Why Won't These Demons Obey?

Luke 10: 18-19 “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you."

If Jesus gave us authority over ALL of the power of the enemy and NOTHING is supposed to harm us... why is it STILL happening?

Why won't these demons obey us?

Well... largely because Satan is a legalist. He will use every single loophole he can find in order to keep you sick, depressed, deceived, and broke. This is one of the main reasons the Body of Christ hasn’t reached maturity yet.  Because we think God’s grace overrides Satan’s legalism.

But it doesn’t.

Not when it comes to sin. We cannot drive out what we are guilty of.  If we are guilty of the sin of manipulation, we cannot drive out Jezebel. If we do not specifically ask forgiveness for the sin of manipulation--- then the enemy will use it to refuse to obey our commands.

A friend of mine kept having trouble in her home, with different fears and anxiety attacks coming over her children. She tried and tried to get those demons to stop. And she cried out to God for help.  He revealed to her in a dream that she was guilty of the sin of Pharmakeia. (Pharmakeia is the strongman over the manipulation of medicine. We are guilty of it when we try to come up with our own treatment for sickness instead of seeking God’s kingdom first. This would include blindly taking prescriptions from the doctor without seeking for God’s wisdom first. And certainly Pharmakeia has to do with all forms of taking illegal drugs in order to manipulate our minds and bodies into a false high.)

It occurred to her that her house had been a former drug house and she had prayed that every sin on the property would be forgiven.

But she didn’t have understanding about two things:

1.  Satan is a legalist and she had to specifically address Pharmakeia.

2.  She was guilty of Pharmakeia and the devil was not required to obey her commands.

But God, who is the Way-Maker, showed her the answer to her cry.  She repented for Pharmakeia, broke the generational sin, and then was able to address that specific spirit.

I feel that this is something that the Body of Christ MUST come to understand:

We must repent with specifics.

And we must war with specifics. 

Shotguns do not work very well in Spiritual Warfare.  We can't just aim and hope we hit our target. Snipers are much more effective. Specific targeted prayer is what God needs from us.

We close loopholes by letting the Holy Spirit lead us to take out every speck and log in our own eye before drawing our sword against the enemy’s kingdom.

It is when we can see clearly that we have authority over the devil and his demons. I want to encourage everyone reading this to spend a prayer session being SPECIFIC in repentance.  Ask God to forgive you for the pencil you took in 5th grade. Be that specific!

Let me help you get started. Here is a list of things you can repent from.

I would ask you to listen closely to the Holy Spirit as well and use the Breaking Generational Sin Prayer (Click here)  on anything He directs you to.  Be sure to  seal it up by using this prayer after you spend time asking forgiveness for specifics!

Abandoning God’s will

Anger (towards God and others)

Neglecting people and God

Not believing God’s word

Performing for the approval of men

Rebellion

Buying the lie of shame

Being a victim

Addiction

Emotional or Co-Dependency

Anxiety

Bitterness

Deceiving anyone

Letting depression win

Using escapism

Letting a spirit of failure bring paralyzation

Financially poor stewardship

Letting grief swallow our lives

Handing our identity over to men

Mocking others/gossip/slander

Lack of Faith/Fear

Lack of Motivation/Sloth

Pride

Religious Bondage

Violence and hatred

Occult/Horoscope/Ouija

Sexual sin/Perversion

Idolatry of created things

Allow the Holy Spirit to bring up other specific sins…

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

God Won’t Bring Revival Until This Happens First

I want revival to be poured out so badly!  I want the Spirit of God to pour and pour and pour until the whole land is renewed and the people SEE the glory of the Lord.

There have been little drops of revival rain here and there – but nothing like a downpour.  And friends we need a downpour! 

It feels like we’re waiting on God.  Why is He taking so long?  There are so many hurting people.  Our country is in so much pain and confusion.  We NEED an outpouring of His Spirit!  We NEED for Him to come and redeem us out of the pit.

But, we have it twisted.  The truth is…

We’re not waiting on God.  He’s waiting on us.

We are the ones who “prepare the way for the Lord and make straight paths for him.”

When John the Baptist came in his camel hair outfits and crazy locust diet, he preached something that was unheard of at the time.  He preached repentance.

Up to that time people asked forgiveness for their sins and offered sacrifices – but no one was preaching repentance.  John’s message was different and it stood out.  He was calling for people to turn from their sin and then stand in continual righteousness.  He was calling for people to DO WHAT WAS RIGHT in the eyes of the Lord.

In all four gospels, John the Baptist is crying out from the desert for people to repent from their sins for the Kingdom of heaven is near.  He is the prophet written about in Isaiah 40:3-5 (NKJV)

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

“Prepare the way of the Lord;

Make straight in the desert

A highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be exalted

And every mountain and hill brought low;

The crooked places shall be made straight

And the rough places smooth;

5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,

And all flesh shall see it together;

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Pay attention here, because we are shown what must happen before the glory of the Lord is revealed.

  1. The valleys shall be raised up. – (We shall be lifted up out of the insecurities and depression of the valley.)

  2. The mountains shall come down. – (Our pride and vanity shall be brought low.)

  3. The crooked places made straight. – (The twisted thinking about God and His Kingdom shall be untwisted with His truth.)

  4. The rough places made smooth. – (We will learn to dwell together in unity with one another, without personalities clashing or taking offense.)

THEN…

The glory of the Lord will be revealed.

Repentance comes first… then the glory.

There is a confirming of this verse in Isaiah 59:19-20 (NIV)

19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,

    and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.

For he will come like a pent-up flood

    that the breath of the Lord drives along.

20 “

The Redeemer will come to Zion,

    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins

,”

declares the Lord.

The Lord wants to come like a pent-up flood.  He wants His creation to revere His glory… but He comes to those who repent of their sins.

Repentance comes first… then the glory.

This takes me back to the beginning.  We aren’t waiting on the Lord for revival. He is waiting on us.

The Redeemer is waiting on us to turn completely to Him. 

(VALLEYS RAISED UP)

He is waiting for us to BELIEVE that we are sons and daughters of God.  He is waiting for us to BELIEVE that His Son paid the price for our shame.

(MOUNTAINS BROUGHT DOWN)

He is waiting for our pride and self-righteousness to come down.  He desires that we stop presuming we know His ways when we don’t.

(CROOKED PLACES STRAIGHT)

He is waiting for us to let loose of some of our pet doctrines and allow His Spirit to show us a deeper meaning.  He is waiting for us to let go of the Letter of the Law and to let the Spirit of the Law be our guide.

(ROUGH PLACES SMOOTH)

He is waiting for us to stop hating our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  He desires for us to love each other even in the midst of disagreement.  He is waiting for grace and understanding and patience to exude from His Bride.

God wants to bring the glory of revival.

… but He is waiting on you.

Are you willing to lay it all down and prepare the way for the Lord in your own heart?

Repentance brings revival.

STEPS TO WHOLENESS

God, I come humbly to Your altar and pray for a spirit of repentance to be poured out on my heart.  I want to fear You.  I want to seek You with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Please forgive me for being unwilling to turn from My sin.  Please forgive me for not allowing You to have ALL of my heart. 

I ask to be delivered from my sin and my shame.  I ask You to start a fire in my soul that I might become a flame for You.  Help me to walk away from lukewarmness.   I ask You to convict me when I am not keeping with repentance.  Raise up my valleys, bring down my mountains, make my crooked places straight and my rough places smooth.

Thank You that Your arms are open wide. Thank You that You are a gentle shepherd.  Thank You for taking my shame.  I want to walk closer to You.  I want to be known as Yours! 

I pray for an outpouring of Your glory.  Baptize me anew with Your Holy Spirit.  In the mighty name of Jesus.

The Danger of Demonstrating False Love

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

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

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

God is love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love is kind… and holy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How We Hurt God's Heart With Our Golden Calf Syndrome

The Israelites were in slavery for 400 years.  It was a slow process.  First, they were welcomed in Egypt because of the great wisdom that Joseph brought to the nation. He saved them from a seven-year famine because of his relationship with God and understanding of dream interpretation.

But there came a time that the Egyptians forgot what the ancestor of the Hebrews had done for them.  Eventually, the Egyptians began to take advantage of the Israelites and pretty soon they found themselves in chains to Pharaoh and his plans.

They were indoctrinated in the ways of Egypt. And even though they told the stories of the Hebrew God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob He must have seemed like a weak God to them.  Bitterness and doubts of God's goodness probably set in among some of them. 

When Moses showed up as the "deliverer", they still had trouble believing it was really real.  They didn't truly know the I AM because they had only ever heard stories about Him.  They knew about God, but they didn't know Him in personal experience.

They understood the gods of Egypt. They understood the shallow worship of their slave masters. It was the only other kind of worship the Israelites had ever seen. The kind where you bowed down to a carved image.

When the I AM delivered them from Pharaoh with such amazing displays of the plagues and the Passover and then the Red Sea… the Hebrews finally experienced the magnificence of their God.

On the other side of the Red Sea, they were still full of the ways of Egypt.  They built a golden calf in the style of Egypt and bowed down saying behold the god who brought us out of Egypt.

Exodus 32

2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

What the Israelites failed to understand was that He was nothing like the earthly gods they had seen Egypt worship.  He is too big and holy to be confined to an earthen vessel. But the Israelites wanted to be like Egypt.  They wanted a god they could define.

We too wrestle with wanting to be like the world in how we worship. We bring God down and try to encase Him in an earthen vessel.

We make the same mistake every time we worship a pastor because of his preaching ability.  We make a golden calf to him and say behold the earthen vessel that set me free! 

We make golden calves to great worship leaders or a song writer or a Christian author and say behold the earthen vessel that helped me through my dark night!

We make golden calves when we worship people who have been instrumental in teaching us great revelation or Christian programs that have led us to freedom.  We do the same to those who work in miracles and healing. Whenever we give an earthen vessel the glory for delivering us from bondage.  We have set them up as a false God, and we completely have missed the point.  The point is that the I Am is the One who sets us free. He will not be brought down to our level… He will not be contained.

It's time to check your heart for golden calves! Have you put a program or a person on a pedestal and said: "Behold the god who set me free?"

God doesn't share His glory with earthen vessels or with golden calves.

Anything that has set you free and built you up in the Lord has originated from Him, and He is the only One who deserves your praise!

People and programs are not meant for pedestals!   

Steps to Wholeness

Father God we pray that You would reveal any programs or people that we have put up on pedestals.  We repent for giving earthly things the glory that only belongs to You.  We ask You to weed out of our heart the tendency we have to worship golden calves.  You alone deserve the praise and glory.  In the name of Jesus, we ask these things! AMEN

How to Improve the Quality of Your Life by Improving Your Foundation

Jesus said there were two foundations to choose from.  He said we could build our lives on the sand or we could build our lives on the rock.

The SAND shifts.

If our feet are standing on sand, we are dependent on the circumstances of life.  When the conditions of our life shifts, our footing becomes unstable.  If we lose a job, if a loved one dies, if relationships become broken – our lives that were built on the shifting sand of our circumstances is thrown into uncertainty.

The ROCK is steady.

If our feet are standing on the rock, we are dependent on the person of Jesus Christ.  When circumstances of our life shift, it does not affect our footing.  If we lose a job, a loved one, or relationships become broken – we have no fear because we are still certain of the outcome because we KNOW that we are deeply loved and valued by the “ROCK” that we are standing on.  We know that Jesus will turn all things for our good – because we are standing on the rock – everything will eventually be ALL right.  However, there is a stipulation.

The Word says that we must put His words into practice!!  We must BELIEVE what God says in the Word.

The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 

25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 

27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

The circumstances of the SAND often revolve around what the world and our friends say about us.  The “SAND” is basically the approval of others or the self-defined peace that comes from our own minds.

The “SAND” says… 

You are awesome if you are winning.

If you have the right group of friends – you are accepted.

If you are making a certain amount of money then you are valuable.

If you have a family that is perfect in the eyes of the world you are valuable.

If you look a certain way – you are valuable.

If your relationships are at peace – you are alright.

But “The ROCK”  says…

There is nothing in the world that can separate us from the ROCK of God’s love.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:38-39)

We no longer have to fear our circumstances because we are on the ROCK.

So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir

.(Galatians 4:7)

The ROCK uses everything in our lives and turns it for good.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

We have direct access to the ROCK at all times.

[Jesus Christ] In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. (Ephesians 3:12)

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

The grace of the ROCK enables us to endure any situation in which God may place us.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

If you build your life on the sand, when the circumstances change - your world becomes insecure. Because your foundation is built on the “SAND” of people instead of God – when the rain comes… you will have nowhere to stand.

If you build your life on the word of God and BELIEVE what it says about you – that no matter what comes against you – you are safe and you have value because of the ROCK of Jesus Christ.

If you want to improve your life, ask God to begin to show you the areas of your life in which have been constructed on the sand.  As you do this, He will show you the places that you have been trusting in the opinion of man and the opinion of your own flesh.  As He reveals this to you – repent by turning over that part of your life and begin to BELIEVE that His ways are higher and His thoughts are better.  

The ways of the world are the SAND.  Jesus is the ROCK.

Be my ROCK of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my ROCK and my fortress.   (Psalm 71:3)

The Dangerous Sin of Presumption

As I unpack this teaching about the sin of presumption, it is my hope that it will help the Body of Christ to take a step toward the Lord in intimacy.  Repenting from presumption will position us in a place of humility that will crush the pride that is hidden in our hearts.

I’ve done it.  You’ve done it.  We have ALL committed the sin of presumption.

We have presumed to know the mind of God, but we were wrong.  We have presumed to understand His ways, but we haven’t.  We have presumed that we are in right standing with God when we are not.

The sin of presumption is presuming to know God – when we don’t really know Him and His ways.

presumption - when you believe that something is true without having any proof (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)

presumptuous - A person who is presumptuous shows little respect for others by doing things they have no right to do (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)

presumption - 1. the act of presuming; specif., a. an overstepping of proper bounds; forwardness; effrontery b. the taking of something for granted (Webster's New World College Dictionary)

The best example of presumption in the Word of God is the story of Saul of Tarsus.  Saul was a Pharisee of Pharisees.  He was superb at keeping the rules of the law and thought he was doing God a favor by putting Christians in prison.  He watched Stephen be stoned to death and approved. (Acts 22:20)

Saul presumed to be in right standing with God because of his “works.”  Saul thought he knew God inside and out…. but he didn’t.  He didn’t know the thoughts and ways of God… but he didn’t.  Saul knew the words of God and the laws of God, but he did not know the heart or the character of God.  He was blind to the fact that Jesus WAS the Son of God. (Acts 9)

Saul of Tarsus had rejected the Messiah and didn’t even know it.  He presumed to be right with God – but yet had rejected the very thing that would have made him right with God. Saul had blinders on.

We do this all the time.  We think we are right with God, but we don’t know that we don’t know.  The pride of presumption has overtaken us.  We are not seeing ourselves the way God sees us.  We are not seeing the world the way God sees the world.

God was kind to Saul of Tarsus and knocked him off of his horse, shined a light in his face, embarrassed him in front of his friends, blinded him for three days and introduced himself as Jesus, the one he’d been persecuting.

Saul was blind for three days.  God sent Ananias to give Saul back his sight.  When Ananias prayed for him, scales fell from Saul’s eyes.  Presumption fell from Saul’s eyes.  It was kind of the Lord to bring Saul to repentance because he saw Saul’s heart.  Saul was walking in pride – but his heart really did want to please the Lord.

I remember the Lord knocking me off of my horse in my late 20s.  I thought I was in right standing with the Lord – but God showed me (while reading a powerful book) that I did not have His mind concerning many things in His kingdom.  I was judging according to my own opinion and not according to His truth.  He made sure I understood that He did not care one bit about my opinion. 

God is only concerned with His plan and His Kingdom.  

I was shocked that I had been wearing blinders.

I was in presumption that my thoughts lined up with His.  I wrongly assumed that I was OK with Him.  It hurt a lot to be humbled.  It hurt a lot to realize that I was so far away from Him.  I was embarrassed, and I was cut to the heart that I had been so prideful.  

I am really grateful that the Lord chose to knock me off of my horse.  I took my pride to the Lord and repented for it.  The Lord removed the scales from my eyes and showed me that I had been trusting in my own confidence.

He said, “Tisha, it is presumptuous for you to have confidence in your own opinions.  My truth and My ways are the only things that should give you confidence.  Stand in the confidence that My ways are higher and better than yours.”

Ask the Lord to show you if you are wearing any blinders?   Are you walking in presumption? Do you have any scales over your eyes?  Only the Lord knows.  Ask Him to knock you off of your horse if you need to.  While there might be pain for a moment, in the long run, it will be the best prayer you’ve ever prayed!

Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.

 Let the wicked forsake their ways

    and the unrighteous their thoughts.

Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,

    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I really needed to overcome my fear of man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 2:4b (NIV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Common Denominator of America's Idolatry

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

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

Idols are the things we worship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exodus 20:3-5

You shall have no other gods before me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

this Valley of Death

– but God means it for our good.

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

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

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

Prayer:

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

Has God Ever Spilled Your Iced Tea?

Did you know that when an airplane is off course by a single degree it will miss its target by 92 feet for every mile it flies?

That would equal one mile off target for every sixty miles flown.  Or if you are flying from New York to Los Angeles that could put you 40 miles out into the Pacific Ocean!

One simple degree off the flight path can keep you from reaching your destination.  The longer you travel one degree off – the further from your intended target you’ll be.

The same is true in life.

If our trajectory is off course by even one degree and we could begin heading in a direction that is detrimental to our overall life purpose.

However God’s grace is so amazing that He always give us a course correction.  We can always trust that He will show us if our flight plan is headed in a wrong direction.  Our Heavenly Father desires for us to fulfill His purpose for our lives.

Sometimes however, we don’t catch the subtle corrections that He brings to us.  Our mind might be closed to the fact that we could possibly be off course.  We could be walking in pride and we are resisting His course correction.  Or we may simply be in deep pain and aren’t able to discern that He is asking us to change direction.

I love how a pastor Keith Moore describes the “iced tea correction” from the Lord.  These subtle little nudges to get back on course are gentle.  Like if we were holding a glass of iced tea in our airplane.  The little corrections wouldn’t even shake our glass of tea as long as we’re paying attention and make the necessary changes.

But if we’re not paying attention, God might send a more forceful nudge to get us back on track.  It would be like God shaking our glass of iced tea to get us to make a course correction. 

But if a shaking of our iced tea doesn’t wake us up and get us to move back on the path God has for us – then God is willing to spill our iced tea with a SHOVE to get us back on course.  God isn’t being mean when He upends our iced tea… It’s because He loves us.  If we’ve travelled SO LONG down a path and are off course by a large degree then to get us back on course it’s going to take a big spill to get our attention.

This is precisely what God did to Saul the Pharisee in Acts 9.  He knocked Saul off of his horse, blinded him for three days, rebuked him in front of his friends and told Saul that all of his entire ministry had been in vain – because Jesus was real and He was calling Saul to come and suffer on His behalf.

God spilled Saul’s iced tea.

He spilled it because He loved Saul and saw that really there was a Paul underneath.  Saul had become prideful and unteachable and was persecuting the God he was trying to serve.  I’m sure that the Lord sent little nudges to Saul to get him to repent… but they didn’t work.  Saul was completely off the path that God had set forth for him…so God sent a giant shove to Saul and spilled his iced tea.  Fortunately for Saul it worked!  Saul repented to the Lord and God miraculously transformed Saul into Paul and he finished his calling on the right path!

God does the same thing with us.  Little nudges to repent, if not heeded, turn into a more forceful prodding and if that still doesn’t get us to repent – God gives us a great big SHOVE to wake us up!  We then have a choice.  We can continue down the wrong path and end up at the wrong destination or we can allow the shaking bring us to repentance.  If we do repent, God will transform us and we will end up right on target!

Try and listen for the little nudges of correction from the Lord.  Try and listen when the tea in our life begins to slosh about.  But if for some reason all of those things don’t get our attention – let us welcome the Lord to spill our iced tea!

The Lack of Justice in Our Nation Is a Reflection of the Church

I became a worship pastor in my late 20s.  Joining church leadership was the last thing on my mind growing up – I wanted to be a music teacher. 

But for His own reasons God opened the door for me to be among pastors and elders and I had no idea about the learning curve that I was about to experience.  Over the last 20 years I have been blessed and alarmed to be able to see the good, the bad and the ugly in God’s Church.

Jealousy, arrogance, sexual sin, misogyny, politics, money, power and manipulation were plainly in operation in the Church.  God set my heart on fire to see His Bride purged of these false idols and to return to the One True God.

I am heartbroken over the lack of justice in our nation, and I firmly believe that what is happening in our nation is directly tied to what is happening in the Church.  The lack of justice in our nation starting at the top with Secretary Clinton all the way down to the police brutality on the streets… could all of this lawlessness have actually started in the church?

I am here to tell you it’s true!  The lack of justice our nation is experiencing ALL started in the Church.

As I have witnessed church leadership over the years, the lawlessness in the church has only increased, because people are not being held accountable for their sin.

Pastors are letting God’s people get away with sexual sins with just a slap on the wrist… if that!   I believe a lot of it stems from the fact that pastors themselves are being tempted sexually… therefore it causes them to offer extreme grace to those who are actually walking in sin.

The lack of the fear of the Lord causes us to want to offer more grace than the Lord would give to a person.  We don’t want to offend the sheep so we offer greasy grace.

There is a lack of accountability specifically to people who have money.  The people who are the “financial supporters” of the church are handled with kid gloves and are given special treatment.

Pastors are receiving gossip and slander about sheep in the flock as truth without actually going to the people and walking out Matthew 18.

In pastoral marriage counselling, favor is given to the husbands.  When a marriage is in trouble, women are blamed for not sexually pleasing their husbands, and told that if they would simply submit MORE – the marriage would be fixed.  To give favor to a husband and demand the wife do all of the changing is misogyny.

Jealousy and greed for power are rampant in the church.  Instead of bringing correction, church leadership compromises and grants positions in the Church without first inquiring of God.  (Hosea 8:4)

There is no justice in the Church these days because church leadership goes easy on sin.  The lie that “it is not Christlike to confront someone’s sin” is a terrible travesty!  (I am not talking about confronting those who are not in the Church of their sin.  I am speaking of the sin in the Body of Christ.)

Leadership in the church has become like the prophet Eli who did not correct his sons. 

“For his sons reviled God, and he did not correct them in any way” (1 Kg./l Sam. 3:13)

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne (Psalm 9:14) but they are no longer the foundation of the Church.

(Of course, I realize I am making sweeping generalizations there are exceptions but a majority of the Church no longer addresses sin.)

Eli refused to question his sons about why they did the wicked things they did.  In their greed, they stole meat from the Lord’s offering.  They had sex with women in the temple.  The Bible says that Eli’s sons were “scoundrels and had no regard for the Lord.”  1 Samuel 2:12

Isn’t that where the Church is today?  We are filled with scoundrels who do not fear the Lord and live however they want because the spiritual fathers and mothers have not rebuked them for their sin.  We don’t want to offend the sheep.  We don’t want to address sexual sin and possibly hurt the feelings of our spiritual sons and daughters.

Lawlessness ruled in Israel when Eli and his sons were in charge of the temple.  There was no justice because there was no accountability.  There is no justice in most of the Church today either.  Just like Eli refused to confront sin, the Church refuses to confront sin and then follow through with discipline.

Our lovey dovey grace-filled idea of God doesn’t agree with His word.  Specifically Paul tells us to treat sinners who do not repent like pagans or tax collectors. (Matt. 18:17)  Paul himself directed the Corinthian Church to turn people over to Satan who would not repent of their sin.  (1 Cor. 5:5)  We would never think of that in today’s church.

Jesus even rebuked the Church of his day with harsh words in Matthew 23:27-28

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

If we are going to be true sons and daughters of the King we must return to justice and the rebuking of sin in the Church.

We must repent and return to the fear of the Lord. 

The Church needs Fathers and Mothers!  Sexual sin deserves discipline.  Money cannot be used as a manipulator and those who try to use it should be punished.  Pride and greed must be confronted.  Matthew 18 must be followed ALL the way through!

“For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."  Hebrews 12:6

The Church has no standing to call for justice in our nation – when they, themselves are not operating on the foundation of justice and righteousness.  God says if His people repent, pray and turn from our wicked ways – He will hear from heaven and He will heal our land. (2 Chron. 7:14)

If there is no justice in the Church, how can we demand justice in our secular culture?  They are simply a reflection of the Church.  But if we will return to the fear of the Lord and begin to uphold justice and righteousness we will see a shift happen in our nation.

When the lack of justice in the Church is addressed by its leaders, God will address the lack of justice in our nation.

“When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”

Proverbs 21:15

The Hardest and Most Rewarding Prayer You Will Ever Pray

“If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves…”  2 Chronicles 7:14

Lord break me.

Break me of my pride.  Break me of my sin. 

I no longer want “My Way.”  I want yours.

Your ways are higher than mine.  My ways lead to death.

Show me myself through Your eyes.  Show me the places in my heart that do not line up with yours.

Because I am made of flesh and bone, but You are the King of the Universe.

You are the foundation of all things… I am but dust.

Lord break me.

God smash every idol that sits on a throne in my heart. 

And then smash the throne that it sits on.

Until I only want You.  Until I only want Your ways.

Create in me a clean heart O God. 

Flood my soul with Your river and wash away anything that does not belong to you.

I invite you to ruin anything in my life that has not been built by Your hands.

I am sorry Lord for the years I have wasted building my kingdom on sand. 

I know the storms are coming. 

I know that I must bow low.

I know I must fall upon the Rock – or it will soon fall upon me.

I am not better than my brothers and sisters. 

I was created by the same hand.

I am not their master… that title goes only to You.

I approach Your throne of grace with boldness and cry out for Your merciful hand… to cleanse away everything that’s hindering me from the fullness of relationship with You.

Lord break me…

           …until I am yours. Completely. Fully.  

           …until I am ONE with You.

Prostituting Your Gifting: Don't Touch the Glory of God

I remember a few years ago a story about Nicole Nordeman receiving a Dove Award (Christian Music Award)  when she approached the microphone she said, “I don’t know how I feel about receiving an award for a gift that has come from God.”

I just love that response!

In essence she was saying –

I can’t take credit for my beautiful singing voice or my songs – they are gifts that did not originate with me.

I am afraid that many in the Body of Christ do not have the same attitude that this gifted singer does.  We are a Church that glorifies giftings and overlooks character.  We have a worldly perspective about giftings.  Our lust for the approval of man causes us to use the things that we are good at to drawn men unto ourselves.

When we use our giftings to get people to like us – we have become spiritual prostitutes. 

All gifts come from God.  Preaching, teaching, singing, writing, prophesying, working miracles, administration, intercession etcetera – they are all gifts that we can never take credit for.  God grants the gifting – we simply use it to bring His kingdom to earth.

Whenever we do not use our giftings to bring glory to God - we are prostituting our gifting .

There is no greater fall than to use the things of God to draw worship or devotion to yourself, rather than to God. - Rick Joyner

In Ezekiel 16, God explains how he took Israel as a young child and spoke life over her, cleaned her up, adopted her, made a covenant with her, gave her beautiful clothes to wear.  Israel became famous because of her beauty.  But after all of that – Israel used her fame to become a prostitute.

" 'But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur. You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them. And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense before them. Also the food I provided for you-the fine flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat-you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign LORD .  Ezekiel 16:15-19

When we use the things God has given us to draw people to ourselves… we have become spiritual prostitutes.

We must never forget that anything good we have done has happened because God enabled us to accomplish it.  If anyone has ever been healed through us, if anyone has ever come to salvation because of us, if anyone has ever been touched by our gifting or through offerings we have given – we deserve NONE of the glory!

The gifting worked because of who God is – not because of who we are.

"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” Isaiah 42:8

One time I was asking the Lord – how to relate this concept of “prostituting my gifting” to my professional life.  At that time I owned a chocolate production business.  I had a woman call me out of the blue from a different part of the state asking if I would teach her how to make chocolate so she could open up her own business.  I initially said yes.  But later the Holy Spirit raised a red flag and said, “I never told you to show this girl how to make chocolate.  What you have learned is because of My grace.  I have been your teacher as you have learned how to be an entrepreneur.  If you give away the wisdom I have given you without getting My permission – you are prostituting your gift.”

That was a big a-ha moment for me!

We must never take credit for something that God has gifted us with or use it in a manner that He does not instruct us to.  We must never take His glory!

When we stand before God’s judgment throne – we will not get credit for how many people we led to the Lord.  We will not get credit for how many people were healed or how much money we donated to God’s Kingdom.  We will not get credit for how successful our business was or how much fame we amassed.  We will be judged for how we STEWARDED the gifting.

Be more concerned with becoming like Christ than you are keeping a tally of worldly awards.

As Ms. Nordeman pointed out before – we can’t really give out awards to humans for something that originated with God.

Sons of the Kingdom vs. Sons of the Evil One - Which One Are You?

John the Baptist was the voice of one calling in the desert.  He preached “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2)  He was a “rough” preacher and he had NO patience for Pharisees and the Religious Establishment of his day.  He said to them, “You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance… every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down… There is one who comes after me and he will gather is wheat into the barn and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:7-12)

Jesus came and preached the same thing “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  He also taught about burning up the chaff with fire in Matthew 13 in the parable of the good seeds and bad seeds.

In it He said that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But that an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat.  The servants asked the owner, “Should we pull up the weeds?”  But the owner said, “No let them grow together until the harvest – then gather the weeds and tie them in bundles and burn them.  Then gather my wheat into my barn.”

I grew up on a farm that planted wheat.  I completely understand why you can’t pull up the weeds without harming the wheat.  Wheat is grown really close together.  Their roots are intertwined.  If there are weeds also intertwined with the wheat – pulling them up before the wheat forms its “fruit” will kill the harvest.

The other reason you can’t pull up weeds before the harvest is because the weeds look an awful lot like wheat.  It is not until the head of the stalk of wheat is formed that you can see the difference.  They grow up together, in a very tight space and they both look like grass… until the “fruit” forms on the good seed.

Jesus explained the parable of the weeds to His disciples privately.

“The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.  The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom.  The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil.  The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Matthew 13:37-43

Friends we are coming up on the end of the age… and the fruit is beginning to show.

The people who are sons of the kingdom are beginning to show their good fruit.  The people who are sons of the evil one are beginning to show their evil fruit.

Notice – both are gathered.

The weeds are gathered into bundles first.  We see this happening now.  There is a separation happening even in the church.  Those who fully believe God’s word are being separated from those who only half way believe it.  Those who preach hyper-grace and that there is no hell are being separated from those who preach “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  The churches who believe that God blesses homosexuality are being separated from those who hold to God’s original design of marriage.  The people who believe these things are being “bundled” together in like-minded groups and churches.

Lawlessness is being bundled together… and God is going to burn them.

So we all need to ask ourselves this question:  Which one am I?

Because the truth is - the sons of the evil one are blind and have no idea that they are deceived.  There is a false grace veil that covers the eyes of the evil ones.  The veil says “God is love and would never do anything to hurt me.”  This lie has caused many to fall away from the Kingdom.

It is time to get on our knees and ask our Judge if there is any lawlessness in us.  It is time to ask for the ruthless truth about what kind of fruit we are bearing for the Kingdom of God.  Does the fruit of your life preach “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near?”

Does the fruit of your life bear the image of Christ?  Because Jesus was not the “Man of Grace” that many preach He was.  The Son of Man said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)

The Son of Man said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3, 5)

If we are to be Sons of the Kingdom – we must follow in the footsteps of Jesus - we must also preach repentance.  Because if we are preaching love without repentance we are just a weed and we risk being burned up.

Friends – Jesus does not wish that any would perish.  He gave His life that we might be with Him forever in eternity… but there will be people who prophesy in His name, there will be people who heal in His name and when they stand before His judgment throne He will say away from me I never knew you.  Let us be sure that we really are Sons of the Kingdom and that we bear His image!

Grace Wins Everytime... Even for America!



I can’t get it out of my head!!  It’s Matthew West’s new song “Grace Wins.”  ♫ There’s a war between guilt and grace and they’re fighting for a sacred space But I’m living proof Grace wins every time! ♫

My friend Ginger introduced me to “Grace Wins.”  Her personal story is one that is riddled with pain and a few poor choices.  It has been a long valley with three divorces, many jobs, and children who have experienced great trauma.

I am so proud of my friend Ginger.  She continually got up and kept going.  She forgave those who hurt her.  She did not hold only bitterness.  She did not quit. 

By the Grace of God she has made it through her valley.  She has reached the other side and boy does she have a story to tell!  Finally finding the husband she’s always prayed for.  She is a pastor’s wife.  She has a job that she is thriving at.  She’s making good money with health insurance.  And to top it off – her kids are all flourishing.  The enabling power of God's grace helped her to OVERCOME!

Her 15 year valley could have caused her such shame and guilt that she could still be holed up in an isolated apartment somewhere.  But in the war between guilt and grace --- she chose GRACE! 

She chose to let GRACE cover her mistakes.  She chose to let GRACE cover her pain.  She chose GRACE over her guilt.  My friend Ginger says she is the “Woman at the Well” - and she is living proof that between guilt and grace… the GRACE of God wins EVERYTIME!!

There's a war between guilt and grace
And they're fighting for a sacred space
But I'm living proof
Grace wins every time
No more lying down in death's defeat
Now I'm rising up in victory
Singing, hallelujah
Grace wins every time.

For the prodigal son…Grace wins
For the woman at the well…Grace wins
For the blind man and the beggar…Grace wins
For always and forever…Grace wins
For the lost out on the streets…Grace wins
For the worst part of you and me…Grace wins
For the thief on the cross…Grace wins
For a world that is lost… Grace wins

It’s like ALL of the Believers in my life are singing this song, loving this song and posting on Facebook.

I was taking a walk the other day and praying.  This song was playing loudly in my head. I said, “Lord, why is this song playing so loud?  Are you trying to speak to me about it?”

And the Lord downloaded a prophetic word for America concerning the coming season.

For the Lord would say:

My people, GRACE wins!  It wins in your personal lives, when I pulled you out of the mud of your sins and washed you off and called you Mine!  It was My grace that enabled you to overcome your sin and your past.

But can My GRACE not enable a country to overcome as well?  Is My grace so short that I cannot bring your country back from the brink of destruction.

You, America, are the prodigal.  You are the woman at the well.  You are the blind man and the beggar.  You are the thief on the cross.  You are lost America and for YOU My GRACE WINS!

Let your bitterness go.  Let your fear go.  Let your worry go.  I am about to show you how deep My Grace goes.  Choose Grace America – not guilt!

I am writing a story in America that will bring glory to Me for eternity!


I will not give my glory to another…My Grace Wins… even in America.


America's Next Season: The Valley of Death

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

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

and invites you to make necessary changes.

Pretty soon,

America’s Dark Night of the Soul (click here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– we are crying out again for FREEDOM!

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

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

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

Government:

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

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

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

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

Economy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Racism:

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

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

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

Pride in Nationalism:

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

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

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

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

The Church:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Valley:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 12:11

Is There Something Blocking Your Blessings?



When I was the Director of Worship at a church I was in charge of overhead projector and the transparencies that helped the congregation lift their heads out of the hymnal and read the songs on the screen.  (Who remembers that?  Let’s hear it for the 90s!)

One of my pastors came to me and said, “Do you have the copyright, the author and all that the licensing agents require for you to have on your overheads?”  My response was no.  And my greasy grace mindset thought to itself who really cares anyway?

I had learned to get God’s opinion about everything before I simply went with my own greasy grace opinion.  So I processed what my pastor had said before the Lord.  I took my pastor’s admonishment before the Lord and said “God is this something that is really necessary?”

The Lord very gently and lovingly revealed to me that in our agreement with the licensing agency we had agreed to these terms.  I was breaking the agreement we signed every year by not following through with my part by giving credit to the authors and their copyrights.

The Lord was so sweet when He spoke to my heart and said, “I want to bless you, and by not keeping your word according to this agreement blocks my blessing.  I need for you to follow through with your words and I will take you to a higher level.  Your pastor’s admonishment was really Me, wanting to bring you greater blessing.”

A BIG eye opener to me!

Galatians 6:7-9 … A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

I was sowing to please my flesh not to please the Spirit when it came to following through on the details.  God wanted to bring me a harvest – but I could not receive a harvest because I was not keeping my word to the licensing company. 

It took A LOT of time and effort but we came into compliance with what was required and it felt good to be right with the Lord!

Not keeping your word – blocks God’s blessings.

One time the Lord had me go to a pastor with a prophetic word about a blessing that He wanted to bring the church.  But because the church was not following through on a particular promise they had made to God.  He could not bring the blessing He wanted to give them.

The pastor was incredibly mature about my admonishment and was not offended but said “Thank you, I will take your words before the Lord with my prayer team.”  A few weeks later, he shared with me that the prayer team DID take it to the Lord and confirmed what I had warned him about.  They indeed were not keeping their word to the Lord about a specific aspect in the church and they repented from that day. 

I am happy to say that church is flourishing because of their mature way of handling the word and getting God’s opinion on it, then making the shift happen.

Sometimes our blessings or harvests are blocked because of generational curses.
This happened during the reign of David.  A famine had been in Israel for three years.  God was unable to bring blessing or a good harvest.

2 Samuel 21:1  During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”

So David had to make atonement for his predecessor.  It was a rather gruesome atonement as a sacrifice of Saul’s descendants was necessary.  But our atonement was rather gruesome too.  When Jesus died on the cross, he atoned for our sins.  We no longer have to sacrifice to make up for generational sins.  We are so fortunate to call upon the blood of Jesus to dismantle the sins of past generations.

If there are areas of your life that you are experiencing a famine.  If there are areas that seem to not be flowing as well as they used to, or maybe there seems to be a “block” in the blessings of the Lord, begin to seek the face of the Lord as David did.  Ask WHY there is famine or a lack of blessing?

If you cheat the government of your taxes, God cannot bless you.  If you do not keep in line with copyright regulations, God cannot bless you.  If you are not honest in your business dealings, God cannot bless you.  If you have a loose tongue and gossip about others, God cannot bless you.  If you have hate in your heart, if you do not keep your word, if you have not completely obeyed the Lord – all of these things block the blessing of the Lord.

God may show you that it is your own sin, or lack of keeping your word.  Then ask Him for forgiveness, apply the blood of Jesus to the sin and repent and turn back to Him.  If He shows you there are generational sins in the way – use THIS prayer to use the atoning blood of Jesus to break it off.

God doesn’t WANT to see your blessings blocked from you. He is not a mean God.  It is simply the way the Kingdom is set up.  It is a sowing and reaping Kingdom.


Hosea 10:12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.

The Christian Prison Called 'Conform'

I am simply in love with the song “Good, Good Father!” 

If you are unfamiliar with it you can find it here on Youtube.

  One of the verses that really touches my heart is the one that says “I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like…”

Isn’t that true?  If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time – you’ve surely heard many different stories about the character of God.  Some of those “stories” go like this:  

He’s so tender and merciful – you can behave however you want and He’ll forgive you.  

OR He’s an all-consuming fire so walk carefully on egg shells.  

OR You’re not really pleasing to God if you eat this. 

OR You’re not really pleasing to God if you watch that. 

OR You’re not really pleasing to God if you wear this.  

OR You’re not really pleasing God if you don’t fulfill this check list of rules. 

The coming of Jesus to earth was one of the most brilliantly timed arrivals.  You see, the Pharisees and the Saduccees were in charge of the people of faith.  They had ALL kinds of rules and regulations for people.  If you did not conform – you were not accepted, and they would not protect you.

This is precisely why I believe Jesus came at the time He did.  He came to be a wrecking ball to Religious Conformists.  He broke open the Christian Prison called “Conform.”  He took away the power of the Lawkeepers by ushering in the age of Grace.  Jesus called those NOT in the inner circle to be the foundation of his church.  Those that follow rules and regulations put forth by man are part of a Religion.  Those that follow the man Jesus and His Holy Spirit are part of the Church.

Galatians 3:11 --- Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."

It is disheartening but true: Many Christians today are actually Lawkeepers of comformist thought.

These Christians have a vision of what they “think” Christ is like without really understanding that He does not require conformity to have unity in His Body.

Instead of having Jesus on the throne and allowing their identity to come from Christ – these Christians have their own self-conceived picture of Christianity on the throne and demand that those who are in their circle tow the line. 

(Read more about Barbie Dream Houses here.)

Christian Lawkeepers say:  If you do not conform to what we think Jesus is like - we will not accept you nor protect you.  We will call you rebellious and reject you.

This is not in any way the true character of Jesus.  Jesus allowed every person their own free will. 

Christian Lawkeepers say:  If you do not follow a list of rules – (normally a favorite “list” from the Bible)– then you are not an acceptable Christian and therefore cannot belong to the inner circle.  Their acceptance is based on laws and not grace.  Non-conformists are put out of the inner circle because they cannot check off the list of dos and don’ts from those who wield power in the inner circle.

Christian Lawkeepers say: Compliance will be rewarded.  Non-compliance will be punished.  It feels like a lose – lose situation, especially for newer Christians.  If you disagree with a doctrine or if you have a different thought outside of the boundaries set forth by the Lawkeepers then you find yourself ostracized.  This is detrimental and most harmful to new Believers who simply want to belong.

Jesus DOES require that all Believers conform to His image – which is thoroughly spelled out in His word.  But He does NOT require Believers to be justified through a list of laws.  We were all saved by grace. We are part of God’s Church through grace.  Not because we adhere to rules set forth by Christian Lawkeepers.

The ways of Christ ALWAYS bring life.  Even when following Christ by dying to self – it should bring us supernatural freedom and life.  The Law will ALWAYS bring death.  When being forced to follow rules such as perceived “biblical” gender roles, or dietary rules, or even tithing rules… the result is the same –  the letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)  We are FREE to follow Christ!

Consider your circle of Christian friends.  Do they bring you life?  Or do they require you to conform to be accepted?  The only person you need to conform to is Jesus and He helps you to conform to His image through the power of his Grace!

Galatians 3:12 (MSG) Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: "The one who does these things [rule-keeping]continues to live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the Cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse.

What a wonderful picture – Jesus absorbed the curse of the law into Himself.  He does not expect us to live our life in a Christian Prison of rules.

Jesus is the only one who can tell you what He’s like.  Be sure to be in the Word and be in prayer.  The Holy Spirit is the revealer of the character of Christ… not the Lawkeepers.