Learning to Love Yourself

We are often taught at a very young age we are not good enough, or we are taught that we are strange and not “normal.”  We waste time in life trying to be good enough and wearing masks trying to prove we fit in.

One of the young ladies that I coach recently had to face the fact that she so desired to be “normal” that she found a matronly woman in the community who fit her definition of “normal.”  She put the matron on a pedestal and steered her life in the direction of this woman.

It caused her to walk down the wrong path as she matured in Christ.  Her tree was growing crooked because she was bending to this woman was instead of becoming who God created her to be.  She had to take this “normal” woman off her pedestal and repent for hating her own life.

The woman I coach was rejecting her own path because she wasn’t trusting that God had written a good story for her life.  Friends – no one on earth is the epitome of normal.

In fact, there is no normal on earth, because heaven should be our normal.  Instead of striving to be “normal,” we should strive to be authentic.

We will be free from pressure and free from insecurity when we become ALL that God has created us to be. We will never be happy pursuing someone else’s life.  This is a counterfeit path that requires us to pretend to be someone we’re not.  We spin our wheels and never become our authentic self because we are pursuing an inferior and human definition of “normal.”

God doesn’t use cookie cutters.  He uses a potter’s wheel when creating us.

You are unique and you are loved just the way you are.  Ask God to show you who He created you to be.

Ask Him to take off the masks and to uproot the lies that you aren’t good enough.  One of the most overlooked aspects to love – is learning to love yourself!

Don’t be normal.  Be you!

LEARNING TO LOVE IN THE RIGHT ORDER

As Believers, we must love God first and seek His Kingdom first. We must not love our lives more than we love God.

The basis of God’s Kingdom is that we love God FIRST!! After that - we love people. If this order of love is twisted then the entire foundation of our relationship with God (and then people) will not work.  Our crooked places must be made straight by loving God more than we love people.

Jesus demonstrated this.  He was willing to walk away from everything and everyone in order to obey His Father!

If LOVE begins with the Father, then He will show us how to love with wisdom and depth of insight.  We won’t find ourselves in co-dependent cycles.  We won’t find ourselves being used by others.  We won’t find ourselves trying to “save” people with a “god” complex because by putting Him first, we love others with His love... not our fleshly understanding and shallow definition of love.

Jesus did nothing without the Father’s permission.  He only did what he saw the Father do.  He only spoke the words the Father spoke.  Jesus’s radical obedience was because He loved the Father... even to the point of dying on the cross.

Jesus loved His Father with all of his heart - mind - soul - and strength and He was willing to lose everything because of this love.  Let this be our goal!!

PRAYER:

Father God please forgive us for loving people more than we love you.  Forgive us for loving our family more than you.  Forgive us for loving positions, money, power, and our lives more than we love You.

Let us love as Jesus did and obey you in all things!  Let our definition of love come from You and not the world.  Remove faulty thinking from our minds and renew our minds according to the Holy Spirit.  Put our love in the right order in Jesus name AMEN!

#LearningToLove

Unleashing the Army of God Against the Spirit of Hate

Hate is defined as "an intense or passionate dislike for someone or something."

1 John 3:15   Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Murder is the fruition of hate. Therefore, hate cannot heal anything... it can only cause death.

PERSONAL REPENTANCE

If we have an intense or passionate dislike for someone - we are guilty of hating that person. As Believers, we need to repent.

It is when we stop being personally guilty of hate that we can rise up with our spiritual swords against the spiritual forces of wickedness that are seeking to divide and devour our nation!

The spirit of hate is an evil spirit that is being released over this nation. This supernatural spirit influences people to passionately dislike other people. It's purpose is to cause division in our families, churches, and nations.

"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Eph 6:1

As Believers, we are not powerless. We have authority against the spiritual forces of hate. But we relinquish our authority if we ourselves are guilty of "an intense or passionate dislike for someone or something."

USING OUR AUTHORITY TO OVERCOME THE SPIRIT OF HATE

When we have repented of our own hatred, we can then use the authority that Jesus gave us to "overcome ALL of the power of the enemy." (Luke 10:19)

We must first of all put on a spirit of love. The person that you intensely dislike... is loved by your Heavenly Father. Therefore we must also love them.

If you are sure that there is no hate in your heart, then let us take the Sword of the Spirit and command the spirit of hate over our nation to be silenced in Jesus name.

STAND on the Rock of Jesus Christ and let's take this spirit DOWN!!!

UNIFIED PRAYER OF THE ARMY OF GOD:

Father forgive our nation for cooperating with the Spirit of Hate. We are sorry for the division that has been released across this nation. We use the swords you have given us and decree that this spiritual wickedness of hate would be cut off and that the rain of love and unity would be released across this nation. We plead the blood of Jesus over our nation and claim it for Him as His inheritance. Open blind eyes. Unstop deaf ears. Silence the voices that spread hate. Exalt the voices that lead us to love one another. We use the authority that the cross of Jesus bought for us

God hear the prayer of your people! Let The love that is FULL of grace and truth win in our nation! 

Let YOUR love win!  In the Name that is above ALL names! AMEN

#GraceAndTruth  #TheresAnArmyRisingUp

 

HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT SYNDROME - Coping with a traumatic childhood

My entire life I have wrestled with a pendulum of emotion of going back and forth between the feelings of being loved and then unloved.

My traumatic childhood plays into this pendulum.  I was born loved. My mother died when I was four. My very young mind translated this as being unloved.  My father married my wonderful step mother. I was loved.  Four years later my father divorced her and sent me to live with his brother. I was abandoned and unloved.

This “He loves me/He loves me not syndrome” was a pattern that developed in my spirit.  It was programmed into my blueprint.  “Sometimes I’m loved but it will always swing back to being unloved.”

This became my blueprint for a relationship with the Lord.  Sometimes I could feel His deep and unending love for me and then a few days later I couldn’t find His presence anywhere!  In my fear of being abandoned by Him, I learned to go to extreme lengths to get God to love me.  Excessive Bible reading, excessive prayer and worship sessions were all I knew to do please God so He would not leave me.  Of course, I simply wore myself out looking for something that I already had… I was already perfectly and constantly loved.

It did not matter how hard I tried to get off the pendulum.  It did not matter how much I prayed.  It did not matter how much I read the word, the feeling of being abandoned by God would always come back.

I wish I could tell you that there was one pat prayer that took away my “He loves me/He loves me not syndrome.”  It was not one big prayer that delivered me from this syndrome… it was a thousand little ones.

As I came to understand what the enemy did to my spirit, how he planted a false blueprint inside of me, I began to ask God to pull it up little by little.  I was honest with God about how I felt in the “He loves me not” portion of the pendulum.  He let me pour out my complaint (sometimes through angry words and hot tears).  He was more patient with me than I have any right to expect.  But He saw that I had been programmed with a wrong blueprint and He stayed through the ugliness to redeem what was good.

It was a long road… a VERY long road to scrape up that evil blueprint off of my spirit.

There is only the tiniest residue still on my spirit from those early days.  The evil blueprint has been replaced with the correct blueprint that God’s love for me is perfect and I can’t do anything to make Him love me more.  And I can’t do anything to lose His presence – for He will never leave me or forsake me.

Maybe some of you feel abandoned by God.  Maybe some of you suffer with the same “He loves me/He loves me not syndrome.”  I hope that this testimony encourages you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  There can be an end to the pendulum.  I wish I could wave a wand and deliver you from it… but it takes perseverance and faith to get the false blueprint out of your spirit.

I’m actually grateful for the long walk to freedom.  I know God’s character so much better.  I know His still small voice and my faith has increased a 1000% since being on this journey.

Friends… God loves each of us right where we’re at and He is ready and willing to heal us from our false blueprints.

Take a step toward Him today and ask for the truth about anything false that the enemy might have programmed in your spirit.  Ask Him to imprint His Kingdom blueprint on your spirit instead and then persevere!

I ask God to quicken your spirit to understand the true depth of His love for you!

How to Love People Without Strings Attached

One of the hardest things we have to learn as Believers is how to love people with no strings attached.

It's hard to love people when they don't love you back. It's hard to love people even when they desert you. It's really hard loving the gossips and slanderers without giving them an evil eye and hating them in your heart. And it's hard to love the people who use you for their own gain without storing up rage in your heart.

Loving these people requires a "Jesus kind of love."  

Jesus loved the people and even His enemies with no strings attached.  He didn't require them to wash His feet. He didn't force anyone to follow Him.  He didn't hate them in His heart when they nailed His hands and feet to a cross.

At one point, thousands of people left Jesus's ministry because His preaching got too hard for them to accept. (John 6:66)

But Jesus didn't get mad and think "you people owe me! I healed you! I fed you! I delivered you!"  He let them go and celebrated the ones who stayed.  Jesus wants willing followers.  He wants us to know that He will love us, even if we walk away for a season.  He also wants us to love others like that!

Jesus didn't demand honor like the Sanhedrin did.  Instead, Jesus knelt down in love and honored his friends by washing their feet....even ones He knew were fair weather friends.  Peter still got his feet washed by Jesus, the night Peter betrayed Him, no strings attached.

Jesus loves you right where you are at.  He may not be pleased with everything that you are doing - but you are free to sin or not.  Even then, you cannot make Jesus not love you.

As Believers, we are called to become like Christ.  We are called to love as He did... this means we love others without expecting anything in return.

If people want to walk away from a relationship with us, we let them go, and we do not demand that they stay.  We put the relationship in the hands of grace, and we allow the other person to have free will 

(even if those people are family members).

We lay down our hurt, forgive them, and let them go.  Pride demands an answer or an apology.  Humility says they owe you nothing.  

When people who have hurt you, come back and truly repent - love opens an avenue to restoration.  Jesus gently restored Peter after he fell. And 50 days later 3000 people gave their lives to Christ because of Peter.

The prodigal son's father had no strings attached.  The prodigal still paid a price because he had already spent his inheritance.  But his father RAN out to meet him, an example of our Heavenly Father's love.

The brother of the prodigal had strings attached to his love.  He demanded his own kind of justice.  But that is not the way of Jesus and therefore, it cannot be our way either.

Perfect love casts out fear because there are no strings attached. Jesus's kind of love is without condition.  Now that doesn't mean we don't use wisdom and it doesn't mean we are doormats, Jesus certainly wasn't. But we allow people to come and go in our lives without forcing or demanding anything.

The gift of salvation is free.  Once you come into the family of God, you are IN! You are loved.  Perfection is not demanded. 

As the Body of Christ, we must mature in our love for each other. The Kingdom of God is not a kingdom of slavery... it is a Kingdom of Sons!  We are free to walk out our own salvation with fear and trembling...  

Since we have been loved with an unconditional love from our Creator... how can we truly be His children and not walk in His ways.

We love... because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Steps to Wholeness:

If you need to lay a person or group down because you are demanding justice in your heart, don't be afraid of approaching the throne!  God wants to help you to love with no strings attached.  He wants to give you unconditional love for others.

Ask the Holy Spirit if there is anyone you need to put in the Hands of Grace?

One by one hand forgive them and hand them over to Jesus.

Then get on with whatever God has called you to do.  Life is too short to worry about someone who "owes" you.

We'll all be completely free one day in eternity... if you have to let go of a relationship until then, so be it.  You've got a race to run and talents to gain for the Lord!

Belle is being released to set the Beast free! (A WORD FOR WOMEN OF GOD)

God is calling the women of His Kingdom to rise up.  He is calling His daughters to go on an adventure with Him.  He is making a way for His Beauties to RISE.

But this “rising” is not a worldly revolution – it’s a reformation.

God has been speaking to me through the movie “Beauty and the Beast” lately.  The heroine of the movie is tired of her “provincial” (unsophisticated, narrow-minded) life.  She longs for MORE!  She longs to break free of the town that thinks she is “odd.”  They have decided that she is indeed beautiful – but she is just too strange for them to accept.  She is a misfit.

However, the longing of her heart is fulfilled when she is taken on the adventure of a lifetime.  She ends up becoming a captive of the Beast.  She is a prisoner in his cursed castle that is in a perpetual winter season.  But she “rises” up through her strength and patience and grace and she LOVES the Beast until the curse is broken and he becomes the royalty he was meant to be all along.

God is calling the women who are tired with the mundaneness of the provincial life.  He has put a seed of Holy Dissatisfaction within His daughters who have been calling out for adventure.

For the Lord would say:

“Daughters, I have need of you in this hour.  I need for you to rise up and love the Beast.  Many of my sons have taken hard hits because the enemy of their souls has tried to take them out.  Some of them are prideful because of deep wounds.  Some of them roar because they are broken inside.  Some of them are suffering from neglect and don’t know how to be tender or gentle because they were never taught.

I am asking you to look beyond the mask of My sons.  Look beyond the outward appearance and look to the hearts of My sons.  They are longing to be loved.  They are longing to have communion with people, but the curse that is over them prevents it.

Will you allow yourself to follow Me on this adventure?  You don’t have to be a doormat.  You don’t have to be their slave.  Do not let them be your “Master.”  Let Me be your King... and simply follow Me!

I need my Beauties to be strong and patient at the same time.  I will show you when to stand up to the Beast.  I will show you when to nurture him.  If you follow Me and die to being offended, together, we can break the curse!

The adventure will be daunting at first, but I have equipped you with the Holy Spirit, and you have everything you need to release life over the castle.  Put on the whole armor of God.  Stay close to Me.  I want to restore the authority that Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden.

Are you willing to enter the fire, in order to set the Beast free?  When men and women come together as ONE – My Kingdom will be unstoppable!

Let’s go on an adventure and bring reformation to My Kingdom!”

#MisfitsRising

A Reminder about the Simplicity of God’s Kingdom

Sometimes we make being part of God’s Kingdom too hard.

As Believers, I think we sometimes get caught up in the lie that we must have “understanding” about God’s Kingdom to be mature.  The truth is that maturity in God’s Kingdom is more about believing God than it is being able to explain the mysteries of God.

Understanding and taking part in God’s Kingdom doesn’t have to be so deep.  The mystery of creation and the treasures of salvation are hidden for little children to find.

Maturity is believing that the universe is in the capable hands of a Good God.

Maturity is knowing that God has your best interests at heart.

Maturity is having faith on the hard days and trusting that understanding will come later.

Jesus came to demonstrate the simplicity of God’s Kingdom.  He came to show us that having knowledge and understanding didn’t make us GREAT in His Kingdom like the Pharisees taught.  He came to show us that

FAITH

and

HOPE

and

LOVE

were the foundation of His creation.

FAITH

Maturity is not found in understanding.  Maturity is found in child-like

FAITH

.

FAITH

pleases God.

It delights our Father when we trust Him.

Knowing the Word of God is good, but having

FAITH

in the Word is better.

A two word prayer that is surrendered with great

FAITH

knowing God will answer is far better than an eloquent avalanche of empty words meant to impress man.

Instead of making Christianity so difficult, remember today that the God of the Universe loves you and is thinking of you this very moment.  He is never too busy.  He is fully engaged in your life.

HOPE

God has written out your story.  Every single page of it.  It’s a really great story – especially the ending!  Every ending is based upon

HOPE

!  There is the

HOPE

of heaven.  There is a

HOPE

in seeing your loved ones again. There is the

HOPE

of no more pain or sorrow or tears.

If we begin to let the warfare of this earthly life overshadow our vision, we begin to sink into hopelessness.  But hopelessness is a lie meant to derail us from becoming all that God intended.

When we put our

HOPE

in God and what He has prepared for us, we have stepped into His Kingdom.

HOPE

can only be taken from you if you allow it to be taken.

Hold onto

HOPE

today – Jesus paid a deep price for it.

LOVE

We all have a deep desire to be

LOVED

.  We were created with this need.  God Himself is

LOVE

and we are created in His image.  Coming to the realization of how deeply and fully we are loved by God sets us free from wondering if we are “doing enough.”

When Jesus demonstrated the Kingdom, he stripped away the heaviness of following the law and regulations.  He simplified everything by concentrating our focus on two essential pillars of His Kingdom.

LOVE God.

Love Him by turning your mind to Him.  Love Him by having a conversation with Him.  Love Him by obeying.  Love Him by trusting His ways.

…and LOVE your neighbors.

Love those around you.  Love them by serving them.  Love them by speaking the truth.  Love them by encouraging them to be all God created them to be.

Throw off the heaviness of thinking that you have to understand.  Throw off the heaviness of the law and its regulations.  Throw off the hopelessness that seeks to engulf you.  Instead, put on Faith like a garment.  Hold on to Hope like a lifeline.  And know that you are loved perfectly by your Heavenly Father.

The Kingdom really isn’t that difficult.   It comes down to

FAITH

,

HOPE

, and

LOVE

.

The Danger of Demonstrating False Love

The world is hurting. It is covered in shame and fear and pride and sin. We hear stories of people who are on drugs or who have fallen into perversion. We know prodigals who are angry at God. We know that the answer to their pain is God’s love. But we are not doing a very good job of showing them true love.

True love is not blind. It is not mushy or soft. It is solid. It has a form. It’s not one dimensional.

True love is both Grace and Truth. True love is a Person. True love is a Diety.

God is love.

God is the definition of love. But love is not the definition of God. It is God’s character that defines love, not our tiny human understanding that defines love.

We get a glimpse of God’s character through His own words in Exodus 34:6-7 Moses has asked to see God’s glory (or His character). But God knows that Moses will die if he sees God face to face. So God grants Moses’s request and hides him in the cleft of the rock (Exodus 33:22-23) and lets Moses see his backside. As He passes, God gives an amazing self-description of who He is to Moses. Pay attention to these words as God – the One who is love – describes Himself.

6 As he passed in front of Moses, he called out. He said, “I am the Lord, the Lord. I am the God who is tender and kind. I am gracious. I am slow to get angry. I am faithful and full of love. 7 I continue to show my love to thousands of people. I forgive those who do evil. I forgive those who refuse to obey me. And I forgive those who sin. But I do not let guilty people go without punishing them. I cause the sins of the parents to affect their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”  Exodus 34:6-7

This is love. This is the character of God: tender, kind, gracious, slow to anger, faithful, forgiving...BUT He is also Holy.

God does not let the guilty go unpunished. He is a Holy God. True love cannot exist apart from God’s holiness. This means He does not tolerate sin. Jesus died to pay our pardon for sin once and for all – but if that sin is unrepented from, God will not let the guilty go. God is patient and He is ready to forgive, but that forgiveness cannot be handed out apart from the confession of our sins.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

God is both Gracious and Holy. He is both Forgiving and Just. God is love – not the other way around.

It is wrong for us to say to the world that God loves you – so go and do whatever you want because God wants you to be happy. This is a mischaracterization of who God is.

Jesus – who was the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3) – exemplified His Father’s character in the course of His ministry on earth.

When Jesus came, He called out to the sinners – not to the righteous. But when he called the sinners, He called them to repent. He didn’t just soothe their soul from pain without also requiring them to repent.

To the woman caught in adultery: Jesus didn’t just forgive her… He told her to go and sin no more. (John 8)

To the woman at the well: Jesus had no problem pointing out her true issue of living in fornication in order to get her to repent. (John 4)

To the rich young ruler: Jesus spoke the unvarnished truth that he loved his money a little more than he realized. (Matthew 19)

He drove the money-changers out of the temple… with a whip! (Matthew 21)

Jesus was tender, kind, gracious, slow to anger, patient, forgiving and He was Holy!!!

Jesus’s message of repentance called for a change of the heart and mind. God’s love calls us to repent and change our hearts to line up with His holiness. This is part of love… to call someone to repent.

The world is in pain. And Jesus is the answer to their pain. But to tell the world to come to Jesus because He will blindly love them is a mischaracterization of Who He is.

Love is kind… and holy.

Believers need to love sinners by pointing to God’s kindness – but we cannot do it without being upfront about the need for repentance.

If we continue to teach this false definition of love, we will answer for it at the judgment throne.

It is because of the fear of man that we are teaching the world that God will save them without repentance. This must change!

Believers must begin to fear the Lord more than we fear being rejected by men. We must repent from giving the world “false love.” We’re playing right into the devil’s hands and leading them straight to hell.

In my love for you dear reader, I say to you that God loves you, but if you are preaching forgiveness without repentance, I warn you this must stop and I am calling you to repent.  Align your hearts with God's definition of love and fear Him more than you fear man.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  Philippians 1:9-10

Jesus Did Not Come to Bring Peace…

“Aren’t Christians supposed to try to get along with everyone?”

A few years ago, I was in a heated debate with some local officials about the use of some public property for a Christian festival, and I was not taking the matter laying down.  They were wrong about how they were going about it.  I was within my rights to demand what I was demanding.  The Secretary in the meeting questioned me with these words:  Aren’t Christians supposed to try to get along with everyone?

“No!”  I said, “We’re supposed to stand up for righteousness and what is happening here is pure politics.”

It’s unfortunate that so many Christians have been paralyzed by the same sentiment that we are supposed to be quiet and keep the peace.  This is a lie from the pit of hell.  Christians are not called to be “nice” when there is unrighteousness happening before our eyes.  We are not called to lay down and be door mats simply to keep the peace.

We are called to be bold and speak the truth and to shine the light on injustice.  We are called to preach “REPENT for the Kingdom of God is here.”  We are called to make waves when necessary.  

We’re not called to be passive little peacekeepers.  It is KIND to speak the Truth!  It is a KINDNESS to point out injustice and demand something be done about it!  It is KIND to preach repentance because repentance leads to TRUE peace with God.

Jesus did not come to bring peace on earth.  He came to bring a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

There is a mistaken understanding that Jesus who IS the Prince of Peace came to bring peace between men.  This is not true.  He came to make peace between God and men.

Matthew 10:34-39  Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The words in Matthew 10 are written in red.  They are spoken by Jesus Himself.  He said that He came to bring a sword which would cause family members to war against each other.  We don’t hear this taught much do we?  We don’t hear much about standing with the sword of Christ in the middle of your family or the world?

Unfortunately, much of the Church teaches that if we are not playing the role of “peacekeeper” that we are being unChristlike.  This kind of teaching neuters the Truth of Christ.  We are not called to bring peace to the world.  We are called to bring Christ, then Christ brings the world true peace.  No matter what we lose, no matter what kind of war it causes in our lives among our family and friends. We are called to shine the light of Christ, even if we make enemies because of it.  How can true peace come from man?  It can only come from Christ.  And it can only come once there is a repentance toward Him.

Somehow there is a counterfeit teaching in the Church that says if anyone hates you that you are not being a good Christian.  This is not true.  When people hate us for preaching the Good News of Jesus, we are fulfilling the words of Jesus.   

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”  John 15:18

We cannot love our family or our friends more than we love the Lord or His gospel message.  People will hate you for speaking the truth.  People will hate you for preaching what Christ preached.  But being hated does not mean that you are not being Christlike, it means that you are doing it right.

Pointing out that people need the Lord and His righteousness is actually preaching PEACE!  Because Jesus came to be the Prince of Peace but not to bring peace the way the world defines peace.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

Jesus came to bring peace between God and man.  This kind of peace brings an “absence of war” within ourselves because we have been reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Jesus.  There will never be an “absence of war” on the physical earth until Jesus comes back.  (Matthew 24)

As much as people hate you for preaching the truth of Christ, many more will be forever grateful that you do.  Eternal peace and salvation is the goal.  Jesus warned that we would have to draw a sword to preach the truth and lose relationships because of it. 

Being at peace with your fellow man is not the hallmark of a true Believer, being at peace with God is.  And pointing people to the Prince of Peace is how we become true peaceMAKERS – not just peaceKEEPERS.

Do not be paralyzed from speaking God’s truth, firmly and in love!   Being hated is a sign of belonging to God’s Kingdom! 

Steps to Wholeness:

Jesus, I pray that You would be my Prince of Peace.  Completely reconcile my heart to You.  I ask for boldness to preach Christ to my family and friends.  Remind me that there is a reward for being hated because of the gospel.

The Difficult Decision to Wipe the Dust from Our Feet and Walk Away

Sometimes you just have to move on.

You’ve done everything you could to bring reconciliation to a relationship.  You’ve done everything you can to be heard.  You’ve prayed.  You’ve fasted.  You’ve humbled yourself – but the relationship is still broken, and there is no peace.

Sometimes God’s answer to a broken relationship is to simply move on.

I have stayed too long in a relationship before.  I tried too hard.  I felt like it wouldn’t be “loving” for me to walk away.  I believed the lie that perhaps I wasn’t being patient enough.  Perhaps I simply needed to wait for exactly the right time so they could actually hear what I was trying to say.  Maybe I needed to pray harder.

I remember a relationship with a friend that I tried and tried to make work.  I did everything to try to be reconciled to her.  Finally, the Lord gave me a vision of His perspective on the relationship.  The vision was of an invisible wall in between us.  I was standing on one side – in color.  She was standing on the other side – in black and white.  Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me.  He said, “She’s not coming with you.  You need to move on.”

This broke my heart.  Because I really loved my friend.  I wanted her to come with me.  But she was seeing life in black and white and I was seeing life in color.  There was no way to reconcile our relationship because we were living in different worlds.

I had spoken truth to her.  I had loved her well.  I humbled myself before her.  I had forgiven her sins against me.  And now I had to wipe the dust off of my feet and move on.

This was hard.  It left a hole in my life.  But if I was going to go with God, I had to leave her behind.  I had to put God first and leave the relationship with my friend in His capable hands.

The same is true of churches.  Sometimes our relationship with a church is so broken that it is simply time to move on.

Maybe we’ve been part of a church for a while, and God has given you something to say to the leadership, but they can’t hear you… or refuse to hear you.  It is a really hard place to be.  Your friends go to this church.  Your family might really enjoy this church, but something isn’t quite right, and you can’t overlook it anymore.

It might be time to wipe the dust off of your feet.

It’s very difficult.  It’s painful.  But if you are not where God wants you to be, you’ll have to put Him first and walk away.

One time a friend had a dream about me because I was having difficulty walking away from a church in order to go with God.  In the dream, I kept muttering to myself, “It’s too hard!  I can’t do it!”  I had been given a choice to go with the pastors of the church or to go with Jesus, and I was wavering.

I am so grateful that God gave me correction through my friend’s dream.  I didn’t realize that I was struggling so much to put God first in my heart.  I was loving the church and the leadership more than I was loving God.

I did choose to go with God.  But it was costly.  It cost me my reputation with some.  It caused some public slander by others.   Wiping the dust off of my feet and leaving the church was like picking up my cross and following Christ.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

  Matthew 10:14

The final place where God may be calling you to wipe the dust off of your feet is with family.  This might be a new thought – but God calls us to put our relationship with Him above our relationship with our family.

If you have family members that you are in a co-dependent relationship with, sometimes the only answer is to wipe the dust off of your feet…until they get free from their cycle.  Walking away from family can be one of two things:  It can be excruciating, or it can be liberating. Honestly, sometimes it can be both.  Excruciating because we are conditioned to love our “tribe” and to protect them.  Liberating because when the Holy Spirit asks us to put our family members in His hands and walk away, it is usually because we have become enslaved to their way of life.  Walking away brings us freedom.

Remember this truth:  We are not the savior.  We are not the rescuer.  Only the Lord is.  We put our trust in Him to rescue our friends, church, and family.  Our job is to love Him FIRST.

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

  Matthew 10:37-39

Steps to Wholeness:

God show me if there are relationships in my life where you are calling me to wipe the dust off of my feet.  I will follow You.  I will pick up my cross and follow you.  Help me to put You first.  Help me to seek Your Kingdom first.  I want to hear “well done” from you at the Judgment Throne, help me to lose my life that I might find it.  In Jesus name,  AMEN

If you find it especially hard to let go of relationships, you may need to break soul ties with people or churches.  

Because the blood of Jesus came to set us free, it is very easy to break an ungodly soul tie. Simply pray and ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind where the ungodly soul ties need to be broken. Then pray this prayer out loud.

“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

.

Becoming More Excellent: An Easier Way to Keep Your Goals

I used to go through seasons of excellence followed by seasons of mediocrity.  I used to decide to set my mind to being excellent and after a week or so (sometimes even a few days) I would find myself back in my old ways.  Living a life of mediocrity wasn’t what I WANTED to live, but I couldn’t seem to shift my life into the excellence mode that I was reaching for.

Part of my problem was that I was giving myself too much grace.  I made a goal for myself to be more excellent but wouldn’t keep it.  Almost like I wasn’t keeping my word to myself. 

I made goals to spend more time with God.  I made goals to read the Word more.  I made goals to keep my house tidier.  I made goals to be a stricter parent and mean what I said the first time.  I made goals to exercise.  I made goals to do more fasting.  I made goals to journal faithfully.  I made goals to pray for everyone I said I would pray for.

However, after a few days of living my new goals of excellence, I would “reward” myself because I was doing so well at attaining my goals.  I would give myself a day off.  <----- greasy grace.

Then I would get back to my goals for a few more days and give myself another few days off.  <------ really greasy grace.

After all, God loved me whether or not I kept my goals.  He wouldn’t be so hard on me.  He loved me unconditionally, so I could just rest in His grace.  Right?  Isn’t this what we tell ourselves when we don’t keep our own pledge.  “Oh well… God loves me – I don’t have to keep my word.”

The Body of Christ in many ways is not excellent because we don’t really mean what we say – and we give ourselves way too much grace… more than the Lord would give us.

God wants us to be excellent.  He doesn’t want us to keep rules and regulations to be excellent – but He does want us to keep our words.  He does want us to be disciplined.  He does want us to obey Him.

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.  (John 14:21)

During a season of discipline from the Lord, I struggled to live a more excellent lifestyle.  I had been trying to keep my new goals – but I was doing it as though they were rules.  The Lord helped me with this by giving me a huge revelation that really helped me to do a complete shift into excellence.

He said, “Tisha, follow through with the words you say and achieve the goals you set simply because you love Me.  Do it out of our relationship…not because you are following rules.”

This really helped me.  I began to keep the goals I set to read the word and spend time in prayer because I loved the Lord, not because I was following a set of rules.  I began to pay attention to my words.  When I promised someone that I was going to pray for them – I either wrote it down, or I prayed for them right then so I wouldn’t forget.  If I set a fasting or an exercise goal,  I looked at it as though I was accomplishing a task that would bring me closer to the Lord, not as a punishment.

If I had a directive from the Lord, I would do it immediately!  I obeyed immediately because I wanted to show Him that I loved Him.

Did you see that in John 14:21 that there is a reward for obeying the Lord?  If we obey Him, He shows Himself to us.

This reward is so worth it!  God reveals Himself to those who obey Him!  As I have sought after excellence and disciplined myself in the Lord, He has revealed Himself to me, and I now know Him better… simply because I obeyed!

Become more excellent!  Mean your words.  Keep the goals you make. Run this race of life in order to win the prize!  The prize is Jesus!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  1 Corinthians 9:24

I Dreamed that Donald Trump Was My Father – But It’s Not What You Think

The Dream

I had a dream that it came to light that I was actually a child of Donald Trump.  There was a file of DNA records and a photo confirming that my biological father was Donald Trump.

When the evidence was presented to the Trump family. They welcomed me with open arms.  They were incredibly nice.  About six months of time passed by in the dream.  The family just loved me and accepted me as one of their own.

I was able to watch how he did business and watch how he did the election.  I felt safe.  He was a VERY good father.   He ALWAYS hugged me every time I saw him – he was very genuine. I got to be with “my father” every Saturday for breakfast.

One day I remember that I hadn’t seen him in a while.  The whole family was getting ready to have breakfast together.  Donald, his wife, kids, and grandkids. It was quite enjoyable and there was no sibling rivalry – just love. I remember that he and his wife didn’t hold anything back from the kids (even as adults) they didn’t leave the room to talk about anything private.  It was all out front.  Everything was done in the open.

There was a great sense of peace and safety.  I felt secure and I felt deeply loved.  He was flawed but he was a REAL father.  He received me simply for who I was – no glass ceiling.  No limits.  He was also a good coach and wouldn’t let me settle for less.  He told me if he thought I wasn’t performing to my potential.

I remember in the dream standing in the middle of Trump tower.  And it dawned on me that all of my dreams were going to come true.  Being the daughter of Donald Trump gave me great advantages.

I now had a familial foundation under me that was solid and generations thick.  I also had a structure over me that would help me to accomplish everything I had hoped to in my life.  I had help with finances, taxes or investments because of the structure that “my father” had built.  If I wanted to write a book or a song – “my father’s” structure would have exactly the people who could help me to accomplish it.  Nothing would be impossible for me or my children ever again.  END OF DREAM

My Dilemma

This Trump dream really wrecked me.  Because there is something in me that knows I will never have that kind of father.  I was abandoned by my birth father at 8 years old and I was adopted by an uncle who was a good provider but I was never close to him.

I’ve always felt like an orphan.  I had a pretty deep wound of fatherlessness from my childhood.  God has been gracious to me and lovingly restored health to my heart.  I have come to the place that I know I can completely trust the heavenly Father.  I know I am loved unconditionally and that He takes care of me from heaven – watching over me and my family.  I know I am safe and have value because He created me.  However, it was obvious from my reaction to this dream that I had another layer of healing that was necessary.

When I woke up from this dream it felt so real that I was actually angry at God.  I felt that it was almost cruel, because He had shown me what it would be like to have a true family who for the most part “had it all together” and then I woke up to the reality that this was not true.  I believed it would be true in heaven. But Donald Trump was not my father on earth – so none of these advantages were available to me.

In my pain, I prayed for an interpretation to my dream.  It felt like God wanted to show me something but He was speaking a foreign language.  It felt like He wanted me to stop being self-reliant and learn to lean into Him more – but it just wasn’t resonating with me. 

So by faith, I repented from self-reliance and asked God to heal me.  But I could not fathom how God could meet my needs on earth.

God’s Answer

The next morning I woke up with a song in my heart and a revelation that absolutely changed my whole world.

As I awakened I could hear the Holy Spirit sing to me

♫ I’m no longer a slave to fear… I am a child of God. ♫

I heard Him say… “You know the feeling that you had in the dream about Donald Trump.  There was a structure over you and a foundation under you.  You felt safe.  You felt like all of your dreams would come true.  You would be challenged.  You would become all that you were meant to be…” 

“If Donald Trump, a mere man, can do that for his kids – why couldn’t I do that for you?  As your Heavenly Father, I have a better system set up than he does.  I’m not around only for breakfast on Saturdays – I’m constantly with you.  My structure and foundation are much better than his.  The feeling you had in the dream of being completely supported and protected are available by simply believing that you can have that with Me.”

“I have people to help you with your finances.  I can open the doors to the perfect book publisher or song artist.  I can give you better wisdom than any man on earth.  You must simply believe that you have full access to Me.  You must fully believe that you are a Child of God – then you will have nothing to fear and all of your dreams will come true."

Mind Blown!!!!!

I had this picture of standing outside of Trump Tower and then a picture of standing inside of Trump Tower.  Father God said, “This is the difference.  You’ve been standing outside of My Kingdom and shouting at me to fix your life instead of believing that you belong inside of My Kingdom (Trump Tower) and simply asking Me to help you with your life.”

That made sense to me.  I had just assumed that I would never have a real father again so there were several things that were not available to me – or I couldn’t comprehend how my Heavenly Father could take care of me in the natural.  It really comes down to faith... and BELIEVING that I belong in “Trump Tower” not outside of it.  In believing this truth, I have absolutely no fear... because I am a child of God.

I have a better Dad than Donald Trump.

Six Practical Tips on Ministering to the Poor

I spent four years working in a local food pantry.  I was privileged to serve the poor.  I learned a lot from my years there.  I got to witness first hand the cycle of poverty, and came to understand that the Body of Christ doesn't really understand how to reach out and minister to the poor in an effective manner.

Since my years in the food pantry, our ministry has developed a discipleship program to the poor in our community.  I was thinking through my relationships with those I have ministered to over the years.  I was pondering how I could equip those who want to minister to the poor but don’t know how.  Here are six practical way that the Body of Christ can minister to the poor.

1.

Consider them your equal.

God created all people with the same value.  He paid the same price, the blood of His Son, for every person on the planet.  See them through the blood of Christ.  Even though they are poor – they have something to teach you.  Remember that every person on earth has a slice of God that you don’t have.  Take upon the nature of a servant – not a benefactor.

2.

Give them a hand up – not a handout.

Sometimes Believers unknowingly give money, food, and presents to the poor, and it simply keeps them in poverty.  I would point out that Jesus only fed the multitudes twice – then he gave them a hand up by giving them a glimpse of the gospel. (John 6)  That is a hand up.  

Instead of giving the poor handouts, give them something that will improve their view of themselves.  Encourage them.  Be willing to teach them something they don’t know.  Show them how to sign their kid up for little league or soccer.  Invite them to a movie at your church.  Be willing to take their children to Wednesday night kids church.  All of these things will help them to make their lives better.  Only giving handouts keep them in the cycle of poverty.

Giving money or food or clothing is good – but giving them Jesus is better.

3.

Be patient.

Love is patient.  Jesus is patient.

I learned this one through handing out food over and over and over in the food pantry all of those years.  It gets hard when the attitude of entitlement is so entrenched in their foundations.  But Jesus is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (Luke 6:35)  His patience is limitless.  Ask for the Lord to show you His attitude toward the poor and then change your heart to line up with His.

4.

Do not demand immediate repentance.

Repentance takes time.  Discipleship takes time.  I have found that the Holy Spirit is excellent at convicting people of sin!  If we will keep our mouths shut about sin until the Holy Spirit prompts us to point it out – it works out much better.  By letting God work through us and only doing what we are led to do by the Spirit, we have a much higher rate of people repenting.  (John 12:49)

If you point out sin in a legalistic way and demand immediate repentance – you will lose them.  Lead them to love God… then God will begin to work on the weeds in their heart.

5.

Do not be embarrassed by them.

The root of embarrassment is pride.  If you reach out to a poor person and begin to bring them to church or simply to have a relationship with them – you must NEVER be embarrassed by them.  Jesus isn’t.

Even if they take forever to begin to climb the mountain of maturity – never let that be a reflection of you.  Their walk with God is their walk with God.  Just love them.

If they continually fall back into old patterns – just love them.

6.

Do not take on their problems.

One of the things I have had to learn to do – is let their problems be their problems.  I am not their savior – Jesus is.  There are a myriad of issues in each person and in their families.  If you set aside time to minister to the poor, simply use that time to minister the love of Christ.  But leave their problems on their doorstep and do not take them home with you.

Jesus loves them more than you do.  He is much better at taking on their problems.

I hope these practical steps help you in obeying the Lord.  We are called to reach out and preach the good news to the poor.  The Church needs to become better at this.  We need to be equipped with effective ways for discipling them.  Be careful when ministering to the poor that you are not doing it out of selfish ambition.  Do it because the Lord asks us too.  Serve them as though you were serving the Lord…

                           …because you are.

“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”  Matthew 25:40

Steps to Wholeness:

Father God, please forgive us for not reaching out to the poor.  Forgive Your Church for not obeying You.  Forgive our laziness.  Forgive our passiveness.  Forgive our judgmentalness.  Forgive our lack of patience.  Forgive us for treating “the least of these” with disdain. 

Help us, Father!  Renew our hearts for the poor and needy.  Take from us our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.  Let Your Holy Spirit teach us afresh how to follow Jesus by preaching the good news to the poor.  In His name we pray, AMEN!

Why Believers Need to Be Willing to Hurt Other's Feelings

Sometimes God speaks to me through what I call a “spiritual jukebox.”  It is a playlist of songs in my mind that the Holy Spirit will use to impart a specific thought to me.

A few weeks ago I could not get a phrase from a song by Randy Newman out of my head.  The phrase was “human kindness is overflowing, and I think it’s gonna rain today.”

Over and over in my head this phrase kept playing.  I pressed into the Lord to understand its meaning.  It took me several days but God unwrapped a really important piece of wisdom.

It is because of human kindness that evil is reigning in our nation.  Human kindness doesn’t confront controversial subjects.  Human kindness winks at sin and says “don’t judge.”  Human kindness says do whatever feels right.  Human kindness leads us to comforting the flesh of others.  Human kindness is political correctness and it is reigning in our nation.

God’s kindness, in contrast, leads us to repentance.

God’s kindness doesn’t mind to confront a woman at the well who has been married five times.  (John 4) God’s kindness doesn’t mind to knock a Pharisee named Saul off of his horse and blind him for three days in order to get him to repent. (Acts 9) In Revelation 1-2, Jesus uses some pretty harsh words to bring His church to repentance.  But these cutting words are meant to be a kindness.

There was a season in my life where God was teaching me to be bold and speak truth to people without apology.  Up to that point whenever I would confront someone in sin but I would pour a lot of sugary words over what I said and would even express regret for having to bring the word in the first place.  My feet were planted in the fear of man more than the fear of God.  I was operating out of human kindness.

God used Ezekiel 3 to train me to aspire to God’s kindness instead of human kindness.

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.  “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”  Ezekiel 3:17-21

This was a really hard mindset for me to shift into alignment with the Kingdom of God.  I very much disliked warning people not to sin by stepping out of the will of God.  However, these verses from Ezekiel 3 forced me to open my mind that if I did not warn someone not to sin that on Judgment Day, I would be held accountable for it.

I really needed to overcome my fear of man.

There was one instance I failed that cemented in my heart the need for warning people no matter how much my words hurt them.  It was a difficult lesson that I hope will save some of you from making the same mistake.

A good friend of mine was about to marry a man I knew was not from God.  She was caught up in his web.  She had previously cut off the engagement because the Lord showed her his character was lacking, but she ended up opening the door again to him and he swept her off her feet.

When she told me she was going to be married I gently said, “Friend, didn’t God show you his character was lacking?”

She said, “Well yes, but I feel like I have His blessing now.”

That is all I said, because I didn’t want to hurt her – or lose her as a friend.

As soon as the honeymoon was over, he began emotionally abusing her.  He controlled her and cut her down with his words.  She tried to make it work, even going for counseling but it was to no avail and she had to file for divorce a short 18 months after they married.

As God was restoring her I reminded her of the conversation we had before her marriage concerning his lack of character.  She looked at me with pain in her eyes and said, “Tisha, why weren’t you more forceful than that?  Why didn’t you tell me that God showed you this man wasn’t His will?  I might have listened to you if you would have used sharper words in your warning.”

This cut me to the heart.  I lightly warned her because I feared losing her friendship.  Instead I could have used sharp words and it would have been a kindness.  My sharp words could have led her to repentance.

God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.

Romans 2:4b (NIV)

Failing this test caused a new boldness to rise up in me.  The Lord allowed me to take another test of using God’s kindness to warn someone they were about to sin by stepping out of His will.  Fortunately this time I passed.

A friend of mine was a foster mom.  She wanted desperately to adopt the current children she was fostering.  I knew in my spirit that these kids were not the ones God had planned for her.  I trembled because I knew I would have to put my relationship with her on the line to warn her.

I did warn her.  She was greatly offended.  She felt like I was trying to control her. It ruined our relationship for a time.  But the Lord used Ezekiel 3 to encourage me not to back down.  I was warning her to save her from sinning by stepping out of God’s will.

God did bring her to repentance.  She let go of the children and as they grew up they caused great harm in the subsequent foster homes.  She repented to me and said, “The Lord showed me that the enemy wanted to bring that harm into my home through the generational sins of the foster kids. But He wanted to save my family from the destruction.”

I was so glad that I feared God over fearing the loss of a friendship.  By using God’s kindness - my friend was brought to repentance.

Human kindness says don’t cause others pain.  God’s kindness says I am willing to use pain to bring you to repentance.  Let us shake off the fear of men and align with the Kingdom of God.

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

Sometimes Love Has to Drive a Nail Into Its Own Hand

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

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

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

Friends this is love.

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

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

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

Crucify

[

kroo

-s

uh

-fahy] 

verb 

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

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

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

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

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

 Philippians 3:7-11

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

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

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

Nothing is wasted!

Are You Using Compliments or Flattery?

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

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

We need only the approval of the Heavenly Father. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salvation for Loved Ones: Don't Lose Heart

My mother died when I was four.  I so look forward to being with her again.  I know that she had faith in Jesus and loved Him and served Him while she was on earth.  I’m happy that she is already enjoying her heavenly home and with every passing day I am taking another step closer to her. 

Being with my mother is not the only reason I yearn for heaven…I yearn to be in the home that is being prepared for me.  I long to be with Jesus in His presence forever.

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.  Hebrews 13:14

To be with Jesus forever is our promised land.  Our mansion is being prepared.  He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will be together with the Lord.  We get a glimpse of God’s promise to us in Revelation 21:3-5

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"

Oh what a fabulous promise!  Eternally living with God in the midst of His glory and peace.  A new life with no more suffering and pain.  Oh what a Happy Day!

There are many of us who are crying out to the Lord for our loved ones to come to know Him personally. We want them to take the forgiveness of sins and free gift of salvation that Christ offered through His blood.  We are looking forward to the next life and desperately want our family and friends to join us there. 

Sometimes we lose heart.  It feels like it is taking too long.  We let fear slip in and believe the lie that our loved ones will NEVER soften their hearts to the wooing of the Holy Spirit.  But please listen to my plea…

God works in mysterious ways.  He desires that your loved ones make it to heaven MORE than you!  They are His creation and His desire is to bring them home to heaven.  NEVER doubt that God has a greater desire than you do for the salvation of your loved ones.

He is patient.  He is kind.  It may seem like it is taking forever, but He is a master at extending an invitation for a closer relationship.

Believe God!  Remember to look at the BIG Picture!

I want to stir your faith to continue to pray for the salvation of your loved ones.  There is HOPE!  There is enough time!  No matter how far away they are right now from the Lord.

When the Lord spoke to Ezekiel about the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 He asked him… “Can these bones live?”

The answer is YES!  These bones CAN live!  The Lord can take the driest bones and take them step by step through restoration until those bones become a great army.

There may be family members or loved ones who are bitter and angry at the Lord – they are dry bones.  But nothing is impossible with God.

We simply need to not give up praying.  Because to God – our prayer is fuel for His works.  Our prayers enable Him to move mountains and to bring dry bones back to life.  He partners with humans to bring His kingdom to earth.

Pray, Prophesy

and walk in

Faith

for your loved ones.  There is nothing that would tick off the devil more than you being at perfect peace while you pray and believe for our Good Father to bring His will to pass.

Steps to Wholeness:

If you feel powerless and are struggling to believe God will save your loved ones walk through this tool:

Renounce the lie out loud:

  I renounce the lie that my loved ones will never choose to serve the Lord.  Father God what is Your truth?  (Listen quietly for the Lord to speak His truth to you)

Declare out loud the

truth that the Holy Spirit gives you… then hold onto that truth in your heart!

Pray Ephesians 1:3-11 over your loved ones and insert their names.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed ______ in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose _________ in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined ___________ to be adopted as his son through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him _______________has redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to _______________ the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him ______________ was also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

Prophesy over your loved ones

that their dry bones WILL live and they will become and exceedingly great army!

You aren't powerless about your loved ones.  Pray and Believe!

Restoring Rebuke and Admonishment to the Body of Christ

The Body of Christ is in a ditch of kindness.  Somehow the definition of love has come to have a one dimension delineation.  Kindness or niceness is not the only definition of love.  Love is kind but it also rejoices with the truth. (Go here for a previous article about

The Definition of Love

.)

We have been programmed by the world and the hyper-grace church that if we say something perceived as negative, it is not NICE and therefore not Christ-like.  It has caused many in the Body to come to the place of being afraid to bring correction to one another.

Another reason this false Doctrine of Nice has seeped into the Church is because we are not taking into account the WHOLE Word of God.  

We pick and choose scriptures that define the paradigm of Jesus as full of grace but reject the scriptures that would define Him as truth.

Jesus is love.  But love is not the definition of God.  God is the definition of love.  Therefore, we must take into account ALL of His actions while on earth if we are to accurately understand Him and become like Him.  He came FULL of grace and truth.

His rebuke and admonishment were mostly to those who claimed to be His people.  He gently corrected those who had a soft heart and were willing to repent.  He used a sharper tone with religious people and sometimes His own disciples when they became proud or hard headed.

Jesus corrected and confronted people publicly.  He called people names to make a point.  He lost His temper in righteous anger.  He confronted people with wrong motives.

Jesus hated sin and was NOT careful with the feelings of those who were hardened to their sin.  His goal was always to bring repentance and righteousness.  He caused pain with his words in order to deal with people’s rebellion against God.

When Jesus did speak harshly, He did it with wisdom and tact.  He tempered His words and followed the leading of His Father.

John 12:49

For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.

Jesus only spoke what the Father commanded him to say and He only said it with the tone His Father gave him.

I would submit to you that if God’s people would do a lot more correcting and become like Christ in this area of rebuke and admonishment that the Body of Christ would not be nearly as immature as we currently are.  Sin hinders our relationship with Him.  Rebuking someone and cutting them with our words out of a loving (not controlling) motivation - quite possibly could bring them to repentance.

Proverbs 28:23 

He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.

This verse from Proverbs is absolutely trustworthy!  The times when the Lord has tasked me with rebuking a friend or a leader – this verse is the one that I stand on.  They may not appreciate my rebuke in the beginning.  But 90% of the time, those whom I give a word of admonishment to – come back and thank me for it later.

There was one particular time a friend was about to marry a man I knew was not God’s will.  Her emotions got away with her and she did not look more deeply at this man’s character.  I gently told her that I felt like she needed to REALLY pray before moving forward with it.  But I did not tell her that I had serious doubts that this man was from the Lord.  She went ahead and married him.  And after 18 months of verbal and emotional abuse she filed for divorce.

We later discussed the conversation when I had gently told her to pray harder about it.  Through her tears she said, “Tisha!  Why didn’t you warn me more harshly?  I wish you would have hurt my feelings and possibly saved me from two years of pain!”

She was not blaming me for her choices.  But she was seeing that I was a messenger from God who did not use God’s tone with her.  Instead of hurting my friend’s feelings… I bowed to the Doctrine of Nice. I should have hurt her deeply enough for her to reconsider her plans for marriage.  (I am grateful to tell you that God did bring her a wonderfully loving and God-fearing husband and they are living their happily ever after!)

Let us reconsider the definition of LOVE.  If our motivation when bringing a rebuke is love and not “control” of another person… Rebuke can be a kindness – because it leads to repentance.  If a right-hearted rebuke is refused, then leave it in God’s hands.  The religious leaders of His time did not listen to Him either.  But He did speak the truth to them whether they listened or not.

If the Lord calls you

to admonish or rebuke someone, be willing to hurt another’s feelings in order to turn them from their sin.  We can no longer afford to be double minded when it comes to correction in the Body of Christ.  Disengage from the false Doctrine of Nice.  In its place, let a desire for righteousness and holiness become your goal.  Let a desire to speak truth in love with the tone of God well up within your spirit. 

2 Timothy 4:2-5

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Admonishment and rebuke are actually tools for being a peacemaker.  God is not interested in man making peace with man.  God is interested in man making peace with Him.  This happens through repentance.  Sometimes rebuke and admonishment are needed to bring others to repentance.

Hebrews 12:11

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

God rebukes and disciplines those He loves…   Let us learn to love better.  Let us be His mouthpiece of rebuke and admonishment if He so chooses.  Listen and obey -- become like Him.  Let your motivation be love - not control and many will be saved!!

Love Rejoices in the Truth: Ask for a RED PILL!

Jesus used parables to convey Kingdom concepts.  The Holy Spirit STILL uses parables today through movies and books.  The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix are all books/films in which we can see parables that help us understand spiritual warfare.

We often use the parable of the red and blue pill from the feature film The Matrix at Tisha Sledd Ministries.  It is part of our purpose to call the men and women of God to take the Red Pill concerning the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven.

In the film, the hero of the movie, Neo, can tell that something is not right in his day to day life.  He lives a very dull, unfulfilling life that is an emotional greyscale dream with no hope and no vision for change.

His interest is peaked when he is convinced that is an underground technological civilization exists apart from his dismal day in and day out melancholy misery.  Neo’s burning question is “What is The Matrix?”  He is invited to meet a leader and prophetic figure of the underground civilization who invites him to choose the red pill or the blue pill.  The red pill will give him the truth and the blue pill will basically put him back to sleep.  But Neo is warned that the truth is more difficult than he may realize.  He takes the difficult path an chooses to swallow the red pill.

When Neo awakes – he realizes that nothing is what he thought it was.  His entire world was built on lies and perversion.  His world is turned upside down as he realizes that the dull, grey life he was living wasn’t the truth at all… he had been living in the Matrix.

The Matrix was an attempt by the enemy of his soul to keep him blind to the truth that he was actually a drone just spinning his wheels and making no difference in the world at all.  After he takes the red pill, Neo begins to fulfill his purpose and ends up giving his life for many.

This is EXACTLY what the enemy of our soul is attempting to do to us.  We are being duped by the things of this world.  We are caught up in good things that may very well not be God things.  The enemy would be very satisfied to keep us in a blue pill world and in his matrix of lies.  How terrible it would be to stand before the Lord and hear Him say – “I do not know you.”

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:21-23

The Apostle Paul was headed in this direction.  The devil’s Matrix of religion had Paul so tied up and twisted that he probably would have heard from the Lord “I never knew you.”  He thought he was doing right by killing Christians and hunting them down.  He thought He was pleasing God by wiping out the heretical sect of CHRIST-ianity.  Then one day God gave him a RED PILL of truth on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9)  Paul completely had his world turned upside down by an unexpected red pill.

Everything he thought was true – was not.

Friends – here is something that I really want you to ponder deeply.  We ALL need to take a red pill of truth!

AND - We need to take a red pill of truth often.  The truth sets us free.  We all have a little more blue pill in us than we realize. Just like the truth set Paul free from his Matrix – the truth will set us free from the trap of the devil.

I constantly ask for the red pill from the Lord.  Sometimes the truth hurts REALLY badly!  But truth will always lead us to the Lord.  It has come in so helpful for me to ask for a red pill about a situation that I am confused over. 

When I am having doctrinal issues with a specific ministry, for example, I don’t agree with an end times perspective that so and so is preaching, I ask for a red pill and pray for the truth so I am not held captive in the false Matrix of the enemy.  There are times that the Lord shows me my error and times He shows me the error of the ministry.

My husband and I were trying to figure out why we kept going around and around a particular mountain that we wanted to get past.  We asked the Lord for a red pill and God showed us how we were thinking wrong about an issue and needed to repent and renew our minds about it.

Other times I have tried to make relationships work that simply won’t work and I cannot figure out why it won’t work.  I will ask for the red pill of truth from the Lord so He can reveal to me how I am not lining up with His truth.

There are times that the Lord has given me a red pill about things I would rather not have a red pill about.  For example, one of the bigger red pills of my life was that I was in a ditch of self-pity. 

(You can read about that HERE.)

Other times God gives me a red pill about a friend, a community leader or sometimes a specific church.  When He reveals the truth about something like this – it is so that I will be aware that there are evil motives in the relationship and I need to be aware.  Or sometimes he gives me the red pill so that I can pray more effectively.  It is LOVE to know the truth.  Love rejoices in the truth!

My first instinct is to stick my head in the sand.  But that is the very definition of the blue pill.  The blue pill is deception.  If we choose to stick our heads in the sand concerning the issues God is trying to bring us the truth about then we have chosen the blue pill and we are deceiving ourselves.  We are not walking in love.

I encourage you to begin to ask for the red pill of truth about EVERYTHING in your life.  It is 

LOVE to rejoice in the truth.  You must first be willing to receive it.

Damascus Road experiences are hard but they are completely worth it!

Leah Was Unloved: Finding Peace in God Not Man

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

Leah was unloved.

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

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

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

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

not being good enough

.

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

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

Genesis 29:31-34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steps to Wholeness:

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

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

breakoff a generational curse (click here).

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

pray thedeprogramming prayer (click here).

Don’t forget to seal it up! 

(sealingup prayer here)