I live in a flood zone.

Recently my hometown of Monroe, Louisiana experienced devastating floods. It was heartbreaking to watch it unfold on the news and hear week after week that more rain inundated the area preventing standing water from draining. As flood waters began to rise, thousands were displaced as their homes took in anywhere from 20 to 60 inches of water. Hundreds of homes were underwater for nearly six weeks.

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As water levels began to recede, the clean-up started. Teams and crews tirelessly worked to empty salvageable homes, dumping carpet, cabinets, furniture and sheet rock at the curb. And as they cleaned out their homes, many found shocking surprises. Some found an alligator in their yard. Others discovered snakes hiding in showers, behind furniture, in the nooks and crannies of their garage and in cabinets – both high and low – tucked in pots and bowls.

So much wildlife had been displaced by flooding. Flood waters carried snakes and alligators into populated areas where they are not normally seen – like in houses – causing residents to rely on experts to help them remove the unwanted guest.

Insert “shudder” here. The only thing I hate more than broccoli is snakes.

As I thought about how horrible it is to stumble upon a snake – (I’ve been caught unaware by a snake on several occasions) – I realized what Truth this situation contains.

I realized I’m living in a flood zone. I have invited Abba to fill my life. As a result, He has begun to rain on me filling me with Himself. As His Presence fills my life to capacity, flooding every area with His glory, it begins to displace things in my life. And as a result, I begin to see things that I would not normally see. Things start to show up in attitudes, emotions and mind-sets where they had not previously been. Things I was once unaware of are now in plain site. His presence flooding my life is shifting things.

And what surfaces the most? Lies. Lies I believe about God. Lies about His character. Lies about His love. Lies about how God operates and interacts with humanity. Lies I believe about myself. Lies I believe about Christianity. Lies about church. His presence filling my life causes those lies to surface and become obvious.

The enemy also takes advantage of this flooding and tries to slip lies in about my experiences and encounters with Abba. Suggesting all types of lies about Abba’s voice, presence and movement in my life.

Now, lies are just like snakes and I hate them just as much. They slither in unnoticed and hide in unexpected places. And sometimes they look harmless. Like the insidious little coral snake that is indigenous to Louisiana. It’s small and very colorful. It doesn’t look  like your typical snake. Its bite at first seems anticlimactic. There is little pain or swelling – you may not even know you’ve been bitten. And symptoms of the bite can be delayed up to 12 hours. However, even though the bite seems uneventful, the neurotoxin is deadly. The venom causes disruption between the brain and muscles causing slurred speech, double vision, paralysis and eventually ending in respiratory or cardiac failure.

That’s exactly how lies operate. Very seldom do you realize you’ve been bitten by a lie. And you never realize you believe a lie. The effects of believing the lie are delayed. But given time, the deadly poison of the lie begins to spread and affects our speech, causing us to speak negatively and contrary to Truth. We can’t see clearly any longer because now we perceive reality through the lens of a lie. It paralyzes us, preventing us from taking action and rooting out the enemy. And eventually, a lie will lead to the death of Truth in that area of our life.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries recommends residents who encounter snakes in their homes call an expert to remove them. This is suggested because removal can be dangerous. If you don’t know what you’re doing, things could go from bad to worse real fast. But an expert knows exactly how to approach the snake and safely remove it from the home.

The same is true for us. When we discover a lie, we really have no idea how to remove it. And seldom can we detect Truth by our self. If we try to remove a lie and establish truth our self, we fall into greater deception. We need the help of the Expert to root the lie out. John 16:13 (NLT) says When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. Holy Spirit is the expert in removing lies. He removes the lie by revealing Truth. Truth is the anti-venom to the lie. Truth is the cure. Jesus said that when we know the Truth, it will set us free. (John 8:32) The word “know” in this passage means to have intimate knowledge of. Information that you’ve accepted, internalized and absorbed. When He reveals it – you must embrace it.

And as we allow Truth to course through our being, it removes the fogginess of the lies, bringing clarity to our thinking. Knowing Truth fills our mouth with Truth so that we speak positively. We begin to see correctly because now we view life through the lens of Truth. Truth empowers us to use our authority in Christ to aggressively trounce our enemy. Truth brings life, renewal and healing to every part of our existence.

And then He teaches us how to live according to Truth so that the lie no longer carries any influence in our life. He teaches us how to incorporate Truth into our life so that it becomes the basis of everything we are. He teaches us how to get comfortable with Truth, so that we recognize any other lie that tries to slither in.

If you’ve given Abba permission to fill you with Himself, you’re living in a flood zone too. And as He floods your life with Him, lies are going to surface. It’s inevitable. Expect it. Don’t be shocked by it. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed that you believed a lie. It happens to ALL of us. When you encounter it, call on Holy Spirit, reject the lie and ask Him to implant Truth. And He will.

BTW: Coral snakes are reclusive and generally bite humans only when handled or stepped on. They must literally chew on their victim to inject their venom fully and often they give “dry” bites. This means not every bite delivers venom, so most bites to humans don’t result in death. To know if you’ve encountered a coral snake, remember this rhyme: “Red on yellow will kill a fellow. Red on black is a friend of Jack”. My rule of thumb: avoid them ALL. 000087279dcb44fb2fcd1be2848bf662

The devil gets a headache?!

I was scrolling through Facebook recently and saw this:

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Can I tell you how much I despise this meme? This saying? This thought – concept – idea?! I detest it because it’s a lie.

So let’s just clear this up right now. The enemy doesn’t care if you carry a Bible. That doesn’t affect him. Neither does opening it. And I can assure you he hasn’t fainted because you’re reading it. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s very active when you’re reading the Bible; sitting right next to you, whispering lies, harassing you and working to distract you.

And while he hates to see you living in obedience to God’s Word, it will not make him flee. If that were true, we would never fight any battles, right? If that were true, then living in obedience to God’s Word would prevent the enemy from ever being able to get near you. If this saying is true, then you would never encounter the enemy when you live in obedience.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that some of the fiercest attacks come when I am living in obedience to God’s Word and following His directives for my life. I find that when I am living out the will of God and applying Truth to my life, the enemy comes at me full force.

So the saying on this meme just doesn’t make any sense. None of it has any scriptural basis to it. And the thought of the devil having a headache is just silly.

I’m pretty sure the enemy wrote this clever, little saying in an attempt to deceive us into thinking that carrying and opening the Bible would be enough to restrain him. Or that obedience is what it takes to evict him from our life.

The enemy’s purpose in this catchy tidbit is to cunningly influence our thinking. he wants us to question and accuse Abba for the difficulties we experience as we live obediently and never give him a second thought – because he should have fainted and been inactive long ago – right? And, as often as some of us read the Word of God, the enemy ought to stay perpetually woozy, moving in and out of a state of consciousness. So the complications, difficulties, frustrations, problems and chaos must be God – right? Because the enemy is out cold……

he drops these little, deceptive nuggets into our thoughts so that we never do what is actually needed to evict him and drive him away. So that we continue to adhere to an ineffective method of dealing with him. So that we never recognize his activity in our life. So that we assume that he has been dealt with.

And obviously he has succeeded because this witty saying has circled the globe because we have shared it. And we would never share anything we don’t believe or think is true. And what we believe or think is true shapes our actions and choices. How we think determines how we live.

The Truth is, two things must happen with consistency in order for the enemy to flee. And we find both of these things in James 4:7 (Amp) So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.

  • Submission. The first step to evicting the enemy is to submit to God. We’ve got to live in humility. Living humbly means we recognize and acknowledge that we must have Him at the center of everything we are and everything we do. It means we are constantly looking to Abba for wisdom and direction. It’s knowing that we can’t do anything without Him.

Obedience is important – but let’s be real; sometimes our obedience is simply going through the motions. It’s only when we obey from a submissive and humble heart that an impact is made. It’s all about the position of our heart.

  • Resist. This means we actively push back against the enemy, standing firm in the position of Truth, refusing to be moved. In order for the enemy to flee, we have to fight back. It’s more than obedience, it’s aggression. he flees not because we passively live in obedience but because we aggressively address his activity in our circumstances.

And this aggressive behavior is done by speaking the Word – out loud. The enemy cannot read your thoughts. So if you’re going to evict him and drive him away, you’re going to need to pull out the Sword of the Spirit and use the authority of Jesus to address the enemy’s activity in your life. Speak verses that directly apply to your situation – relentlessly. Speak them with confidence and authority. As you do this, you’ll find the enemy cannot stay in the atmosphere you create and he will run. he can’t live in that environment. (Matthew 4:4)

So let’s reject this lie, change how we think and apply Truth. This will be the new meme:

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Why don’t you share this one and spread it around? As followers of Jesus, we’ll be much better equipped and successful if we live this way.

I think I’m going to start a new blog category “Can we stop saying that?!” and debunk all the silly, un-Scriptural things we as followers of Jesus say. Be on the look-out.

 

NOTE: When I write, I always use lower case letters for the enemy’s name and the pronouns referring to him.  I can’t bring myself to dignify his existence with a capital letter.