Struck Down on the Broad Road in order to find THE NARROW PATH

In “Father Please Let Him Live”, there was a process that started our journey that continues to be one the most humbling, life-changing, eye-opening experiences of my life.  And I often think about Saul (who later became the Apostle Paul).  It seems he had a lot going for him.  He was a young, highly intelligent man – respected among his people as he was not only instructing an army of men, but they looked up to him so much so, when they were killing Stephen, they were laying his clothes at Saul’s feet (Paul).  I would guess he was the one these men wanted to please – wanted to impress.  I would also guess in his esteemed position, Saul (Paul) was a young man that carried a great deal of pride inside of himself.  When others rally around our accomplishments and look up to us as a person of leadership… well it makes us feel like we’re doing the right thing to accept such praise among men.  And the story is deeper than I think I even realize.  Why were they persecuting followers of Jesus?  Well, I think they thought they were following God’s will.  Perhaps it would be like us today working to drive out and destroy people we label as evil – or against God.  To me, this is evident of Saul in his encounter with God on the road to Damascus.  The Lord asked “Saul, Why are you persecuting me?”  And Saul’s reply was “Who are you Lord?”  And He said to Saul, “I am Jesus.”  As Saul was blinded in that moment, there were other symptoms of his distress that followed this encounter with God.  He didn’t speak for 3 days or eat for 3 days.  I wonder if Saul was numb to himself… disgusted with himself.. depressed… shocked..   My mind just wanders in attempting to visualize and empathize with what Saul saw and what Saul felt in these moments.

Saul became Paul and God spoke over his life in a message to Ananias that “Paul would suffer many things for His name’s sake” – for the name of Jesus.  His ministry in Christ became the majority of the new testament and I just love reading the stories and epistles of Paul.  But in talking about the change that God made in him – as Saul was transformed into a selfless lover of Christ above all things (especially himself) and even given a new name, I can’t help but think through the similarities of the process in my own life.  I thought I was doing all the right things.  I thought I was a living a life pleasing to God and I even thought I knew the Lord Jesus – gaining knowledge from other believers of what that even means….. to know Jesus.  We can say that it’s as simple as a name, but even in that you’ll find so much controversy over the name of Jesus – no doubt a work of the enemy.  I ponder Paul’s question when he was struck down and blinded by God…  “Who are you Lord?”  And I come to the conclusion that Paul (Saul), THOUGHT that he did know God.. and was shown in that moment how wrong he had been in his thoughts.

We can easily draw this story up in our carnal minds as black and white – Well, it’s simple… Saul was killing Jesus followers, therefore he was evil.  Sounds easy, right?  But, did he know what he was doing?  He was brought up into a system, just like we are today.  His people followed a set of laws that they believed were righteous (were good).  For example, stoning Stephen…  Well their law required that people be stoned for committing certain acts that were NOT GOOD.  You know how the bible says that people will call evil good and good evil?  God didn’t proclaim this because we’d all be KNOWINGLY choosing the wrong team, he proclaimed it because we would be under a delusion that is so strong, even the elect would be deceived if it were possible – meaning GOD will open the eyes of the elect.. but the rest of the world won’t get it – they’re not going to see it or understand it, in fact they will see things opposite as the elect.

I feel like God is striking down many today, in order to give them eyes to see.  And in this process, eyes are set on the Father and hearts are set on seeking the face of Jesus – hope is placed in HIS kingdom and the kingdoms of this world become a moth-eaten coffin, waiting to be dissolved.  And I think what bothers me the most is that the temptation of self-pride and the contentment of hearts is at work in the places we least expect.

I went through a short study this morning on Paul’s prayers.  And it’s interesting, I can’t find any in focus of earthly gain.  I can’t find a single prayer of Paul where he asks the Father to make his beloved church wealthy and esteemed and accomplished and comfortable in this world.  Paul prayers were for our salvation in Jesus – for us to receive the truth by His Holy Spirit and for us to find the wisdom of the hope in HIM.  And his journey wasn’t easy.  I was just reading about his deadly snake bite and about his confession to the church of Corinthians of his physical struggles (perhaps an illness) that he had when he presented to them – and the work of the Holy Spirit as they accepted him anyway.  I envision a sick man, no friends (the followers of Jesus didn’t like him because they knew what he’d done to their friends and his own people of course hated him because they felt he betrayed them to follow Jesus) – he was a loner, a poor man, with all kinds of issues and this physical problem (whatever it was – perhaps an illness), preaching the gospel of Jesus and people thinking “Why would we listen to this man, he’s a mess… we don’t want what he’s selling.”  But the Power of God opened their hearts to receive the truth and to see in the spiritual, not in the flesh.  And even in all the miracles Paul did by the power of God, I can’t find one that was for Paul’s “earthly life” gain… expect one.  Paul pleaded with God in prayer for HIMSELF asking God three times to remove the thorn in his side and God said no… He said, “My grace is sufficient for you.”  And that thorn that remained in Paul kept him humbled – delivered in spirit.. not in flesh.

So, what is the true message of the Gospel and what is the CHANGE that occurs when someone is struck down in order for their eyes to be opened?  I certainly don’t have all the answers and even as I write this with heaviness on my heart to keep speaking what I believe the Lord wants me to, I know that FEW would even want to listen to anything I have to say – a woman who’s life looks like a heap of ruin…  Who could possibly want what I have?  But the truth is, through these trials all I want is Jesus and if it takes tearing everything away from to give me that burning desire in my heart, well it’s worth it.  So, I ask to the Lord to use this mess called me for His Glory, beveling that only the Lord can reveal the truth in each of us at His appointed time.  But I also believe we must ask in order for him to answer and we must seek in order to find.  I can’t even mutter the prayer my heart cried right before my world was turned upside down – for a later time I assume… And I also believe the truth isn’t popular and it’s not widely accepted and it goes against everything this world is selling us.  But what’s impossible for men to do and for men to sacrifice and for men to see…. IT’S POSSIBLE TO GOD.

Ironically, Paul was traveling on a road (the road to Damascus), when he was struck down by God… and it was there that his path forever was changed.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

– Mathew 7:13

Heavenly Father, I just ask today that your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  I ask you to set our hearts on the hope that is in Christ Jesus and Lord only you know what measures are needed for your children to be removed from this world and set apart as Jesus prayed that we would be.  Father Your Word warns against men gaining the world and losing their souls, but you also say that no one can pluck us out of Your Hand.  Please open the eyes of the blind, don’t let us be deceived and show us the true liberty that’s only found in Jesus.  God show us who we are and why we’re here.  Strengthen us in you, as we become weak in ourselves and pour out Your Spirit on your sons and daughters.  Lord, bring your family together in your love.. the only true love that is and ever will be.  Keep us from temptation and remove us from the wide gate and broad road that many will travel – lead us into that narrow gate and narrow path that few will find.

Thank you Jesus.

For God So Loved the World.. He Gave us The Way to Be Removed from It

Life is a really disturbing thing, because it lacks meaning.  It’s like dedicating all that I am for a race – so that I can win the trophy.  But at the end of that race, looking upon the trophy only brings temporary joy.  It doesn’t last.  Nor does life.

The curse of Adam and Eve speaks of this ending – that from dust we were made and from dust we will return.  History sets this straight as we can know without question that everyone dies.  And it doesn’t matter how great they were, how accomplished, or how needed they were to this broken world.  Men that did amazing things like invent electricity, conquer kingdoms, pave the way for equality and so much more… they all died.  All mankind that has ever lived has died, except one… Jesus.

The word of God says that Jesus set free the captives, “who all their life lived in fear of death.”  That’s a very eye-opening promise as to what exactly God did when He loved the world so much that he gave His Son.  My whole life I’ve heard religious folks tell me about Jesus – the power of his name to overcome anything that life throws my way.  And in my own struggles I’ve labored in countless hours of prayer (among other things) to ignite the Fire of God in my circumstances, for my temporary gain.  I’ve asked him to fix my finances and heal my sickness – heal my marriage, my relationships with my kids… and the list goes on and on…  But what happens when God says, NO.?  Does that mean he doesn’t love me?  Does that mean that Jesus isn’t powerful enough for my situation?

My situations are of this world.  And the thing that changed when God’s love poured out into this place (as found in Hebrews) is that the promise was made eternal, not temporary and the treasures were made heavenly, not carnal.

I’ve heard the stories of Solomon and David and Abraham and so many amazing people in the bible regurgitated countless times with these motivational messages that scream out, “Step into the riches of Solomon!”  “Claim your inheritance like Abraham!”  “Kill the Giants like David and walk up that throne as King.”  Are these not the very stories that were expected of THE TRUE KING as Jesus himself stepped on the scene?  The religious folks (Pharisees, scribes and priests), they wanted to see a conqueror of the world dressed in gold and silver, seated on an earthly throne.  They thought the evidence of Jesus, as the son of God would follow the stories of old.  Jesus would lead armies and slay enemies.  They expected him to rule over nations, surrounded by riches and supernaturally exalt himself above all men.  But he did quite the opposite.  Jesus rode in on a donkey, he was poor, in fact he didn’t even have a home (a place to lay his head).  He wasn’t celebrated among the nations, he was hated and persecuted and ridiculed.  And in the final day of his life, the religious folks (THE EXPERTS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT) expected a David and Goliath moment out of our King… They concluded, “If this man is truly the Son of God he will save himself.”

So the question is, what did God do when he sent Jesus?  Because the evidence of who HE IS was in the resurrection, not in his life of temptation, trial, heartbreak, betrayal, suffering and death.  The evidence of WHO HE IS was in the aftermath of his life, as he was raised from death and seated at the right hand of the Father – placed as a King in Higher places than this broken world.  Yet, today we chase after the evidence of Jesus in the stories of old, telling one another that God will defeat our lions and make us rich and popular and famous and happy and clothed with all the riches our hearts desire.  Doesn’t that make us like the pharisees?  mmm….

God so loved the world, he gave his only son so that whoever believes upon Him will not perish but instead will have eternal life.  Eternal life has never been here on this earth and even all of the heroes we look upon in the Old Testament that were gifted by God with power to overcome for His Glory – their glory days here ended… they all died…  Their temporary bodies all went back into this earth as God said would happen… UNTIL JESUS.

And those who followed Him and were SENT by Him into the world for His name and to spread His Gospel…. well, they were evidence of the change.  There’s never been another David or Solomon…. instead the apostles that laid down their lives for the Kingdom of God, had nothing earthly to show for the favor that was upon their lives.  They said things like, “To live is Christ to Die is Gain.”  Paul was shipwrecked 3 times, beaten multiple times almost to his death, he was hated, thrown in jail over and over and he died badly.  Stephen was shown the glory of God as he was being stoned to death.  Peter – crucified upside down, as he told the guards “I don’t deserve to be killed in the same manner of Jesus… No, turn me upside down.”  Where was Peter’s stones to slay the Goliaths?  Where was Paul’s riches and where was the earthly inheritance to be passed down to the children of these faithful men?  In HEAVEN – as it is written, an inheritance INCORRUPTIBLE by moths.

God so loved the world, He gave us a way out of it.  It’s broken.  Look no further than your social media feed to see that people are hurting, their sad, their heartbroken, their hungry, their battling sickness and disease and NO ONE has been granted eternal life in this broken place.  We praise ourselves and science like we’re on the brink of discovering the fountain of youth, yet no one has ever or can ever duplicate the one simple life giving thing of the human body called BLOOD….. Ironically the very thing Jesus shed for our sins.

I feel this tugging inside of me, on a mission to combat something that the Lord keeps laying on my heart over and over again and then confirming as quickly as He gives revelation.  Believing upon God’s SON is believing upon the resurrection into eternal life and out of this broken world – not chasing after the temporary comforts of this world, while claiming that our temporary blessings are the abundant life promised by Jesus.  It’s not the same thing.  And when it fails, our faith is then sent into this panic attack of wondering why God’s love doesn’t work for us.  It’s not the Gospel of Jesus Christ – it’s something very different.  Romans 8:17 says this… “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” —- IF WE SHARE IN IN HIS SUFFERINGS.. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”  The disciples asked Jesus if they could be seated with Him at the throne and he told them, “You don’t understand what you’re asking for.”… and then Jesus asked them, “Can you drink for my cup?” and they said “sure we can do that.” and Jesus told his disciples that they would indeed drink from his cup… and what is Jesus’ cup?  Well, it was so troublesome that Jesus was sweating blood as He asked the Father to please take the cup from Him if there is a way, but humbly He said to His Father, but not my will be done, YOUR will be done.  And God said no.  God strengthened Jesus to complete the work he was sent here to do at the cross…. Not a fleshy type of glory that any of us would choose.  But a sacrifice of unselfish love for others…  That’s the cup the disciples were told they would drink from and the apostles did indeed live a life that none of us would choose in the flesh, with no early riches to show for and with a fairy-tail ending that you won’t find in the stuff Disney is selling.

God so loved the world He gave us Jesus (our forerunner) so that we would have THE WAY (out of here), THE TRUTH (not seated in self-love but seated in love towards others) and THE LIFE, which is eternal, not this thing we do here, that ends in death.

Paul said “TO LIVE IS CHRIST” – look no further than the life of Jesus Christ to understand what Paul spoke of.. and then he said “TO DIE IS GAIN”… meaning those who follow Jesus and live IN HIM will gain the kingdom at the moment they are removed from this temporary body.

The damage of the prosperity gospel is a real danger because it would alienate the very Son of God from His work, had he been sent to walk in our day.  The prosperity gospel doesn’t line up with one single apostle or follower of Christ, and sadly as many of us are chosen to suffer with Christ, the churches today don’t speak to our circumstances – and worse – they make the broken, lowly and meek feel separated from God’s love…. When ironically, those are the very ones that are promised by the Word of God to inherit the Kingdom.

When I write these messages that God lays on my heart, I don’t aim to make anyone feel bad about their seasons of happiness and plenty.  My hope and my prayer in speaking about the message of the Gospel is to prepare others in truth.  Because I wasn’t prepared.  I didn’t understand.  And it took years to unlearn the false doctrines that I grew up learning about God’s ways and His promises for us… and so much heartbreak along the way.  When you find yourself in a season of suffering, know this… God is on the throne and He loves you.  He is not against you, the enemy isn’t winning anything and His promises stand today just as they did the day that Jesus prayed over His chosen ones, “that they wouldn’t be removed from this world but that they would be sanctified as he sanctified himself”….  You’re here to be set apart from the world, to be purified.  And sometimes that process hurts but it’s for our good.  The Lord said that to love this world is enmity with God.  He said not to set our hearts on the desires of this place and to love our neighbors “AS” ourselves – a very unselfish state of existence that Jesus himself demonstrated for us all.  So be seated in truth.  Be ready and under the armor of God when trials come because He is separating you and qualifying you for something greater than this broken world could ever offer.

Love you all..

We are Heirs with Christ IF we Suffer With Him – Romans 8 – THE WORD OF GOD

I think one of the major turning points in my faith settled in when my Granny got sick. Nothing made sense anymore. If God rewards believers in His Son with health, wealth and prosperity, why would the most unselfish, kind-hearted, God-fearing person I’ve ever known suffer so badly? It was a question in my heart I never admitted even to myself, but I didn’t “get how God works”…  Over a decade later that lingering question was brought center stage and all disbelief was removed… So, removed from the world and enveloped by the presence of God through experiences that conquered all doubt in earth-shaking revelations, I was given an absolute knowing, without question that God is God, God is real and God is sovereign all-knowing and seated on the throne, all the while seeing and living in the midst of utter destruction… So, how do I frame it all up?  For me, I found a burning desire for the TRUTH.  I couldn’t listen to people anymore.  I couldn’t sit in a sermon focused on God’s desires to reward us with perfect marriages and easy lives because LIFE had proved otherwise, repeatedly.  I couldn’t hear that I could stand up like David and slay Goliath with a stone because in peeling all these masks off of people that were near and dear to me, I’d seen first hand that sometimes THE BEST fall down…  So if the innocent are suffering and the Godly are suffering what is the point of salvation?  It was the question that would lead to another desire – to “rightly divide the word”   *As spoken in Hebrew “Through Jesus God has something better for us” – as even all of those of great faith that lived BEFORE CHRIST had not yet received the promise.  What is this new promise?… that I’d yearned to understand because I know that I’m not David and I’m not Abraham and I’m not Solomon and by the way NONE of the apostles mirrored their lives either.  So what does it mean to follow Christ in today’s world?  And why did Paul say “TO LIVE IS CHRIST and to die is gain”?  Josh’s Grandpa – another example…  You could FEEL THE PRESENCE of God in this man when he entered a room.  Josh would testify to anyone who would listen about the anointing of God’s healing power that he’d personally experienced when his grandpa Harry laid hands on him and prayed over him.  And this beautiful man (Josh’s Grandpa Harry) – what did his life look like?  His first wife died in her 20’s to cancer, two of his children later died in his arms, he later lost all of his wealth and then went toe to toe with cancer repeatedly until finally the Lord ended his race and took him home to his inheritance that he’d accumulated in Heaven.  He died a physically broken, poor man – just like my Granny did, and just like Jesus did and just like the apostles did.  And one of the most beautiful revelations of my entire life happened when I was asked to write the eulogy for my Granny’s funeral and instead of me doing that, the Holy Spirit wrote it through me, showing me exactly in the Word of God what God had accomplished in my Granny’s life and that her rewards were NEVER meant to be delivered here (in this broken world, with the kingdoms that satan had shown to Jesus as a temptation), but that she was seated high in the Heavenly places and her riches were awaiting her there.  I pray often now that I could just be a little glimpse of the goodness that I saw in that woman’s life – that my heart could be just half the size of hers.  And I know as Josh continues his fight through tragic circumstances his walk is inspired by his Grandpa Harry also, (and he did speak to him while in the hospital)… Believe it or don’t, Josh spoke to many while he walked through the valley and I’m still in awe, trying to wrap my thoughts around some of the revelation he has shared with me.  I know it’s true because I’ve had my own experiences with the unseen “spirit world”…  Josh told me recently, “I’ve never for one moment been angry with God.  It’s just my time to suffer.”…  This doesn’t make it easy.  It doesn’t solve the current afflictions he endures.  But he gets it.  Thank you Lord!

So, back to my question, How do you frame up living in destruction?  You chase after the Truth (the WHOLE Truth).  For me, I guess I never cared to until I was seated in the midst of a broken mess that I could never put back together again.  I needed to understand “why” and God is so good, when we seek with all our hearts, He reveals the answers.  Still today, I come across so many people who want to feed me their ideas – and they mean well.  They just want to comfort me, and maybe for some they think it’s doing God a favor to say things like, “God had nothing to do with your suffering.”  I guess I would’ve said the same before I knew differently.  I know now that God doesn’t drive an ambulance (He’s there and approved it long before we ever get there).  I know now that God isn’t concerned with our temporary bodies that are corruptible and dying.  He’s concerned with our salvation and the perfection of our faith.  I watched this video of John Piper’s reading of Romans 8 last night and just LOVE IT… I wanted to share this – it’s not a sermon… not a strategy… not a teaching…  It’s not a solution for itchy ears, it’s just the beautiful reading of the unfailing, unmoved, eternal word of GOD….So I wanted to share it here today in hopes that someone out there will be blessed by this word of God.

If I could add one thing to this, a scripture the Lord has put on my heart lately, showing me the POINT of what’s most precious (Our Faith). 1 Peter 1:7 says “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”  I will be writing on the comparison made between faith and gold (and refinement by fire) soon, God willing.

Have a blessed day.

Why Half Truths are So Dangerous to our Faith

I’m in a strange season right now, which could be true of all seasons as we enter into new challenges and walk along new paths.  In recent times I’ve seen a battle unfolding outwardly and inwardly that has really illuminated some walls that I began building when I was just a child – but didn’t realize they were there.  My opposition in this battle is religion…. churches…

Mankind seems to be on a never-ending mission to show others the way… “the key to life”.. And beginning at a very early age, attending church was part of this process in my own life.  I learned about Jesus and sin – I learned about the ten commandments and I learned that the fruit of the Gospel of Jesus would be seen in my life, according to how my life looks and feels.  So for example, I learned that that blessings from God come in the form of happiness, plenty, completeness and success.  I don’t know that I even realized what was being implanted in my thoughts at the time, yet I know that I didn’t feel blessed at all.  I know that I looked at myself in the mirror and compared my circumstances to others with a deep sorrow that churned inside of my stomach.  I was different.  I didn’t have a perfect family and that perfect love that children are “blessed with” from a traditional husband and wife unity that comes into fruition as the basis for bringing a life into this world was absent when the thought of “me” came to pass here on Earth.  I was a curse to my mother – a souvenir of the worst experience of her entire life.  I was a mistake in every aspect of the word and I didn’t belong here.  And these half-truths that battled inside of my internal identity crisis beginning in childhood were just the beginning of the alienation I felt towards the so-called “blessed life” that believers in Christ were to experience, according to what I was taught to believe in the continual mantra of “coffee cup scriptures” defining a God who wants us to be healthy, wealthy, happy and successful.

So apparently Jesus didn’t work for me.  Apparently depression, sorrow, inadequacy and shame was the evidence of my pointless existence separated from the blessings of God.  Fast forward a few decades and I mastered the art of pretending to feel something on the outside that was not rooted in me on the inside.  But as this game seemed to bring with it a form of outward prosperity, life began to make sense.  I was “blessed” with marriage, beautiful children, health, success, wealth – prosperity.  God must love me now, right?  And I could look around and see this “favor” upon my life through tainted eyes.  You see, this mindset leads to empty pride – believing that I somehow DID something to deserve God’s favor upon my life, while looking at for example, innocent children who are starving and battling with horrid diseases, telling myself “Well, I guess God doesn’t favor them like he favors me.”  As I’m writing this I can hear the different voices throughout the history of my life using that line, “God’s favor upon your life. – God’s favor.. God’s favor…”  What is God’s favor?  And how is it that some of us get it and some of us don’t if Jesus died for all and the will of God is that not one be lost but that all come to repentance and the truth?  Where is the truth in believing that we somehow DID something to deserve to be born healthy and wealthy, when babies enter this world everyday with impairment, sickness, disability and their mothers are too poor to provide them with clean water to drink?

In the book of Revelation it says that men cursed God in their pain – as the plagues were upon them, they cursed Him.  I know many believe and teach that these men aren’t believers, but how can anyone curse someone they don’t believe in?  Obviously they DO believe in God, hence why they blame Him for their pain.  So why do they curse Him?  I think the answer is in 2 Thessalonians when Paul discusses those that do NOT love the truth, therefore God gives them over to a delusion and they believe a lie.  A lie..  Self-righteousness….  Pride… Expectation of creating heaven on earth and following doctrines of devils..  If that sounds harsh, consider the weighted belief systems in our own hearts that cause us to boast in our “blessings”, never considering that we did nothing to deserve or earn the right God gives us to to roll out of bed each day and to earn a living when so many don’t have this ability because they were born into circumstances different from our own.  I take myself and put me in a line-up next to children with autism and downs syndrome and ask the question, “What did I do to deserve my circumstances and what did they do to deserve theirs?”  The answer….. Nothing.  But if our shoes were switched in an instant, how would my faith stand, then?  Would I curse God because all of the “blessings” I’ve enjoyed were suddenly ripped away from me and I’m suddenly experiencing a different journey, away from the ease of life that I’d assumed was somehow owed to me because I follow Christ?

When we got home from the hospital, I was overwhelmed with sorrowful thoughts of blame and shame.  I remember being told things like, “If your sin that is blocking your blessing is removed, then Josh will be healed.”  I remember being told that, “If I were obedient to God, then Josh would be healed.”  I remember being told that, “If my faith was stronger, then Josh would be healed.”  So, basically, I was thrown back into that childhood mindset that I’d thought I’d escaped long ago, questioning if God is for me, because my circumstances didn’t “look like” an alignment with the popular definition of being “blessed by God.”

It’s been a long process of healing that the Lord has revealed to me internally through this continued journey.  And somewhere along the way, I know that I’ve been called to share in the truths He has shown me and continues to show me.  I don’t know where or when I’ll get there – but it seems in every teaching, I’m shown the opposition to “half truths” and it does break my heart that I so easily believed a lie and that it took such tragic measures in a bitter-sweet revelation for the Lord to open up my mind and start “unteaching me” everything I thought I knew about His “blessings” through this life here on Earth – to show me the little passages we skip over like they aren’t relevant – like in Hebrews when those who were tortured refused deliverance because they wanted a better resurrection – like in John when the rich man called out to Abraham and asked for Lazarus to dip a finger in water and cool him from his torment, as Abraham said to the man, you already experienced your riches on earth, and it was the poor beggar that was taken to the bosom of Abraham.  The truth sets us free because we begin to see that this place is nothing but a womb that we pass through on our way to being born into eternity.  The truth sets us free because we can begin to see that the doorway was opened by Jesus when he shed his blood and the circumstances we endure now are nothing in comparison to the glory that will be revealed (by His doing not ours), to those who LOVE HIM and are called according to his purpose.  I used to think loving HIM was about loving his stuff – like God was a vending machine – I put in a prayer and a prize drops out …  I give money and a blessing drops out.  I DO and he answers.  When in truth HE DID, because anything I do falls short of His glory.  To love Him is to see how much he loves me.  To love Him is to see the price paid on the cross for my eternal salvation.  To love Him is to want HIM, not the stuff this broken world has to offer in temporary satisfactions.

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;

6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things

–  2 Corinthians 6: 4-10

In half truths, my expectations are based on a lie.  But in THE TRUTH I can run my race with endurance, remembering that Christ suffered for me, and as He sanctified himself, He prayed to the Father that I would too be sanctified (made perfect through this process)…  I am in this world but not of this world…  This world is not my home.  and there lies the blessed hope of what is yet to come.  And in that, I can say, “Thank you Jesus”, not because I’m comfortable today… but because I know there will come a day when the sun of righteousness appears with healing in its wings and my Lord and Savior will return with the promise that he purchased and paid in full with His righteous blood.

JESUS is ENOUGH.  I could watch this video everyday and raise my eyes to the Heavens in thanksgiving for my Savior.  <3

 

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Jesus on The Cross – A Wicked Generation Seeks a Sign

The first 3 hours of Jesus on the cross, was passed with a great amount of chatter by those witnessing his crucifixion.  In all 4 Gospels we see a picture of a great crowd mocking and laughing as they spoke about Him and to Him.  Did they do this because they did not believe?  This is an interesting scenario because these people testified of his words, his miracles and then requested proof by “their standards – what was acceptable to them”.  And these words written of weren’t just ANY people, either.

In Mathew 27:41, the scene is set and he describes people passing by, shaking their heads, saying “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  They knew the words of Jesus… which means, they were THERE or witness to a certain event that took place when Jesus spoke these very words to them as it written in all the gospels…  So going back, Jesus went Into Jerusalem, into the temple courts, where he found them selling stuff in exchange for money… Where?  IN THE TEMPLE COURTS – the Holy Place, where the people served God – it was corrupted with buying and selling.  And so Jesus drove them out of there and turned the tables upside down and told them who were selling doves, STOP making my Father’s house a place of merchandise. (John 2:17).  It’s interesting that many describe the symbolizing of a “dove” among the Israelites as the “spirit of God”…  Were they selling the spirit of God to make money?  And Jesus said, (Mathew 21:13), “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”  So at that time, they challenged Jesus who had corrected them and said, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?”… It’s like they were saying, “why should we listen to you?… Prove to us that you have the authority to tell us we can’t make money in the temple”….They seeked a sign and Jesus simply answered with this, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  But he spake of the temple of his body. – John 2:21… 

So back to the cross… Who were the people walking by wagging their heads saying, “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”??  Well, it would seem they were the same people that were standing in the temple courts (the Holy Place) making money off of God’s things – the ones who had AUTHORITY over the religion of the jews to do what they wanted in the temple – they were setting the rules, making the standards and MAKING A PROFIT off of God.  And they probably didn’t appreciate Jesus coming on the scene, busting up their show and demanding “you stop doing this in my Father’s house.”  So they were angry.. perhaps offended by Him.. or maybe they just didn’t like HIS way.. the way of selflessness and meekness…. but did they BELIEVE He was who he says He is?

In the accounts of the conversation taking place at the cross, along with those wagging their heads and mocking him, it’s identified that “Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said” – we have another description of who was leading this wolf pack of mockers who stood against Jesus.  They were the leaders of the church, at that time, (if it’s OK to call it a church – it was at that time the leaders of the religious people)….. The elders… the scribes…  THE CHIEF PRIESTS?  And what did they have to say?….

“He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” (Mathew 27:42)

They are testifying of the signs and wonders of Jesus Christ.  They saw him save people… they saw him heal people.. they saw the power of GOD in Him… yet they stand against him, mock him and STILL SEEK A SIGN.  It’s like everything Jesus did that was good made them more violently seek the demise of Jesus, and so they threw a testimony with an accusation at him, basically saying, “We KNOW he saved others and did all these amazing things but if HE’S REALLY THE KING, he would save himself.”  Why is that?  Is a King supposed to exhalt himself?… take the gifts of God and use them for self-gain – as they were selling God for money and Jesus taught that what they were doing was wrong.  The one and only true King chose to lay down his life as the ultimate gift of God… and they rebuked that example… Why is that?

Mathew 16:4, Jesus says – “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” And he left them, and departed.

What sign are we seeking?…  Sometimes I wonder if we look for the evidence of Jesus Christ living in us the same way these people did – “Jesus, if you’re really who you say you are, make me rich and healthy and give me a life full of all the finer things…. EXHALT me, and then I’ll believe you”…

It seems like lately, the thing that moves me most emotionally, is reading or hearing of testimonies from others who have found Jesus, through their suffering.  I can relate to that – I know HIS power to plant the good seed inside the fertile soil of a broken heart – deep into the core of everything that had to be broken into pieces and emptied of everything, in order to be filled with HIM….. Just like his flesh had to be broken… before he was raised back up… ahh, the simplicity of the truth.

There’s a song that I found recently called “Give me Faith”…  The Lyrics go like this..

I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life
All I am, I surrender
I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me
All I am, I surrender
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

We seek knowledge… we seek self-proclaimed righteousness..  we seek control over the gifts the Lord has granted us..  and we seek to show signs of HIM through what we achieve… when the only choice that ever was and ever will be is SURRENDERING OURSELVES COMPLETELY TO HIM.

Matt Chandler said in one of his sermons I watched recently, “If this doesn’t make sense to you that’s ok.. it just means you haven’t bled enough yet.”   Father thank you for the ONE who bled for us, even as we bleed too.. but because HE ROSE.. we are risen with HIM.

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God is in control of ALL THINGS!

When something tragic happens, it seems that this mental struggle begins, we try to make sense of it – to exercise cause and effect and to reach a conclusion that answers the question “why”…  Over the last two years, I’ve had many offer advice to me from what seems to be a place of concern and good intent – in effort to answer the “why” and perhaps they are just trying to protect my faith and beliefs in a God that is good.

These statements usually sound something like this, “God had nothing to do with what happened to your husband.”  Or… “the enemy attacked your family, but God can step in and do something good with the bad situation.”….  Other types of advice I’ve received, address the question “how do i fix this”.. as I’ve had many reach out to pray for us delivering messages such as, “Lord please remove the sin in their lives that is blocking this healing”…. and “Jodi when you have faith, then Josh will be healed.”…..

I have been given the answers to these questions, and many more as it pertains to the struggles in my life.  The Lord directly told me WHY Josh had a stroke.  He truly did.  And I’m thankful everyday for that revelation.  And over the course of 2 years He’s continued to answer questions that have weighed on my mind most of my life.  He’s revealed to me why I didn’t have a dad.  He’s revealed to me why I struggled with depression and attempted suicide at the age of 17.  The Lord has even revealed to me that my faith is HIS WORK, not mine.  I can’t wake up and just “decide” to will myself to have enough faith to see a miracle.  You know the beautiful thing is, I have seen miracles in the moments I least expected – in moments when I was so empty and so defeated that HE was able to work in me because Jodi (my thoughts and ideas) had exited the building and provided Him with a vessel of lowliness and utter surrender.  HE is the finisher of our faith.

I know in my heart, the Lord had me write that book to address, through the testimony he gave me some of these questions, and I believe that the Lord is delivering this testimony to those who He sends it to.  It’s not my book, it’s His and I don’t try to control who reads it, yet I continually get confirmation from the Lord that He’s doing a work with it – people who are hurting and walking in our shoes asking these very difficult questions, continue to reach out to me and I know the Lord’s fingerprint is written all over these encounters.

But the others who cross our path and mean well, and want to help, as they deliver advice that goes against the very words the Lord spoke directly to me… what is the purpose in that?  I don’t know, but I do know there is purpose.  Maybe we will continue to be used by God in ways we can’t even yet understand.. i know our story isn’t over, and i know He has us here because He’s still working on us, working through us (he is the author of our story and the finisher of our faith)..  But in this season, I feel the Lord showing me repeatedly that we will serve what we fear – a frightening reality of what it means to the Fear the things of this world vs. Fearing the Lord, and I see a struggle taking place among many, questioning if He is in control of everything.  So much heartbreak I feel when I sense that people are fearing the enemy – read about Leviathan in Job 41 – a beast that GOD created and GOD controls, (also referred to as king of the proud).  Look at the story of Job and the awful things he endured.  Could Satan go destroy Job’s life by his own authority?  No… he couldn’t touch Job without first gaining permission from the Lord, and even then he was given perimeters as God said he could not kill him.  God was completely in control at all times and at the end of Job’s suffering and at a time where Job submitted yet again to the Sovereign God of the universe (corrected for questioning God and seeking control of the outcome of his own life), God then restored all things to Job and much, much more.  Some say, well yeah, but that was before Jesus rose from the cross.. You know it’s interesting that Jesus asked the Father to take that cup from him – the suffering that he was about to endure, but then submitted to the Father in the same breath, saying “YOUR will be done”…  It wasn’t the enemy’s will – the enemy presented in Peter when Peter rebuked Jesus for saying he would soon suffer and be killed.  It was GOD’s will for Jesus to complete his work on the cross… and ironically this cup that Jesus asked the Father take from him… well the disciples spoke to Jesus about that cup.. and Jesus said to them, “You know not what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They said unto him, We are able.” (Mathew 20: 22-23), and Jesus answered them and said, “You shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized.”

And I ask this question… After our Lord Jesus rose, Did God not know that every single apostle would go through great trials and suffering?  Was it not God himself that spoke about the Apostle Paul when he said this to Ananias – “For I will shew him how great things he must SUFFER for my name’s sake.”  Why did Paul have to SUFFER GREAT THINGS?  If you read in Acts 9, the Lord explains that Paul was a “chosen vessel to bear HIS name.”…  It’s just not about us..  It’s all about HIM.  HIs name is to be reverenced, respected, feared, and adored among all and to those who he has called according to his purpose, He promises that all things will work for our good – good is an outcome (not a journey).  And those he has called according to his purpose were never promised an easy life – quite the opposite.  The Lord said we would suffer affliction and trials and persecution and the list of these hardships goes on and on.  But He promises to deliver us, as HIS WORD will be performed (and all that HE allows to manifest in our lives), as we can be sure this race “that we must run with patience” (Hebrews 12:1), and consider what Jesus endured, so that we do not “be wearied and faint in our minds” (Hebrews 12:3), will do it’s perfect work in us and that in all things HIS NAME will be glorified.  And when it’s all said and done..  we will be with HIM.

Romans 8:38 – “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul said those words – a man that faced persecution, was beaten nearly to death multiple times, shipwrecked over and over again, imprisoned and he died NOT a rich man (in this world), with health, wealth, riches and fame – No… Paul suffered many things for the sake of the Lord’s name, just as God said he would.  But none of what he endured could separate him from the LOVE OF GOD, which is in CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.

It’s a story more beautiful than anything we can think up – the knock off’s as told in tales of Rome and Juliet.  A perfect ending to a plot full of twists, turns, many scars and a LOVE that conquers all of it.

When I’m presented with a position from multiple people on the same subject (back to back), i start seeking the Lord, asking Him what he wants me to do with it.. Well, I believe He’s telling me to testify.  And testify again and again and again as long as He keeps me here and allows my lungs to breath in the air that he provides me. And I pray daily that He gives me the strength of Jesus to do that.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Mathew 10:28

FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM.  HE’S ON THE THRONE!!!  HE IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND ALWAYS, FOREVER MORE.  HE IS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH.  JESUS AND JESUS ALONE IS WORTHY TO OPEN THE SEALS THAT BRING GREAT TROUBLE UPON THIS EARTH AND THE ALPHA AND OMEGA DOES NOT DRIVE AN AMBULANCE……  HE KNEW US BEFORE WE WERE EVEN FORMED IN OUR MOTHER’S WOMBS AND HE SANCTIFIED US FROM THE BEGINNING!

Thank you Lord for your mercy and guidance and LOVE.  In all that hurts me and all that pains me and all that I’ve lost and all that I’ve suffered through…  I PRAISE YOUR NAME and I thank you for the works you’re doing that my human mind struggles to understand.  My hope is in Jesus and I know that all I suffer through in this temporary place (the things in the seen) aren’t worth comparing to the Glory you will reveal in the unseen (the eternal things.  I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me…   <3

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Correcting What We Don’t Understand… He ordains How We Perceive when Pride is Surrendered

From the 3rd hour to the 6th hour, as Jesus was on the cross, those who looked upon Him were caught in a place of great confusion.  They didn’t understand how the Son of God, who was the dearly beloved of the Heavenly Father would be so broken.  They didn’t understand how the Son of God, given such power in the heavenly things and supernatural to save others before their own eyes, could not save himself.  They didn’t understand how the example that they would all witness would defy logic in carnal minded thoughts, demonstrating God’s ways that are incomprehensible to our ways.

As they all got it wrong… as they looked to the things of the “seen” instead of the unseen and as they swallowed the demonstration of fleshly separation without comprehension, Jesus made no effort to correct them.  He didn’t explain it.  He didn’t argue it.  He didn’t look down upon them and say, “no, you’ve got it all wrong,” as they clinged to the comforts of a lie that only the flesh could perceive as good.  He remained silent and allowed them to scoff in wonderment and make jokes about the occurrence they couldn’t behold.  The Great Teacher was done teaching with words.

Only one (in the flesh) did he speak to throughout his time on the cross – the sinner on the cross beside him.  As his eyes could see, this criminal next to Jesus (one who was also suffering on a cross) realized that he deserved the cross, but Jesus did not.  He saw that he was unworthy of anything but death and asked for mercy from THE ONE who took on this suffering and DID NOT deserve death – he said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  What did he see?  Why was the only one in all of those present that was given understanding of how awful he himself was, and how holy Jesus was and why was the criminal the only one that could see past the broken, bloody, body of Jesus and gaze upon “the kingdom”… asking the Lord to have mercy on Him when he arrives at his place of destiny.  And the only words Jesus spoke to any of them while he was on the cross, he spoke in a promise to this sinner… this criminal.. this man who was suffering and admitted, “I deserve this… but you don’t Jesus.. you don’t deserve this..”..   He turned to that man and proclaimed..  “Today, you shall be with me in paradise.”

From that time (the 6th hour) to the ninth hour a darkness came over the land.  And nothing in any of the gospels was written about this time, in terms of testimony.  No one spoke..  No one mocked.. No one laughed any longer.  But at the ninth hour, Jesus spoke again.  Four gospels give different account of the words spoken, yet in 2 of them the “perceived” message was demonstrating something similar.  For some, the words written by David in Psalms 22 were confirmed.  And in the Gospel of John the words “it is finished” were recorded.

As the mysteries continue to unfold in the Living Word of God, I feel the Lord speaking to me about perception.  As Moses followed God’s instruction in going before Pharaoh with Aaron, God also was in control of Pharaoh’s perception of things, (hardening his heart so that he would respond accordingly to God’s will).

And so often I wonder how so many of us can read the same scripture and be given different meaning (different perception)… He is the one that lifts the scales from our eyes.  He is the one that determines what happens in every event, on every day or every hour or every minute in every life that he created.  He is the light but he also created the darkness – all with purpose according to HIS will.  And even Satan used the word of God as a tool to tempt the very Son of God Jesus Christ – as Jesus gave an answer “it is ALSO written” with understanding of the perception, in which we all who love the Lord labor to gain.

The Word says that “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom”… It’s also written that Leviathan is the king of the proud.  I may not understand much… but I thank the Lord for continuing to give me understanding of how small I am.. how wrong I am.. how unworthy I am.. and how I know NOTHING unless he revealed that thing to me…  and in that I thank Him for showing me the words of this criminal…this sinner… who suffered on the cross next to Jesus and first spoke of FEAR:

1 – “Do you not fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation?”….

Then, he spoke of his own unrighteousness and filth.. knowing he was not good.. knowing he deserved punishment..

2 – “And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds:”

And only after he feared the Lord and then saw his own sinful nature and confessed that he was deserving of nothing good..  could he see the perfection of Jesus…

3 – “but this man hath done nothing amiss.”

And finally… he asked Jesus for mercy and help…

4 – “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Three hours.. of all those people talking and wondering and accusing and scoffing.. and only ONE was made worthy to receive the promise… this sinner… as Jesus answered his heartfelt request and said this..

5 – “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, Today shall you be with me in paradise.

Only one got to join Jesus in paradise that day…..  The one that Feared the Lord, saw his own disgusting fleshly nature, repented, and saw the perfection of Jesus and then.. received mercy and the promise.

Why was the suffering sinner the only one that was given the perception of understanding? Why was he the only one yelling out “you fools, don’t you get it?  don’t you understand you are UNDER THE SENTENCE OF CONDEMNATION?”… Don’t you fear the Lord?… But they couldn’t see it the way he did…  I guess they thought they were doing good because they were safely on the ground suffering nothing.. comfortable in their own skin (making fun of the very one who was absorbing sin on the cross).. Only God knows why we all see things so differently.  Father help us all <3

 

Heavenly Father, I ask you to battle pride for me with each new day and let no pride remain in me.  I ask you to help me to never use your word as weapon to correct, condemn or mock others – to understand that our perception is found in what you ordain as we seek you and chase after you, begging for your mercy upon our lives.  Lord I thank you for chastening us as sons and daughters and breaking our flesh and our hearts so that you can then dwell within us.  Lord please guide me down the narrow path in meekness, with a broken and contrite spirit, where you draw near to me.  Father, I ask you to give me faith and more faith, even when I don’t understand and even when I’m hurting.  Lord, help me to see that the broken things are part of your plan and to not judge another’s walk as this sinner, who found you in his suffering and pain was made able to surrender to you, to FEAR you and to see his own ugliness and worthlessness in order to see the perfection of Jesus on that cross.  I know the path to paradise comes only through the perfection of Jesus and by nothing that I could ever achieve on my own.  Thank you for showing me how unworthy I am and for loving me enough to save a sinner like me.  Thank you for your love and mercy and Father I pray for all hearts to come to you and see the perfection that’s only found in your Son Jesus Christ.

 

Brainstorm – He Scatters the Proud in the Imaginations of their Own Hearts

We are taught at an early age how to brainstorm – an exercise of collecting ideas and generating solutions.  In January of last year, I journaled about the definition of brainstorm, understanding that the Lord was trying to show me something with this word, but not yet sure of the meaning.  Here is what I recorded:

“Brainstorm – sudden impulse or idea, a fit of mental confusion or excitement”

Today, as I turned to this old page in my journal, I received a scripture immediately from the Lord:

Luke 1:51 “He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their own hearts.”

When I used to think of the word proud, I associated this word with egotistical or narcissist… someone who is arrogant.  But through the transformation process of the Lord revealing my own sicknesses to me, this word “proud” cut through my heart like a sword.  Pride is self-reliant, a person who can research, fact-find and yes BRAINSTORM to find a fix to every problem they face.  This was me.  In fact, that very word brainstorm played a significant role particularly in my professional life throughout my 16+ years working in marketing.  Give me a challenge and I will brainstorm through ideas and information to come up with solutions.  The gift of creative thinking is beautiful, right?  Maybe, but in this context, dangerous.  This tool poured out into my personal life and I became the woman that could find a solution anything and everything.  At least I thought this was true until I was shown otherwise in an earth shaking, paradigm shifting revelation of truth – brought down to my knees in complete surrender God.  I learned that I was the proud.  And, even though the Lord removed this boulder that was lodged deep into my heart, I’m still struggling now to rid of the remnant – the little splinters that continue to surface from time to time.

Think about a storm…  Can you see that storm with the winds swirling and roaring in Luke’s remark “He scattered the proud in the imagination of their own hearts” – the imagination spinning as fast as your brain can go, searching through dark, chaotic clouds for the answer we seek…  The heart speaks of what we desire and the imagination is the vehicle of thoughts and ideas that aim to lead us to these desires.  So what are we desiring and why do we often find ourselves scattered in our thoughts – desperately seeking solutions and strategies to achieve what we want?

When the disciples were in the boat in the middle of a raging storm, they became worried and fearful.  They woke up Jesus, who was sleeping peacefully and they screamed out, “Lord, Do you not even care that we will perish?”  Here they are in the middle of this horrific storm, feeling like their boat was about to be overtaken by the roaring waves and worried about how to save themselves.  Jesus woke and simply rebuked the storm.  He did away with it – calmed the waves and the wind and the rain.

Instead of BRAINSTORMING for solutions when we feel like we need an answer, what if we just hand the wind and rain to Jesus and ask HIM to handle it for us?

Instead of searching our hearts for the desires that we THINK we need to obtain, what if we just lay down our pride at the feet of our Father and trust HIM to determine what we need?

I was taught how to brainstorm in group projects as early as I can remember, (elementary school).  The Lord continues to un-teach me the ways of the world and seek HIM to be my teacher.  If your thoughts feel like a scattered mess of images and ideas, maybe you can join me in handing over these splinters to God and asking him to heal them with the blood of the lamb.

God Bless you All <333

 

Faking Faith – Will you be made whole?

It’s my choice to be made whole, according to my interpretation of the question Jesus delivered to the man who stood outside of the troubled waters.  In digesting this idea too many times and different ways to even keep up with in myself, I’m brought again to the truth of how powerless I am, outside of His will for me.  I see the truth mingling with philosophies of the world, creating a barrier to true freedom in Christ.

Can I will myself to be healed?  It’s a question that can easily be agreed with and supported by scripture.  Faith is a decision that leads to healing and freedom.  But if I am the point, then why did Paul recognize that he himself is no longer living, but it is now CHRIST who lives within him.  If my pain is the focus and my deliverance is the goal, then I have to ask myself, who am I?  Why am I so special?  Why does everything that I do and seek end up posturing my importance within my own thoughts?

The Lord said, “Seek the Kingdom first and then all things will be added unto you.”  In seeking myself – the wants and needs of me, I seem to error over and over again.  Brought back to the same place, begging for freedom, healing and deliverance – wondering why this promise seems so hard to receive in the natural.  Perhaps the natural is the problem that I wrestle to get rid of.

Yesterday I watched a video about the power that lives in us.  The purpose of the video was to communicate that we have the power to receive whatever we desire by adopting a mindset.  Biblical principles, yet something unsettling lingered in the message – perhaps the absence of Christ.  As it is written, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. – John 10:1.

HE is the way!  And when I woke up this morning, the first scripture I was presented with was this..

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. – Galatians 5:13

So what does it mean?  Perhaps true freedom and liberty is found in the release of self – casting away of my desires and wants, for the will of my Father.  Can all of me be removed, so that I can be filled up with all of Him?  Can I remain in peace and comfort all the days of this life, based on my own experiences and personal gains – or will the brokenness of others be a constant reminder of what my heart truly desires?  When the layers of me are peeled away and my eyes are opened to see truth, I see a bigger picture of who I am.  I see the connection that places me deeply rooted with the lives of others – their wants, their needs, their sorrows and their cries.

Father today I ask for real liberty, YOUR liberty, not the manufactured will of my own attempts at perfect faith – but the true faith that is given by you, and that my request not be in vanity for my own gain.  But Lord I pray that ALL the captives may be set free by the saving grace of you, our Father, by the blood of our Savior – the WORD and the REDEEMER who paid the ransom for our souls.  Lord I pray that your Kingdom come and that your perfect will, rooted in your unfailing love for us be done on our Earth as it is in Heaven.  Father I pray that I not be exalted above my brothers and sisters in Christ – but Lord that we, as one body are exalted together – healed, set free, redeemed, comforted and MADE WHOLE, lacking nothing and wanting nothing – but brought into the fullness of your riches and glory that you have prepared for us.  Heavenly Father please impute to us the Faith and help us with our unbelief as we face this world seeking your loving hand and your protective shield.  Lord I thank you for guiding us and keeping us in your hands – that no weapon formed against us can prevail and that not one will be lost.

In the powerful name of Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus Christ of Nazareth

Review of PRICELESS – New Movie with For King and Country

This is one of the best faith based movies I’ve seen, and I highly recommend this film for a number of reasons.  For starters, PRICELESS doesn’t seek to deliver opinionated doctrine – there are no debates in the word of God delivered to viewers.  This film represents real struggles that many of us face with our faith.  And these struggles are real-world trials that believers of Jesus walk through each day, living inside of a broken world.

The plot (based on a true story, as noted in the introduction), joins together characters who are all facing great tragedy and loss.  A young man who recently lost his wife, followed by having his daughter taken from him, is battling to find himself in a world that doesn’t seem to make sense to him anymore.  He crosses paths with two young women who have been ripped away from their father’s hands, to be delivered into the wolf’s den.  The older sister believes in God and knows He is with her always.  Yet, her faith doesn’t protect her from physical trials – from traveling through the fire, so to speak.   When the troubled young man hears an inner voice inside of him, he’s faced with a life changing decision to walk by faith not by sight.  But he’s not alone in his pursuit as another troubled character (a man who lost his daughter), enters the scene to provide him guidance and wisdom along the way.

I’m not going to spoil the movie for anyone reading this.  I just want to say this… Lives are lost and deep scars were created throughout the stories of these characters.  This is not a fairy-tale journey of finding Heaven on Earth for anyone involved.  Like the lives of the apostles and the disciples, these souls all walked through great tribulation.  The happy ending is revealed in God’s glory – HIS perfect plan to reveal purpose even in our pain.

The actors were phenomenal.  PRICELESS is not a budget film and the message was well received.  I highly recommend this movie to anyone and everyone as a beautiful demonstration of how our Almighty Creator has his hand in everything – the good and the bad times that we experience throughout life.  Like a masterful puzzle that our Lord constructs with great meaning, we are told that we will suffer many afflictions in this life, but that ALL THINGS WORK FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.

PRICELESS the movie is available on DVD and also through most digital providers, such as Apple Itunes and Amazon.  I’d love to read your comments and hear your feedback after you watch it.

http://pricelessthemovie.com/