Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Playing to Win (Day TWENTY THREE-30 Day Challenge)

There is one seat left. Slowly you walk towards the table. You are in the mood to play a game and you are hoping to get a clue as to what game is being played and how high the stakes are. The players are silent but eerily intense. They each have a name hanging from a lanyard around their necks, but it is too dark to make them out. You slowly approach hoping to get a better view. Just as you squint your eyes to try to focus...

...the empty chair is pushed your way. Something within you feels uneasy...and yet you are not scared. You sit and glance around the table. The faces of your opponents are covered from the nose down. You still can't make out any of their names as the leader begins to deal the hand. All eyes are on you. Some of them are cold and harsh...some intimidatingly inviting. You begin to realize that maybe this wasn't the friendly game you thought it was. 

You pick up your hand. These cards are far from a normal deck. All of your cards are the same except for one. Your first instinct is to run, but you don't. You desperately want to ask what they are playing, but you don't. You feel almost paralyzed. They seem to be enjoying your apparent discomfort. The first card is played by the man sitting at the head of the table? It contains only one word. 'Gossip.'

The other players laugh. They begin, one by one, laying down a card from their own hand. They are forming a circle around 'gossip'. One card says 'friend'. One said says 'sister'. Another says 'Co-worker'. There was just one more player before it was your turn. He looked straight into your eyes as he pulled his mask down. He smiled and winked as he laid down his card.

There it was in black letters on a white card. The word...'church'. It sent a chill down your spine and a lump to your throat. Your eyes shifted to the now exposed lanyard around the last man's neck. Destroyer. It wasn't a name at all...it was his job title.

Your pulse begins to pick up as you look down at your cards. The man at the head of the table tells you that your card is to be placed directly on top of his. You've got to cover the word gossip with......   Six of your cards have the same word, 'victim'. Only one is different.  You aren't sure when to play it. How will you know what is to come? Should you save it for something that might be worse than gossip?

You close your eyes for a moment and you see your sister. Your friend. Your co-worker. You can actually see specific times when you gossiped about them. And you can now see how they looked when they found out. You feel empty and sick. You know the time is near. The opportunity to gossip about someone in church. Your heart rate picks up even more. The uneasiness is turning to fear.

Shame gets up from his chair and kneels next to you. He is the cause of this guilt trip you are on right now...and he wants to see your anguish up close. Anger is there and he is up next. A tear falls down your check and you whisper a word. A name. Jesus.

You take your only card of hope and place it over 'gossip'. It reads...'victor'. The room gets loud. Shouts are coming from all directions. Joyous praises are heard from angels all around the room. You hadn't seen them before but now you see them as they praise Jesus with excitement because you just CHOSE to defeat gossip. From the table comes many angry sneers that you would dare use that Name in their presence. They know the significance of that victory. It will be just one of many!

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Peace surrounds you. You open your eyes now with confidence. You look at your hand and now all but one of the cards, say victor. You gained strength in your faith in Jesus with that decision. And your hand is now stacked in your favor. Sure you still have free will. You will always still have the choice to fall into temptation...but NOW it is outnumbered by victory!!

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37

It is your choice. It always was. Victory was yours the moment you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. You were not meant to live a defeated life. You were not designed to be overcome by evil at every opportunity. God has victory for you...always. It may be a little messy to get to it...but it will be worth it.

The enemy knows that each time you accept defeat that you are more likely to do it again. he ALSO knows that when you choose victory, even if it goes against every natural desire you have; that you are more likely to choose it again! "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." John 3:6

The attacks of the enemy will continue. But the strength of his opponent...only grows. The more you allow Christ to break you free from the love of sin...the stronger you become in Him. You will always remember where you were...but you will no longer live in the death and destruction of it.

I know I write this a lot...but I truly mean it. It's not too late. If you have been caught up in sin...it's not too late for faith to gain strength in the Name of Jesus! It's not too late to choose victory, over victim. YOU allow yourself to be the victim of the enemy. YOU sometimes put others in the position of being the victim. It is always your choice. And even if you haven't been making the right ones...it's not too late. Never too late!

Say the name of Jesus right now. Scream it if you must. Know that there is POWER in that Name! Flee from sin. Flee from the places that draw you into sin. Flee from the people that encourage you to sin. Run to find a place where Jesus is welcome, living and active in the hearts of the people there. You choose. It's your life. And it will be only you on the day of judgement. It's not too late. It's never too late for you!

"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

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