Everywhere we turn right now, we’re shunned and judged by something or someone.  It doesn’t matter how you dress, talk, walk, where you’re from, what color skin you have or what you believe in – there’s an opposition so strong and so loud, it’s nearly impossible to ignore.

Recently, I found a friend that I’d never felt more kindred with – a friend I’ve known yet not known for most of my adult life.  The feeling of being accepted, wanted and understood I had yearned for and in a moment of weakness, this friend seemed like a savior to me.  So much so, I truly believed with all of my heart that God had sent him into my life as an angel to help bring me back to life – remind me that I’m not crazy, not used up, not condemned and worth so much more than what I’d been led to believe by the surroundings that had imprisoned me for years.

Fast forward nearly 3 years and I find myself feeling the spirits of condemnation, control and judgement from the very places that once felt like home – the old and the new – the blood tied relationships that had fostered me through my entire life, as well as the new connections that had made me feel alive again in this place that has never felt like home.

I walk through each day just wanting to cry….

Jesus we need you.

Angie asked me to write because it’s been so long since I have.  It’s not that I don’t want to share updates with her followers or that I’m not interested in trying to encourage people who are going through tough times – quite the opposite, I would love to be able to do that.  I just don’t feel like I can encourage anyone right now – namely myself.  The Lord says that he will give back everything that the enemy has stolen from us. And on the outside, I’m thankful because I do see that manifesting – I can even go as far as to say that I do feel HE is restoring me physically, (outwardly).  I have nothing to complain about right now.  I feel great, I’m taking care of myself for the first time in ages, my kids are good, I live in a beautiful home and have a great career and life is much more simplistic and weightless than it has been in a very long time. But on the inside, I’m completely lost.  I have no idea who I am and I say that in effort to run away from what I really think I am, which is nothingness and emptiness. I feel like a bottle that’s been poured out and there’s just nothing left – no more content – I have nothing more to give. Everything that the human brain contributes to our ability to heal ourselves just doesn’t seem to work on me anymore. All these self-help ideologies are like clinging symbols, making noise with no substance… And I think I could accept even that if I could just live inside of the separation, accepting my own duality with some clarity that protects me from what I never wanted to know, yet I’ve known all along.

In three of the gospel accounts, Christ said that we would be hated by the world for his sake. I’ve tried to wrap my thoughts around what that truly means and usually end up seeing only the acts – which could never be accurate because He made it clear that what seems good will be quite the opposite, (and the do’ers are told to depart from him), meaning this is an internal and spiritual warfare – never on the outside and never visible to the human eye or any other human senses. Angie often speaks of an interpretation regarding a “stench” not detected by the human nose – but it’s like a vibe or an energy that is perceived without reasoning as we cross paths with one another. And this very powerful spiritual fragrance (for lack of a better explanation) results in love or hate. So going back to what Jesus spoke in all of the gospels about being hated of the world, perhaps this is what it’s like to perceive the separation he spoke of. I see the evidence of not belonging here as I’ve seen it my entire life.  But now, I’m experiencing it all over again in a way that is much more intense than ever before. I’m losing faith in absolutely everything – piece by piece.  And it seems like I’m in this process of these false ideas being stripped away – everything that was once hidden being revealed to me (Luke 8:17), and with each new layer that’s pulled back and exposed, I lose a little bit more faith…. In goodness.. in humanity… Especially in myself.  Luke 14:26 says “If someone wants to follow me and doesn’t hate his own father and mother and wife and children AND EVEN HIS OWN LIFE, he cannot be my disciple” – that’s what Jesus said, not me.  You won’t hear that scripture preached in your local church today. And I thought I knew what this meant and I thought I was walking it out everyday – laying my life down for others and selflessly sacrificing ME to do what I thought Jesus would want me to do.  Basically, I’ve been putting God inside of my debt – “he owes me because I’m such a great person with such a beautiful loving heart”… the words I would never say but that’s how I felt inside – earning my keep… working hard to achieve righteousness.  I cared for the sick, and I ministered to prisoners and evangelized to kids and gave to the poor and all the while I had one foot inside of the grave because while I was walking and talking this hypocrisy, like I’m holier than others… I was utterly and completely self destructing from inside out. 

Is that was God wants for us? Paul said this in Romans 7… he said “I don’t understand what I’m doing.. What I want to do, I don’t do. But what I HATE – that’s what I do… And if I do what I don’t want to do, then I agree that the law is good. As it is, it’s no longer ME who is doing it, but it’s the sin that is living in me.  For I know that GOOD DOES NOT DWELL IN ME, that is my sinful nature.”  And he repeats this to elaborate further, painting a picture of a separation that he could see in himself.  The opposite of hypocrisy is to see myself for what I truly am and stop pretending that I’m “good”… because I’m just simply not.  My flesh is just as sinful as the next person’s.. I’m not better than anyone and no matter what I’ve done or given of myself, I’m still no better off than I was the day I entered this world – as it is written, “naked I came from the wound and naked I shall return”..

In the life of Solomon we see a man who achieved everything a person could achieve here on earth – wealth, fame, women, power,.. and in the end he said “it’s all vanity – it’s all MEANINGLESS”… If you read this text again and again, a sense of sadness will likely come over you – a realization that everything here is pointless… that you can achieve and buy and win and keep winning but you will never be satisfied internally.  So where am I at today?  I guess I’m somewhere between Paul and Solomon’s most cryptic testimonies – throwing my hands up and saying “what’s the point?”…. trying to embrace the fact that I am completely and utterly empty and maybe it’s OK to be empty?  Maybe it’s OK to recognize my own sinful nature and HATE MYSELF (Luke 14:26) before a God that is Holy and with a faith that doesn’t rely upon anyone or anything (especially ME).. but a faith that sees the good in nothing… except HIM.

Shamefully yours….. Jodi <3

One of the milestones that we often pride ourselves on are relationship goals – anniversaries in particular. I’ve always admired couples who make it in marriage for the long haul. It’s funny, the only ones in my family to surpass 50 years of marriage were my Granny and Papa. And shortly after that anniversary, my Granny started talking about getting a divorce. It seemed so senseless and almost comical. Why would someone wake up in their 70’s and suddenly begin complaining about a marriage that she had lived through for her entire adult life? I didn’t take her seriously. I’m not sure any of us did. I thought maybe it was her medication talking or some sort of chemical imbalance in her brain from the illnesses she had battled for so long. But aside from the “why” I was most intrigued by the “why now?” I wondered why a person would quit something that they had clearly done right. Why give up on an achievement that so few will ever accomplish?. Just seeing myself type “accomplish” in light of this subject makes my own skin crawl right now.

I anticipated that yesterday would be very difficult for me because yesterday symbolizes failure. Unlike my Granny and Papa, I didn’t make it to the other side of that mountain. My marriage ended just a few weeks short of what would have been our 20 year anniversary on June 17th, 2019. And it would have been really awesome to post pictures and videos and brag about hitting this huge milestone of making it 20 years in marriage. But aside from parading images of a lie, the celebration would’ve felt empty – as it has for so many years, even though I couldn’t see it. The brain is a powerful weapon working either for us or against us. And under influences of picture perfect images painted for us that display what life is supposed to look like, I’m convinced that the human brain can both imagine and create a reality inside of reality that’s not only fake, but heavy – lies are much like weight hanging from our necks – even the kind that we can’t yet see within ourselves.

Yesterday wasn’t hard, suprisingly. On the outside, I felt failure. But on the inside I felt freedom because I’m not pretending anymore. I can wear failure and be honest about what I’ve truly endured – not the fluffy fairy-tale that I had adopted for truth but the real truth. They say the truth will set you free – and I believe that HE DID come to set the captives free. Yet, how hard is it to lay down the works of our own hands and accept that freedom within our own lives?

Ultimately it’s not about failure at all… that ship’s already sailed. Failure was achieved before this little venture ever even took flight. It’s about admitting failure – that’s the hard part. But yes….. the truth will set us free.


So often, I fail to acknowledge the duality that’s woven into the journey of this short little life here – the endings that are contrary to my desire, my plan and even my beliefs. Three years to the day that I would receive divorce papers… I walked into a chapter that I wasn’t prepared for. And while most days felt like I was treading water in the middle of the ocean with only a little strength left, moments away from drowning – even in that, I still held onto hopes that were of my own – hopes that were manifestations of my imagination. I had this picture painted inside of my head of how everything would ultimately be pieced back together again one day, (by my design). Through this very difficult season, I witnessed so many miracles within – strength, patience and love that was not of my own. But I also witnessed the hypocrisy and pride within me too. Eventually it all makes it’s way to the surface and I haven’t dealt with this very well at all. Faced with betrayal, I fell victim to my own bitterness and anger. I’ve battled with unforgiveness and I’ve lost many rounds… and still counting. In conclusion, what I’ve learned is that I haven’t yet arrived anywhere. I’m still flawed, fragile and jaded – and very much in need of a Savior. I’ve also learned that I’m not HE. I am not qualified to save anyone… especially myself. The Lord says that what HE BRINGS TOGETHER, no man can tear apart. So, I have to believe that His hand wasn’t in the formation of my marriage… Either that, or it’s just a season that’s ran it’s course and served its purpose in the realm of mortality and temporal belonging – as “there is a time for everything”…. As this chapter has reached its end and a new one now begins, I hope to do a better job of accepting that things will not likely ever work out to my plans… that I’ll have good days and bad days too. I will embark upon new beginnings and I’ll also face endings that I wasn’t expecting… but in all things, HE IS STILL ON THE THRONE…. and even when it doesn’t feel like it.. everything is going to be ok…

Ecclesiastes 3. — There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

— Jodi

I understand that the flesh can be very powerful when it needs something. I’ve laid helpless many nights, feeling like if I could just get rid of the pain, all would be alright. And in those moments of desperation, I’m quite sure that I’d do just about anything to feel better. Anything but hurt someone else.

The Lord said that we should pray that we are not tempted. I don’t pretend to understand the depth of wickedness that can enter into a person when temptation takes control. But I know that He’s the only one that can safeguard us from such. I know that I’m no better than anyone, unless he decides to make it so. And so the question I often ask myself is, do we have a choice in the matter at all?

I think the answer is yes. I think the Lord shows us who He is, maybe not always in the ways we would expect him to appear. But in our troubled times, particularly, I believe He’s with us. I believe he is the hand that helps us to get back up when we’re laying wounded on the ground. I believe he is the unexpected kindness we receive from a stranger. I believe he’s the love and compassion that pours into us even when we deserve the opposite. He’s mercy when we deserve to be condemned. He’s comfort when we deserve to be abandoned. He’s forgiveness when we don’t even know how to ask for such. He appears to us and sometimes even through us and both when we’re in need or when we’re a vessel used by him tending to another’s need, we can see Him if we choose to do so. We can say yes to His goodness and open hearts to receive of Him.

Tonight I’m sad. I want to be angry and I think I even should be angry. But mostly, I’m just sad. And I wonder how the Lord feels about how I feel. And I’m reminded that HE KNOWS. Christ, above all knows what it feels like to be betrayed. As the very ones that should have been thanking him, were yelling out “crucify him!”.. As the very ones that should’ve been defending him, were saying “I don’t know him.” As the very ones that should’ve been begging him for forgiveness were spitting on him and piercing his body…. HE KNOWS what betrayal feels like to the highest extent of the idea of such heartbreak.

In my oneness, I walk through betrayal all alone, feeling as if I’m the one that gave all I had to help another, and was treated horribly in return. But in truth, I see that this has nothing to do with me at all. This is still HIS STORY, not mine. He in me and me in Him – we are two made one and his heart feels what my heart feels and my heart feels the pain that was inflicted upon his heart and continues to be.

As awful as I feel right now, I’m thankful that I’m not in this alone, and I never will be. I’m thankful that this betrayal isn’t my burden to carry, as the actions that I did for another weren’t even mine to begin with. HIS LOVE poured out… This isn’t my battle, I’m just a set of lenses for Him to occupy in this season.

Thank you Lord for being the comfort of my broken heart tonight and for being my shield against all of these daggers that are being thrown in my direction. Thank you Lord for being my everything…. just… Thank you.

I see so many people speaking out against people, calling it God’s work – warning one another of the evil they see in something other than themselves. In the world of prophecy, it seems everyone’s looking for the beast, the antichrist, the false prophet and proclaiming knowledge of such things – fingers pointed in absolute conviction… what an interesting word.. “conviction”

For some reason it’s easy for us to look in the mirror and say, “Jesus died for ME”.. And in the essence of such, we have a tendency to draw lines between the “me” and the “them”.. No doubt there is a line but can we truly see it? What it represents? What are the two sides and if God himself said that their folly will manifest into “ALL MEN”, what eliminates me from such a category.. a category that’s described as “all.” The very first line of this description defining “their folly” says “men will be lovers of SELF”… That draws the line pretty clearly doesn’t it? Going back to that conversation in the mirror, we can see the line WE DRAW… “I deserve salvation and the wicked people over there deserve death.” Why would we even say such a thing – proclaim to belong to God while saying that others DO NOT belong to him.. do not deserve salvation… do not have the King of all Kings ruling over their path… Seriously, when did WE become God of all?

Don’t let your heart ask “Who will go to heaven?” (That brings Christ down
from above), or “Who will go to hell?” (That brings Christ up again from the dead).
— Romans 10: 6-7 —

We know Jesus is the Son of God who is THE BELOVED of His Father. Can you imagine the response of the Father if Jesus had a dying request of Him? Cause, well He did… have a dying request. Pretty much everyone knows this text. Jesus said, “Father please forgive them, they know not what they do.” Forgive who? The setting of this paints a pretty disturbing picture. Jesus was surrounded by scribes and pharisees demanding his death and roman soldiers who were carrying out the wishes of such – violently they had beaten and bloodied his body, mocked him and crucified him. And in response to their unthinkable actions, Jesus pleaded with the Father to forgive them.

Again.. who are they? We often point out in scripture that Jesus called the pharisees children of satan. He said, “you do the will of your father the devil” to such. And as far as characteristics are concerned, he called them murderers (as he called satan a murderer) and here they are proving in the flesh to be that very thing.. murderers.. And Jesus responds… “Father please forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Do you think the Father granted Jesus his dying wish? Because really isn’t that what was prophesied from the beginning? That Jesus would be the sacrifice through which sin is forgiven?

Why is it that our wishes today seem so out of alignment with the wishes of our Lord Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow? He was humble and meek but yet we stand up as fault finders and call it “God’s authority” to do such a thing. If our words and our actions are HE WITHIN US, why are we not crying out in the same voice as the one who KNEW what was operating in these pharisees and in these murderers, but he didn’t say, “Father look at these evil men! They are satan’s children, punish them!” He said nothing even remotely close to such a thing…. No… Jesus pleaded, “Father, please forgive them, they know now what they do.” And why didn’t they know what they did? The answer to that will lead us back to the mirror… but that’s for another discussion. The Lord told me there is only one good – CHRIST.. (HE is the love of God) and everyone else is either a sinner or a hypocrite.. or as I see myself… a mingling of the two. The blood of the Lamb was purposed for what exactly? If I can’t see it I’m not sure how I’d know I NEED it… and that truly brings heavy sorrow on my heart for us all.

Lord help me to see the line that only YOU can draw in the sand… Create in me Your Spirit in One Accord with the voice of YOUR SON and His precious blood that cries out “Father please forgive them.” Rid me of the blood of Abel that cries out for revenge, as you have given us SOMETHING BETTER!! JESUS!!! Father cover me in HIS blood of Agape… Help me to see Agape with spiritual eyes Father – eyes that will never exist outside of THE SON and can only be achieved if I’m placed IN HIM. As I walk in this flesh, may my flesh speak as His did and not on my own… Thank you Lord <3

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. – Mathew 5:9

When I brought Josh home from the hospital, the very first trip we made was to our church. I’d never seen him so excited to go anywhere. And it wasn’t easy to go – loading him up in the wheelchair and transferring to my yukon was a HUGE and dangerous task each time. He was in really bad shape then. We went for 3 Sundays before he said to me, “I’m not going anymore.” I remember being confused and even a little angry with him. I wondered if it was the brain damage – perhaps he didn’t understand how IMPORTANT it was for us to go to church. Nearly three years later I feel like such a fool for even thinking that I might know the way to God better than Josh could’ve…. that I might know ANYTHING about what he needed or what the Lord was doing in his life. If I had a penny for every-time I should’ve stayed out of God’s way… well there’d probably be no more pennies left on this Earth.

Recently, my good friend took over a prison ministry. She engaged me, asking if we’d like to adopt an inmate as penpals – to minister to them. She told me how amazing I would be at this based on my close relationship with Jesus. So, Josh, me and Kenna said “yes.” I took on 2 inmates and with great care I whipped out my best writing skills to preach to these prisoners through my writing. I was very confident in myself through this project – reminding myself that I’d spent nearly every hour of everyday becoming an expert in biblical things and if anyone could help these inmates, it was me… right?

I finished my letter and then asked Josh for his. To my surprise, he was done with it. I didn’t even help Josh write his letter (this is pretty amazing to those who know his medical prognosis).. Anyway, It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read and ironically it was the FIRST TIME Josh has testified of what happened to him to anyone. Sure, he tells people what happened to him on the outside. But this letter he wrote to his inmate tied the outside to what happened to him inside. My husband has never read the bible (I do mean NEVER) and as I read his letter to his inmate, I saw in his testimony the Word of God revealed with understanding that most modern theologians lack. Where does such “unlearned” wisdom come from? And ya know what’s amazing? With all my biblical jargon and creative words, my letters didn’t hold a candle next to His. Puzzling right?… but anyway… moving on..

Last week I was pretty upset and wasn’t even really sure why. Well, I do know why, but I hate to talk about it. You see, I want to go to a church on Sundays. I want to belong to a family of believers in my community and I want for me and Josh and the kids to have fellowship with others who follow Christ. But, it’s not worked out that way. Kenna and I have visited probably close to 20 churches over the last few years. The few that we thought may work out for us, we couldn’t get Josh to go with us… One church in particular we finally pressured him into visiting with us. After one sermon he very bluntly said, “Don’t ask me to go back there again because I’m not.” I didn’t put much faith in Josh’s decision making skills and honestly I was upset with him for not wanting to be part of church services with us. Funny how I’m the one that the Lord had to shake up on this subject. Well, not just me but my daughter too. Anyway, there I was feeling sad again because it was Sunday morning and I was sitting at the bar drinking coffee instead of worshiping the Lord with my family – singing songs.. I tried to watch a few online sermons and once again felt the sadness of the “shake up” the Lord had walked me through before. I know I’m not supposed to seek salvation through another’s words. I know that this thing we do is not what Jesus had in mind when he said we need to pick up our cross and follow Him. But, still I feel lonely in my walk sometimes (on the outside). Later that afternoon my good friend called and we were talking about the Lord – talking about what I was feeling – the sadness in the hypocrisy of my own desires and how alienated I feel from this so-called “Christian” thing we do here in the US. She said, “both of your inmates have written you back”. I said, “awesome, read them to me.” If I gave details, it still wouldn’t express the absolute shock of what I experienced as she read me those letters. The very questions I had just asked her – outwardly sharing how I feel and what I don’t understand about what God’s doing in my life… – those questions were answered in these letters from these inmates who had no idea what I was struggling with internally. To sum this up as bluntly as I know how to, I found Jesus in prison last Sunday. He’s there. Just as HE SAID he would be.

Mathew 25: 36-40 — I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

You see, I thought I could help them. I thought I was doing God a favor in sharing all of the wisdom He’d given me over recent years to minister to these men who’ve made horrible mistakes, ended up in prison and are in desperate need of HOPE. I could help them…. I thought.. Within the few sentences in reading my first inmate return letter it was utterly clear to me that this man who wrote this letter was closer to the Lord than I am on my best day. Better yet, He’s a vessel writing words directly FROM THE LORD.

You know why we’re cheated when we think highly of ourselves? You know why we’re cheated when we write-off “good works” as participating in some sort of organizational program to help the homeless, sick and imprisoned? Because HE’S NOT in that stuff… and I’m not saying we shouldn’t help people, I’m saying these aren’t people when we follow the example He gave. He wants us to visit HIM, (not the vessel of the prisoner or the body laying sick), that’s just a vessel that HE does and will use to bless our hearts (not the other way around). HE’S IN THERE – LITERALLY and most certainly spiritually. We aren’t the gift. HE IS. And why is it I’m so blind that I can’t see the irony in these passages that I would so pridefully exalt myself above someone sick or in prison – thinking I could do ANYTHING for them. When Jesus said HE IS THEM.

We’re only a few letters in and I’ve seen God three times so far….. Once in Josh’s letter and twice in the responses of my inmates. I’ve been looking for God in all the wrong places. Tearfully, humbled on this day.

What is antichrist? anything that testifies of anything other than Christ came into the flesh. Christ “inside” vs everything else. The fruit of these spirits will be weighted on self desire and self will – see all things that are flesh creations that war against the spirit of God.

Anything means anything including prophecy. We can have experiences and visions and prophecy and even gifts of God and not KNOW Jesus. Jesus coming inside the flesh is the only testimony that is CHRIST. Everything else is NOT Christ. Standing in front of the throne – the devil did that. Prophecy – very often given as warnings and signs of what is to take place and the devil has it, hence why in Revelation it says he went after the seed because he KNEW HIS TIME was short. Spirits saying “time is short” doesn’t pass the testing of spirits. Likewise spirits saying virtually anything EXCEPT Christ came into the flesh, is not of Christ. And of these who speak in his name, prophecy, cast out devils and perform wonders, are they deceiving and deceived one in the same? Jesus said to the pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” The father of lies does according to a will that is NOT GOD’s will – seated in lusts – self desire. The truth of all men is what resides inside of them. It’s either Christ or its not, regardless how holy or clean it may look on the outside – the only boasting it will ever do is of HIM WHO LIVES IN ME.

Is free will a gift from God? NO. The word of God says let no man say they are tempted of God. We’ve turned this into troubles and trials. If something bad happens in our lives, don’t blame God. That’s not accurate. God promises we will have trouble in this world and elaborates greatly on the refining, correcting, chastising and trials of his children. He says if you don’t face this stuff you’re a bastard – Who HE LOVES he also chastises. That is not the same thing as temptation. God did NOT give Adam and Eve free will. He said “don’t do this.” That’s instruction of HIS WILL. There is no gray area here for slack or negotiation. HIS WILL IS LIFE and HE SAID DON’T TOUCH the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He gave HIS WILL and instruction and they chose otherwise, which is a choice that leads to death. God’s will for us is that we don’t perish. That’s what HE WANTS. Yet we are perishing because of lack of knowledge – lack of FEAR of God (fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge) and lack of Jesus, which defines divine knowledge as HE IS THE TRUTH. If we walk in the LIGHT OF GOD, then our sins are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, if we do NOT walk in the LIGHT OF GOD, we are walking in death. People often say because God loves us he gave us free will. That is utterly false from the mouth of the devil himself. Because God loves us he gave us LIFE – and HIS LIFE desires for us to partake of LIFE (to be made one with Him and His Son). The devil in his subtle trickery offers free will, which leads to death.

Free Will… It’s an interesting study because it’s often spoken of as a gift from God. But where did He give it? He gave Adam and Eve Eden and everything they could desire within (except one stumbling block that was against HIS will).. Satan’s the one that offered them free will – which was to go against God’s will. But how could it be a gift when the outcome is death? Looking at something else God gave – the gift of His Son who certainly didn’t exercise anything remotely close to “free will”.. In fact the thing He spoke in just about every encounter was “I do my Father’s will.”… “I do the will of the one who sent me.” He did nothing by HIS OWN WILL and allowed no one to think otherwise. “YOU can DO.. YOU can CHANGE… YOU can ACHIEVE… You can CONQUER… YOU can –Fill in the blank with pretty much anything— and it’s a self-made throne.

A lot of sermons today are preaching free will – wrapped un in a pretty bow with the name of Christ attached to it. But it’s not of Him.  He said follow ME.  He didn’t say you could make a way, he said HE’s the only way.  He didn’t say you could have or achieve or create.  He said you can lay down your life and surrender to Him.

God is in control of every single micro-cell within His creation. and every word He spoke will come to pass according to HIS will for the glory of HIS name.

The illumination of God is repeatedly described in the scriptures as a destination of repentance.   Yet that very word so often leads us to looking outside for the revelation of Christ in our world today.  We apply what we learn in the Word of God to the activities of those who are displayed before us – whether it be family members, neighbors, celebrities or leaders who’s lives are masqueraded before us on a television screen.  We see the need for repentance in the heart of others, and we place ourselves in the judgement seat…. looking outward.  And this form of comparison almost always is birthed in pride.

Paul said his heart was full of sorrow and deep anguish.  His love was demonstrated towards his brothers and sisters in Christ and he labored for them continuously.  However the deep anguish that NEVER ceased within his heart was directed at those who were not following Christ.  He calls them his brothers and sisters too.  And the battleground in his heart, I can almost see as I read his words.  These were those that were opposing him – his enemies, so to speak.  They were the ones that were entangling his beloved believers in Christ in bondage – they harnessed the very evil that he was combating in his ministry, yet he cared deeply for them.  It’s interesting how we view enemies in the battleground of flesh and blood.  We see someone causing harm to the ones we love dearly and we go after them – we accuse them and we condemn them and we secretly call for their fall in the deepest desires of our deceitful hearts.  In one breath we marvel at the indescribable love of Christ who died for the sins of the world and then in the next we desire for that blood to be erased from “all” and only apply to the ones we choose, convincing ourselves that we can choose righteously.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus told the church of Ephesus “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”  I don’t pretend to have an answer for any of the scriptures as I believe the LIVING WORD OF GOD is a continual story between the creator an his creation, revealing truth to each of us differently as the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts the matters of our hearts in conviction and truth pertaining to us directly (individually and corporately as God sees fit).  But when I read this I’m reminded of where I had fallen – the condition of me when the Lord revealed who HE is and very disturbingly I was shown who I am too.  In those moments, my world didn’t even spin.  My life was broken so badly that nothing outside of the four walls of an ICU room even existed to me.  I didn’t care what was going on in the news or in my communities.  I didn’t care if my house was burning down back home and quite honestly it didn’t matter if the entire world was on fire outside of those windows.  Nothing mattered to me but God and the extreme pressure and burden of seeking out what He was revealing to me through the fiery trial I found myself in.  I could hardly breathe at times – so overwhelmed with grief and the burden was so heavy, I remember in the midst of some of my prayers – moments when I was crying out to God when I just wished he’d kill me.  I despised myself and the life I didn’t deserve or what to even live.

There is no looking outside when we find ourselves in that kind of illumination.  The heaviness of ourselves is more than I could bear – I didn’t have room in my heart or in my mind to find faults in anyone else.  The sins of the world felt like they were wrapped up with a shiny bow and planted directly inside of me.  I’ve never seen my own filth like that before.  I’ve never before seen my own pride against God.  I’m balling writing this right now, I’m thankful that He allows me to remember that place in my own mind – that he hasn’t allowed me to forget “from whence thou art fallen.”

If there were no one else on this Earth but me and my husband that I love very much…  Who would I look to for a demonstration of evil?  And if we walked completely in the righteousness of Jesus in a state of utter peace, would we be safe there?  Imagine a world with no more arguments, no violence or murders, no money controlling the greed of the people, no sickness or disease – NO FAULT NO BLAME and no problems whatsoever… just paradise, peace and love.  Because that’s where Adam and Eve were when the fell.  So where is the battle?  Is it outside of us?  And where is the enemy?  Jesus only spoke directly to Satan a handful of times and the last time recorded was when he addressed his beloved disciple Peter.  Satan had entered Peter’s thoughts.  And I ask myself, if one of the 12 hand selected by God himself to walk with Christ and learn from him in the flesh could be possessed by Satan, should I really deceive myself to assume that I’m qualified to judge in others within whom Satan dwells or does not dwell?… And am I safe from such an overtaking?

The conclusion I come to within myself is simply this…  I’m not better than Peter… I’d be a fool to even assume such a crazy idea.  If he can be overtaken, I’d better know that I can certainly be overtaken if not for the mercy of God to protect me from such minute by minute and hour by hour.

My prayer this morning is that the Lord help us to keep our eyes on Jesus – not to seek out evil in others and to be reminded of from whence we have fallen with a heartfelt cry to never allow us to return to that state of delusion again.  Father don’t let us be used as a device of the enemy, but instead fill us with the love that overcomes the darkness and in that, teach us how to LOVE OUR ENEMIES, battling in spirit not in in the flesh with the same unceasing anguish that Paul felt in wanting all of our brothers and sisters to come to repentance and in-line with the Father’s will that NOT ONE should perish.  Father, remind us that you are the potter and we are merely clay – dust from the ground, illuminated by a God that is no respecter of persons.  And with thanksgiving in our hearts for the mercy we receive but do not deserve, fix our eyes on the things that are lovely and pure as your word says, “to the pure, all things are pure.” – Titus 1:15.  Lord I know we live in the last hour and we all walk on very shaky ground.  Please pull us in closer to you and shield us from the temptations that we don’t have the mind-power or discernment to overcome, but only the Lord Jesus is and was and will always be our over-comer.  Let us never forget that we are here to be tested and tried and if we had overcame all that is ordained for us, we wouldn’t be here right now.  Our race continues and we need you Lord.

In Jesus name’ <3