It's Time to Walk Away

ARE YOU WILLING TO WALK AWAY IN ORDER TO GO WITH GOD?

It's time to walk away from toxic relationships.  It's time to value yourself enough to go where God is calling you even if it requires the breaking off of relationships.  

If we stay too long trying to get someone to love us or appreciate us we risk getting off of the "Path of Life."

As Believers, it is not our goal to have peace in all of our relationships. Our goal is to walk with the One who we have pledged our lives to.  This requires that we recognize when a relationship is holding us back... and are willing to go with God, no matter what we lose on the journey.

Today the Lord is asking you, "Will you walk away from trying to get people to love you and go where I am taking you?"

Your journey is the one you will receive a reward for on Judgment Day.  On that day, God will judge you on how well you loved.  But we are called to love Him first.  We are called to walk with Him first.

We cannot love people more than we love Him.  Seek first His Kingdom, His righteous, His opinion, His desires for our lives and everything will fall into place.

Walk away from whatever toxic thing He's asking you to... moving forward in your journey depends on it.

"We must obey God and not men." Acts 5:29

Practical Steps for Processing the Pain of Hurt Feelings

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

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

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

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

At this point I had three choices.

1.

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

2.

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

3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Process

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

DEFINE THE PAIN

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

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

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

FIND WHERE WAS THE SEED PLANTED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLANTING GOD’S TRUTH WHERE THE LIE HAD BEEN

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

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

Now I am not feeling any rejection or emotional pain.

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

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

PROCESS COMPLETE!

Guest Post: Growing Through the Empty Nest

My friend Donna Cronk is a beautiful person inside and out.  She is a reporter at our local paper and I have been thrilled to learn from her about writing and book publishing.  She is an encourager and she loves to use her writing to shine the light of Christ.

     Donna has been an empty nester for a few years now and I just love that God has opened so many doors for her.  

I always try to learn what I can from people who are a season ahead of me in life.  It can make the path of life much easier!

     Today we are swapping blog posts.  I asked her to write this blogpost about her testimony and I know it will encourage many of you who are approaching the empty nest season.  

Thanks Donna!

- Tisha

Growing Through the Empty Nest

By Donna Cronk

They say the Peace Corps is “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” I don’t know about that, but it’s what I’ve always thought about being a mom.

But it’s hard, this mom thing. Sam was born with a heart defect and we went through scary surgeries with him. Then came Ben, who cried nearly every waking moment his first year.

Yet life settled into a routine of normalcy and there were soaring moments: a grand-slam homerun here, a glowing health report there. There were pizza nights and family vacations, Colts games and supper on the stove. I loved raising our sons, and I couldn’t imagine my life once they fled the nest.

Truth is I dreaded the empty nest with a passion. What would I

do

with my evenings without baseball and band, soccer and Scouts? How would I sleep wondering if the 

boys were in bed, safe and sound? How long would I go without hearing from them?

And worse, I wanted a do-over. I wanted to take back the occasional harsh word, be more

spiritual

, for all of us to attend Sunday-school classes instead of sleeping in, be less critical, smile more, read to them more. Be less tired. I could do better. Why

hadn’t

I done better?

I also berated myself because I thought I should be more prepared for, not undone by, the inevitable empty nest.

But long before I was ready, they were raised. On a single, late-August day, they

both

moved out: one to a city apartment, the other into a college dorm. My husband, Brian and I moved them both that day and by midnight back home, our house felt haunted by their absence. Neither boy would be coming home. I was overcome by sadness, the silence so loud it was deafening.

“God, what could You possibly have for me now? What could be half as engaging as raising those boys?”

I pouted. For a long time. I’m not proud of that.

I had gone from a full house to an empty nest in one day. Ben would still return summers and for a time after college graduation. But life had shifted on that August day to our post-kid era.

I did several things that autumn. I joined a Monday-night Bible study. Tuesday mornings I arrived ultra-early in the town where I work for a community-leadership course.

Walking past my older son’s room, which he had stripped of furnishings for his new digs, I felt pain. On his closet floor appeared a stray Batman cape from a childhood action figure. Bits and pieces of his youth remained, shed like old skin he no longer needed. My husband urged me to redecorate his room. Get a new bed, paint, the works. 

So I did.

I was busier than I had

ever

been, trying to push back sadness with study and activity. Brian, on the other hand, had a new pep in

his

step. “This is what you raise them for!” he boasted, not understanding my state. “Would you rather they stay on the couch all day, not go to school or work?”

Well, no.

One day during all of this Brian made a seemingly unrelated comment that somehow unleashed my imagination. He said, “When we retire, I can’t think of any place I’d rather live than Liberty, Indiana.”

Now this was a surprise. Liberty is a little farm town of no particular pedigree. It’s my hometown, and where we met when Brian arrived as a new teacher. My parents have passed away but I still have family there.

I don’t know if we will ever

really

return, but the idea of starting over back home, of returning to the comfort of our roots got me thinking that my life wasn’t over just because the boys were grown.

Maybe God had something new for me:

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” – Philippians 1:6.

Somewhere during all of this, I began writing a fictional tale about a woman who has a series of losses - her husband, her job, the hands-on mothering of her sons – so she returns to

her

hometown and opens a bed and breakfast.

But the move didn’t solve her problems. It brought new ones. She had to decide that whatever happened  – if she lost her inn, if loved ones didn’t support her, if her finances went belly up, if life in her hometown didn’t work out  – if she believed that the Lord was at her side through it all, and she leaned into Him, it would all be okay; she would have what (Who) she needed.

And I had to make that decision too. I am a Christian and I believe that God gave me this fictional story to work through my empty-nest angst. He showed me that He doesn’t want us to be so attached to any particular age or stage or place or people that we can’t move forward to what he has for us next. He knows what we need:

“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” -  Isaiah 65:24.

But not only did He have a message, He had new plans! He was creating this new thing for and in me – that of a Christian-fiction author. Before long, I had written not just a story, but a book! And if you have a book, there’s no need for it if you aren’t going to share it. I decided to take this huge risk and encourage others to read it. 

Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast

was published.

(Click HERE to read the first chapter.)

This spring, I published a sequel,

That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland

. This time the message resonated that we are to bloom where we are planted. My characters had to make some big decisions about where they would allow God to plant them.  

(Click HERE to read the first chapter of "That Sweet Place")

But wherever it turned out to be, the message is good news for us all: that God can and does use us everywhere, anywhere, and even right where we are to accomplish His purposes.

I don’t know what He’s got for me once this book-related journey ends. But it will be whatever He wants me to do. I’m all ears:

“Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” – Psalm 96:1-3.

I still miss having my boys around, but just as it was time for them to grow up, it’s time for

me

to grow up too.

Yet in my sadness, I had forgotten this: just because they have flown the nest doesn’t mean a mother’s influence is finished. I’m still their mom! I can still share what I think and believe and the ways to do that are easier than ever through texting, social media and when I’m lucky, in person.

God’s not done with my story! He’s got a new chapter for me to write – and to live. He’s not done with your story, either.

Donna Cronk is a newspaper journalist in New Castle, Indiana. It’s her delight through writing and speaking engagements to encourage women in living their dreams and blooming where they’re planted. Her novels are:  Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast

and

That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland. Both are available on Amazon and from the author. Visit her website:

www.donnacronk.com

or email:

newsgirl.1958@gmail.com

.

What Are Spiritual Parents? And Are You Called to Be One?

Spiritual parents are men and women in the Body of Christ that help other believers grow spiritually.  They nurture, teach, train and discipline the members of the Body to be mature in the Kingdom of God.

They are the disciplers who have a mother or father’s heart toward another person.  Their goal is to connect this person with God and help them to fulfill their purpose in His kingdom.

We are lacking spiritual parents in God’s kingdom today!  We may have people who teach and guide – but not many who are willing to invest and become spiritual parents.  Paul had the same problem with the Corinthian church.

I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:14-15

Spiritual parents not only encourage, uplift and empower their spiritual children, they are the ones who risk relationship by asking the hard questions.  They ask questions like, “Why did you react like that?  I am seeing some pride in you.  Is there still some bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart?”

Guides simply give the teaching of Christ.

Parents invest and become involved in a way that empowers the spiritual children to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.  We are in desperate need of spiritual mothers and fathers.  Has God called you to be one?

Here is the biblical structural pattern for becoming a spiritual parent:

Love

A teacher can teach.  But a parent loves.  

Love requires time, patience, prayer and sometimes heartache.  A spiritual parent is concerned with the heart of their spiritual child.  Their main goal is to help purify the heart of the child so they can fully become a child of the King.

This requires spending quality time with a spiritual child.  It requires praying for them and their family.  It demands patience.  And when dealing with broken and hurting hearts – sometimes it requires us to endure great pain. 

Our goal is to love our spiritual children like our Heavenly Father does.  He is patient and kind, but He also corrects and disciplines us.  A spiritual parent must seek to have the heart of the Heavenly Father toward those they disciple and obey the Lord as He guides the spiritual parent to mold and shape the spiritual children.

Humility

Being a spiritual parent requires that you seek FIRST the Kingdom of God for your spiritual child.  We must be led by the Holy Spirit.  If you allow your own ideas and desires get in the way of your spiritual parenting – you can do more harm than good. 

Always seek God first.  Always have your spiritual child seek God first.

On judgment day, they will not be judged for how well they followed you.  They will be judged for how well they obeyed God. 

It is the same with spiritual parents.  On judgment day, you will not be judged by how many spiritual children you had - but you will be judged by how closely you followed the Holy Spirit and not your own will for them. 

Just like your attitude would be for your own natural children, your only desire for them is to see them walking with God.  As spiritual parents AND children we must seek His Kingdom first in ALL things.

It is important that spiritual children hear from God for themselves and not always rely on the spiritual parent to hear from God for them.

Servanthood

Taking on the nature of a servant, the goal of a spiritual mother or father is to raise up a spiritual son or daughter to surpass them in knowledge, understanding and spiritual strength.  Becoming a servant of your spiritual children is the pattern that Christ left for us. 

Even though Jesus did play the role of a spiritual father to His disciples, He never called any of his disciples his spiritual sons.  His goal was always connect them to the Heavenly Father.  When His disciples reached a certain point of maturity He called them brothers. 

As spiritual mothers and fathers are NEVER to become “the boss” or “the master” over our spiritual children.  They are free to follow or not – just as the disciples were free to follow Jesus or not.

It is the job of the spiritual parent to serve the spiritual children.  It should always be the goal to raise up your spiritual children to the point that you can call them friend.

After you call them friend – you should always hope that they surpass you in every way and that one day you could learn from them.  This is what I hope for from my natural children.  I hope they can stand on my shoulders and learn more about the Kingdom of God than I can teach them.  I want them to return and teach me what I have not yet learned.

Jesus knew there were greater things for His disciples to do.  He even told them that they would do greater things that He did.  (John 14:12)  Our attitude toward our spiritual children should be the same… that they would do greater things that we’ve done.

Jesus even taught that we should call no man on earth our ‘father’ in Matthew 23.

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  Matthew 23:8-12

Answering the Call

If you feel a desire to be a spiritual parent,  I want to encourage you to let that desire become fully awake.  We have great need in the Body of Christ for spiritual parents.

Begin to pray to ask God to fully prepare you for being a spiritual parent.  And when He gives you the “all clear” sign begin to pray that God will bring you the spiritual sons or daughters that He is entrusting to you.

Just remember – your spiritual sons and daughters are never supposed to bring you glory.  You are to raise them up to bring glory to God.

Spiritual parents continually point to Christ.  Are you called?

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.

The Importance of Seeing the Big Picture in 2016


The Lord has been speaking to me about 2016.  He has been whispering to my heart... It will be important to keep the big picture in mind for 2016.

This is something that I often teach those I disciple, we must learn to see higher.  It is part of maturing in Christ.

In our earthly lives it is easy to get bogged down with family disputes, or a delay in the fulfillment of our dreams.  It is easy to fall into despair when there seems to be no forward momentum.  It can be overwhelming when the world around us is falling apart.  Our flesh has a HUGE desire to escape pain at whatever cost.

Honestly, sometimes don't you find yourself wishing that TODAY would be the day that Jesus comes back!  It's because we KNOW that our pain and suffering will end on that day.  We long for all that He has promised us - that day He will wipe away all of our tears and we will live with Him in glorious paradise!

We cannot continually hope for an end to our pain via "end time evacuation."  This way of dealing with our pain is escapism.  God wants us to mature through our sufferings. He wants us to grow strong and brave.  He wants to come back for a Bride who is His "match."  Not a Bride that powerless and weak.

One way to grow through the pain of catastrophe or relationship breakdown or a delay in our dreams is to see the bigger picture.

FEELINGS vs FAITH

Think of seeing the smaller picture like sitting on bleachers and watching a parade pass by.  All we see is the part of life that is right in front of us.  But if we get on the top of a building and can see the beginning and the end of the parade - this is how we see the bigger picture.

Sometimes what is right in front of us during the parade of our lives really stinks!  Maybe there is family turmoil, maybe there is physical suffering, perhaps financial trouble threatens to swallow you up.  When we see the smaller picture, we get lost in our FEELINGS of that particular part of the parade.

But if we train ourselves to see higher and get a glimpse of the big picture it eases the suffering of today.

Seeing higher and remembering the big picture takes FAITH.  It takes maturity.  It relies on us BELIEVING the Word of God and seeing our lives through His eternal perspective.

What if standing for truth in the midst of a family dispute brings you pain today, but just down the road someone is set free because you refused to compromise and were willing to experience pain of rejection.  Knowing verses like this from the word helps us see the big picture and relieves us from worry about today: Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  - 2 Timothy 2:25-26

God is not worried about your finances. He owns the whole earth.  It is when we cannot see the bigger picture that we get pulled down into despair. It is because we let our feelings take over and powerlessness overwhelms us instead of believing the word of God and trusting that He has a plan to provide for us.  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? … do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:25-34

When your picture gets small – your world get small – your God gets small.

Jesus kept his eyes on the big picture as He was being crucified.  He knew His pain was temporary, but what His sacrifice was accomplishing was eternal.  How grateful we are that in the midst of such suffering and betrayal that Jesus never lost sight of the big picture.

Remember that even if we face the death of a loved one – there is a bigger picture.  Jesus paved the way so that death was not the end of the story.

Losing sight of the big picture will cause you to fail.  I have fallen into this kind of despair far too often.  I have let the worries of today swallow me up more times than I care to count.  But I keep trying.  I keep setting my mind to be more like Christ.  To walk through the trial knowing there is a bigger picture, and not stumble with self-pity – This should be our goal.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:3-4

It is going to be very important in 2016 to keep our eyes on the big picture.

I hope Jesus comes back but in all truthfulness – His Bride isn’t ready yet.

We have some maturing to do before His return.   There will be lines drawn in the sand this year. There will be terrorist attacks.  There will be a hotly contested political battle.  There may be some nationwide financial storms.  There will be family disputes.  There will be a dividing line between light and dark.  As trials and tribulations come this year we will probably long for the return of Christ but let us remember the big picture through the words of Peter:

You must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:3-9


Ask God to take you higher to see the big picture.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:7


Why Asking for God's Judgment is a Good Thing

Have you ever used a word thinking it has one meaning and come to the realization that it didn't mean what you thought it meant?  I have done this too many times to count.  When you think a word has a specific meaning but it actually has another meaning you have the wrong schema.
One word that I have had to correct my schema of is the word "judgment."  In fact, I believe many believers have the wrong schema of the word "judgment."  For me judgment had always meant the wrath of God.  And something I wanted to stay far away from.  But by God's loving hand of grace, He showed me that His judgment first and foremost means His truth.  Look at how Webster defines judgment...

        judg·ment noun
          1 a : a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion b : an opinion so pronounced
I think of two things when I read this definition.  I relate judgment to having an opinion about someone or something.  For example, I judge (form an opinion) about a person's outward appearance.  I am also reminded of what a judge would hand down to a person accused of a crime.  In the world, a judge will listen to a case between two parties and hand down an "authoritative opinion," a decision which the judge believes to be the truth.   If a person is judged guilty, it is followed by the punishment which is rendered to the one who was pronounced guilty.  Notice that judgment and sentencing of punishment are two separate things.
God is our judge.  And God's opinion is always the truth.  His opinion is not swayed by any outward circumstances.  When God gives his judgment (opinion), He is giving us the truth about ourselves or a situation.
My heart was first opened to the judgment of God through the book "The Final Quest" by Rick Joyner.  Mr. Joyner had asked the Lord to judge him severely and ruthlessly.  And in this book he shares how God did judge him (gave him the truth) concerning his life so far.  God gave Mr. Joyner his mid-term grades.  Mr. Joyner was humbled and I was humbled right along with him to learn the truth about myself and the places that I had been so far away from God's truth.  But somehow having God's judgment about where I was with Him made me hunger for more.  Where else was I wrong?  What else did I believe to be true that was actually a lie?  Where was I disappointing my Lord?  I wanted to be right with the Lord in every place that I was not.  Those hidden spots that I couldn't see, I wanted to be cleansed.  So I began to ask for the judgment of the Lord as well.
The Lord then showed me several places in scripture that confirmed what my spirit was experiencing.

Psalm 96:10-13
Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."  The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.  Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;...Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
The heavens rejoice and the earth is glad at God's judgments. God's truth sets creation free.


Psalm 97:8  Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, O Lord.
Zion and the villages of Judah (God's people) are glad because of God's truth.


Psalm 98:8-9 Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord,  for he comes to judge the earth.
The rivers and the mountains sing for joy because of God's judgments.


The judgment of God is a good thing.  We have the wrong semantics about God's judgment.  He does not desire to bring wrath on anyone who turns (repents) to Him.  He wants to set us free with His truth.  Don't you want God's truth about where you are with Him?  Don't you want to have the opportunity to repent of wrong thinking and be encouraged about the things you are doing well?
God wants us to ask for His opinion of how we're doing in this race.  Remember how in Revelation, God gave His judgment about the seven churches.  He told each church what He saw from the Throne.  He gave each church the truth about where they stood with Him.  Three of the churches received praise and correction both.  Two of the churches He only encouraged and had no rebuke.  But to two other churches, He had only rebuke.  There was nothing He could praise about these churches, except for a few people who had not "soiled their clothes."  (Rev. 3:4) But to the two churches who He rebuked, He gave a plea for their repentance.  "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent." Revelation 3:19

Are you ready to hear what the Father has to say about where you stand with Him?  Paul says in 1 Corinthian 4:3

I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.  My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.  It is the Lord who judges me.

My conscience is clear as well, but that does not make me innocent.  I have to go to the Lord on a regular basis and ask Him to judge me.  I want Him to show me His opinion of how I'm doing.  I tell you - the first time I asked God to judge me, and I was shown my own heart, was indeed a difficult day and a turning point in my life.  But it also set me free.  God showed me how I judged other people without consulting Him.  I judged them by their clothes, by their appearance, by their speech, and by their lifestyle. 

When I realized how far away from the Lord I was about all of this, I was crushed.  I lost all confidence in myself and in my judgment.  I went to the Lord with a broken heart and said "Lord, You've taken away all my confidence."  And as His Truth always sets me free, He replied, "Yes, I've taken away your confidence in yourself, but not in Me." 

Wow!! 

I was changed!  I could see how I was putting labels on people because of external things.  The Lord is only concerned about the heart but I was concerned about the outward appearance.  I put all my confidence in His judgment instead of my own.  I began asking Him about different people that I had already put into my "unworthy" box and people that were in my "worthy" box.  I tell you friends, it has changed everything for me.  The Lord opened up my heart to people that I thought I was "above" and more "holy" than.  And I realized that some people who I thought were "holy,” were really only religious.   I am able to receive from people that I couldn't receive from before and I am more cautious of people whose word I took for gospel in the past.  But the judgment does not come from me, I wait for the Lord who will "bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts."

You see, I cannot judge anything from where I sit.  I cannot judge the hearts of men.  I cannot judge their churches. I cannot judge their families.  I cannot judge their lives.  I do not have the Truth from where I sit.  Yes, there is a gift of discernment, but even that is messed up with my own issues if that discernment does not come directly from the Throne.  Judgment from the Throne is a good thing! 


Ask for His judgment about EVERYTHING.  God’s judgment is His truth… it is the truth that sets us free!

The Shift from Milk to Meat

I was recently having a conversation with a friend who has entered a whole new level of maturity in Christ in the past few months.  She made a comment that she might need to look for a new church because she just wasn’t getting fed anymore by what the pastor was preaching.

I encouraged her to look at it from a different angle and I share that with you here…

In the natural realm, newborns must have milk to survive.  There comes a point at which newborns need solid food to grow.  After they eat solid food they grow up and out of the house – then they are responsible for going and finding their own food.

Spiritual milk is good.  We can drink spiritual milk for the rest of our life and go to heaven.  But drinking only spiritual milk will never grow us up into all that God has for us. 

Milk is spiritual food that has been processed once.  The pastor/preacher eats food from the word – chews it up, processes it for you and then feeds it to you.  Newborn Christians cannot process the word of God very well.  It needs to be broken down and processed into a palatable form before it is given to them.  Newborn Christians cannot do this for themselves.  It has to be done for them.

However, if we only drink spiritual milk we will stay immature.  Solid food increases our spiritual muscle.  Paul rebukes the church in Hebrews 5.

Hebrews 5: 11-14

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature,

who by constant use have trained themselves

to distinguish good from evil.

Notice that solid food is for the mature who have TRAINED THEMSELVES!

The milk that pastors give on a Sunday is for the immature who cannot process their own food.

The mature are called to TRAIN themselves.  This means the more you mature in the Kingdom of God, the more you must go and hunt for food yourself.

We need muscle to walk – we need muscle to climb.  We need to learn to hunt for our own meat in scripture.  We need to listen to the Holy Spirit for what personal Bible Study to pursue.  We need to TRAIN OURSELVES in prayer, TRAIN OURSELVES in obedience, TRAIN OURSELVES in intimacy.  There comes a point in maturity that WE no longer need someone in the pulpit feeding US.

This is where the shift happens…

Instead of going to church to be fed ---  go to church to feed others.

Dads: Give Your Kids Identity! - Guest Post by Tom Sledd

Tom is the husband of Tisha and co-founder of Tisha Sledd Ministries. Enjoy this guest post about the importance of dads giving their children identity.

i·den·ti·ty 

noun :  the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.

God has given each and every person an identity.  The creator defines the identity of His creation. The devil is going to do all he can to twist and pervert it.

When I was young, I had a birthday party at which I received some toys that I was extremely excited about. My friends and I were playing in the yard next to the garage when my father came out for some air.  I grabbed my new toys and came up to him excited to show him what I'd got.

I stood there with the toys in my hands as he looked down, never said a word, slightly shook his head "no" and went back into the garage. At that time i didn't think anything of it and went back to playing.

Little did I know that the enemy stepped in and planted a seed that would grow into a weed that would affect my identity for years.  I grew up loving the "geek" world.  Comics, toys, movies, sci fi, cartoons - all of it, but I always felt that it was "childish" or that I needed to "grow" up.

I had a genuine heart for all things geek but because the enemy twisted my perception of my dad's approval, my identity started down a different path.  The path was not God's.

It wasn't my dad's fault, he had just come out of the garage - probably frustrated at his current project and more than likely didn't even see what I had.  But the enemy stepped in and got a seed planted.  I spent the remainder of my childhood years growing up pursuing other identities - not the one God intended.  It wasn't until my adulthood that I became free of this lie and began to come into God's identity for me.

The lie I believed was that being a "geek" was childish.  God's truth is that He created me to enjoy all things geek and even wanted me to use my comic art to glorify Him.  Since becoming free I have started my own web-comic and I enjoy a closer relationship with my boys because we share the geek/superhero world together.

As the father of two boys,  I understand how speaking identity, more importantly God's identity, over them and help and guide them as they grow and mature.  If you think that speaking over your children won't work because they don't listen or they don't care, you are wrong.

A few years ago, my wife and I gave each of our boys a Valentine's Day card.  My wife wrote some words of encouragement and I wrote some words of identity - calling each of my boys "warriors."  After getting the cards in the morning and spending the day at school getting other cards and gifts they came home and could not recall what their mother had said but easily recalled what I had written to them.  It stuck with them for the entire day.  Those words were establishing their identity.

As a dad, there is power in speaking God's identity over your children, Identity is crucial for their development.

1. Jacob stole Esau's identity from his father. (Genesis 27)

2. Joseph's identity came to him in dreams, was confirmed by his father and drove his brother's crazy. (Genesis 37)

3. David's identity was established when he was a boy tending sheep by a "spiritual father." (1 Samuel 16)

4. John the Baptist knew his identity while in the womb. (Luke 1)

5. Jesus' ministry did not start in full until His Father gave Him His identity after baptism. (Mark 1)

Pray and ask God to share with you the identity He has for your children.  Pray it and speak it over your children.  Establish the identity God wants for your children and constantly remind them of it. Encourage them to pursue it.  God has a plan for each child and your job as father is to help establish and cultivate it.

Call them "good."  Call them "brave."  Call them "enough."  Call them "strong."  Call your daughters

"beautiful."  Call your sons "warriors."  Your words are important!

Be mindful of what you say in carelessness.  The enemy can take what you think is insignificant and plant a seed that will twist and pervert the truth.

Your children have been entrusted to you by God.  Establish His identity in them.

Is the Church Really Ready to End Abortion?

The year I was born abortion became legal.  Roe v Wade and I are the same age.  I have often thought about the people in my generation who never took their first breath.  I grieve the millions of babies in the past 42 years that have paid the price for our country’s commitment its own comfort. 

As difficult as it is to admit - the foremost reason to abort a child in utero is for our comfort.  In a 2005 study released by the Guttmacher Institute, 73% of women who had an abortion cited one of the reasons for their choice was because they could not ‘afford a baby now’.  In all honesty, isn’t that like using abortion as a birth control method?

In that same study only 1.5% of women had an abortion because of rape or incest. 

From 1973 to 1985 -- 30% of all pregnancies ended in abortion.  Seventeen and a half million babies, nearly one in three of my generational brothers and sisters, have
had their lives snuffed out before they were fully formed.

I think about all of the aborted children who had a destiny in the past forty years: painters, poets, politicians, pastors, inventors, businessmen/women.  These generational lines have been extinguished and my generation is now lacking their input.  I can feel that there is something missing.  It’s like there are puzzle pieces missing in our story. 

The stories of Generation X, Y and Z are each stories with holes in them.  The enemy used abortion to create those holes.

There are pockets of Christianity that have admirably warred against of abortion since it was instituted.  However, most of the Church has primarily fought abortion by financially giving to Pro-Life organizations. We have made some inroads with this method, but since the lid has been blown off of Planned Parenthood we must do more and NOW!


Giving financially to support Pro-Life causes is great and admirable.  But let me ask all of us a hard question…

Are we really ready to see the end of abortion?  Because if we are – we will also need to give up our comfort.


We can see the evil structure of abortion begin to crumble.  When it does there are going to be a lot of unplanned babies to care for.  Are we ready to be the answer for these babies? 

Are we willing to be more than pro-birth?  Are we willing to give LIFE to these babies? 

The answer to ending abortion lies with the Church.  We MUST die to our flesh and pick up our cross and follow Jesus in a bigger way than we ever have.

We will need to pick up our crosses and get our foster parent licenses.  There will be many unwanted children waiting to be adopted.  Are you willing to raise one more child in order to give that child LIFE?   

If a young mother would like to keep her baby but is afraid because she doesn’t have a support system, are you willing to carry your cross by being that support system and mentor her to bring LIFE to that baby?

I ask again, is the Church really ready for abortion to end? 

We have been praying for years to stop abortion.  In fact, we are so close to doing it! 
Prepare yourselves friends. Ask God what you can do for the next generation.  I beg you to close the holes in the story of future generations! 

Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24.


Let us become more than simply Pro-Birth – let us truly become Pro-Life!


Don't Build a Wall - Wear Your Armor!

Many times in mentoring/discipling men and women, we will run into a wall.  A wall is a self-devised protection around our heart intended to keep us from being harmed again.  If I were to paint a
picture, it would look like a brick wall put around a specific area of our emotions in order to keep us safe.

As we help people to mature in their faith, at times we find that they have trouble moving forward from a traumatic memory.  Sometimes forgiving people is difficult in a specific area where there has been pain. Other times a person has experienced deep rejection from someone close to them and cannot get past the rejection.

Whenever we hit this mental block, we know that a person has put up a wall of protection for some reason.  This "mental block”  or wall can keep people from attaining complete freedom.

The other night I was speaking with a woman who felt rejected by a past boyfriend.  She was having trouble hearing from the Lord.  I asked her if she had built a wall of protection around her heart to shield her from future pain.  She agreed that there was a wall she had
built after being betrayed by this man.

What we don’t understand is that when we build a wall to protect ourselves – what we are really doing is shutting down our emotions and that wall ends up separating us from part of our relationship with God.  We build walls because we don’t trust God to protect us.  So emotional walls around our heart are built on the foundation of a lie.  “God isn’t very good at protecting my heart.”

If an arrow of rejection or pain has pierced our heart, it was because we were not wearing our spiritual armor laid out for us in Ephesians 6.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:14-17
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (feet of peace) In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (emphasis and additions mine)

If we are wearing and using all 6 of these pieces of armor, then we are safe from the arrows of the enemy, and there is no reason to build a wall to protect ourselves.

If we LOVE the truth and have it buckled firmly around our waist, it will keep us from deception.

If we keep our hands clean and pursue holiness in all that we do, the breastplate of righteousness will protect our heart.

If we keep our “shoes of peace” on at all times no one can steal our peace from us, because the gospel (the good news) of Christ is our foundation and no one can snatch us out of His hands.

If we use our shield of faith when arrows of biting words come toward us, we will not be hit by rejection because by FAITH we know WHO we belong to.

If we keep our helmet of salvation on the tormenting thoughts of the devil cannot penetrate our minds.

If we keep the sword of the Spirit near us and use the word of God to cut down temptation of the devil in the same way that Christ did in His 40 days in the desert.  “It is written…” are very powerful words indeed!

Building a wall around our heart for protection is not a healthy way to deal with pain.  Scripture lays out for us the perfect formula to protect our hearts - we need to wear our armor!

Steps to Wholeness

If you have hit a wall in your emotions and are having trouble with getting completely free, seek the Holy Spirit and ask if you have built a wall around your heart.  If you know that there is one.  Put on the Armor of God.  Piece by piece, pray and put it on by faith. 

For instance, Father God I pray that the truth would be buckled around my waist.  I pray for the belt of truth to be buckled around my waist. I pray for the breastplate of righteousness over my chest.  I pray that the shoes of peace would be on my feet.  I pray that the shield of faith would be in one hand and the sword of the spirit would be in the other.

1.       Then with your armor on, picture the wall around your heart. 
2.       Ask the Lord if there is anyone you need to forgive. 
3.       Forgive those people.
4.       Ask the Lord for a tool to take down the wall.  (some people see a sledge hammer, some see a bull dozer, others see a pick ax,  others have seen a pen to write the truth on the wall) 

5.       Whatever tool you see, use it by faith to take down the wall around your heart.  You should feel some freedom come to your emotions.  Pay attention to anything that you might see on the other side of the wall.

Your Feelings Don't Matter



I was terrified to marry the wrong person.  I had seen many people in my lifetime who were so
unhappy in their marriages. I was determined to not make a wrong choice, but I was also paralyzed by fear.

My husband and I fell in love really early in our relationship.  We were both 19 years old. I knew that I needed to be careful because I had a wounded soul.  I was aware of my handicap and didn't trust myself to choose correctly because of the holes in my soul.

I desperately wanted to marry Tom, but I also knew that I could not trust my own heart.  I was afraid my feelings for him were based on a desperate need to belong somewhere.  I knew my heart was not whole enough to make such a lifelong finite decision.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is desperately sick: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

God was incredibly gracious to me that at the age of 19 I had the wisdom
to know the difference between my feelings and God’s will. 

God does not lead us by our feelings. He leads us by His spirit.  If He lives in us we must understand the difference between His spirit and our feelings.

I prayed for God's wisdom every day for 6 months.  I would pray “God, if Tom is not your will for me then please break us up!”  I would pray this every single day.  I was even engaged to Tom and still prayed this prayer.  God answered me in such a beautiful way, I think it was the first time I ever heard the Lord speak to me.  I heard His still small voice say, “Tisha you have been praying that prayer for six months, if Tom was not My will, don’t you think I would have separated you by now?”

It was an amazing place to be.  I had the word of the Lord to stand on at the beginning of my marriage. It has brought such peace.  Even in our darkest valleys I never doubted that I married the right person.

I followed God, not my feelings.

Following one's feelings can lead to unnecessary pain. In actuality, following the guidance of your feelings is idolatry.

The book of Judges is an interesting study in what happens to a country when it’s citizens follow their own feelings.  It is a difficult and sometimes gruesome story to read.  The Israelites who lived in this time lived lawlessly without a king.  Everyone lived however he wanted to live.

Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Simply put, everyone lived according to his feelings in the time of Judges.  It ended up to be a repetitious cycle.  The sin and idolatry of the Israelites led to God turning them over to their enemies, then God would raise up a judge who would deliver them from their bondage. (Judges 2)

This is exactly the cycle that happens when we serve the idol of our feelings. 

Remember the song by REO Speedwagon, I can’t fight this feeling any longer…   This is what we do – we say “No matter what God’s will is, I must give into my feelings instead.  I can’t fight my feelings any longer.”  We tell our soul you can have whatever you want no matter what God’s word says.  We put our feelings on the throne of our heart instead of putting Jesus on the throne of our hearts.

If we insist on serving our feelings, it will lead to bondage.  We will not be delivered from that bondage until we repent from serving the idol of our feelings.  If we are going to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength – then we cannot also serve the idol of our own feelings.

I have a very good friend who has been delivered from the bondage of serving their feelings instead of God.  She was addicted to the approval of others.  It was a FEELING of being accepted by people that she was living for. 

When she took her “feelings” off the throne and asked Jesus to be on the throne of her heart instead, she found a great peace, because she was living for the approval of God instead.

The enemy of our soul uses our emotions against us.  He tries to control us by tempting us to believe that our feelings are more real than God’s truth.  Jesus had to deal with this temptation during His 40 days in the desert.  The devil tried to use His feelings/emotions to get Him to derail His purpose on earth.  All three of Jesus’s temptations were a test of His feelings.  Jesus gives us a great example of how to answer the temptation to give into our feelings…we answer with God’s word. 

Simply put, temptation is always a test about choosing to serve our feelings or serving God.  God’s ways are always the highest.  His plan is always infinitely better than our emotions could ever conceive.  We will never go wrong by choosing to submit our feelings to God’s path.

I have to be honest with you.  I didn’t FEEL like writing this blog post tonight.  I’m tired and I’ve had a long two days… but I knew that the Spirit of God was leading me to do it.   I trust His leading more than my feelings.  There may be someone out there who needs to hear this message in the next 24 hours.  Whatever the reason God has for me to put my feelings aside and write – I will obey. 

“We have to learn how to live beyond our feelings and do what's right even when we feel wrong. ” – Joyce Meyer

He leads, I follow.  My feelings don’t matter.


Steps to Wholeness

Prayer of Repentance:

Father God please forgive me for putting my feelings on the throne of my heart.  I repent and remove that idol from its throne and ask You to be the King of my heart.  Help me to follow You, not my feelings.  In Jesus Name.

Overcoming Bitterness

Bitterness can cause your life to become frozen.  We become bitter because of anger (unmet expectations) and disappointment at being treated unfairly.  We resent the feeling of powerlessness.  Bitterness often causes one to lash out at others when they feel powerless.  It is a reaction to a perceived prison.

I say ‘perceived’ prison because the truth is that if you are in Christ, you have a Rescuer.  If you are a believer and follower of Jesus you never have to walk in a prison again, even if you are literally in one.

Paul's Prison

Paul was put in prison several times.  But during each of those periods in prison he accomplished much for

the Kingdom of God.   He ministered to those around him (Phil 1:13), he organized his ministry (2 Tim 4:11),  he wrote letters to churches that we still read 2000 years later.

Because Paul knew that prison could not really hold him, he treated it like an opportunity.  If he had become bitter at being in prison he would not have written over half of the New Testament.  If Paul had become bitter he would have become FROZEN and unusable to the Lord.  Instead of allowing the injustice to render him powerless, he used it to become powerful.

When we are treated unfairly we have choices.  We can ask God for the grace to forgive and move forward, or we can let the injustice cause us to get stuck in a victim mode.

Jesus's Crucifixion

If we look at how Jesus handled the injustice he suffered at the cross we see that he walked in complete forgiveness through all of the events leading up to His crucifixion.  Think about this:  there is no one who suffered more injustice that the Son of God who lived a sinless life.  He was beaten, thrown in prison, unfairly tried for something he didn’t do, abandoned by His closest friends, spat on, ridiculed and then crucified on a tree that He created.

No one has more of a reason for bitterness than Jesus.

And yet… He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus walked in complete forgiveness.  Though they tried to put Him in prison, His heart and mind were always free.  He knew the tomb was temporary.  He knew resurrection was just ahead and the reward that came with the resurrection would result in many more prisons swinging open because He laid down His life for His friends.  His pain would ultimately bring redemption to many.  He was not powerless - He was powerful.

Personal Injustice

The same is true of you.

As a follower of Christ, your pain and suffering is meant to bring redemption to others.  Because when you learn to overcome the schemes of your enemy, you gain authority in that very area to crush him under your feet.

I have suffered many injustices in my lifetime.  My mother died of cancer when I was 4 years old.  I was abandoned by my father at the age of 8.  I’ve been rejected by close friends and church family who believed lies spoken about me.  Betrayed by “friends” who have sabotaged my ministry plans.  I have plenty of reasons to be bitter.

But my goal is to be Christ-like.  “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil 1:9-10)

To KNOW Christ means that I must KNOW Him in His sufferings.  I must become like him in his death.  I must die to my right to demand justice and offer forgiveness to my persecutors instead.   God is able to bring about justice but it must be done according to His Kingdom – not according to my emotions.

No matter how unjustly I have been treated, I must always remember that in my lifetime I have treated others unfairly.  I need forgiveness myself for how I have treated others.  And Jesus said “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matt 6:14-15)

It is forgiving others that will release you out of your bitterness.  Applying Christ’s answer to bitterness will release you from your prison and help your life to thaw from its frozenness.

A simple but profound way to overcome bitterness is to understand what was going on inside the person who hurt you.  Most times the people who hurt you are simply acting out of their own pain and ignorance.  Jesus understood that his persecutors simply did not understand what they were doing to the One who had come to rescue them.  That understanding enabled Jesus to forgive.

My bitterness about my mother’s early death was aimed at God for allowing it to happen.  When I allowed God’s Truth to be applied to my anger, I understood this:  We live in a fallen world, and because we do life isn’t always a perfect storybook.  But He is big enough to see us through.  I had to forgive God for allowing a tragedy in my story.  The truth was, that the sin of the fallen world cause my mother’s death, not God.  He was the one who would sustain me through the pain.

My bitterness about being abandoned by my earthly father was swallowed up by the truth that my Heavenly Father is well able to make up the difference of being fatherless.  When I asked the Lord why my earthly father abandoned me, God gave me understanding that he simply did not have the skills to be my father, and I ended up being better off.  It was much easier to forgive and let go when God gave me understanding about what was going on inside of my earthly father.

When my friends and church family rejected me, I was able to say Lord forgive them because the Lord gave me understanding that I too had rejected people and was in need of forgiveness. 

I am not powerless. Understanding gives me wisdom.  Forgiveness makes me powerful.  

If we allow it… all pain can be processed through the filter of Christ and bring us authority to comfort others and set them free.  

Understanding and forgiveness without condition are the keys.  The following steps will equip you to process some of your pain.  You are not powerless.  God gives us POWER to overcome!

STEPS TO WHOLENESS

FACE IT:

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify the root of your bitterness.

ERASE IT:

When you know where the seed of bitterness was planted, forgive those who hurt you.

If you have trouble forgiving, ask the Holy Spirit if you are believing a lie.  Listen.

If you are believing a lie: 

Renounce the lie out loud (i.e. I renounce the lie that my father’s sin ruined my life.)

Ask the Holy Spirit for the truth.  Listen. (i.e. You may hear ‘I AM the author of your story – his sin does not define it.’)

Declare that truth in place of the lie.

If your bitterness comes from a trauma like rape or molestation or witnessing a traumatic event.  Forgiveness does not rely on your feelings - forgive by an act of your will.  Then ask the Lord where He was while you were being traumatized. Allow the Lord to show you where He was at when the trauma was happening.  Ask Him the questions that you have.  “Why did you allow this?”  “Why didn’t you stop this?”  “What was this person thinking?”

Father God welcomes your questions – He is very willing to give you the Truth in order to set you free. Be open to hearing His Truth.

REPLACE IT:

Overcoming bitterness is like pulling out a weed or a thorn from your heart.  You need the thorns pulled out of your heart so that it can become whole.  Remember you need to plant something good after you pull out the bitter weed/thorn.  Ask God to plant the TREE OF LIFE in place of the root of bitterness.  Ask Him to plant the Truth in place of the Lie you were believing.

Ask Him to seal up everything with the blood of Christ.  Return to use this tool as often as you need.  Healing and wholeness comes in layers.

Also: Bitterness can be a generational sin.  Check out THIS POST to break the generational sin of bitterness.

Revival Won't Come Without the Synergy of the Generations

Today at church we sang the song “Hosanna” by Hillsong United.

Here is a verse from the song:

I see a generation, Rising up to take their place

With selfless faith, selfless faith

I see a near revival, Stirring as we pray and seek

We're on our knees, we're on our knees

My heart was pricked as we sang it.  I felt the Lord infuse my heart with these words, “I need ALL of the generations to take their place for this revival to happen.”

God needs for all three (and soon four) generations to unite together in unity.  He wants to pour out a revival of the ages but it does not rest with one generation.  It is the one accord of the generations in the Church that will birth revival fire. 

 (For reference here are the loosely determined definitions of each generation. Boomers: Born ‘45-‘65 Generation X: Born ’65-’85 Generation Y (Millennials): Born 85’- 05’ Generation Z: ’05-present)

He needs the Boomer Generation to rise up and take their place with

the sage wisdom that they have. He needs Boomers to begin pouring out like never before.  They have been a witness to decades of good and bad in the Church.  They have a wisdom that is necessary for the administration of this coming revival.  Up to this point few of them have discipled the next generation, or if they have discipled them they have refused to hand over the keys.  This must begin to happen to see a synergy happen between generations.  It is not too late.  If you are part of the Boomer Generation, ask the Holy Spirit for a spiritual son or daughter to mentor with the intention of handing them the authority to lead.  Remember, they won’t lead the way your generation did so be careful not to reject them when they put your wisdom into a new language for their own peers.

God needs Generation X to rise up from its trauma.  I recently asked the Lord why Generation X is asleep and He said to me “Generation X is not asleep, they are traumatized.”  If you are part of Generation X, whether or not you are aware of it… abortion has taken a toll on you. (Abortion was legalized in 1973.)  You can feel the absence of ONE-THIRD of your generation.  (Yes I said ONE-THIRD!)  This generation was the first latch key generation, where both parents worked and the kids came home to an empty house. The previous generation has also rejected you as you have hit your head on a glass ceiling refusing to hand you the authority to lead.  Generation X feels expendable.  But the Lord would say, “X MARKS THE SPOT!”  He needs for Generation X to forgive both the Greatest Generation for abortion and the Boomers for not trusting you to lead.  God calls Generation X the Moses Generation.  You have spent your 40 years on the back side of the desert.  It is time to forgive those who tried to keep you down, find your voice, stand up and lead my people out of bondage!  Rise up Generation X and lead!

Generation Y (Millennials) You are called to be on the front lines of this revival.  You will have the voice of a trumpet and you will be the feet of God's Army that will GO and MAKE DISCIPLES.  Your faith will be a wonder to behold.  The miracles that God will pour out in your time on earth will be an awesome thing to witness.  The one thing that Millennials can do to bring the generations together is to listen closely to the previous generations.  You can save yourself a lot of pain and suffering if you will not reject what the Boomers and Generation X are trying to tell you.  Some of you have bought the lie that you are the only generation that matters, this is not how God’s Kingdom works.  The Millennial perspective will be quite valuable in the coming days, but they will have to learn to love the wisdom of the previous generations in order for true unity to come.

If each generation will forgive the other generations, if each generation will consider the others better than themselves, if each generation will be satisfied to function in their part of the body then UNITY WILL BEGET THE SYNERGY OF REVIVAL!

God works through the entire Body of Christ and that Body will hold Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials and we WILL FIND A WAY TO INCLUDE GENERATION Z!  We will not reject the next generations.  We WILL raise them up!  We will not leave them fatherless! 

I call to every generation to take your place, for the ‘near’ revival is now upon us!

The Body of Christ Needs to Lose Weight

The Body of Christ needs to lose some weight…. And I am not speaking of physical weight.  I am speaking of spiritual weight.

In nature, calories that are consumed and not burned off have to be stored somewhere.  If we eat more food than we use in our day to day activities, it ends up on our hips or midsection in storage until we go and exercise.

The Body of Christ has so much spiritual fat on our bodies because we are not USING the energy that we are taking in.  We are sitting in the pews or listening on the web to wonderful messages and worship and we drink it in, we eat it up and then we go home for the week and NEVER use the energy that we just digested.

The wisdom/knowledge/understanding/hope that we receive from the shepherds in our life is consumed for personal use and possibly applied to

your own life but that is where it ends.  We go back to our busy lives and the Kingdom food that we just consumed goes to waste because we are not sharing it.  It ends up a spare tire around our spiritual bodies.

We are supposed to spread the message of the Good News with people in our lives.  This is how we exercise and use the spiritual food we consume.  We share our spiritual food with our neighbors, families, friends and those we should be mentoring.

We are called to make disciples.  (Mt 28:19) I find that I use the most spiritual energy when I am mentoring (discipling). Making disciples is way more than simply getting someone to come to Christ.  Look at how Christ made disciples… He taught them, He shared meals with them, He did LIFE with those He discipled. 

Christ also was the one to pursue His disciples.  He approached the disciples and asked them to follow Him.  He waited on the Holy Spirit to show Him which spiritual children to invite to have a deeper relationship with Him.  We should follow this same procedure. 

Let us use the example that Christ left us with His own disciples.  He released His own disciples to shepherd others after walking with Him for three and a half years.  If you have been walking with Christ for at least three years, you are ready to disciple someone yourself.  Ask the Holy Spirit whom you should pursue to mentor/disciple.  If they don’t want to be discipled ask the Holy Spirit for someone else.

It would also benefit you, if you are not being mentored already, to ask the Lord for who to approach to disciple you into a more mature Christian.

The Body of Christ would not be in the spiritual crisis it is in if the members of the Body would take the time to spend the spiritual calories that we consume on teaching others. 

Today is the day to STOP letting the things of this world consume your time.  Cutting out some of the entertainment time that is devouring our lives will be a big first step.  Having your children participate in one less sport a year will not ruin your life, in fact, it will give life to a whole other family.  Today is the day to decide to spend your spiritual calories on something that has eternal significance.  Taking four hours out of your week to mentor two people a week will have little impact on your lifestyle and a huge impact on the Kingdom of God.  You could bring an entire generational line into the Kingdom of God by spending your spiritual calories where the Holy Spirit leads you too.

I love what 1 Timothy 4:8 says in the Message:

You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching.  Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion.  Exercise daily in God - No spiritual flabbiness, please!  Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.  You can count on this.  Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally.  We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.

My team and I are working on getting tools into your hands to equip you more properly when it comes to mentoring/discipling.  Be watching over the next few weeks as we begin to make those tools available.  

In the meantime, repent to God for letting entertainment consume your time.  Commit to God to spend your spiritual calories in the right place and seek the Lord for who He would want you to pursue for mentorship.

The Body of Christ doesn’t need to go on a diet --- it needs to begin EXERCISING what it has already consumed!  If you aren't discipling - you are disobeying God!