The Enemy Was There...And He Was Defeated

"So Let God Work His Will In You. Yell A Loud No To The Devil And Watch Him Scamper. Say A Quiet Yes To God And He'll Be There In No Time. Quit Dabbling In Sin. Purify Your Inner Life. Quit Playing The Field. Hit Bottom, And Cry Your Eyes Out. The Fun And Games Are Over. Get Serious, Really Serious. Get Down On Your Knees Before The Master; It's The Only Way You'll Get On Your Feet."
James 4:7-10 (The Message)

I woke up early, 6:55am to be exact.

I didn't want to be late for Church (I had to be there at 10:30am and I don't like to be late), I wanted to spend some serious alone time with Him and I wanted a shower before anyone woke up.

Wasn't about to happen, Tigger woke 5 minutes later and when his feet hit the floor he has to eat.

I fed him and put him on the computer with strict instructions to be super quiet while I showered.

My all white, head to toe, suit was pressed and hanging, waiting to be slipped on.

My 4 inch royal blue suede pumps, ready to be worn.

My sermon, fresh off the printer for what seemed to be the 16th time, sitting on my dresser, with my Bible, all ready to go.

My Nana woke about 7:30am, right as I exited the bathroom to put my make-up on.

My Dad woke about 8am.

They were the ones going to accompany me.

My Mom and Sister opted to watch Tigger and Monster Princess (If you read the post after this, which is the sermon I preached, you will see there are some things in there my son didn't need to know at this time, therefore it was decided he wouldn't go).

I sat in the garage and had a cup of coffee, trying to figure out if I was nervous or just in complete denial.

Went and put on my make-up, hair in a ponytail, filled with curls because it is hotter than you know what here in Florida and I just can't wear my hair down without feeling like I am going to rip it all out.

Put the suit on, which by the way, I couldn't stand...

It was a color I just don't look good in due to the fact that I am so pale I could be see-through, however it was Missionary Sunday, so white is the color of choice, with a splash of royal blue.

It is now 10:15am, time to go...

My Nana sat on the couch waiting, as did I, for my Dad...

His door opens and his head peeks out, looking a bit "off," he was sick, like out of the blue sick and didn't look very hot...

Enemy strike one.

It's all good, come later if you can etc...

To the restroom one more time, oh of course...

Look what stress has brought me today, 2 weeks early... (ladies, you can relate)

Enemy strike two.

So my Nana and I depart.

We get to the Church without incident, enter in through the back because she wants to meet my Pastor...

Had the introductions, went and sat her in the Sanctuary and headed into the back once again.

He summoned me to his office, told me to have a seat and left...

My heart was racing a bit, not to bad at this time though.

My female Minister (now known as R) walks in and lets me know the Pastor put me there so I could focus without so many people talking in my ear, (my decision to Pastor hasn't been announced yet, so once people saw me as the speaker, they wanted to talk and ask questions etc....)

Just be alone with Him.

She walks back in a few minutes later with my Pastor and one of the male Ministers...

We talk for a few minutes (I will share that later when I get the go-ahead), then pray.

We head to the outer circle, (everyone who is on Sunday programs meet in the back for prayer before service) where he lets them know what has been decided where my walk was concerned, but to view me as just the 5th Sunday speaker for now.

Put her in the 3rd chair he says to R, and my head starts spinning, no way, that is his chair...

I am there every Sunday, I know there is an empty seat in the pulpit, on the very end so I just assumed I would be sitting there, nope, I am directly in front of the pulpit so in order to see, I have to look around either side, wise move, since it allowed me to focus on what was at hand and not do a head count of how many people would be watching.

Thanks Pastor :)

About 5 minutes into service, he stands up and announces one of the a/c units has broken, someone was on the way to fix it and to please have patience...

It must of been the one putting air up in the pulpit because I don't think I have ever been more hot in my entire life.

Enemy strike three.

We go through service, which is about an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the Sunday.

I don't deliver until the end of service, right after Altar call and right before the invitation to join the Church.

Pastor is the one who I have chosen to introduce me and while I knew he was speaking, I didn't really "hear" him.

Altar call is over, he prays, over the congregation, for the ones who couldn't be there, over me.

He announces me, turns to offer a hand, hugs for him, hugs for R.

My turn.

Surprisingly, I am rather calm.

I started with "Good Morning" and then the Lord's Prayer.

I wanted to do "thank you" to people, however it would have been some big Oscar production and I feared leaving someone out, thus hurting feelings.

Open my mouth to speak, and say to myself, "What is that noise?"

Feedback from the mic...

Move further away from it, it was an awful noise and it wouldn't let up, until the mic went out altogether...

Enemy strike four.

I am saying to myself at this time, "Bring it on, I will march up and down the aisle preaching if I have to, however I will get this message out."

That was the last strike from him.

So I started yelling as loudly as I could, praying those in the back would be able to hear me, as my Pastor comes to the podium with a hand-held mic, mine comes back on, and there weren't any other problems with it after that.

I don't recall my whole sermon play by play, which is why I put it on here for you all to read.

There was a form of tunnel vision, which R said would happen,  I could "see" the people, but I couldn't truly "see" them.

I could "hear" the murmurs, yet couldn't "hear" what was being said.

I know that the Pastor got me choked up when he did the introduction, and I had to stop for a few to catch my breath upon speaking about the past 2 years, I had 3 fumbles with my tongue not wanting to cooperate, however it went as smoothly as I had hoped...

Or so I thought.

It actually went better than I had hoped.

After the final prayer, Pastor & I hugged, R & I hugged, and as she was speaking to me, she stopped and said, I don't want to keep you from the line forming (or something to that affect) and as I glanced over to where I exit the pulpit, oh my word...

There was a throng of people...

Hugs all around as I made my way down the stairs, tears from some, words from others who I have never spoken to, more hugs, more words, smiles and laughter and all I wanted to do was find a quiet place to soak up what I was feeling.

My emotions were on overdrive and I will completely filled with Him, with His mercy, grace and love.

I needed to "feel" what I was feeling, however I couldn't.

It took me a good 25 minutes to get from the front of the Church to the door and our Church is small...

I stepped out into the very hot sunshine and took my shoes off, (because I am southern like that) took one step onto the sidewalk and felt a searing pain on the bottom of both feet...

If you guessed "burn" you are correct, I burned both of my feet because the sidewalk was so hot, and not a little burn, there are blisters on the bottom of both of them and it was worth it all.

After all was said and done, and I was able to actually reflect back on the day, after watching the DVD a few times to see where my errors were as well as listen to the reaction of my Church family, I had such peace...

The moment I stepped behind that pulpit, any second guessing I had been doing, about myself, about what others would think, about His calling on my life and about whether I was "good or worthy" enough, disappeared.

I knew, without a doubt, my Father was standing right beside me & I knew that no matter how I felt, I was doing this for Him, not me.

I knew I would never be the same again. (I actually knew that Tuesday night when I went to feed the homeless, I went to the Altar after we were done and as I was praying the thought that after Sunday, I would never be the person I thought I was, came over me.)

There was no longer any fear, no more questions, no more second guessing...

And in that moment, I finally understood what it meant to have "The peace of God that passes all understanding" and it was so glorious and it was so filling and so beautiful...

But When You Spoke My Name
Oh I Swear The Angels Sang
Peace Came And Stole My Shame
When You Spoke My Name


1st Sermon

"For The LORD Your God Is He That Goeth With You, To Fight For You Against Your Enemies, To Save You."
Deuteronomy 20:4

(Tomorrow I will post how it felt, tonight though I just don't have the words. Here it is in its entirety, except the verses I used, I put the links in there.)

Good Morning – Please join me in reciting “The Lord’s Prayer”

All Scripture that I will be reading is coming from “The Message Bible”

Starting with Romans 9:1-5, and it reads ~

When I began to go over these verses, I kept coming across different things saying that they were to be viewed as an interruption in Paul’s teaching of the Gospel. However after continuous prayer and study, I now see them as a necessary part of Paul’s argument for redemption by grace through faith.

Don’t forget that because of his preaching of the Gospel, Paul was considered a traitor to the Jewish nation and an enemy of Judaism. They saw him as preaching against the people, the Law and God. Paul was hated by the Jews for his ministry to the Gentiles and for his teaching of salvation by grace.

He preached this Gospel of grace in many places and in doing so, caused trouble just about everywhere he went. The Jewish Nation viewed the Gospel message as dangerous and unscriptural. Since the Jews hated the message Paul was preaching, they also hated the messenger.

This is why he was considered a traitor and many wanted to kill him. In turn, this caused Paul great sorrow and increasing anguish.

He didn’t set out to make anyone mad, out of love he was telling them the truth. Paul went to great lengths explaining that he was not anti-Jewish, anti-Law, nor anti-God. He wanted the Jews to know that they were wrong, just as he had been at one time.

His desire was that the Jewish Nation examine the Scriptures and see that what he was saying was true. He yearned above all else, that they would come to the saving knowledge of the truth and not their condemnation.

For his own people, Paul was willing to be cut off from Christ, regardless of how they treated him, if it could make a difference.

Our persecution isn’t even close to what Paul experienced, yet we respond with a fraction of the love that he did.

As Christians, we are called to love our enemies, Matthew 5:44 reads ~

I believe we should have a passionate concern for those that hate and try to harm. Paul didn’t do this out of duty, he truly loved and cared for people. His love was not dependent upon their treatment of him. He had the mind of Christ and as Christians, you and I should also have the same attitude of Christ, self-sacrificing for the needs of others.

The belief that God is so wonderful to you, should be shared, not just with those you love, but with those that hate you, as well as wish you harm.

Philippians 2:1-4 reads ~

My question for you today is this ~ “Does The Sinners Heart, Weigh Heavy On Your Heart?”

In today’s society, religion is a private matter, the risk of offending others, places an unnecessary demand on us to keep our religious beliefs to ourselves. We don’t want to challenge the beliefs of anyone, so we walk a tightrope, very rarely stepping off to declare His way, is in fact the only way.

As some of you know, I have been married for 21 years. I am now facing a divorce I never asked for, never wanted, nor ever believed in. For 19 years, I thought I had the perfect marriage, for the past 2 years my marriage has become stained by adultery and abandonment, in turn I was thrust into the most painful season of my life, and I didn’t know how to get out of the darkness that was surrounding me.

As if watching from the sidelines, I saw my family tear apart at the seams, I felt as if my heart was shattered into a million pieces and there were days I had trouble catching my breath. Thoughts of suicide, feelings of complete worthlessness and fears I thought I had gotten over a long time ago, came rushing back over me, almost like a never ending tidal wave.

And as I began to face the rewriting of the past 21 years, complete with vicious lies and nasty name calling, a door within me, one that I had intentionally shut a long time ago, started to re-open and almost immediately, I knew that how I reacted towards my husband and what he had done, would be a direct reflection of my Heavenly Father.

I had a choice to respond one of two ways…

As a flawed human, facing the ultimate betrayal, I could choose to seek revenge.

As a daughter to the King of Kings, I could seek Him daily for direction on how to respond, all I had to do was call His name and He met me where I was.

My choice was to seek Him, in order to show me how to respond with kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love, no matter what.

I am not a doormat because I chose to respond this way I am striving to follow in the footsteps that have gone before me. As a Christian, I have to be the one to make the first change. It isn’t always easy and now 2 years later, there are still days I fear I may bite my tongue clean off, however this is the choice I made and I am determined to stand by it regardless of what others think I should do.

Hatred, anger and bitterness in the face of betrayal is the easier choice -

Loving, trying to not pass judgment and continuing to respond in the way I feel He would respond, is the hardest thing I have ever done, however I know that my spiritual walk cannot be directed by my emotions. Emotions are fleeting and I have to keep myself rooted and grounded in His love in order to continue on the path He has called me to walk.

In writing this message I was struck with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

My eyes were open to see that God was giving me an extraordinary gift, in the form of a life lesson I had never fully grasped before. In the face of adversity, He began to teach me how to treat someone, as He would.

I was stripped, completely broken and only through my brokenness, was I finally humbled enough, to take all my pieces to Him and allow Him to put me back together again. Once I could actually breathe, and the decision had been made, I knew I wouldn’t be able to be a chair-sitting, back in the corner, whispering in the dark, Christian. If you see me, then my goal is that you see Him first.

The time has come to stop being a Sunday Christian and start representing God daily, time to get off the two corners that the majority of people dwell on; The corners of “indecision” and “procrastination” and the corners of “judgment” and “righteous indignation.”

Contrary to popular belief, this isn‘t about you. This is about what He has done for you and in turn how you use it to glorify His name. And how do you do that? You have got to step outside of yourself, open your mouth and tell people, just what He has done.

Selfishness, self-entitlement and self-centeredness have no place in the Kingdom of God.

As Christians, we are the Earth-bound, living reflection of our Father and if we can’t step up to the plate and act as such, then we have a very serious problem. Your Christian duty doesn’t begin/end when the doors of the Church open and this isn’t some salad bar you are standing in front of, picking and choosing which parts of the Christian life you want to live. It has got to be a decision you place in the forefront of your mind each and every single day, and it has got to be all or nothing.
As His representatives, we need to treat each person we come in contact with as if they are Him.

Know that if your eyes are on Jesus, you should feel some form of anguish and sorrow in your heart, for those that have turned away from Him, for your loved ones that are making bad choices & for those caught in difficult circumstances.

When you stop to think about all the people who don’t even know the unconditional love and grace that He offers, it should move you enough to weep for them.

Before you go to sleep at night, as you are getting all comfy on your pillow, take a moment to reflect back on your day and ask yourself this question ~ Is my conscience clear with the way I treated the people, He placed in my path today?

Are you treating people based on how they treat you or are you treating them, as He would, regardless of how they treat you?

I believe God wants us to feel the anguish and the sorrow, to make a place in our hearts for it, knowing that there are people placed in our lives daily, that need Him. We should all be able to feel the same way as Paul did for our brothers and sisters that continue to reject the Gospel, reject His truth and reject His love. We should feel the same anguish when we sit across the dinner table with our loved ones and know some of them refuse His mercy. We should feel the same sorrow when we are at our workplace, knowing some of them refuse His grace.

The question is, what are you willing to do about it?

In closing I want to leave you with ~

Matthew 25:31-46


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