How to Access Living Water on a Daily Basis

As Believers, there are times we have experienced Living Water.  It's that feeling of being refreshed in our souls or the feeling of a weight being lifted off of your shoulders.  This is the process of being set free... it allows Living Water to spring up in our souls and brings us LIFE!

We first hear about "Living Water" from Jesus in John 4.

Jesus spoke to the woman at the well and made a really big promise – He said, “I can give you a drink of water that will never make you thirst again?  The water I give you will become a part of you and it will spring up from within and lead to eternal life.”

When the Samaritan woman gave permission for the Lord to give her the Living Water- what is the first thing He did?

He gave her the TRUTH.

He opened her eyes to her broken condition of insecurity and sin. He pointed out that she had five husbands and was living with a man that was not her husband.  So what did the Samaritan woman do?  She changed the subject.

Isn’t that what most of us do when we are confronted with the lies we are living in?

We change the subject – because facing the TRUTH is hard.

But Jesus did not relent.  In His ever-so-sneaky way, He continued to give the Samaritan woman what she asked for – He continued to give her the TRUTH.

He revealed to her that she was actually speaking with the true Messiah, the Christ they had been waiting for.  The person we know as the TRUTH!

The Samaritan woman is so overcome with the Living Water that has just been released to her that she goes to share the whole story with her town and they come out to also get the Living Water.

There is a simple, yet profound understanding in these passages about how to get Living Water.

Living Water begins with the TRUTH and ends with LIFE.

Because it is the TRUTH that sets us free. The freedom we receive from the TRUTH brings us LIBERTY in our souls and opens the way for the River of God to be released in us.

Lies and falsehoods block the Spirit of God from dwelling within us.  We must constantly be desiring the TRUTH in all things.  We must constantly be searching for the TRUTH about our own hearts and souls.  God desires for us to worship Him in Spirit and Truth – this means that if we are worshiping Him in our flesh or if we are worshiping Him with false motives – we are not truly receiving Living Water.

If we want Living Water we must understand that it comes from the Spirit and it is full of TRUTH!

A very simple tool to begin to clear your soul of falsehoods is called the “Uprooting Lies” tool.

It is a way to process the lies you are believing about yourself or about God.  When you process these lies by asking the Lord for the TRUTH – He gives you Living Water and sets your soul free!

It works like this:  (Begin with KNOWING that you are a child of God and that He desires to give you Living Water.  Begin with FAITH!)

1. Ask in prayer:  Father God are there any lies I’m believing?  (listen quietly for the voice of the Lord.)

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

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

3. Ask: Father God what is Your truth?

4. Declare the truth out loud.

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

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

After you use this tool a few times it will begin to be a spring that bubbles up in you on a daily basis. You’ll recognize that a specific thought is a lie and then you’ll take it to the Lord for His TRUTH instead.  And...Voila!

The Living Water is TRUTH that brings us wholeness.

How to Uproot Lies in Your Heart

Overcoming the Spirit of Abandonment

 I know it sounds crazy that I believed this lie for so long…but it felt soberingly real.

Growing up, I always felt like God would abandon me at any moment. I lived in constant fear that He would simply walk away and leave me.

It was a lie the enemy planted in my soul at the age of eight. I was suddenly abandoned by my earthly father. So that transference implied that my Heavenly Father would be exactly the same.

For me, the feeling of powerlessness caused me to be very works based in my relationship with Father God. I felt like if I was “good enough” He wouldn’t leave me.

That, of course, didn’t work. I was never “good enough.” Whenever I wasn’t excellent at something like getting B’s on my report card instead of A’s – I feared God would abandon me. It took me forever to let go of shame when I sinned. I felt like I was responsible for keeping God close to me.

The problem was, I had wholeheartedly swallowed the lie that my Heavenly Father was like my earthly father. And even though the Word of God said, I will never leave you nor forsake you – that truth could not penetrate my heart and take me to freedom.

It’s the truth that sets us free. But my little eight-year-old heart rejected the truth that God never abandons us -- because of my experience with my earthly father. The lie had a STRONG – HOLD on me. It became a STRONGHOLD that the enemy used against my soul. He played havoc with my emotions again and again because I believed this lie. I see it like this. He would whisper in my ear the lie that Father God was going to abandon me and it would spin me around on a sit and spin.

When we untangle ourselves from a STRONGHOLD – we are using the authority that Jesus gave us to get off the sit and spin. When we are able to exert our power because of the blood of Jesus, we take away the foothold of the devil to whisper lies into our souls.

If you suffer from the fear that God will abandon you – all you have to do is erase the lie by using these tools below…

Break Ungodly Soul Ties with anyone who conditioned you with a spirit of abandonment.

(I had to do this with my earthly father.)

1.            Lord I forgive _______________ for their sin against me. I ask you to forgive me for my sin against them. 

2.            I sever ungodly influence from them.

3.            I sever ungodly soul ties from them.

4.            I give back to__________________ 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.            Remove all faulty thinking from my mind.

8.            Transform me by renewing my mind according to the Kingdom of Heaven.

9.            I ask You, God, to set ________________ free from all of their wrong thinking.

10.          Give them back their soul.

11.          I ask You, God, give me back my soul.

Break a Generational Sin of abandonment.

Breaking off generational sin is important to untangle any sin from previous generations that still has a right to influence a generational line.

1. Repent

“God I ask your forgiveness for myself and my parents and every past generation concerning the sin of __________ .

2. Rebuke

I apply the blood of Jesus and I break this sin off of my generational lines both maternal and paternal all the way back down to Adam.

3. Replace

I replace this sin with LIFE and a generational blessing of ____________ (opposite of curse) In Jesus Name!

4. Release Blessings

I pray for the release of revelation and generational blessing that has been held up because of these sins.  May they be released into my life and every future generation.  I pray for more intimacy with you and for the grace to become like Christ.

Command the spirit of abandonment to leave you and go to the feet of Jesus Christ.

You have just done Spiritual Warfare so be sure to pray the sealing up prayer! 

(Click Here)

Maturing in Christ: Learning not to PANIC!

One of the biggest differences between mature and the immature in Christ has to do with our emotions.  When trouble or hardship comes, the testing of one’s emotional intelligence is the fruit that comes out of a person when hard-pressed.

When there is a possibility of something painful happening to us do we panic?  Or do we trust?

The root of panic is fear.  It is an immature response to possible pain.  It is forgetting that we are children of God and that our God is sovereign over the whole earth.

Panic is the fruit of forgetting who you are.

If we are children of God, then we must have our minds set on Him.  Our Daddy will keep us in perfect peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

This may seem like a leap of faith but if it is in the word it is absolutely true!  

Perfect peace is attainable through any storm – when we keep our mind focused on God because He is trustworthy!

In Mark 4 we see Jesus’s disciples panic when a storm almost swamps their boat:

36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples,

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Jesus was responding to their PANIC! The answer to panic with the storms of life overtake us is to remember who our Daddy is.  We must have FAITH in Who we belong to!

If the disciples had calmly awakened Jesus and said, “Teacher, could you show us what to do – we’ve seen your miraculous power before – teach us what to do in this situation.”

Here are a few examples of people in the word who DID NOT PANIC when life’s storms threatened to overtake them:

Daniel was about to be killed because the king was mad at all of the wise men and wanted to put them to death, but Daniel was calm in the midst of danger and spoke to the guard with WISDOM and TACT!

“When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.” Daniel 2:14

Daniel had FAITH in who his God was!

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die rather than bowing down to an idol.  They believed God could save them but calmly told the king even if God didn’t save them, they would not bow.

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us  from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

Ecclesiastes has an important piece of wisdom about panic.

If a ruler’s anger rises against you,  do not leave your post;

    calmness can lay great errors to rest. Ecclesiastes 10:4

When we panic – we make stupid mistakes!!!  I know, I’ve done it before.  I wish so much that I had not made decisions in the midst of my panic.  I have caused unnecessary drama or I have deeply wounded a friend when I have reacted out of panic instead of faith.  We cannot walk in wisdom and calmness if we are panicking.  If I had just remembered that my Daddy had everything under control, 

I would not have caused myself the pain of my errors.

Remember you can walk in PERFECT PEACE when your mind is focused on God and that you are his child.  Your emotions do not have to control you – You can submit your mind to the Lord and it will add maturity to who you are in Christ!

You are no longer a slave to fear – you are a child of God!  When storms rise up – have faith!

Steps to Wholeness:

God forgive me for panicking and not trusting You in the middle of life’s storms. Help me to keep my mind focused on You and Your goodness.  I am sorry for any errors that I have caused by not trusting You.  I want to not react in my emotions anymore – grant me FAITH to overcome panic!

Three Ways You Can Use Social Media to Spread the Gospel

I know some Christians struggle with Social Media – it can tend to be a public stage for selfish adulation or a place to air your complaints in public.  But when we get offended by people who use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. in an egocentric manner – we allow them to steal a very good platform for sharing the gospel.

Upon first learning about how Social Media worked, my friend’s teenage son remarked that this would be the way in which the Good News of Jesus (the Gospel) would be spread across the world.

Don’t get offended at the fleshliness of people who use Facebook to post their drama.  That is exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to do.  He wants you to get offended and abandon the platform that could potentially reach thousands, even millions of people.

As of November 2016, there are 1.79 billion people using Facebook on a monthly basis.

What if the Body of Christ took it upon themselves to think more consciously about our testimonies and about the goodness of God?  What if we used Social Media to preach the gospel to all creation?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  Mark 16:15-16

Here are three ways we can use Social Media to fulfill the command of Christ in Mark 16:15-16

1. Preach what Jesus did.

When Jesus came out from His desert experience, He was full of power and preached this:

From that time on Jesus began to preach,

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

  Matthew 4:17

This is an appropriate message because no matter where someone is at in their lives – the Kingdom of God is their answer.

Preaching the gospel is more than telling people about what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Preaching the Kingdom is giving people the answer that they need to their life’s problems. Coming near to the Kingdom of God is the answer for ALL the people of the world.  This is why we call the gospel the GOOD NEWS.

If people are hurting, they need to take their hurt to Father God who can bring healing.

If people are angry, God can show them the root of their anger and learn to forgive like Jesus did.

If people are in pride, they need to humble themselves before Almighty God who will one day judge them.

If people are happy and full of joy, they need to give glory to God.

If people are walking in fear, they need to know that becoming a child of God can squash all fears.

This is how we preach the Kingdom.  We preach the Good News that God has the answers!

Post scriptures that have come alive to you recently and tell why.

Post pictures that draw you close to God and explain why.

Post songs from Youtube that have been running in your head lately.

Post a revelation God spoke to you about the latest sermon you heard.

Invite people to church.

Post about the friends and family who God has used in your life.

Encourage someone not to quit!

Whether people listen to you – or accept your message of the gospel – is not up to you.  Simply ask the Lord for the right words and the right time to post His words.  Be VERY plugged into the Holy Spirit and follow His leading as you post the Good News!

“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke 10:17

2. Post your testimony…or snippets of it.

The most powerful gift you can give the world is the testimony of how good God has been to you in your life.  Stories help us to convey the message of God’s Kingdom.  Jesus even said we would overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.  Tell how good God has been to you on Social Media.

Make sure you aren’t whiney.  Make sure you aren’t drawing attention to yourself.  But give God the glory for how good He has been to you.  Be truthful.  Be humble.  Don’t be full of doubt. Believe that God will give you the right words.  Let Him tell His story through you.  I promise that your story will touch someone!

3. Repost good Kingdom content.

When you repost good Kingdom content (when you like, share, re-tweet, regram and so on) – it is like you turn the volume up on a post.  Every time you repost an article by Franklin Graham or a “Speak Life” picture from TobyMac you are making the volume of that post increase.

If God uses a person to speak His truth on Social Media and it resonates in Your spirit as a word from God – then pray about reposting it.  Only do it if the Lord leads you to, but if it is something that will preach “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near” the world needs to hear it!

WORDS are powerful.

Social Media WORDS are powerful.

Post the Good News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and all the rest.  Speak LIFE on Social Media and watch other people be drawn to the light that you shine so brightly!

The Devil’s Lie About Performance-Based Acceptance

Fear is the Devil’s number one tool.

I believe this is why it says in the Bible 365 times – “Do not fear.” (one for each day of the year)

In my experience of discipling others, I have come to understand that a large percentage of our fear is because we care too much what other people think.  We want to be accepted by the people around us.

“You aren’t good enough,” is a lie that perpetuates a cycle of fear in our lives.  It’s the one that keeps us captive to constant insecurity.

If you’ll just perform in this manner, you’ll be accepted.

If you would just pretend to be happy, everything would be alright.

If your kids would just behave, people would think well of you as parents.

If you would play the role we give you, you’ll be accepted.

If you get straight A’s, you’ll make us look good.

If you would just behave, you wouldn’t embarrass me.

If you would wear your hair this way, you would have more friends.

If your house would be clean, you’d be a mom that has it together.

If your kids would be good at sports, you would have clout in the community.

If you will just perform – you’ll be accepted.

These are all cultural lies that we have bought.  If we feel pressure from these lies it is because we are seeking to please men instead of God.  It can be a very hard lesson for some.  But if we are to become “little Christs,” we must be OK when the world rejects us for not conforming to it.

Jesus ran into this with the Pharisees.  Almost all of Matthew 9 is made up of the Pharisees wanting Jesus to “behave” (or perform in a manner they approved of) to be accepted.

“You can’t forgive sins!”

“You can’t eat with tax collectors!”

“You must fast according to our rules!

They laughed at him for believing He could raise a girl from the dead.

“He drives out demons using the power of Satan.”

Jesus refused to conform to the rules of men.  He did not need the approval of the Pharisees. He didn’t care if they accepted Him.

This is an area we MUST fight to become like Christ.  We MUST overcome the fear of men and their performance based acceptance.

Focus on God’s truth about who you are.  God does love you and has a plan for your life.  Just like Jesus did not conform to the ways of men but obeyed the Father in all things – So the Father wants us to become like Christ.  If we are constantly trying to be “enough” for the people in our lives we could very well miss out on God’s perfect will.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

You are a child of the One True King.  The only thing you have to conform to is His will.

There is absolutely no reason to fear the lack of acceptance from men.

Live to please only One.  Let everyone else’s expectations fall to the ground.

Here is a song that might help you through breaking off these chains!  

No Longer Slaves

The Danger of a Hive Mind Church and Cookie Cutter Christians

In my 43 years I have had the opportunity to attend almost every kind of Christian denomination in the US.  It's been a privilege to witness how God moves among His people.  We are a wide and diverse Body.

Some of us love liturgy.  We find comfort in traditional church.  The prayers, hymns, sacraments and doctrine make us feel close to God.  

Some of us love unpredictable charismatic church.  We love wild and free worship and the presence of the prophetic. We find fulfillment when the Holy Spirit breaks into a service to make His presence known.  

Some of us love a mixture of these two types of church culture.  Some of us like a little liturgy with a sprinkle of unpredictability.  Some like a lot of unpredictability with a dash of liturgy.  God created each of us to have different personalities so it is natural that we have different likes and dislikes.  

In the same way, the very diverse Body of Christ also sees the scriptures through different lenses.  There are absolute truths that one must adhere to (such as the virgin birth and that Jesus was the Son of God, was crucified and rose again to pay for the sins of men)  in order to be a member of the Body of Christ.  But after those few absolutes are agreed upon… the Body of Christ shares some major shifts when it comes to interpretations.

God doesn't prefer one type of church culture over another.  He created His people to enjoy Him in different ways.  He even allows us to see His word through different lenses and is well able to bring correction when we step out of His intended meaning.

The problem with some churches today is that they believe their culture and doctrine is the only accepted way.  These churches and pastors have put themselves on a pedestal and look down on other churches with an air of Pharisaical pride.  They believe in their hearts that they have the correct "worship culture" and no one else does.  They believe they have correct doctrine and anyone who does not agree is rebellious and cannot really be walking with God. 

The leadership of such churches end up programing the minds of their people to fall in line with church dogma. In these churches, there is a “code” that is expected to be followed and if you do not follow it - you will be shunned and rejected.

The leadership of these kinds of churches operate out of a spirit of witchcraft because they manipulate people into being shaped into an image of their making.  If you express an opinion outside the accepted church culture you are rebuked and shamed to get back into line.

There is no room in churches like these to have free thought.  Leaders of these churches program their people to being part of a hive mind.  This means whatever the leader has held up as the cultural standard is expected to be followed.  They are like worker bees who serve the queen bee.  The hive mind church mindlessly conforms to whatever they are told.

Compliance with the rules is rewarded.

Noncompliance with the rules is punished.

This my friends is NOT how God works.  God did not create His people to all be shaped into cookie cutters. 

It is OK to interpret scripture a little differently than leadership.  There is no reason that someone should be shunned because they disagree with an interpretation outside of the absolutes.

Paul points this out in Romans 14:1-10:

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.

God did not take the same cookie cutter and use it to create each of us.  Not everyone has to see scripture in exactly the same way.  We can have different beliefs about how the culture of a church should be and we should not reject another person because their idea disagrees with ours.

This is what happened with Jesus and the Pharisees.  Jesus would not bow to their way of doing things.  The Pharisees thought they had worship ALL figured out.  But really they didn’t have a clue.  The Pharisees had a hive mind about religion.  They all mindlessly followed the rules and they rejected anyone who wouldn’t fit into their cookie cutter mold.

It was the hive mindedness of the Pharisees that crucified Christ.  The “worker bees” all did the bidding of Caiaphas the high priest.  They were furious that Jesus refused to interpret scriptures the way they did.  They were furious that He didn’t hold fast to the religious rules put forth by Caiaphas, “the queen bee.”

Be careful not to judge your brothers and sisters because they disagree with your doctrine or your church culture.  The people who worship differently than you do are still part of the Body of Christ.  The people who interpret scriptures a little differently than you are still part of the Body of Christ. 

If you belong to a hive mind – God wants to set you free.  He wants you to be exactly who He created you to be without having to comply with the commands of a “queen bee.” You are free to be you!  God loves your personality and wants you to flourish and thrive by being original – not part of a mindless cult.

The Body of Christ needs to humble itself and not assume we have it all figured out.  We don’t.  None of us do.  That is the reason we need each other.  It is through the diverse expression of the entire Body of Christ that we find His image.

God loves all of His children and their personalities.  He does not require anyone to conform to a predetermined mold.  He’s far more creative than that!  Let’s allow God to shape each person according to His plan and not pass judgment on disputable matters. 

The Root of Embarrassment and How to Overcome It

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

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

So let me help you overcome embarrassment.

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

Yep.  That’s it.

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

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

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

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

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

Whoa!  Lightbulb!  I get it!

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

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

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

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

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

Steps to Wholeness:

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

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

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

Putting our "Feelings" to Death

My Dark Night of the Soul (click here) was extremely hard, as all spiritual training periods are.  I complained about three things repeatedly to the Lord during this season of suffering. 

My Complaint:

1. This isn’t fair!

2. How much longer?

3. Are you trying to kill me?

God’s Response:

1. You’re right it’s not fair.  But the great harvest that you’ll reap from this time, others won’t think is fair.

2. If it is one day or a million… will you wait for Me?

3. YES, I’m trying to kill you!

He was killing my emotions.  He was killing my addiction to comfort.  He was killing my “feelings” so that I would walk according to the truth and not my untrustworthy emotions.  The discipline I was receiving in the midst of the conflict of the Dark Night of the Soul was meant to make me mature and complete.

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

The very basic foundation for maturity is that we do not react to trials and conflict out of our emotions.  Maturity requires that we react – no matter how difficult the trial – with critical thinking, based in the Kingdom.

During my Dark Night of the Soul, I was constantly living in a state of Emotional Response.  My “feelings” were hurting and I wanted to be comforted.

I had to grow past my emotions and grow into maturity by taking responsible steps without letting my “feelings” control me.  The Lord disciplined me to come to a place during my training period to respond with strong, calm, sanity in any given situation.

This graphic explains the Path of Emotional Maturity:

Survival Response

We start at the Survival Response.  In our immaturity, when conflict happens in our lives our response is fight, flight or freeze.  We simply react in a manner that helps us survive.

We all remember times in our lives when we were children and someone stole a toy we were playing with.  We would choose to fight – get defensive and argue or literally physically FIGHT. 

Or our response would be “flight” – we would flee the situation and run to an adult for comfort.

Or we would simply “freeze” – we would let our power be taken from us and not do anything.

On occasion, there are situations in which we can STILL react out of Survival Response, especially in places that we are wounded.  Fight, flight and freeze are reactions because we feel unsafe. 

Fight, flight and freeze responses can damage relationships and hurt others when reacting to conflict in this way.  When we fight back we can wound another person emotionally or physically.  If we flee we can abandon people who need us.  And when we freeze, we become unavailable to help others with life and we are emotionally detached.

We must allow God to heal us from our trauma to move past this most immature response to conflict.  When we are react in a Survival Response it is because we believe the lie that God isn’t big enough to protect us.  Therefore we need to protect ourselves.  The truth is that God IS big enough to protect us we simply need to trust and believe that He has our best interests at heart.

Emotional Response

The next step on the Path of Maturity is the Emotional Response.  While it IS better than the Survival Response - many of us are trapped on this step of maturity.

When we respond to conflict in our emotions we respond in fear, hate, sadness, greed, jealousy, envy and so on and so forth.  This response can also be quite damaging to relationships by wounding others’ hearts unnecessarily.

When we are on this level of maturity we are giving our emotions control over us.  We live life according to whatever our emotions say.  We are constantly looking to comfort our emotions so we can be at peace.  If we are happy, we have peace.  But if there is conflict, we are not at peace. 

An Emotional Response to conflict can cause all sorts of unfortunate events.  We can quit jobs because we get offended.  We can end relationships because we fall into bitterness.  We can refuse to take steps that are God’s will for our lives because of fear.

At this level of maturity emotions and false peace are on the throne not the truth of Christ.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other…the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:17-21

In these verses Paul says we cannot inherit the kingdom of God if we engage in the works of the flesh, which are essentially emotional responses.  Maturity is bringing the kingdom of God to earth – that cannot be accomplished if we are still reacting to conflict in our emotions.

Critical Thinking Response

The goal of every Christian should be to mature to the point of being like Daniel.
In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar was reacting in an emotional response.  He was angry that his wise men could not interpret his dream so the King decided to have all of the wise men of the kingdom killed.  (Specifically he told them he would cut them to pieces and ruin their houses to piles of rubble.)  < ----  Yeah – this guy had issues!

Daniel responded in this way:   
When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him. Daniel 2:15-16

Now that my friends is a perfect way to describe a Critical Thinking Response.  Daniel did not get offended at King Nebuchadnezzar for responding in his emotion.  He did not give a foothold to fear or victimization.  Daniel spoke to the king’s officer WITH WISDOM AND TACT.  Then Daniel took a further step and MADE A PLAN.

Daniel completely diffused the situation with a Critical Thinking Response.

We must also get to the place where our FEELINGS are put to death and do not control us.  Every time we face “trials of many kinds” we must use it to grow past our feelings into critical thinking!  This is what will make us mature and complete not lacking anything.

Begin to ask the Lord to help you to put your feelings to death.  Ask Him to help you THINK instead of FEEL when you are in the midst of conflict.  Ask God to give you Godly wisdom in the midst of your trials and ask Him to help you not let your emotions rule over you.

"Somewhere in your Christian life maturity must override your emotions."  - Roberts Liardon

Jesus Prophesied the Coming Zombie Apocalypse

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

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

In a simple phrase…  Selfless love did not exist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are You Ready to Break Free From the Negative Cycles of Life?

Are you tired of going around and around the in the negative cycle of life?  We desire to make something better of our lives only to find ourselves falling back into old habits.  We WANT to make changes to achieve the potential we KNOW we have… but we find ourselves in an invisible negative cycle.  We have probably been programmed by negative messages, behaviors and patterns picked up by the people that we grew up with.

The people we lived with growing up had a certain amount of expectations that were placed on us.  Some expectations were Godly. Others of them were ungodly.  The ungodly programming that we received caused us to behave in negative mindsets that lead us around the same mountain again and again.

Perhaps you grew up in a cycle of poverty.  People talked about poverty a lot, there was a lot of negative talk about never getting ahead.  Maybe you heard “Every time we get a little money – something goes wrong in the house and we have to fix it.”  If you heard that a lot you were programmed with a mindset of poverty.

Perhaps you grew up in a cycle of fear.  Maybe a parent had a specific fear about rejection.  You saw them interact with people and they were overly kind and generous because they feared being rejected. Because you grew up in that atmosphere, that fear of rejection may be programmed mindset in you. 

The cycle of “not being good enough” is a very common cycle.  Insecurity is one of the devil’s most handy cycles.  We never break out and accomplish the things God has for us because we never think of ourselves as good enough to succeed.  This was probably programmed by someone you grew up with.

I wrote in an earlier article about being programmed with self-pity.  My grandmother planted a seed in me when I was very young to feel sorry for myself.  (You can read that article by clicking here.)

Many times in Church culture we are wrongly taught that if we just try harder to say no to fear and sin that it will get easier.  It is simply not true.  Romans 6 says that since we died with Christ that we are set free from sin.

Romans 6:1-3 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also LIVE WITH HIM.

But it certainly doesn’t FEEL that way does it?  It feels like we are enslaved to the negative cycle, when this verse clearly says we should be free.  We continually fall into fear (which is sin).  We continually worry (which is sin).  We continually fall into doubting God’s goodness.

What if getting free from the cycle of fear and sin was simply a matter of living WITH Christ?  Could it really be that simple?

If we are in agreement with the lie of fear – we are not living WITH Christ.

If we are in agreement with the lie of doubt – we are not living WITH Christ.

If we think that worldly pleasure is the answer to our pain – we are not living WITH Christ.

If we are living in a co-dependent cycle and looking to another person to be our savior – we are not living WITH Christ.

There is a prayer that we, at Tisha Sledd Ministries, have found to be quite effective in breaking out of the negative cycles of life.  It has taken us some time and it has been a group effort of trial and error along with the leading of the Holy Spirit.  But what we have come up with has been incredibly effective in breaking people out of those negative life cycles.

We have developed this deprogramming prayer that is powerful and effective at breaking your agreement with the ungodly programming.  This is how we walk WITH Christ – we break all agreement with ungodliness and apply the blood of Christ to past sins – and become transformed by the renewing of our mind.  All you need is a mustard seed of faith to see the wiring in your mind be renewed by the Holy Spirit and new life will come as you break the old negative cycles off of your life. 

We suggest setting aside a prayer time for yourself, invite a prayer partner if you would like (however, it is not necessary).  Then pray through each of these: 

1.        The Beginning Prayer – this is effective to clear the atmosphere and to hear clearly from the Holy Spirit.  (find it below)
2.       The Deprogramming Prayer – this tool is to be repeated for each and every negative cycle you find yourself in.  Ask the Holy Spirit who the programmer was in your life and then insert their name in the prayer.  If you know there is a cycle but aren’t sure who programmed you them simply use the word programmer.  Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you and to reveal the negative cycles He wants to set you free from.  Repeat this prayer until the Holy Spirit says you are finished. (find it below)
3.       The Sealing Up Prayer – this tools is NECESSARY to keep any backlash from happening over you after you pray against these negative cycles.  You are essentially doing spiritual warfare as you deprogram – because you are telling the demonic spirit of fear that you refuse to be in agreement with him anymore.  This is the essence of spiritual warfare – breaking agreement with Satan. (find it below)

Beginning Prayer

1.       We ask for a spirit of wisdom and revelation.
2.       Give us ears to hear and eyes to see.
3.       We pray against distraction.
4.       We take authority over and loose away from us any counterfeit spirits, doubt and disbelief, confusion. We cast down every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive and submit it to the authority of Christ.
5.       We pray for a cloak of invisibility.
6.       We welcome the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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. 

The Sealing Up Prayer   

1.     We establish everything we just prayed through by the blood of Jesus Christ.  We seal it up like a Ziploc bag.  Nothing can be taken from what we just did.  Lord send your Angels to protect the land we just took from the enemy. 
2.     We pray that all demonic debris would be swept up to the feet of Jesus Christ. 
3.     We pray that LIFE would inhabit every place that was just uprooted. 
4.     We come against demonic rulers, authorities, powers, and evil spirits along with their along with all their works, roots, fruits, tentacles and links.
5.     We pray for a hedge of protection by the blood of Jesus around every person involved in the warfare.  We pray a hedge around our minds, homes, families, finances, possessions, health, jobs and ministries. 
6.     We release warring angels to go out against the backlash. 
7.     We pray for a spirit of judgment and fire to come against the ‘Devourer,’ the ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Famine’ in Jesus Name! 
8.     We declare that we are hidden in you and that our exploits will not be recorded in hell. 
9.     We bind to ourselves prosperity and increase in every way over our lives.

A Strategy to Combat Anxiety

There have been several times in my life that I have experienced anxiety.  I have to tell you I think it is the emotion that I HATE the most!  I feel out of control.  I can’t enjoy anything I’m doing.  

Anxiety steals time from me.  Anxiety steals my peace.  In a nutshell, anxiety steals your life.

The other day I was preparing for a Women’s Retreat while I was in Staples picking up a few things.  Anxiety overwhelmed me and I had no idea what happened to trigger the anxiety.

I know that anxiety or fear is a lie, but I had no idea what lie I was believing.

So I began using one of the first coping tools that I ever learned.  It stems from the revelation that all fear and sin basically come from two lies.

                Lie #1:  I am not safe. (insecurity)

                Lie #2:  I have no value. (inferiority)

You can read more about this revelation in this book by Steve Foss “Satan’s Dirty Little Secret”

In my anxiousness at Staples I began to say to myself… “I am safe and I have value”  I would repeat this over and over.  Pretty soon I realized that fear was gripping my heart because I did not feel safe.  

I felt that I wasn’t going to get everything that needed to be done for the Retreat and suddenly my heart bought the lie that “I was not safe.”  I believed that I was going to fail and disappoint a lot of people because I lacked the time and organization to pull it off. 

But that was a lie!  I AM safe!  Because I have the Holy Spirit as my guide.  I also have many people helping me to pull off the event.  I had plenty of time to accomplish all of my tasks.  I just had to live in the truth that I am not alone. God is with me, therefore I am safe!

A friend called and was having some anxiety about a step forward she had taken in her life to adopt a child.  She said that all of a sudden fear had come over her, where before she had perfect peace.  I told her about my coping tool and she used it.  She said, she recognized the lie was that she didn’t feel safe because of all of the unknowns that happen when adopting a child.  But the truth is that God has directed her steps and she could feel SAFE because He would lead and guide her in the path He had chosen for her.

Another friend was going through a divorce with her husband.  She attended a basketball game where her soon to be ex-husband was with another woman.  She felt small and insignificant in a room full of people whom she felt were judging her.  She used this tool and repeated over and over in her mind.  “I am safe and I have value!”  This helped her greatly to make it through a very difficult situation.  She was feeling anxiety because she believed she had no value.  The truth that she needed to overcome the lie of anxiety was that she was loved and her identity rested in who God said she was.  Her value came from God not the opinion of others.

So next time you have an overpowering tidal wave of anxiety, there is no need to feel powerless!  Say to yourself “I am safe and I have value.”  Recognize the lie and take it captive and make it obedient to the truth of Christ!  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

The Culture of Winning in the Kingdom

Does it feel to you like the Church just keeps losing battle after battle?  Do you feel the discouragement to simply give up the fight and hunker down to wait for Christ's return?
It feels like we are always the loser and never the winner... at least that is what the enemy of our souls want us to believe.

A few years ago on our spring break my family drove back to Kansas to visit relatives.  It was a more nostalgic trip home for me than usual. In my melancholy, I asked a friend if I could come and visit the high school we had graduated from.  She was now a teacher at the school and there was an in-service so it was the perfect day to visit.  A lot of great memories surround that building for me. 

I was able to catch up with a few of my old teachers and we talked about ‘the glory days’.  There was a period in the 80s and early 90s when my little high school of 70 students won a state championship nine out of ten years in either football, basketball or state track.  The streak ended after my senior
year and the school has since been consolidated.

Our discussion turned to the new school and how there has been a struggle to find those championship attitudes among the students of the new school.  As we relived our glory years my old coach said something that was profound.  He said, “Championships are more difficult for those who have never experienced the culture of winning.”

Wow.  Suddenly that made a lot of things fall into place for me. 

Because of the winning culture that I grew up in, I expect to win.  I believe that I am a champion. I am an overcomer and I believe that nothing is impossible.  I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.  When I pray, I KNOW God hears me and I know that if I persevere that what I am asking for WILL be done.

In my short 42 years, I have watched the pendulum of our nation swing to an almost completely secular country.  The church has been losing ground for most of my life.  From taking prayer out of schools to Roe v. Wade to the infiltration of Gay Marriage to the government being able to declare Martial Law at-will, the Church has lost its voice and been asleep to the fact that it was losing the war against evil.

The Church MUST wake up and begin to understand the culture of winning.  We are more than conquerors.  If we we are IN CHRIST when we speak to a mountain it MUST move!  We have authority to bind up a spirit or loose a spirit.  We have authority to shut doors to things which MUST not be allowed.  We ARE the champions!  Through Jesus, death has been swallowed up in victory!  Now it is time to run this race like we are going to win the prize!

We can take authority over addictions that are rampant in our community.  We can cast down a spirit of poverty.  We can close the door to corruption.  And we can speak to the mountain called America and command it to move toward Love and Righteousness in Jesus Name! 

Mark 11:23-24 For if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

See, in Christ, we can expect to win. Stir up your faith!  Believe the WHOLE Word of God!  Jesus said that we CAN move a mountain... if we believe and do not doubt.

Meditate on Mark 11 -- these words are for us, His Body!
     …whatever you ask for in prayer, believe…and it will be yours.

Is there doubt in your heart?

Completely Surrendering Your Kids to God

My oldest son was diagnosed with ADD in second grade.  I am not sure you can actually diagnose ADD but Attention Deficit was definitely part of some educational issues he was having.  He was not able to pay attention for long period of time.  His mind would wander in the middle of class.  He would be looking out the window while he was supposed to be doing his work.  It was as though there were 5 trains of thought going in his mind at all times and you never knew when he might skip over to a different train of thought.

We sought the Lord for an answer, and after much prayer decided that the best decision for Josiah was medicine.  The medicine helped to calm him down.  He was able to at least finish his work and homework did not take 3 hours every night.  It was not a miracle drug.  But it seemed like his train of thought was reduced to three tracks instead of five.

I had to keep close watch on his school work all the way through elementary school.  I was in frequent conversation with his teachers.  He had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which gave him some extra help along the way, like someone reading

test questions to him, or an extra day to finish work if he needed it.

I always had wonderful teachers to work with.  They were quite accommodating and wanted Josiah to succeed - I saw his elementary teachers as my “partners.”


The GREAT BIG POND of Seventh Grade was looking me in the face.  It was a REALLY big pond.  My son was going from 25 kids in his classroom to 500 kids in the Junior High School.

I was so fearful that my little fish would get lost in that GREAT BIG POND, especially with his ADD.  I also would have 7 teachers to contact not just one.  I decided that I was ready to give up everything and lay down my life so I could homeschool him and make sure that his needs were met.

I got on my knees for several weeks and said, “God I will lay it all down to protect him from the GREAT BIG POND!”

The still small voice of the Holy Spirit responded to my prayer one day and said, “I have other things for you to do, you cannot give up your assignment to homeschool your son.  Pray for a ‘pocket of protection’ over him instead and I will take care of him.

Well I knew I had my answer and with a trembling heart I did what the Holy Spirit said, I prayed every day for a ‘pocket of protection’ over him.  I had the image of God putting my kids in the pocket of His robe…. As far as I am concerned what could be safer than God’s robe?

By the end of his Seventh Grade year, this son of mine had blossomed in a confident young man who “owned” the school.  Little did I know that getting up every hour and changing rooms and teachers was the exact thing that my Attention Deficit son needed!  It reset his concentration to have to go from room to room and to change subjects and teachers.  This GREAT BIG POND was exactly what my son needed to mature.

I hate to say it but the truth was I had way more faith in the devil to wreck my son in the pond than I had in God to protect him in the pond.

My faith in God has soared over the last few years when it comes to light being stronger than the darkness.  The GREAT BIG POND needs my son!  The pond needs more light.

I recently had girl tell me in 7


grade that Josiah turned around to her in a classroom and said, “You know what Katie, I pray every day for my future wife.”  She said she will NEVER forget him saying that. There are teachers that tell me he comes to their room simply to say hi.  Another student told me that Josiah says hello to everyone at school no matter who they are.

"No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33

If I had continued to walk in fear about throwing my little fish into a GREAT BIG POND, I would have put Josiah’s lamp under a bowl, and no one would see his light. By trusting God with my children I put them on a stand for the world to see. 

Don’t let fear keep your children from being a light in the darkness, God is MUCH BIGGER than the pond.

Hide It Under a Bushel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overcoming Powerlessness

There have been more than a few times in my life when I have felt powerless over a situation.  It is
frustrating and makes me feel helpless when I am in a position in which I have no control.

As a child I felt powerless. My dad and step mom’s divorce made me feel powerless and vulnerable.

I have felt powerless as an adult during a time when several friends rejected me.

I feel powerless when my children hurt and I can't stop the pain.

Sometimes fear gets the better of me and I feel powerless against it.

Powerlessness seems really big and it paralyzes us...  BUT powerlessness is simply a lie from the enemy. 

The devil, who is the father of lies and the master manipulator, wants us to feel that we are
powerless.  It is then that he makes us impotent against the kingdom of darkness. He wants us to feel like we are banging our head against a wall and have no choice but to submit to the circumstances we are in.

The problem is that our tiny minds cannot fathom how there could be an answer to the overwhelmingness of the wall we are banging our heads against.  How could there really be an answer to the powerlessness I felt about my parents’ divorce?  Wasn’t it the truth that I really was powerless when my friends rejected me? 

When we let powerlessness paralyze us, we let the lie be bigger than the One we serve.  This lie needs to come down once and for all.  The Truth is: if Jesus is truly on the throne of our lives - there is nothing that is impossible for us.

It is time to get our power back!

Steps to Wholeness

When we believe the lie that we are powerless, we must process it by taking that lie to the throne of God and exchange it for the Truth.  We must FACE IT, ERASE IT and REPLACE IT!

Face it!
When we get to the point of feeling powerless, we usually get angry.  Sometimes I get furious!  It is when this feeling arises that we need to deal with it in a healthy way.   Face the fact that you feel powerless about your situation.  Bring it out into the light and be OK with the fact that you don’t have everything under control.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify why you are feeling helpless.

When you find the lie – we need to take it to the throne of God in prayer.

Erase it!
Forgive the people who are making you feel powerless.

Taking the lie to God – out loud pray:  “Lord I renounce the lie that I am powerless about this situation/person”

Then ask “What is Your truth?”

Listen to the still small voice inside of you.  Possibly listen for a Bible verse to come to mind.

Replace it!

When you hear God’s truth about the situation, take the lie of powerlessness off the throne and put God’s words on it by declaring them out loud.  “I declare that I am not powerless because God says …”

Becoming Like Him
Think about Jesus on the cross.  It would seem that He would feel quite powerless being nailed to a tree.  But that is not how Jesus saw it.  He knew that there was something being accomplished through the pain.  He was not paralyzed at all.  The Truth was that He was setting all of creation free.  He didn't care what others thought of Him or how many of His friends rejected Him.  Jesus had an assignment from the Father. He did not let the lie of powerlessness keep Him from accomplishing His task.

Let God’s truth be bigger than the lie you are believing about feeling powerless.

The truth that displaced the powerlessness I felt about my parents’ divorce was that God was going to turn it for my good, their mistakes did not have to define my life.

The truth that displaced the powerlessness I felt about the rejection of my friends was that all I needed was God’s approval.  He asked me to forgive them in the meantime and promised reconciliation.

The truth that displaces the powerlessness I feel when my children hurt is that I can take them to the throne of God and help them overcome the lies and be healed like the following situation:

One time when my son Joel was playing little league football, he was being bullied by a bigger kid.  The bigger kid would tackle him and then lay on top of him while he said some mean things.  This made Joel feel paralyzed and powerless.  Joel is a good kid and didn’t understand why this bigger kid was coming after him.  We used the FACE IT, ERASE IT, REPLACE IT method above and this is how God helped Joel process his feeling of powerlessness.

Joel acknowledged that he felt powerless against this boy and was honest about his feelings.

Joel forgave the boy in prayer and renounced the lie that he was powerless against the boy and asked God for His truth.

He was quiet for a few minutes and said, “Mom, I hear that he has ‘parent problems.’”  This changed Joel’s perspective completely.  He began to pray for the boy and his home life instead of feeling powerless against him.  This made Joel feel POWERFUL!

You see, Joel was not powerless – he had the power to make a difference.  I was not powerless as a parent – I took Joel to his Heavenly Father to be set free.

You are not powerless – you CAN do something about your situation.  Put Jesus on the throne of your problem and let His truth set you free!

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.

You Lead, I'll Follow - Overcoming Fear

The need to control comes naturally to us in our fallen state.  It comes from fear.  We have a deep
need to feel secure.  This fear goes all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden.  The first sin came from the fear that our Creator didn't really have our best intentions at heart.

The serpent convinced Eve that she wasn't really safe.  Satan's words "Did God really say?..." caused her to doubt God's goodness and His capability of keeping her protected. (Gen 3:1)
Fear is a lie.  It is False Evidence Appearing Real.

Finding the root of a lie, is the beginning of overcoming it.

If Eve would have believed God's words instead of doubting them, she would not have been deceived.  She should have said to herself, "I have seen the Creator's goodness all of this time, I have no reason to doubt His words." She might have saved herself from committing that first sin.

The enemy uses the same thing on us today.  He is constantly trying to get us to doubt God.  "Did God really say that He would protect you from financial ruin?  Did God really say
that He had the right job for you?  Did God really say that He had a spouse lined up for you?  Did God really say that He would carry you through the valley? Did God really say that He had good plans to prosper you?"

Believing these lies causes us to make egregious mistakes.  When we make decisions based out of fear, we can cause catastrophic harm to our lives and those around us.  We feel the need to control in order to feel safe.  But the decisions we make from our human viewpoint can be small minded because we are not seeing the whole picture from where God sits.

God loves you so completely and fully that anything that He leads you to do or any time that He asks you to wait is because He has the perfect solution for your life.  He desires for you to trust Him.  He wants to fulfill the desires of your heart.  He simply KNOWS what the devil is scheming against you.  He KNOWS the path that will take you to the highest heights.  He can lead you to make the best decisions at any point because He KNOWS what lies ahead.

God loves you so perfectly that it should cast all fear out of you!

One must learn to come to God with every decision for His perfect will to be done in our lives.  This is how we live overcoming lives - we lay down our need to control and let God lead.

When we walk in fear and make decisions based on lies, we are essentially telling God that we will lead our own lives and don't need His input because His words are not trustworthy.

As Believers this is completely the wrong way to walk through life.  There is a higher way to walk.  A fearless way to walk that requires us to pull down the lie that Satan is tempting us to believe.  It requires that we BELIEVE GOD'S WORDS.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
God's word is FULL of verses like this.  It is important that we get to know what He says in His word so that we can come against fear with God's truth.  It is when we believe these words and not doubt them that we can let God lead our lives and direct our paths. It is then that we say "You lead, I'll follow" that we are truly safe.

Overcoming fear requires that we find the lie we are believing to uproot it from our hearts.

When fear rises in you, the first step is to ask God "What is the lie that I am believing?"
When you recognize the lie, renounce it outloud in prayer. (i.e. I renounce the lie that I'm never going to find a job. I renounce the lie that my friend is going to abandon me.)

Then ask the Lord for the truth.  Listen quietly in your heart and His truth will bubble up.  Or He'll bring a Bible verse to mind.

Then you must believe God's words.  Let His words be louder than the lie of fear.

Let Him lead you with truth instead of being led by fear.  There is a greater peace than you have ever known when you let God lead!