Archive for November, 2010

November 29 – Christmas Glory

November 29, 2010

Why is there so much controversy around celebrating Christmas? I’ve been a part of that too where Christmas is not to be celebrated… A few years ago I tried so hard NOT to buy presents, put up decorations, but found NO peace in that. And I’ve always learned to follow after peace… so I started celebrating again and joy was totally restored. Several people still ask me where is it in the Bible that says to celebrate Jesus’ birth? I’ll answer that in a moment… Then others who Celebrate it find themselves getting deeper in debt, stress and anxiety seem to be their closest friends, not to mention old painful memories that creep in. Lots to deal with this time of year.. and oh.. not to mention colds and flu… yikes!

But in all these things there is a way to complete sanity, peace, joy, and health. So lets start with first things first. The reason for Christmas is the purpose we live and breathe on this planet… to love and serve God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength.. a daily attitude, and if it includes picking a day out of the year to go full-force in celebration… then whose to judge that? The Bible even says not to judge others who celebrate “holy” days (Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:). I think I’ll let that scripture talk for itself.

So let me add my thoughts as well. When Jesus was born, gifts were brought to Him. That is why we now celebrate our own birthdays… with gifts. So if we continue celebrating our birthday, why can’t we celebrate His? There are also other scriptures that “allude” to this… like… [i]whatever you do, do it in faith otherwise it is sin[/i]. So if you think that Christmas is a sin, then don’t do it! That’s between you and God, but don’t judge others for doing it… Then you are in sin again… whew! Other scriptures say, [i]Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord[/i]. Now I like that because this way I can’t get hurt if I don’t “receive” something from those I give to. If I give as unto the Lord, I can’t get hurt or rejected. Then there’s the old hurts that could come up. What do we do with those? Well, first, if they keep coming up there is unforgiveness in there somewhere, which has resulted in a broken heart. And a broken heart opens us up to all kinds of things, like colds and flu. So, simply forgive them once and for all, and ask God to heal and mend and restore your heart. We have not because we ask not, or we aren’t asking accordingly…

And oh… stress? Well, choose today to stop being a people pleaser and your stress will go… I think that about covers things for this year. The Bible is very clear on keeping things simple… so lets enter December with honesty and simplicity.. which is also the description of being “generous.” Have a Merry Christmas… and keep Jesus in the center of it…

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November 15 – How do we fear the Lord without fearing Him?

November 15, 2010

The one main thing I’ve heard of how to fear the Lord is to reverence God. This description is widely used and unfortunately, watered down to where it’s become a cliche’. Some people simply fear God and what He can do, so they walk in fear all day long of doing something wrong. Both of these areas are the extremes of each other. So I wanted to find a balance, so I went to the Word.

One scripture I came across not long ago is found in Proverbs, 8:13 that says, “to fear the Lord is to hate evil…” See… we can hate and sin not!  We can hate in a good way, but only towards evil. Not towards a person, but the evil that is within the person. We need to learn to separate the “who” from their “do.” Otherwise we can fall into sin here. But in order to hate evil, we need to discern what is evil and what is good. And you will find in a moment, that we are given this as a gift, when we fear the Lord properly. So hang with me for a minute.

There is another passage that we have all read that says “To fear the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom.” So… again, “how” do we fear the Lord… that is still the question here. In this passage, if I don’t have wisdom, I’m not fearing the Lord. I can always use more wisdom… Something to have a little chat with the Lord about I’m sure. So the results of fearing God in this passage is that we have wisdom. Many pray for wisdom, and we can ask for it, but it will come with the price tag of fearing the Lord first. So again, “how” do we fear the Lord?

As I kept seeking and digging in the Word, I found what I was looking for  and it synched it up for me and not only “taught” me how to fear Him properly but with a promise from Him: Malachi 3:16-17

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another (about Him I might add here): and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. (And here’s God’s promise to us) And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”

Not only will you be blessed with God’s blessings, but you will grow up into maturity by knowing what is good and what is evil so you can choose more wisely in your own life (this is wisdom working!!!).  I can do this! I now understand “how” to fear the Lord and that is:  1) to think on His Name 2) Talk about the Lord with others. The Bible says to give thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15). Many other scriptures talk about loving His Word, His Name, and making melody in your heart to Him. I like this kind of “fearing the Lord” it’s real… it’s where we live… and it’s easy to do! And there is no guilt, condemnation, trying, or struggling… I like that!

 

November 14 – enjoying the refiners fire

November 14, 2010

Ouch…  what a topic! How many of us say “oooh… it hurts so good?” But that is something I say almost every day. God is purging and preparing His bride, and with it comes specific things God is getting at in each one of us. That is why the Bible is clear that says “not” to judge others, because we don’t know what God is doing in their lives, and besides that, He may be dealing with us in those same areas but we are too busy judging not to see them in ourselves. Ouch again…  This is called “brutal truth” which you can read in another blog.

It’s the truth that MAKES us free. Make is an action word. It means something is happening ALL DAY LONG to cause us to walk in freedom. Because once you find a release and freedom in one area, another one takes its place. We will continue going through this purging cycle until the Lord takes us home. So we might as well stop going after our “healing” or “deliverance” and just walk with God through our life in faith, love, trust, etc. Many can’t wait to get free. Many can’t wait to get to their destination when going on a trip. We “can” wait. The Bible says, we “can” do all things through Christ who gives us strength. The word “can’t” isn’t in the Christian’s vocabulary! So who are we mimicking? Ouch again…

This is the ‘fire’ I’m talking about. Exposing what is in us, seeing what is in us and choosing to do something about it. And what do we do when we see something in us that doesn’t line up with the Word? We confess it, take responsibility, repent, receive forgiveness, and rejoice in God of our salvation. Friends, that is as simple as it can be. And the final outcome is restoration. Wow…

So, enjoy the refiner’s fire today, and ask God to burn out more of those things that don’t belong there. A matured believer can say, “I won’t freak out by the fiery trial.. but be glad in it.” (1 Peter 4:12) This is a person who knows the value of the refiner’s fire. It’s God loving us!

Did you know that being irritated is going through the refiner’s fire? Yep…  the refiner sits at the pot of gold and slowly heats things up (sometimes using those around you)  to bring up the impurities in your life (as with gold), then skims it off the top (Malachi 3:2). It’s that turning up the heat and skimming off the top stuff that hurts. But it’s a good hurt. We have to “patiently endure” these times not fall into doubt and unbelief that God doesn’t love you any more. Quite the contrary, He IS loving you…  loving the stuff right out of you! See, He will continue turning up the heat a little more each day to get more impurities out. Isn’t that what it feels like to you too? We say things like, “Oh no, here I go again.” Yep…  that’s the refiner’s fire. But the problem is, we aren’t allowing God to skim the stuff off… we keep it, we run, we hide, we go eat something, we go shopping, all but facing the thing God is trying to “skim” off the top because frankly, people think it’s the enemy attacking when sometimes it’s your Heavenly Father loving you! But even if the enemy is “pushing buttons” it means something is in you the enemy has access to! So whether it’s an “attack” from the enemy or God dealing with you, let God use that opportunity to cleanse you. Enjoy the refiner’s fire… Because He is preparing you and making you ready to be received as His bride, without spot or wrinkle (blemish) (Ephesians 5:27). Cleansing you from ALL unrighteousness. But in that cleansing comes a little squeezing. And so I encourage you to say in those times, “oooh, it hurts so good… God is loving the stuff out of me to prepare me for Himself.”

November 13 – Do you ever get distracted?

November 13, 2010

How many of us find our minds wondering when we read the Bible, or listen to a sermon, or forget where we put our keys? All of these are symptomatic from being distracted. So what do we do?

First we have to find out what is causing us to be distracted. The enemy is a great distractor. He wants to pull you away to doing just about anything but having your mind on God. He doesn’t even care that you read your Bible as long as you don’t remember what you read! And He does it by getting you to think on other things. Now there are other distractions such as phone calls, babies crying, etc. but I’m not talking about those things right now. I’m talking about our thoughts. And friends, God has given us the ability to take those thoughts captive under the obedience of Christ. We know 2 Corinthians 10:5, we TRY to live it… but you will have problems if you don’t deal with the real issue behind the distractions. And this is what I have found:

Philippians 4:6 says to “be careful for nothing…” this is found in the KVJ. Other versions say “anxious” but that is distorting the meaning. Because anxiety is the manifestation of being full of care! So we are NOT to be full of care. Luke 10:41 is the story of Mary and Martha. “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.” Herein lies the key. Being careful and troubled go together! We cannot keep our mind focused on God with a pure undivided attention when we are “troubled” by many things. Not only that, if our attention is divided, we are being double minded which opens up a lot more things we don’t want (James 1:8).

But the reason we are troubled is that we may have not taken all those things to the Lord and dealt with them at the foot of the cross. No matter what that thing is, if we don’t trust God with it completely it WILL trouble us, we will be full of care about it, and will cause us to be distracted.

Personal Testimony: I was praying one night, but my mind kept going someplace else. Over and over, I couldn’t focus. So then I stopped and asked myself, “What am I being distracted with?” And as I looked at it, it was a project I didn’t complete. My mind kept going to it trying to complete the project in my mind. It was a harmless thing, but a distraction none the less. So I got up and went to my office and wrote down a few notes of what was rolling around in my head, and then went back to my prayer time, and was able to focus. I had to “dump” what was in my thinking! And trust God that I would not forget what I wanted to say and do, and believe Him. I had to let that thought and project go for the moment. I got my peace back, my mind wasn’t “full of care” and enjoyed God even more. As with Mary, she chose that good part… so I left the other part behind, and chose the good part. As a matter of fact, Martha’s mind was so full she couldn’t enjoy Jesus! So what are we full of?? The distractions don’t have to be a large thing, just something to pull us away. It’s those little foxes that can spoil the vine. A little leaven leavens the whole lump… well, you get the picture.

So what I have done is each time I would get distracted, focus on what that distraction in my thinking is and repent where I need to repent, confess to God where I had doubt and unbelief toward Him and His ability to take care of the situations on my mind, get up and write a note to myself, or whatever it is God will show you, and I find after taking care of this, that I’m able to concentrate and focus on Him at that moment needed. I say at that moment, because you will have to go through each time you get distracted until eventually we won’t have problems any longer losing concentration, we will stay in the moment, and we will be at peace.

This is what we all want anyway, is Peace. “Thou will keep him (us) in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him… because he trusts in Him (God) (Isaiah 26:3).” Again, it’s all about trusting God with all your care, situations, worries and fears. For He delivers you out of them all (Psalm 34:17 and 19), ONLY when we take them to Him and trust Him with them, then we are able to enjoy Him without distraction, and undivided attention.

My husband and I exercise this with each other. When I enter the room where he is watching TV he turns it off, no matter what it is, so that I have his undivided attention! Wow… isn’t that amazing? But the funny thing is in our situation, is that it’s not him that gets distracted with the TV, it’s me. Because when I enter the room, my eyes go straight toward the TV… so he turns it off to get MY full undivided attention! LOL

November 10 – Is anger a sin?

November 10, 2010

In a recent blog I wrote the topic on “can we really get free from anger?” And there were comments that argued the point that anger is not sin, because after all, Jesus got angry at the money changers and over threw tables in the temple. So let’s take a closer look at anger to see how Jesus was angry and didn’t sin, and what happens when we get angry?

I believe that we can look at someone else in the Bible who got angry and didn’t sin, and that was Nehemiah. The people were given a task to do something, but wasn’t given the necessary tools to do it. So Nehemiah got angry and went to the king to help do justice for the people. See… that is the secret! Jesus didn’t get angry for himself, he got angry because they were defaming His Father’s house. Nehemiah didn’t get mad because of what happened to him, but for the sakes of others. So this kind of anger is for justice for others. But there is still a fine line here. Because, we can still get angry for the sake of others and fall into unforgiveness, blame, fear, jealousy, bitterness, resentment, retaliation, control, manipulation, rage, and wrath, and even murder, to name a few. Are these sins? Yes. So anger in itself is NOT sin, but what we do with it can “become” sin.

It’s up to us to know the motive of this anger. Anger can be used as fear can be used… it’s a warning sign that something is happening and to perhaps “do” something about it. When we “feel” anger, we need to take a closer look to the reason. And if we are honest with ourselves, we need to stop and repent right there because it’ll more than likely fall toward sin. Fear can be used too… a warning that we are falling into danger, and it’s a built-in mechanism to run from danger. But, it can also turn into sin if we don’t get back into peace, and not allow fear to rule our lives and minds. Fear is detrimental to our health, causes all kinds of problems, and so does anger. We even have stress and anger management classes! So something isn’t good in these things.

Fear is also something we are supposed to have towards God, but not the fear that causes torment! The Bible even says that the beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord. And in other passages it says, “fear not.” As with anger, it’s something that can spark us to do something, but it can turn into torment! So when these two types of “emotions” which people call them, happen, it’s time to look closely at your heart to see if you are in fear or faith, doubt and unbelief, wrath of man (which doesn’t work the righteousness of God ) James 1:19-20 “Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. Here it is saying that if we lash out too quickly we can fall into sin. But… if we choose think about it, pray on it, search our heart when the anger comes, then more than likely you will NOT sin. But, most of the time my friends, we aren’t that disciplined.. well, I’ll speak for myself… so that when these things happen it gives me the opportunity to exercise love and forgive. Because more than not, anger is something that happens because we were hurt. And if that’s the case, then it is more likely it will turn to sin.

Personally, I have a hard time not crossing that line, so for me, I choose not to get angry at all, and when I do, I repent because I know what can follow! God said that He is my avenger, so I choose to trust Him with the injustices. Jesus was that 1% who could wield anger properly. For me though? I’m not Jesus… I still have stuff in me that causes the anger to turn to sin, so my choice is not to mess with it at all. But if you can get angry and sin not…  praise be to God. Because only a person who is nearly perfect could get angry and sin not. And that, my friend, is another story….

November 9 – Can we really get free from anger?

November 9, 2010

I want to prepare you for this blog. It’s unlike any you will ever read because I’m going to be very transparent and honest and talk about something not talked about. But we have to, otherwise we will stay in bondage. The enemy can only have power over our lives if we stay silent. So “bare” with me on this and if you take heed what I shared, you may find what you are looking for… so here goes:

So many of us are trying to stop being angry. As christians, we know it is a sin. Anger messes with our life, with the lives of those around us. So what’s the problem? Why can’t we just decide today to stop being angry? Some have tried, only for it to creep in again. I hope by the time you finish reading this blog, you will be one step closer to finding your freedom. Let me share my story.

About 2 months ago I did a conference. I stood all day and I ended up getting hemorrhoids. (Yes, I needed to tell you this because many reading this battle with them too. Things we don’t talk about in church, but need to address!) And I was in pain for 3 weeks after that meeting. I contributed it to standing all day. But… the truth is… I know that this health problem is spiritually rooted. And I know it’s from rage and anger. So since I knew it was DEEP ROOTED rage and anger, I kept asking the Lord where it was. Because frankly, I had dealt with a lot of anger in my life, seen so many breakthroughs, I don’t fly off the handle, don’t even get mad much any more. I have more peace and patience now than ever before, but the manifestation of this health issue I know to be from anger were still there. So I kept seeking God. Now there are some individuals that still fly off the handle, are still angry all the time, and so this is a step in the right direction to finding your peace too.

So then after asking God – once again – where the rage was. Because I’ve had this health issue for many many years… and almost every time I would do a day long conference, this health issue would re-occur. It took me several times of seeking God on this that He finally showed me the truth. I wasn’t ready for the truth those past times I asked, but I was ready now, so He told me.

I had deep-rooted anger toward myself regarding my relationship with my husband. See, for the first nine years of our marriage (we’ve been married 21 now), I was hard to live with. I was angry, I blamed, suspicious, bitter, etc., from all the pain and hurts endured from previous relationships that I was taking out on him. He loved me though, and endured patiently through it all… but I still lost those years due to my sinful heart and state. But, in that 9th year, that’s when I found my heavenly Father’s love. I learned to receive it for myself, not just “know” He loves me, but “believe” in my heart He loves me, without any strings attached. That all that stuff in my life was forgiven, and that He loves me!!  I was changing from glory to glory, all because I finally understood the unconditional love of God and took it for myself. Since then, my husband and I have had an awesome relationship…  See, I couldn’t receive anyone’s love until I first received my Father in Heaven’s love .  BUT…. I didn’t realize until recently, that I was mad at myself for loosing those first 9 years!

So when He showed me, I had to repent. I repented for losing those 9 years. I was grieving the loss of those 9 years, regrets, fear, etc. I was mad at myself for being ugly, and not caring, not loving, for allowing the enemy to use me. I shared my heart with the Lord on this, and then I repented for my sin. So I forgave myself, and accepted the truth that God restores what the enemy has stolen. So I had to put my faith and trust in that. And then I shared this with my husband. We both felt the Lord heal us…  I was at peace about the past. It was all now left in the past. The hurt and anger toward myself was gone. How do I know? Because last saturday I did a day-long conference, and didn’t get any hemorrhoids! This my friend, is a miracle!!  And if you have ever suffered like I have, then you will know it’s a miracle too.

I tell you this story to say that we can get free from rage and anger. It’s a destroyer…  we have what we need to get free. When we seek God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and ask Him what the root of that anger is and decide to “go there” with Him, we can find our freedom. See, anger is the manifestation of the real root. So trying to “stop” being angry isn’t going to work. We have to get to the reasons why we are angry. My root was self-hatred. What is yours? And when you find out what it is, apply forgiveness to all involved. And I believe you will find your peace and freedom.

November 2 – Have you ever had a trauma?

November 2, 2010

What is a trauma and have you ever had one? I believe every person on this planet has suffered a trauma in one degree or another. So let’s take a moment to understand what a trauma really is. Because it just could be that “thing” that is keeping some of you stuck in your walk as a believer. As you read through this, you will get an opportunity to see if you have had a trauma in your life and what to do to find freedom!

So first off, what is a Trauma?  A trauma is something horrific that has happened to you that caused you grief, pain, and hurt, so deeply that it actually changed your heart toward life. The images and pictures play over and over, and this is what causes the problems today. It seems that when people have traumas, this is when the persons life shuts down and they are stuck emotionally at that time and place. The trauma has to be identified at the root so healing can occur. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is often labeled on people who had such traumas such as loss of a child, witness of a horrible incident, car accident, unexpected death of a loved one, etc.

Then there are the daily traumas… Let me share a story. A friend of mine got thrown from his horse and hit his head. It was in a particular spot on the trail. It caused him much pain when he fell. He didn’t stop riding… but that is what some would have done… he got back on the horse. So every time he rides past that area, he “thinks” of the time he fell, a fear sets in. This too is a trauma. Anything that changes your life “because” of a pain, fear, or experience. I’m not talking about making better decisions next time because of a “lesson” learned. God doesn’t need to use a trauma to do that… He has the Word of God, and it doesn’t cause physical pain. But, when you experience something like this, a stubbed toe, a dog chasing you down the street, making a bad choice, getting involved in a bad relationship, and many other life situations, these are daily traumas. Things that can change your life forever.

Many shut down in relationships because they will not allow anyone “in” again. They put up self-protection walls, and pretty soon wonder why they have no friends. They begin to self-sabotage. Some even start cutting themselves. And many fall into deep states of depression.

These are the things I’m talking about. It could have been a car accident and so on… Anything that caused your thoughts to change about anything.

But… there is good news. There is a way to regain and be restored in these areas of your life so that you are no longer a “puppet” to that incident. You won’t be making decisions out of fear, or pain, or hurt, or worry. You’ll make wise decisions for your life no matter what has happened to you!!! That’s freedom friends.

My husband and I had a trauma 1 year ago today. A neighbor boy broke into our home and terrorized the neighbors after stealing a gun from our home! Fear set in, believe me. At the time I was teaching a class at my church called Fearless Living, and it truly helped me get through that trauma without residue. It didn’t happen over night though. And I was healed in my heart, and all fear left me. So when I go past that place where the struggle with my husband happened on the road, I don’t even see it any more! God healed my heart, he removed the pain from that “trauma.”

So how did I deal with this trauma? One thing we first need to understand, is that the memory of that event may never be purged, we are chemical beings and our body has a photo-shop built in (photosynthesis) to take snap shots of things in our life. There are those that have not emotions attached, and others that do. If an emotion is attached, then that memory becomes engrained in your life, and can actually be associated with smells or sounds. These aren’t wrong, some of our memories are awesome… it’s those memories that bring torment that I’m talking about here.

See it’s not the trauma that is keeping you stuck, it’s the “pain” keeping you stuck associated with that memory. By identifying who was involved, how did it affect you, who do you need to forgive, is key to your recovery. Ask God to help you because some traumas are so awful such as child abuse, death, etc., that we don’t even remember or don’t want to remember because it hurts too much. But in order to get free at the “root” these things need to be exposed. God will be there, He will guide and help you.  Ask for His wisdom and discernment and strength, and He will give it. And once you FINALLY face it and find healing, it won’t come up again with pain!! So the first thing to do is recognize you have had a trauma in your life.

How do you know if you have had a trauma? When making a decision, do you consider what happened to you when making a new decision? Does a memory keep reoccurring that gives you torment? Are you depressed and angry? Do you sabotage relationships? Do you run from something hard? Do you choose not to think of something bad that happened; yet you know it’s there anyway? If any of these things ring true for you, then you have had a trauma. Did you know that you could have a trauma from stubbing your toe? And for a while, every time you go past that doorway where it happened, there is extra caution in entering that doorway? That is a daily trauma… At first it serves as a warning to choose your footing better, but if it prolongs it can turn into a fear!

There is hope! It’s all about forgiveness. Yes, a trauma “sticks” in our mind and heart because of unforgiveness. What do I mean, especially if it’s about stubbing a toe? You need to forgive yourself… And check your heart to see if you blamed someone else for that toe being stubbed. Perhaps at the time, a person was trying to talk with you and you didn’t pay attention to where you were going… and you ran into the wall. Yes, as simple as that… the enemy uses anything to get us to separate ourselves from ourselves by causing a broken heart. And that my friend is what a trauma can produce… a broken heart and broken relationships! And the enemy knows if he can get you to have a broken heart, he can get you sick. His only job is to kill, steal and destroy you!! Because a broken heart can break your immune system down. And there are a wealth of diseases that come from broken immune systems.

A broken heart can only come when love or the lack of it was involved. I remember a song called, €œOnly Love Can Break Your Heart.€ This is very true. Only those closest to you can break your heart! People who were supposed to love you and didn’t. Its the only wound that cannot be healed by another, only God can heal the broken hearted. Trust Him today, run to to Him today, and allow His love and forgiveness to heal you.