Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Extra! Extra!!! Newsflash, Church: We Have Free Will!

The revelation hit me full speed like a basketball flying at the head of a disengaged kid in a basketball game.   

I stood there, stunned, with mouth agape at the realization that I had believed a lie.  A big, fat, elephant-sized lie.  As have many of my friends who've grown up around modern Church culture.  To cut to the chase:  I realized God has, in fact, given us free will - and, yes, including in our relationships.  Shocking to many of you.  "Uh-Duh"-ingly obvious to most everyone else on earth.  It's a revolutionary concept.  Allow me to explain.

I believe in this beautiful concept called free will.  Life is not a foregone conclusion.  Life is a free choice every day.  Yes, our eternal life and future is secured in Christ, but how we choose to live it is up to us now.

I know "free will" is trending out of fashion these days in the church like yoga pants and 70s hair, but, baby, it's time to bring free will back!

 A Bit of History

For me, I started pondering this subject years ago, when I first heard the words: 

"God told me you're my wife."  

I wish I could say that was the only time I heard that phrase lobbed at me, but I grew quite accustomed to it during a certain strange season of my life.  "Step in line, fellas," I should've said.  (I always think of come-backs a little too late...a few years too late, in this case!) 

This particular man was persuaded that I was being 'disobedient' because 'God' had told him that I was to be his wife and I just wasn't listening.  He also lived in a bus (not that there's anything wrong with that!)  He was estranged from his family.  And he held himself out to be a pastor.  He knew a lot of scripture.  He could quote the bible 'real good' and sounded darn persuasive when he did.  He wrote me letters often telling me that I was his wife.  It was kind of "cute" in a creepy sorta way...until the disembodied, threatening phone calls came in and I had to block his phone calls. 

I was just a young pup, but it didn't take me long to realize this man was hearing from someone, but he was definitely not hearing from God. (Sorry, Rich!  Didn't catch that memo.  God must've forgotten to tell me!)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me...~John 10:27.

And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."  ~ John 10:5. 

What I didn't realize then is obvious to me now: by assigning blame to God and accusing me of 'disobeying God's will,' he was actually exerting power and control over me ~ a tell-tale sign of abusers.  I mean, if God said I was to be this man's wife, how could I argue with God?!  Instead of owning it and saying he liked me, he just blamed God and didn't give me a choice in the matter.  "If it's God's will, after all, you can't blame me!" he was basically saying.  I realize now this man, knowingly or not, was guilty of emotional rape.  By playing the "God" card, he was trying to take by force my hand in marriage, which he knew he would not be given by my consent.  What a devastating breach of trust! 

The good news is: we are not helpless.  Our wills do matter.

Life is a Choice

"O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth?" ~ Galatians 3:1. (Rhetorical answer: no one!)

Good news!  We choose who and what we believe.  If someone comes up to you and says God told them (but not you!) that you are their marriage partner: you can RUN!!!  If a self-proclaimed prophet looks into the crystal ball of your future and declares your future mate, you can say "See ya, stranger!"  You don't have to follow them. 

Instead of looking into a crystal ball, how about looking into a mirror?  

You can look into the mirror and say: "I choose how I handle whatever situations come my way today."  You want to know your future?  Choose it.  You will either choose yourself, or allow those decisions to be made for you — by time, circumstance, or other people.  Voila!  Behold: your future.

It dawned on me lately that God allows us to choose whether or not to be in a relationship with Him. He doesn't force us to love Him.  He doesn't hold us at gunpoint to obey Him.  He gave us free will, so choosing to love Him would actually mean something.  Why on earth, then, would he force us to love another person 'until death do us part' without our consent?  If we can choose our relationship with Him, why on earth wouldn't He allow us to choose the other relationships in our lives?  The truth is: we do choose.  We just use God as a scape goat a lot of the time. 

If you struggle with this concept, as I did, here's some food for thought.  Let's address the romance issue in particular.  How romantic is it, really, to have someone say: "This is a foregone conclusion.  Let's get hitched. You and I have no choice in the matter."  Real sexy.  I would much rather say someday to the man I love: "you're the one I choose."  (Yes, hopefully with God's help!)  And I hope he, of his own free will, says back to me: "I choose you, too!"  That means something to me.  It's not forced, it's FREEDOM!!!  No shifting blame on God.  None of this "I had no choice in the matter, so if it sucks I have no responsibility for it."  No blame shifting!  We choose to love, or not.  

I can think of nothing more romantic than two people of their own free will choosing to come together and face the challenges of life together as one.  Not because they got peer pressured into it by guilt, fear and condemnation, but because they were motivated by genuine, authentic Love.  That's freedom, baby!!!

Free will.  It's a beautiful, wonderful thing. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Father's Love Runs Deep

No Guts, No Glory!!!

The greatest athletic feats in history were not achieved on the sidelines.  Greatness came by going that extra mile, by putting forth that last full measure of devotion, to achieve the impossible!  Today I want to share with you one such story of how a Father's love carried his son the extra mile, when his son could not carry himself.  I give you the true story of "Team Hoyt: The World's Strongest Dad':

What a Dad!  My friends, we have a Heavenly Father who went the extra mile for us, too.

What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?  ~Romans 8:31-32.

Love gives all, and then some!  

I urge you to go the extra mile(s) for others, and give beyond your means this Christmas.  Give beyond your full measure of devotion to demonstrate your love to the ones you love, and to the ones who are hard to love. (Luke 6:27-29).  Give generously of your heart this Christmas and watch the layers melt away, watch the defenses fall, and feel your tender heart beat new life again.

And be ye kind one to another, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's (the anointing's) sake, hath forgiven you.  ~Ephesians 4:32.

El Shaddai gave us His all.  The best gift we could give this Christmas is to share the gift of His love.

Love Always,


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Are You Spiritually Fit?

"We're not here to stand around and look pretty!"  my personal trainer barked.

Those were the first words out of his mouth. 

"Good!"  I replied.  'I think'....I thought to myself, squirming a little inside.  I sized up the mountain of muscle standing before me.  You could bounce a pretty penny off his cut figure and it would rebound right back to you.  This retired Air Force trainer could run laps around me and lift me up with his pinky finger.  I pondered my own petite frame in comparison, and wondered how on earth this man could make something out of me.  He didn't have much muscle power to work with, after all.

"The purpose of this training is to make you ready to handle anything at any time," he continued.

I liked the sound of that...'but how on earth am I going to get from Point A to Point B?' I wondered.

It dawned on me that I had just entered my own personal boot camp.

Practice Like You Play

We often dream of being physically chiseled, but who really wants to do what it takes to get there?  And yet, we can't bypass the growth process.  We can't just skip from Point A to Point B.  Our strengthening, our growth, occurs between Point A and Point B, and, in fact, makes us ready for Point B when we get there.

We "get" that in the natural.  If we want to look and feel good, then we eat well and exercise.  Voila!  

But how often do we work on getting ripped on the outside, while we let our spiritual selves dwindle like emaciated skeletons within? 

When it comes to spiritual things, we chow down on McDonald's (genetically altered religion or worldly pursuits) every day and don't get off our spiritual duffs to do what the Word says.  Yet, we still expect to be Olympic champions!  We still expect to overcome life's challenges and take over the Promised Land.  Then we get sincerely disappointed when things don't work out.  'What happened, God?  Where were you?' we ask, sincerely.  Yet, the scripture says: "THOSE WHO KNOW THEIR GOD will be strong and do mighty exploits (bold and daring feats)!" ~Daniel 11:32.  

If you're not seeing victories in your life, maybe you just need to know your God more.  Here's how.

Eat Well and Exercise

If I were a spiritual physician and you came to me with a bunch of your problems, I would ask you two questions:

1)  Are you eating well?

2)  Are you exercising? 

It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. ~ Luke 4:4.

First, I would ask: are you daily renewing your mind through scripture on how much God loves you?  Are you recounting how Jesus Christ died, took the keys of Hell, was risen from the dead, raised you from the dead, and seated you with Him in heavenly places, over all the works of the enemy?   (Ephesians).  Are you remembering the many mighty works God has done on your behalf?  Like given you life, breath, a family, food, clothing, not to mention countless personal answers to prayer throughout your life.  

Do you hang around life-giving people, who feed your joy rather than rob your joy?  Are you hanging with people who bring you down or lift you up?  Are you feasting on worry?  Are you feeding on the good news or bad news? 

Second, I would ask: are you exercising what you know?  Sometimes we become spiritual couch potatoes....consuming lots of scripture, but never doing what the Word says.  We become fat and feeble, unable to lift a spiritual finger when we meet the least bit of resistance.  We can quote the whole New Testament, but we don't do what it says, and, therefore, we don't see good results.  (Luke 6:46).

James 1:22-25 says: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was.  But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

There are a lot of Church people standing around looking pretty, but who couldn't lift a finger spiritually if they met the least bit of resistance in life.  Going to church in and of itself makes you no more spiritually fit than going to the gym, standing there, and admiring the weights from afar off will make you physically fit.  It's only when we pick those weights up, when we exercise what we learn, that we start seeing results.  Get to know your God and do like He does, and you'll get His results every time!

"Be Combat Ready"

Notice how I didn't say: "read a chapter a day" or follow a bunch of arbitrary, self-imposed rules.  No, this is not about you.  This is about renewing your mind to who God is and what He did.  We are called to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10), not strong in ourselves.  Let the weak say, "I AM strong!" (Joel 3:10).

Like Joshua and Caleb in the Old Testamanent, you too will say to the obstacle before you right now, "We are well able to overcome it!"  And you, too, will possess the Promised Land.  Why could they say that?  The other Israelites were quaking in their boots at the thought of facing the giants inhabiting the Promised Land, and so they didn't enter in.  But Joshua and Caleb knew their God, they had a revelation that "greater is He who is in me than He who is in this world" (1 John 4:4).  And so they conquered.  They did mighty exploits.  And so will you.

Get in the Game!

Get off the bench and get in the game!  If you want to win in this life over financial lack, broken relationships, depression, fear, anxiety, death, and whatever else ails you, then practice like you play.  Do it every day: remind yourself that God made you victorious in Christ.  Remind yourself that God cannot be defeated.  Remind yourself that God never fails.   Remind yourself that if God be for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31).     

As we grow up in Him, we'll be combat ready: able to handle anything at any time.  When we remember Him, we win. (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Grow strong in Him today and watch your miracles unfold.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Confessions On Writing

Writing is dangerous, because it reveals the heart.

Matthew 12:33-34 says, "...Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks..."

People think they know you through your writing, but they truly only know a part of you: the part you're willing to share.  And sometimes that's the best part; sometimes it's the worst part.  Sometimes it's your willingness to share that says more about you than anything you say.  It reflects a desire to be known, and to know others.  To relate to people.  And to dethrone yourself from whatever pedestal people put you on.  In the worst case scenario, it creates a pedestal, which would swiftly be removed upon the meeting of the writer.  Because you would realize we're not so different, you and me.  I just write about my thoughts.  You carry yours inside.  And really, that's the beauty of it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pornography. (Yeah, I said it.)

"I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one." ~ 1 John 2:14.

I dedicate this post to my men friends, whom I love, cherish and admire as companions and brothers; and, to my future husband.  Know this, mighty men: you may lose a battle, but Love has won the war.  May your struggles be met by His compassion and mercy, and may you forever walk in the light of His love. 

No sin, no shame
No past, no pain
Can separate me from (God's) Love.
 ~ "Unstoppable Love" by Kim Walker, Romans 8:38-39.

Sex.  It's a touchy subject.  Too many people have been hurt by sex abuse.  Too many people devalue or overvalue its importance.  

To some, sex is violence.  To others, sex is ecstasy.  To God, sex is holy.  

Today we look at God's purpose for sex and, specifically, how the enemy has twisted that purpose through pornography.

God's Purpose for Sex

The same God who said "It is not good for man to be alone," (Genesis 2:18) said Adam and his wife, Eve, were both "naked and not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25).  God designed sex.  By God's design, sex builds trust, creates intimacy, restores relationships, expresses self-less love, and fulfills desire. 

Sex is good.  The abuse of sex is bad. 


Pornography.  It's the hidden part of your life that your girlfriend, your wife, your friends, your family don't know about.  Or so you think.  It's "my little secret" that's really no big deal.  I mean every guy does it, right?   And it doesn't really hurt anyone....

And yet. 

If you're really proud of something, you put it on the wall for all to see.  You display it openly.  But pornography thrives in secret, in the dark where no one's watching.  My friend called pornography "the Millennial's form of prostitution." 

"Where our forefathers stumbled into brothels," he commented, "men today shut their doors, turn off the light, and turn on their laptops. They shut the door and block out the light."   

Every guy I've ever talked to about this has said the same thing: "Every guy has struggled with porn at some point in his life."  Wow!  That's quite a statement.  So, men, take heart: you're not alone.  But just because "everyone does it," doesn't mean that viewing pornography is "no big deal."  It means, in fact, that porn is a big deal - a bigger deal than just you — which makes it all the more worth addressing.

Speaking with men over the years who have struggled with porn, I've heard a variety of reasons for viewing porn:

            "I was exposed to porn at a young age."

            "I was sexually abused as a kid."

            "Peer pressure."

            "It's a guy thing."

            "It's really no big deal."

But the underlying heart cry remains the same:

            "How can I ever have a real relationship?"

            "I'm afraid I could never have a wife, because of what I've done and still do..."

            "I don't want to be hurt again...watching porn is easier than being in a relationship."

            "I feel dirty."

            "I'm ashamed."

The language of pornography users is the language of surrender:

            "I just give in."

            "I cave."

            "I can't help myself!" 

It's like a conspiracy that overwhelms and overtakes the unsuspecting.

The problem with pornography, like all of the devil's schemes, is it replaces a divine truth with an empty counterfeit.  It promises you the world and leaves you empty-handed.  It promises to complete what's missing in you, but instead it leaves you broken.  Pornography is like a sugar high with crashing lows.  Some studies have postulated that pornography has the same addictive effects as cocaine on the brain.  Unlike cocaine, however, pornography is freely accessible and only one click away.

Pornography promises intimacy,

                                    but leaves you lonely;

Pornography promises satisfaction,

                                    but leaves you wanting;

Pornography promises beauty,

                                    but leaves you feeling ugly, unclean and ashamed.

Pornography damages the viewer.  It breaks trust, diminishes intimacy, hinders relationships, and leaves us wanting for more, like an all-consuming vacuum. 

God never does that.  He always fulfills His promises.  If you struggle with pornography, as so many men and women do, fear not!  

There is a way out: inviting God in. 

Love's Response

Part of the reason I think Christians struggle so much with pornography is the culture of shame and repression and outright fear of sex perpetuated by so many pulpits.  People don't want to mess up sexually, so if they're going to sin, at least it's not with another person, right?  Makes sense, yeah?  But this evidences a fundamental misunderstanding of God's purpose for sex.  Intrinsic in the belief that we have to repress ourselves sexually (and, thus, look for outlets like pornography) is the thought that God won't provide us with a partner or a "help suitable" for us (Genesis 2:18), or at least not soon enough!

But hear this truth:

"No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."  
~ Psalm 84:11.

Christians, God is not withholding sex from us; He's preserving sex for us, to richly enjoy in a loving, safe, covenant-protected marriage.  God designed sex as holy (set apart).  He created sex as the holiest, most intimate physical expression of partnership between a man and a woman.  Sex is beautiful by God's design.     

God is not embarrassed by sex and He does not enjoy watching you suffer.  (God created sex!)  God is not mad at you.  God just hates that pornography leaves you unfulfilled, like an elusive mirage in the desert.  God hates that pornography leaves you naked and ashamed, when God holds the real deal for you in His hands.  God hates that you are demanding what does not satisfy, when His promise has been available to you all along: your intimate relationship with Him, and your relationship with an amazing partner with whom you can run, and win, the race.  He doesn't want you to miss out on that.

See, God's not up in the sky waving an angry finger at you like most men think He is.  No, God does not see you as filthy and unclean.  He does not see you as a desperate, pathetic mess.  He is not ashamed to call you His son.  You may think that, but God does not.

Look no further than the Story of Hosea to see how Love responds with compassion to unfaithfulness.  Or the prodigal son, who after wasting his inheritance on women and wild living, was welcomed back with open arms and lavish gifts from a Father awaiting his return. (Luke 15:11-32).  Or the woman caught in the very act of adultery who was told by Jesus, "neither do I condemn you;" instead, His mercy and love empowered her to "go, and sin no more" (John 8:1-11).  The same loving God wants to welcome you back into His warm embrace, to show you His faithful love, and to free you from the chains of your past and present shame and regret.  Allow Him to remove your cloak of shame and clothe you with His robe of righteousness.  In Christ, you are forgiven and free. 

One man testifies he overcame his porn habit by praying that God would help him view humanity through Christ's eyes.  His heart underwent a revolutionary change once he started seeing people as spiritual beings and children of God, rather than objects of sex.  He now sees women as companions to be cherished rather than objects to be conquered. 

When we return to God,

God trades what is fake,

                        for what is real;

God trades our loneliness,
                        for relationship;

God trades our wants,

                        for longings fulfilled;

God trades our filth,

                           for beauty;

God trades the profane,

                        for what is sacred;

God trades our shame,
                        for His virtue.

There is Hope

Isaiah 54:4 ~ Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be confounded; for you shall not be put to shame: for you shall forget the shame of your youth, and shall not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore...

You, dear reader, are loved by an Almighty God.  He is not ashamed of you.  He loves you.  And, as a woman of God, I find no fault in you.

Get help if you struggle with pornography.  You can't do this alone, without God.  We can do nothing without Him (John 15:5).  Go boldly to the throne of grace and get grace to help in your time of need.  And, if you want additional resources, check out this article about one church who is reaching porn viewers with the love of Christ:

Or this book, Surfing for God, comes highly recommended if you're looking for a more in-depth study on the topic:

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will rejoice over you with songs of deliverance. ~Zephaniah 3:17.

My dear brothers, walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).  In Christ, you are free.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"I Love You"

Anxious, I hustle and bustle my way down the morning-lit Autumn avenue. Fall is in the air. The tinged-gold leaves highlight the changing season, as the not-yet-chilly breeze whisks by. Flustered, the wind strokes my hair and I am lost in a thousand inward thoughts. The to-do list ticks away in my mind and I anticipate the funny moments of the day (my eye is trained to spot them now). My thoughts turn to someone I love. I can't hold back my smile.  My thousand thoughts turn into one. All else goes out of my mind. Then, I stop.

 "God...I love you," I say.

The words linger in my thoughts. All is silent. I think to myself, "I can't remember the last time I told Him that!" My heart breaks at the thought I hadn't told Him 'I love you' sooner, for so long. "I love you." I ponder those words. If I said them for all eternity, I could never say them enough. I wonder if He longs for me as I long for the one I love... A soft response reassures me, "All the time."

It's not enough to tell someone "I love you." Do love them. Show them you do. Cherish them. Remember them. Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). What is the ultimate commandment? Love.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27). It all comes down to love.

So why are we so uncomfortable with this concept of Love in our society today? Perhaps because we've traded the word "Love" for tit-for-tat, quid pro quo, you scratch my back....well, you get the picture. The word "love" in our vernacular has been diluted to mean "I want something from you." This is a concept that I refer to as the....

"I Love You" Wars 

Yep. We've all been there. Or at least I have. More than once. You're coming to the end of a conversation and then suddenly the tension builds. "Uh oh," you think. "It's coming..."

And then, inevitably, it happens.

From the other side of the telephone line or, more dangerously, from the someone standing right in front of you, out spring the words: "I love you." Gulp. "What do I do now?" you think.  In a nano second a thousand thoughts blur your mind, such as:

 • "If I say I love you, they might think I do. I don't want to give them the wrong impression."
• "I don't know how I feel!"
• "Gosh, I really don't love them like that."
• "Well, they say 'I love you' to everyone, so it really doesn't mean anything." Or maybe...
• "Wow. I really do love them, too."

Well, if you're like me, many times I've simply just said, "Thank you."

Yes, "thank you." It's not quite rude, but it's decidedly not reciprocal. But I really didn't mean "thank you." I meant "back off." The words "I love you" became a trigger for me to batten down the hatches and put my walls up. The phrase was like a curse word in my ears.


In times past those words have been used as a tool of manipulation against me by people who have not had my best in mind.

In fact, my dear friend and former roommate (who lovingly says I drove her into counseling ~ she's a successful and brilliant counselor now), can testify to the fact that more than once I chucked my phone at the wall from across the room after a series of conversations with a certain someone ended in "I love you," on his end and "thank you" on mine. I didn't know how to deal with it! So I thought taking my anger out on my phone would do the trick. (Lo, and behold, it did not.)

So often "love" in our society has been misconstrued as disingenuous.  So often the phrase "I love you" could be translated into "I want to be affirmed by you."

Sometimes it becomes a contest to see if someone will say, "I love you" back. Like a "Gotcha!" game. And what's more romantic than being forced to say something you don't want to say to someone to whom you don't want to say it? For those of you old enough to remember the 90s hit sitcom, Family Matters, Steve Urkel's infamous catchphrase comes to mind: "I'm wearing you down, baby...I'm wearing you down!"


Ha, no, you're not!

Now I'm not knocking telling others you love them, if you really do. I'm just acknowledging the fact that sometimes those words can trigger memories of past hurt, if not used wisely and timed rightly. 

But What if You Really Do Love Someone? 

Nike it. Just do it! Let your love be more than mere words.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for his friends ~John 15:13.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. ~ James 1:22-25.

The greatest way to walk in love toward someone is to ask God how to bless them. Pray about it. Do what comes to mind.

And.... Let love be without hypocrisy. ~Romans 12:9.

Don't be the Judas who hugs your brother, says "I love you," and stabs him in the back as soon as he turns around. It's not enough to say "I love you." Do. Show them you really do love them. After all, God is our example, and this is what He did:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. ~John 3:16. If you really love someone, start imitating self-sacrificing Love Himself and watch what happens.

Therefore be imitators of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. ~Ephesians 5:1-2.

Watch the power of Love change a life today: watch it change yours.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014


Have you ever heard someone (ahem, perhaps yourself) say: "If only I had enough faith, then (such and such) would happen."  Or, "Lord, help my unbelief!"  If you've said or thought that, you're not alone.  I have too.

But I think this has gotten to be a religious ritual, err, scapegoat.  As an excuse for why things do or don't happen, we've just said "well, I didn't believe enough."  That's a sad gospel if it's true, my friends.  That is not good news.  Whenever did I have the faith on my own to believe enough?  Surely not before I knew God, and certainly not since I've known God have I graduated to a "do-it-yourself" faith.

2 Corinthians 11:3 warns us not to be corrupted from the simplicity of the faith.  So let's go back to the basics today on this issue of belief.  I submit to you there's no such thing as not believing enough.  There's only what I'll call "believe-it-or-nots."  You either believe it - or not.  Simple, eh?

If I told you the sky was blue, you wouldn't have to conjure up belief within yourself to ascend to the revelation that the sky is blue.  You would either believe me, or not.  Now you could argue with me about what shade of blue the sky is if you wanted, but the truth of the blueness of the sky would still stand.  The same is true with scripture.

You could read the verse "By His stripes I was healed." (1 Peter 2:24).  You could believe that, in fact, Jesus Christ bore your sins on the cross and by His wounds you were healed, that He took your pain so you wouldn't have to bear it.  You could believe that.  Or not.  Some people will flat out not believe it.  Others will be unsure.  This un-sureness will still manifest as unbelief, though, because he that wavers (doubts) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed; that man shouldn't expect to receive anything of the Lord, for a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8).   So when you boil it down, you either believe it or you don't.

We try to religicize it and make whole doctrines diluting God's promises and elucidating why "this faith thing" just doesn't work, when, in fact, it's working all the time. 

For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not mixed with faith in those who heard.  ~Hebrews 4:2.

Are you a believer or not?  I'm persuaded that "unbeliever" doesn't mean someone who doesn't know God.  Unbelievers are people who have heard the Word and chosen not to believe it.  Unbelievers can profess themselves to be Christian, wear Christian badges, hold fancy titles, and even have seminary degrees.  Believers, on the other hand, need no introduction.  I don't need any glitz and glam if I believe God, because when I believe God the impossible manifests around me.  The fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.) start sprouting up around me and within me when I believe God.  It's undeniable and unmistakable.  Newsflash, unbelievers:  it's undeniable and unmistakable, too, when you don't believe God.  Suddenly anger, bitterness, pride, evil speaking, and confusion sprout up around you and in you when you've hardened your heart against the promises of God.

Believe scripture?  Then, praise God, it's working!  Don't believe?  Praise God, it's still working and it won't profit you anything because it's not mixed with faith.  You get results either way!  

You don't have to confess scripture over yourself 100 times per day.  Only believe.  Jesus said: 

If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.  ~Mark 9:23.

So, what are you waiting for?  Do you believe it?  Or not?

Sunday, September 21, 2014


"I'm not smart enough"

"I'm not pretty enough"

"I'm not good enough."

Chances are you think of these statements as self-deprecating, but did you realize these statements are actually pride in disguise?  Take a closer look.    

We normally think of pride or arrogance as thinking better of ourselves than we ought to think.  Indeed, scripture implores us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.  Romans 12:3 says: " For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."

That's one form of pride.  The other form is a more subtle, inverse pride.  Sometimes we think too much of ourselves, but oftentimes, we're not thinking highly enough.  Really it's two sides of the same coin.

Either form of pride says "I got this."  Pride is all about me - what I can or can't do and what I feel.  Humility, on the other hand, says "I can do nothing without Him." (John 15:5).  Humility is submission to what God says about you.  If God calls me the "righteousness of God in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:21), then, by golly, that's what I am!  If God says "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength," (Philippians 4:13), then I can!  If God says that Christ in me can "preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and set the oppressed free," (Luke 4:18), then, in Christ, I will!  Humility is not about what I've done or can do, it's about what He did.  

Humility is boasting in the Lord! (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Humility says:

"I'm smart, because God made me smart."

"I'm beautiful, because God called me beautiful."

"I'm wanted, because God accepted me." 

"I'm good, because God is good and a good God made me!"

Friends, we don't need faith to feel defeated.  Anyone can do that.  We need faith to simply realize what Christ has already done.  If we've been translated into the Kingdom of Light and we belong to the Body of Christ, then feeling defeated is a form of pride, because He has already given us the victory.  Who are you to say you are a loser?  Who are you to say you're unworthy?  Who are you to say your life is beyond redemption?  Who are you to contradict God?  The value of your life is not up to you; it, quite literally, is on Him.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. 

Christ has won you the victory!  He has snatched the keys of Hell and triumphed over death - for you - once and for all.  You hold the keys to your freedom because Christ gave them to you.  Stop snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.  You are already victorious in Christ.  Rejoice!  Love has won. 

In the words of Nelson Mandela:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.