Hope for Healing

John 14 18

I didn’t know my Father as a child. He knew me long before I was born, but I didn’t meet Him personally until I became an adult.

The father I knew as a child was a hurt, abusive, and angry man. I spent my early years being the recipient of his hostilities.  Since a seed reproduces from it’s own kind, he passed his hurt, abuse, and anger onto me; just as his father passed it down to him.

The trauma of living with an abusive parent manifests in different ways; causing a survivor of childhood abuse to adopt a chameleon personality. I learned to be whoever I needed to be according to the situation. Don’t misunderstand me; it is not that I purposely set out to deceive people, it was a self-protection defense. Growing up in close quarters in fear of the one who is suppose to nurture and protect you can alter your self identity and value.

You see, when you grow up walking on eggshells, you quickly learn how to tip-toe so you will not upset the one you fear. Unfortunately, this skill does carry over into other areas of your life and relationships; it’s a learned behavior. The very thing I ran from, I ran to, and if you have ever experienced long term abuse then you understand what I am saying. I ran-away from an abusive father to end up in one abusive and unhealthy relationship after another. I was so beat down I didn’t know my own worth or who I was; and if you don’t know your worth then you will accept anything.

The pattern that was embedded into me led to failed marriages, depression, anxiety, and an inability to finish things. Where I failed in one area I would try to overcompensate in other areas, leading to imbalance, more failure, self-loathing, deeper depression and guilt. I was plagued with the constant thoughts I was never going to be good enough. I became an expert at self-sabotage.

I share this with you, not to bash my father, because I have long since forgave him. Nor do I seek any kind of pity, because I have learned I am not a victim, I am conqueror. I share this personal information about me to give you hope.

What I have done in the past (and probably what you are doing now) to numb the fear and anger I had inside of me, simply did not work. Healing is for you now and for your future; it is not to change your past. Your past can’t be changed, but you can be empowered to not let your past dictate your future.

There is only One way you can truly be free. Any other way is only a temporary fix and will lead to more heartache.

Allow me to backtrack to the beginning of this post and start over. OK?

I didn’t know my Father as a child. I met Him at a time in my life when I was so low that death began to look like an option. I was weary and tired of being tired. Know what I mean? Have you ever been there?

Yet, there was this quiet inner voice of hope, almost like a whisper, and He told me to not give up. Then His voice redirected my footsteps right to the bookstore to buy a Bible. I have tried everything else and failed, so I figured I will give God a chance. Of course I didn’t understand a word I read, it may as well have been Shakespeare to me. But, He still continued to call me, He didn’t give up on me, He led me to a church filled with people who loved Him and it was there I met my Father for the very first time. Well, it was actually in my car, but God used His people in this church to lead me there.

At the advice of my pastor, I opened my Bible again and read the book of John. It was no longer Shakespeare, it was the voice of God speaking to me. It was as if my eyes had been opened for the very first time and all I could do was weep as I read about His great love for me. It felt as though Jesus Himself was sitting right next to me. Have you ever experienced this?

Can I tell you what the difference was? It was His Spirit!

For the first time in my life, I did not feel alone. For the first time I felt loved.

Baptism-immersion-Is-Baptism-required-for-salvation-e1345944240726

What He did for me, He wants to do for you, too. He fully immersed me in His love and bathed me in His righteousness.

All the shame I carried… gone.

The fear… gone.

Anger… gone.

There is something you need to understand. From the foundation of the earth, before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, God knew you. All of your days were fashioned before Him when there was none. 

It was, and still is, never God’s will for us to suffer; especially children. You may ask, “Then why does He allow it to happen?” Ah, my friend, you are His Beloved, and because He loves us He gave each of us the freedom of choice to choose to love Him, so we may be conformed into His image. He never overrides our own will; though I can personally testify there have been many times He has super naturally came to my rescue. He has written His law in our hearts, this is what is known as a conscience. Since the fall of man, sin has entered the world and the consequence affects generations, even the innocent. Do you understand this?

The second greatest gift He gives us is the ability to forgive. When you have reached the sweet place of being able to forgive the one who hurt you, then you will be truly free from your past. Please, understand forgiveness does not excuse or justify the wrong, it sets you free from the injury. Forgiveness cuts all ties with what was meant to destroy you. Forgiveness works hand in hand with the cleansing of God to purify and renew you. It brings healing and deliverance and sets you free to be the person He created you to be from the foundation of the earth. It is like taking off the sunglass in a dark room and suddenly everything becomes bright and you are able to see.

When His Spirit helped me to remove my sunglasses of unforgiveness I was able to see who the true enemy really was. It wasn’t my father. It was Satan and the works from hell working through my father. Forgiveness gave me the ability to see my father as a hurting man who carried injury from his childhood and passed it down to me. He is a lost man in need of a Savior, just as we all are before we know Christ. We have all hurt people out of our own injury; it may not have been the same injury that was caused to us as children, but we have all been in a place of needing forgiveness.

For your own soul’s sake, do not withhold forgiveness. I am not saying it will be easy. You may have to forgive everyday until you come to the place where you can say, “It is well with my soul.” You may even need some help walking through this, a Christian counselor perhaps. But, I do know His Holy Spirit can and will comfort  and help you.

And know this, you are never alone. Your Heavenly Father is close to the broken hearted and He has not left you as an orphan.

 Be Free & Stay Free

 

Anger Management 101

wrathful man

Offense! It’s everywhere! We are a society offended by everything and everyone AND we want everyone to know about it.

It’s the ol’ adage ‘misery loves company’. It is almost like someone placed an advertisement looking for miserable people and they show up by the busloads. (Oh, sorry, wrong post. Hope that didn’t offend you.)

But, seriously folks, who really wants to be miserable and angry all the time?

I am going to be bold and say that I don’t think most people even know why they are angry.

625-00840114Have you ever had an argument with someone and by the time it was over you couldn’t even remember what you were mad about in the first place? It started with an offense and then the next thing you know it was an all out battle of wills.

Not a fun place to be in, is it?

 

Do you know what the Bible says about this?

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;  for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.                 -James 1:19-20

Wrath is when we are so angry and resentful that we want someone to pay for our emotions. When we allow our anger to become wrath we have placed ourselves on a throne as judge and we beat the perceived offender with our gavel until we are satisfied that vengeance has been served. This is also known as sin. Ouch!

I confess I have been guilty of this. It is not a good feeling; especially as a Christian. I mean, as a Christian, we are never to get angry, right? Wrong! The sin is not in feeling angry; the sin is if we choose to act out the aggression of the anger.

Be angry and do not sin… Ephesians 4:26-32 But, this does not give us license to be angry at just anything or anyone. No! We are to be angry at injustice. And even then we are not to act like people who have no sense! Or better yet, we are not to act like people who have no God.

Not every offense against us should lead to anger. Jesus warned us we would be offended. He said the offense would come Matthew 18:7. He also so that we would have trouble, but we are not to fret and worry, because He has already overcome the world John 16:33.

So, you see, it’s not a new thing. You are not the first and only person to have ever been offended. Offense is all around us. But, the closer you walk with Jesus, the more intimate you are in your relationship with Him, you will begin to see who the real enemy is and I will give you a hint; it’s not your spouse, your children, your neighbor, or the guy who cut you off on the highway.

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. 1 Peter 5:8-9

My friend, put on the armour of God and choose your battles wisely. With all your might and obedience, follow the Holy Spirit and walk in peace. Take captive your thoughts and meditate on His truth.

The next time someone walks in with a stick of dynamite, refuse to light the fuse; instead be a light in this dark world, because we are His Ambassadors.

And remember… the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God, you are royalty, chosen by God, let us all walk worthy of the calling.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

You Can Because I Am

eyes of god - band1

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!

woman at well

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

Come Home

 

 

bgrmainheader9

I can’t think of a worse place to be than in a backslidden state; to know Jesus and then try to hide from Him.

It is folly to think we, His children, could hide from Him. He promised He would never leave us. Seriously, it is impossible to not be in His sight.

But that doesn’t stop us from trying, does it?

A few years ago I was foolish enough to try hiding from Him. When it seemed everything in my life was coming undone; I grew weary and began to rely on myself instead of trusting Him. In disobedience, I made one bad decision after another. I was on a slippery slope and boy was I sliding back fast. What a mess I made!

imagesYou see, that’s what happens when we give in to “thoughts” and emotions. The enemy uses our injuries to drown out the voice of God and then we find ourselves in a dark place, believing lies, and hiding from the truth.

I was once like Peter. Remember when everyone was running from Jesus and He turned to His disciples and asked them, “Will you also go away? Do you too desire to leave Me?” And Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!”

After we have tasted and seen that God is good, it is a bitter pill in our bellies when we walk away.

I had mistaken conviction for condemnation. I was living in fear and depression. I opened myself up for all kinds of demonic attacks. Because of my injuries, I injured others and there was nothing I could do in my own strength (or cleverness) to stop it. God’s love for me allowed me to come to the end of myself.

I do not recommend backsliding. But, if you are already there, if your feet have already begun to go in the wrong direction, stop! You can turn around now. You do not have to be afraid or think you have committed the unpardonable sin. God is not angry with you, He is for you, not against you.

He loves us enough to give us a free will to choose. It is not His will or purpose for us that we should be in a position of injury; it is by our own choice.

Even though Peter was so confident he would never leave Jesus; he did. The same Peter who said he would die for Jesus still denied Him; not once, but three times!

grieve-alone

Did Jesus stop loving him? No! Did Jesus know Peter was going to deny Him? Yes!

We can learn much through Peter about the love of Christ.

Can you imagine for a moment? Peter walked with Jesus His entire ministry; side by side with God. He witnessed the miraculous! He watched Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead! Peter walked on water with Jesus. Now you would think there could never be a way for Peter to deny Jesus, but he did.

Before we can come down so hard on Peter and naively declare, “Well! I would never deny Jesus after seeing all He had done;” take an inventory of how many times God has answered our prayers and still there have been times of doubt in our own mind.

Peter was broken. Strong, boisterous, quick to speak, Peter, was broken. But he didn’t stay broken. He grieved, repented, was forgiven, and then was used mighty by God.

I had finally come to the end of myself. I was so low the only way to go was up.

One night I was awakened by a clear voice, “Romans 8:28.” I tuned on the light, grabbed my Bible and read:

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.

In brokenness and repentance I cried out to God and in mercy and love He answered. This was the beginning of my restoration. There are no surprises with God, He knows it all, He knows our coming and going, our sitting and standing.  Where can we go that He is not already there? (Psalm 139)

Where could I go from Your Spirit?

Or where could I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”

Even the night shall be light about me;

Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,

But the night shines as the day;

The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Psalm 139: 7-14

Beloved, where are you? Are you ready to lay down the guilt and shame? No matter what you have done, there is no sin greater than His forgiveness. Confess your sin, He knows it anyway, repent and turn back to Him. This is the Father’s heart; to leave the 99 and go after the one lost sheep.

psalm-51

There is no condemnation for those who are in Him. His forgiveness is available; His love is without measure, unfailing, and never ending.

Search me, Father, know my heart and renew a right spirit within me. I confess my sins to You and I thank You for Your forgiveness. Fill me, God, with Your Spirit and steady my feet on Your straight path so that I will not stray away again. Hedge me in so I will know Your borders and boundaries. Thank You for working in me for the good and for Your glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

Fear is a Poor Bedfellow

fear

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.

scared

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

939582

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 

 

Why Forgive?

forgiveness

This is what forgiveness does…

… it frees us!

When we can see the offender as someone trapped in their own nightmare, a victim (because without Christ that is what we are) then we have better understanding.

When we suffer for Christ, we suffer as Christ did, for a people who had no light or understanding.

Forgiveness does NOT excuse the offense, it frees you to move on pass the offense, it breaks the chain of bondage. It is freedom!

Forgiveness is the language of God, It is a blueprint to your future.

Beloved, I know you hurt, but it was not from God. Give it to Him and He will turn it into something beautiful! He promises!

Be Free & Stay Free