Or we don’t lie or cheat or murder. But there is sin that is not so obvious such as worry and doubt, or trusting in money instead of in God.

Yes, I’m human and I sin. When faced with temptation I make the conscious decision to cry out to God for help in resisting, or I choose to give in. When I sin, I repent and ask forgiveness.

Daily I must choose to live a holy life. Within my human nature, I do not possess the power to do so, but through the power of the Holy Spirit residing within me, I can.

When Jesus returns, He is returning for a pure church, a glorious church without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27). Yes, we are saved by grace, not by works. Allow that grace to have its way within you, conforming you to the image Christ.

“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)

Allow God to do a work in your heart. Seek Him today, for today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT). Pray and ask Him to reveal any sin in your life. Then repent, and as David cried out in Psalm 51:10, ask God to create in you a clean heart and to renew a steadfast spirit within you.

(For a more in-depth look at sin and grace, read Romans 6.)

Coming soon to an e-reader near you

It’s done.

I hit the send key last Friday.

After two years of fighting with myself and the manuscript — and spiritual forces of darkness — the revised second edition of my book, titled Carried by Grace, is now with the publisher ready for her to work her layout magic.

Help! My Husband Has Sexually Abused our Daughter: A Devotional Guide for Mothers of Victims was my first book. I knew nothing about the publishing world and did a lot of things wrong in my efforts to find a publisher. No one really wanted to touch the topic, especially from an ignorant newbie author who didn’t have anything else in the works.

So I went the POD publishing route. And marketed the book to Focus on the Family. The book made their approved list, was carried in their online bookstore, and placed on the list for their counselors to send out to those who needed help.

When my publishing contract came up for renewal five years later, I decided not to renew. I had learned a lot about writing in those intervening years and decided to revise the book, make it better. Several times since taking it off the shelves, the counselors at Focus on the Family have asked me when it will be available again. They sent it out regularly to hurting moms facing that situation.

That’s what writing is all about for me — ministering the hope of God to others and offering them encouragement for wherever they are in life.

Many writers have a similar purpose that drives them to write. They’re passionate about helping others, whether it’s through writing nonfiction or fiction.

I want to encourage you.

Keep plugging away at that manuscript.

Learn all you can about the craft and write, write, write.

Be diligent at finding a publisher or to research self-publishing options.

Persevere to reach your dreams as a writer.

I’d like to share a quote from Carried by Grace and reveal the new cover.

Carried by Grace book cover“I sat that August morning in the living room staring out the front window. A few days earlier my daughter had threatened suicide and been admitted to a local psychiatric hospital. My husband sat in jail, arrested for sexually abusing her. My eyes burned from a night of tears and fitful sleep. The rosy hues of sunrise promised a warm Colorado summer day, but as I pulled my knees tightly to my chest I felt swallowed by darkness — like Jonah in the belly of the whale. Grief consumed me and fear of what was ahead nearly paralyzed me.”

How do you hope to minister to the wounds and hurts of others? Share your desires in the comments below.

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