Frozen Rage

I am not Bill Foster, but I will admit there have been times I could certainly relate to him.

For those who do not know who Bill Foster is, he is a fictional character played by Michael Douglas in the movie Falling Down. In the movie, Bill was having a bad day (to put it mildly), and everyone who crossed his path that day came to reckoning to everything Bill perceived to be wrong with the world, and by projecting what he could not control – he snapped.

Do you ever feel like Bill? You ever think just one more thing, one more letdown, one more disappointment, failure, wrong look, or tone of voice, and you are going to unleash all the frozen rage that has been building up inside of you for years?

I remember when I was in a toxic unhealthy relationship, I kept making excuses for his bad behavior because his actions didn’t coincide with his word, promises, or my hope. I’ve always been a “glass half full” kind of person. While optimism can be a good thing, there is a line that can be crossed from reality into an unhealthy partnership with the enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy you.

The Bible has something to say about this is in Proverbs 13:12:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.”

I used to quote this verse as an explanation of why I was so disappointed, sad, angry, and depressed. Although there is truth to this, my mind believed a lie that any man, person, or position should ever be the object of my hope.

Man is a frail thing. Our mind can only believe to the extent it is healthy. An unhealthy mind will believe a person’s words even though their actions and life contradict what is coming out of their mouth. A person with a distorted view of themselves will foolishly accept a false apology instead of repentance. So when the inevitable happens, the relationship ends, the cycle is rekindled in another relationship, and ta-da… hope deferred again.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear because fear has torment. He who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Dear Reader, perfect love comes only through God the Father. It is in His love that we are safe, secure, validated, and free. Surely, God loves us through others, but if you put your hope in any other but God, your heart will be sick.

No doubt the condition you find yourself in was probably rooted in you from childhood. You have been conditioned to accept the unacceptable and believe love must hurt. If you keep believing the lie and stuffing your emotions instead of taking it to Jesus, you will eventually be like Bill and snap. The rage that you have kept buried under heaps of disappointment will erupt and the overflow of wrath will consume you.

Allow me to paraphrase Proverbs 13:12… Placing your hope in man will make your heart sick, but when your desire and trust are in Jesus, you will find shade, shelter, refuge, and refreshing in the tree of life, because hope in Him never disappoints.

Where are you now? What is the barometer of your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health? Do you feel stuck in the swamp of bitter disappointment, hopelessness, anger, regret, depression, and confusion? Are you ready to step off the merry-go-round of dysfunction? There is hope!

James 4:8 says to draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Psalm 34:18 says the Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Only you can decide to move forward to be healthy and become all God has created you to be.

There is a saying, “Those who think they can, and those who think they can’t, are both right.”

You can, but only with Jesus. Everything else is a temporary substitute that will never wholly satisfy the God-given desire of being fully known and still fully loved.

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” -Matthew 5:4

Let your frozen rage melt under the powerful love of God. Experience and know His comfort and be restored, changed, and live life to the fullest.

Let your hope be realized!

Be Free & Stay Free

When the Scapegoat Escapes

 Is Scapegoating a Real Thing?

Yes, and many adult child abuse survivors have experienced this very real form of abuse that attacks the self-worth of the inner child that needs healing and still yearns to be loved, accepted, and validated. It is to the survivors and those who love and want to understand them that I write this post.

Where did the term “scapegoat” come from?

The word was first coined by William Tyndale in 1530 when he wrote the first translation of the Hebrew Bible into English. He came across the escape goat, later shortened to scapegoat, in the Torah.

Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord, the other lot for the scapegoat. Then Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell for the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement on it; it shall be sent into the wilderness as the scapegoat.  Leviticus 16:8-10 (Amplified)

One goat was slaughtered/sacrificed/designated to the Lord. The other would have the sins of the community symbolically placed upon him and sent away; this brought atonement to the community.

While we no longer sacrifice animals to atone for our sins, thanks be to God for His Son, Jesus, who shed His own innocent blood on the cross as the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins, this does still serve to illustrate why dysfunctional families still appoint the role of scapegoat upon an innocent child.

There is no rhyme or reason how a scapegoat is chosen, but, certainly, it is NEVER the child’s fault, rather it is the deep-seated root in the dysfunctional family from the hands of the abusive parent(s).

The child’s worth and lovableness are ignored, and their basic need of acceptance, love, and protection is denied. The child is bullied, neglected, ridiculed, and abused, as their invalidation is sealed through blame for the family’s dysfunction.

“If it weren’t for you Daddy wouldn’t have left.”
“It’s your fault Daddy is mad.”
“If you were a good girl Mommy would love you.”
“Why can’t you be more like….?”

Sound familiar?

An insecure sadistic parent may choose to scapegoat the child who is sensitive, attractive, and smart because this child represents what the parent is not and is a threat to expose their lack. A narcissistic parent may choose to assign the role of the scapegoat who, in the parent’s sick mind, does not boost the public image of the family. Or the child may simply remind them of their shortcomings, or resemble an ex. Again, being the family scapegoat is NEVER the child’s fault, nor does it lessen their value as a human being.

It cannot be over-emphasized that in a dysfunctional family it is the parent(s) with the problem and NEVER the child’s fault. In a healthy family with loving and mature parents, the children are not divided and branded “all good” or “all bad.”

When the scapegoated child grows into adulthood, they are susceptible to enter (friendship/work/romantic) relationships that tend to be abusive and harmful. Even when they may intellectually know it is dysfunctional and/or dangerous, it feels normal/familiar to them because they have been conditioned and trained to accept abuse. This is why dysfunction and abuse are passed down through generations.

Scapegoating is Child Abuse!

An adult survivor of child abuse may struggle to remember their childhood and doubt what they do remember (disassociation) because their memories are invalidated by the family as being told they are too sensitive, overly emotional, or are gaslighted into believing it never happened “that way,” thus adding more insult to injury and creating prolonged harm to the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of the survivor. This gaslighting forces the survivor to internalize their feelings and doubt or question their reality.

No matter the distance the survivor puts between them and the abuser (parent/family), the abuse still impacts their life, as it is pre-conditioned in childhood and is carried over and reactivated in familiar conditions.

The overshadowing of the abuse rears its ugly head through:

Low self-esteem
Insecurities
Inability to set or maintain long-term goals
Maintain position in job/career
Financial decisions
Unhealthy relationship choices
Health/Mental problems

It leads to cycles of failure, disappointment, failed relationships, depression, anger, anxiety, and fear.

The scapegoat who leaves the family can see the family for what it is; toxic, dysfunctional, and unhealthy. The survivor who has healed from the bondage of the past and broke the curse of the abuse can be a strong, empathetic, compassionate, beacon of hope for others.

Forgive and Forget?

Nowhere in the Bible is a verse that supports the all-too-familiar phrase, “Just forgive and forget,” or “Let bygones be bygones,” or “Just get over it.” Phrases such as these come from ignorance and lack of repentance of the abuser, or by well-meaning but clueless people, and cause more injury.

Forgiveness is a gift and the Holy Spirit can and will help the process. And while the Bible does command us to forgive, forgiveness is in no way an agreement to the abuse, nor does it imply it never happened, nor does it suggest any child deserved the abuse as it “was their lot to carry.” However, forgiveness does free you from the abuser, it helps you set healthy boundaries, and releases them to own and take responsibility for their problem (sin). Forgiveness allows you to walk in a relationship with God, who is your ultimate Healer.

I am the Lord who heals you.” -Exodus 15:26

Unforgiveness and unresolved childhood injuries can surface through anxieties, feelings of tension, uneasiness, and a sense of approaching danger, even though at the moment of the triggered feelings it does not seem logical. Anxiety creates an internal fear that shows itself through restlessness, sleeplessness, and disturbing dreams.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love]. -1 John 4:18 (Amplified)

You know you are perfectly loved by God, without fear, when you no longer accept the role of the family scapegoat, and you no longer carry the weight of responsibility of your parent(s) sin, and you trust and rest in God’s love for you. You are not to be moved or take the blame for what has happened to you as a child. You can (and must) set healthy boundaries.

By the grace of God, you may still have a relationship with your family, but because you have allowed the Holy Spirit to heal you, you can stay within the boundaries you have established and not carry the arrows of poison they throw into your heart. You do not have to accept or fall into the role of the scapegoated abused child, do not regress into fear and panic.

Or maybe you have to cut ties with your family, even if for a season. To forgive someone does not mean you should allow yourself to be a target for their toxicity, or minimize the abuse through denial. Sometimes a survivor may need to distance themselves from family members and get help to recover from the abuse.

No, it is not fair that a survivor must carry the burden of recovery from child abuse. You may never hear the words “I’m sorry I deprived you of growing up in a safe, stable, and loving home,” but in time, with God’s help, you can be healed. You can love and trust. You can experience real love, the unfailing love of your Father in heaven, who you can call Abba (Daddy), because Child, you are loved.

You have the power to end the generational cycle of abuse. You can draw the proverbial line in the sand and say, “No more!”

I am not saying it is easy. But I am saying it is possible.

Dear Reader, if what I wrote was for you, then I pray that you may find peace and wholeness in the arms of the Father (God) who loves you very much.

Be Free & Stay Free

Where is God?

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. Psalm 139:7-8

One thing I do know for sure when life here on earth happens it reveals who we are and who and what we put our trust in.

I am thankful I have a real God, One who is acquainted with grief, sorrow, and rejection, and no matter where I am; on the mountaintop or in the pit, He is there with me. He does not love me less on my bad days, nor are my good days an indicator that He loves me more, because He loves me fully, without measure, and perfectly.

I know I can speak honestly and in full transparency, because I know we have all had days where we wonder if God is really with us and does He see what is happening. When it seems like one thing after another is going wrong, breaking down, or not going as planned or expected, it can give place to wonder.

Even David, who God called a man after His own heart, experienced this questioning.  

As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from Your eyes.” Nevertheless, You heard the voice of my supplications (specific requests) when I cried to You for help.” -Psalm 31:22

Yes, even David had emotional moments when he accused God of abandoning him instead of asking Him for help, yet God still answered his true need.

God knows our weakness. Take courage, your weakness is the reason He chose you and is allowing you to experience the battle. It is in our weakness that we can experience and know His grace and His strength.

Friend, what is going on in your life? What giant is taunting you and what mountain is standing in your way? Don’t give in and don’t give up, stand firm and know that God’s word is true, He does not lie, and His promises are yes. No matter what your eyes may see, or your ears may hear, God is for you!

Shut the world off, bring your inner circle close, separate yourself from the unbelievers, and draw close to God, for in Him you will find your answer, in Him you will find your refuge, in Him you will find your strength, and in Him your joy will be made full.

Remember, your hope is in Him, and Him alone.

Be encouraged.

Be Free & Stay Free

But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. Matthew 5:44-45

He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief; and like One from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3

God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are. 1 Corinthians 1:28

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Where is God?

Do you ever wonder where God is when everything around you is burning to the ground?

“Uh, hello God, are you there?”

Image from: Dreamstime

Consider this: A stowaway baby, found and adopted into a royal family, everything he needs is provided for him, he grows up with privilege and influence. Then one day he sees how cruelly his birth family is being treated by his adopted family and he takes matters into his own hands and commits murder.

Whoa! Back up… you mean he identified with the enslaved instead of looking the other way? (Not advocating violence/murder, but that is what happens when we take matters into our own hands) Of course, when his “adopted” grandfather finds out, he becomes enraged and wants to kill this young man, so the man had to flee, giving up a royalty to become a sheep farmer in exile.

Or how about three young men, finding favor with a king and selected into the king’s personal service, yet were sentenced to certain death because they chose to remain faithful and trust in God instead of serving the gods of the king?

“Throw them in the fire, boys! And while you’re at it, turn the heat up!” Image: Inspiration Ministries

And let’s not forget the close friend of Jesus, who became deathly ill and Jesus waited until he was dead before He went to him.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, you mean the Jesus who healed people, didn’t immediately go to His friend, and heal him?

Where was God?

He was right there with them. He was and is right where He always is, on His throne and with you.

With Moses, God was in the burning bush.

The Angle of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing flame of fire from the midst of a bush, and he looked, and behold, the bush was on fire, yet it was not consumed. -Exodus 3:2

God was the cloud by day and the fire by night that led His people to the other side of the sea.

But still, the question remains, if God is there, then why did His people have to go through all that? Why didn’t God just smite the Egyptians, wipe them from the face of the earth, and spare His people the white-knuckle grip of wondering if He was going to show up and rescue them?

And the three Hebrew boys? Don’t ya know? He was with them in the fire.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king, looked and was astounded, and he jumped up and said to his counselors, “Did we not throw three men who were tied up into the midst of the fire?”

They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.”

He answered, “Look! I see four men untied, walking around in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” -Daniel 3:24-25

And still, the question is, why did the three Hebrew boys have to face the furnace? Certainly, God could have spared them that horror.

And if Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons, why didn’t He run to His sick friend and heal him instead of letting him die? And why did He wait until after he was dead and buried before He showed up?

So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give to You.”

Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise from the dead.”

Martha replied, “I know that he will rise from the dead in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in, adheres to, trusts in, relies on Me as Savior will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me as Savior will never die. Do you believe this?” -John 11:20-26

So, to answer the question of why God doesn’t spare us the pain of waiting, trusting, and hoping while we go through the fires of life when He is able to just “come immediately,” is in John 11:15

SO THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE.

But, why God?

It is easy, and understandable, to not look beyond ourselves when we are feeling hurt, rejection, fear, grief, or whatever form the fire takes, but we must remember it is not always just about us.

I do believe; help my unbelief.

When we go through the fire, God promises to be with us in the fire. And while we are in the fire, we have an audience, people are watching our testimony being written. And sure enough, if you believe, your audience, persecutors, mockers, nay-sayers, will say as they witness your deliverance, “There is no other god who is able to save in this way!”

If you find yourself in the tomb, everything has crumbled, relationships have died, money has come and went, and all that you have built has burned to the ground, remember… death comes before the resurrection. Some things have to die!

Hold on loosely to things and hold on tightly to Jesus, because sure enough, if you trust Him though He slays you, you will hear Him call your name and say, “Come forth!” And your grave clothes will be removed and He will cover you with His righteousness.

Don’t resist the valleys, because He is still God in the valleys. When you can walk with Him through the valley of death, and still not fear, but BELIEVE, you will find yourself on the peak of the mountain and your light will shine and those who see will declare…

How great are His signs and how mighty are His wonders!

His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation. -Daniel 4:3

He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he too had struck the waters, they divided this way and that, and Elisha crossed over.” -2 Kings 2:14

Be Free & Stay Free

Life Changes After 40 (Ladies)

I have always loved birthdays, mine, and other peoples. I enjoy buying gifts and celebrating. I never thought about getting “old.” I have a cousin who cries each year. Not me, I was never one to dread growing older.

I remember as a child playing house with my baby dolls. My cousin and I spent a lot of time together and we would break out the dolls, the toy dishes, plastic food, and dress up. Then in my teen years, I was in a hurry to be “older,” so I can do what the “older” people do.

In my 20’s I was on my way to my 30’s, then my 40’s, and still, I was feeling young. Then along came the big “five-oh.” No amount of childhood imagination prepares you for the changes that come with each new season of life.

For the record, I do still enjoy birthdays.

In our youth, we are filled with dreams, hope, and expectation. Playing house, feeding our dolls that never grow up and leave the nest, plastic food that never rots in the refrigerator, always glamorous in our dress-up, paper play money that flows like confetti and never runs short, and a prince charming who loves and adores us and never leaves us through death or divorce. Everything is bubbles and butterflies in the imagination of youth.

As we go through our spring and summer of life, setbacks, and disappointments are not that devastating because we are still young, and even if we must start over, there is still time. We are still dreaming, hoping, and expecting.

But then comes the Autumn of life.

Our perspective starts to change because we know winter follows autumn. We may look back and wonder where all the time went and how did it fly by so fast. If we experienced loss, or we made foolish choices in our youth, we may be tempted to regret and grieve. Our thoughts may turn into “If only I…”

When we are young, we are filled with energy and life. We are still cool and relevant. But what about when we no longer feel cool or relevant? What if we are entering this season of our life alone? What if we are watching the clock and panic and fear are just a step behind us and desperation is breathing on the back of our neck? Then what?

Dear sister, stop, take a breath, that’s right… breathe. You are going to be alright.

A friend once asked me why I enjoy my birthdays. “Don’t you worry about getting old?”

No way! Age is a right of passage. And it is a path we must all walk. And we should walk it with dignity, poise, and class.

Sure, there are things we can no longer do now that we did when we were young. Like stay-up all night, wear daisy dukes and halters, eat whatever and however much we want, and not worry about our tummy that is no longer firm and flat, and perky ta-tas that need no assistance with underwire (or padding). By the way, if you do not know what daisy dukes are then you are too young for this post.

Let’s step out of our feelings so we can understand what is really happening. Let us embrace this season of our life with confidence, boldness, and understanding. Let us quit fighting the inevitable and shrinking back in fear.

Do you know what will age you faster than a birthday? Worry, fear, anger, unforgiveness, and downright unhealthy choices. C’est la vie! (That’s life!)

After age 40 our metabolism slows down.

But this does not mean you have to give up. You are still alive! It may be a natural process, but there are things you can do to fight it and to boost it, like diet and exercise.

No, I am not suggesting you begin starving yourself, just make healthy choices when it comes to the food you are putting in your body. Remember, we eat to live, not live to eat. There are so many informative articles out there about foods to boost metabolism. (I know because I have read them.)

A body in motion stays in motion. Get those endorphins flowing, girl! Exercise gets the blood flowing and firms the tummy, arms, legs, and booty. Sure, it may take some discipline and a lot of willpower to get started, but I guarantee if you stick with it, it will give you a bounce in your step and you will walk taller, firmer, and with confidence. It will also fight the brain fog that comes with age. It is a win-win!

Remember, you aren’t competing in a body-building competition (unless that’s your thing), you are staying active and taking care of your body. Take those walks, ride that bike, do those squats, turn the music on and dance in your living room. Get your body moving! I repeat, a body in motion, stays in motion.

I was talking with a woman recently and her fear was about when she got older, who would take care of her, and what nursing home she would be in. Whoa! Slow down, girl! Put the breaks on that thought! Where is it written that it is a given that age must bring frailty? I have not read that book. The book I read says:

Because he sets his love on Me, therefore I will save him; I will set him securely on high because he knows My name, he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never. He will call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him, with a long life I will satisfy him and I will let him see My salvation.

Psalm 91:14-15
You are probably noticing changes in your hair, too

I have always had thin hair, that’s why I have always had short hair. As I get older, I notice changes in my hair. Sigh…the luck of men to be able to just shave their head, huh?

Again, this comes back to nutrition. There is so much information out there, check out this article from Healthline. And here is a read for the 6 ways your hair changes after 40 and how to fix it.

Remember, you are beautiful! You are you and there is no one else that is you. God created you and He called you beautiful! You have purpose!

Indeed the very numbers of your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are far more valuable than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)

Age and menopause is nothing to be feared.

OK, so it might feel like you have an oven inside of your body, and you sweat through the night, and your mood changes like the weather, and your body changes, but there are positives, too, like buh-bye Aunt Flow.

But seriously, I am not making light of the changes that come in our bodies. I have been cold one minute and stripping my clothes off the next, I have been just fine one minute like a normal human being and then a raging lunatic the next, crying over commercials, wondering if I am still pretty, and when did I stop being “cool.” The time of menopause can almost make you feel like a stranger in your own body. And while diet and exercise are beneficial, a visit with your gynecologist may be in order. So go get that check-up!

No matter where you are during this season of your life, you are going to be OK. Happily married or broken and alone, you are going to be OK.

I look back on my life and I think there are lots of things I would have done differently, people I would have steered clear of, mistakes I wish I would not have made, and I am faced with a choice. Do I forgive, let go, learn, move on and live? Or do I wallow in pity, regret, anger, and depression? I choose life!

People say that with age comes wisdom. I don’t think that is always true. I think we all know at least one person who is “older,” but not necessarily wise. Age may bring learned lessons, but it doesn’t bring wisdom. True wisdom comes from God, the Bible says in Psalm 11:10 that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it is the true foundation.

My friend, maybe aging in years does not bother you, maybe you are in the best physical shape of your life, and maybe your youth did not leave you with regrets, and if that is so, then I am happy for you. But one thing most important, is your spiritual health, your heart health. One day, no matter our age, we will all close our eyes for the last time here on earth, in all your caring for your physical health, be sure you do not neglect the source of eternal life. Take your vitamins, eat your veggies, do that exercise, AND nurture your relationship with the One who created you and truly loves you, wrinkles, gray hair, and all. Without Jesus, it is all for nothing.

I hope as you step into the autumn and winter of your life, you will do it with gratitude and wisdom. And when the final winter breeze blows across your eyes you will step into eternity and into the arms of our Savior who calls you Beloved and welcomes you home.

Be Free & Stay Free

Pentecost is for ALL Believers

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place,  and suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed [among them], and they rested on each one of them [as each person received the Holy Spirit]. And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately]. -Acts 2:1-4

The promise of the Holy Spirit is a gift to ALL believers in Christ.

Jesus said, “You will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses (to tell people about Me) both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Jesus also said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you (to be in close fellowship with you). (John 16:7)

And in John 14:12, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me (as Savior) will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these (in extent and outreach) because I am going to the Father.”

You see, Jesus came to save those who are lost. His work was finished on the cross when He said “It is finished.” Because of His sacrifice for our sins, His death and resurrection, we can be reconciled with God the Father through His Son, and we are empowered with His Holy Spirit to be bold and courageous witnesses for Him.

When He said it is finished, our work (purpose) began. Jesus did it all! He paid the price and He empowers us through His Holy Spirit. We just have to believe, obey, and open our mouth. The world did not end at the cross, but eternal life began for those of us who believe and are saved through His blood.

For God so loved the world…

Do you know Jesus? Have you been baptized in His Spirit? His Holy Spirit is a free gift for ALL who believe.

Do you want to know if you have His Holy Spirit? Look for the fruit!

Ask and receive and then go… “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo….

I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, remaining with you perpetually, regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Thank You, Jesus, for Your Holy Spirit, for not leaving us alone without a Helper.

Be Free & Stay Free

What’s Blocking You?

You were created for greatness. Yes, you! Do you believe this?

The Bible says in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and I approved you as My chosen instrument, and before you were even born I consecrated you to Myself, as My own. I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

You may be thinking, “Yeah, but this is what God told Jeremiah, it doesn’t apply to me because I am just a (you fill in the blank). Jeremiah had the same thought, in the next verse we read his response: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a young man.”

As if…

Did Jeremiah think God did not know or consider, his age? Seriously? Do you think God does not know your age, or your status, or your past or your present, or whatever hang-up you think you have that disqualifies you?

Consider this; God’s own words, He knew you before you were even born. Before He formed you in your mother’s womb, He had intimate knowledge of you. He did not create you just for giggles, but for purpose. He knows your end from your beginning.

The Lord knew Jeremiah’s age, and He also knew his “smallness” in his own eyes would cause him to be afraid and to doubt his abilities, but God already made provision for Jeremiah. He comforted him with a promise to ALWAYS be with him and to protect him.

Do not say I am only a young man, because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them or their hostile faces, for I am with you ALWAYS to protect you and to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:7-8)

What talking heads are you listening to? What voice is holding you back from stepping into your purpose? Is it fear? Shame? Insecurity? Unbelief? Discouragement?

Friend, God’s promise to Jeremiah is His same promise to you; He will NEVER leave you, He is ALWAYS with you. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20(b), “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We know from reading His word that He knows us, He created us, and He calls us. Nothing escapes His eye; He sees all, and He knows all. So surely, He knows you and there is nothing that catches Him by surprise, or that He has not considered.

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. (Romans 8:28)

Failure is not a part of God’s vocabulary for you. If you believe, if you trust Him, and if you say yes to Him, then together with God, all things are possible for you.

Now, I want you to slow down and read the following verse as if it were spoken directly to you, because, Beloved, it is.

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear your voice and I will listen to you. Then with a deep longing you will seek Me and require Me as a vital necessity, and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” says the Lord, “and I will restore your fortunes and I will free you and gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” says the Lord, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

The Lord is calling you to come out of hiding. Are you ready?

Be Free & Stay Free

Isolated, but not alone

I know this past year has been a struggle for most of us. I know it has for me.

A lot of things were shaken and in the shaking there was loss. But I would rather think of it as pruning.

Spiritually, there are two choices: Give in and give up or press in and believe.

For me, this time gave me a greater appreciation of God’s faithfulness and provision. Even in the deafening noise of depression and fear, God’s peace broke through and carried me.

The slogan “we are all in this together” is an oxymoron, but I can say we are not alone because God is faithful and always with us. He does not abandon His own.

If you are feeling like your faith is weak and you have quit praying because you don’t believe He hears you, then I want to share this with you. Take your time, quiet yourself, and read this truth from 2 Peter 1

To those who have received and possess [by God’s will] a precious faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be multiplied to you in the [true, intimate] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  For by these He has bestowed on us His precious and magnificent promises [of inexpressible value], so that by them you may escape from the immoral freedom that is in the world because of disreputable desire, and become sharers of the divine nature. 

For this very reason, applying your diligence [to the divine promises, make every effort] in [exercising] your faith to, develop moral excellence, and in moral excellence, knowledge (insight, understanding),  and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, steadfastness, and in your steadfastness, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly affection, and in your brotherly affection, [develop Christian] love [that is, learn to unselfishly seek the best for others and to do things for their benefit]. 

For as these qualities are yours and are increasing [in you as you grow toward spiritual maturity], they will keep you from being useless and unproductive in regard to the true knowledge and greater understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For whoever lacks these qualities is blind—shortsighted [closing his spiritual eyes to the truth], having become oblivious to the fact that he was cleansed from his old sins. 

Therefore, believers, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you [be sure that your behavior reflects and confirms your relationship with God]; for by doing these things [actively developing these virtues], you will never stumble [in your spiritual growth and will live a life that leads others away from sin]; for in this way entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly provided to you.

Let us take full advantage of this time that we have to draw closer to Him. Do not be isolated, but close yourself in with Jesus. Open your Bible and study His word. Develop a rich prayer life and enjoy the privilege He has given us to go into the Holiest place and commune with our Father. If you struggle, He is there to help you. His Spirit will lead, guide, and teach you.

My friend, this is the time to press into Him. The world is in upheaval, but you do not have to be. Get ready, Jesus is coming.

Be Free & Stay Free

Willful Ignorance

image from iStock

Willful Ignorance: Choosing to be ignorant. Not heeding warnings, unbelief, ignoring the signs of the time, unrepentance.

It is like watching a movie, a good movie, full of action and drama, and it moves you. After the movie you talk about it, “Hey, did you see…” For awhile you think about it, feel it.

Then life happens, and you are no longer wrapped in the emotion, or feeling, of the movie. You were a witness to the movie. You were an audience to the movie. But it was just a movie.

The actors in the movie may have won awards for their portrayal of the character they played, but after the accolades quiet down, the award will sit on a shelf and gather dust. Maybe once in awhile they will look at the trophy and remember the character, their 7 minutes of fame, but it was just a character they played on the screen.

The day is coming, and for some that day has already come…

Willful ignorance, especially in the western church where we are able to freely assemble together (although even this right is being stripped away), pray, read the Bible, and serve, will be the demise of many.

The self-professed “Christian” will go where they are comfortable, noticed, recognized by people, coddled by big screens with the lyrics and verse in big print so they do not have to look in their own Bible (assuming they even have one). As if salvation comes through osmosis. They show up on Sunday morning and leave unchanged, never reading the Bible on their own, never searching scripture for themselves, always taking and never giving, even their offering in the offering plate is a mere “trophy” as evidence they were present, but their heart is far away.

Their willful ignorance will leave them grinding and gnashing their teeth, because they did not search Him while He could be found.

If you can spend hours scrolling through social media, reading the news, debating politics, copy paste and share the days debauchery, but will not pick up your Bible, or share your faith beyond a meme, and/or you can stay up all hours of the night with Netflix but are too tired to pray… then this post is for you.

Turn back now. Repent. Do not waste the gift He has given you. Jesus is coming back soon; I hope you are ready.

But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate morally weak and spiritually-dwarfed women weighed down by [the burden of their] sins, easily swayed by various impulses, always learning and listening to anybody who will teach them, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 (Amplified)

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable]. But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady], endure every hardship [without flinching], do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [the duties of] your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure [from this world] is at hand and I will soon go free. I have fought the good and worthy and noble fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith [firmly guarding the gospel against error]. In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:3-8 (Amplified)

Be Free & Stay Free

Open Our Eyes

On Monday evenings I gather with a group of ladies for a Bible study and prayer. It is such a sweet time of fellowship with my sisters when we lift each other up, encourage each other, and pray for our nation, our unsaved loved ones, and each other’s needs.

The consensus in prayer this past Monday was to know Jesus more and to go deeper in our relationship with Him. We had a wonderful time in worship and calling out to God. It is a wonderful promise, when two or three of Jesus’ followers are gathered in His name, He is there in the midst of us.

For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them.”

When we hunger and thirst for Him, we are hungering for spiritual nourishment that only He can fill, and it is His good pleasure to satisfy our hunger.

We are living in an age when the enmity of the world against God is loud and clear. It is as though the devil is not even afraid to show his hand anymore. What use to make man blush is now paraded down the street, across the television screens, in our social media feeds, and written in bold headlines across the evening news. Isaiah speaks about these days when he says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; they put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

May God give us eyes to see.

Mathew tells us about two blind men who wanted to see. (emphasis mine)

As they (Jesus and His disciples) were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him.  And two blind men were sitting by the road, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David (Messiah)!” The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David (Messiah) have mercy on us!”  Jesus stopped and called them, and asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They answered Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.”  Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him [as His disciples].

We are the blind men sitting on the sidelines. We want more of God! We are tired of crumbs and we are starving for the Living Bread to fill us. We want to know and see Him! We know we are called, we know He is near, and we know there is more.

We call out to Him, “Lord, don’t pass us by, we need You!

But the crowd… the social obligations, worries, fear, family, government, political correctness, lack, the past, insecurities … you get the point, right. What (or who) is it that is hindering you from calling out?

I believe Jesus heard the two blind men call out the first time. I mean, they had to be kind of loud for the crowd to try to silence them. But it wasn’t until the two men refused to be silenced and called out even louder that Jesus stopped. Even the blind men knew who Jesus was, they just couldn’t see. They heard Jesus (or heard of Jesus) and they BELIEVED He, and only He, could give them sight.

Their persistence moved Jesus with compassion. Obviously these two men were serious. They were not satisfied with just hearing about what God was doing. They may have even been tired of going to cold prayer meetings and stoic churches and being entertained with lip service and messages that had no power. These men were hands down going after Jesus for themselves.

Listen! God is not hiding from us. He has gone through great extremes through His death and resurrection so that we may know His compassion, His great love for us, that we may know there is real power in His name, so we may call on Him and He will answer.

Jesus is not fooled. He knows when we are truly seeking Him. His kingdom is for those who will lay down their life and trust in Him that He will give you eternal life. Look around you, everything you see is temporary. Pinch your skin, even that will be buried in the ground one day. But YOU! It is YOU He came for, to give you eternal life, with Him, and only through Him.

Take note, after Jesus touched their eyes, they immediately regained their sight and followed Him.

That is the difference. He opened their eyes, and they became His disciples and followed Him.

Dear Reader, are you calling out to God? Are you hungering for Him? Do you want to know Him more? Do you want to follow Him? Are you willing to go against the crowd and refuse to be silenced anymore? Because if you are then you are seeking a good thing. And yes, He will answer you!

Go after Him, my friend. The harvest is ripe and the laborers are few.

But How Do You Find Him?
  • Through His word. You MUST read your Bible daily. It Is food to your soul. You can not live without eating. What? You don’t like to read? Then ask yourself just how much do you want to know Him? The blind men couldn’t see to read and yet they cried out even more. You MUST read your Bible. Only through knowing His word will you know the truth. In a day when lies are called truth and truth lies, you MUST know for yourself.
  • Pray! The Bible calls us His Bride. Now, think of marriage here in the natural… if the two do not communicate on the regular then that relationship is weakened and you will not know the gift of oneness. The marriage may not end in divorce, but I guarantee you the couple will never experience the beauty of pure love and knowing each other. Through prayer we grow closer to Jesus. We talk and He listens, then He talks and we listen, it is a fellowship, a love relationship, and it has the power to transform us into His image, we truly become one with Him. Think about it, the God who created EVERYTHING, knows you and wants you to know Him.
  • Fellowship with other believers. There is benefit to being together with the family of Christ. We edify one another. We watch out for each other. We strengthen each other. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: Two are better than one, because they have good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”
  • Serve! Yes, that’s right, serve. Be His hands and feet. Can I share something with you, anytime you serve, help someone, it is really you that reaps the benefit. Yes, God may have used you to help meet the need of another, but you are never more like Jesus than when you serve, when you love, and when you give.

So, are you ready?

Father, I thank You for Your Holy Spirit who calls us and gives a hunger to know You more. I ask You to open our eyes so we may see Your glory and grant us the honor of serving You and taking part of the work You are doing. Breathe on us the breath of revival and may all come to know You as Lord and Savior. We do not want to sit on the sidelines, we want to be active participants. Baptize us in Your Holy Spirit so that we may be empowered to be bold witnesses for You. Let Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Do you want more of Him? Let me know in the comments.

Be Blessed!

Be Free & Stay Free