If I could change One Thing…

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If you could go back in time and change one thing, have one do-over, what would it be? Have you ever wondered?

I had several answers when I first thought about this question. My mind quickly recalled times when I said yes when I should have said no, or said no when I should have said yes, yada yada. My answers always involved someone else.

A lesson I am learning and trying to practice (God help me), is to  stop pointing fingers, getting my feelings hurt, and shrinking back from the only person I can change… me.

In a spirit of thankfulness, I am reminded of Romans 8:28, and I have to thank God that He is true to His word. Instead of walking in regret I can hold my head up and learn from the past and not carry it into the future (or the present).

While it may be true that the past has formed us into who we are today, truer still is His grace and forgiveness can turn all the ashes into beauty, if we let Him. Healing and deliverance is found only through Him.

One thing I have learned, is to ask for help.

I have created many a mess by not asking for help. Pride and fear kept me silent.  I was drowning with a smile on my face and the whole time I was saying, “I’m good, I’m fine, I got this under control.”

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Here’s the thing about lessons; they are learned as an after affect, and sometimes experience can be an unforgiving tutor.

I think about the prodigal son and if he would have asked for help sooner, maybe he would have never had to be a connoisseur of pig slop.

There is safety in numbers. We are to surround ourselves with other Christian believers. The Father, who sent His Son to reconcile us to Him, is a Father of intimate relationship.  Since He has gone through such great effort to restore us into fellowship with Him, we can trust and believe that relationship with His body is important. We were not created to be an island unto ourselves. We are not wounded animals to go off into isolation and die by ourselves. We were created in His image and likeness to be in communion with Him, through Him, and with others.

As I walk this out, and sometimes I may stumble, I am learning I am only responsible for myself, my own actions, and before my actions turn into reactions, ask for help.

What do you think? I would love to hear from you, feel free to leave a comment below.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

Ultimate Makeover

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The question we all ask ourselves, huh. Who am I?

For many, the answer to this question changes depending on the season.  Sadly too many base the answer on emotions, experiences, or what others have said about us; as if someones opinions define us.

Times and seasons change. Society is a fickle people. With the ever increasing need in the world to be the best, it is not hard to understand why so many feel they are in competition. It is no wonder so many young girls are insecure and so many women are broken. Shew, it is even a no wonder why men do not even know how to be men anymore.

We have been robbed of our individual gifts and uniqueness. In all of the trying to fit in and be like everyone else to please someone else…

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You have heard the saying it is the suit that makes the man and the shoes that make the woman. Nope, that is not true and I have the sore feet to prove it.

who-are-you-really-21449257The beauty industry is making a lot of money on peoples insecurities. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying there is anything wrong with dressing up the outside, there is nothing wrong with accentuating the beauty we already have. Shew, some of us need some help. But, my dear friend, beneath everything, all the make-up, newest fashion, hair color, you are still you and I am still me. No amount of make-up is going to take the place of the inner peace and desire for acceptance we all have.

There is only One who can give you the peace you yearn for and He already accepts you. He created you, you are His masterpiece, with His very own hands He formed you.  He put so much detail in you that He knows the number of hairs on your head, He knows how many times your heart will beat, He knows where you will live, He knows your first day and your last breath. In addition to all of this, He gave you gifts and entrusted you with gifts to use to glorify Him.

While you may be looking around and comparing yourself to others, you do not even recognize what and Who He has placed in you and you do not see the one person only you can reach, or problem only you have the answer to. So you walk around, bent over, looking at your feet instead of lifting your head and knowing who you really are and Who you belong to. Royalty should not live like paupers. It is unbecoming to wallow in the pig pen and eat slop when your Father is the King.

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

I am going to get personal with you for a minute, OK.  I didn’t meet Jesus personally until I was already an adult in my 30’s. Before Christ, I had already racked up a long laundry list of what was wrong with me; from childhood and on.  I made choices based on fear and insecurities that were ingrained in me. I believed every lie and was on the path to confirm every lie was truth.

After I met Christ, although all my sins were forgiven, I still harbored guilt and shame. Of course this was concealed very well; so well that I didn’t even fully realize I was carrying all the heavy baggage until later…

Then little by little my slip started to show (know what I mean, ladies?). So I tried to pull it up, tuck it in, cover it up, because I am a Christian and Christians aren’t suppose to have these issues.  The more I tried to cover it the heavier it got and on top of it all I took it upon myself to add shame, guilt, regret, and perhaps a lil’ unforgiveness to my suitcase.

I looked like this…

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Nah, I’m good, I don’t need any help,      I got this.

I just couldn’t understand why everything was going to pot; no matter how much I prayed or read my Bible. I was good at encouraging other people and believing the word, God’s promises for them, but not for myself… I was a mess.

You know why? Because I was sitting outside of the palace eating in the pig pen. I knew I was saved. I knew God loved me (even though I couldn’t understand why), but His word said He did so He must, right.

ThiefIt is like locking your door, but leaving your window open. Sooner or later the thief is going to try to break in and steal your stuff.

Jesus told us the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  He also told us that Satan is the father of lies.  When we believe anything contrary to what God’s word says, we are to cast it down, because it is a lie. We are not to believe it!  But it doesn’t stop here!

When you know God’s word, you can recognize the lie and you must combat the lie with the truth!  You can’t just ignore the devil and hope he goes away. No! You have to kick him out! He takes your silence as agreement. You have to open your mouth.

God has already set you free! To walk in His freedom you must take the steps. If you want out of the prison cell of shame, regret, fear, insecurity then you must walk through the open door.

Dear prodigal, do you not know your Father is waiting for you? Sweet woman, there is no need to die of thirst at the well when He gives you springs of life and a refreshing that overflows and never stops.

Stop looking at the outward appearance. Your beauty is deeper than flesh and your worth is far more valuable than rubies.

The next time that lying demon whispers in your ear you put your foot down, stand your ground and fight back with God’s truth!

I am leaving you with some thoughts, ammunition, to get you started. Read it, meditate on it, remember it, AND BELIEVE IT!

This is God’s word and God doesn’t lie. This is the truth of who you are!

If you would like to share more of Gods promises to us, please leave a comment below.

Until I write again, or we meet in heaven…

Be Free & Stay Free

 

You Can Because I Am

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Her life didn’t turn out the way she planned. Everything was a struggle, from childhood to adult, it was a constant struggle; as if she was under a curse.

All her life all she ever wanted was to be loved.

As a child she would envy other children who had parents who loved them. She wanted to be like the other girls who walked with their heads high and carefree. She wanted friends to laugh with and parents to ask her how her day was.

Of course, she over compensated for the affection she hungered for, her flirts for love and validation only left her with deeper wounds. She was misguided by her skewed perception of what love is, mistaking touch and empty words from lovers as the real; even though, deep inside, she knew…

Yes, all her life all she ever wanted was to be loved.

Years have passed, five husbands and the lovers in between have come and gone. Resolved in her belief that it was too late for her, she settled and accepted this is as good as it will ever get.

Everyday she would go out of her way to avoid people. Her dreams were replaced with shame, regret, and disappointment.

But…

A day, a Man, a God, that changed her life forever!

There He was at the well. The audacity He had to even talk to her. Didn’t he know who she was? He must not be from around here, because if He were then He would know to not talk to her; if He wanted to save His reputation.

But…

He did talk to her!

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He asked her for a drink? Really? The nerve! She had nothing to give and she was on guard because she couldn’t trust the kindness in His voice. There was definitely something different about Him. He wasn’t undressing her with His eyes. He didn’t talk down to her or try to puff her up with flattery and false compliments.

He didn’t even seem to notice her uncomfortableness (even though she was intrigued, there was something about Him) He talked to her with respect and dignity. Ah, yes, dignity… as if she was someone.

She felt drawn to Him, but she needed to be on guard; she couldn’t trust men.

No matter how she tried to talk circles, He brought it back to her; her need.

She learned to never look a man in the eyes. She had been cast down so low she couldn’t even look up.

But…

This man! There is something different about Him. He told her everything about her and for the first time she didn’t feel judged. It was as if He knew her personally and still He was not ashamed of her.

She felt it in His words. She felt it in His tone.

Her eyes went from looking at her feet, across the ground, to His feet and then up, slowly up… to His eyes.

He paused.

She paused.

He smiled.

“I Am.” He said.

It was then she knew… she was looking into the eyes of God!

Her life will never be the same. She no longer looked at her past with regret and shame.

I Am set her free!

I Am wants to set you free, too, Beloved.

Are you at the well of decision? Have you been beaten down? Do you feel like this is as good as it gets? Oh, my friend, there is a more abundant life waiting for you at the well.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me[following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Read this and listen to this while you read and let it sink in! There is no chain His love can’t break!

Be Free & Stay Free

Fear is a Poor Bedfellow

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Fear will kill dreams, destroy relationships, paralyze, cause illness, put you in the poor house,  bring depression and even cause physical death.

Fear is hellish!

Fear comes from Satan. Throughout your life he planted those little seeds of death. He manipulated people to hurt, offend, or misunderstand you. He magnified every failure. He whispers accusations in your ear. He is so good at what he does he is able to have you believe those lies are truth. In fact, you may not even recognize it is coming from him, because ya know… he can sometimes disguise himself as an angel of light.

I spent the first half of my life living in fear and running. I fell for the lie that I was never going to be good enough and that I was stupid. Why? Because he manipulated people who were closest to me to speak those lies; starting at childhood. Not only did Satan use others to speak lies to me, he caused me to believe it enough to speak the lies to myself.

I couldn’t finish anything! I failed at relationships because I was too afraid of being rejected. I didn’t even know who I was because I was too busy being someone else to be accepted. Always the actress and in self-protective mode. Can I just tell you how exhausting that was?

Fear! A hellacious bedfellow. Fear will crawl up with you at night; and as you lay awake, unable to sleep, fearing the nightmares that come with the closing of your eyes, you rehearse every stinkin’ offense, every judgement, every hateful word, and you begin to drown.

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Listen to a lie long enough and you will start to believe it.

Did you know the Bible tells us to Fear Not! 365 times? Yes! That is a fear not for every day of the year.

Now, we know the devil is a liar and the father of lies. And most of us have heard the verse from 1 Peter 5: That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But can we pause for a moment and look at the whole text?

Here, read this out loud…

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].  Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. 1 Peter 5:6-10 

You can be free from fear 100% when you know and know and know the One who loves you!

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

Jesus told us to resist the devil. He said stay close to Him and resist the devil. Resisting the devil is not ignoring him. Resistance is an active stance, it is firmly planting your feet and pushing back.

How do we push back?

We push back with the Word!

We follow the example our Lord set for us when the accuser tries to tempt us. Jesus answered, “It is written…!”

For you to know it is written, you must know what is written, and this takes discipline. You must be in fellowship with Him. You must be in the Word. If you find that you struggle with this, your mind wanders around, and a thousand and one distractions happen; then my friend, you must discipline yourself. EVERY DAY! Read your Bible, do not wait for your feelings or for the energy or for whatever excuse you may use. Even if it is only a couple verses a day, read it and meditate on it. Even if you do not understand what you are reading, still read it and meditate on it. Ask Holy Spirit to lead you and to give you revelation. Return to your first love with Him and believe Him when He says when the time comes He will bring to your remembrance His Words. But, He can’t remind you if you do not have it in you.

After spending the first half of my life living in fear I have purposed I will not finish my life living in fear. I choose to believe what Abba Father has to say about me. I choose to believe His word is true when He says, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world!

My friend, choose today to not let fear have you. You have been created for so much more. He has a plan and a purpose for you, from the foundation of the earth He already knew you. Go! and pursue Him and finish the race strong, fulfill your calling, and God, our Father, will be and is with you. He is for you!

Fear not! Be strong and courageous! Believe!

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Your Will or His Will

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God came down to us as a man, tempted in every way we are tempted, experienced every emotion we experience, and yet He was without sin. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to restore us back to Him. Jesus, fully man, fully God; Emmanuel, God with us.

Think about that. Let that sink in, please.

He conquered sin and death because He was wholly submitted to the will of the Father.

His victory is our victory! He did this for us!

Are you seeking God? Is there an area in your life that you need a victory? Is there something holding you back from being who He has created you to be? Are the chains around your ankles keeping you from soaring to heights you have never known before? Are the cuffs on your wrists too heavy to even lift your arms? Is your pillow wet from your tears? Does it seem like all hell is breaking loose on you?

My friend, your victory waits for you to be wholly submitted to God. Do you trust Him? Can you honestly say, “Not my will, but Yours be done”?

Can you lay it all before Him and trust Him? Will you withhold nothing from Him?

Deliverance is spiritual surgery and it is warfare.

Jesus came to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. There are too many dead people walking around and the only way we can truly live is to die to ourselves and to live for Him. When you submit to Him, resist the devil, take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and discern between truth and lie, then the devil has to flee from you. The enemy can’t reside in a home that has been swept clean and filled with His Holy Spirit.

So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. James 4:1-8

God is not angry with you. He is full of compassion for you. He loves you without measure. He is for you, not against you.

Purpose in your heart and mind to submit to your Heavenly Father, knowing and trusting He is your Deliverer. And if He asks you to lay something down, trust it is for your good and be obedient. Allow Him to take the dirt away and He will wash you clean. Refresh yourself in His Holy Spirit.

I am not suggesting it will be easy, but with God all things are possible for those who believe.

Repeat after me…

Father, not my will, but Your will be done in my life. Be glorified in and through me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Be Free & Stay Free 

 

What Do You See?

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What do you see when you look at this picture?

You are probably seeing David and Goliath. You know, the shepherd boy who slew the giant with a stone and a slingshot and the decapitated him with his own sword.  Oh yes, the young David who had faith to believe. The young David who grew into the King God annointed him to be. The David who God called friend, the man after God’s own heart, the man who was a murderer and an adulterer, yet was a man after God’s heart.  Yes, that David who repented and was forgiven.

Now, look at this picture again and what do you see?

I challenge you to refocus your vision, put on the glasses of faith…

Do you have your glasses of faith on? Go ahead, get them, I will wait.

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This is what I see…

You are the giant! That’s right. That demon that is taunting you, he is small in comparison to He who is in you!

No matter what you are battling; depression, addiction, heartache, sickness…

You have the power and the authority. Rise up and say “No More!” Step on him! Put your foot on the neck of that demon who is trying to take you out.

See with the eyes of faith AND believe.

 Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].  1 John 4:4 

He is lifting you on His shoulders!

Click Here

Be Free & Stay Free

 

How To Get Unstuck

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Do you ever feel like you are stuck? You know, for every two steps forward you take a step back and you feel like no matter what you do, you just can’t get ahead, as if you are stuck in waste high mud?

Do you ever feel so bogged down by anxiety and uncertainty, and you find yourself in a position you just don’t want to be in and you don’t know how to free yourself from it? And to make it worse… you are trying to trust God through it all and He just feels distant, then you begin to doubt your own faith?  It’s like you have Jobs friends in your head telling you why you are going through what you are going through.

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Hey, Job, it must be your fault! Maybe you don’t have enough faith!

Imagine, in one day Job lost everything. Then to add insult to injury he was covered in boils. His friends sat with him, not having any explanation as to why this was happening, they decided it must be some sin he committed and he was being punished. Then along comes his wife, being as comforting as his friends, she tells him to just curse God and die. Wow!  Poor Job. He was having a very bad day. And you thought you had it rough?

And God called Job a blameless and upright man. Still, in mans eyes, he lost everything.

That’s the way it is, right? When we are going through it, it is difficult to see the end in sight. As we are being stripped away of what we hold dear, it hurts, and it is confusing. Our emotions run the gambit as we try to hide and we rationalize. Then when nothing makes sense we start to place blame; on others, ourselves, God.

Certainly there has to be a reason for all this! Right?

Remember, you are never stuck with God.

So, what do you do when you are in the valley of uncertainty and everything and everyone seems to be against you? When your strength has crumbled and it is all you can do to even pray, what do you do?

I read an interesting article about how to get out of quicksand and I saw some spiritual parallels to it.

  1. Drop everything! Let go of the excess baggage. Sometimes we take on too much because we do not know how to set boundaries. We say yes to everything because we are programmed to believe that is what “good Christians” do.  Sometimes just because something is good, doesn’t it mean it’s good for you. You can get so busy doing so many good things, you miss out on the good thing He has for you.
  2. Get Away, step back. Jesus set the example with His constant communion with the Father. It is hard to hear Him when there are so many distractions. Get away from the noise and quiet yourself.
  3. Get horizontal. Humble yourself before the Lord and follow the example in Psalm 139: 23-24: Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
    Test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there ispsalm_139_23-24-white-800x800 any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

When you ask God to search your heart, He will. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Be still and listen… His voice is sometimes a whisper and it is His desire to lead you.

What is He showing you? Is there confession and repentance needed?  Is it something from your past, maybe a hidden and forgotten injury?  Is He calling you back to your first love with Him.

Rest. Just like in quicksand, the more you struggle the more likely you will be to stay stuck and possibly sink. Breathe! The more of Him you breathe in, the more bouyant you will be. Trust Him, He will not let you sink. No matter what is going on around you, or the storm clouds hovering over head, He speaks to the storm and He says, “Peace, be still.” Don’t go by what your natural eye sees. Let your faith arise.

Beloved, your steps are ordered by Him. He directs your path. He goes before you and He makes those crooked places straight. He is the voice that whispers, go this way.

I remember a particular time I was going through… stuff. Everything was stripped away from me, all of my comforts, and I felt so alone. My emotions were on a perpetual roller coaster ride. To be honest, a lot of what I was going through was stuff I brought on myself through disobedience. Instead of trusting His faithfulness and provision, I tried (and failed) to fix my mess myself. Ugh! Not a pretty place to be in. I could keep the facade up for only so long before He allowed me to come to the end of myself. What looked like complete abandonment was actually Him calling me up. He lets us come to the end to get our attention. It was at this time He spoke to me and Romans 8:28-29 had a brand new meaning to me.

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.  For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.

Pay attention to the word ALL. He said ALL things. So, what does that mean? It means the things we have created and the things others have done to us. ALL things! I knew with repentance of my disobedience (SIN) and forgiveness, even the mess I created was not too great for Him. His forgiveness and love is greater than any sin. I had not and could not sink so low He could not reach me with His strong arm. It is His mercy and grace that even this should become a part of my testimony and would work for my good and to His glory! This is the love of our Father!

My friend, no matter what that mountain is you are facing. No matter how deep the pit is that you are in. Echo the words of Job and say, “Though You slay me, I will trust You.”

He delights in you. There is no need to try to hide from Him, because you can’t. Even if you make your bed in hell, He is there. (Click Here )

As I am writing this I am listening to this song and I want to share it with you.

 

Be Free & Stay Free