Some people have literally allowed the horror stories of others to shape and direct their lives. They think they’re acting wisely, but they’re living in fear.

Some people are seriously not getting married because they know people who were cheated on by their spouses. How foolish is that? What does another person’s spouse have to do with them? There are people who won’t fly because they’ve heard about plane crashes. Some people are unwilling to try certain foods because they “heard” it didn’t taste good.

We can’t keep living our lives through the lenses of others. These horror stories are meant to paralyze us with fear. We have to open our minds, do what God tells us to do, and live our lives being led by the Spirit, not through the horror stories of someone else.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

We seem to do fine when it comes to pleasing God by putting God above, friends, coworkers, or random people we don’t know, but when it comes to mothers, spouses, or children, people have a hard time and tend to question some things.

Pleasing God means doing what He says (Heb. 13:20-21): what God says in His Word or through the Holy Spirit. So, when God’s Word says you should leave your mother and father and cleave to your spouse (Gen. 2:24), that’s not the time to ignore that verse because you feel like no one should come before mama. That also means we should put God first by spending time with Him before we spend time with our fun spouse. When God’s Word says to physically discipline our children (Prov. 23:13), that’s not the time to question the bible. It’s better to please God than temporarily hurt your child’s feelings. He’s smarter than us.

Our parents, spouses, or children should not come before God. They are people just like everyone else. Our job is to please God, not man.

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

As we can see, God has plans to prosper us, but we can also see His ways are not our ways. So, whatever pathway to prosperity we think God should have for us will most likely be different. The goal of being prosperous in every area of our lives will still be the same, but how we get there will be different.

For example, we may think God should prosper us in our finances by allowing us to receive promotions every 3 to 5 years. But, God is smarter than us and He sees the big picture. God knows if we receive those promotions, we’ll have more responsibilities at work, which will take us from our families. We’ll be financially prosperous, but our family will suffer.

How we become prosperous is none of our business. That’s up to God. Once we’re convinced that God is smarter than us and He has better plans than we could imagine, the easier it becomes to accept whatever pathway He creates.

When we see a 2-hour movie, we’re seeing the final product of hundreds of hours’ worth of work. There are a lot of behind the scenes things we don’t see, that have been done over months.

There are a lot of behind the scene things people didn’t see for us to get to the place we are today. Most of our efforts are spiritually located, on the battleground of our minds. We had to continuously confess God’s Word despite what we see. We had to continue to believe even though what we’re experiencing contradicts what we believe. We had to continue to renew our minds even though thoughts contrary to God’s Word were bombarding our minds.

People see the final product (house, healthy, genuinely happy family), but they may not know the work that was put in for us to experience this abundant life Jesus provided. Let people know there’s some effort involved to experience God’s best. The devil is not just going to let us have what God has promised. We must resist him and claim what is ours (James 4:7).  

Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age.

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.

The devil is constantly attacking our minds with thoughts contrary to God’s Word. He often likes to remind us of things we don’t have yet. His goal is to make us feel unloved by God and to make us believe God’s promises won’t come to pass.

Instead of dwelling on those thoughts, capture them, and replace them with the Word of God. So, if Satan tells us we’ll never have a certain career, we audibly declare “God gives me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).” After declaring God’s Word, it’s beneficial to fill our minds with thoughts of thankfulness.

We think about all the things God has done in our lives. We think about how He healed us, how He provided for us, and how He did the miraculous. When we think about His wonderful works in our lives, we create a sense of gratitude and we can’t help but be thankful.

Don’t allow the devil to win by feeling sorry for yourself about things that haven’t happened yet. Be thankful for everything God has already done in your life.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

Jesus said, His words are spirit and life. If Jesus, who operated in the earth as a man, said His words are spirit and life, then so are ours.

Our words are alive and depending on what we say, we can build up or tear down things in our lives (Prov. 18:21). If we declare we have joy, peace, and all our needs are taken care of by God, then that’s what we’ll have. On the other hand, if we say we’re stressed, worried, or broke (even jokingly), we’ll have what we say.

Some may not think our words have that much power but remember, the almighty God didn’t create the universe with only His mind. And He didn’t use His hands. He used words. If He used words, and we’re created in His likeness, our words have power too.

God wants us to enjoy this life. As we place and keep our faith in Him, He’s willing to pull off the miraculous just to see us smile. Unfortunately, we do certain things to tie up God’s hands. One of those things is allowing our logic or earthly wisdom to supersede God’s voice.

For instance, we may want another cookie for dessert. We hear God telling us “it’s okay.” However, our logic tells us we don’t need the calories and we deprive ourselves of something God has okayed. Or, we may want new clothes, but we don’t want to spend the money. God has approved us buying new clothes and He’s telling us to trust Him. We don’t buy the clothes because we feel it’s unwise to spend the money. We denied ourselves something God approved.
It’s all a lack of trust in God.

If we want something, it’s our responsibility to go to God and see what He says. If He temporarily denies it or tells us to wait, we should wait for His timing to get the item. If He approves, go get it and enjoy and trust that He knows what He’s doing. Don’t talk yourself out of something God is treating you to.

Psalm 35:27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

It’s a blessing to know God is not keeping track of our sins, He’s forgiven and forgotten our sins, and He’s not punishing us for our sins (Hebrews 8:11; 2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 3:21-31). God’s not punishing us for our sins, but sin has natural consequences.

For instance, gluttony is a sin (Prov. 23:20-21). God is not punishing us for overeating, however consistently overeating can cause us to have natural consequences of high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which can lead to a heart attack. God didn’t punish us with a heart attack, but a natural consequence of overeating caused us to have a heart attack. God has forgiven and forgotten all the times we’ve stolen something, but theft can cause us to have a natural consequence of a few years in prison.

Although God is not punishing us for our sin, sin has natural consequences which is why it’s in our best interest to make the effort to live a sin-free life.

Therefore do not let sin control your mortal body so that you obey its desires. -Romans 6:12

Psalm 103:10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. 11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

This statement was made under the old covenant. Even under the old covenant, God wasn’t punishing us (mankind) for all our sins. His mercy and love stopped some of the punishment from devouring us.

Now, because of the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, we’re under a new and better covenant (Heb. 8:6-13). Under the new covenant, God is merciful to our unrighteousness and our sins He’ll remember no more (Heb. 8:11). Under the new covenant, God is not keeping a record of our sins (Rom. 8:4).

2 Corinthians 5:19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

If God is not remembering, keeping record of, or punishing us for our sins, we should let our sins go too. Beating ourselves up about sin is not bringing God any glory and it’s not showing God how sorry we are. We’re belittling the sacrifice of Jesus by saying, we don’t believe Jesus’ punishment was enough therefore, we need to suffer some more.

Receive God’s loving mercy and don’t be condemned by the mistakes we may make.

When people say spiritual warfare, some make it spooky as if the devil is possessing people’s bodies or homes and they need to remove him. That’s not spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is a mental battle between the devil and us. The devil is trying to make us doubt or not believe God’s Word and it’s our job to believe God’s Word despite what we see or experience.

EXAMPLE: John receives a negative report that he has cancer.
Satan: You know you have cancer.
John: No, God’s Word says, “I am healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Satan: You heard the doctor. You have cancer.
John: No! I believe I’m healed of cancer.
Satan: What’s your family going to do when you die of cancer?
John: I shall live and not die (Psalm 118:17) because I believe I am healed of cancer.

This back and forth between us and Satan may go on for days, months, or years. It can center around our health, our marriage, our finances, the well-being of our children, our desires, etc.

It’s our job to equip ourselves for battle by knowing and believing God’s Word, spending time in praise as we thank God for the victory, and consulting with the Holy Spirit to see if there are any practical things we can do to manifest God’s promises.

Spiritual warfare is real, and it will happen for the rest of our lives. However, if we have the weapon of the Word, we’ll win every time.

Luke 4:1 Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry. 3 The devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

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