September 18 2017

How To Forgive: Steps To Freedom From Pain And Shame

Last week I wrote a post about forgiveness, and I would like to follow it up with a post on how to forgive. Learning to forgive can be quite difficult for some people. It can seem as though forgiving someone is excusing every bad thing they have done to you. However, that is not how the Lord sees forgiveness. Jesus came to set us free from oppression and death, and when we hold on to unforgiveness, we are holding on to the very things that strive to keep us in bondage.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:18

Step 1: Admit you have a problem

For some, admitting that there is a problem is harder than forgiving the ones who hurt you. It is much easier to live in a place of strong denial, where you keep a firm belief that everything is just fine; nothing is wrong at all. You are not hurt or angry. You have moved on and nothing can keep you down.

This is exactly the stance the enemy would love you to keep, because it is in that denial that you are kept in his bondage. Forgiving those who have sinned against you is a cornerstone of Christian faith. To forgive is to be set free. We cannot be set free from anger, pain, spite, vengage, rage, etc, when we refuse to connect to those emotions. We tell ourselves they aren’t there, and when we flare up into a rage and someone calls us out on it, we smile warmly and say we’re not angry.

There is no hiding from unforgiveness. It is bondage that allows the demonic to work through us to keep us in pain and harm those that we love and that we have issues with. You may need to ask the Holy Spirit to help you see where you have unresolved issues causing pain, anger, etc.

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

1 John 1:9

Step 2: Repent for your anger

Once we verbally admit we are angry, hurt, jealous, spiteful, envious, hateful etc. , then we are ready for the next step, repentance. Repentance means to turn from evil and turn to good instead. Acts of hate, anger, and all the other feelings that come when we don’t forgive are the same as making agreements with the enemy. It is going against Christ in us, and agreeing with our sin nature, which was born out of rebellion and partnership with the enemy.

When Adam and Eve decided to rebel against God in the Garden, they were actually agreeing with the devil and his lies. Therefore, it was like a contract and partnership, which cost all humanity. We do not understand the depth of what sin means until we see it in these terms. To sin is not just to simply do wrong, and that is why it is so important to repent of it. God has already forgiven us, and we do not repent in order to gain His love or approval. We repent in order to align ourselves to the Spirit of the God Most High, and flee from the devil and his ways.

Have the Holy Spirit lead you through the act of repentance. Repentance should be done out loud, because you are making a declaration for the whole spiritual realm to hear. Repentance can be as basic as “I repent for my anger at ____. I repent for all my evil or negative thoughts about ______. I repent for all my jealousy and acts of division towards ____.”

Just be sure to let the Holy Spirit bring all of it to mind. Do not be ashamed at your actions as He reveals them. Your Father in heaven loves you more than you could know. He is not mad at you. He has already forgiven you. He knows your heart and knows you are not evil. You are repenting because you seek to free yourself from the bondage that has kept you in alignment with hell, not because you are bad.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Step 3: Forgive those that have hurt you

To forgive does not mean to permit sin. Forgiveness is the act of extending the blood Jesus shed on the cross to pardon us to those who have done us wrong. To forgive is an act, not a feeling. It is like a verbal contract between yourself and God, allowing His grace and mercy and love to flow freely to you and to those who have sinned against us.

The act of forgiving should be spoken aloud. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you with the words. It can be as simple as “I forgive ______ for not being there when I needed them. I forgive _____ for not listening to me. I forgive ______ for stealing from me. I forgive ______ for saying hurtful things to me.

You may still have to work through some of the reasons for your pain, anger, etc. towards others after you forgive them. Often times things that happen to us now are a trigger (something that reminds us of a traumatic event from our past) to unresolved pain from our past. When we have traumatic events happen in our lives, which are wide and variable between different people, we store up the pain deep inside our psyche and keep reliving the wounds when they are triggered.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you work through any unresolved feelings that linger. You may find there are more things that need to be forgiven as time goes on. It is important to be patient and loving with yourself, forgiving yourself just as you are forgiving others. God does not expect you to be perfect, and knows you have done wrong in your life. We all fall short of the glory of God, and that is why Jesus came. We just need to keep surrendering and humbling ourselves continually, so that we can break free from this bondage and grow closer to God.

 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Romans 12:14

Step 4: Bless those who have hurt you

Once you have forgiven those who have hurt you, it is important to then bless them. People who hurt are most likely just hurting themselves. We are all broken and living in a broken world, trying to make it through the best we know how. Sometimes we do mean to hurt others and sometimes we don’t. Either way, we all deserve the forgiveness of Christ and the cleansing righteousness it brings.

To offer blessing on those who have sinned against us, no matter how severe it is, is the final act when we forgive. It releases us to move forward and know that we have truly aligned ourselves with the heart of God. His heart is so full of love for every one of His children, and He wants to see each one of us come into repentance so we can be who He truly created us to be. We must not fall prey to pride, thinking that to forgive is enough, and to bless is too much.

By blessing those who have hurt us, we are opening our hearts up to be blessed as well, and bringing the gates of heaven to these people who need Jesus so bad. No matter where they are in life, you can never have too much Jesus.

The act of blessing is as simple as “I bless _______. I bless their life, their home, their family, their finances.” And whatever else the Holy Spirit would have you pray. He may have you pray intercession for them, because they may be in dire straights, and we do not know.

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:13

We are not striving for perfection, but for the Father’s heart. As we continue to forgive ourselves and others, we can continue to grow in His mercy and love. We are to be ambassadors of His grace and mercy, and as we forgive, we are doing mighty work for His Kingdom. No matter how hard it seems, you can do this. I have had to forgive the most heinous of acts, on many occasions, and it has only brought me more and more freedom.

Your Father in heaven is so very proud of you and where you are at right now. Keep fighting the good fight of faith, my beautiful brothers and sisters!

January 11 2016

Your Sin Does Not Offend God

sinWhen I first came to Christ, I was a big time sinner. Who isn’t right? It seems like I probably have committed most of the sins there are  – drinking, drugs, promiscuous sex, sexual immorality, witchcraft, divorce, adultery, lying, stealing, swearing, taking the Lord’s name as a swear word, blasphemy, hate and violence. Wow! Is there anything else left outside of murder? I’m not really sure. All I know is it was an absolute miracle that I came to God at all. It all started with walking into a Presbyterian church one Sunday morning, after never really have been to a Christian church in my entire life. I am often asked how I came to God, and the only answer that I can come up with is God. It was God Himself who brought my family into that church that morning. No person led us there, and it was completely out of left field that we even considered going to a Christian church. I was steeped in sin and loving it.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

The Holy Spirit did a good work on me once He got me into church. We began going to church every week and started to read the Bible, leading up to a baptism for my husband, one of my sons and myself. I believe this is when the real changes began to occur in my life. I lost all desire to drink or do drugs, to cuss, take the Lord’s name in vain, and much more. It only progressed into changing my dress to be more modest, not watching violence on TV (or sex and drugs, etc.) and more. The Holy Spirit was cleansing my soul in a way that was absolutely refreshing! I felt close to Jesus and was in love with Him. My relationship grew and grew until I came to this great place where I thought I had “made it” so to speak. Wow! Being a Christian was amazing, and the best experience of my life! Being with God was beyond anything I had every known that was supposed to be fun or exciting. He filled my heart and soul and brought me to completion. Could it get any better?

And yet it did! My relationship with Jesus continued to grow as He poured out His spiritual gifts and blessings onto me. It was amazing! Yet there were other problems I had. Problems with anger, and problems with my health. They were plaguing me and causing me suffering. Soon my relationship with Jesus took the back seat as I tried to just function every day. My health problems consumed my entire life. I was miserable and soon began to believe God had abandoned me. Finally I had a deliverance session that cleared up my brain fog and left me able to breathe again, enough to begin to restore my relationship with Jesus (at least on my side, because He really never left me). But my anger was still there. So I decided to try getting help, because I wanted to claim the victorious life that I knew Jesus had for me.

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

1 John 1:4

I began a journey of inner healing which would completely change my life. For the worse (OK it just seemed that way). Many of the bad behaviors, the sin that I had thought I left behind, came creeping back in to my life. Swearing, hate, anger, revenge, lying, and more popped up on a daily basis. I was in shock – shouldn’t inner healing cause healing?! I was absolutely regressing! How could this be? I was also moving farther away in my relationship with God, as I lived in almost constant pain and anger. I was unable to see outside of it for very long and my favorite thing in the world – worship, was something that was lost to me.

I know this sounds bad, but it is actually very good. How can regressing into so much sin possibly be good? Well, it is a part of the healing process. You see I thought God had healed those things in me and cleansed me of my sin. The problem is, that long list of sins I wrote out, were not simply because I was a sinner. Yes, we are all born sinners, and the Bible makes that clear, but we behave this way for more reasons than just being sinners. Many of these sins, these behaviors so offensive to God, are done out of pain and trauma. As a young child I had experienced extreme abuse and it caused me so much pain and anger that as a young adult I blamed God for all of it, and tried to cover it up with drugs, alcohol and sex. I also had severe demonic oppression that led me into witchcraft, the occult and new age. Demons are able to gain access into our bodies through the false beliefs that come with pain and trauma. Sin is not always as black and white as it seems.

It is so easy to judge those around us who we see sinning. Maybe they are alcoholics, drug addicts, addicted to porn, promiscuous, dress provocatively, gamble and so on. We see this and we get angry and want to judge them. How could they call themselves Christian and behave this way? Don’t they know how wrong this sin is, how offensive to God this is? Or maybe they are not a Christian and are just lost in the world. We look at them and feel sorry for them, because we know they just need Jesus. And it’s true! We all need Jesus. But guess what? God is not offended by their behavior. Shocking isn’t it? Isn’t that what we are taught, God hates sin? You’re right, He absolutely does. But you are forgetting one very important thing – Jesus died to cleanse us all from sin before the eyes of God the Father. Therefore no one is seen before the eyes of our Holy God as sinners, but as His beautiful children. Jesus did not die and suffer so only some of us sinners could be saved, but to clear the name of every person on this earth, and free them from their sentence of capital punishment. Every body. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus died for all. Does this mean every person will be saved? No it does not. But every person’s name has been cleared until the time of their judgement. If God saw us all as sinners, He would have to turn His back on each of us until we repented and accepted Jesus. That is not the God of the Bible, that is a God of condemnation and judgement, who forsakes us. We are the most broken and in need before we come to Christ. God does not turn His back on sinners, looking down on them as they continue to sin, He loves them. That is why Jesus came into the world – because of the intense love of our God, our Father. God can’t help but love us.

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:15

We are born into a world full of evil. It is the devil’s domain, and he is proud of it. He strives daily to take every single person away from God; to cause them to hate Jesus, turn on Him, and believe God hates them as well. With the help of our natural tendencies to sin, the devil is very successful at his job many times. At least for a season. God is willing that none should perish, and moves heaven and earth to reconcile with each one of His children. Yet because of the prevalent evil and sin in the world, many people suffer and experience, abuse, trauma, pain, disease, death, violence and more. It tears them apart, breaks them down, and causes them to become unable to function the way God designed us to. Many of us are walking around so broken that we can’t help but rely on drugs or sex or lying or other sins to get through our lives. We are so full of pain and despair we don’t even have any idea how deep it runs; like a river that threatens to rise above the shore. That pain is always just below the surface, and because of it, more often than not, we choose to sin in many ways. Does this pain make our sin excusable? No, but it makes it understandable. God knows our hearts and minds, and what we have been through. He has been through it all, with each one of us. He knows how hard it has been, and to what extent we can cope with the things that go wrong in our lives. He sees the sin we commit, but He does not see us as the sin we commit. Instead He sees the pain and brokenness in each of us, and knows why we make the choices we do.

God wants nothing more than to abolish our pain and heal our broken lives. He wants nothing more than to bring us closer to Him, to live in a restored and loving relationship with Him. I have heard many people who view God as a God who is always judging us and make us follow a set of rules to act right and be a certain way. You have to follow all the rules of the Old Testament, you can’t do this and you can’t do that or you are offending God and making Him mad. You need to believe this and not believe that are you are going to hell. I completely understand that, because when I first started reading the Bible, I felt the same way. I was offended by sin, I was offended by sinners and I was convinced that God couldn’t favor those who kept on sinning. That is because I had still yet to come into a deeper understanding of how God loves. God’s love has no conditions on it, ever. You do not need to act a certain way or do a certain thing to receive His love. That is what religion tells us, not Jesus.

Condemnation is not of God but of the devil. He is the Father of Lies and wants only to destroy our souls. So when we are looking down on other sinners of the world and thinking how bad they are, we are not in line with the mind of Christ. Underneath that sinner is a lost soul and a broken heart, crying out for love and desperate for healing. Just like you. They may seem like they have it all together, or they may just seem mean and nasty, but inside their hearts are fractured and crushed into a million pieces. Only Jesus can save us and heal that broken mess inside of us. It is our job to love all those around us, sinners or not. To stop looking at them as a bunch of lowly sinners, and start looking at them as fragile jars of clay that need a little TLC. While it may not be our job to fix the mess, it is certainly our job to love them right in the middle of their mess. Even when we are in the middle of our own mess. We need to take a good look around and realize that the person standing right next to you is crying out for help and hurting just as much as we are. Let each of us reach out and share our burdens’ with the next person, so we can comfort each other and help each other find the heart of Jesus.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

handcuffsI know many Christians who are living in shame because they are struggling with a particular sin. If you are struggling with a sin that you can’t get rid of, that does not mean God is mad at you, or looks down on you. You have the grace and mercy of Christ! The mercy of Jesus triumphs over judgement. If you are struggling it is seriously time to take a deeper look at the root of where this sin is coming from. You have moved past just being a sinner in need of Jesus to having a deep root of pain or trauma that has led to this sin. And the devil is using this pain to push you further into sin, so you will believe you are not good enough for God. You are enough for God! You are worthy! He wants you, all of you and your sinful self! Jesus is the only way to freedom from this world, and all it’s pain and evil. He is the only way to life in abundance. But you must come unhindered by the weight of sin and shame. There is no place for shame at the foot of Christ.

I also know many non-Christians who won’t even look twice at the cross of Christ because they don’t want to be condemned by being told they are full of sin. They have already been condemned by Christians, telling them they are going to hell. That is not the message of the cross! Jesus came to give us freedom from sin, to give us eternal life, and His amazing love. No one can receive this wonderful gifts when they are being condemned to hell without having a chance to experience the love of God. Not once did Jesus meet people and tell them they were sinners going to hell. He saw right through the pain and brokenness and reached out to them right where they were. How can we hope to heal ourselves or reach the lost if we continue to view sin as a one way ticket to hell. We are not going to hell because we keep sinning, we are going to hell if we don’t accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. His love and atonement covers our sins, every single one of them!

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!

Romans 6:15

September 28 2015

Knowledge Is Not Power

knowledge“Knowledge is power”. This famous quote from Francis Bacon in 1597, has given many men inspiration over the centuries. When I look around our world today, I can see the influence this saying has had. We truly believe knowledge is power. We believe that we gain the most important things out of life through knowledge. We spend most of our childhood attending schools and then pursue higher education as an adult to advance our knowledge. Our knowledge leads us to higher ways of thinking and understanding the world around us and ourselves. It has birthed great philosophers and teachers into this world. We feel accomplished and important the more education we receive. We send our children to learn from the best teachers and schools we can possibly afford. We take out huge loans so we can attend this prestigious schools, causing us to go into debt for years. All because “knowledge is power”.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7

Where does knowledge come from? Let’s go all the way back to the Creation of man. God created Adam from the dust and breathed His life into him. God also gave Adam all of the Garden of Eden to take charge over and care for. In the middle of the Garden was a tree – the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God’s only command was to not eat of the fruit of this one tree. We cannot be sure how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden before they tasted of this forbidden fruit, but we do know that while they lived there they walked and talked with God daily. How amazing this must have been for them. What a wonderful relationship, to be so close to our Creator, Our Father, in a way many people have not known, but long for!

Yet the day came when the desire for knowledge became greater than this wonderful relationship with God and the security of the beautiful garden, and the desire for knowledge overtook them. Satan was there with just right words to help Adam and Eve make the decision to ignore God’s heeding to not eat the fruit of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Was it all Satan’s fault? No, he just had great timing. He already knew that in their heart’s. Adam and Eve were longing for knowledge because secretly they felt it would make them better. In their hearts, they felt they were missing out on something – something that God was keeping from them.

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:5

The blame cannot be laid solely on Adam or solely on Eve. Together both Adam and Eve ate of the fruit. Each of them had this hidden desire for more knowledge. And with this pursuit of knowledge came death in their relationship with God the Father. Somewhere in the hearts they began to believe God was not enough anymore, and that knowledge would bring them power. Satan is the great tempter, but he did not cause them to make this decision. Once Adam and Eve gave in to their temptation their whole world began spinning out of control. The knowledge that they believed would give them great power – that would indeed make them like God; instead gave them fear, confusion, pain and a separation from God. How deeply they must have regretted that decision. And we all have been paying the price for this sin ever since. Yet we have not learned how dangerous the belief that knowledge equals power is.

Don’t we all desire knowledge and believe that it can somehow advance us in our lives? Knowledge of what the future will bring, knowledge of how to handle problems at work or in a relationship, knowledge of technology so we can make our lives easier, and on and on. Yet we fail to see how knowledge in this world can become another temptation to be like God. Knowledge can become an idol. We crave more and more of it. We seek after it constantly, hoping it will bring power and fame and fortune. We seek to follow our own path, only to find that after years of pursuing it we have completely failed at it. That is because it was not the path God put us on.

After spending a long life in the dark, I have come to understand one vital fact. Knowledge of God is the only knowledge that has ever advanced me in this life. I did not know God, but in fact rejected Him. I embraced the knowledge of many other things however. Knowledge of many other religions, gods, knowledge of the world and of man, knowledge from my education full of facts and theories. All this knowledge never gave me Truth, nor did it give me joy or hope. I was completely lost in all this knowledge. I was confused, and constantly searching because I knew something much greater than myself was missing from my life.

God is the creator of and originator of knowledge. Knowledge is not about how much you know, how long you have studied, where you went to school, etc. Knowledge is about knowing God, our Creator. God who created the entire universe and everything in it will give you the knowledge of everything that you will ever need. How often do we spend countless hours seeking knowledge which only complicates our lives? Or confuses us? We were not made to know everything there is to know. We were made to know God. God has given us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is our one true source of power. The power that God gives is not like the power of the world. It is true power – divine in nature, full of love and hope, healing and joyous. We were made to walk and live in power, but not the power that comes from worldly knowledge.

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.

2 Corinthians 4:20

Have you ever considered that our endless pursuit for knowledge and power has been a distraction of the enemy? While we are so busy seeking to further ourselves in this world, we are falling further away from the work to be done for God’s Kingdom. We are to walk in the power and authority of Christ, heal people, bring life and hope into hearts, cast out and fear and depression, and live a life where miracles and wonders are not the exception, but the expected. How can we have time to live a life like that, a life that truly looks like Christ, when we are too distracted to give time to those that are hurting around us. How many times have you seen a prayer request and just ignored it because you knew you didn’t have time to pray for that person. Or maybe you just didn’t want to put the energy into it because there was something else on your mind? Distractions are everywhere in this world, and they are keeping you from the real power that you are desperately seeking.

rainbowOnce you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are given the glorious gift of the Holy Spirit. When you have God living inside of you, you are walking with all the knowledge and power that you could ever hope to tape in to. Stop living life by searching through books and questioning teachers, and start living life learning from the greatest teacher you will ever know! The Holy Spirit is there to lead us in wisdom and guide us in Truth. There is no other Truth outside of the Bible and God. Man will always have his interpretation of how he understands God and the world, but that will always just be man’s interpretation. Seek ye the Kingdom of God first, and all these things will be given to you!

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

 

 

 

September 21 2015

All Consuming Love of God

love of godHave you ever felt alone? Unloved? Unworthy? I know I have. I have many moments in life when I felt I was not only unloved, but unlovable. I wanted to be loved, but never felt that I could measure up to being good enough to be loved. I wanted desperately to feel approval from my parents, but never did. I wanted to know that I was valuable and important to someone, but no matter how many times my husband told me I was, I could never believe it. I wanted to look in the mirror and see someone beautiful and worth loving, but I could not even love myself.

I think many of us struggle with feelings of being unlovable and unworthy. Does that make it normal or OK? No, it does not. It is a lie straight from hell, and I am here to tell you so. If you feel that you are unloved, not worth love or unimportant, you are believing one of the most told lies in the history of the world. The originator of that lie is Satan himself. I am here to tell you about something absolutely amazing, something that is so important that it could change the way you live your life from this moment forward. God loves you with an all-consuming love.

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

Let that just soak in for a moment as truth. I pray in Jesus name right now that this truth would become your new identity. It is very easy to hear the words “God loves you” and not feel any meaning to them. Or to hear about the love of God and not really understand it. Love is much more than a word or even a feeling. It is an act. The love of God has been pouring out on you since the moment you were conceived in your mother’s womb. Why? Because you are His child, and you were worth paying the price of blood for.

Even when I began to grasp the concept of the love of God, it seemed to hover just far away enough to be out of my grasp. No matter how much I wanted to know the love of God, it seemed still a difficult concept for me. I mean, why would the love of God be so strong that He would actually want to die for me? I am nothing but a mere mortal, not worthy of the attention of affection of God. And even as I began to intellectually understand the love of God, still on a deeper level I could not grasp the true meaning of it. I came to a point where I could say “yes, I know God loves me”, but that was just all in my head. It was a knowledge, not an experience, not a true understanding. It struck me one day that if I did not love myself, then how could I even began to see how great and deep and wide the love of God for me was. My own self-hatred was like a filter in which I was seeing God through. In my mind God loved me, but still saw me as unworthy and tarnished. Oh how very wrong I was. Yet another lie straight from the pit of hell.

Will our human minds ever truly comprehend the vastness of the love of God? I sincerely doubt it. I do however believe our spirit can know far more of the love of God than our minds can. God is not something we experience with worldly knowledge and intelligence. The love of God is something with come to know and experience as we begin to surrender to Him. One thing needs to be very clear though – there is nothing you can do ever, that will make God love you less, or look down on you. No matter how much you mess up, no matter what sin you commit, no matter how hard you rebel against God, His love is still an all-consuming fire for you.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:9-10

I  have done a lot of bad things in my life. I have done drugs, had promiscuous sex, gotten tattoos, practiced witch craft, hurt those I love, yelled at my kids and said horrible things to them. In my mind most of  these things qualified me for not being good enough for the love of God. Once I was saved and redeemed there were many things I let go of. I felt truly forgiven and was able to move on. Ironically from what I would consider some of the “worse” sins, drugs, sex, witchcraft. It was the things that I still struggled with like yelling at my kids or having tattoos of things from my past life that I could not move on from. I would look at my tattoo of a pentagram and see shame that would never leave me. How could the love of God penetrate even that? How could the love of God over look my inability to stop yelling at my kids and be patient and kind. Those are really important things in the Bible! Things I just could not do.

I have found it is very easy to walk in guilt and shame. As a matter of fact, I have been conditioned to walk in guilt and shame for the better part of my life. And no, I am not saying I blame my parents for the way they raised me. I blame the real enemy – the one who has been out to get me from day one. Some may say that sounds paranoid, some may say that you shouldn’t give the devil too much attention, but I say when you see a bully trying to keep you down, to call him out. Stop letting the enemy convince you that the sins you are committing right now are causing the love of God to fall just beyond your reach. It is time for it to stop, right here right now.

This is what God says to you: you are beautiful and dearly loved by your Father. The One who created you has always loved you, and nothing will ever cause me to stop loving you. Not one thing. I have been waiting for this very moment that you would draw near to me, and see how beloved you are to me. You are perfect to me. You came from love and were created by Perfection. Never forget where you came from. Draw near to me, dear child, and know YOU ARE LOVED.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17b-19

Stop dissecting every area of your life where you feel you have made mistakes. Stop looking at your past and seeing how you have failed. You are human, and you will make mistakes. That does not keep the love of God from your life. Nothing can. You can try to shut it out, and believe that you are unimportant. You can walk in shame and let the pain run over you until you are numb. You can believe all the lies that say you are no good. Yet just outside the wall you have built, the love of God is there. Waiting to consume you completely.

Crucifixion-of-Jesus1920I have to say that there have many times in my life that I was abused, usually by someone I cared for or trusted. There were many moments when I cried out “why me?” because I could not understand why I was to suffer so much. And worse yet, why God would let me suffer so much. As I have gone through many inner healing sessions over the past months there is one thing that has become very clear to me. Jesus has always been there, even when I did not see Him, He was there. He did not leave me alone to endure pain or hardship. He did not abandon me because I was making horrible mistakes. No. He was right there, with His angels, doing everything in His power to keep me out of harms way. Unfortunately we have free will and He cannot control that. And the love of God has more than redeemed my pain and my mistakes and indeed made me into a new creation.

So I beg you, stop looking at yourself as sinful and shameful, and start seeing yourself as you truly are – covered by the redeeming blood of Christ Jesus. Bought and paid for with the price of His sacrifice. You are a child of the One True King. You are amazing and special in the sight of your Father. Now tell the enemy to stop lying to you in Jesus name, and seek the face of the One who has died to be with you eternally. Let the love of God consume you, and open yourself to the life He has to offer you. Freedom and love in abundance!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

August 24 2015

Alcohol Is Not A Sin

alcoholWhen I was about 16 or 17 I started drinking alcohol. My parents don’t really know this, but I waited one night when they were in bed and sneaked into a little cupboard where they kept hard alcohol. My parents did not really drink alcohol at this time anymore and it was probably years old. I reasoned that if I took just a little from every bottle it would be hard to detect any missing from the half empty containers. I combined them all in one cup. I think there was bourbon, scotch, whiskey and vodka, but it’s hard to say considering I knew nothing about alcohol at that time. To be honest with you, I just wanted to get as messed up as possible. You see, I was very depressed. I wanted to escape from reality and alcohol was easy access to an altered reality.

Alcohol was not as easy to get as other drugs, and it was not my most favorite high, so I didn’t drink as often as I partook in other substances. If ever it was available or offered though, I would drink it. Drinking alcohol is getting high and I wanted to get high. Drinking alcohol brings on a flood of joy and positive emotions at first. You feel good, sometimes you even feel great. You get more social and lose your inhibitions. All your problems seem to melt away and it’s all fun and happy. At least at first. That is unless you drink too much and you end up sick. Having a hangover is comparable to sea sickness. It is awful, yet somehow it never stopped me from drinking alcohol again on another occasion.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

I continued to drink alcohol over the years of my life, especially if it was in a social setting. When everyone else was doing it, I felt added pressure to do it. It was a social thing. People get a little weird when they are drinking and having a good time and you aren’t. You don’t want to feel like the odd one. Not that I didn’t want to, but there is just something about that added pressure to keep drinking, even though you know the end results. Once I start drinking alcohol, I don’t stop until I can’t drink anymore. And people love to keep refilling your drink or handing you another beer. It is kind of like an endless trap.

Alcohol is really poisonous to our bodies, especially when taken in for a long period of time in large quantities. I learned that the hard way. I remember going to a bar many years later and having a shot of vodka. I had to choke down the vomit right there on my bar stool. My body did not want that poison in it, but I wanted the effects of it. I wasn’t going to just let an expensive drink come back up. And then I had another shot. Disgusting you say? I agree. I knew I was an alcoholic, and I thought I had gotten a handle on it. Reality proved to be different though, because I could never turn down a drink.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

It wasn’t until I started going to church and learning about Jesus Christ that I started feeling like maybe I should quit drinking. It wasn’t like I was drinking all the time or anything. We would buy a pack of beer and it would sit for weeks before we drank 1 or 2 each. I have always been quite adamant about not drinking alcohol in front of my children. I remember being a child and my parents would have friends over and I have memories of beer bottles and wine glasses littering the living room table in the early hours of the morning when I would wake up. I don’t have a big memory of them actually drinking, yet somehow the knowledge of it has invaded my subconscious.

Getting high has been a huge part of my adult life. It is only about a year ago that I realized why I desired to get high and drunk. We are made to get high. Yes you just read that right. We are made to get high – just not on drugs and alcohol. You see those things are a counterfeit of what we were made to have – a Holy Spirit high. We certainly don’t need to call it a high, but drugs and alcohol are a cheap imitation of the amazing and wonderful experience of being filled up with the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit brings intense feelings of joy, ecstasy, love and so much more! Your spirit is ecstatic at being so connected to your awesome Creator! It is like finally experiencing wholeness. The evil one wants to keep us away from this intense Holy Spirit filled kind of life, so he slid a counterfeit in to keep us away.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

Instead of seeking out God, we seek out drugs and alcohol. We convince ourselves that it is just to be social or just for fun. We tell ourselves it is the comfort and escape from our pain we need. When all the while God is right there sorrowfully watching us do damage to our body and mind when we could bring it all to our Father! The Holy Spirit is our ticket to heaven on earth! He has been placed inside of us so that we may be comforted by Him when life has brought us down. He has the joy of the Lord to give us, that would elevate our spirits out of the depths of our despair.

The day my husband and I were baptized we both had all desire to do any drugs or drink alcohol completely removed from us. 100%. That was just over two years ago as I write this, and neither of us has even thought about wanting to drink again since that day. It was an absolute miracle. I can’t really tell you why God took that away from us, because I know many people who struggle with addiction. I just thank and Praise God for what He has done. It took probably a year after that before I had my first real Holy Spirit encounter. That is not to say that it took that long before God gifted me the Holy Spirit, but that was when I first came to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in a way that was very tangible. At first I was overwhelmed by His presence and even a bit afraid. But really being in the presence of the Holy Spirit is exciting and energizing and just fills you with love. Once I experienced Him I knew without a doubt how the enemy how used drugs and alcohol to deceive me for so many years. And what I had been missing out on! Absolutely a million times better than any high I ever had with mind altering substances.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

drunkI really feel that the use of drugs and alcohol can become a block to our experience with God. It has great potential to interfere with our relationship with God. Like many other things, we easily become enslaved to addiction to these substances. Where once we thought we had control over it, we suddenly find that it has become our master. There is only one Master that we should ever allow ourselves to submit ourselves to, and that is Jesus Christ. We must be careful to take our whole selves before Him and ask what His will is for our lives. Jesus only wants the very best for us, and will always guide and direct our paths with love.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 2 Peter 5:8