BREAKING UP WITH THE SPIRIT OF TORMENT

I know this is going to sound foreign to some of you, but hear me out, because God wants to set some of you free!

Some of us have made friends with the spirit of torment, and it’s TIME TO BREAK UP!

As I have coached and counseled people to emotional freedom, I have found we often believe several lies causing us to make the spirit of torment our friend.  I know that sounds crazy, but it is the SAME THING as self-pity.  There is something about feeling sorry for ourselves we wrongly believe gives us power.  When the door in our life is open to the spirit of torment, we can learn to use that spirit in manipulative ways to bring us something we want.

The lies that open the door to a spirit of torment can come when we are children; we learn if we are in torment we get special treatment.  We learn if we are hurting, people pay special attention to us.  Sometimes it’s the only kind of love children can get, the spawn of negative reinforcement.  Children learn to make their torment known because it’s the only time they feel comforted and special.

As children, we can learn that being tormented gives us power. This spills over into adulthood.

We sometimes welcome torment as a way of pampering ourselves.  We think I had a bad night of torment, so I’ll comfort myself with chocolate, or by checking out for a few hours on Netflix, or by posting something on Facebook to seek attention.  I’ll go on a little shopping spree because I’ve been so tormented lately.

  So we tolerate torment because it gives us the power to pamper ourselves, and to gain some attention.

THIS. IS. A. LIE!  God loves to pamper His children.  He doesn’t need an excuse to pamper us.  Neither do we need an excuse to pamper ourselves.  It’s OK to have chocolate, Netflix, and shopping without it being a “reward” for your suffering.  But, it’s not okay to use “your suffering” as an excuse to gain attention. 

At times we can think that torment makes us holy.  We wrongly believe we’re so tormented because God has a “special plan” for us.  An example would be:  “God” wakes me up in the middle of the night and gives me prayer assignments.  In all actuality, God does not “torment” special people.  The Bible says “…[God] grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:2.  A spirit of torment may wake you up in the night, and GOD may take the opportunity to give you something to pray about.  But, if you aren’t getting the sleep you need, and it is regularly causing you a lack of healthy sleep – then IT IS a spirit of torment.

I remember one time a pastor telling me he was constantly being awakened by God in the middle of the night, and God would speak to him.  Sometimes he was so wide awake that he would go for walks in the middle of the night.  

He felt God had chosen him to download many things in the night, and he felt special.  But, he was suffering for it in the daytime. 

He was constantly tired and grumpy.  He was running on fumes, but he believed it was God, so he asked his family to pay the price that he just wasn’t going to be 100%.  I was able to share with this pastor this didn’t feel like God.  God wants to grant sleep to those he loves, and He is not a hard taskmaster.  I thought the enemy might be tormenting him.  He believed me, and we broke off that spirit.  Then, the pastor’s life returned to normal.

Torment doesn’t make you holy or special. Torment is just torment – it’s an evil spirit. If you are a son or daughter of God, you have authority over it.  A Father who loves His children doesn’t WANT to see His children in torment.  He can pamper us, and comfort us, and let us feel loved without using a spirit of torment.  God DOES NOT want His children to be tormented!

If this resonates with you, if you have used a spirit of torment as a way of receiving love or comfort, if you have thought a spirit of torment made you holier – it is time to BREAK UP with this spirit!

Always remember, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7.  The spirit of torment is not these things!

STEPS TO WHOLENESS:

1. Break off Generational Torment using this prayer:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1niq_LCuoYUZJS2ubC6X08k75HAaxqkJl/view?usp=sharing

2. Untangle yourself from this torment using this prayer:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Fa23EjPGUNRqz5Ou4oG1R-GlsXh2B1GG/view?usp=sharing

3. Then seal it up: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14KojV9Cx4E0WAfzjrD7YJ_eqUL1byANv/view?usp=sharing

The Only Way Forward In America Is Through Forgiveness

When we forgive others, God forgives us.

Though I did not personally commit these sins – I can ask for forgiveness for my forefathers to the people groups who they did hurt. In return, I can promise you that if you will forgive our sins against you – God will also forgive your sins and He will heal our land!

To the American Indian – I ask forgiveness on behalf of my fathers who slaughtered your people because of their blindness and their wicked greed. I pray that God will bring supernatural justice and bless your people with extraordinary favor and life. I honor you as the first nation of this land. Will you receive the blessing that comes from forgiving your (former) enemies?

To the African American – I ask your forgiveness on behalf of my fathers who enslaved you, beat you, and murdered you. I ask you to remember my fathers who gave their lives on the battlefield in the civil war to set you free. I ask you to forgive us for still not having a fair justice system or education system for your tribe. I cry out to God that He would raise up a deliverer to finish the job of MLKJr. I see you. I have not closed my eyes to the work that still needs to be done until we are equals! Will you receive the blessing that comes from forgiving your (former) enemies?

To the other nations who have been oppressed in America – the Irish, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Jews, Hispanics, and more – you helped to build our nation, and we rejected you and devalued your contributions. I am so sorry that my fathers did not see you as equal. I want you to know that you are equal in every way, we have the same Creator. I honor each of your heritages for laying the foundation in the United States of America. I ask for God to restore any inheritance both natural and spiritual that was stolen from you by my fathers. May His hand of mercy bring you justice. Will you receive the blessing that comes from forgiving your (former) enemies?

To the women who helped to build a nation but never received credit, to the women who remain under the glass ceiling… I am sorry that my fathers saw you as second-class citizens. They were wrong to not give you representation from the start. They were wrong to see you as property. They were wrong to put a lid on your rights. I know there are still strides to make until we see equality in every area – but I cry out for you to receive accelerated justice from God! I cry out for equality for God’s daughters! Will you receive the blessing that comes from forgiving your enemies?

To the righteous men who are innocent and yet have been blamed for our society’s problems – I am deeply sorry. It was not your fault. We know that it is the enemy of this nation – the devil who is dividing us and tempting us to accuse each other falsely. If you are angry at being falsely accused of being a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, and so on – I want you to know that it is the Father who sees your heart and knows your motives. Please don’t let the devil harden your heart. I ask God to defend the righteous men in our nation. We want to be unified with you – don’t pull away. Will you receive the blessing that comes from forgiving your accusers?

To the Baby Boomers, I’m sorry we have devalued your opinion and not listened to your wisdom. Please forgive us?

To Generation X, I’m sorry that abortion took 31% of your generation, and then we abandoned the rest of you. Please forgive us?

To the Millennials, I’m sorry we have stereotyped you and made fun of you. Please forgive us?

To Generation Z, I’m incredibly sorry for the example we are being to you right now. Please forgive us?

I know that our nation cannot be fixed with a social media post – but it CAN be fixed with forgiveness. Will you consider doing your part to ask forgiveness from others and offer forgiveness to those who have hurt you?

God is a God of justice. But He gives us justice according to His kingdom, not ours.

Remember how much He has forgiven your debts – then please hear my request to forgive the debts of my forefathers.

There is hope. American can be saved. Let the dead be raised through forgiveness.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matt 6:14

www.TishaSledd.com

Prophecy: Asking God for the Nation of Hollywood

“If you’re going to be a prophet to a culture, you’ve got to at least be in the room!”  - Bishop Harry Jackson

I heard an enlightening TV interview of Bishop Harry Jackson this past week regarding President Trump. Bishop Jackson is on the President’s religious advisory council. Anderson Cooper questioned him for why he was still there (inferring President Trump’s support for white supremacists).  Just like Daniel in Daniel 2:14 - Bishop Jackson responded with great wisdom and tact.  He said to Mr. Cooper, “If you’re going to be a prophet to a culture, you’ve got to at least be in the room!”

 It was such a brilliant response from Bishop Jackson because what Mr. Cooper really wanted him to do was to abandon Donald Trump.

(Watch the clip by clicking HERE.)

But hating Donald Trump (or Barack Obama) gets us nowhere. Helping leaders of a nation by being present in the room and advising him with godly counsel or is the wise step to take.  Hate and offense do nothing to help shape this nation.

As Believers, we should be the first to understand that it is love and patience and kindness that help us speak to the culture. It is by being deeply patient and not being offended that we react to the culture like Christ did. The Church cannot help to influence our country if we are so offended that we abandon our Commander-in-Chief (no matter what side of the aisle they are from).

The same is true of Hollywood. The church is so offended at some of the evil and filth coming out of Hollywood that we have abandoned the Arts and Entertainment part of our culture. There are very few prophets in Hollywood. (Kudos to the Hollywood Prophets who remain strong!) The church has abandoned Hollywood and has left it to the wolves.

Presently, there are no redeemers, there are no restorers, and no deliverers on the Hollywood mountain.  If anyone does try to speak to the culture with kindness and hope, the religious spirit in the Church rises up to condemn and tear down because we can’t see past our offense at their sin.

When Mel Gibson fell in his sin, after giving the Church the movie The Passion of the Christ, the Church abandoned him.  We were offended by his drunkenness and anti-semitic statements.  What we should have done is reached out to him and helped restore him – not walk away in disgust.  Mel Gibson broke open the way for God’s Kingdom in Hollywood – we should be begging God to restore this prophet to the Arts and Entertainment mountain!

We have been so afraid of messy sin that we walked the other way. This is not what Jesus did at all!  He ran towards the hurting and the sinful. It was the proud that he resisted the self-righteous Pharisees that he rebuked. The Church has treated Hollywood as though they are lepers when what they actually are …is hurting and broken sinners.

There are so many people in Hollywood, actors, directors, camera people, stuntman, crew workers, who are precious to the Lord. They are called to an important part of our culture.  But the Church is afraid of the messiness of their sin, that they refuse to send “missionaries” to them.

We must admit that our culture is just as much affected by what happens in Hollywood as it is with what happens in Washington DC. I believe that Jesus is preparing the missionaries to take this mountain to begin to prophesy to the culture. Just like Bishop Jackson said you can't influence the culture without being in the room.  We cannot influence Hollywood if we don't have people on the mountain.

It is time to stop hating Hollywood! We must begin to pray for this part of our culture to turn to the Lord with all of their hearts.  They are not beyond redemption. They are not beyond the hand of the Lord. His blood was spilled for them as well.

God is the Great Storyteller, and he wants to use Hollywood in these last days to bring in a great harvest!

This is a prophetic word that God gave me regarding Hollywood recently.  Open your hearts to what God wants to do.  Let the Holy Spirit convict you if you are guilty of condemnation.  Hollywood was God’s idea!

In Psalm 2:8 the Lord instructs us to ask for the nations for our inheritance.  I am asking God for the "nation" of Hollywood for my inheritance!  Are you willing to boldly believe that Hollywood could become Holy?

A PROPHETIC WORD FOR HOLLYWOOD – GOD’S FIERCE LOVE IS COMING TO SET YOU FREE!

For the Lord would say, “Hollywood, how often I have longed to gather you in my arms! As a Good Father, I long to hold you and comfort you in your pain. I long to set you free from the prison matrixes that the enemy has kept you captive in.”

“I loved telling stories to the people when I walked the earth. I loved capturing their hearts and minds as I told them stories to help them in their journey. Hollywood, you are in My heart,” says the Lord. “I planned you from the beginning. You will tell My story. You will glorify Me in these last days. You will ultimately be a scepter in My hand, and I will use you to beat back your enemy and the enemy of My kingdom. I Am fashioning you as a scepter in My hand.”

“But now, you need My comfort. You have been beaten and accused, oppressed and taken advantage of by those who have lusted for power and greed. Many, many young people in Hollywood have been at the mercy of those who control the puppet strings. But I have not forgotten you!” says the Lord. “I will bring you justice. I will dethrone the Pharaohs of Hollywood. I call out to the broken in Hollywood. I call out to the weary. I call out to those who have been traumatized by the Hollywood Pharaohs. Come unto Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. I desire mercy, not judgment. Let me heal your hearts,” declares the Lord. “Let me heal your souls and deliver you from the torment of your pain.”

“You have been experiencing the pain of being neglected by your earthly ‘fathers.’ But I have not left you orphaned. I Am here!” says the Almighty. “My arms are open to you Hollywood. I'm going to give you justice. Hollywood is MINE!" says the Lord. "For I Am the Great Storyteller. The greatest part of the story is just ahead. I intend to use Hollywood to bring in a great harvest. But first, let me heal your hearts! Let My comfort bring up the valleys in your souls and then I will bring down the mountains! Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow I will do amazing things among you!” says the Lord.

The Ugly Side of the Evangelical Church

I am guilty of everything I’m about to write.

I have participated in each and every ugly bullet point below.  And I repent for it.  I was wrong.  I was selfish. I followed Paul and Apollos instead of Jesus.

The following article is not an attempt to shame anyone.  I forgive every person in the Evangelical Church who has hurt me.  This article is a call for repentance.  I am attempting to hold a mirror up to the evangelical church and asking if they like what they see.

I am going to use coarse language to describe my sin.  The Bible uses coarse language to describe Israel’s sin.  But if coarse language offends you – you should stop reading now.

I know that many people have been hurt by the Evangelical Church – personally, I have been hurt and I have also been the one who caused damage.  I am sorry for those I have misled and I ask for God’s great mercy to heal anyone I wounded.

I have attended a total of seven Evangelical Churches in my 44 years.  At different times, I was a Director of Worship, Bible Study Leader, Youth Leader, Prayer Ministry Leader, and Women’s Ministry Leader. I am still an Evangelical.  I hold fast to the Word of God.  It is my foundation.  I also believe in all of the gifts of the spirit.  I am, what I would call, a Charismatic Baptist. 

My husband has helped me greatly in understanding my calling and has fully supported me throughout our 24-year marriage.  When I refer to “husbands” below – I am not referring to him personally.

I don’t always write heavy pieces – I mostly just want to help people become whole from their emotional trauma.  But it is the TRUTH that sets people free.  So the band aid must be ripped off and the veil pulled back - everything in the dark must be exposed to the light.  I am blowing the shofar (the trumpet) concerning the ugly practices of a good portion of the American Evangelical Church. 

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Whores

I was a whore.

I was a spiritual whore in several of my Evangelical Churches.

It’s what I was trained to be.  I was a woman who was not truly allowed to have power. My job as a church whore was to allow the men in my life to use my giftings, revelations, and talents to make them look good.  I was expected to have a man approve all of my decisions.  In my home, in my workplace, and in the church, if I did not have the OK from a man - the church considered me “out of order.”  I was trained by the church to believe that a man was always required to have the final say in my life in order for me to be one with Jesus.

So, to have any source of significance in the church, I was forced to be a whore – “one who sells themselves.”

I sold myself and my giftings to the church for acceptance.  My worship leading, my teaching gift, my administration gift – all of it.  I sold it to the men in my Evangelical Churches and took no credit at all.  I thought it was my duty to let them use me.  I just wanted to be holy.

I grew up being told that a woman’s place was to submit to men.  So then – when it came to my giftings I was forced to use them for men’s glory.  In the home – the church said I had to let my husband shine brighter than me.  So when we would go to be with church people, I would beg him not to be an introvert, because I would take the heat for it. 

In the church – I had to let men, in general, shine brighter.  On several occasions, pastors stole my revelations (new understandings from the Bible) for their own sermons.  As the Director of Worship, I would sometimes completely produce an entire Sunday morning with two services all by myself. Behind the scenes – I was the one who made the church look good.  But I would never take credit – nor be given credit for all of my hard work.  I believed the lie that I was supposed to give away everything for free so that the pastor could take the stage and he could shine with his gifting.

I look back now and see how differently I felt when I was working outside the church because the world mostly sees men and women as equals.  There wasn’t the pressure to perform to make my boss look good.  I was given credit when I achieved something or created something good.  But the pressure to stay home with my kids was another way to demand that I conform to the Evangelical Hive Mind.

I wanted desperately to please the  Hive Mind (read more here). I wanted to belong.  But to belong I had to play the role of whore:  Make the men in my life look good.  Make men feel good about themselves.  Sacrifice my self-respect.  Don’t make waves.  Just perform.  

In some kind of twisted way, I believed that “performing” for my pastors and elders in my church gave me some sort of power.  Somehow –  if I “performed” well enough they would see my worth and give me credit for my maturity and wisdom.  But it didn’t.  It just inclined them to use me more…

And so… I became a Madam.

Madams

A Madam is one who keeps the other whores in line.  She’s the one in charge of the whorehouse. Did you know that most Evangelical Churches who are “complementarian” have a Spiritual Madam?

It’s a necessary position.

I would correct women who weren’t letting their men shine brighter than they were.  I would reprimand women who weren’t taking a secondary role in the marriage.  I would warn the pastors about women who were “usurping” authority.  

In essence, I was the one insisting that women allow men to be their Masters.

In the complementarian Evangelical Church, if the men are not the Masters over women then they have no “man-hood.”  It is a stain on their masculinity if they are married to a strong willed, gifted woman.  We are directed to serve THEIR calling while ignoring our own.  We are controlled by contrived gender roles.

One time I had a Church Madam come to me and tell me that the Lord wanted me to submit my personality to my husband.  She said that if I would just tone it down a little that it would help my marriage.  So I was not free to be who God intended for me to be, I wasn’t allowed to have the outgoing, fun-loving personality God gave me – My husband and I were expected to manipulate our marriage so that we fit into the cookie cutter that was set forth for us by the Church.

There is a lie STILL perpetuated after all of these years that there is something inherently wrong with a woman and she cannot truly lead.

Because – you know what happened in the Garden of Eden don’t you?  It was “That woman’s” fault. (Genesis 3:12)  The perpetual lie is that we are still under the curse from the garden.  So women shall continually have men “ruling” over them… and if men are not ruling and women submitting, then we are not truly one with Jesus.  Never mind that Ephesians 5:21 comes before Ephesians 5:22.  As a Madam, it is important to ALWAYS start in verse 22.

The problem with this thinking is - that if the curse of gender roles from Genesis 3 is still in effect then the blood of Jesus was not enough to roll back the curse completely.

Somehow part of the Evangelical Church believes that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was enough to roll back the curse of death – but not gender roles.

If we believe the lie that men must still rule over women – then a Church Madam is necessary to force the women to comply.

The Good Old Boys Club

The Good Old Boys Club in the Evangelical Church is the one that gets together behind closed doors …and decides.

They decide everything.

I hate to tell you this but most of them don’t seek the Lord.  They are putting their own plan in motion.  Because as far as they are concerned – they are the leaders the Lord has appointed so whatever is in their minds must be from God.

Sometimes it’s the Elder Board who makes up this club and sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes it’s just a few who have the Pastor’s ear.  They have invisible puppet strings attached to the pastor and they use him for their own purposes. 

When the pastor is a peacekeeper – He is never the true leader of the church – the Good Old Boys Club is the one in charge. 

Sometimes the pastor is the leader of the Good Old Boys Club.  When a pastor is overly insecure in his masculinity having this Club makes him feel like a man’s man.  As a woman in church leadership, I let this Club take advantage of me – because I thought it was the righteous thing to do.  I had no idea at the time, that I was being a whore.  I let the Good Old Boys Club use my gifts, talents, and influence to keep their positions as the Masters of the Church.

I will tell you a sad story that illustrates the Good Old Boys Club:   After I came out of my deception of being a Madam, I was part of a church in which it came to my attention that one of the pastors was asking the women he counseled if their sex life with their husband was satisfying.  The women didn’t feel like they could evade the question so they answered and the pastor proceeded to give them pointers on how to make it better.  He told them sexual positions to try and lingerie to buy and even websites to look at… all of this without their husband’s knowledge.

I approached the leadership of this church with proof and three witnesses about what this man was doing in his private meetings with women and nothing happened to this man at all.  He still retains his position.  He was not corrected nor reprimanded. He never asked for forgiveness from anyone.  This is because the Good Old Boys Club protected him.  They cared more for the reputation of this pastor than the women whose marriage beds had been violated.

I have witnessed a few Evangelical Churches where there was no Good Old Boys Club – but it was only because the pastor was humble enough to obey the Word and strong enough to disobey the Club.  Sometimes he survived – other times the Holy Huddle crucified him because he dared to rock the boat.

Holy Huddles

In many Evangelical Churches, peace is to be valued above all things.  It is the highest calling of the church to be at peace.  We believe the lie that if we are not at peace then we are not one with the Lord.  Because Jesus is peace.  Therefore, be quiet.  Do not disagree.  Do not point out flaws.  And especially do not point out sin.  If you point out sin – you will be ostracized and labeled a troublemaker.

I used to be a keeper of the peace.

I would tell people “Don’t rock the boat.  Be quiet about your complaint – it’s actually your issue.  Don’t judge. You’re being critical.  Have you really prayed enough for that person?  You are causing dissension…”

I really wasn’t keeping the peace.  I was forcing everyone to sweep their issues under the rug and be quiet about it.

For the most part, the church doesn’t really value peace.  We value quiet.

We value having our Holy Huddles where everyone pretends everything is all right.  Because peace is put on a pedestal and worshipped, anyone who causes conflict and doesn’t pretend everything is alright is not tracking with the Hive Mind.  Anyone who doesn’t value peace (or the absence of conflict) is put out of the Holy Huddle.

Sometimes dissent is allowed.  Usually only once.  But after that – after you’ve presented your case to the elders – now you are just whining.  Doesn’t matter how much scripture you have to back up what you are saying…  dealing with the actual issue will cause the boat to rock.  And we must have peace – or we are not one with Jesus.

Peace – whether it is real or false – must be abided by at all times!

In many of the Evangelical Churches, you must serve the Holy Huddle – or move along.  Unless you have money, if you have money – we will adapt the Holy Huddle to you.

Money Prostitutes

I wish this weren’t true, but it is.  I wish I had not participated, but I have…

Here are the bullet points of being a money prostitute in the church.

The “givers” in the church must be tended to.  Give them special treatment.  Take their phone calls.  Answer their questions. Give them leadership responsibilities.  Name parts of the building after them.

The Church service must not only please the givers it must also reach the young people.  There are rules and regulations about worship.  If they are not abided by, people will withhold their money.  So we listen carefully to the comment cards of those who give more money.

One time at an Evangelical Church I attended, I had taken steps to start a 7 days a week Prayer Ministry.  The pastor had been very supportive, it was growing and people were coming to prayer meetings we would have every single day at the church.  I was excited to actually make some headway into ministry and be able to fill a hole that was sorely needed at this church.  Until one day, I spoke from the platform about something God had laid on my heart in prayer and I offended the Church Madam whose family gave a great deal of money.  She complained to the pastor and I was brought in to his office – not to make peace with her, nor even to face her.  The pastor brought me in and gave me an ultimatum to face Church discipline or to step down from ministry.  I knew I had done nothing wrong and that this pastor was bowing to money.  So I stepped down.

Jealousy and greed are ugly.

Most Evangelical Churches are struggling for money.  So when we cannot raise enough money within the church to do what we would like to do, then we look to the world and use Babylon’s methods like grants and fundraisers to find enough money to keep our Church dream alive.

Because addressing why people aren’t truly tithing would cause waves – and we must have peace above all things.  Addressing why there is a financial famine from the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills might cause us to have to address our own sin.

So we manipulate and find the money to at least give the perception that we have a “Picture Perfect Church.”  Money helps us to keep our veils in place.

Veils

The Evangelical Church believes that the church needs to appeal to the consumers in the community.  Instead of actually being the church, where we REACH OUT and clothe the poor and feed the hungry and offer mercy, we focus on what kind of veils will attract the community to our church.  When you are caught up in the consumerism of church, it is hard to see the truth beyond the veil that God doesn’t consider His Church to be made with bricks and mortar.  He considers His Church to be made with people.

There are several kinds of veils to keep people interested and oblivious to what is actually happening behind the scenes.

There are veils of “niceness.”

We don’t really speak the truth to one another – that would upset the delicate balance of peace. Conflict means that we are not one with Jesus.

So we’re nice.

We either ignore complainers.  Or tell them that they are completely right – but we never change the thing they bring forth.

We placate.  We may wine and dine the complainers for a moment – hoping they’ll be quiet.  We do it in the name of love.  But really we’re doing it so they’ll fall in line.  We’re doing it to placate our own soul.

And then…whether or not the dissenters listen, we have been nice.

We want to be one with Jesus and Jesus would have been nice.

There are veils of “worship.”

Take it from me, as a former Director of Worship…if we can pull of a killer worship service, people will overlook a lot.  If we dress it up and make it sound semi-professional, if we make people feel a little bit lighter because of the worship service, they are willing to look past some of the more unsavory things happening just to get their weekly dose of peace.

This is similar to David singing and worshiping before King Saul.  It brought him a little peace from his torment.  He would get a little relief from his demon but never truly repent.  In a way, this is what a worship veil does.  We give the people a little relief from their torment – but never truly pull back the veil of the cause of their torment, which is sin.

We also used to do a huge Easter production every year and the whole church would be filled with Believers, being blessed by the story they already knew.  When we shifted it to an outreach type of program, no one came.  No one brought anyone.  We were a consumer church with the wrong priorities.

There are veils of “outward appearance.”

Going to a church with a really nice building appeals to the consumerism of the world – so we build really nice facilities to cover up any flaws in the internal structure of the church.

We offer the latest and greatest programs, which again, appeal to the consumers who are looking for a church – but offering them a beautiful building and dynamic programs instead of Jesus causes people to worship their own comfort and peace. 

The veil of outward appearance leaves us with a shallow church who does not truly know the Man they claim to be serving.

In a way, this veil allows the people to accept Jesus, without turning away from the world.  But the truth is –  you can’t have the Kingdom of Heaven without repenting.

Calling people to repent of their sin rocks the boat and disturbs the peace of the status quo – and the Evangelical Church is all about their (false) peace.

Sin is messy.  It takes courage to call people on their sin – especially in this day and age when you will be called judgmental or unloving.  But Jesus called people on their sin ALL. THE. TIME!

When I was a whore to the Evangelical Church, I was more concerned with the appearance of the church than I was with the hearts of people.  I did not want the world to hate us.  I wanted them to want Jesus and think He was cool.  So I helped to create veils that would make Christianity inviting.

I did not preach Christ, nor the truth that accepting Him includes forsaking the world.

When I was a whore, I pretended to play church but I really didn't build His Church. I built a comfortable "paneled house" but His true Church was left in ruins. This is why there is a drought in the American Evangelical Church.  We are guilty of the same sin of the Israelites after they returned from exile.  We're building ourselves a house - but not Him.

2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”

3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9

“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”  (Haggai 1:2-11)

Epilogue

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for playing my part in all of these ugly things.  I’m sorry for insisting on false peace.  I’m sorry for insisting on cookie cutter Christianity.  I’m sorry for being a whore to the Evangelical Churches who had a Hive Mind instead of the mind of Christ.

Women should be completely equal to men.  If they are not – then the fullness of the cross will never be realized.  Jesus paid the price for ALL sin, including Eve’s.  In doing so, the cross wiped out the curse from the Garden of Eden. There is no male or female in Christ.  Women are not second class citizens.  We carry half of the image of Christ – without women in leadership, the Church does not really have the whole picture.

When Paul said women should be silent – he was speaking to a specific group of women who had gotten rowdy.  Jesus told women to speak up – specifically, He told Mary Magdalene to go and tell his male disciples that He had risen.   A woman was the first preacher of the gospel.  So, obviously, Paul did not mean ALL women should be silent and “not be permitted to teach men.”  Jesus told a woman to go and “teach” a new revelation to His disciples.

When the Evangelical Church separates men and women like this they become guilty of spiritual homosexuality.  Spiritual homosexuality happens when only men are allowed to “birth” things in the church.  Only men are allowed to make decisions.  Only men are allowed to do the teaching.  Having only men in Church leadership means that there is only one gender that is allowed to “spiritually parent” the Church.

There are hearts in the Church who are crying out for true mothers.  Not whores, but Spiritual Mothers who have authority to comfort and correct and teach and nurture.  There is a GREAT need in the Body of Christ for the comfort that only Spiritual Mothers can bring.  The only roles that were given to the genders in the Garden of Eden were that of a Father and a Mother.  Both are necessary to create life.  Both are necessary to raise healthy children.  Right now – most of the Evangelical Church is only allowed to have Spiritual Fathers.  True Spiritual Mothers aren’t kept behind their husband as though they are invisible.  True Spiritual Mothers work alongside the Spiritual Fathers and have equal say over the raising of the children.

God’s original intention and Christ’s subsequent redemption was that men and women would be one flesh and rule over the earth together.

God needs us to become one.  We need both male and female to spiritually birth things.  This is not achieved by females becoming invisible so that males can lead.  We need each other.

Once, God used me to correct a young man from his sin and then him free in a miraculous way at an Evangelical Church.  It was truly an amazing thing to witness God’s presence as He led me in using my gift of discernment and my tools of deliverance to set him free from his sin.  But after the amazing awe-filled evening, I was told that I couldn’t take any credit for what happened.  I was told, “God did it… not you.”

I was stunned for a moment that this elder was not even going to give me any credit for what he had just witnessed.  I had taken great risk to call out this young man’s sin.  I had used a gifting that came from God but that I spent years developing my character to use.  I had also trained myself to use tools of deliverance.  Yes, God did it – but He was able to use me because I was mature enough to use them.

I was a Spiritual Mother to this young man because I cared for his destiny more than I cared to upset him.  But the elder can’t afford to give a woman credit for setting this man free.  It would upset the apple cart of the spiritual homosexuality that he and the Good Old Boys have so carefully preserved.  I was a better elder to this young man than the male elders had been.  They knew he was sinning and no one was willing to cause conflict in order to set him free.

I know it’s ugly.

But it must be dealt with.  I am sorry for my part in oppressing women in the Evangelical Church. I’m sorry for promoting spiritual homosexuality.  I’m sorry for manipulating people for their money. I’m sorry for creating a Holy Huddle of self-righteousness.  And I am sorry for covering all of it with a veil of “niceness.”   I hope that through this confession that some will see behind the veil and repent.

There is nothing in this life that I take more seriously than Judgement Day.  When I stand before the Lord and bow my knee, I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful one!”

It is for this purpose – wanting my brothers and sisters in the Evangelical Church to hear “Well done!” – that I dare to rock the boat.

Are you willing to give up your false peace in order to take a long, hard look into this mirror?

As a woman in the Evangelical Church, I want to be united with men.  I want to be of one heart and one mind.  I don’t want to be “over” men – I want to rule alongside men, the way the Lord intended.  

I want to be Mary Magdalene who comes and tells you a new revelation that God has given me.  But if you ignore me the way the disciples did Mary… if you steal my revelation from God and claim it for your own… if I’m invisible and you think that women should be silent and only here for the lifting up of men – you relegate me to being a whore.

And I refuse to be one anymore.

 

Dealing with Trauma Between the Layers of Our Soul

When my mother died from breast cancer, I was a mere four years old. I don’t have many memories of her that I can recall. I remember going to get her a blanket. I remember making a cake with her for my fourth birthday party. I remember my aunt and dad telling me she had died. At four years old, my cognizance wasn’t quite developed yet. I didn’t understand.

While my mind wasn’t able to hold onto those early days of my life nor to the trauma of my mother’s departure…my soul remembers all of it.

My soul remembers questioning “Where’s mama?” My soul remembers questioning “Why is grandma crying?” My soul remembers everyone being so sad and people feeling sorry for me. My soul remembers the words that people spoke over me. “Poor Tisha.” My soul remembers every detail, every lie, every pain and every sorrow.

The problem is my soul remembers…but my mind doesn’t.

Later my dad remarried and then divorced when I was eight. It was again traumatic and I got caught up in an emotional storm that was not my fault. Emotions and reactions and selfish motives by adults sent me spiraling once again into a feeling of powerlessness that hid itself in the pages of my soul.

I tried to eat to comfort myself and gained weight. I couldn’t process my pain – so I reached for comfort. I didn’t know that Jesus could hold me or that I could go to Him with my pain. So I turned to an idol of food instead. An idol that stayed with me for many more years. But it was an idol that betrayed me (as they all do).

A secret comforter found its way into the layers of my soul. Food was my friend, only that’s what the devil deceived me into believing. My idolatry had consequences. My dad told me I was getting fat… more rejection, more darkness planted in the recesses of my soul.

I was sent to live on a farm with distant family members who lived a completely different lifestyle than I was used to. It didn’t make sense to me. I had no words to explain my emotions. I never fit in, even though I tried, the farm just never made sense to me.

I was adopted into a family who already had three girls. I ended up to be a dethroned first child. Self-pity was a thick layer in the foundation of my soul. Poor Tisha.

I never really connected with my adopted dad. He was a good provider, but I wasn’t really his daughter and we both knew it. The layers of darkness that the enemy continued to compound into the pages of my soul were being deposited there and I didn’t even know it.

Lie after lie was being planted into my story.

“I’m not good enough.”

“I’ll never be normal.”

“Why can’t I just belong?”

“No one really wants me.”

“I’m a burden.”

“Life will always be a string of suffering circumstances.”

“I’ll never be beautiful.”

“God wants me to suffer.”

“I’m being rebellious if I speak up.”

“I’ll be just like my birth father if I’m not careful.”

“Poor Tisha.”

“I’m powerless to change anything.”

Most of these lies I didn’t even realize were being planted… but my soul knew.

This twisting of my identity was exactly what the devil wanted. He wanted to confuse me about who I was in the Lord. He was trying to steal my God-given purpose and render me ineffective.

I pushed the rejection and lies into a corner of my mind and shut the door to them in order to function. But I dealt with pretty steep bouts of depression. I didn’t realize it but I was in a deep dark prison in my soul. I didn’t understand how the devil had a foothold – or more than that – how to get free from the bondage I was in.

When our minds don’t recall a specific trauma or lie, we are unable to process it, grieve it, find the truth and ultimately let it go.

One of the main reasons I could not process my trauma was because I was too young and didn’t remember. Another reason was because I was in denial and had put the trauma on lockdown in my heart. Denial is a coping mechanism that is part of the grieving process. But if we deny there’s been trauma for a long period of time there is no way to truly address it. Ultimately, we must acknowledge that there are hidden things in the pages of our soul that need to be loosed from it in order to be set free. It is the truth that sets us free. It is the denial of truth that keeps us in bondage.

I’ve met people who were violently raped – who had no way to process their pain – so they stuck it in the dark recesses of their mind trying to forget it.

But denying and forgetting the pain doesn’t work.

It must be processed. Just as if you had been shot by a bullet. The bullet of the trauma must be removed if healing is going to happen. If the bullet remains inside the body, the wound will never heal right.

But if the bullet is extracted the wound can be addressed and true healing can begin. Think about this… the bullet itself is not the wound. The bullet causes the wound but then lodges itself into our hearts. The bullet is a lie or sin inside of the wound that keeps us in constant suffering.

The devil is not stupid. He is cunning, and he has been around thousands of years to know what it takes to paralyze God’s people. There are many ways to get us to feel powerless against him. Lies, fear, witchcraft, generational curses, soul ties, idolatry, bitterness, jealousy and so on and so on.

One of the ways the devil incapacitates us is to wound us when we are young. Then he uses the opportunity while we are wounded to plant a weed in our hearts.

Until the weeds are uprooted we remain injured, and that injury can cause all kinds of havoc in our lives and to those closest to us.

In the midst of suffering, we can become bitter and full of rage. We can even rage at the Lord for allowing the suffering. The enemy knows exactly how to get us all twisted up in our souls.

He even knows how to separate our minds from our souls so we can’t seem to find out what it is we’re mad about. It’s like he’s able to put us in a prison of pain through legal footholds he has gained through sin and lies. And then he covers up the prison with a veil over our minds making us feel powerless to get free.

One of the biggest lies that the enemy has planted in our hearts is that getting free from trauma and sin has to take a long period of time. This is not true.

We can be delivered.

We can be healed and made whole.

The cross paid for it.

But we must BELIEVE it!

Steps to Wholeness:

The first step to healing from the trauma in our soul is to pray for deliverance.

You can pray the Psalm 143 to the Lord. Ask Him to find the weeds of darkness between the layers of your soul and deliver you from any weeds that are planted there.

Psalm 143  (ESV)

My Soul Thirsts for You

A Psalm of David.

Hear my prayer, O Lord;

give ear to my pleas for mercy!

In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!

2 Enter not into judgment with your servant,

for no one living is righteous before you.

3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;

he has crushed my life to the ground;

he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.

4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;

my heart within me is appalled.

5 I remember the days of old;

I meditate on all that you have done;

I ponder the work of your hands.

6 I stretch out my hands to you;

my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!

My spirit fails!

Hide not your face from me,

lest I be like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,

for in you I trust.

Make me know the way I should go,

for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!

I have fled to you for refuge.

10 Teach me to do your will,

for you are my God!

Let your good Spirit lead me

on level ground!

11 For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!

In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!

12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,

and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

To Go to the Next Level You Have to Surrender the Mayonnaise

I had been pressing into the Lord about some healing that I am in need of.  I was asking if there was anything blocking my healing in this particular area and He answered me with a riddle.

I love riddles from the Lord.  It’s like playing Hide and Seek with Him.  He gives me a clue as to where the answer is and then I have to go and find it.  It’s part of His character, the part that loves parables.

After I had asked Him if there was anything blocking my healing I heard the voice of the Lord say this to my spirit: 

You’ve got to surrender the mayonnaise.

I paused for a second – Did I hear You right Lord?

I felt God smile and I knew that it was a riddle for me to search out.

This kind of interaction with the Lord reminds me of Proverbs 25:2

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

So I started with research about mayonnaise.  Nothing really jumped out at me.  The date it was created nor the place it was created seemed to spark anything in me.  What did I need in order to surrender the mayonnaise?

I began to ask myself the question what is mayonnaise used for?

It’s a dressing for a sandwich or a salad.  It’s also a binder.  It binds things together. 

Nothing was coming to me so I prayed some more for God to lead me.  I told Him whatever the mayonnaise represented – I was willing to surrender it.

Then as I looked up a few more details online about mayonnaise a phrase jumped off the page at me.

There had to be mayonnaise before egg salad could be invented.

When something seems highlighted when you are reading – it is called “quickened.”  The Lord “quickened” my spirit when I read the words about egg salad.

So in my “searching out the matter” – I took the phrase about egg salad and asked the Holy Spirit to give me understanding.  What did egg salad have to do with surrendering the mayonnaise?

As I meditated on my clues I began to see a vision.  If you take the mayonnaise out of egg salad all you have are broken hard boiled eggs.

In the vision, saw the broken eggs on the table before me.  Mayonnaise held the egg together in a solid form to create egg salad.

The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said:

“You feel that you have some broken promises in your life and you are disappointed that they are broken.  But instead of coming to Me to put the promises back together – you have decided to make egg salad out of your broken egg.”

You are attempting to “hold it together” in your flesh.  But you aren’t being honest with yourself about how you feel about the broken egg (promise).  You cannot restore broken promises with your own might or your own power – only I can. 

It’s similar to when Abram and Sarai had Ishmael.  They felt like their promise was broken – so they used mayonnaise to try to hold it all together.  They tried to work it out in their own flesh.  But if they would have surrendered the mayonnaise and been honest with Me about their disappointment of the delayed promise, I would have shown them that the promise was still true and that the egg was not broken at all.

I cannot take you to the next level of healing until you surrender the mayonnaise and you are honest with Me about how you feel about what seems like a broken promise.  Stop trying to hold it all together and be honest!

This all made so much sense.  I do feel the disappointment of delayed promises.  I have not been honest with God about how I felt concerning what seems like a broken promise from Him.

As I surrendered my “mayonnaise” and allowed the egg to be broken for a moment – He slowly and lovingly showed me that it was not true that the egg was broken.  Even though it was delayed  - His promise was still true.  Everything was going to turn out fine.

The Truth is a person.  His name is Jesus.

The Truth sets us free.  If I “pretend” to hold what seems like broken promises together with mayonnaise – I will never be set free because the mayonnaise covers up the Truth. 

We must love the Truth no matter what!   Surrender your mayonnaise.  Surrender your fleshly attempts to try to cover your disappointment. 

Stop trying to hold it together so you can put a veil over the truth of how you feel.  Be honest with God about your feelings and approach His throne of grace with boldness and let Him set you free with His truth!

Steps to Wholeness:

God forgive me for trying to “dress” up my disappointment.  I want the Truth to set me free.  Thank You that You don’t mind for us to pour out our complaint before You. (Ps 142:2)  Here is how I honestly feel about my disappointment – would You give me Your Truth and repair what seems like a broken promise?

Have You Been Missing This Part of the Cross?

“Why is it you people can believe with one prayer you can be saved, but you can’t believe with one prayer that you are delivered or healed?  My sacrifice on the cross paid for all three.”

Jesus really said that to me.  Harshness and all.

“Why is it you people…”

  That’s us.  His people.

“…can believe with one prayer you can be saved.”

  It’s true isn’t it?  We pray to become a follower of Christ and believe it – we are IN the Kingdom of God.

“…but you can’t believe with one prayer that you are delivered or healed?”

  Ouch!  That is true.  We don’t believe that deliverance or healing can come with one prayer.  We believe it takes time and effort and tears and suffering.

“My sacrifice on the cross paid for all three.”

  Did it?  Did the cross only take care of the salvation issue?  Or did it also pay for us to be delivered and healed?

While I did attend a Christian university, I did not major in theology.  Needless to say, I’m not much of a Greek and Hebrew girl.  I really much prefer English – it just seems simpler to me.  (That’s sarcasm!)  But to make my point I’m going to jump into the deep end of hermeneutics for a very brief moment.  (And I mean VERY brief!)

Let’s dive into just one Greek word that is used 110 times in the New Testament.

It’s the word “sozo.”

Strong's #4982:

sozo (pronounced sode'-zo)

from a primary sos (contraction for obsolete saos, "safe"); to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively):--heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

Let me break it down for you…According to Strong’s concordance, the Greek word sozo means to save, deliver and heal.

This word sozo is used one hundred and ten times…but it is normally translated “saved.”

Let me share just a few of those verses that use the word sozo in the New Testament.  The words in bold are the actual translation.

Matthew 1:21

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he

will save

his people from their sins.”

In other words,

“…he will [sozo] his people from their sins.”

Or

“… he will [save, deliver and heal] his people from their sins.”

Luke 19:10

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

In other words,

“For the Son of man came to seek and to [sozo] the lost.”

Or

“… For the Son of Man came to seek and to [save, deliver and heal] the lost.”

And one more to make my point:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

In other words, “For it is by grace you have been [sozo’d] through faith…”

Or, “For it is by grace you have been [saved, delivered and healed,] through faith…”

*******

OK – even though it goes against my “Keep it simple stupid” premise when studying the Word, sometimes jumping in the deep end of the Greek text is a good thing.  

Because sometimes our English words have become one dimensional – as is the case with the word “saved.”

We have diminished the word “saved” in our English language to mean salvation unto heaven, when really it has a three-dimensional quality that we have allowed to escape us.

When Christ died to “save” us… He really died to save, deliver and heal us.

Are you with me?

Some of us have been completely dismissing two-thirds of the cross!!

I have spent the past several years sanctifying myself so that I could increase my faith that with one prayer God could deliver and heal us!

We must recover everything that Jesus paid for on the cross.  It is dependent upon our faith to get to the point that with one prayer we can be saved, delivered and healed.

Are you willing to let your faith be increased?  Are you willing to believe that Saved is a three-dimensional word?  Are you willing to believe that one simple prayer can set a person free or bring healing?

We must increase our faith in what Jesus did on the cross!

We must believe ALL of His word!

He came to sozo us!

Steps to Wholeness:

God please increase my faith.  I want to Believe and Receive all that Jesus did for us on the cross.  Forgive my unbelief - Help me to believe with one prayer that I can be saved, delivered, and healed!  In the mighty name of Jesus! AMEN

The Glorious Gift of Rejection

Consider it PURE JOY my brothers whenever you face trials.

I used to roll my eyes at this verse from James 1.  I didn’t want to hear it in the middle of my painful trial.  I hated reading those words in the midst of a season of rejection.

Being rejected by the people you love is the WORST!  Being rejected by people who you assumed were your friends can be paralyzing… especially when your heart was pure and you meant no harm.

You start to ask yourself, “What is wrong with me that so many people reject me?  What is the game I must play in order to not be rejected by those close to me?

Rejection can come in many forms.  It can be a literal disapproval and subsequent distancing of those who have decided that you are not good enough.  Rejection can be felt when people move on to new seasons and leave you behind.  It can also come because we have decided to step closer to God and the people closest to us do not want to take the step with you. 

There is rejection in divorce.  There is the feeling of rejection when the kids leave home.  And though it might seem strange, we can feel rejected through the death of loved ones.

It is important to discern and divide what “feels” like rejection and what truly is rejection. 

Sometimes God is the one who separates people.  Other times people make a conscious decision to walk away.

Once you separate the two, it will be easier to understand why I am declaring that rejection can be one of the most glorious gifts and trials that we face on earth.

If people constantly reject you – take heart.  They did the same thing to Jesus… and He was perfect.

None of us walk perfect lives, but Jesus did.  And He was rejected by His disciples, His followers, His religion, and His nation (people group).  Yet, He accomplished all that God had for Him. 

Rejection doesn’t keep you from your destiny.

How you handle rejection does.

Look at David.  He was rejected by his brothers, his father, his king, his mighty men at Ziklag, his wife as he worshiped and later his son, Absalom.  But David forgave and he kept his eyes on his maker.  He didn’t let the rejection of men deter him.  He knew that rejection was a gift that kept him focused on what was truly important… pleasing his Heavenly Father.  He became a friend of God and a king whose kingdom will never end.

Look at Joseph.  He was rejected by his brothers and sold into slavery.  He used his gifting to help Potiphar build his house but was later rejected by Potiphar and his wife.  He helped the cupbearer in a time of need but he forgot about Joseph for another two years.  But in all of that time Joseph came to understand that no matter who rejected him, God never left Joseph.  God never rejected him.  God saw to it that Joseph completed his destiny.  He saved his own brothers and generational lineage by walking through rejection with forgiveness in his heart.

Look at the Woman at the Well.  She was rejected by her entire town because she was “unacceptable socially.”  And yet when this woman met the Messiah – all of the anger in her heart melted and as soon as she understood who she was talking to, she ran to her enemies to bring them the good news.  It was BECAUSE of her rejection that she led her entire town to the Lord.

In the Kingdom of God, rejection… if handled correctly… is a gift.

“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”  Matthew 10:22

 “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.  For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.”  Luke 6:22-23

We really do need to rejoice when we face trials.  Because when our faith is tested and we persevere through it – we are being shaped into the image of Christ.  The perfect One who was rejected by His very own creation, persevered to bring the very ones who rejected Him eternal life.

Forgive those who have rejected you.  Recognize that neither the praise nor the rejection of men has anything to do with fulfilling your destiny on earth.  Live for the praise of your Heavenly Father.

Forgive.  Learn.  Love.  Persevere.  Mature.  <--------------  This is why rejection is a gift – It actually prepares us for our destiny!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, 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.  James 1:2-4

The Dark Night of the Soul - There is a reason for your valley

I remember heading into my “Dark Night of the Soul” at the age of 26.  I knew the Lord was telling me that I needed a season of discipline and I could see the valley just ahead.  I remember seeing the depth of darkness and the immaturity of my heart and knowing that I needed a time of cleansing.  I had no idea at that time that it would be a fifteen-year valley.  I specifically remember the Lord using Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “I Will Be Here”  to announce the beginning of my season of discipline.

Tomorrow morning if you wake up,

And the sun does not appear, I will be here

If in the dark we lose sight of love,

Hold my hand, and have no fear, Cause I, I will be here

I will be here when you feel like being quiet

When you need to speak your mind, I will listen and

I will be here when the laughter turns to cryin'

Through the winning, losing and tryin'

We'll be together 'cause I will be here

Tomorrow morning if you wake up,

And the future is unclear

I will be here

It was a few days after this announcement that God began to use a series of incredibly difficult circumstances to weed out the issues of my heart.

My heart obviously had some closets that needed to be cleaned out.  I had some pride in places I didn’t even know existed.  I had some deep seeded rebellion in my heart.  I had some wounds that were so deep – I didn’t know if I would ever find the end of the pain.

I believed a plethora of lies.  Some of them were lies about God.  Others of them were lies about me.  Nevertheless, these lies kept me separated from my Good Father.

Up to that time, I had thought of myself as a non-selfish person, but the valley reveals all kinds of hidden sins.  I was completely selfish and self-centered.  I wanted MY way.  I wanted MY plan.  I wanted MY life to go MY way… the easy way.

It is in the valley that we learn to regard His ways as higher than ours.  We learn how tiny our plans are compared to His.  It is in the valley that we get a tiny glimpse of the suffering that Jesus went through on our behalf.  It is in the valley that we become ONE with Him.  It is the place where we learn no matter what life throws at us that we say “It is well, with my soul.”

Don’t get me wrong – just walking through the valley won’t actually change you.  You have to submit to the valley for it to have an effect on you.   If you pout all the way through the “Dark Night of the Soul” – you won’t learn everything you should learn through it.

But if you accept the valley time as a time of discipline, it can become the most amazing and intimate time of your life with the Lord.  The loneliness becomes aloneness.

The “Dark Night of the Soul” is hard.  It’s painful.  It’s even dehumanizing… but the point is not to actually dehumanize us.  The point of the Dark Night is to strip us of our flesh in order to become His.

There is a pearl in the very difficult “Dark Night of the Soul.”  There is a gaining through the losing. The pearl we gain is Jesus.

If you let the pain of the Dark Night forge you, the prize is that Jesus becomes your life.

If you waste your pain with fear or self-pity, you’ll still have to experience the pain without any prize at the end.

The Dark Night of the Soul is meant to be the place that Jesus actually conquers us… then He makes the most beautiful thing out of our lives.  It’s the place where we learn to completely trust in His ways.  We become willing to pay the same price Jesus did by carrying our cross without complaint.  It’s the place where we learn to wait upon Him, the place where we learn to bleed for Him, the place where we learn to love – no matter what is thrown our way.

The Dark Night is the place where we gain authority to stand in the middle of the storm and command it to be still.  It’s the place where we learn to BELIEVE God! 

We learn what the words the “I AM” really mean.

We learn that the I AM can see us through anything.  We learn that the I AM is sovereign over EVERYTHING.  Nothing escapes Him.  He is the God who sees!  It is in this fire that we learn to keep our eyes on Him no matter what.  We don’t turn to the right or the left no matter what is trying to seduce us off the path.  We may fall but His grace picks us back up dusts us off and encourages us to keep going.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.  He helps us to carry our cross.

Some of you might be going through a really difficult valley and wondering why God has seemingly handed you over to Satan.  Please hear this truth and take it to heart:  Your loving Father has not so much handed you over to evil as much as He is revealing everything in you that is in agreement with the evil one.  When we become dead to our flesh – truly dead – then Satan cannot touch us.  This is the reason for the Valley (or Dark Night) that you are in… to completely rid you of your flesh.

God is using the “Dark Night of the Soul” to remove everything that is not from Him – because He loves you and wants to live in you!

Romans 8:5-8

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

THOSE WHO ARE IN THE REALM OF THE FLESH CANNOT PLEASE GOD!  Let the discipline of the Lord do its work and cleanse you from your flesh.  There is a reason for your valley!

A Different Approach to Letting Go of Bitterness

I want to share something that I hope will help many of you with lingering bitterness.

Sometimes when we are especially traumatized by someone or offended deeply by a sin against us, the root of bitterness can grow very deep.

We become bitter because someone has caused us pain and we have not yet forgiven them.

Bitterness can eat away at your life if you don't get it taken care of. Many people that I mentor this struggle with strongholds of bitterness. They have allowed themselves to believe the lie that it's all right for them to remain offended at the grievous sin against them.

This is not true. In fact, bitterness is a sin. Even Jesus who suffered the worst death imaginable forgave the people who beat him and nailed him to the cross.  He said, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they're doing."

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.  Hebrews 12:15

Bitterness defiles us.

In plain words… bitterness makes us dirty.

We are not meant to be dirty children of God. We are meant to be kind and compassionate, forgiving one another of our sins.

Think of holding onto bitterness like this: picture yourself as a child sitting in the middle of a ball pit. Each one of these balls is a sin that you have not forgiven.  Each one of them represents someone who committed a sin against you and you refuse to let go.

Now none of us are perfect. And we each have sinned against another human being and God.  If our sins were not forgiven and held against us what would they look like?

One of my friends asked God this very question the other day. She said, "Lord will you show me what my sin would look like if you held onto it the same way that I'm holding on to the balls in my ball pit. And the Lord showed her a picture of a boulder sitting on top of her.

If we refuse to forgive those who sin against us… then we ourselves are not worthy of forgiveness for our own sin.

We don’t forgive people because they deserve to be forgiven.  We forgive people because we ourselves need forgiveness.

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

God does bring His people justice.  But holding onto bitterness or trying to avenge yourself is not the way of God’s Kingdom.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rom 12:19

Trust God to bring you justice.  But in the meantime let your bitterness go – because as a flawed human being – you, yourself need to be forgiven!

Steps to Wholeness:

Praying for Forgiveness:

Father God forgive me for holding on to bitterness toward ______________.  I forgive them for hurting me.  I ask You to forgive them as well.  Would you also forgive me of my sins?  I leave vengeance in Your hands.  I know that You will give me justice.  Please remove all roots of bitter memories from my mind and replace the with the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Thank You for the grace to forgive.  In Jesus name AMEN.

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

Breaking Soul Ties:

It might help to break a soul tie with the person you are bitter at.  Here is the tool.

“I ask forgiveness for having an ungodly soul tie with _____________”

“I break all soul ties with ___________ and I sever all influence from _____________.”

“I give back to _______________ the things that are his/hers.”

“I take back the things that are mine and I wash them in the blood of Jesus.”

"Father God I pray that you would remove all twisted thinking I believed - replace it with wiring from the Holy Spirit according to the Kingdom of Heaven."

"Please give me back my soul. In Jesus Name."

When you are finished breaking soul ties, remember this is essentially doing spiritual warfare so you will need to seal up the victory by praying the

 Sealing Up Prayer found HERE

.

Struggling to Give Grace to Your Enemies? This Will Help

When someone has rejected us or hurt us, we tend to regard them as our enemies.  When we have been abused or dishonored, when we have been disrespected or someone has stolen from us, these are the people that we find the most difficult to love.

One of the hardest verses the Word of God is about loving our enemies.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:44-48:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

How difficult it is to love a spouse who has wronged us.  How difficult it is to love a parent who abandoned us.  How difficult it is to love someone who has gossiped and slandered us.  Yet these are the enemies God calls us to love in Matthew 5.

He wants us to love them and pray for them.  He wants us to greet them in public and not shun them.  This is so difficult because of the pain they have caused us.  The pain makes us want to avoid them instead of love them.

But I want to give you a thought to help open your mind about why Jesus commanded us to love our enemies.

When we are wronged – we tend to see our enemies in black or white.  The sin they committed against us makes them the bad guy in our mind.   But when we apply a judgment about their entire lives based on their sin against us we are being legalistic and judgmental.  This is why it’s hard to see them like God sees them because we assume that people are either all good or all bad.  Bitterness takes root because we are still passing judgment based on their hurtful actions toward us.

But that’s not how God sees our enemies.  He sees them in color.  He sees everything in their hearts and minds.  He knows that there are times others have hurt us out of ignorance.  Sometimes people hurt us because they are deceived.  Sometimes people hurt us because they are operating out of fear.

Jesus’s enemies crucified Him on the cross and then mocked Him.  But while He was on the cross He prayed for His enemies.  He saw their hearts.  He saw them in color, not black and white.  If they really knew what they were doing - they would have NEVER crucified Him.  This is why He prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” 

It was because Jesus did not want their one sin against Him to define their entire life.  He did not want the one moment of betrayal against God to steal the rest of their life. 

Because Jesus did not condemn His enemies on the cross, neither can we condemn our enemies.  We must have an understanding that everyone has bad moments.  Everyone has made decisions based on fear.  Everyone has rejected someone else in their life – even if they didn’t know it. 

Personally, I do not want my poor fruit moments to define me.  I don’t want my whole life condemned because of a season of deception I may have walked through.  I also have good fruit.  And I have fruit that is somewhere in between good and bad.

It is this revelation that helps us to forgive and let go of the bitterness toward our enemies.  Having compassion for our enemies and knowing that we need the same compassion toward us – helps us to stop seeing everything in black and white.  Knowing that we ourselves, need forgiveness from our poor decisions helps us to obey Jesus’s command to love our enemies.

No matter what your enemies have done to you.  You must see them in color.  Seeing in black and white will only keep you chained to bitterness.

Steps to Wholeness:

Forgive your enemy again.

Ask God’s forgiveness for holding onto bitterness.

Ask God to sever ungodly soul ties and ungodly influence between you and your enemy.

Ask God to remove any wrong thinking from your mind about your enemy.

Ask God to give you His thoughts about your enemy.

Ask God if there are any lies you are believing about your enemy. Renounce the lie and ask for God’s truth.  (Let the God’s truth about your enemy replace your opinion.)

Bless your enemy by praying for them.

To All of the Little Girls Who Never Had a Real Father…

I have a secret to share with all of the little girls who never had a real father.  Or maybe your dad was an absent dad and didn’t know how to give you what you needed.  Possibly your dad was a GREAT dad and he has died and is no longer around… I have a secret that you need to know!

Every little girl needs to be told she’s beautiful by her daddy.  Every little girl needs to feel protected and provided for by a father who is trustworthy.

The Kingdom of God was structured on the foundation of family.  When part of our foundation is missing, it causes us to feel insecure and inferior.

I felt like this.  I was insecure and inferior after my dad abandoned my brother and me.  I felt like I had no identity. 

Did you know that our identity is established by our fathers?  (Read more here)

I lived for many years with my feet on the sand.  I didn’t really know who I was and I didn’t feel safe.  I had no value.  It’s really hard to stand tall in shifting sand.  The enemy would whisper in my ear, and it would knock me off balance.  He would whisper, “God’s going to leave you at any moment.  God is cold and distant.  He’s too busy for you.”

These lies made me feel that God was not trustworthy.  He was not dependable.  But I was vulnerable to believing these lies because of the sins that my father committed against me.

You see, I found a secret.

The secret is this:  Our Heavenly Father is a much better father than our earthly one.

We must renounce all lies that Father God is like our earthly father… because He is not.  He is not cold and distant.  He is not harsh.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  He has unlimited money, unlimited time and He is the biggest dad on the block!

Even if you think your dad was perfect and gave you everything you need.  You still have a better Father in God.

Think of the most perfect father you can imagine.  A dad who loved you with every fiber of his being.  He was always around when you needed him.  He provided you with whatever you needed - money, a roof over your head, a shoulder to cry on, wise counsel to help with decisions.  He gave you verbal affirmation.  He called you beautiful and meant it.  The perfect father was always patient, and his love was unconditional, but he always insisted on you doing your best.

If you can imagine the perfect earthly father how much better can our perfect Heavenly Father be?

He actually knows what we need before we need it.  He is a better provider than any earthly provider.  He is unconditional in His love for us but also disciplines us when we need it.  He is more patient than any earthly father could be.  He knows you inside and out because He created you.  He knows your past, and He knows your future.  He knows exactly what makes you tick!

Your Heavenly Father is available to you 24 hours a day 7 days a week!  No earthly father can compete with that.

When I started to turn my eyes towards my Heavenly Father to meet my every need, there was a deep hole in my soul that began to be filled.  When I needed a hug, I would ask Him for one.  God would answer that prayer by sometimes having another person unexpectedly give me a hug – or sometimes He would fulfill my request by letting me feel the heaviness of His presence.

When I began to turn toward my Heavenly Father for my identity instead of looking elsewhere for it, I began to feel more secure.  He told me I was beautiful.  He said that He was pleased.  He told me that I had great value to Him and that He wanted me to obey Him so that I could complete the story He had written for my life.  He told me that no one could take away my identity unless I allowed them to.

When I turned toward my Heavenly Father for provision, I started to feel a much deeper peace because my GREAT BIG God was in charge of my finances.  He sees everything and knows what I need and what I want.  He is a generous Father and wants to spoil me sometimes.

When I stopped believing the lies that the enemy was whispering in my ears and started believing that my Heavenly Father could be a better dad to me than my earthly one, it was then that my feet were planted on the Rock.

When my feet were on the sand, I was a slave to fear and anxiety.  There is no need to feel this fear because I am a child of God and He is the Rock.

When my foundation is secure in this truth, I can straighten my crown and BELIEVE that my Dad is the King and I am His Princess!

Steps to Wholeness:

1)  Forgive your earthly father for everything you can think of.  Specifically forgive him for not giving you identity, provision, or protection.

2)  Then renounce this lie:  I renounce the lie that You Father God are like my earthly father.

3)  Pray:  Father God are there any lies I’m believing about You?  (listen quietly for the voice of the Lord.)

4)  Renounce the lie by saying out loud:  I renounce the lie that ________.

For example:

“I renounce the lie that You Father God are cold and distant.”

5)  Ask: Father God what is Your truth?

6)  Declare the truth out loud.

For example:

 I declare the truth that You love me and want to hold me like a father holds his child.

7)  Repeat steps 3 through 6 until there are no more lies you are believing.

RECORD this conversation on paper so that you can go back and review it later.  After getting a revelation of the truth you’ll need to go back and begin renewing your mind with this new truth! 

Being Powerful Without Making Others Powerless

God created you to be powerful!

There is only one you.

You are a one of a kind.  God created you by knitting you together in your mother’s womb. 

13 For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because

I am fearfully and wonderfully made

;

    your works are wonderful,

    I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

    when

I was made in the secret place

,

    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be.  -- Psalm 139

What an amazing picture of how involved God was in our creation.   Stitch by stitch or cell by cell He created the only you that there would ever be.  God saw you as you were formed and then He wrote down a story of all of your days.  A unique story that climaxes at the point you meet Jesus and then ends in a mansion in heaven.

You are a distinctive mix of personality, gifting, hopes and dreams.  When God created you – He gave you a slice of Himself.  You were created in His image.  But no one else has the part of God that you do. This makes you powerful!

The image of God that dwells in you has never been a part of another person He created.  And He will never use that part of His image to create another person.  The slice of God that is woven into who you are will never be woven into another person.

This is why you cannot compare yourself to anyone else.  Because there has never been someone like you – and there will never be another person like you.

God created a space in history (or HIS-story) to display what a wonderful creation He made you into.

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.  Acts 17:26

Think about this verse for a minute.  God determined the set time and the exact place where you should live.  Not only did he create you He put you in the middle of His story in the exact place and time that He wanted.

So no one else has the slice of God that you have – and your Maker put you in the exact place in history He wanted you to live…. You are uniquely you!

Knowing your uniqueness allows you to be powerful. Since there is only one you - there is a part of history that can only be written by you.

So why do we compare yourself to others?

Why are we insecure when someone’s light burns bright?  Why are we envious of those who are powerful?  Why do we believe the lie that there can only be one powerful person at a time?

I definitely remember getting set free from the lie that only my husband should shine bright.  I believed the lie that as a wife, I should be demure and allow him to shine more brightly than me.  That is completely ridiculous! God made both my husband and myself powerful.  We are equally yoked – we need to both pull together like a team of oxen.  It actually works better when we are both powerful. 

Women get particularly jealous of one another when someone’s light shines brightly.  Somehow the enemy has seduced us into the lie that only one woman can be powerful at a time.  What a lie from the pit of hell!  What would happen if women were so secure in who we are in God and we all were ALL powerful together?  What would happen if women understood that there is space enough for every person to shine?  If women would choose to shine powerfully together for God – nothing would be impossible for us.  This is why the enemy keeps us preoccupied with comparing ourselves and competing with one another.

Blowing out someone’s candle doesn’t make ours shine any brighter.  Whether or not the person next to us has a powerful light doesn’t change the fact that we also have a powerful light…. Because no one has the piece of God that you have.  There is no one on earth who can do the job that you were sent here to do.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  God made plenty of room for everyone.

This world needs your light!  There is plenty of space for you to shine.

Let it go!

When Healing and Deliverance Become an Entitlement

I’ve always been fascinated at the story in John 5 of Jesus healing the man by the pool of Bethesda.  He was an invalid and had been lying around the pool in this condition for 38 years. 

An Angel would come and stir the waters of the pool and the first one to step into the water would be healed.

The Lord asked the man if he wanted to be healed.

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

  John 5:7-9

When Jesus healed this man he also delivered him from self-pity.  He not only said to walk Jesus also said pick up his mat.  In other words, stop agreeing with the lie that you are a victim.  He was healed but also delivered from a poverty mindset that day!

But there is something further that we learn in this story.  There is a piece of extreme wisdom that we sometimes overlook in this story.  Later Jesus found him in the temple and he said to the man, “I see that you are better, now stop sinning or something worse is going to happen to you.”

Did you know that?

Did you know that if you continue to sin after being healed or delivered that something worse could happen to you?

Whenever God heals us or delivers us, He means for it to open the door to us becoming more holy.  It is meant to untie our hands and make a way for us to take a step toward the Lord and become like Him.

Whenever we use a moment of healing or deliverance to make ourselves feel better and simply say “Thanks Lord.”  But we never use it to draw close to the Lord… it is then that we become like the man at the pool of Bethesda.  We have become self-centered.  We have become like those who are entitled.

I have seen many people throughout my deliverance ministry be really glad that God helped them to feel better through the power of deliverance.  But they never use it to become more holy.  They don’t really change their ways.  They go on sinning because they have a self-centered attitude.

They believe that God is here to serve them.  They believe that they deserve deliverance and healing because they are children of God.  This kind of attitude is full of pride and hypocrisy.

No one deserves deliverance and healing.  It IS a free gift to us because of what Christ did on the Cross.  But it is obvious through the healing of the man in John 5 that we still have a responsibility after a deliverance or healing to use the gift to become closer to God.

Unfortunately many squander this gift with the attitude of entitlement and in many instances I have seen something worse happen to them.

On occasion, I have had the Lord tell me to stop praying for deliverance for specific people because it would lead to them to more destruction.  Their hearts wanted their own way…they wanted to keep on sinning. 

There will be people in hell who were delivered and healed by the Lord in this life.  God healed them or delivered them in the hopes of getting them to repent and allow the holy, living presence of God to change their hearts.

In essence, all they wanted was what God could give them.  They didn’t really want God.

The way to check yourself on this terrible self-centered attitude is to ask yourself this question:

Are you seeking the hand of God for what He can give you?

Or are you seeking the face of God because you want to become like Him?

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

The Root of Panic Attacks and How to Overcome Them

Panic attacks are one of the devil’s most disturbing strategies to devour God’s people.

I have experienced two panic attacks in my life. They were so terribly overwhelming.  The circumstances surrounding both of them were similar.  I was in extremely stressful life situations.  The enemy knew exactly how to use fear to overwhelm me in order to make paralyze me from moving forward.

The enemy used amplified lies to overcome me and I felt like I was in a prison that could not be escaped from.  It was like my mind knew they weren’t true but my heart was in such fear logic would not work to extinguish the fiery darts.

The lies in both of my panic attacks were essentially the same.  “There is no escape from this.  Nothing will ever change.  There is no hope for you.”

You see the devil waited for the ripe situation in my life to unload a dump truck of lies on me.  It was a truck load of fear that felt very real.

1 Peter 5:8 ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ 

The enemy devoured me with His lies.  For a few hours anyway.  I cried out to the Lord and He saved me.  It was a little different path to deliverance each time but the truth of the Lord poked through my very dark storm and my logical mind returned to keep me from falling back into the storm.

The other day a friend was in a terrible panic attack and I used the things that I had learned from my own to help her out of her storm.  I want to share them with you – so it might help you if the enemy tries to overwhelm you in a prison of fear.

1.

ASK FOR PRAYER SUPPORT FROM FRIENDS IMMEDIATELY

Don’t do it alone.  Don’t let shame keep you from asking.  Ask others for prayer support!

2.

TAKE AUTHORITY OVER FEAR AND INSANITY

Remember even though it feels very real – it is not!  You have authority over ALL of the works of the devil.  Take authority over fear!  And take authority over insanity!  They do not have a right to attack you.  “

In the name of Jesus I take authority over the spirit of fear and the spirit of insanity.  I plead the blood of Jesus over myself and I command you to go to the feet of Jesus!”

3.

WORSHIP THE LORD

When you worship the Lord you tie the hands of the devil.  He HATES worship.  You poke the devil in the eye when you worship the Lord in the midst of an attack.  Use the weapon of worship until the attack passes.

(Read more about using Worship in warfare here.)

4.

FIND THE ROOT OF THE LIE

There is always a root lie that the devil use in a panic attack.  With me, the lie was there is no hope.  It came from a traumatic event in my childhood that made me feel powerless.  With my friend, the lie was that there was too much to do and she was incapable of doing it so she felt like she was in a prison and there was no way out.  After some prayer, we found that the root of her lie came from a teacher in elementary school who told her she would never amount to anything and that she was incapable of learning.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the root of the lie that the enemy is using.  Make sure the enemy doesn’t trip you up by making you cut off a branch.  The goal is to get to the root and pull out the lie.

My friend kept saying, “It’s my fault.  I’m the one who tells myself I’m not good enough.”  But I knew that wasn’t true.  Someone had to plant that lie in her.  Her parents were loving and caring people – so I knew it wouldn’t have come from them.  We just kept praying until we had peace when the Holy Spirit showed her that it was her fourth grade teacher and she could hear the lie coming from her. 

Once you find the root lie – use the following emotional healing tool to pull it out:

Uprooting LIES

Matthew 15:13

He replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.

Method:

1) When you find the lie - renounce the lie out loud:  I renounce the lie that ________.

For example: “I renounce the lie that You Father God are cold and distant.”

2) Then ask:  Father God what is Your truth? (Be still and listen quietly for the still small voice of the Lord.)

3) When you hear the truth from the Holy Spirit - Declare the truth out loud.

For example:  I declare the truth that You love me and want to hold me like a father holds his child.

4) RECORD this conversation on paper so you can go back and review it later.  After getting a revelation of the truth we MUST go back and begin renewing our minds with this new truth! 

This kind of praying loosens the enemy away from you – so it is important to seal up any kind of prayers. 

Use the Sealing Up Prayer found by clicking here.

PS.  If panic attacks are generational use this tool to break off the generational sins of fear and insanity!  

(Click Here)

My New Book Comes Out April 1st! Who Wants a Free Copy?


I am so excited to share the news of my new book 
"The Battle for Peace: Who Is Your Master?"

It will be available through our ministry and through Amazon.com on April 1st!

I have taken a mix of my own personal journey to emotional healing, my observations from being in ministry for 20 years along with a revelation from the scripture to form a structural understanding about why we are always in a Battle for Peace.

Do you desire to have a deeper peace with God?

Do you feel like you are living in a prison and never really making progress?

Do you know something isn't quite right in your thinking but you can't put your finger on it?

Do you struggle with toxic relationships that never seem to get better?

It’s hard to believe but the answer to all of these is very simple.
 You have the wrong Master.

The Battle for Peace will unlock the door to a deeper peace with the Lord that can never be taken from you.  It will give you understanding about how the devil keeps us locked in spiritual prisons in order to render us ineffective.

Uncover the formula that the enemy uses to twist our thinking.  And discover why you are in toxic relationships that never seem to recover.

Let the Battle for Peace draw you a road map to find true peace in your life.  You will find a closer relationship with the Lord than you have ever known.


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The Difference Between a Feminist and a Suffragist

I am floored when I think that women have only had the right to vote since 1920.  It is shocking to think that women have only been able to vote for the last 100 years.  Black men were given the right to vote in 1870 after the civil war but women would have to wait another 50 years before they would gain the right to be equal to men at the ballot box.

I am extremely grateful for the women who took up the suffrage fight for women. In a way it was another civil war.  Some of them were beaten, many were imprisoned.  They dedicated their lives to see equality between the sexes.  Some of them died before their dream of equality between men and women were realized.

Unfortunately somewhere along the way the suffrage movement got hijacked.  Women who started out wanting equality at the voting booth began a rebellion against men.  I don't want to rehash the history of Women's Suffrage but I would like to point out some wisdom for finding a balance.

There is a difference between the suffrage movement and the feminist movement. 

Let me be pointed about a few things:

1)

There was CLEARLY a patriarchal society during the first 125 years of our nation.  Men were in charge of everything.

2)

Equality for women is not yet realized on every single front.  However we have made huge strides and I am full of faith that we will see true equality in my lifetime.  I am not impatient with the road it takes to get there.  It takes endurance to see a dream realized.

3)

Some women have taken suffrage too far and have swung clear into feminism – which is the opposite of patriarchy.

Feminism and Patriarchy are both types of Mastery.  Mastery is the sin of one human being ruling over another human being. 

The Patriarchy system made women feel powerless and gave rise to the rebellion of women which created Feminism.  Both systems are in a ditch and neither one represent the Kingdom of God.  Men and women are equal in the sight of God.  When God created Adam – both the male and female parts of “man” were in him.  When God created Eve – he simply separated them.

A pendulum of mastery began to swing after the fall of Adam and Eve.  The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus paid the price to balance the scales once again.  In Christ there is no male or female (Gal. 3:28).

Men should not be the masters of women.  Conversely women should not be the masters of men.  Mastery is a type of control that one exerts over another in order to feel powerful.

You cannot use power to be free from Mastery.  You must use love.  Using Feminism to get free from Patriarchy is using power to achieve equality and freedom from Mastery of the Patriarch system.

As a woman, it is futile for me to emasculate a man in order to restore my power as a woman.  I must want the best for men in my sphere of influence.  I must want them to succeed in all that God has called them to be. 

I must love men and have their best interests at heart, while at the same time remaining true to my identity as a child of God.  I must love God’s definition of who He created me to be more than I love the approval of the Patriarchy system. 

As women, we must want to rule over the earth alongside men, instead of ruling over men.  We’ve been distracted by the perceived trauma of losing our power.  By simply remaining firmly planted on the Rock, and the identity He’s given us, and trusting God to guide us on the path, we will fulfill our purpose whether or not men agree with our purpose.

There is no glass ceiling if you are climbing on God’s ladder.  The glass ceiling only comes into play if you are climbing the ladders of men.  Mastery is a type of glass ceiling.

Several great women of God in our times have shown us exactly how ignoring the ladders of men can lead to great destinies; Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Joyce Meyer.

God has a destiny for each of us.  Those destinies do not overlap.  If I climb to the fullness of who He created me to be, I take nothing away from others.  My success does not take away from anyone else’s success.  Conversely, the success of others does not affect the success God has in store for me.

It is to our advantage to want everyone to succeed because this is how we complement each other.  This is how we rule over the earth.

If my husband and I both succeed in our respective purposes, we shine the light of Christ twice as bright.  Marriage is about becoming Oneflesh but it is not about Mastery.  I am his and he is mine, but I do not lay who I am down in order to let my husband shine.  Neither does he lay down his power to lift me up.

My husband loves me unconditionally – I do not have to meet his conditions to be loved.  He does not have to meet my list of expectations in order for me to love him.  We are both free to be who God created us to be.  We rule together over the earth.  Two people can be powerful at one time.

Love is the opposite of Mastery.

Love sets us free from wanting to be the Master of another.

Adam and Eve were not meant to rule over each other - they were meant to be ONE and rule over the earth the earth together. Christ died that Eden might be restored.

Patriarchy says “Men rule!”

Feminism says “Women rule!”

Suffrage says “We are equal!”

Would You Have Followed Christ if He was Ugly?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Deprogramming Prayer

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


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

A Reprimand From the Lord: You Unbelieving Generation

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

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

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

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

Yeah… that one stung!

But I knew it was true.

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

Mark 9:19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thank you Beth Moore!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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