Resist the Enemy, Not the Storm

You can not fight a storm. But you can prepare for a storm and you can survive a storm.
I lived in South Florida for a few years, so I know how to prepare for a storm, especially in hurricane season.

I take stock and be sure I have plenty of water and food to hold me over, I check my batteries incase power goes out, I secure anything outside that could be caught in high winds and cause more damage, I secure my windows, fill my car with gas incase I need to evacuate, have a go bag ready, let family members know where I am, and plan an exit strategy. Then I hunker down and wait the storm out.

I don’t think there is ever an opportune time for a storm, but it is always best to be prepared and keep your calm. No amount of panic or complaining is going to stop the storm. It is a force to be reckoned with.

BUT! At the end of the storm the clouds do go away, the sun does come out, and even if there is some clean-up to do, you survived.

It’s interesting how we are prepared for the natural storms, but not the spiritual storms.

Different areas are known for certain storms, whether it be hurricane, tornado, flood, or fire. You know what to expect for the region you live in.

Likewise, if you are human then you are going to have some storms in your life. Your storm is going to be personal, but not limited to just you; we ALL have storms. Storms come in the form of an illness, death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, a wayward child, loneliness, depression, confusion, fear, anxiety…

Even change can be disconcerting and cause its own type of storm, like a change of life, a new job, a move, new school…

I am going to share something the Lord spoke to me during a personal storm. I was in my favorite chair, reading my Bible and devotional, and then BAM!

“Resist the enemy, not the storm.”

If you have ever been caught in a rip current, then you know the feeling of panic and fear. An inexperienced swimmer tries to swim against the flow of the current, exhausting themselves and increases their chance of drowning. It is a scary thing to be pulled away from shore, but if the swimmer swims at a right angle, across the current, parallel to the shore, they will survive.

Storms in life can feel like you are caught in a rip current; and the current is carrying you away from what is familiar.  You may try to hold on to what (or who) is being pulled away, and you panic, setting your focus on the storm rather than the One who controls the storm. Big mistake! You can no more control a storm than you can catch the wind in your hand. But there is One, and only One, who can control the storm and is never caught off guard. You can be sure no storms come unless He permits it.

“Resist the enemy, not the storm.”

I am thinking about the disciples in the boat with Jesus when a storm broke out. Can you imagine? Waves crashing over the boat, the swells in the sea rising and falling, the sky so dark not a star can be seen, I would be terrified. The disciples were afraid, too. But where was Jesus?

In the Amplified, Matthew tells it this way:

When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being covered by the waves; but Jesus was sleeping. And the disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us, we are going to die!”

He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was [at once} a great and wonderful calm {a perfect peacefulness}.

The men wondered in amazement, saying, “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Wow! The disciples were caught in a storm, Jesus was in the boat with them, and Jesus calmed the storm.

“Resist the enemy, not the storm.”

When we are in a storm, we are tempted to doubt God’s promises. We are tempted to think He does not notice the storm and we must take matters into our own hands. Or we get scared and think God has abandoned us. Maybe the storm has caused so much pain you look to other supplies of comfort, or you get angry and open your mouth and start acting… well, you know.

You would do well to remember this:

  • The thoughts you are having; you know the ones, the thoughts that paralyze you with fear and doubt, and go against what the word of God says; they are coming from the enemy of God and your soul. You must take captive your thought and resist the enemy.
    2 Corinthians says “The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ, being ready to punish every act of disobedience, when your own obedience [as a church] is complete.

The Bible says it this way in James 4:7, “So submit to {the authority of} God. RESIST the devil {stand firm against him} and he will flee from you.

  • God will not leave you alone in the storm. When you are in a storm, this is when He is the closest to you. Do not measure your circumstance by your feelings. Psalm 34:18 encourages us with this promise, “The Lord is near to the heartbroken and He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in their heart, truly sorry for their sin).
  • Just because you are going through an uncomfortable season, and yes, it is painful, but it does not mean that He loves you less. God is a good Father, and if a storm comes it is because He allowed it. You can believe that He will use the storm for your good and His glory, if you let Him. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know {with great confidence} that God {who is deeply concerned about us} causes all things to work together {as a plan} for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
  • Even Jesus had storms in His life as He walked the earth as man. It would do us well to remember He said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have {perfect} peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous {be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy}; I have overcome the world.” {My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.}

Friend, no matter what storm you are in, you are not alone, He will carry you through. Do not give in, do not give up. Stand! Make the devil pay for messing with you. Do not give in to your emotions. You will feel the emotions, the emotions are not bad, feel them and give them to Jesus. He knows. He understands. Resist the impulse to do what seems natural, and move in the supernatural, and you can only do this by keeping your focus on Jesus and not the storm.

How do I keep my focus on Jesus?’

Consider Psalm 27, written by a man who had fearless trust in God even when the armies were encamped around him. David knew that only God alone could save him. I recommend reading the whole Psalm, but my favorite verse is 8. David must have asked God the same questions we ask Him, and this was His answer, and this was his response…

“When You said, “Seek My face {in prayer, require My presence as your greatest need},” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I will seek {on the authority of Your word}.”

Do not try to swim against the current, you will only wear yourself out. Instead, lay back, look up, and let God carry you through. I am not suggesting you sit there like a tree stump, because faith is a verb, I am saying to posture yourself before your God and King, submit yourself to Him, and wait for His instructions and His victory to manifest.

Again, I say, resist the enemy, not the storm.

If this post encouraged you, please hit like, share, and leave a comment below.  

Be Free & Stay Free

God and Mercurochrome

Premium Vector | Boy and girl riding bicycle together, exercise for good  health

I was a tomboy when I was young. I was always outside riding my big wheel or bike, playing baseball, freeze-tag; anything that involved being outside and running.

There was a neighbor boy, Johnny, and we would ride bikes together. I forgot to mention I have a bit of a competitive streak, so naturally when Johnny wanted to have a bike race, I was all for it.

So there we are, racing down the road, our legs pumping, the wind blowing in our face, the imaginary crowd going wild, and I was in the lead. And then it happened…

Bike Crash Cartoon Vector Images (75)

My tire hit a rock and I went flying. Ouch! I was skinned up, my knees were bleeding, my forehead above my eyebrow was bleeding (I still have a little scar), my pride laid in a heap on the ground. Johnny was a good friend; he pushed my bike home for me as I limped down the road crying.

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As much as the scraped knees and cut forehead hurt, it was nothing compared to the spit fire that was coming. Are you old enough to remember Mercurochrome? It was awful. My father chased me around the house to clean my cuts and apply some good ol’ devils fire to kill any germs. Even with my cries of “No, no, no!” He picked me up, sat me on the kitchen sink, cleaned my cuts, and bandaged me up.

I think I remember this so well because of what happened after. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so anytime we went out to eat it was a special treat. To make me feel better, my father took us out for dinner; and guess what… I got to pick the restaurant! The pain from the bike wreck went away, but one thing that did remain was the memory of the after. My father wasn’t trying to torture me (even though it felt like it at the time), he was helping me. Then to apply the medicine of love he took me out to eat.

God speaks to me when I read the Bible, and as odd as it may sound, He brought this memory back to me with the verse from Jeremiah.

“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you,” says the Lord, “thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” -Jeremiah 29:11

Sometimes when our world comes crashing down around us it is easy to think we are being punished. Especially when we know we have to let go of some things… or someone. Or maybe the letting go was not your choice and you are feeling a loss, betrayal, and rejection.

Just like when I was running away from my father so he couldn’t put the “medicine” on my wounds, we run from God. “Please, God, don’t take this (you fill in the blank) from me.” We plead. Even when we know what we are holding on to is hurting us, we are afraid of the pain of healing.

This is what I hear God saying, “I know the plans I have for you, My thoughts are for you, I am for you, and though it may hurt, I promise you if you let go of (you fill in the blank) and give it to me, I will replace it with hope and the final outcome will not be more injury, but healing, wholeness, and purpose.” (My paraphrase of Jeremiah 29:11)

Whatever it is that you are holding on to, and you are afraid to let go because it has become your normal, please know this: Gods plans for you are so much higher than you can ever imagine. And yes it might hurt, the healing process is just that… a process, but if you allow Him to clean your wounds, you will heal and His joy will come. Why? Because with Him you have hope in your final outcome.

Be Free & Stay Free

Guard Your Heart

Guarding your heart; I wonder if we really know what this means. You usually hear people say this when talking to someone about “relationships”. 

The conversation goes something like this:

“I met someone and I am just not sure….”

or “They said they were sorry, but…”

To which the well intentioned, but often misinformed person will respond with:

“OK, but guard your heart.”

To guard your heart in the context well meaning friends advice, is to withhold forgiveness, acceptance, understanding, and love. You see, love is not love if it is given in limited measure, or with stipulations. To guard your heart in this manner is bondage. It is not perfection, and there is no freedom; only moments or cycles of feeling good, happy, contentment. Honestly, it is selfish and fearful.

The Bible says it this way, there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears is not made perfect in love.

The Bible has much to say about our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life.

In the context of scripture, to keep our heart with all diligence is literally more than guarding it. It is to make sure it doesn’t get away (into wild imaginations and/or bitterness), and to keep it safe from attack (not closed to love, but protected from attacks of the enemy that will whisper lies and suspicions).  In Hebrew, the heart is the location of knowledge and the preconscious source of decisions.

Your heart is who you truly are. If you want to test the health of your heart, or know who you truly are, then listen to the words that come from your mouth; out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

What Is the Perfect Book in the Bible for Those Who Are Afraid? | CBN.com
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. -Psalm 139:23-24

Jesus said He gives us His peace. Now His peace is not like the world. The world can not offer us this kind of peace. His peace passes all understanding, and it is His promise to us no matter the circumstance. When you allow the Holy Spirit to move and operate in your heart, you will soon see that you do not have to keep your heart under lock and key, you will be FREE, to love like Jesus loves, forgive like Jesus forgives, live like Jesus lives, and trust the Father like Jesus does.

So how do you keep your heart? First, you need a new heart, and that can only come through a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.

  1. Repent. Stop (sinning) doing the stuff that stands between you and Jesus.
  2. Pray. Talk with Jesus. Be honest with Him about your feelings. Then Listen for Him to speak to you.
  3. Read your Bible. Don’t just read it for the sake of reading it, but study it. I recommend having a pen and pad handy to write down the things that come to your mind, this is a way the Holy Spirit speaks to you. Underline and study the verses that jump out at you.
  4. Meditate on His word. As you go about your day, think about what you read in the Bible. I like to journal and write down scripture that “jumps out” to me, and then I carry that journal in my bag and I read it throughout the day, or when I am at an appointment and waiting; keep it handy.
  5. Put into practice what you are learning from Scripture and your time with the Lord in prayer.

And that, my friend, is what it means to guard your heart. Consecrate your heart to God and you wont get tripped up in the worlds definition of guarding your heart. Now this is peace, real peace.

Be Free & Stay Free

The Problem With Dead Things

woman-by-grave

(This is a rewrite of an old post I wrote on another blog, but still relevant)

I once knew someone who used to carry a corpse around with her. Everywhere she went people would say, “Ew! What is that smell?”

“What smell? I don’t smell anything.” She would answer, as she sprayed perfume into the air.

“It smells like decay.” They would point at the corpse. “Shouldn’t you just bury that thing?”

“Oh no!” She would answer, as she tried to prop the corpse in an upright position. “It’s not dead, it’s just resting.”

Soon people began to avoid her. They would look at her with raised brow as she continued to talk to the corpse and try to feed it.

Her friends would gather together and talk about how someone has got to do something. They wanted to help her, but she refused to acknowledge the corpse was dead. Every time they would invite her places she would slow them down, because a corpse is heavy to carry, after all.

After awhile, even she began to notice the weight of the corpse, and yea, so maybe it did stink… a little. She began to miss her friends and the things she used to do. This dead thing was weighing her down. But, she didn’t know how to let go of it.

As you can imagine, if you carry a dead thing around for awhile, an infection is going to start to set in. This is what was happening with this person. She began to get sick. Her mind got cloudy, she could no longer think about anything else but that stinkin’ corpse. Her heart beat slower and she struggled to even breathe. Sleep eluded her, because it is not very peaceful laying next to a rotting thing.

But she held onto the dead thing for so long that she didn’t know if she could ever get used to life again without it. “It was alive once,” she reasoned, “maybe if I carry it awhile longer it will come back to life.”

The problem with dead things is… well, they are dead. There is no longer life in them. Eventually they will have to be buried. The living can not coincide with the dead. Besides, dead things make bad companions.

Finally she agreed to call the Physician. “Please help me.” She cried. “No matter what I do, I can’t revive this corpse.”

The Physician, with great care and love, looked her in the eyes, and with a gentle hand on her shoulder, said “Give me the corpse and I will heal you. Let Me have it, you were not meant to carry this.”

Slowly, and with much tears, she let go of the corpse. The Physician picked her up and held her. He comforted her with words of love and promise. He replaced the stench of death with the aroma of future. He stood her on her feet and she began to feel her strength renewed. Soon her tears stopped and her grief was replaced with joy.

Do not let the stench of something dead follow you around. Do not be afraid to let go of the corpse you carry. Because, trust, there is life even after death. Let it go. Give it to Him, the Great Physician, Jesus. Only then will your heart and your soul begin to heal.

Be Free & Stay Free

Why I Wrote The Distance

dear-reader

When I first started to write The Distance, I was writing it for the young runaways. My protagonist is a young runaway named Sarah, and I started writing from her perspective, because I wanted the reader to be able to relate to her; to understand her. I also wanted the reader to see how God cares for those who are unseen, and very often unheard and misunderstood.
As I wrote other characters into the story another perspective came to surface, and this perspective came in the form of a still small voice, wooing her and leading her steps. You see, Sarah, like most people who have been wounded deep in the soul, didn’t think thatidentity she was worthy of love and acceptance. Most of what she experienced was fear and rejection. Because of this fear, she had to pretend to be someone she was not. At such a young age how could she possibly know what her real identity is? Are you like Sarah? Have you tried to fake it until you make it for so long that you have just become a shell of yourself? Have you lost your identity?
Rejection twists the truth and distorts your reality, so that not only do you begin to believe the lie that it tells you, but it also blinds you to the truth of who you were created to be. Then in your own self-protection you push the very One who loves you away; you unwittingly reject the One who can heal your wounds. Oh, you don’t mean to do this, but it happens.
My hope for everyone who reads my story is to know and believe that no matter what your past is, it does not have to dictate your future. Even if you were rejected by the very ones who were supposed to love and care for you, my prayer is that you will know the One who will never reject you. If you are hurting, there is a Healer. If you are lonely and afraid, there is a Comforter. If you have never known the love of a father, there is One you can call Abba Father. You do not have to live in fear, because He is your Protector.
God can love you through other people. And God can use words from a book.
If you can relate to anything I said, and you would like to read about Sarah, I invite you to read my book The Distance, A Runaways Journey to Salvation. It will be released at  major retailers on July 5th, but you can get your copy now by clicking HERE. I do hope my story blesses you. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. If the story spoke to you, please leave a review on page. Be blessed!

Be Free & Stay Free

Celebrating My First Book Release

Join with me on my happy dance.

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After years of writing, shelfing, re-writing, and shelfing, and rewriting… my book has finally been published!

I am thrilled! SLKessler-72dpi-1500x2000

My prayer is that my story speaks to the heart of the reader and brings healing to those who have been wounded by rejection.

Although my story is fiction, the truth of what fear and rejection can do is very real for so many.  Like Sarah, the main character, many of us have learned to hide behind masks and “re-create” ourselves to be whoever we feel we need to be at the moment. In the striving to be accepted we lose our identity.

For some, like Sarah, the wounds to the soul begin early in life. No matter if the abuse was emotional, verbal, or physical, it will leave a scar, and it will impact the rest of your life.

Do you ever wonder why, no matter how hard you try, you find yourself in one failed relationship after another? Or maybe you are stuck and afraid of moving forward. Do you talk yourself out of opportunities because you are afraid you will fail, so you don’t even try?

Fear is a crippling thing.

I invite you to join Sarah on her journey to salvation.

Sarah is a runaway from home. She is running from an abusive father. She is surviving on the streets, finding shelter and food wherever she can find it. To survive she has to pretend to be someone she is not. She has no idea what love looks like or what a normal family is, she only has her imagination to go by, and so she searches for a place where she can belong. Unfortunately, rejection has left it’s mark on her and she is afraid to be honest with the very people who can help her. What if they knew the real her? Would they reject her, too? And what about the voice she keeps hearing, is it all in her mind?And if God is real then why does He allow bad things to happen? She wants to believe, but she fears He will reject her, too. But God has a plan and purpose for young Sarah, and no matter how far she runs, unbeknownst to Sarah, God directs her path to Him.

My friend, what are you running from? Are you physically present, but you have hid yourself so well that healing eludes you? There is One who can and will heal your most inner parts and reveal the you He created you to be.

The Distance is scheduled for release with major retailers on July 5th. However, to show my appreciation for my friends and followers, I have launched an exclusive pre-sale so you may read it before the rest of the public.

You can purchase your copy by clicking HERE. I look forward to your feed back. If the story spoke to you, please leave me a review on my Smashwords author page HERE, or leave a comment below.

Please like and follow my facebook page for upcoming books and promotions.

Be Free & Stay Free

Beware of false prophets

Acts

A great persecution arose against the church and they were scattered…
Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word…
And there was great joy in the city!
(see Acts 8:1-8)

Is persecution a primer for revival? Does it take persecution to shake us out of our comfort zones and complacency?

Persecution will expose the true followers of Jesus Christ!

It will expose and remove the self & man appointed “positions” of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher.

God appointed AND anointed Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Teachers can NOT and will NOT be silenced! They will rise-up and take the WORD to the streets. They do NOT need a “building” or approval from man. They will NOT be silenced!

Are you a disciple of Jesus? Are you a follower of Jesus?

Persecution will separate the wolves and the puppets from the REAL. Persecution brings RELIANCE on the HOLY SPIRIT. They will preach the FULL GOSPEL message which WILL bring REPENTANCE unto SALVATION.
(See Matthew 7:15-20)

False prophets preach “good news”.
God’s prophets preach the Good News.

False prophets want title and recognition. They want a “following”.
God’s prophets preach Christ and Christ alone. They point to Him and give Him glory and honor.

False prophets shun discomfort. They will preach peace when there is no peace.
God’s prophets find their comfort in Christ. In love, they are concerned for your soul more than your feelings. They seek the approval of God rather than the approval of man.

My friends, I truly believe we are living the days of which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24. There is a shaking happening. And soon the shaking is going to be felt by all of us.
Do NOT get sidetracked or frightened by what you are seeing in the headlines. On the surface it looks like a political war, the left against the right, wrong against right, and confusion and tyranny has entered the camp. BUT… nothing happens without God’s permission.

It is easy to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14: IF My people, who are called by my name, shall luke-21-28-david-normanhumble themselves, pray, and seek MY face AND turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven , and will heal their land.

But are we who are called by His name truly humbling ourselves, praying, and seeking His face? Or are we getting caught up in all the media hype, self-medicating ourselves with distractions, opinions, t.v., or you fill in the blank? Is the enemy lulling us asleep? I am not asking this as a question of judgement, but to exhort us, the CHURCH, to do some soul searching and be brave enough to ask God to search us, know our hearts, try us and know our thoughts, and see if there is any wicked way in us. (Psalm 139:23-24)

What a wonderful time we live in! The world is in need. Only Jesus can meet their need. We live in a sick and dying world and we have the cure… Jesus Christ!
Enough with the contention and division in the church. The time for fence walking is coming to an end. Choose this day who you will serve!

Beware who you align yourselves with. Those smooth talkers, shaking your hand and patting you on the back, tickling your ears and telling you God understands your sin, they are leading you straight to hell. Beware of those who preach salvation without the need for repentance, if you are not broken over your sin then I question if you are even saved. You can not have your cake and eat it too! No, you can eat your cake… but if you are not  tasting the goodness of Jesus, then what you eat will kill you.

Friends, Jesus died once, He will not die again. When He hung on that cross for our sins it was finished. He finished it. When He rose from the grave He defeated death and sin. He paid the penalty for ALL sin for those who believe on Him. And He will return, He will come for His Church, His Bride, but when He comes again He is not coming as a baby in a manger, He is coming as a roaring Lion! You do not want to find yourself an enemy to God when He comes back. There will be hell to pay, believe me… No, don’t just take my word for it, believe His Word:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’
Use this time wisely,  seek Him, hear from Him. We pray for laborers, because the harvest is ripe. Tag! You are it! We are it! We are the laborers! Go!

Be Free & Stay Free

Second Chances

2nd chance

I just love a good testimony, don’t you? I love to hear how God is moving in someone’s life and blessing them.

Earlier today, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a friends post. Reading his story inspired me and I asked him if I could share it with you.

You see, some of you might  think you blew it. You think you have been given so many chances, and God can’t, or won’t, give you another chance. You carry regret, shame, and self-condemnation like a badge of dishonor. If you can lay that badge down for a minute and read Curtis’s testimony about a God of second chances (and third, and fourth…), I believe you will be encouraged and reminded that God has not overlooked you, and in His timing, and for His purpose and glory, He will work ALL things together for YOUR good, because you love Him and are called according to His purpose. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Thank you, Curtis P, for allowing me to share your story.

 

A TESTIMONY ON WAITING ON GOD NO MATTER WHAT!

 

I’ve been waiting 4 years, faithfully, for God to bring someone back into my life. Someone special to do life with. I’m sharing this because it’s the present revelation of Gods great love for me in my current life. Also, I know there are many out there, like me, that have had failed relationships; maybe many failed relationships… one after the other. I am hoping my story will bring hope to at least one person.

 

I am going to be transparent and share some painful points in my life AND the promises of God that carried me through the pain. Especially how God can still bring us someone special after so much has gone wrong and He gives us another chance to have it go right.
Well here goes…

 

I was married for almost thirteen years. Because of addiction, chronic illnesses, regular life stresses, and slowly drifting from passionate devotion to God and each other, my marriage ended. On March 15, 2015, my wife said she was leaving me, and two days later she took our daughter and never came back. Understand this, my wife leaving does not make her the bad guy. At first, I blamed her for leaving. But then I understood why she needed to get out of the situation. My addiction was killing me and our marriage.

I had an addiction problem since the age of fourteen, I am now forty-one years old, and within the last five years I have found freedom in Christ. He has broken chain after chain in my life as I walk with Him. In the past five years God has shown me His amazing, redemptive, and restoring power, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Through prayer, trusting, and waiting on God, my relationship with my beautiful daughter, who is now fourteen and lives with her wonderful mom, has been restored. We have the closest relationship and love for each other than I could have imagined. I am also FREE from addiction to opioids and heroin, PRAISE GOD!

God has restored my call to ministry to worship, Disciple men, and serving my church and community. Again, this is from prayer, trusting, and waiting on God.

Finally, after four years of waiting, God answered another prayer and brought someone special into my life; the most beautiful, God passionate, smart, giving, selfless, committed, curtis pic 2precious, valuable, tender, humble, sensitive, woman, who shares a story of redemption like mine; once broken, now wholly restored.

I have been praying, trusting, and waiting on God faithfully. In His loving kindness, and according to His promise, He has answered. It is with thankfulness I now say, I have truly found the one my soul longs for. (Song of Solomon 3:4).

To those who are still waiting on God’s perfect timing, be encouraged, and know this:

If we delight in Him (wait), He will give us the desires of heart. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (wait). If we humble ourselves under His great hand (wait), in due season He will exalt us, that is, lift us to a place where we can shine bright for His great love and evident faithfulness to us. Showing off His love for us by our lives being brought from death into life, allowing us to walk out right before our own eyes and others, how great is the love expressed through salvation; completely fulfilled, grateful, and blessed beyond measure; purpose driven, God focused, Kingdom delivering, life giving and life changing person in to existence… and that person is me.

This is what Jesus died and rose again to give us, a relationship with Him, and living waters of life.

We can all walk in what I am walking in and find a life in Christ that is worth living and dying for. A life so full and filling that it overwhelms and overflows into everyday and everyone we encounter, showing this broken world that a loving God undeniably exists. Through His Son you can live the full purposed life and inspire in every way, to be His witness.

WAIT ON HIM! So long as it takes and as hard as it can get. Keep praying, believing, trusting, and crying out. I hope you find hope, faith, and love in God. What He did for me He can do for you.

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For more information about Curtis’s ministry, you can reach him through Dwelling Place Church, Discipleship Freedom Homes for Men & Women struggling with life controlling issues. Millville, NJ 856-300-5262

 

Be Free & Stay Free

 

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Let Go & Grab Hold

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Being stuck is an unsettling feeling. It can feel like being stuck in a tar pit and no matter how hard you try you can’t lift your feet out of it. It grips you with the tentacles of anxiety, fear, depression, regret, despair…

I have never seen quicksand, but in movies, someone gets stuck in quicksand and the more they struggle to free themselves the quicker the quicksand pulls them down. “Don’t struggle, stay still.” Someone yells. Then the hero grabs a tree branch like a life preserver and says, “Grab hold, I will pull you out.”

Have you ever heard the phrase Point of No Return? Used in aviation it is a point in flite where a plane can not turn back to the starting point, but must continue forward, because to turn back would be dangerous, impossible or difficult, or prohibitively expensive.

Could you imagine being the pilot on the plane that is experiencing mechanical failures and does not have the fuel to return to point A and must continue forward with the uncertainty if they will make it and land safely? Do you feel like that pilot now? Is your fuel running low and the rug has been pulled out from under you and you are free falling and you’re not sure how you could possibly survive this? You can’t go back and you’re too tired to go forward?

I am writing this post to those who are hurting from broken relationships. This is to the wounded souls that have been discarded and feel stuck; you want to move forward, but you struggle to let go. What are you holding on to?

There is so much information about toxic relationships and narcissism that I am not going to focus on that in this post. If you are feeling stuck, then I think it is a given you have just come through a damaging relationship, and rather than drill the past, I want you to look at the horizon and move forward.

You have to reach a point when you can shake the dust off your shoes and move towards healing and wholeness. You know when you have reached the point of no return. You know if you continue the cycle of love bombing to discarding to hoovering to love bombing to discarding to hoovering to love bombing to discarding… it will destroy you. Nothing will change until you make the choice to change.

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It is not a good feeling to know you have been deceived and discarded like yesterdays trash. I get it, because I have been there. Sometimes you have to say, “Hey, it’s not me, it’s you.” And walk away. No, second thought, don’t walk, run! Get out of there!

Don’t stay stuck, grab the tree branch and let someone help pull you out of the pit.

1. There are licensed counselors, and/or pastors, out there that can help you. If you find yourself stuck in the pattern of a toxic relationship, please get help. If your mind is stuck like a broken record and you struggle to think clearly and you can’t stop obsessing, please get help. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself because the pain is consuming you, get help immediately!
2. Take inventory. Do not count what has been lost but look at what remains and then build on it. You may have lost yourself a bit while you were in the relationship, but I assure you, you are still in there somewhere, find you and set you free.
3. Those things you used to enjoy doing but quit, start doing them again. Learn something new.
4. The friends you lost to the relationship, contact them. You may have to apologize to them, but your friends know you and love you, they will understand and come back around you and support you.
5. It is OK to grieve. Your heart was hurt, acknowledge that. It was real. But, my friend, do not stay there. Cry it out, scream if you have to, but then wash your face and stand up and walk forward.
6. Set goals. Start easy. Maybe early goals are to wake up by a certain time in the morning and make your bed, take a walk, call a friend, it doesn’t have to be a five year plan when you just need to get through the day. I think you will find that after awhile it will get easier.
7. Take care of yourself. Get rest. (BUT DON’T SLEEP TOO MUCH.) Eat healthy, stay away from sugary sweets. Drink plenty of water. Stay away from alcohol, or any other self-medication, trust me, it wont help, it just creates a whole new set of problems.
8. Do not date. One of the worse things you can do is get back out there and enter into another relationship. You need time to heal. Date too soon and you might find the cycle continuing, but with a different person. You are vulnerable right now and vulnerable people do not make healthy choices.

I found these resources to be helpful. Check them out.
RC Blakes Jr.
Richard Grannon
Surviving Narcissism

As a born-again Christian, I do have to tell you, if it were not for my relationship with Jesus Christ, I would have never made it through. When the Bible talks about peace that passes all understanding and how to attain it, I can testify that it is true.

And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.
Philippians 4:7-9

There is only one way to know this kind of peace, and that is through Jesus, for He said:

Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] -John 14:27

If you would like to know how you can have a relationship with Jesus, you can email me at stacey@crookedplacesstraight.com

Be Free & Stay Free

Benefits of His Hug

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I just finished watching one of my favorite shows. OK, don’t judge me, I like to watch Criminal Minds. Are there any other fans out there?

 
Anyway, this episode, Dr. Spencer Reid had to reveal some struggles he had to an unsub. For those of you who watch the show, you know the relationship he has with his mom and the back story. At the end of the show, after the bad guy was caught, Morgan (another character in the show) gave Reid a hug, and during the hug he said, “You know…” and he didn’t have to finish the sentence because Reid knew what he was saying. Reid, who does not like the close contacts of hugs, then embraced the hug and comfort of a friend. For that moment, he was able to be safely vulnerable.

 
I like hugs. I didn’t always. Because a person does have to place themselves in a certain vulnerable position to receive a hug. I am talking about real hugs, not the meet and greet and sideway hugs we give on Sunday mornings. It wasn’t until years ago when God started to heal my heart that I would really embrace a hug. I don’t think I am wrong in saying that Hugs are a gift from God.

 
According to an article written by Erica Cirino,  in Healthline, there are benefits to hugs.
1. Hugs reduce stress by showing you support
2. Hugs may protect you against illness
3. Hugs may boost your heart health
4. Hugs can make you happier
5. Hugs help reduce your fears
6. Hugs may help reduce your pain
7. Hugs help you communicate with others

 

The article goes on to suggest that we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day for growth. Is it any wonder why God said it is not good for man to be alone?

 

But what do we do if we are alone and we have no one to hug?

 

Sometimes it seems like we must be super spiritual and have an answer for everything. As if it is a weakness to admit we are running on empty, feeling alone, and in need. Shew, I am guilty of giving the “Well, let me answer you in Bible verses,” kind of help. And while scripture does hold all the answers to every question we have, sometimes we just need a hug.

 

What if you don’t have the emotional energy to praise your way through it? And for whatever reason, you don’t have someone to give you a hug. Sometimes you just need a hug; not advice or opinion, just a hug.

 

There was a time in my life when I was going through a rough time. It was a matter of the heart and I was struggling with depression from a broken heart. I didn’t have the energy to turn on the worship music and worship my way out of it. I didn’t have the strength to praise my way out of it. Even though I knew the Word, my mouth couldn’t open to speak my way out of it. Have you ever been there?

 

I knew God was with me, because I believed His Word, but I felt so alone. It was during my darkest time that I experienced Psalm 34:18 up close and personal.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He delivers those whose spirits have been crushed.

 

At night, when I would go to bed, I would hold my Bible to my chest and hug it as I fell asleep. Don’t misunderstand me, to me it was like I was hugging Jesus. The Lord knew I was hurting. My hug spoke what my words could not.

 

Can I just tell you what the Lords hug feels like? It feels like peace. It feels like hope. It feels like love.

 
Yes, I believe hugs are a gift from God. If you have no one to give you a hug, I encourage you to open your heart and let the One who created the hug, and is the BEST HUG GIVER, to hug you with His presence through the Holy Spirit, where no words are necessary.
Believe me, His hug will comfort and heal you and the benefits are eternal.

 

 

Be Free & Stay Free