As the old saying goes, "an idle mind is the devil's playgorund." Now whether you have an idle mind at the moment, or it's going 100 miles an hour, remember this, satan and his minions will take you down mentally whenever they can. Why? Because when you are feeling down, you are a MUCH easier target for their attacks.
When a relationship isn't working out, someone at work is trying your last nerve, or you keep thinking about past mistakes, you tend to think of activities that will give you an artificial "pick me up". Unfortunately, many of those "pleasures" tend to be the very tools of the enemy. Whether it's alcohol, drugs, sex, or even simply turning to anger and lashing out at all those around you to make YOURSELF feel better, these behaviors will just make you feel worse when the "high" wears off. The bottom line is NONE of these selfish activities will give your mind any lasting peace, and NONE will remove the negative thoughts that satan has planted there.
A much better way of handling these attacks is to do the following. First, recognize what the enemy is up to. When you find yourself "`dwelling" on a situation, or something in your past, know that satan is up there, planting away his seeds of discontnent and despair. Don't get me wrong, we will definitely encounter struggles now and then, but the key is to deal with them as soon as we can, and then let them go. Second, when under attack, turn to God through prayer, scripture and song. Once you feel a situation getting the better of you, turn to the Lord for comfort and strength to pull you through it. Lastly, know you are ALWAYS loved by your Heavenly Father, "no matter what" you do, say or are feeling. Don't be fooled by the devil and his tactics of making you feel unworthy, ashamed or unwanted. God loves you so much that, "He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
The enemy may be able to manipulate your mind, but there's NO room in your "heart" for their lies if Jesus is living there. Has He taken up residence yet? If not, know this, Jesus is at the door to your heart and is knocking. All you have to do is open it and let Him in.
I highly recommend checking out Matt's books and free online devotionals.
Click on the link below to access his Spirit led reflections on life and Christ:
I think too often we say "God is all I need", but then when we get to a deep and dark place in our lives, we despair and it becomes apparent they were simply words we said.
"LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure." (Psalm 16:5) David knew God was all he needed. Not only that, but David knew that if he had God, everything else in his life would be "secure". Actually, God promises just that, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) It seems at times though, as we encounter difficulty in our lives, we think that "we" need to fix it. That we NEED whatever it is in our lives that now may be absent. Maybe it's money, a close friend, or even a spouse. Instead of "elevating" that need above God, take a deep breath and remember that God is all you TRULY need.
Instead of wallowing in despair or self pity, turn it over to God as He's commanded. "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." (Psalms 55:22) and "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:7) Then wait, "Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD." (Psalm 27:14) Remember, this difficulty is happening for a reason. You don't need to understand "why", but you do need to accept it as it's God's will for you right then, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
What can you do if you are still struggling in the midst of the storm? Keep seeking God's face. "I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 16:8) God is always faithful, so know that He is working out what is best for you. It may not resolve how "you" want it to, but trust that God knows what's best. And even though you may "feel" shaken during these struggles, keep the faith. As, "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) Lastly, trust in God's promises and words to you during these times, "For no word from God will ever fail." (Luke 1:37)
God loves you. God will never abandon you. God is always faithful to those who love Him. God will provide all your needs. God will support you at all times. God sent His only son to die for the forgiveness of your sins, and to provide you a pathway to eternal life with Him in heaven one day.
Do you really need anything more than that?
Proverbs 31 Ministries -
"They say hindsight is 20/20. We can sometimes look back on our life and clearly see what God was up to in the middle of confusing and hard seasons. But it’s easy to forget It's easy to forget that God is working behind the scenes when we are walking through our next valley season.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him."
God will work ALL things for our good… not just some things. Not just the good, but also the bad, the hard and devastating circumstances we face in our lifetime.
There is power in tracing God’s faithfulness from the past so that we can believe He will be faithful again in the future.
Is there a situation you have walked through that felt like utter devastation in the moment, but looking back you know God used it to shape you into the person you are today?" - Proverbs 31 Ministries
My comments -
Amen. I'm now grateful for that difficult season in my life as it lead to my very salvation. Certainly was no fun at the time, but the reward was (and will be for all eternity) "sooo" worth it.
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Just because you don’t see God working does not mean He isn’t. Jesus said, “My Father is always working” (John 5:17, NLT). The writer of Hebrews notes: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV).
I wonder how many times I’ve missed the blessing because I stopped too soon. Perhaps you’ve wondered:
* How much longer will I have to wait until God brings my prodigal home?
* How much longer will I have to struggle with my unbelieving husband?
* How much longer will I have to endure this dead-end job?
* How many more laps will I have to walk around Jericho before the walls come tumbling down, and I can take hold of my Promised Land?
I don’t know the answer to the question of how much longer, but I do know this: Tomorrow could be the final lap. Don’t give up too soon.
Lord, sometimes I just want to give up. As a matter-of-fact, I am tempted to give up on something pretty important right now. Fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit on the inside, so I can persevere on the outside. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Think about the people you encounter in your life. Ever notice how some are life-givers and others are life-takers?
Every opportunity we have with someone is an opportunity to influence that person for the good. To give life, not just take it. Because whether we realize it or not, people are watching us. What we say and what we do matters. When we live with purpose, we can make a difference that can leave a lasting impact.
Are you taking enough leaps of faith in your spiritual life that you put what you have on the line so God can show up in a big way? I know it can be hard to do, but it’s always worth the reward. Often, we live so cautiously that we never give God a chance to come through.
You don’t have to have a dream to play professional sports or rule the world. Risk what you have for the sake of helping other people and see what God can do in your life and in others’. Put yourself out there, and do something that might terrify you or make you uncomfortable … like sharing your testimony for the first time or telling a stranger God loves her.
Remember that whatever you do, your main audience is God, not others. That’s why in Colossians, the Apostle Paul reminds us to put our whole heart into everything we do, with God’s purposes in mind. We’re called to live life for God’s glory, as Colossians 3:23 explains: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” ~Jesus
I love that verse, “…yet not one (sparrow) will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” When Jesus said this, something so simple, the way I began to look at the birds that fly around my neighborhood was forever changed. While out on my morning run, I’d see a robin fly by and land on a tree branch, immediately I’d think to myself, “God knows about that single bird, and He cares for it. He actually loves that particular bird.”
So amazing. So unfathomable. God is so big. He’s doing “all of this” at once. All of what? Sustaining His Creation. On an even deeper level, God doesn’t just know about that single bird in my subdivision’s oak tree, but He also knows the molecular structure of that bird. He even causes that little bird’s heart to beat…these were His ideas (see Genesis 1:21).
Just think about that for a moment, everything is in His hands, even our very own existence. The Bible says, “we live and move and have our being through Him” (see Acts 17:28). Life would not be happening without God wanting it to happen. Life would not be possible without His consent. This is why Paul said, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”(Colossians 1:17). Paul was speaking of Jesus, who is a part of the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. All three together equal God (see 1 John 5:7,8).
A hyper-critical person might say, “Yeah Matt, that’s great. God is big, so what. Life still sucks.” To that I’d say, “Oh, my friend, but does it?” What if this inconceivable God actually loved us? What if our Creator made this entire universe just so we could have a place to begin a personal relationship with Him? What if that was His big idea? Relationship? Eternal relationship?
What if our Designer loved us so much, He would actually become a part of His very own creation? What if He joined us in playing by His own created rules of physics and morals–and did so perfectly–on our behalf? What if, just to be fair to us, He took on the very notion of pain and death for us, to help us? That, my friend, is what happened in Jesus Christ!
So why is it we can’t just “jump on in” and enjoy this relationship with such a loving God? Well, because God has allowed a spiritual enemy to join us on planet earth. “Matt, why would your so-called loving God do such a thing?! That sounds sadistic!”
To answer that question, I’d have to ask you a question: Have you ever tried to force someone to love you? How’d that work out?…It doesn’t. It never works out. Forcing someone to love you is an impossibility. God knew this. He knew that a planet full of walking, talking, mannequins would never be able to genuinely love Him back, just the same as a sandbox full of army figurines can’t love the boy back who is playing with them–no matter how he sets them up or “makes” them talk. In order to be able to love, we have to have free will. Therefore, God gave us the option to not love Him.
Our enemy, whom God has temporarily allowed to reside here with us, he is everything opposite of what God is. This idiot and his dark dorks only have three main goals: kill, steal, destroy (see John 10:10). Jesus said Satan is the father of lies and that he doesn’t even have the ability to tell the truth(see John 8:44).
When the Holy Spirit began to point out this jack-wagon to me, He said, “Start fighting him, not people, and not yourself.” Once I began to do this, my relationship with God went to a whole new level. Like Dorothy and her friends who could finally see behind the curtain at what the wizard truly looked like–a weak old man pressing buttons, trying to scare people and ruin their lives with loud noises and smoke–I, now knew the devil. My real enemy had been defined.
This moron not only wants us to doubt God, but he wants us to resent Him, ignore Him, be petrified of Him, feel condemned by Him, and he wants us to believe that God does not love us. “But Matt, how can God love me? I’ve done too many wrong things in my life for anyone to love me, let alone a perfect God.”
Friend, I’ve been there. I can remember the days when I just wanted to die. I had believed the lies of the devil for so long that I honestly thought God was out to get me for my bad behavior and poor choices! I can even remember being afraid to pray! I’d squint and say, “God, I know I don’t deserve it, but please, help me. I need your help.”
I also remember thinking, “If I could just straighten my life out, then God would love me.” These are lies from our enemy! These are falsities from our accuser! (See Revelation 12:10). He fights us spiritually, in our minds! (See Ephesians 6:10-17). We must begin to recognize that! God loves us as we are! Period! The Bible says, “God demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:9).
Let me repeat that: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS CHRIST DIED FOR US! So if we were sinners in our spirits, how did we become non-sinners in our spirits? How did we become saints? After all, that’s what every Christian is, a saint. Some denominations have incorrectly awarded this title to only a handful of believers, but Paul said that all believers are saints! (See 1 Corinthians 1:2).
God has made the option of spiritual perfection–sainthood–easy: believe Jesus has forgiven you of your sins and you will get a brand new holy spirit–one of your own–and it will be combined with God’s Holy Spirit, forever (see Ephesians 2:8,9, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20, Romans 5:1, 6:6, Colossians 1:22, 3:3).
It is only through believing Jesus has completed your spiritual perfection for you, that you can become a child of God! (See John 1:12, Ephesians 1:5, Hebrews 10:14). Afterwards, Jesus keeps you saved–not you (see John 10:28). The only way you can become un-saved is if Jesus dies again, and that ain’t happening (see Hebrews 7:25).
The Christian who doesn’t understand their true identity in Christ will then beg the question, “What if I don’t stop sinning completely, am I still saved?” Well, did you stop sinning completely to get saved? No? Okay, so what did you do? You believed Jesus saved you, and He actually did! The Cross worked! So stop worrying about losing something that you aren’t even maintaining! Jesus is maintaining your salvation, your amazing attitudes and actions are not! (See Hebrews 6:19, Philippians 3:8).
So today, my friends, know this: Absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God, which is found in Jesus Christ! (See Romans 8:39). And yes, God really loves you! He loves you so much He formed this universe! He loves you so much He gave you life! He loves you so much He gave you Jesus! He loves you so much He decided to make His home in you forever! Enjoy this unconditional love and live it out each day!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for your love. It has changed my entire life! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them don’t realize just how much you love them, some are even scared of you. They’ve been incorrectly taught that your love is conditional. They’ve been taught to think you’re mad at them, and you’re not. The enemy has also embedded a tremendous amount of guilt in so many of their souls. Some even think you have too much going on to get involved with their “small” problems, and that’s not true. Others believe they have to behave better before you’ll pay any attention to them–teach them that is incorrect! I command any legalistic, religious spirit to stop pestering them!
Teach them about the power that lies within them–YOU! Break the chains on their souls of guilt, condemnation, addictions, and fear! Build up a new confidence in them! Reveal Satan’s lies! Make him leave these good people alone! Strengthen them on such a level that they would no longer be passive, but instead, fighting hard through your grace! Teach them how to defeat hell with their words! Show them how to overcome evil with good, and hate with love! Use these awesome, heaven-ready people for great and mighty things! I know you will! In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, amen.
Matt McMillen Ministries
There may be times when it feels like God is not working in our lives. But as scripture tells us, God is always working things out for the good of those who love Him (even in those moments when we can't possibly see how).
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
When these times hit, it's important to recognize where you "are" blessed and give Him thanks.
Are you living in a home? Do you have enough to eat? Are you clothed? Do you have a job?
These are just a few things we take for granted versus how millions live all around the world.
Also know, that this too shall pass. Whatever it is that is going on right now, will end at some point.
The longer it takes, the more time we should commit to seeking God's guidance. Sadly, we tend to do the complete opposite, and withdraw or become angry and bitter.
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12)
"Never stop praying." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
God isn't out to make our lives miserable. How we handle these times is a choice. Our choice.
We live in a broken world and bad things happen that are flat out beyond our control. But, there are also times when our current situation was caused by our own poor decisions.
Is God to blame? No. In fact, He wants nothing more than for us to come to Him for help and understanding.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"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)
Call to God in times of confusion, stress, and adversity. He is really hoping you will.
"Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.' Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, 'Follow me!' " (John 21:17-19)
The first time Peter chose to follow Jesus was in Luke 5. It says he left his boat, and his fish, and followed Jesus. The investment is admirable, but Simon Peter was following Jesus with a very specific idea of what the future would include: the overthrow of an oppressive Roman regime and the establishment of an earthly kingdom.
But when Jesus tells Peter, “Follow Me,” post resurrection, it’s a little different. Here, in John 21, Peter fully understands that the road to the Kingdom includes a cross. This isn’t what Peter had planned. But it has been part of God’s plan all along.
We are not called to follow a plan. We are called to follow a Person who has a plan that is greater than our own.
Maybe you have followed Christ "kind of." Maybe you've followed your idea of who you think God is. But really He's not leading you as much as you're trying to lead Him.
Like Peter, it's easy to follow Jesus when He's just "loaded your boat with fish." But what about when the boat is empty and the frustration is high?
Jesus is asking you today, "Will you still follow Me?
Steven Furtick - Elevation Church
“Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and never give up.”
Do you ever feel like God doesn’t hear your prayers? Friend, I’m here to tell you today that God does hear your prayers. He is not only listening to your spoken prayers, but He is also listening to the unspoken prayers of your heart! (See Psalm 37:4, Romans 8:26). He knows more about you than even youknow about you, and…He answers allof your prayers! He doesn’t ignore a single one!
God answers our prayers in one of three ways:
2. Yes, but wait, I’m still using this.
3. No. I’ve got a better overall plan for my Kingdom.
I know it feels like your repeated prayers fall on deaf ears, but they do not. I understand that sometimes you just want to give up and stop praying completely, but don’t! Your prayers are not only heard by God, but they are feltby Him too (see Psalm 34:18, Hebrews 2:17,18). He is your loving Heavenly Father, and He only wants the best for all of His children (see Matthew 7:9-11).
In the book of Luke, chapter 18, Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them they should always pray and never give up. The story was about a widow who kept coming to an unjust judge for help. Even though he kept turning her away, she simply would not stop pestering him. The judge, however, was very arrogant and crooked. Jesus said that he “neither feared God, nor cared about men” (Luke 18:2), both are terrible qualities for any person in office to have.
This dirty and corrupt man kept overlooking the pleas of this woman. Her heartfelt cries fell flat due to the selfish power of this obstinate man who couldn’t care less about her or her problems. However, because she would not stop persistently asking him for help, the judge finally said, “I will see that she gets justice so that she won’t eventually wear me out!” (See Luke 18:5).
Jesus then explains to His disciples, “And will not God (who is loving and just) bring about justice for his chosen ones, those who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?” The answer is no. “He will see that they get justice…” (see Luke 18:7,8, my note added).
Jesus makes it clear that there is something much more important than having every single prayer answered exactly how we want it: “You will get justice and quickly, however, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (see Luke 18:8, my emphasis added).
Will He find faith on earth?…Will He find faith on earth?! Will He?! Or will we be like a nest full of baby birds with our mouths wide open, eyes closed, saying, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!”?
Why are we so focused on ourselves?! This life isn’t just about us! It took me over 30 years to figure this out, andyes God wants to answer our prayers how we want, but He is much more interested in getting us from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive! And then He wants us to realize we are spiritual perfect for good! He is not our genie-in-a-bottle! He’s our Dad! Good dads don’t just give their kids anything and everything! Good dads say, “No,” sometimes. Good dads say, “Wait.” Good dads think about their kid’s future, and they think about their other kids too!
Friend, we must allow the attitude of Christ to come out of us (see Philippians 2:5). It’s there, we just have to get it out (see Philippians 2:12). There is no law in prayer, but we should be praying prayers which have the aura of this: “God, you’ve heard me pray this a thousand times, and I still want it, but if you never give me what I’m asking for, I trust you. I know that you know what’s best for me and others. So continue to do as you see fit, and help me to live out my spiritual perfection in this process of trusting you deeper. I love you, and I’m available to you.”
There is no such thing as unanswered prayers. Realizing this fact will build up an unshakable confidence in you! Understanding that your Heavenly Daddy is looking out for you at all times strengthens you! You’ll be able to enjoy your life no matter what is happening around you, and you’ll refuse to fall into self-pity! This heavenly mindset also gives you tremendous enthusiasm and unconditional love for everyone! This is the relationship God longs to have with you–one that is authentic and trusting!
So today, my friends, know this: God loves you, and He hears your prayers. He is sovereign and incapable of being incorrect. Further, He doesn’t just hear your prayers, but He’s listening closely! He lives in us and He will never go away! He is a good goodFather who loves us immeasurably! So keep praying! Keep trusting! Keep being your heaven-ready self! And most of all, enjoy your life as God’s own child!
A prayer for you: Dad, I want you to know how grateful I am for you. I want you to know how much I appreciate you making me your child forever. Thank you for your commitment to me. You are the real Promise Keeper. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them are hurting, Lord. So many have been praying to you for a very long time and they feel like it’s not working. Speak to their hearts today and show them that their prayers ARE working. Please help these dear readers to develop a deeper relationship with you. Begin to teach them to trust you, to stand firm in your grace, and to keep praying! Teach them to ALWAYS communicate with you! In Christ’s name I pray, amen.
Matt McMillen Ministries
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)
It can be easy to blame my feelings and moods on my situation. All it takes is running a little behind and I can feel my insides start to tense up. Then, once I become tense enough, my attitude and actions follow suit.
It’s the emotional domino effect. It’s why something like traffic can become the deciding factor of your attitude and how you treat people for an entire day.
You may have heard “guard your heart” so many times now it feels cliché, but it’s crucial to do so.
A situation may be bad. A circumstance may be hard. A relationship may be rocky. But your emotions don’t have to be controlled by what’s going on around you.
Your mood is a choice; your joy is your job. No one but you is responsible for your heart. Eventually, you have to own your emotions by the grace of God.
Once you own your emotions, you can control them. And when your emotions are in control, you can focus them towards what matters most: loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind and loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
Steven Furtick - Elevation Church