Never Alone!

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Has there ever been a time in your life where you felt alone, abandoned or simply forsaken? Has anyone ever let you down you thought you may never recover? Have you ever trusted in someone so much yet the person couldn’t live up to your expectations? Have you ever been so devastated by someone’s selfish actions?

I have experienced all of the above during a painful time in my life. I had just given birth to my fourth child…a precious baby girl. My life was turned inside out and backwards when my husband; the person I thought would be there for me and for our family would leave the state for another woman. Not only that, but he would take my car fifty miles away and leave it at the airport while stealing the last few dollars I literally had out of my wallet.

The pain in the pit of my stomach was more than I could stand. This was devastating. Alone and feeling desperate, I couldn’t process what was happening. I had just given birth to this man’s child. How in the world does a person leave another during such a vulnerable time? Where were the compassion, the love and the sense of duty to stick through the good and bad times?

The painful memories still haunt me. I didn’t have enough diapers for my baby girl. I recall thinking “what in this world am I going to do?” This was truly one of the lowest points in my entire life. He wasn’t a good man and had many times hoped I’d be free of him, but the way this unfolded was just tragic.

Before I was left abandoned, this man verbally attacked me. Over and over he devalued me, telling me no one would ever want me. He degraded me, and I was convinced I was not someone worthy of anyone else. I was no good. The messages of not being enough and I would be alone forever echoed throughout my mind on constant repeat.

So now he’s gone, and instead of feeling relieved, I’m wondering if I would now be alone the rest of my life. Would I now be one of those spinster cat women you see on TV? I was blessed with four beautiful children, but I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d be known as the five musketeers from now on. So many questions ran through my mind, and the enemy was right there throwing so much chaos at me I didn’t know which way to turn.

I had felt abandoned and isolated as we had just moved out to the country. I was now away from the city and in a town of 600 people and cow pastures everywhere. I felt like I was on a Green Acres episode, and my name was Lisa. “New York is where I’d rather stay, I get allergic smelling hay.”

Ironically the town we moved to was called Godly. Hmmm… maybe this wasn’t a coincidence in my life. But at the time, all I knew is I had no husband, and I had no idea where God was.

Jesus tells us to call upon Him in Psalm 91:15. The promise is God will not only answer us, He will free and honor us! However, I cried out and could not hear or feel His presence. His Word instructs us to call on Him, yet all I heard was deafening silence. This only confirmed the ugly lies my husband spoke over me as I now believed I wasn’t worth of God’s love either.

But it would not be long before I would have an encounter that would show me the truth that nothing can separate us from God’s love. After husband left and I cried out to God, He showed up in a powerful way. His healing restoration started working in my life when a co-worker called and heard the loss in my voice. I guess it was too difficult for me to hide the feelings of devastation and betrayal. I didn’t have to hash out my feeling as this co-worker simply asked me if there was anything he could do to help.

I didn’t want to ask for anything, but my newborn baby girl only had a few diapers left and wouldn’t make it through the night. Reluctantly I asked if he would mind bringing me a couple of diapers. He came quickly with a big box and just comforted me. No expectations… just kindness.

Isn’t that just like the Lord? In Psalm 34:18 it says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God was right there, and He sent me someone to comfort me and freely provide the compassion and resources I desperately needed.

This experience taught me several key lessons:

  • God is always listening
  • He will always answer our prayers, even when we don’t think He is
  • He is always for us
  • I am His daughter, the daughter of the King
  • I am loved by God

People are all human although some don’t always act in the most humane ways. We will make mistakes. Some will fail us, disappoint us and hurt us. There is only one who will never abandon, and that is Jesus Christ. In fact Hebrews 13:5 tells us that Christ said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We are never alone.

And to make sure I knew I’d never be alone, God brought the co-worker to my door. That man, who showed me such sincere kindness, ultimately became my husband. And we have been happily married now for 16 years. I was never left to be the cat woman, and I was never left alone to single parent my four kids. I was given the desire of my heart.

John, my spouse, is the most kindhearted, compassionate, loving, responsible man that calls my children his own. He even adopted them and gave them his name… a reflection of how God adopts us when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior.

Even in my darkest moments, when I thought I was rejected and abandoned… I was never alone. The truth was then and is now simple: my God is always with me, and He is also always with you.

You might be going through a devastating experience right now, I can tell you from experience that our God is there with you in the midst. You might not be able to see Him, but let me assure you, He is there.

Even if you feel far from Him, He is there. Believe the scripture and believe me when I say, He will never leave you or forsake you. You can count on God when everything else might be chaos. Don’t listen to the chatter of the enemy, but instead listen for God’s still small voice and be comforted in His presence.

Courageous one, if it is time for you to receive God’s love, assured that He will never leave you or forsake you to strengthen you, simply repeat the prayer below, have faith in God’s truth and trust that God’s word will never condemn or harm you in anyway.

Father God, I thank you that you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I recognize that I have come into agreement with the lie, 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:

  1. Can you remember and describe a time in your life when you tried to hear God’s voice but couldn’t hear Him? What is one verse you can find that could help you in the future so that you never feel alone again?
  2. What are some lies about God that you might be believing that could be causing distance between you and the Father? What verses of the Bible could replace the lies with God’s truth?
  3. How can you usher in the presence of God to hear his voice clearly? Challenge yourself to ask God a question, sit quietly and wait for Him to answer. Make this a regular practice and watch Him draw near to you as you pursue Him.
  4. Do you know in your heart that God is a perfect Father? If you are not sure, reflect on His goodness and recall times He has shown you He is always with you.
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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.

You Are Truly Beautiful!

Shirley Temple c.1935

When I was six years old, we moved to Berlin, Germany, to where my dad, who was in the Airforce, was stationed. We were a long way from all that I held dear and called home – my friends, family, familiar surroundings and the comforts of American life.

Not long after settling in, my mom took me to get a haircut. I was so excited to have a new style ­– a short Pixie cut. It looked really pretty on the beautiful model in the picture we saw, and I just knew it would look that good on me.

After the blow dry, I whirled around the chair. My new look was revealed. What I saw staring back at me in the mirror was definitely not the model. I instantly burst into tears. I was devastated and cried out “I look like a boy.”

Gone were my beautiful blonde curly locks, and that initial reaction played over and over in my mind. “I look like a boy.” Instantly I began to believe I looked ugly. After all, I had gone from Shirley Temple to Jerry Mathers on Leave it to Beaver in the blink of an eye. This was a traumatic event for this six-year-old beauty, and as a result, the door was opened to the enemy.

The lie went from bad to worse – from looking ugly to being ugly. Soon the lies became “I am ugly.” This one lie haunted me throughout most of my life. When I came into agreement that I was not pretty, my heart was wounded. The scars from that day would impact my life for decades.

The truth was then and is not still the truth – I wasn’t ugly at all. I had been marked and labeled by the father of lies, and I unknowingly created a core image of myself that was in direct opposition to the Word of God. I believed I wasn’t beautiful.

What I didn’t understand at that young age was in God’s eyes we are all beautiful. We are all stunning pieces of artwork designed masterfully by the Creator of the Universe. In fact, it says in Psalm 139:14 that you and I are uniquely and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-16 of the Message translation so eloquently says:

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something… Before I’d even lived one day.

God’s Word says we are marvelously made! It’s really hard to wrap our minds around this concept, but isn’t it amazing that He stood in “awe” as He made each one of us? To be blown away by His creations means He must think we are His works of art – beautiful masterpieces.

Ephesians 2 confirms this for it is it written in verse 10, “For we are God’s masterpiece.”

A masterpiece by definition is a person’s greatest piece of work and anything done with masterly skill. So the Lord’s created piece of work is each one of us. How amazing is that?

I’ve often heard the phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This means each of us has our own opinion about beauty. But wouldn’t it be great if our only measure of beauty came solely from the One who created it?

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we learn God made every thing beautiful in His time. But what exactly does the word beautiful mean? It is defined as possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction. To see, hear, think about that which delights the senses or mind. Excellent of it’s kind; wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying.

Sadly it would take half my life before I realized the whisper of negativity in my mind was from the enemy. I had been listening to a liar and degrading my self worth – all while grieving the One who loved me most.

Earlier this year, I experienced a pivotal moment that tore down a major stronghold in my life. It was as if God spoke to me exactly like was spoken in Song of Solomon. “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.” (2:10-11)

One morning I was looking in the mirror putting on make-up and styling my hair. My daughter Heather had placed several sticky notes on the glass with some of God’s truths. One of them said, “You are beautiful.”

As I finished reading the last word a negative thought ran through my mind. “Remember that time when you didn’t put any make up on and didn’t style your hair very well? Did you feel beautiful that day?”

I suddenly had a sinking feeling in my stomach. That was not my thought, but rather it was a lying spirit. Was I going to continue on believing as that little six-year-old child did, or would I finally stand up and silence the accuser once and for all?

I stared at that paper and felt like God wanted me to arise! I finally allowed the truth to sink into my heart. I am God’s beautiful masterpiece. In an instant, I was free to accept my true identity. I am beautiful.

Do you recognize any areas in your life where the enemy speaks death? If so, what is the lie you have come into agreement with? What Bible verse could silence the negativity by replacing truth with the lie?

If it is time for you to arise, simply repeat the prayer below, have faith in God’s truth and know God’s Word will never condemn or harm you in any way.

Father God, I thank you that you the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I recognize that I have come into agreement with a lie. 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:

1. Where are your vulnerable places that you have felt pounded by the enemy?

2. What lies are you listening to from the enemy that steals your peace and joy?

3. What can you do to replace and cover those lies with God’s truth and love when the enemy comes at you?

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

He Loves Me. He Loves Me Not. He Loves Me!

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Never was there a princess so loved in the world! The day I was born it was as if you could hear the angels singing and rejoicing with my family! I was like royalty or from Hollywood the way everyone fussed over me with so much love.

Grandpa Keeney especially hung on my every word; he thought I was the cutest little girl ever. I recall him telling me, “You would say, “calk grandpa” when you wanted to take a walk or refer to my movie star sunglasses as ‘sasses’.” I was lavished with attention, and I liked it.

I was 12 years old when my parents divorced, and it was very traumatic. I was the oldest, and maybe because I had my parents all to myself, this hit me the hardest of all. As a result I started acting out behaviorally. I went from feeling like a princess to hearing the crickets in the darkness.

We went for a visit to my Grandparent’s home. One day I was called downstairs into Grandpa’s dimly lit office. My sister had made some long distance phone calls, and Grandpa thought I did it. I can still recall the accusations and harsh words. His voice was cold and stern. Scared, I told Grandpa I didn’t do it, but he didn’t believe me. I was crushed. Where was my doting Grandpa? The one that recited every sentence I spoke and made me feel so special. I didn’t know this man.

I was devastated for I was innocent! I proclaimed my innocence again, this time asking him to question others. He questioned my sister, “Suzie, honey did you make those phone calls?” She responded, “No Grandpa.” What? Were my ears deceiving me?

I was in disbelief. I wondered where was my grace? I was stunned at how sweet he was to her and how, he was so harshly accusing me.

To top it all off, my sister wasn’t telling the truth. Like all kids, I’m sure she was scared to come clean. And with the lie, Grandpa proceeds to have the same conversation with my sister Lisa who also denied making the calls. In the end, I was found guilty even though I was innocent, and a piece of my heart broke.

The truth regarding who made the phone calls came out, but the damage to me was done. I believed the lie Grandpa didn’t love me. I was unworthy of love due to my acting out. These lies would scar me and impact me for years to come.

Maybe a month later we journeyed on to Grandma Roberts’s house. I wasn’t sure what to expect during this visit, but God knew what I needed. My Grandma restored my tired soul and refreshed me.

She greeted us with warmth and displayed love, honor, dignity and respect. She respected the stage I was at in life – she even let me shave me legs for the first time, and I felt like I was inducted in to the hall of womanhood.

On the way to Grandmother’s house I was riddled in fear and reluctant to trust. My Grandpa’s harsh accusation and judgment had wounded my soul; my heart had been penetrated by the fiery darts of the enemy, and I wasn’t sure anyone would love me now.

Years later I reflected on those summer trips and how very different they were. First I learned how it felt to be wrongly accused and convicted because of preconceived perceptions. Then my Grandmother showed me a snippet of how God showers us with grace even when we don’t deserve it. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

I can imagine that God’s amazing love is so much greater than how it was when I was a baby. Lamentations 3:22-25 clearly spells it out:

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”

It’s just so sweet the way God used my Grandmother to help undo some of the damage done by my Grandpa. I was so grieved, yet the Lord brought me some redemption even when I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t do anything wrong at Grandpa’s, but remember I told you that I had been acting out. I felt shame for the way I had been acting. Did I deserve to be treated poorly? God says no, but I believed the lie that yes… I deserved punishment.

I should have been given the benefit of doubt. I should have been innocent until proven guilty. But I was deceived into believing I was loved based on condition and feeling. I longed to feel wholly loved and accepted for who I was.

As a result, I searched for unconditional love for years. I believed I wasn’t good enough, therefore love was always based on how I acted, whether I said the right things, wore the right clothes or behaved the way people wanted me to. I had to be perfect in someone’s eyes and meet all of their needs in order to be loved by them. This sadly set up a lot of co-dependent, unhealthy relationships.

I went through massive trauma and suffered though divorce because I was so wounded.

Freedom came when I realized the truth was I didn’t need the love of any person or man. What I had been longing for was God’s love. It was freeing to learn that He alone satisfies the desire of my heart. It says in, Psalm 21:2 “You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.” It’s God’s desire for us to love Him, and Him to love us.

Many of us struggle in our walk with God because we view Him as having the same traits as an authority figure. I was caught in a web of lies the enemy spun from my relationship with my Grandpa. I believed God could only love me conditionally just like Grandpa did. It was an easy lie to believe since it was Grandpa introduced me to God. He was a pastor – wouldn’t he be like God?

Do you believe God is distant? Do you see Him as a punisher? Cold? Distant? If you believe anything contrary to what the Bible teaches, it’s time that stronghold be broken! The truth is the God of the universe does not offer conditions to the love He has toward each one of us. He loves us more than we can ever comprehend.

In 1 John 4:8, the author proclaims, “God is love.” He chose us. He loves everything about us. His word says He created us with awe, thought about us and made each one of us unique and wonderful.

The truth is I am loved, and it is not based on condition. God loves me in my weakness and worst moments. And He loves you like that too!

Pressing into God’s love taught me that my identity was not associated with others perceptions of me. Only God’s opinion matters, and He says I am the apple of His eye.

I also discovered I really am a princess. I am His princess! I have been adopted into royalty. The good news is when you accept the love of God by way of His Son Jesus Christ you can be adopted into His vast royal Kingdom too.

Beloved one, are you sick of believing you don’t matter, don’t measure up and will never be worthy of love? It’s time to silence the accuser once and for all. To receive God’s love, simply repeat the prayer below, have faith and believe His Word will never condemn or harm you.

Father God, I thank you that your love is unfailing and not based on conditions. I recognize I have come into agreement with a lie that I am not worthy of love. I take responsibility for believing ______________ (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 in the might name of Jesus. 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. I thank you and give you all praise. Amen!

A next step:
If you are ready to feel the love of God in a deeper way, put some worship music on, start praising and worshiping God with all of your heart. God always shows up when we worship Him. When we praise God it is a labor of love that honors God, and honor begets honor. Spending time in a position of praise allows the Lord to fill you with His unfailing love until you are overflowing. If you are struggling, ask God to show any lies you believe about Him and sit quietly and listen for Him to respond. Clear your mind and just focus on quieting your mind from all the usual chatter. Allow yourself to be filled with His all consuming love, and I promise you’ll be glad you did. His presence will change your life.

Questions to pray and ponder:

  1. What is the condition of your relationship with God?
  2. In what ways have you experienced God’s love?
  3. How can you strengthen your faith and be assured of God’s love?

My Timeline to the Truth – Christians Will Face Hard Times

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It was a 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 suffering from postpartum depression 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 everything… 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 others 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.

 

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.