A Heart for Jesus

A love for God

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What to do When the Church Hurts You

Through the years I have seen many people mistreated not only by church leadership but also by their brothers and sisters in Christ. I have seen people leave church spiritually broken most especially when church leadership has hurt them. People broken by those who were supposed to lift them up and help them succeed. Sad but true. So, what can you do when this happens to you? The best you can do is pray for those who hurt you. Why? Because first, when you pray for those who have hurt you, you are showing the enemy of our souls that you are a child of God! You will not be broken! You will not harbor unforgiveness! You will choose to love! Even when love hurts! And second, when you pray for those who have hurt you, it is pretty much impossible to hold unforgiveness in your heart towards them. So, pray, wounded soldier, pray! Additionally, you can try to talk to the leader or Christian who hurt you but what do you do when the leaders who hurt you refuse to talk to you? The exact same thing, pray! And know that you have done your best because you have reached out. It is no longer on you; it is on them. Shake the dust from your feet and move on!

Hurt and betrayal from those in the church are some of the hardest to get past because church is supposed to be a safe place. But so often this is not the case. Remember the story of the good Samaritan? The man was hurt and broken, yet the church people passed him by. This was not pleasing to the Lord at all. Yet it still happens today. Though the Christians and the leaders in the church may reach out to those who are obviously physically hurt, they unfortunately will very often pass by those who are emotionally and spiritually hurting every day and do absolutely nothing. They don’t want to get involved, it’s not their problem. I have actually heard it preached that the preacher didn’t want to be around hurting people, only happy people because he wanted to feel good. Oh, how sad a thing to say! Jesus came for the hurting. He wanted to be where the hurting people were! The thing to remember is this – God is not people! God is God! When Christian people hurt you don’t get mad at God. He does not control people or their actions. He gave us all a free will. People, even Christians, are fallible. God is a god of love and reconciliation. He hates discord, gossip, jealousy, envy, selfishness, lies, etc… He told us that we should always esteem our brother above ourselves. But sadly, we don’t often do this. People hurt people. What they do or have done is not hidden from God’s eyes. However, neither is your response to the hurt they inflicted. They will be held accountable for the hurt and the neglect to reconcile, even more so when they hold a leadership position. But you also will be held accountable for your action and reaction. Choose to walk in love. That does not mean to ignore the hurt. The hurt is real. Betrayal is real. And it is one of the hardest hurts to get past. Counselors will tell you that it can take years to recover from a friend’s betray. That may be true without God, but if you will go to God with your hurt and give it all to him, he will remove the thorns of the betrayal and heal the wound. You will not have to walk around as a wounded soldier for years! Remember, God is always near to those who are brokenhearted. He is just waiting for you to bring it to him!

I look at this world and I see how Christianity is rejected and even hated by the world. Christians will say it is Satan’s doing. I say, partly but not completely. It is also the Christian’s doing. We have to take responsibility and stop looking for a scapegoat. The world has a hard time seeing the love of the Christian. God’s word says that we are supposed to be out in the world preaching the gospel. All of us, not just Pastor’s. Not all preaching is done with sermons. Some preaching is done with a smile to a stranger, being kind wherever you are and whomever you are with, showing patience when patience is running thin, helping those who need help, a phone call just to ask, “how are you?” Spending time with Jesus and taking the fragrance of him with you wherever you go! Changing the atmosphere for the better!

God’s word says that these signs will follow those who believe…they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. (Mark 16:15-20) Sadly, though, we most often hang around our church buddies, living our lifestyles within our Christian circles, gossiping about each other, lifting ourselves up while making others sound bad, backbiting, causing turmoil and tension and leaving trails of hurt wherever we go, and flat out telling lies about others. I know of a lady who left the church shamed by a respected member of the church who started a vicious lie about her and the leadership heard it and removed her from her place of ministry. It was a fabricated lie and this beautiful woman of God was now a wounded soldier. We also will go out to eat and leave the tiniest tips we can, we are rude to the waiters and waitresses, our attitudes stink because we expect everyone to be nice to us all the time and when they aren’t, well shame on them! The thing is, it’s hard to find the joy within our hearts when we walk around hurting badly on the inside. So, we take that hurt wherever we go, and we spread it around. And then we sit in our Christian circles and wonder why the world hates us. We wonder why our prayers aren’t getting answered. We wonder why people around us are dying and we are powerless to help them. We walk around with our form of godliness, denying the power within and shaking our fingers at all the sinners and even the Christians who walk differently than our oh-so-perfect selves do! We say things like, “Can you believe he did such a thing! How dare she wear that! I saw her with a glass of wine! I saw him talking to another woman! If she does that it will kill her! She’s going to die anyway! No prayer will help him! That couple is having problems, have you heard? Well, let me tell you so we can pray for them!” Oh, I could go on! The thing is, there is nothing that is ever said in secret. There are always at least two who also hear, God and the enemy of our souls. What displeases God makes Satan dance with joy. He takes those words that we speak against each other and uses them against us before God. In Revelation 12 it talks about how the accuser of the brethren is before God day and night. In addition to our un-Christlike actions, he uses our own words against us! Just like a judge and a jury down here. Why do you think the first thing an arrested person is told is to remain silent? Because anything they say can and will be used against them! Not only does Satan use our own words against us, he uses the words we say against others to hurt them. Example: (Satan to God) “You can’t trust sister so-and-so, even the leader of the church says she did such and such!”

As the church, we need to weigh very carefully everything we say and everything we do. Words are powerful! God created the whole world by his words, and he made us in his image!  Our words are powerful because we are his children and we are to be like him! Can we create a world from nothing like God did? No! But we can create a world of mess or we can create a world of love, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Your choice. God’s word says let your yes be yes and your no be no, anything else is from the enemy. Mathew 5:37. In other words, when you tell someone something – do it! Keep your word! Not keeping your word is equal to lying. And Satan is the father of liars. If you don’t keep your word you are not acting like God, you are acting like Satan and just like him, you are going to create a world of mess wherever you go.

As Christians, we must read God’s word daily to learn what a Christian is and to walk like a Christian. We are to be Christians! Christians are not perfect, but we are to strive to be perfect like He is perfect. The more we strive for it the better we will get at it. In addition, learn to fear and reverence God! This is something that is most definitely lacking in our Christian culture today. There is very little true fear of God. We believe God is love, and he is, but he is also our Judge. Who stands before a judge with no fear? Only a fool. Church, it’s time to grow up! Look around! The world needs what God has to offer. We are to be his hands, his feet, his mouth! We are sent to leave our comfortable Christian circles and go into the world. And when we do, if the world does not recognize that there is something different about us, then we are failing. My son’s neighbor recently said that he and his family were weird. Oh, how I loved hearing that! They noticed! The world should notice! We should not have to say we are Christian, we should show it in such a way that they should say, “Hey, there goes (or here comes) a Christian!”

Finally, stop hurting your brothers and your sisters in Christ, take care of one another. If one part of the body is hurting, the whole body is hurt. Treat others the way you want to be treated and love each other as yourself. In conclusion, CS Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” When you have been hurt or betrayed this may be difficult, but the truth is, if you want answers to prayer you need to forgive, otherwise, you are praying in vain.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 2while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:21-26

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heave is perfect. Matt. 5:48

A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 2 Cor. 12:20

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. Proverbs 18

The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. Proverbs 18:17

Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. Romans 1:29

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. James And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16:15-19

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25 ESV)

 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

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The Value of God’s Word

And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.  1 Samuel 3:1

For years since my mother went to be with the Lord in 1990, I have asked people if they knew where her bible was, but no one seemed to know. However, two days ago I asked the right person and yesterday I had this treasure in my hands. This beautiful, precious treasure. Today as I was doing my bible reading I decided to use her bible. It is the Thompson Chain-Reference King James Version Bible given to her by my father in 1985. In the front of the bible is a picture of her first grandson, Sean, taped to the pages. As I gently leafed through this treasure I took the time to read all her personal notes and thoughts on the scriptures. I also paid close attention to the highlighted passages. As I was turning the pages I noticed she had 1 Samuel Chapter 3 verses 1-13 highlighted, so I started reading. But I could not get past this first verse. I had read the book of Samuel before but I never noticed something that was just standing out to me in this particular verse….And the word of the Lord was precious in those days… The word of the Lord was PRECIOUS in those days. My version of the Bible is the New International Version, so I  looked up what the NIV version said in that scripture verse and it says…In those days the word of the Lord was rare… No wonder I overlooked it. I had been taught that the Lord had been silent for a while at times in the Old Testament so there was nothing in that verse that would stand out to me while reading it from the NIV bible.I knew his word was rare to hear in that day, but the word, “precious”  stood out to me as well as “in those days”. In “those” days. What about in “these” days?  As disturbing as that phrase was to me, it was also pretty self-explanatory.  So I looked  up the word “precious” in the Strong’s to see what the original meaning of the word was and why the KJV used precious while the NIV used rare. This is what I found:

The original Hebrew word is Yaqar and it is an adjective.  Different meanings are; valuable, prized, weighty, precious, rare, splendid, costly, highly valued, precious stones or jewels, glorious, influential.

The Lexicon said it is the same word used in Ps. 116:15 “how precious is thy loving kindness, O God! It also said see the verb. So I went to the root word which is the same word, Yaqar, but is a verb and it means: to esteem, be prized, be precious, be costly, be appraised, be highly valued, to make something precious.

Wow! God’s word was precious, prized, weighty, splendid, highly valued, glorious, influential, and as rare precious jewels…in those days.

As I meditated on this scripture and the meaning I thought how awesome for them, but how sad and grievous for us. For I do not believe that we treat God’s word as they did…in those days. At least  not here in America. Oh how very spoiled we truly are! How many bibles are in my home? I do not know because I never took the time to count them all. But the fact that I have so many that I need to count says a lot about how spoiled I am, along with many other Americans and most definitely the church in America. And then there are the on-line bibles so readily available through internet sites such as my favorite, Blue Letter Bible.

So as I continued to ponder this I began to wonder; Has God’s word lost most of it’s value to us? Has it lost its splendidness? Has it lost its influence in our and lives in our country? Do we value His words in these days  like a rare precious stone? Are his words still weighty to us?

Yes, I am most certainly speaking of God’s written word, the Bible, the book that sits on our shelves or on our end-tables often covered with dust. But I am also referencing his spoken words. The words he speaks through his servants. Do we reverence the words he gives to us through our Pastors? Our Evangelists? Our Prophets? Do we even know any Prophets? Where are they? And what about the words he speaks to us through his servants at church? Words given to us through tongues and interpretation of tongues? Words of knowledge and words of wisdom that he gives to us through others and speaks to us personally? Do we hold these words as precious and valuable to us? Or do we take these words, tuck them in our pockets and then forget about them?  Do we hear the words spoken and say, “good word” and then think of it no more as we go about our busy daily lives, treating his word as something much, much less than precious?  Oh, how spoiled we have become! I marvel at God’s great love and patience towards us and often wonder why he keeps speaking when it seems no one is listening.

It is easy to see how God’s word has lost its value to us, to this generation. It is not something we had to work for, it is not something we had to struggle to receive, or work hard to earn. His Word, written and spoken, has always been there for us.  What is it that makes a rare and precious stone prized and valuable? The fact that it is rare. And if we actually owned a jewel so rare and so valuable, how would we would treat it? I believe we would most certainly get it appraised. And after the appraiser carefully examines it and tells us it’s worth we would hold it as something even more valuable because of knowing its great worth. Then we would most likely adorn the jewel by surrounding it with gold and other precious jewels that would make this particular jewel look even better, if possible. Then we would proudly wear it and display it for all to see. We’d carefully put it on each morning and carefully remove it each evening ,then tuck it away someplace safe until we awake again blessed to have another day where we could admire its’ beauty and share its’ splendidness with whomever we would come in contact with that day. How foolish it would be if we owned a precious and rare jewel and kept it buried in a “safe place” or even displayed in a “nice place” while living a life of poverty and watching our children and loved ones die of sickness, starvation, and disease with no hope for a future. How foolish that would be!

Do we treat God’s word as something rare and valuable? Or are we being foolish with it? Do we carefully examine it in order to know it’s true worth? Do we admire the beauty, the weightiness, and influence of God’s words? Do we surround God’s Word with other writers of God inspired books written by authors who have studied His word so that we can appreciate and understand the value of God’s word even more?  Do we desire to share His word with all we meet each and every day so that they too can admire His beauty?  Or do we keep His Word neat and clean on a shelf or a stand simply to look at and to admire externally as we pass by it each day? Or, even worse, do we keep His Word buried and hidden inside, not sharing our faith with others for fear of what they would think or say while people all around us are dying?

In today’s world, at least here in America, God’s word is easily accessible and therefore easy to take advantage of. It is easy to discard, brush off and put aside until later when we find the time for it or feel we really need it. Yes, God’s word has lost its’ value in the eyes of many of us who dare to call ourselves “Christian”.

Recently I watched a video of people in another country, I believe it was China, receiving Bibles in their underground Church. As they opened the boxes the excitement shined in the expressions on their faces. They were so excited! When the box was actually opened up and the Bibles handed to them, they held their bible and drew it close to them with tears streaming down their faces. They clung to their Bibles as if they were the most precious and valuable item in the entire world to them. Some even fell to their knees weeping with tears of love appreciation for such a great treasure. When was the last time we cherished God’s word like that?

It is up to us to make God’s word the most valuable possession we have here on this earth. It is up to each of us individually to appraise its value as we dig deeper into God’s word and learn of all its rich and hidden truths. It is up to us to treat God’s word  as rare, precious, glorious, prized and highly valued. We are a very spoiled generation and we do not truly understand the cost of something that has cost us almost nothing. We are enjoying the inheritance of those who have gone before us and are behaving like spoiled rich kids living under their daddy’s inheritance.

If we do not take the time to appraise the value of God’s word in our lives, no matter what form it comes in, written or spoken, we will suffer. We will lose. Then we will wonder why and we will wonder what happened while the answer was laying, literally, right before us.

God’s Word IS precious. God’s Word IS valuable and God’s Word IS splendid and God’s Word IS glorious. God’s Word, written or spoken, is life!! Let us gaze into its beauty daily and grab hold of all  His precious promises and adorn ourselves daily with His words. Let us treat his words as rare and precious and proudly display the beauty of His words in and through our lives for all to see and marvel in. Let’s stop being spoiled and understand and cherish the value and the power and the influence of Gods very precious words in these days!

Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 8:11

…“Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4: 4-13, 20-23

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God’s not done with me yet!

As I sat today after watching Beth Moore’s “Lesson with a hairbrush”, I cried, and cried. (You can view Beth’s short video clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtk5WgzZcYA)  Then I heard the Lord ask me, “Why are you crying?” I thought about it for a minute and I realized I was crying for a few reasons.

First, God is so sweet and so good. He cares even about the little things. He knows our hurts, our fears and every one of our desires. Even a desire as simple as wishing someone would brush our hair. God cares!!!

Second, and probably the biggest reason, I was crying because I was wondering would I have obeyed God as Beth did? Would God have been able to trust me enough to even ask me? Do I have a heart that listens to and obeys God in spite of insecurities, fears and even personal embarrassment? Am I willing to listen to Him and obey Him no matter what He asks me to do? There is a song that I absolutely love, one of my all-time favorite songs to the Lord. It’s titled “I Simply Live for You” by Hillsong (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSIwNdGsthY ). That song came to my spirit when I was wondering these things and I felt the Lord asking me, “Do you”?” Do you simply live for me? And so I wondered, “do I simply live for Him”? Or is my life spent living for self and for family. Where does God really fit in? Do I simply live for Him? If I am completely honest with my God and myself I would have to say no, I do not. I very much want to but I tend to allow life’s distractions to draw me away from Him. Life is full of opportunities for distractions: Home, work, friendships, family, hobbies, TV, computer, phone, games, etc.. These  can all prove be distractions and deterrents in our relationship and time with the Lord. Although none of these things are bad in and of themselves, if we are not careful we can so easily allow our priorities to get out of order. Often it just sneaks up on us a little at a time.

I remember the time when God was truly first in my life. He was the first one I thought of when I woke up and the last one I thought of when I was falling asleep. I couldn’t wait for every new morning to come, for that is when we would have sweet fellowship. Just Him and I, alone for hours each morning. I could not get enough of Him or His word – I had such an unquenchable hunger for Him! Where did that go? What happened that changed that? I’m not sure exactly where or when it started, but my priorities got out of order. I so desire to put Him first again! Yet it has been such a struggle. The Lord told me once as I was struggling with this, “Putting God first in your life is not easy. It is a commitment that turns into a desire and becomes a passion!” Commitment. It starts with commitment. This is something ‘I’ must determine to do. God will not make me. God has given each of us the freedom of choice. The choices that we make greatly impact the paths of our lives. Daily we need to pray for the wisdom to make the choices that God would have us to make.

Third, I was crying because I know that I have let fear take me from my God. I know that God can ask us to do some crazy things because he has and so I have feared that and have run from him. I use to think that obedience to God, the God that I have placed all my trust in, would be so easy. Boy was I wrong!  I have believed with all my heart that I trust God completely, but now I find myself wondering, “do I”? If I really do, then what am I afraid of? Two things actually, self and others. I need to count the cost and ask myself, “Am I willing to humble myself and even embarrass myself for my God? Am I willing to let go of the fear of man and the rejection of man and do all God has called me to do or will call me to do?” The answer is, “YES! Yes, God, yes!” God, give me the boldness and grace to do whatever you call me to do! Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. And that is what has held me back. Yet God has told me through his word that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) And when I am weak, He is strong! (2 Corinthians 12:10). I want to be able to sing that song to God, “I Simply Live for You”, and mean it with all my heart.  And with God’s grace, I will, for I am still learning and still growing and  God is always willing to help because as long as I live I can promise you: God’s not done with me yet!

God, give me the grace to serve you, to honor you, to obey you, to put you first above myself and my dignity, to be so enamored by your love that nothing and no one can hold me back not even myself. Let fear truly be a thing of my past, not my present or my future. Give me the grace to walk in the authority you have given me through your son, Jesus. There is no way I will succeed on my own, Lord. I have proven this. I need your grace to fill me to overflowing so that I can live this abundant Spirit filled life you have given me. Show me the things to come so that I can commit unto you the works of your hands. Let me be a part of what you are doing in and on this earth and in the lives of others. Show me how to be a blessing and help me to obey you. Guide me, Holy Spirit, lead me and counsel me. Rebuke me and chastise me when I do wrong and show me the right way. Lead me to the mountain of the Lord where He will teach me His ways so I may walk in His paths all the days of my life. Let my ending be so much better than my beginning and someday when I see You, Lord, face to face may You say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:21). Oh, God, let it be so! In Jesus name, Amen!

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Listen Oh Daughter…

Listen oh daughter, consider and give ear. Forget your people and your father’s house. The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord. (Psalm 45:10,11)

Oh, if women everywhere would engrave this word upon their hearts and truly understand their value and worth as seen through the Kings eyes and not the world’s eyes. For man looks upon the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. The inward beauty of every woman, that soft, gentle, loving nature implanted by God alone that is meant to be shared with the world around them is open to the eyes of our heavenly Father.

This world looks for perfection in physical beauty and judges a woman’s worth based on outward appearances, but God sees the inward beauty of each woman with all the imperfections and says that he is enthralled by your beauty!! Oh, for the King of all kings to be enthralled by your beauty! How wonderful, how marvelous, how freeing! Yet so many women are ensnared by worldly teachings, false advertisings, and hurtful, lying words spoken to them. Hurt by parents, teachers, leaders, family, friends, and strangers. They received all these lies into their spirits and they falsely judge themselves by all the lies surrounding them. Oh, if they would only realize that the root of all these lies come from the enemy of their souls and have infiltrated their minds and soiled their hearts until it has affected their entire being. The way they think, the things they say, the way they dress, the way they view themselves, and the way they respond to others around them. Their spirits have been crushed until they feel unworthy, unloved, uncared for even by those who do care and do love them. And they live their lives in pursuit of acceptance, looking for ways to make people see them and ultimately “love” them. But the more they try, the more they believe that the world and the people in it continue to reject them. Even when people who genuinely do love them attempt to fill their life, they are so blinded by the lies that they cannot see the truth. Often they will enter wrong relationships, settling for anyone who seems to care just a little bit. Even though their heart may scream warnings, their mind refutes them in search for love. They are just looking for someone, anyone to fill the empty gaps in their life. And their wrong thinking caused by all the lies that have blinded them leads them down roads of more destruction. The enemy is always looking for ways to completely destroy lives. A little destruction is never enough. His thirst to destroy is never satisfied.

Oh, for women everywhere to know true love! The love of the One who has adored us since he formed us in our mother’s womb! Then lovingly, as only a proud Father could, planned out every single day of our lives as He hoped we would live it. He has written us the longest love letter ever written and throughout it tells us how much he loves us and cares for us. How he is constantly with us and desires to teach us and guide us if only we would love and trust him! He tells us that we are the apple of his eye, and he has engraved us upon the palms of his hands. He fills us joy and gladness, thanksgiving and singing. He covers us with the shadow of his hand. He defends us and gives us beautiful garments of splendor and praise. He places on us a crown of beauty and gives us the oil of gladness. He willingly receives all our hurts, fears, anxieties, and troubles and tells us not to fear or carry our burdens but to allow him to take them. He gives us food for our hungry soul and water to quench our thirsty spirit. He guards us, watches over us, and keeps us hidden in him. He says, “No man shall snatch you out of my hand!” He makes us promises and never breaks them. He lavishes us with gifts and speaks words of love to our spirits. He listens to us and hears every word we say. He speaks to us in hopes that we will listen. He chose us. He chose us! He loves us so much that he died for us. We are his love. When will we learn to make him ours? Women of God rise up! Wake up! There is truth you must learn! But first, you must be willing to surrender all the lies you have willingly believed and cast them at the feet of Jesus. Then allow him to replace the lies with the truth. Listen… Listen. He will remove the thorns and heal the wounds. You have much to learn and he is a great and patient teacher. Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths. Come… Come…

Father, be with my sisters. Draw them to you, Lord.  Lead them to the still waters, to the quiet places where you dwell with each one of them. Help them to cast all the lies at your feet and learn to walk in your truth and love. Remove the hurts. Heal the wounds. Help them to willingly open every place in their hearts to you, Lord, the only one who loves us for everything we are. The good, the bad, the ugly, all the imperfections, help them to lay them completely before you open and vulnerable. And as they humble themselves before you, Lord, lift them up, Father, to new places in you. Lead them where only you can. Fill their hearts with joy and gladness. Give them a new song of praise to sing to you. Dance with them, laugh with them, rejoice over them. Draw them into your presence, Lord. For they have been made worthy by the blood of your Son, Jesus. They are worthy to be loved. Worthy to be loved by the King of kings and Lord of lords! In Jesus name, Amen.

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Learning to Love

During a very difficult time in my life there was a person who entered into my life. Someone who was supposed to love me. This was the position in life that this person chose to be a part of, but instead of loving me she hated me. The truth is, she didn’t even know me. She had never spent any time with me. Although she was given several  opportunities to spend time with me, she refused to. She hated me not because of anything I had said or done but simply because of who I was in this life. The position that I held that she felt threatened by. And that hatred was given not only to me, but to others in my extended family. She hated and caused great pain and intense heartache to those she should have loved and cared for. She brought separation to a family instead of togetherness.  She tried desperately to destroy the bond of a very close and loving family, and in some ways she succeeded.  Through this experience, I learned to hate. I had never truly hated before, not this deep, overwhelming feeling of hate. I may have not liked people before, but hate is so much different; so much more of an intense feeling. Hate fills you and consumes you. Hate will destroy you. It separates you from God’s fellowship and His protective covering. Your prayers will fall flat to the ground because unconfessed hatred and unforgiveness cannot enter God’s holy presence where fellowship is meant to dwell. But this person who was supposed to love me and my family, who was supposed to show us love and be an example of love to us, this person who was supposed to reach out to us in a time of our lives when we were all so deeply hurt, this person who was supposed to help bring healing instead inflicted pain and reached out with malice, contempt and hatred. And so, I learned to hate.

I knew hate was wrong but what was so much harder to handle than the hatred poured out on me was watching hatred being poured out on the people I loved so much and who were suffering at her hands. And more specifically this one very special person to me. This person who I believed I was supposed to watch over and protect but she lived outside of my protection. I felt so helpless. I was asked by her to not help, but to allow her to suffer on her own.  I could hardly stand it. She would call in pain and in tears so often at the mercy of this person’s cruel treatment in her life and I could do nothing but helplessly stand by and watch and listen.  And my hatred which started and developed from unforgiveness grew.

As my hatred grew so did the distance between my heavenly Father and I. I stopped fellow-shipping with Him. I stopped reading and spending time in the Word. I went to church for my children. If it had not been for my love for my children and knowing in my heart what was the right thing to teach them, I would have stopped going to church, for my love, although it was still there,  had grown cold and stagnant for my God. Emotionally I was a mess and physically I was sicker than I had ever been in my life. Hatred, which is always the fruit of unforgiveness, will destroy you. It comes from the enemy whose one and only purpose is to kill and destroy.

But thankfully, the Lord never gave up on me. He brought people in my life to help me along this journey. He led me to a place where healing would begin. He taught me to forgive. And forgive, I did. Healing in my body and my spirit began to take place. My relationship with my Lord soared to new heights. Such sweet fellowship! As I learned to submit to the Lord’s authority and to forgive, He taught me to love even those I thought unlovable.  For truly, no one is unlovable. It is not the other that must be changed, it is always the self. For if God loves all, no matter what, who are we to not love? Am I really so arrogant as to think I am better than the person whom I think is unlovable? Is that person’s sins any worse than the sins that the Lord has forgiven me of? A resounding NO! All people are lovable because love is a condition of the persons’ heart who is administering that love. It has nothing to do with the other person.  What that person has or hasn’t done, should never affect the heart that loves.  As I chose to forgive and purposed in my heart to love and committed myself to love, we grew close, the Lord and I.  Closer than we had ever been. My love for the Lord increased momentously.  Love and hate can never live together. One will always choke out the other.

And so, even in the midst of this hatred being continually poured out on me and those I loved, even in the midst of the lies that were continually being told about me and those close to me, I learned to love this person that hated us. But the love that I gave to her was on the very lowest level of love. I treated her with respect and with kindness. My actions towards her were in love and there was no hatred or unforgiveness in my heart towards her. What I did, I did for the Lord. But emotionally, I could not feel love for her. There was no “feeling” of love at all. And even though we are taught that love is not a feeling, but an action, shouldn’t there be some feeling of love when you love someone? I desired with everything in me to love her for my Lord and I truly did love her to the very best of my ability. I simply refused to allow myself to hate or to hold any unforgiveness towards her no matter what she said, did, or continued to say or do. Love is always a choice, and I chose to love. God’s word teaches that forgiveness is not always something we have to do just once, sometimes it is continuous. Sometimes we must forgive over and over again. And isn’t that what the Lord does for us? For how many of us have completely stopped sinning? I am so glad that God’s forgiveness is a well that never runs dry. And God’s word teaches us that we are supposed to be like Him. Forgiveness and love walk hand in hand together. Where there is no forgiveness, there is no love. And to love, even in this very basic way, meant that I had to crucify my flesh and the desires of my flesh daily. I loved out of obedience to my God and his Word and out of my desire to have sweet fellowship with Him.

Years passed as I walked in this level of love for this person. And then one day recently, as I was fellow-shipping with my Lord he said to me,
“I want you to love her like she never hurt you”.
“I want you to love her like she never hurt you.”
“But I don’t know if I can trust her.”
“I did not ask you to trust her. I asked you to love her like she never hurt you.”

And so this new journey began. And in a matter of just weeks, as the Lord, through his grace, helped me, I began to not only love this person more, but to feel love for her. As the walls began to come down, love began to grow. And she could feel it, too, because she expressed to others how we all of a sudden had begun to grow close! The walls are still coming down; love is still in the process of growing.  There is nothing sweeter than sweet fellowship with the Father. And there is no sacrifice, no act of obedience that is not worth the cost of that fellowship. What my Lord asks me to do, I, along with His grace, will do. Though my flesh may scream and recoil, I will crucify it and it will submit. I will become more like my Father and I will walk in love towards my sisters and my brothers. Trials are never easy, but they bring about the desired changes, for our good, that God desires in our lives.

There was a man named Judas in the Bible. Most people know about Judas and how he betrayed Jesus. I think about how this man must have truly hurt the very heart of Jesus. Jesus fellow-shipped with him daily. He ate with him, broke bread with him and laughed with him. He was one of his close companions. Jesus sent him out along with the other eleven disciples to minister and perform miracles. Jesus loved him. And he never treated him any different than the other eleven. This is evidenced at the last supper when Jesus announced that one of the twelve would betray him and they all wondered who it was. They had no idea! Jesus loved Judas as much as he loved all his disciples and although he knew the things Judas did and would do, he loved him as if he never had and never would hurt him.  I am sure that Judas’ kiss of betrayal hurt Jesus deeply.  Yet Jesus loved him as if he never hurt Him.

There were people along the path in the course of Jesus’ last day that cursed Him, spit upon Him, and pulled out his beard. They hated him.  Yet Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.  Jesus suffered mercilessly at the hands of those who beat him, scourged him, mocked him and crucified him. Yet, he willingly forgave them, then stretched out his arms and died for them. Jesus loved them as if they never hurt Him.

I believe that Jesus’ feelings and emotions run deep.  What man, besides Jesus, has ever prayed so earnestly that he sweat great drops of blood. Yes, His emotions run deep. Jesus loves deeply. There is no hatred in Him, for God is love. And if His spirit dwells within me, then I have that love within me and the ability to love even those who hate me and despitefully use me. Hatred does not come from the Father, so if I have hatred or unforgiveness in me, where does that come from? And can the two dwell together? No! So I choose to love. I choose to forgive. I will allow only love to dwell within me and will not give in to the desires of my flesh. Is this possible with me alone? No! But, through God and his grace, I will love like I have never been hurt. And the joy of this love floods my spirit and my soul. Thank you Father, for your mercy, love, and grace that is with me daily, empowering me to do all things through Christ who strengthens me spiritually, physically, and emotionally.  I love you, Lord! I love you so very much! Thank you for loving me, always. Thank you!

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”  Matthew 18: 21-22 NIV

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

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The Egg

Have you ever thought about the egg? It’s hard shell – sometimes white, sometimes brown, sometimes clean, and sometimes dirty.  The shell of the egg is what touches the world. They are nice to decorate and then sit around and stare at the beauty you have created. But basically they are not really good for much more than holding the insides in place. If you break the shell and separate it from the egg you can’t even say that the shell is an egg anymore. It’s just a shell and therefore good for nothing more than tossing in the trash. Then there is the lovely white that sits between the shell and the yolk. It can be used to make the sweetest desserts that appease the palate and tempt the flesh – mmmm. And finally there is the yolk. The ‘meat’ and life of the egg.

Have you ever thought about you; your body, your soul, and your spirit? Have you ever compared yourself to an egg? It’s a pretty good analogy. Your body is like the shell of the egg. You can decorate your body, make it look real pretty and then sit around and stare at the beauty you have created. Your body is what physically touches the outside world with its five senses. It can hear, see, smell, touch, and taste. But if the body is broken and separated from the soul and the spirit, it is then good for nothing more than to be buried or burned. The soul is like the white of the egg. It is a barrier between our spirit and our body. Our soul is what carries our emotions and our feelings. Then there is our spirit; the ‘meat’ of who we are and our very life. For where there is spirit, there is life. There cannot be life without a spirit. Our spirit is who we truly are.

Just like you can scramble together the yolk and the white until the two seem the same and inseparable, in your mind you can scramble together the soul and the spirit until the two seem as though they are one. We are constantly ruled by our emotions and our feelings. We feel sad – so we act sad, we feel mad so we act mad, we feel happy so we act happy, etc., etc., and on we go with this roller-coaster of a life.

But if we look at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word – the truth of who we really are, we will see that the soul and the spirit are different and separable. However, only the light of the Word of God can truly separate the two. (Hebrews 4:12) This is done by the renewing of the mind with the truth of God’s Word. Who does God’s Word say that you are? It says you are God’s child. It says you are fearfully and wonderfully made, it says you are the healed, the saved, and the sanctified child of the Most High God. It says you have been made righteous, it says you can enter into the very throne room of God. It says you have the same resurrection power in you that raised Christ from the dead. It says that you don’t have to receive any words that have been spoken against you, but you can refute them as part of your inheritance and therefore they can do you no harm. The list goes on and on and on- God’s promises are amazing and freeing! But only to those who know them, believe them, and apply them.

So often we wonder how we can have peace in the midst of a storm. If we live according to our soul with its emotions and feelings then we can never have real peace and the imitation peace we get is fleeting at best. But if we learn to let the spirit take its rightful place in our lives (first place) then we will teach our soul the truth so it will come in agreement with our spirit and our bodies will have to submit. However the spirit will never have first place within us as long as God’s Word is not first in our lives. A renewing of the mind is a conscience effort. God’s Word says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.  (2 Tim. 2:15) God’s Word does not say, “Read to show thyself approved”, it says, “study…” and it also calls those who do so “workmen” not “hobbyists”.

How is it that so many Christians seem to be very good worriers when God commands us throughout His Word not to worry about anything! And it says not to fear approximately 365 times. Worry and fear go hand in hand. The reason we worry and fear so much is simple. It is because we have not renewed our minds with the Word of God and so we are ruled by our flesh, and our emotions, and not our spirit. To live a victorious life it is essential that we learn to look intently into the mirror of God’s Word and learn who we truly are in Him. Then we must apply this to our lives and act upon what we have read. Faith without works is dead. Only then will we live the fullness of this life that we are supposed to be living.

Here’s an example – we read in God’s word and know that it says we are conquerors and more than overcomers, but when we make a mistake or something goes wrong in our lives, we sit down and have a pity party. This is when we are not being doers of the Word. We are allowing ourselves to be ruled by our emotions and our flesh. God’s word says that we must crucify the flesh daily. Look at what Jesus suffered through when He was crucified on the cross. Crucifying the flesh is not easy, but we are to be doers of the Word, so crucifying the flesh is what we must do – daily.

So now, let me encourage both you and me that the next time we have a seemingly bad day, or week, or year, let us open up the mirror of God’s Word and find out who we truly are in Christ. Do not allow this world that Satan is the god of (2 Cor. 4:4), rule our emotions. Command our spirit to take control of our emotions and our flesh. Let’s be the children of God that we were created to be!

In summation; we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Our body has a purpose but only does what the spirit and soul lead it to do. Our soul (emotions) will desire to automatically take control because this is how we have been trained since we were born. But the born again child of God has a re-created Spirit made in the image of God and is filled with the fullness of God. God’s Holy Spirit abides in our spirit. There He will lead us, guide us, and teach us. We are the temple of the Holy Ghost. Our soul and our body should be in total submission to our spirit. As we renew our mind in the mirror of God’s Word and learn to listen to and obey the Lord, we will live the full overcoming, fulfilling life that God has already provided for each of us to live. Let’s do it!

The mind of sinful man [Or mind set on the flesh] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; (Romans 8:6)

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9) 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Rom. 8:14)

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body,” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

“For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  (Eph. 3:14-21)

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As for Me…

As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. 1 Sam. 12:23a

I cannot imagine a day without prayer. Without fellowship with the One who has stolen my heart. Oh Lord, save me from such a fate! Save me from the pit of contentment and complacency. Draw me nearer to you each and every day. My God, my Savior, my Friend. Let me enjoy sweet fellowship through prayer and worship with you each and every day. And should my day start so busy that I fail to pray, remind me Lord, and don’t let me lay my head to rest without sweet fellowship with You. For I need you, Lord, and so do they.

So often we struggle and wonder how, how do I grow closer in intimacy with the Lord? We go to bed thinking, “I meant to spend time with God today but my day got completely out of control. Tomorrow I will spend time with Him.” This cycle can continue for days, weeks, months and very possibly before we even realize it…years. Years with very little time spent alone with God. Our intentions are always good, but yet our days spin out of control. As Jesus told his disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” We really do want to spend time with our Lord, but there are so many distractions in our busy lives. The phone rings, the kids need us, the house needs cleaning, laundry needs washing, dinner needs cooking, have to get ready for work, have to go to work, a date with a friend, an appointment with someone for something, an unexpected visit from a friend, and so many other happenings during the day that so easily pull us away from that sweet personal fellowship with our heavenly Father.

So, how do we stop the cycle? Priorities. When He truly becomes our top priority the cycle will stop. When we make ourselves get up an hour before the rest of the household does, when we turn the cell phones off, take our home phone off the hook, find a quiet space in the house where there will be few distractions, often I have used my closet in the bathroom – people usually don’t bother me there.  Whatever it takes. We always make room in our lives for what is most important. How important is spending time with God in your life? The answer to that is how much room do we make for Him in our daily lives. It’s a self-evaluation.  I once had a group keep a daily calendar for one month. From the time they got up to the time they went to bed they were to record what they did each hour of each day. Every week when we got together they were to look at their calendar and evaluate it. It is so easy to see where our priorities lie when it is written down so clearly on paper.

Distractions happen to everyone. But they can, for the most part, be overcome by simply rearranging our days. The question is, “How important is it to you that you spend time with Him each and every day?” “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” Luke 14:28 The word, “tower” in the original Greek is “pyrgos” meaning, “a fortified structure rising to a considerable height, to repel a hostile attack or to enable a watchman to see in every direction.” In order to rise in our walk with the Lord, in order to be in a place where we can stand against every attack the enemy sends our way, in order to be that watchman who is prepared for whatever comes our way, we must place God first in our lives. Will it cost us something? Yes! It could cost you sleep, it could cost you TV time, or computer time, telephone time chatting with a friend, or whatever it is that steals that time away from time with God in your life. But as David, a man after God’s own heart said, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” If all we give God is our left-over time, how much have we really given Him? Leftovers after a while become boring, they lose their flavor, they lose all nutritional value and can cause more harm than good. Left over time with God can make us feel good, but is it really adding to our relationship with God or is it just filler to ease our conscience?  If we become satisfied with that type of relationship with God then we are in danger of falling into the pit of contentment and complacency.  Our relationship and our personal time with the Lord should be fun and exciting. Something we look forward to, not something we feel we have to do. This only comes when He is our top priority. It will never come from just Sunday mornings in church. It should come from private time with Him. That is truly where we will do the most growing in Him.  Intimate fellowship with the Father and entrance into his throne room is our privilege as His children.  Let’s take advantage of it!

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn.” Ps. 89:15-17 (NIV)

“How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted.” Ps. 89:15-17 (NASB)

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Until We Meet Again

While creating a memorial slideshow for my 15 year old nephew who died suddenly one Christmas Eve, my heart was overwhelmed and this poem, inspired by the Lord, was created. If you are suffering a loss, I am so sorry. I hope this will bring you some comfort, if even on the smallest level.


Oh, for just a glimpse of heaven,
To see my loved ones there.
To behold the smiles upon their faces
To taste of joy beyond compare!

But if my earthly eyes could see,
Would my hurting end?
For how with mortal mind and soul
Can the spirit comprehend?

For I am bound by flesh and bones
But they, they are set free.
And should they catch a glimpse of me
Is it pity I would see?

For there they have no pain or sorrow,
No care, nor fear, or fret.
But here I struggle, weep, and worry,
My desires never met.

So if I had a glimpse of heaven
Could I aspire to remain
In this place of turmoil, sickness, and hardship,
Filled with so much pain?

And so with eyes of faith I’ll walk
And trust the One who sees
That in the course of time for me
Unanswered questions He’ll appease.

And then I’ll know beyond all doubt
What my heavenly Father knew;
His plans for me were always good;
His Word was faithful, trustworthy and true.

For life on earth is a blink in time
Given to us to prepare
For the eternity He has promised
To each of his children here.

So, I lay my questions at His feet,
And I’ll hold you in my heart,
Until the day we meet again
And embrace you in my arms.

Then hand in hand we shall stroll
Down streets made of pure gold
And we will share eternity filled
With peace and joy untold.