Daily Archives: July 26, 2012

Satan’s Strongholds

 

by Joyce Meyer – posted July 26, 2012

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds.  —2 Corinthians 10:4

A stronghold is an area in which we are held in bondage—any part of our lives in which Satan imprisons us. He does this by causing us to think a certain way—a way that is based on lies we have been told. As long as we believe things that are not true, we will remain imprisoned by those strongholds. To enjoy freedom, we must learn to use God’s mighty weapons.

In my book Battlefield of the Mind, I referred to Mary, who had been mistreated and brainwashed by her father, and by the time she was a teen, she didn’t trust men. It’s no wonder that she and her husband faced many conflicts in their ­marriage. For years, Satan had lied to her and she believed the lies.

Mary isn’t one isolated case. I know a man named Daniel, who is quite intelligent. In fact, his family used to tell him he was the smartest man in town. God had given him a good mind, but Satan used that fact to imprison him. Until he met Jesus Christ, Daniel believed he was smarter than and superior to everyone else. Because of his pride, it was easy for him to be deceived and think more highly of himself than he should. He became critical and judgmental of others who he felt were not as brilliant as he believed he was.

Patricia was somewhat like Mary, except that her father constantly told her she was no good; that she was worthless and should marry the first man who would have her. That’s exactly what she did, and she lived a miserable life. She felt she was never good enough for anyone.

Mary, Daniel, and Patricia had been trapped in different prisons, but Satan was the jail keeper. All three lived miserable lives until they learned what Paul meant by “the weapons of our warfare.” The Word of God is the weapon that set them free. That weapon became effective through preaching, teaching, books, tapes, seminars, small Bible study groups, and their own private studies. They also learned to turn to other spiritual weapons such as praise and prayer. They learned that when we genuinely praise God from our hearts, we defeat the devil quicker than by using any other battle plan.

They didn’t overcome every problem the first day—it was a slow process, but it was worth the wait. Patricia later said, “It took a lot of years for me to become imprisoned through the lies of Satan, so why not give God plenty of time to work His good plan into my life?” Our victory is not a one-time, big event—it is a process.

“The more I realized how badly Satan played with my mind,” Daniel said, “the more I could stand against him. The truth of God’s Word made me free.”

Praise and prayer are great weapons that God’s people should use in overcoming the power of the evil one. Praise helps us keep our minds on God, His power, and the good things that are taking place in our lives. It is proof that we believe He can and will help us.

True prayer reflects a relationship with God and shows that we depend on Him. We are His children, and He is our Father. When we pray, we open the door for God’s help. We ask Him to free our minds and give us victory over Satan’s strongholds.

God answers those prayers. In fact, God is more eager to answer our prayers for help than we are to ask. Think of prayer this way: when we pray in faith, tremendous power is made available to us.

As we truly understand that we are God’s children, we will gain confidence to use the weapons of our warfare. The weapons are there. We just need instruction on how to use them and encouragement not to give up. Jesus has promised to be with us always (see Matthew 28:20). We can win with our weapons because they are spiritual weapons. The devil fights a carnal, fleshly warfare, but we can win because we have the power of God on our side.

Precious Holy Spirit, teach me to understand that the weapons of our warfare are spiritual and that we can win against every attack of the devil. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.


From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Our Daily Bread – Changing Enemies Into Friends

READ: Matthew 5:43-48

But I say to you, love your enemies . . . do good to those who hate you. — Matthew 5:44

During the US Civil War, hatred became entrenched between the North and South. In one instance, President Abraham Lincoln was criticized for speaking of benevolent treatment for the Southern rebels. The critic reminded Lincoln that there was a war going on, the Confederates were the enemy, and they should be destroyed. But Lincoln wisely responded, “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”

Lincoln’s comment is insightful. In many ways it reflects Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount: “I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:44-45).

We will encounter difficult people in our lives—some on whom we will need to set limits. But to give in to the temptation to undermine or hurt them in any way is not God’s way. Instead, we should pray for them, show consideration, look out for their best interests, and emphasize the positive. This may result in changing an enemy into a friend.

Not everyone will respond positively to us, but we can pray and plan for a more harmonious relationship. What difficult person can you start befriending? —Dennis Fisher

Lord, some people in my life are difficult to love.
I am tempted not even to try to care. But You showed
love to me even when I was Your enemy. Please direct
me into ways to love with Your power and grace.

It’s hard to hate someone when you’re doing something good for him.

Copyright © 2012, RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA

Something Out of Nothing

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“The earth was formless and empty…and God said, ‘Let there be light’ ” (Genesis 1:2–3, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria Osteen
Are you believing God for something today that seems impossible? We serve a great and mighty God, and He can create something out of nothing! He can make a way where there seems to be no way! He can create whatever is needed in your life.

Genesis tells us that in the beginning, God created the heavens and earth. But before He spoke the world into existence, it was formless and empty. If God can make the world out of nothing, He can take the empty places in your life and create something beautiful, too! He can speak light into your darkest hour. He can take your formless dreams and give them shape. He can resurrect your dormant gifts and talents! He can make your crooked places straight!

Remember, you are created in the image of Almighty God. There’s power in your words and power when you’re in agreement with Him. Only say what God says about your situation. Speak life to your broken dreams today. Stay in an attitude of faith and expectancy, and as you do, God will take you places that you’ve never dreamed. He’ll make something beautiful out of every broken place in your life!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father in heaven, I trust that You are willing and able to make a way where there seems to be no way in my life. Fill me with Your peace and faith and give me a vision for all You have for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

© 2012 Joel Osteen Ministries

Porter House Broccoli Salad

I absolutely love broccoli. It is definitely my favorite vegetable. So when I was first introduced to this salad it was at our wedding shower; I instantly fell in love. And then it showed up again at a baby shower we attended. That was it; I had to know the recipe. And the rest is history.

Ingredients

8 slices bacon, crumbled
2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and crumble.

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cheese, bacon, raisins and onion. Now in a small bowl prepare the dressing by whisking together the red wine vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Combine dressing with salad and toss until it is well coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. Serve & Enjoy!

* Chef’s Note – Want a little crunch? Add in some of your favorite nuts!

Pepperoni Pizza Quesadilla

So pizza is one of our Top 10 faves in the Porter House. So when I came across this recipe that meshed together two of our faves, Mexican & Pizza; I was all over it. It’s like having the best of two worlds. This recipe also makes for a great appetizer too!

Ingredients

3-4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon parmesan cheese
4 flour quesadillas (8 inch)
shredded mozzarella cheese
pizza sauce
Toppings ( pepperoni, onions, black olives, pineapples, sausage, peppers, etc)

Instructions

Heat grill pan or skillet to medium heat.

Stir together melted butter, minced garlic, italian seasoning, and grated parmesan cheese. Brush tortilla with butter mixture and place buttered side down on grill pan or skillet. Now spread on pizza sauce, cheese, onions and pepperoni.

Cook until buttered side is golden brown. Fold tortilla over and press lightly. Cook for another minute. Remove quesadilla from skillet and lightly brush with the butter mixture again. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese, garlic powder and oregano. Cut into thirds.

Serve with a side salad and your favorite dipping sauces like garlic butter, pizza sauce, cheese sauce, alfredo sauce and/or ranch. Eat & Enjoy!

* Chef’s Note – BYOC (Be Your Own Chef) Let your creativity run wild. Mix and match your favorite pizza toppings to give it a more personal touch. Besides there is no wrong way to eat a pizza. Only your way!

Source: Divas Can Cook

Porter House Black & Blue Salad

I love me some salad. Chef, Cobb, Caesar, House, Black & Blue, Just Salad Point Blank Period. I LOVE SALAD. My only exception is NO RANCH PLEASE. Anything but that, ewww! Anywho whenever we go out to various restaurants I always get a salad. But when there is one that leaves a lasting impression I try to recreate it at home. So today I have for you one of my faves that was recreated from O’ Charley’s Black & Blue Salad. I mean you have your fresh veggies, crumbled blue cheese and a medium done grilled ribeye steak. How can you go wrong? You have to try this one. It is Sooo Good!

Ingredients:

1 8 oz Grilled Ribeye Steak (Medium Done), sliced
1 large bunch leafy green lettuce (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cucumber, peeled & sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, for garnish
1 cup of croutons
Blue Cheese Jam Jar Dressing, recipe follows

Blue Cheese Jam Jar Dressing:

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Wash all veggies well (make sure you dry the lettuce when finished). Peel and slice 1/2 of a cucumber, set aside. Next roughly chop the lettuce. Add all veggies to a large bowl.

Now add the buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, chives, garlic, blue cheese , salt and pepper to taste to a 2 cup mason jar. Cover with the lid and shake until well combined.

Drizzle about 1/2 cup (or more) Blue Cheese Jam Jar Dressing onto veggies . Toss well with tongs.

Top salad with blue cheese crumbles, croutons and sliced Ribeye steak. Serve with the extra dressing on the side.

The Best (and Tastiest) Foods For Your Heart

A heart-smart lifestyle starts with the foods on your plate. Improve your diet with these tasty choices that contain the top nutrients your heart needs, from vitamins and minerals to antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

“Most people know that heart-healthy foods are a big part of heart health. The key is educating them on how to make changes in their diet,” says Cindy Neels, MPH, RD, LDN, a dietitian with the cardiac rehabilitation program at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. Great heart-healthy foods that include antioxidants, lean proteins, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids will all help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your lipid levels in check for better heart health — and best of all, they taste good, too.

Salmon Delivers Omega-3 Fatty Acids

“Coldwater fish like salmon contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and are a great source of lean protein,” says Neels. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because they are important for heart health — and your body can’t make them. That means you need to include them in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut at least two times every week.

Go Nuts for Walnuts

“Walnuts and other nuts have plenty ofomega-3 fatty acids, but they are also high in calories,” says Neel, so stick with a handful. “You also want to eat them without salt.” Studies show that walnuts can lower bad cholesterol levels, as well as lowering a chemical called endothelin that contributes to the inflammation that causes plaques to form in coronary arteries. Also to consider: Nut oils are one of the highest sources of dietary omega-3 fatty acids for heart health.

Try Blueberries for an Antioxidant Boost

“Blueberries are packed withantioxidants, which help remove free radicals that can cause damage to heart cells,” says Neels. Free radicals are harmful molecules that get into your system when you break down foods and from environmental pollutants such as tobacco smoke. These molecules contribute to heart disease, so foods with antioxidants are especially good for heart health.

Mom Was Right: Eat Your Spinach

“Spinach is a really great heart-healthy food,” says Neels. “Spinach has just about everything your heart needs, including plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber.” Spinach is particularly rich in the water-soluble B vitamin called folate. Folate is important for building and maintaining healthy cells, especially healthy red blood cells needed for heart health.

Use Olive Oil for Heart-Healthy Fat

Olive oil, an unsaturated fat, is one of the key ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, and studies have found that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop heart disease. Unsaturated fat has the ability to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, so it’s excellent for heart health. Olive oil also adds a rich taste to cooking and makes a great salad dressing for heart-healthy greens when paired with a little red wine vinegar or lemon juice.

Enjoy Natural Whole Grains for Fiber

The grains in whole-wheat breads and other whole grain products are great heart-healthy foods. “These whole grainsreduce bad cholesterol and add an important source of fiber,” says Neels. “Since fiber fills you up and slows down your digestion, it is important for maintaining a healthy weight.” In addition to whole wheat, barley and oats are other good options to include in your diet. Natural whole grains deliver B vitamins, iron, and magnesium for heart health.

Opt for Brown Rice Instead of White

The difference between brown and white is the difference between whole and refined grains. When grain products like rice, pasta, and bread are refined, the outer kernel of the grain is removed, and so are most of their heart-healthy food benefits. The outer capsule of the grain is where most of the vitamins and fiber are. Think of that capsule as a slow-release pill — grains with their capsule are always better for heart health.

Eat Poultry for Lean Protein

Although you should base your heart-healthy diet around fruits and vegetables, you also need protein. Saturated fats in many meat proteins are not heart-healthy foods, but poultry can be. “Chicken or turkey without the skin is a great source of lean protein, almost as lean as fish,” notes Neels. Watch out for chicken that is pre-marinated or self-basting, such as rotisserie chicken. These products may have lots of added salt and calories that are not conducive to heart health.

Be Mindful of Other Meats

“Other than chicken, the best lean meat for heart health protein is pork tenderloin,” says Neels. If you just have to have some red meat, round steaks, roasts, tip loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder are better for you than other cuts. “Read the label carefully if you are buying ground beef,” advises Neels. “‘Reduced fat’ ground beef can still be close to 30 percent fat. You can get down as low as 3 percent if you look for it.”

Substitute Beans for Meat

Dried beans are a great meat substitute. For optimum heart health, at least once a week, base a meal around beans instead of meat. “Beans are non-fat, high protein, and fiber-rich, so they are great heart-healthy foods,” says Neel. One final thought as you cook with beans and other heart-healthy foods is to reduce your salt intake. Too much salt is a major cause of high blood pressure and heart disease. Try using fresh herbs and a little touch of antioxidant-rich lemon juice to flavor your foods in place of salt.

Copyright © 2012 Everyday Health, Inc.

Easy Exercises For Couch Potatoes

Anyone can improve their heart health and enjoy other exercise benefits — even if you spend most of your time on the couch. Get tips to help fitness newbies start exercising.

Convincing yourself it’s time to start exercising should be easy — given that there are many benefits to exercising. But finding an exercise routine that works for you — and beginning it the right way — that can be difficult.

If you try to jump from no exercise to running a mile or two, you’ll likely wind up so sore and exhausted that you give up again. It’s perfectly fine to start slowly with easy exercises — you’ll still get exercise benefits and improve your heart health.

“Recognize that small changes over time can yield big results,” says personal trainer Alice Burron, MS, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and author ofFour Weeks to Fabulous. Starting out slowly also enables your body to get used to more physical activity and reduces the risk of injury, she adds.

To start making a difference in your heart health and get the most exercise benefits, put a plan in place and have specific goals in mind. “You will see that, with a gradual start and the right mindset, a fitness routine can significantly improve your cardiovascular health within three months,” says Jonathan H. Whiteson, MD, medical director of the cardiac and pulmonary wellness and rehabilitation program at the New York University Langone Medical Center.

Let’s Start Exercising: First Steps

You don’t need to push yourself to the limit on your first day. “Remind yourself that fitness starts with just doing more today than you did yesterday,” says Dr. Whiteson. “So for the couch potato, even spending 30 minutes doing something active instead of sitting down is the beginning of a fitness program.”

To figure out how much you’re currently moving, pick up an inexpensive pedometer. “Using a pedometer is one of the best ways to start increasing activity,” Burron says. Record your steps for about three days to get an average. Then use that number to set a goal, increasing your steps by 20 percent every day to eventually reach 10,000 steps per day.

“Walking is just one of many choices to get active,” says Burron. “However, it is often a good way to get back into fitness if you’ve strayed.” It’s easy exercise, convenient, and enjoyable.

Do Activities You Enjoy

Don’t force yourself to run every day if you hate running, and don’t spend hours cursing the elliptical machine or stationary bike at the gym if those workouts don’t appeal to you. “Finding an exercise that you enjoy is a part of a strategy to change lifestyle behavior and stay active throughout your life,” says Burron. “The type of exercise you choose truly affects your motivation to get moving.” Maybe it’s a yoga class some days and tennis or hiking with a buddy on others. Doing a variety of exercises will help keep your workouts fresh and keep you interested.

Easy Exercises at Home and Work

With a hectic work schedule followed by demands at home, it may be hard to squeeze in a trip to the gym. The good news is you may not have to go anywhere to get a good workout. “Any kind of movement can be considered activity and will burn calories,” says Burron.

Try these ways to incorporate easy exercises into your day:

  • Park in the back of the parking lot so that you have to walk a little farther to your destination. For an added workout, carry your groceries instead of pushing them in a cart.
  • Give your house a really good cleaning. To burn even more calories, sing and dance while you work.
  • When you have a choice, use stairs instead of an escalator or elevator. Try to climb stairs quickly instead of taking your time.
  • When feasible, walk instead of driving, taking a train, or riding the bus.
  • Getting antsy in your chair at work? Fidgeting is fine — and burns calories.
  • Use an exercise ball instead of a chair. It forces you to continually contract your core muscles in the abdomen and back to stay balanced.
  • Play with your kids — tag is a great game to get the heart pumping.
  • Laugh, jump up and down, dance, and just enjoy life.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore on your to-do list or something that you dread. If you make choices throughout each day to help you move a little more, your heart will reap the benefits.

© 2012 EverydayHealth.com; all rights reserved.

Letters To God – Kids Edition