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Trash Talk

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me,” says the Lord.   Isaiah 54:17

Whether in basketball, baseball or boxing, trash talk is a strategy used to get into the head of the opposition.  The battle, then, is not only fought on the court, field or ring but also in the mind.   Why do athletes trash talk? Because it’s very effective.  Like arrows in battle, if the words penetrate they will weaken the opponent.  Therefore, if an athlete is unprepared for the barrage of negative speech they will be easier to defeat, having been weakened by the words.  We too have an enemy who likes to use trash talk to injure or weaken us.  In my experience it is also very effective unless I listen to my coach yelling, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes!”  Ephesians 6:11.

Lately, I have played the game of life unprepared and have been getting creamed. Why did the enemy start up again with the message that I am not safe?  Because it worked!  It has been years since the setting of the sun coupled with my husband’s absence has triggered delusions of thieves in the night.  There was freedom in the name of Jesus!  I claimed His promises, won the victory and then took off my armor.  It has also been years since I have prayed those promises, reminding myself of the glorious victory we have in Jesus.  promises like Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” So, after yelling, “Foul!” a few times in the middle of the night I realized that I was unarmed and it was time to get dressed.

However, it usually takes me at least an hour of quiet time every morning with my bible and Jesus to be clothed (in armor) and in my right mind.   That may seem like a long time to you but the alternative for me is defeat. There is no protection against the onslaught of arrows aimed at our hearts, tempting us to act on our feelings and not on what we know is true, if we do not purpose to get dressed!  Naked, we become emotional victims.  In other words, the result of not purposing to sit at the Lord’s feet was death by trash talk.   Similar to the enemy spies hidden within the Trojan Horse, lies are hidden inside painful memories waiting for the perfect time to emerge and take control.  Those negative messages flood through the cracks of my heart that were left unguarded and the enemy’s trash talk begins.

“You are not safe.” he whispers,  “You need to protect yourself because God will not protect you.”

Before I know it I have been up for hours feeling anxious, fearful and defeated.  Convinced that it couldn’t be my own choices that led me to this point of confusion and defeat I shout in unison with Martha, “Lord, don’t You care?” Then the enemy’s whisper turns to shouting, “No! He doesn’t care about you. It is all up to you to protect yourself!”   With my eyes (and ears) off Jesus I begin to weaken.  Then, I hear Jesus saying, “Victory over the enemy is certain!” (2 Corinthians 15:57) and, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love!” (John 15:9)

This cycle is not only exhausting it also interferes with my intimate fellowship with God.  When I hear myself asking, “Jesus, don’t You care?”  I visualize Him standing beside me.  He grabs my hand and leads me next to Mary, who is already and always at His feet. (Luke 10:39) “Sit with Me,” HE offers, sweeping his right hand from His heart to the place next to Him.  I sit, looking up, unable to avoid His loving gaze that answers my question.  “Yes, I care.  I love you.  Look at My hands, My side.  Now do you believe?”  and I am safe.

Oh, to be clothed and in my right mind!  Thank You, LORD Jesus!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

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Pro-Creator

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” Genesis 9:7

While laying in bed with a stomache ache because the too rich for my forty-seven-year-old digestive system dinner I ate last night won’t stop waking me up, I thought of procreation. (This is because I feel the same way I did when I was pregnant  and couldn’t sleep.)

 You know the definition: produce young; reproduce. This is the general command in Genesis 9:7, “Go procreate.” However, since there is always a connection between the physical truth in the Old Testament  and spiritual truth in the New Testament, there must be a spiritual application of Genesis 9:7 for us today as Christians.  May I suggest Matthew 28:19? “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”  Here Jesus said basically the same thing, “Go procreate!”  So we are called to be spiritually fruitful and multiply. How? By sharing the good news of Jesus with those who don’t know Him.  When we share the gift with those who do not understood that Jesus’ invitation, the Gospel, is offered to them we are spreading seed.  We know from the parable that not all invitations will be accepted but some will fall on good soil and God will give them new life!

Furthermore, if they choose to accept the gift Jesus died on the cross to give them, we are to teach them or “make disciples.” This is the equivalent to spiritual parenting.  Because God allows us to join Him where He’s working (Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby) and calls us to enter into relationship with believers as adopted children who need care, I am challenged to love my brothers and sisters in Christ in this way.  

I’m grateful for the seed that landed on my soiled heart so many years ago.  It came from faithful Christians who loved me more than they feared rejection.  They also watered, weeded (lots of weeding) and fertilized as needed. So, this spring let’s scatter some seed in His name and be Pro-Creators for Christ and watch the fruit grow for His glory!

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”  Romans 1:16