Purity is What You Think

Spiritual Warfare

Part 16

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:5 NIV)

Double-Minded 3In high school, I had a friend who proved somewhat less than trustworthy. She’d start a conversation about another girl, and I willingly added my thoughts. I might mention the other girl and I liked the same young man. The “friend,” in turn, took my comments back to the other girl. It didn’t take me long to realize what she was doing and refuse to talk to her about my feelings. Back then, we called people who pretended to be a friend only to get something two-faced. Sometimes we added liar to that label.

Along the same lines, in old western movies, the Native Americans said white men spoke with forked tongues. Time has not changed the way people treat one another, certainly not in politics. In government, the color of the skin makes no difference. They all speak with forked tongues.

I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to trust those who speak with forked tongues.

Apparently, God’s not too thrilled about two-faced people either. He calls them liars. He commands that they purify their hearts.

But before I get to self-righteous, I need to …

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Next Week:

We’ll begin to study the enemy’s tactics. Prepare by reading, pondering, and praying about 1 Peter 5:8.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Draw Near to God? What Does That Even Look Like?

Spiritual Warfare

Part 15

And since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings … (Hebrews 10:21:22a)

Draw Near to Me

Draw Near to Me

While meditating on the portions of Scripture that require us to draw near to God, I wanted to know exactly what that looked like. So I prayed and contemplated about it all week. I know Bible study and prayer help. But is there something more.

I thought of my grandactives standing or sitting across the room. We have conversations about all sorts of stuff that are important to them—the sports they like to play, school, their friends. But when we touch on a subject that bothers them, I pat the cushion beside me and urge them to “draw near to me.” Each one, at one time or another, has sat close to me on the couch or on my lap. We snuggle. At times, no ears or lips are engaged. The moment becomes a communication of the heart.

I picture intimacy with God—drawing near to Him—like that. He doesn’t want me to feel alone in my struggles. He wants me to snuggle in close to Him and rest in His presence.

Yet, there is more to drawing close to someone. Last night as I lie in bed thinking about this, another vision came to mind concerning my grandactives.

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and praying about James 4:8.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

To Whom do You Submit?

Spiritual Warfare 

Part 14

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 KJV)

 

Submit to the Lord as a child submits to her father

Submit to the Lord as a child submits to her father

We are submissive-bound creatures in a submissive-oriented world. God created us to submit to Him. Despite the fall of man and this sin-cursed world, that has not changed. We still have a basic need to submit to higher authority.

Most counselors will affirm this, however unintentional, when they say troubled youth need structure and boundaries. Children get messed up when those who represent authority neglect to enforce appropriate discipline and fail to demand proper submission to the rules. Although in a state of rebellion, these young people long for someone worthy of their submission. Thus gangs are formed.

Nevertheless, let’s back up here a minute. We all …

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and praying about James 4:8.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Who’s Inhabiting Your Atmosphere?

Spiritual Warfare

Part 13

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (Psalms 22:3 KJV)

 

Atmosphere Created by You.

Atmosphere Created by You.

Have you ever noticed when you complain about one small thing, it starts that proverbial snowball of complaints? Before you can say snowman, it has accumulated a myriad of troubles and everything that’s wrong in the world.

I’ve been working on my complaint factor. In the process, I’ve discovered the opposite also exists. When I find positive things to talk about, the conversation blossoms into a delightful garden I want to return to often.

As with winter and summer, atmosphere determines the climate of our existence. We have the power to create atmosphere within …

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and pray about James 4:1-10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Words–Powerful Weapons

Spiritual Warfare

Part 12

They [believers] triumphed over him [the accuser of the brethren] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Revelation 12:11)

Anger Paints an Ugly Portrait color An always-in-trouble five-year-old attended the Sunday school class I helped with. The other teachers had nothing good to say about the boy. And he never failed to live up to their words…except when I taught the class.

My secret? I ignored many of his shenanigans and watch carefully for that split-second of good behavior. I praised him for it with applause and stickers. He responded to kind words the same as he responded to negative input. He repeated the behavior.

It’s really no secret. Words matter. They’re powerful. One of the biggest concerns in our society today is bullying, which causes the victim extreme loss of self-esteem. Our word can have just as powerful positive effects on people if we use them to uplift and encourage.

The impact our words have on people is no secret or surprise. But have you considered our God-given authority over demons through our words?

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and praying about Psalm 18:3.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Unforgiving—A Weapon Formed Against You

Spiritual Warfare

Part 11

And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled). (Luke 17:4 AMP)

What's Keeping You Boxed In?

What’s Keeping You Boxed In?

“This will hurt me worse than it does you,” Mother said just before she “introduced” me to the unfriendly side of the hairbrush. She, actually, did more grounding than spanking to discipline me. But I do remember the reference to the unfriendly side of the hairbrush and her mentioning my punishment hurt her worse than it did me. I could never figure that out—how could she hurt worse than I did? Wasn’t I the one at the stinging end of the brush? Nevertheless, my mother always forgave the offense quickly.

Throughout Scripture, Jesus teaches the necessity of discipline. But He also commands that we forgive the transgressor as often as he seeks forgiveness.

That’s a difficult command to follow. But in a spiritual battle, the enemy can shape our unforgiving attitudes into…

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How about you? Have you disarmed the enemy by forgiving as the Father has forgiven you?

Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and pray about Revelation 12:11 and 19:10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Prayer…a weapon? Seriously?

Spiritual Warfare

Part 10

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)

A Child's Prayer

A Child’s Prayer

The morning of his death, Bernardo the Belligerent tightened his belt, shrugged into his breastplate, jerked on his boots, grabbed his sword and shield, and bypassing the commander’s station, rushed to the battlefield. He had no clue the strategy for the day had changed. He never gave a thought to where his battalion was. He even found it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between the enemy and ally forces. He discovered too late that he was fighting the fight alone. The war had already been won, victory declared, the spoils gathered. Only a few stragglers refused to surrender that day… .

And Bernardo the Belligerent had died in vain.

Bernardo’s story is a sad one indeed and should never be repeated by any faithful soldier. Unfortunately, many of us Christian warriors mimic…

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and pray about Luke 17:3 and 4. We’ll look at forgiveness a secret spiritual weapon the enemy hates.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks