Yesterday, the History Channel replayed “The Bible” series. The series had originally aired March 3 through Easter Sunday (March 31) of this year.
Once again, I was captivated by the events of the bible being so dynamically played out on my television screen.
Unfortunately, I could not sit and watch the series all day because I had a schedule to adhere to for the day. As I was preparing to leave the house, the scene where Mary tries to explain to Joseph that her pregnancy was “God’s work” was playing.
My mind switched to how my name, Marilyn, is a derivative of the name Mary. Mary (and Marilyn) means “exalted of God” and also “beloved of God”.
Such a perfect name for the mother of Jesus!
Throughout the day, I thought of what it would have been like to be the mother of Jesus.
Take a walk with me through the Garden of Eden. In it exists flowers of every type and color. The trees vary in height and width with beautifully colored leaves. Fruit trees are scattered among the land and one bite explodes with goodness. The vegetables are tasty and crisp beyond our imaginations. Every meal is satisfying and fulfilling all at once.
The water from the four rivers flowing out of Eden is pristine clear and satisfies any thirst. The smell of the air in Eden is a clean, fresh smell. The sun never burns your skin and the cold never causes frostbite.
Your’e always at peace and always at rest because there is no worry, no doubt, no fear in Eden.
In Eden, there is no separation from God. You walk and commune with Him daily. He knows your thoughts before one ever existed and He responds. He shares His secrets with you and calls you friend. You are His and He is yours.
Every desire you have, every wish you can think, God joyfully fulfills. Not because He has to. He does it because it is His desire for you. He prepared a place for you to ensure you’d have everything you need and to ensure your enjoyment. You are created for His glory and He wants to shower you with His love and loving-kindness.
Can you imagine what life was like for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? To never want for anything? Never having to work for anything? To never be separated from God, but always walk and talk with God?
The two of them really did have heaven on earth. Which makes me wonder, as so many of us have at some time in our life, why would they throw it all away?
I don’t have all of the answers, but the bible tells me Eve was deceived by Satan.
The trickery of deceit is that it causes one to travel the road of uncertainty and doubt. Eve was living a life of fulfillment and she and Adam had “everything” their hearts could ever desire, but…
But, Satan deceived Eve in to believing that God had not already given her His best. She began to wonder if God was holding something back from her. She had everything, but the enemy convinced her there was more. More that God hadn’t shared with her. More that God wasn’t willing to give her. She was deceived into believing God was holding out on her.
Many assume Eve knew God’s Word about not eating from the tree in the center of the garden because her husband shared it with her. I agree. However, in Genesis 3, Eve tells the serpent “God said” not to eat from the one tree or you shall surely die, which leads me to believe God directly spoke to Eve about it.
So what caused the uncertainty? The uncertainty came when Satan asked Eve one simple question…”Did God really say you must not eat the fruit of any of the trees in the garden?”
In that one question, a seed of doubt and uncertainty was planted in the mind of Eve. Additionally, to seal the deal, Satan tells her “You won’t die” and the bible says Eve was convinced.
The road of uncertainty is a dangerous road to travel. Like Eve, we must unpack the truth of God’s Word and pack luggage filled with doubt and insecurity to travel on that road.
Eve bought into the biggest lie of the enemy. The lie that made her believe she isn’t who God says she is and she doesn’t have access to the fullness of God.
Satan hasn’t changed his tricks. He pulls out the same cards and plays the same hand with us.
Like Eve, we may start out quoting what “God said”, because we’ve read His Word and we’ve encountered His love for us throughout our lives at various times.
But, we listen to the enemy whispering to us…
“Did God really mean He would supply allyour needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus?”
“Are you really an heir to the kingdom of God?”
“Are you really seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus?”
“If you are an overcomer by the blood, why didn’t you…?”
“If God really loves you, then why are you going through…?”
If you’ve ever heard these uncertainties whispered in your ear, your in good company.
The enemy tried to take our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lord Almighty, down the same road of uncertainty. The difference is when Jesus quoted what “God said” in His Word, He held on to His confession and didn’t back down. Then He commanded the enemy to “get thee behind me Satan”.
God wants us to know that we are in this world, but not of this world. We are to believe we have everything we need already in Him. We are to live expecting miracles and blessings, decreeing and declaring His kingdom come, His will be done on earth in our lives as it is in heaven.
3 John 1:2 says “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.
Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
He has given us the power to bind things on earth and they shall be bound in heaven as well as loose things on earth and they shall be loosed in heaven, according to Matthew 18:18.
The bible declares in John 4:17 as Christ is, so are we. Is Christ in heaven worrying about the bills, stressing about the job, stressing about the kids, loosing sleep. No! Therefore, confess as Christ is, so are you. He has no lack, deprivation, poverty, sickness or disease in His life. Neither do you or I if we choose to believe.
Again, the biggest trick of the enemy is to make believers doubt they have everything they need in God. The bible says that God knows what we have need of before we ask. Therefore, decree and declare the Word of God over your life. Like Jesus, don’t back down and don’t travel the road of uncertainty. Stand on God’s promises and watch circumstances begin to change in your life.
Testimony: I was not meeting sales goals on my job as well as a few other team goals I needed to meet. My boss was very hard on me, sometimes to the point of being just plain mean and nasty, and she confessed to being a Christian. I began praying to the Lord and asking how can I be failing at this job. I’m a child of God and there should be no failure in me. I felt a rise in me that agreed with me and I also felt led to pray for my boss, my organization, and for my entire team. Then I looked up scriptures that indicated who I am in Christ and began reading, praying, and confessing those scriptures over my life. My sales doubled and I met all of my goals for the month.The icing on the cake is that I got hired for a new job as well. I am who God says I am and I have everything I need in Him already. Amen.
Do you see my sick child fighting this awful disease?
These statements are familiar statements that many of us may have wondered silently or maybe even questioned God aloud at some time in life.
God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent.
Omnipresent means God is always present with us. One of His names is Jehovah Shamma, the Lord who will never leave us nor forsake us, even during times of testing and trials.
Our omnipresent Father never promised that we wouldn’t have trials. However, because of He’s omnipresence, we can take comfort in knowing He is there, right along side of us to comfort us through every trial, through every pain.
He’s there to provide the weary rest for their souls.
When the soldier of God returns from the battlefield and his shield is filled with dents, his armor has some tears, his sword is bent, there in the secret place of God, the soldier finds rest for his soul.
He crawls into his Daddy’s lap and rest his head on the One who says “Enter into my rest. Cast all of your cares upon me, and take My yoke upon you. For My yoke is easy. My burden is light.”
The Father is omniscient, which means He is all knowing.
He knows the amount, date and time those bills are due. Yet, He’s not worried and filled with fear.
He knows the result of the mammogram.
He knows your child is sleeping in a jail cell tonight.
All He asks is that we come to the One who knows.
Know that the Omniscient Father has you in the palm of His hands.
All of our days were written in God’s book before one of them ever came to be (Psalm 139:16).
Therefore, nothing surprises God.
He knew what would happen before it happened.
So we must pray, have faith and believe that He is the author and finisher of our faith.
He is the beginning and the ending.
He has already written your story and He says that all things work together for your good.
God is omnipotent, which means He is all powerful and an all sustaining God.
You may ask, what does the power of God have to do with me?
We have the omnipotent God living and breathing on the inside of us.
God created us in His image.
Because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross, we have the creative, powerful ability to call those things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17).
We can lay hands on the sick and they will recover (Mark 16:18).
We can declare “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
We can speak life into our circumstances, instead of death.
We can bind poverty and lack, sickness and disease, generational curses and spirits of inheritance on earth and it will be bound in heaven. We can loose financial stability, health, peace, honor and respect on earth and it will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18).
Jesus came to overcome the world. Like Jesus, we too can overcome the circumstances of this world.
We are over-comers by the (all-powerful) blood of the Lamb and the words of ourtestimony.
What are you saying about the bills that are due?
What words do you speak over the child who is ill or who’s sleeping in the jail cell today?
Declare the Word of God over every situation and when you are tired of fighting, go into the secret place with the Omnipresent Father who is always there to give you rest for your weary souls.
While in the secret place, cast your cares upon the Omniscient Father who already knows your pain. He just wants you to release them to the One who cares for you.
After you have been strengthened and renewed in the presence of your Loving Father, prepare your armor, grab your (s)Word, and fight in the Omnipotent power and authority given you by Christ Jesus.
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim 6:12)
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12)
I was watching a movie last night on television when one of the main characters ignited a fire in me by the words he spoke.
Clark, the character I’m referring to, had suffered loss and life had dealt a fair share of other misfortunes that could have left him (or any human being) with a heart of unbelief.
While responding to a question of how he continues to believe in God through all his trials, Clark says
“The truth of God’s love is not that He allows bad things to happen. It’s His promise that He’ll be there with us when they do”.
Clark’s powerful statement rang a resounding “yes” in my soul.
It so struck a chord with my spirit that I asked if God was really speaking to me through the movie.
As I was studying this morning, I understood how powerful and damaging unbelief is to the one who chooses to give up on God during times of wilderness.
Times of wilderness may include the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job or home, times of financial struggles, difficulty in relationships, or whatever type of struggle one faces that challenges his/her belief in the Almighty God.
In Hebrews 3: 8, the Holy Spirit warns us not to harden our hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness.
In verse 10, the Holy Spirit goes on to say that He was grieved with that generation (the Israelites during their 40 years in the wilderness) and said they always go astray in their hearts, they have not known my ways.
Is it possible to give up on God in our hearts when our mouths say otherwise ?
Jeremiah 17:9 – 10 states “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
Hebrews 3:12 warns us to to “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”
Can it be that if we have unbelief in our hearts then our hearts are considered to be evil?
After contemplating the word “unbelief'”, I thought of the many times I doubted God and wondered is doubt and unbelief the same thing.
According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, doubt is: to be uncertain about (something); to believe that (something) may not be true or is unlikely; to have no confidence in (someone or something).
Then I thought of doubting Thomas, the disciple who needed proof that Jesus was alive because he had to see Him for himself.
I don’t want to doubt God’s promises or His Word, ever!
I want to be like Clark, who also stated in the movie, that his daughter can fall down even when he’s walking right beside her.
But his daughter knows her father’s unconditional love for her will cause him to pick her up, heal her if she’s hurt, cry when she cries, and rejoices with her when she’s well.
The truth of God’s love is that through it all, God is right there with us.
Jehovah Shamma is one of His names, which means the One who promises to never leave us or forsake us.
Therefore, my prayer today is from the Psalms.
“Create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10) .”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139: 23 -24)
For four months, I had no energy or time to write a blog post. Therefore, I’d like to apologize to my readers for being gone for so long.
I was dealing with a spiritual attack that literally drained physical energy from my body.
I was surprised by the physical exhaustion I felt and was too tired to fight it for almost three months.
During the month of July I realized what was happening to me and began to fight.
Many may ask how does one fight an enemy who can’t be seen with the physical eye?
The first thing I had to do was pray.
My physical energy was so spent that saying simple prayers became more difficult for me. I’d either fall asleep or become so unfocused during my prayers that I’d forget what I was praying about.
There were numerous times I got up during prayer to fulfill some other task and forgot I was in the middle of praying.
Secondly, I had to rid myself, as much as possible, of any and all distractions during the time I needed to be resting.
I have been a morning person for most of my career life.
However, my current job requires me to work from afternoon until late evening; 10 hours and sometimes a little longer.
Most nights, I arrive home just before midnight and although I was tired, it took me forever to actually get in the bed because my mind was focused on what I hadn’t accomplished before going to work.
Once asleep, it seemed everything awakened me.
My adult daughter, who was living with me at the time, came home in the wee hours of the morning and I’d awaken.
My cat suddenly began crying every morning around 6 am like clockwork and I’d awaken.
My new phone made all kinds of notification noises and I’d awaken.
Additionally, every weekend I had my granddaughter, sometimes for all three days.
I love having my granddaughter, but she’s two years old and watching her is a full-time job in itself.
You would not believe some of the things if I told you the enemy used to keep me restless and confused.
Every morning, I’d wake up tired and fight to fall back to sleep until it was almost time for me to go to work. Then I’d rush in the shower, eat on the way out the door and/or in the car, and buy fast food for lunch.
As a result, I became physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted.
I spent less time communing with Jesus.
My prayers weren’t prayers, but rather worries.
I’m not one who worries and loses sleep over things. But suddenly, when I did get chances to sleep, I would lay awake worrying instead.
I became more isolated because I didn’t have the energy to go to the home group or hang out with friends or even attend church.
I began watching church via live stream and paying my tithes online.
Even when I did spend time with loved ones, I felt tired and found myself yawning a lot.
It may sound strange, but I did find time to pray for others, just not for myself.
Like for my Dad who was struggling with my step mom’s illness and eventually death.
Satan does not mind me praying for others, because he has always tried to make me feel as if others deserved God’s mercy, peace, and love but that I was not deserving of those same compassions.
I had lost my focus, my vision, my passion, and my purpose.
Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. I was perishing because my days all ran together and I could not focus.
My days were unplanned, my prayer and reading times were amiss, and I didn’t spend time with much of anyone…I was simply muddling along through my days.
I stopped journaling and I barely had time to read my bible.
Before this all took place, I began writing a book, but quickly halted that project as well.
I didn’t feel compelled to blog because I blog about living life abundantly while Single.
It didn’t feel right when I was battling exhaustion.
I wasn’t sure if I’d ever blog again or write again.
I felt isolated. Thoughts of the Father loving me but not liking me enough to release me from my struggles began overtaking me daily.
This spiral continued until one day in late July when the Lord revealed to me the enemy was attacking me with the spirit of weariness.
I was reminded of how Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31: “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may siftyou as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me,strengthen your brethren.”
Such a powerful verse of scripture!
Did you notice that Jesus did not call him Peter, but Simon. He didn’t call him the “Rock” as He did before in scripture. He was trying to get Peter’s attention.
And so he called him Simon, not once, but twice.
The Hebrew meaning of the name Simon is the “one who hears or has heard”.
Jesus was saying “listen up and pay close attention”.
I feel as if He was warning me in the same way.
Then he states that Satan has asked for him.
Before the cross, the enemy used to approach the Father to accuse and condemn the brethren.
However, since Jesus became the sacrificial lamb for us and sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat and is seated at the right hand of the Father pleading on our behalves, the enemy can no longer go before the Father to accuse us and ask for us.
Instead, Satan does so by catching us in a weakened state of mind, will, and emotions. That’s not to say that God does not allow things to happen, because we know he allowed Eve to listen to the serpent in her weakened state of confusion and temptation.
Let’s go back to the scripture where we see the verse also states Jesus prayed for Peter.
I believe He was saying, Marilyn, I am praying for you that your faith faileth not and when (not if) you return to me, then you shall strengthen your brother.
Jesus, knew that communally, I had gone too far away from him to be able to blog or strengthen others because I needed strengthening as well.
I had to fight the spirit of weariness to get my strength back.
I had to get back to my roots which even included returning to my church home that I originally moved to Charlotte to attend.
And I’ve been gaining momentum every since.
Yes, some days I still have to fight the spirit of weariness.
Yes, I’m still working the same job and I still get home late, but now I can sleep and I get up at a descent hour to study and pray, run errands, do household chores, pack my lunch and get ready for work.
Yes, I still spend time with my granddaughter, but I’ve also learned the art of saying no.
Yes, my cat still cries at 6 am in the morning, but she now sleeps in a part of the house where I can’t hear her.
I’ve made many other changes as well that has brought peace back to my life and thus given me more energy.
I have rid myself of many distractions and I actually have a scheduled day of rest and rejuvenation every week.
I call it my Sabbatical Seven. Every 7th day I take a sabbatical.
I won’t let anyone or anything get in the way of that day of rest. (Unless of course it’s a true emergency).
Additionally, everywhere I turn the Lord is providing me with what I need during this time.
Even a fellow blogger and prayer warrior, Shade, put me on her prayer list for the month of August to help me win this fight.
In conclusion, at first I did not want to share this on my blog because not too long ago, I blogged about me going through the fire and I thought I had come out.
I did come out of that trial.
But I let my guard down.
As always, I hope somehow others can learn from my testimonies.
No matter what, always protect your connection with Jesus and be sure to guard your heart and mind from distractions.
I was reading one of Shade Akinbiyi’s blog post on her website Prophetic Voice when I realized she is doing what all believers are called to do.
I can honestly say every time I’ve visited the Prophetic Voice, I have left with an encouraged and uplifted spirit.
That is not to say that every time I visit I am in a state of discouragement, although at times, I have been dealing with some tough life issues.
However, even while I’m trolling through the tulips of life, when I land on her page, I find encouragement and weapons I can use to strengthen my walk in Christ.
Shade’s blog is just one of the many faith-filled blogs I visit and find strength for my soul.
Just as I am encouraged by reading faith-filled blogs, I believe every believer is called to speak encouraging words to those who are experiencing difficult times, to the hurting, to the lost, and even to those who are experiencing much joy in their lives.
As believers, we should always have a word in our mouth, God’s Word, ready for every occasion of life.
Not only does this apply when speaking to others, but it applies to speaking God’s Word over our own lives as well.
As such, our tongues are as ready writers (Psalm 45: 1), filled with words fit for every occasion.
I remember at my oldest daughter’s high school graduation open house, I spoke the words of Jeremiah 29:11 which states God knows the plans He has for her. Plans to prosper her and to give her a hope and a future.
What a word to speak into a graduates future!
What words are you speaking in to those you encounter at the grocery store, in your neighborhood, to your loved ones, and to total strangers?
Are they words filled with hope?
Words for overcoming trials and life’s difficult moments.
Words of affirming faith and trust in God.
Words of healing.
Words of love.
What does your words say about you?
What does your words say about the God you serve?
After reading and/or memorizing a verse of scripture or reading a daily devotional, do you often think you are to share those words with someone else?
The Word of God is not only for our own strength and encouragement, but for those around us as well.
We have the Living Word, Jesus, moving and breathing on the inside of us to draw others unto Him.
The Word is not locked up on the inside of us, bound in chains hidden from others and ourselves, only released when we get to heaven.
His Word is available to us today and is an ever-present help in time of need!
His Word is alive and always ready to perform!
When I think of the power words have, I think of how God spoke everything into its existence.
I envision words hitting targets hard like arrows hitting the bull’s-eye.
Depending on who or what the target is, that could be good or bad.
For example, if speaking words of faith for healing, then it is very appropriate to target an area of the body that needs healing with what the Word of God says about healing.
What does the One who lives on the inside of you say about healing?
When speaking to someone who is experiencing hopelessness, then it is very appropriate to speak words of hope to the individual to target the hopelessness he/she feels.
What does the One who lives on the inside of you, the God of all hope (Romans 15:13), say about hope?
Just as positive words affect others and ourselves positively, words of negativity have the opposite effect.
Negative words, whether spoken to target oneself or to target others, can hit bull’s-eye and have a damaging and lasting effect.
I suffered with rejection and low self-esteem for many years because of negative words.
They were words the enemy spoke to me through others as well as words I spoke over myself.
Negative words I used to speak to myself included “I could never, I can’t imagine, it’s too difficult, that’s impossible, I don’t deserve”.
Now I speak that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Nothing is too difficult or too hard for my God.
With God, all things are possible.
In my sinfulness, I deserve nothing. But because of Jesus and the completed work He did on the cross, I deserve and am worthy of love, favor, respect, honor, and to be treasured.
I deserve to enjoy the life He’s given me and live my life more abundantly.
Believers should always be ready to speak a Word to those around them as well as to themselves.
Isiah 50:4 states “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”
According to this verse, we are already equipped with the Word to speak to others in whatever season of life they are experiencing.
We have the greatest weapon, Jesus, who is the Word of God on the inside of us, to combat any issue we may face as well as issues those around us may encounter.
Therefore, celebrate life with those who are celebrating by speaking words of joy and celebration into their futures.
Uplift the hurting.
Speak life to the lost.
Speak words of healing to the sick in body.
Speak love to the broken-hearted and contrite spirit.
To the fearful and insecure, speak words of peace and security.
To the shameful, speak words of renewal and wholeness.
To those who are experiencing difficult trials, speak of God’s faithfulness and how He causes us to overcome.
Stir up the Word on the inside of you to speak life into others as well as to yourselves.