Invest in Your Spiritual Bank

“I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart, to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.”  Jeremiah 17:10

“And you, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love. For you repay men for what they do.”  Psalm 62:12

Greetings much-loved child of the Living God!

You know the person.  You know the situation.  You probably have even been conditioned to dread certain interactions because they seem to never fail to be able to ‘push your buttons’ and elicit a response you always end up regretting.  That behavior my friend, by the power of the Spirit of the Living God, needs to be extinguished.  One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control and yielding to the Spirit will be the tool we need to cultivate this fruit.  The choice is to either have the fruit of anger, bitterness, rage, and the like or we can produce the fruit of self-control. Which would you rather continually harvest?

Here is what I would like you to consider.  When in a situation you know historically can either elicit an undesired response or draw something out of you that seemingly comes ‘out of nowhere’, pause and make the decision to choose a different reaction.  Ultimately it IS your choosing.  Look at your situation or at the person and mentally make a concrete decision to not react the way you have allowed yourself to do in the past.  Your ‘buttons may be pushed’ but you get to choose what will come forth.  Mentally cut the wire that connects that ‘button’ with your undesired emotion.  You are not a rat running a maze in a science experiment that is bound to their stimulus/response environment.  You are a child of the Living God and infused with HIS Spirit of power and of a sound mind!  Choose to rely on the Lord and mentally take that typical flesh response and put it in your spiritual bank instead.

We can receive rewards here on earth or we can receive eternal rewards.  Earthly rewards are always fleeting.  Eternal rewards are just that…ETERNAL.  They will forever be with you.  Amen!  Which would you rather have the fleeting or the eternal?  It is extremely difficult to yield our thoughts to the Spirit when we live in a world that does not value waiting but instead attempts to train us to ‘have it now!’.  Therefore, we must tell ourselves to take a stand for eternal things.

If you take how your flesh would desire to react and allow that reaction to instead be ‘deposited’ in your spiritual bank, God is faithful to ‘grow’ those deposits by growing you. We get double dividends!  We get spiritual growth for empowered living under the sun and we also get an eternal reward!  Be bold and take it to your Spiritual Bank!  The FDIC insures our worldly banking interest the best they can but it is inferior to the way God backs his people’s ‘deposits’.   Your spiritual bank is insured by the power that sustains the universe!  This is what you can truly trust in!  Did you know that God considers you “His inheritance” (Ephesians 1:18)?  It is beyond our imaginations!  He grows and accrues our fleshly ‘deposits’ into a rich inheritance in the saints.  God takes our deposits that are broken, lacking, and ugly and spends time with these investments turning them into perfect beauty.  Now that is a spiritual bank worth investing in.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Smoke Screens

“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”           Ephesians 6:12

Greetings fellow sojourner loved by the Most High God!

Since Satan is deceptive and most likely savors it when we mistakingly turn our authentic spiritual battles (dare I say ‘outwards’?) towards flesh and blood.  He creates deception by creating a smoke screen to confuse us regarding the authentic reason why our situations are occurring.

According to the US Department of Defense, a smoke screen is “a cloud of smoke used to conceal ground maneuver, obstacle breaching, recovery operations, and amphibious assault operations as well as key assembly areas, supply routes, and logistic facilities.”  It is a ruse designed to disguise someone’s real intentions or activities.

This definition also interestingly describes many tactics our enemy employs in his spiritual warfare. Slowly read through the above definition again and try to picture how he would use these methods to create a smoke screen for you.   (I could see all of them except the amphibious one.  But I suppose it is possible! 🙂 )  Can you imagine since he desires to conceal his maneuvers from your line of sight he could also vary the denseness of the smoke screen?   Satan is incredibly adept at employing the smoke screen of deceit, hoping for our destruction.  Sometimes his smoke screen is not so obvious but seems to be more of a general haze meant to cause us to question ourselves or be confused.  Sweet things, if you find yourself repeatedly confused about a situation your first thought ought to be “Is this a spiritual warfare issue?”  Know that Satan’s smoke screens are always intended to confuse you, belittle you, minimize you, and conceal God’s truth.  KNOW the tactics of your adversary.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth dissipated Satan’s smoke screen with the Word when Satan tried to twist the truth of God (Luke 4:1-13).  Allow the Spirit of truth to guide you (John 16:13), and the truth of the word to sanctify you (John 17:17) in order to dissipate Satan’s smoke screens.

We are deceived if we think our real battle is maintaining ourselves, our status quo, or manipulating situations in order to achieve OUR desired outcome.  It is only a smoke screen.  If we think it is an impossible relationship we are battling when really it is our lack of forgiveness, pride, jealousy, or sloppy appraisal of self-worth, it is only a smoke screen created by the enemy to confuse us.  Clarity comes when we maintain a tenacity towards trusting Jesus as well as maintaining an unrelenting faithfulness in Him.

Are there any smoke screens in your life you have been putting up with far too long?  Allow the brilliant Light of God to break through the smoke screen of lies that seep up through the pit of hell and tolerate it no longer.

In His grace,

Amanda

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THE Mission is Christ

“For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ — which is far better — but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  Philippians 1:21-27

We are immensely blessed to have the Word of God at our fingertips!!!  It is not merely a book filled with insightful thoughts and experiences but The Word of God!  Words He watches over….Words He fulfills because He sent them out to be fruitful…Words of promise.

Unpacking this portion of Philippians, I see powerful truths!  If we are living on this earth, THE mission is that we LIVE for Christ.  The mission is not a career, a life of being entertained, a life of leisure, a marriage, or raising children, even though these things have a benefit they are not THE mission.

Did you know just as He sent out His Word to be fruitful He also sends out you and I to be fruitful?  Therefore, as we live in this sublunary world, as we crucify the flesh and yield to the Spirit, we should expect to be fruitful.  This implies that in order to be fruitful we must be doing good works.  Luke 8:15 says, “The seed in the good ground ~ these are the ones who, having heard the words with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.”  Are you holding on to the Word and enduring in your trials expecting to bear fruit in and through them?  “Genuine believers continue in the faith and good works throughout their lives.  The bearing of fruit (continuing in the faith and good works) is also the evidence of genuine belief named in John 15:5-6, where Jesus said only the branch that bears fruit is saved.” (Holman Study Bible)

Paul said departing and being with Christ is considered by our spirits to be far better but remaining in the vessel of flesh is more necessary for those around us.  Do you find this to be true in your life?  Is your presence a spiritual benefit to those around you?  If this is not the case, there is no condemnation, however, we are called to be a spiritual benefit to those around us so let’s make an effort to do this.  Let’s remember Luke 8:16.  “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, (in other words hides it) but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in (anyone coming to your house or coming around you) may see its light.”  Amen!  Be a spiritual blessing to others!  This DOES NOT need to resemble how everyone else does it.  You are unique ~ follow the guidance of how the Spirit of God leads YOU.

Paul also exhorts us in verse 27-28 to stand firm in one spirit (Spirit of GOD), with one mind (not individual minds but the mind of Christ), working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel (increasing your faith comes from hearing the gospel), not being frightened in any way by your opponents.  This is a sign of destruction for them but of your deliverance – this is from God. We should give no one the authority to allow us to not be fruitful or to not be a spiritual blessing to others.

While you still have strength in your bones, LIVE for the Lord.  We know from those who have gone before us, there will come a time when we will not have the strength we have now.  Stop waiting for the perfect day.  This is the day the Lord has given,  therefore there is no need to continue waiting for something else.

Just one more thing DIVAs:  Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

In His grace alone,

Amanda

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Eyes Fixed…On Jesus

Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.   Hebrews 12:1b-2a

Have you ever inescapably had to drive in such an extraordinary storm that it completely overwhelmed your senses?   Possibly making you feel as if your best chance of remaining on the road and making it out in one piece would be based solely on your ability to keep your eyes firmly fixed on the car’s tail lights in front of you?  Your eyes did not dare dart either to the left or to the right.  It was a must to keep your eyes fixed on the guiding lights ahead of you at all times because the downpour was so intense there was no room for error?  As thunder and lightning raged around you and the wind threateningly blew, you had to continually remind yourself to keep your eyes fixed ahead.  It took endurance.  Let’s not imagine the ‘race’ we run in this earth suit will be any different.  If you are a child of God then your true home is not in this world but nonetheless, you are meant to leave an indelible mark.  The definition of endurance is the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina.  Let’s ask for and expect to receive an endurance infusion from the Holy Spirit of the Most High God to face our trials ahead.

We must maintain focus and continue looking forward, as this is what will keep us progressing along the path God has intentionally laid before our feet.  Sometimes the tempest can be so unrelentingly fierce that you can observe nothing else but the light of someone else that has gone before you and is now right ahead of you.  You might even wonder if you did not have the guiding lights in front of you how would you be able to proceed any further?   Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the true Light and not only that but HE has lite a light in you so that others will be drawn to your assistance in their storm.  Thank you Lord!  Shine bright DIVAs and expect to be used of the Darling of Heaven to assist the brethren!

You might be familiar with the Blue Angels; the United States Navy’s flying aerobatic squadron.  The highest speed flown during one of their air shows is 700 mph (just under Mach 1)!  These pilots are extremely prepared for what they do and are seasoned pilots.  While flying their maneuvers, they are trained to follow the ‘leader’ no matter what.  While in uniform, the squadron members must follow the lead of the “Boss” (Flight Leader) — to the extent that if he’s not wearing sunglasses, they must do the same (from Foxtrot Alpha interview).   In 1982, a Thunderbird (similar flying aerobatic group) team slammed into the ground due to a jammed stabilizer on the lead jet. The other pilots, in accordance with their training, did not break formation.  The leader flew into the ground and the others, keeping their eyes fixed on their leader, did the same thing.

Our situation ought to be similar…except that our ‘leader’ is never mistaken, confused, or has faulty systems.  We can be completely assured that when we follow Him wherever He leads us, we can know without a doubt there is a purpose and we will arrive at our destination precisely the way He intends for us to arrive.  Just as Paul stated He knew Jesus would bring him safely into His heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18) you can know if you keep your beautifully created eyes fixed on the Darling on Heaven He will do the same for you.  The Absolute Same.  If created beings can remarkably follow another created being how much more should we unconditionally keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and faithfully follow Him?  In double measure, that’s how much more!!

We must know that as we travel the road before us that we are we certain to face many extraordinary storms!   We were told to keep our eyes focused on Jesus because the Spirit knew there would be times when we would be faced with the choice to 1) figure it out on our own and/or 2) veer off in a different direction.    If we keep our eyes “fixed” (not readily movable; firmly planted; stationary; rigid) on Jesus we can be at peace knowing our LEADER, who is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, will guide us safely down the road of this life and onward to the road that leads to eternity.  Know that in Christ you are anointed with sustaining endurance and ability to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  Amen and Amen.  Who can you encourage today?

In His grace,

Amanda

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