Monday, October 17, 2011

Open Hearts at Christmas

Today I am sharing with you a guest post from my blog friend over at Kindling.  Thank you, Judy, for this great post on an evangelistic tool called Chrsitmas Gatherings.  What a POWERFUL way to share the message of Jesus Christ at Christmas!!!

Open Hearts at Christmas
Christmas! Family time! Trees and decorations and carols and gifts. Traditions. Fabulous feasts.

And the time when more people are open to meeting the one we celebrate.
For many years now, women across the U.S. and around the world have used this festive time to invite neighbors in, serve them yummy goodies and open the conversation about the true meaning of Christmas.
Of course, this is best done in the context of ongoing relationship with those neighbors. But it is remarkable how people’s hearts are open to talk, learn, even meet Jesus.

My friend Joyce Bademan has been doing such Christmas Gatherings for several decades. She has recently put all the ideas and resources online—available free to you. Here is her invitation:
Are you looking for a Christmas program that effectively reaches outside of the usual social circles? Even if you thought that talking about Christ is something people just don’t do anymore with their neighbors and coworkers, Christmas Gatherings provide a unique opportunity in our culture.
During the holiday season, talking about Jesus as part of the Christmas tradition is a very natural thing to do. The question is “How can we make the most of this opportunity?”
Christmas Gatherings provide opportunities to talk about God’s gift through Jesus and invite people to Bible studies.
Now, the resources to host your own Christmas Gathering are right at your fingertips! A newly designed, easy-to-navigate website has been created to give you all the helps you need for a successful party!
Visit to get started.
We are excited to offer you informative videos and links that answer just about every question you might have. These training videos are designed to give you step by step guidance from invitations, to speakers, to hosting, and much, much more.
Christmas Gatherings have spread across the nation – and the world – by word of mouth and by people like YOU sharing the idea with a friend. Often, it results in an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in homes, churches, clubs or wherever women gather for a meal or dessert.
But this event is not just for women. It is a perfect opportunity for couples to gather for a holiday event with a purpose – to share an evening of fellowship, and the best news we can share at Christmas-time.
Won’t you consider forwarding this to your friends, your pastor and women’s ministry director – even to missionaries you or your church supports?
Or, consider hosting a gathering this year yourself. If you have already hosted a party, perhaps you could encourage a couple of friends to watch the training videos with you and HOST a party.
I look forward to hearing how you have used this unique tool.
Joyce Bademan 
Founder, Christmas Gatherings

Christmas Gatherings was a featured on Live The Promise with host Susie Larson.  I had the privilege of sharing how Christmas Gatherings have impacted my life.  Here is a link to that interview

Grace and Peace be yours today!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Restorer of Broken Marriages

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27
Grand Portage State Park

On June 29, 2011
We celebrated 20 years of marriage!

This is truly a testimony of God's power to heal and restore the most broken of marriages!
These pictures were taken on our anniversary trip to the arrowhead region of northern Minnesota.  We stayed at the beautiful Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior.
Grand Portage State Park.  Highest waterfall in MN
Lutsen Resort - Sea Villas
Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for You!  Jeremiah 32: 17

Lake Superior National Forest wildflower
Lake Superior Lupines

Temperance River - Lake Superior, MN
Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.  This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign which will not be destroyed.  Isaiah 55:13

God gave me this verse in 2010 as a word picture of what my marriage would be like.  He took my marriage, full of thorns, and transformed it into a beautiful flower as a lasting sign of His ability to heal and restore.

If you find yourself in a difficult or hopeless marriage.  I pray this post will give you courage and strength to hope again.
Temperance River agate beach
I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

Grace and Peace be yours in abundance today~

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Healing Power of Music

Put on the garments of Praise
instead of the spirit of despair,
Instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
Psalm 61:3

I have loved you with an everlasting love;  I have drawn you with loving-kindness.  I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Israel.  Again you will take up your tambourine and go out to dance with the joyful!
Jeremiah 31:4
If you have ever struggled with depression, reading a verse like Jeremiah 31:4 may seem like it was written for someone else, but certainly not you.  You may never be able to visualize a time when you would be able to once again dance with the joyful.

Did you know that music, specifically God-anointed music, is a very powerful tool for those who suffer with depression?  God created music; therefore, it should be used for His glory alone and not to glorify people.  Music is used for:
  • Praise and Worship
  • Teaching or instructing (especially children)
  • Protection from harm and evil
  • Times of battle
  • Healing
Music for Praise and Worship:
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;  it is fitting for the upright to praise him.  Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.  Sing to him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy.  For the Word of the Lord is right and true;
Psalm 33:1-4

Music for Teaching and instruction:

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 
Colossians 3:15-16
Music for Protection:

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:1-12
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.  Psalm 32:7

Music for Times of Battle:
How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?
Jeremiah 4:21
During times of battle, the musicians lead the marching battalions with drums, trumpets and flutes. They would play upbeat music and that would give the warriors strength and hope. Strength and hope would rise as their spirits march in step with the music.  Then the soldiers would sing songs of victory even before the battle was fought.

The spiritual application here is that we are the soldiers, marching into battle against the enemy and his minions.  As we walk in step with the Spirit, strength and hope will rise within us as we sing songs of victory.
Sing, O daughter of Zion, shout aloud, O Israel! The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3: 14,17
Depression is a battle against the enemy.  When you especially feel defeated, turn on some music that assures you of your victory over the enemy.  One of my favorite songs for just such occasions is Garment of Praise from the Revival In Belfast album.

Music for Healing:

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Psalm 40:1-3
One of the most powerful examples of how music heals is the story of King Saul. 
Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play.  Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
I Samuel 16:23
Three things would happen to Saul when David played music for him:
1.  There was mental relief
2.  He felt better
3.  The evil spirit would leave him

I am always excited when I find another tool or weapon with strength against the powers of darkness.  Do you know why I think music is so powerful against the enemy?  

The prophet Ezekiel gives us a glimpse of how Lucifer (now Satan) was created.  He was a beautiful angel - an anointed cherub, created with instruments as part of his being.  I have a suspicion that he may have been the director of praise and worship until iniquity was found in him and he was cast from heaven.  
You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.  
Ezekiel 28: 12-13
Interestingly, of the four musical instrument groups - strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion, this anointed cherub was given tabrets (strings), pipes (woodwinds) and possibly timbrels (percussion), but he was not given any horns or trumpets (brass).

There is no doubt that God has reserved the trumpet for himself alone.  
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
1 Thessalonians 4:16
In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:52

I hope you will not miss using music as a tool, ordained by God, to defeat the enemy and bring mental relief and healing to your soul and spirit. 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance~

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Monday, April 25, 2011

You Are A Walking Temple

Do you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Lately, there has been an enormous amount of press coverage sarcastically saying that bipolar is Hollywood's latest trend - the truly trendy have some kind of mental illness (i.e. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Charlie Sheen). This may seem funny, but for the millions of Americans (5.7 million are diagnosed with bipolar alone) who struggle with these afflictions, it is no laughing matter.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is praised for going public with her illness in hopes of erasing the stigma associated with mental illness.  Even the rich, the beautiful and the famous can struggle with unstable and troubling mental patterns.

So what is the fate of those with a diagnosis?  Can we ever understand mental illness and is there healing? Will life ever be normal? Or must one be resigned to a cocktail of medications for the rest of his life?  And even then, not find life to be full and abundant.

In my quest for answers about depression, I discovered that all mental illnesses have a similar pattern - they start in the very center of our being, they affect our patterns of thought, our will and our emotions and eventually symptoms manifest in our physical bodies.

In order to understand any mental illness, we must first understand who we are, not individually, but as a race, the human race.  What is a human being anyway?

The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27).   What does it mean to be created in the image of God?

Of all God's creations, only humans were created as tripartite beings:
body, soul and spirit. 

I Corinthians 3:16 says that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Interestingly, the temple or tabernacle of ancient Israel was constructed with 3 sacred courts and chambers:  the outer court, the inner court and the holy of holies.  God gave extremely strict instructions regarding the construction, maintenance and purity of this temple and if anyone violated the purity of the temple, they could be afflicted with disease as in the case of King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:19) or they could loose their life as some of the priests did who did not follow the complete rituals of cleansing before entering the holy of holies.

The outer court of the temple was a place were individuals would bring their sacrifices and offerings.  This court was out in broad daylight and anyone could see the activities performed there.

The inner court was hidden behind the temple veil and only the priests were to enter there.  Any priest entering the inner court must strictly follow the ceremonial cleansings before entering.

Once a year the high priest was allowed to enter the holy of holies.  He performed numerous cleansings and sanctifications before entering the holy of holies.  It was well known that if the priest failed to adhere to all the ceremonial cleansings, he would be struck dead.  Thus, the tradition of sewing bells to the hem of his robes and tying a rope around his ankle.  If the bells stopped tinkling he was assumed dead and the other priests would pull him out of the holy of holies by the rope.

Have you ever wondered what all of these Old Testament rituals have to do with our lives today?

How grateful I am that we no longer have to bring a lamb or animal to the temple, watch the priest slaughter it and sprinkle the blood on the alter for my sins!  The amazing thing is that Jesus Christ was "the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world!" (John 1:29).  At the time of Christ's crucifixion, the earth shook and the temple veil was ripped by God from top to bottom exposing the holy of holies to the common man.

Jesus is also called our high priest and 1 Peter 1:9 says all believers in Christ are, "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light".

Perry Stone, in his book Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree, has a wonderful description of us as walking temples.

"Christ knew that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed within a generation (Matt 24:1-2). He also realized that the divine presence of God would be transferred from a man-made building in Jerusalem to the physical bodies and spirits of believers who walked in the New Covenant.  Each believer is a walking temple. Instead of meeting God in one designated location, we take Him with us everywhere we go.  Just as the ancient tabernacle of Moses and the temples of Solomon and Herod were sacred structures with a distinct design consisting of three sacred courts and chambers, so too the human body is a tripartite temple.  The Bible reveals that we consist of body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23).  The physical body is a reflection of the temple's outer court, the soul reflects the temple's inner court, and the human spirit represents the sacred chamber called the holy holies."
"In the earthly temple, men could see the outer court, just as the human body is visible to all human eyes.  The soul is housed within the body and cannot be seen by the natural eye, just as the temple's inner court was hidden behind the temple veil or two large doors in the early Jewish temples.  The soul is the seat of our thinking, reasoning and illumination and is a reflection of the seven-branched candlestick whose light illuminated the inner court.  The holy of holies was hidden from public view and was the most sacred and holy part of the temple.  Just so, the human spirit is a reflection of the holy of holies, the place where God's presence dwelt.  All spiritual blessings begin in the spirit and work their way outward into our lives."

When we understand who we are, it is much easier to see how healing takes place.  It starts with the most sacred place - the spirit.  Just as the high priest ceremonially cleansed and sanctified himself, we must also cleanse and purge our spirit of anything that is not in sync with the Holy Spirit.

Secondly,  is the renewing of the mind, will and emotions.  This starts with spending time in the presence of God - coming to the throne of God in the holy of holies (read how here).  It is in the holy of holies that God transforms us and teaches us to forgive (read How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt Me), to submit (read The Liberating Truth About Submission) and to be holy as He is holy.

Lastly, is the healing of the body.  Our physical body plays an important part in our temple as a whole.  We must do everything we can to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God which is our reasonable service.  This includes everything from diet and excercise to keeping our bodies pure from sinful acts.

In 1 Peter 1:3-9 we are told that times of suffering come in order to refine us and perfect our faith.  In other words, to drive us closer to God so that we will purge out all the impurities from our temple/ His temple.  This process of purging and pruning can be painful, but when we see the results we will be filled with inexpressible and glorious joy for we are achieving the goal - the healing of our soul (mind, will and emotions), right here on earth!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~

Monday, April 11, 2011

Do Psychiatrists Know What They're Talking About?

Documentary length 2:56

This very insightful documentary sheds light on the dark secret of the relationship between psychiatrists and the drug companies.  While I totally agree that many of the so-called "mental illnesses" have been created, packaged and sold to the general public, this documentary still does not deal with the root cause of our mental and psychological problems.

At the end of this documentary, the creators concluded that psychiatrists still do not understand the root cause of mental illnesses. The writers of this documentary left us with the idea that if you look hard enough, the real reason for mental illness is some kind of physical illness. I do not agree with this conclusion. Albeit, if you search for a physical illness, you most likely will find one.

The one aspect that was completely overlooked, except for one quick mention at the beginning, is the spiritual aspect. Since the beginning of time, people have believed that some mental problems were a spiritual issue caused by demons or spirits. Unfortunately, most people didn't know how to get rid of the demons and were too afraid of the demons, so the problems were simply dealt with in the physical realm which, of course, will not work since demons are spirit  beings.

Around the turn of the 20th century, mankind became too sophisticated to believe in demons and denied the existence of the spirit world altogether, so the "Marketing of Madness" began. And the general public swallowed it hook, line and sinker. The problem is, the symptoms continued even with advanced, modern medication. Depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety disorder, OCD, suicide...

Truly, no scientific evidence can be found for mental illnesses, but we all know they exist. So, where are we to turn for answers?

It has been my belief all along - as stated in What I Believe About Mental Illness, that mental illness is a body, soul and spirit issue and must be dealt with in a balanced body, soul and spirit manner. There are many educative articles out there about how to lessen the symptoms of depression through diet, exercise and positive affirmations. These methods deal with the body and soul and most of these methods are helpful and effective.

Much of Battle Mind Blog deals with the soul which consists of our mind, will and emotions.

But what are we to do about the spirit???

There are stages in deliverance. The deliverance of the soul is different than the deliverance of the spirit. We must first receive deliverance in our spirit from deception. Then we can proceed with deliverance in our soul.

Psalm 32:2
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
We will be well on the road to victory and healing once we identify the spirit(s) that afflict us and in the authority given to us by Jesus Christ, break the chains that hold us captive.

The deliverance of the spirit has to do with breaking (loosing) curses and bindings whether they be of your own making or of your ancestors. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus gives Peter two keys to the kingdom of heaven - the keys of binding and loosing:
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bond in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19
You have the authority to use these keys as well to loose the spiritual chains that hold your spirit captive. These keys are to be used exclusively by the believer. When we come to faith in Christ, we are not automatically released from the chains of the evil one. Becoming a Christian simply assures us of an eternity with Christ, but as long as we are on this earth, we must do the job of "working out our salvation", in other words, defeating the works of Satan in our own soul and spirit.

The soul must experience renewal in the mind, in other words, our thought-life must be cleansed and renewed according to the Word of God. This process takes longer than the initial awakening of our spirit and it's deliverance.

The following is a prayer and declaration statement that can be used to break word curses. There are other things that also need to be broken such as soul ties and generational curses. You can use the same format to break ungodly soul ties and to loose yourself from generational curses.

A prayer for you to pray (must be prayed out loud):
Heavenly Father, I am your child purchased by the blood of Jesus. Right now, I confess and repent of the effects and influences of all word curses or vows (known or unknown) spoken about me, to me or by me. Forgive me for those times when my words have opened the door to the enemy to negatively influence or become a curse to me or my family. I specifically renounce and loose the influence of the word curse by (name of person) that says (what they said).  I bind myself to the truth of God's Word that all things work together for my good. Romans 8:29
Declaration statement:

In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I resist and rebuke every spirit that gained access and influence in my life or my family by these word curses, and I command you to go to feet of my Lord Jesus Christ and go where He tells you to go. (Ephesians 1:20-23) and I loose every wrong agreement I've ever believed and entered into regarding negative words spoken to me or by me. I bind myself to the truth of God's Word that I am a new creation in Christ and a partaker in His Divine Nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Grace and Peace be yours in abundance today~

Monday, April 4, 2011

To This You Have Been Called

The snow is melting, the sky is a magnificent blue and the birds are singing, but you can't relate.  What does it matter if spring is in the air when your spirit is heavy under the load you bear, when each day is a struggle just to survive.  Life has a different perspective when one is faced with the pain of living with someone with depression, facing home foreclosure or bankruptcy or caring for someone with a disabling illness.

Your heart is crying out to God, but He seems so distant, so unable to help.  But in the depth of your heart you hear,
"My child, I'm here and I hear your cries.  It's time to get up now and wipe away your tears.  I know the pain that is breaking your heart.  I know it well.  I have a special purpose for all your pain.  It may appear purposeless, but I am just setting the plow deep into your heart.  Soon the very fertile soil will be ready for planting seeds.  Seeds of forgiveness, faith, trust and obedience."

It is in these turbulent, difficult times, when it seems the tips of the plow are aimed straight at your heart, that you may wonder if God is for you or against you.  He seems so confrontational, too intense, too different from the loving God you learned about in Sunday School.  Yet, let me assure you, He is for you!

Read this great excerpt  from a book by author Francis Frangipane:
"Do not withdrawal or be terrified at this new unveiling of the Son of God, for He is, in fact, fitting you for battle.  By the time you are fully trained, you will be a fearless warrior in His army. Yet we must be realistic about our current state:  most of us have been pampered and undisciplined.  We have not understood the day of warfare that looms before us.  Nor are we prepared for the final raging of Satan as his time shortens.  We have known the Lord as our Savior and our Shepherd.  These revelations of our beloved Master are no less true because a new aspect of His nature is revealed."
I believe with all my heart that not only is it possible to rise up from our painful circumstances, it is our calling and our responsibility.  We are called to be overcomers (1 John 5:4,5).  The Son of God will not lead us into battles we cannot win.  I am not saying that our circumstances will change - they may not, but what I am saying is that we can live above our circumstances, victoriously, joyfully, peacefully.

Even the apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:12, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."

What is His glory that will be revealed?  It is Christ in YOU, the hope of glory!  For if you grab hold of the promises of God during the difficult times, the result will be a more Christ-like YOU - fitted and qualified for His service.

A prayer for you to pray:

Heavenly Father, I bow before you and receive the calling you have placed on my life - the calling to be an overcomer.  Empower me to live worthy of this calling.   For you say that everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, my faith in You. (1 John 5:4,5)
Your Word says, If You are for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31).  And I know that in all things You are working for my good since I love you and have been called according to your purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Enable me by your Spirit to walk the high road above my circumstances - to respond in love and thankfulness in all things.  And in all these things, I am more than a conqueror and an overcomer because you love me and gave yourself for me. (Romans 8:37)
In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Women Living Well Blog: Spring Cleaning Your Facebook Account

Facebook, You Tube and iPads, oh my! I was recently told by a salesman at Best Buy that by Christmas of this year, tablets and hand-held electronics such as the iPad, the Xoom and smartphones will rule the electronic market. The desk-top computer is loosing it's status as a necessity since we will have all the computing power with all the information of the internet at our fingertips at all times, everywhere we go!

As much as I enjoy these devices, the freedom that comes with unlimited access to the internet and social media such as Facebook and You Tube is certainly more than any one person should be tempted with.  I came across an EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT blog post by Courtney of Women Living Well Blog. I hope you will take time to read it - she hits the nail on the head!
Women Living Well Blog: Spring Cleaning Your Facebook Account: "During the year of 2010, 250 million NEW people joined Facebook bringing the total users on Facebook at the end of 2010 to 600 million! Fac..."

Of the 600 million Facebook users, 50% of them are logged on to Facebook at any given time.  The average user spends 55 minutes a day on Facebook and polls show that millions of users check their Facebook status faithfully before they get out of bed each morning.  

It is my daily discipline to get up at 6am and meet God for coffee while I read His Word and talk to Him in prayer; however, my sacred place (the kitchen table) is not far away from my computer.  Each morning, I hear the computer "calling" me to come check my stats, comments and emails, and a few times I did just that.  Before I knew it, my time set aside for God had been sabatoged.  After this happened a several times, I made a vow to God that He would be first in my life and I would not touch the computer until I spent time with Him.

Like Courtney said, technology is neutral, but when we let it control our thoughts and our minds, we are not being controlled by the Spirit.
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace...You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  (Romans 8:6,9)
When our minds are not controlled by the Spirit, we cannot be at peace and so the mind that is not controlled by the spirit is a stressed-out mind.  Stress has a direct connection with our central nervous system and has been cited as the #1 cause of panic attacks, heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression many other physical problems.

My friend, freedom from depression and anxiety and other mental issues is all about the battle we fight in our mind, the battle against the patterns of thought that are not controlled by the Spirit.

The next time you log in to Facebook, You Tube and or any internet app, will you take every thought captive and make them obedient to Christ?

I will walk in my house with a blameless heart.
I will set before my eyes no vile/worthless thing.
Psalm 101:2

A prayer for you to pray to set your self free and walk in daily victory:

Dear Lord God, I know how easy it is to allow other things and other people to become more important to me than You.  I also know that this is a terrible offense in your holy eyes as You have commanded that I "shall have no other gods" before You.

I confess to You that I have not loved You with all me heart and soul and mind.  As a result, I have sinned against You, violating the first and greatest commandment.  I repent of and turn away from this idolatry and now choose to return to You, Lord Jesus, as my first love.
Please reveal to my mind now any and all idols in my life.  I want to renounce each of them and in so doing, cancel out any and all ground Satan may have gained in my life through my idolatry.  In the name of Jesus, the true God, Amen.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~

Friday, March 11, 2011

Step #8 - Putting the Accuser in His Place

My heart sank as my new friend from the blogosphere told me she lost her son to suicide a while back.  She said, "some of the things on your blog have reached deep inside me, but just when I thought all my questions were answered, thoughts of failure and guilt have resurfaced".

Do they ever go away?  The "if only" questions.  If only I had been a better mother, my child wouldn't have committed suicide.  If only I had been a better wife, we wouldn't have gotten a divorce.  If only I had been a better child, my parents wouldn't have separated.  If only I were a better Christian, I wouldn't suffer from depression.  If only I had done things differently...

I searched my heart for the right answer for this dear woman who was looking back with regret, placing so much of the blame on herself.  I want to share with you what I shared with her since I know Satan uses the same tactics on each of us.

In his book Bondage Breaker, Neil Anderson describes a courtroom scene in heaven like the one mentioned in Revelation 12:10 where Satan is the accuser of the brethren who accuses us before God day and night:

The courtroom scene continues night and day for every child of God.  Satan persists in pointing out our faults and weaknesses to God and demands that He zaps us for being less than perfect.  But our defense attorney in heaven is Jesus Christ, and He has never lost a case before God the judge.  Satan can't make his charges stick because Jesus Christ has justified us and lives to intercede for us (Romans 8:33-34).
At the same time Satan accuses us before God, his emissaries also accuse us personally by bombarding our minds with false thoughts of unworthiness and unrighteousness in God's sight.  But Satan is not your judge; he is merely your accuser.  Yet if you listen to him and believe him, you will begin to live out these accusations as if they were a sentence you must serve.

You may wonder, "What's the difference between the devil's accusations and the Holy Spirit's conviction?"  Paul provided a clear distinction between the two in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.

"Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.  For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation (he was writing to believers so this is not our eternal salvation, but rather life) and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death" (again, not eternal death since he is writing to believers).

The false guilt of this world and the Holy Spirit's conviction both have the same feeling of sorrow. However, the sorrow resulting from Satan's accusations leads to death (defeat), while the sorrow of conviction leads to repentance and life without regret.

Do you feel guilty, worthless, stupid or inept?  That's a sorrow provoked by accusation because those feelings don't reflect truth.

When you find lies lurking beneath your feelings of sorrow - especially if your feelings persistently drive you into the ground - you are being falsely accused.  To disarm the sorrow of accusation, you must submit yourself to God and resist the devil and his lies.

God does not want you to keep looking back with regret at things in the past which cannot be undone.  The beautiful thing is that not only has God declared you forgiven, He has removed your filthy garments of unrighteousness and clothed you with spotless garments.  Believe me when I say, He is not out to punish you for your past failures - He loves you unconditionally.

Step forward knowing that your righteous standing with God is secure and that Satan is already defeated.  God is calling you to walk in daily victory  through a response of obedience.  Step forward into His presence every day and allow Him to transform your mind.  He will teach you how to refute the accusations of the enemy and put the accuser in his place.

Stay in step with the Spirit and you will be empowered to live beyond your natural strength and abilities.

A prayer for you to pray:

Gracious Father, you say in your Word that you are my strong defender and you will take up my case against my enemy (Ps 23:11).  In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.  Free me from the trap of accusations that is set before me, for you are my refuge (Ps 31: 1,4)
Enable me to daily live victoriously over Satan and sin as I walk in close communion with you.
As you did for David in Psalm 30:11, turn my wailing into dancing; remove my sackcloth and clothe me with joy.  
I will be glad and rejoice in your love.  Amen

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Keys of Binding and Loosing

I don't usually post on Sunday, but I came across something this week that I thought was so transformational, I must share it with you right away.

In my last post, The Liberating Truth About Submission, I mentioned that God works in logic-defying ways, ways contrary to conventional wisdom.  As I journey down this road of seeking God's face and asking the hard questions about healing and deliverance from the mental torture of depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts and other destructive thought patterns, God continually shows me His plan -the keys to the kingdom of heaven - keys that defy logic.

According to the two scriptures below, God has given us the keys to the kingdom of heaven - the power to bind and loose:
Matthew 16:19

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 18:18
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven

God has given us, the followers of Christ, the authority to make binding contracts on earth, whether written or spoken.  God is a God bound by His word.  God so values the spoken word that whatever we bind/commit to, He considers it bound in heaven as well and intends that it should never be broken.

On the other hand, we also hold the key to loose.  This is not the authority to break the previous bindings, but rather to loose the powers that hold us captive.  We have the power to loose or free ourselves from the torture chamber of the enemy if he takes us captive unaware.

It defies logic that God would give us these very powerful keys, but He loved us so much that he turned the keys over to us and gave us full authority to use them!  WOW!  In the Lord's prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).

The following prayer came from Shattering Your Strongholds by Liberty Savard.

The Training Wheels Prayer  
Lord, I'm standing on the truth of you Word.  You said you would give me the keys to the kingdom, that whatsoever I would  bind on earth would be bound in heaven and whatsoever I would loose on earth would be loosed in heaven.  Right now, in the name of Jesus Christ, I bind my will to the will of God, that I will be constantly aware of His will and purposes for my life.  I bind myself to the truth of God that I will not be deceived by the many subtle deceptions of the world and the devil.

I bind myself to the blood of Jesus that I will never take it for granted.  I want to be constantly aware of it's miracle-working power to restore and heal and keep me safe.  I bind myself to the mind of Christ that I will be aware of how Jesus would have me think in every situation I come into this day.  I do not want to react out of my own human, carnal thoughts when situations arise suddenly.  I want to think and act as Jesus would have me act.

I bind my feet to paths of righteousness that my steps will be ready and true all day long.  I bind myself to the work of the cross in my life so that I will continue to die daily to my own selfish desires and motives and be more like Him.  I bind the strongman (Satan) so that I may spoil his household and take back every bit of joy, peace, blessing and freedom that he has stolen from me.  I take them back right now!  Satan, I loose your influence over every part of my body, soul and spirit.  I loose, crush, smash and destroy every evil device you may try to bring into my sphere of influence during this day.

I repent of every wrong desire, attitude and pattern of thinking I have had.  Forgive me, Lord, for holding onto wrong ideas, desires, behaviors and habits.  I renounce and reject these things.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I loose (destroy, crush, break, smash, melt) every wrong attitude, pattern of thinking, belief, idea, desire, behavior and habit I have every learned.  I loose the strongholds around them that keep me from being completely surrendered to the will of God in my life.  I loose all doubt and confusion from myself.  I have bound myself to the mind of Christ and I loose every wrong thought and evil imagination that keeps me from being in sweet unity with Jesus.  I bind and loose these things in the precious name of Jesus Christ, who has given me the keys to do so.  Thank you, Lord, for the TRUTH.  Amen.
It is vital that you pray this prayer out loud  - your spoken word is binding and the enemy will then hear that he is being loosed. 

As you seek to rid yourself of unstable thought patterns and align yourself with the mind of Christ - who has not given us the spirit of confusion but of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) - my prayer is that you will commit yourself to the renewing of your mind and that you will be set free from your strongholds.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~ 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Step #7 - The Liberating Truth About Submission

Welcome friends! I am glad you found my blog and I pray that my writings will guide you to finding peace in the presence of God and thankfulness in your trials so that you can live an abundantly free life in Christ.

The winner of my book give-away is...barryp2003!  Congratulations!  Please contact me by email with your complete name and address and I will get your book in the mail to you.  Thanks for leaving a comment.

Now on to my topic:

The events of this week have brought back to my attention something I thought I had already dealt with, already relinquished to the Lord.  Yes, I have, yet I caught myself reaching, striving to grasp it back again.  The desire to be in control, to have total authority over my life.  Submission goes against my nature, against the grain, it's illogical.

I hear the whispering lies of the enemy:  I've got to take the initiative or nothing will get done; he's got issues, he's not trustworthy, I'm stronger and more stable-minded; if I submit, life will be ugly, frightening and oppressive.  Have you heard these voices?  Satan has done a masterful job of convincing women (and men) that submission is narrow, negative and confining.

In her book Lies Women Believe, Nancy Leigh DeMoss shares these truths about submission:
"The struggle with submission is not unique to women of our day.  In fact, that was the essence of the issue Eve faced back in the Garden of Eden.  At the heart of the Serpent's approach to Eve was this challenge: Does God have the right to rule your life?  Satan said, in effect, "You can run your own life; you don't have to submit to anyone else's authority.  He convinced Eve that if she submitted to God's direction, she would be miserable and would miss out on something in life."
"Satan knows that if we could see the truth about biblical submission - one of the most liberating principles in all of God's Word - we would joyfully embrace it.  Satan cannot afford to let us choose the pathway of submission, for when we do, he is stripped of his authority and rendered powerless in our lives and the lives of those we love."
I don't want to give the false impression that I have this concept mastered!  My perspective on submission has grown to understand God's purpose for authority. Believe it or not, submission to authority in our lives is a means of providing a spiritual covering and protection.

I believe the failure of many Christian wives to place themselves under their husband's authority leaves them vulnerable to the attacks of Satan on their minds, wills and emotions.  When we come out from under authority - whether in big matters or in seemingly insignificant matters - we become "fair game" for the enemy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss hit the nail on the head when she said: 
"Proverbs 21:1 assures us that "the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases."  Our willingness to place ourselves under God-ordained authority is the greatest evidence of how big we believe God really is."
"The question is, do we really believe God is bigger than any human authority?  Do we believe He is big enough to change that authority's heart if necessary?  Do we believe He is big enough to protect us if we take our rightful place under authority?"
The Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 3:1-2, that a wife's submission to her husband makes room for God to work in his heart and bring him to obedience.  Peter goes on to say that a submissive heart attitude produces in a woman the most radiant and lasting kind of beauty."
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
Your beauty...should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet (peaceful) spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.  They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master.  You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.  1 Peter 3:1-6
A wife's submission to her husband, regardless of his spiritual condition, actually releases her from fear because she has entrusted herself to God, who has ultimate control of her husband and her situation.

In her book The True Woman, Susan Hunt sums up the heart behind submission:
I cannot give logical arguments for submission.  It defies logic that Jesus would release all the glories of heaven so He could give us the glory of heaven.  Submission is not about logic; it is about love.
Jesus loved us so much that He voluntarily submitted to death on a cross.  His command is that wives are to submit to their husbands.  It is a gift that we voluntarily give to the man we have vowed to love in obedience to the Savior we love...
God said that man needs a helper.  The true woman celebrates this calling and becomes affirming rather than a protagonist.  She becomes substantively rather than superficially submissive.
The true woman is not afraid to place herself in a position of submission.  She does not have to grasp; she does not have to control.  Her fear dissolves in the light of God's covenant promise to be her God and to live within her.  Submission is simply a demonstration of her confidence in the sovereign power of the Lord God.  Submission is a reflection of her redemption.
God wants you.  He wants all of you: all of your trust and your obedience.  He is just waiting to shower down His logic-defying power into your life and show you the freedom and liberation that awaits a heart that is fully submitted to Him.

As you pray this prayer, pray for me also that we can walk in freedom together.

A prayer for you to pray:

Most High God, you say in your Word that if I humble myself under your mighty hand, You will lift me up in due time.  If placing myself under my husband's authority causes me to be anxious, enable me to cast all my anxieties on you because you care for me. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

As I voluntarily place myself in submission to a sinful man, I trust you to work your logic-defying power to move his heart like a watercourse to follow after you without my words or my nagging.

I yield control of my body, soul and spirit to you that I may live victoriously in Christ Jesus.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~

Friday, February 25, 2011

Step #6 - The Spiritual Discipline of Fasting

an empty cupImage via Wikipedia
Welcome friends! I am glad you found my blog and I pray that my writings will guide you to finding peace in the presence of God and thankfulness in your trials so that you can live an abundantly free life in Christ.

Have you ever been so hungry that you thought you might faint before you could eat?  God has given us an inherent need to take in nourishment in order to live, but there's another kind of hunger - a spiritual hunger.  You'll know when you are spiritually hungry because you'll feel like you don't the strength to go on unless God answers your prayers!  Have you been there?  I have.

As I look around, I am becoming more and more aware that most people, whether believers in Christ or not,  are living defeated lives.  Maybe it's food that is defeating them or poor sleeping patterns, depression, a spending addiction leading to financial ruin, a failing marriage or all of the above (as is usually the case when mental illness is involved) and the feelings of hopelessness and self-pity rob us of the abundant life we so desperately desire. 

What has you defeated today?  These areas of defeat are also known as Strongholds of the enemy.  It is not God's will for you to live a defeated life.  Are you hungry enough for victory that you are willing to let God move in and through you in a way that you have not known before? 

God wants you, every part of you, and He reserves the right to disrupt your plans, your methods and even your strongly-held beliefs in order to accomplish His will in your life.  Even Jesus didn't have a one-method way of doing things.  He healed people in ways that threw the Pharisees into an uproar.  He was not at all bound by the "way-we've-always-done-it".

Fasting is certainly not a new method, but it may be new to you, an uncharted territory -  a method reserved for the extremely religious.  But that is not how God sees it.  God is delighted when we set aside our own inherent needs and seek Him first and foremost.  When we are hungry and raw before God, He is able to fill us with things beyond what we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Many people have found that heavy burdens were relieved through fasting (Isaiah 58); wisdom was obtained through fasting (Daniel 10); revival came after fasting (Isaiah 58:6); God's protection from danger was secured through fasting (1 Kings 21: 27-29); healing for a sick loved one came after fasting (Psalm 35:13); demons were cast out after fasting (Matthew 17:21).

Fasting involves prayer, repentance, and the searching one's heart.  There must be a spiritual purpose to fasting otherwise, it is just a diet or cleanse.  I believe that fasting is one way to find deliverance from the strongholds of the enemy, those besetting sins that continue to plague us.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen;To loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call and the Lord will answer;
You will cry for help and He will say:  Here am I.   Isaiah 58:6
When we fast, we demonstrate the sincerity of our prayers and we allow God to transform us by the renewing of our mind.  When we are made new in the attitude of our mind (Eph 4:23), we are able to resist the devil and draw near to God.  This is the mental equipping we need to stand firm so that we will no longer fall into "slavery" to the enemy.

Although the Bible is not extremely detailed about how often or how long we should fast, here are some basic guidelines to get started:
  • Determine length of fast - start with a 24 hour fast (from sundown the first day to sundown the second). This means an early dinner the first night, but the joy of breaking the fast with dinner the second night
  • Determine the type of fast - a 24 hour fast is usually a complete fast, meaning no solid food, only liquid.  Refrain from liquids such as coffee, soda and alcoholic beverages.
  • Spend much more time in worship, prayer and scripture reading.  When fasting, do not be hurried or bound by the clock.  Instead, enjoy the fellowship with God while seeking His face.
  • Prepare your materials: Bible and journal.  Research ahead of time on the Internet specific books and scripture references about your specific area of stronghold that you can meditate upon.
  • Be prepared to search your heart for sin and ask God to help you have the right attitude of confession.  Consider those you need to forgive (see How To Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt Me). 
  • Pray, Pray, Pray!  Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  I find it helpful to journal my prayers. It helps to keep me focused and then I can also go back at a later time to see how God has answered my direct prayers.
  • Break your fast with a small meal so you don't get sick from over-indulgence.  You should eat your meal with the same attitude with which you fasted.  Just as you abstained from food to the glory of God, now you should eat to the glory of God.  So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God". (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Will you put it all on the table and allow God to make you new in the attitude of you mind?
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4: 22-24) 
A prayer for you to pray:
Heavenly Father, you say in your word the type of fast you have chosen is to loose the chains of injustice and set the oppressed free.  When I fast according to your word, then my healing will quickly appear.  When I cry for help, you will be right there!
Lead me and guide me, Lord, to the proper time to fast.  Give me the strength to deny myself in order that I may hear from you.  I am so hungry for you that I must fast.
Lord, guide me always and satisfy my needs in a sun-scorched land.  Strengthen my frame so that I will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail, then You will be called the repairer of all things broken (Isaiah 28:11-12)

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~
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