Sat. Mar 6th, 2021

By Christina Li

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I John 3: la says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,” (KJV).

 

I know I’ve talked about this a lot, but that’s because it is so important. God loves you! I mean, He really loves you.

 

Titus 3:5-6 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,” (KJV).

 

Remember my analogy of the caterpillar versus the butterfly? When we are first saved, we are indeed new creatures. Now, unlike butterflies who instinctively know how to fly, we need to learn. That doesn’t mean God hasn’t given us wings. We simply need to learn how to use them. The butterfly’s life isn’t any easier than ours is. First off, he has to get out of his chrysalis. That’s hard work and if anyone tries to help him, he’ll die. Then, he has to spread his wings out to their full breadth and let them dry. When he first comes out of that chrysalis, his wings are all crumpled up and his body is distended, full of fluid. As he beats his wings up and down, the fluid flows out of his abdomen and into his wings, enabling him to fly. Finally, he’s ready to go. Even then, however, he still needs to be wary of danger.

 

It’s the same with us. We need to work hard to stay away from our old habits. Eat them up, completely destroy them. If you have a problem with alcohol, don’t go out of your way to walk past a bar! In fact, go out of your way to avoid walking past that bar.

 

God has filled our spiritual abdomens with rivers of living water. That’s the Holy Ghost. We don’t want to remain distended and useless. We need to beat our spiritual wings and let those rivers flow in our lives, enabling us to fly. The more we beat our wings, the more that river flows. That river flowing will not only change your life, but it will also affect those around you. Don’t be afraid to work hard, be afraid of missing out because you didn’t!

 

After he has learned how to fly, one of the first things a butterfly does is EAT! He finds himself a nice flower and drinks his fill. We, like the butterfly, need to eat too, not just physical food, but Spiritual food, the food of God’s Word, the Bible. Take time to read God’s Word every day. It will change you and make you better. Don’t stop there, though. Apply God’s Word to your life. Talk to Him as you read. Ask Him what He’s trying to teach you through this passage. It’s His love letter to you. Of course, He wants to talk to you about it!

 

I like to start my day with prayer and Bible reading. It reminds me that I’m not in this crazy life alone. I have divine help. I’ve quoted from several different versions of the Bible in this book. I recommend that you try all of them. There are several free versions on the Internet. Download and go! E-sword is really good. (Google it.) That is in the King James Version and has a direct translation straight from the Hebrew or Greek of almost every word. There’s also a search function. Best of all, it’s free! Another great resource for Bibles is BibleGateway.com. You can’t download that, but you can look up any passage of Scripture in several versions as well as several languages. Bottom line: take the time to read God’s Word—every day. You won’t regret it.

 

Now, back to our butterfly…

 

Finally, the butterfly has been given a variety of defense mechanisms. Some butterflies have coloring that looks like giant eyes to scare off their enemies. Others have coloring that warn that they would be poisonous to eat. Or, their particular coloring blends in with their surroundings (hide). There is also the obvious defense mechanism, i.e. flight.

 

It is the same in our lives. We also have been given a variety of defense mechanisms. God has given us a great big sword (There’s that Bible again!) to scare off our enemies. When you take the time to not only memorize Scripture, but truly absorb it and implement it in your life, your sword just gets sharper.

 

My husband owns his own violin business. One of the aspects of his business is repairing instruments. This requires very special, extremely sharp knives. Occasionally, those knives need to be re-sharpened. He has special stones that he uses for this purpose. He knows his knives are sharp enough when he can cut the hair on his arm with practically no effort.

 

In our own lives, we need to take the time to sharpen our spiritual swords. We do this by spending time every day reading God’s Word (the Bible). We need to memorize Scripture. Copy and post them around your house; tape some to your mirror or put them on little cards for you to read while you sit in traffic. There are also CDs with Scripture on them for those aural learners among us. Simply the act of copying Scripture helps as well. Then, use it in your daily life. Talk to your spouse about what you read that day. Tell your children what God showed you this morning in Scripture. Talk to God about His Word. He loves sharing that with you. He will open up your understanding if you ask Him. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking,” (NLT).

 

Another interesting defense mechanism that we can share with a butterfly is his beautiful coloring. Some butterflies have what looks like big eyes on their wings, pretty scary. Other butterflies’ coloring tells predators they are poisonous to eat. We, by the way we dress and carry ourselves, act as a witness to both the physical and the spiritual world. As a woman, I (and my daughters) dress modestly, no low cut blouses and no pants, only skirts (below the knee). To some that might seem a bit excessive or restrictive. However, I have found incredible freedom in doing this. To the world, my clothing says, ‘I’m a lady. Treat me with dignity and respect.’ When people speak to me, they aren’t only interested in ‘the view’; they are interested in my ‘point of view’. My daughters and I have never been limited because of skirts. In fact, they can climb trees just as fast, if not faster, than their brothers! (Just so you know: my husband and sons also dress modestly. They don’t go out in public without shirts on. They always have sleeves on their shirts, no tank tops, and they wear pants only, no shorts.) This is something that you have to seek the Lord about yourself. He will lead you and guide you in this issue. Of course your clothes are important to Him. He made the first clothing for people to wear! And yes, it was modest for both the man and the woman. God loves you and wants your best. The world doesn’t care at all about you. In fact, it sees you as nothing more than a commodity. Have you noticed how sexy clothing is for little girls nowadays? What’s with that?!

 

Another way to let my enemies know to beware I’m armed and dangerous is the fact that I don’t wear jewelry or make-up. The world says if you’re a woman, you aren’t beautiful without jewelry and make-up. I have taken a stand against that! Many precious ladies won’t even check their mail without their ‘faces’ on! My God says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His very image. It doesn’t get more beautiful than that! Why follow the world’s ideas of beauty? Be a trend setter, not a trend follower. Walk with confidence, knowing that you are not walking alone. Don’t be afraid to show the world the real you, beautiful, just the way you are. You don’t need help to be beautiful. You already are! You aren’t for sale. You are beyond price!

 

Another defense mechanism we have is simply hiding. Psalm 17:8-9 says, “Keep your eye on me; hide me under your cool wing feathers from the wicked who are out to get me, from mortal enemies closing in,” (MSG). Sometimes, the best thing in the world we can do is spiritually ‘hide’ ourselves. We do that through prayer, speaking in tongues, and simply focusing our minds on Jesus.

 

The last defense mechanism for the butterfly is simply this: flight. I Timothy 6:11-12 says, “But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this [sin]. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses,” (MSG).

 

Run away from sin and things which pull you down. Run toward life, Jesus, and righteous living. Don’t submit yourself to your feelings. Make your feelings submit to Jesus! One of the themes in today’s world is ‘follow your heart’. That’s terrible advice! Don’t follow your heart, it’s an awful compass. Sometimes, often times, your heart (or your feelings) is just plain wrong. Instead of ‘following your heart’, follow Jesus, and not reluctantly. Follow Him with fervency. Chase Him with everything you’ve got. I guarantee that He will lead you into the most wonderful, amazing, fulfilling life adventure beyond your imagination.

 

James 4:7-10 says, “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,” (MSG). If you want to fly, you must start on your knees before Jesus.

 

New habits take time. You need to give yourself permission to fail, but don’t stay there. So far, we’ve discussed the fact that if you have followed God’s Word as stated by Peter in Acts 2:38 (repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and being filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues), you are a new creature in Jesus. We’ve compared that to the differences between life as a caterpillar and life as a butterfly. Now, I want to talk about developing a habit that not only will get you the victory, but help you to keep it forever.

 

That habit is the habit of praise. Philippians 4:4-9 says, “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies,” (MSG).

 

In the above verses, we see that we are commanded to celebrate God all day, every day. When you greet the day with praise and worship and a simple smile on your face, it alters everyone and everything around you. People will want to be around you simply because they feel good around you. My father said once, that you will find what you are looking for in your life. If you look for the bad, you will find it. However, if you look for things to rejoice about, you will find that as well. This applies to people also. If you look for the negative in people, you’ll be sure to find it. On the other hand, if you look for the good in the people around you, you will find that too.

Carlton Myers says, “Happiness and joy are not the same. Happiness is determined by the happenings, events, and circumstances of life. Joy is determined by the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So it is possible to be joyful even though you are unhappy. The fullness of the Holy Spirit in us is determined by how much we have surrendered our wills to God. It is also determined by how much of God’s Word is in us. Happiness is something you find by searching for it. It is a by-product of losing yourself in serving God and others. The same is true of joy. You cannot work it up. It is a supernatural result of God’s spirit.”

 

Like many things in this life, joy is a choice. It doesn’t matter what our circumstances are or what is going on around us, we can still choose to rejoice. We have what the world wants so desperately, hope. We need to make it a habit to think on that—constantly.

 

Another habit that will make a huge difference is that of remembering past victories. My pastor described it as taking down trophies from your mental shelf and occasionally polishing them, taking the time to remember God’s priceless, constant presence in our lives.

 

Part of Israel’s problem in the Old Testament was that they did not remember past victories God had given them. They dwelt so much in the present, they forgot all the incredible things God had done for them in even the recent past, such as parting the Red Sea, giving them manna to eat, causing water to pour out of a rock in the desert, and giving them the victory in impossible battles. If Israel had only taken the time to remind each other of all of those miracles and praised the Lord, they probably wouldn’t have had to wander around in the dessert for forty years!

 

Why is it so easy for us, in the emotion of the moment, to forget about past victories? Just because I feel bad now, doesn’t mean it was always this way. And, it certainly doesn’t mean things will stay this way! We seem to have no problems remembering past hurts or offenses but past victories are something else altogether. Take a few moments, right now, to remember some past victories in your own life. Write them down and remember. Victories can be small or large, such as a time when you chose to ignore your hurt to help someone else. Or simply remember a time when you helped someone else. That’s a victory. Remember when you finally realized you needed help and repented of all the bad things you had done. Remember when you were baptized in Jesus’ beautiful name. Remember when Jesus first filled you with His Holy Spirit. These are all incredible victories. Victories don’t have to be large to be considered important. All victories are important, because they are yours and Jesus’. A victory might be as simple as paying your bills on time or choosing not to spend money on that particular item you thought you wanted. The important thing here is to make it a habit to remember past victories and then praise the Lord for them. You could do it once a week or even every day. The important thing is to do it. Don’t forget to praise the Lord for those victories, because, like it or not, we can’t have victory without Him. Think of it this way: isn’t it more fun to share the victory with someone anyway? You and Jesus can enjoy that victory together. That’s the best way and it makes your victories even sweeter.

 

Now that you’ve taken the time to remember some of your past victories, I want you to take a little time to remember some past failures. Ooh. Not so fun. However, I don’t want you to stay there. I simply want you to remember those times and learn from them. Then, I want you to take some more time and praise the Lord. ‘Praise the Lord for my failures?’ you ask. Not quite. Rather, praise the Lord in your failures. You weren’t alone, not for a moment. Jesus was right with you the whole time. Yes, you failed, but if you asked Him to forgive you, He forgave you. I John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness,” (NLT). Satan is notorious for reminding us of our past failures. We need to remember this verse and realize God doesn’t lie. Not only does God forgive us of our sins, He helps us to change into better people. When Satan reminds you of your past, quote this Bible verse and tell him to get lost in Jesus’ name! He’ll run.

 

When we feel bad because of our sins, that is conviction. God wants us to be right with Him and right with the people around us. Therefore, He convicts us of our sins to help us turn around (repent). If you are still plagued by your sin after you have repented, check to see that you have done all you could to make things right. Do you need to apologize to someone? Do you need to ask for forgiveness? Pride is a funny thing. For some reason, it’s not so difficult to say ‘I’m sorry’, but it can be tremendously difficult to say ‘Will you forgive me?’ Once you have done all you could to make things right, and you still feel ‘bad’, that’s condemnation. That’s of the devil. When we feel condemned, we need to simply reject that feeling, because it’s a lie. What I do is this: I say, ‘In Jesus’ name, condemnation get out!’ Instantly, I feel better. If I don’t feel better, I say it again until I do. Never underestimate the power of Jesus’ name. Demons will flee, but we are in a battle. Some battles are harder than others. Sometimes, you have to simply stand and keep at it. Never forget, John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (NLT). Your feelings will NOT set you free.

 

Did you know that in the Hebrew Bible the book of Job is after the book of Psalms? Recently, I was privileged to hear Dr. Daniel Segraves speak at our state’s annual United Pentecostal Family Camp Meeting here in Minnesota. Dr. Segraves explained that when we got our version of the Bible, it was from a Greek translation, with a Greek order. I have no idea why the Greeks switched things around, but when you take a look at the Hebrew order, it’s quite fascinating. The book of Psalms is a book of songs of praise to God. The theme of the last few chapters of Psalms is ‘Praise ye the Lord’. You’ll see it over and over again. Having the book of Job follow the book of Psalms is an interesting order.

 

Job was a righteous man whom God recognized especially. God allowed Satan to do all kinds of terrible things to him to show that Job worshipped God not simply because he was blessed with wealth and happy times, but because he genuinely loved God. Job endured tremendous misfortune at Satan’s hand, loss of his wealth, his children, and even his health. Yet, in all of this, he refused to curse God. Instead, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. And said, naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,” Job 1:20-21 (KJV).

 

Joy Haney says in her book, Women of the Spirit Bible Study, Vol. VI: The Power of Praise, “Praise is not based on the emotions of a woman, but upon the object of praise, which is God…God is perfect, glorious, mighty, compassionate, and kind. He has done no wrong. Why should He be derived of praise because of our predicament or problem? The bigger the problem, the bigger the praise should be.”

 

Hannah was a beautiful lady. (You can read about her in I Samuel.) She couldn’t have children and was devastated because of it. Her sorrow was made even worse by the taunts of her husband’s second wife who had several children. So, Hannah went into the temple and prayed desperately for a child. She told God that she would dedicate that child to Him, if only she could conceive.

 

Well, time passed and she had a little boy. She called him Samuel. She loved him and cared for him until he was old enough to serve in the temple. Then, keeping her word to the Lord, she brought him there. She was only able to visit him once a year. (It was several days journey from her home to the temple.)

 

On the day Hannah left her little boy in the temple, she prayed this, “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I

 

Did you know that in the Hebrew Bible the book of Job is after the book of Psalms? Recently, I was privileged to hear Dr. Daniel Segraves speak at our state’s annual United Pentecostal Family Camp Meeting here in Minnesota. Dr. Segraves explained that when we got our version of the Bible, it was from a Greek translation, with a Greek order. I have no idea why the Greeks switched things around, but when you take a look at the Hebrew order, it’s quite fascinating. The book of Psalms is a book of songs of praise to God. The theme of the last few chapters of Psalms is ‘Praise ye the Lord’. You’ll see it over and over again. Having the book of Job follow the book of Psalms is an interesting order.

 

Job was a righteous man whom God recognized especially. God allowed Satan to do all kinds of terrible things to him to show that Job worshipped God not simply because he was blessed with wealth and happy times, but because he genuinely loved God. Job endured tremendous misfortune at Satan’s hand, loss of his wealth, his children, and even his health. Yet, in all of this, he refused to curse God. Instead, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. And said, naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,” Job 1:20-21 (KJV).

 

Joy Haney says in her book, Women of the Spirit Bible Study, Vol. VI: The Power of Praise, “Praise is not based on the emotions of a woman, but upon the object of praise, which is God…God is perfect, glorious, mighty, compassionate, and kind. He has done no wrong. Why should He be derived of praise because of our predicament or problem? The bigger the problem, the bigger the praise should be.”

 

Hannah was a beautiful lady. (You can read about her in I Samuel.) She couldn’t have children and was devastated because of it. Her sorrow was made even worse by the taunts of her husband’s second wife who had several children. So, Hannah went into the temple and prayed desperately for a child. She told God that she would dedicate that child to Him, if only she could conceive.

 

Well, time passed and she had a little boy. She called him Samuel. She loved him and cared for him until he was old enough to serve in the temple. Then, keeping her word to the Lord, she brought him there. She was only able to visit him once a year. (It was several days journey from her home to the temple.)

 

On the day Hannah left her little boy in the temple, she prayed this, “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I

rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.. .He raiseth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and He hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall He thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and He shall give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed,” I Samuel 2:1-2, 8-10 (KJV).

 

Because Hannah chose to praise God and keep her word, she was given a mighty prophecy. Her son became one of the greatest prophets in history. He anointed kings and walked closely with God. I think it’s because of what Hannah put into him while he was still a little boy living at home. Hannah taught him to love God above all others. It couldn’t have been easy for her to say good-bye to her son, but she trusted God to care for him. She had taught him well and he was ready for what God had for him. (By the way, God gave Hannah other children as well.)

 

The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what is going on in our lives, we need to praise the Lord anyway. Hebrews 13:13-15 says, “So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This “insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come. Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name,” (MSG).

 

We have been given so much. We don’t have to sacrifice animals to atone for our wickedness anymore. Instead we are to bring sacrifices of praise. That means we praise the Lord when we fail miserably, because He forgives our sin if we ask Him. We are to praise God continually, no matter how we feel or what our circumstances are. Now, that does not mean that we ignore tragedies in our lives. It simply means that we praise the Lord anyway. God knows what we are going through and He goes with us. Praising God does not give Him more power. He already has all power. The power of praise is in helping us to realize that significant fact. When we take the time to praise God, all of our little complaints fade away. We are shown the truth and the truth sets us free—to live the way God intended us to live—victoriously!

 

In this chapter, we discussed what it means to be a new creature and new habits we need to cultivate in Order to not only get the victory, but to keep it. In the next chapter, we’re going to discuss being confident of our victory and growing in our walk with Jesus. I don’t want to just live and work for Jesus; I want to walk, daily, moment by moment, WITH Him. Read on!

 

 

The above article, “New Creature New Life New (Victorious) Habits” was written by Christina Li. The article was excerpted from chapter 7 in Li’s book, Defeat Fear Forever.

 

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

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