What does it mean to be given a spirit of power?

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“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Have you ever read a scripture a hundred times, then suddenly you come to understand it on a whole new level? Today was one of those times for me. I wasn’t even looking for it, and there it was.

First of all, let’s lay some groundwork. We as human beings are made up of body, soul and spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Our spirit has been given power. The Greek word for this power is dunamis. It means ” (miraculous) power, might, strength.”    It is a miraculous power, given by God, to His children.  This power enables His church to perform marvelous works and is, in itself, a miracle. Strong’s concordance suggests that this power energizes us with physical power. It gives us the ability to achieve all that He calls us to do with strength. It implies possessing force that gives us the ability to produce a desired result. This power enables us as believers to be powerful and effective in this world, having an ability to be productive and successful in what God has gifted us to do.

Ephesians 1:18-20 says,

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”

The same Greek word for power (dunamis) is used to describe both the power that raised Christ from the dead and the miraculous power that has now entered our spirits!

What are the implications of this scripture? When the world, or our flesh or the evil one tries to convince us that we just don’t have it in us to accomplish what God asks us to do, we have a sword of truth we can pull out…

“For God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power…”

Dunamis is a miraculous power that energizes; it gives us the strength to produce the desired result we are called to. This miraculous power raised Christ from the dead! It was unstoppable! Even death could not overcome it.

Here’s the deal; I want to offer one disclaimer. Accomplishing our calling does not mean that we will never suffer. It doesn’t mean we’ve become immortal.  Hebrews 11 is full of examples of God’s people who, while victoriously accomplishing the call on their lives, still at times suffered. We are no different. Victory in God’s eyes isn’t necessarily success in the world’s eyes. This power from God has been entrusted to God’s people to accomplish God’s purposes on this earth. When we walk in it, we will bear fruit for His kingdom, enabling us to one day hear those precious words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

In His name we overcome,

Arlene

 

Overcoming the spirit of slumber

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How To Overcome The Chronic Fatigue It Causes

“As it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day.” Romans 11:8

The spirit of slumber is an evil spirit. This is not an evil spirit that influences just one individual, but one that influences groups of people. It falls among the category of the more influential evil spirits listed in Ephesians 6:12 when it says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This evil spirit has a higher rank in Satan’s kingdom than others. An earthly analogy would be a governor over a state having more influence and power than an individual citizen. If a person having the gift of the discerning of spirits were to travel into an area where this spirit is in operation, they would suddenly feel the effects of this spirit. So what are those effects, or markers of this spirit? Continue reading

Is it Wrong for Christians to Judge Others?

As I sit down to write this post, I’ve been processing what the main point is that I hope my readers will walk away with, and I came up with two. First, I want to offer an acknowledgement that that we Christians have at times judged others in a way that Jesus never intended us to. Secondly, I want to make an appeal to our culture to dig a little deeper to find out exactly what the Bible has to say about judging.

First of all, I want to apologize on behalf of the Christian community for every time that we have judged others in a critical, condemning, self-righteous, prideful, or disrespectful way. Jesus himself made it clear that it is possible to judge others in a wrong way, and we as God’s people haven’t always gotten it right. I cringe when I think of some of the ways that I have heard Christians shouting hateful, condemning words to those whose value systems don’t match our own. But it isn’t just “those Christians” who’ve made me cringe. I cringe when I remember times when these same critical attitudes have distorted my own judgments…times when I made judgments which were fueled, not by love, but fear, self-righteousness and a lack of honor for others.

So for those situations, I want to say that I am truly sorry for any pain or injury that we Christians have caused. I want to ask if you can forgive us for not getting it right sometimes. While we may not always agree on every issue, every human being deserves to be treated with gentleness and respect. I am truly sorry for any wounding that you have received from judgments rooted in unloving, critical or condemning attitudes. If you have suffered from cyber bullying by Christians who have not acted out of love, but out of hate-filled words, I sincerely ask if you would be willing to forgive us. If you are a politician who, instead of feeling honored and encouraged by Christians, has been treated in the opposite way, I want to ask if you can forgive us for the lack of respect, prayers and encouragement that we have demonstrated.  While these actions cannot be undone, I pray that the Lord Jesus Himself will heal the wounds that we have caused you and that we will make amends wherever it is called for. It is my sincere hope and prayer that we as Christians will grow in our ability to honor others and have repentant hearts for the pain that we have caused.

If you are one of those who have felt condemning judgment from Christians, I can only imagine that it must be tempting to come to the conclusion that judging others is a bad thing that needs to be eradicated from our society.   I want to ask if you’d be willing to take another look; to resist the temptation to “throw the baby out with the bath water” by taking a closer look at what the Bible has to say about judging. Continue reading

What are strongholds and How To Be Set Free From Them

hand-in-chainsA stronghold is a false argument that rises up as a defensive wall behind which a person seeks to find a safe place to escape from the reality of the problems they are facing.

Strongholds form as a result of deciding what we consider weighty or powerful. If there is something or someone that we perceive to be bigger or more powerful than God, then God by default is lowered in our estimation. Since God is seen as unable or unwilling to defend against that which we feel threatened by, we will seek to erect our own “safe place.” When we do this, we often subconsciously come to the conclusion that we need to protect ourselves from God and cut ourselves off from the One True Protector; instead we wall ourselves in with lies that Satan uses to lie, steal and destroy with. Continue reading

Rebuilding on the ruins of our lives

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How God can use the most devastating moments of our lives to change the world

As I write this post, my husband and I are climbing the shore of Lake Superior…climbing rather than strolling because we’re not walking on a smooth sandy beach. We’re hiking over huge boulders, driftwood and slabs of cement intertwined with rebar…echoes of the past mixed in with the realities of the present. The cement and rebar remind me of the storms of life that can crash in on a person, leaving what we have worked so hard to build lying in a heap of ruins. Those ruins can be hard to look at, because they remind us of the pain we felt in the midst of those storms.

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10 Tips for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

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Fear is a tormenting emotion, and if you struggle in this area, you know what I’m talking about. It has the potential to cause us to walk away from engaging in life and keep us from being all we were created to be. If we allow it to rule over us, our world will become smaller and smaller until we have shut out much of what God wants to bless us with. The more control we hand over to fear, the more it will be empowered to steal from us.  It consumes. It drives. It steals sleep and drives us down paths we never thought we’d go. Fear can cause us to hide from God, from others and even from our true selves.

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Discerning between gossip and problem-solving

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“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

We’ve all done it. We’ve found ourselves caught up in conversations that we weren’t proud of, and someone else got hurt. Whether they knew it or not, their reputation had taken a hit, and the damage was done. Trying to undo that damage would be like trying to recover a basket of feathers thrown to the wind. If you’re like me, you may have found yourself asking, “Where does problem-solving end and gossip begin?” Or “How do I do life with ANYONE if I can’t discuss the problems at hand?” How do we discern the difference between problem-solving and gossip?  Here are some questions to ask yourself before talking negatively about someone:

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Choosing unity over division

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Division.  It seems to be hitting us on every level; national, regional, and individual. It has the potential to steal what is precious to us if we yield to it. Division can separate us from those we love the most; it can take down cities, corporations and nations if left unchecked. There are a few things I wish I’d known sooner in life about division that could have saved a lot of heartache:

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What is unsanctioned domination?

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Everyday, we each make decisions about who or what we will submit to, even if that decision is made by default, yielding or deferring. There is no such thing as living a life free of submitting to someone; even the most rebellious of men submit to someone. It’s not a matter of if we will submit as much as who we choose to submit to.

So first of all, let’s lay some groundwork. What does it mean to submit? To submit means to accept or yield oneself to a superior force or to the authority, opinion, (judgment or approval) or will (desire or insistence) of another person.

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