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Crown the Sword: Ch. 1 – Is God’s Word for You?

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“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Matthew 16:15 (NIV)

Have you ever pondered why Jesus asked Simon Peter this question? What would you have answered? Christ wasn’t looking for the formal definition, a “good Christian” response, or even what the world had to say. He was more concerned with who he was to Peter on a personal level.

When I reflect on chapter 1, I think about the title of this segment- “This is for You”. Scripture, a perfect gift from God! John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This is the only substance Jeremiah found to sustain his very being. He could not help but live life through the Word because it was within him. Jeremiah allowed it to penetrate his every pore to overflowing. He was truly a follower drenched in God’s goodness.

As you read and study Chapter 1, think about your response to this question–How do you define God’s Word? Imagine your Bible looking you straight in the eye and asking, “Who do you say I am?” (Remember, God is all knowing.)

At one point in my life the physical dust and lack of engagement evidence of my Bible would have answered the question for me. Why would I need to respond? My personal definition was quite obvious. Oh in my heart I knew His Word had value and I would have agreed it contained the best advice, yet I just didn’t make time to partake. Maybe because I had not experienced the personal treasure sitting on a shelf-which I read once or twice a week when I attended church.

God wants so much more for us. He wants us to be a partaker-drenched “so much in Scripture it causes the enemy to scurry in fear from God’s goodness pooling around you.” Our spiritual progression depends on us reading, studying, meditating, praying, discussing, obeying, applying, and sharing God’s Word daily. It is far from an adornment sitting on the coffee table. (I think I just revealed my age with that statement! YIKES!) The Bible is a tremendous line of communication with the one who not only loves us more than anyone, but the one who formed us in our mother’s womb. He loved us before anyone did!

Dig deep this week. Let Scripture help you define God’s Word. Ask the Lord to help you increase your personal reverence and value of the Bible. Get real with the Father and determine where you are in your daily intake. Set your goal by deciding what type of partaker you want to be as you journey through Crown the Sword.

God is saying–“This is for YOU!” Let this be a time in your life to deepen your reliance on the One and Only life sustaining resource-the living and applicable WORD of GOD.

Overwhelmed? Conquer it with God and His Word

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Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? I have had the pleasure of being there! I have lost count of the number of episodes. However, I can attest to the fact those zany feelings are genuine and definitely stop me in my tracks. It has taken me years to finally address it, call it out, and deal with it.

Two years ago, God was restoring me from an intense pit which lasted half a decade. As He began reconditioning my heart and repairing my life, the Lord had me face one of the largest elephants in the room. (Yes, there were more than one!) This creature had overpowered me several times and left me devastated in handling my very own existence. I even identified myself as one who was best at doing nothing when not knowing what to do. It was time to deal with the paralyzing effects of being overwhelmed.  

My dark valley was a discipline gorge delivering many unforgettable lessons. However, the most impactful discovery was the importance of staying in His Word and paying close attention to His directives. My desperation allowed me to cling to The Spirit of truth, God’s Holy Word, and find hope in His promises.

As I began digging deeper into Scripture, the Holy Spirit began prompting me to apply it to my circumstances. God was basically saying, “It is time to put skin on Scripture my daughter”. The Lord started with my feelings of being overwhelmed and spotlighted the root of the issue. ME! My out-of-control desperation episodes where nothing more than lacking the ability to let go and allow God to drive.

The fight is still real and can be powerful at times. However, I have learned to face the devasting lie from the enemy by humbly surrendering to the directives and promises of God’s sweet words- Scripture. I am getting better at calling out those overwhelming thoughts and placing them under God’s authority than I use to be. And somehow along the way, I found freedom by living life as a passenger and giving up control of the keys.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

Allow me to share three ways I learned to combat the struggle:

1. Surrendered to God: I had to accept the fact life is not about me. As I discovered my purpose through God, it became clear-I had been living according to my plans. I had created blueprints I could not humanly achieve because the truth is: I am a powerless being. God is in control and I am not.

So, as I began humbly surrendering my life to the Lord, those overwhelming moments arose less and less. It became easier to handle the pressures of daily living. Why? Because I was no longer the manager of my life, God was. It still amazes me how giving up the steering wheel allowed my life to be in better working order.     

2. Connected with God: Hindsight is definitely 20/20. My overwhelming episodes could have been lessened had I been in full relationship with the Almighty Lord. God showed me His desire-for me to participate in an environment focused upon Him 24/7.

After admitting to my lack of engagement with God and Scripture, I began making Him top priority. I ran to Him about everything in life-good or bad. He became a power source of strength above anything I had experienced. His connection seemed to block out the enemy’s ability to overwhelm my mind. God gave me peace, security, and satisfaction. I began following His discernment and letting Him lead.    

3. Submitted to the Lord’s text: Putting skin on Scripture started with drenching my life with God’s Holy Word. For years, I had viewed the Bible as talk uttered by God without acknowledging the supernatural force, potency, and capability it possessed. My viewpoint had to change.

God extended His invitation to infuse my life and He welcomed me to a completely different way of thinking and living through His Word. His empowerment lured me to seek Him on a more intimate level and to bring my life under His absolute authority. I began inserting my name in His Word and fighting off those fickle feelings through declaring Scripture.

Now when overwhelming emotions creep up, I go straight to those commanding verses and claim them. I submit to the power of the Father and ask for His help in fighting off the persuading lies. Slowly, I have learned to let Scripture conquer the battle of my mind. I have found the Lord’s text to be a true defensive sword worthy to be called highly effective.

So, now when I begin to experience the feelings of being overwhelmed, I am no longer paralyzed and do nothing. God has given me an action plan and a helpmate: His Holy Word. I am now able to keep moving forward thanks to God’s provision.    

My “Go To” Scriptures when feeling overwhelmed:

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Isaiah 51:12a (NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:114 (NIV)

How do you overcome paralyzing emotions? Share your suggestions and thoughts below. We would love to hear from you!

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BOOK REVIEW: The Will of God

Stanley, Charles F. (2019). The Will of God. Howard Books, New York:NY.

SUMMARY: In this writing, Stanley conveys the belief that God has a plan for every individual and wants each person to know it fully. The writer has developed means of discernment to assist readers in identifying their purpose and calling in God’s determined and desired will. All main points are backed by an abundance of scripture and examples from the Bible.

In the first few chapters, Stanley addresses God’s ultimate goal and His sovereignty. Readers are reminded that God wants a personal relationship more than anything else. The Father is said to communicate in an individual manner according to each person’s way of hearing. However, Stanley does recognize the barriers which block out God’s voice and the issue of free will.

The writer gently reminds believers that the key to knowing God’s will is a complete surrender of themselves. He identifies this subject as “staying on the altar” to be fully invested and remain connected to God’s will.  He also tackles the importance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit by focusing on the role each plays. Stanley pinpoints eight elements in acquiring God’s will and reason for not hearing God. The final chapter is designed to assist readers in their dedication and commitment to fulfilling God’s plan for their lives.

MY $.02: This book was recommended by a friend and they even loaned me their book. My heart honestly skipped a beat as I began reading. Each page is filled with scripture reference and encouragement to knowing and living God’s will. It perfectly aligns with Refining because it focuses on the importance of attaining God’s purpose for your life, the significance of having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and the need to continually rely on Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

I appreciated how Stanley shared personal experiences and biblical stories to help solidify some of his points throughout the book. The book highlights key points and uses bold print to catch the readers attention to main thoughts or steps written.  One example is “God’s desired will is that we serve Him—and that we do so wholeheartedly. Whether we do and to the extent that we do is up to us.”  

If you are struggling to hear God’s voice, know your life purpose, identify your calling, or just want a deeper walk with the Lord, I would suggest this book. For me, it is a great personal resource to reference and is a perfect support when delivering some main topics in the Refining study. I love the fact that the appendix is filled with “promise verses about God’s will”.  

Don’t just take my word for it:

https://tinyurl.com/rquf8gs

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