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

Wanna Poke the Devil in the Eye? Here’s How...

There are times in life when I am so mad at the devil!

I get mad when he messes with my family.  I get mad when he brings down a friend’s marriage.  I get mad when claims a life through abuse or when young girls are sold into sex trafficking.

There are times I wish I could just poke him in the eye and really get back at him for all of the evil I have seen him do.  How about you?  Would you like a little payback for some of the things that the devil has messed up in your life?

If the answer is yes, let me introduce you to Psalm 149…

Psalm 149

Praise the 

Lord

.

Sing to the 

Lord

 a new song,

his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;

let the people of Zion be glad in their King.

Let them praise his name with dancing

and make music to him with timbrel and harp.

For the 

Lord

 takes delight in his people;

he crowns the humble with victory.

Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor

and sing for joy on their beds.

May the praise of God

be in their mouths

and

a double-edged sword

in their hands,

to inflict vengeance

 on the nations

and punishment

 on the peoples,

to bind

their kings with fetters,

their nobles with shackles of iron,

to carry out the sentence written against them

this is the glory of all his faithful people.

Praise the 

Lord

.

King David gives us a key to poking the devil in the eye in these verses.  He tells us that praise and worship actually give us power over our enemy.  Praise is a double-edged sword in our hands because it inflicts vengeance on the ‘demonic’ nations that try to overcome us.  Praise punishes the kingdom of darkness.  When we praise it binds up the ‘demonic’ kings with shackles. Praising God actually carries out the sentence that has already been written against them.

This power to bind the devil with praise is given to God’s faithful people for His glory!

We see the power of praise several times throughout scripture.

In Judges 20:18 the tribes of Israel sent Judah first – which was a sign of sending “worship” into 

battle first.

When David was at his lowest point at Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30, he “encouraged himself in the Lord”  which means he worshiped the Lord and found fellowship in praising God.  Then David found strength to continue an amazing military feat.

In 2 Chronicles 20 – the tribes of Israel began to sing and praise and the Lord sent ambushes against their enemies.  They didn’t even have to fight the war!  Because that is how powerful praise is.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas worshiped God after they had been beaten and shackled and their praise caused an earthquake!  Their shackles fell off of them and the doors to the prison were opened.  PRAISE IS A POWERFUL WEAPON AGAINST THE ENEMY!

Praise can also lift you out of depression…Psalm 42:5.

Seriously – if you want to poke the devil in the eye – simply turn on some praise songs and it will drive the devil mad!

I remember hearing a precious story about Darlene Zschech (writer of great worship songs like Shout to the Lord and Mighty to Save).  Darlene had miscarried a child and was distraught as she was coming home from the hospital.  But she heard the Lord speak to her and say, “Come and worship Me.”  So she asked her husband to take her to the sanctuary at church on their way home.  She didn’t want to but she went to the altar in the empty church and praised the Lord.

She offered what the Bible calls a “sacrifice of praise.”  (Hebrews 13:15)

God honored her sacrifice and she conceived again a few months later and has a beautiful daughter named Zoe.

I heard a pastor say once that he believed God would stop the perfect worship of heaven to listen to the imperfect worship of His people on earth – who praise Him in their darkest hours.

I have remembered this in some of my darkest hours and I wonder if my imperfect and out of tune worship has brought the Lord glory?  Did I poke the devil in the eye by praising God instead of blaming Him?

I believe I did just that.

Next time the enemy comes at you and you want to give up or he continually attacks you and your loved ones, remember this tool that our Heavenly Father has given you…

Sing praises to the Lord and poke the devil in the eye.

Here are a few you songs you might like:

Oceans

” – Hillsong United

Forever

” – Kari Jobe

You Make Me Brave

” – Bethel Music featuring Amanda Cook

“Good, Good Father”

– Chris Tomlin

Overwhelmed

” – Big Daddy Weave

“Shout to the Lord”

-- Darlene Zschech

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

Psalm 113:3

Four Responses to Pain that Prolong Suffering


Through our discipleship and deliverance ministries we have dealt with unimaginable trauma imposed on people in this darkened world.  From the most terrible of traumatic events like rape and abuse to more seemingly benign trauma like a father or mother rejecting their child with reckless words.

Whether we humanly define these traumatic events as terrible or benign – the enemy can twist a rather small incident and cripple a person for life if the pain is not dealt with in a way that sets the person free.  Abuse puts a person in a spiritual prison.  Painful words blind a person from the truth.  A spirit of rejection can cause a person to never grow past a certain point, because their spirit is trapped on the timeline of their life where the traumatic event occurred.

Jesus came to undo all of our pain and suffering.

In Luke 4:18-21, Jesus was at the synagogue and took a turn reading the days scripture.  He read from Isaiah 61.  He proclaimed that day that He was the fulfillment of the promise the Father made to Israel.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." 

Freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, releasing the oppressed…  Jesus came not only to save us but also to heal us AND set us free!

Joyce Meyer sums it up like this, “Jesus can heal you EVERYWHERE you hurt!”

I have seen a lot over the past ten years of helping others to freedom.  I have heard the absolutely unmentionable, detestable things that human beings can do to one another.  Instead of someone helping them with the pain in order to set them free the enemy has come behind a traumatic event and twisted it up in knots.  It’s like the devil will take a person who has been tortured and adds to the pain by putting them in a prison cell in their minds complete with shackles and a ball and chain.

We must be careful to not respond in negative ways to pain.  As humans we have a tendency to want to escape pain at all costs – which plays right into the devil’s hands.   We have a choice to run TO God or AWAY from God. 

These wrong responses to pain are the same as running away from God and will prolong your suffering:

1. Erecting Walls Around Our Hearts for Protection
When we erect walls around our hearts, we cut ourselves off not only from the people who hurt us but we unknowingly cut ourselves off from God.  Many, many times God cannot get healing to our broken hearts because we have built a wall thinking it is saving us from pain.  It’s like getting shot with a bullet of pain and then putting up a wall over the wound pretending that the wall is going to protect you.  In reality what happens when you build a wall, is that you keep away the Doctor (Jesus) from helping you heal.
Instead of building walls, we must wear our armor.  Read more about this by clicking HERE.

2. Self-imposed Rules to Keep Suffering from Happening
Sometimes a response to pain can be an inner vow.  
I will NEVER be like my mother/father.  This vow ends up being a prison because you spend all of your time trying not to be that person.
No one will EVER treat me like that again. This vow is a prison because you will constantly be on guard against people who may or may not hurt you.  There is no intimacy because there are bars between you and people.  Many times we will literally give rules to people about how they can or cannot interact with us.
I vow that I will accomplish a goal. (money, fame, beauty, “Barbie Dream House”)  This vow is incredibly limiting because it is a self-imposed goal that one accomplishes through their own strength and might and not by the Spirit of God (Zech 4:6). The person with this kind of goal actually serves the personal GOAL instead of God’s plan for their lives.  ALL because we are trying to avoid pain by following self-imposed rules – instead of dealing with the true root issue of the suffering.

The reason we respond to pain with self-imposed rules is because we feel powerless against something.  When we feel powerless the answer is NEVER to put rules in place.  This kind of response is rooted in a spirit of "control."  The answer to feeling powerless is rooted in the truth that no one can take your power if that power comes from Christ.   Find out how to overcome the feeling of powerlessness HERE.

3. Denial
Denial that a traumatic event happened is all too common.  The mind protects itself by lying to the heart.  The lies sound something like this:  That wasn’t me.  It didn’t really happen to me.  I am not that person.

Denial that a traumatic event happened creates a separation from one’s timeline.  It creates a fork in the road of the true timeline and the alter-reality in the person’s mind.  In the defense mechanism of Denial, the truth about what happened is rejected, while a lie replaces the truth causing a disconnect from one’s real emotions.  True healing cannot happen in a person who won’t confront the truth...because it is the Truth that sets us free.

Denial, when used over and over again, can lead to sociopath behavior.  When a person is a sociopath – they cannot empathize with the pain of others and usually have to pretend to live their lives.  They spend most of their life acting out a role instead of living their life.

Denial is also the path that the enemy uses to twist people into multiple personalities.  When trauma happens, a person can be in denial and create an alternate personality to handle each traumatic event.

When people walk in the truth of the trauma and allow Jesus to bring comfort, healing and His truth to traumatic event, one can walk through some pretty intense suffering, process it, then come out with no wounds. 

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

If you feel that you might be in Denial about some of your pain.  We find this tool called “Presenting Jesus” very helpful. (Click HERE)  When Jesus is introduced into a trauma and His truth is revealed – the emotional pain from the trauma can be calmed. The end result is a benign memory with no pain attached to it.

4. Numbing Our Pain
The final response that can cause a delay in healing is by numbing our pain with “drugs.”  Anything can be used as a drug, sex, tv, food, drugs, alcohol, control etc.  All of these things are used to medicate our pain instead of processing it.

When we use “drugs” to numb our pain we are essentially guilty of idolatry.  We are going to idols to help fix our pain and not straight to the throne of God.

It is the truth that sets us free.  Idols of comfort will never bring about true healing.  They will simply prolong the suffering.  Addiction to anything puts us in a cycle of codependency because we are not depending on God.

If you are medicating your pain with idols of drug, sex, food and so on find out how to take the idol off of the throne and go HERE to put Jesus back on it.

The main thing to keep in mind when suffering or trauma come is DEAL WITH IT!  Process it!

Face it! – acknowledge there is pain.
Erase it! – ask God to be set free from the pain.
Replace it! – replace it with the Truth God reveals to you.


This process will lead to a much healthier life, a much healthier family, and a much healthier relationship with God.  Learn more about processing your pain HERE.

Human Kindness vs. The Kindness of God


When my youngest son was 3 and 4 he was completely unconscious of the cars in a parking lot.  We would walk into Walmart or Chuck E Cheese and he was completely in la la land!  I told him again and again to walk next to me but he would slip back into his old ways and I’d find him in the line of an oncoming car.

One particular time we were headed into Chuck E Cheese with some friends.  He was not paying attention a car was coming – not necessarily REALLY close – but still… He was dilly dallying in the street.

I shouted at my son with his first and middle name (you know I was mad then!) and told him get himself on the sidewalk NOW!  I said this VERY loudly.  I said it in front of his friends.  I embarrassed him and I think I FINALLY made my point with him.

I had a touch of regret after I yelled at my son so publicly.  I kind of felt like maybe the moms of the other kids thought I was really mean and inappropriate.  I felt that maybe I reacted out of anger and displeased the Lord.

Instead of assuming I was wrong I took my actions to the Lord in prayer.  I said, “Lord was I displeasing to You when I yelled at my son in public like that?  Did I displease You when I embarrassed him in front of his friends?”

Every time I prayed this prayer I would have a vision of a drill sergeant’s hat.  I prayed this for a few weeks and the drill sergeant’s hat just kept coming up every time.  So I felt like the Lord was saying in His view, my son needed to change his ways and it was taking a “drill sergeant” to get him to do it.  So I was not displeasing to the Lord.

My drill sergeant tactics got my son to repent.

Have you ever thought that the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Ro. 2:4) can be like that of a drill sergeant?  Have you ever considered that it was the kindness of God that embarrassed a zealous Jewish man like Saul, he fell off of his horse, was blind for three days and heard a rebuke from heaven in front of all of his fellow travelers? (Acts 9)

The result of this “kindness” from God allowed the scales to fall from his eyes and he realized how wrong he had been about persecuting Christians.  God’s embarrassment of Saul brought him to repentance and he became Paul.  Paul went on to suffer greatly for the Lord.  He established God’s kingdom in many areas and he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament.

It was the kindness of God that brought Paul to repentance.  God’s kindness doesn’t look anything like human kindness.

Human kindness says we’re sorry you are hurting do whatever it takes to make yourself feel better.  If you are struggling financially and can’t afford a baby – go ahead and abort it, God will forgive you.  He will understand.

Human kindness says we love you too much to confront you about the things that are killing you, so here you go – let me help bring you comfort by helping you with your addiction. (alcohol, drugs, food, money, sex)

Human kindness says that we should never hurt anyone’s feelings. Human kindness gives everyone a trophy no matter how well they played the game.  Human kindness says we should give people $30,000 a year to live on government assistance.  Human kindness says we should have open borders without any concern for protecting our citizens. 

Human kindness says it is not loving to give someone boundaries.  So go ahead and act on every sexual inclination you have.  Go ahead and pleasure yourself with the things of this world.  Go ahead and take what is not yours.  Human kindness says boundaries are MEAN!

But the kindness of God, allowed the murder of one human being.

The kindness of God sacrificed a human on the cross at Calvary in order to bring LIFE to us!  I am sure that the Father didn’t seem very kind to those watching His son be beaten, whipped, mocked and crucified.

The kindness of allowing this particular human being to suffer – allowed the root of evil and sin to be plucked up and the restoration of the earth began.  This is the BIG PICTURE of God’s kindness.
God was being kind to Saul when he embarrassed him that day on the Road to Damascus.  His kindness turned Saul’s life around.  His kindness LED PAUL TO REPENTANCE!

It was actually a kindness of God when Ananias and Sapphira fell dead on the floor after lying to the Apostles about how much money they donated. (Acts 5) This led the entire group of new converts to fear the Lord and none of them would “test the Spirit of the Lord” again.

When Jesus met up with the Pharisees and Sadducees he called them all kinds of names!  He called them fools, blind guides, serpents, vipers, hypocrites and unmarked graves.  He did this because He was trying to lead their hardened hearts to repentance.

The kindness of God confronts sin.  Gently if possible but severely if needed. 

Human kindness does not confront sin.  In fact, that is precisely the definition of human kindness.  Do not confront sin or evil.  Let every man act and believe whatever they believe to be true.  This is the foundation of human kindness.

The problem is that later down the road (even if it is at the end of the road before the throne of judgment) people WILL be confronted with their sin.  Every person will have to give an account.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:13

So essentially, human kindness simply kicks the can down the road.  Because eventually at the end of the road – the can WILL have to be dealt with.

As believers, we need to examine our ways.  Are we following the path of human kindness by not confronting sin and kicking the can down the road for our friends?  Or are we being sons of our Father and being kind to one another by speaking the truth?

Let’s be honest… America is in the shape that it is because of human kindness.  Human kindness leads us to lawlessness.  God’s kindness brings us to repentance.

Our country is about to experience the kindness of God.  We are about to go through a dark valley in order for us to come to repentance.  God is about to give the United States their very own Damascus Road experience.  In our three days of darkness, God will show many the scales that are over their eyes.  Many will awaken and the dry bones will begin to come together.

We will be humbled.  We will be embarrassed.  We will be blind for a period of time.  But this valley is meant to be SEVERE MERCY from the Lord.

This valley will be a defining moment for our country.  It will be a sacrifice.  It will cause us to fear the Lord.  It will lead us to repentance.

Let us rejoice that the kindness of God is about to visit our country and turn the tide on human kindness!


The Religious Perversion of the Manger

I LOVE the nativity.  I LOVE the Christmas story.  I LOVE reliving Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem, the angels, the shepherds, and the manger every year. 

The Holy Spirit will usually grant me a new revelation each year about story of the Birth of Christ.  Last year He impressed on me how He came gently into the earth.  He could have come with much fanfare and with power and a demand to be served.  But He came in great humility, tenderness and modesty. He wanted us to understand this part of His character.

There was so much religion and rules in the culture of His people.  There were very few people who understood the kind of Messiah they were waiting on.

Coming as a vulnerable baby demonstrated his love to the world.  His gentleness and patience and humility were the last characteristics that religious leaders of the day were imagining in their long awaited Messiah. 

The Pharisees and Sadducees were expecting a King to come and save them by ascending to the throne. They were looking for a king like David.  What they got was a King that ascended to the throne through martyrdom.  It was false accusation and an undeserved crucifixion that allowed Jesus to demand justice from the devil.  After Jesus died he DESCENDED into hell and demanded the keys to Death and Hell. (Rev 1:18) (1 Peter 3:18-20)  He then ASCENDED to the right hand of God and because of his unjust suffering all angels, authorities and powers are now in submission to Him.

What His humility and sacrifice reveals to us is a VERY important Kingdom principle that “religion” perverts.  Religion wants to puff up.  Religion wants to be acknowledged.  Religion desires power. Jesus came to show us that the “King David” paradigm we have been led to believe is true authority is a perversion of the foundation of His Kingdom.  (Remember the Israelites demanded God give them a king.)

Jesus demonstrates that whoever wants to be great must first become a servant.  Whoever loses his life for the sake of the Kingdom will actually save it. (Matthew 16:25) 

Jesus called His disciples together and instructed them with these words: "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:42-45

What a perfect summation of true Kingdom authority.  We are called to carry our cross like Christ and die for one another.  We are called to absorb the pain of this world on behalf of others and somehow through our death to self… we bring life to others.

This year – the revelation that God has given me about the nativity is that if He had allowed Jesus to be born in the town square – his entire ministry would have been perverted.  If EVERYONE would have seen the angels, if EVERYONE would have experienced the miraculous birth, it would have quickly been twisted into a form of an idol.  The Father only invited a few to witness the birth of His son.

The Spirit of God spoke to my heart the other morning and said, “This is why I birth revival in small places.  The way that I brought Christ into the earth is an archetype of how I birth revival.  I birth revival in “barns” and let it grow up to be strong before it is presented to the public so that it will not be perverted.”

That made perfect sense to me.  Although we think we are more enlightened than they were 2000 years ago… really we aren’t.  We still have religious mindsets about who God is. We still have rules and regulations about what revival is supposed to look like.  We want it to be big and splashy.  We want EVERYONE to hear about the miracles.  We want everyone to come to OUR church because that is where God is moving.  In a way… isn’t that like saying “We are the center of attention because this is where “revival” is being birthed?”

Revival isn’t going to come the way we think it is.  It’s not going to be public.  It’s going to be private at first.  There will be a few who will be invited to witness it. 

God’s character is to birth His glory in “barns.”  It is His character to give authority and power to those who lay down their lives.  It is His character to have an angel visit a few instead of the many. 


In the coming days, when God does birth revival, let us not pervert the manger into an idol of authority and power and exaltation.  Let us recognize that the character of God is one of laying our lives down in gentleness and humility.  It is through our death to self – by not caring to be exalted because of the works of the Lord – that many will be saved.

America IS Great! ...but We Are Not the Favorite

The sin of mastery is the root of bullying, racism, slavery, misogyny, feminism and nationalism.  Mastery occurs when someone considers themselves the Master of another.  One race considers themselves better than another, a gender considers themselves better than another, or a nation considers themselves better than another nation.

The interesting part of the sin of mastery is that it comes about because of insecurity in the identity of the person considering themselves the Master.  Yes, pride can also be the reason, but for the most part – you’ll find that it begins with insecurity and the need to be in control is so great that one feels they must MASTER another to feel safe.

A person who is the Master basically sits on a throne of another person’s life and attempts to control their fate.  Bullies attempt to control the fate of their victims.  One race feels they are better than another and demands to be served by other races.  Slave masters dictate the lives of their slaves. Misogynists attempt to keep women under glass ceilings.  Feminists attempt to emasculate men.  One nation attempts to control another.

America has been guilty of considering itself the Master of the world.  There are a variety of reasons that we feel that we are the Answer and have a right to sit on the world’s throne.  We have been extremely blessed financially and militarily. 

Some have wanted to use our nation’s influence in benevolent ways.  Others have tried to use it for selfish reasons of greed and control.  Unfortunately when we decide that because we are the “rich” sibling of the world and we control and manipulate using that influence whether we are being benevolent OR being the dictator… we are guilty of the sin of mastery.

God loves America. But we are no better than other countries.  God adores each and every nation.  He desires that every nation will become a sheep nation and serve the One who created them.  There is a throne in each country that Jesus bought and paid for with His blood.  He deserves the throne of each nation for He is the King of Kings.  But one nation taking the throne of another nation is not what God expects from the “rich” sibling. 

Ditch #1:  America the Rich
Sometimes we take the throne because we see other nations hurting and we want to do all that we can to help.  There is a time and a purpose for this kind of help… however, when we help other countries by simply pouring out money and not helping them learn to care for themselves we create a co-dependent triangle.  Instead of nations learning to help themselves, they look to America to be their savior.  This creates systemic poverty… and we are forced to take a throne we were never meant to inhabit.  We can help financially and with aid, but it should never become a co-dependent relationship. 

We cannot pour money through a funnel into a nation without setting some boundaries.  It is unhealthy.  It is UNSANCTIFIED MERCY.  We must find a way to help other nations get back on their feet without creating dependents.  Nations need to depend on Jesus, the Provider.  Not America, the Benefactor.

Ditch #2 - America the Policeman
Sometimes we take the throne because we see other nations fighting, or we see evil rising up and feel the need to intervene.  We have every right to defend ourselves in war.  The government is charged with protecting its people in Romans 13.  (Rulers hold terror… for those who do wrong.)  The problem comes when we take the throne as the policeman of the world.  We become the Master because we have military might and agility. 

God has not called our nation to be the mediator of the world.  That would be like having one sibling of the family always having the right to intervene in sibling squabbles.  Sometimes it is simply none of our business.

There are certainly times to intervene.  But our “litmus” test for when we step into a conflict to mediate should be -- have our national boundaries been encroached?  Or is one of our friends (i.e. Israel) asking for help?

In this way we maintain a healthy outlook and we do not go beyond proper boundaries set forth for us by the One who sits on the throne.  Jesus is the mediator, not America.

America HAS been guilty of the sin of Nationalism.  The answer to getting out of the ditch ofhyper-grace (unsanctified mercy) and the ditch of hyper-truth (policeman of theworld) is that we stop considering ourselves the Master.  America must step down off of the throne as "The Answer to the world's problems" and begin to preach the Gospel of Jesus and how He IS THE ANSWER.

America is great!  But we are not the favorite...

Steps to Wholeness:
Please pray this prayer of repentance.

Father God please forgive America for considering ourselves the Master of other nations.  Forgive America for thinking we are better than others.  Forgive us for taking the throne that only belongs to You.  We pray for the countries that we have hindered with our unsanctified mercy.  Would You please restore them and break off the co-dependency we caused in their hearts?  Would You also restore the nations who have suffered because we took the throne as the policeman?  We ask You to restore these nations and their ability to stand up for themselves.

We pray You would restore all of the nations that we caused to stumble because we took Your place on the throne.  Please restore to our leaders wisdom to walk on the Path of Life and not repeat the sin of Nationalism.  We thank You for the blood of Jesus that cleanses and washes away our guilt.  We thank You for GRACE that empowers us to say NO to sin!  In Jesus name, AMEN.


Don't Mistake the Blessing of God for the Approval of God!


From time to time I have really struggled with seeing God bless people who I knew were really far away from Him.  They would possibly be prodigals sowing their wild oats, or a Pharisee who was a modern day Saul of Tarsus running around spouting out rules and regulations.  Sometimes people who were walking in abject sin would still see the blessing of our heavenly Father.  Why would God bless these sinners who were obviously far away from Him?

I knew this particular couple to be living in deception about many things of the Lord.  It was not my opinion that they were apart from the vine.  I had the judgment of the Lord that they were indeed far from Him.  God loved them and wanted them to be set free, but they were not willing to hear the truth from anyone.  They alienated themselves from their friends and loved ones because of the “religious” lifestyle that they led. 

I remember at one point they were in need of a new car.  The woman told me how she’d prayed that God would give her a new car and in her request she’d told God that one exactly like they already had would be just fine.  Well, the very next week, they were given a very good deal on a car the exact make and model of the one they already had.

This troubled me greatly.  Why would God hear and bless them if this couple was so far away from Him?  This question disturbed me for years, because in my mind the blessing of God was also the approval of God.

I know a particular church that moved out of the will of God and wanted a “Barbie Dream House” (click here for more).  They purchased a building and remodeled it so that the world would be impressed by the building and come to church there.  God does not use the outward exterior of a church to draw people close to Himself.  He uses the heart of His people to draw people to Himself.  They were far away from the vine.

Yet God blessed them.

Even through the moving process God’s blessing was there.  They had other churches help them move into the new building.  They had an anointed last service in their old church building.  Their moving process was smooth and everyone enjoyed the fresh, remodeled building.  I again was troubled until I read this quote by Rick Joyner.  “Sometimes God will bless what He Himself will never inhabit.”

Whoa!  That’s a good one!

Sometimes God will bless us even if we are apart from the vine.  He loves us as His children and He does not deny us His blessing even if we are deceived or in rebellion.
Therefore…

Having the blessing of God does not mean we have the approval of God.

I have a wonderful example for you.  They are precious family members of mine.  They love God with all of their hearts.  They are two of the most faithful pray-ers I have ever known. 

They also love their son.  They raised him in church and taught them about the Lord.  Nevertheless their son chose a sinful lifestyle.  These precious family members live broken hearted each day for their son.  But they pray and trust that God will see to his salvation and in the meantime…they love him, and bless him.

They have never disowned him.  His mother says “I can’t afford to lose him.”  She has given him the truth and shown him the scripture about how he was not lining up with a Godly life and now she has left it in the Lord’s hands.  But just because her son is deceived doesn’t mean she’s going to cut off the relationship.  They bless their son every chance they have.  They have helped him financially when he was in need.   Their son knows that his parents don’t agree with his lifestyle.  But they are not willing to give up their relationship because of it.  The son also knows that just because his parents bless him does not mean they approve of his behavior.

In the same way we cannot mistake the blessing of God for the approval of God.   He's going to bless His children no matter how far away from the vine we are.  He does it to draw us to Himself attempting to turn us back toward Him.  He blessed the Hebrews who wandered in the desert for 40 years because of their disobedience.  Manna in the morning, quail in the evening, and their shoes and clothes never wore out.  They were in the desert because of their selfishness but God blessed them.  God’s blessings are separate from His approval. 

Consider your own life.  Don't mistake the blessing of God for the approval of God.  Ask the Father to show you where you stand with Him.  He will be faithful to show you.

When Jesus was baptized in Mark 1:11, the Spirit descended on Him and the voice of the Father said these words:  "You are my son, whom I love.  With you I am well-pleased."

The Father made a distinction between His love for His Son and His approval.  The Father loved the Son but was also "pleased" with Him.

Let it be our desire to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant!” --- let us pursue the approval of God!


(It is important to keep a balance in the Truth and Grace of God.  God does bless us even in sin.  But God also turns His face away from those who have gone astray and willingly stay in rebellion.  He turns away in His great love so that they will seek and return to the love they once felt. It is famine that brings the prodigal home.)

Attention Intercessors: Are You Tired of Spiritual Backlash? Seal Up Your Prayers!!


I remember when I first began to do intercessory warfare.  I would rise up in my prayer time and use my sword to war against the enemy.  I would use the word of God.  I would declare and decree  I would tell the mountain to move!  

And I would see answers to my prayers... but I would also feel BACKLASH.

I would feel a few days of spiritual warfare after a prayer session... I would maybe get into a fight with my husband.  Sometimes I would get really impatient. Other times I would get sick or depressed. There were times my electronic devices would stop working or I might have a fender bender.  Spiritual backlash would bring frustration to my life.  It would sometimes cause me to lose my peace of mind.  Or it would cost me financially.  

The Holy Spirit was gracious to us and began to teach us about sealing up our prayers.  He made clear to us through a few dreams, sermons and "downloads" that it was OUR responsibility to seal it up and basically "lock the doors behind us" after we prayed.  It was not an automatic benefit after praying.  It HAD to be done by the intercessors.

EVERYTIME we do Spiritual Warfare at Tisha Sledd Ministries we seal it up by praying this prayer.
We have found it to be invaluable in keeping us safe from the backlash that comes from messing with the devil and his kingdom.

When we pass it out to people at seminars we tell them it is a piece of spiritual gold.  We have paid a high price to understand this "sealing up" strategy.  Every time we were attacked after praying through spiritual warfare, we sought the Holy Spirit about how to protect ourselves from the backlash next time.  This is the list of what the Holy Spirit taught us to do.

Our recommendation is to pray ALL of it EVERY SINGLE TIME you do Spiritual Warfare - even if it is a little thing.  You will save yourself a lot of pain and spiritual attacks by praying this prayer. (We keep a copy on our phones so we have it with us at all times.)

We are happy to share our piece of gold with you.
  1. We establish everything we just prayed through by the blood of Jesus Christ.  We seal it up like a Ziploc bag.  Nothing can be taken from what we just did.  Lord send your Angels to protect the land we just took from the enemy. (1 Peter 3:22)
  2. We pray that all demonic debris would be swept up to the feet of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 8:31 - if Jesus can tell them where to go so can we.)
  3. We pray that LIFE would inhabit every place that was just uprooted. (1 John 5:16, Matthew 15:13)
  4. We come against demonic rulers, authorities, powers, and evil spirits along with their along with all their works, roots, fruits, tentacles and links. (Eph 6:12)
  5. We pray for a hedge of protection by the blood of Jesus around every person involved in the warfare.  We pray a hedge around our minds, homes, families, finances, possessions, health, jobs and ministries. (Job 1:10, Ps 91)
  6. We release warring angels to go out against the backlash. (2 Kings 6:16, Daniel 10:13)
  7. We pray for a spirit of judgment and fire to come against the ‘Devourer,’ the ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Famine’ in Jesus Name! (Is. 4:4)
  8. We declare that we are hidden in you and that our exploits will not be recorded in hell. (Psalm 143:9)
  9. We pray for prosperity and increase in every way over our lives. (3 John 1:2)

Iron Sharpens Iron: How to Receive Rebuke and Correction - Part 2




Today we continue with the second part of How to Receive a Rebuke or Admonishment.  I highly recommend reading Part 1 before continuing with the article below…

In Part One of How to Receive a Rebuke or Admonishment we discussed “How to Humble Yourself to Receive a Word” and then “How to Discern if the Word is From the Lord.” 

In Part Two we will discuss these two aspects:
1.  How to Respond if the Word is Not from the Lord
2. How to Respond if the Word is a True Correction from the Lord

OK so now we have spent some time praying over a word of admonishment that we have received from a brother or sister in Christ.  And we have wisdom from the Lord about whether the word is from Him or not.  We now need to complete the cycle by responding appropriately to the word.

How to Respond if the Word is Not from the Lord

There are several examples in scripture about how people responded to words that were not from the Lord – some of them were pretty harsh.

One of the harshest responses had to be when Peter wrongly rebuked the Lord that He should not go to the cross.  In response to this wrong word of the Lord, Jesus raised his voice to Peter and said “Get Behind me Satan!”  (ha!)  I can pretty much guarantee that 99% of the time we aren’t going to use this method of responding to a word we discern is not from the Lord J

Another harsh example came from Jeremiah,


In Jeremiah 28:15-17 Hananiah the prophet rebuked the prophet Jeremiah in front of the King and his court.  This was the response of the Lord through Jeremiah ----- yowza! 

Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies. Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.’”  In the seventh month of that same year, Hananiah the prophet died.

I can pretty much tell you that 99.99% of the time God will not have us respond to a wrong rebuke in this way either.  (I, for one, am really glad for that!)

The best way to respond to someone who brings us a rebuke that we do not believe is from the Lord is to first of all be humble.  Do not try to come back at a person because they wrongly tried to correct us.  Ask yourself the question, “If I was in their shoes and I was the one who was in error, how would I want to be treated.”

Personally, this golden rule has been the perfect measure for how to respond to someone when I have been wrongly accused.  I am not perfect either.  I have made wrong decisions.  I have had times when I thought I heard the Lord but did not.  I know that anyone can be deceived if we are not careful.

If it were me, giving a wrong rebuke, how would I want to be treated?

I would want to be respected.  I would want to be gently and firmly told that the Lord did not bring a confirmation to the word I gave.  I would hope that the other person would have grace for me when I “missed it.”

A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.  Proverbs 19:11

Overlook any offense that might linger and forgive the brother or sister for bringing a wrong word from the Lord.  Then LET IT GO!  Don’t keep mulling it over – don’t let it torment you.  Once we have God’s heart and we have responded to the word, put it in the sea of forgetfulness.

One time I was wrongly rebuked by a ministry partner who thought she had a word of correction from the Lord.  She even involved the pastor in our dispute.  The Holy Spirit just kept telling me to trust Him.  I had done nothing wrong and He would make it turn out to His glory – I just needed to be humble.

Well within a month God had shown my ministry partner that she rebuked me out of her flesh.  She repented.  I forgave her.  And God restored our relationship to the point that the incident never entered my mind.  Our relationship was FULLY restored in every way.  No mistrust.  No offense.  After experiencing a devastating trainwreck like that in ministry and then to see the Lord completely restore the relationship as though nothing had happened has built my faith 100 fold!  The sea of forgetfulness is real – try it sometime J (Micah 7:19)


How to Respond if the Word is a True Correction from the Lord

I have learned to LOVE the correction of the Lord!  I am so grateful when He keeps me from stumbling.  Sometimes a friend will be praying for me and the Lord will speak to her heart about a small change that needs to happen in my heart.  Other times I have received a louder “rebuke” from the Lord through a friend that DID hurt but it saved me from making a huge mistake!

God brings us correction because He loves us.  He is a good Father who wants to see us run the race of life well.  His correction (even through another person) is not meant to make us feel unworthy.  His correction is because we ARE worthy of His rebuke.  It is a sign that He IS watching over us and IS paying attention.

His perfect love casts out all fear.  He is not correcting us because He wants to control us.  His only desire is to be near us.  If He is bringing correction it is because there is sin that is separating us from Him.  His love for us compels Him to tell us the truth about what is in the way of us having a closer relationship.

If a person has brought you a true word.  Humble yourself.  Admit that you’ve been wrong.  Pour out your heart to God in repentance.  Possibly pray Psalm 51 (the Psalm David wrote when he repented).  Then find a friend who can help you get back in right standing with God by holding you accountable.

Chances are that if you had to be rebuked to have the veil removed from your eyes about something that needed correction…. You will also need help getting completely free of whatever was causing you to sin.  I reiterate:  find a trustworthy person to help you see clearly until the restoration process is complete. 

Psalm 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.


Lord. Change. Me.

Iron Sharpens Iron: How to Receive Rebuke and Correction - Part 1


It can be difficult to receive a rebuke or an admonishment from a brother or sister in Christ.  But sometimes our siblings in Christ can see something hindering us that we cannot see.

We need to be able to bring right-hearted rebuke and admonishment to the Body of Christ in order to mature us.  It is because God loves us that He rebukes and corrects us.  Sometimes He does it through our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

The Body needs to learn how to receive correction and rebuke.  In this article I will cover two aspects of receiving correction: 
1. Humbling yourself to receive the word.
2. How to discern if the rebuke is really from the Lord.

Humbling Yourself to Receive the Word
Ephesians 4:25,  Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  

It is helpful to have a relationship that is built on truth and not “white lies.”  We as the Body are quite guilty of this falsehood of telling each other white lies in order not to hurt one another.

When I personally receive a word of correction or rebuke from someone I first of all put on the armor of God.  I pray that God would put on my helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, shoes of peace, that I would grasp my shield of faith and sword of the spirit.

The revelation of putting on the armor first before receiving a correction has been an extremely wise step in the process.  With ones armor on – if it is intact – we can receive a word without getting our feelings hurt, without feeling attacked, without allowing Satan to cause confusion in the process.

If the correction is a true word from God then the armor actually allows for it to be received in a healthy way.  Then the word can be processed and managed in maturity and not offense.
I usually receive most words of rebuke into the first step of processing.  It is here that we must discern what God is really saying.  I will tell the person thank you for the word and I will take it to the Lord for further understanding.

Our hearts should always be to fully receive the mind of Christ in a matter.  When people bring words of correction and rebuke they sometimes do it out of selfishness and control.  Yet other times people really do have a difficult word from the Lord for us to receive.  We must know how to discern the true words of the Lord.

How to Discern if the Rebuke is Really from the Lord
Once a person has given a word there are usually three categories in which they can be filed. 

1.  Sometimes if it is a true word from the Lord, there can be an immediate “witness” of the Lord as the word is being given.  We can feel the presence of the Lord or the conviction of the Lord on the word of correction.  This is especially easy to do when the person giving you the word is a friend who wants nothing but God’s will for our lives.  A lot of times the rebuke is something the Lord is already dealing in our hearts with.  The rebuke is simply a confirmation that we need to repent and change direction about something in our hearts.

2. It is not a true word from the Lord.  Sometimes we already have the Lord’s mind on a particular issue.  A person who may or may not have right intentions has brought you a word that does not line up with scripture – nor what the Lord has already shown you. 

For instance,  I know that I have been called to preach and teach the word of God.  I will from time to time have people who rebuke me for being a woman and having a teaching ministry.  

I stand on the scripture that Jesus told Mary Magdalene to give His disciples the new revelation that he was risen from the dead.  He told Mary Magdalene to go TEACH his disciples – therefore He can tell me to do the same.  I already immediately know that this rebuke is not from the Lord.  So I discern that this is not a true word from the Lord but a word from the religious mindset of the rebuker.

There are other times when putting on an event that the Lord has given me a “Well done.”  I will have people who come to criticize me for this part or that part in the event.  They will tell me that the word is from the Lord.  But I have already received the mind of the Lord and therefore do not have to have the approval of man.  There may be technical issues with an event that need correction – but if my heart has already been judged by God, when a critical spirit comes in the form of a correction, I must dismiss it as not a true word from the Lord.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO DISMISS A WORD BECAUSE IT HURTS YOUR FEELINGS!  ONLY DISMISS A WORD BECAUSE THE LORD HAS ALREADY GIVEN YOU HIS HEART ON A MATTER… YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS A TRUE WORD FROM THE LORD!

3. Then there is the word that you are not sure if it is from the Lord or not.  This is the word that we make room for a time of processing.  Receive the word that you are unsure of.  Put it on a shelf and begin to pray about the word.  If your desire is to simply hear the heart of the Lord – he will make clear to you what is from Him and what is not.  Many times there will be a second witness on the word.  For instance, you might hear a sermon on the exact same issue.  You might have a dream to confirm the word.  Or as time goes on a peace might come over you that the word is true.

Do not force yourself to receive a word.  Allow the Lord to make the truth real to you – or to release you from a false word.  Ask the Lord for a Red Pill about the issue (click here for more about the Red Pill).  He only wants to give us Truth to set us free!


The only goal is to become like Him. 

Next time we will discuss how to handle corrective words that are true and corrective words that are not true.




Restoring Rebuke and Admonishment to the Body of Christ

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

The Definition of Love

.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 12:49

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

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

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

Proverbs 28:23 

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

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

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

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

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

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

If the Lord calls you

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

2 Timothy 4:2-5

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

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

Hebrews 12:11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything he thought was true – was not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(You can read about that HERE.)

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

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

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

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

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

You Might Have a Religious Spirit...


We all remember Jeff Foxworthy with his "You Might Be a Redneck" jokes.  It was so funny and true. Those of us who grew up in the Midwest and the South would laugh and unfortunately understand exactly what he was talking about.  We grew up in a culture where we had a baseball cap for special occasions, or we kept a can of Raid on the kitchen table, or it was common to wear shorts to a wedding or a funeral.  It seemed normal to us because we had always grown up around these redneck ways.

The same is true of a religious spirit.  When we grow up around religious spirits we don't know any different.  A religious spirit seems like a normality in Christianity.  But just as Jeff Foxworthy pointed out our ridiculous redneck habits - we also need our religiosity pointed out to us if we are going to be set free!

Recently I was reading “Overcoming Evil in the Last Days” by Rick Joyner (click here).  The book is so full of wisdom about the spirits of Racism, Witchcraft and the Religious Spirit.  I highly recommend it.

I was grateful to use his list of symptoms of a Religious Spirit to check my own heart.  I found that I needed to pull a few weeds out of my heart after reading it!  I wanted to share this list with you as well.  Let us continually examine our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to our hearts about its condition according to the Kingdom of Heaven.

As you read through these remember that it may be a generational curse – you may have been programmed to think this way because of your parents or early churches that you attended.

I have rephrased these in order for them to fit into my comedic delivery worthy of Jeff Foxworthy:
If you resemble any of these remarks --- “You might have a religious spirit!”

1.       If we see our primary goal as tearing down what we believe is wrong; if you always see what’s wrong, but not what’s right; if you struggle with being legalistic
2.       If we are unable to accept a rebuke from those “less spiritual”; if our attitude is “I will not listen to people, I will only listen to God”
3.       If we keep score on our spiritual life
4.       If we believe we have been appointed to fix everyone else
5.       If we have an overwhelming feeling of guilt that can’t live up to the Lord’s standards -- perfectionism
6.       If our leadership style is bossy, overbearing, and intolerant of weakness/failures of others
7.       If we see ourselves as closer to God than others
8.       If we take pride in our “spiritual maturity”; If we believe we are on the “cutting edge” of what God is doing
9.       If we have a mechanical prayer life
10.   If we do things in order to be noticed by people
11.   If we glory more in what God has done in the past than what He is doing in the present -- tradition
12.   If we are suspicious of new movements, except if it’s our own
13.   If we tend to view all supernatural manifestations as evidence of God’s handiwork and approval of us
14.   If we have trouble overreacting to carnality in the church
15.   If we have trouble overreacting to immaturity in the church
16.   If we are unable to be a part of anything that we do not deem perfect or nearly perfect
17.   If we delight in self-abasement (which will appear as a religious commitment/duty)
the “martyr syndrome” – “suffering for the gospel” 

Steps to Wholeness:
If you are convicted of any of these symptoms here is what you do:
    1. Confess to the Lord that you have sinned.  Ask Him for forgiveness.
    2. Use this tool for breaking off generational sins over the specific line item you are convicted of. (click here)
    3. Use this tool to break soul ties with anyone who taught you to have a religious spirit. (click here)
    4. Ask the Lord to remove any faulty wiring in your mind that has been twisted.
    5. Ask Him to replace the faulty wiring with the wiring of the Holy Spirit.
    6. Then ask for God to restore your God-given mind, will and emotions back in every way.


Remember freedom comes in layers – just be patient with yourself.  Your journey to Wholeness is accomplished one step at a time!

Believers: If You Are Furious - You Are Believing a Lie!



One day I was in the parking lot mulling over a situation that I was furious about.  I wasn’t just angry – I was livid.  The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said “Tisha, whenever you get furious – you are believing a lie that you are powerless.”

As I have mulled over that revelation I have found this to be true.  When my anger is mixed with the emotion of powerlessness I become furious.

ANGER + POWERLESSNESS = FURY

I am furious about the sex slaves and sex trade in this world.
I get furious when I feel taken advantage of.
I am furious that Pastor Saeed is still in prison.
I am furious when someone bullies my kid!
I am furious when people lie about me and slander me who don’t even know me.

Riots in cities are an example of people who feel powerless expressing their fury.  Murders and gang violence are usually because people feel powerless and attempt to take back their power by taking the life of another.  Other examples of being furious are road rage, physical abuse, and emotionally flipping out… all of these reactions are because one feels powerless.

But friends – what we don’t understand is that if we are Believers in Jesus Christ – we have ALL the power that we need.

I don’t have to be furious about the sex slaves/trade.  I have a powerful tool in my hand to help.  I can get on my knees and ask God to bring the structure of the sex industry DOWN! 

When I feel powerless because someone is taking advantage of me, I can ask the Lord for His truth about the situation.  Once I see things from His perspective I can seek His wisdom about a Christ-like resolution. 

I can pray for Pastor Saeed and I can contact my legislators about getting him freed from prison.

If my children are bullied – I can help them forgive the bully and then bring healing to their heart by introducing the Truth of Jesus into the trauma by renouncing lies and having the Holy Spirit cleanse the hurt.

When people lie about me and slander me – I am not powerless – I can forgive my persecutors and submit myself to a just God who says this in Psalm 138:7 – “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.”


In your own life – pay attention to the shift from anger to fury.  What happened is you just bought the lie that you are powerless!


Steps to Wholeness
When the emotion of fury arises in you quiet yourself and ask the Lord:

What lie am I believing?  Listen to the Holy Spirit for the lie.

Renounce the lie out loud. (i.e. “I renounce the lie I’m powerless about this situation.”)

Ask the Lord what His truth is.  Listen for the still small voice that wells up from your spirit.

Declare out loud what you hear God say. (i.e. “I declare the truth that I have great power in my prayers!)

ACT on what you hear from the Lord.


Do You Have Trouble Obeying God? Here's Why.

Do you find that you struggle to obey God?  Do you struggle with a secret sin that you stumble over again and again? Or maybe He has given you an assignment that you simply have never gotten around to completing?  Do you procrastinate when the Holy Spirit says to move on something?

I have certainly been there.  And I’d like to share with you the insight that brought me out of my lazy and delayed disobedience.

I used to give myself A LOT of grace when it came to disobeying God.  I would make excuses about not keeping my word.  I would allow doubt to cloud my mind and tell myself I didn’t really hear God in a specific situation.  I would look at others around me and compare myself to them and say “Well, their disobedience is worse than my disobedience. So I’m OK.” 

We call that greasy grace.  I was actually abusing the grace given to me by God.  It would be like telling our children to clean up their room but they make up excuses to not do it, or they procrastinate and then tell themselves that

Mom and Dad love me so much they won’t mind if I don’t obey

.

My mindset was out of balance with the Word of God.  For the Word of God says "If you love me, you will obey what I command.”  John 14:15

Ouch!

I was so focused on God’s love for me that I didn’t think about the perspective that my obedience represented my love for Him.

In all honesty, I was heartbroken to understand this.

I really didn’t love the Lord nearly as much as I thought I did.  Because if I loved Him, I would be obeying Him.  My disobedience was a measure of my love.

I began to practice obedience in EVERY corner of my life.  I wanted to LOVE God!  My bad habits and procrastination began to dissipate.  I became passionate about uncovering places of disobedience in my heart.

As I obeyed the Lord more and more I found that there is actually a huge benefit for obedience that I hadn’t seen before in scripture. 

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him

and show myself to him."

  John 15:21

The more I obeyed the closer that I felt to Him.  The more I obeyed the more I understood His ways.  Obedience was even MORE than just loving Him… there was also a reward for obedience.  Jesus showed Himself to me.

I promise you after you take those first few steps of obedience, it immediately becomes worth it. The best thing that any Believer could do is to become addicted to loving the Lord and become obedient in every aspect of our lives.

Believers: It's Time to Live Out Loud!

Believers: Are you living your life in Jesus Christ out loud?  Are you afraid to mention His name in public so that people are not offended?  We have all felt the Politically Correct walls closing in on us over the past few years in America.  The public pressure to keep Jesus behind the threshold of our churches and our homes is very real.  The statement “separation of church and state” has been twisted from its original intention to make us afraid to be public about our faith in Jesus.

I know of people who are trying their hardest to sit on the fence between the world and Christianity and they say it is because they want to pull the world across the fence to Jesus.  But this is not the example that we are given in the Word about how to live our lives in God’s Kingdom.

Jesus was crucified.  Stephen was stoned. Peter was crucified upside down.  Bartholomew was skinned alive and then beheaded.  That was only the beginning… so many others throughout history have died for living out loud.  Yet – it was the example that our leader left us… Jesus LIVED OUT LOUD!

We cannot live under cover anymore.  
Christianity is not a religion of “being nice.”  Even pagans are “nice.”  Christianity is knowing that you are a sinner and in need of a “Christ” or a “Messiah.”  Being nice does not save a soul.  Being nice does not bring a heart to repentance.  Nor does being nice change a culture.  Undercover Christianity needs to become a thing of the past. Honestly, we WILL be put to the test in these last days.  We will have to choose to be an out loud Christian to be a Christ follower.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes… Romans 1:16

We must not be afraid to use the name of Jesus.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.  (Acts 4:12)  Buddha does not save. Muhammed does not save.  Only Jesus saves and He saves us by His name.

The first apostles were not afraid to use His name.  In fact, they were beaten for using the name of Jesus. In Acts 5:41 it says: “…They rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

If we do not lift up His name, He cannot draw people to Himself.
“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."  Acts 4:18-20

The name of Jesus is like giving people the Red Pill to get out of the devil’s Matrix they are living in.  Jesus is the one who cracks open the eyes of unbelievers to see beyond this life into the next.  He is the Deliverer.  He is the Healer.  He is the Provider.  He is LIFE! 

I have found that when I use Godly wisdom and wait for the Holy Spirit to give me the green light, using the name of Jesus in a conversation, at an event, on a Facebook post, in a letter can be the most powerful tool that I own.  When I am lifting up the name of Jesus for His sake – He does the drawing of hearts to Himself.  (John 12:32)

Yes there will be some who will be offended by His name.  But really it is not so much people who are offended at the name of Jesus… it is the deception that they are in from the devil that rises up to keep them in darkness.  Jesus was willing to offend those who were in deception.  It is often pain that the Lord uses to open the eyes of those who walk in darkness.  Jesus is not afraid to bring pain to someone in order set them free.

There is power in His name.
Listen – the enemy HATES the name of Jesus and he does not want you to use it.  He loses every time we use the name of Jesus because there is power in it!  JESUS holds the keys to death and hell!  Those keys are a painful reminder to the devil about how big he lost at the cross of Calvary.

Everything in heaven, on earth and under the earth will bow to the NAME of Jesus... that's what I call POWER!

The enemy of your soul is going to do what he can to keep you believing that just being nice is good enough to be a Christian.  In America, we are not physically beaten for using His name, we are socially beaten for using it.

We must come to a place where we rejoice in being counted “worthy of suffering disgrace for the NAME.”  What’s a little suffering compared to the glory that will be revealed?

What will you hear on Judgment Day? 
There is a difference between Salvation (free gift) and Reward (earned through works).  Using the name of Jesus and living out loud will multiply what Jesus has given you, and will bring you a reward on Judgment Day.

Dying (literally and figuratively) for His name is the highest honor.  We’ve got to stop trying to save face with the people of this world.  LIVE FOR HEARING “WELL DONE” IN HEAVEN… not “well done” from people on earth.

Jesus has done so much for you… let Him overflow into your life, into your relationships, into your conversations and LIVE OUT LOUD!


JESUS!!!!!

Hide It Under a Bushel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Breaking Ungodly Soul Ties - Victorious Prayer Tool Box


Soul ties can be good or bad. They are formed when 2 or more persons become bonded together in the realm of the soul.  It is the uniting together of two souls in either a verbal or non-verbal covenant.  Soul ties can be God ordained as with a husband and wife.  There can also be ungodly soul ties, when someone makes a covenant with a person outside of God’s will.

While Godly soul ties are good for us, ungodly soul ties can hold us back and cause us to stumble.  The enemy likes to use everything he can to cause us to misstep.  When we have made covenants with people that have not been authorized by God, we create an ungodly soul tie which can
cause confusion and destruction. The enemy is given license to influence us toward darkness.

Mark Virkler explains soul ties in his book Prayers that Heal the Heart: “Ungodly soul ties stem from covenant or contractual relationships that pass sin energy from one person to another.”

For instance, if we have a soul tie to a past boyfriend/girlfriend the ungodly soul tie can cause doubt or a fear of rejection to be projected on present-day God-ordained relationships.

If we have a soul tie with a controlling family member, we can sometimes make decisions to please that person instead of pleasing God.  This fleshly influence can cause us to make wrong decisions not based on Godly counsel.

When we submit to false teaching under a church or ministry, we are agreeing in covenant with them.  This false teaching can cause us confusion and even a veil over our minds making it harder to see God’s truth.

When we have sexual relations with a person, we have made a non-verbal covenant. If that sexual relationship was outside of marriage – we need to break the soul tie.

If we have gone into business with a person outside of God’s will, we have become unequally yoked by making a verbal/contractual covenant with that person, and that soul tie will need to be broken.

I have seen many people set free through the breaking of soul ties.  One man felt his controlling sister was always whispering in his ear what she expected from him.  He broke the ungodly soul tie and the torment stopped.

I have seen other men break soul ties with the women they have seen in pornography, which has yielded a much closer relationship with their wives.

One particular woman and daughter had attended a very religious almost cult-like church when the daughter was young.  Breaking the soul tie with the church and its leadership brought them great freedom and their understanding of God’s word blossomed.

Sometimes breaking a soul tie with something that is an addiction can be helpful.  Like breaking a soul tie with alcohol or drugs or food.  I know these are substances and not ‘souls’ but there is a demonic spirit behind addiction.  When you break the soul tie – you are renouncing the hold that the evil spirit has on you.

Here is a beginning list of ungodly soul ties that need to be broken:
·         Abusive relationships
·         Ungodly sexual relationship, lust, pornography, infatuation or any erotic joining. Matt. 5:27-28
·         Co-Dependent/Controlling relationship
·         Perverted, twisted family ties
·         Occult involvement
·         Ungodly vows
·         Addictions
·         Unhealthy/Obsessed relationship (this could be a famous person that one doesn’t even know)
·         False teaching
·         Unequally yoked partnerships

Steps to Wholeness

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

“I ask forgiveness for having an ungodly soul tie with _____________”
“I break all soul ties with ___________ and I sever all influence from _____________.”
“I give back to _______________ the things that are his/hers.”

“I take back the things that are mine and I wash them in the blood of Jesus.”
"Father God I pray that you would remove all twisted thinking I believed - replace it with wiring from the Holy Spirit according to the Kingdom of Heaven."
"Please give me back my soul. In Jesus Name."

When you are finished breaking soul ties, remember this is essentially doing spiritual warfare so you will need to seal up the victory by pray the Sealing Up Prayer found HERE.

Alien Nation

As hard as it is to accept, if you are a Christ follower – you are called to be an alien to this world.

 The dictionary defines alien as: strange, foreign, differing in nature or character typically to the point of incompatibility.

As Christians, we are incompatible with the world.  Jesus did not make His home here because His Kingdom is in heaven.  If we are His followers, it also means that this world is not our home.  John 17:14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

The Body has found themselves in a mess here lately because there is little distinction today between the world and Christ’s followers. We are supposed to have no other gods before Him and yet we bow down to the gods of the world all the time.  We have such a strong desire to belong somewhere that we bow to the idols of the world to feel like we belong.  

It is perfectly normal to have a desire to belong.  We simply have forgotten that we DO belong… to Him. We have lost the identity that Christ came to give us.  We belong to
Him and His Kingdom, not this world.

One of the most prevalent gods we serve in this world is the politically correct god.  We worship the god of ‘nice’, instead of serving the God of Truth because we will offend people if we speak the truth.  When we do this we put ‘people-pleasing’ on a pedestal. 

The lie that the enemy has us tied up in is this:  “If the world doesn’t like us than we must not be like Christ.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  We are not called to fit in. We are called to lift up Christ, even if it costs us everything.  We call ourselves “Christ-ians” because we follow Christ who was crucified for not being politically correct.  They wanted Jesus to conform and He refused.
(Of course, there was a secret plot that Jesus had with the Father to turn that injustice for the good of mankind by bringing us everlasting life through His death.)

We’re so scared of offending anyone because then we’ll be outcasts.  But the truth is, if you are a Christ-follower, then you are required to be an outcast in this world.  You cannot conform to this world and still call yourself a Believer.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Look at the description that The Message gives these verses:
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn in a public position of leadership is that our God does not co-exist with other gods….even if the bumper sticker says so.  We are not called to make our God submit and be like other gods in this world.  To do so breaks the first commandment:  You shall have no other gods before Me. (Ex. 20:3)

I had to stand up against friends and public officials who were commanding me to co-exist with a secular group for a community event.  The Lord continually reassured me throughout the ordeal to not bow down to the pressure I was feeling.  All I had to do was stand up straight and not serve the god of ‘nice’ or the secular god I was being called to bow to.  One person even said, “Aren’t you a Christian?  Aren’t you supposed to help people get along?”

God guaranteed me that He would take care of it.  The people that I had to stand against up against kept using the phrase, “Can’t we just co-exist?”  It made me smile every time that they used the phrase because I knew the devil was mad that he couldn’t control me with his ‘people pleasing’ tactics.

In the end, God did take care of it.  He gave me victory in the situation and the other party backed down.  The community event is still held every year and is a blessing to many especially to the Kingdom of God.

Believe me, it was a difficult fight.  It was lonely and relationships suffered because of it.  But God showed me that He does not care if people are offended when I refuse to bow to the idols of this world. His pleasure is my only goal.  His “well done” is worth broken relationships.  In fact, His “well done” basically requires broken relationships… just look at Christ’s example.
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:37-39

Those who are fully surrendered to Christ have to learn this same lesson.  You cannot be fully surrendered until you go through the test of bowing to foreign idols.  You cannot be fully surrendered until you are ready to face the flames of death like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego because you refuse to bow down to the god of this world.

God shows His displeasure when others attempt to make Him co-exist with other gods in 1 Samuel 4 through 7.  It is a fascinating look into what happened when the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines (the world).

1 Samuel 4-7 Cliff notes:  The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant because Israel tried to exploit the Ark in battle. The Israelites thought that if they simply used the symbol of God – that they could overcome their enemies.  But the Temple of God and its leadership was full of sexual perversion, greed and selfishness that there was no power to the Ark because there was no righteousness in the people to back it up (similar to having a form of godliness but denying its power).  The glory departed from Israel.

The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the temple of their god Dagon.  The next morning the idol Dagon was on its face before the Ark.  They set Dagon back on his feet but the next morning the hands and feet of Dagon were broken off and were set on the threshold to the entrance of the temple.  From that point on as a tribute to Dagon – people would not step on the threshold in remembrance of this idol.  (That’s as much of the story as I need to recount to you but it goes on into some amazing chronicles of how God can defend Himself and His glory – if you haven’t read it.  You’ll love it!)

So God was absolutely proving that He does not co-exist with other gods.  He topples gods that are put in the same room as He is.  The Body of Christ needs to begin to understand this part of God’s holiness.  “You shall have no other gods before Me!”

Zephaniah 1:4-9 "I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests-- those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the LORD and who also swear by Molech (who was worshiped by child sacrifice-or in today’s world abortion), those who turn back from following the LORD and neither seek the LORD nor inquire of him. Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near.... On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.

Let us make it our goal to bring down all of the idols in our hearts and not be afraid to step on the threshold of this world’s gods.  When we try not to step on other people’s toes even with loving truth – we are “avoiding stepping on the threshold.”  When we water down the truth to make sin acceptable we bow down to political correctness or the god of nice. When we refuse to speak up about moral issues we are “avoiding stepping on the threshold.”  When you put anything or anyone on a pedestal, it is an idol.  When you put anything above God you are trying to make God co-exist with other gods.

He is a holy God.  We are required to be holy, which means set apart from this world.  We are called to be aliens.

Our identity is in Christ.  It is OK if the world thinks we are strange.  It is OK if they are offended by us.  In the end only One Person’s opinion matters anyway. 


Live for the “well done!”



Maybe You Don't Understand Love as Well as You Think You Do...

“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

We listen to it at a wedding. We love to quote it on social media. But the truth is these few verses are NOT the final and complete definition of love. We have a habit as believers to take specific parts of the Word of God - the parts that preach really good – and think we’ve got the subject of love covered. We have not been trained very well to use the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). As with all things in scripture we must receive the entire word of God to have a complete picture of

His character.

1 Corinthians 13 is an easy one to preach. It’s poetry. It makes us feel all warm inside. It doesn’t offend. But if we are to take the whole counsel of God we must recognize that several chapters earlier in 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 Paul actually commands the Church to do something that would not fit in with most Christians’ definition of love.

“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

He commands the Church not to even eat with believers who are sexually immoral, greedy, idolaters, slanderers, addicted or a thief (note he is not speaking of unbelievers). We must take these kinds of passages into account when formulating our definition of love. Friends I know this is hard but this scripture actually tells us not to associate with believers who are sexually immoral.

Most people would say “How is that love?” Perhaps Paul was attempting to illuminate the thought that Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

We must receive the whole counsel about Who He is – not just the parts that we agree with. Either all of the Bible is true or none of it is. I believe it’s all true. Even the difficult parts.

Unfortunately we have redefined who God is because of our subjective definition of love. It doesn’t work like that. If you are going to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength – you have to love the truth about His character too. You cannot make God conform to your idea of what love is.

Love is not the definition of God... God is the definition of love.

When examining our definition of “love” we must take into consideration several things that happened in the New Testament. (I use only the New Testament to make my point for those who believe that The Old Testament no longer represents God’s character after Jesus shed His blood.) These things God caused to happen might shake you to the core if you don’t really understand God’s characterization of the word LOVE:

1 ) Ananias and Sapphira are struck down dead after lying to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5)

2) Herod is struck down dead by an angel of the Lord. (Acts 12)

3) Paul directly tells the churches to stay away from specific people who are false teachers and calls them by name. (2 Timothy)

4) Jesus Himself called church leaders to their faces: hypocrites, snakes, white washed tombs, murderers and blind guides. (Matthew 23)

5) Jesus overturns marketplace and whips the people who are selling in the temple. (John 2)

6) Jesus has a dire warning for people who cause His children to sin.  The punishment would be worse than being drowned with a brick around their neck. (Matthew 18)

7) In Revelation 2 and 3, in His prophecy to the seven churches Jesus HATES the practices of certain people.

He threatens to remove one of them from the lampstand in heaven.

He says he is going to bring suffering on a woman named Jezebel and everyone who supports her.

He says He will repay the churches according to their deeds.

He spits out of His mouth those who are lukewarm.

He tells one of His churches that they are poor, pitiful, naked and blind.

In Revelation 11, two witnesses are given the power to burn to a crisp those who try to hurt them.

You must include these characteristics of God when forming your opinion of love.

I know this might seem harsh to some of you but all of these actions are included in the definition of love. We must open our minds a little more about the definition of love because those few verses in 1 Corinthians 13 cannot cover the vast characteristics of who God is.

Check out one of Paul’s prayers in Philippians 1:9:

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. So that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”

Love has depth to it. There is knowledge and understanding that comes with the definition of love – we are meant to discern (judge) what is best so that we are pure and blameless. Love must include the fruit of righteousness. Love is costly, and we cannot simply throw it around and say, “God loves you unconditionally so you can behave however you want to behave.” That is not a discerning love.

The Message interprets Philippians 1:9 like this:

“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.”

Too many people have considered 1 Corinthians 13 as the final definition of love. If you do not take the whole counsel of the Word of God and the characteristics of God’s personality what you get is SENTIMENTAL GUSH.

Friends, God is not a sentimental gushy Heavenly Father. He is a God that will not hesitate to punish sin. (1 Thess 4:2-6) To punish sin is an act of love! A loving Father DISCIPLINES His children. (Rev. 3:19)

It’s like getting your hand burned on the stove as a child. If you touch a hot stove once and get burned you won’t do it again because it harms you. Our loving Heavenly Father doesn’t have a problem letting those who sin get hurt by it because He wants you to stay away from things that hurt you!

Allowing suffering into our lives is a way of disciplining us. Speaking with sharp words to us in order to get us to repent is a way of disciplining us. God allows a separation when we sin against Him, this is another way that God disciplines us. He is not afraid to hurt our feelings.

Our definition of WHO God is must include the characteristic of Holiness. God hates what sin does to His children. It harms us. It harms His plan for our lives. He has no problem bringing painful discipline because He wants it to produce in us harvest of righteousness. (Heb 12:11) I am so grateful for the times when God has brought painful discipline to me. He has kept me from such disastrous mistakes because when His discipline came, though it was painful, it caused me to seek Him for His truth. And the Truth set me FREE!

There was one time that I knew a friend of mine was entering a marriage that was not from God. I very gently told her to really think about it before she entered the marriage. Then I just put it in God’s hands and left it alone. She married the man and it all fell apart very quickly, he was a charlatan. A few years later we were discussing my gentle warning and she looked at me with pain in her eyes and said “Why didn’t you rebuke me more harshly?! I might have listened if you had hurt me.”

Another time I did hurt a friend with the truth, and our relationship suffered a season of separation because of it. But God confirmed to my friend that I indeed had brought her the truth and she repented and God restored our relationship. She was so thankful that I was bold enough to hurt her feelings. The path that she was on would have forever altered the course of her family’s life and caused great damage to everyone.

In my own life, God warned me through a sermon I 'just happened' to hear on the radio that if I continued on the rebellious path I had chosen that I risked being removed from this earthly life sooner than He planned. That REALLY hurt my feelings!  But I was headed for destruction.  And He was incredibly gracious to fully inform me of the consequences of my choices.  Now as I look back at the stern rebuke I received from the Lord, I feel incredibly loved and protected by His unvarnished truth.

Love never fails.

Love includes 1 Corinthians 13. It is patient, it is kind. We are to pray for our enemies and those who use us. We are to turn the other cheek. We are absolutely called to lay down our lives for our brother, and sometimes be crucified by them and their words, and as you are bleeding we are required to follow Christ and say “Father forgive them.” But love does not end there we are also called to confront sin with the truth. This is also love.

Our definition of love must come through the lens of what God says love is. Otherwise we are creating an idol out of our own imagination into a twisted version of love in which everyone is free to do whatever they want without consequence.

God is love. Not the other way around.