Poems

You

You’ve been calling me
My whole life,
You’ve been leading me
My whole life,
You’ve been loving me
My whole life,
Looking back now
I can see You,
My whole life.

(2002)

Ephesians 1:4,5
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will

Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart

 

Progression

God grow us
From living under moral duty
to reimburse Him
To living in complete devotion
to Him
To living in absolute delight
in Him.
His desire:
For us to rest joyfully
In His love and abundance
Where spiritual disciplines
Become ultimate desires
Because in His presence alone
Is Life supreme.

(2002)

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.

1 John 2:5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.

 

Victory

Absolute surrender.
The glory of His majesty
More than I can bear

Soaring through timeless days
In the surge of His embrace
On the wings of His will.

Overwhelming awareness.
In absolutely everything
His mighty power rules

So brilliant and valiant.
All else fades from sight
As He leads me onward.

(2002)

2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Isaiah 40:28-31  Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

 

Escort

Everywhere I go a perfect Gentleman escorts me.
He is always there.

I am free to barge out in front of Him or wander off at any time. I am free to choose to think for myself.

He loves me.
He takes care of me.
He opens doors for me.
He tells me secrets.

My Companion is not rude. He is never controlling. He is not legalistic.
Nor is he overbearing.

He exudes kindness.
He offers freedom.
He lavishes grace.
He practices gentleness.

We hang together. We converse together. We travel together.

I surrender. He gives peace.
I release my agenda. He gives me His.
I seek. He reveals.
I call. He answers.
I hurt. He heals.
I fear. He encourages.
I wane. He strengthens.
I vex. He invites sanctuary.
I forget. He reminds.
I faint. He empowers.
I get inundated. He provides orderly completion.
I get distracted. He refocuses my attention.

He leads. I follow.
He reigns. I worship.
He gives ideas. I record them.
He comforts. I grieve.
He mends. I celebrate.
He opens. I pass through.
He intervenes. I praise.
He rescues. I rejoice.
He protects. I give thanks.
He prepares. I proceed.
He winks. I smile.
He manages. I rest.

He gives me love. I give His love back to him.
He gives me more love. I spill His love out to others.

My Escort is available
to anyone
who with a whole heart
will RSVP His invitation.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

 

Home

Lost in Your love
Lost in Your presence
Lost in the bounty of Your grace,
Free from myself
Free from this world
Free from worry that makes waste,
Rest from my work
Rest in Your light
Rest in the glory of Your face,
Forever Yours
Forever home
Forever bound by Your embrace.

(2002)

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

Hebrews 4:10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his

 

Glory Due

From Adam forward
Over all the earth
In every nation
every state
every town
every home
Every man and boy
Every woman and girl
Rich and poor
Black and white
From first gasp
To last breath
Praising you
Worshiping You
Honoring You
Adoring You
Every second of every minute
Every minute of every hour
Every hour of every day
Every day of every week
Every week of every month
Every month of every year
Could not fill
The very first drop
In oceans so vast
Of Glory Due
The One and Only
The Alpha and Omega
Our Lord and Savior
The Most High God

(2007)

Psalm 96:4  For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

 

 

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The Power of Abiding

Abiding in Christ is powerful.

Abiding in Christ is efficient.

Abiding in Christ is obeying.

First of all, what does abiding mean? It means “to be vitally united to” and “to make your permanent home.” Christ commands His body to abide in Him by staying vitally united to Him and making Him our permanent home.

Abiding Video (2.5 min)

When you abide in Christ, you actually fulfill all the law and the prophets of the Old Covenant and the greatest and second commandments of the New Covenant.

Let me explain.

 

In Matthew 22:36-41 Jesus answers a Pharisee’s question,36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus responds, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

In verse 40, Jesus explains, All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” He’s explaining that when we obey the great commandment (v. 37) by loving God with our all and the second commandment (v. 39) by loving others as ourselves, Jesus says we fulfill “all the Law and the prophets (v. 40).” In verse 40, “all the Law” includes entire the Mosaic law (the Pentateuch) which with the prophets, He says, sums up the entire Old Covenant!

~So, from Matthew 22:36-40 we can see that obeying the great (v. 37) and second (v. 39) commandments causes us to fulfill all the Old Covenant (the Law and the prophets).

 

In John 15, Christ’s final commands to His body include abiding in Him (Jn. 15:4) and His “new command” of loving one another (Jn. 13:34; 15:12, 17). These two commands reiterate the great and second commandments. Abiding reflects the great commandment (Matt. 22:37) to love God with our all. And loving one another reflects the second commandment (Matt. 22:39) to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

~So, from the congruence of John 13:34; 15:4, 12, 17 and Matthew 22:36-40, we can see that abiding in Christ and loving others fulfills the great and second commandments.

 

When we abide in Christ, He teaches us how to obey His new command (Jn. 13:34;15:4, 12, 17)  of loving others as we love ourselves. When we abide in Him, He naturally teaches us how to love ourselves as He does and to love others as He does.

~So, abiding in Christ naturally encapsulates “loving one another.”

 

In summary, Christ’s command to His body to abide in Him encompasses loving one another (Jn. 13:34,15:12,17) and the great and second commandments (Matt. 22:36-40). These summarize the entire New Covenant, and further contain all the Mosaic law and the prophets (Mat.22:40) recapping the entire Old Covenant.

[Abide+Love Others]>[Great Commandment+Second Commandment]>[Mosiac+Prophets]

 

The Efficiency of Abiding:

Great + Second Commandments (Matt. 22:36-40) = Mosaic law + All Prophets 

Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37) = Abiding (Jn. 15:4)

Second Commandment (Matt. 22:39) = Loving One Another (Jn. 13:34; 15:12,17)

Abiding teaches us to love others (Jn. 15:10).

Abiding (Jn. 15:4) = Loving One Another (Jn. 13:34, 15:12, 17) for it teaches us to do so.

[The Second Commandment (Matt. 22:39) and Loving One Another (Jn. 13:34, 15:12, 17) include all the “one another” verses in the New Covenant. See below.*]

Abiding = Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37) +  Second Commandment (Matt. 22:39) + Loving One Another (Jn. 13:34, 15:12, 17) = Entire New Covenant

Abiding (Jn. 15:4) = Great Commandment +  Second Commandment + Mosaic  law + Prophets = Entire Old Covenant

Abiding (Jn. 15:4) = Great Commandment +  Second Commandment + Loving One Another + Mosaic  law + Prophets = Entire Old and New Covenants

Abiding = Entire Old and New Covenants

Abiding

  • fulfills the great and second commandments of the New Covenant (Matt. 22:37-39)
  • fulfills Christ’s new command of loving one another* (Jn. 13:14; 15:4, 12, 17) because abiding teaches us to do so (Jn. 15:10)
  • fulfills all the law and the prophets of the Old Covenant (Matt. 22:40)
  • fulfills the entire Old and New Covenants

 

Abiding is powerful, efficient, and obedient. Abiding we don’t perform in our own strength. As created beings, we receive our strength and direction from our Creator. To abide we must choose to submit to Our Creator’s loving authority and leadership, choose to humble ourselves and take His yoke daily as we learn of Him progressively moment by moment. During this lifetime process of walking with Him, He naturally conforms us to His glorious image. Hallelujah!

Take My Yoke Video (1.48 min)

 

Matthew 22:36-41 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

John 15:4 Abide in me, as I also abide in you.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

John 15:17 This is my command: Love one another.

John 15:10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

* The 59 “One Anothers” of the New Testament:

 1. “…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50) 2. “…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) 3. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34) 4. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34) 5. “…Love one another…” (John 13:35) 6. “…Love one another…” (John 15:12) 7. “…Love one another” (John 15:17) 8. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10) 9. “…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10) 10. “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16) 11. “…Love one another…” (Romans 13:8) 12. “…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13) 13. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7) 14. “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14) 15. “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16:16) 16. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (I Cor. 11:33) 17. “…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25) 18. “…Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20) 19. “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (II Corinthians 13:12) 20. “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13) 21. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15) 22. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:26) 23. “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2) 24. “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2) 25. “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32) 26. “…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32) 27. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19) 28. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21) 29. “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3) 30. “Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9) 31. “Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13) 32. “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13) 33. “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16) 34. “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16) 35. “…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12) 36. “…Love each other.” (I Thessalonians 4:9) 37. “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18) 38. “…Encourage each other…” I Thessalonians 5:11) 39. “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11) 40. “Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13) 41. “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24) 42. “…Encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25) 43. “…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11) 44. “Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9) 45. “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16) 46. “…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16) 47. “…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8) 48. “…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8) 49. “…Love each other deeply…” (I Peter 4:8) 50. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9) 51. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10) 52. “…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”(I Peter 5:5) 53. “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (I Peter 5:14) 54. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:11) 55. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:23) 56. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:7) 57. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:11) 58. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:12) 59. “…Love one another.” (II John 5) *From Carl F. George, Prepare Your Church for the Future (Tarrytown: Revell, 1991), 129-131.

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The First Tabernacle in the Heart

Hebrews 9:8-9

“The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Holy of Holies had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle (the Holy Place) was still functioning. 

This is an illustration for the PRESENT TIME, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper,

 

Old Covenant priests entered the Tabernacle westward right to left (below) first into the Holy Place.  Then the High Priest alone was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies once a year, and only on the Day of Atonement.

Image result for tabernacle complexThe Holy of Holies (above left) and the Holy Place (above right), also called the “first tabernacle.”

The Holy Place (or first tabernacle)

where the embers from the bronze altar sacrifices for sin were carried to the altar of incense and burned as a sweet savor of atonement to the LORD.

I see that the first tabernacle is “still functioning” (Heb. 9:8) in my heart. There is still SOMETHING (anything!) I must do to appease God’s wrath and complete Christ’s Sacrifice for me. (Because His sacrifice is incomplete without my input.) My gifts and sacrifices for sin are still being offered to God for only temporary clearing of my conscience. My conscience is not cleared permanently.”

If the first tabernacle (Holy Place) is “still functioning” in your heart, then the Holy of Holies will not be disclosed to you (Heb. 9:8).

The Holy of Holies 

The LORD’S presence where blood was sprinkled eastward on the Ark of the Covenant and in front of it

I agree with Jesus Christ. “‘It is finished’ (John 19:30). There is NOTHING left for me to do. Ever.  I can enter the Holy of Holies by faith in Christ’s once-for-all perfect and eternal Sacrifice for me. There is NO sacrifice left of any kind. His sacrifice is way more than enough. As a result, my conscience is cleared permanently.”

Question:

Is the first tabernacle (the Holy Place)

“still functioning” in your heart?

Hebrews 9:8-9

“The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Holy of Holies had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle (Holy Place) was still functioning.

This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper,”

Lord,

Please show me if and where the first tabernacle is still functioning in my heart.

I don’t want that to block me from experiencing the Holy of Holies in my heart.

According to Your Word (Heb.9:8-9), show me anything that’s blocking

me and escort my heart into the Holy of Holies where You abide and where my

conscience will be cleared permanently. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Hebrews 9:1-14 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Holy of Holies, which had the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning.This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Asking For What You Already Have

How do you pray? Do you ask God for what you ALREADY HAVE in Christ?

Do these sound like your prayers?

“Please redeem me. Please forgive me. Please cleanse me. Please give me access to the throne. Please don’t condemn me. Please establish me. Please give me a spirit of power, love and sound mind. Please make me your holy temple. Please give me favor with You.”

If so, you are asking God for what you ALREADY HAVE.

Notice that the verses about you (below) are in PRESENT or PAST tense. Examine the list of truths about you and notice where you are asking for what you already have.

I am Accepted-

I am God’s child. John 1:12

As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ. John 15:15

I have been justified (declared righteous). Romans 5:1

I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17

I have been bought with a price and I belong to God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I am a member of Christ’s body. 1 Corinthians 12:27

I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Ephesians 1:4-5

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. Colossians 1:13-14

I am complete in Christ. Colossians 2:9-10

I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:14-16

I am Secure-

I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1-2

I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. Romans 8:28

I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God. Romans 8:31-39

I have been established, anointed and sealed by God. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

I am hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-4

I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me. Philippians 1:6

I am a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3:20

I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. 1 John 5:18

I am Significant-

I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life. John 15:5

I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. John 15:16

I am God’s temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16

I am a minister of reconciliation for God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm. Ephesians 2:6

I am God’s workmanship. Ephesians 2:10

I may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

(originally from Neil Anderson’s list)

Reflect-

Is knowledge of these truths an oversight on my part?

Do I have trouble receiving them on a personal level? Why?

If so, is my inability to receive them due to unbelief or mere negligence?

 

Hebrews 11:5 tells us that only faith pleases God. So in the verses above, instead of asking God for what we ALREADY HAVE, let’s acknowledge and humbly receive by faith what God has ALREADY GIVEN us.

And in that acknowledgment and receptivity, let’s THANK HIM for each of the heavenly gifts He has lavished on us and live as if they are true…because they are! Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

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Digital Dementia

 

Techies, millennials, and those with no intuition,

Check this out:

Smartphones Make You Dumb

 

 

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You Cannot Have Two Natures

Although there is confusion in the churches, the Scriptures clearly teach that we cannot have two natures. We can have only one nature. We are either spiritually dead or we are spiritually alive.

The spiritually dead have unregenerate souls; they are slaves to sin, not raised from the dead by Jesus Christ. Those spiritually alive have regenerated souls; they are slaves to righteousness, raised from the dead by Jesus Christ. This is as simple as darkness and light. Darkness and light cannot coexist because light automatically casts out darkness.

The confusion arises from the Romans 7 conflict. In this chapter, Paul is characterizing the conflict of one person with a divided identity, not one person with two natures.

Identity is everything. What we identify with we will think, say and do. If we are spiritually alive, our identity is designed to be in Christ alone. However, the enemy knows that if he can lure us to identify with anything other than Christ, we will be unstable and doubleminded.

He cleverly lures us to identify with our behavior, our wounds, our sin, our bad habits, and even other people. But his favorite lure is our behavior. He knows that when we identify with our behavior we will never experience victory in this life. Simply put, when we identify with our behavior, we are sent forever chasing our tails.

In Romans 7, Paul has been raised from the dead by Christ and is spiritually alive. However, his internal conflict begins when he identifies himself with his behavior. When he does, he falsely believes that…

~he must “perform” righteousness and cannot do it

~he must live the Christian life and cannot do it

~it’s all about him being good enough for God and he cannot do it

But guess what??

He’s not supposed to be able to do it. Because it’s not even possible!

Romans 7 is like a terrified child in the pool for the first time with a swim teacher. The child stresses out, flailing and fighting the teacher thinking that she must somehow save herself. Over time, though, she learns that as she stops fighting, he keeps her afloat. As she stops trying, he positions her safely. As she stops doubting, he proves trustworthy.

The identity conflict rages in Romans 7 until it finally dawns on him that he, indeed, cannot do it.  Then his focus shifts victoriously to the One Who can do it! The end of Romans 7: “Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

In verses 24 and 25, he finally realizes that

~Christ is the only one who can live the Christian life

~he is one spirit with Christ

~he doesn’t have to try, but to trust

You have ONE nature and it is in Christ. That’s all you are now. And that is MORE than enough. Christ is Faithful and True to begin, sustain and complete your salvation as you trust Him (Heb. 12:1-2).

Remember the enemy tactic of luring you to focus on your behavior and resist him (Ja.4:7, 1 Pet. 5:8-10). Identify only with Christ who raised you from the dead. In that faith focus is your life source and your victory.

When Christ raises someone from the dead, they are alive forever. If someone was supposedly made alive and then falls dead again never to be raised back up, then they never were alive (1 John 2:18-19) at all.

When you slip and focus on your behavior, remember that sinning cannot turn the new nature back into a sinner any more than doing good deeds can turn an unbeliever to a believer. You’ve either been raised from the dead by Christ or you are dead in your sins. There is no in-between.

Meanwhile, you may need healing, discipline, endurance and mind renewal. Believe God’s Word, keep your eyes on Christ, get your feet washed and receive prayer in safe, authentic community (James 5:16), get help for your issues, ask God to reveal the lies you believe, and trust Him through it all.

Instead of living your own life… in your own strength… with your own understanding, realize that only Christ can live the Christian life. And He wants to live it through you!

Stop trying harder! Wave the white flag! Surrender your whole life and ask Christ to live His life through you. Trust Him. When you do you will find, just like the little girl in the pool did, that He is Faithful (Rom. 7:24-25).

 

Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

1 John 2:18-19 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

1 Peter 5:8-10 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Romans 7:24-25a What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Faith and Repentance

WHAT IS SALVATION? Salvation is by faith turning from one’s own way (Is. 53:6) to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 20:21), past, present, and future (Rom. 4:5) and eternal life (1 John 5:11). 

Let’s define Faith and Repentance:

Faith means “divine persuasion, a guarantee, the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).”

Repentance means “a change of mind, change in the inner man, turning around.”

Faith and Repentance are NOT two separate steps to salvation. Like two sides of a coin, they are one in the same!

  • The Holy Spirit by “divine persuasion” (faith) influences you to “change your mind” and “turn around” (repentance).
  • You cannot believe (have faith) without “turning around” (repenting) from unbelief.
  • Believing the Gospel is repentance and faith (all at once) from “one’s own way” to trusting Christ for eternal cleansing and eternal life.

Repentance, like faith, is a positive response to something God has said or done.

Romans 4:5 makes it clear that faith alone justifies us and counts as righteousness: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Rom. 4:5).

Salvation is NOT turning away from one’s sins to be forgiven by Christ. That would be working to earn God’s favor by one’s own effort (Rom. 9:16). Think about it…  if we have to clean up our lives before we can be saved, we can never be saved. 

Facing Holy God Almighty, the sinful man knows well he is an unholy sinner in desperate need of a Savior. At that moment, he believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is forever cleansed and saved.

The sinner who believes has repented.

The sinner who repents has believed.

Faith and repentance are one in the same (John 6:29).

In Gospel of John, the word, “believe,” is cited 85 times. Never does the word, repent, appear.  Repentance is a sinner turning from unbelief to belief. He turns TO THE LORD from the Law’s condemnation of sin and his self-effort to have all sins removed in spiritual circumcision (Rom. 2:29) by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins IS repentance (John 6:29).

 

 

Salvation happens automatically by believing (John 6:29). Sanctification (conformity to Christ) is a subsequent process that happens as a result of salvation. Sanctification is NOT YOUR WORK. It’s the Holy Spirit’s work to perform in you from the inside out. Sanctification happens on God’s timetable. Not ours. He can set you free from things in a moment. Other issues can take a lifetime or never get resolved. 

It’s His business. It’s His burden. It’s His blessing.

Eternal life is a free gift from God. A free gift is received, not performed. The moment you start trusting in your own efforts to be saved, be terrified… for you have fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4) and “severed yourself from Christ.”

Trying harder is not repentance. 

Turning over a new leaf is not repentance.

Trying not to sin is not repentance.

Turning your back on a sinful world is not repentance.

Committing your life to Christ is not repentance.

Pure Biblical repentance is turning from your own way (Is. 53:6) toward God by faith in His only Son, Jesus Christ, to have your sins- past, present, and future- forgiven forever. Salvation is free and forever as we continue by faith in Him because salvation belongs to the Lord. It’s His eternal salvation (Ps. 119:41)! 

Hallelujah for the wonderful simplicity of salvation!

Let’s become “like little children” and enter in (Matt. 18:3).

 

Isaiah 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all

Romans 4:5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Romans 2:29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

John 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Acts 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Romans 9:16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

Psalm 119:41 May your unfailing love come to me, LORD, your salvation, according to your promise;

Matthew 18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

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A Plumbline for Idolatry

Do you want a clear indicator of idolatry in your life?

I have a very simple one.

It’s the yoke of Christ.

Questions:

What or who causes me to desire to walk independently of Christ?

What or who lures me away from Christ?

What or who causes me to forget about Christ?

Bingo!

There you have it. Ask yourself these questions when you get detoured. Then prayerfully trace them back to the source of the lure.

Keep in mind that idols are often the superficial representations of the deeper need we harbor. For instance, the idolatry of a thing can represent an insecurity from a wound buried in our past or the idolatry of a person can represent a deep childhood need that was never met.

Ask the LORD to expose the underlying root of the issue. Wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t put His answer or insight for you in a box! He can do or use anything and loves to surprise you.

When He shows you, it can be all at once or in progressive stages of revelation. When He reveals it, ask Him what to do about it. He will show you. For example, over time you could heal the heart issue by grieving the loss or if the situation is more circumstantial, you could reframe it.

Whatever the case, let Him expose the lures for what they really are and lead you daily in how to stay in His yoke!

 

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What’s His is Mine

By Your kindness to me (Eph. 2:5),

I am in You (1 Cor. 6:17),

Part of Your body (1 Cor. 12:27).

Your heart is my home (Matt. 6:21).

Bible treasureYour Word is my playground (Ps. 119:162).

Your body is my family (1 Cor. 12:12).

Your salvation is my cleanliness (Jn 13:10).

Your Spirit is my guide (1 Jn 2:27).

Your character is my conformity (2 Cor. 3:18).

Your glory is my hope (Col. 1:27).

Your faithfulness is my rest (Lam. 3:22-23).

Your heaven is my destination (Heb 13:14).

 

Ephesians 2:3b-5 Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

1 Corinthians 6:17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Matthew 6:21 Where your treasure is there will be your heart also.

Psalm 119:162 I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.

1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.

Colossians 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Lamentations 3:22-23 The Lord’s loving kindness indeed never ceases, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Hebrews 13:14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

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How We Are Like Jesus

In this world, we are like Jesus (1 Jn 4:17b).

But how can we be like Him with all of our bad habits and sinful mistakes?

God is spirit (John 4:24). He sees us with spiritual eyes. When we were spiritually dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1), He brought us to spiritual life, in His likeness (1 John 3:1), in the new birth. In that, He cleansed us (Jn 13:10, 15:3) and bestowed His light of life to us (2 Cor. 4:6) to bear His likeness and share with others.

If we could view with a spiritual infrared camera the true nature of souls all over the world, we would see two types of souls through our lens. Most would be dark inside, grayish or blackish in nature.

The other souls would be different, strikingly set apart (Ps. 4:3, Prov. 4:18). We would see illumination in them, a spark or flame of brightness within (Jn 8:12). Some would actually glow all over (Eph. 3:19). This is the light of Christ (Jn 1:4), the seal of the Holy Spirit. These souls are the purchased saints of God (Phil. 2:15).

This is how we are like Christ in the world:

The world is dark (Eph. 6:12).

We are in the world (Jn 17:16).

Christ is light (Jn 1:4).

He gave us His light (2 Cor. 4:6).

We carry it inside (2 Cor. 4:6).

Like flickering candles (Mark 4:21)

His light within illuminates (Phil. 2:15)

Everywhere we go (2 Cor. 2:15).

It casts out darkness (2 Cor. 4:6).

We are not of this world (Jn 18:36, Jn 17:16).

The world does not know the Father or His children (1 John 3:1).

We belong to the Father (Eph. 1:14).

He owns us (Eph. 1:14).

Our home is His home, heaven (2 Cor. 5:8)

In this world, we are like Christ (1 Jn 4:17b).

 

John 4:24 God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

1 John 4:17b In this world we are like Jesus.

John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in trespasses and sins

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

John 1:4 In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men.

John 8:12 Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Philippians 2:15 so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness],

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the[Holy] Spirit who is from God

Mark 4:21 Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine.

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

John 13:10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.

John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

Psalm 4:3 Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself

Ephesians 1:14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Ephesians 3:19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

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The Cracks in Our Armor

Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Okay, I agree. I put on my armor. So, why am I still having these issues?

I’ll tell you why.

Let’s talk about the cracks in our armor.  Yes, the cracks.

Those concealed places where the enemy has privatearmor access to our souls.

You know. Uh-hmm. The places where he triggers and ambushes us.

So, what are the cracks in our armor…?

The cracks are the LIES we believe. Yes, LIES!

As the original liar and father of lies, the enemy has access to every area where we are “in agreement” with him. Wherever we believe a lie, he dominates there. (Pssst…In fact, believing a lie in some cases can even make us, in that area, his personal assistant.)

In John 14:30, Christ says, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me…”

Having no “claim on” means “having nothing in common with.” In that statement, Christ announced He had nothing at all in common with the enemy. In other words, Christ is the embodiment of truth, Truth Itself, and no lies or darkness ever abide in Him. Thus, the enemy has nothing in agreement with, no “claim on” or in Christ.

On the other hand, the father of lies has “claim on” us as humans wherever we believe a lie. Obviously, we must deal with lies and darkness while living in this fallen world. Wherever we believe lies within our souls, in that area, the enemy has “in common” with us.  That means he has “claim on” that lie in the soul. He can dominate us there and operate out of it as he pleases.

The enemy knows all about the lies we believe because he’s the one who planted them there. Lies can be embedded anywhere within our souls. He uses them to trigger us, tempt us, and deceive us and, make us miserable.

Foundational lies are special lies strategically planted very early in life. These specifically target our IDENTITY and our WORTH. The enemy’s goal is to fashion us with weakness and vulnerability in those foundational areas. For he knows if he can knock out part of the foundation, then he can topple the whole house (Matt. 12:25).

childrenA personal example, on the Kindergarten school van I was terrorized for a whole year by two older boys. I summoned all the courage I could to ask for help three times from the authority figures. Unfortunately, none of the adults I reached out to responded or helped me. In fact, looking back on it, they blatantly dismissed me. That was the first of many times I experienced being bullied as a youth.

In my five-year-old mind during that year of trauma, I fell far away from people. And people fell far away from me. A deep cavern of non-reality formed between us.

At that time, I concluded firmly in my subconscious mind that the definition of my existence was helplessness, powerlessness, and worthlessness. Little did I know at the time that these lies would affect me for the next forty years.

The enemy uses our circumstances to insert lies like those at a tender age when we have not yet developed any defenses. Or when the lie seems to make sense to us.

The conclusive lie makes perfect sense in the circumstance and so we agree with it. We do this because our little minds are always trying to figure things out. They make childish conclusions about circumstances to make sense of them. Over time the lie nestles in and hides deep within our souls.

Lies we internalized at a very young age still operate within us as adults without our awareness. In fact, lies remain fully operative in the soul until they are extracted.

These lies are the cracks in our armor.

The most efficient way to heal from these lies is to expose them and replace them with His truth. I thought I knew freedom until last year, three deep-seated lies were extracted from my soul. Wow, what a subtle but profound expansion of freedom and relief!

As believers, of course, we want nothing in common with the enemy. But we all have areas in common with him in the lies we believe. In those exact places, he will dominate us until his lies are removed.

No one can extract these lies from our souls without our permission, not even the LORD. He is a gentleman and gives us free will. We must voluntarily choose extraction. We must ask Him to expose the lie and replace it with His truth.

revealAsk the LORD to reveal the lies that you believe. Then watch what happens. You will learn to be aware of your circumstances and behavior like never before. For it is through circumstances and behavior that the LORD exposes the lies.

Becoming overly upset or disturbed is evidence of a lie. We can say that strong emotions are like lie detectors. Our emotional scale runs from zero to ten, zero being no emotion and ten being rage or something similar. When our emotions hit above a 5, we can be sure that a lie hides underneath that emotion fanning the flames in the current circumstance.

Years ago when my husband would speak to me in a rude, domineering way, and then refused to apologize and defend himself instead, my emotions would quake as my amygdala quaked with the feeling of being bullied again. Sure, as my husband, he had no business speaking to me that way, and definitely owed me an apology and some behavior changes. But I had my own business of healing to tend to as well.

So, I have invested in myself by pursuing various avenues of healing for those severely damaging childhood experiences and how they skewed my life lens. Due to my practice of lie extraction and my husband’s growing humility and maturity, our marriage has grown to a better place.

Pay attention to very strong emotions or a sudden change of your strond emotion 2countenance that indicate a lie is present. When you’re alone, unpack the situation. Focus on the emotion you felt and a memory will naturally surface. Ask the LORD to show you the lie you internalized while feeling that emotion. It will relate to your identity or condition.

Identity-related lies: “I am powerless,” “I am unlovable,” “I am a defect.”

Condition-related lies: “I am trapped,” “I am dirty,” “I am out of control.”

Speak out the lie you believed in that memory and ask the LORD what He thinks about it. Wait for His input.

Be mindful of any beliefs or lies that “block” access to the foundational lies you seek to have healed. For instance, if you feel a strong emotion and the associated memory won’t surface, a lie is blocking the memory. “If I remember that, I will die.” Obviously, that belief is a lie. Remembering something cannot kill you. That belief serves to barricade you from accessing the memory in which you can expose the foundational lie which keeps you bound.

healing

The LORD sees it all and desires to set you free. He will bring light into your darkness. And when He does, that lie will be healed forever. This is the power of the Savior. Take action to heal your wounds. Open up. Be aware.

The Great Physician Wonderful Counselor desires to heal and seal the cracks in your armor. Let Him.

 

Matthew 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,

Luke 5:31, 32 They that are whole have no need of a physician; but they that are sick. I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance

Luke 4:18 He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted

Matthew 8:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross,
And their ears are dull of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed;
Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart,
And should turn again,
And I should heal them

John 5:6-9 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Proverbs 20:27 The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

Psalm 139:23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Luke 6:49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.

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Emotions

Emotions!

Whether we choose to feel them or not, our souls are filled with emotions. We may think we’re not supposed to have them, then we don’t know what to do with them.

emotionsLet’s put emotions in context:

  1. Emotions don’t know fantasy from reality. When you watch a stressful movie, your heart races. But your emotions don’t know that the movie’s not real.
  2. Emotions don’t know the difference between past, present or future. You’re triggered in the present…but your emotions don’t know that it’s actually not the current event upsetting you, only the painful memory connected to it that is causing you to overreact.
  3. Emotions act like bullies convincing us that they define ultimate reality.
  4. Emotions reveal what we actually believe deep down.

Emotions suffer from a serious lack of intelligence and understanding, don’t they? But we know that when they are given too much power, they can surely wreak havoc in our hearts and lives.

~LYING TO OURSELVES

Unfortunately, as a result of sin, some of our well-meaning cultures and religions, teach in the vein of shame, guilt and “being strong” that certain emotions are acceptable and others are not. Thus, we often grow up telling ourselves, “I shouldn’t be angry about that” or “I can’t cry” while our guts silently shudder and our eyes hold back tears. The irony of the “being strong” mantra is that regardless of how many tears we hold back, denying our emotional truth is lying to ourselves. Denial can never make us strong, only phony.

We must admit that we have been trained to lie to ourselves about our emotions.

Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

Question: How can we “pour out our hearts to Him” if we refuse to acknowledge and feel certain emotions? Hmmm…We can’t.

Conclusion: Denying emotions prevents us from obeying Scripture.

~MADE IN HIS IMAGE

Imperative it is for us to know and believe that God gave us all of our emotions! We are created in His image and experience the same emotions He does, although ours can be tainted and distorted by sin. God experiences emotions and Christ did as well while He was incarnate (Heb. 4:15-16). Sorrow, abandonment, agony, rage. (See verses below)

Christ is not surprised or offended by any emotion we have, especially when weJesus saving man bring it to Him in honesty and vulnerability for help and healing (Heb.4:15,16). Did we forget that He was tempted in every way and can fully relate to whatever we may bring to Him? Not to mention, He knows it all before we even admit it to ourselves. He desires us to submit our wounded and distorted emotions to Him so He can heal them and restore our hearts to live in His reality.

Ken Nair (Discovering the Mind of a Woman) calls emotions “the voice of the spirit.” Our emotions were designed to be acknowledged, felt and expressed in a safe and accepting environment. However, the ever-broadening and deepening effects of sin on mankind all the way back to Adam force us to choose wisely who we share our emotions with. Dumping emotional baggage in a safe environment is therapeutic and healing, allowing us to grow closer to God (Rom. 12:15, Js. 5:16).

Remember in the movie, Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan screaming on the mast of the shrimp boat in the storm? He raged at God! Ironically, by unleashing his rage toward God for allowing him to lose his legs on the battlefield, he “made his peace with God.” That’s how it works.

Rage out. Peace in.

On the contrary, stuffing emotions does just the opposite.

~EMOTIONAL CONSTIPATION

When emotions are stuffed, over time they collect, infect and cause illness in spirit, mind, and body. The laws of physics, designed by God, dictate that the old substance must exit from an organism to make room for the new substance to enter; that’s the inflow-outflow balance of everything, including emotional health.

We cannot heal that which we refuse to recognize and process. In our refusal to recognize and process, we stay locked in an internal division. We divide ourselves inside, constructing a civil war within our hearts. In other words, part of us turns against ourselves in agreement with a lie which harms us. Stuffed emotions are toxic and can shake us to our foundation. No wonder Jesus said,” A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Luke 11:17).

clogged pipe

Graphic example, but can you imagine refusing to release your bladder and bowel for a day, a week, a month or longer. How would you feel? Would this refusal lend itself to health or illness? Rhetorical question. But this ridiculous example illustrates our emotional refusal.

God-designed a common sense principle that applies to our bodies and our emotions: “Out with the old, in with the new!” Our emotions are invisible and intangible but serve as a foundational gateway to the heart. Even though they hide “buried alive” inside of us, we witness their powerful reality as they randomly burst forth stealing center stage of our hearts.

Waste out. Nutrition in.

Each emotional denial is a heavy chain wrapped around our hearts and minds. When we live with emotional chains binding us, we live lying to ourselves about our emotions. We do this subconsciously to please the people who taught us those lies. This binds us to the fear of man which is idolatry. As a result, we lose the ability to be truthful with ourselves, God and others. This toxic habit fashions us as Pharisees. Most importantly, emotional self-deception occurs in the heart. And a heart packed with lies can never feel close to God.

Remember, God is all about the heart (Matt. 5:28, Matt. 15:8).

~HONESTY AND TRUTH

My remedy for emotional constipation begins with giving yourself “official permission” which is ordained by God (Ps. 62:8) to feel anything toward anyone, including God. Open the floodgates of honesty and truth! The truth is that emotions aren’t necessarily bad or good. They are often neutral indicators of deeper issues. But they always cause trouble when stuffed, neglected and denied.

floodgatesGradually, open the floodgates of honesty and truth, firstly with yourself, then with God, and eventually with others.

Two of our class students I recently helped to pass over the intimidating threshold of emotional denial to the peaceful meadow of honesty and truth. Scary it was to allow their hearts to feel for the first time what they were never allowed to feel growing up. But oh, what relief and clarity they are finding!

Read the Psalms. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you time and space to allow your heart to come to light and experience your emotions naturally. Ask Him to reveal the lies you believe that block them from surfacing.

As strong emotions surface, always use internal boundaries being careful not to hurt another (especially children) just because they happen to be nearby. Save the feelings and journal them in an “Emotions Notebook.” Purge your emotions from feeling them to writing them down, from invisible to visible, from intangible to tangible. When you externalize your emotions, they become easier to process.

Pour out your heart to Him in your time alone. Bare your soul. Bawl. Rage. Sit in emptiness (Ps. 62:8).

The more you feel and express your emotions,

  • the more room you make for the Holy Spirit to heal and dwell in those places
  • the more you will walk yoked with God, not in your head but in your heart
  •  the more truth you will live in spirit, mind, and body
  • the more you will live in authenticity
  • the more sin patterns will fall by the wayside
  • the less your emotions will control you

In this way, God wants us to learn to be good stewards of our emotions (Matt. 11:28, Rom. 8:1, Heb 4:15,16).

Pain out. Comfort in.

~TRIGGERS

Our subconscious mind remembers everything we’ve experienced throughout our lives. Everything we’ve experienced carries corresponding emotions, good and bad. The good emotions we tend to remember less because they are benign. The bad emotions we remember well because they hurt.

Current events can trigger the hurt of bad memories which feel similar. Triggers catch us off guard. The triggered bad emotions that hurt serve as blinking lights on the dashboard of our souls. When you see a blinking light on the dashboard of your car, do you cover it with a sticky note? Of course, you don’t! You take it to get serviced to fix the problem.

But stuffing emotions is the equivalent of covering the car’s blinking light with a sticky note! Like we care for our car, we must care for ourselves and address the underlying heart issue that the blinking light of strong emotions alerts us about.

flame

We each have an emotional scale of 1-10. Emotional reactions that register 1-5 generally indicate that we are reacting only to the current circumstance. However, when our reaction jumps from 6-10 (or higher), we are overreacting to the current circumstance while it is being fueled by a painful memory which feels the same. The memory is the gasoline fueling the circumstantial flicker causing it to explode and feel like the current situation alone.

Our emotions behave this way because

1) God designed our brains to connect and categorize similar incidents from our past to our present for our protection and understanding

2) God designed memories naturally to attach to strong emotions

Let me share a personal example.

One damaging experience includes me being bullied as a child. At age five, the bullying began, lasting one full year, and then randomly recurred thereafter through age eleven. During this time, my emotions repeatedly imploded by shutting down psychologically and emotionally to survive.

Later on as an adult, whenever someone would speak to me in a bossy or dominant tone or I witnessed an argument, I instantly overreacted. I didn’t usually show it, but I spiked internally to an emotional 10+, feeling like I was about to be berated or punched, and later unable to remember the incident. This pattern, along with other damaging circumstances, impaired my brain and my health and made some relationships excruciatingly difficult for me.

The pattern continued until I learned bravely to acknowledge and express my emotions. I finally gave them a voice. Now that I have experienced significant healing with that development and various modalities, I no longer get triggered by someone’s tone of voice and I am learning what it means to relax.

bell curveKeep in mind that in the process of learning to express emotions, you may venture through a “balancing” period to cleanse and regulate your emotional self. You may start at one end of the bell curve (expressing no emotion) and swing to the other end of the bell curve (expressing every emotion). Be encouraged, though, that as you progress in your growth swinging back and forth you will eventually settle in the middle of the bell curve. In this new more balanced place, you learn to express and process emotion more naturally and appropriately to the situation.

~THE SOLUTION

Emotions can interfere with life or they can enhance it. This all depends on how we choose to view and handle our emotions.

  • Instead of seeing them as enemies, we can choose to befriend our emotions.
  • Instead of ignoring them, we can give them a voice.
  • Instead of fighting them, we can learn to express them in healthy ways.

So, in dealing with emotions, what’s the solution that honors God, ourselves and others?

In Psalm 51:6, God says that He “desires truth in the innermost parts.” Truth is the opposite of lies and self-deception. Innermost means “covered, dark hidden spaces.”

These “hidden spaces” are the recesses of our souls that hold our painful emotions. So in Psalm 51:6, God reveals the solution for how to deal with emotions. He wants us to acknowledge, feel and express to Him our deep, hidden personal truths.

hurt heartExpressing honesty and truth is the first step toward developing the emotional expression and regulation we desire. After expressing our damaged emotions, we exchange them for God’s eternal healing truth.

Layer by layer as this happens, His truth replaces the emotional pain we’ve expressed. Over time, this process of expressing and receiving results in emotional regulation. Because this process transforms our emotional self into the image of Christ, we know that it is God’s will.

Layer by layer, as we become more and more honest with ourselves and with Him, His eternal truth remains constant while our emotional releases free us to walk more in agreement with Him.

This happens over time, one genuine emotion at a time.

Emotions out. Holy Spirit in.

 

Reflective Questions:

Have you been taught that certain emotions are unacceptable?

While growing up, were you free to express all of your emotions?

Do you fear emotions?

What emotions do you tend to stuff or ignore?

Are there situations that trigger you, leaving you without emotional relief?

Do you believe God fully understands every one of your emotions?

Do you believe God puts limitations on what you can share with Him?

Do you acknowledge your genuine emotions freely with yourself? With God?

Do you journal your emotions and in them ask God to reveal His truth to set you free?

Do you have a safe person(s) to share emotions with regularly?

Are you open to get healing for your damaged emotions?

Will you ask God to teach you to be a good steward of your emotions so you can grow in Christlikeness and live in authenticity?

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Psalm 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Hebrews 4:15,16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Luke 11:17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.

Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 15:8 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

Ecclesiastes 3:2-8

A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Matthew 27:46 (Psalm 22:1) About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud [agonized] voice, My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?

Luke 22:44 And being in agony [deeply distressed and anguished; almost to the point of death], He prayed more intently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down on the ground.

Matthew 23:13-36:  The Eight Woes

“But woe (judgment is coming) to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are [in the process of] entering to do so. 14 [Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you swallow up widows’ houses, and to cover it up you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation.]

15 “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte (convert to Judaism), and when he becomes a convert, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears [an oath] by the sanctuary of the temple, that is nothing (non-binding); but whoever swears [an oath] by the gold of the temple is obligated [as a debtor to fulfill his vow and keep his promise].’ 17 You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the sanctuary of the temple that sanctified the gold?18 And [you scribes and Pharisees say], ‘Whoever swears [an oath] by the altar, that is nothing (non-binding), but whoever swears [an oath] by the offering on it, he is obligated [as a debtor to fulfill his vow and keep his promise].’ 19 You [spiritually] blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20 Therefore, whoever swears[an oath] by the altar, swears both by it and by everything [offered] on it. 21 And whoever swears [an oath] by the sanctuary of the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells within it. 22 And whoever swears [an oath] by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.

23 “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you give a tenth (tithe) of your mint and dill and cumin [focusing on minor matters], and have neglected the weightier[more important moral and spiritual] provisions of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the [primary] things you ought to have done without neglecting the others.24 You [spiritually] blind guides, who strain out a gnat [consuming yourselves with miniscule matters] and swallow a camel [ignoring and violating God’s precepts]!

25 “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and robbery and self-indulgence (unrestrained greed). 26 You [spiritually] blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the plate [examine and change your inner self to conform to God’s precepts], so that the outside [your public life and deeds] may be clean also.

27 “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 So you, also, outwardly seem to be just and upright to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets and decorate and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have joined them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the [allotted] measure of the guilt of your fathers’ sins. 33 You serpents, you spawn of vipers, how can you escape the penalty of hell?

34 “Therefore, take notice, I am sending you prophets and wise men [interpreters, teachers] and scribes [men educated in the Mosaic Law and the writings of the prophets]; some of them you will kill and even crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues, and pursue and persecute from city to city, 35 so that on you will come the guilt of all the blood of the righteous shed on earth, from the blood of righteous [f]Abel to the blood of Zechariah [the priest], the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, [the judgment for] all these things [these vile and murderous deeds] will come on this generation.

 

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