Tag Archives: Christian Author

How do we endure and fight when we are feeling knocked down?

How to endure when you feel knocked down too many times. Author Sandra HerseyWe all have seasons in our lives; times when we are riding high on the blessings of God and then there are the times we are feeling as if Satan has won the first 11 rounds in the prize fight of the year! We must remember the more Satan views us as a threat the more he is going to come at us with all he’s got! And our Heavenly Father does not always step right in and take over for us, in order that we build up our faith muscles to win the so called “championship” fight in the future.

So how do we endure and fight to the end when we are feeling knocked down one to many times? James 1:2-12 jumps right in by saying, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind, for let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. But let a brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position and let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away, for the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed. So, too, the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

The last verse is the summation of the point here. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial.” Trials produce blessings-now we can shout here! I my friend am entitled to a HUGH amount of blessings with all the trials I have been through! I am sure this is true for you as well. One of the prize fights of the year for me was the fight for my youngest son’s salvation. Let me share with you a little bit of the story from my book about trials and how we overcame in victory:

“Surrender according to Webster’s Dictionary means to give up, abandon, or relinquish. Surrender is something we all like to think we can do but I can tell you from experience it is very hard to actually surrender something you love more than anything to God and allow Him to do whatever He sees fit to do with it. I had to surrender my youngest son to God. He had been walking on the wrong side, far away from God as possible since middle school. Then high school presented more and more problems taking him farther and farther from God. My son had gotten involved in many different ways of the world on a fast train to hell so to speak! No matter what I did in the natural it did not seem to change him. I would pray over this child every day, I would anoint his pillow while he was at school, and I would lay my hands on his clothes hanging in the closet and declare him into the Kingdom of God. Then one day a very strong woman of God, who had been where I was walking, told me I had to surrender my son to God. I was angry with her. I wanted to surrender him and I had told God “here he is; I surrender him to you,” however I would go back whenever something went wrong and start the ritual of what I had done in the past, trying to bring him to God. I knew I was afraid to give him totally to God because I had just watched my best friend surrender her son to God and her son went to prison! I did not want my son to have to go to prison! I was not really willing to surrender him totally and allow whatever God wanted to use to get to him; even if it meant prison. However, I did give my son totally and completely to God. I told God I trusted Him to take care of my son; no matter what happened in the natural. I would like to tell you once I gave over my son to God’s more than capable hands that all went well and He turned his life to Jesus. But that did not happen- at least not at first. First everything seemed to spin out of control in the natural. Literally it felt as if all hell broke loose and I did not know what was happening in the natural, but I trusted God and confessed I trusted Him every second of every day. Just to give you hope my son did come to God; he did get his life together. Now I watch this former drug dealing, pill popping, rebelling teenager go to his room to study the Word of God. I hear praise music and I hear him crying out to the Lord. He is now in Bible College and an anointed man of God. God has His hand upon him now as much as He had His hand upon him when I surrendered him to my Heavenly Father to mold him and to change him. (He has now graduated Bible College and is an associate pastor, married to an amazing woman of God and the father of my amazing grandson. Now I watch as he touches and changes lives! Blessed IS the woman who persevered under trial!!)” {Exert from The Drying Pot; A The Refining Fires Necessary To Become A Vessel Used By God}

How do you turn trouble into blessing? That’s really the issue here. James was concerned with such matters. In verse 3 he says, with the testing of faith – with you and I being put through a test – it will reveal the strength or weakness of our faith. We all have tests or trials. The Word of God is filled with others who endured tests, they are in there for a reason- to show us how to endure, to show us others had to endure and we are not alone! And to show us victory is always on the other side for those who are in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 2:14)

The purpose for trials or these fights is so that we may know the strength or weakness of our faith and that in enduring through the trial we may be blessed. God has a perfect plan for us through our trials – to grant to us gracious and eternal blessings.

So how I hear you asking? Well strap on your boxing gloves because here we go:

First, the fight is to develop a joyous attitude! We have all heard the saying our attitude determines our altitude. We go up by changing our attitude. You and I were never promised no trials on this journey of life. We were however promised blessings as we persevere!

Second, we need an understanding mind. We have determined the key word in verse 2 is joy, so the key word in verse 3 is knowing. In Greek the word is “ginosko” which means to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of. Personal knowledge gives us the information we need to evaluate the trial we are in, in order for us to look forward to the joy. When we come to know “this is only temporary” and “this is not the end, this is only the process to the victory!” James said the testing of our faith produces endurance. If you are like me there are many times I do not feel I can endure. However, what I have realized is that I can BECAUSE of my past trials I HAVE developed the faith to endure a little further – and most of the time a little further is all I need to go to knock out the Devil!

The final way  to turn trouble into a blessing is by using fighting words- The Word of God! Would a contender for the heavyweight title fight without training and developing skills? Of course not, but yet as Christians we run right into the ring with the enemy when we really don’t know how to fight. The Word of God is to be applied to our reality of life -it’s not just there to read – it’s to be acted on! The Bible tells us “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

When the enemy has stepped into the ring, that is the time we pick up the Word of God and fight with it! It is a weapon given to us according to Ephesians 6!  Notice Jesus shows us exactly how to fight; when the Devil came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness Jesus said, “It is written.… It is written.…It is written.” Jesus shows us- when the enemy has shown up as the contender for the title – we must get out our boxing gloves – the Word of God – and hit the Devil right between the eyes with it! There is no other way for the Christian to fight! The Word wins EVERY time! Yet it is our responsibility to use it as our knock-out punch!

{Want more devotions? I’m A Sword Wielding Devil Slayer; Declaring the Word of God and Taking Back What the Devil Stole from Me!}

How to Sing for Joy When You Have No Joy

How to Sing for Joy When You Have No JoyEach morning I start my time of prayer with Psalms and Proverbs before my devotional. For me Psalms is a way for me to express to God all I want to say.  I read the verses out loud as prayers to Him and add my own prayers along side. Then I move on to the Proverb of the day, if the date is the 2nd I read Proverbs 2 and turn it also into a prayer.

Today I kept coming to verse after verse which read “sing for joy.” Then I started to think about storms raging in my life and then I thought of you and what you might be facing right now. The Holy Spirit prompted me to remind both myself and you that we must sing for joy when facing obstacles which want to overtake us!

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. And these fruit are the very characteristics of God. He has given us joy however it is our responsibility to exercise this characteristic and make it grow. We must use this fruit of joy during the times when we are not feeling too much joy. How do we exercise this joy? Well one way is to sing for it! Look at Isaiah 12:

2 Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.

3Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.

4And in that day you will say, Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name and by means of His name [in solemn entreaty]; declare and make known His deeds among the peoples of the earth, proclaim that His name is exalted!

5Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent things [gloriously]; let this be made known to all the earth.

6Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

We have reasons to sing for joy:

1. God is our salvation – verses 2-3

“With joy shall you draw water from the wells of salvation.”

For us Jesus is like the river which flows from the infinite divine nature – the one true God.  He is for us the only source, the inexhaustible source. The apostle Paul said it this way: “…They drank from the Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” (I Cor. 10:4)

The well was also the meeting-place in those hot lands where the shepherds came in from the fields and the maidens came from the tents and they met in the cool of the evening. I can envision laughter and talk was all around. Joy ringing out as they spoke of the day. So joyful is the heart of those whose soul is filled and feasted with God – our salvation.

II. God is our strength verses 4-5

We may recall God’s triumph for the Israelites over the Egyptians at the Red Sea; then Moses and Miriam led the Israelites into singing the praises of God and exalted His mighty strength (Exodus 15:2). The prophet Isaiah called upon Judah to do the same. Let’s move beyond Egypt and beyond the nation of Judah to our own deliverance in Christ.

We must focus on and be grateful for His mighty deeds and sing for joy. We must know that He is strong enough to handle all of our challenges in our lives – no matter what they are!  Notice also, that His mighty Name and deeds are to be proclaimed to all nations. We may not be called to a world-wide ministry to proclaim to other nations the goodness of God, but we should however never lose sight of the fact that God is the God of the whole world and He can and will move on our behalf! And we proclaim His mighty deeds and Name to our little corner of the world – our family and friends!

Unfortunately what happens is no matter how much scripture we can quote or how long we have been a child of God, we don’t really and truly believe deep down that God can help our difficult situation or even wants to help us! I’m not talking about our easy fixes – we believe He can fix those. I am talking about the really hard ones. The ones that are raging so strong we feel as if we are not going to be able to hold on much longer! Now let’s be honest here. We can sing for joy and walk in faith when it’s all good! But let the earth start shifting under our faith walk and bam! We start wondering what’s going on- and the longer this journey goes the less our faith and singing gets. We start buying into the lie of the enemy that we must have done something wrong which angered our Heavenly Father. God loves you and I so much He only wants what is good for us. Scripture after scripture tells of His goodness and His wonderful promises to us! But do we really, entirely, and wholeheartedly believe that when we are in the midst of raging storm?

Are we supposed to go through hard times as Christians? Of course we are! We were never promised a perfect walk. Walking by faith is having faith when it’s tough to see the victory; but you know it’s there! Singing for joy is not having the joy because of the natural circumstances but we sing praises to our Lord and Savior and exercise that joy while we are feeling defeated – hence; singing FOR the joy!

We must stop thinking our trouble is a sign that we are in sin or that God is unhappy with us! We must realize when we face times of trouble that we must dig our heels in deep – deep into the living Word of God and stand on it. We must lift up our voice and pretend we are the next American Idol and sing to the top of our lungs with songs of praise to our God who loves us no matter what! Sing my beloved friend – sing FOR the joy in the midst of your trial and feels His peace cover you!

{Know someone who is facing hard times? The Drying Pot; And The Refining Fires Necessary To Become A Vessel Used By God}

Love – It’s Not a Feeling It’s a Lifestyle

Love - It's Not a Feeling It's a Lifestyle. Keys to victorious faith. Inspirational BlogIs love a warm fuzzy feeling? Does it bring about singing birds and seeing everything through rose-colored glasses? What about us as Christians – when we don’t “feel” those warm fuzzy feelings does this mean we aren’t living as Jesus instructed us to? The Bible never tells us a “warm fuzzy feeling” is the definition for “love.” Hollywood has portrayed to us what the world sees as love and unfortunately we have bought it hook, line, and sinker! So, what is the Biblical definition for love?

Jesus was once asked in Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” According to Matthew the very essence of the Law is to love God and to love others.  Matthew also gives us the Biblical definition for love: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

Jesus told us “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). John, wrote, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death” (1 John 3:14). And “by this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2-3). Nowhere does our “feelings” play a role in whether we are to love or whether we should have a “feeling” before we show love.

When we use the word “love” we must understand there are different types of love. I love my husband one way, but I  love my Pastors in a different way. I love my friends in a different way still – however, my love for my church family is different all together. We get confused when we only have the one word to sum up all these different meanings; the word – love.

In the New Testament Greek four main words are used for the term “love.” Each of these words have different meanings.

The first word is “eros.” It’s the wow stuff. It is exciting and it makes us do some very silly things and this is what most people think love is. It means romantic and sexual love between lovers.

Apart from this romantic love there is also love between friends. In Greek this word is “philia.” We all know this type of love and know it is different from the romantic love we just talked about.

Then there is the love we feel for our families. We are brought up to love them – indeed the Bible tells us to honor our father and mother. The strange thing about this type of love, which in Greek is called “storge” – is that it is very difficult to end this type of love. Sadly friendships come to an end, but no matter how estranged one is from one’s family, they still are your family! We may not talk to them for years, we may be angry with them and get totally fed up with them, but they still are our family and we recognise that we have some duty to them. What is different about it, though, is that it stems from a sense of obligation and duty, whereas “philia” the love we have for our friends is what we choose to give and “eros” love often takes us by surprise!

As great as all these loves are, they don’t speak of the love that Jesus was talking about where he says “I give you a new commandment, love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another.” This type of love is radically different from all the others. In Greek it’s called “agape” and it means a sacrificial, unconditional, and possibly unreciprocated love.

Agape love is about giving of ourselves and expecting and wanting nothing in return. (This is not the type of love we usually “feel” or even want to give, especially when we are hurt!) It means loving other people regardless of whether we like them or whether they love us back. The best example is Jesus who laid down his life, not only for his friends, family, or those who made him “feel” loved – but for everyone! Agape love is what made Jesus lay down His life for us all – even though some don’t want to accept His offer. It is this last form of love – agape love – which Jesus commands us to have for each other. A love that no matter what someone has done or not done, no matter how we feel or don’t feel, whether we want to or not – we are to love one another as Jesus has loved us!

I challenge you today to ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you need to show love to someone. Choose to walk in agape love for those around you and watch what God does for you!

{Want more devotions? I’m A Sword Wielding Devil Slayer; Declaring The Word of God and Taking Back What the Devil Has Stolen From Me!}

The Emotional Roller-coaster – How To Get Off!

How to get off the emotional roller coasterEvery day of our life brings opportunities for our emotions to lead us on a roller coaster. Our emotions are truly one of the major struggles in our lives. We can however choose to be stable, steadfast, and determined instead of buying a ticket for this emotional roller coaster. If we allow our emotions to rule over us and to tell us how to act, then there is no way you and I will ever be the person God has intended us to be. We are not going to be able to let go of all of our emotions, however we can learn to control them instead of letting them determine how we feel!

As I said before opportunities will arise for us to allow our feelings to charter the course of our actions. We must begin to realize our feelings change from day to day, hour to hour, and like most people even from minute to minute. Not only do our feelings change they can even be giving us a shaded story or uncompleted truth. Have you ever entered a room and felt everybody was talking about you? Just because we feel everyone is talking about us does not mean they are! Satan loves to get us on how we feel. He wants us to feel that nobody understands us or appreciates us. He wants us to feel we are misunderstood or even mistreated. No matter how we feel we must realize that feeling this way does not mean it is true. If we want to be mature Christians and be all God intends us to be then we must be determined not to walk according to what we feel.

Our decisions must be based on what we know rather than on what we feel. We know what the Word of God instructs us to do in every situation of our life. If we don’t-then we must search it out and put our situation on the altar before God. I know it is hard not to let our feelings get in the way when we have been hurt or when we are upset. But this is the time we really need to seek the Lord and His Word to be led on how we act – not act on how we feel. I teach all the time, from Bible College Students to congregations, that we are to never be led by how we feel. Our emotions will lead us into the wrong direction 99% of the time. When we are hurt we must look to make sure we are not allowing offense to come in. Offense is the leading cause of our hurt emotions and it is a ploy of the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy us and our lives!

Look at what Jeremiah 17:9 says in the amplified “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick!” Now we may not like this particular verse because it tells us exactly how our heart acts. Think about it – the last time you were in a real hard situation with someone else – was it not over feelings? Were you affected by something they did or said? Then I promise you the enemy took hold and turned your mind or heart to your feelings which according to the scripture we just read – deceived you and the other person. What was Satan’s goal in that situation between you and the other person? Well it is his number one goal for your life- John 10:10 –“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy…” He wants to steal relationships and friendships from you by using your feelings, he wants to destroy these relationships so he can get you from them and get you by yourself so you can keep going over in your head how you feel and what they did! The ultimate goal is to kill you, little by little, step by step he uses your feelings to bring you closer to his goal. And before you know it friendships are gone, relationships are destroyed, and you have even left the church who was helping you to grow.

Emotions are wonderful, but we must not allow them to take precedence over wisdom and knowledge. We can control our emotions instead of letting them control us. We must seek the Lord and forgive whomever has hurt us and watch how God will restore us!

{Know someone who is facing hard times? The Drying Pot; And The Refining Fires Necessary To Become A Vessel Used By God}

Running Ahead of God

When we run ahead of God. Keys to victorious faithGod has important work for us to do for Him, however it is very important that we do this work by the power of the Holy Spirit. Often we get excited about something God has told us we will do for Him and we run on ahead of Him without waiting to find out the details of His instructions. We must remember we need God’s timing and power to be truly effective. Waiting on the Holy Spirit to empower us is vital. We must learn to pray, refuse, and trust.

Our first step in anything should be prayer. We must not allow ourselves to start making a “To-Do List” of what we need to get done. I for one am a list maker, when I have a huge task ahead of me I make list after list of who, what, where, when, why, and how! However, this is not the time for list making; this is the time to be spent on our knees seeking God’s specific instructions – and sometimes our instruction is to wait – even after He just told us something He wants us to do!

Jesus is always our example on how to deal with a situation; right after He was baptized and was to begin His ministry here on the earth He went to the desert to be alone with the Father and seek the Father’s will. If Jesus knew the value of prayer then we should too. To know the Father’s will Jesus had to pray, therefore we must pray to know God’s will. Philippians 4:6 clearly states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Clearly we are told in everything to pray!

The next step is to refuse all outside influences. When I find something new and exciting I have people I run to and share my news. I text my children when I find a new fact in the Bible, I tweet those on Twitter when God speaks a word into my spirit, and I run to my friends when I have found a great sale on a new pair of must have shoes! We all love to “share” our finds and thoughts especially in this age of social networking – we update our status about any and everything! However, we must resist the urge to post or tell everything God has given to us. When we do this we begin to get the “go for it sister” comments or the “you can’t do that” from those who “have been there, done that!” When we hear one bit of negative we will start doubting we even heard from God and this will cause us to never do what God intended, or we will ignore the negative and go with those encouraging us; seeing that as a sign to run towards the finish line when God never sound the gun to start the race. Our responsibility when God tells us something  to do is seek Him and His will in our prayer closet and wait for His specific instructions without “sharing” until He gives us the go ahead to do so.

Finally we must trust the Holy Spirit. Once we have spent time in prayer and refused the urge to share with the world before God allows us, we must stand and trust that what He has called us to do He will be faithful to bring it to completion (1 Thessalonians 5:24, Philippians 1:6) Derek Prince once said “You will only succeed in your calling and God won’t permit you to succeed anywhere else because he wants you where he’s called you.” This is so true but you and I must determine we are going to trust God to take us where He wants us. For us to trust God we must surrender our ideas, agendas, and future into His very capable hands. We have all been in situations where we say we trust God however when the fire starts to heat up we are rebuking every devil within a mile only to find it is not the work of the enemy at all, but the hand of our Heavenly Father who is preparing us in the midst of our refining fires. We fall into thinking God has left us, or is unhappy with us, or even we missed what He said in the first place because the natural is producing a place we do not like. This is the time we must trust Him the most. It is easy to trust when all the pieces fall into place, it is hard to trust when we are feeling out of control. When we feel out of control this is most likely the very time God is working. He is working on us, in us, and even pulling stuff out of us in order for us to be able to fulfill this calling. Trust means walking by faith; and faith is not knowing what is ahead yet stepping out with a blindfold on. The great thing is though we are “blindfolded” we have the Holy Spirit holding our hand and leading the way – we just have to let Him lead!

{Want more devotions? I’m A Sword Wielding Devil Slayer; Declaring the Word of God and Taking Back What the Devil Stole from Me!}