By Author Emerald Barnes
(All Bible verses are in the NKJV copied from www.biblegateway.com.)
The greatest lie Satan tells is “what if…?”
What if this? What if that? What if? What if? What if?
And he’s persistent with it too. That thought gets stuck in your brain, causing it to be the only thought you dwell on. And why does he do that? To get you out of the Word.
I’m speaking from experience, but my experience also has OCD in it. I won’t go into more details here, but I recently spoke up about my experience with OCD and fear in my life on my personal blog.
Still, between Satan and the OCD, my life has been a constant fear/worry/anxiety-filled battle field, especially for the past year. And Satan knows what he’s doing. He’s really good at reconnaissance. He knows exactly how to hit and what to hit us with. He knows exactly what will bring us to tears and hold us back.
Satan is always out looking for some way to devour you, and when he finds that way in, he’s very adamant about it. He will do anything to keep you in a place where you can’t grow, a place that will keep you away from pursuing God’s will for your life. Like in my case, it was to keep me inside, away from the people I have the potential of reaching for Christ.
We all have a purpose, and Satan knows that. He knows that God has created us for greatness, and Satan doesn’t want us to achieve that greatness. Simply because once we step into what God has for us, we know that we have authority, and when we realize the kind of authority we have, there is nothing the enemy can do to stop us. We become unstoppable when we realize who we are in Christ, so Satan will do everything in his power to keep us out of the Word and out of faith so we will never discover who we are in Christ and accomplish what God has in store for us.
Yet, when the enemy comes against us, the best thing we can do is use the Word against him. Quote scripture to him; praise God; and use your words, the words that God has used. Your authority comes from the Gospel—the good news, the truth, and it's our job to stay in the Word, to study it and know what God has said about us. It's time to discover who you are and get out of the doubts, the what-ifs that Satan holds us back with.
Whatever your "what if" is, don't let it define you. As Kenneth Copeland says, "Don't let the devil see you sweat!" Today, take that lie of "what if..." and counter it with the truth, what the word says.
What if I'm never healed? The Bible says that it is God's will that we ARE healed.
What if I die alone? The Bible says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother; that He will never leave us or forsake us.
What if sicknesses and diseases come against me and my family? Psalm 91 says that no sickness or calamity will come near our dwellings!
There is always an answer in the Word. Take Satan's lies and tell him God's truths. The truth will always set you free.
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." - John 8:26
By Author Emerald Barnes
Transparency has never really been my thing, but there is something cathartic about being honest—at least in writing and not face to face with another human being.
I've been dealing with some things lately, mostly fear, and I hate admitting that. I know there is no reason to fear anything, but I can't help it. It feels like Satan's voice is extremely loud and annoying, and it's all I can hear lately. It was never my intention to get into this state of mind. It just happened. And the longer it happened, the louder this voice became. And this voice began to choke out the Word. It had gotten to the point where I couldn't believe anything. That I was worried and fearful of just about everything.
That's the thing about fear. Eventually, it becomes louder and louder, more obnoxious, more determined to keep you in this constant state of anxiety, to the point where you can't do anything. And that's the point. Satan wants to keep us in this place of constant fear so that we'll forget all that God has told us and all that God wants us to do. If Satan could keep us in our house, away from souls we could potentially win for the Kingdom, then he's doing his job. But it's our job to stop him.
First, we have to know that we have all the power here, not Satan. Oh, he likes for us to think he has the power, but Luke 10:19 (AMPC) says, "Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you."
God has given us all the authority and power to take care of the enemy ourselves. And, He clearly says that NOTHING will harm us. No matter what lies Satan is telling us, God assures us that we won't be hurt in ANY WAY. How amazing is that?
Second, we have to remember that Satan is the father of all lies (John 8:44). There isn't anything he can do but lie to you, so when these overwhelming and overpowering thoughts come to you, those thoughts that are on repeat and keep you anxious and in fear? Yeah, those are from the father of lies. He only wants you thinking his thoughts, not God's. And when this happens, it's important to remember God's words. That's why it's so important to stay in the Word.
And that brings me to the last and probably most important point. Stay in the Word. If you start repeating and believing what the Bible says about you, then you can defeat Satan and his minions easier. Believing what God says about you is so much more important than believing these lies that Satan wants you to think. It's a simple statement, yes, but sometimes, we forget that. We start believing what Satan says and we let him choke out the truth. That's why we have to read and remember the Word. We want the Word coming out instead of Satan's negative thinking. Our words, God's words, will win the battle, though the war has already been won. We don't have to do this alone.
Speaking to you about fear is something that scares me because it opens up what I've been dealing with, but you know what, I'm done. I'm tired of fighting Satan when God has already won this war for me. And it can be that way for you, too. Today, let's not fear or worry about what Satan is saying and start remembering what God is saying to us. "Fear not, child." What can anyone do to us? God is our protector. He is our Savior. He is our Father. He won't let anything harm you.
Today, if you're struggling with fear, doubts, worries or anxieties, I have a prayer of protection for you. It's something that is prophetic and you can take to heart. It's Psalm 91 but rewritten as a prayer via Kenneth Copeland. Pray this over yourself and your family daily. It really does make a difference when you're ready to face Satan and tell him to leave you and your family alone. It really helps when you're fearful and anxious. And it's proof that God will not let any harm come to us! Start believing this today!
By: Lynn Morgan
We've all heard the prodigal son story many times and from different points of view. Something that I've been seeing here as of late that I haven't before has been stirring me to see more. It always amazes me how God can reveal more on something we think we've got a handle on. It's so true though. There's just no end to His truth.
What I've started to see is about the relationship the prodigal son had with his father. He was one of two sons. Upon the son's request, the father divided all that was to be his, and not many days later, the son packs it all up and leaves. Now Jesus precedes the prodigal son story with teaching about repentance, and we know that this comes into play after the prodigal loses everything. Verse 17 of Luke 15 says, "And he came to himself..." Jesus paints a picture like only The Master can of the heart of our Heavenly Father.
This man's son reduced his relationship with his father down to only goods, stuff, monetary possessions that were marketable in this world system. Can you imagine the pain the realization that although you love this child more than your next breath, he considers you and your feelings as nothing caring only for what he can get out of you? Then proving this to be so by leaving almost immediately.
What was said as he left? Well we're not told this. Did he tell his dad "I'll see you in a month", where he was going, or of his intentions? Maybe I'll send you a letter? I wonder did he leave without anyone knowing he was gone until after he was out of sight? Maybe feeling a tad bit guilty not wanting to see the sadness in his dad's face? All we know is what Jesus shares with us in Luke 15. But even though the father knew full well that the son in his youth, inexperience, and heartlessness toward him had lost a fortune. The prodigal son's father exposes the heart of The Lord God Almighty toward us as only Jesus can. The verse in Ephesians 2 and verse 4 comes to mind. "But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us."
We are not loved because we deserve God's love but because of the richness of His mercies.
Scripture teaches us that His mercies and compassion fail not, and they are renewed every morning. This is something that's available to the child of God because of the precious blood of Christ Jesus. We have forgiveness of sin; it's part of our covenant. Jesus provided for all who will receive. This came at a great price, but it's a free gift for the asking.
Do you need to "come to yourself?" You can. Jesus is seated at our Father's right, interceding for us right now. If The Spirit of God is drawing on your heart, turn toward home. Your Father wants to completely restore you. He loves you so. He knows everything, and He loves you anyway. Repentance is a great gift to us. We can be specific, and we should be. God will not be shocked. Love covers a multitude of sins. Only God can do this for us. He knows just how much we need Him. Know this, when we turn toward God, we always find that He is so very close, closer than we thought.
By Levi Tackett
It's okay to be righteous. I know it kinda sounds like a no-brainer to say to Christians; it's not wrong to feel like they are doing the right thing. Truthfully, it could be interpreted as an arrogant attitude by most traditionally religious people. If you truly look into the heart of what a righteous God we serve, when we are reborn into His family, His righteousness becomes ours, along with all of the blessings and authority. To say we are not worthy to be righteous is saying that Jesus didn't do enough on the cross to cover my unrighteousness. That's saying that Jesus wasn't enough! If we really believe Jesus paid for it all, then why are we going around with our heads low? We have become like Jesus when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. You have the ability—and more importantly—the right to hold your head up high and claim what God has for you.
“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” Ephesians 1:3-6 MSG
That sounds like a God that thought of every possible need, failure, short-coming, and desire His children could possibly have. That sounds like a God who loves us. That sounds like a God who wants us to be righteous like Him. That is my God who paid the price of admission for me not only to go to heaven but to have heaven on earth. It's not being greedy or selfish to desire all of the blessings of God. We just read in Ephesians that He established everything we need before He ever laid the foundation of the earth. Before God ever created this rock, we were living on; He had us in mind. It's okay to feel special, because God thinks you are special. You are the apple of His eye and the desire of His heart. Don't let the outside world and the chains of religion and tradition, keep you from obtaining the knowledge of how much God thinks of you. You have the freedom to be righteous because Jesus paid for it
By Emerald Barnes, author
This week we had revival at our church with Bro. Tracy Harris of Harvest International Ministries, and our praise team sang a Newsboys song, "I am Free." While they were singing, I couldn't stop thinking about what that freedom meant.
As some of you may know, I am an author, and recently, I wrote a yet-unpublished book called, The Healer. It's unorthodox, and I'm not sure how it is going to be received in the Christian community because not everyone believes as I do about healing and such. But, the idea was so strongly within me, I couldn't not write it.
What does this book have to do with freedom? Well, in this book, religion has been made illegal, not just Christianity, all religion. With that, the earth devolves into chaos, but Christianity hasn't been snuffed out completely. There is an underground church, and not all of the Bibles were destroyed. So, it's still there, but these people have to make sure they aren't caught by the law or else they'll be prosecuted. There is much more to this story, and that isn't what makes it unorthodox. But I wanted to note that because it came to my mind during this song.
Drawing you back to the point I'm trying to make, these people in my book are only fictional, but there are people in the world who actually have to do this. Missionaries have to sneak in Bibles or else they'll be prosecuted, possibly killed for spreading the Good News, and I have the freedom to serve God on a padded pew in a heated (or air conditioned) church yet sometimes, I hold back. Why? Fear. Fear of what others think will hold us back from praising God to our fullest.
That isn't the case with everyone at Faith Outreach. You never know when someone will take off running the church! (I think we all know who that someone is. :) ) The point I'm trying to make is that that is the right thing. We should all be running the church, lifting our hands, and doing everything we can to praise the Creator, the God who saw fit that you were born!
Psalm 100:4 says, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."
This verse tells us that to enter in the gates of God, we have to be thankful, and when we enter His court, we enter with praise! The definition of praise is "the expression of respect and gratitude as an act of worship." Thankful means, "expressing gratitude and relief." So, from these two definitions, I think we can conclude that being grateful, expressing our gratitude, is a sign of worship and praise. The two words can be synonymous, so we have to thank God in our praise!
Praise is important. It keep us in a position to receive what God has for us. Think of it this way, would you want to give something nice to an ungrateful person or child? If someone has wronged you, isn't it hard to give them whatever it is they ask for? You can give and give and give to an ungrateful person, but eventually, you'll get tired of it. Why should you give away your hard earned cash to someone who isn't grateful for it? Does this sound familiar to anyone? I've been guilty of saying this, and I kind of wonder if our Heavenly Father doesn't think the same thing sometimes. Why should He give us what we aren't grateful for?
Don't get me wrong. God is a merciful and loving God, but once we start praising Him for things that have come to us and things to come to us, don't you think that's it puts us in an easier place of receiving something that we're grateful for?
And I think we have a lot to be grateful for. We have the freedom to praise God in any way that we want in this country where it's completely legal to be a Christian. Shouldn't we start praising God for that?!
I will say this. God doesn't need our praise. Even the Bible says that the stones will cry out if we're silent. But doesn't He deserve our praise? He's a Good Father, and He deserves what we can give Him.
Giving Him praise is beneficial to you as well! It stops the enemy and opens up a direct line between Him and us! It puts us in a position of receiving the promises. Praise is an important part of being a Christian, and it's time we start doing more of it. Praise Him when it's the hardest. Why? Because it breaks you free of oppression. Because is stops the enemy. Because God deserves it.
So, exercise your freedom today. Praise God. Don't be afraid of how you look or feel. Do it anyway. You'll be thankful, and you'll be free!