The Rest in the Battle

Featured on today’s post is a writing by Linda Wages. Linda has begun a series on The Warrior to help seasoned believers sharpen their armor of faith. She plans on compiling her messages into a book soon.  Her thoughts on the rest in life’s battle are quite interesting and valuable to every person who desires a faith that will not fail in times of need.

 

As I shared in my last blog “The Warrior”, the “rest” is in the battle.  Have you ever thought that the evil one will fight against us  —  even to the point of keeping us from engaging in battle?

Ask yourself, what is in the battle?  I can hear you saying anguish is in the battle, endless tears are in the battle.  The list is endless.  The thought of facing the battle terrifies us and we turn to run, never looking back.  But I have learned that when I am in the heat of the battle, when I am fully engaged, fully in the fight . . . it is then I become fully focused.  My only intent is to survive.

When I am fully engaged there is “no weapon formed against me” that will prosper or penetrate my drive or armor.  It is when I enter the fight and my mind is focused on “civilian affairs” that I am wounded in war.

So is the rest in the battle?  A warrior who is fully trained in his skills mentally, spiritually, and physically cannot fail; he knows the outcome is VICTORY!  So I “rest” in the battle knowing in order to gain the Victory I must fight!

The LION OF JUDAH is preparing an army of Soldiers like this, an army who knows that the rest is in the battle.  Therefore, I must engage.  I must be focused.  I see many who are being called and are engaged in this battle for the Kingdom of GOD.

Then David said, “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 the hosts, the GOD of the armies of ISRAEL, whom you have taunted.”

This is our cry in the battle!  Stay engaged.

Linda

Death of a Covenant

source: freedigitalphotos.net

This is a very difficult blog for me.  Nevertheless, I feel directed to share my story with you.

Four Tuesdays ago, I was called into my pastoral staff member’s office and was told that my husband had filed for divorce two months prior to the date.  It hurt.  I was crushed.  More so because he had filed without my knowledge.  At that moment, I felt like I had just been hit by a freight train.

As the day unfolded, the nightmare unraveled even more.  That very same afternoon I found out he had placed a restraining order against me.  He had me evicted from our home in conjunction with the restraining order.  I had to leave immediately, taking only what I could pack.  When I went to put gas into my car, I discovered he had withdrawn all our monies from our accounts.  An engulfing fear of the unknown blanketed me, where was I to go and what was I going to do for money?  I felt like I was living a nightmare, one from which I wanted so badly to awaken.  I scrambled to gain any kind of footing.

The finger-pointing in a failing marriage is ugly.  It seems once we leave our marriage unattended by the Power of Christ, Satan is quick to enter and his mission is to destroy.  Once Satan is allowed to enter, is not confronted and made to leave, the destruction begins and he works to kill.

And this is where our marriage was. 

It has to be a unified battle to save a marriage. I found myself questioning everything about my marriage.  I felt abandoned and lonely, overcome with so many emotions.  I just wanted to hear him say “I did not mean it I am sorry!”  But those words never came.

The rejection I felt ripped at my heart.

I cried because the vows we took were broken.  He spoke and said, “for better or worse!”  Where was the commitment?

The lack of romance and intimacy had left our marriage the preceding four years.  I believe my husband mentally abandoned our marriage two years prior to the acknowledgement of his filing.  Their was no compromise on his part in any way.  I begged God to show me other ways to love him even if it meant no intimacy, but I started to go downhill fast because nothing was returned.

A failing marriage is very pitiable.  I wish I could say that I was faultless in everything, but I cannot.  There was a lot of baggage on both of our parts that needed to be settled prior to joining in marriage.   But, it did not happen.  It was an ongoing run-away train at this point.  Nothing we did seemed to slow it down. I saw things in our marriage that were excessively unhealthy and could not be allowed to continue in the manner it was headed.

N0t until something happened, turning the tide (I choose to believe it was God that intervened). 

What I discovered was extremely painful, but it made me realize that either I had to do something for myself or I was going to lose my marriage.  I started going to christian counseling in May to unpack my worn luggage and seek a solution.  But what I expected to change in a few months, I now realize required a long-term, united commitment on both our parts to work.   At this point,  he was extremely bitter, angry and unwilling to bend to any guidance by leadership, or otherwise; and so ended our marriage.

Looking back, I always felt it was something I did or did not do that caused our lack of intimacy,  but I did not comprehend it this was his choosing.  I did not realize he didn’t love me, and when he admitted it to me . . .  I was crushed.

But God in his love knew what was happening here; I know that God does not approve of divorce, but the ongoing damage  had to be stopped.  I did not want to leave my marriage, God removed me.   When he did, I left my home evicted but walked right into the hands of a loving, accepting God.  I serve an amazing God.  HE already had everything set up for me as I stepped out.  I submit everything inside me into his love and care.  The tears still flow because our “vow” was broken.

Moving forward is never easy.

I could choose to stay in this insanity or go forward in Christ and give him my hurts, hate, bitterness, and so much more.   I desire healing and honesty.

My Sister Dee sent me a necklace with the inscription,  Jer 29:11:  “For I know that plans I have for you (Erme), to prosper you (Erme), to give you (Erme) hope and a future.”  This necklace is my constant reminder of whose I am.  I am a marked woman for God!!

This is what I choose and for a soon to be ex-spouse: I leave him in the hands of God.  I wish him no harm, nor do him any harm, nor treat him unjustly.  I pray that his heart will open up to God allowing God’s  healing to take place in his heart.

I have witnessed many ex-wives, who were wronged, fail to move forward.  They continue to treat their ex with hate and treat them horribly.  I  will not allow this to be a part of my life.  “I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me.”

Now, I will walk this life with Christ in great EXPECTATIONS!!

Be Blessed,

Erme

The King’s Advisors

Whose counsel do you seek in protecting your life’s castle? (source: wikimedia.com)

The King bellowed the command, “Bring me a flask of wine and call my counsellors to the throne room!”  The messengers scattered speedily throughout the corridors and into the courtyards beckoning the advisors to heed the king’s command.  Within minutes, the royal court was filled with counsellors brimming with excitement, awaiting the king’s bidding. 

The king arose from his throne and spoke one phrase:  Should I make war or peace with Kauldron?

The advisors immediately began to converse with one another over the proposition presented to them.  They argued for a good part of the morning, many of them refusing to alter their opinion.  The king leaned over and spoke to his chief scholar, asking for his perception of the court proceedings.  The scholar retorted, “I believe they lack clear vision.”

Proverbs 15:22 states, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”   A king depended upon the advise of his counsellors to help him make important decisions such as policy, war and judgment.  Counsellors were selected depending upon their character, wisdom and experience.  Often, a matter of life and death weighed heavily upon the counsel of these consultants.  At times, they lacked clear vision or direction on how to advise the king.

Today, we do not have the personal privilege of a king’s counsel to guide and inform us when life’s difficult problems present themselves.   However, we can seek advice from those we know who demonstrate a Godly life, success based upon character, and righteous living.  We call them mentors.

Seeking those who would consider our cause, pray over it and help guide us to a good decision is valuable and priceless.  A good counsellor will not tell us what to do, but advise us as to the pros and cons of the situation.  Ultimately, we make the decision based upon what we hear and consider to be the best option.

There are those of us who tend to make decisions based upon our emotional status, upon the word of casual acquaintance, even the advice of a stranger rather than to seek out someone with proven wisdom in life matters.  Based upon the former advisors mentioned, we head down the wrong path to a dismal ending.

“But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?”  (Job 28;12)  Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?  (Job 38:36)  No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. (Job 28:18)  Yes, where do we get priceless wisdom to help us understand our problem completely?  How can we truly trust any man with such intricate matters of heart?

Daniel, a man of God and counsellor to King Nebuchadnezzar, knew where to find wisdom to guide him in life,  ” . . . blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. . . O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.”  (Daniel 2: 20-23)

When we seek advice, it would greatly benefit us to seek out the Lord’s counsel before making any final decision.  In fact, we should pray to him first, prior to sharing our concerns with and asking the advice of mentors.  Men (and women) will give us good counsel, but if not coupled with God’s  — we may be headed down the wrong path.

God is able to see what you cannot, he knows what lies ahead.  He also knows your strengths and weaknesses.  Who better to advise you on how to proceed?  He desires the best for you.  “I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  when you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.. . I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. ” (Jer. 29:11-14, MSG)

Seek God’s counsel first, your counsellors/mentors second, and your decisions will be wise and successful.

Blessings,

Dee

Ziklag

“Pursue; for thou shalt surely overtake them!”

Recently, in my devotions, I have been studying in first Samuel about a place called Ziklag.  Metaphorically, Ziklag is a place in your life where as you are fighting one fight, there is another on the other side you are battling, parallel to the  present.  Ziklag is a place where you are hounded by adversity, hounded by troubles, and pushed to your breaking point.  This is the condition King David was in when he was in this place called “Ziklag.”   He barely came out of one battle —  just to come home to face another.

Nothing comes without struggle.  Nothing comes without conflict.  If you can make it through Ziklag, God’s glory will come.  Fighting is exhausting.  Even if you win it is exhausting and you acquire some damage.  Victory isn’t easy as you draw close to God in time of hardship.

We get an insight into how David did it in Psalm 103.  We need to reassure ourselves of the goodness and faithfulness of God before we are able to hear from him and receive counsel for the way out.  First, work on your heart before looking to God for guidance.  This is what David did (verse 6).   When King David came back from battle and saw that they took his wives and children, he had no one to believe in him.  The Bible states that he encouraged himself.

Have you ever looked for comfort and ran into conflict?  If  you are not careful, you will stop looking for comfort because you don’t ever expect anything to get better.  BUT  again,  the Bible states, “King David encouraged himself!”

There is one truth I have come to realize:  “weeping may endure for a night but JOY comes in the morning.

Ziklag is a place where no one wants to go.   Ziklag is a place where you have to encourage yourself.  Ziklag is a place where you want to die.  Everything is about to break and you feel like giving up.

But I am confident that when the Lord takes me to this place called Ziklag in my life, it is where I learn the most.  It is a place where I have to encourage myself.  I am forced to find my strength in the Lord.  I hurt so very much that I scream out to God, “Please, God, take me out of this place!  Don’t you see how much I am hurting?  Can’t you see that there is no joy in this place?”

My Ziklag taught me that I cannot run from this place.   I have learned that I must  learn how to deal with my pain.  Not only deal with it, but learn from it.

The scripture (I Samuel) goes on to say that David encouraged himself in the Lord. I could never understand how David encouraged himself with all of his people blaming him and wanting to stone him for what happened. What could David ever think about that would encourage and strengthen him to go and take back what the enemy had stolen?  A seemingly impossible mission!  I personally believe one scripture that David remembered was: “This is the day that the Lord has made.” And then it dawned on him. It’s the third day!  Three always means divine; and anything that’s divine has supernatural power within it.  If this is God’s timing for the enemy to come against us to steal, then it must be God’s timing to take back what the enemy has stolen!  A parallel event.  Ziklag!  David went on to recover all that the enemy had taken from them and destroyed the enemy!

I sense the Lord saying. “The worst day of your life always falls on the third day on my calendar! I am always one step ahead of the enemy. That’s why I tell you, do not look back for I go before you to make the crooked things straight!”

“Encourage yourself! It’s the third day! A day of power when all things are possible! Don’t wait for someone else to encourage you for everyone is fighting their own battle. The battle on the field is won in the prayer closet. I will meet you there and speak to you, and you will no longer hear the voice of strangers or the enemy taunting you.”

It was the “third day” when the stone was rolled away and Jesus himself was raised from the dead.  If God can raise the dead . . . what else can’t he do?  The “third day” Jesus led the captives out of hell, taking back what the enemy thought he had stolen.  On the third day, Jesus made our enemy our footstool.  Take a break from your worst day and rest your feet on the devil’s neck!  The devil is really not that big, he fits underneath your feet!  You will recover all that the enemy has taken from you. The longer the devil keeps what belongs to you, the more interest he has to pay when you take back what he has stolen!

I hear the Lord saying: “Pursue; for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail, recover all!”

Blessings,

Erme

(photo source: freedigitalphotos.net, markuso)

Limitations

Definition of Restriction (Limitation): 

1)   The act of limiting or the state of being limited

2)   a shortcoming or defect

God wants us to enlarge ALL our territories. For me, I feel it is time to have an enlargement that pertains to life and goodness.  Have you ever had a season where you felt you couldn’t  fully enter into all God has for you because of limitations?  “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest.” God has made a way for us to walk in the fullness of all He has released to us. He also made a way for us to walk in complete freedom of limitations.

John 8:36   So if the Son of Man sets you  free, you will be free.

We must not allow wrong thinking and mindsets to govern what we perceive to be effective.  If we do, we lose sight of the living reality that is before us.

I know in my case, I have read the Bible in bits and pieces all my life.  I never thought for a minute that the limitation I was allowing to take root in my life for so many years was because of my ignorance and lack of  motivation (I choose to call it laziness).  I always felt like just hearing the word from different speakers or my minister was supposed to somehow give me the security and protection I needed to protect me from others and myself. 

But I now realize that this was a very dangerous position for any child of God to be in. 

As you would guess, my limitations were always that God cannot, but I can!  Always wanting and expecting that God should do it, and being so angry with him when results were not delivered. Never allowing God to put his limitations on my life because they meant bondage to me.  Only going so far with him, and only as long as God did not demand anything I did not want to freely give him. 

These were some of my limitations in Christ.  But I finally realized, through the constant parade of  failures and heartaches which were in my life,  that this was a path to destruction.  So many times we accept mediocre living complete with limitations because we don’t want to plow a new path leading us to complete freedom in Christ. 

But freeing ourselves from limitations that have kept us in bondage takes commitment to his word and faith.  Christ tells us in his word that he came to set us free. What does that mean to us?  How do we apply this truth in our lives to achieve the knowledge and ability to practice it every minute, every second we are called to live as his children here on this earth?

To me this means simply what it states, “He has given us everything we need to live this life without limitations through Him.”   This means that I dig way down deep inside to understand this is reality.  It means the Christ who died for me is either Christ or he is nothing at all.

I have learned that if I am to live this life, I must acquire this ability to live without limitations which keep me from seeing the reality of this God I serve.  What ability am I given through him?  And how will I ever know this unless I become a student and learner of the Bible?

I now absorb and value the time I am able to sit and read my Bible.  Because it has become so many things in my life.  It is my history book, but it is also my manual in mastering life.   It is my book to discover how to be that woman of God to my husband.  It is my book to learn about my dysfunctional ways and how God delivers me from them.  It is my book that has delivered me from my terrifying fears.

I can go on and on but then I would take away from the journey that is now yours to take. 

I can promise you that the journey and the “free-falling” in Christ is a life that no words can express.  You want to experience life in its fullest, a life that you have dreamed and searched for all your life?  It is right in front of you. 

John 10:10:  God has made a way for us to walk in the fullness of all the has released to us.  He also made a way for us to walk in complete freedom of limitations.  Now, you become that excavator in Christ and search for the truth yourself.  If you are not walking and living in the abundant life, you need to find out why.

 Blessings

Erme

My Letter

source: microsoftphoto: desktoptowallpaper.com

A letter to my husband:
 
Hello.
 
Rich, growing up was not a very enriching experience for me.  I always felt like there was so much inside me, but I believed they were crazy thoughts.  Thoughts like, “why am I the person I am?” and, “what would happen if I were not here on this earth?”  Now, coming to realize that they were normal questions, makes me sad.  Questions I had about sex,  I had no one to talk to about them, so I went to my girlfriends and we made up our own conclusions about it. 
 
I was scared most of the time growing up because I had no answers to any of these questions on life.  I always felt empty inside.  I did not know who I was.  I would dare to say that this is the reason I grew up and lived my life the way I did.  Even when I first married, I did not know why I married Denny.  No one told me how life was going to be nor what was expected of me in my marriage.  I destroyed this marriage for lack of knowledge; due to my interpretation of life   And every relationship thereafter I destroyed. 
 
I continued on with this lifestyle even though I felt so confused.  I presented a pretty picture, but inside I was a mess.  I knew the words to start a relationship, but I did not know that commitment meant being transparent.  I did not know how to do that.  I did not know how to share my life with anyone.  I did not know what a budget was or what one looked like.  I did not know that loving someone meant for better or for worse.   
 
About two years ago, God started a work in me that has blown my mind.  I don’t know why he did . . .  but he did.  I have come to realize that God uses ordinary people for his great work.  I am so overwhelmed when I consider how God uses a woman like me for anything.  But you know, when he chooses someone he invests time and love into them because he is the word love.  He walks in love because he is love.  I know that God brought you into my life for a purpose.  When I told you, when we first met, that God wanted us together little did I realize I was speaking truth. 
 
I could not understand you at first so I reverted to what I knew as truth.  I only knew that when you hurt, you hurt back.  I only knew how to lie, cheat and manipulate.  So I used it in force within our marriage.  But when I did use them, God saw through them and he gave you the insight to see through them too.  I would use this trick, that trick, and the next, but God shot down every one of them.  Finally, I was exhausted and hurting and sensed life crumbling around me faster than I could use my bag of tricks. 
 
There were certain key people in my life during this time, that God brought for his purpose, to begin a change.  Most of them were and are your friends and family.  People who actually challenged me, the got-in-my face kind of challenge.  I saw a reality in them that I could not understand.  I wanted to understand them but because I could not, I tore them down before you.  Because I felt like,  “you hurt me so I will hurt you.”  And, because I didn’t  understand them, they frustrated me with their kind of reality.  And, because of them and the one family member that was a relentless rock of love in my life, who at the time I was not aware of, my sister Dee,  I desired to change.   I told God I would do the journey with him.  Little did I realize that it was going to be an atomic bomb on my life!
 
This is where life began for Ermelinda Evans. 
 
It was small, tiny steps because I was not sure of letting go of what I knew as my “life” at that time.  But I now see that God was so consistent and persistent in my life.  God’s love is what loved the change into me.  I saw the purpose in my life for the first time.  I understood I was not an accident, but that I was on purpose.  No one can do what I was sent here on this earth to do.  I have a purpose.  I realize that God made me from his flesh and that I am the material of “LOVE.’  The very thing that I ran from all my life is what I need to have lived in front of me to change.  God knew this and when I gave him the “go” he did just that. 
 
This is what I see in you, my Husband.  I see a man who is a “cracked pot” just like me because of the wars we have been through.  But what I see in your cracked pot is Jesus’ light shining through.  I could not see this through anyone else’s cracked pot, it had to be yours.  What I saw and see is your love for me.  Sometimes I see your cracked pot has tears of water running down from inside.  When those tears are flowing, God tells me whether they are mine or not.  He tells me sometimes those tears are between you and him.  Your love, because of Christ, is creating a change in me.  You are just as ordinary as I am but our God is what makes you an ocean of his love for me.  I don’t understand everything that is inside you, but I do believe that God made you that way because our love is a journey.  The best of our journey is yet to come!  
 
You reduce me to ashes when you come back and ask, “what is wrong?”  When I meant to wound you with my self-appointed sword.  Now, I must find a place to be alone as I am weeping.  I cannot ever hurt you anymore.  You see, when I am hurting you, I am hurting God.  God once told me that when you conspire to hurt your husband, make sure to “take a look behind him — because I am standing right there.”  This is a reality because your love is changing me.  I never, never, never thought that God’s kind of love could walk within a man’s love for me. 
 
“How do I handle this kind of Love?”,  I ask God.  He tells me, “just look and see me there.”
 
So, this is why I am learning to love again.  God is loving me back to life again through his well placed people; who are his love for me in skin.
 
Your ever-changing wife I pray,
Ermelinda

Loneliness

I never imagined that such love existed!
(source: drweil.blog)

Loneliness is a state of mind. I believe everyone goes through times of feeling alone.  In my beginning with the battle of loneliness it was very difficult.  I had no purpose in my life, only to feed this non-ending and ongoing pain within me;  constantly feeding it to keep it happy.  I took myself down avenues, that when it comes to my memory for ministering,  it becomes arduous to think upon it because of the depth of sin I endured not be lonely.

This is something I have dealt with all my life.  BUT God came to me in such a powerful way in my life.

He took me into my closets of hurt, rejection and pain.  He walked with me through every room.  It was almost more than I could take, BUT God”s hand was tightly around mine.  Never for a minute did I not sense his presence with me.  He created a healing in me that only he could do.  I realized that as each room was cleaned more peace and purpose came to me.  He opened my eyes to see what “TRUE LOVE” was; and his love broke my heart in a million pieces.  I never imagined that such love existed. 

God’s love can only come to you when you decide in your heart that this is what you desire; when the loneliness speaks so loudly in your heart and mind that you lose all direction and purpose.    I know that life can bring so much destruction and pain that somewhere along the line we lose our heart and direction.  We develop patterns that lead us down avenues that cage our heart and cripple our life.  But I know that Christ came to give life and deliverance from all those handicaps with which satan binds us. 

In Matthew 11:28  Christ states:  Come to me, all of  you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads.  I WILL GIVE YOU REST.

I had a young teenage girl come to my home.  As we were talking, she shared with me about the attempts the youth in her school were taking to try to end their own lives due to the loneliness they felt.  She told me about a certain young man who was so lonely that he wanted to take his life.  She asked me, “Do you think it is a sin to take your own life in this situation?’  I sat and asked God to give me insight to share with her.  I believe God impressed upon me to tell her that, “God is life.  He gives life.  So do you feel that God would give permission for someone to take their life if he is the giver of life?’  She sat and thought about it and it brought peace to her question. 

Loneliness can be devastating in anyone’s life.  God came to bring life and this is what the lonely need to hear.  We hear and read the word of  God but we forget to plug into the power.  We forget that God’s word is LIFE. 

God brought me out of years of loneliness.  I learned that he is always walking with me.  He is always talking to me.  I cannot depend upon my brothers and sisters to fill the void inside me.  I realized God filled me to overflowing with the mind-shaking, life-shattering realization that God is LOVE,  He is LIFE.  In the moments when I feel like I am alone, God reminds, “I am here with you.”  This comes because I have surrendered all my life to the “Giver of life”. Life still hurts at times, but I know that at times …. this is life.  God never promised us that we would not experience pain and struggles.  In fact this is the reality:  we will experience them each and every day.  But when we realize the hand that we hold is GOD’s, we can run.  We can be joyful knowing that this is REALITY  —  that God is LIFE and LOVE!!   We can put away loneliness and instead take security and fulfillment.  We can  fill our tanks with these wonderful gifts from God to us His children. 

Do not be afraid or discouraged,  for the Lord is the One who goes before you.  He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:8

I don’t know about you, but this makes my heart jump up and down inside and outside because we have VICTORY over loneliness and anything that satan would try to cage us with. 

God has a great need for you in his Kingdom. 

Remember:  God has too much for you to do for you to remain handicapped. 

Blessings,

Erme