That Was Then, This Is Now

cps-mistakes

It is true, there is not one person who ever lived who was perfect, except Jesus. Even though He was tempted in every way we are tempted, He did not sin.

So, the good news is… because He was without sin and died and rose again for us, having paid the penalty for our sins, He reconciled us to the Father.

When you are in Christ, there is no condemnation. As far as the east is from the west He separated us from our sins.

Sometimes the enemy wants to remind us of our past. He will take the voice of those closest to us and sometimes he will even speak in our own voice. By listening to this condemning voice we can be hindered and weighed down with guilt and shame. We may even start to believe we are not worthy of Gods great love and forgiveness towards us.

Remember this, Gods love for us is greater than any sin we have committed. Once we have confessed and repented He is faithful and true to forgive. He is not waiting for you to mess up so He can throw it back in your face again. He has something so much greater for you and it is His desire you let go of the past and trust and believe Him.

Who you were is not who you are.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 2 Corinthians 5:17

So the next time the accuser comes knocking on your door, do not even bother answering it. When those voices rise up in your ear and your mind, shut them off. Take control of your thoughts and remind yourself…

That was then, this is now.

You have a bright eternal future before you. Refuse to let it be stolen from you by the lying deceiver. God is greater!

Be Free & Stay Free 

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What Are You Searching For?

Man-searching

We look high and low for something to numb us or someone to fulfill us.

Addictions come in many forms. Drugs, alcohol, relationships, impulse shopping, social media, etc…

Because there is that something in each of us that is reserved for Him. He planted it in us. Because He desires an intimate relationship with each of us. He loves us that much and He is a jealous God, that is why nothing or no one can fill that void we have. He said it is for Him.

The beauty of this is…. what we can not do for ourselves, He can and will do it for us.

Look as much as you want… but until you call His Name, Jesus, you will never find what you are looking for.

Come home to Him. He loves you!

Nobody Greater (click here)

Be Free & Stay Free 

Free to Fly

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As I sit here and listen to Jason Upton sing about freedom, I mediate on the truth of what he is singing. (Click here)

Ah, yes, freedom! Isn’t that we all long for? True freedom to be who we were created to be in the security of safety and comfort of knowing we will not be rejected?

Strange, how even Spirit filled believers struggle to walk in that freedom. Still, knowing is not always believing, is it?  We see, but we do not believe. We listen, but we do not hear. We nod our heads yes, but our shoulders are shrugging. We can even preach His truth and believe it for anyone else, but somehow we think “It’s for everyone else, not me.”

But this is the freedom Christ gives us, to be set free in His love.

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 Amp.

What does this mean?

I believe God is saying: My daughter (son) you have been created in My image from the beginning. You are Mine and nothing or no one can change that. You are wrapped securely in the palm of My hand, you are the apple of My eye. I have gifted you and created you with a purpose. You are not an accident, you were planned before the foundations of the earth. I knew you before you were even in your mother’s womb. Lay down what hinders you and embrace Me. Look around you, there is no one there to condemn you, I do not condemn you, there is no condemnation in those who are in Christ Jesus. Though others have rejected you, I will never reject you. Do not be afraid to shine. Lay down the guilt, regret, fear, and shame. When you stop trying to self medicate the injury and wounds that did not come from me, then you will seek Me and you will find Me. I am not hiding from you. Unforgiveness will hold you bondage to depression, bitterness, sickness, restlessness, anger, and death. Let it go, give it to Me. Only I can take the ashes and create beauty. My joy that I give you is not based on circumstance, but on the revelation knowledge that I love you and in My love you are free to be the you I created you to be.

Selah

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Deadly Eye Candy

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How do we keep ourselves pure in a fallen world?

You can hardly watch a movie or t.v. show without being assaulted with vulgarity. It is almost impossible to even look at Facebook without being bombarded with arrows to our spirit. Hollywood serves up a smorgasbord  of nudity, profanity, and violence buffet style. Just because they believe this is what sells their movies does not mean we have to buy it.

A continuous diet of this cheapens us, our relationships, the way we view things, and eventually dulls our hearing to His Spirit to a point we no longer feel the twinge of conviction. The sting of conviction is a good thing, it serves as a warning to turn away.

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

Very much like the adage “you are what you eat,” what we put before our eyes, allow into our hearing, will go into our hearts. Out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouth will speak (Luke 6:45) Our bodies will follow the direction of our feet, so be sure your feet are firmly grounded on His truth, or you may find yourself on a slippery slope.

Images flash before our eyes on a daily basis.

While we may not have a say, or sometimes even a warning, what images flash before us, we do have a say if we continue to entertain or not. Images are to create thought, imagination, and to stir desire. James said this, “Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death.

Nothing is just for entertainment purposes. Everything has an angle, whether good or not, everything has an angle and comes with a price.

A good rule of thumb when you find yourself in a precarious situation is to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this edifying, does it offer anything other than a temptation to my flesh?
  2. Would I feel comfortable watching this if my husband/wife/mother/child were in the room?
  3. Could this weaken my relationships?

And the most important question to ask yourself is this:

4. If Jesus were sitting here in the flesh beside me would I still watch this? 

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would just wake up one day and say “Today is a great day to jeopardize my relationship with Christ and those I love. Like all journeys, it starts with one step that leads to another and then another… until we find ourselves laying on the ground wondering what just happened. So why even take the first step to certain destruction?

In ALL things we are to honor God and guard our relationship with Him.

Everything begins with a seed. Pay attention to the seed you are planting.

Click here for an excellent article on this subject.

For every sin, entrapment, God has given us a way of escape, and sometimes the escape is as simple as just turning it off.

Be Free & Stay Free 

 

The Difference Between Pigs & Sheep

Do you know the difference between pigs and sheep?

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Pigs like mud. They will wallow in it. They find comfort in mud. It’s their nature.

sheep

Sheep do not belong in mud. It is not their nature. 

“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up from some other place [on the stone wall], that one is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep [the protector and provider].  The doorkeeper opens [the gate] for this man, and the sheep hear his voice and pay attention to it. And [knowing that they listen] he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture].  When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”  Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what He was talking about.  John 10:1-6

Do you understand? Have you fallen into the mud of this world? Do not stay there. He is calling you to come up.

wolf

The devil is a sly one. He will disguise himself and if you are not listening for the Fathers voice, he will deceive you. 

So Jesus said again, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, I am the Door for the sheep [leading to life]. All who came before Me [as false messiahs and self-appointed leaders] are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not hear them.  I am the Door; anyone who enters through Me will be saved [and will live forever], and will go in and out[freely], and find pasture (spiritual security). The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].

I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His [own]life for the sheep.  But the hired man [who merely serves for wages],who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away; and the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them.  The man runs because he is a hired hand [who serves only for wages] and is not concerned about the[safety of the] sheep. I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]—  even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My [very own] life [sacrificing it]for the benefit of the sheep.  I have other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring those also, and they will listen to My voice and pay attention to My call, and they will become one flock with one Shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My [own] life so that I may take it back.  No one takes it away from Me, but I lay it down voluntarily. I am authorized and have power to lay it down and to give it up, and I am authorized and have power to take it back. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10: 7-18

The pig finds comfort in the mud, it soothes his skin (the flesh). The enemy would have you believe you can find comfort outside of the will of God. The deception is subtle really. First you dip your toe in the mud, then you are up to your ankles, then the knees, until you are fully submerged. 

Listen… can you hear Him? He is calling you. Jesus is calling your name. He will wash you clean. Listen for His voice. Know His voice. Follow Him, He will lead you to good pastures.

Be Free & Stay Free

The Apostasy

apostasy

Am I missing something here?

Is my Bible the only Bible that does not say, “Come to Jesus and your life will be a happy one, everyone will accept you, you can remain in your sin because God loves everyone and He would never send anyone to hell”?

Having read the Bible cover to cover, and knowing His voice and having a real personal relationship with God, I do not recall Jesus ever offering an escape clause from living a holy life. I do not remember Him ever saying if it gets too hard to follow Him, it’s OK, He understands if you want to go back to your old life, you get kudos anyway for “trying.”

But! He did offer an escape from the judgement that is coming. He did offer salvation through Him. He did offer peace when things get tough. He did promise He would never leave us even when the rest of the world turns their back on us.

Oh, and by the way, He NEVER said it would be easy. He told us to pick up our cross and follow Him. He told us the world would hate us because the world hates Him. And in preparing us for what is to come, He told us to NOT be afraid, because He has overcome the world.

And for good measure and assurance because He knew we could never succeed on our own, He gave us a Helper, His Holy Spirit. So since we have His Spirit inside of us, we can surely say with the greatest of confidence that He Who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We are fully equip to be over comers.

Let me tell you why I am writing this post:

Apostasy abounds. The great falling away is happening. Great men are falling away from the only truth that can save their souls. Sin abounds everywhere, evil is being called good and good is being called evil. The world celebrates perversion. Christians are being persecuted, even to the point of death. Governments are leading nations astray to a Godless society. Anyone who speaks out is shunned, ridiculed, called names and mocked.

This morning I get on facebook and you know what the first two stories I read were? A Christian artist came out that he is gay and he is applauded for his “bravery.” And he is assuring everyone that God created him this way and he could no longer live the life of a hypocrite. Then I read another artist denounces Christ because “it just doesn’t work for him anymore.”

So I ask, how could anyone who has known God ever walk away? And worse, encourage others to follow them? Because they do not have a regenerated heart.

You see, when we have fully committed our lives to God and we have repented of our sins, He is faithful. He gives us His strength to face the world, to finish the race.

The key word to note is REPENTANCE.

I watched a great sermon by TD Jakes and he talked on this very topic of repentance. How do we know we have truly repented? Does it mean we will never sin again or do the things we used to do before we were saved? No. It means we will no longer be comfortable doing the things we used to do. It will no longer be “normal” or “natural” for us.

You can not fully love and follow Christ if you are comfortable living in your sin.

I am not writing this because I want to point fingers or claim to be perfect. I am far from perfect. I have my hang ups. I have my weaknesses and I know it is then, in my weakest of moments, He always shows up strong on my behalf. If I start veering off the straight path I hear His Holy Spirit warn me and tell me to come to my senses.

You know what? It is not always easy. We are in a time in history where we can not live a silent faith. We must be bold in our witness. Fence walkers do not make it. You know what the Bible calls fence walkers? People who are lukewarm. And do you know what He will do with the lukewarm? He will vomit them right out. Don’t believe me? Then I suggest you read Revelation 3:15-17

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were cold or hot.  So because you are lukewarm (spiritually useless), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth [rejecting you with disgust].  Because you say, “I am rich, and have prospered and grown wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked [without hope and in great need]

Guys, listen, the end is closer than we think. Read your Bible, He told us what signs to look for of His return. Know His voice, because in these last days you are going to need a lot of discernment. Do not be deceived by these smooth charismatic talkers and do not get side tracked.

Look to Jesus as our example:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us,  [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].  Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. -Hebrews 12:1-3

Be encouraged. Be faithful. He is coming soon.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

Stay Awake

James 5

 

So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west
And His glory from the rising of the sun.
For He will come in like a narrow, rushing stream
Which the breath of the Lord drives [overwhelming the enemy]. Isaiah 59:19

Wow! If John said we were in the last hour then, it isn’t hard to believe we must be in the final minutes now.  (click here)   We witness debauchery in all it’s flamboyance on a daily basis. Sadly, this perversion is not just in the world, it has entered the Church. The mockery against our Christian faith is so blatant it doesn’t even give pause to blush. But, let us also remember, this attack is not just against us, it is an attack against our God. This is a spiritual war.

Oh, Church, please wake up. Do not be deceived and get lost in the midst of all the distractions the world is throwing at us.

We see people falling away, those who we once esteemed as spiritual giants are going against the Word of God, Christians are being persecuted worldwide, sexual immorality is showcased and celebrated, hatred and paranoia have gripped the masses, to speak truth has been labeled as hate, we find humor in another’s misery, we speak death without flinching, life is not valued, marriages are not honored, chastity is ridiculed, we are greedy while others go without, or we stand on the sidelines and watch and have the audacity to say “at least I am not like them.”

As a Believer in Christ we are called to be holy. We need His Holy Spirit more than ever in these last days. We do not need to be afraid, we need to be bold and we need to be filled with His Spirit.

Do not retreat, do not be afraid…

Even in what looks like the darkest hour, His light still shines bright. The enemy has come in like a flood and He is lifting a standard. Our God is alive and well and He will not be silenced, He will not be mocked. He is moving in the hearts of His people, He is still calling us. Pockets of revival are breaking out and we will see many signs and wonders.

Now is not the time to slumber, lest’ He return and find us asleep.

My brother, my sister, let us continue to walk in love, even if the world calls it hate. Love God and follow Him with NO compromise.

When He returns let Him find faith.

Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is [indeed]plentiful, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38

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Be Free & Stay Free