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Surrender and Trust in God

We all have things that we are dealing with.  Some of those things are small and then some of them are large.  But those struggles can be a little easier when we just stop and take some simple steps.  I would like to say that I discovered these a couple of weeks ago, but the truth is that the bible points out time and again these are steps that we should be taking.

You say WHAT there are steps that can help in the struggles of life?  Yes there are steps that can bring peace and comfort in the middle of the struggle.  I am in the middle of a struggle to get guardianship of my Mother that has Alzheimer’s but I have had roadblock, after roadblock because of her boyfriend.  Just to understand he has been living with her for 15 years for free, so he is afraid he will lose a place to live.  So because of his fear he has not been willing to work with my sister and I on appointments that we needed our Mother to go to.

My Mother is at a point where she is very confused and does not understand things, so someone has to make appointments and take her to all of them.  It took 2 months before I was able to get her to a lawyer appointment, but I really just want you to understand some of the ongoing struggle.  Two weeks ago my husband so kindly called to talk to her boyfriend and to see if he had made a doctor appointment for her that we needed, so that we could go to court for Guardianship.  He said No, and she is not ready for that, and I am not going to do that to help you out.

When my husband got off the phone he looked at me and said he is not going to do anything to help you in this process.  I looked at my husband and said we need to pray.  He looked at me and said yes, like OK we will later on tonight.  I again looked at him and said we need to stop and pray.  My husband looks at me and said “Oh you mean now”.  I said yes NOW, God knows our hearts and God knows the situation.  This is something that we are unable to change, but God can change this situation.  I said this needs to be Gods will not our will, even though we want the best for my Mother.

At that moment we stopped everything we were doing and got down on our knees.  I prayed fervently and called out the truths of what God had shown me.  But I said I surrender this to you Lord and I trust that you will take care of everything.  I said Lord you know our hearts and I know you will do what is best in your plan for this situation.

The next day I was at a Youth Conference and the first speaker has a message about when Jesus walked on the water and Peter stepped out of the boat.  Now I have heard these verses discussed in many different ways, but that night it was different.  Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and that he would meet them on the other side.  Even though he was not in the boat he never said that he would not be with them.  Suddenly I had an aha moment.  You might say WHAT!!!   Jesus had told me to get in the boat on this journey with my Mother, and he said that he had laid my path to walk.  But he never said that it was all going to be easy, in fact the BIBLE says we will face trials and tribulations.  But that does not mean that Jesus is not walking with us and it surely does not mean that he won’t be on the other side of the lake.

The rest of the weekend and into the next week I kept thinking about these things and I would continue to talk to God and reaffirm that I trusted that God had this situation with my Mother taken care of.  Then less than 5 days later I get a message from my Mother’s boyfriend.  He is being driven by fear which I know is not of God, but I know God allows confusion just like what God did with the Egyptians when the Israelite’s were fleeing Egypt.  Suddenly he has made a doctor appointment for my Mother and he is desperate for me to go to court to get Guardianship for my Mother.  In fact he was telling me I needed to go to court as soon as possible.

The hardest thing for many of us to do is to stop and surrender what ever is going on in our life.  We want to help our kids find salvation, we want to see our families do better, the struggles of life are many.  But what if you stop struggling and stressing about those things, you start getting on your knees and surrendering them to God.  God knows your struggles, but if you are anything like me you want to fix things yourself.  It can seem really hard to just stop and surrender.   But I think that if we would all stop trying to fix things ourselves and instead we would get on our knees and surrender things to God we will see change.  Stop trying to make everything our will and instead ask God to interject his will into our struggles.  We may start to find peace and comfort.  We may start to find out that life is not as much of a struggle.  We may really discover what it means to rest in the Lord.

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Did God Create Evil?

I had a young student ask me that question the other day at our youth group.  She was being honest when she asked me “Did God create evil”.  It caused me to pause and to think carefully about how to respond so that she would understand.  God is a good and loving father.  God did not create evil and sin, those are something that our enemy Satan is responsible for.  She was trying to process when sin was introduced through the Serpent because God created everything.

This made me think about giving her a good response so that she could understand but this morning it made me think that others may be just as confused.  No God did not create evil or sin.  Evil and sin were introduced in that moment when Eve ate from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.  But it was Satan that brought sin and evil into the world.

Yes God created everything including the angels.  Yes Satan was an angel that was cast out of heaven.  But this I know God is good and loving.  God is constantly fighting to win us back into relationship with him.  Just as Jesus said “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed.”  The same would be true for the Kingdom of Heaven as for the Kingdom of Darkness.  God did not create sin and evil just so that his glory could be shown when it was overcome.  No just as Jesus says “For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods?  Only someone even stronger – someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.”

Our strong and mighty God is more powerful than Satan, and it is because of this that sin and evil can be overcome.  It is the light of our powerful and mighty God that puts out the darkness that sin and evil linger in.  It was pride and a desire for power that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven.  It was not because God created evil or sin.

I may not have all the answers and the only one that does is the Holy Spirit.  But this I do know, God is Good and loving.  God created man so that he could have a relationship with us.  That relationship was broken with sin.  But ever since sin entered the world God has been trying to bring his children back into right standing with himself.  God introduced the law and the 10 commandments after rescuing the people of Israel from Egypt.  This was done to bring freedom, but as it says in Romans 8:3-4 “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.  So God did what the law could not do.  He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.  And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”

Yes the law of Moses was unable to bring the salvation we needed because of our sinful nature.  But when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our lives it leads us to life and peace.  The control of sin is broken, and we change our thinking not because we are forced to but because we are children of God, and we desire to walk in right standing with the Father.   I don’t know about you, but I know that this is true.  When I was allowing  my sinful nature to control my life it brought so much suffering into my life.  But when I started a relationship with Jesus that all started to change.  It was not anything that was forced, but a gradual change from within.  I stopped thinking about sinful things and my thoughts changed to Godly things.

I also know that God does not desire for us to be punished for doing things that are wrong or sinful, rather that is the consequence of our own actions.  God does always give us the option that will provide a better outcome and keep us in right standing but it always really comes down to our free will.  How will I handle my free will?  Will I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in making good and wise decisions with my free will, or will I allow the enemy to guide me in making poor choices and unwise decisions with my free will?  I once was a slave to sin, but now I am a child of God.  That is my declaration that I make over myself.

When you choose to follow Jesus then you have become a child of God.  Yes you are no longer a slave to fear or sin.  But you are now an heir of God’s glory.  When you choose to follow Jesus you start to change, you find that shift in your thoughts.  It is a gradual change but it can be a radical change as well.  We have a powerful and mighty Father in Heaven.  He is the God that makes impossible suddenly become possible.  He is the God of miracles.  He is a loving and caring Father that chose you and I long before anything was even created.  Yes you were chosen before creation.

Ask Holy Spirit to help you have a deeper understanding of the goodness of Father God, and the truth will be revealed to you.  Holy Spirit will take you through the word and will reveal the truth to you.  Remember those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  But those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things.  “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.  It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.”  But if you belong to Christ then you have the Spirit of God living in you.  The Spirit gives you life and freedom.  It is the power of Christ that helps you to overcome your sinful nature and to put your sinful nature to death.

 

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Jesus has changed my life

Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog.  My life changed in 2008 because I found that there is a difference in being a believer and actually having a relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

It has been through my realtionship with Jesus and God that my life has been transformed and I have found peace and freedom that I never had before.  My bible has become a voice from God, as well as the Christian music that I listen to.  As my life has been transformed, it has opened my heart to share with others so that they can find the freedom that I found.

When you walk with Christ, you start to change from the inside out.  Actually it happens and you might not even see the changes happening, but they are.  I was someone that lived life in fear of judgement from others and so I shut myself off from people.  I was not a hermit, but I was extremely shy, and I found it hard to trust people.  But I am no longer that person, I no longer walk in fear of judgement from the people around me.  Now I walk bold and confident because I have discovered a new freedom, and that is when I live my life for God, I don’t have to worry about what people think, but I focus on what God would think.

I hope that you find this site as a way to learn more about the Jesus that I have found and love.  For Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice to save man kind.  Jesus is not just a prophet, or a good person.  Jesus was both a son of man and a son of God.  Jesus suffered and was sacrificed on the cross so that we can be made righteous by the blood that was shed.  Jesus bore all of your sin and my sin, so that we could be seen as righteous in the eyes of God, when we belive in Jesus.  Jesus died, but rose on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of God, my Heavenly Father.

We now walk in a new covenant with God, and we have been given direct access to the Father through Jesus.  When Jesus died on the cross the veil was torn in the temple that separated the most Heavenly place where God was and opened up a way for us to talk directly with the Father through Jesus Christ.  Think about what this really means, it was the hand of God that tore the veil.  The veil that hung in the temple was 4 inches thick, and I read that it was 60 ft long, and it tore from the top to the bottom.  This helps you to understand the magnitude of what really happened when Jesus died, but he rose 3 days later.  Jesus has won the battle and taken the keys away from Satan.

So what does that mean!  Well it means that I don’t have to talk to a priest, who then talks to God, but rather I can talk directly to Father God.  Jesus has given us the ability to talk directly to God.  Jesus has made it so that we are washed clean and when God looks at us we are righteous.  Not because of things that we do, but because of the realtionship that we have with Jesus.  When we believe in Jesus that he was a sacrifice for our sins, that he was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of God, we get freedom.

I hope that you will enjoy my insights to living with God.

Redemptive Grace Freely Given

I am not sure that many of us really think about the wonderful redemptive grace that we receive from our beloved Heavenly Father.  There is something so very powerful about Grace.  It brings healing and restoration instead of condemnation and shame. I have been thinking so much the last few days about grace and how that truly transforms our lives as we walk in relationship with Jesus and the Heavenly Father God.

When you look up the word grace it really refers to so much.  Grace involves forgiveness, mercy, salvation, repentance, regeneration and the love of God.  These are all such powerful descriptions really when you think about God’s Grace.  We are showered in so much grace by the love that is showered upon us when we accept Jesus into our hearts.  When we walk in the freedom of having relationship with Jesus and surrendering our lives to allow the Holy Spirit (Christ in Us) to work on transforming us from the inside out.

None of us deserve the forgiveness that is so freely given when we accept Christ and surrender our lives to the One True God Jehovah.  We are washed clean in that moment and are Holy in the sight of the Father.  We are given a salvation that we can’t earn and we sure don’t deserve it, however as we walk on this journey with Jesus it is freely given.  We are resurrected from the ashes of our broken lives into the more that God has for us.

As we become new in our journey with Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins to make internal changes in us.  Our hearts begin to soften as the hardened walls come crumbling down, just like the walls of Jericho.  We are resurrected with Christ from the ashes of death from a life of separation from God to walking in full relationship.  Suddenly we are adopted sons and daughters.  We discover the truth that we were thought of and chosen before the beginning of creation.  We realize that it is God’s breath in our lungs and we feel our spiritual self begin to worship the Lord all the time.  It is not something we are forced to do, but it becomes something that we just have an internal desire to do.

Along with that amazing grace we are also showered with God’s kindness, along with all wisdom and understanding.  Yes that is right we are given wisdom and understanding, we just have to ask Jesus to reveal this to us in its fullness.  God created such a beautiful plan that is unique and yet mysterious to bring us his broken children to redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus.  A sacrifice that was made freely because of a love that is more than we can even imagine.

It can be hard for our human minds to really wrap around all of this kindness and forgiveness so freely given.  It is not something that we are used to, because as humans we tend to expect something from someone when we offer forgiveness.  But I can say that as we become transformed it becomes easier to forgive unconditionally and to shower others in that forgiveness, grace and kindness that has been showered upon us.

Just as Paul prays for the Ephesians I pray that our glorious Father in Heaven of our beloved Lord Jesus will give you spiritual wisdom and insight, so that you will also grow in your knowledge of God.  I pray that your hearts will be flooded with the light of Jesus, that you will discover your true identity in Christ, that you will discover that you are a rich and glorious inheritance, that you will see that you are holy and seated in heavenly places now.  I pray that your hearts will come alive and you will want to share the love of Jesus to let others know of the goodness of God.

BE A PREPARED SOLDIER

I read the words “Be a prepared soldier” this morning as I was doing my bible reading and I can’t stop thinking about what this really means.  In 1 Peter 4:1 It says that since Christ suffered in his flesh for us, now we also must be a prepared soldier, having the same mind-set, for whoever has died in his body is done with sin.

So I have been thinking about what does a prepared soldier look like.  The first thing I thought of was, that they have armor on, so that they can be protected from attacks.  They also need to know who the real enemy is so that they are not caught in friendly fire.  Knowing where the war zone is makes a difference on how you battle.  Also knowing who makes up your squad so that you have confidence when going into battle.

We are to also have the same mindset as Christ, which requires us to dig through the new testament to really discover what that means.  In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John you get a really good picture of who Jesus was and the mindset he had at all times.  Even when he was being attacked he stayed calm and peaceful.  He spoke the truth of what God’s word says and spoke with authority.  He did not accuse but spoke with authority, always calm in the midst of storms, trusting and having faith in the Father.  Jesus would pray all the time, many times when he was exhausted from preaching and teaching his followers.  But as you read he was always refreshed after he spent time with the Father.

We have been given the armor of God.  In Ephesians 6:10-20 we are given some of the most powerful words that prepare us for battle.  In the passion translation it says to be supernaturally infused with strength through your life union with the Lord Jesus.  Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.

Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser!  Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.  Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.

Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph.  Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart.  Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace.  In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One!  Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies.  And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword of the spoken Word of God.

We stand strong because we have Christ in us.  By the power of Christ we stand victorious.  When a soldier is prepared for battle knowing that you have a strong force with you gives you the confidence you need.  We have Christ in us and so we have all of the strength that we need for the battle before us.  It also means that we fight from a place of victory not from defeat.  In fact it says that we will rise victorious.  It also means that Jesus has provided us with authority over the principalities that come against us.

Then it continues to tell us to put on the complete set of armor that is provided for us.  That the armor will protect you, as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser.  It is obvious that it is very important to make sure we have our armor on, otherwise it would not be written in the bible so many times.

The next clue of what we are battling is important.  For it says we are in hand-to-hand combat but not with human beings, rather with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms.  It tells us that they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.  So knowing what the real enemy is lets us know the strategy that must be taken in this battle.

So we are to be prepared to do hand to hand combat, but not with our spouses, family, people around us.  No! it says we battle with evil spirits and demon-gods.  So we have to stop fighting with the people around us and start focusing our battles on the true enemy.  When we shift our focus to the true enemy we will be victorious.  The word of God tells us that and the word of God does not come back void.  But we really need to have all of the armor on us not just some of the armor.  Take authority over the principalities

That all means that the following pieces of armor are very important for us to be prepared soldiers.  The belt of truth to strengthen you to stand in triumph.  The body armor is God’s righteousness or as it says in the Passion translation Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart.  Your feet are wearing shoes of peace.  Yes that is peace!!!  Look at how Jesus walked in peace but he always spoke the truth no matter who he was talking to.  Take up your shield of faith that can extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One.  The shield of faith can extinguish all of those arrows.

Our salvation is the helmet that covers and protects our heads.  This protects us from the thoughts and lies that the enemy uses trying to convince us that we are defeated.  Take up the spirit sword of the spoken word of God.  It is a double edged razor sharp sword.  It can cut deep and when we speak the word of God it pierces the enemy to the heart.

Our battles happen all around us, so we must stand strong, and pray passionately in the spirit.  Pray blessings upon the believers and pray for the revelation of God to be released to the non-believers as the seeds are planted.

Now you have some important keys to help you be prepared for the battle.  But it also tells us in 1 Peter 4:1 it says to have the same mind set as Christ.  That made me think about what the mind set of Christ was.  Jesus was a humble servant that came to serve rather than to be served.  Jesus was always showing grace and mercy to the down trodden.  He had such a loving and passionate heart for the people that he was sharing the good news with.  Jesus always spoke the truth and he was always in prayer, staying in a close and deep relationship with the Father.  Jesus knew the Father’s heart just as we should know the Father’s heart.  Jesus showed us in everything that he did what the Father’s heart is all about.

We win in the battles when we take our eyes off of the people and focus on the real enemy.

 

Freedom from Oppression

It has been on my heart for the last week about oppression and the bondage that comes from it. Jesus came to set us free and to speak of truth and life more abundant. I want to see others find the freedom that comes from a relationship with Jesus.

One definition of oppress is to crush or burden spiritually or mentally, to be weighted down. What comes to mind as I pray and talk to God about this, is chains of bondage that happen when we believe the lies of the this world.

We walk around and hear so much negativity that it can become easy to believe the things you are hearing. I am not good enough, I don’t matter, You are stupid. Every word that we say or hear has the power to build up or destroy someone. When we speak out words that do not come from a place of God’s love it can crush and destroy someone from the inside out.

The strife and tension we see in our country is caused greatly by the words that people use. Never once did Jesus speak out with hate when he was giving correction to anyone. No he always gave correction and brought light into every situation. For Jesus always saw the good in everyone.

Oppression is bondage, and that bondage is powerful and destructive. It can cause you to feel burden by the weight of the world. Worry and fear become a normal part of your life. You become so afraid that you spook at everything. You lose sight of the hope that comes in Jesus. Jesus is the light for us, the hope we have in salvation. Jesus rose from the grave and all believers will receive that same resurrection. We are all beloved children and we have been adopted in to God’s family.

In Romans 8:1-2 it is written that “there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus”. The spirit that gives life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

So who is condemning you the world or God? I know what the word says and it is not God. God is not vengeful, or hateful. God loved you and me so much that he gave his son for our salvation. Did you know that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God, and that the spirit you received does not make you slaves? Rather the spirit that we receive has brought about our adoption to sonship, or daughtership and we are now children of God. We are heirs because we have been adopted by God the Father.

Now that is freedom and tells of our identity in Christ. We do not have to be held in bondage to fear! Hold your head up high and speak out boldly I am a child of God. Repeat it over and over being more bold each time. You will feel a shift in the spiritual realm as you start making these declarations.

So many of us have a distorted view of Father God, because we base it upon what we have seen or experienced from a human, earthly view. But I can say that Father God is a loving, compassionate God that wants good things for his children. God had a plan for salvation and redemption before he created the world. So when sin happened he was not surprised he did not make those comments you would hear from the average person. No he already had a plan.

But to really know the truth you must delve into the word as well. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and to reveal the truth. It is only by spending time in the word and really reading what God says will you find the freedom that is there for you and me.

Staying Focused on Jesus

As we go through our day-to-day business we can many times take our eyes off of Jesus.  We get so focused on work, family, social issues, health issues, the list is long.  It is nothing to feel ashamed of, or frustrated about.  What I have learned as I grow stronger in my walk with Christ, is the discovery of  new ways to bring my focus back to where it belongs.

We can all face struggles and hardships that can seem so overwhelming, but in the middle of what seems the darkest place in your life there is hope, love and joy.  I have learned this so well over the years and I am still learning.  But as I take each day I have learned that they are always better when I take time to look up instead of focusing completely on the things that are coming at me.

When we focus on the things we hear on the news, social media, personal struggles, illness, etc. we can begin to lose focus on Jesus.  Take time in the middle of your day, to just stop and thank God that you are alive, that you have a place to live, a job or anything else.  Breathe deep and just look up at the beauty in the sky, ponder on how God makes clouds so that they float and don’t drop to the earth.  Look at how the mountains and the trees stand tall to worship our Lord Jesus.  We should be doing that as well.  You will feel and see a difference as it takes you off of the things around you.  It breaks through the lies that you may be believing.

 

Walking with Christ

I had a very interesting morning, just conversing with God, and pondering what walking with Christ looks like to me.  I look back and I can see the progress that I have made over the years as I changed from the inside out.  But I also realize that there is always constant growth and change that happens within us as we ponder the word of God.  It never fails to amaze me as new things are highlighted to me each year as I read my bible.  As I gain new insights from my local church Pastor to other teachings I listen to as I hunger to know my Heavenly Father so much more.  But with that hunger is also a hunger to share what I know with others.  My heart is for the world to come to know the Heavenly Father that I have come to know.

As I was reflecting this morning I recognized areas in my life that I had released offenses, but I also realized that I was still holding on to other offenses such as ones with my husband.  At that moment it was like WOW I have been believing that I am good in this department, when I still have work to do in it.  Holy Spirit was so kind as it was highlighted to me and I had a heart change in that moment.  I found repentance in my heart and prayed for the offenses to be removed and given to Jesus and for a new profound love to replace it, that is new every day and just becomes more and more profound, just as the love of Christ for me.

As each of us grow in our walk with Christ, we should be releasing our old natures.  So many times as humans we say oh “that is just the way I am”, “I can’t change”, or we just live by our emotions rather than by the Spirit leading us.  But we are reminded in Ephesians 2:4-7 that we were dead because of our sin, but we were given life when Christ was raised from the dead, for we were raised from the dead along with Christ and seated with Christ in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.  These are powerful words to me and they should be to you as well.  When we live by our emotions and the flesh then we are still living in sin.  We have been given new life and we are now seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.  We walk by the leading of the Spirit over our Soul and Body.  We no, longer should be walking by our Soul or Body leading us.

That is all part of the growing process as it says in 1 Peter 2:2 that we crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it we may grow up in our salvation.  The key word is grow up in our salvation, that means that it is a continual process a weeding out of the old rotten weeds of anger, resentment, offenses, bitterness, unforgiveness, to name a few.  In the word it says that God is the potter and we are the clay.  Clay is shaped and molded into something beautiful.  That is exactly what our Heavenly Father is doing with us as we grow spiritually.  I call Jesus the roundup that destroys the weeds that are in me.  Holy Spirit highlights them to me and I surrender them to Jesus.  For yes they have to bow down to Jesus the name above all names.

It does not make us weak to release the ugliness of the world, of our old nature.  NO! We are stronger, because we have Christ in us and that gives us the supernatural ability to be strong enough.  To release our old nature and to become new in Christ Jesus.  It does not happen over night, but it is a process that happens every day of our lives.  But the first step is always coming into relationship with the Father.  The next step is always allowing Holy Spirit to come in and point out the things that are causing you to fall short, the lies that you are believing about yourself and others.  That process of pruning out the old to make way for the new healthy vines to grow is tough at times, and easy at other times.

What I am learning is that when we go through our toughest struggles is when we can discover the most about ourselves and grow exponentially.  For me it allows me to dig deep and to become more self-aware of the areas I am falling short.  I don’t get angry about it when I realize these things, no my heart wants to repent and I ask Papa to forgive me for the known and unknown agreements that I have made.  I surrender it to Jesus who carried it to the cross.  I then embrace the new or upgrade that happens in me.  It is like I am cleansed from within as I release the old and allow the new to takes it rightful place.

I learn not to seek hope and joy from the world around me, or even the people around me, but instead from Heaven above.  Yes think of the joy and hope knowing that I am already seated in the Heavenly realm with Jesus.  Wow, that is something to celebrate.  But that is not just for me but for you as well.  God chose us and wants us.  Remember he leaves the 99 for the 1.  Father God is always trying to bring the one back into his loving arms.

In this walk with Christ we are always growing.  We should not be staying the same, but we should be becoming mature in Christ.  I was a child for so long because I did not grasp this and I failed to seek and to know Christ.  But now I run as fast as I can to know more and to grow.  I want to be the torch that carries the light of Christ to others.  But that does not happen when we carry our old nature with us.  If we continue to carry bitterness and hate, or to look down on others we miss the mark.  Walking with Christ and being a torch requires growth and depth to who we are.  It requires us to weed out the ugly and to replace it with the love of Christ.  We learn to be merciful and to shower grace upon others.  We become compassionate to the plight of our fellow-man, and love them and lift them up.  We desire to serve others rather than to be served.  We humble ourselves before God and before others.

To be a torch means that you are always seeking the Lord, you are always looking inside so that you can grow.  The soil of your heart has to change, and to become fertile with the word of God.  Having a heart that is filled with God’s love is what carries a torch.  The light of Christ can put out the darkness on whatever it shines on.  I want to be the torch to snuff out the darkness of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.  My desire is to see revival come alive and for the light of Christ to shine on everyone.  I want to see salvation come to billions across this world.  Let’s all be the torch that we were created to be and not be afraid to walk in the light of Christ.  Together we can illuminate the world with the Love and Light of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.

 

Spiritual Growth in the Midst of Struggle

As I traverse a very challenging season of my life I am learning new things of myself and growing spiritually.  You see my Mother has Dementia and I have been on a journey that I would never have imagined a year ago.  But I have trusted in God and listened to that small voice as I watch in amazement at Gods hand in all of this.  So many times we see struggles in our life as just that a struggle.  We sometimes blame it on attacks of the enemy and yes that can be part of it, but most times we fail to realize that God is working in the good and the bad times.  It is in these seasons of struggle that we can grow the most and discover things about ourselves and also become the masterpiece that God created.

We will all face struggles and roadblocks at different times of our lives.  But we can grow closer to Father God during those times.  It is also a time of realizing the things in our selves that we must surrender to Jesus.  It can be extremely easy to place self-protection in your life, but as you do this you develop strongholds.  What I have learned is that many times we do not realize the strongholds that have developed in us.  Self protection can create pride, callousness, control, anger, to name a few.  The list can go on and on, but in the struggles we face choices because we have free will.  We can choose to focus on the struggle at hand or we can focus on God in the midst of the struggle.

I have chosen to face the struggle before me and include God in the middle of it.  For I can not do this journey alone, but I have the strength through Christ.  I am reminded of the journey that Joseph went through so that God could use him for greater things.  Joseph saw visions of things to come which made his brothers jealous.  They sold him into slavery, which I am sure was terrible.  But Joseph grew spiritually keeping his eyes on God in the midst of the struggle that he was in.  Joseph trusted God and knew that both the good and bad God the creator is in the middle of.   Joseph leaned into God during the times he was in slavery, and locked up.  Through that process God was able to mold Joseph into what he was created to do.  We then see how Joseph modeled forgiveness, grace and mercy with his brothers when they come to Egypt looking for food.  If anger would have been the driving force in Joseph’s life he would have locked them up or even something much worse, but no he shows forgiveness to them.  But he even takes it a step further and shows grace and mercy on them by showering them in kindness when they did not deserve it. Just as God does for each of us.

In this current season I have seen God doing amazing things in my life.  In the middle of legal struggles just to get guardianship of my Mother, God made the impossible possible.  I took all of my pain and struggles to the Father and I then would watch him bring peace in the middle of the chaos.  I would see people come into agreement that were fighting against me.  But I made the mistake of thinking that the battle was over after I moved my mother in with my husband and I.  That was a mistake, but I am now learning new things about myself in this process.

At first I was feeling overwhelmed and like the weight of the world was crashing in on me, everything seemed hopeless.  But I did the one thing that I know the best and I cried out to God, I told Papa how I was feeling.  What I realized is that as soon as I brought those feelings of foreboding into the light there was new peace in my heart.  One moment I felt like I was hanging onto the boat and ready to fall into a dark empty void, but when I spoke it out there was Jesus grabbing my hand and pulling me back in the boat.  I was not alone even though at that moment I was feeling completely alone.

This struggle with my Mothers Dementia is hard, and it will get harder, but God is revealing strongholds I have in my life through this process.  Years ago I learned about forgiveness so that I would even be able to open my home to my mother in such a time as this.  But now as I face frustration after frustration, I am realizing that I was carrying anger and control issues with me.  This has taken me on a journey of surrendering those to Jesus and I am finding new freedom in this process.  No it is not a complete one step process, but when you go to Gods word and you fill your heart and mind with worship for Father God, changes begin to happen.  As you verbally speak out and surrender your imperfections to Jesus you begin to feel lighter.  You begin to see your best friend Jesus there wanting to lighten the load for you.

When I told God I could not do this any longer and that I needed to know whether to move my Mother into a Memory care facility, I waited for an answer.  Then suddenly I am offered 15 hours a week for her to go to Adult Daycare and I hear Papa saying, “I heard you and this is what I have done for you”.   I had been waiting for the voice to say yes keep her in the home or no move her, instead Father God blessed me with time.

So as I am learning to embrace the struggles, I am growing closer to Father God.  I am reminded that he is the creator of all things.  I was created for something greater and I believe that this moment in this season God is preparing me for the greater things he wants to do through me in the next season.  Disease and illness is not from God, it is because we live in a fallen world.  I know that God did not cause my Mother to get Dementia.  I know that in this season she had clarity from God, so I could lead her to salvation.  I know that God is showing me the strongholds that need to be removed from my life. and I am learning not to make agreements with familiar spirits.

No matter the struggle that you face, God has given you everything you need for that moment.  For you have Christ in you when you are a believer and follower of Christ.  We have Christ in us!  Remember Jesus is the name above all names, so that means that fear, anger, judgement have to bow to Jesus.  Break off agreements you have made with the lies of the enemy and embrace the new being you have been created to be.  Feel the freedom of having the chains of slavery break away.  To have the inner walls torn down so that you can be covered by the love of God that is a shield of protection.  God has prepared a fortress for each of us, the walls are the love of God and that fortress is built on a solid rock of Jesus Christ.  We do not fight from a place of defeat, no Jesus has won the battle so take up the spiritual battle that is all around you.  Fight from the place of victory that we are in with Jesus.  We stand strong we do not retreat, instead we push the enemy back and we laugh in the face of our enemy.

Stand strong my fellow Christians, embrace your struggles and grow.  Allow Holy Spirit to identify and remove the strongholds of your life.  Jesus sent Holy Spirit to be our teacher, to provide wisdom and knowledge to us.  Seek and you will find the answers, they just might be different from what you were looking for.  In the end Gods way is always so much better than our way.

Letting God Fight Our Battles

I have been on a life changing journey over the last several weeks.  My Mother has dementia, and I am now responsible for her.  In that there have been trials and false accusations made against me from her boyfriend.  If it were not for my faith in God, and leaning into that immense love that God covers us in I would not be walking in peace during this time.   In fact my walk with Christ has grown even stronger and I have learned so much as I read in Samuel about the journey that David endured.

I have come to realize that anyone can face the same issues that David had to deal with thousands of years ago, but there is so much that can be learned.  I have come to realize how someone can have strong faith in God, yet that they can still be crying out because of what is happening around them trying to destroy their faith.  I can tell you that when you lean into Father God rather than trying to do everything on your own, God’s glory will shine even in the darkest moments that you are facing.  When you are going to Gods word and calling out to God in your struggles, you will find a strength that can only come from Christ in you.

David had false accusations made about him when King Saul was pursuing him.  Think of the pain and agony that David felt when someone he held great respect for was accusing him of wanting to kill him.  Yet David showed great control when twice King Saul was in his grasp and David could have killed him, but no he just let him know that his life had been sparred, and he showed a great love for King Saul in those moments.  Many of us can at times in our lives become falsely accused of things.  We know the truth, but the accuser does not and will not listen to reason.  Just as David did you may have to stop trying to confront your accuser and instead pray for your accuser, show love and respect to the person, even though you may be having a struggle deep inside.

I have learned so much from reading about what David did as well as Jesus.  When they faced trials and false accusations they did not confront the accuser.  No they turned to God and they poured out everything that they were feeling and the truth of what they knew of Father God.  As I have applied this to my own life, I have seen a deeper spiritual growth and I have learned so much more about the love of Father God.

Many times I have found myself deep in my bible.  God has shown me and reminded me of the things that I already knew but in my moments of weakness I was drawn into the Psalms, Samuel and even Proverbs.  I have seen an inner strength that I never realized I had, and I account this to Christ in me.  Just as Philippians says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Before the last 6 weeks I thought I understood this, but I have come to realize it is something beyond anything I ever thought.  As I felt I would break emotionally, I continually found myself seeking God.  Over and over I have seen God make a way for things that were seeming impossible because of what was being said or done by others.

When I felt completely defeated and ready to thrown in the towel, I have been refreshed by the living water that Jesus provides.  I can attribute it to nothing else, for there is no human explanation for how I was transformed.  We have a wonderful and powerful God, and he covers us in a shield of love that protects us from the fiery darts that can come flying at us.  It empowers us to not take offense at things that are said or done against us.

I have been reminded time and again what it says in Ephesians 6, For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  That is right even when it seems our battle is the person or persons in front of us, it is really not.  We are to love our enemies, and that can be hard, but when I have shown love to my enemy and I prayed blessings over them, I have seen God do amazing things that go against what the person was saying they would do.

So my fellow Christians you need to put on your armor everyday, seek the Lord in all things great or small, easy or difficult.  Then take your battle to the heavenlies and call on the Great I AM to come and fight with you.  We do not win battles we face with words, no we win the battles by taking it to God, calling on God to fight for you because of his great love for you.  In Ephesians 4:2-4 we are reminded to always be humble and gentle.  To be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

This is how I have learned to walk out each day and I have seen a change in the environment.  When I turned away from confronting my accuser, and praying for him to be released from any evil spirits there was a shift in the atmosphere.  I can only give the credit to God the Father.  Father God loves me and he loves you.  Papa wants to bless us with what we want.  Remember God knows what we are feeling and our heart, just as well as he knows the heart of the others you know.  Seek God first and trust God with the outcome even if it seems different from what you wanted or imagined.

For I can say that God’s way is so much better than my way.  It may seem strange and confusing at times, but God will never abandon you, not even in your darkest moments.  No instead God will cover you in love, you will find the peace that only Jesus can bring in the middle of a storm.  For the storm may be all around you, but where the boat is sitting the storm is calmed.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, he leads me beside still waters and lays me down in green pastures.  This is a Father that protects you, brings calmness to you, and covers you in abundant love.

In Ephesians 3 Paul talks of the unlimited resources that we will be empowered with.  That is inner strength through his spirit.  Christ will make a home in your heart and your roots will grow down deep into God’s love and this is what keeps you strong.  You gain insight , understanding and knowledge as you grow closer to Father God and you discover a love that is greater than you can imagine.