Your Real Worst Spiritual Enemy Is Closer Than You Think

“Give me the reins.” I’ll always remember when the Holy Spirit spoke those four words to my heart. It was clear He wasn’t asking for one “rein” he wanted all my “reins.”

Of course, I immediately thought of a horse’s reins. The rider uses the reins as a restraining influence to control the animal with his guiding power. That example coupled with Scripture offered me insight into what the Holy Spirit meant—and delivered me into a new level of freedom in Christ.

When David invited Jehovah to, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart” (Ps. 26:2 KJV), he was speaking of his emotions. The Hebrew word translated reins in this verse means “seat of emotion and affection.”

David, the man who asked one thing from the Lord—to dwell in His house all the days of his life and to gaze on His beauty and seek Him in His temple (see Ps. 27:4)—was confident in who he was in God. Despite the warfare, despite the betrayal, despite the rejection—despite it all—David submitted his emotions to God.

When Emotion Is Our God

We are all emotional beings. God gave us emotions—and God Himself has emotions. Think about it for a minute. Sometimes we feel joyful; sometimes we grieve. Sometimes we feel bold; sometimes intimidated. Sometimes we feel triumphant; sometimes completely and utterly physically and emotionally exhausted.

Our emotions can be a great motivator at times and a great enemy at other times. In fact, Watchman Nee, author of books like Spiritual DiscernmentSecrets to Spiritual Power and Let Us Pray, once said that emotions are the believer’s number one enemy—not the devil, but our emotions. That’s why we need to give Him our reins.

If we give God the reins of our heart, we’ll find stability—but we have to give Him all the reins or we are in danger of pulling in the wrong direction as we run our races. If we pick and choose which emotions we will submit to God and which ones we’ll allow free reign in our souls, we’ll wind up unstable—and wound up. We’ll find ourselves holding on tight as the emotional roller coaster turns us upside down and leaves us spinning in circles.

We need to align our emotions to the Word of God. Yes, I know. That’s easier said than done. But if David did it so can we. It’s not a matter of putting on a soldier face and keeping a stiff upper lip. David poured out his emotions to God—the anger, the disappointments, the hurt, the confusion—but he didn’t wallow in those emotions. He submitted them to the one who could stabilize his soul.

Give God the Reins

Along with emotions, God gave us a free will—and it takes an act of our will to consistently submit our emotions to God. Job had to submit his emotions to God in the midst of a trial that caused his wife to encourage him to curse God and die. Job had to decide to trust God despite facing a trial like few of us will ever see “though my reins be consumed within me” (see Job 19:27).

God tries the hearts and reins (see Ps. 7:9) not because He doesn’t know how mature we are but so that we can see how mature we are—or aren’t. God knows when we’re saying the right things out of our mouths but our hearts are actually far from him (see Jer. 12:2). God knows when we’re suppressing emotions that lead to resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness. He wants us to give Him the reins.

Yes, there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to love and a time to hate, as Solomon shares in Ecclesiastes 3. But it’s always time to rejoice in the Lord—not in our circumstances but in the Lord. I believe choosing to rejoice in Him as an act of our will is one of the most strategic ways to submit our emotions to Him—to give Him the reins of our hearts.

A soulish life is dangerous, but if we give God the reins of our heart we will mature and we can use our emotions to glorify Him rather than allowing them to lead us away from our purpose in Him. David put it this way, “I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel; my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Ps. 16:7-8, KJV). Amen.

Jennifer LeClaire

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God is Omnipotent

Not only does the Bible tell us that God is the only god, the creator of all things, the god that was, is, and will always be, but it also tells us exactly what God can, and cannot do.

Luke sums up the power of God quite nicely by saying, “nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) So if nothing is impossible with God, can anything stop Him?

Job proclaims the power of God by saying, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2) Proverbs 21:30 also tells us that nothing can even compare or stand up to God’s power, by saying, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.”

Along with not being able to stop God, we are told there is nothing that can even reverse what He has done! Job tells of this power by saying, “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. What He tears down cannot be rebuilt; the man he imprisons cannot be released. If He holds back the waters, there is drought; if He lets them loose, they devastate the land.” (Job 12:13-15)
This means when God says something, or does something, it is final! God tells Isaiah this when He says, “Yes, and from ancient days I am He. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13)

All of these verses tell us that God is Omnipotent, or All-Powerful. There is no one that can stop Him from carrying out His will, and there is no one who can change Him, or overturn His decision. HE holds all the authority (Jude 1:24-25).

For God…..

John 3:16 Devotional

In the city of Chicago, one cold, dark night, a blizzard was setting in. A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner; the people were in and out of the cold. The little boy was so cold that he could not sell many papers.

He walked up to a policeman and said, “Mister, you wouldn’t happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you? You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and it’s awful cold in there at night. Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay.”

The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, “You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say John 3:16 and they will let you in.”

So he did, he walked up the steps to the door, and knocked on the door and a lady answered. He looked up and said, “John 3:16.”

The lady said, “Come on in, Son.” She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace and she went off.

He sat there for a while, and thought to himself “John 3:16…. I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm.”

Later she came back and asked him “Are you hungry?” He said, “Well, just a little. I haven’t eaten in a couple of days and I guess I could stand a little bit of food.” The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn’t eat any more.

Then he thought to himself “John 3:16… Boy, I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a hungry boy full.”

She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub filled with warm water and he sat there and soaked for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself, “John 3:16… I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know I’ve not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life.  The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.”

The lady came in and got him, and took him to a room and tucked him into a big old feather bed and pulled the covers up around his neck and kissed him good night and turned out the lights. As he laid in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night he thought to himself, “John 3:16… I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a tired boy rested.”

The next morning she came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food. After he ate she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and she took a big old Bible and sat down in front of him and she looked up at him and she asked, “Do you understand John 3:16?” He said, “No, Ma’am, I don’t. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it.”

She opened the Bible to John 3:16, and she began to explain to him about Jesus. Right there in front of that big old fireplace he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there and thought, “John 3:16. I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.”

You know, I have to confess I don’t understand it either, how God would be willing to send His Son to die for me, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don’t understand it either, but it sure does make life worth living.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

BREAKTHROUGH   PRAYER

Understanding principles of prayer alone will not lead to breakthrough .In fact prayerlessness often co-exists with extensive Bible knowledge .Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to pray effectively.

  • Serious prayer is born out of a sense of need from the knowledge that we must ask God to intervene.
  • Scripture shows us two things

Our human need,

The Lord’s promise of provision, knowing we need God’s help.

Contagious Prayer

Like worship and hunger for God, the impulse to pray is often contagious.

Prayer life of Hannah 1 Samuel 1:3-7 1 Samuel 1 9-11

This is the process the Lord often by uses working out his plans through weak human beings who feel compelled by their need to pray .Sometimes our “breaking point”can lead to breakthrough if it spurs us to call on God. The long depressing cycle that had continued year after year was broken in just a few moments spent with God.

Praying from the Heart

Hannah’s example assures us that a prayer- answering God can resolve seemingly hopeless situations .Many times sons and daughters are wooed back to the Lord through a Mom or Dad breaking through in prayer. Hannah prayed from her heart’s deepest desire 1 Samuel 1-12-13

God hears our hearts cry even when our mouths are silent .Hannah tears spoke more profoundly than words, and she found favor with the Lord.

 

Spiritual Opposition

1 Samuel 1-13-16

The high priest Eli reaction to Hannah’s prayer .We must press through and hold onto God.

God answers prayers, we need to follow the Spirit’s leading and ignore everything that discourages you from trusting the Lord.

Praying Through

1 Samuel 1-17 Upon hearing that word from the priest of God Hannah “went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast”. Hannah was sure about God’s answer before she conceived her child. Ephesians 6 18-20 .We desperately need churches and individuals who will pray on all occasions, with all kinds of prayer and supplication. If we do our part, God will do his part.

Another Secret of Prayer

Hannah wanted to extol the name of the Lord .A common problem in our prayer is that we only focus on ourselves with little thought of how God can be glorified. 1 Samuel 2-21

The Blessing God gives when we seek to give him the glory .Prayer brings peace.

Hannah’s prayer illustrates how prayer relieves the soul of the burdens it carries”cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

We can convert our troubles into a cry for help to God Psalm 40:17

God’s supernatural peace is only a prayer away. Philippians 4 6-7

God unique 24/7 security system is available for both heart and mind if we pour out our hearts in prayer.

The Lord is My Shepherd

The psalmist David said right out in the first verse of his God-inspired twenty-third Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” What a beautiful wonderful Psalm this is! It is a hymn of confidence knowing that we have the Lord as our Shepherd, and when the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want.

The Hebrew word used for “Lord” in this verse is “Yahweh.” Yahweh is God almighty, the Creator of the universe, the Lord God Almighty – Yahweh. That’s who the Shepherd is! Not some little wimpy guy that watches over sheep or anything like that. No, the Lord the Creator of the universe. He is your Shepherd.

He is my Shepherd. Yes that “my” is personal it belongs to me. And because the Lord God, Yahweh, is my Shepherd, the psalmist says, I have everything I need. The Lord is my Shepherd; what more could I want? I have Him. He has my back. He’s my protector. He is my defender. He is there for me.

In Revelations, the last book of the Bible, it talks about how the Lamb became the Shepherd. I love that whole juxtaposition with Psalm 23:1 – the Shepherd is the Lamb – the Lamb is the Shepherd. The Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

The God of the universe has laid down His life for you through His son Jesus Christ. As a result, we have victory over everything, even victory over death. Everything we need we have because the Lord is our shepherd. What more could we want?

Love One Another

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

It is a sad fact that one does not have to look at the Christian church very long before discovering that believers often do not love each other as they ought. The proliferation of denominations is one example of this. While it is true that many were formed out of a legitimate need to maintain the purity of the Gospel, it is also true that others started because individuals could not lovingly tolerate disagreement on matters not essential to the faith. Even now, what should be minor issues become major ones and insults are hurled across denominational lines at those who share the true faith.

Perhaps more troubling is the fact that even believers within the same church have trouble loving one another. How many of us dislike others in our own church simply because they have certain quirks or have not progressed as far in their sanctification as we might like?

As today’s passage shows us, this is not as things should be. Peter tells us that more than anything else, believers must love one another earnestly (1 Peter 4:8). He has encouraged us to do this before as a means of standing firm in the faith (1:22). Today he tells us to do this because “love covers a multitude of sins” (4:8).

We must note here that Peter is not telling us that our love for one another provides atonement for sin. Rather, he recognizes that we will experience a host of problems from other people, real or imagined, and that we will not be able to forgive and help them to grow if we are not loving them earnestly. And if we cannot love earnestly, God’s people will not be strengthened to stand firm in the midst of the trials Peter had in mind as he wrote this letter.

God does initiate and guarantee our final salvation (1:3–5). However, He makes us persevere in it through the use of secondary causes. He uses the love of fellow Christians to keep us firm in the faith. Therefore, we must eagerly love even the “unlovable” in our churches. In 4:9, he tells us that one way we can do this is to show hospitality without grumbling. We should be eager to be God’s means of strengthening others, and we can do this through fellowship with one another in our homes and by sharing our lives with them.

Breakthrough

Luke 4:18-19 (NLT)

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”

Everybody needs a breakthrough today. It could be just from a few minor problems to devastating situations but mankind signs under the oppression of sin. Sin is the base problem of humanity and a release has been provided through Jesus Christ. However, in a world that is dying with the cries of the condemned overwhelming, it is difficult to claim the breakthrough that is made available. The world is under duress at the close proximity of the Lord as Jesus Christ prepares to return and claim His Bride. Such corruption cannot stand the Presence of God and violently opposes His Intrusion. However, it is inevitable. God promised to release His People. Jesus submitted to be the Way. God’s kept His Promise and every captive has been set free. So why do we feel defeated and depressed? Where is victory? Why is there no joy? God has released His People through His Son, Jesus Christ. However, many have remained in the confines of their old life afraid to experience the Freedom of Christ firsthand but rather watch from the comfort of complacency and security of self.

John 10:9-10 (NLT)

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Abundant life waits on the other side of your breakthrough. Freedom is just a footstep away. However, there is one who is direct opposition and violently opposes this movement from death to life. Lurking in the shadows of darkness, whispering lies and tugging at the trains of the righteous, he desperately seeks to pull you back into your old life and abandon the abundant life which is different than Eternal Life. Eternal life is a measurement of time. It is a horizontal measurement of God’s Plan for His People. However, abundant life is a vertical AND horizontal view in all directions. God wants to fill every single aspect of your life with His Goodness.

reakthrough is a compound word made up of two distinct components. The first word “break” indicates an act of violence. It is to smash, divide or split in part violently. Jesus Christ broke the power of sin and death over the life of all God’s People. The cross was a violent encounter. Jesus Christ secured the victory in such a way. The word “break” through requires no less exertion of energy. Jesus Christ literally broke the power of sin. He fought for the victory and one. It was a gut wrenching battle just for you. If you were the only one at stake, Jesus would not have given any less and His Effort would have been equally as valiant. You see God loves you. You and only you! He loves you so much in fact, that He allowed His Son to die just for your salvation. It was worth it for God to endure the pain and heartache of suffering with His Only Son at stake to secure His People. Jesus Christ made the way for God’s People to move from death to life.

2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT)

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.