Impressions from God

Spiritual Warfare: A Defeated Foe

A drain with water swirling down. In spiritual warfare, the devil is a defeated foe and going down.

Spiritual warfare is part of the salvation package. Whether it is our own flesh or the world that seems to have us down for the moment, the Bible is very clear that trouble really only has one base source: the devil. He sends fiery darts of doubt and afflicts with illness and circumstance. He also accuses and torments through other people and our very own thoughts. But the Bible is clear about something else, too. God is in control. Nothing happens without God’s say-so, and greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. This was made all too clear to me one night, in the bathroom of all places, with a very visible lesson about the devil’s eventual destiny.

The Object Lesson

It all started with a terrible, no good, very bad week. There were the troubles coming from the outside in the form of stress on my job. On the inside, my own thoughts seemed to be turning against me. Spiritual warfare is definitely increasing in these last days , and at that moment, I was losing the battle. I remember making the comment to my pastor’s wife that Sunday night at church that “The devil is kicking my hind end, and I’m helping him!” I asked her if she knew what I meant, and she assured me that she did and all too well.

Later that evening as I got ready for bed, I was running some water to get it hot enough to wash my face. Honestly, I was kind of beating myself up. I remembered all the times and ways I had gotten it wrong that week. I got a wash cloth out of the cupboard and turned back around. Just then, a fly that had been busily bumping into the mirror and the window just a moment before slammed into me. It bounced into the sink and swirled harmlessly down the drain. In my spirit at that moment, I heard the words “defeated foe.”

What I Learned

To say that this put things into perspective for me is kind of an understatement. Satan, also called Beelzebub, or Lord of the Flies, has gone down. I realized that I had been giving the devil way too much credit. He had entirely too much power over me and my life. Instead of assuming that there was nothing I could do to get out of endless stream of negative thoughts and assembly line of bad choices and unfortunate events, I should have remembered that the only power the enemy has over our lives is the power we give him (through sin or agreement with his lies) or that God allows for His purposes.

After all, Luke 10:19 tells us that God has given us “authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm us.” We aren’t fighting from a losing position. We shouldn’t be cowering, beat down from the battle. Romans 8:37 says “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” so we should be fighting our spiritual warfare with the sword of the Word held high and the knowledge of who we are front and center in our minds: we are children of the Most High God.

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” But those powers, rulers, and hosts have nothing on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The devil has been defeated,. Now it’s just our job to remember it.

If you like object lessons, try Message In the Moisturizer: We Can Choose Change . Bad choices shouldn’t trap the child of God. Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Impressions from God

Message in the Moisturizer: We Can Choose Change

We can choose change. Even after we make a bad choice, we don’t have to live with it forever. Recently, God taught me a very valuable lesson about choices and consequences using two very different kinds of face cream.

Bad Choices Are Often Made in Haste

It all started when I decided that I needed some moisturizer. I was at a discount store, and as I scanned the shelves and all the tons and tons of choices, it wasn’t long before my eye stopped on the small pink bottle. It was the kind my grandmother always used when I was growing up. I still remember her making the joke that it was “Oil of Old Lady.” The price was fairly cheap, and I was in a hurry, so, I grabbed it and went.

The next morning when I was getting ready for work, I put a little dollop in my hands. As I proceeded to rub it on my face, I just could not believe how bad it smelled. I grimaced as I finished rubbing it in. I hoped the smell would go away fast so I could breathe the rest of the day. Thankfully it did, so the next day, I used it again.

The smell was just as bad or worse the next day. But, I had paid good money for it, and it would be a waste to throw it away. After four or five days of using it, I noticed that my face was broken out in pimples in several areas, and I was honestly starting to dread putting it on. But, I had made my choice, so I was going to have to live with it. For over a week, I kept using that terrible face cream. Finally, one day it occurred to me that God is a very good provider. I’m not rich by any means, but I was not so broke that I couldn’t afford another bottle of lotion if I needed it. I pitched it, hard, into the trash and went to work.

But We Can Choose Change

Later when I went to the store, I pulled out my phone and looked up the brands with the best reviews. Narrowing it down to a few, I lifted lids and checked out scents before I decided on a bottle of oil-free Neutrogena. It was about five dollars more than my first purchase. The next day when I put on my new lotion, and I smelled that deliciously clean smell, I felt so very thankful to God – not just for the fresh new scent, but because I didn’t have to endure the old one anymore.  

For about three days, it was seriously a spiritual thing as I felt a giant rush and overflow of love for God each time I used that new lotion. My skin felt great, and the pimples were clearing up, but it was actually a little bewildering how strongly grateful I felt for such a little thing as face cream. The fourth day as I was getting ready for church, I put on that moisturizer again. Again, I felt that spiritual rush of love and gratitude to God, and it hit me why I had such a strong reaction: He was teaching me a lesson.

See, in life we often make bad choices. Sometimes we pick things because that’s the way it has always been done in our families. Sometimes we choose because things are cheaper or easier or because they seem like they will solve our problems. And when we make those choices, even the ones that hurt us, even the ones that are uncomfortable, we think to ourselves that we made our beds, so now we have to lie in them.

The Lesson For Us All

But God was showing me that just because we made one bad choice doesn’t mean we have to keep choosing it forever. He makes a way for us in Him so that we can get out of any bad situation. With His help, we can choose change. Maybe it will cost us some money. Maybe it will cost us time and effort to research our options, but whatever the cost, it will be better than continuing to live with the consequences of our bad choices when God enables us to live a better way.

Psalm 145:18 tells us that “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” God cares about even the little things and wants to help us live the lives He has called us to live. We all make bad choices sometimes, but we don’t have to keep choosing them. God is with us in every situation. With His help, we can feel better and be happier when we make the choice to choose change.

If you like analogies, try It’s Not the Machine That Makes Us Clean . In it, we see how Christians are only saved by being exposed to the Water. Or, try The Waves of God’s Judgement and the Child of God. The closer we are to God, the more protected we will be in times of trouble.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Impressions from God

The Waves of God’s Judgement & the Child of God

Picture is of a beautiful beach with waves coming in just like the waves of God's judgement

God’s judgement is coming. Everyone who understands the Bible and knows God knows that His patience with sin, while long suffering, does run out. When judgement comes, it comes in waves. Watchmen have been warning, and those who hear from God directly have let the rest of us know. When the time comes to chastise the people, it won’t be a one and done. There will be multiple events that will lead to the refining of the Bride, mercy to the lost who will seek God in their pain, and a hardening of the heart to those who will ultimately reject the Light of God.

Two summers ago, I spent a few glorious days in Cancun, Mexico. I had prayed about it and felt that God was okay with the trip. While I was there, I was conscious of just how much God always takes care of me and my needs. I had wanted a beach so badly. I wanted to feel my toes in the sand, and He had made a way for me to go. Anyway, about the second or third day into my trip to Cancun, I was out in the water, and these thoughts about God’s judgement came to me:

Waves of God’s Judgement are Like Waves in the Sea

When we see the waves (of God’s judgement) crashing toward the shore, they will look ferocious from afar, but we (children of God), are not to fear. Because just as the wave gets near to us, an alternative force from the shore (God’s protection) will lessen the impact. What should have knocked us over will become a gentle bump. Also, even on the same beach within a few feet of each other, there are high spots and low spots. At a high spot (near to God), the wave hits at the shin and has a much lesser impact. At a low spot (further from God, more invested in the world), the wave hits in the gut and can knock us over.

Also, whether a high spot or a low spot, and no matter how much those waves are mitigated, sometimes a wave just hits hard anyway. (I think there will be some parts of judgement that will hit us personally.) One time a wave hit me, hard, and I got water in my eyes and my mouth. So, I went back to my beach chair and wiped the water from my face and took a sip of my cool drink. I then realized that God will be with us during that time. The Holy Spirit will be there to comfort us whatever we go through.

We Still Need to Get Off The Beach

The last thing I noticed while on the beach thinking through this analogy was that the waves themselves never came to the beach chairs. In fact, some people never even got their feet wet but were content on the shore. The further out, the harder the waves, but the stronger the sense that God was with me and in control. Very soon, some may be asked to get off their beach chairs (or out of their bunkers) and get into the water. Some will be asked to go further into the waves than they ever thought they would, but those are the people who will experience the glorious magnificence of a God who holds every drop of the crashing sea in His hands.

If you like analogies, try Message in the Moisturizer: We Can Choose Change . It is an object lesson about changing for the better. Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.