Here's my friend, Janae, at the Zumbathon we went to.
Yeah, it was for Halloween. People were supposed to dress up.
(I know she's not going to be too happy about the picture, but she owes me from this past Monday. Please... read on!)
In case you don't remember, I took up Zumba. I very much have a love/hate relationship with this latin- inspired dance-fitness... workout... exercise... madness... whatever. I love that I am soaking wet when I leave. BUT, I hate, hate, hate some of the moves!! Some of them, I just refuse to do. I'm so weird! Plus, my hips... they just don't move like that.
Anyway, that's really neither here nor there. I don't want to talk about the ways in which my body will or will not move. Let's just say....it's not pretty. What I do want to do is talk about is how my friend, Janae, has turned an exercise class into a ministry.
She teaches this amazing exercise class. I knew the first time I took the class she was amazing... the best. It was confirmed at that Zumbathon we went to. Hands down... she's the best. Anyway, she always has some worship music somewhere in her selection of songs for the evening. And, when the hour long sweatfest is over, any one who wants can stay and hear someone give a talk about God's word.
Do you remember this summer when Janae was really sick? (She's doing great by the way! BUT, you can still pray that her heart makes a full-recovery, that she gets a definitive diagnosis, that the right treatment plan is prescribed, that she wouldn't need to keep taking steriods and that the doctor's would continue to be amazed by her recovery and God would receive all the glory! Yay God!)
When she was so sick, I felt sorry for her. I hardly knew her but something possessed me to go up to her and volunteer to do the devotion. It didn't seem fair for someone so sick to try to teach an exercise class for a ministry.... and then also prepare and deliver a devotion. Even though I hardly knew her, I sensed her sadness on one occasion when she couldn't hold that part of the class.
I HATE SPEAKING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!! But, if you walk with God, you KNOW when he tells you to do something. He's taught me so much and I knew I could stand up ONE TIME and talk about Him and His amazing Word.
Soooo... that was way back in July when I did what I thought would be the first and only one. Apparently, God or Janae or both have other plans for me. And since I am kind of a sucker for both, I thought I'd share with you the second one I did last Monday. (Nov 4). I won't even tell you that this past Monday morning at 8 am I received an email from Janae asking me if I could have another prepared by 6 pm THAT NIGHT. (Um... this would be #3 ... if your counting. I thought I'd agreed to one??) All of a sudden she thinks I am Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer.
I'm going to have to come up with a speaking fee.
Well, here was the second one:
How to Fight.... God's Way
I always feel an urgency to share with people what I am going to share tonight. So, if you are close to me, I apologize for you having to hear this again. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way and I hope someone else might learn from my mistakes. I also always feel an urgency to share this because in all my years “in church”, I was never really taught how to fight my way through things that had a strong hold on me.
Since I was 19 years old, I have been fighting a battle. That’s half my life. It has not been a physical fight, although, sometimes I wonder if that wouldn’t be easier. Instead, this battle has taken place on the battlefield that is my mind.
Way back in 1990, our family experienced a string of tra and deaths, which for me resulted in anxiety attacks. The attacks acted themselves out with physical symptoms such as a racing heart. This is turn made me so nervous I couldn’t relax. I’d often feel like I was going to have a heart attack or like I was losing my mind. This panic disorder lead eventually to depression and a vicious cycle of one playing off of the other began. Medicine greatly helped but even with the medication, I felt like it was always lurking around the corner trying to rear it’s ugly head. I have never been completely disabled by it, but it has no doubt played a major role in the way I functioned from time to time.
I know that without my relationship with Jesus I would not be standing here today. There would have been no reason to fight through such an awful war. God has been so faithful even when I thought for sure he had fallen off the throne. For the last 19 years and especially the last 6 years, I have been educated in the power of God and His Word through this field trip of my own failure, weakness and bondage.
So, I am going to try to sum up in 5 points what has taken me almost 2 decades to learn.
Think About it and Power Verses:
1. It’s important to understand that we are all in battle. Ephesians 6:12 says, “ For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This battle is not one we can see but that doesn’t make it any less real. In fact, not seeing it, makes it even worse.
2. In the battles we fight, Satan’s main line of offense comes by setting up strongholds. A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, “pretending” to be bigger or more powerful than our God. It steals much of our focus and causes us to feel overpowered. Controlled. Mastered. Whether the stronghold is an addiction, unforgiveness toward a person who has hurt us, or despair over a loss, it is something that consumes so much of our emotional and mental energy that abundant life is strangled- our callings remain largely unfulfilled and our believing lives are virtually ineffective. Exactly what Satan wants.
3. We are instructed to fight these battles and we have only been given two weapons. One is a sword, Ephesians 6:17 “.........the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Then the next verse, verse 18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Our two weapons are prayer and the Word of God.
4. We have to use our weapons. . The most common way today that a modern “fortress” is demolished is by strategically placing dynamite in the building and then detonating it. Imagine the demolition crew showing up at the building with sticks and stones. They could holler at that building with all their might and throw sticks and stones until they fainted from exhaustion and it would still be standing. No one would doubt they had tried, They simply had the wrong tools. What they needed was dynamite. You and I are about as effective as the crew with loud mouths, sticks and stones when we try to break down our strongholds with carnal weapons like pure determination, secular psychology, and denial. A stronghold has to be demolished. God has handed us two sticks of dynamite: prayer and The Word. What is more powerful than two sticks of dynamite placed in separate locations? Two strapped together. We need to take our two sticks of dynamite- prayer and the Word- strap them together and ignite them with faith in what God says he can do. In other words, I believe we have to find scripture about whatever we are dealing with and pray that scripture over our lives.
5. I think the scripture needs to be confessed out loud. The enemy can’t read our thoughts. Besides, Jesus fought Satan in the wilderness by quoting scripture when he was being tempted. What makes us think we can silently pray a quick prayer in our minds and defeat the enemy. Here are some verses that I believe reinforces speaking aloud. Rev 2:16. “...I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword...” Psalm 103:20, “Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word.”
Speak God’s word over your problem areas. Scripture should be applied like medication. If we are bleeding, we don’t run and take an aspirin. We apply pressure and bandage the wound. Scripture is to be used the same way. I use two books that lists scripture for things like anger, anxiety, control, forgiveness, insecurity, power, prayer, trust, wisdom and worship. These two books are the very things God has used in setting me free... albeit one link at a time.
Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore
The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word by Joyce Meyer
You can’t defeat Goliath with your mouth shut. I Samuel 17:42-48 tells us that when David was preparing to do battle with the giant Goliath, he ran toward him confessing out loud what he believed the end result of the battle would be.
Then said David to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the ranks of Israel, Whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will smite you and cut off your head. And I will give the corpses of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
David’s example shows us how we should approach the enemies we face in our own lives. We must open our mouth and speak the word of God.
God, I pray for each person who reads this blog. I pray that you would show each them how powerful, alive and active your word is. I ask that you teach us how to use your word to fight whatever Goliath we are facing in our own lives. Thank you for giving us your word- because only your word has the power to transform lives. May this week bring some kind of transformation for every person because we have applied your word.
Thank you Lord! In the life-changing power of your name, AMEN!!