Preparing the Bride: What is Babylon and how to come out of it?

We must be preparing the Bride for the return of Christ.  It is pertinent that we get ourselves ready!  Jesus deserves a spotless and wrinkle free Bride.  But I have had several dreams which indicate that she is not getting herself ready.  You can read about those dreams

HERE

and

HERE.

In an attempt to help my readers get themselves ready, I will begin to write from time to time on different things we can do to prepare ourselves for Christ’s return.

I know the book of Revelation can be hard to understand – even worse, we have theologians who continually argue about the interpretation of some of John’s visions.  All of this confuses us, and we end up washing our hands of the book of Revelation and say to ourselves, “It’s too hard.”

But it’s not too hard.  It can be easy, as long as we take one bite at a time and not try to eat the whole piece of steak at one time.  When we read other books of the Bible, say Colossians, it’s easy to read it in one sitting.  But you cannot do that with the Book of Revelation.  Revelation has to be cut into small pieces and then chewed like a good piece of steak!

The piece I want us to chew on today is the difference between Babylon and the Kingdom of God.

God clearly tells us to come out of Babylon so we will not share in her sins or receive her plagues.

Revelation 18:4-5

Come out of her [Babylon], my people,’

    so that you will not share in her sins,

    so that you will not receive any of her plagues;

for her sins are piled up to heaven,

    and God has remembered her crimes.

So just what is Babylon and how can we know if we are tangled up in her web?

Babylon is a system of thinking that is contrary to the Lord.

Babylon, essentially, is worldly thinking that was planted in Adam and Eve by the devil in the Garden of Eden.  Its root is fear, and its fruit are greed, selfishness, pride, and mastery (ruling over other people).  

The system of Babylon is trusting in one’s self to provide power, significance, and provision no matter who gets hurt in the process.  People use other people to get what they want - and say whatever they think the other person wants to hear in order to get their needs met.  This is a form of prostitution. When this system grows into an entire culture, the people at the bottom of the system are enslaved by those at the top.

The Kingdom of God is built upon love, self-sacrifice, equality, and dependence upon our Creator for provision and significance.  This system sees other people as equals and is built on servanthood. People volunteer to serve others. When this system grows into a culture, the people are set free to live their lives in liberty and peace.  They are free to follow God’s plan for their lives if they so choose.

Babylon is a forced master/slave system.

God’s Kingdom is a voluntary father/son relationship.

We come out from Babylon by examining every relationship in our lives. 

The basic question is this: Are we a slave to it?  Or is it voluntary?

Are you a slave to the opinions of friends and family or are you free to be yourself?

Are you a slave to your local church or is it voluntary?

Are you enslaved to money, power, greed, selfishness, anger?  All of these things are the foundation of the Babylonian system.  It is time to get yourself cleansed from all of them!

How do we come out from Babylon?

We first need to have our minds renewed about the difference between Babylon and God’s Kingdom.  We need to feel the fire of God about how serious He is about purging Babylon out of us!  Ask Him to show you His heart on the matter.

Then we need to take very seriously the call to come out of Babylon.  This means we sit with the Lord and have Him reveal to us where Babylon is planted in our hearts.  We take our time and pull up EVERY single weed until it is finished.  This will take diligence and perseverance but it will be WORTH IT!

Pray for God to reveal every relationship that is built on the wrong kingdom.  Ask for everything in your life that is not in His will to be uprooted.

Let the Lord show you what people you need to break ungodly soul ties with.

(Click HERE for the Breaking Soul Ties prayer.)

Break generational curses with sins that you can see have been passed down

(Click HERE for the Breaking Generational sin prayer.)

Ask God to reveal any strongholds that still need to be brought down in your heart then spend some time repenting and asking God to deliver you from the stronghold.  He is MIGHTY to save!

Continue this process of cleansing until the Lord releases you.  After you spend time with God cleansing yourself, be sure to pray the sealing up prayer each time when you are finished.   

(find the “Sealing Up” prayer HERE.)

Let us not be apathetic in preparing for the King.  He deserves so much more!  Get yourself ready!

Believers: Are You Willing to be Crucified for This?

During this Easter season the Lord kept pointing to a new revelation.  It wasn’t really new.  It’s always been there. But it was new to me and I’m so glad He pointed it out to me.

My life verse is Philippians 3:10-11 

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

It is my deepest desire that I might know Jesus in His sufferings.  Every time I go through a trial or tribulation I ask the Lord to help me to know Him in His sufferings.  How did He feel when people mocked Him?  How did He feel when He was falsely accused?  How did He feel when one of His best friends denied Him?

If I can understand His sufferings, then I can know Him.  I don’t want to know about Him – I want to know His ways and His character so that I can become like Him.

So I constantly pursue to know Him in His death.

This Easter season He made a revelation plain to me.

There was only one reason that they crucified Jesus.  It was because He refused to give up His identity.

As I read over the crucifixion story in the different gospels, I kept seeing it over and over again.  “Who are you?”  “Who do you think you are?”  “Where does your authority come from?”  Are you the king of the Jews?” “Are you the Son of God?”  “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself!”

Jesus did not fear them.  He was humble and stood boldly.  He did not back away from who He was. He did not deny Himself.  He let them mock.  He let them spit.  He let them beat Him.  He let them nail Him to a tree.  But He would not submit to their demands that He deny who He was.

Jesus refused to bow His soul to the Pharisees and to the worldly government that had him crucified.

If you want to know Christ in His death and become like Him… you will have to be willing to be crucified rather than giving up your identity as a child of the Most High.

Are you willing to live as a martyr every day?

Are you willing to take the beating and the mocking and the spitting in your face as you fulfill the purpose God has you here for?

Mark 8:34-38 If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it

. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 

For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Jesus was willing to let them crucify Him, rather than giving up His soul.  If He would have bowed down to them and let them bully Him out of His identity – He would have failed in His purpose.

Are you letting other people tell you who you are?

Are you letting people bully you out of your identity?

Are you afraid of what men will do to you if you refuse to bow your soul to their demands?

My friends, it is time reclaim our souls that we have forfeited to the world.  It is time to reclaim our souls from the Pharisees who have demanded our compliance in order to be accepted.

We are sons and daughters of the Most High God!  We are proud of the central figure of our faith. We are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Rise up people of God.  Let them crucify you if they want… but never, NEVER, NEVER bow your soul to them!!

Know who you are in Christ.  Then hang onto it with everything you’ve got.  Your identity in Christ is the most important thing you own, don’t give it away!

A Sure Method for Drawing Closer to the Lord

We all have different stories about how we entered into the Kingdom of God.  We all have taken different paths on our journey toward Him.

Some of us have been a fervent follower and tried to sprint toward Him with unquenched zeal.  All He had to do was say “come, ” and we raced for Him.

Others of us didn’t really come after the Lord until we were forced to fall on our knees when something terrible happened in our lives.  Our desperate need of the Lord caused us to seek Him in profound ways.

Maybe something miraculous happened in our life and caused us to draw near to Him out of wonder and awe.  When something supernatural happens it awakens something in us, and we are compelled to figure it out.

God knows each of our hearts intimately and He knows how to create circumstances in our lives that will cause us to seek Him.

But no matter what our circumstances have been, and no matter what our journey in the Kingdom looks like at this point, there is one thing that is a sure way to grow closer to the Lord.

The surest way to draw closer to the Lord is to get further away from your “self.”

Walking away from your own fleshly desires is the same as walking toward the Lord.  When we say no to our flesh, we are saying no to our own ways.  We are saying no to our own ideas and opinions.  We are saying no to our desire for drama or jealousy.  We are saying no to lust and strife and manipulation.  When we walk away from these things, we actually walk toward the Spirit.  When we set our face to walk toward the Lord, we set our mind on what He desires instead of what we desire.

Romans 8

5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

We cannot please God if we are letting our “self”ishness win in our lives.

The choice is either “self” or God.

We actually get closer to the Lord in layers.  It’s like moving debris out of the way to get closer to His throne.  Every time you die to self, you remove wreckage that is standing between you and the Lord.  The debris is removed a little at a time.  Each piece of debris represents a piece of fleshliness.  It represents sin that is standing in the way between you and God.

The closer we get to God – the further away from “self” we get.

No matter how close we are right now to the Lord, there is still more.  We never actually arrive while on this earth.

Even Paul at the end of his life, after years of running toward Christ stated that he had not yet obtained the closeness he desired…

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-13

Lay down your “self” and its desires – run toward the Lord and the prize of being close to Him.  This is the surest way to be as close to Him as possible.  Layer by layer, remove the debris as it presents itself. 

Die to self – Choose Christ!

Steps to Wholeness:

God I need for you to light a flame in my heart to want to be near You.  I need for You to increase my desire for You while helping me to walk away from my “self.”  Let there be a single focus in my life,  the goal of being close to You!

Show me the next layer of debris that stands between You and me.  I want it to be removed and pursue You with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength!

In Jesus name, AMEN

Believers...Start Running from the Fence

I keep having this vision of a large number of people hanging around a fence.  There are people on either side of it.  Some are actually sitting on it. 

This is the fence of choosing to be in God’s Kingdom or the kingdom of this world.  Most of us have decided to be on one side or the other.  Those sitting on the fence have one foot in God’s Kingdom and one foot in the world.  They want to be a part of both.

I know in my spirit that every person hanging around this fence is wrong.  Even the Believers who have both feet on God’s side of the fence should not be hanging out near it.  It’s too tempting to look at the counterfeit green grass in the world and not take part in it.  What Believers should be doing is running away from the fence with all of their might.  They should be running the race toward the finish line – not hanging out so close to the world.

Those who have chosen the world because of all of the temporal things it has to offer will have to stand before the judgment throne and answer for what they did with their lives.  In fact, 1 John 2:15-17 has some pretty harsh words about people who choose the world.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

If a person has chosen the world it is because they love their own desires more than they love the Lord.

The people who are sitting on the fence with one foot in both kingdoms are the ones who concern me the most.  I am concerned because I see so many people in the church who are straddling this fence. 

They want to love God but they also love their idols.  They want to love God but they also love the praise of men.  They want to love God but they also desire to live an easy life.  They are not willing to lose their lives to follow Christ.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:23-26

If you are a Believer and you are hanging around this fence.  You have become LUKEWARM.  You aren’t hot.  You aren’t cold.  And the time has come to make a decision.  It is time to decide if you want the praise of men or the praise of God.  If you are standing beside this fence a little too closely to the world.  You need to start running toward the Kingdom of God!

If you are sitting on the fence between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world – get down and start running toward God!  Lose your life and start running toward the most amazing experience you’ll ever have!  It’s painful to start with – but I promise you with everything that I am, it’s so worth it!

If you have already chosen the world but like to peek over the fence once in a while at God’s Kingdom because you find something intriguing – I implore you to jump the fence RIGHT now!

There is no better time to choose the Lord.  You will not have everything that the world offers you, but you will have an eternal home and a reward that lasts forever!  Don’t come to the Lord because of what He can give you.  Come to the Lord because of what He already did for you… He paid your bill on the cross.  Your sin and your shame have already been paid for.  Heaven is free to those who accept Him as Lord.  Get in this race, there’s still time!

I soberly sound this trumpet to all who are near the fence… START RUNNING!!!

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:14-16

Who's Kingdom Are You Serving... Yours?



In my path up the mountain of maturity, I vividly remember going through a season of cleansing.  God sent me into a wilderness in my life to burn out all of my idols.  Everything that I had on a throne had to come down.  All of my kingdoms needed to fall.

I had several “kingdoms” in my heart that required demolition.

One of them was the Kingdom of Tisha.  This kingdom revolved around my needs and wants and wishes – my dreams for my own life had to come down so that I could pick up His plan and purpose.

One kingdom that needed to fall was the Kingdom of Food.  I idolized food and turned to it as a source of comfort and sometimes celebration.  Even when I dieted, I still worshiped food by spending so much time counting calories and thinking about what I could and couldn’t have.

Another kingdom that had to come down was the Kingdom of Religious Rules.  This kingdom gave me a false sense of value when I followed “the Law.”  It also caused me to be sanctimonious toward others when they did not live up to my rules and regulations.

Other kingdoms included: the Kingdom of a Perfect Marriage, the Kingdom of the Matriarchy, the Kingdom of the Approval of Man... and so on and so forth.

There was a point in the relentless fire of wilderness I remember thinking – do You just want me to be a zombie Lord?  Do You just want me to be a drone worshiper?  Does everything in my life have to be incinerated?

The answer to that last question is yes, everything had to be incinerated. But the season that God had sent me through was not meant to make me a drone.  It was to make me His. 

I was worshiping other gods.  I was worshiping idols, and it was hurting my relationship with Him.  Even though I couldn’t see it – I was much further away from Him than I knew.

His refining fire in the wilderness was necessary to bring me to a point of purging out everything that was not of His Kingdom.  Dwelling inside His Kingdom boundaries is where I would be safe, and I could commune more effectively with Him.  It was His love that pursued me to burn away my idols.

How about you?  Have you submitted to a season of God making you His?  Have you said with all sincerity – “God I want ONLY You!  Come and set my kingdoms on fire!”
This is the kind of worship that the Lord is seeking.  This is the kind of fervent lovers He is looking for.  If you are content to have your own kingdom – your love for Him is lukewarm.
I invite you today to join me in the fire of refining.  It will be the best decision you ever make!

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don't be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. God's terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. ” (Colossians 3:5-7 NLT)




Prophecy: What if God Is Not FOR You?

Recently the Lord lovingly admonished me about a lie that I had been believing.  He surprised me by saying, “Tisha, I love every person on earth, but I Am not FOR everyone. My favor and My blessings do not rest on everyone.  You mistakenly believe that I Am on the side of humans – while being opposed to My enemy, Satan.  This is not true. 

I Am FOR Myself.  I Am for My Glory, and I am on the side of every person who is seeking My Kingdom first.  I Am not on the side of those who are seeking their own kingdom.  I Am against the Anti-Christ spirit.  Anything that is not of Me and My kingdom is Anti-Christ.  I Am not FOR any human who would choose to follow the Anti-Christ spirit.  I desire their repentance - but My favor is not given out for free.

He continued,  “I Am also not FOR anyone who practices witchcraft.  I Am not FOR anyone who continually sins sexually.  I Am not FOR anyone who beheads My people.  I Am not FOR abusers.  I Am not FOR those who enslave women and children as sex slaves.  I Am not FOR people who use corruption to pad their own pockets.  I Am not FOR pastors who bend My truth to make people feel comfortable in their sin.  I am AGAINST them.

I oppose the proud.  I humble those with selfish ambition.  I will not tolerate those who use prostitute the giftings I have given them. I Am not FOR people who practice other religions.  I Am against the Pharisees.  I Am against those who teach the doctrine of demons. 

Part of your problem, My love, is that you haven’t understood this.  You have mistakenly thought that I was FOR everyone, and it is not true.  I will spit out of my mouth those who are lukewarm and those who seek to make My remnant stumble.

Many will be surprised that I have not been FOR them.  Many will be surprised that the things they blamed on the devil were actually Me resisting them.

Because I will not share My glory with another.  I Am the I Am. 

If you seek My Kingdom first, I Am FOR you.

If you seek your own kingdom first or the kingdom of My enemy – I am AGAINST you.

Seeking My kingdom first grants you My favor.

Seeking your own kingdom first gives you the hand of My resistance.

Judgment begins with My House, and you are about to see who I Am FOR and who I Am AGAINST.

Romans 8:31 begins with a crucial word, it begins with an “IF.”

If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

There is an “IF” at the beginning of this statement because it requires action on your part for Me to be FOR you.

I Am FOR everyone who is FOR My Kingdom!  If anyone repents and follows Me then I receive him and Romans 8:31 will apply to him.  But for everyone else who seeks his own kingdom of the kingdom of My enemy I spell out very plainly what will happen in Revelation 3:15-20.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

God loves every human being.  But that does not automatically mean He is FOR us...

It's our job to be FOR Him and His Kingdom.  

Heavenly Father, may all of the lukewarmness be burned out of Your Church.

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!

The Common Denominator of America's Idolatry

America has been in decline since the 60s.  We’ve never been the perfect nation.  But something happened in the early 60s that caused our nation to turn a hard corner into a downward spiral of significant idolatry.

You can see it in our history.  We became complacent and allowed a few people to take prayer out of the schools.  It was followed by a sexual revolution – and then abortion.  The increase of sin in our nation since then is markedly different.  The idolatry of sex, greed, power, control, food, drugs, racism and so on permeates our society.  Whenever anyone challenges someone’s idolatry there is a vitriolic response rooted in selfishness.  “This idol makes me happy!  So leave me alone!  Who are you to judge?”

Idols are the things we worship.

Every single person alive on the planet worships something.  We were created to be worshipers.  Even if we don’t worship God – we worship something.  We can worship ourselves.  We can worship sex.  We worship our family.  We worship control.  Whatever it is that we draw our strength from – whatever it is that makes us feel better about ourselves.

If we are not getting our strength and identity and comfort from our Creator – then we are getting it from something that is created. 

You see – there is actually a common denominator in all of our idol worship.  It all comes down to one reason that we turn from God and toward idols. 

We worship idols because we are looking for something other than God to comfort our emotions.

Ever since the very first sin in the Garden of Eden – we have had a need to be saved from our emotional pain.

The truth is that our Heavenly Father IS the answer to our pain.  He is a good Father.  He helps us with our pain and shows us how to live in the midst of a broken world.  He sent His son Jesus to show us how to walk through this world without bowing to our emotions.

How would you like it if your children constantly looked elsewhere for their comfort?  How would it feel to you if every time your child got a boo boo they went to the refrigerator for food to make them feel better?  How would you like it if your teenager went to pornography or drugs every time they were hurting instead of coming to you?  How would you feel if your children looked to self-help gurus in the midst of their fear instead of asking you for help?

This is how it feels to the Heavenly Father when we constantly look for other things to comfort our emotions.  It is His truth and unconditional love that sets us free… not idolatry.  Idols only numb your pain for a moment – and then they make you pay for it.

Exodus 20:3-5

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God

No matter how much you are engulfed in fear or how much your emotions hurt… make up your mind to only bow to the Lord.

When you are in pain run to the Lord.  Don’t run to sex.  Don’t run to food.  Don’t run to control.  This is idolatry.  And it is the way that Babylon behaves – not the children of God.

When your emotions rise up and you need them comforted – go to the Lord to comfort them.  Call upon the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter.  Turn on worship music.  Open your bible.  And pray…

This is how we turn from our idol worship and serve the Lord.

We must no longer sin because of our emotions – we must obey in spite of them!

The Lord showed me that in the valley that this nation is about to experience – it is His goal to kill our idol of comfort.  The coming tribulation to this nation is meant to be severe mercy. 

God loves every person in the world, but He will not bend His Truth to make people more comfortable in their sin. - Michael Youssef

If this nation is going to turn around, we must turn from our wicked ways.  We must turn from our idol of comfort and begin to pick up our crosses and follow the Lord – no matter how much we hurt.  

We must learn to obey His truth in spite of our fear and pain.

Jesus endured much pain on this earth.  He did not endure it so that you could FEEL good.  He came as an example of how to endure pain in this life.  He could have called upon twelve legions of angels to help him and COMFORT his pain (Mt 26:53) – but He obeyed His Father instead.

We must become like Him in His suffering. (Phil 3:10)

It is suffering that is about to come upon our nation.  We are going to experience quite a bit of pain in

this Valley of Death

– but God means it for our good.

He’s killing our idols.  He’s killing our comfort.  He’s destroying Babylon within us.  He’s turning our nation back to Him through a time of discipline.

It’s time to lay down our idols and preach the word of God – no matter how much pain it brings.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Prayer:

God forgive me for turning to idols to comfort my emotions.  I am sorry that I have bowed to created things in order to make myself feel better.  You are the answer to my pain and I am willing to suffer for your Name.  Help me to only seek You in the midst of suffering.  I don’t want to be double minded any longer.  I ask for the grace of God to help me turn away from the idols in my life.  I ask You to burn the ways of Babylon out of my heart.  In the mighty name of Jesus, AMEN.

Practical Steps for Processing the Pain of Hurt Feelings

The other day my friend sent a text that hurt my feelings.  It probably wouldn’t have hurt your feelings…but it hurt mine.

I had sent a text inviting her to run an errand with me to a specific specialty store that we both like to go to.  Her reply said this:  Thanks but I’ll pass this time.

These words cut my heart and I had a “feeling” of being rejected.  It was not the truth. My friend was not rejecting me – it was simply a “feeling.”

She had errands of her own to run.  She didn’t have time to go with me.  But the words she used to “pass” on my invitation brought me pain.

At this point I had three choices.

1.

I could do nothing and let the pain of my hurt feelings continue.

2.

I could confront my friend about how those words hurt my heart and to please not use them again.

3.

Or I could figure out where the root of my hurt feelings came from and completely pull up the weed in my heart.

Choice #1 - If I do nothing, I will continue in the cycle of “feeling” rejected.

Choice #2 - If I confront my friend and ask her not to use specific words that hurt my feelings – I put 

pressure on her to abide by rules and regulations that I add to our relationship in order to not feel pain anymore.  In essence,  I put up a wall and say, please abide by this boundary so I won’t feel pain.

Choice #3 - Or I can process the pain of my hurt feelings and figure out where the root of the emotional pain is coming from.  Once I figure out where the seed of rejection was planted in my heart – I can pull out the weed that is causing me pain.  And those words will never hurt me again, no matter who uses them.

Since I have learned to process my pain – I ALWAYS choose #3!

If we find out where the seed of our emotional pain is and we neutralize it with the truth and with the blood of the lamb – we take our power back and we repair the chink in our armor.

The Process

So here is how I processed my emotional pain from the text I received.

DEFINE THE PAIN

I asked the Lord to help me understand the emotion I was feeling.

Answer:  When someone uses the phrase “I’ll pass” it stirs up the “feeling” of rejection.  

I know that the feeling of rejection is a lie that says “You aren’t good enough.”  And “You don’t measure up.”

FIND WHERE WAS THE SEED PLANTED

I asked the Lord to show me where in my timeline where this seed of rejection of not feeling good enough or not measuring up was planted.

                Answer:  The Holy Spirit brought up a memory from a very tumultuous time in my life about 10 years ago when a very good friend used the phrase “I think I’ll pass” and it was like a spear to my heart.  The enemy planted a lie at that point that when people use the words “I think I’ll pass” it means I’m not good enough to be their friend.

The truth is that I wasn’t wearing my armor during that tumultuous time in my life.  My shield of faith would have deflected the spear easily.  But in the midst of that season I was so tired and weary that I was vulnerable to the lies of the enemy.

The wound that I got from my friend 10 years ago was not healed.  So I needed to go back and pull the weed out from 10 years ago and this would allow me to see the truth more easily.

HOW TO HEAL THE TRAUMATIC MEMORY (OR PULL UP THE WEED)

I forgave the first friend who “rejected” me with her words.  I asked God to forgive me for believing a lie that I wasn’t good enough.

I renounced the lie out loud:  God I renounce (or break) the lie that I am not good enough.

I asked for God’s truth.  And this is what I heard:  People declining my invitation –  should not impact my worth.  There are many reasons why people decline invitations.  Even if I really am being rejected by another person - I am basing my worth on their opinion.  If my worth is not based in who I am in Christ, then I will continue to get my feelings hurt.

PLANTING GOD’S TRUTH WHERE THE LIE HAD BEEN

In understanding the truth that my worth cannot be diminished by people “passing” on an invitation from me… I am set free.

My armor is healed with forgiveness and I am protected with the truth.  The enemy may try to use the spear to get me to feel rejected by having close friends use the words ”I’ll pass.”  But I can easily bat them down with my shield of faith because my worth only comes from my Creator!

Now I am not feeling any rejection or emotional pain.

I didn’t have to give my friend any “relationship” word rules.

My faith has increased and I am less likely to get my feelings hurt again.

PROCESS COMPLETE!

A Word for Those Who Want to Quit

I know that some of you are carrying your cross and you are very weary.  I know that there is GREAT temptation to lay down your cross and say – “It’s over, I give up!”  But I want to encourage you today that there is a great victory ahead and it is important that you do not quit!

The Via Dolorosa is literally translated “the way of suffering.”  It is the path that Jesus took up through the city to the hill of Golgotha while carrying His cross.

He didn’t complain.  He didn’t whine. He didn’t blame others. He just focused on His assignment.

To die.

The Dark Night of the Soul (Click Here)

kind of feels like this: Maybe we have been beaten up with words by our brothers and sisters, the enemy may be piercing our minds with doubts and lies and accusation.  We feel completely alone, no one is standing with us and we are frustrated that we are STILL required to carry out our burden for the sake of His Kingdom.

Honest moment: In my Dark Night I told the Lord over and over and over and over that “It’s not fair!!!”  I hated it.  I whined.  I complained.  I blamed everyone else.  I had a terrible attitude for several years of my pathway on the Via Dolorosa.  I definitely had some “rebellion” in me that needed to be weeded out.

I remember one Christmas when I complained A LOT – the Lord rebuked me through a Christmas song!  ♫ You’d better watch out!  You’d better not cry!  You’d better not pout!  I’m telling you why… Santa Claus is coming to town. ♫

It reminds me of a verse in Isaiah 1:19-20 “

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”

OUCH!

I was obeying the Lord by not quitting and not giving up.  But I had a dreadfully selfish defiance about the cross He had asked me to bear.  Isaiah says that there are two elements to receiving the “prize” or the best from the land:  We must be obedient AND willing!

For a season I was not willing to carry my cross.  Yet, the patience and discipline of God brought me to a place of dying to myself so I could trust Him and say “Not my will but Yours be done.” 

In fact, it was a really good thing that He helped me to overcome my rebellion, for after that I faced even more difficult circumstances that required an even deeper death to self to carry my cross.

This is kind of a difficult truth to absorb – but if we are to carry our crosses daily – it means we must walk the “the way of suffering” every single day.  Even after your season of testing, you will still carry your cross on the Via Dolorosa daily.  One of the purposes of the Dark Night is to acquaint you with this path.  You actually become friends with this path because you realize that the Via Dolorosa actually leads to life.  It becomes less painful because when you are dead to yourself and your emotions, you can embrace suffering because you know God has a plan and your pain has a purpose.

In Mel Gibson’s the

Passion of the Christ

, the scene that impacted my life the most was when Jesus was carrying His cross on the Via Dolorosa and stumbled right in front of His mother.  He looked up at her with blood streaming down His face.  He was unrecognizable.  He was being whipped and people were shouting terrible things against Him.  It was during this most terrible trial of His human life that He looked at His mother and said, “Look mother, I make all things new!”

You see, Jesus knew He was accomplishing His purpose.  He knew the path of suffering He was on would actually bring LIFE to the WHOLE earth!  It is hard for us to believe that a path of such pain and suffering could be God’s will for us.  Everything within us wants to avoid pain.  Every fiber of our being cries out for self-preservation.

This is exactly how the enemy can deceive some into a ditch on the path of life.  He convinces you of this lie:  God is gracious and loving and would never require such suffering of His people. 

And then there’s this half-truth:  Jesus died so I wouldn’t have to. 

I love this piece of wisdom from Bob Sorge.

He says we must remember that there are two elements to the cross.

1) S

ubstitutionary = Christ took your place on the cross.

2) Identificational = Jesus wants you to join Him in His suffering.

When on this very difficult part of the Dark Night you must resist both lies.  The very reason for our “crucifixion” path is because it leads to more life than you can ever imagine. 

Why is the Lord asking you to walk this path?  Is it to set your family free?  Is it to spread the gospel?  Is it to prepare you for ministry?  Is it to bring redemption to His earth?  There IS a reason that you are on the Via Dolorosa and if you are willing AND obedient – you will make all things new within your sphere of influence.

The other ditch on the opposite side of the Via Dolorosa is this lie:  God is requiring too much of me. I cannot handle it.

I admit – it does seem that God gives us more than we can handle.  But His answer is that we’re not doing it alone.  He is carrying the weight of the cross with us.  We must resist the devil’s attempt to make us feel alone.  We must use our faith muscles, which produces perseverance and ultimately leads to maturity.  This is where we apply the verse: 

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

  Philippians 4:13

Let me share some practical advice for those of you who are struggling to submit to the “way of suffering.”

As simple as it sounds one of the key ways to overcome this trial of wanting to quit is to “take another step.”

Depending on where you are at on the Via Dolorosa this could mean a variety of different things.  It could be the tiny baby steps.  Like you simply make your mind up to breathe through the pain until noon.  And once you pass that mark you breathe until 5PM.  Then you breathe until bedtime.

There were other times during the Dark Night that I would set my mark out a little further.  For instance, just make it through the weekend, or make it until Christmas, or just make it through the summer.  This really did help me to get through the difficult ‘way of suffering.’

I will never forget the story of Marcus Luttrell, the Navy Seal in

Lone Survivor

.  He tells the story of losing his entire squad in a fire fight in Afghanistan.  He had a broken back, a broken pelvis, broken nose and bit his tongue in half, and he was paralyzed from the waist down.

As He lay dying against a tree looking at the moon, feeling sorry for himself He said, “I kept thinking I was still alive they (his fellow seals) fought and died, but I’m still alive so the mission is still on.  So I reached out and grabbed a rock and I drew a line and I used my elbows and crawled to it.  I decided if I died, I died.  If I made it to the line… I would draw another line. I’d fall down a hill and crawl up another one.  I did that for seven miles…. I am not going to stop. It’s not an option. I’m a Navy Seal.  When you go into training they take away everything that you are or ever were, and then they mold you into what they want you to be.” 

Marcus Luttrell DID make it home.  He was harbored by an Afghan village and then returned home to America.  He was made whole and healed and has inspired the entire country with his bravery.  But he had to lay down his “victimhood” and resolve to keep going despite his circumstances.  I can’t imagine how his body ever healed itself after all of that.  But as David Crowder wrote in his song, ♫ Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal. ♫

This is the perfect example of what the Via Dolorosa is.  It is hard!  It is painful!  You want to quit! But something inside you says it will be worth it.  You are making all things new.  Just keep going.  Don’t quit.  Draw a line in the sand and when you reach it, draw another one to reach for.  Just keep taking another step.

You WILL reach your destination!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest

if we do not give up.”

  Galatians 6:9 (emphasis mine)

Why God Wants You to Stop Doing Things For Him

It was going to be awesome!  At least nine churches were involved in it.  It was a great idea and now all we had to do was work together to see it through.  God was going to be so pleased with our citywide Unity Service for Pentecost Sunday.  We rented out an auditorium and a more up-to-date sound system.  We got the best speaker from a near-by Christian college.  The pastors of the involved churches were supposed to get together and pray regularly and handle the logistics.  As one of the worship leaders, I would meet weekly with the other music pastors spending time in prayer and then planning a blended service that would touch each of our respective congregations. 

I was spending a lot of time personally in prayer for this move, asking God’s blessing, direction and grace. Praying for souls.  Praying for our city. And praying for those who weren’t involved to get onboard.

There was an associate pastor in my church that expressed the uncomfortable feeling he had about the coming city-wide service.  Outwardly the signs seemed to be that all was going well.  Everything was falling into place nicely.  Still I greatly respected this pastor’s discernment but he could not put into words why he was uneasy about it. 

I was praying on the way to one of our worship leader meetings and thinking about why my associate pastor was uneasy.  And I heard the voice of the Lord say, “This service is something that they are doing

for

Me.”  This repeated over and over in my head.  There was an emphasis on the word “for.”  “ …Something they are doing

for

Me.”  I had been learning about being a vessel for the Lord and learning to allow Him to do things

through

me. So I knew exactly what He meant.  The pastors who had come up with the citywide unity service had done so out of their own intellect and will (and maybe even their own pride). 

It was not something that had been born from the Spirit.  And the fruit that followed had no lasting effect.  Even though we spent hours planning and praying, the service itself was somewhat of a disappointment.  Only about 60% of the congregations from each church came to the service.  There was no salvation, no repentance.  The unity that it was supposed to bring brought only offense to the leadership in the end.  Pastors who claimed they were in charge offended other pastors who thought they were in charge.  No one could agree with what to do with the remaining money generated for the service.  Some volunteers got paid for their job, while other volunteers didn’t.  There has never been another Pentecost unity service since then.

I know you might say – wouldn’t God be pleased if we were doing things FOR Him?  To answer this question let’s take a look at what Jesus said about how He served the Father.  Did Jesus do things FOR the Father?

In John 14:10 Jesus says, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? 

The words I say to you are not my own.  Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”

The Father…living in me…doing his work.

Numerous times in the book of John, Jesus makes the point that He’s only doing what He sees the Father doing.  He’s only saying what the Father has told Him to say.

John 8:28 – When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that

I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me

, I speak these things.

Jesus didn’t heal every person he saw hurting.  In John chapter five, at the pool of Bethesda there were a great number of disabled people lying there.  But Jesus only called to one to be healed.  He only did what he saw the Father doing.

There were many wicked tax collectors in the crowd the day Jesus passed by.  But Zacchaeus was the only one he called out to.  Jesus was in tune to the prompting of His Father’s bidding.  And he did not step outside of what he was commanded to do.  See what Jesus says here in John 5:17, 19-20

My Father has been working until now, and I have been working….Most assuredly, I say to you,

the Son can do nothing of Himself; but what He sees the Father do

; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does.

We must humble ourselves like Jesus did.  We must come to a place that we only do what we see the Father do.  We follow the commands of the Lord.  We do not take action unless we are given a directive by the Lord…. And then we let Him do His works through us.

As children of God, every aspect of our lives should be the Father working through us.  Our jobs, our homes, our businesses, our ministries should ALL be works that God does through us. 

Just like Jesus we can do nothing of ourselves, but what we see the Father do…. for whatever the Father does, we also do in a like manner.

It might be a lofty idea to attempt a Pentecost Unity service for your community.  But if that idea has not been born from the Lord’s heart, then we are not following in Jesus’ footsteps – because He didn’t do anything that He didn’t see the Father do.   When we birth something from our own minds, thinking that we are going to do something FOR the Lord, we have separated ourselves from the Vine and the fruit we produce will never last.

The example that Jesus gave us was to not move on anything unless the Father told Him to.  And then even more than that the Father was the one to accomplish the works THROUGH His Son.

John 14:10  - the words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but

the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”

The Father…dwelling in Me…does the works.  This is why God doesn’t want you doing things for Him.  The works that are born in the heart of the Father and that we allow Him to carry out through us are the works that we will get a “Well done” for!

The Father…living in me…doing his work.

Stop doing things FOR God.  Remain on the vine and begin letting God do things THROUGH you!

My Divine Appointment at a Donald Trump Rally

I was blessed to be offered VIP tickets to the Donald Trump Rally in Westfield, Indiana on July 13th. We got there early enough to be on the VERY front row... only there were no chairs. So we got there at 5:15 and Mr. Trump was supposed to speak at 7:30 (But didn't actually take the stage until 8:30).

There is nothing left to do but stand and talk to your neighbors...for what ended up being more than 3 hours!

My friend and I met some people around us and I was specifically intrigued with the woman next to me who was in a wheelchair.

She was in her 40s and her husband had the biggest servant's heart toward her. She exuded joy and didn't want people to go out of their way on her behalf.

As I observed them, I was especially touched by their relationship and how he tended to her. He was gentle and and attentive and yet not helicoptering over her. My friend and I had introduced ourselves but as the night wore on and we had come to the end of things to talk about.

I silently prayed for God to help me encourage this woman who was in the wheel chair... Knowing what I was about to hear - He probably smiled at my prayer.

I bent down and made a more concerted effort to get to know my new acquaintance. I started off with complimenting the person who had earlier prayed for our country from the podium. She agreed it was a powerful prayer and that our country certainly needed it. She asked what I did and I told her I had a ministry in my hometown.

She wrote down the name of it and then asked me a few bold questions about the ministry. Since she was courageous to ask me some personal questions... I asked if I could also ask some personal questions. And I will forever be grateful that I found some gumption to ask!

I asked why she was in the wheelchair and how long she had been in it. She said that she had Multiple Sclerosis and that she had had the disease for 20 years but had only been in the wheelchair for the last 2. I went on being bold and asked if there was any chance that her condition would get better. She said no there wasn't - outside of a miracle she would deteriorate until her death.

As she told me this there was not a hint of self-pity at all. She was thankful for a believing husband who had a strong relationship with the Lord. She said, shortly after she was married that her doctor told her that he did not recommend that she have kids. She said, "Are you telling me I can't have kids?" He said, "No. I said I don't recommend it."

She went home to her husband quite distraught and told him that the doctor recommended that they shouldn't have any kids. She said she cried and threw a little pity party. As she was telling me the story she smiled really big. She said, "But my husband said, 'Honey we don't ask the doctor if we can have kids. We ask the Lord.' So we prayed."

One month later she was pregnant.

And since then she has had 6 children altogether! Ages 14 to 3.

(You could have knocked me over with a feather!)

She said, "I was always going to be here with my condition. I was always headed for a wheelchair. But I was going to be here whether I had children or not. I am so glad that I was able to have six kids along the way."

She of course wants the Lord to heal her. But trusts that He knows what He's doing and He sees her and has a perfect plan for her and her family.

I asked if I could pray for her and I did pray that God would heal her body...but I added "Nevertheless not my will but Yours be done."

My problems seem a little less serious today. I'm leaving my self-pity at the cross.

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

If you would, pray for my new friend Jennifer who is battling MS.  Pray for her healing and pray for her strength.  Wouldn't it be simply amazing to see her healed???

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

Sometimes Love Has to Drive a Nail Into Its Own Hand

If you take time to ponder the sacrifice of Christ at the moment they were driving nails into His hands, it is almost heart stopping.

He could have defended Himself.  He could have refused.  But He laid down on the cross and let His own creation take a hammer and nails and pin him to a piece of wood that He also created.

He simply gave Himself over to be mutilated because He knew it was accomplishing something for His creation.

Friends this is love.

Allowing people to hurt you is completely against human nature.  Being so submitted to the will of God that you take the pain in silence and let them mutilate you is not natural.

In my personal story, the nails in my hands and feet resulted in not being able to move out of the city that we were being persecuted in.  We had to stay.  There was no “green light” from the Lord to go.

We stayed and faced the shame.  We stayed and heard the rumors.  We stayed and faced the rejection.  Our hands and feet were nailed to the city.  Now we certainly kicked and screamed inwardly.  We contemplated leaving again and again, but we passed the test and stayed.

Crucify

[

kroo

-s

uh

-fahy] 

verb 

1. to put to death by nailing or binding the hands and feet to a cross.

2. to treat with gross injustice; persecute; torment; torture.

Maybe your nails look a little different than mine, but the pain is the same.  Not being able to move away from the injustice and persecution is what Christ felt on the cross.  The ‘death’ that needs to happen in us is that when people drive nails in our hands and feet, that we don’t retaliate and return the favor.

David did it.  God had called him to be part of Saul’s palace.  David was learning how NOT to be king. Saul would grow enraged with David and throw spears at him.  In our flesh, it is only natural to want to return the favor and throw a spear back, but David could not defend himself.  He was nailed to the cross, inside the palace of his mortal enemy.

Paul did it.  God allowed him to be crucified in prison several times.  But during those prison times he brought us life by writing letters to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and to Philemon.  I am so grateful that Paul was nailed to a prison so we could have these words!!

 Philippians 3:7-11

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 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.

Sometimes you let people hurt you and you simply love them in return.  No retaliation.  No running away.  They may never even know that they’ve hurt you, you learn to take it and you forgive them because they really don’t know what they are doing. 

Somehow you must believe the pain of being nailed to a cross (a city, a job, a prison) will turn out for the good of those who love God.  

Nothing is wasted!

Are You Using Compliments or Flattery?

In a meeting the other day, my ministry team and I were discussing how to overcome the need for the approval of men.

If you desire the approval of men, you must also receive their rejection.  Both the approval and rejection of men are from the same root – You have man’s opinion on a pedestal.

We need only the approval of the Heavenly Father. 

Attemptingto please men instead of God can be a snare and form of idolatry. (Read moreabout that by clicking here.)

We were specifically discussing “compliments.”  We were wrestling with how to receive compliments in a healthy way.  We also discussed about a healthy way of giving compliments.  Was it ok to build someone’s ego through giving compliments?  Was it ok to give a compliment to a person who was simply using the gift God had given them?  What if a person was in rebellion to the Lord and your compliment actually reinforced their rebellion?

We didn’t really find a definitive answer between us, so we just let the conversation sit and moved on.

Two days later, the Holy Spirit prompted me through an article I was reading with these words:  Flattery is a sin.

That was it!  That’s what we were trying to get to!  It’s not that giving someone a compliment is a sin – it is when a compliment is used to gain favor or if the compliment is a lie that we are sinning!

When we use flattery we are trying to gain the approval of a person.  When we use flattery we are using “smooth speech” in order to manipulate a person.  If your compliment to a person is not authentic then it is a sin. 

Compliments should be given in sincerity – not with strings attached.  Be careful that when you praise men that there is no ulterior motive behind your compliment.

Likewise, pay no attention to those who give you excessive blessings, compliments, or praise.  They are simply spinning a web to catch you in.  Run away from those who use flattery!

When you receive a compliment let your heart reflect the praise to God.  Be careful not to let compliments stroke your ego.  The only good things we do here on earth are because of God’s grace.  Allow men to praise you but in your heart give the glory to God.  This will keep you safe from those who are trying to spread a net for you.

The Bible has plenty to say about the sin of flattery – read these scriptures and adjust your thinking and actions to reflect the image of Christ when it comes to compliments and flattery.

Proverbs 29:5-6 A person who flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for him to step into. To an evil person sin is bait in a trap, but a righteous person runs away from it and is glad.

Psalm 36:1-3 An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked person: There is no dread of God before his eyes, for in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to discover and hate his sin. The words of his mouth are malicious and deceptive; he has stopped acting wisely and doing good.

Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Psalm 78:36-37 Nevertheless they flattered him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant.

Psalm 5:8-9 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.

Psalm 12:2-3 Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts. May the LORD cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues.

Psalm 62:4 They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me. They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts.

Psalm 55:21 His speech is smoother than butter, but there is war in his heart. His words are more soothing than oil, but they are like swords ready to attack.

Proverbs 27:5-6 An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

Proverbs 28:23 In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.

Romans 16:17-19 Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

Galatians 1:10 For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, who examines our hearts. For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives God is our witness and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Romans 15:2 We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.

Proverbs 16:13 Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.

Proverbs 6:23-27 Your parents give you commands and teachings that are like lights to show you the right way. This teaching corrects you and trains you to follow the path to life. It stops you from going to an evil woman, and it protects you from the smooth talk of another man’s wife. Such a woman might be beautiful, but don’t let that beauty tempt you. Don’t let her eyes capture you. A prostitute might cost a loaf of bread, but the wife of another man could cost you your life. If you drop a hot coal in your lap, your clothes will be burned.

Proverbs 7:21-23 She persuaded him with persuasive words; with her smooth talk she compelled him. Suddenly he went after her like an ox that goes to the slaughter, like a stag prancing into a trapper’s snare till an arrow pierces his liver like a bird hurrying into a trap, and he does not know that it will cost him his life.

Job 32:19-22 inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply. I will show no partiality, nor will I flatter anyone; for if I were skilled in flattery, my Maker would soon take me away.

The Root of Embarrassment and How to Overcome It


We’ve all done it.  We said something stupid at the wrong moment.  We walked out of the bathroom with our fly open or dragging toilet paper on our shoe.  Perhaps we’ve been embarrassed by our parents or by our children.  Possibly we are embarrassed about the kind of home we grew up in, or the area in which our house was located.

I hate feeling the heat of the red color creeping up in my face when I feel embarrassed.

So let me help you overcome embarrassment.

It is actually VERY simple.  The root of embarrassment is pride.

Yep.  That’s it.

If you think about every time that you get embarrassed – it’s because you are worried about what other people think of you.  It’s because you don’t want to be devalued in the eyes of others.

One time I felt embarrassed about a particular announcement I made at a church.  It was an announcement that should have elicited an applause… but no one clapped.  Not one person.
I don’t know if they didn’t understand what I was saying , or for some reason if they couldn’t hear me,  or maybe I simply didn’t connect with my hearers... whatever the reason, I was really embarrassed to walk of the stage in the midst of silence.

This incident bothered me for years.  Every time I would remember it – I felt shame and embarrassment.  I tried and tried to shake off the embarrassment.  I asked forgiveness from the Lord.  I forgave the audience for not receiving what I was saying.  And nothing helped. I was still embarrassed.

Finally, I took the incident to the Lord in prayer and said, “God WHY am I still feeling embarrassed about this incident?”

I heard the Lord in my spirit say, “Because you care more for what the audience thinks of you than what I think of you.”

Whoa!  Lightbulb!  I get it!

If I only care what God thinks then who can take my value from me?  No matter the reason for the lack of applause – if God was OK with how I performed, then who cares what people thought.
So what if your fly is down when you come out of the bathroom.  So what if you say something stupid at the wrong time.  So what if you stumble and fall.  What human being hasn’t done something like that?  Do those things make you stupid?  Of course not. 

Your identity and value are not wrapped up in human mistakes that we make.  Your value and identity come from God. 

If you get your identity from the “applause of men” then you are actually operating out of pride and not humility.

If you are embarrassed by people or the place that you live – it is because of a lack of humility.  All people have parts of their lives that don’t measure up to the ideals of men.  We all have relatives that make us roll our eyes.  We all have pieces of our past that we are not proud of.  But these things do not reflect on who God created you to be.

Your value comes from your Creator not your surroundings or your relationships!

Steps to Wholeness:

No human being is perfect.  If you suffer from embarrassment ask the Lord where your pride is coming from.  Then step off the pedestal and confess your pride to God.

Ask God to give you the truth about what He thought about the incident which embarrassed you.

Let His opinion be bigger than the opinion of man.  Let God’s words be bigger than man’s.


How the Sin of Mastery Affects Us All

Cain thought he was better than Abel.

Cain thought his very purpose on earth was to rescue his family so they could return to the Garden of Eden.  He was raised to believe that he was the one who would crush the head of the serpent because he was their first seed.  Cain was their ticket to a better life. He saw his little brother as a smaller person than he was.  Cain believed he had more importance than his brother Abel did. 

It angered him that God rejected his offering.  Suddenly there was an outward judgment that Cain was not better than Abel. 

The Lord was trying to get Cain to step down from his throne.  He was attempting to help Cain understand that he was not superior to his brother.

Genesis 3:6-7

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

God was saying this:  Son you have no reason to be angry.  You have no reason to be depressed. If you do what is right – if you step down from your throne of superiority – all will be made right.  This pressure you feel will subside.  But now that I’ve revealed to you that you are believing a lie, sin is ready to seize you.  Now that you know the truth – you have a choice.  Be the master over sin but not the master over your brother.

Cain chose rebellion.  He chose to put his beliefs over Gods.  Instead of mastering his sin, he chose to make himself the master over his brother and killed him.  In Cain’s anger and depression, he refused God’s invitation to step off of the throne -- and Cain became a bully.

Cain didn’t want the identity that God was giving him.  He didn’t want his true birthright of the firstborn of creation.  He wanted to be the savior of creation, like he was led to believe.  In Cain’s mind, he didn’t have value unless he was on the throne and superior to his brother.  He wanted to be exalted.  If no one else would worship him as the savior, he would take matters into his own hands and manipulate the situation.  Instead of humbling himself, he mastered over his brother and murdered him.

Cain takes the exact opposite stance that Christ did.  When the world would not accept Christ as the Savior, Christ gave himself up and took on the nature of a servant.

Philippians 3:3-8

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

In humility, the King of Kings became our servant.  Jesus did not try to be equal to God the way Cain did.  He made himself nothing, and even allowed others to murder him.

Cain refused to consider others better than himself.  He rebelled against the birthright that God had given him.  He wanted to be served, instead of serving others.  He wanted to be the Master.

This revelation, though it seems simplistic, is the root of so many issues in today’s society.  It is the sin of Mastery. 

The sin of Mastery is the way of Cain.  Considering yourself better than others is the same as considering yourself the Master of another.  Wanting to be considered the savior and be seated on a throne, is the sin of Mastery.

No human that God has created is better than another.  No human being is the Master of another.

We are not better if we are rich.  We are not better if we are poor.  We are not better because we live in a specific country.  We are not better if we wear certain clothes.  We are not better if we have more knowledge about the Kingdom of God.

One gender is not above the other.  One race is not above another.  One brother is not above another.

The sin of Mastery is the root of all wars.  Mastery is the root of racism, slavery, misogyny, hatred, murder, rape, classism, nationalism and religion-ism.

Not accepting one’s birthright identity is the beginning of the sin of Mastery.

Acts 17: 26

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

When we do not accept this verse as truth, we are rebelling against God.  When we do not receive the identity that God gives us, we are telling Him that His plans are not good enough.

Even people born within the most terrible conditions have been determined by God.  Every single person has the power to pursue freedom.  I have known and mentored people from extraordinarily grim pasts.  Many of these people question God about why He placed them in such a dark family.  The answer I have seen the Spirit of God give to them is that He placed them to be missionaries for Christ inside a generational line that needed His salvation.

Ishmael was someone who was not happy with his birthright.  He did not want to accept the fact that he was born according to the flesh.  If Ishmael and his mother had accepted his birthright, they would have never been cast away from Abraham’s community.  When Isaac, the son of the promise was weaned and celebrated, Hagar began to mock him. (Gen. 21:8-9)  To allow this mocking to continue would have affected the birthright of Isaac.

So God had to deliver Ishmael away from Abraham and Isaac.  Ishmael was led to believe for a period of time that he was the promised child.  When it was revealed that Ishmael was given a wrong identity, Hagar began to mock the plan of God. 

The lie Hagar believed was that having her son as the “savior” gave her value.  The truth is that she had value in the eyes of God because she was His creation.  Being content with the identity that God gives you is the first step toward peace with God. It is the command that God gave to Cain - “do what is right.” (Genesis 3:6)  Be who I created you to be. 

Cain could have led humanity into a glorious future.  If he would have stepped down off the throne and chosen humility and accepted his birthright he would have been exalted in the eyes of humanity as the First Born.  Instead wanted to become equal with God by determining his own identity. 

Isaiah 29:16 (NIV)

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, "You did not make me"? Can the pot say to the potter, "You know nothing"?

Isaiah 45:9 (MSG)

But doom to you who fight your Maker - you're a pot at odds with the potter! Does clay talk back to the potter: 'What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!'

Ishmael and Hagar could have had a fortunate life if they had submitted to the birthright Ishmael was given.  He could have been brothers with Isaac and two nations could have been friends instead of enemies.  The sons of Ishmael are still at war with the sons of Isaac because the Ishmaelites will STILL not accept their birthright.

Isaac was not “better” than Ishmael.  Ishmael was not a “lesser” human being to his Creator.  He simply was not the one through whom the covenant would come.  God actually had to preserve a generational line to bring Christ the Messiah through.  Isaac had his purpose in the fabric of history.  The Lord also had a purpose for Ishmael, he became the father of a great nation.

Isaac’s purpose would eventually lead to Ishmael’s salvation.  When Christ came he broke down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile creating one new man. (Eph. 2)

Part of Isaac’s purpose was to protect the generational line that would lead to the fulfillment of the very first prophecy ever given.  Jesus, the seed of woman, came to crush the head of the serpent once and for all.  Not just for the Jews but for all of humanity.

Ishmael, like Cain, could not see how his part in the fabric of history would play out. Instead of making the decision to be content with who God created them to be – they rebelled against their God-given identity.

Romans 9:21-22

Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Noble and common uses do not play into our identity.  A king and a washerwoman have the same value to God.  They each simply need to play out their God-given purpose on earth.  The reward in heaven will not be more for the king than it will be for the washerwoman.  We will be rewarded according to how much we loved.  A washerwoman’s eternal reward could surpass that of a king if she was more faithful with the talent she was given.

A lawyer and a janitor have the same value to God.  A general and a private are both necessary to form an army.  A shepherd is nothing without sheep.  A king is nothing without a kingdom of people.  If our purpose is one of nobility, we will be measured by our love.  If our purpose is one of common use, we will be measured by our love. We must become content with our birthright.

Rebelling and considering ourselves the master of others will only bring pain and suffering both here on earth and when we stand before the Lord on Judgment Day.

Steps to Wholeness:

If you recognize that you are not at peace with the birthright that God has given you, ask the Lord for His mercy and grace to begin to lay down the rebellion you are experiencing.

Pray this prayer:  God I want the fullness of the birthright you have given me.  I ask forgiveness for rebelling against who you created me to be.  Forgive me for the sin of mastery.  You are my Master and I submit to your choices for my life.  I ask for help to overcome the generational sins in my blood line.  Help me to deprogram from the lies I have bought from the enemy.

You are the potter.  I am the clay.  Mold me and fashion me as You see fit.

In Jesus Name, AMEN

America's Next Season: The Valley of Death

Prophetically I’ve known it for a couple of years.  America is about to go through a Dark Night of the Soul.  It is that season where continual storms in life cause your true nature to arise.  It’s the point at which all of the dross, the dark things in our hearts, rise up in the midst of the chaos. 

The Dark Night of the Soul (click here) reveals your character

and invites you to make necessary changes.

Pretty soon,

America’s Dark Night of the Soul (click here

) is going to reveal where her true peace lies.  Does it rely on government?  Does it rely on money?  Does America’s peace rely on pride or nationalism?  One thing I can tell you for sure is that America’s peace does not rest on the rock of Jesus Christ.  Thus the reason for the coming Valley of Death.

We are no longer living in the “sweet land of liberty.”  We have lost our identity while the enemy has pursued our nation to dehumanize us and twist our thinking away from the reason God created our country in the first place.  We are in need of some severe mercy from the Lord.  The severe storms about to come upon America are meant to point out where our hearts truly lie.

The severity of God’s mercy will be a sweet relief for those who are already have been working to bring heaven to earth.  This Valley of Death will be a help to those who are wanting to see Jesus be the foundation of our nation again.  But the severity of God’s mercy will feel like the world is caving in to those who are not firmly planted in the identity of who God is and who no longer desire “liberty and justice for all.”

I had a vision of a television screen the other night before falling to sleep.  On the screen was a deep orange color that looked like lava.  I asked the Lord, if that was a volcano – did I need to pray against the destruction of a volcano?

The Lord responded to me, “No these are the fires of Mordor, this is how close we are to destroying the “Ring of Power” that rules over your nation.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the “Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkein, darkness ruled over the people of the land with One Ring.  The One Ring was created by a Dark Lord Sauron and had power to spread darkness over the whole land and giving Sauron complete domination.  It was the quest of a few volunteers to give up their lives in order to destroy the ring by throwing it into the fires of Mt Doom in the land of Mordor.

Unfortunately, we see a similar story being played out right here in America.  A select few people have the power to “spin” America in any way that they see fit.  They are used to pulling strings and ruling over our economy, politics, media, racism, entertainment and even religion.  They are the puppet masters who pull the strings in order to see their will imposed on our nation.

Whether or not we have realized it – the true Church of God has been crying out for deliverance from these puppet masters. We have been crying out for the foundation of Christ to be reestablished in our nation as it once was.  We are crying out for the “sweet land of liberty”  -

the land where our fathers died and land of the pilgrims pride

– we are crying out again for FREEDOM!

The impending Valley of Death is the Lord coming to answer the prayer of His True Church.

This Valley - where everything that can be shaken will be shaken -  is meant to be severe mercy!

These are the things we are about to witness in the Valley of Death:

Government:

No longer will a few people be able to control the elections.  No longer will they be able to blackmail candidates and impose their chosen candidate upon us.  God is using Donald Trump as a wrecking ball to the establishment and to those who have the Ring of Power in politics.  He cannot be controlled even by the political correctness of the Church.  God has no problem offending the religious rules and regulations that the church has in their minds about what a righteous leader should look like. 

God is going to use Donald Trump to break the church free from their self-righteousness.

  Whether or not Donald Trump will be the nominee or even the President, God is not through using him as a wrecking ball and will continue to allow the bull to break up the china shop.  He will remain the instrument of God until the Lord is finished destroying the Political Ring of Power.  (I wish the church would be more grateful for this.)

This election will be the first election in a long time that we truly have FREE and FAIR elections, and it will largely be because Donald Trump will not bow.

Economy:

The economy will begin sinking into the mud.  Those with the Ring of Power are looking to take America out!  It will look as though we are headed for another depression, but that will not be the case. 

Intercessors will rise up and pray for the economy and God will answer those prayers and raise it up out of the sinking mud.  It will be such a drastic turn of events that even the media will have to give a second thought that something supernatural intervened.  

The rescue of the economy will be a humbling to the entrepreneur that their ways and formulas aren’t where their peace comes from, it only comes from the mercy and grace of God that they succeed. 

There will be losses because of the dip of the economy – but they will be small losses compared to what a depression would bring. 

Intercessors will unite in a new way realizing that they have power over the Puppet Masters of this world and a new and stronger faith will inspire many to begin to address the giants in the land.

The Ring of Power over our economy will have met the power of the intercessors – and it will lose.  Those who thought they could manipulate the economy to control America will be frustrated.  Their power will be greatly diminished and their ring destroyed.  

God's people will have renewed faith that God is truly the Provider.

Racism:

The main sin behind Racism is mastery.  When one group of people claims to be the master of another.  We have largely overcome the “mastery” sin from our days of slavery.  There are pockets throughout our nation that still simmer with this sin – but for the most part we are a nation who IS realizing the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.  The problem therein lies with a few who have learned to stoke the fading coals of racism for their own fame, power and financial gain.

There will be a judgment on the Ring of Power that continues to stoke this fire.  Riots and looting followed by curfews and heavy police action will continue and seem never ending.

The voice of Martin Luther King Jr will rise again this time it will be multiplied as God anoints several black and white leaders to increase and displace the Ring of Power.  There will be a balance and acceptance of the races once again in our nation, though a deep price will be paid to see this balance come.

Pride in Nationalism:

America’s standing in the world as a world power will be shaken financially and militarily. 

Those who think the United States should be the rescuer and policeman

of the world will be shaken to the core in order to set them free from looking to a nation instead of Jesus.  America’s Ring of Power will be destroyed during the coming storms in order to make way for the true King of Kings to be on the throne of the sheep nations.

It will also set America free from always having to be the mediator.  Our attention and focus can be freed up to homeland security and domestic issues that are causing a weakness in the infrastructure of our nation.

The Church:

There are also wolves in the Church who have usurped great power over God’s people.  Religion and Witchcraft permeate the Church.  The Valley of Death will reveal the true from the false.  The eyes of God’s people will be opened to their true condition and recognize the places in their lives where they are not truly built on the Rock.

The strength that God’s people gain through this valley will be significant.  With their eyes open to their true condition along with understanding how to wield the power of God, the Giants of the Land like abortion, religious freedom and gay marriage will be easily overcome. 

The Third Great Awakening that we have been hearing about will begin to find traction.  And there will be no stopping the train of unification that happens as the Church lays down their petty offenses with one another and finds a unity in Christ instead of doctrine.

The Valley of Death will serve as a Damascus Road experience for much of the Church.  A realization of everything that is false will empower the Church with truth.  The power of discernment will increase and

God’s people will lay down human kindness for the kindness of God(click here).

  A Holy boldness will rise up in the True Church and they will not be afraid of being called bullies in order to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.

The Ring of Power over the Church is essentially the fear of not being liked.  The media, the entertainment world, and the government have learned to use this Ring over God’s people.

It is in the Valley of Death that Believers will put to death their fear of being disliked.

The Ring of Power will be destroyed as the manipulation of being called “mean”will no longer work over God’s people(click here).

The Valley:

I am not looking forward to this Valley of Death – but I also don’t fear it.  This Dark Night of the Soul is exactly what our nation needs.  The discipline it brings is because the Lord loves us not because He is angry at us.  God is actually taking us through the valley to be set free from the power of the One Ring.

It IS a valley.  It is not the abyss.  We will come out of it and God will restore us.  Christ is not returning yet – His Bride is not ready.  The Bride will have the opportunity to be cleansed in the Valley of Death.  When dawn’s early light begins to shine again after the Dark Night of the Soul – America will be on its way to being the shining city on a hill once again.  We will not be the savior of the world but we will shine a light to the One who is the Savior.  This was God’s original intention for America from the beginning… to point to the good news of The Spirit of the Lord in which there is true Liberty.

My one prayer in the midst of all of this suffering is that we will be trained by it. 

The Body of Christ must understand that our FEELINGS don't matter!(click here) 

Let us not walk through such a severe discipline without being changed by it.  Whatever may happen in the Valley of Death – let our faith in flesh be the thing to die as we put Jesus on the throne in every way in our lives! 

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11