Needing Someone to Rescue Your Life? One Simple Shift Can Make the Difference

I have a plausible theory.   I think Adam and Eve were co-dependent.

Let me lay the ground work.  Codependency is relying on something or someone other than God as your source of value and identity.   Since the fall in the Garden, we all have the innate desperate need of a savior.  We instinctively know that our souls are ‘naked’ and every human being has to deal with the same lies that the enemy told Eve.  You are not safe, and you do not have value.  When Eve believed those lies, she was duped into believing that we must ‘save’ ourselves.  This is why she ate from the tree that was forbidden. She believed the lie that God was not a trustworthy Savior.

Of course, they realized their error right away.  For as soon as they had turned to ‘self-sufficiency’ as their savior, their world came tumbling down.  This beautiful paradise could no longer be their home.  The deep abiding peace they had lived in was slowly  engulfed in fear and hardship.  God had a plan to redeem them, but He would have to cut them off from the Garden of Eden so they would not partake of the Tree of Life and thereby living eternally in a state of fallenness.

Adam and Eve heard God’s plan for redemption when he cursed the serpent.  He said, “And I will put enmity (or animosity) between you and the woman, and between your offspring

and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The offspring that God was referring to foreshadowed Christ coming to earth as a human to be crucified and crushing sin and death in the process.  The fulfillment of His words didn’t happen for 4000 years.  That is a very LONG time to see a prophecy come forth!

Adam nor Eve could have conceived of the coming of Christ.  My theory, based on the fruit of the first family, is that they believed it would be their first born son, Cain (their offspring) that would crush the head of the serpent so that they could return to their beautiful Garden and the deep peacefulness of close fellowship with God.

I further believe that they raised their son Cain to also think that he was the savior.  You have seen families in your lifetime who have lifted up one of the family members to be the rescuer.  The star athlete gives the rest of the family an identity.  Or the eldest in a family is counted on for their protection or provision.  When we get our identity, protection or provision from anyone or anything but God we are using a false idol to be our savior. 

I believe Adam and Eve put Cain on a pedestal as the savior, and Cain believed them. You can see his arrogance in his fruit.  In Genesis 4, God chastises Cain and rebukes him for not ‘doing what is right.’  God further warns Cain that sin is crouching at his door and must master it.  Cain did not humble himself after this. Instead, he lured his brother to a field and murdered him.  

Instead of God being on the throne of Cain’s heart, Cain was sitting on the throne in his own heart and in the hearts of his parents.  This is the simple definition of co-dependency, someone or something other than God being on the throne.

OK – hard truth coming! 

The Church in many ways is co-dependent.  We count on our pastor to rescue us.  Or we put a picture perfect fantasy life on the throne and say “If I could only live that life, I would be rescued.”   We look to our spouse to give us value.  We look to food or money to comfort us.  These are all false idols on the thrones in our heart.  They will never satisfy.  They will only lead to heartache as it did in the first family.

The true Rescuer came to earth and they crucified Him on a cross.  He was full of grace and truth. He rose again from the dead and is still our Rescuer.

Jesus has everything we need.  He is the One who gives us our identity.  He is the One who values us. We have no need for any other human, or fantasy, or money, or false comforters to rescue us.

We must learn to trust in the One who is seated on the throne and let Him replace all other false rescuers.  It is only then that we will stop needing to constantly be rescued.  The True Rescuer awaits your cry for help.

Steps to Wholeness

If you recognize that you have a rescuer other than Jesus your first step to wholeness is simply confessing it to the Lord.  Maybe you ARE the person trying to be a rescuer, you also need to repent.

1) Confess to God that you have a false idol on the throne.  

2) Command the idol (mountain) to be cast into the sea. (Sometimes I picture kicking the pedestal out from underneath the idol.)

3) Ask Jesus to sit on the throne of your heart in every area.

Keep Jesus on the throne by asking the Lord for conviction whenever you look to something or someone else to be your rescuer.

Co-Dependency may be generational.  

Click here to pray over generational sins of co-dependency

.

If you do a really deep work of dethroning idols - it is probably a good idea to pray the Sealing Up Prayer 

(found here) 

 when you are done.

Doing This One Thing Daily Will Keep You Safely on the Path of Life

It is important on our path to maturity in Christ that we do not fall into one side of the ditch or the other.  The enemy wants to keep us from reaching our destination.  He wants to sideline us from our true calling.  If the devil can neutralize us from traveling on the path of life – then he wins.

The Lord was impressing on me the need to daily be grateful for the cross and that our sins were washed by the blood of the Lamb.  He was speaking to my heart that if we will simply let our gratefulness for the cross be the foundation of every single day that we will never fall into a ditch!  The enemy cannot win if we believe firmly in the grace and truth of the cross of Jesus Christ!

 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. – Colossians 1:22-23

The cross humbles those who are in pride

- because we cannot do it ourselves.  We have a need for someone else to come and save us from our sins.

The cross lifts up those who are in shame

- because the price has been paid.  He took our shame on the cross and we can hand it to Him and find peace because it’s been taken care of.

The cross takes away our excuse for self pity

- because how can we feel sorry for ourselves when we were bought for such a high price.  No one can feel sorry for themselves if they truly appreciate the lengths that Christ went to in order to purchase us.

The cross conquers the fear of the future

- because death no longer has the upper hand.  We will spend eternity in heaven – Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.

The cross frees us from seeking the approval of men

– because the true Savior is God and not men.  We do not need approval from mere human beings – our worth does not come from their opinions of us… our approval comes from the One who purchased our pardon.

The cross keeps grace and truth in balance.

Truth

- we are sinful and in need of a Savior.

Grace

- we are so valuable to the Lord that sacrificed His one and only Son in order to pay for that sin.

If we are to remain on the path of life, and not fall into pride, or self-pity or shame -- our daily practice should be to be grateful and rejoice in the cross of Jesus Christ!

Will you join me in this prayer?

Father God we praise you for the cross!  We thank You for sending Your one and only Son to purchase our sins.  Thank You for the blood of Jesus that washes us clean and makes us new.  Thank You that one day we will be in heaven because of the price He paid for us.  We ask for forgiveness for our sins. We humble ourselves before the throne of God and let the redemption of Christ wash over our hearts, minds, souls and lives.  Thank You Lord for considering us so valuable that You paid such a high price to be with us.  May we remain grateful EVERY SINGLE day for the grace and truth of the cross of Jesus!  In His name, AMEN!

Did Jesus Really Die So We Wouldn’t Have To?

Did Jesus Really Die So We Wouldn’t Have To?

When I came to Christ I was told that Christ died on the cross so I wouldn’t have to.

I believed this half-truth for a long time as a new believer… that is until I hit my “Dark Night of the Soul”

(click HERE to read more)

.

When I hit this fiery season of purging to become more Christlike, I found myself striving with God.  It was a VERY difficult season.  I wanted to quit.  “God this is too hard.  Why does it hurt so much?”  I said to Him, “Didn’t You die so I wouldn’t have to?  If you took my suffering on the cross why am I hurting so much?  Isn’t it Your job to save me?”

God was so gentle yet firm as he brought me a new understanding of the purpose of His cross.

He showed me through His word that He had carried the cross on my behalf.  He showed me the depth of His love by being beaten, spit on, rejected, crucified on the cross and then forgiving those who killed Him.  He fully atoned for the sins of all men.  He FINISHED His part by shedding His blood and rolling back of the curse.

But… He was still in need of His people to carry their own cross and die for others.  In this way, people could see Christ in us and our death to our own flesh would bring others life.  It is the basic principle of His Kingdom. 

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

  John 15:13

He said to me through His Holy Spirit, “I came to earth to show you how to die.”

Paul understood this and wrote extensively about suffering for the sake of the gospel.  Paul laid down his life and endured prison, beatings, shipwreck, rejection, and being stoned.  He suffered much for the sake of the early church.  Paul understood that his suffering was bringing life to God’s people.  His pain was accomplishing something. 

Paul explains this in Colossians 1:24

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of his body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.”

The Kingdom of God is different than any other “kingdom” because it is built on suffering and sacrifice.  This sacrifice is a symbol of love.  When we overlook offense, or forgive those who hurt us, when we give up time and money to care for the less fortunate, when we wait patiently for loved ones to come to Christ, when we sacrifice by fasting and praying for our nation… it is then that we identify with the sufferings of Christ.

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It is half right to say that Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to.  He took our sins and nailed them to the cross.  But the other half of the truth of the cross is that Jesus calls us to come and die with Him and give our lives for our fellow man.

There are two elements of the cross.  There is the substitutionary element where Christ paid our debt.  And there is the identificational element where we pick up our cross of suffering and die so that others might truly live.  It is in this way that we identify with the sufferings of Christ.  It is the part that Paul calls sharing the “fellowship of sharing in His sufferings.”

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

  Phil 3:10-11

If we want to truly know Christ, we must know Him in His sufferings and become like Him in His death.

Are you struggling with saying yes to picking up your cross?  Are you struggling with self-pity?  Do you find yourself living a half-truth when it comes to both elements of the cross? 

It can be a difficult mind shift but as followers of Christ, we are called to suffer for the Kingdom of God. 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Matthew 16:24-25

What are you laying your life down for? 

"Suffering saints are living seed."

Charles Spurgeon, 19th century theologian

If Your Life is a Painting… Who’s Holding the Paintbrush?

Recently in Indiana we have had the most beautiful sunsets.  It is like every evening God dips His paintbrush in the most lovely of colors and sweeps it across our sky leaving us with His breathtaking art of nature.

His unique style with each sunset is a testament to His character as The Creator.  He is a diverse Master Painter with many different styles.

He also uses His paintbrush as He is painting the story of our lives.  He paints each one of us differently. 

Renaissance

The Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo

Some of us are Sistine Chapels.  He takes His time to draw each detail on the walls of our hearts.  He weaves a story that flows into a glorious finish.

Baroque

The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio

Some of us are Baroque paintings.  God paints us with a love for realism.  His character is articulated through the expression of truth.  God desires to express discernment between light and dark shadows.

Impressionist

Water Lilies by Monet

Some of us are Water Lillies.

He uses a texture in our souls that exude peace.

This peace is imparted to others who are in need.

Expressionist

Starry Night by Van Gogh

Some of us are Starry Nights.  God uses His paintbrush to express emotion through our lives.  We are intense and we are passionate.  God uses us to be sparks of life in the lives of others.

What is God painting in your story?

Or have you handed Him the paintbrush yet?

You see  -  He DOES have a plan and a purpose for our lives.  But He can’t get started on it until we stop trying to paint on the canvas of our lives and turn it over to Him.

We also can’t confine Him to one area of our life.  He must have the paintbrush full time if He is going to create the masterpiece He created us to be.

Some of us have handed the paintbrush to other people in your lives.  If we are people pleasers, we are letting others decide what our lives will look like.  If we continue to bow to the controlling pressure around us to dictate who we are and the choices we make – we have handed the paintbrush of our life over to those we are trying to please.

Adam and Eve handed the paintbrush to Satan.  And he made a MESS of things…

God gave His son for us in order to redeem the painting of our life.  The Master Painter has bought back the right to hold the paintbrush.

But the amazing thing about the Master Painter is that He doesn’t demand that we hand Him the paintbrush… the choice is always ours.

If you have never handed over the paintbrush of your life – I encourage you to do it now.  It will be the best decision you ever make.

If you have only given God permission to paint on part of your canvas – now is the time to turn it all over to Him.

He will paint the most beautiful picture of your life.  He can redeem any black marks or even holes in your canvas.  He redeems.  He restores.  He transforms.

All you have to do is hand the paintbrush over to Him and trust the Master Painter.

If He can paint a nightly sunset as beautiful as this… just think what He can create when we trust Him with the canvas of our lives.

Steps to Wholeness:

Father God, I am sorry I have not handed You the paintbrush of my life.  I want to fully trust You to make something beautiful of my life.  Thank You for Jesus who bought back the right to have the paintbrush. I confess to You that I have made a mess.  I ask Your forgiveness for my sins. Thank You for redeeming my life from sin and darkness. 

I remove the paintbrush from other people’s hands.  I only want to please You. Please take the paintbrush from my hand and have Your way in my life.  I will follow Your lead.  I will obey You.  You are now the Master Painter of my life… and I surrender.

In Jesus name,  AMEN

Would You Have Followed Christ if He was Ugly?


I was helping one of my mentees work through some of her issues with judging people from an outward appearance.  She knew she did it but couldn't seem to get free from it.  She was brought up to believe if a person's outward appearance was attractive they were accepted.  But if a person dressed in an "unworthy" manner or worse if they smelled bad or were physically blemished they were not worthy of her attention.  They could have nothing of value to say because of their outward appearance.

This created a bit of self-hatred in her own heart as she was not outwardly attractive according to the world.  Therefore she had nothing of value to say.

The lie she believed because of what she had witnessed in her lifetime is that value was only given to those who were beautiful.  Therefore she couldn’t receive from people who weren’t beautiful and she didn’t have value until she lost weight and became “beautiful” again.

She knew the story about God choosing David to be King because he looked at the heart, but this did not seem to penetrate her mindset.

She prayed through the deprogramming prayer (found below) and the veil was removed from her eyes.  The Holy Spirit showed her that people with pure hearts will listen to her and realize her value no matter what her outward appearance is.

I read to her the scripture describing Jesus’s appearance in Isaiah 53:2-4
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

She had never heard this scripture before.  It opened up her mind to the fact that the pictures we see of Jesus being outwardly beautiful were not a true representation of what He looked like on earth.  She had a vision in her mind of a man with a mole on his face and rather plain features.  Then she heard the Lord ask her a question…

“Would you have followed Me if I was ugly?”

This really broke her heart and smashed the stronghold of false beauty in her mind.  God set her completely free from judging by outward appearances.

None of us will have glorified bodies until we get to heaven.  We must begin to know one another after the Spirit of God instead of the outward appearances.

I love how the Message Translation puts it in 1 Corinthians 5:16-17:
…we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore.  Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! 


Look beyond outward appearances, there may be someone in your sphere of life that has some important revelations for you!

Steps to Wholeness:
If you have difficulty judging people by outward attractiveness and want to be set free, pray this deprogramming prayer and break off this mindset of wrong thinking.  Remember that anyone could have programmed you: a family member, friends, or culture.  By using the word “programmer” you are covering your bases and praying to sever soul ties and influence from whoever taught you to believe the lie.

Deprogramming Prayer

1.       Lord I forgive the programmer.
2.       I sever ungodly influence from the programmer.
3.       I sever ungodly soul ties.
4.       I give back to the programmer the things that belong to them.
5.       I take back the things that belong to me.
6.       I wash them in the blood of Jesus.
7.       I pray that You would remove all faulty wiring from my mind.
8.       I ask You to replace it with the wiring of the Holy Spirit according to the Kingdom of Heaven.
9.       I ask You God to set the programmer free from all of their wrong programming.
10.     Give them back their soul.
11.     I ask You God to give me my soul back.


If you pray this you REALLY need to seal it up using the “Sealing Up Prayer” found by clicking HERE.

A Reprimand From the Lord: You Unbelieving Generation

A few years back out of the blue the Lord rebuked me.

I wasn’t ready for it.  I wasn’t asking for it.  At the time it came I really wasn’t even praying.

I heard these words clearly in my spirit.  Jesus surprised me when He spoke to me with a bit of a disgusted tone in His words.    He said:

Why is it you people can believe that by praying one prayer you are completely saved and will enter Heaven.  But you can't believe that one prayer will deliver you or heal you?

Yeah… that one stung!

But I knew it was true.

 It was a similar reprimand that he gave to his disciples in

Mark 9:19

when they couldn't heal the boy with convulsions...

"You unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."

The lie the church believes is this: You can simply say the prayer of salvation and you are IN!  But healing or deliverance takes time.  We must pray for months on end to be healed.  We must pray for years to be delivered from addiction.

Well – I know that this is our “experience.”  But scripturally it is not true.  Jesus said we would do greater things that He did.  However, this is definitely not happening right now in our culture.

When Jesus came to earth He brought us the supernatural.  Immediate healings.  Complete deliverance.  The dead raised. But for some reason the average Church wants nothing to do with it. 

We preach OFTEN about salvation and the key to salvation being FAITH, not works.

What we have NOT been preaching is that the same price Jesus paid for our salvation also brought us deliverance and healing.  It is a three-gift package.

But we don’t have FAITH for one-prayer deliverance and healing.

This REALLY challenged me.  I knew the Lord did not tell me this to make me feel bad – He rebuked me so I would change.

I began to climb a mountain of maturity when it came to having FAITH.  God took me through some education about how to BELIEVE His words and mine.

I needed to understand what FAITH really was.  It comes down to believing God’s words.  We must have faith that God is who He says He is and that He’ll do what He says He will do!

(Thank you Beth Moore!)

I have traveled this mountain of maturity for several years now with the express intention of coming to the level of FAITH that God can set someone free with one prayer.  I want to believe that someone can be healed with one prayer just like Jesus did it.

While on this journey I have failed A LOT with one prayer pleas for deliverance and healing…BUT I have also succeeded.  I have seen a back healed with one prayer.  I have personally had my hand healed with one prayer.  I have seen sickness leave my children with one prayer.  I see deliverance happen ALL the time through one prayer now. With each step up the mountain my faith grows.  Every time I see someone healed or delivered my FAITH increases.

There are times that healing or deliverance does take a longer period of pressing into the Lord to see a manifestation.  But I am BELIEVING God that one day I will do greater works that Jesus. 

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  – John 14:12

Jesus healed the blind.  He healed lepers.  He healed a woman with a twelve year ordeal with an issue of blood. He delivered a man from a legion of demons.  He delivered Mary Magdalene from seven demons.  He raised a boy from the dead and gave him back to his mother.  He raised a twelve year old little girl from the dead.  The list goes on and on…

And we, dear friends, are supposed to do even greater works that Jesus did!

I had a vision about a year ago and the Lord showed me my mother’s old Tupperware cup measurers.  He laid out the cups.  One cup, ¾ cup, ½ cup and ¼ cup…  He filled the one cup measurer with water.

Then he poured the water from the one cup into the ¾ cup.  There was no water left over… all of the water from the one cup fit into the ¾ cup.  Next Jesus poured the ¾ cup into the ½ cup and again, no water was left over it all fit.  Then Jesus took the ½ cup of water and poured it into the ¼ cup and it all fit into the ¼ cup.  He said to me, “This is how much your faith has grown.  What used to take you one cup of faith to accomplish something, now only takes you ¼ cup of faith – because your faith is no longer diluted, it is concentrated.”

I just LOVE that vision!  What a great way to portray increasing our FAITH.

I encourage you today… start up the mountain of maturity.  BELIEVE God’s words.  BELIEVE that your words have power.  Let God increase your faith to the point that it only takes one prayer to see someone saved, healed and delivered!

Jesus Prophesied the Coming Zombie Apocalypse


Confession:  I watched Ridley Scott’s movie “Noah.”  It was ridiculous, preposterous and not even close to what the Bible says… but even though the plot wasn’t worth a nickel I did have a takeaway.

There was a significant scene that portrayed the wickedness of Noah’s time that made me cringe.  The abject evil portrayed in the scene of the nearby town was one of the most sobering pieces of film I have ever seen – simply because I knew this part of the movie was true.  Drunkenness, violence, unfettered sexuality, selfishness and blatant disregard for the well-being of others was a picture of evil at its best.

In a simple phrase…  Selfless love did not exist.

The Bible says that when Jesus returns it will be just like it was in the days of Noah.
Matthew 24:37-39 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

The image of the City of Cain from the movie “Noah” is burned in my mind. They were mindless savages taking what they wanted with little concern for anyone but themselves. They reminded me of zombies.

Zombies don’t have souls.  They don’t have feelings.  They don’t care if they hurt you.  They simply want to feed.  They are the epitome of the survival of the fittest.  We have already seen herds of zombies in our nation.  They riot in the city streets and pillage and burn anything they want to.  They gather their friends and walk into department stores like Walmart and take whatever they want without fearing any kind of retribution.

These incidences are the beginning of lawlessness and the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse.  And Jesus warned us about them…
Matthew 24:9-13 …You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

The scene from Noah gave me a whole different perspective on 2 Timothy 3:1-5
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

These verses could not have more perfectly described the City of Cain.

Friends Jesus warned us about these times and specifically pointed to the days of Noah so we would understand the darkness that we would be fighting in the last days.

I don’t want to fill you with fear but I want you to be awakened to what lies ahead.  The Lord says in Hosea 4:6 that His people perish for lack of knowledge because they reject knowledge.  He has provided this knowledge so we can be equipped to deal with the coming Zombie Apocalypse.

Paul gives us instructions in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,  for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

Paul is saying that we, as believers, should be alert and self-controlled.

These are things that we all need to begin to pray about.  How will you protect your family?  What does the Lord require of you in these last days? Praying for wisdom and protection will be imperative.  But what else? We need to be in our prayer closets and ask the Lord to prepare us from the coming Zombie Apocalypse. 

Here is a list of more recent attacks by the spirit of lawlessness:





These previous events are part of what I would call the Zombie Apocalypse.  No one caring or feeling anything for other human beings.  All of these acts were committed by human beings who had no compassion, were without love, and were brutal and hateful.  This kind of wickedness will only increase.

We MUST open our eyes to the “Last Days” verses.  Let us not perish because we rejected knowledge that Jesus Himself spoke to us. 

Let us embrace both sides of the coin of the Last Days.  There will be darkness but there is also going to be great signs and wonders and miracles and REVIVAL!!  These LAST DAYS truths are also valid and filled with hope: 

The Spirit WILL be poured out.  (Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:14-18)

The mountain of the house of the Lord WILL be established. (Isaiah 2:1-2, Micah 4:1)

The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back, until He has performed and until He has accomplished the intent of His heart.  (Jeremiah 30:24)

Let us embrace the WHOLE counsel of God.  Let us follow Paul’s advice – may we be alert and self-controlled.  Put your armor on and fear not!  Let us advance against evil to spread the gospel to the whole world.


And then let us eagerly look forward to the appearing of Christ. 

Leah Was Unloved: Finding Peace in God Not Man

We read about Jacob and his two wives Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29 and 30.  Leah desperately wanted her husband Jacob to love her.  But Jacob loved her sister Rachel. 

Leah was unloved.

After Leah’s father tricked Jacob into marrying her, she found herself caught up in a circle of deceit, jealousy, victimhood and strife.  Leah had to compete for her husband’s affections.  Her younger sister was more beautiful and she captivated Jacob.  Leah always had to live in the shadow of her younger sister.

Being unloved is probably the most difficult situation to find yourself in.  Being loved gives a person value and identity.   Leah’s identity was the “the ugly sister.”  She was valued so little by her father that he had to use trickery to marry her off.

Leah was probably quite willing to go along with her father’s plan of trickery.  She probably thought she could make Jacob love her eventually.  But on day one of their marriage, it was clear that she still had no value as Jacob made a deal to secure her sister Rachel for marriage the following week.

How devastating for Leah to think she finally had what she wanted in Jacob, only to be scorned the next day by

not being good enough

.

Leah became the victim – even though she agreed with the plan, Leah was now in desperate need of a savior.

The Lord had compassion on Leah and began to bless her with children.  But you can see where Leah’s focus was as she named each of her children out of her desire to be loved by Jacob.

Genesis 29:31-34

When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, "It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now." She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too." So she named him Simeon. Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." So he was named Levi.

You can see that Leah’s desire during the birth of her first three sons were all focused on winning Jacob’s approval and love.  Leah had Jacob on a pedestal and put the desire for his love higher than her desire for God’s love.  She worshiped Jacob because she thought he could save her from being the victim and bring her peace.

When we turn to people or things to give us peace, we will ALWAYS be disappointed.  There is only One Person who has the power to bring us true peace.  The Lord is the only One who can restore value and identity to a person.  Idolatry of a person will only lead to heartache. 

Leah finally stopped trying to get Jacob to love her when she had her fourth son.

Genesis 29:35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will praise the LORD." So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.

When she gave birth to the fourth one she named him Judah.  She turned her eyes to the Lord and instead of trying to gain Jacob’s approval she praised the Lord.  This is the point at which Leah got out of the ditch of being a victim.  She stepped down onto the Path of Life and said,

God’s love is enough for me so I will praise Him.

Leah was looking to Jacob to be her rescuer.  She was crying out to Jacob with each child she bore – “Please love me! Please rescue me!  Give me identity.  Give me value.”  Leah finally learned after four sons that all earthly RESCUERS will disappoint us.

There is only One person who can truly rescue us, that is the Lord.  He is the only one who can bring us true peace.  Our value and identity can only come from Him – otherwise we are bowing down to idols.

Jacob was an idol to Leah. She believed the lie that if only Jacob would love her, she would have peace because she would belong somewhere.  The truth is that she DID belong somewhere.  She belonged to God.  She was deeply loved and deeply valued simply because of who her Creator was.  God doesn’t make “ugly sisters.”  If Leah would have had her identity rooted in God before Jacob came to town, she probably would have stood up to her father when he hatched the plan to trick Jacob into marrying her.

A woman who has her identity and value in the Lord has no need to “catch” a husband to rescue her. 

True peace comes from having relationships in the right priority.  If we are in a codependent relationship we are allowing someone other than God to be on the throne.  Putting God first in everything in our lives will bring us peace with God.  It will also create a foundation of peace in your heart that when the circumstances around us are in chaos, we will have the peace that surpasses understanding.

If you are a man or a woman who is looking to another person for their value, I invite you to rearrange your heart and bring down every idol.  It might seem scary at first but it is completely worth it.  When Jesus is on the throne of your heart you do not need another person’s approval.  And when Jesus is on the throne of your heart another person’s disapproval can never steal your peace again.

Steps to Wholeness:

Father God, please forgive me for having ________________ on the throne of my heart I know that only You can bring me true peace.  I invite you to sit on the throne of my heart and ask You to help me keep the relationships of my life in the right order.  In Jesus Name

If past family members have trouble with the approval/disapproval of man you might need to

breakoff a generational curse (click here).

If you have been programmed to have people on the throne instead of Jesus or if you have substantial soul ties with another person you may need to

pray thedeprogramming prayer (click here).

Don’t forget to seal it up! 

(sealingup prayer here)

Falling in Love With the Word of God


I really love the Word of God.

I didn’t always enjoy reading it.  It seemed dry to me.  It seemed hard.  And it seemed old and stodgy.

It wasn’t until I really fell in love with the Lord that I fell in love with His word.  I came to see the Word as His love letter to me.  As I drew near to the Lord through worship, prayer and reading the Word, He captured my heart and I just wanted to spend time reading His word to get to know Him better.

The Kingdom of God is a supernatural Kingdom.  In our natural minds, it almost seems crazy.  But the supernatural presence of God that resides in His Word causes it to live and breathe.

There are times that I have opened the Word and received the exact answer from the Lord that I have been praying for.  There are times that He has rebuked me and my actions through His word and kept me on the narrow path at exactly the right time.  

Other times I have opened the Word and Jesus has spoken a phrase of love that melts my heart and brings life to my day. 

I heard Gene Edwards (author of the Tale of Three Kings) teach one time about making the Word more personal by reading it as though Jesus was speaking straight to you.  He suggested that when you read the text take the words and turn them to be a personal letter directly to your heart. 

So instead of “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…” 

Read it like this instead:  “I am your shepherd, do not be in want.  Come and lie down in green pastures, let Me lead you beside quiet waters, and restore your soul.”

Do you see how personal that is?  It draws me so much closer into the living, breathing Word of God.  Reading it like a love letter entices me into the presence of God.

Now it doesn’t work for all of the Bible, but it definitely works for the Psalms and the Proverbs.  Give it a try and see if it brings you more understanding and closeness with the Lord.  Let me start you out with Psalm 23…


I am your shepherd, do not be in want.  Come and lie down in green pastures, let Me lead you beside quiet waters, and restore your soul.  I guide you in paths of righteousness for my name’s sake.  Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you don’t need to fear evil, for I Am with you.  My rod and My staff, they are for your comfort.  I prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies.  I anoint your head with oil; your cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in My house forever.

People Pleasing: The End-Times Snare


So many of our issues revolve around this one thing:  pleasing people rather than God.

The Bible repeats warnings over and over about how we will have to leave people behind in order to follow God in the end times.  I delve into a few of them here:

Jesus speaking about His return and eternal judgment in Matthew 19:  Jesus tells His disciples that there will be some who will have to leave houses, brothers, sisters, parents, spouse, children and jobs for the sake of the Kingdom but they will be rewarded for their sacrifice.

Jesus declaring His purpose to His disciples in Matthew 10:  Jesus said he didn’t come to bring peace on the earth.  He came to bring a sword.  He further said that He would pit a man against his father.  That household family members would be enemies.  This makes me shake in my boots.  I am praying hard for my family members – that we will all be followers of Jesus and be unified always!

Jesus giving instructions about the last days in Mark 13:  Jesus warns us that family members will betray family members and some will be put to death because of that betrayal.  Some WILL be handed over to authorities and the Holy Spirit will speak through them.  And we can expect to be hated by ALL because of His name.  Yes my friends Jesus said “hated by ALL!”  He goes on to say that if you endure to the end, you will be saved.

Jesus prophesying to Thyatira in Revelation 2: Jesus rebukes this church for not throwing a false person out.  They tolerate her.  How many churches do that today?  We don’t want our reputations ruined by throwing a person out of our church, so we tolerate them and their false doctrines.  Are we loving our sheep above Jesus?  This will never work in the last days.  We must not fear to separate from people within the four walls of the church.  And Church leaders need to learn how to protect their flocks from wolves without fear of retribution. 

In all of these cases – the Lord shows us that there will be times in the last days that we must leave behind the people that we love.  Think about it fathers, brothers, children, parents… there will come a time, if they are not following Christ we MAY have to leave them behind.

We need to be prepared in these last days to leave EVERYTHING if Christ asks us to.  It will be the hardest thing we ever have to do.  But the only thing that we can have on the throne of our hearts is Jesus.

If you have another person, even your daughter or husband or best friend, on the throne of your heart, it will be very hard for you to follow Christ.  Our hearts must have only ONE focus:  to please Jesus.

Now this doesn’t mean that we are going to HAVE to leave our family and friends.  It simply means that we are prepared to – if He asks.  He wants us to lay our family on the altar.  He wants us to lay our reputations on the altar.   He wants us to be LIVING SACRIFICES.

We must make up our minds NOW that we are going to endure to the end. (Mark 13)

It is time to do an inventory of our hearts to make sure that Jesus is the only one on the throne.


And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut. 10:12

Steps to Wholeness:
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to judge your heart. 

Ask the Holy Spirit if there is anyone or anything that your heart wants to please more than Him.

Listen to anything the Spirit might say.  Be aware of images He brings to your mind.

Ask the Lord to forgive you for having a person/thing on the throne rather than Him. Declare that they no longer have a right to be on the throne of your heart.

Ask Jesus to sit on the throne of your heart.  Ask Him to be the most important Person in your life.  

Give Him permission to have control of EVERYTHING in your life.


Then tomorrow – ask the Lord to judge your heart again.  This is how we remain on the path of life. We constantly ask the Lord to judge our hearts and to line up our hearts and minds with His.

The Eye Needs the Hand

Several months ago I took part in a Prayer Rally when people from all different churches came together to lift up a little boy who needed a heart transplant.  I felt that God had given me a scripture to share and I had a message that I was going to give along with the scripture.

Well innocently and unknowingly the person who spoke at the Rally just before me got up said everything I planned to say.  Verbatim!  You can imagine that I am sitting in the pew hearing the exact same message I had planned come from someone else and all that I can do is laugh!  The conversation in my head went like this:  “Well God, this is not a surprise to you – I remind you of the verse that when I am brought before kings and authorities that I do not have to worry about what I will say because you are going to give it to me. (Mark 13:11)

Even as I walked up to the podium, all I had was the scripture God had laid on my heart.  This was going to get interesting really fast!  Because even I was going
to be interested in what came out of my mouth.

What I heard that evening coming from my own heart I cannot take credit for.  But it was full of grace and truth.  And it was quite timely.  What I heard myself saying that evening was a gentle word of admonishment to the Body of Christ.  It was about how our hearts needed to change toward each other.  It was a word about TRUE unity that comes from the heart of our King. 

Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

We need a new heart toward each other.  We need to stop judging our brothers and sisters in Body of Christ by the doctrine’s we disagree with, by the kind of worship we enjoy, or by the name in which we baptize.  A belief in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is what makes any person part of the Body.  Rejecting a person for anything beyond that is pride and arrogance. The eye needs the hand.  The head needs the foot. (1 Corinthians 12:15)

“…there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.”  1 Corinthians 12:25

When I got home later that evening, I was marveling that Mark 13:11 really works!  The message from earlier was still stirring in me so I wrote the word down in poem form.  May these words transform our relationships with each other and may True Unity be given to the Body of Christ in our nation.


Our agreement begins at His virgin birth,
The Son of God, He walked this earth.
He was crucified, in the grave and rose from the dead.
He’s coming again just as He said.

If you believe in these short few facts,
You belong to the Body, it’s as simple as that.
We need all of the parts, we can’t do without one.
Christ needs us to build until the work is done.

God’s enemy does what he can to divide.
He separates us with technical pride.
We let differences in doctrine keep us apart,
When all that matters is belief in our heart.

We can argue with respect about the differences we hold.
But love should transcend and make the Body whole.
God can correct when the parts are out of line.
Let’s pray for the Truth to make the Body align.

Let us lay down our judgments about who can belong.
Let us pray together to see families become strong.
Let’s include all the parts, to make a unified team.
Together we’re stronger against the devil’s schemes.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus; His finished work on the cross.
If we keep our eyes focused, we will not suffer loss.
Nothing is impossible for those that believe,
When we all come together united in peace.


Refusing to Bow to the Barbie Dream House

As I have mentored and discipled people to wholeness, I have found a very common thread through roughly 75% of them. 

At one point in their lives they were forced to serve a self-imagined “dream home.”

Sometimes it was their “dream home” other times it was another person’s “dream home.”  But “dream homes” come from our own minds and not the will of God.  The time and energy of our lives ends up focusing on achieving the “dream home” instead of serving God.

It is NEVER a healthy thing to have a self-imagined dream of what you want your house or life to look like physically, spiritually or behaviorally.

Having a “dream home” on a throne instead of Jesus feels like enslavement.  People end up feeling like they must serve the self-imagined dream home… which ultimately is serving an idol instead of the Lord.

It is really a sweet thing to behold when we bring into the light their faulty thinking and they straighten out Who belongs on the throne instead of the “dream home.”  After a little dying to self: everybody gets set free!

People who have the self-imagined dream homes are not the “bad guys” so don’t start pointing fingers just yet.  Many times we are simply taught by parents or previous generations that having the perfect home is what it takes to give you identity.  They were never taught that they have an identity in Jesus, without having to have their house in order physically, spiritually and behaviorally.  To them it FEELS like if the house isn’t in order then they have no value.

Here is where the dying to self comes.  We must take the "dream home" off the throne and ask Jesus to sit there instead.  This is what will put our homes in perfect order, not by checking off a list that allows us to feel good about ourselves. That is circumstantial identity.  If you are a believer your identity comes from the One who created you.  He created you inside your mother’s womb and calls you perfect through the blood of Christ! 

Let me describe the three different types of “dream houses” I have come experienced.

The Physical Barbie Dream House:

This house is the house that has to be perfectly spotless and “in order” at all times.  It could be inside or outside, it could be just one room of the house.  But it MUST be in order because the person putting it on the throne has their identity wrapped up in how the house is physically portrayed.

It can also be the physical trait of having money that is the idol.  If my bank account physically looks good then I have value and I am good.  If people have the dream to have lots of money they can force other people to serve that “dream home” by possibly requiring a spouse to work instead of listening to God for His will and being content.

This is the lie:

  If my house looks good (or if I have money) then other people will see that I am good.

This the truth:

  Whether or not your house looks good or you have money, people will not ultimately be your judge.  God will only judge you by your heart.  How clean or in order your home and bank accounts are plays no bearing on you on judgment day.  Getting your source of value by how your physical home looks will cause you to miss the mark and cause you to serve an idol.  Your only true value comes from God.

The Spiritual Barbie Dream House:

This house is one that has to look to outsiders as though it is spiritually perfect in every way. 

There are usually a lot of rules and legalism associated with this house.  The husband must be able to check off a list to be considered the head.  The wife and children must be able to check off a list to be considered holy.  Children are forced to be VERY good at church no matter how they feel or what is going on inside of them or they get into deep trouble.  

This kind of idol is abusive to the black sheep of the family.  To the one who will not walk in lockstep with whoever has set up the Spiritual Barbie Dream House.  This causes a great deal of resentment to those who were forced to pretend that everything is OK at home, when really it wasn’t.  

Or at least they were not free to express themselves because of the pressure to portray the perfect spiritual home.

I am sorry to tell you that many churches require this as well.  They have set up an expectation about how they want their parishioners to be portrayed.  If the sheep steps out of line there are harsh consequences because the portrayal of the how the church looks is the focus instead of Jesus and His ways.

The Spiritual Barbie Dream House is based on man’s interpretation of religious rules.

This is the lie:

  If my spiritual house is in order – then people will not judge me and I will be able to judge others.

This is the truth:

  Whether or not a spiritual house is in the right order is only judged by the Supreme Judge.  Feeling good about yourself does not come from a checklist of rules.  It comes from being in right relationship with the Lord.  It goes back to the heart.  Is the inside of your heart circumcised?  Simply washing the outside appearance is the sign of legalism not a sign of a true follower of Christ.

The Behavioral Barbie Dream House:

This dream house says that if my kids and spouse are “good.”  Then I have value and peace.  It is similar to the Spiritual Barbie Dream House but more focused on behavior.  The people who are forced to serve this idol are required to lay down their own personalities and submit who they are to the person demanding a specific behavior.

As a mother of boys I see this happen in the schools.  Most boys by nature are wiry and fidgety (there are some exceptions). They are forced to sit at desks and write and color.  Boys are forced to serve the “Barbie Dream House” of the education system that is actually built for the temperament of girls.

Behavior Dream Houses are built because someone believes that their emotional peace is more important that having patience with someone’s behavior.  When we force people behave in a way that brings us peace – we are essentially saying that my feelings and wellbeing are more important than yours.

Love is patient.  Therefore being impatient with someone’s behavior is a lack of love. 

Note that I am not saying that we should overlook bad behavior from children or people that need correction.  There is an appropriate time to bring discipline.  It simply cannot be at the expense of the person’s personality.

The lie is this:

  If everyone would just behave, then our lives will be peaceful and a peaceful life gives me value.

The truth is this:

Your value comes from the one who gave His life for you.  He has unlimited patience and has asked you to follow in His steps.  Making people comply with your requirements in order to be considered “good” is a spirit of control.  It is important have the mind of Christ when it comes to bringing correction to one’s behavior.  He gives us free will and has created us each with our own personality.

These idols MUST come down if we are to become Holy.  God cannot tolerate us serving rules and regulations that are not from Him.  We MUST get our identity and value from God… to get it from how “good” our dream house looks is works based and it is an idol.

Steps to Wholeness:

·

*

If you have a “Barbie Dream Home” on the throne.

Simply ask the Lord to forgive you. Picture yourself taking the “dream home” off of the throne and asking Jesus to sit on it.

*Ask the Holy Spirit if there is a lie you are believing. Listen for an answer.

*If there is a lie, renounce that lie then ask the Holy Spirit for the truth. Declare the truth out loud.

It very well could be generational.

Go HERE for the tool to break off the generational sin of idolatry.

-------------------------------------------

*

If you are the one being forced the serve the “Barbie Dream House”

Forgive the person who is making you bow down in order to get their approval. Ask the Lord’s forgiveness for letting that person control you. Picture taking the “dream home” off the throne and asking Jesus to sit on it.

*Ask the Holy Spirit if there is a lie you are believing. Listen for an answer.

*If there is a lie, renounce the lie then ask the Holy Spirit for the truth. Declare the truth out loud.

*It could be a generational sin.

Go HERE for the tool to break off the generational sin of idolatry.

If you prayed through these prayers – you did some spiritual warfare and it is important to pray the sealing up prayer found HERE!

Believers: It's Time to Live Out Loud!

Believers: Are you living your life in Jesus Christ out loud?  Are you afraid to mention His name in public so that people are not offended?  We have all felt the Politically Correct walls closing in on us over the past few years in America.  The public pressure to keep Jesus behind the threshold of our churches and our homes is very real.  The statement “separation of church and state” has been twisted from its original intention to make us afraid to be public about our faith in Jesus.

I know of people who are trying their hardest to sit on the fence between the world and Christianity and they say it is because they want to pull the world across the fence to Jesus.  But this is not the example that we are given in the Word about how to live our lives in God’s Kingdom.

Jesus was crucified.  Stephen was stoned. Peter was crucified upside down.  Bartholomew was skinned alive and then beheaded.  That was only the beginning… so many others throughout history have died for living out loud.  Yet – it was the example that our leader left us… Jesus LIVED OUT LOUD!

We cannot live under cover anymore.  
Christianity is not a religion of “being nice.”  Even pagans are “nice.”  Christianity is knowing that you are a sinner and in need of a “Christ” or a “Messiah.”  Being nice does not save a soul.  Being nice does not bring a heart to repentance.  Nor does being nice change a culture.  Undercover Christianity needs to become a thing of the past. Honestly, we WILL be put to the test in these last days.  We will have to choose to be an out loud Christian to be a Christ follower.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes… Romans 1:16

We must not be afraid to use the name of Jesus.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.  (Acts 4:12)  Buddha does not save. Muhammed does not save.  Only Jesus saves and He saves us by His name.

The first apostles were not afraid to use His name.  In fact, they were beaten for using the name of Jesus. In Acts 5:41 it says: “…They rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

If we do not lift up His name, He cannot draw people to Himself.
“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."  Acts 4:18-20

The name of Jesus is like giving people the Red Pill to get out of the devil’s Matrix they are living in.  Jesus is the one who cracks open the eyes of unbelievers to see beyond this life into the next.  He is the Deliverer.  He is the Healer.  He is the Provider.  He is LIFE! 

I have found that when I use Godly wisdom and wait for the Holy Spirit to give me the green light, using the name of Jesus in a conversation, at an event, on a Facebook post, in a letter can be the most powerful tool that I own.  When I am lifting up the name of Jesus for His sake – He does the drawing of hearts to Himself.  (John 12:32)

Yes there will be some who will be offended by His name.  But really it is not so much people who are offended at the name of Jesus… it is the deception that they are in from the devil that rises up to keep them in darkness.  Jesus was willing to offend those who were in deception.  It is often pain that the Lord uses to open the eyes of those who walk in darkness.  Jesus is not afraid to bring pain to someone in order set them free.

There is power in His name.
Listen – the enemy HATES the name of Jesus and he does not want you to use it.  He loses every time we use the name of Jesus because there is power in it!  JESUS holds the keys to death and hell!  Those keys are a painful reminder to the devil about how big he lost at the cross of Calvary.

Everything in heaven, on earth and under the earth will bow to the NAME of Jesus... that's what I call POWER!

The enemy of your soul is going to do what he can to keep you believing that just being nice is good enough to be a Christian.  In America, we are not physically beaten for using His name, we are socially beaten for using it.

We must come to a place where we rejoice in being counted “worthy of suffering disgrace for the NAME.”  What’s a little suffering compared to the glory that will be revealed?

What will you hear on Judgment Day? 
There is a difference between Salvation (free gift) and Reward (earned through works).  Using the name of Jesus and living out loud will multiply what Jesus has given you, and will bring you a reward on Judgment Day.

Dying (literally and figuratively) for His name is the highest honor.  We’ve got to stop trying to save face with the people of this world.  LIVE FOR HEARING “WELL DONE” IN HEAVEN… not “well done” from people on earth.

Jesus has done so much for you… let Him overflow into your life, into your relationships, into your conversations and LIVE OUT LOUD!


JESUS!!!!!

Hide It Under a Bushel?

♫ This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine. 
I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. ♫

We all learned this song in Sunday school or Vacation Bible School.  We held our little fingers up as though it was a candle burning brightly!  Personally, I sang this song at the top of my lungs.  And I had some GOOD lungs! (wink!)

Remember the second verse?
♫ Hide it under a bushel – NO! I’m gonna let it shine… ♫

Remember how loud we shouted “NO?”  We were fearless little children.  “You are not going to make me hide my light!”

This song comes from Jesus’s words recorded in Matthew 5:13-15:
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how

can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

If you put a lamp under a bowl – it is going to go out.

If you hide your candle under a “bushel” your light is also going to go out because there is no oxygen for the candle to burn.

Here is my gentle accountability question to all of my brothers and sisters out there:  Are you hiding your light under a bushel?

Has your passion for shining your light in this dark world waned since singing that song in Sunday school?  Are you afraid that you are going to lose something?  Are you worried that you might offend someone with your light?  Are you concerned with making someone who doesn’t believe what you believe feel uncomfortable?  Are you afraid they are going to call you the “crazy Christian co-worker/neighbor?”

I truly understand these feelings and have wrestled with them myself.  It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting people to think well of you and to be at ease around you.
But if we are following in the footsteps of the One who gave His life for us, then we must weigh the uncomfortability of the moment with the gravity of what happens when our light goes out.

When we allow ourselves to be silenced because of fear we let Satan blow out our light.
Remember this verse? ♫ Don't let Satan whhh it out! I'm gonna let it shine! ♫

Jesus did not come to make people feel comfortable, He came to convict people of their sin and then rescue them from it.  He came to be an example of how He wants us to lay our lives down for our brothers.  Believe me, Jesus made people feel uncomfortable ALL the time. 

He wasn’t known as Mr. Nice.  He spoke the truth in love and rescued those who would listen.  But He spoke the truth to ALL no matter who they were.

Listen to what Jesus’s enemies said of Him: “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” Luke 12:14

This is something that I strive for to treat all men the same; to not pay attention to who they are even “celebrities.”  I want to shine the same for all men – no matter their public standing on the earth.

A few years ago I met with a high school friend of mine and she blessed me in the most profound way.  She said, “Because you were so bold in high school about sharing your faith, I am much stronger in my faith today.  Several in our class feel the same way.”

I was so touched by that testimony!  I honestly had felt like the weird one in high school.  I felt like I offended people and that they considered me the “crazy Christian.”

It was important to me to publicly live out my faith then and now.  Hearing this from my friend strengthened me to continue to shine my light because sooner or later people would remember that I lifted up Jesus.

The world is in need of the light now more than ever.  Are you hiding under a bushel? 
If you are then consider this blog a sign from God.  He’s inviting you to be a light.  He’s inviting you to carry your cross and “die daily” for your fellow men.  He’s inviting you to become like Him.

You need to understand this Kingdom Principle: If you lift up Jesus, He will draw all men unto Himself. (John 12:32)

Let Jesus shine through you.  Use His name in public. Don’t shy away when the Holy Spirit prompts you to do something.  Pray for people.  Take a meal to people. Sing praise songs out loud.  Testify of His goodness.  Speak the truth about sin.  Tell people that there is a heaven and there is a hell – then show them by living it out – why Jesus is a much better way!

Let your light shine before men – don’t hide it under a bushel any longer!

Do you remember the final verse to the song?
♫ Let it shine ‘til Jesus comes.  I’m gonna let it shine! ♫


Jesus IS coming back!  Let us aim to hear “Well done good and faithful servant!” (Luke 19:17)


Alien Nation

As hard as it is to accept, if you are a Christ follower – you are called to be an alien to this world.

 The dictionary defines alien as: strange, foreign, differing in nature or character typically to the point of incompatibility.

As Christians, we are incompatible with the world.  Jesus did not make His home here because His Kingdom is in heaven.  If we are His followers, it also means that this world is not our home.  John 17:14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

The Body has found themselves in a mess here lately because there is little distinction today between the world and Christ’s followers. We are supposed to have no other gods before Him and yet we bow down to the gods of the world all the time.  We have such a strong desire to belong somewhere that we bow to the idols of the world to feel like we belong.  

It is perfectly normal to have a desire to belong.  We simply have forgotten that we DO belong… to Him. We have lost the identity that Christ came to give us.  We belong to
Him and His Kingdom, not this world.

One of the most prevalent gods we serve in this world is the politically correct god.  We worship the god of ‘nice’, instead of serving the God of Truth because we will offend people if we speak the truth.  When we do this we put ‘people-pleasing’ on a pedestal. 

The lie that the enemy has us tied up in is this:  “If the world doesn’t like us than we must not be like Christ.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  We are not called to fit in. We are called to lift up Christ, even if it costs us everything.  We call ourselves “Christ-ians” because we follow Christ who was crucified for not being politically correct.  They wanted Jesus to conform and He refused.
(Of course, there was a secret plot that Jesus had with the Father to turn that injustice for the good of mankind by bringing us everlasting life through His death.)

We’re so scared of offending anyone because then we’ll be outcasts.  But the truth is, if you are a Christ-follower, then you are required to be an outcast in this world.  You cannot conform to this world and still call yourself a Believer.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) 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.

Look at the description that The Message gives these verses:
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn in a public position of leadership is that our God does not co-exist with other gods….even if the bumper sticker says so.  We are not called to make our God submit and be like other gods in this world.  To do so breaks the first commandment:  You shall have no other gods before Me. (Ex. 20:3)

I had to stand up against friends and public officials who were commanding me to co-exist with a secular group for a community event.  The Lord continually reassured me throughout the ordeal to not bow down to the pressure I was feeling.  All I had to do was stand up straight and not serve the god of ‘nice’ or the secular god I was being called to bow to.  One person even said, “Aren’t you a Christian?  Aren’t you supposed to help people get along?”

God guaranteed me that He would take care of it.  The people that I had to stand against up against kept using the phrase, “Can’t we just co-exist?”  It made me smile every time that they used the phrase because I knew the devil was mad that he couldn’t control me with his ‘people pleasing’ tactics.

In the end, God did take care of it.  He gave me victory in the situation and the other party backed down.  The community event is still held every year and is a blessing to many especially to the Kingdom of God.

Believe me, it was a difficult fight.  It was lonely and relationships suffered because of it.  But God showed me that He does not care if people are offended when I refuse to bow to the idols of this world. His pleasure is my only goal.  His “well done” is worth broken relationships.  In fact, His “well done” basically requires broken relationships… just look at Christ’s example.
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:37-39

Those who are fully surrendered to Christ have to learn this same lesson.  You cannot be fully surrendered until you go through the test of bowing to foreign idols.  You cannot be fully surrendered until you are ready to face the flames of death like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego because you refuse to bow down to the god of this world.

God shows His displeasure when others attempt to make Him co-exist with other gods in 1 Samuel 4 through 7.  It is a fascinating look into what happened when the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines (the world).

1 Samuel 4-7 Cliff notes:  The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant because Israel tried to exploit the Ark in battle. The Israelites thought that if they simply used the symbol of God – that they could overcome their enemies.  But the Temple of God and its leadership was full of sexual perversion, greed and selfishness that there was no power to the Ark because there was no righteousness in the people to back it up (similar to having a form of godliness but denying its power).  The glory departed from Israel.

The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the temple of their god Dagon.  The next morning the idol Dagon was on its face before the Ark.  They set Dagon back on his feet but the next morning the hands and feet of Dagon were broken off and were set on the threshold to the entrance of the temple.  From that point on as a tribute to Dagon – people would not step on the threshold in remembrance of this idol.  (That’s as much of the story as I need to recount to you but it goes on into some amazing chronicles of how God can defend Himself and His glory – if you haven’t read it.  You’ll love it!)

So God was absolutely proving that He does not co-exist with other gods.  He topples gods that are put in the same room as He is.  The Body of Christ needs to begin to understand this part of God’s holiness.  “You shall have no other gods before Me!”

Zephaniah 1:4-9 "I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests-- those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the LORD and who also swear by Molech (who was worshiped by child sacrifice-or in today’s world abortion), those who turn back from following the LORD and neither seek the LORD nor inquire of him. Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near.... On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.

Let us make it our goal to bring down all of the idols in our hearts and not be afraid to step on the threshold of this world’s gods.  When we try not to step on other people’s toes even with loving truth – we are “avoiding stepping on the threshold.”  When we water down the truth to make sin acceptable we bow down to political correctness or the god of nice. When we refuse to speak up about moral issues we are “avoiding stepping on the threshold.”  When you put anything or anyone on a pedestal, it is an idol.  When you put anything above God you are trying to make God co-exist with other gods.

He is a holy God.  We are required to be holy, which means set apart from this world.  We are called to be aliens.

Our identity is in Christ.  It is OK if the world thinks we are strange.  It is OK if they are offended by us.  In the end only One Person’s opinion matters anyway. 


Live for the “well done!”



Jesus and Teddy Ruxpin

Religion OpEd Article  ~ The Courier Times, March 29, 2014    By Tisha Sledd

I have felt prompted by the Holy Spirit in the past year to really dig into the book of Revelation. It's such a deep and confusing book that studying it in the past has seemed cumbersome.  I am also frustrated by the disagreement that so many Bible teachers have about the interpretation of this book.  It's like the waters surrounding Revelation are all muddied up!  But I figured there was something that Holy Spirit wanted to reveal to me.  So I look at it as eating a great big steak, slicing off a little at a time and chewing thoroughly until I can digest the meatiest book in the Bible.

One of the first slices of steak I digested from this book
comes from the first five words.  “The revelation of Jesus Christ...” Revelation 1:1.  The thought that the entire book of Revelation is the actual revelation of who Jesus is has escaped me all of these years.  Why haven't I studied the character of Christ as He is revealed in Revelation?  Why didn't I understand that it's not just a prophecy about what is coming in the end times?  It is actually meant to reveal who He is.

As I have looked at Revelation in the context of studying Christ's character instead of trying to figure out what all of the signs point toward, I am fascinated that we pretty much don't understand His character at all.

In America, Jesus is presented like a teddy bear.  He's loving, and full of grace.  He fulfills the wishes of His children.  He's always soft and cuddly.  He says the right thing to comfort us and would never ever say something harsh.  And if Christians ever do say something with a sharp edge of truth to it we are immediately told that it is unChristlike and we should be ashamed.  We are told Jesus is love and we should accept all of humanity like He would because He is a divine Teddy Ruxpin.

Well friends I am here to bust your bubble.  Jesus is not a divine teddy bear.  He is a Lion.  And He is not tame! (Thank you C.S. Lewis for that reference.)  If we believe the first five words of Revelation then we must allow our definition of Jesus include ALL of the book of Revelation as well.

Jesus casts His unrepentant people on a bed of suffering. (2:22) He rules with an iron scepter (2:27) He casts away people who are lukewarm (3:17) He brings sword and famine and plague. (6:8)  Jesus actually brings torture upon His enemies. (18:7)  Friends that is not a Teddy Bear Christ.  That is the character of a just judge.

The first time Jesus came to earth, He came as the Lamb.  He came to seek and to save that which is lost. He offered Himself on the altar and beat the devil at his own game. For He allowed death to swallow Him up not letting on that His holiness would be a poison pill that would destroy death once and for all.

The next time we see Jesus on the earth, He will come like a Lion.  The book of Revelation is to prepare us for this part of His character.  Throughout Revelation, Jesus rewards the faithful and punishes the wicked.  There must be a shift in the hearts and minds of true followers of Christ.  If we are to fully receive the understanding of the character of Christ – We must know Him as the Lamb and the Lion.  If we are lukewarm He WILL spit us out of His mouth.

He is not a divine teddy bear.  He is a just Judge who is 100% grace and 100% truth. He is coming back and will rule with an iron scepter.   If you think of Jesus as more grace than truth perhaps you should take a look at the book of Revelation yourself.  There is a blessing for reading it. (1:3)

Jesus prefers mercy over judgment but when mercy does not work.  His judgment is His mercy!

Revelation 22:12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

Hometown 'Prophets'

By Tisha Sledd
Religion Article - Courier Times 9/14/13

“But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.” Luke 4:24

Hind sight is certainly 20/20.  I can only imagine that the people living in Nazareth during the time of Jesus were extremely remorseful at the realization that He truly was the Son of God.  When that generation of people passed away and stood before the Lord, I can imagine the gnashing of teeth from the very people who were in the synagogue and heard Him proclaim that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…”.  They missed it.  They lived during the most important time of history.  It happened in their very synagogue.  And they missed it.

Jesus went on to explain that Elijah was not accepted in his hometown.  He did not
do a miracle for his own people but for a widow in a foreign land.  And Elisha did not heal the lepers in his hometown of Israel, but he did heal Naaman the Syrian.  There are rewards for receiving a prophet (Matthew 10:41).

Prophet: a person who speaks by divine inspiration. 

In modern day language we rarely use the word prophet anymore.  But many operate in the gifting of a ‘prophet’.  Many of our pastors are prophets when they share the divinely inspired word of God.  Sometimes they do this by shining the light on an inspired passage from the word of God.  Sometimes they do this by uttering words that come from God’s heart.  If you have been a Christian for any amount of time, you have probably heard just the right sermon at the right time in life.  Or you got a card with a scripture verse on it that really touched your heart.  You’ve probably had a person share a song with you that was exactly the balm you needed for your soul.  These are all prophetic acts;  God inspired messages directed toward the building up of His people.

We actually have many ‘prophets’ in our hometown of Henry County.  There are MANY divinely inspired voices among us.  There is a Godly wisdom in our community that if we will just become attuned to the Holy Spirit we can find it.  It pains me when I see us shunning the very wisdom that is growing all around us.  I always find it fascinating that we feel that if someone comes from outside of our community they must have more wisdom than the people already here.  We can sometimes make the mistake of giving more credence to outside voices than the ones from our own community.

Next weekend on September 21st we will be holding a Henry County Women’s Retreat.  It is our goal at this retreat to glean from the ‘prophets’ of our hometown.  We want to celebrate the truth that greatness and divinely inspired men and women are already here for us to be encouraged and built up.

The women who are giving their testimonies have a wisdom that we all need to hear.  Their suffering is for our good. (2 Corinthians 1:6)  And if we will not make the same mistake that the people of Nazareth made, we will be a much stronger community by receiving our hometown prophets.

We invite the Women of God to receive the wisdom of some amazing people including testimonies from Traci Jaco (Overcoming Fear), Michelle Stewart (Trusting God in the Wait), Shelly Hanson (The Transforming Power of Christ), Amanda Huss (God has a Plan), Katie Kinnaird (Thankfulness in the Dark), Melanie Johnson (Unshackling the Chains of Abuse),  Rowena Kirk (Facing Cancer), Carmen Cash (Vulnerability in Mentoring) and many more!  Henry County Councilman and Associate Pastor of Tabernacle of Praise Clay Morgan will share a word about the brave women of the Bible.