Safe in the Storm

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I cling to the cross when the storms roll in and the dark clouds try to distort my vision. The work Christ did and completed on the cross is my anchor.

When the waves tempt me to row in the opposite direction, Jesus calls me to the stern and He tells me to rest.

I have no need to fear when the One who created heaven and earth and speaks to every storm (even the waves obey Him) holds me in the palm of His hand.

My eyes do not have to see what my faith believes.

He is andI find my being.

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

 

The Kiss of Judas

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Why do we think it so strange when the people we are closest to turn their backs on us? We are living in a time where things are NOT gray, they are black and white, light and dark, the lines are not blurred. We are in a time when people call good evil and evil good. Why do we find this strange when the Bible tells us this is going to happen?

I am writing this post because my heart is heavy and feeling broken. I wont go into details, but suffice it to say, because of the truth of Gods word, I am losing people that were once so close to me. I am no way claiming to be perfect or super spiritual, but I do know Gods word and there are some thing that are non-negotiable. Does this mean I love them less? No! But, listen to me, no matter who it is that is challenging your belief and faith in Christ, you must NOT waiver!

Lately, the persecution is stepping up it’s game. To believe in the word of God you are given a label, and it is not a nice label. You can try to be as loving as possible and explain and defend yourself until you are blue in the face, but the truth is… the time has come to separate the sheep from the goats.

Look, I want to be real with you. This is not always easy, because it is coming from people we love and care for. We may struggle and hem haw around because we do not want to “offend” them or “hurt their feelings,” but I have to tell you, there is something much more at stake here.

We cannot walk around on our tip toes, because if you are a follower of Christ, then you must learn to see as He sees. He did not love people unto their grave and death because He didn’t want to hurt their feelings. He didn’t tip toe around and sugar coat things because He was afraid they would reject Him. He met them where they were (His goodness), ministered to them, and then told them to go and sin no more. He was not afraid to call it out, because He didn’t look at the temporal, He looked at the eternal.

We must look beyond the flesh, beyond the person, and recognize it for what it is. It is an attack from the enemy. Do NOT take it personal! The person through who the attack comes from is being deceived. Have pity on them, have compassion, but do not waiver, stand on the truth!

Think about Judas; he walked with Jesus. He was in the inner circle. He heard the Word through God Himself. He sat at the table with Him. But, he was deceived and betrayed the very One Who held eternal life in His hand. He betrayed the very One Who laid His life down for us.

Why?

Luke 22:2-4 says: The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people [who listened devotedly to His teaching, and who respected His spiritual wisdom]. Then Satan entered Judas, the one called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve [disciples].  And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him and hand Him over to them.

The devil saw the weak link and took advantage of it.

The enemy will come at us through the people we love. We think because we are Christian things should be easy. We think if we love someone enough they will see the truth.

But…

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I like how the Amplified says it: Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword [of division between belief and unbelief].  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;  and a man’s enemies will be the members of his [own] household [when one believes and another does not].

His Word is offensive to those who do not believe. Because His Word speaks truth and it convicts of sin. Not to torment, but to show a better way, to lead to repentance and salvation. But, for those who are comfortable in their sin, they will reject the truth. The world will tolerate you as a Christian as long as you keep silent. But, we are NOT called to be silent. We are called to be the salt and the light. When someone is in darkness, the light will blind them; they will either adjust their vision to the light, or they will reject the light.

What I am trying to say, is do not be afraid, do not back down. Do NOT beat people up with the Bible, but DO continue to speak the truth. Do NOT back down or sugar coat the truth. Their eternity is far more important than your feelings and what they think about you.

Stay close to Him, my friends. The day is coming to an end. His return is close. Pray for them and give them to God. You are only responsible to speak the truth, not for if they receive it or not. And for pete’s sake, do NOT let the enemy wreak havoc in your mind with accusations of your past, do NOT let him tell you you are disqualified! You are called and chosen. Now GO!

When you are being “labeled,” and when you are being accused, hold fast, even if the accusation is coming from someone as close as Judas.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Clouded By Insecurity

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Prisoner of the mind

 

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, but not yet seen. Insecurity is the substance of things dreaded/feared, seen or not.

Our minds are always on. We have constant thoughts. Sometime the thoughts flash without too much consideration. Sometimes a thought grabs us and we linger. When we catch ourselves lingering on a thought (or an imagination), the attention we give to it causes a reaction. If the thought is positive, then the reaction is positive. The same is true for negative, fearful thoughts; if we dwell there, then the effect is negative.

If we give voice to our thoughts, then our thoughts become action and will produce fruit. Scripture says there is power of life or death in our tongues. If we meditate long enough on a thought (germinate the seed), it will eventually come out of our mouth and the fruit of the seed will grow.

Fear is the breeding ground of insecurity. I do not believe we were created with a fear gene; rather it was learned through negative experience. Since we know we were created in the image of God, and God is not fear and confusion, then we can be certain that fear is not from God. Therefore, since fear is not from God, we do not have to accept it.

Insecurity has been the demise of many relationships, opportunities, and dreams. Insecurity has silent partners called “what if” and “yea, but.” What if and yea, but has a relative named “remember when.”  They are counterfeit imitators and reside in the mind of reasoning; they are enemies of faith and they set up camp in depression and discontentment.

Our minds are conditioned by experience; starting from childhood.

The brain contains billions of nerve cells arranged in patterns that coordinate thought, emotion, behavior, movement and sensation. A complicated highway system of nerves connects your brain to the rest of your body, so communication can occur in split seconds. (CLICK HERE)  Truly a fascinating creation!  I am not a scientist, so I wont even attempt to explain the intricacies of the human mind, but I do know our brains are able to store information we have learned, through experience; intentional and unintentional. It is like a Rolodex, when faced with situations our mind quickly goes through the old files and says, “Aha! I have been here before!” and then it triggers the response based on previous experience. To the unregenerate mind, this can lead to a road filled with debris of broken relationships, dead dreams, and wounded souls.

Here is an example of what I am talking about:

I grew up with an angry father. In my home it was like constantly walking on egg shells, because we never knew when his  temper would spark.

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This experience has caused me to have fear of confrontations. To avoid confrontations I would operate under the fight or flight mode; usually it was flight. If I was around anyone having an argument, or heated discussion, I would exit quickly, because it made me feel very uncomfortable and fearful. Or if I sensed someone was not in a “good” mood and they were silent, I would become tense and begin to mentally look for a place to take cover when there was an explosion.

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And because I not only grew up in a home with an angry parent, I was also rejected by my father. As you can imagine, as a child I was torn and confused between the two fears; I was afraid of doing or saying something that would cause his wrath and at the same time, I so wanted to please him and to be accepted by him, incurring a double whammy, his wrath of anger and his rejection.

Fast forward into my adult years…

Even as an adult, I still had to contend with that fearful child inside of me. I was like a turtle, I would walk and talk confidently, but as soon as I sensed “trouble,” I would retreat into my shell. The end result would cause even more fear and insecurity. Grief! What a vicious cycle, huh? How many failed relationships and lost opportunities must we have before we understand the past does not dictate our future?

Just like Pavlov’s dogs, we have triggers.  The triggers may not be bells, it could be a word, a look, a place; or anything that brings into remembrance the thing that caused us pain. Sometimes the triggers can go unnoticed, we may just find ourselves feeling or acting a certain way and not understand why. Have you ever done or said something and then later think, “Wow! Where did that come from?”

Let’s use marriage and remarriage as an example. I read the rate of divorce in a second marriage is higher than a first marriage. Again, I am no expert, but I submit the reason for this is because people enter into other relationships before being healed from the soul wounds. What we do not see, is while we are packing the boxes and suitcase to move on, we are also carrying with us the disappointment, anger, and rejection. Then when we meet someone else, fall in love, get married, and set up a new home, we are unpacking the luggage we brought with us from the past. Inevitably there will be a trigger, our fear of the past happening again causes insecurity, and we act on the fear.

Our minds begin to fixate on the what ifs and the yea, buts. You know, the “what if I made a mistake and he/she isn’t the one?” Or “what if he/she does the same thing my ex did?” Or “Yea, I know this is what they said, but they really meant this.” The past plays over and over again in our minds like a broken record and we get stuck there. Meanwhile, the present looks at you, scratches its head and moves on without you.

There is only one way to get off the treadmill of insecurity and that is, faith. But, to truly have faith you must be perfected in love. What do I mean? Glad you asked.

1 John 4:18 says, 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].

There is freedom in Gods love. Knowing His love, goes further than just quoting scripture. A person can know the Bible word for word, can even be a Christian, and still be bound to fear and insecurity. Only intimately knowing God the Father, through Jesus the Son, can we walk by faith and security, knowing our destiny does not rely on other people or things. Only through an intimate relationship with Him can we believe that no matter what, this will work for my good. When we know His love (experientially), then we do not have to be fearful and insecure.

The more intimately we know Him, the more we are conformed into His image and our hearts and minds are regenerated, made new. Then we do not make decisions based on the “what ifs” and “yea, buts.” We are able to discern the will of the Father and act on it. We are not moved by what our eyes see, we are moved by faith, knowing it is the substance of all things hoped for, yet not seen. The more we are like Him, our thoughts line up with His thoughts, and our hopes are in sync with His promise.

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The more we trust in His love and care, the more we are able to extend it to others. When we grasp His mercy in forgiveness and His grace , then we are able to extend that same mercy in forgiveness and grace to others. And this, my friend, is where true freedom is found.

Forgiveness is not denial that something happened. It is not excusing someones actions that has caused you hurt. Forgiveness releases the person to God and frees you from the ties of the past. It frees your mind from the lies that try to hold you captive to the prison of defeat, fear, and insecurity. Forgiveness releases you to walk in your purpose, your destiny, and lets you experience real healthy relationships.

So, you see, there is no need to be insecure. God has you and He loves you. He is here, and His heart is that you believe Him and receive His love to the fullest measure. He has been here all along.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Under Fire

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“Cover me! I am going in!”

“Go! I got your back!”

This is the beauty of relationship. For this reason, relationships are important, to watch over each other and cover each other. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. When one is weak, then the other stands up and covers them with their strength.

Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor;  for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 

If you haven’t figured it out by now, we are in a war. If you are a follower of Christ the attack is intense and personal. It is a spiritual war and the enemy, our adversary, is relentless and cunning. He uses gorilla tactics and his attacks can sometimes be so subtle you won’t even recognize where the attack is coming from. He will misdirect your attention, cause confusion and offense, then before you know it you may find yourself fighting your ally.

Marriages go down in flames from “friendly fire” when they do not recognize who the real enemy is.  

Again, if two lie down together, then they keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:11-12 

Who is the three chord strand? It is husband, wife, and the Holy Spirit. For the marriage to be strong, Christ must be in the center. Not only the center, but the foundation. Both husband and wife must be firmly rooted in Him.

The attack always starts in the mind. The enemy will throw things at you from without and then try to speak to you from within. He will attempt to keep you busy focusing on the “issues” until the whispers of his accusations will begin to drown out the voice of Holy Spirit. Rather than renewing your strength in Him, you will grow weary and you will look to place blame on someone or some thing.

You are not fighting a visible enemy. Your husband/wife is not your enemy.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Ephesians 6:12 

You have a battle plan 

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The weapons of your warfare are POWERFUL! 

The marriage covenant is until death (not a death sentence). Love lays His life down for His beloved. You may never be required to take a bullet for your husband/wife, or stand in front of a train, but you are required to lay down and put to death:

  • Pride
  • Selfish Ambitions
  • Un-Forgiveness
  • Bitterness
  • Anger
  • Offense

Allow the Holy Spirit to breathe life into you and fill you with His fruit of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It is in the small things that strengthen your marriage. The small daily acts of kindness towards each other nurture a lasting, healthy, honoring marriage. It is dangerous to neglect each other. Neglect is an open door for the enemy to wreak havoc. When you understand your spouse is a precious gift, and the representation of Christs love for His church, you will understand that laying your life down is actually living and glorifies God. When two become one, and Christ is the center, and you love each other and serve each other as unto the Lord, then you will experience life and life abundantly in your marriage. You will experience the peace and joy of knowing that no matter what the world has to throw at you, together you will be just fine.

Practice these words:

  • I love you
  • I am sorry, please forgive me
  • I forgive you
  • Let’s pray

Cover each other in prayer, with understanding and patience. Worship together and serve together. Then when that enemy comes with his attack you know you have each others back.  Just because this is war, you do not have to be a casualty. You have the victory. Stand strong, hold your position, and take the camp.

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