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

 

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That Was Then, This Is Now

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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 

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 

Power of the Testimony pt. 1

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Your testimony is powerful! Don’t ever be ashamed of it. Share it. Because through it are nuggets that will help someone else.

James reminds us that all good things come from God. Sometimes when bad things happen we question God. We ask Him why didn’t He stop it and where was He. He was right there with you, carrying you. He knows right where you are, where you have been, and where you are going, and He will bring you through and you will come forth as gold.

I didn’t meet Jesus until I was an adult.  I didn’t grow up in a church. I had an aunt that took me to church a couple times, but at the time it didn’t mean anything to me, other than I got the chance to play with my cousins. My home life was pretty much a nightmare, my father was an angry and abusive man. I ran away from home at the age of 12 and pretty much raised myself.

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By all counts and statistics, I should not be here right now. But, God!

I can look back and see His hand had been on me the whole time. He kept me alive. Does that mean nothing bad ever happened? Nope. I got myself into some situations I should not have been in and met people who meant me harm. But, God always had His people He would send my way to direct me onto a different path.

Why am I telling you this? Because it is a part of my testimony. It took me a long time to be able to share my testimony and there are still some parts that I have not shared. It is really on a “need to know” basis when I share it. I used to be ashamed of my testimony and afraid people would judge me. But ya know what? God kept me and delivered me because He loves me and so He could help others through me. So I can listen to their heart, understand their pain and fear, and be able to say, “I been there, I understand. God healed me and He can do the same for you.” I believe this is what it means to come forth as gold. To be unscathed and delivered and set free.

We will never be the same person we used to be, but we can be the person He created us to be if we let Him do His work in us and trust Him in the process.

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.

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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.

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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