Spiritual Warfare

The Shoes

of the Gospel of Peace.

Last morning, as a child might say, I woke up as usual around five. We are on Christmas vacation, so my heating blanket warm bed seemed a justifiable place to stay snuggled. But I sensed the Lord telling me to get up, get in the Word. I argued… justified that I could pray right from my cozy nook… what’s another 15- 30 minutes anyhow? I dozed back to sleep in “seeming” peace.

I had an awful dream.

I awoke.

These images in my mind. What’s another 15-30 minutes? That is what.

He is faithful to answer.

The post I published last came to my mind as well- I am on a battleship, not a cruise ship. A battleship. I have an enemy and a part of me that would side with him.

For those shoes of the Gospel to fit my feet, I can’t be running from my Cobbler. He’s fitting the Gospel onto my feet, your feet.

Mine are women feet, small- size five… but with a heart in the same body able to carry as much self-will run riot as the biggest toughest guy you know.

The Word says:

according as it is written, How beautiful the feet of them that announce glad tidings
of peace, of them that announce glad tidings of good things!   Romans 10:15

Think back on Jesus, before He was to be murdered, bending down and washing the feet of the disciples. His knees bent, his hands serving, his heart heavy. His hands, cleansing… preparing 11 pairs of feet for the shoes of the Gospel of peace. Fitting them. But He washed 12 pairs, not just eleven. Judas would never turn from his self will. Even when he felt sad about giving Jesus over to be killed, he never repented. He never had PEACE. He was bent on trying his own ideas- never taking Jesus as Lord. His feet had been washed, but never fitted for the Gospel of Peace. He had, in his possession, no good news to carry.

How the 11 must have wept, when the hands of Jesus were being nailed. How terror must have struck their hearts.

Remember Peter at the washing?  He’d objected to Jesus washing his feet. Jesus answered,
Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.

Then:

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

The eleven were being fitted for the Gospel because they were already bathed, helmet of salvation in place, breastplate of righteousness on, belt around their waste, and entrusted with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Those eleven pairs repented for the running. The fear and terror that had struck their hearts revealed their neediness.

How the truth of that foot washing must have kept them from trusting in themselves and spiraling into a pit of self-loathing!

Jesus had known. They knew He had.

Like my bad dream that night carried lingering images:

Soldiers with torches, the fatal kiss, Peter’s taking out his sword, Jesus’s rebuke, fear, confusion, terror… and their feet had run. Those washed feet… all wrapped in Jesus they had run away from their beloved- stayed at a safe distance.

Here is where peace lies, though, for the believer.

He already Knew.

Here is the Gospel of Peace- He already knew.They were not good, but He was, He is. All of this preparing them for the Resurrection, the Ascension, Pentecost.

While He washed their feet, he knew they would run… but He washed them anyway. He knew Judas would never come to Him in repentance, He washed his feet anyway. And He did all this with a cross set before Him… and modeled obedience to us. Jesus, completely submitted to the Father, models for us the relationship He was restoring to us.

This relationship of Peace with God.

The blessing of the garden is that they were always obeying… always surrendered to the King… always blessed. The curse is brought by disobedience and can only be nullified by payment. That payment was made by Jesus’s total surrender to the cross.

according as it is written, How beautiful the feet of them that announce glad tidings
of peace, of them that announce glad tidings of good things!   Romans 10:15

Disobedience serves the curse and brings turmoil.

Obedience puts feet to the Gospel, works out salvation with fear and trembling, serves the blessing rather than the curse, and shuts off the power of the lies of the enemy.

Satan wants your seed… that gospel seed that Jesus fits your feet to go out to give. The message that PEACE is a person and He loves the lost.

And because of the cross, foot washings are for the taking.

Come, Dear Beloved, He says.

I knew the sin before you.

Come, get safe with me. Mock the enemy with me. Point to my blood. Trust in it- covering all your sin. Let me close. Don’t allow any disobedience to play an old tape in your heart- the one that says I don’t love you, that you are a failure, a second rate Christian, that anxiety that creeps in on your soul. The turmoil. The images from the bad dream… you wouldn’t have had if. You have Good News shoes to be fitted in- the Good News of my salvation on your head, my righteousness on your chest, my truth around your waste, my sword in your hand, and feet…

Imagine Him close.

Washing your feet.

O, how He loves.

Now let Him.

and know- nothing separates you from the love of the Father.

Be at peace with Him through Obedience and when you fail to listen… get right quickly, your King is there. He knew.

Those images from that bad dream I had… reminders: I have an enemy. God is training me and I must listen to Him.

So, Dear Reader, bless you with your Heavenly Cobbler, washing your feet- the blessing of being at Peace and blameless before your KIng.

And Merry Christmas,

Diana

The Good News for the Battle Weary

It doesn’t sound like good news.

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. Matthew 27:1

Doesn’t sound like it, but Good News indeed, well that is if it is our good news- if we own it… if it owns us. If we’ve been purchased with the blood that was shed.

The best news.

This story. Truth and Grace made ours by His blood.

But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. John 19:15

Still, here it doesn’t sound like Good News either.

Sounds bad. Like front page Memphis, political, back room scheming, depressing news.

O but to the ones who have been called according to His purposes… who know that plan was carried out and that it was ON PURPOSE that the innocent should die because He loved the guilty so much. He paid the penalty. And for the ones who know that there is no remission for sin unless the innocent dies on behalf of the guilty- this is GOOD NEWS Indeed!

 

The Bible says we are born INTO sin.

The Bible also says there is no way we can get ourselves OUT of sin, or the sin OUT of us- not on our own.

There is not one person who has escaped the wretched stench of death producing sin. Not one. But because of THIS GOOD NEWS DEATH, Jesus can take every death and breathe life into it.

THIS GOOD NEWS.

You could make a list of what you’ve lost, what has died in your life because of sin: your sin and others.

I’m wondering who you are and what your list is and if we could share ours, would we be able to relate to one another? I’m certain that we could.

And I’m wondering how the enemy whispers in your ear and reminds you of your shame, tells you you are a victim. Does he cast ungodly images in your mind, thoughts, desires? How does he remind you of all that’s been lost? Do you suffer in silence? Do you fight, sometimes or often to seemingly no avail?

Are you battle weary?

Sometimes I get this feeling come over me, like a blanket, and I can’t describe it any other way but with the word: DEFEAT. It “feels” like that word is “on” me. Can you relate to that? I’ve had to learn to push through that… to place my faith IN HIM, not MYSELF and to weed out the lies from the truth.

I want to share something about the Good News with you.

It is right to “own” a problem, a sin, an issue, a pain…

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to point it out- call it what it is. Say, “This is mine”.

“I’m an alcoholic. I’ve tried and tried and I cannot drink normally”.

“My husband is on porn”. (or you for that matter)

“I’m having an emotional affair”.

“I was abused as a child”.

“I am anxious”.

“I’m greedy”.

“I control and manipulate to get my way”.

“I’m having sex outside of marriage”.

“I am depressed”.

“I don’t trust you with ______, God”.

It is a right thing to take ownership, responsibility. To say: I have this with an open hand pointing at it calling it what it is.

The GOOD NEWS is meant to STOP the intimidation and bullying of sin’s condemnation and death sentence over us which often keeps us secretive and stuck or religious and just as stuck.

Here is the line, though.  Pay attention to the difference in this picture.

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I’ve closed my hand on the sin, the issue.  Now I’m calling it, mine in an inappropriate way. I’m saying that this is WHO I am- me! I’m unwilling to let it go. I’m covering it with my hand. I start to believe that sin is my identity. In this label rich culture, this is happening all around us. This is where this leads:

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Right here. Is where Satan wants that problem, so close to our hearts that it is an identity: loser, bad mother, failure, dirty, gay, depressed, anxious, addicted, stupid, whore, liar, freak, pothead, unlovable, unwanted… you fill in the blank…

Now-

Listen closely to what Jesus commands: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor …” Luke 10:27 

There is no one or anything that is supposed to be closer to our hearts than Him.

Our hearts are meant to let Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be in first place… with the whisperings of His truth and grace closer than any other.  Believers, we are NEVER meant to allow the enemy that close.

When we do, we become all twisted up.

Anybody ever been twisted up?

When we have become so intimate with lies… they truly seem like they are part of who we are.

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Here is the proper posture.

Hands open.

First here:

Admit it. Own it. Point to it. Speak plainly- no candy coated rambling.

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 Next, do not close that hand. Do not draw it close.

Open those hands,

and receive His nail scarred hands in yours

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in exchange for every sin, issue, problem in your life.

Take a moment to meditate on that.

This Good News of Jesus taking deadly sin and giving us Himself.

Close your eyes, open your hands out in front of you and imagine His nail scarred hands slipping into yours and pulling you up close to His heart, His life.

Because, Dear Reader, after that bloody death, three days later He rose again.

Death has no sting.

In His Strength, He reigns.

Not In ours.

We are not to be intimidated by our wounds, weakness, neediness or our temptations.

They are just evidences that His Word is true.

The Good News- He was already aware of it all- all our weaknesses… Hence the cross, where the blood payed for every last bit of it.

I bless you with pressing on into Jesus, confessing your sin boldly at the Throne of Grace and receiving His hands in yours.

Bless you with knowing Him as your perfect Abba Father, with laying your head down against His chest and letting Him love you as His beloved daughter.

Bless you with NOT recognizing yourself according to the flesh because you are in Christ, you are a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  Bless Him, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,… (adapted from 2Corinthians 5:16-18)

In Christ Alone,

Diana


Part 1- Faithful God

I had experienced a round of warfare that had me on my face, on the phone, in offices, in the Word and NOT finding Him.

I couldn’t find Him.

I had a journal. It had black pages. Pens of different bright colors marked my desperate pleas on the paper.

He gave me a verse to scratch out on that black paper:

 2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

The black paper seemed appropriate for this black night of my soul. Blackness I couldn’t fix and He wouldn’t.

I woke up with fear gripping me. I tried to be normal and went for jogs, to work, to school. One jog I remember clearly and sadness grips me every time I pass that side of town. I couldn’t run any further. Even though I had just begun- I was maybe a quarter of a mile down the road when I bent down and cried. Then I cried some more. It was an ugly bent over sob. And all the reasons sounded crazy. No one had died. No life threatening illness. No natural disaster had leveled my home. No trauma.

I’d been sober for close to four years. But there I was in so much inexplicable pain- And worst of all is I couldn’t find our safe place. The place where I could go to Him and there He was. I opened the Word and felt confused. My mind raced and I couldn’t seem to get a handle on it.

No trauma except a ship wrecked, broken past… and a twenty-two year old girl in the present thinking a magic wand would be nice just about now. Could I cry enough, pray enough, which verse did I need? What had I done wrong? Deliver me!

2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

And I cried and I cried. I prayed. I prayed. I could not hear. This went on and on.

And I started to affirm that He didn’t love me- reasoning with myself.

I got up off my knees.

And I began to play that same ol’ game he’d saved me from: pretend.

When He had saved me…

I would lay at night in awe of the Maker of those stars that I could look up at and know that He loved me, formed me, and saved me. That in the ugliest revealing of my sin on display, in that very season of my life, is where He chose to save me.

And He didn’t save me from the difficulties or the consequences of it.

Instead, He allowed me the dignity to walk through it- owning up to it, but because of Him- I could hold my head up… and for this girl that meant the world!

His glory was on display, and I would weep and sing songs of His grace to Him and it was my voice I heard with my ears, but His I heard over me ministering to me- singing a song together- One only He and I could sing.

And in this black night of my soul… I got up off my knees. I felt like He had abandoned me.

I chose to believe the lie that He didn’t love me instead of going back to the place of clinging to that cross… needing Him for every right thought, every right feeling, every right desire. I chose to reject His sovereignty over the dark.

photodark

I heard a pastor say, “There’s some prosperity gospel in all of us”. And isn’t it true?  None of us can walk these dusty roads without equating prosperity and pretty pictures with godliness.

I got up to play pretend- believing He was only God of the day and not the God of the night- and spiraled further into doubt and fear.

I had never experienced this torment, this darkness, not in sobriety – where no solution seemed to help.

And I gave up, but not on the outside. Relapse scared me too much. There was NO painting my past pretty, no way.  I couldn’t even try. And this church culture would feed my fakery just fine. This sit in rows, and keep it in.  I had taken every rejection concerning my vulnerability in the church house to heart and didn’t seem to fit anywhere. Rehab was over and you can’t just go back because you can’t handle life, but you haven’t relapsed! Plus places change and that season was over. Now this seeming to not fit with Christ was too much. I was desperately immature, insecure, and needy.

But I wasn’t totally given over to my doubt yet- when I failed miserably and I did blatantly sin against my Lord, I knew if I wasn’t honest, I might spiral into relapse even if I didn’t want to.  I knew God had clear boundaries and I had violated them. I was scared and I wanted help. I knew I needed the body. And guess what- I confessed to two pastors and not one fought for me. Not one. I was brushed off- my sin excused, downplayed, brushed under a rug… and the lies in my head seemed to be confirmed. I want you to hear that- brushing off the sin of others will confirm the lies of the enemy.

The Word is clear- the royal priesthood has authority over all the ways of darkness because we have a head named Christ- He can command. He is wisdom.

Girl, boy, man, or woman- don’t believe the lie that if man will not fight for you, then God must approve and His will is your defeat- that your destiny is muck and mire. That your dreams of wholeness were a joke.

I’d seemed to have lost all ground. I couldn’t grasp the lessons I had learned so clearly in that rehab where I’d spent 10 months.

And Dear Reader, I want you to know I am not mad at “the church”. I am part of the body. But I  no longer allow a “church culture” to dictate my faith. I no longer settle for a sit in rows, performance mentality or allow people to lead me that won’t fight for or with me when the rubber meets the road. I will fight. I will stay on my knees, and I know the Lord is willing that I do- fighting the good fight of faith for ANY I come in contact with. I stopped allowing man to define my walk with Christ or seal lies of the enemy over me because the pretending was overwhelmingly painful and contradicted my hungry, sealed spirit.

I am trusting Him and Him alone for right thoughts, feelings, and desires.

And do you know… I threw that black journal away where I’d etched these words:

2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

I hated that black night of my soul and all my unfaithfulness and the torment of it. I couldn’t make a bit of sense out of it. I wanted to erase it. It can’t be erased…

I don’t blame anyone for MY unfaithfulness, cause in every sin personal responsibility precedes repentance.

I did repent. And He met me there and confirmed my salvation and showed me His faithful hand over that season of my life despite my inability to settle down in His love on my own.

And I repented this morning, and this evening… proclaiming with my mouth- “You alone are faithful! You Jesus are my All! Without YOU Jesus I am toast. And if I add anything to you, I have nothing… but If I add nothing to YOU, then I HAVE EVERYTHING! Settle me down in your love, Jesus”.  And this is what He etched on my soul in that dark. It was not a wasted time. He was and is faithful, for He cannot disown Himself and He is mine and I am His.

Beloved Reader, Bless you with JESUS.

Bless you with knowing the simplicity of Jesus being your All.

Bless you with wisdom to reject all the lies of the enemy- with never again pretending in place of putting your faith in Him, with knowing His faithfulness will complete the work He began in you. Bless you with admitting that “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood”. (Hebrews 12:4)
And bless you with the only ONE that could shed blood and pay your debt and mine.  Oh, reader, believer, arise and meet your Maker afresh and fight the good fight of faith!

Because the lost are hungry for the real deal… and you, believer, have been given the ministry of reconciliation – of restoration.

To the Kingdom and to the Restoration!

Diana Corman