The Cavities in Life Are Not God’s Fault

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When I was young, I got a cavity. I wasn’t nervous sitting in the chair with all the silver tools around me. After a few deep breaths of nitrous the nurse swabbed some numbing cream on my gums. A flash of anxiety washed over me as I glanced at the large needle heading towards my mouth. There was the stick, the sting, and boom – the worst was supposed to be done.

Moments later I noticed a look of concern on my dentist’s face. The room filled with tension as he began to shake my right cheek.

My face went numb, my tongue was double its normal size and my right eye was now closed. My cheek, now swollen to the size of a large softball, was sadly turning black and blue.

Apologetically, the dentist explained to my dad that I had a tiny mouth, and for the first time in this seasoned dentist’s career, he accidentally shot the Novocain into a vein.

The result was I couldn’t enjoy solid food for a couple weeks. From my forehead to my neck, it looked like I had been beaten up and the relentless teasing at school took its toll on me. This trauma took about a month to heal physically, but the emotional hit would affect my life for decades.

Dr. Bettis didn’t mean to cause such trauma as he only wanted to care for my teeth. This was an oddity, not a planned attack, but I blamed him and now feared every dentist in the world. They couldn’t be trusted and wouldn’t protect me. I would battle irrational anxiety that, by my 20s, kept me from being able to walk in an office for a routine cleaning for nearly a decade.

I finally went to the dentist, and much later I realized I saw God how I viewed the dentist. It’s easy to point the finger and blame God for the bumps and bruises, the hard times and the things that happen to us that just are not fair. It’s easy because the voice of the enemy is relentless in his pursuit to get us to doubt God’s goodness.

Accusation is a nasty evil that if not careful, can warp the way we view God. It can be very subtle often using an element of truth to set us up to believe a counterfeit truth. These lies hinder your relationship with God, work to tear down your identity in Christ, and open the door to other strongholds like bitterness, anger and fear.

I fell victim to the enemy because I was not cemented in the Word. I didn’t truly know God’s character or my identity in Christ. I saw Him as a punisher and accused Him of making me pay for mistakes.

I thought of God as I thought of the dentist ­– unsafe and not to be trusted. Why? Because I believed God was responsible for all the good and bad that happened in life. This lie absolved me of owning the poor choices I made, but worse, it took the blame right off Satan. It was God who looked like the bad guy. By all appearances, He was against me, but nothing could be further from the truth.

These accusations would nearly destroy me by the time I hit 40. Satan blamed God for all he was doing to wreck my life. And I ate up every bit of it and grew disappoint in God. This also kept me in denial because I couldn’t see where I bore any responsibility for the mess.

I stewed over all the unmet expectations I placed on God. I wanted what I wanted and when I didn’t get it in my timing, accusations against God surfaced, such as:

  1. He did not hear my prayers
  2. He was not for me
  3. He wasn’t a good father
  4. He was a punisher

So many lies swirled in my mine because I didn’t understand it was my job o take the destructive thoughts captive and defend the Father. The negative thoughts fueled my pain and kept me from forming a solid relationship with God. I was convinced He was responsible for all that was wrong in my marriage, my job, my health, etc.

We had just lost our fourth child, and accusation led me to develop a fear of the Lord that was ungodly. I also felt abandoned by the One who said He’d never leave or forsake me.

I held God responsible for killing my babies as I had come into agreement with the accuser’s grandest lie: God is responsible for all that happens in life. I felt like He didn’t protect them to punish me, and I thought I must not be worthy to be a parent. This destroyer was killing my dream of raising a child, crushing my spirit, attacking my relationship with God and slowly tearing up my marriage.

As a result I rebuked God. I was so angry at Him that I no longer saw a good Daddy, but only saw perceived abuse. Accusation was stealing my peace and joy, making me an explosive mess in my home and robbing me of enjoying the pleasures that come from a man and wife creating life. Accusation was opening door to many other strongmen to come and wreck me. Envy, bitterness, rejection, complaining, control and manipulation… Those were just a few.

One day I found myself on the floor of our church crying to God to take my pain away. I had heard our pastor declare, “What grieves God most was bitterness and iniquity of sin.” He made an alter call, and I flew out of my chair. I was dying inside and wanted a way out. As I walked to the front I felt like a voice was telling me my iniquity was bitterness, and it needed to be ripped out of me. Then I was smacked with the reality I was guilty of accusing God because I didn’t trust His timing.

I repented and renounced all the agreements I had made with the devil. Bitterness with God stemmed from the lie that He killed my babies, but the Word says the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. Envy was the result of the accusation that God was blessing everyone but me because I was a bad person. Anger was the by-product of placing expectations on God when Satan twisted the verse that says, “Ask and it will be given to you.”

It was wonderful getting set free. The Lord showed up in a mighty way and filled me with peace. He plucked that envy right out of me, and I was no longer afraid of Him.

This was the beginning of a journey that culminated in the holding my daughter in my arms a year later. It was the full expression of Phillipians 4:4-7.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

If you think you are being attacked by an accusing spirit but are not sure, take a look at the following checklist and if these characteristics apply:

  1. You are suspicious.
  2. You project fear and analyze others motives, including God’s.
  3. You are bitter.
  4. You do not trust others.
  5. You consistently believe the worst.
  6. You are easily offended and/or can create an offense.
  7. You make rash judgments based on limited knowledge and misunderstandings.
  8. You turn away from relationships and fellowship even after there has been repentance.
  9. You zero in on the flaws, weaknesses and evil in others while tending to exclude the good.
  10. You live in denial and always find someone to blame.

If you feel like you have been participating with accusing spirits after reading the list above, simply repeat the following prayer out loud:

Father God, I thank you that there is no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ. And it is in His mighty name that I recognize and take responsibility in my life and in my generations for all accusation. I repent for and renounce participating with all spirits of accusation against God, self and others. I release all my guilt, shame, fear, mistrust, judgments and offenses and ask God that you fill me with your peace, love and truth. I ask for forgiveness and receive my forgiveness for participating in and serving accusation. I thank you Father for your mercy and grace. Give me the wisdom to discern your voice and the ability to recognize accusing thoughts so that I can take them captive. In Jesus name, amen.

Next steps:
If you’d like to learn more about Satan and how he can use spirits of accusation to cripple you in your life, click here and listen to the teaching on accusation.

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Your Grace Is Enough

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There’s nothing sweeter than listening to your child rocking a car seat concert as she’s belting out “Your grace is enough,” along with the Veggie Tales. It’s a precious moment to absorb her unconditional love of God as she’s squealing through the verses. I am consumed with her child-like faith, and I’m pondering what grace really means.

As the song draws to an end… Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber are talking when Bob announces “grace means unmerited favor.”

No offense to Bob the Tomato as I do believe God’s grace is enough, but his declaration seems off. A check in my spirit tells me that definition was not right, but sadly I didn’t understand why.

It wasn’t long after this drive I sat in some healing training from a well-known west coast pastor. I was taking in every word, and he blew my mind when he declared, “When we are born again, we are made brand new.” Yes! That lit me up!

He continued comparing believers to top-of-the-line Mclaren bikes proclaiming “we are not re-furbished models when born again.” It made sense to me – everything from the past, present and future was wiped clean. We are now spotless and righteous. Perfect in God’s eyes. Yes! I was now out of my seat!

But then he continued. He said there were no generational iniquity, no curses and no strongholds affecting our lives because we were born again. He said all of this had been taken care of on the cross. And I thought to myself… this is clearly unmerited favor. This must be grace.

A month or so later, I was teaching a group of women about healing when I literally felt a punch to my gut. One question went through my mind… If what that man said is true, then why are we in need of healing?

I’ve been a sold out, hard core follower of Jesus Christ for nearly the last decade. But this “new model” battled with high blood pressure, infertility, recurrent miscarriage, massive female problems including PMDD. I also dealt with bouts of insomnia, a blood clotting disorder, acid reflux, serious stomach problems, chronic sinus infections as well as bone issues that had led to two major surgeries in five years.

How was this possible if I was a “new model” when I gave my life to Jesus?

September 2014 was a real low for me. Instead of traveling to Japan on my first mission trip, I ended up in surgery to repair a badly damaged left foot and ankle. My arch fell, tendons shredded and my ankle was nearly out of its socket. I had spent the better part of a year praying for a miracle – living with chronic pain – determined that this “Mclaren bike” would be healed. I would see that unmerited favor and have my healing miracle.

Instead I sat on my couch for the next six months mad as a hornet. Where was my unmerited favor? Where was my new foot? Why did I now have metal screws and a fake arch in my body?

It became a mathematical equation I just couldn’t solve. A plus B just never added up to C. I was no longer buying what Bob the Tomato (or that pastor) was selling.

Unmerited favor. That’s a great concept in theory, but Satan, the father of lies, has done an excellent job penetrating into the church body at large a misconception that is leading many to perish to due a lack of knowledge.

Here’s why: If grace is automatically given to me when I accepted Christ, and if God showers me with favor no matter what I do, then it stands to reason that I do not have to do anything to receive it. I do not have to read the Word. I do not have to pray. I do not have to follow God’s laws. I do not have to rid the sinful patterns in my life. I do not have to do anything more than raise my hand in church and declare Jesus is my savior to be guaranteed a one-way ticket to eternal life.

I realized sitting on my couch that I expected a lot from God. This idea of grace being unmerited favor had warped my understanding to the point that I was pulling a Janet Jackson with God… constantly asking him “what have you done for me lately?” Not literally… but deep down… that’s exactly what I was doing. I wanted His portion of the Covenant, but I had no real idea of what my part of the equation was supposed to be.

By the end of 2014, my life was spinning out of control. My health, my marriage and my finances were all a mess. I was struggling in my church chasing after emotional experiences. I felt like my world was collapsing around me. I knew something had to change and so did God.

A family friend suggested my husband and I visit Son Rise Church and Ministries. There we met a pastor who would begin to open my eyes to the true Gospel and what was missing in my life.

I was gently shown how Satan had me convinced I was not bound by Jesus’ teaching (repent and sin no more). It was okay to fudge the rules – because God was full of grace! This lie was undermining all that Jesus did for me on the cross. I, without knowing, was belittling the sacrifice God made because I assumed we are not guilty no matter what. I tried to be a good person, but I was in no way living a life of repentance.

See, this hyper-grace message, being taught all over the world, emphasizes the grace of God with the exclusion of vital components such as confession of and turning away from sin. Because we have been forgiven, there is no need for a believer to ever confess sin. This warped concept says, “When God looks at us, He sees only as a holy and righteous people.” It completely leave out the truth that our choice to sin opens the door to the enemy and places us under his law.

This hyper-grace lie blinds many just like me to the damage of generational iniquities and curses in their lives. This lie tells believers they are not responsible for sin, and sets up what we are dealing with today – A world full of supposed legalism. Even worse, a day and age when to stand up for your religious beliefs turns you into a hater. It is causing a generation of God’s children to say, “If I live my life how I want but am a good person, surely I will go to Heaven.”

Sadly, this unmerited favor idea of grace is nothing more than the fulfillment of the prophecy in Jude 1:4 that said, For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

The Bible also warns us against this messed up idea of grace. Romans 6:23 says, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Dont you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6)

But if grace is not unmerited favor, then what is it?
The Word does teach us that it is by grace we are saved. But Paul also said that it was by faith that we were saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Grace, as un-deserved favor of God, rests in the truth of Colossians 1:27 which says “Christ in us. The hope of glory.”

True New Testament grace is not unmerited favor. It is someone (Jesus Christ) or something (Holy Spirit) that provides help – That someone or something that gives you a reason for hoping. It is through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit living in us that we can do that which, in our own strength, we would not be able to do.

Merrium-Webster defines grace as unmerited divine assistance given humans for their sanctification – a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.

Grace is the power of God working in us giving us the ability to turn from sin, to defeat iniquity and strongholds and to courageously defeat the enemy. In our own strength, our flesh has no ability to overcome sin. But the grace of God, that is His Son Jesus Christ, found us not guilty, paved a way for us to be with the Father, provided an inheritance for us full of riches and fruit and restored the ability for us to live a Garden of Eden life.

Paul explains this gift of grace, as the ultimate sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, which reconciled us to God. Jesus did not cancel the laws His Father wrote. He did not say go and live an immoral, wretched life while tasting and eating my good fruit. Rather He gave us the Holy Spirit, by way of His Son, so that we could keep His Commandments – ultimately defeating the sin that is destroying so many of our lives.

Grace is the vehicle by which God strengthens the church. Our job is to seek at all times to become like Christ, having faith that while our works can produce nothing, the Power of God working in us will help us attain the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. On a daily basis grace conforms us more and more to the image of Jesus.

This sanctification requires Christians, as Paul commands, to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). And Romans 6 tells us how. We are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies or to be tempted to evil desires.

“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14).

God is the one who does the work of making us more like Christ. We participate in that work by continually turning away from sin and demonstrating faith by obeying God’s commands. The Holy Spirit plays a vital role because as we walk in the power of the Spirit we “will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16).

Having my eyes opened to this truth made the Bible and especially the Gospel come alive in my life. For the first time, the equation had an answer that added up to something amazing – summarized in Galatians 2:20.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

The more faith I had in dealing with my mess and the deeper I delved into daily practice of repentance, the more I was able to rid the bitterness, anger, accusation and fear from my life. For the first time in my life, I found true freedom. When I got out of my own way, took up my cross and began to follow Jesus rather than chase an emotional experience, miracles sprang forth in every area of my life.

I’ve been healed of everything I listed earlier in this blog. I lost 40 pounds as I shed the weight of carrying around the shame in my life. My relationships with my daughter and key family members improved drastically and my marriage… well let’s just say that a couple on the brink of divorce, both of whom would admit that there was no love left, are acting like newly weds. The fighting in my home is gone and in its place is joy and peace.

I am honestly blown away at the work the Lord has done in my life. Both my spouse and I have seen major increase in provision. I’ve grown in ministry and seen some incredible miracles spring forth in the lives of those around me.

The more I repent, rebuke and resist sin, the more I am willing to stand up to the enemy and say, “No, you have no claim on me or my family,” the more I am seeing the blessing of Abraham manifest in my life and in my family’s lives. This is the true product of grace.

If you are struggling in any area of your life – in your spirit, soul and body, in the work of your hands or in your relationships – I urge you to ask yourself one important question. Are you seeking repentance on a regular basis? If not, I invite you to seek God and give it a try. If what you are currently doing is not working, step aside and allow grace to finally come in and work on your behalf. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Pray and Ponder:

  1. What are some areas you are currently struggling with? Ask God for forgiveness and watch Him go to work on your behalf. If you are not sure what true repentance looks like, click and listen to Pastor John Aldridge’s Eight R’s to Freedom teaching.
  1. Have you been operating under the idea of hyper-grace? If so, ask God what true grace is and let Him speak to you.
  1. Do you need healing or freedom in any area of your life?  Click and listen to parts 1 and 2 of Biblical Foundations for Healing.

 

 

 

 

When Drivenness is Destructive

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From a very young age, critical voices influenced how I viewed myself. I was drowning in a river of negativity with thoughts that began with “You’re not (fill in the blank)”.

Good enough. Smart enough. Talented enough. Pretty enough. Qualified enough. Creative enough. Innocent enough. Skinny enough.

Enough. Enough. Enough.

I recall hearing this voice for the first time when my family moved. My parents were proud to call themselves homeowners while I felt forced to leave the life I enjoyed to start the last year of elementary in a new school filled with strange faces.

Fifth grade was a hard year for me. This school was night and day different from my old one, and I felt like a fish out of water. While I did make friends, this was a lonely year.

I think this is where I began to strive for perfection, as I believed I would be liked if I was the best in class, a great Girl Scout and a stand out on safety patrol. I was driven to make the best Valentine’s Day box, get straight A’s and excel at skating. I worked hard at being perfect, but in the quiet of night, the voices in my head seemed to get louder. “No one will like you.” “You are boring.” “You will never fit in.”

Sadly the very next year, I started junior high, and the cycle repeated – a new school across town, kids that could reject me, and a new set of fears to deal with. These thoughts devalued myself until one day I believed the negativity. “I’m a hag.” “I’ll never be popular.” So many lies filled the pages of my diary. I began to feel tortured inside.

 

My way of dealing with the lies in high school was to prove them wrong. I was driven to be the best in everything – newspaper, drill team and honors classes. No matter what I did, I excelled at it. I fought to silence my mind, trying to convince myself of my worth, but I felt the only way anyone would notice me, like me, and/or love me was if I exceeded expectations in every area of my life.

Sadly college was more of the same. No matter what I did, I’d hear the nagging voice devaluing me even though I was a sorority officer and yearbook editor, making good grades and sustaining great friendships.

My third year in college, I experienced love at first sight. We began dating, and I twisted myself into knots to be exactly what I thought he wanted me to be. I was frustrated because I was becoming someone I didn’t like as I devalued myself – crossing many boundaries I didn’t really want to. Eventually my heart was broken when this man cheated on me. Rejected and heart broken, I shut down emotionally. While I was cool on the outside, I was a raging mess on the inside.

The worse the thoughts got, the more driven I became. I graduated and began a job working for a magazine. I twisted my stomach in knots, stressing over the pressure to write that perfect feature. Not only that… I excelled at graphic design even thought I had no formal training.

I quickly rose in my career, but despite the success, I only saw what I lacked. I defined myself by my job title, but wasn’t satisfied until I was promoted. The pressure I put on myself to exceed expectations led me to have stomach problems and insomnia.

My personal life was worse. I had no concept of value, which set me up for heartache and pain as I tried to be someone I wasn’t. My self-esteem and confidence dove to an all time low as the next man I loved told me I was fat, alienated me from his friends and often took his bad moods out on me. The more I tried to please him, the more I got hurt. This was a toxic relationship – a cocktail of mental and physical abuse.

For several years I endured the highs and lows of this affair. It tragically ended when he slammed his head through my car windshield, but you’d think I was the one cracked as I was destroyed. I should have been happy to see him gone, but I believed no one would ever love me.

My shattered heart and desolated self-image could not handle another trauma. But sadly, I was date raped by the very next guy who came into my life. I was in such bad shape that I actually thought this was my fault as I had put myself into a bad situation that I should have known better.

Shame consumed me. I was plummeting into a deep depression – trapped in a cycle of people pleasing and performance anxiety as well as unhealthy attempts to meet the expectations of another. I was making co-dependent decisions based on my need to be needed, to be validated and feel worthy. But all I was getting out of it was destroyed.

Eventually I spent time in counseling and found a measure of healing. My life would ebb and flow between the peace that came with being alone and the chaos that came with dating someone that was no good for me.

It would be another 15 years before I would summon the strength and courage to silence the accuser for good when I began to sit in a Bible church pew instead of sitting in another’s expectations of me and began to let God’s Word permeate through my heart and soul.

I meditated on the reality that I was saved by God’s grace and not on the basis of works. Romans 11:6 began to open the door to freedom as I realized the truth –God loves, accepts and values me… just the way I am.

My Heavenly Father desires relationship with me and has great plans for me based on His heart and His view of me. I could not be perfect enough or good enough to ever deserve such a gift.

This was revelation! My value was no longer dependent upon other people’s opinions. My worth would no longer be defined by men or by job title. What I thought about myself was not based on how skinny I was, how long my hair was or by the expensive purses I carried.

Worthy by definition means having merit, or value; good and deserving of respect, praise, or attention; having enough good qualities to be considered important and/or useful.

It’s sad all the years I was tormented. The more I strived for anyone to define me as worthy the worse my life got. Sadly I failed to realize God’s Word had plenty to say about my worth.

Once I knew that His view of me was the only one that mattered, I began to flourish and grow comfortable in my own skin.

 

I was made in the image of God who said I was more precious than silver and gold. God wrote about the days of my life before I was born. God chose me as His child before the foundations of the earth were formed to serve an important purpose in His Kingdom.

 

Coming into this reality changed my life in profound ways as some health issues and high blood pressure disappeared. My marriage improved as I stopped the co-dependency and the need to be “right”.

 

I discovered a piece of wisdom that has transformed my life: while it is okay to pursue excellence, any drivenness or perfectionism bread out fears, low self-worth and other negative reasons should instantly be recognized and dealt with.

 

Are you looking for love in all the wrong places?

Just like I did, there are many determining their self-worth based on what other people say. This results in us developing unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drivenness, perfectionism and people pleasing.

 

Here are signs you might be struggling in this area:

  • You believe if you excel at home, at work or in life, others will accept and love you. This belief causes self-doubt and frustration when expectations are not met.
  • You are careful not to hurt someone’s feelings and place everyone’s feelings above yours.
  • You tend to look around and compare yourself to others. You can be super critical of yourself and typically believe you are less than, not good enough or will never measure up.
  • You have a difficult time opening up, being vulnerable and sharing your feelings to others due to an intense fear of perceived failure and rejection.
  • The word no is not in your vocabulary, and as a result you resent and harbor bitterness when others say no or you engage in things you didn’t want to.
  • You have a lot of one-sided relationships and can tend to feel used.
  • While extremely critical of yourself and others, you often take criticism poorly by getting offended, defensive and angry.
  • You often feel like nothing you do is good enough, feeling continually dissatisfied, depressed and stressed.

 

You can be set free!
Healing begins when you can recognize these destructive patterns in your life and begin to allow God’s truth to replace the lie that you are not valuable enough to be loved. When you can accept God’s love based on grace and let go of the destructive “works” mentality, God can begin to heal the tender places in your heart.

 

Accept the truth that your value and worth were determined by God when He sacrificed His Son. It was this price (Jesus on the cross) that makes you worthy. In fact, it’s this ultimate price that makes you (and me) priceless.

 

When you know your worth through the eyes of the One who loves you completely, no one in the natural or the spiritual can make you feel unworthy.

Unfortunately, the enemy will continue to chip away at your value. When you begin to hear the negative whispers again, speak the truth of Galatians 2:20 out loud.

 

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

 

If you are ready to silence the accuser by tuning into the loving whisper of God, simply repeat this prayer. After, be encouraged to dive into the Bible and ask God to highlight verses that define you!

 

Pray loudly:
Father God, I thank you that you are the Lord of All. I thank you that you gave me my identity. Daddy, I only care about hearing all that you say I am. I ask you would silence the negative, condemning voice in my mind and change my frequency to hear your voice clearly. Father I desire to seek approval from only you… not from my friends or family. Keep my eyes focused on your plan for my life. Help trigger me to stop when I begin to fall into my old patterns of drivenness and perfectionism. I ask Father for you to forgive me for engaging in codependent behaviors that have been destructive in my life. Father I thank you that you sacrificed your Son. Thank you for showing me just how valuable I am. I thank you for healing my heart, my soul and my spirit as I come into more of your loving truth. Father I declare – You are my source… the only One I need. My life is yours to have your will. May my life bring you honor and glory, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

Questions to pray and ponder:

  1. What do you think about yourself – honestly? Would these thoughts line up with God’s view of you?

 

  1. Are you able to discern when Satan is invading your thought life trying to convince you that you are not worth?

 

  1. Do you struggle with perfectionism and drivenness? What are some ways you can stop this destructive pattern?

 

  1. What are three Bible verses confirming your value that you can declare loudly every day?

It’s All His Fault

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“There’s no hope for my marriage, he’s never going to change.”

I’ve uttered that sentence a thousand times believing one massive lie… If he would change our marriage would be better, and I would be happy.

See I was a type A, want-what-I-want woman, who married at 35. I had many years of living alone to get set in my ways. Simple things like how he folded the hand towels drove me crazy. Why couldn’t he just do it the way I like it?

The man I dated was romantic, catered to me and cared about what I wanted. He swept me off my feet, and I fell deeply in love. But once married, things quickly changed.

A month into our marriage, Scott sunk into a depression and became a man I didn’t recognize. His wounds and dysfunctional coping patterns reared up, and the selfless man I dated was now a stranger – self-centered, withdrawn and cruel.

We started therapy, and life got better for a while. But several miscarriages, fertility issues and added pressure took our marriage from bad to worse.

Miserable, I felt abandoned. Scott declared regularly, “I don’t care about you.” I was certain he didn’t love me. I adored the man I dated but didn’t care for the stranger sleeping beside me. Deep down I knew my marriage was a mistake.

Many lies filtered through my mind. “I’d be better off alone.” “He’s never going to meet my needs.” These caused me to stop seeing the man God created Scott to be. I zeroed in on ways he didn’t measure up. All I saw was how he let me down. It was all his fault.

As a result I grew volatile. In righteous anger I’d sucker punch him verbally. I tore him to shreds with cruel words, but believed I was not the problem. He needed to change – not me!

In 2009, I sternly announced, “I want a separation.” I couldn’t take another second of Scott’s issues and his unwillingness to change. I had a growing baby in my belly and was convinced we’d be better off without Scott.

At the same time a friend raved about the book Love and Respect. I read it and implemented the principles the author suggested.

For months, I affirmed Scott. I never raised my voice. I sought forgiveness for what he said I did wrong. I truly gave this 100% effort, but Scott was blind to my effort. I wasn’t safe. He didn’t trust me. He held grudges and disconnected even though I was doing my best to connect.

As a result, anger turned to rage. Respect went out with the trash, and I flew off the handle. I wanted him to suffer the way I was suffering. I was belligerent and full of malice. I hated him.

In therapy, a counselor steered me in the wrong direction. “Get over your judgment about divorce and stop seeing marriage as a covenant,” she explained. “Scott broke the marriage contract, and you have every reason to leave.”

She said, “God would not want you to be this unhappy.” And with that, I planned my exit strategy, but God had other plans.

Tensions were thick, and we walked around on eggshells. I was miserable, but when I prayed asking if I could leave, I’d hear, “not yet.” That obviously made me mad. He wasn’t fixing my marriage!

There was no intimacy. We talked of superficial things like “what’s for dinner?”

The disconnection kept things peaceful, but also kept us broken. We no longer hugged or kissed, and I swore the lack of intimacy was his fault. Our marriage would ebb and flow between disconnected peace and world war. We were both battered, but neither had the strength to leave.

But shortly after our fifth anniversary, Scott changed. He confessed admitting he didn’t care the first years of our marriage, but now he did. He’d attempt to hold my hand, and I’d pull away. I deemed him a liar, and knew we’d never make it our sixth anniversary, so why bother?

However, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), and six became seven. Seven became eight. We had serious problems, but Scott was trying

In 2013, God got a hold of me after I was consumed by unloving spirits. I hated my life and my marriage… filled with bitterness and accusation. I only saw what was wrong when God commanded, “I want you to affirm your husband 10 times a day.”

My first thought was “never gonna happen!” Convinced he didn’t love me – I wasn’t willing to put myself out there, but God armed me with strength and power (2 Sam. 22:33). I obeyed.

I struggled to think of two positives. “Thank you for going to work and paying bills.” But slowly, the effort paid off, and my perspective shifted. He’s funny, smart and witty. He’s an incredible dad. Kind. Sensitive. He’s a servant. He desired me to be happy.

The problem was my critical nature, need to have my way and anger were out of control. I felt I had a right to be mad and wore the victim hat proudly, until one day I took a good look in the mirror and realized:

• I was angry with myself – not Scott or God.
• I didn’t hate Scott. I hated myself.
• I needed help.
• I had to change. I realized for the first time – it wasn’t all his fault.

In 2014, I walked into Son Rise Church and Ministries, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ came alive in my life. I focused on ridding the matriarchal spirit and dealing with my junk through repentance and deliverance. Strongholds were replaced with truth. My happiness no longer depended on what Scott did or didn’t do. The major revelation was God is my helper, and Lord Jehovah sustains my soul (Psalm 54:4), not Scott.

I fixed my eyes on God and nothing else. I separated myself from sin and laid the worst parts of myself before Jesus Christ. I took responsibility for what I had done in the marriage. I began to take my thought captive. I sought forgiveness and let the Holy Spirit fill my wounded soul.

My life looked like Psalm 37:40 – the LORD shall help me, and deliver me: He shall deliver me from the wicked, and save me, because I trust in him.

I did trust God, and in May 2015, I experienced a radical encounter while attending healing training. As I felt horrible chest pain I heard, “I’ve fixed your heart. It’s no longer broken.” The pain faded into an unspeakable joy and peace I had never known before. I was touched by God and radically changed.

I forgave Scott, God and myself. I left the past behind and desired to start fresh. I knew I only had control over how I reacted to my spouse. I could pray for him but had no power change him. But even more I ditched all expectations of change, as they were the result of assumptions, judgments and accusations that were nothing more than sin.

The truth was simple: I can’t depend on Scott to meet my needs because that job belonged to God. I can be happy in my circumstances no matter what Scott brought to the table.

I gave Scott space to adjust to his new wife. This wasn’t an easy process. My past behaviors were thrown in my face, as I had not been forgiven. He wasn’t buying that I had been radically transformed. But as days turned to weeks, weeks turned into months, it became clear I was different.

Peace washed through our home for the first time. While I’m not perfect and can fall into old patterns, I quickly recognize what’s happening and shift my behavior. I changed and as a result, my marriage improved.

No matter what Scott was or wasn’t doing, I refused to make a laundry list of shortcomings. I refused to engage when he picked a fight, and I prayed my marriage would continue to improve.

And God was faithful as Scott realized he needed help and started his own ministry. I was now safe, and Scott the room to focus on him. I stopped trying to be the priest of the home and allowed him to rise. I submitted.

Together we are on guard for the spirit of offense. We think before reacting out of our emotions. We give each other the benefit of doubt. We talk, laugh and enjoy life more. What’s disappeared? All outbursts and the need to punish were gone. We became partners – we were finally becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

Six months after my miraculous encounter I heard myself say three words I thought I’d never say again, “I love you.” And the thing is… I meant it.

What a testimony to God – we happily celebrated our 10th anniversary back in April. I never thought we’d make it, but with God all things are possible.

In Genesis 12:1 we learn God, who desires to lead us by the Holy Spirit, would like to lead us in to many things… one of them being a happy covenant relationship with our spouse.

I hate the fact that the enemy convinces Christians that divorce is the only option. We have a marriage crisis in our country because too many believe the enemy’s lies instead of adhering to God’s truth.

Marriage is a divine snapshot of the relationship between Christ and his Bride, the Church. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one,” (Mark 10:7-8).

I feel like we finally ditched the contract mentality and understood for the first time the marriage covenant is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.

My marriage is a testimony to the power of the Word of God being applied. Scott is learning to lay down his life in sacrificial love and protection. And I am learning to shed the type A personality – willing to submit to his leadership. I also have seen the fruit that comes from building up a man rather than tearing him down with critical words and unrealistic expectations.

Today I love Scott for the man he is and the man God made him to be. I no longer long for the man that courted me but enjoy the one that walks through the door at night. Divorce is no longer a word in my vocabulary.

A friend, we have known for years, recently came to the house. As we were leaving, I said “Bye babe” to Scott. Stunned she exclaimed, “That’s the first time I’ve heard you speak endearingly to him and about him. You were always so cold in the past.”

And with that, God whispered, “Good job, faithful servant. I’m proud of you.” Now I look in the mirror and like whom I see and that fills my heart with so much joy.

Prayer:
If you are struggling in your marriage, I urge you to pray this out loud:

Father God, I thank you that you have only good things planned for my marriage. I pray all of Satan’s strongholds will be broken, and my marriage will be saved. Help me Father speak life and not death over my spouse. I pray for restoration and not separation. I pray you draw us to connect and not withdraw. Father, I thank you for reminding me to fix my eyes on you and not on my current circumstances. I thank Jesus Christ for restoring the blessing of Abraham in our lives, and I am grateful this blessing included covenant relationships. Father please help both of us have faith that this blessing is a gift… ready to receive right now I pray the accuser be silenced, all expectations town down, and all bitterness disappears now in might name of Jesus. Renew my love and help me to see all the amazing qualities my spouse has. I lift up my marriage so it can flourish and not flounder in Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen.

Questions to ponder:
1.
Are you harboring resentment, bitterness and refuse to forgive your spouse? If so, repent and ask the Holy Spirit help you in this area.

2. What negativity is the enemy speaking over your marriage? Are you convinced things would improve if your spouse changed? If so, get with God and let him lead you into the truth.

3. What areas of weakness do you need to work on that could help improve your marriage?

4. Are speaking life or death into your marriage? Your words matter! Start praising your partner and speaking life into your marriage by focusing on the good instead of the bad.

Additional resources:
For further information on the Matriarchal and Patriarchal Passive/Control profiles, visit http://sonrisechurchandministries.sermon.net/main/main/8360324 and listen to the great teaching by Pastor John Aldridge of Son Rise Church and Ministries.

Don’t Count Out the Holy Spirit

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I had just moved into a town house in a new city. It was not a good time in my life – just my dog Mickey and I starting over after a long relationship suddenly ended. Four days into unpacking boxes and adjusting to this new reality, I parked in my drive to find landscapers left my back gate open.

I instantly knew Mickey was gone. He was a runner and couldn’t resist wandering off. I drove around for hours along with a friend – each in opposite directions until the sun set. There was nothing more we could do. I was devastated.

All sorts of horrible thoughts drifted through my mind. Thoughts like:

  • He’s lost in a new city.
  • He couldn’t know his way back as we’d been there less than a week.
  • He’s been run over, hurt, stolen.
  • I’ll never see Mickey again.

Many tears were shed. I had all ready lost so much – I couldn’t bear to lose my dog too.

Around 10 pm, I headed upstairs and climbed into bed. I was exhausted, but I knew I wouldn’t sleep. I believed in God, was saved, but wasn’t really living my life as a born again Christian. But something inside prompted me to begin to speak out loud what I wanted to happen. I asked the Lord to bring my dog home, and then I began to declare how.

“God, please bring Mickey home. Let him walk through the open gate and burst through the dog door. Let me hear the jingle of the nametag against his collar. Let Mickey come flying upstairs safe. He will jump on my bed. I will hug him and hold him tight. He will be covered in red mud, but I will not care. Thank you God for bringing Mickey home.”

I said this loudly between wiping tears and blowing my nose. I was praying without ceasing for the first time in my life. I was heartbroken and needed a miracle.

About 11:30 pm, I was barely awake but still mumbling my prayer when I heard a man whistling (the way you would to get a dog to come to you). Faint at first, the sound got louder and louder. I sat up confused why I was hearing a man outside my second story window. But just as soon as I did, Mickey burst through the dog door, flew up the stairs with the tag jingling and jumped into my arms covered head to toe in mud! It was the manifestation of my prayer!

But who was whistling? I ran downstairs out the front door. No one. There had to be a man. I opened the back door to find nothing but the open gate. I knew the whistling was not my imagination – I heard it, but no one was there to be found.

I gave Mickey a bath when it dawned on me I had a supernatural encounter. I had not heard a man, but for the first time heard the Holy Spirit. It was by His power my prayer was answered.

Interestingly enough His whistle comforted me and gave me hope. In that moment I felt I wasn’t alone and like someone was listening and responding to my fear and pain.

Right there on the floor of my bathroom, I began to thank God for what had happened. I was moved and desired to know more. The Holy Spirit had met me where I was at and blessed me abundantly.

I knew things about Jesus and God. I had sat in Bible Church long enough to grasp them as two very distinct parts of the Godhead; however, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the Holy Spirit. Just the words “Spirit” or “Ghost” caused confusion for me – I had the “Casper the friendly ghost” view of Him rather than understanding His place as the third person in the Godhead.

I think many can identify with me as the enemy has done a great job of perverting our perceptions of the Holy Spirit reducing Him to merely a “symbol” and not a living entity. In fact, the Christian Post* reported

58% of all U.S. Christians believe the Holy Spirit is nothing more than a symbolic reference to God’s power or presence.

The Barna Research Group** conducted a study of 1,871 people from across the 48 continental states and found most Christians don’t think the Holy Sprit is a living force. George Barna, Barna Group founder and book author commented, “Most Americans, even those who say they are Christians, have doubts about the intrusion of the supernatural into the natural world.”

Even more disturbing is that 47% of those who agreed the Holy Ghost is only a symbol also agreed the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles, even though the Word clearly describes the Holy Spirit in great detail.

Do you see the problem here? Satan has successful discredited the Word of God to the point deceived Christians are picking and choosing parts of the Bible to fit nicely into their idea of life. If it doesn’t feel good or make sense… throw it out.

It’s actually pretty ridiculous when you stop and think about it. We love it when our pastors preach about how much God loves us, but when they dive into anything that goes beyond our comfort zone, we shut down, stop listening and judge them harshly. We’ve become a feel good society and will reject anything that threatens it.

The Holy Spirit has gotten a bad rap, and it is time that we as Christians realize that He is an important and vital part of the trinity… of the Godhead.

The Holy Spirit is alive! When we give our lives to Christ and are born again, the Holy Ghost breathes life into us. He dwells in us and works through us. He is the way we can be conformed into the image of Christ, because apart from His power, we are able to accomplish nothing good. His work is to bring each of us into a deeply personal relationship with Jesus so we can have access to our Heavenly Father.

It time to wake up! If we believe the Bible is true, then we must see the Holy Spirit as more than a symbol. He is the power by which we are healed, delivered and set free. He is the voice guiding us, protecting us and comforting us. The Holy Spirit tends to all our pains, brokenness and sorrows.

Jesus was led by the Spirit to face 40 days of temptation. The Spirit empowered Jesus to be the sinless man, as Jesus Christ did nothing apart from what He was told to do. The Heavenly Father was able to speak with His Son through the Spirit with in Him after He was baptized. If the Holy Spirit can do all that for Jesus, consider what the Spirit can do for you?

Jesus understood the power of the Holy Ghost and promised to send the Holy Spirit in His place. “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever.” (John 14:15-16) That helper is the Spirit of Truth.

Jesus goes on to say that the Holy Spirit will live with us and will be in us. Is this not irrefutable proof the Holy Spirit is more than a symbol?

Jesus relied on the Spirit when He walked this earth, and we must follow His example. We must continually welcome and embrace the Holy Spirit into our lives, be thankful for His presence and surrender control over to Him.

If you invite Him into your heart on a daily basis, here are some of the amazing things the Holy Spirit will do in your life:

  • Speaks to you (Acts 8:29, 11:12, 13:12)
  • Imparts eternal life (Rom 8:10, 14)
  • Sanctifies you (1 Peter 1:2)
  • Comforts you (John 14:15, 2 Corinthians 1:4)
  • Bring you peace (John 14:27)
  • Empowers you with gifts (Acts 20:28)
  • Guides and leads you in your everyday life (John 16, Rom 8:14)
  • Convicts you of sin (John16:8)
  • Shapes and molds you into the image of Christ (Roman 8:1-17)
  • Helps you pray to the Father (Romans 8:26)
  • Assists you in understanding the Word of God (Hebrews 4:2)
  • Testifies about who Jesus is (John 15:26)
  • Prevents you from going somewhere or doing something (Acts 16:5-7)

If you are sick, hurting, financially strapped or struggling in significant relationships, it is time to realize you are in a spiritual battle, and it must be fought by spiritual means. You cannot defeat Satan on your own.

The good news is you’ve got a champion living inside you – the Helper. Jesus said we would be enabled to do even greater works than He did (John 14:12-14). If you are waiting for a miracle, desperate for a prayer to be answered, consider God may be waiting on you to trust that Heaven comes to earth by our union with the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit.

For all the skeptics and close-minded folks out there, the Holy Spirit occupies a lot of space in the Word. In fact, there are 38 unique names for the Holy Spirit in scripture. Be encouraged to go through the Bible and get to know the person that is the Holy Spirit. This revelation will change your life and help you access your God-given gifts.

Who couldn’t use a little more joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, happiness and love in their life? God’s ultimate goal is for us to be so filled with the Holy Spirit’s fruit we continually pour the goodness onto others.

Refuse to let Satan keep you and others from tasting and seeing that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of enjoying a fulfilling relationship with the Holy Spirit. If you are ready, repeat loudly the following prayer:

Father God, I love you. You are worthy of all thanks and praise. Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice and victory over all evil. Father I ask forgiveness for believing lies about the Holy Spirit and ask to receive the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit may your presence in my life be like air I breath. I need you to guide me, comfort me, lead me, protect me and teach me so that my life would reflect the glory of God. Thank you for the good fruit that you give me as a free gift. Assist me to stay keenly aware of your presence every second of the day. May my life be filled with your power to combat evil and overcome sin so that I may be conformed into the image of Christ. I desire more of your goodness, seek the abundant blessings you’ve planned for me and want to feel more of your love. I thank you I have not been given spirits of fear, but I have been given spirits of power, love and a sound mind. It is only through you Holy Spirit that I can know Jesus Christ and access the Father. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your baptism and the gentle way you work in me to transform me so that I may live out God’s plan for my life. I pray for more – May Heaven invade earth and miracles abound. In Jesus might name, Amen and Amen.

Questions to take you further:

  1. Have you believed the lie that the Holy Spirit has no place in today’s Christian life? If so, repent, seek forgiveness and ask to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
  1. What ways do you see the Holy Spirit is or could be working in your life?
  1. How different would your life look if you allowed the Holy Spirit to flow through you and out of you?
  1. What are your spiritual gifts and how are you using them in your life?

 

* Most U.S. Christians Don’t Believe Satan, Holy Spirit Exist by Jennifer Riley, Christian Post Reporter, April 13, 2009
* Research Study Conclusions found at barna.org

My timeline to the truth – Christians will face hard times

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It was pleasant surprise. After suffering two miscarriages and then battling infertility, I found out I was expecting.

2007. The year I looked forward to with anticipation. But the excitement would fade into sadness by March 2008 as I lost twins – one in the first trimester, the other in the second. I went through the first few stages of grief, but got stuck in anger. I was furious with God and blamed Him for killing my babies. I screamed and placed unreal expectations on my husband to the point our marriage suffered. My controlling nature kicked into overdrive, and I refused to stop and grieve.

2008. The year I went from fertile to sterile. As summer faded into the colors of fall, I lost another child. I developed an infection that destroyed my tubes, and they needed to be removed. It was like a bullet piercing my chest when the doctor said, “You are now sterile and will never have a natural child.”

An ugly voice began to rattle around in my head. It was a quiet murmur – only loud in my mind. “God’s to blame.” “You are not worthy to be a mom.” “It is your fault you lost all the children because of your bad past.” “Your husband is going to leave you for a younger woman.”

I stewed on these and other lies until I believed them. Over time I grew bitter and felt all kinds of shame. I was overflowing with envy and swimming in a planet of regret for all of the bad choices I made in my past.

I hated life and everyone who had a child or who was pregnant as well as the Lord and myself. Honestly, I don’t think nothing could have been worse unless I lost my lift, but many times I thought dying would be easier than living in this hell.

2008. The year I came to the end of me. I had no idea how to manage this wilderness season. Charting my own path was leading me to lowly places. I needed a way out of my pain, and began searching for someone… anyone that would help. I had no idea the one who would reach down and pull me out of my pit would be Jesus Christ.

I handed over the reigns and surrendered my life to Him. I was saved. Accepting Jesus was the best decision I made, but it also gave the enemy an opportunity to trap me into another lie. “Now that I am a Christian, my life will be perfect.”

I was convinced the “prosperity gospel” was true! After all, 2Peter 2:9 said the Lord knew how to rescue the godly from trials. I knew for sure I was godly… I sat in a pew on Sunday, waved my hands in the air at worship and began to pray (which was giving God a laundry list of all the things I wanted Him to do for me).

Looking back now, I know my decision to follow Jesus was based on the lie that everything would be great. After being saved, surely He would fix all my problems. I was convinced He would make my life perfect.

2009. The year I learned Satan is a liar and finally accepted my life would never be perfect. It wasn’t long before the truth knocked me off my pedestal, and it dawned on me I was anything but godly. When I opened my eyes and looked at Christians around me, I realized that they weren’t perfect either. After all, everyone had problems. Some were battling cancer. Many had divorces under their belts. No one could escape having a little drama in life, and I was not going to be the exception.

It makes me angry that Satan has convinced the world that to be a Christian means we can’t have blemishes. The world looks at our mistakes mockingly and judges us based on our weaknesses.

His Word gently guided me to the truth. I am a God-loving, Jesus freak who has issues. I am not perfect. My life will always have ups and downs, highs and lows. I will face trials in triumph and in defeat. I will be tempted, and I will sin.

Through Romans 8:28 God taught me all things work together for good when I love my Father and works toward His purpose in my life. I occurred to me every time the enemy attacks me and I fall, God redeems it by drawing me closer to Him. He teaches me many lessons that take me to a better place spiritually.

2009. The year I harnessed the power of scripture. I had been given a prophetic word – I would have a natural child. And even when my reality told me a different truth, I chose to declare Luke 1:45 loudly and sternly. “Blessed is she who believes what is spoken will be accomplished.”

I believed, and I did indeed receive. I held my precious baby girl and thanked God for His promises are true.

2010. The year I knew I would never stay in a bad place. This year was rough. I was postpartum depressed and hanging by a thread for most of the year. I also suffered a miscarriage and dealt with a very sick baby. But God was faithful and helped me get through.

1 Peter 5:10 is such a comforting verse because it taught me that even in my worst moments God would be there for me. “But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.”

I learned through the next several years that while I will stumble through the wilderness from time to time, God will always equip me with what I need to come through.

2011. Two miscarriages while my daughter battled with a deadly abscess and endured her first surgery. I had also had major neck surgery that kept me flat on my back for nearly three weeks.

2012. Daughter faced another surgery after nine months of strep.

2013. My amazing Aunt died. I battled for eight months through painful tendonitis in my right foot and ankle.

2014. Left ankle tendon shredded and resulted in major surgery that kept me from walking for nearly six months.

Clearly Satan’s done his best to keep me wandering in the wilderness. But the good news is God takes every thing… the good, the bad and the ugly and fashions it for good. I’ve learned how to use my worst moments to testify to the goodness and glory of God. The more transparent I am the more I can help others battle through their traumas.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  (Revelation 12:11)

It was in my worst years… my worst moments… I found my true voice. It wasn’t the one rattling around in my mind. It was the voice speaking from my heart.

2015. The year I put Satan on notice, sought repentance and deliverance and saw major healing in my life.

I stepped into ministry as associate pastor at Son Rise Church and Ministries. I understand so much more than I did back in 2008. While my life will never be perfect, the closer I get to Jesus the more I get to experience the perfect love of my Father. And that’s perfect to me!

 

Questions to pray and ponder:

Are you struggling in your walk with Christ because life has not turned out the way you thought? Maybe it’s time to repent for placing God in a box and surrender all of your expectations over to Him.

What is your testimony and how can you share it with other to bring glory to God?

Who do you blame when things are going wrong in your life? If it is God, maybe it’s time to stop accusing and start trusting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Time to Stop the Violence

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I think all of us would agree that genocide is a horrific word. Just to hear it spoken out loud causes me to shudder as I instantly begin to think of Anne Frank, concentration camps and disregard for human life as millions of Jews died at the hand of the Nazi regime. Why? Because a group of people decided they were “racially superior,” and in doing so deemed others they considered “inferior” a threat that must be eliminated.

Genocide. Mass murder. Racism. Violence. Terror. These terms have sadly existed throughout history. The Holocaust killed nearly six million people while the Native American Genocide’s death toll reached over 100 million.

Others include the Assyrian genocide, the Cambodian genocide, and more recently the Kurdish genocide in Iraq, the Bosnian and the Rwandan genocides. Millions of people’s lives cut short, and all for one simple reason – hate.

Hatred, a product of the Antichrist, comes straight from the pit of hell and through history has fueled some horrific events. Beyond genocides, it is responsible for slavery, war, abuse, racism and exclusion. I can’t for the life of me fathom why as intelligent beings, we have not learned from our past mistakes.

This intentional systematic elimination of any ethnic, racial or religious group is sick and disgusting. We should know better and be better, but it is still happening today.

On a grand scale ISIS is beheading, raping and selling Christians. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee or face death. For more than a year this group has been on a bloody rampage based on false believes and sheer hatred. The reality is this:

Christians are dying every day, and many are caving to fear and are scared.

But there is another, slower, more subtle genocide taking place in our country, and disturbing events like what happened in Dallas, Texas, on July 7, 2016, is just one of many senseless acts of violence and death that is destroying the fabric of who are as citizens of a great nation, Christians and civilized people.

It’s a sobering reality that we have to worry about what terrorist group will strike next, but equally disheartening is that Americans are killing Americans. Kids killing kids. Criminals shooting cops. Cops shooting unarmed suspects. Husbands slaying wives. Mothers killing their children.

Crime rates within this country have been on the rise since 2014. Statistics show many major cities have doubled the amount of murders in the last 24 months, and the vocal yet not always unbiased news media is on 24/7 with their theories on why.

There’s been so much speculation – racial tensions, gun laws, the heroin epidemic, a resurgence of gang violence and economic factors. Some believe the tipping point came as a result of what a 2015 Wall Street Journal column called the “Ferguson effect”— named for the Missouri city where the police shooting of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in 2014 prompted widespread protest.

No matter what CNN or Fox News report, I point back to one simple word. I believe it is the fuel to which all of this violence is happening – hate.

Hate is a verb meaning to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; to detest.

As an adjective, hate is used in relating to acts that are motivated by prejudice or intolerance. There are hate crimes of all kinds – mean girls and school yard bullys; dads verbally and physically assaulting their families and intolerance that leads to an innocent black man being dragged behind a truck.

I am 45 years old and have watched the cruelty that arises when we listen to Satan and choose hatred over love. I am just sick and tired, as I am sure many of you are, of living in a world where people are killed because of ridiculous excuses: jealousy, sexual orientation, skin color, race, religion or color of bandana they are wearing.

Whether it is slander, exclusion, violence or murder, acting in any way contrary to love, is being influenced by the enemy. There are no justifications or rationalizations to treat another poorly because you don’t agree with their behavior, color or lifestyle.

So the question to ask is: Are You In Christ or following the Antichrist?

Hate is the byproduct of Satan, who is the Antichrist and the father of iniquity.

The Bible teaches us in Ezekiel 28:15-16 that Lucifer was created perfect in all his ways, but unrighteousness was found in him. Satan wanted all that God had, became jealous and was internally filled with violence before he was cast out of Heaven. I believe this was the beginning of hatred.

Think about it… all we are and all we think is either from the Father of Creation or the Father of Lies. Satan as the Antichrist is everything that is anti-Christ.

In other words, this spirit opposes Christ and the Gospel of Christ – it hates everything that was and is meant for good. And its main job is to get you to oppose Christ too.

Satan’s name comes from a Hebrew word signifying an adversary, an enemy and an accuser. Satan is against all that God is.

While God is the solid rock to which we stand, Satan is never going to stop trying to get us to fall or attempt to trying to convince us God’s foundation is not reliable. His aim is to demolish what God planned for His children, and he has to use you and me to do it! When will we wise up? Why do we not learn from our mistakes?

Why don’t we learn that to love the Lord means we must love other people? While we should not condone sin (things contrary to the God’s Word), we must also not judge anyone. Judgement and comparison can lead us down some dangerous roads.

When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and flows through and out of us ALL the attributes of Christ. When we are living in Christ, there is nothing in us facilitating hate unless we have chosen to let Satan come and reign over a part of our heart by way of sin.

It’s time to stop the violence.
God made it crystal clear we are to love all of His children. We must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. As the body of Christ, we are to stand together in truth and not be divided by doctrine, beliefs of superiority, envy and hate.

As we move into the last days, many are prophesying Satan will use antichrist spirits and pure hatred to adversely influence the world to be anti-Christ. All of God’s children – Christians and non-believers – are being seduced into believing lies about ourselves, others and God.

Satan has figured out the way to undermine God’s work is to convince us hating others because of differences or perceived sin is justified. The enemy has done a bang up job convincing us we are unlovable. When we hate ourselves, it is easy to hate others.

Who’s voice are you listening to?
We are always getting messages from God the Father and the enemy. Who are you tuned into? What do you believe that contradicts what God says about you? What strongholds are are shaping your negative behaviors?

Satan is always attempting to tear down in us what God is trying to build up. And his success is based on what we choose to believe about ourselves, others and God.

The senseless violence and hatred occurring in our country today is a result of Satan’s lies. He has succeeded in turning most of us into people who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. (Isaiah 5:20)

Why? Because we have been blocked from giving and receiving love. Many are listening to unloving, lying and deceiving spirits. These spirits are fueling hate, murder, bitterness and unforgiveness.

The unloving spirit has created a posture of perfectionism (pride and legalism), which is causing division in this country. We are a people who are generally angry with ourselves and others, and lash out when performance is not perfect or looks different than you think it should.

God loves each and every one of us despite our sin. He accepts each one of us and has planned many blessings for us. His Word says we were all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). He stands in awe of His craftsmanship.

I love the way Lisa Bevere explained God’s love when she appeared on an episode of Life Today. She proclaimed, “God does not love us equally.”

She went on to explain God told her, “Same would mean one of you is replaceable. Equal would mean my love could be measured. My love is immeasurable. I do not love my children equally, I love them uniquely.”

Each one of us is unique. We are the only specimens of a given kind – there is no one like you and no one like me.

It’s time we love one another as God tells us too. Jesus proclaimed “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

It’s time we see each other as uniquely wonderful instead of uniquely different. We must see each other as quality instead of discounted.

We must rid the concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, worth and unworthy in regard to people. While it is okay to hate and speak out against sin, we are not to label and define ourselves, a person or a group of people based on perceived judgement and sins.

We must look through the eyes of love instead of through the lenses of hate. We have to silence the accuser of the brethren before it is too late and more senseless blood is shed.

Hate breeds hate. Violence begets violence. W must stop this cycle now. The Gospel of Jesus Christ overcame all of this evil. The violence, hate and murder Jesus endured was so we wouldn’t have too! Every hate crime or senseless act spits in the face of all the Jesus did on the cross.

We must realize that Jesus Christ died to set us free from Satan’s grip. The new Covenant agreement is based on the truth that even though we have done evil, God is not willing that any should perish.

Ezekiel 33:11 teaches us that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.

We are to be a body of believers that will gently lead others to God’s promise and to the power of repentance. We are not to hate but are called to harness the power of love to be light to the dark.

God so loved this world He made a way for us to be saved and to know Him through the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus Christ atoned for our sin meaning we have been reconciled; restored to friendly relations; in agreement and concord after enmity or controversy.

We must come together as a body united, restored to friendly relations, living in agreement and concord. It’s time we get past all of our righteous anger, bitter judgements and indignation and stop shedding blood. We must realize now is the time we live in the peace and harmony Jesus bought and paid for when He shed His blood.

We write this to plead with all brothers and sisters in Christ to get on your knees and pray that we as a nation and as a body of Christ come together in love and in peace. Let us pray that the bloodshed stop here. In the mighty of Jesus Christ we speak comfort and healing to all the families who have been affected by hatred, violence and/or murder. Amen.

 

Our Freedom Begins and Ends with God

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As we celebrate the freedom and liberty our country enjoys due to the hard work and perseverance of our founding fathers, we also must take a moment to revel in the freedom God blessed us with when He sacrificed His only begotten Son.

John Quincy Adams, this country’s sixth president said that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.

We couldn’t agree with President Adams more.

We live in a great country, and we should be proud to celebrate our nation’s birth along with all of the brave ones that worked tirelessly to make America the land of the free and the home of the brave. But we must not forget to also honor the One who made our history possible – God.

This country’s motto is just as true today as it was when it was first printed on the dollar, “In God we trust.” This motto more than words… it defines our identity as Americans. It is the basis to which the founding fathers built their hopes and dreams of this country on.

John Adams summed it up well when he said, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

The founding fathers declared God has “endowed” all people with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” because He values each of us. The founding fathers desired us to enjoy individual freedom, but they clearly did not have in mind the permissive lifestyle that we see today. They understood that the Bible does not allow us to do anything we please. They knew that true freedom only comes to those people who fear God.

Psalms 33:8 says that all the earth should fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. Sadly, in 2016 this is not happening.

Our founding fathers knew something that many of today’s Americans have forgotten, and that is we cannot accomplish a thing outside of God. Without faith and trust in God, we are not free. Without the willingness and fortitude to keep His commandments and obey His laws, we are bound in chains that are far worse than you can imagine.

That is what Love Not Lies is all about. Bringing freedom to people by going back to the Bible for God’s truth to replace the lies and strongholds that are our destroying our lives and our nation today.

The Bible warns us that many will perish for a lack of knowledge. We believe today’s America looks very different from what the founding fathers had in mind when they dreamed of a great nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. This country is in crisis economically and morally. This “live and let live” idea of freedom is causing this great nation to be anything but free.

Why? Because this way of living has given Satan the legal right to devour us. Many of us are weak, sick and dying. Many are poor and can’t get a leg up in life. Many are criminals and feel they have no other way to live than to live a life of crime. Our government is corrupt and filled with evil people who only desire to serve their own agenda… not God’s plan. And the sad reality is that our poor choices that have led us into heartache and pain get twisted into ways God is not for us. We must become people who take responsibility for our actions. We must stop accusing God for the terrible things Satan does because we allowed him in our lives.

The saddest reality is that today’s Christian is chastised for speaking the word of God… for telling the truth about sin. Encouraging people to repent and turn from evil makes us judgmental and legalistic. Christians are scared to share their beliefs, pray in public, and if we keep going this way, the only ones living in the closet will be those who love the Lord.

We say no. It is our prayer that this blog lovingly brings truth to those who need to hear it. We pray each inspired word gives sight to the blind.

This blog is dedicated to God, and it is our hope that it brings true freedom and liberty to those who are in a spiritual prison. It is only when one breaks agreement with Satan and comes back into the righteous of the Father by proclaiming Jesus is Lord that one can truly experience the freedom that God desires for us and that the founding fathers built this great nation on.

So we chose today – Independence Day – to launch this blog, because we know that freedom does not exist outside of God the Father and His son Jesus Christ.

For it is on Christ the solid rock we will stand… and it is our prayer that through the testimonies and biblical truth we share, you will be able experience true freedom… freedom from sickness, disease, relationship issues, financial problems and more.

May this blog be a blessing to all who God leads to read it.

Happy Independence Day.