Friday, December 20, 2013

PUT UP OR SHUT UP

Kinda feel like the words to that song, "Nothing Even Matters".....nothing that's been said to me, spoken over me, dreamed, prophesied, none of it matters....except to see God DO IT. As humans we tell each other at some point, (usually the point of being tired of hearing them talking but not seeing them doing what they say), "Talk is cheap". God's words aren't cheap or useless. They created and framed the worlds. But in your life situations, at some point, you simply need to see His words manifested. There comes a time when it simply HAS TO HAPPEN. At some point, He simply has to DO IT.

Before you criticize what I'm saying, even  in your own head, think about the times when you said to yourself, if to nobody else, "I don't want to hear another prophecy, I don't want another 'word' from the Lord, I don't want to see another vision or dream, nobody else 'call me out' and minister to me about nothing. I've heard it all before and it still hasn't happened. Either God's gonna do it or He's not." In essence, you're simply saying to God, "Put up or shut up". 

I honestly don't think God has much of  a problem with that attitude. He loves a good challenge. Does He not challenge us, to challenge Him?  Does He not ask us to prove Him, to put Him to the test, to try Him?  What if it actually excites Him for us to get to this point? What if the real insult to Him is when we pretend to not be afraid or pretend that we are fully trusting without any second guessing of ourselves or Him?  What if we are in the current predicament because HE placed us here on purpose...for this very purpose? To put us in the perfect position, give us front row seating, to SHOW US something. What if the Lover of your Soul and the Love of Your Life is waiting for you to look Him square in the eyes and challenge Him to follow through on a promise, because for all you know and believe, and have known and believed, you're simply at the end of your rope, your strength, your faith, your self. After all, He's the one who has backed you into a corner with no way to get yourself out.  Who, if not Him, will rescue you?  (Don't worry, I'll wait..for the answer to that last question)

So take it either way you want. I know what it feels like to want to say to God, "Put up or shut up".  But as I consider my distant cousin, King David I'm reminded of how even though he cried and complained to God in the Psalms, he always ended with a "YET".  Yet would he trust. Yet would he wait. He believed or reminded himself to believe that God never had and never would allow his enemies to triumph over him. Even when he cried out that his enemies were mocking him and laughing at him, he always ended on the note that God would get the last laugh. Even when I consider my other distant cousin Job, I think I'll just shut up, and put up with whatever God is trying to do in my life, my soul, my spirit and watch Him do whatever it is he's trying to do, and prepare me for whatever He has coming my way. He came for Job's secret fear and it is obvious that He has come for mine.  I remember my tears. I remember what I said to Him in agony. I told Him I wanted to be made over.  I told Him I didn't like myself the way I was.  I told Him I wanted to be everything that I felt deep inside that I was. He told me He could fix me and I said, "Please". He gave me a glimpse of my future without informing me of the pain I'd have to endure to get there.I was in so much pain at the time I couldn't imagine more pain...this pain. I was so excited about my future that I said, "Whatever it takes, it will be worth it". So as my mama said on the day I went into labor, "We in da high cotton now".  No turning back.  I said "Yes" to God and there's no take-backs. 

Yeah I feel kinda like saying to Him, "Talk is cheap. Put up or shut up".  hmph. But guess what?  After all the praising and shouting and singing and weeping, and prophesying, and teaching, and radio hosting, and worship leading, and encouraging I've been doing, He's probably looking at me, while I'm running out of strength and thinking about all I've prayed and cried out and said to Him and maybe, just maybe He's saying to me. "You said you trusted me. You said I was the BOSS. You said I have the last word over your life. You said that I was in total control. You said that I was faithful. And now you're weary?  Now you're scared? Now you want to challenge me? How about YOU PUT UP OR SHUT UP".

Friday, September 20, 2013

THE AFFECTS OF FEELING BULLIED IN CHURCH

Years ago, I along with a few other young ladies from a couple of churches spent a day and a night with a woman highly respected in church. She was very educated, even taught in a university, and so did her husband. We were shown hospitality, fed, given beds to sleep in, the whole nine yards, but one of the first things I noticed about her once we got into her home was how abrasive she was, particularly to one of the young ladies. In the beginning, oh the first few hours, it was tolerable for her. She chuckled it off, shook it off, or whatever, I guess not realizing that it wasn't going to stop any time soon. But by the time evening and morning had come, the young lady was in tears, because the woman just wouldn't let up. One thing the woman said repeatedly was, "See that's what I do. I'll beat up on you and then love on you. I whip on you and then I feed you". "If I didn't love you, I wouldn't do you like I do you". (so did that mean she didn't love the rest of us?)" The saddest thing, well probably the next saddest thing about it all was that, of all of us, this young lady had the most admiration and respect for this woman. If any of us would have wanted to emulate this woman, it was the one she caused the hurt. I'm sure she had no idea that everything she believed and admired about this woman only set her up for a rude and painful awakening. I couldn't believe she thought that her behavior was okay. Maybe she felt she had the right because of who she was. She had no idea whatsoever what she was telling us about who and what she was, position and all. An educator. A professor. A leader in the church. An abusive personality. 

Preachers and teachers of the Gospel, we have to make sure that we don't use the Word of God or our position in God as a tool to bully people. We can't take the word and use it as a whipping stick, or a means to control, manipulate, threaten, or make people feel threatened. We can't call a witch a witch if we're using the Bible to do the same thing that they use spells to do. Well, then again, maybe we can. It does take one to know one. Hmmm. We can't use the Word to tell people about how God accepts and loves them no matter what, and they can come as they are, and then use the same Word to have them looking over their shoulder for a God who has His fist drawn back ready to strike them down. We can't handle the Word in a way that it leaves people feeling like they are to blame for every bad thing that happens to them, or like God has turned on them whenever life ushers them into a rough season. That's like teaching them to wallow in self hatred or self pity, and to be on the defensive with God.

At one time or another we all go through the toughest struggle of our life, and honestly there will be more than one time when we will say, "This is the hardest thing I've ever had to go through". These trials come straight for the jugular. They come to not just make us doubt God but unravel our very Faith in the existence of God. They come to take our very soul by trying to destroy the very foundation, or belief in the foundation that we base our entire life on. If we have been beaten up with the Word most of our lives it makes each battle so much more difficult because before we can get down to the Word that will hold us together and carry us through, we first have to muddle through all the things that tore us down over the years. 

I have often wondered why it's so much easier for some people to just simply believe God in tough situations when I struggle with every ounce of strength I have to do the same. And I'm the one with the gift, the ministry, the calling, the anointing. I'm one of the ones leading the church in worship. I'm the one in the microphone hosting an internet radio broadcast. Their initial reaction is usually so much more mature or spiritual than mine. Now, as I ponder it, I believe it is (spiritual) "upbringing". Parenting style can make all the difference in the world in how a child grows up thinking and believing. The generation that came in (to Christianity) after my generation came in during a time when most of the "beatings" had stopped. In my generation I caught the tail end of it, but it was a big tail and the damage was still life altering. I find that I am trying to overcome things that were embedded into my soul even as a baby Christian that still affect my ability to trust God in a challenging situation or even believe Him for certain things.  This also answers the question that arises about how people who have been in this their whole life or most of their life are still having a hard time getting it while others who come in later in life or even off the street, catch it and run with it and often surpass those who "should be doing more", or who "ought to know better". I recognize that I am one of His mouth pieces, but when tough trials come, too often my first reaction is usually that of one who feels victimized by the same God who fills my mouth with His wisdom, power, and His anointing.

It's a classic sign of abuse. It affects you for the rest of your life. It creates a pattern of thought, a pattern of tendency, a belief system that you know isn't right but it's as if it's ingrained in your cells. You hate it, but feel almost powerless against it. It feels like you were born with it, but in reality it was given to you after you were born again, so in a sense, you kind of were born again with it. It's what you fed on from the time of your rebirth. On top of everything you came into the kingdom needing to be healed of and delivered from, and eventually were, you now need deliverance from this. It was deposited into you by people you loved, respected, sought to please, and submitted yourself to, because you just wanted to do and live right. And, because you didn't think there was anyplace else you could go, because they told you that nobody else will be as good for or to you as they are. To some extent, even a big one, you really believed that too, or felt you knew it to be true, but it's part of what made it all so damaging. You were accepting something that you could never fully accept.

You desire close relationship with God but you still find so much based on performance and ritual that often you don't know for sure why you're doing something. Sometimes you may know you're called to do something, but if there is still a lot of that performance based teaching in your soul and mind, there are times when you feel the need to just stop everything, and try to figure out what's really going on. But if you're like me, the thought of that kinda scares the crap out of you, because, if you don't serve, minister, or "perform" you'll lose your soul or something.

I've been trying to form the words to ask God what He's doing. What's the thing I'm supposed to learn? But also asking, What did I do wrong? or SO wrong, that you need me to hurt like this? Why do I feel punished...again? I never thought I was displeasing You THIS much God! All the while wondering why I can't just TRUST instead of accuse or point the finger at the One who has always been there with me, even so close that it was as if He was in my passenger seat while I drove, on the couch right next to me, or walking so close to me that it felt like we were rubbing shoulders.

And now I know. I recognize the pattern now. It's a result of the beatings, the bullying, the shame, the threats over my head that had me looking over my shoulder my whole life, waiting to be jumped by God. So instead of my first reaction being something like, "Yet will I praise you Lord!", or "No matter what happens, God I will love and serve you and worship you because of who you are!" it's usually something like, "Why are you letting this happen to me? I'm doing the best I can! I'm not perfect, nobody is! Am I THAT BAD?!" Instead of responding to my trials with praise, worship and thanks to God who is good and faithful, I find myself on the defensive against the God that I was trained to believe would come after me if I did wrong, or who will take or snatch from me what He can't get me to give. All this, right after speaking what He spoke directly to me to speak, and being a BLESSING to many. Because in my soul are still the scars and a few open wounds of abuse suffered in church over a lifetime, at the hands of people who I'm sure meant well, but only passed along to me and others what was passed along to them. 

We've been told more than once that people often continue or even worsen behavior depending on how we treat them. That if we come at them with a heavy hand or criticism, we'll drive them further away. If we come at them right where they are to stomp them, kick them, or put our foot on their neck, it will drive them right back to the place that knocked them down to begin with. It seems crazy, and we call them crazy, but it's the truth. Even the bible says that they are already condemned because they are in sin. They look in the mirror every day knowing what they are, and that even though they're used to it, something isn't right about it. So if we are going to come to where they are, we must show up to pull them up. We must not show up with a nice hefty bag full of more condemnation, but of hope, love, and acceptance.  You know, that same stuff that God drew you in with? The bible also says that it is the goodness of the Lord that leads us to repentance. Not shame. Not threats. Not scoldings. Not beat downs or bullying. 

Even when we are being chastened/corrected by God, and even though the chastening doesn't feel good to any part of our natural being, we can still feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We can still feel the hand of God covering our heart. We can still feel His love for us. Think about it. As a child of God, when we really get out of line, what do we really feel? Condemnation? No. Conviction. There's a difference.  And why conviction?  Because we feel and sense that we have grieved the Holy Spirit of God. So wait. He doesn't beat us up, but we feel in our spirits by His response to our behavior that we have just hurt or offended HIM! But even in that, when we feel ashamed because of this, He draws us closer. To make it right. To help us understand and grow. To show us mercy and forgiveness. To remind us that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. To teach us not to run away in shame, but to come boldly to accept His forgiveness and love. He, the offended One, becomes like my baby girls when I would apologize for wrongly accusing them or being cranky that sweetly said, "It's okay mommy". And hugged my neck and kissed me, and showed me unconditional love and forgiveness. So when we reach into the gutter of sin to pull someone out, we reach in offering them no more of what they already suffer with. No more condemnation, but the promise of love, acceptance, healing, mercy, forgiveness. 

I see so much clearer today than I ever have in my life. I thought I was better, and in many ways I am, but I never understood until now why this part of my walk with God is so difficult for me. It's like, I guess what people would describe as pulling teeth. Like I'm at a tug of war with myself and my God, but there's no puddle of water between us, it's hell fire. I'm in the victim role with the one who is actually trying to SAVE me!   (See what I mean?  I just proved my own point.) 

So when you see a woman degrading herself, or allowing herself to be degraded. When you see her using her body to get attention. When you see her putting up with ill treatment, and it looks utterly stupid to you, please don't call her stupid, a dummy or a fool. You're condemning the condemned when you do that. Please understand that she didn't wake up that morning with the goal to be as stupid as humanly possible that day. She more than likely woke up determined to simply survive the day, in whatever way she could. It could be that she really wants more or better for herself but doesn't believe she's good enough or worthy to receive it. It could be that she's holding against herself everything that you come along and throw in her face about herself. It could be that she feels trapped, unable to leave the current abusive (no matter what type) situation, and at the same time feeling unwelcome by the same people who are saying, "Won't you come?" because she sees their right hand of fellowship extended, but the closer she gets she begins to notice the other hand holding a belt and ready to strike.  Knowing something is terribly wrong with both, she may simply stay with the one that is most familiar. At least it won't catch her by surprise. She knows what to expect.

Please understand that she is not living like she's living because her life goal is to be stupid or a fool. No little girl says, "I want to be a stupid woman when I grow up". She's doing it because of something she believes about herself. There is something that she's been telling herself, or has been told every day, several times a day. Something has been whispered into her ear or screamed in her face, or both, on a regular basis about herself and as much as she knew it wasn't right, it was also all she knew. Even if she knows better there is something that she believes (in her heart) (Proverbs 23:7) that is carrying a heavier weight than what she knows (in her head). If you want to help her, get to the core of what that belief is and begin the work on helping her to reverse it. Help in the reprogramming, and renewing of her mind and her life. Don't shine the spotlight on her nakedness. Her accuser and her abuser are doing that every single day.

Maybe you need to reverse some things before you try to reverse something in someone else.  Maybe you need some things cleansed from your own soul. Or maybe you just need to be aware that as much as you want to help and are trying to help, you're not helping. I mean we've all heard people say it. "It didn't kill me and it won't kill you either". Completely unaware that with that statement the abuse and the abuser was somewhat justified, by the abused. Maybe, just maybe, you could be passing along some abusive behavior that was passed on to you, by someone who had it passed on to them, and you don't realize it because, hey, you turned out alright. Right? 

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

No Wife! No Family! No Friends!



I'm reminded of one time I was sitting in church and Dad Johnson was sitting in his usual seat on the corner of the pulpit. He shocked me when he said, "I ain't got no wife! I ain't got no family! When it comes to right and wrong I ain't got no wife, no kids, no friends, no family. This is about righteousness".  And one of his favorite scriptures was "Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people".

Joshua 5: 13-15
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

In other words, I'm not on your side or theirs. I'm on the Lord's side. I didn't come to fight on your behalf but on God's.  This isn't about me being on your side, it's about who's on the Lord's side? If you want to be on the same side as me, make sure you're also on His side!  
~No wife! No friends! No family! No children! No favorites! No race! No color! No displaced loyalty! Who's on the Lord's side?~

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Friday, August 16, 2013

RELEASE YOURSELF


Truly walking in forgiveness toward yourself can be more of a challenge than walking in forgiveness toward others, but in order to reach your full potential of joy and freedom you have to do it. If you don't stop mentally and emotionally punishing and scolding yourself for mistakes you've made in a bad relationship, every where you go you will take that person with you.  You've left, so leave! Why would you leave them only to drag them around with you everywhere you go? 

If it's dead BURY IT. Don't drive around with a corpse in your back seat. God gave me a dream about this years ago.  In the dream my sister's, (who passed when I was 17) body was in the back seat of my car.  Her skin was bruised and discolored which was a reminder of how she died, from a gunshot that sent gun powder up into her neck and face, and showed that decay had begun. There was also some dirt on her and her face as if her body had been buried, but exhumed. There I was driving my car with this body in the back seat and every time I turned a corner the body would fall over on me and I had to try to straighten it back up while driving. This of course caused a dangerous driving situation. It got to be so bad that soon it seemed the body was in the front seat with me, just laying on me, hindering my ability to drive (move forward; progress) In my mind I was wondering why I wasn't creeped out by this dead body. Why was I behaving in the situation like it was normal although I knew this was not normal?

The point of the dream from God was that some things in my life had long been dead but for some reason I had not released them or myself from them. I had physically left the situation but brought along with me the guilt of it and by doing that, I brought the dead thing with me out of the relationship, out of the house, into my car and with me everywhere I went. In other words, I had exhumed the dead body. The fact that it was my deceased sister represented the fact that it was something that was once alive. It represented something or someone that I did love at one time. It represented a close relationship that was now over. Maybe this is why I behaved as if it was normal because this was someone who at one time was close to me. Seeing the bruising and discoloration in the body of how she died represented the fact that I knew why the relationship had died. I knew what killed it and I knew how long it had been dead. 

The regret of a bad decision in your past, like that dead body just falls on you so heavily at times, almost stopping you in your tracks or causing you to endanger what you are trying to do at the current moment or season in your life. This is painful and can be dangerous to your future plans and hopes. 

Sometimes we hold on because from the relationship a child or children were born. Even though the toxic person is gone, you may still have some dealings with them because of the children, and this causes you to be constantly reminded of the choice or choices you've made and still regret. The pain of it remains fresh. You love your children but you can't forgive yourself for the father (and sometimes the mother) you gave them through that bad relationship.  So walking in total forgiveness towards yourself can be way more difficult because the person can't or won't just disappear off the face of the planet! You can't erase the fact that what happened, happened. Walking in forgiveness toward yourself then becomes more of an ongoing process. You have to remind yourself to do it. You have to refer back to things that God has shown you and said to you.  Sometimes you forget, and sometimes you feel it is too difficult, but it can be done and it must be done.

Make the decision today, right this minute that you will not tarnish your new beginning or contaminate your fresh start by allowing traces of your past to continue to linger. You already have an accuser. Don't be an accuser of yourself. You don't owe your past anything but to learn and grow from it. You don't owe your enemy anything but to love them with the Love of God and forgive them from your heart as He has commanded. Even in that God has offered His assistance because He knows that in your own strength, some things you can't forgive. Don't become an enemy to yourself by holding yourself hostage for a mistake you made before you learned what you now know. You did the best you could with the knowledge, understanding, strength and courage you had at the time. When you learned better, you did better. Truly accept the fact that your heavenly Father has already forgiven you and released you, and cancelled the contract the enemy had on your life. What he tried to do DIDN'T WORK. 
Repeat after me:
I RELEASE MYSELF FROM MY MISTAKES! 
I FORGIVE myself for the times I didn't have courage.
I FORGIVE myself for the times I was paralyzed by fear and self doubt.
I FORGIVE myself for not being as strong as I really was.
I SHOULD HAVE walked away so much sooner than I did, but when I did, it was the right thing to do, at the right time, for the right reasons, so I APPLAUD myself for doing the right thing.
I break every chain, every chord, every string, and every thread that would try to keep me bound to my past mistakes.

Friday, August 9, 2013

God's Direction




Proverbs 3:5-6
5.Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding 
6. In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


I had to share something with my daughter about someone and when I saw the look on her face I told her, "Don't be mad or upset. You just need to know." And when the opportunity presents itself I instructed her how to make a clear point and move on, without a major confrontation, or arguing.  I knew before talking to her that it might upset her a little bit.  I could have chosen to let her being a little upset stop me from giving her some information and teaching that will help her in her current situation and throughout life. My history with God lets me know that God is going to talk to her a lot more than I did.  He's going to continue the teaching and do a much better job because He's always with her, and I'm not. After talking with her I was able to understand so much more about God's direction in our lives.

When God shows you something concerning someone that you NEED TO SEE, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT get angry with that person over what God showed you.  This is one of the ways that God directs your path. He's showing you something that will help you to know how to navigate your next series of steps. He's giving you a heads up of how you need to deal with or respond to this person. He's showing you something that will prevent an emotional shipwreck in the future. His revealing this to you is really teaching you something that if applied, can help you not only with the current situation, but throughout life. 

A major problem we can create when God reveals something to us is to become angry with the person or fall into a pit of hurt feelings.  By doing this we take our focus and attention off of the Teacher. He may still want to open our understanding even more about something or someone but because we've turned our attention to our negative emotions, we miss the whole lesson.

What I've learned about God is that whenever He reveals something to ME it is ultimately not about the other person, but about ME. God is helping ME, teaching and training ME. By using what He shows me in the way He is trying to teach me, it increases wisdom within me.  It prevents me from hopping onto an emotional roller coaster with the devil over other people's issues.  He doesn't show us things so that we can make their issue our issue. He doesn't show us things so that we can take it and gossip, pick a fight, become angry and bitter, or even start to think less of someone else, although most of the time we experience some of these.  But it's for our education, for increase of our understanding in simply how to deal with people on a day to day basis. Sometimes what God shows us will reveal an enemy, but it's never to create enemies, and sometimes it is meant to help you maintain a relationship instead of losing one. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, and our Guide and I'm finding that when it comes to relationships we need more teaching and guidance than in any other area of our lives. This is true even in our relationships with ourselves because when I'm alone, I get to know who I really am, what I really like or don't like, etc, so in essence I discover myself and learn how to treat myself according to that knowledge. Without a healthy relationship with myself based on knowledge of who I really am I can not communicate to someone else how to be in a healthy relationship with me, because neither of us will know who I really am!

I can think of several instances in my life when God was trying to get me to listen to Him about people, but I didn't.  I bulldozed right over what He was showing me clear as day.  He was pointing things out to me regularly but I refused to follow His lead and I can tell you now, that every single relationship I did that with, ended up severed. I can't speak for them. I have no clue if He was speaking to them about me, but I know for certain what He was saying to me about how to deal with each of them. Had I listened and obeyed I'm completely sure that things would have turned out differently. Even if we had still gone our separate ways, it wouldn't have involved so much drama and hurt. Yes my immediate obedience would have inconvenienced my feelings a little at first, but I'm a strong woman and I would have gotten over it. The Lord does with us what I had to do with my daughter.  He places the lesson higher than how we will feel when we have to learn it, because He knows that the outcome will be so much greater and better for us than what we are trying to pacify ourselves with right now.

Refer back to the scripture, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Trust Him to know what He's talking about when He's talking about that which HE created. Trust Him to know what He's doing when He directs your path differently than you were expecting.  Trust that the pinch you feel in your emotions right now is so much better than the major blow your heart will take if you keep doing things your way. (leaning to your own understanding) Trust Him to direct you in every relationship you are involved in. Trust that with God, direction often looks more like redirection, but as long as it's all God, it's all good! Trust that God's motive for anything He shows you is for your GAIN, even if for a moment you feel or experience loss.




Monday, August 5, 2013

TAKING AUTHORITY




When my baby was only about 3 years old I recognized something in her that God used to show me about myself. Her strong will. I couldn't believe that something so very tiny with the most limited use of the English language could have me completely stumped about how to get her to do what I wanted. I was very much at my wits end with a child that hadn't even been in the world 5 years yet! I tried everything I thought would work but nothing did for a time. I knew that if I didn't get a handle on this tiny time bomb it would begin to start having explosions on me and I would find myself being controlled by her instead of her being an obedient child to me.

One day I reached the end of my rope. I remember driving my car and crying out to God for help. I prayed and cried and asked Him to teach me and help me.  I remember saying something along the lines of, "I hear people talking about taking authority over stuff, and Lord I don't even know what that means!  I don't even know how to take authority. How do you even do that?"

I'm a witness that if you ask God in sincerity He will answer your questions, and quite quickly as a matter of fact. I believe He answered me while I was still driving, right after I asked.  He said, "Taking authority simply means, 'It's going to be like I say' or 'You're going to do what I say because of who I am". Very simple isn't it?  Not because we threaten, bribe, beg, or plead, but because we stand in the knowledge of who we are. We understand our position and make our demand based on that position. We "take authority" with our children because we are the parent. We take authority on our jobs because we are the owner, manager, or supervisor. We take authority in the spirit because of what the Word of God says about who we are in Christ.

After I got that answer my whole attitude changed and I was able to get a handle on a child and a situation that would have only grown worse and worse. I hate to think of what life would be like for us now had I not cried out to God for help.  I just want to encourage you today, stand in the authority of the position you hold, whether it be as a parent, on your job, or in your Christian walk. Being in a position is not enough by itself.  We need to understand that with the position comes authority.

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POWER TOOLS

Your words are your power tools.

 Be mindful of what you use them to build.






Sunday, August 4, 2013

POWER TOOLS - Faith To Speak and In What You Speak


The only way to really be able to hold on to your faith when situations are pressing in on you is to open your mouth and SPEAK what God has already spoken.  Speak the word of God back to yourself, back to Him, and into your situation. When you're in a challenging situation that seems to be squeezing you tighter and tighter like a vice grip, it takes FAITH to simply open your mouth and say what God says. But if you do it, the Word you speak will hold you together and carry you through.  The bible says that DEATH AND LIFE, not just life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) There is power in your mouth but it is up to you to choose how you use it.  If you speak your bad situation it will seem to grow worse and worse.  If you rehearse the bad feelings they will multiply and you run the risk of drifting into depression or a breakdown. But if in that same bad situation and while feeling those same bad feelings, you speak according to the Word of God and not according to the flesh, (what you're experiencing with your senses) you can completely change your mindset concerning it and eventually the situation itself. 

I know someone who used to always say, "You know my nerves are bad!" or, "Don't play with me like that", or "Don't scare me like that, you know my nerves are bad".  I began to notice that whenever she said it, her hands would shake, and the more she said it, the more her hands would shake.  God showed me through that that she had no idea that she was creating a nervous condition with her own words!  One day when she said it I said to her, "Girl stop saying that. The more you say it the more you shake".  She told me I was right and said she wouldn't say it anymore.  I don't remember hearing her say it anymore and guess what else?  She stopped all that shaking too!  

There is so much power in your words that you can speak in authority over someone else's situation and make a difference if they agree with you. This same friend went through a very trying few months.  A very close friend of the family passed away. During this time of loss her grandmother's health began to diminish and 5 months after one loss she and her mother went through having to bury her grandmother. This wasn't a distant relationship of someone who lived far away or with whom there was no close relationship. She had lived in the home with her and her mother throughout her older and final years so this was a major emotional blow, right behind the previous one.  Just a few months after that, she came down to the office I was working in and she told me that one of her brothers had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was an emotional wreck. My friend leaned over on me and wept. We've known each other for over 15 years and she has never cried like that with me.This was not a time to be cute or to tell a joke to try and get her mind off of things. This was a time when my POWER TOOLS needed to be pulled out and used to create some HOPE, bring some RELIEF and some PEACE to her heart for her situation. I began to pray with her and while I was praying she was crying, and then I heard something shaking and when I looked down her hands were shaking faster and faster. Her fingernails were hitting against her watch. It was as if she was emotionally unraveling right in my arms.  I SPOKE to her emotions and her mind and I said, "You are NOT going to have a nervous breakdown. You are NOT going to lose your mind. You are NOT going to fall apart." I spoke the peace of God that passes all understanding to fill her heart and her mind. The  more I spoke in authority over HER situation, the less she shook and within a few seconds the shaking stopped.  How was I able to speak over someone else's life and mind and get those kinds of results? Because when someone comes to you and asks you for prayer, not only are they humbling themselves before you, but they are also actually submitting themselves to the authority you carry in God and to the WORDS you will speak out of your mouth when you pray for them.  WOW! They are exercising FAITH in what you are going to open your mouth and say to God on their behalf.  FAITH in what you are going to speak out of your mouth about what you believe FOR THEM.  FAITH in your ability to use your Power Tools, your WORDS to build something, create something for them that they can't for themselves. They've asked you to pray because they feel the need for assistance, and they have FAITH that YOU CAN ASSIST THEM. Oh what a privilege it is to be trusted with a prayer request!
Exercise your Faith. Use your Power Tools through praying and speaking the Word of God. Build hope, call on peace. Make life better for yourself and for someone else!

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

DETAILS


People are sometimes criticized by being told, "You can't see the forest for (looking at) the trees. But I say, there would be no forest but for the trees. The splendor of the forest is made up of every detail of every tree. From the pattern of the bark, to the rings that tell how old the trees is and reveal that some have been standing there, in that very spot for decades or centuries. The trees hold leaves that sometimes start out as floral buds, which blossom in to full blown fragrant flowers and then transition into green leaves. These leaves later turn golden, orange, bright yellow fiery red or a few shades of purple. My overall appreciation of the forest as a whole is enriched by the most intricate details of the trees. Are you only interested in the forest?  Please excuse me while I step around you and move closer. You're blocking my view of these magnificent trees!


I have been criticized for, or accused of not looking at the "big picture" because I was "paying too much attention to details". I was told that my attention to details was nothing but a distraction and excuse for not looking at the big picture, and was causing my focus to be off. I say my attention to and acknowledgement of certain details, or additional details did not nullify anything previously known but rather it broadened my perspective and gave me more insight into the overall picture. This increased my appreciation for what what was happening right before my eyes, and showed me that more was going on that I originally believed or even knew! 

Every big picture is created a canvas full of details created by single strokes, made one after the other until the project is complete. The big picture contains many small details that make the whole what it is, and add meaning to the overall story being told. Colors fading into and blending with others. The different shades of blue in the sky. A few, many, or no clouds. The absence or presence of a rainbow. A shack in the distance. A light shining through a window. A dog lounging on the porch. A couple walking and holding hands. A bird perched on a tree branch or a pond next to the house.  All sorts of details come together to make up these big pictures, these masterpieces that people often stare at for long periods of time. Actually, a big picture void of details is simply and empty canvas. So you think that looking the details is a waste of time and a distraction?  Please move. You are blocking my view of the true big picture.


I enjoy details. I get excited about details. They remind me that there are many stories that contribute to a life story. They remind me of how precise God is and how intricately involved He is in every minute detail of my existence. Every detail of my personality, body shape and build, the width of my shoulders, the length of my legs, the shape of my lips and eyes, my high cheek bones, the shade of my skin, tone of my voice, and my gifts and abilities He imparted for me to use and impact the lives of others. Do you not care to enjoy the deeply personal involvement and interest that God has in your life? You will miss out on experiencing so much beauty in your relationship with Him. Yes there are times when forgetting the details of a thing will save you a lot of pain, extra tears shed or reopening of wounds. But when it comes to the handy work of God being revealed in our lives it would be tragic to overlook the details, because they make all the difference!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

STEP OUT ON FAITH




I truly believe that God would rather have you do something you believe He's telling you to do than to continue to make one excuse after another for doing nothing. 
Trying is an act of faith.  In trying, even if you make a mistake you can learn valuable lessons for your life that you can use and pass along to others.  Being paralyzed by fear gets you nothing and nowhere. Wait a minute...isn't that the same thing you had in the same place you were this time last year?
Step out on FAITH. It's not brave if you're not scared.  It's not faith if there is no reason for doubt. Faith is only activated in the dark. You may be receiving one confirmation after the other, but you still may feel uncertainty.  Don't follow the feelings.  That's not your faith.  Follow the word of God and trust in what He continues to show and confirm to you.  Let those things fuel your faith, and act beyond your feelings. If you continue to wait until you feel comfortable in your emotions before you act, you will probably never make a move. It may be that you won't feel good about it until after you're in it.  But trust me, even then your emotions will continue to flip flop.  This is why we walk by faith, not by sight, and certainly not by our feelings.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

WEEPING AT CLOSED DOORS


We've heard it said so many times that, "When God closes one door He'll open another."  If you're like me, whenever you've heard it, you agreed with it. 
My pastor did an awesome illustration about how we tend to stand in front of a door that has been closed and grieve that loss instead of turning around and discovering so many more that are wide open to us and waiting for us to enter. One thing in our life can go differently than we'd hoped or planned and if we aren't careful we'll waste many other opportunities because we can't stop grieving over one lost one.  It's often easier to say that God has something better than it is to actually believe and act on that truth.  
What makes us cry at a closed door is the fact that is it usually a door we thought would be opened, or hoped would be opened.  And we won't even talk about the ones that appeared to be opened, but slammed shut just before you had a chance to walk through it!  The problem with the closed doors is the fact that we are usually emotionally attached to whatever we wanted to be across that threshold. Who cares about a closed door when I'm not interested in what's on the other side anyway?

I was recently "weeping at a closed door" when the Holy Spirit reminded me of that illustration my pastor did. I love how the Lord lets you get your hissy fit out of the way, wear yourself out a little, and calm down before He moves in to kill that fleshly mindset that's trying to take over.  He reminded me of things that have happened in the past and pretty much just gave me a different way of looking at things.  He reminded me of a surgery I had to have some years back and how heartbroken I was that I wasn't able to sing like I used to.  He reminded me of how he revealed to me even back then that it was necessary for things to happen the way they did because had they not, I would have found myself persuing and travelling in the wrong direction in my life.  I would have missed destiny,  and not discovered my true passion. 

He had to remind me...again..to trust Him with how He works things out.  What I had hoped for way back then was never His perfect will for me.  It was just what I assumed was His Will based on only ONE of my gifts.  And so now, I am again being reminded that what I assumed would be the outcome, based on...whatever...is not necessarily the way He has it planned, or ever had it planned. And so I have to turn from this closed door that I understand now was never opened, and focus my attention on every other door that has always been opened to me.

I often say that God does not play with our emotions.  He doesn't dangle blessings in our face to get us to come after them and then snatch them away just before we can lay hold of them. That's how the enemy does us!  But the Word of God says that He will withhold NO GOOD THING from those who walk uprightly, and that it is His GOOD PLEASURE to GIVE us the kingdom.  The Lord delights in us. He rejoices over us.  We His people, are the apple of His eye.  He does not play games with us, and I'm sure that it grieves Him when we accuse Him of such.

There is a whole world out there.  There is a whole world inside of you!  Please don't make the mistake of focusing all of your attention on one gift, or talent, but begin to seek out all those open doors waiting for you to enter.  Be careful not assume how God will bring His will about for you.  Unless He has told you exactly how and what He will do, you cannot assume anything.  If He gave you all the details there would be no need for Faith, and we know that the just will live by his Faith. 

Open your heart up to God so that He can show you how to use ALL of your gifts for Him.  You may be amazed at how all those pieces will come together. Your mouth may fall open in wonder at how smart He is.  We serve a brilliant God! Allow Him to adjust your attitude about the way He chooses to take you.  Decide along with me, that you will waste not another day weeping in front of a closed door of any relationship or opportunity but that you will from this moment open your life to Him and give Him permission to show you just how much He can accomplish through you.

I say to God, "Show me how to use everything you've given to me.  Not just my voice.  And even with my voice, show me how many ways you can use my voice.  Let me live my life and use my gifts in a way that when I stand before You, I'll stand before You completely exhausted, because I have used everything You've given to me!"

My website with book excerpts
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My books on Amazon in paperback and Kindle
My complete poetry collection ebook

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BREAKING THE CURSES

What I understand about Generational curses:   They come from spirits that have attached themselves to your family and perpetuated for generations. They latch on to you because of those before you who opened the door and let them in, or didn't put them out. They are behaviors you have because that's all you've ever seen.  They are behaviors you don't have because you've never seen them.
Being overweight is NOT the generational  curse but the problem is the way your family eats.  You didn't inherit the weight, you inherited the behavior that causes the weight.  You didn't inherit financial instability and poverty, you inherited the behavior that produces it. 
I think we're making a lot more hoopla out of the so-called curses and still not paying attention the root of the issues. As you open your mouth and break the curse, you will find yourself changing the behaviors that give you the negative outcomes. The problem is not in the branches that we see sticking out in the open, (multiple bankruptcies, foreclosures, 3 or 4 marriages, a family full of high school dropouts, etc).  The problem is the root. Breaking the curse isn't like cutting off branches that will only grow back. Breaking the curse is pulling the problem  up at the roots. 
Those invisible brick walls you keep running into were passed down to you through your family via mentality or habits that create them. Open your mouth and tear them down. You're not destined to be poor, unsuccessful, depressed, unhappy, financially unstable. Let not your identity be that of who you are related to but who you belong to, Jesus!  He breaks every chain.  He breaks every curse.  He overrides what was passed down to you, to reveal the core of who He created you to be.
If I determined my identity simply by who I’m related to, I can immediately create a list of things I will NEVER overcome…because it’s just the way I am, or have always been, or the way my family has always been.  But I have discovered that as I begin to say to God that I surrender to HIM and ask Him to teach me who I am in HIM my whole life begins to shift.  As I speak and decree that every generational curse is broken, every hindering and preventive spirit is rendered powerless in my life, my mindset begins to adjust to line up with what I’m speaking. Your mindset is directly attached to, or actually develops and shapes your behavior, and lifestyle.  As you resist that lifestyle and submit to life as God wills, your mindset begins to change, and as your mindset changes, your life changes.
For example, as you come against the generational curses of poverty, and financial instability, that have run amuck in your family line you'll begin to see the demise of the “don’t care”, “oh well”, “whatever”, “I’ll deal with it later” attitudes you've always had about money and finances.  Not only do you begin see clearly what to do, (because we all know what we should be doing) but now as you have submitted to God’s will and identity, He works in you both to will and to DO of His good pleasure. As your mindset changes, your behavior changes, and the curse, the cycle, is broken.

It’s not always about a family who has a string of failed marriages, teen pregnancies, bankruptcies, physical abuse, mental illnesses, felons, sex offenders, etc.  Some families pass from generation to generation a mindset of insecurities, and feelings of inadequacy.  They don’t allow themselves to expect much out of life. They won’t go certain places, or try anything new. They often sabotage their own happiness and success. They have a tendency to compare themselves to others and coming to the conclusion that they themselves come up short. They are just as or even more talented, gifted, and capable than the ones they place above themselves but in their own minds, they are not quite good enough. 

Some families continue to pass on from generation to generation a mindset of arrogance and self-righteousness.  They breed into their offspring the idea that they are above, better, more this or that than other people.  Yet they live in the same neighborhoods, make no more money, attend the same churches and schools, shop at the same stores, eat at the same restaurants, as all the people they have convinced themselves that they are better than or above. There is a difference between understanding and appreciating who GOD created you to be, and thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to think. Truth be told, arrogance is just an unhealthy way of dealing with feeling inadequate.  These people have simply learned, and teach their offspring to "talk a good game".

We are all broken, flawed human beings. We have all fallen short. I am not who I am because of who fathered or mothered me. If anything, in order to reach my full potential, I have to overcome some of that which I inherited from my parents. My bloodline determined my height, my skin tone, the color of my eyes, and some personality traits. It brought me into the world with some tendencies and things that I may be prone to. But it does not determine who I am at the core. God determined that from the foundation of the world.  I am who I am because of my true identity in Christ.  He chose my family, and even my pastor because of His call on my life, not the other way around. The glory is all His.
To break generational curses is not to go against, stop loving, or even deny the family that God birthed you into.  It is simply to choose God's way over that of any other and accept any adjustments that need to be made within yourself in the process.  Your BIG life, your BEST life, your TRUE identity is in the center of God's Will.

My website with book excerpts

My other blog with more book excerpts
My books on Amazon in paperback and Kindle
Order my complete poetry collection ebook

Monday, January 21, 2013

ALL THIS TIME!


My Mama went to heaven in 2006, February 10th, just over 5 years ago. The other day one of my brothers and I were talking about certain things that happened prior to her death that let us know that she was about to go home. One of the things he told me was that a few days before Mama passed, he would wake up to the sound of her laughter in his ear. For those of us who have ever heard Mama laugh, especially in her younger years, we remember she had a big laugh. All her teeth would show, especially the pretty gold ones in the front. She had the kind of laugh that made you either laugh along or just sit and grin or giggle without a clue of what was funny. Even when Mama was rejoicing and praising she would burst into a laughter that had nothing to do with humor. So I can only imagine the height of laughter that was released when she embraced the Lord in heaven.
He said that he would wake up and hear her laughing in heaven, but her laughter was so much bigger and louder than it ever was here on earth. I suppose it's the laughter that none of us will experience until we too, are in heaven face to face with Jesus. He said that he would hear her laughing hysterically and it was as if she was in water, or a river, or pool and tossing the water up and laughing, and saying this to Jesus in heaven:
"All this time I've been looking for you, I’ve been searching for you, I've been waiting for you, I've been watching for you!...and you were as close to me as the words in my mouth and the breath in my body!"
Five years after Mama left, this message comes to us from her...from God. My brother was given a glimpse of what she would say before she even got there. Knowing my mother, I have no doubt that those are the exact words she spoke to Jesus when she saw Him there. I have no doubt that the laughter he heard was exactly how she laughed.
"All this time".  I wonder now, how many tears I have shed unnecessarily? How much energy have I wasted? How many doors have been and are still waiting for me to walk through into every promise God has spoken over my life? How many times did I choose not to get dressed and go out and get what I wanted because I didn't realize I would NOT go alone? How many times have I allowed man's rejection to cripple me for days, weeks, even months because I didn't realize that with HIM, IN ME, there is no real rejection, no real throwing away of me? Because HE will never.... How many days did I sit and do nothing, crashed in front of the television when all I had to do was open my mouth, and speak to myself to use the breath of God and go take my victory? How much time did I spend going through the motions while inside not expecting anything good to come to me? "All this time" feeling sorry for myself. "All this time" doubting, second guessing. "All this time" questioning my worthiness, my worth, my value. "All this time", waiting for God to show up in some romantic movie like scene, watching for this someone to show up from around the next corner. "All this time", not realizing that the day I asked Him to come "into" my heart, "into" me, that is exactly what He did.
"I've been waiting for you, I've been searching for you,  I've been watching for you, I've been looking for you". In spite of the greatness I feel is inside of me ... In spite of the gifts, talents, abilities, intelligence, ministry and anointing....I heard the cry of my own heart in these words. I was reminded of the question mark, the gaping hole, the void, the missing piece. I could relate. It makes me wonder...What was Mama looking for? In what direction was she looking for her missing piece to come? What sign did she seek that He was finally there? But He was already there! Not just in the vicinity. Not just in a crisis. Not just walking with...but within! As close as her own breath.
"As close to me as the words in my mouth and the breath in my body”. And so it is for me, for you, for us. He's not just in the vicinity. He's not just God in a crisis. But every day, every moment, as close as the words that fill our mouths and as close as the breath we breathe without even thinking about it. Something happened to me when he said this to me, and I believe my life will forever be changed because of these words. What am I longing for that I could have if only I would breathe Him? If only I would think of Him each time I speak over my own life? If, with every effort I put forth, every challenge I face, I do it and face it with full assurance and knowledge that I am breathing the very Son of God in and out of my own body. I can't imagine singing again or writing again without considering that with every note and every keystroke I can know that it is God breathed.
I have asked myself, and asked God, yes even recently, "Lord, what's missing? What am I missing? Where is the piece I'm missing?" With this seems to come the answer, or at least part of it, "You don't realize how close I am to you. You don't realize what you have with me. You haven't begun to realize how great my love is for you or how much I long for and desire to be close to you and give you all your heart's desires."
I have been in love. And in those times I have felt as if I would like to just crawl into the man's pocket just to be with him at all times. I have desired him so fully that I have thought that if I could just unzip him and crawl inside and zip him back up, maybe that might be close enough. I have longed to know him, to feel him, to carry his scent with me. To share his hurt, his laughter and joy. To not just know his thoughts but to feel them. To feel and satisfy his longing. I have loved and desired so much that I just wanted to be a literal part of him. So enamored that poetry just spilled over out of me and I desired to breathe myself into him. If I have loved and longed for so deeply, how much more can the Lord desire me, desire you! But the best part is, He can be a literal part of us! He has made a way to be completely blended with us, one within us breathing with us and through us. So that everything we need is not in us because he put it there and left us with it to figure things out on our own, but HE is the everything we need.
I sat there talking with my brother thinking that my Mama got to heaven before that was made so real to her. Although I believe that some things will only be fully known in heaven, I also believe that this is something the Lord wants us to realize NOW. And I believe it is the reason this "message" was left on record for US. So that we can be even more inspired to come to know Him, truly, intimately, personally and not just spend our lives wondering what could have or would have been...but that we can begin with each breath to walk in it.

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My other blog with book excerpts
My books on Amazon in paperback and Kindle
Order my complete poetry collection ebook

SO YOU'RE EXPECTING NOTHING?



People say that we should give, expecting nothing in return. But my Aunt Carrie says, "When God gave His Son, He was looking for something in return".  Aunt Carrie got a point!  God gave His only Son so that His Son could give His life, so that we would in turn, give our lives back to Him.

And did not Jesus say, "Give and it shall be given unto to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, shall men give unto your bosom"? Yes He did say that! 

I don't know if people think that they are being spiritual or humble. Unfortunately many of God's people really feel unworthy of the very blessings that He has promised to those of us who love Him. But trust me when I say that you aren't doing yourself or anyone else any favors by not expecting to be blessed! You are not being deep or spiritual and you are denying your heavenly Father the joy of simply giving to you! Whatever your reason for not expecting anything in return, according to scripture, to not expect a return is to NOT operate in faith in what God has promised in His Word.

Maybe for some, the problem is not in expecting a return, but in how or through whom we expect the return will come. Let us take our expectations off of individuals and place them on the only person who can meet and exceed every one of them! He didn't say that the same people you give to will give unto your bosom. He did say that "men" (people in general or whoever He chooses) will give unto your bosom. 

Every time I see, hear, or sing these words I want to stop and explain to people just what Jesus is saying to us.  These terms may not be heard very often any more unless you're still living in the south, or as we used to say, "in the country". But when you understand just what people mean when they say these phrases you'll come to the conclusion that you are not going to miss out on this promise.

When you would hear someone say that something was a "good measure" they were saying it was a lot.  A plenty. Or that they were very happy with the amount. 
When something is "pressed down" it makes room for more to be added.  For instance, when you are putting clothes into a container, if you just plop them into it, it can look really full really quickly. But once you take your hands and press them down, you find that you now have room for even more.  It could mean the difference in you using 1 suit case or 2, 3 baskets for laundry or 4.
When you buy flour and bring it home to store it in another container, have you noticed that if you "shake" the container a little, it causes the flour to settle down some and actually make room for more flour? That "shaking together" is what creates room for even more! 
I don't even think I really have to explain the running over, but just to give you a visual if you don't have one by now, imagine your favorite beverage being poured into a glass or cup and instead of stopping at full, or enough, the person keeps pouring until the container overflows and spills over onto a saucer, the table, your clothes, the carpet or where ever it happens to land.  Now imagine your blessings coming to you like what I just described. Imagine your blessings coming to you with a flash flood warning. This is your overflow! Your more than enough! Sounds to me like God is serious about blessing us when we GIVE!

So please, if you're one of those who is always giving and isn't expecting a return, adjust your mindset and begin to expect your promise of "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over".  Expect a return because it has been promised to you!