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.

 

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You Are a Force to Reckon With!

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My sister Lisa was a 13-year-old blonde beauty with big blue eyes. With a heart of gold, she was so full of love and was one of the most caring, compassionate and courageous people I’ve ever met. While I was out blowing my allowance, Lisa saved hers all year to buy Christmas presents. She never thought of herself – she was always thinking of others.

I always felt it was my role to take care of my baby sister. And when the worst happened, I was riddled with guilt as I was supposed to be strong enough to save her. While her sickness and death were totally out of my control, the enemy heaped lie after lie upon me, and I believed everyone.

After all, I was her older sister. At the age of 17, how could I let this happen? Even though I was just a young woman excited about the future, my shame would ultimately convince me I shouldn’t look to my future when she didn’t have a future. My world was changed forever with the loss of my precious sister.

The world lost one of the most amazing little girls God had ever created, and I just knew it was my fault. While the angels were rejoicing the day Lisa went to heaven I was drowning in tears. I didn’t understand God’s ways. I accused Him. Why God? Why?

Lisa’s death was one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure in my life. From the moment she drew her last breath, sadly I was never the same.

Has there been a time in your life you ever felt powerless or weak? Have you experienced a time when you didn’t know how you would make it one more minute, never the less one more day? I have, and it was only through God’s strength in me that I was able to endure and move past the mourning season. It wasn’t an easy time for me, but God was there every moment comforting me as only He could.

This was a season I learned the true meaning of Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I needed a refuge, and it was Elohim, the Father, Spirit and Son, that carried me through this most difficult time. I’ve heard it said time heals all wounds, but I have come to understand that time didn’t heal anything… it was Jesus Christ who brought me back to life!

Before this tragedy, I was a carefree, STRONG woman. Full of courage and vigor, I wasn’t afraid of anything. However, after her death, I went from being fearless to fearful. The enemy used my sister’s death to make me afraid and weak. I felt shame for having to go on without her.

Her death left a hole in my heart the enemy filled with lies. I felt lack, defeated and scared. Instability had set in, and I wondered if my life and my family member’s lives would be normal again.

In John 10:10 we are warned the enemy comes to steal, and to kill and to destroy. The enemy killed my sister, destroyed the family I’d known and stole my truth.

But the good news is God made a way for me to be victorious over the enemy when I was able to stand up and fight. Jesus encourages us in the scripture “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

My story didn’t end in demise after I found hope in Jesus Christ and bolstered my faith in His promises.

I’m so thankful for God’s grace. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

This means because of His grace, there is nothing we have to work for. We can rely on His strength in our weakness. It took me a little while to grasp this scripture as I was used to relying on my own strength. When I finally came to the place that I could accept His grace and received it as a gift I grew strong again.

Gaining that strength required me to dig into the deep places in my heart to see the strongholds and lies I had been bought into. The Lord was faithful to protect me and help me every step of the way!

It happened just as 2 Timothy 4:17 described: …the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…

Years later, my daughter went through a traumatic time in her life. She needed a mom who could listen with no judgment, keep an open mind, and would love her no matter what she had to say and no matter how difficult it was to hear.

While I will not share the details of that time, what I can say is that it was the hardest conversation I ever had to hear and the greatest challenge of my life. It was such a blessing that I had learned how to lean on the strength of the Lord during the season of my sister’s death. It was only in His strength that I was able to support, prop up and comfort my daughter! I would be a force to reckon with. I would be strong for her. I would fight the enemy when she couldn’t.

She needed to know irrevocably that I believed in her and in the truth! We stood together, and with many prayers and God’s help we preserved through this time! I not only had to have strength for myself but also was able to pour into my daughter the love that Jesus Christ had poured into me. It was beautiful, and today I can look at how she now pours that strength and love out to others as well.

2 Corinthians 12:10 says “for when I am weak, then I am strong” It was in weakness I was able to access the strength that Jesus Christ provides. He is our strength if we will reach out and receive all He has for us.

I was never weak or powerless just as I was not responsible for the death of my sister. The truth then, the truth when my daughter needed me and the truth now is simple: I am courageous, a tower of strength and a child of the highest God. I am all He says I am!

The good news is that no matter what the enemy whispers in your ear, the truth is you are also strong, courageous and a child of the Most High. You are a force to reckon with!

Courageous one, if you have grown weary in a difficult season of your life, it’s time to receive God’s grace to strengthen you. It’s easy. Simply repeat the prayer below, have faith and trust God’s word will never condemn or harm you in any way. Say out loud the following:

Father God, I thank you that you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I recognize I have come to agreement with lies. I take responsibility for believing that ______________ (fill in the blank). When I believed the lie, I felt _______________ (fill in the blank). I repent for entertaining negative thoughts and renounce the lie. Father God, I ask you to replace the lie with your truth. I thank you for your forgiveness and for your unfailing love. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I break any agreements I made with the enemy and ask for a fresh revelation of my identity in Christ. Amen.

Questions to pray and ponder over:

  1. Have you ever felt powerless or responsible for something that was not in your control? Repent and ask God to remove all spirits of accusation, false burden bearing, guilt and shame. And then give Him thanks and praise for setting you free.
  2. What are some things you can do to get the strength needed to get through a difficult time?
  3. Do you feel defeated in a situation right now?  How can you replace the lie that the enemy hoisted upon you with God’s truth and find strength in Him?

Pray out loud and ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to find a scripture then start meditating on it and let God’s truth take root in your heart. This is a good first step to start living free and victoriously!

If you want to learn more about finding strength through weakness, visit http://sonrisechurchandministries.sermon.net/main/main/20679990 to listen to a great teaching by John Aldridge, Senior Pastor of Son Rise Church and Ministries.

 

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.