Wednesday, January 29, 2014

THRIVE: Getting into Shape!



Spiritually speaking .... every one of us is "out of shape" ... in some way. 

We are ALL in process with God.

Each one of us is learning to love ... more and more like Him. 


We learn this day by day and season by season .... as we align our lives and our hearts with the Truth of God's Word. 

I think at times .... we forget that our faith is a journey  ..... and it is a journey for others too!  


A journey that requires an attitude of grace.
We lose sight of this reality at a times.  


Why? Because the enemy would want nothing more than for us to disconnect from God's people and to become judgmental in our hearts towards others.

The temptation that comes from the enemy is .... he wants us to see ourselves as "good or right" in a certain area or Biblical truth ..... and that someone else is "bad or wrong" because they don't believe like we do .... or act like Christ in a certain area of their life.  


We make way for spiritual pride to begin to take root in our hearts.

Seeing this spiritual reality is one thing (discernment) and we need to truly test with the Lord what we are sensing.  Seeing certain things in people helps us to know how to pray, how to guard our hearts and it should lead us to asking God what aspect of Biblical life this person needs.  


But no matter what we discern - we must become agents of mercy and grace to be apart of revealing God's love and truth to this person depending on how the Lord calls us to do it.

Although ... this is usually not our response as Christians unless we are truly spiritually mature and we know how to operate in the gift of discernment in a way that brings life to others.  

Usually we might discern something but then we move into judging or condemning that other person.  

God wants us to be alert and aware ... but he never wants us to judge and condemn. 

God alone is the judge and we are called as Christians to judge/condemn no one.  We must always be mindful that we are desperately in need of grace ourselves.

"You who is without sin, cast the first stone (judgment)."

When this voice of temptation comes to move us into judgment, we end up putting a white hat on us and a black hat on that other person. 


And this ... my beloved friends is judgment or as some would say - spiritual pride.  We have all fallen prey to this temptation from the enemy, myself included.

If we are doing this in our hearts - it is a good sign we are flowing in spiritual pride and not in humility.

If our hearts are condemning someone else as 'bad' (for an act or behavior or a belief about God) - most likely we've crossed the line from discernment to judgment.

Our hearts are no longer flowing in mercy and in grace towards them.  We've fallen into the trap of the enemy.  A trap that will boomerang the spirit of judgement back at us! 

This quote today in the picture above really got me thinking.  


Pondering and talking to the Lord about this very concept ... or Biblical precept.

I mean, think about it for a moment. (pause)

When we go to the gym - how many people do we see that are really fit, really in shape and thriving in their physical health?   

When I go to the gym - not many at all. 

Even in my spin class - it is just the instructor who is firm, trim and thriving.  She has such strength and fortitude in the area of health.

Why? Because she has spent hours, weeks and YEARS training and developing that strength. And on top of her training - she leads classes 5 times a day - as she helps others to make baby steps to that place. 

Her job is to encourage people to move into that place of health and well-being.


Everyone else in the class is on multiple levels of health.  Some are simply overweight from eating unhealthy .... some have conditions that make it hard for them to lose weight .... and others are recovering from some major sort of trauma (like me, with brain surgery). 

I can't move as quickly on a bike as some people. My head starts hurting and I have to take a breather when no one else does!  My journey of getting physically healthy is a bit harder than the average joe. 


Because of all the years of compression on my brain stem and on the nerves, there is permanent damage to the occipital nerves.  This leads to chronic pain and it simply makes it impossible for me to exercise on some days.  

My journey towards physical health needs a bit more mercy and grace than the average joe too. 

The instructor doesn't condemn me for where I am at - she encourages me to take one baby step at a time.   


She keeps inviting me back into the process of health.  She doesn't say, "well, you are too messy and so .... don't come back to my class until you are good and healthy". She meets me where I am at.  

The same is true for our spiritual life.  Jesus meets us where we are at. 

Our transformation into becoming ... more and more like Him ... is a LIFE long journey.

Where we learn to walk with God ... through the good times and the bad, through the sunshine and through the intense spiritual tsunamis.  

Through sickness and in health.  And in all those seasons, we learn more about God and we learn to trust His love for us more and more over time.

We come to really know that no matter what surrounds us - our faith in God will keep us stable.  Our spiritual gaze becomes stronger in the midst of the storms - as Truth becomes our anchor. 

We learn over time to push off the ungodly lies that assail us and to anchor into the Truth of God's Word - that will keep us grounded in LIFE.  

And we learn them how to help others find Truth in the midst of their spiritual tsunami.  

And we realize we never want to be an agent of the enemy to dump more lies onto people by our actions or words (we have all done this).  We realize what it means to truly thrive spiritually and to get spiritually into shape.

We learn that when we do fail, sin or blow it - we must become apart of the process to untangle our sin off of people's lives (Hebrews 12:1-2).  To remove the blood of the sheep from our shepherds staff.

We must learn what it really means to humble ourselves for the sake of team God. 

As God's leaders and people - we must truly become a voice of encouragement and a voice of love and truth in people's lives.  


We must exist to help people to know the truth, believe the truth and then overcome the final hurdle to help them live the truth. 

We must help people, through grace, to become spiritually strong and to help them get into shape. 

This is when the world will see Christ in His people.  When all three of those are flowing powerfully in people's lives (know the truth, believe the truth, live the truth).  

And, we must be aware of how the enemy would desire to work in us and through us to destroy the lives of others.  The Bible tells us to be alert and on guard, for the enemy seeks someone to devour.  

We must know, that if Satan could get a hold of Peter's mouth, he can get a hold of ours!  We must not walk in fear of this - we just need to be aware and to guard our tongues and realize the damage it can do (James 3).  

And when the enemy does use our tongue to start a forest fire in the hearts of someone in order to destroy their life - we must humble ourselves and put the fire out! 

If we fail to understand these truths even about our enemy and how he works - we will be open to the work of spiritual abuse and death in us and through us.  

We must stop being a voice of death in the lives of people.  We must learn to bridle our tongues and what we think, write and say about others.   And I am talking about the deep inner attitudes!  


If we want to see people become more and more spiritually healthy, thriving and alive from the inside out - it will start with how we view others and how we view ourselves.  


We have to take off the white hats and the black hats and see each other as spiritual siblings.  We must see the beauty that is in them and call forth their Kingdom calling.

We must rid ourselves of petty jealousies and murderous thoughts.  We must want the team "Kingdom of God" to win and be willing to die to self and selfish ambitions to see it happen.

If we live life by keeping a white hat on us and we keep putting black hats on others - we will never truly see God's calling and His Kingdom purposes for people. 


These hats will keep us blinded from seeing and being apart of releasing God's Spirit in others.

We will never be able to call forth the plans of God in people and team God will not win this battle with darkness if we can't see heaven's purposes for people.

It seems to me, that our battle in Christianity is not with those who are involved in Satanism and are attacking the church.  This is a huge battle but I see a much bigger one.

The battle to me seems to lie in Christians devouring Christians.  Leaders devouring other leaders.  A true lack of kindness, humility and genuine love for one another.  

And it is not in the outward actions - it is in the deep inner attitudes of the heart.  

It happens in the meetings behind closed doors where people are mocked.  In the emails written that are filled with death and condemnation!  In the prayer times where people use prayer to gossip and slander one another.  Prayers covered with judgment and not mercy.  Prayers that are fueled with selfish ambition rather than a desire for God's will to prevail.

This is the place God seeks to transform.  He wants the hidden places to be made pure!  He wants the deep waters of our hearts to be clear and flowing with life.  

He wants team "Kingdom of God" to be working together to fight this battle with darkness.

He wants us to truly see people as He does ... and to see how the Spirit wants to work through every person - so that the anointing of God can go forward in the earth.  

But instead, our battle has been consumed with judgment and the shutting down of God in others.  

This is why Paul was exhorting the church all the time  - to put aside jealousy, slander, covertness  fornication, adultery, etc... because all of these tore apart God's church and the calling on people's lives!

Oh Lord Jesus have mercy on us and help us to THRIVE as your team!  

God, help us to not force with our flesh unity ... but may it come from the work of your spirit alone in the deep places of our hearts!  Unity is a work of your spirit not a work of man and what we preach.  It is a work of the attitudes in our heart of love towards one another and towards those who are not like us!  It is the attitude that makes us FOR others!  And FOR God's best for them.  The attitude that wants to see God flowing powerfully through all people.  And forgive us Lord ... for where we have been apart of forcing things by the works of our flesh and our own selfish ambitions.  May your Spirit be the one leading us by the deep transformation in the inside of us.  Amen.


Words of discouragement, words of judgment, words of rejection, words of hate, words filled with death - truly tear apart "team God".

They destroy the very ones God is calling forward to make a Kingdom impact.  To glorify God in the way they were created by God to do it.  

Those the inner attitudes are the one God wants us to deal with.  This is where He is exhorting us.   This is where He is exhorting me. 

Hurtful words, thoughts of judgment towards people .... those attitudes in our heart destroy the team "Kingdom of God" and they give way to the works to the team "Kingdom of Darkness". 

None of us are exempt from those dark thoughts, those nagging negative perceptions of God's children.  

But we must be diligent to rid ourselves of them.  We must sit before the Lord in deep repentance and Godly sorrow.  

Why?  Because the world needs HOPE.  They need LOVE.  The need to know that God is alive and real and that He cares.  People need to know that God's heart, His mind, His whole being is FOR people.  We've got to partner with this part of God's heart.  
 
As God's leaders - we MUST become people of grace - and I mean in the deepest places with us.  Not on the surface.  Because we all can do grace on the surface. We can all wear that Christian mask that speaks grace from the pulpit (or me from my blog). 


We must truly come to see God's people like those people who are out of shape people at the gym ... who need to know that God's Word will help them to come alive, to be spiritually fit and thrive!  

Be must help the body of Christ thrive!  

We need to help people in whatever baby step they need.  And we need to offer those baby steps of love even with our enemies. 

This is all God's message and exhortation to me too!  This has been the resounding shout in my heart from Him.

It is God's Word - over time being deposited in their hearts that will transform us, lead us, guide us, revive us and then - ultimately reviving others.


It is hearing the Word of God that will make faith come alive!   

It is BY FAITH, the world will be transformed just as it was with the disciples in the book of Acts! 

We must NEVER lose sight that a one time trip to the gym or a one time spiritual high that we get through a powerful event or conference -  can never substitute for the day in and day out training that comes when we spend time with God alone - in solitude with Him and His Word. 


We must learn that it is all about relationship.  Relationship with God, with His Word over time that brings lasting transformation.

We must never let go of discipleship and the process of it.  

We must communicate with others that God will love them, accept them AND want them - flaws and all.  


We must see others through the lens of God's heart and we must become a part of helping people to become mature sons and daughters!  

We don't do that through a spirit of condemnation but through a spirit of Grace and seeing the fullness of who God is calling them to BE in Him! 

No matter what they have done or are doing - we must communicate that they are wanted by God and that His mercies are new each day.  

We must become intentional into getting every team player onto team God and helping them to thrive in their God-given calling and anointing.

Think of the impact the Kingdom of God will have upon the kingdom of darkness if more people are walking in the light?  The more light, the less darkness.

God wants every person - equipped and ready to do the work of the ministry! 

Every person sharing Christ in the unique way He has created them to do it.  When we focus on this - it will bring a mighty reformation in the church.  

We must not just say everyone is important to God.  We must live it in the secret places of our thoughts and in our private actions. 
  
And over time - we must trust that as people spend time in prayer with God - the Holy Spirit will be the one to change them and make them spiritually fit.  He will lead them to the place of thriving and abundant life - as they learn to align themselves more and more with Truth; obedience.

Our job - is to be that voice of encouragement; of love and truth - that constantly leads people to God. 


The deep motto of our hearts must be - to let nothing unwholesome come out of our mouths - ever! Eph. 4:29. 

And we must go deeper to the attitudes of our hearts because Scripture says, "for out of the heart - the mouth speaks".  

"And life and death is in the power of the tongue".  

The deep waters of our heart must become pure.  

We need God's love, truth and presence to do the transformation - there in our hearts! 

This is hard to do.  Apart from God - it is impossible.  But with Him - it is possible.

It must become our goal and we must rely on God's grace to get us there.  

"Team God" has never needed more LIFE than it does now.  

People have never needed to hear more words of LIFE than they do now.

God, help us to be agents of your LIFE - to speak life and to encourage people to find their place on the global - "team God".  God, be glorified in us - in the deep and secret most places.  Amen.



"Know THE Truth. Believe THE Truth. Live THE Truth"  - Lori Dethlefs

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Teach a Man to Fish!


A friend's quote is running through my head this week ...

"At times, it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish". 

I think this quote will stay in my heart for my life time! It is so powerful. To me, this is Jesus and this is what He did with those He discipled.

This quote is at the core of who I am and what God put me on this planet to do. To teach people to walk with God ... for themselves.

To teach people how to hear the voice of God and to live from the voice of God. John 12:49-50.

To train, disciple and equip people so they move from spiritual babes to spiritual adults.

There are so many times when people will want me to pray for them, or do deliverance or heart healing ... or come to their rescue in the midst of intense spiritual warfare or demonic oppression.

For them, the darkness creates such a panic in them and their first response in their flesh is the deep desire to be rescued.

We all do this .....

..... and I remember when I went through my intense season of healing - this was exactly what I wanted! An instant fix to the spiritual chaos going on with me.

I didn't realize that what God was teaching me by allowing it - was how to calm my heart and trust God no matter what warfare was stirring around me. For me to learn that God was sovereign - no matter how much demonic activity was stirring around me.

I wanted someone to "fix me" and to "heal me", or to take the darkness away. I didn't realize - God was after the deep areas of my heart where I no longer feared darkness and that I could walk into the midst of it - in order to bring the light of Christ to it.

This work though - to bring this Truth to my inner being took years - of learning to trust God in the deepest places of my heart.

To learn to trust God - even when it was people I deeply loved who dropped those atom bombs of darkness upon me.

We all are tempted to want a microwaved result to our Christianity and our experience with God.

This is why we are tempted to run after spiritual experiences and a momentary spiritual high or quick spiritual fix that comes through prayer meetings and healing gatherings - rather than learning how to cultivate a relationship with God through His Word over time.

I am all for healing gatherings. I just personally believe - we are missing something HUGE if we don't partner these spiritual gatherings with a strong discipleship and equipping program.

Because if we are not teaching people about sin, evil, darkness and help people to KNOW HOW they got caught up in a certain bondage - then, after we pray for their healing or remove the demonic oppression - those people will run back into the bondage because they don't know the spiritual principles that got them there in the first place!

It is the TRUTH over time that will truly free people - TRUTH that has been weaved into their hearts and lives. TRUTHS that are now leading their belief system. We have to be discipling people in the steps to freedom. How to get free and how to stay free.

When God is doing a deep work in our lives and in our character, it often requires a long time for Him to mold His image into us. Moses did not go to a prayer meeting and suddenly become meek or freed from the shame he took on when he fled Egypt.

Even though He was called to go back into Egypt to free the Israelites - it took years of him being in the wilderness before he was fully meek, humbled and prepared to lead a nation out of oppression and the abuse of Pharaoh.

With Joseph, it took a life-time of crisis (betrayal from loved ones, thrown in prison, tempted by an adulterous woman, more prison time) before he, in his heart - was prepared and ready to lead a nation through a destructive drought.

Of course, my heart wants to say yes when people ask me to minister to them ... because I love people and helping anyone in need. But often, the Lord will gently whisper to me and say "no, not now".

I will truly have to listen to the Lord to find out exactly "what" He is doing in someone before I pray for them.

I remember when I use to ask my friend Graham to pray for me about something. And his answer was always "no, Lori - I am praying God will be for you what you need Him to be in this season". I would get so upset that he wouldn't help me. But looking back - what he did was the greatest gift anyone could give me. His no, prepared the road for me to turn solely to God for all that I needed.

In crisis and in trial, I learned to run to God rather than to man.  At the same time, I also had another friend who helped to walk me through my healing and freedom WHILE he discipled me in the principles of spiritual freedom! 


Discipleship is key to raising mature and healthy spiritual adults.

The most important thing for us to give to people ... is to help them learn to cultivate a relationship with God for themselves.  To learn how to feed themselves from the Word of God and how to live with God - no matter what storm brews around them.

We should be one that stands between man and God - but we should help to help create mighty freeways for people to grow in their relationship with God and to learn to walk with Him and His Word.

Of learning how to come to Him for all that they need. This is what we always need to move people towards - learning to lean more and more of God.

We should always be trying to work ourselves out of ministry. Like John the Baptist, we should be saying "I must decrease so Christ can increase in your life"!

Whether we say this to an individual or to a whole body of people - this should always be what we are moving towards.

So, again - the greatest gifts we can give to people ... is God Himself.

So many of us .... at times .... want the hand of God - the miracles, the healing, the deliverance, the freedom from demonic oppression - so much so - that we have that panic feeling .... wanting to be delivered from our circumstances.

In those moments, we fail to ask God about what He is doing in our character and nature through the circumstances to make us more and more like Him.

There have been times when people have wanted me to contend for their healing or their spiritual breakthrough - and I do want to pray this. But, I always try to ask the deeper question ..... which is Lord, what are you wanting to do in them and through them? What do you want me to pray? What do you want me to do (if anything)?

Sometimes, the Lord will whisper to me a different prayer such as - "pray they know me intimately as El Shaddai - the great, sovereign and supreme God of the universe. Pray they know the TRUTH of who I really am. When they have revelation of this - it will displace the lie that they believe that Satan's power is greater than mine".

The healing will then come as they come to know God and who He is in the midst of the battle they are facing! Revelatory truth will always displace lies. Light is the only thing that can dispel darkness.

"You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free"!

For me, in every trial and temptation I have ever faced - I had two choices - one to give in to the trial and the depression and despair ...

..... OR to turn to God and to ask Him 1) WHO He wanted to be for me and 2) WHAT He wanted to do in me ... in my heart, in my character and in my nature as I walked through whatever struggle I was facing.

I changed my prayer focus. No longer was I seeking to be rescued - rather I would surrender to God and to seek Him in the storm.

Being rescued - aka - being given a fish - is not always the best option.

To be able to fish for ourselves means we are moving from .... spiritual children .... to spiritual adults.

And when we as God's people are no longer just giving fish to people and we move to teaching them to fish - we've now become disciples - those who are focused on raising spiritual adults. And being intentional as we spiritual parent others.

All of this is the process of what some call - spiritual formation or spiritual growth and maturing in Christ.

Being intentional about discipleship should be at the core of all we do. "Go out and make disciples". Don't just give fish - teach people to fish!

We will duplicate what we know - so knowing God intimately is EVERYTHING. Phil. 3:7-11.


This quote is at the core of who I am and what God put me on this planet to do. To teach people to walk with God ... for themselves. 

To teach people how to hear the voice of God and to live from the voice of God. John 12:49-50.
To train, disciple and equip people so they move from spiritual babes to spiritual adults. 
There are so many times when people will want me to pray for them, or do deliverance or heart healing ... or come to their rescue in the midst of intense spiritual warfare or demonic oppression. 
For them, the darkness creates such a panic in them and their first response in their flesh is the deep desire to be rescued.

We all do this .....

..... and I remember when I went through my intense season of healing - this was exactly what I wanted! An instant fix to the spiritual chaos going on with me. 

I didn't realize that what God was teaching me by allowing it - was how to calm my heart and trust God no matter what warfare was stirring around me. For me to learn that God was sovereign - no matter how much demonic activity was stirring around me. 

I wanted someone to "fix me" and to "heal me", or to take the darkness away. I didn't realize - God was after the deep areas of my heart where I no longer feared darkness and that I could walk into the midst of it - in order to bring the light of Christ to it. 

This work though - to bring this Truth to my inner being took years - of learning to trust God in the deepest places of my heart. 

To learn to trust God - even when it was people I deeply loved who dropped those atom bombs of darkness upon me. 

We all are tempted to want a microwaved result to our Christianity and our experience with God. 
This is why we are tempted to run after spiritual experiences and a momentary spiritual high or quick spiritual fix that comes through prayer meetings and healing gatherings - rather than learning how to cultivate a relationship with God through His Word over time.

I am all for healing events or prayer gatherings.  I am a prayer leader so of course I would be for these things!  God moves powerful in and through corporate gatherings - through the preaching of the Word and through the power of prayer.

 I just personally believe - we are missing something HUGE if we don't partner these spiritual gatherings with a strong discipleship and equipping program. 

Because if we are not teaching people about sin, evil, darkness and help people to KNOW HOW they got caught up in a certain bondage - then, after we pray for their healing or remove the demonic oppression - those people will run back into the bondage because they don't know the spiritual principles that got them there in the first place! 

It is the TRUTH over time that will truly free people - TRUTH that has been weaved into their hearts and lives. TRUTHS that are now leading their belief system. We have to be discipling people in the steps to freedom. How to get free and how to stay free.

When God is doing a deep work in our lives and in our character, it often requires a long time for Him to mold His image into us. Moses did not go to a prayer meeting and suddenly become meek or freed from the shame he took on when he fled Egypt. 

Even though He was called to go back into Egypt to free the Israelites - it took years of him being in the wilderness before he was fully meek, humbled and prepared to lead a nation out of oppression and abuse of Pharaoh. 

With Joseph, it took a life-time of crisis (betrayal from loved ones, thrown in prison, tempted by an adulterous woman, more prison time) before he, in his heart - was prepared and ready to lead a nation through a destructive drought.

Of course, my heart wants to say yes when people ask me to minister to them ... because I love people and helping anyone in need. But often, the Lord will gently whisper to me and say "no, not now". 

I will truly have to listen to the Lord to find out exactly "what" He is doing in someone before I pray for someone.

I remember when I use to ask my friend Graham to pray for me about something. And his answer was always "no, Lori - I am praying God will be for you what you need Him to be in this season". I would get so upset that he wouldn't help me. But looking back - what he did was the greatest gift anyone could give me. His no, prepared the road for me to turn solely to God for all that I needed. 
In crisis and in trial, I learned to run to God rather than to man. 

The most important thing for us to give to people ... is to help them learn to cultivate a relationship with God for themselves. 

To not act like a priest that stands between man and God - but to help create mighty freeways for people to grow in their relationship with God and to learn to walk with Him and His Word.
Of learning how to come to Him for all that they need. This is what we always need to move people towards - learning to lean more and more of God.

We should always be trying to work ourselves out of ministry. Like John the Baptist, we should be saying "I must decrease so Christ can increase in your life"! 

Whether we say this to an individual or to a whole body of people - this should always be what we are moving towards.

So, again - the greatest gifts we can give to people ... is God Himself. 

So many of us .... at times .... want the hand of God - the miracles, the healing, the deliverance, the freedom from demonic oppression - so much so - that we have that panic feeling .... wanting to be delivered from our circumstances.

In those moments, we fail to ask God about what He is doing in our character and nature through the circumstances to make us more and more like Him. 

There have been times when people have wanted me to contend for their healing or their spiritual breakthrough - and I do want to pray this. But, I always try to ask the deeper question ..... which is Lord, what are you wanting to do in them and through them? What do you want me to pray? What do you want me to do (if anything)?

Sometimes, the Lord will whisper to me a different prayer such as - "pray they know me intimately as El Shaddai - the great, sovereign and supreme God of the universe. Pray they know the TRUTH of who I really am. When they have revelation of this - it will displace the lie that they believe that Satan's power is greater than mine". 

The healing will then come as they come to know God and who He is in the midst of the battle they are facing! Revelatory truth will always displace lies. Light is the only thing that can dispel darkness. 

"You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free"! 

For me, in every trial and temptation I have ever faced - I had two choices - one to give in to the trial and the depression and despair ...

..... OR to turn to God and to ask Him 1) WHO He wanted to be for me and 2) WHAT He wanted to do in me ... in my heart, in my character and in my nature as I walked through whatever struggle I was facing. 

I changed my prayer focus. No longer was I seeking to be rescued - rather I would surrender to God and to seek Him in the storm. 

Being rescued - aka - being given a fish - is not always the best option. 

To be able to fish for ourselves means we are moving from .... spiritual children .... to spiritual adults. 

And when we as God's people are no longer just giving fish to people and we move to teaching them to fish - we've now become disciples - those who are focused on raising spiritual adults. And being intentional as we spiritual parent others.

All of this is the process of what some call - spiritual formation or spiritual growth and maturing in Christ. 

Being intentional about discipleship should be at the core of all we do. "Go out and make disciples". Don't just give fish - teach people to fish! 

We will duplicate what we know - so knowing God intimately is EVERYTHING. Phil. 3:7-11.

Monday, January 13, 2014

You ARE An Overcomer!

Today's Streams in the Desert was so powerful!  

Thought I would share it for today's blog!   

The lesson here - adversity will strengthen you and mature us in Christ.  Allow the treasure of suffering to have it's way in us O'Lord.

You ARE an OVERCOMER! 

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

This is more than victory. 

This is a triumph so complete that we not only have escaped defeat and destruction but also have destroyed our enemies and won plunder so rich and valuable that we can actually thank God for the battle. 

How can we be "more than conquerors"? 

We can receive from the conflict a spiritual discipline that will greatly strengthen our faith and establish our spiritual character. 

Temptation is necessary to establish and ground us in our spiritual life. 

It is like the fierce winds that cause the mighty cedars on the mountainside to sink their roots more deeply into the soil. 

Our spiritual conflicts are among our most wonderful blessings, and the Adversary is used to train us for his own ultimate defeat. 

The ancient Phrygians of Asia Minor had a legend that every time they conquered an enemy, they absorbed the physical strength of their victims and added to their own strength and bravery. 

And in truth, meeting temptation victoriously doubles our spiritual strength and weaponry. 

Therefore it is possible not only to defeat our enemy but also to capture him and make him fight in our ranks.

The prophet Isaiah tells of "fly[ing] upon the shoulders of the Philistines" (Isa 11:14 quoted from KJV). 

These Philistines were their deadly foes, but this passage suggests that they would be able not only to conquer the Philistines but also to ride on their backs to further triumphs. 

Just as a skilled sailor can use a head wind to carry him forward, by using its impelling power to follow a zigzag course, it is possible for us in our spiritual life, through the victorious grace of God, to turn completely around the things that seem most unfriendly and unfavorable. 

Then we will be able to say continually,"What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel" (Phil 1:12). 

A noted scientist, observing that the early sailors believed the coral-building animals instinctively built up the great reefs of the Atoll Islands in order to protect themselves in the inner waterway, has disproved this belief. 

He has shown these organisms can only live and thrive facing the open ocean in the highly oxygenated foam of the combative waves. 

It is commonly thought that a protected and easy life is the best way to live. 

Yet the lives of all the noblest and strongest people prove exactly the opposite and that the endurance of hardship is the making of the person. 

It is the factor that distinguishes between merely existing and living a vigorous life. 

Hardship builds character. 

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14