“Not today, Satan!” These words must be more than a cute saying on a t-shirt or hashtag. We must live in the reality of telling the enemy to get behind us and that he will not stand in our way of moving forward in God. We won’t succumb to his evil tactics. We won’t get caught in his web of lies. Saints of God, this is not the time to become distracted! We have to armor up; we are in a full fledged war and we have to engage in warfare even if we don’t want to. When soldiers are on the battlefield, they must remain sober and press beyond how they feel and remain focused on the mission. They fight with victory in mind and they focus. It is easy to get distracted by tangential issues and lose sight of who the real enemy is. If we are not careful, the devil can trick us into fighting those who are on our side instead of galvanizing together and fighting against the real enemy.
What would happen if husbands and wives put aside their self-serving agendas? What if they focused not only on being happy but becoming holy, adopting a servant’s heart towards each other, not insisting on always being right, and came together in prayer and declared with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if different denominations stopped arguing over the nonessentials, holding higher the tradition of men than the word of God but band together to bombard heaven and declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if we spend more time with God than we do with our electronics? What if we stopped saying we don’t have time to spend time with God and instead humbly admit that we have not made it a priority and have idols in our lives that take our worship? What if we were intentional about positioning ourselves to hear His voice and declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if the church would reach across racial lines, stop being racist towards our brothers and sisters in Christ and pursue authentic unity that comes from seeking the face of the father together? What if we stopped taking cues from the world on how to address the sin of racism and instead humble ourselves and pray with one voice defiantly declaring, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if we were more focused on getting more of God instead of more earthly possessions and status? What if when the enemy comes to lure us away with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, we declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
I tell you what would happen, Satan would have to flee and we would see God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven! I repeat, this is not the time for us to become distracted. We have to fight to claim the victory that is already ours in Christ Jesus! I pray that the church will awaken from spiritual slumber and see the distractions for what they really are. I pray we will get over ourselves and our own agendas and pursue the agenda of heaven!
Colossians 3:2 NIV
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
A few weeks ago, I purged my email account and deleted thousands of messages in my inbox. It felt so good to get rid of all those emails. This was something that I needed to do a long time ago, but I was afraid of letting go. Since that day I have been diligent about deleting read and unwanted emails. I don’t want to return to that place of having an overcrowded and overwhelming email account. I have had to do daily maintenance, and this same principle applies to my walk with God. God has delivered me from so much baggage, and I have had to fight to maintain that deliverance. The enemy actively attempts to hinder me from walking in the freedom I receive. He is always looking for ways to pull me back into old sinful habits and wrong mindsets. I can’t assume that once God has delivered me, I can live on cruise control. No, I must put in the work to maintain the deliverance I received. No one can do the work of maintenance for me, I have to be an active participant. The best way to maintain my deliverance is to daily commune with my deliverer through praying and reading His word. I didn’t deliver myself, so I can’t think for one second that I can maintain deliverance in my strength. That’s foolish thinking. What has God delivered you from? Are you still walking in that freedom or have you become lazy and drifted in the wrong direction? If you want to remain in a place of deliverance, know that God’s grace is there to help you maintain it, I encourage you to tap into that grace that is readily available to all believers!
1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are a family of eight, so most mornings I do laundry to avoid having a mountain of dirty clothing by the end of the week. This morning as I was doing laundry, I noticed that my washer had a blinking signal that I was not familiar with, panic ensued. Initially I tried figuring out the problem by pressing random buttons to see if I could clear the screen, but it was not working. Before I could get into full-blown panic mode, I realized I could just check the online manual to see what to do. I paused, grabbed my laptop and within a few seconds of googling, I found out how to fix the problem and I carried on with my duties.
In that moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me I must have the same response when things malfunction in my life. There will be times when things don’t go as planned. It’s easy for me to panic and try to fix situations on my own instead of going directly to the manual and the manual maker-God and His word. I can think of times where I just pause, refuse to panic and seek God and His word for how I should respond in my crisis moments. When I use this method, without fail His peace attends me. The problem may not disappear right away like it did with my washer but when I consult the manual my fears and impulsive sin nature are over ruled and instead I receive the peace of God and His perspective. Consulting the manual (God’s word) doesn’t mean the problem will disappear, but it will give you the correct way to respond. I encourage you to make getting in the word of God a DAILY priority. This life promises difficulties, but when we remain in God’s word, the difficulty won’t cause us to panic.
Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 61:2 (NLT)
From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.
Often when we are in moments of crisis, we spend more time telling God how we feel and leave little time to listen to what He has to say. There is nothing wrong with sharing our burdens with the Lord; in fact, he invites us to do just that. HOWEVER, we must not only tell God what is on our hearts, but it is imperative that we make the space to hear His heart. It is easy to buy into the idea that the sky is falling. The world and all its sin problems are a disheveled mess, but children of God, don’t think for one second that God does not have an answer to all that is going on. Don’t think for one second that God doesn’t want to share with you how you should respond. You just have to take time to hear His voice. We remain in a place of panic when we choose not to slow down to hear the voice of the Lord. Turn off all the noise and steal away to a quiet place to hear the voice of Abba. Insist on making time to not just read but also study his word. He has much to say. Be mindful of what you are taking in throughout the day, you want to have clear reception when it is time to go to sleep because God may have an answer for you in a dream. In Matthew 1, Joseph found himself in a crisis, his fiancé Mary became pregnant and he knew he was not the one who impregnated her. Before he could carry through his plan to silently put her away, the angel of the Lord spoke to Him in a dream and give Him an answer and directives. Fast forward to Matthew 2 and God speaks to Joseph three others times (vs. 13, vs. 19, and vs. 22) through dreams and it was imperative that He had the ability to hear because it was literally a life or death situation. We have many other examples of God speaking to people throughout scripture and He does not limit it to dreams. He speaks in so many ways, but we MUST make the time to listen. Yes, the world is in crisis, but what do I have to fear? I’m connected to the creator of the universe and if I slow down to listen to His voice, I can gain wisdom on how to respond. I can then walk in peace even when everyone else is worrying. Do you make time to hear the voice of the Lord? If not, I encourage you to.
My heart is heavy God. My heart aches for my black brothers and sisters who have allowed their pain to make them take their eyes off you. My heart aches for my black brothers and sisters who have become convinced that this praying thing is not enough. My heart aches for my black brothers and sisters who are choosing to stray from you because of the oppression of black people. They have loss sight of the bigger narrative. God, I don’t know how to fully convey what’s in my heart, but this burden is overwhelming. We are allowing anger and bitterness to overtake us. Some of us have exalted our blackness above our God! Father I know it must hurt your heart to see how in this pain we are doubting your love for us, we have forgotten that you sent your son to die for our brown skins too. We have allowed our anger to cause us to tune our ears to the lies of the enemy and fight a spiritual battle with carnal weapons.
Teach us God to guard our hearts. Help us understand that choosing to repeatedly forgive the ongoing offense of racism doesn’t make us lose our black card, it just helps us to maintain our kingdom citizenship. Help us understand that our willingness to guard our hearts against roots of bitterness and refusing to sit and stew in the offense doesn’t mean we are excusing the sin of racism it just means we are more interested in imitating Christ and His humility and His willingness to forgive. God help us realize that you see the injustices. You have not turned a blind eye to our pain, and that we should run to you and not to those in the world who look like us for comfort and strategy! God let us mature and not use our pain as an excuse to remain in a place of immaturity and respond to racism in our flesh. Help us remember that this is a perfect opportunity to let our lights shine beyond our pain so you can be glorified in our response and racist souls be drawn to you through our actions. Help us remember that despite our pain, we still have a responsibility to carry out the ministry of reconciliation-your way! God, let us remember what is at stake. Let us remember that this world is not our home. Let us live with eternity in mind. Help us realize that as your children you are calling us to a higher plane.
In Jesus’ name, I pray amen.
I get it. Talking about racism can be uncomfortable. As a black Christian woman, I am very much aware of the reality of racism. It is not a figment of people’s imagination, nor is it something that ended years ago. The sin of racism is still very prevalent in our world. So how do I respond as a believer in Christ? Should I sit and stew in anger and allow bitterness to grow in my heart? I cannot and will not let hatred consume me. I can’t and won’t allow the enemy to win. It’s in times like these that I must press into God’s presence because the reality of what’s going on can steal my joy. As I have been spending time with God, He has been reminding me of truths that are a healing balm for my soul during this volatile time. He has reminded me I am in covenant with Him, so while some in the world may hate me because of the color of my skin, I don’t have to succumb to that hate because I am loved with an everlasting love by the creator of the universe. This truth doesn’t erase my pain as a black Christian woman, but it causes me to rise above it! God has also been reminding me that this world is not my home. We live in an evil world, but as a child of God, I am looking for a greater city whose builder and maker is God. In this city, there will be no more crying, no more injustices, no more hatred! This hope keeps me from sinking into a place of despair. As I wait for this day I pray, and I encourage all my brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same.
Many can dismiss all that is going on because it is not their reality. This approach can be even more hurtful to black Christians. If we are all a part of the body of Christ, you should hurt when I hurt, even if my experience is not yours. With all that said, I also don’t believe the church should have the same approach as the world. We should not be caught up with performing for the cameras and putting on false displays of unity in public because it is the “Christian thing” to do. God is not interested in our productions. We cannot fight a spiritual war with carnal weapons. Yes, we should have those tough private conversations with our brothers and sisters in Christ, asking uncomfortable questions, being vulnerable, admitting to what we don’t know and understand. The point of the conversation should be to bring understanding where it is lacking and provide a safe place to voice our hurts. It is not about making one group feel guilty while making another group feel like they are complaining about minor issues. But we must not stop at talking, we must prioritize prayer! Talking can only accomplish so much while prayer can bring down strongholds. In prayer, God gives us wisdom on how we as the church should respond. It is unfortunate because many believers are looking at the news and social justice groups to know how to respond during this time. WRONG ANSWER! We gain wisdom from God, not from man’s wisdom. Authentic prayers prayed from humble hearts birth real unity, brings healing, and helps us to maintain the proper perspective.