Finding Joy In The Midst Of Sheltering In Place

There’s a boatload of emotions that I’m hearing people express. Physical symptoms aren’t the only thing covid 19 has brought with it. People are struggling with feelings of loneliness, despair, frustration and depression. Believers and unbelievers alike are wrestling with a lot of painful emotions. How do we process this in light of the cross? Aren’t the fruits of the Spirit love, joy, peace, etc.? Isn’t God the Restorer of our souls? Then why are we still in pain?

For decades, I felt like a victim of painful emotions. Depression, anxiety, despair and loneliness. I had tried so many times to fight back, but every time, I found myself knocked back down, with my face in the dust. Finally, I decided it was easier to not hope than to have my hopes dashed again. So I decided to just stay in the dust. The enemy walked over my back, and I decided to let him. I stayed there until I could no longer compartmentalize the despair. It began to leak out everywhere. I longed for death so the nightmare would end. Heaven seemed to me the only solution to end the pain.

Things began to change when our daughter and her husband asked their small group to pray that God would heal me of depression. Hope came back into my heart. Hope that I could break free of depression on this side of eternity. Once again, I stood up and began to fight back. This time was different through. I didn’t look to human reasoning to protect me from painful emotions. I began to recognize that this was a spiritual problem. And spiritual problems need spiritual solutions. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says,

“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”

What are these weapons? We have a number of them…the name of Jesus, our testimony, etc. But the weapon that I picked up to fight painful emotions was the word of God. Ephesians chapter 6 teaches us about the armor of God. Beloved, we have got to get dressed for warfare. Verse 17 tells us tells us to:

“Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

The word of God is a power weapon of choice when we need to resist depression, loneliness, despair, and feelings of emotional desolation. When we speak the truth from God’s word, we come into agreement with truth BEFORE we feel it. The feelings will follow IF we persist UNTIL feelings that disagree with God’s word dissipate.

If you are weighed down with depression, anxiety, despair and loneliness, you are under a spiritual attack.

God has made a way for us to experience the fruits of the Spirit. We are still going to encounter heaviness, fear, rejection, loneliness, etc. These things still exist in the world. But...we do not have to let these feelings abide in our hearts. Nehemiah 8:10 says,

” Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”

Why did Nehemiah tell the people this? It was because it didn’t come natural to the people of his day any more than it comes natural to us. We need to reach out and take hold of that which God has made a way for.

So, what is the first step? How do we do this in practical terms? My first step in resisting depression was to find my sword. I sought out some Bible verses that I could use whenever depression would begin to settle on me. I’d pull out my index cards where I’d written my verses. I’d read them, ponder their meaning and speak them out loud. When I did, the depression would leave. It might come back 5 times that day, but every time I’d pull out my verses and use them. Over time, those negative emotions began to come less and less. I always knew when I’d overcome the spiritual attack when my emotions came back to the place of well-being. It was in this place where I experienced the fruits of the Spirit. I experienced joy, contentment, peace.

If you’re looking for your “sword,” I’ve included a few that were helpful for me. May you never give up hope. May the joy of the LORD be your strength today. May you KNOW that you will never walk alone, for our Emmanuel will NEVER leave you or forsake you.

Arlene

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“A father of the fatherless, and a defender of the widows, is God in His holy habitation. 6God settles the lonely in families; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 68:5-6       

“I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul” Psalm 31:7               (The Hebrew word for soul is “nephesh.” Our soul includes our whole self, our emotions, passions, desires and appetites.)

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made…The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down…You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. Psalm 145:8-9,14,16

“The Spirit of the LORD God is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace…” Galatians 5:22a

“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3

“God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us…” 2 Cor. 7:6

“…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“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

Finding the lure of pornography hard to resist? Here’s Why:

The lure of pornography isn’t just rooted in human desire. It isn’t rooted in some low ranking demonic tempter either. It is rooted in demonic temptation, but it’s by a demon of high rank in Satan’s kingdom. Not every believer has faced the specific temptation of pornography, but if you’ve ever found yourself up against this level of spiritual warfare, you know how intense it can be. It’s not something you overcome by human reasoning. It isn’t something you overcome by a strong will. This is a spiritual battle, so we need spiritual weapons and spiritual “armor” if we’re going to stand.

I’m just going to be blunt. There’s a time to just say it, and the time has come for us as a Church to speak. Let’s talk about what demonic spirit is behind this. It’s the spirit of Jezebel. I am NOT saying that everyone tempted by this spirit IS a Jezebel. PLEASE, PLEASE HEAR ME! I’m addressing the spirit that is coming against us as a Church. The Bible talks about this spirit in Revelation 2:18-29:

To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations – ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’ – just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

The greek word for immorality in this passage is “porneía.” It’s where we get the word pornography. It involves the surrender of any type of sexual purity. It involves sex outside of marriage, adultery, incest, and prostitution. In the physical realm, it affects our relationships with people. In the spiritual realm, we commit “adultery” against God (idolatry) when we tolerate the spirit of Jezebel. Satan’s agenda is to tempt us to defile ourselves through sexual immorality. He knows that when we do, we set ourselves up to be disciplined by God Himself. We actually set ourselves up against God when we yield.

How to Overcome the spirit of Jezebel:

This spirit has many markers, or indicators that enables us to recognize when it’s attempting to operate. If you’re facing spiritual warfare against this spirit, you’d be wise to learn to recognize those markers. You may not be tempted by the same markers as your spouse, child, friend etc. But I believe we’ve ALL encountered temptation from this spirit in one way or another. To learn more about this, go to:

https://walkwhole.com/?s=Jezebel

If you have tolerated the spirit of Jezebel, repentance is needed if you’re going to overcome it. If you’re like me, this might not be a “one and done.” Learning to not yield to this spirit is a process. As we’re conformed to the image of Christ, we to learn to stand. There’s grace for the journey when we come with sincere repentance when needed.

The third way we overcome the spirit of Jezebel is by staying dressed spiritually. Ephesians 6:10-18 says,

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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 saints.”

We simply cannot expect to stand if we’re uncovered. We need more than to just acknowledge that the armor of God exists. We need to practice “putting it on.” An example of this would be “putting on the belt of truth” by telling the truth. Agreeing with and holding to truth even when it costs us dearly.

An earthly warrior wouldn’t think of going to the front lines without his weapons and his armor. We as believers shouldn’t either. We cannot afford to take off our spiritual armor. Ever. For more on this, go to:

https://walkwhole.com/?s=armor+of+God+part+1

Finally, if you’ve done all of this and you still feel like you’re losing the battle against the spirit of Jezebel, call in reinforcements. This spirit comes against churches, and the solution sometimes takes corporate agreement.

I remember one time when this happened to me. I had done everything I knew to stand. I’d quoted scripture, I’d worshipped, etc. But the warfare was so intense that I could hardly lift my head up. My husband recognized my need and called a few believers to join in praying with us. It was like someone flipped a switch. What felt like a spiritual hurricane stopped. Spiritually, it felt like the sun came out and I was able to stand.

One tactic the enemy will use to keep us from corporate agreement is shame. It takes courage to share our struggles with others. It takes vulnerability. We can feel open to attack. Psalm 34:5 says,

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

This is our position in Christ. We need not fear shame. We do, however, need to use wisdom in who we’re vulnerable with. Look for someone who is motivated by love, not shame, when you share your struggles. This takes risk. We may get hurt when we put ourselves out there. If you do, then learn from it. The next time it happens, take a chance with someone else. Ask yourself, “Who do I trust that doesn’t shame others for struggling with temptation?” Then talk to that person.

Beloved, we have been given authority over ALL the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19) We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, so we look down on every evil ruler, authority and power. We do NOT need to be intimidated. Jesus Christ has given us His shield of victory. Let’s press in to know Him better. May the strength of the LORD be yours today,

Arlene

Chronic Fatigue Church Splits Depression Discerning of Spirits Discernment Division fear of God Fear of Man Finding peace Freedom from fear Gossip Grief Honest prayers How to find peace Identity in Christ Intimacy with God through prayer Overcoming anxiety Overcoming depression Overcoming despair Overcoming division Overcoming fear Overcoming fear of abandonment Overcoming fear of death Overcoming fear of failure Overcoming fear of Judgment Overcoming fear of rejection Overcoming fear of violence Overcoming the spirit of heaviness Overcoming the spirit of slumber Overcoming weariness Overoming fear of sickness Problem-solving in the Church rebuilding after the storm restored after heartache Restoring trust Restoring trust in God self-pity Slander spirit of heaviness Spiritual wholeness Taming the tongue Troubleshooting reasons for depression Unity Using scripture to overcome fear using your pain to help others

“Do you want to be healed?” John 5:6

We all go through times of discouragement, and maybe even of despair. But to live in that place, refusing to be comforted, is to deny the victory and hope Jesus Christ offers His people…victory He won through the cross. We can choose to stake ourselves to depression, despair and discouragement. Some do. For many years, I did too. As believers, we don’t have to. Jesus came to give us life, and life abundant. The fruits of the Spirit are ours for the taking; they’re part of our inheritance. We CAN live with love, joy, peace, and all the rest of the fruits of the Spirit. We might have to reach out and take these things. We might have to fight for them. But they are ours. Jesus placed them within our reach.

I had to get to the place where I was willing to endure the suffering that change took. I figured I was suffering anyway, so why not suffer on a journey to wholeness instead of suffering with no end in sight. It’s easy to believe the lie that if we’ve tried and failed to take hold of joy, that it just isn’t possible FOR ME. But all things are possible for those of us in Christ Jesus. (Mark 9:23) It is for freedom that Christ set us free! (Gal. 5:1) Past defeat does not guarantee future failure! We might stumble and fall along the way, but even as we do, we’re learning to walk. Just like a toddler learning to walk, we’ll get a little further the next time we try. Until finally, one day, we’re walking!

May the joy of the Lord be your strength today,

Arlene

““The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners do that…But love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High…” Taken from Luke chapter 6

How To Find Healing After A Church Split Part 2: Seeking God’s Perspective

Young couple being in a conflict in the park.

You may be standing in a pile of church rubble, asking yourself, “What just happened?!?!?! How in the world did we get HERE??? How did we find ourselves divided against long time, trusted friends? You may be desperately trying to put the puzzle pieces together in your own mind, but they just don’t fit. Questions like, “If we’re all believers, why can’t we all just get along” may be ruminating in your mind. Continue reading

How To Find Healing After A Church Split Part 1: Taking Time To Grieve

Lonely man standing on cracked asphalt floor with illustrated cracked broken heart symbol. Point of view perspective used.Are you silently suffering from the aftermath of your church being torn in two? It was many years ago now, but the memories burned a painful yet necessary lesson into my heart. I wish I could say that I was blameless in what happened, but I can’t. My intentions were good, but I was blind to the fact that I played into the enemy’s hand. Continue reading

God Or Fear: Which Will We Allow To Guide Us?

Peaceful woman relaxing at home with cup of teaWe all have many choices before us…will we return to Church? Will we go to the gym? How about returning to the office? Fear of covid 19 screams for our attention. The question is, will we give fear the power to guide our decisions? Don’t get me wrong. We all need to use wisdom in what we do and where we go. Something will guide our decisions. If fear of sickness is something you’re struggling with, you’re not alone. Continue reading

Do You Feel Exhausted Or Shamed When The Spirit Of Slumber Is Operating?

Person tired after exercise and workout. Athlete  worried, having trouble. Overtraining. Exhausted man lying on floor resting after heavy strenght training in home gym. Depressed man. Aching head.If so, you’re in good company. King David felt the effects of it too. I haven’t found a ton of scriptures that talk about the spirit of slumber, so I try to give careful attention to the ones that do. This morning, I was paying special attention to the context of the main chapter that talks about this spirit. I’ve been a little baffled by Romans 11:9-10: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs bent forever.” (Romans 11:9-10) Continue reading

Waking Up From The Spirit Of Slumber

Beautiful Brunette is Waking up in the Morning, Stretches in the Bed, Sun Shines on Her From the Big Window. Happy Young Girl Greets New Day with Warm Sunlight Flare.

Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones:’ I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life…come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.Continue reading

What is the spirit of heaviness?

Man comforting his sad mourning friend

“…he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound…to comfort all that mourn; To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”  Isaiah 61:1b-3 Continue reading