Anxiety and the Holidays

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We just celebrated Thanksgiving and are heading into the Christmas season. We celebrate the holidays as the most wonderful time of the year! We hear the Christmas music on the radio stations as early as the first of November and while it does put most of us in the Christmas spirit; it isn’t always the happiest time of year for everybody.

We have done shows on Anxiety and Depression and as the statistics unfortunately rise, the Holiday Season is always the hardest for those who do struggle with any type of mental illness, usually more than any other time of the year. Often times, it doesn’t have to be from something that recently happened, but can also be just a variety of things.

We love the holidays and even though I struggle with anxiety, we wanted to share some things we do that help us enjoy them as one who struggles with anxiety and one who is a sister. It can be challenging on both ends and we have always wanted to recognize that not only does the person struggling have a hard time, but the “caretaker” also feels the distress, as well.

I think it’s important first that we recognize our struggle instead of trying to hide it. Hiding it brings on a whole new level of anxiety that will pop up in when you least expect it. When I feel those moments coming on, I try to pray right away and also talk to my sister about it. I know that if I don’t talk, it’ll show in my actions and words and it makes things worse, so I would say to make sure you have that safe place, that person who knows you and you can trust.

Some of the things that bring on that anxiety through the holidays are:

  1. Social Isolation– You may be dealing with anxiety already and sometimes being in large groups makes you feel even more awkward and anxious. This was always huge for me. Although I thought I was a social person, in bigger groups, I tend to shut down.
  1. Grief– Grief isn’t always death, but also divorce, broken relationships. Grief is one of the biggest issues people struggle with over the holidays. For me, it’s always a painful reminder of losing my grandmother and aunts around the holiday season. Although God has abundantly blessed me with my sister and family, there’s always that part of me that misses my family I lost. Sometimes if we dwell on that, though, we stop ourselves from fully enjoying all we do have!

There are several reasons we didn’t talk about that cause people to struggle and feel loneliness over the holidays. These are just a couple that we have dealt with.

Everyone is different and there are several ways to cope and even learn to enjoy the holidays, BUT it does take work. We are use to allowing our feelings and emotions to control our joy and peace, but when we fully learn to be wholly dependent on God and His provision first, He will lead us through the next steps.

Psalm 119:50– “In all of my affliction I find great comfort in your promises,
for they have kept me alive!”

1 Peter 5:7– “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.”

Psalm 68:5-6– “To the fatherless he is a father. To the widow he is a champion friend. To the lonely he makes them part of a family…”

Psalm 147:3– “He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.”

Here are a few ways we can learn to enjoy the holidays! Of course, we can’t do any of it without prayer and truly allowing God to come into our hearts and work through the process of healing with us. This can be grief, loss, abandonment, neglect, fear – whatever the root cause of your anxiety or loneliness is – it has to be dealt with first with God.

  1. Cling to the Promises of God

We don’t always feel like it. I know for myself, there are times when loneliness, anxiety and despair seem too great to even think about praying. God knows this and He doesn’t hold that against us. When you push through that flesh and just say the name of Jesus, He will lead the path to continue! He will give you the strength you need to forge through any pain or discomfort.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10– “My grace is always more than enough for you and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.”

John 14:18– “I promise that I will never leave you helpless or abandon you as orphans—I will come back to you!”

Phil. 4:6-7– “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].”

  1. Confide in Someone

I thank God for my sister and what we have! It’s because of her we have been able to take a different stance when it comes to mental illness and realizing that there is another heart involved that is just as important and that is of the “caretaker.” Now, my sister isn’t necessarily my “caretaker,” but that simply refers to those that are close to someone who struggles with mental illness.

Especially during the holidays, my sister can tell when things start to get a little hard for me and it is so much easier that she is loyal and knows my heart and has learned how to deal with it and we have kind of learned together what works for us and how to get through those moments. If you have someone who you trust and know is out for your best interest and praying for you, then please reach out!! We cannot go through this alone and I know at times, it feels burdensome to tell someone, but when it’s that one God gives you – He will make it work. It can be a spouse, sibling, friend, or even therapist. But I do believe we need someone to talk to. God didn’t call us to go through life alone or the struggles.

1 Thess. 5:11 – “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 13:20– “The friends we choose can change our lives forever. If we choose the wrong type of friend, their influence can corrupt us and cause irreparable damage.”

Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Proverbs 18:24 – “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Ecc. 4:9-12– “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

John 15:13– “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

3. Self-Care

A lot of mental illness, depression, anxiety is heightened with bad eating and sleeping habits. Eating a healthy diet as much as possible and getting the right amount of sleep, drinking water – all things that can help aid in a healthier mood. God tells us many times throughout scripture that taking care of our bodies are important to Him because we house His spirit!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20– “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.

Romans 12:1– “Therefore I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.’

1 Corinthans 9:27– “But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service].”

4. Start New Traditions and Volunteer

Change_pin1I think a lot of people who struggle with anxiety are not good with change. When we get use to something being a certain way, it is very difficult for us to let go and believe that the new will be as good or better than the old. Starting new traditions that trade our past can be a huge deal most don’t understand. The new may be great, better than before and we may even see that!! But, it still is difficult to embrace letting go of what was comfortable and “normal” to us.

One way to help overcome this is to start new traditions. This doesn’t mean completely having to let go of the old, but even meshing some old traditions with new ones and embracing something you started! You may have lost loved ones, but there are plenty of people in your circle, in your Church or around your city that could also use some love over the holidays, who also may be hurting.

Bake cookies for the neighbors, leave thankful notes on their doors, walk their dogs or offer to pick up groceries for them. Have holiday dinners with friends or extended family or invite others over and host them! There are plenty of ways to give and when we take the focus off of us, soon you will realize God has been healing your heart!

Matthew 25:35– “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me [with help and ministering care]; I was in prison, and you came to Me [ignoring personal danger].’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for Me.’”

1 John 3:17– “But whoever has the world’s goods (adequate resources), and sees his brother in need, but has no compassion for him, how does the love of God live in him? Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].

5. Align your expectations with Reality

We talked last show about how change is something that can be quite difficult for people struggling with anxiety. We understand routine and become accustomed to that, to trust it, so when something changes – it begins a whole new area of unknown that is scary. Recognizing that fear is the root of that and meditating on scriptures that denounce fear will help!

2 Timothy 1:7– “ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Recognize that your feelings, fear and emotions are not reality and meditate on scriptures that transform your mind.

Romans 12:2– And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Understand that the reality of what you had before may not be your reality now. People may have come and gone, lifestyles may have changed! BUT God is still in control and He desires a prosperous life for you! Change is good! Trust me, I DO NOT embrace change like I should myself and I am preaching to the choir here.

Get yourself use to the new way, the new traditions, the new people. Once you let go and allow the newness to kick in, it can be better than before! Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. Don’t try to do everything or see everyone. Be real and honest about your boundaries, limits and how much you can handle at a time. It will take time to adjust, but with allowing God to hold your hand and taking it one step at a time, soon you will see your healing at hand.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new,” Socrates

The holidays are a beautiful time and should be shared with ones we love. Dealing with anxiety can be very real and we are not trying to diminish that. What we are saying is that all hope is in Him and if you can divert your whole attention and submit your heart to Him, He will meet all of your needs and you can enjoy this season more than ever!

“You cannot change what’s going on around you until you change what’s going on within you,” Anonymous

 

Jesus; The Lion and the Lamb, Pt. 2

Last blog, we talked about Jesus being the Lion and the Lamb, two very different characteristics and attributes of God. We realized that as the body of Christ, we too are very different in how we fight and our emotions and traits. Some of us may fight with words, some may fight with tears, and others may fight just as passionate in silence.

Although the Bible gives many references to Jesus as the lion and the lamb, there is actually only one verse that showcases both.

READ– Revelation 5:1-7

So, both the lion and the lamb refer to Jesus. He was the Lion of the tribe of Judah, as well as the lamb who was sacrificed for our sins.

Last blog, we discussed the attributes of the Lion and how we need that fierce ferocious warrior for some battles, but just as fierce and ferocious are the warriors who fight a little quieter, with a piercing beauty and words that cut like a sword.

Today, we are talking about the Lamb of God. The Lamb of God was the lion becoming the lamb, the lion of the tribe of Judah, stepping out of throne of heaven and becoming a man, then a living sacrifice.

The crazy thing is the name Lion of Judah is only used once in Revelation. The name Jesus and Jesus Christ are used 12 times in the book of Revelation. BUT the name Lamb is used 24 times in the 22 Chapters of Revelation! God always does the unexpected – a crowning lamb is used more than the Lion of Judah! That’s not to say the Lion was not as powerful, but it was the sacrifice, it was the heart, the surrender that took precedence.

Phil. 2:6-9– “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…”

We want to be more like Jesus, so what are some attributes of the lamb we can relate to?

Sheep are meek animals. They are usually very quiet and gentle, holding themselves aloof from the world. In a herd, all the sheep tend to listen to their leaders and show esteem to them. Because of the obedient character, sheep are among the most popular animals beloved by mankind. Sheep need a leader.

Meekness

Psalms 37:11 – “The meek shall inherit the earth…”

Matthew 5:5– “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth…”

Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;”

Gentleness

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

Ephesians 4:1– “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love…”

Philippians 4:5– “Let your gentleness be known to all men” 

How do we have the mindset of Jesus as the Lamb? 

We show true humility, by putting others before ourselves.

Philippians 2:5– “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, butmade Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” 

Lamb-like attitudes produce words of edification and praise 

Because we’re learning to see others as Jesus sees them, we use our words to build unity in our families, workplaces, and churches. We make sure our wordsare tender and compassionate,rather than selfish and conceited.

Philippians 2:1-4– “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Again, lamb-like attributes are meek, gentle, and selfless. We look out for others before ourselves and we cultivate unity in the body of Christ.

Lamb-like attitudes also generate works that bring Jesus glory 

Philippians 2:13– “ for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things withoutcomplaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

Our attitude flowsnaturally from a mind that seeks to “act according to his good purpose”

In Phil. 2:13, “we’re willing to be “poured out like a drink offering” for others.”

We put ourselves out there as a sacrifice on the earth as Jesus did for us and we expect nothing in return. We joyfully volunteer to do mundane tasks for others, not expecting anything in return.Their response does not concern us because we see even the mostmundane action as a sacrifice of praise to the Lamb of God.

The Lamb of God willingly “made himself nothing” for us, becoming a servant so he could redeem us. Are we equally willing to become a sacrifice of praise to him through our attitudes, words and actions?

We see throughout the scripture that while Jesus is both the lion and the lamb and they host very different characteristics;both were needed to accomplish His purposes. As His children, some of us carry one of those traits stronger than the other. We are all different, but the power in being warrior-sword-ready fierce is just as important and powerful as being meek, gentle andfighting with sacrifice and praise.

Jesus; The Lion and the Lamb, Pt.1

We had this vision years ago, when God brought us together – it was a picture of a field of sunflowers. Now, as most of you know that follow us, we use sunflowers in almost everything! That was something God personally gave to us. Sunflowers are very unique flowers as they literally rotate their faces during the day toward the sun. When the sun rises and sets in the evening, the sunflower has followed it’s rays all day!

It was a picture to us of how we should follow the SON from morning till night, how we need to constantly set our eyes upon the Son and remain in His light to grow and mature. And another amazing thing about sunflowers is they feed off each other! They follow the path in unity. Again, a symbol of how God wants the body of Christ to follow Him and grow in His light together!

Psalm 34:5– “They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.”

We had a dream years ago, when God brought us together and it was of an army – God’s army! There were women in groups of two’s and they were ready to fight, but they didn’t have swords and armor. When we think of God’s army, we often see us as warriors in battle, black artillery and shield and sword in hand! And that is true!! We are called to be God’s army and we need that spiritual armor for the battle we are in, BUT for my sister and I, we saw a different side, too. We saw the fight strong and mighty, but with a gentleness that was just as strong as the fierce warrior, a different light to it.

It got us thinking about the nature of Jesus. We see throughout scripture that He is referred to as the lion and the lamb! He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, fierce and strong! But, He was also slain for our sins and offered Himself as the sacrificial lamb for our redemption. He had two very different natures, however both supernaturally powerful and both very needed to complete the full picture of redemption, salvation and eternity.

Although the Bible gives many references to Jesus as the lion and the lamb, there is actually only one verse that showcases both.

READ– Revelation 5:1-7

So, both the lion and the lamb refer to Jesus. He was the Lion of the tribe of Judah, as well as the lamb who was sacrificed for our sins.

Revelation 5, which we just read, takes place in the heavenly throne room. After receiving the command to write to the seven churches in Asia Minor, John is “caught up in the spirit” to the throne room in heaven where he is to receive a series of visions that culminate in the ultimate victory of Christ at the end of the age. He notices that there is a scroll in the “right hand of him who was seated on the throne.” The scroll has writing on the inside and is sealed with seven seals.

An angel proclaims with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” John begins to despair when no one comes forth to answer the angel’s challenge. One of the 24 elders encourages John to “weep no more,” and points out that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has come to take and open the scroll. The Lion of the tribe of Judah is obviously a reference to Christ. The image of the lion is meant to convey kingship. Jesus is worthy to receive and open the scroll because he is the King of God’s people. Out of the tribe of Judah came the Kings of Israel. Christ is the “lion of the tribe of Judah” which means He is the ultimate, true, and eternal King. The roaring lion speaks of strength, majesty and royalty.

As the Lamb of God, He is the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for sin. His victory at the cross is symbolized by his appearance as a “Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). Before the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were commanded by God to take an unblemished lamb, slay it, and smear its blood on the doorposts of their homes (Exodus 12:1–7). The blood of the slain lamb would set apart the people of Israel from the people of Egypt when the death angel came during the night to slay the firstborn of the land. Those who had the blood of the lamb would be spared. Fast-forward to the days of John the Baptist. When he sees Jesus approaching him, he declares to all present, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus is the ultimate “Passover lamb” who saves His people from eternal death.

So when Jesus is referred to as the Lion and the Lamb, we are to see Him as not only the conquering King who will slay the enemies of God at His return, but also as the sacrificial Lamb who took away the reproach of sin from His people so they may share in His ultimate victory.

For my sister and I, we have always seen Gods Army as fierce and powerful, yet gentle and it got us thinking how different the body of Christ is. Some of us are more physically strong than others. Some of us fight differently; have different strengths and different weapons. We all know people who just have strong personalities and aren’t afraid of confrontation. And we all know people who have softer personalities and refrain from conflict. Neither is right or wrong, but just handle situations differently.

Much like the lion and the lamb, as God’s children, we, too possess everything He does. While we need the fierce warriors with swords drawn to battle the enemy armies, we also need those meeker sacrificial lambs to bring peace into situations, as well.

We wanted to talk about those differences in our characteristics because sometimes I think we only view spiritual warfare and battle like swords, shields and fatigues, when the quieter spirit who watches and observes and fights a different way is just as strong and powerful and can sometimes see things coming the other’s can’t.

Let’s look at the attributes of a Lion: A Lion symbolizes royalty-power, dominion and strength.

Some attributes we pulled off line about lions are:

  1. They are very protective– Lions are extremely protective of their territory, their “pride.”

God is extremely protective of His people, too.

1 John 5:18We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

Psalm 138:7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.” 

  1. Lions are Brave– They are very courageous and willing to fight for what is theirs when they need to. What are we willing to fight for? Is it a job, marriage, children? Are we willing to be brave against the enemy and remember that the victory is already ours?

Romans 8:37– “Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!”

  1. Lions are part of a Pride – Lions are part of a tribe or family, a team. They instinctly know it is better to travel and do life with others. Like lions, we need to surround ourselves with Godly influences that will lift us up, encourage and motivate us to fight when we don’t want to, seek God when we’re tired. We need others to show us things we may be biased and blind to.

1 Corinthians 1:10– “I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart. Be restored as one united body living in perfect harmony. Form a consistent choreography among yourselves, having a common perspective with shared values.” 

1 Corinthians 12:14– “For the body is not one member, but many.” 

Ecclesiastes 4:9– “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.”

  1. Lions are Loners– While lions are known to be a part of a pride, they are also known to spend time alone. They often times separate themselves from the other lions and can be seen just laying in the sand or desert all by themselves. That shows us, too that we need that alone time with God While being fierce and ferocious, if we are not filled up with our own time with God, we can easily grow weary.

Matthew 6:6-7– But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Luke 5:16– “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.”

As Jesus serves as the Lion of Judah, we are also fierce warriors, ready, equipped and armored to fight the battle that has already been won. We are fully equipped and ready! God has given us everything we need to reign victorious. It’s up to us if we will fight for those things God has placed in our hands.

Eph. 6:10READ (Armor of God)

Next blog, we will discuss more of the attributes of the Lamb of God and how we relate!

Walking as the Body of Christ, Part 2

Picking up off of our last blog, we talked previously about how as 3 part beings: body, soul and spirit. Walking in the fullness of Christ is recognizing that we are more than just spirit and soul beings, but that God equally cares about our bodies, as well. Like Christ is a triune being – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – all 3 parts are equally needed. We too are 3 part beings: body, soul and spirit. We often put a much bigger emphasis on our spirit and what we believe is the most important, but sometimes neglect our bodies and our soul, which is where our mind is hosted. We talked last show about our bodies being the temple, but each part is equally important.

In this blog, we are going more into another reference the Bible uses in terms of the body and that is the unity we have as Christians and working together in “the body” to perform different functions just like our physical bodies. We have a mandate from God to walk in unity with our fellow believers, but have we accomplished that? We’re just going to start off by dissecting 1 Corinthians 12, verses 12-31. There are many verses throughout the body that refer to being of one mind and walking in unity as the body, but this one definitely addresses the main concept well.

1 Corinthians 12:12 – 20 (READ)

One Body with Many Parts

Just like our physical bodies, which are so intricate and each ligament and muscle and part perform a different function, but are all vitally needed, so are we individually as Christians with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. As parents, we don’t like to see our children fighting, but encourage unity and likeness for them to get along. As with Christ, I imagine He doesn’t like looking at His children and watching us fight over petty issues, rather utilizing the talents He specifically gave us to work together and function in unity with the body. When one member of the family strays the other way, all members are affected.

In the early Church of Corinth, the members were actually divided because of their different gifts and talents. When we are baptized into the body of Christ, although we still carry our own unique gifts and talents, we have to understand that we have become ONE in the likeness of Christ. We were baptized into the family of God, therefore inhabiting all that HE is and all that our fellow believers now carry, as well.

Paul talks about the importance of each part of our body (each member of the body of Christ), that if one part is taken away, the entire body becomes less effective.

All members of the body are equally effective in making the body function as a whole. One missing or weak link affects the whole body.

Romans 12:4-8– “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

1 Peter 2:5– “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Paul is portraying the church as a living, spiritual temple, with Christ as the cornerstone and each believer is a stone. Christ is the head and the Church is the body. It symbolizes community; unity…one stone is not a temple or even a wall. One body part is useless without the others. In our society today with individualism on a high, we tend to forget our interdependence with one another. We have to realize that when God calls us to something, it is an individual part to a whole and the believers also carry parts, as well that we need to work together to complete.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 (READ)

No Competition in the Body

Instead of comparing ourselves to each other, we should work together to utilize our different talents to spread the gospel.

This is a bit of why my sister and I share our covenant friendship with the world, not to be boastful or bragging, but to exhibit the very real example of unity in the Body. We live in a generation of social media, where we see comparison bleeding from the posts of those around us, judgment, criticism, and comparison. We don’t just see it in the world, but in the church. We see anointed evangelists and people get elevated, ordained, and instead of being able to congratulate them and support our bothers and sisters, we see such competitiveness in the body. We don’t want to share their accomplishments, we question the call on their lives if WE don’t see it and we downright don’t support them because we don’t understand and could possibly be a bit jealous or envious. We see it all the time.

We truly need to become a people that are s confident in who WE are in Christ and what HE gave US, that we stop criticizing and judging our fellow believers and their callings and just support, edify and encourage them. Our lack of support is more of a reflection of them than us.

The concordance says, “Thinking of your gifts more important that someone else’s is an expression of spiritual pride. We should use the gifts we have been given and encourage others to use theirs. What is your response when a fellow Christian is honored? We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”

When you compare, someone always comes out losing.

James 3:16– “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”

2 Corin. 10:12– “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”

Phil. 2:3– “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31 (READ)

 We are One Body, but with Different Gifting’s

Paul makes it clear that no gift is superior to another. The greatest gifts are those that benefit the body of Christ more than oneself. He says that the gifts we have been given are not for self-advancement anyway – they are for edifying, serving and enhancing the overall spiritual growth of the whole body of Christ. We need to stop being selfish with what God gave us.

It reminds of me of our kids – when they are little and don’t understand how to share. The say “mine” to everything until we break that rebellious spirit off of them and teach them to share. I can imagine Father God handing down these precious gifts He ordained specifically for each of us and we hoard them to ourselves, when it’s almost like He gave us puzzle pieces that are incomplete and ineffective without the joining of the other gifts given to our fellow believers. We were created for unity and harmony, but because we were also born into a sinful world with a rebellious spirit, we have to literally retrain our minds to adhere to the things of God and understand that HIS ways are truth, not what the world is teaching us. Until we can walk in unity and understand that others’ gifts and talents aren’t to lessen ours, but enhance them, we will keep running into a wall.

1 Peter 3:8– “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind.”

Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”

Romans 12:10 – “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

God is so concerned with our full part beings and wants us to live exceedingly and abundantly above anything we could think or ask for. He has given us all power, authority and dominion over the beats of the earth, BUT also over our own bodies. Let’s be diligent in taking care of our bodies and feeding our entire being with the things of God so that we can truly walk in the fullness He has created us to!

Walking as the Body of Christ, Part 1

The past couple of blogs, we have been talking about how we are 3-part beings: body, soul and spirit. Walking in the fullness of Christ is recognizing that we are more than just spirit and soul beings, but that God equally cares about our bodies, as well. Like Christ is a triune being – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – all 3 parts are equally needed. We often put a much bigger emphasis on our spirit and what we believe is the most important, but sometimes neglect our bodies and our soul, which is where our mind is hosted. 

Now we are talking about what the word has to say about our bodies. The Word references our bodies as a temple and that right there expresses how spiritually vital even our bodies are. 

1 Corinthians 6:19 – “Have you forgotten that your body is now the sacred temple of the Spirit of Holiness, who lives in you? You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary. You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God!” 

There is so much depth to this scripture, the revelation of what God is wanting us to grab a hold of will change the way we see and treat our bodies. 

First, the scripture describes our bodies as a sacred temple. A SACRED TEMPLE!!!! Our bodies are so vitally important to our spiritual walk. In the Old Testament, the temple was a place of worship and prayer. It also was where the presence of God dwelt, and housed the Ark of the Covenant. Not to get into much detail, but upon entering in, you must have a sacrifice for the atonement for sin and only a high priest could enter into the holy of holies. The holy of Holies is where the presence of God dwelt. It was a shadow /temporary of what was to come. The temple was temporary because once Jesus came, he became the sacrifice and died and rose again. Now sit’s on the right hand of the Father in Heavens throne room. When He ascended, He left His Holy Spirit within us. But now our bodies are the Temple and the the Holy Spirit (God’s presence) is inside of us. We are Gods earthly throne room! 

1 Corinthians 3:16-20 The Message (MSG)

You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.” 

Romans 12:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

A Living Sacrifice to God

Paul is talking to the Roman church…

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead (beg) with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

Paul is pleading that we Christians allow our bodies to be a living and holy sacrifice. In the Old Testament, there were animal sacrifices, but then Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for us. Now, we are the living sacrifice; daily sacrificing our will and desires, and being obedient to Gods will. 

1 Peter 2:5 New Living Translation (NLT)

“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.” 

I mean how profound are all these scriptures! We want to point out that in this scripture, God calls us His holy priests. Just like we mentioned earlier that in the Old Testament-upon entering the temple, there had to be a sacrifice and the high priest was the only one who could enter the holy of holies. Now, we are to give our bodies as a living sacrifice and we are the holy priests. But unlike the old, there is no separation from God. He now inhabits us!

It goes onto say again in 1Peter 2:9 “for you are a chosen people. You are royal priest, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.

John 14:23-27 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Jesus replied, “Loving me empowers you to obey my word, And my Father will love you so deeply that we will come to you and make you our dwelling place.” 

Acts 17:24 The Passion Translation (TPT)

“The true God is the Creator of all things. He is the owner and Lord of the heavenly realm and the earthly realm, and he doesn’t live in man-made temples.” 

May we get the revelation knowledge that we are created in the image of God, we are not our own. Our mind, spirit and bodies must be surrendered over to Jesus Christ. We cannot just submit our spirits and continue to operate with wrong thinking and treating our bodies as our own. May we as Christ followers fully dedicate ourselves to be holy unto God! 

“God created it, Jesus died for it, the Spirit lives in it, I better take care of it,”

Rick Warren

Having the Mind of Christ

For a while, we have been talking about how we are made complete in Christ;  mind, body, and spirit – that we have the capacity to walk in the fullness of God. However, it takes a total surrendering of ourselves in all three parts: soul, body and spirit.

We went into depth about how we often feel incomplete in areas and wonder why we don’t receive healing sometimes or that we are saved, but still experience lack in our body or soul. That’s not to say that God’s relationship with us all isn’t different and that there can be other reasons, BUT we are saying that we have to start recognizing as children of God, the complete fullness that who HE is, is who WE are.

Now, let’s briefly look at the 3 parts that make up our existence:

Body: Physical (5 senses): This could be kneeling, bowing down in worship, lifting our hands, whatever we do with our physical bodies. Our physical bodies interact and connect with the world around us.

Soul: Our will, affections, thoughts, feelings, emotions – this is where our mind is!

Spirit: The innermost part of our being. How we connect with others – how we connect with God. This is where we use our faith, trust, worship…

1 Thessalonians 5:23– “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and bodybe kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here we see that God is addressing us in all 3 parts, that we may keep ALL 3 parts blameless at the coming of the Lord. How do we remain blameless? Through sanctification (forward progression) It’s not enough to just be saved, have our spirits cleansed and nurture our spirit walk. God equally is interested in our spirit and our bodies, even! He created it all for HIS glory and we must nurture and take care of all 3 parts.

Luke 10:27– “So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

We are not only to attend to all 3 parts, but LOVE through all 3 parts!

Hebrews 4:12– “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

This verse shows the direct link between the spirit and the soul, which is often times difficult to differentiate between. We just have to remember that our spirit is our innermost part where we worship and connect to God and our soul is where we find our emotions, will and our mind. That’s what we wanted to touch on- the impact the thoughts that go through our mind have on our soul and how it can weigh us down, cause depression, mental illness, fear…

The mind is one of the most powerful tools we have and if we don’t learn how to manage and control it, we can literally allow things in that we will have to fight hard to get out.

God made us so intricate and the mind is just one of the parts of the human body that is astonishing!

According to the National Center for Biotechnology information states….

“The brain works like a big computer. It processes information that it receives from the senses and body, and sends messages back to the body. But the brain can do much more than a machine can: humans think and experience emotions with their brain, and it is the root of human intelligence.”

It truly is amazing how the human mind works. God created our minds so unique and intricate that there are many scriptures that refer to our thoughts and mind. It’s not that easy to take that control of our minds, BUT God has given us all we need to allow HIM to take that control.

We have to look at our minds as a pathway that everything follows.

Proverbs 23:7– “ For as he thinks within himself, so is he.”

That scripture is saying that what we think upon is what we will become, or do in action. Our mind is like a runway. A thought enters that runway and it goes as far as we allow it. That is why God tells us in:

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

We literally have to be managers and take an account of our thoughts as they enter and align them with the word of God. We are human. Society, experience, upbringing – a list of factors contribute to the thoughts that enter our mind. It’s what we DO with those thoughts that determine our outcome. We have to take captive EVERY thought to make it obedient to Christ! We have to sometimes constantly demolish those thoughts with the Word of God until it becomes easier. 

Joshua 1:8– “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Psalm 1:2– “but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.”

If you study and meditate on the Word day and night, when those thoughts come at you, you can cast them off with scripture and the Word! What you put in is what will come out so make sure you are continuously filling yourself with scripture!

Is it unattainable to truly have the mind of Christ? NO! This may sound crazy but if we continually surrender our minds to be controlled by the spirit, we can operate like Christ. God wouldn’t ask us to present our bodies, soul and spirit blameless if we couldn’t do it.

Let’s look at:

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 – “Someone living on an entirely human level rejects the revelations of God’s Spirit, for they make no sense to him. He can’t understand the revelations of the Spirit because they are only discovered by the illumination of the Spirit. Those who live in the Spirit are able to carefully evaluate all things, and they are subject to the scrutiny of no one but God. For Who has ever intimately known the mind of the Lord Yahweh well enough to become his counselor? Christ has, and we possess Christ’s perceptions.”

So, here we see that that mind of Christ, the divine nature of God is only revealed through the Holy Spirit. Someone on a carnal thought process, thinking only in human nature will never be able to understand the things of God because they are Spirit based. “For Who has ever intimately known the mind of the Lord Yahweh well enough to become his counselor? Christ has, and we possess Christ’s perceptions.” WE possess Christ’s mind and perceptions. This means WE have the mind of Christ! So, YES it is attainable for us to think, act and respond like Christ. He wouldn’t tell us to be kept blameless body, soul and spirit if we couldn’t do it!

According to 2 Peter 1:4– “ As a result of this, he has given you magnificent promises that are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises you can experience partnership with the divine nature, by which you have escaped the corrupt desires that are of the world.”

This revelation isn’t just knowing the facts that God has given us His divine nature and that we have the mind of Christ. We need to access it by faith and then move in action. Although it is something we possess, it is not something that comes easy because we have a sinful nature fighting against that, fighting against our thoughts and minds, vying for our attention to turn us away from the things of God ands believing lies.

As human beings we are blessed to have great minds and bodies given to us by God, and he wants to bless us and enable us to use them for our greatest potential. This can be achieved as we keep our focus on him. As it says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” So as we align our hearts and minds with the Lord, then our purpose on earth will not only be clear but successful.”

It’s a process. It’s a maturity that grows with practice and time. We have to literally transform our ways of thinking, our ways of what we thought to be right and natural and literally align our thoughts with the Word of God in every situation.

Romans 12:2– Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. (your mind) This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.”

Of course we are conditioned by so many factors in life to think like the world does, especially when you turn on the TV or scroll through social media – we begin to allow these ideologies and norms to become our ideologies and norms and we need to use the filter of the Word to only allow in what is Godly and holy.

Romans 8:6– “For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set controlled by the Spirit finds life and peace.”

Transforming your mind doesn’t happen overnight! Start by asking God to help you and read scriptures that remind you of who you are in Christ!

There’s such a freeing and liberation when you submit your thoughts to Christ, when you give Him your fears and anxieties. We literally just release them to His power and we are free to walk in the fullness, freedom and joy He has called us to walk in.

Philippians 2:2– “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Hebrews 8:10– “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

God is so concerned with our full part beings and wants us to live exceedingly and abundantly above anything we could think or ask for. He has given us all power, authority and dominion over the beats of the earth, BUT also over our own minds. Let’s be diligent in taking care of our spirit man and feeding our soul with the things of God so that when thoughts come, we quickly cast them off with truth, with the Word.

Walking in the Fullness of Christ

Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ,”

Ephesians 4:13

Walking in the fullness of Christ – what does it mean to attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ? We read that verse and can easily move on with the simple understanding that we possess in our present state ALL we need to walk in the fullness of who Christ is! But, do we truly understand in our daily tasks of life, whether it be as a wife, mother, friend, career person that we are mandated to live a life standard higher that that of our unsaved peers, that we have full dominion, authority and power over the rulers of darkness?

For some time, the word capacity has been ringing in our spirits. The Holy Spirit has been revealing to us that we have the capacity to carry the fullness of Christ and reveal Him completely. What does that look like to walk in the full measure of who our Father is and how do we obtain that?

Now, we are not pastors, psychologists, or theologians. We are two wives, moms, best friends and sisters who have a heart for God and a heart to truly share what God puts on our hearts with our world around us. This is a deep topic that we are still uncovering and learning day by day.

God showed us that He wants to manifest His fullness into His body (the Church) collectively as a whole and that we as a Church need healing. We can’t walk in the fullness of God if we are wrought with hurt, anger, bitterness, unforgivenes – the list goes on.

First, we looked up the definition of the words fullness and capacity:

  • Fullness– the state of being filled to capacity
  • Capacity– the maximum amount that something can contain

When God says we have the capacity, He is saying that we have the ability to contain all He is, to be filled to overflowing with all that He is. We the church are to be the full and complete reflection of Jesus Christ here on earth. Just as Jesus is the full reflection of the Father to us, we are to be the full reflection of Jesus to the world! But what have we as the church been revealing this to the world? Are we demonstrating the fullness of Jesus’ love?

Ephesians 1:23  – The church is his body, it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself…”

God wants to fill us with the fullness of Himself; to grow, to stretch our capacity, to be filled with the fullness of God, so that we can become more and more like Christ. There is a process of sanctification (forward progression) to become more and more like Christ – to grow in maturity. It doesn’t happen overnight, but we must be mindful daily of our growth, allowing grace for mistakes and a fervent spirit to continue the race.

“You will never know the fullness of Christ until you know the emptiness of everything but Christ,” Charles Spurgeon

1 Thessalonians 5:23Now, may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.“

In order to walk in the fullness of who He is, we have to allow Jesus to fully occupy us. We cannot just surrender our spirits for the sake of going to heaven, as often times misled in salvation. We must surrender our spirit, soul and body unto Him. Jesus wants to indwell our entire being – body, soul and spirit! God has freely given all! In return, we need to give ALL, too – not just part. For example, we cannot just believe for healing in our bodies, when we are desolate in our beings, as in flesh and mind perhaps. We can’t just believe parts of the Bible and expect God to just meet the direct needs we may THINK we need, without recognizing the other areas in ourselves that are incomplete.

If we have the capacity to be full, why are so many Christians living life half-full? We go to Church, Bible Study – we know how to pray healing and restoration, but we walk around defeated and anxious. We claim the blood of Jesus, but we have back-up plans in our minds. Have we limited the amount/ the measure in which we allow the spirit to work in us? God doesn’t limit us. There are no limits when it comes to all God has for us.

Ephesians 3:16-19– “And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life. Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! Howenduring and inclusive it is! Endlesslove beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God.”

There is an abundance, a bountiful supply of God’s riches. God’s riches are not just resources, but grace, mercy, love, and His power.

“One of the most glorious and courageous things you could ever do is live in the fullness of what Jesus purchased for you,” Lisa Bevere

We can understand that Jesus is filled with all the fullness of God. We can understand that Jesus is the human form of God Himself and He indwells the complete fullness of God. But what about us? We cannot understand all that Jesus is and see it as solely belonging to Him. We cannot separate ourselves from Christ. If Christ is in us, and Christ is the fullness of God, then we also have the fullness of God dwelling within us.

Look at the disciples. They were very imperfect, yet the were chosen by a God who already knew their faults, insecurities and failures. They followed Him, performed miracles and were still able to be the vessels Jesus used. They had Jesus WITH them, BUT WE HAVE JESUS IN US!!

Colossians 2:9-10 – “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”

For as Christ is the fullness of God in human form, we are to be the fullness of Christ here on earth in human form!

Ephesians 3:16-19 tells us, “And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life. Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God.”

God wants US, the church/ the body to become mature – to attain the whole measure of Christ – to be complete!

Let’s break down Ephesians 3:16-19. Here, Paul is praying for spiritual growth within the Church.

1.Eph. 3:16– “And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.”

  • We must allow God’s unlimited riches/resources into our innermost thoughts and believe that His resources are in fact, unlimited as the Word says. We have to truly grasp that concept and walk in it.
  1. Eph. 3:17– “Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.”
  • We have to do something! We have to exercise faith! Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – meditate on scripture! As we fully allow God’s unlimited resources to take hold in our hearts and actions, then will we be open and available to welcome Him into our hearts. He has to take root in our hearts before we can fully obtain, understand and walk in complete fullness. We need HIS fullness indwelling in us.
  1. Eph. 3:18-19– “Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!”
  • So, once we have done the first two steps of allowing His unlimited resources in and His complete dominion, only THEN can He be welcomed to make His home in our hearts. To conclude this, we now go even further and are able to fully receive the understanding of how deep His love is. We need to be recipients. We have to be vessels and allow God to pour into us His spirit, His love, His glorious riches.

It’s not His mandates, commandments and laws that move us to disciple and minster and move. It’s His love!! It’s His love that empowers us!

You can heal the sick and pray for the broken-hearted, but if you don’t have love – you are powerless. You can’t change anything without His love. When we are filled with the love of Christ, everything will flow through us! Everything God gives us is not just for ourselves, but for the betterment of someone else, the building of the Kingdom.

“He purposes that we should not only rise into the high places at intervals, but that this should be the normal life of the Christian who is joined to God every day and all the time,” John G. Lake

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The Heart of Worship, Part 2

Worship6Last blog, we talked about what worship is and that it is not singing songs and playing Christian music. Worship is relationship. It’s our stance as Christians, our very being. WE are worshipers if we are called sons and daughters of the King. We do not offer worship – we ARE worship! Just to backtrack a little, we started off with the verse:

 John 4:23-24– “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father inspirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

God was talking to the Samaritan woman here about the location of worship not being as important as HOW we worship. God can be worshipped anytime, anywhere, not just in Church before the sermon. True worship is Holy Spirit led, anointed and power-filled.

True worship should be something we continually do in our Spirits throughout our day. Yes, songs of praise and music can feed our worship, but they aren’t our worship… True worship breaks barriers!

How many of us can remember moments where we just didn’t feel like worshipping? When all hell has broke loose, when we are not seeing answers to our prayers, when we are in the midst of a storm and we just cant seem to get ourselves in a place to worship?

Worship is not about whether we feel like it or not. It takes a dying of ones self to worship, to get outside ourselves, feelings, and focus our hearts onto God! 

It’s not easy sometimes to worship. We often times have to talk ourselves into worshipping, but worship will reform the atmosphere in your life in a way nothing else has the power to do. We try to blame it on the enemy when our worship is inhibited, but even the enemy does not have the power to stop us from worshipping. He doesn’t need to – we stop ourselves and WE are the only ones who can choose whether or not we will worship in the heights of passion or the lows of despair and emptiness!

It will challenge our flesh in the moments we just don’t feel like it, but when we choose to worship despite our feelings or circumstances, it shifts our focus off the problem and onto God! It allows God to enter and that is when breakthrough happens!

Worship4

Mathew 14:22-33(Jesus walks on water, calms the storm and brings Peter out on the water, disciples worship Him) 

Matthew 14:33– “When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.” 

As a group of disciples, they had never worshipped God before together. The disciples were there when Jesus healed the leper, forgave the adulterer, preached to thousands…They loved and followed Jesus, leaving their families and lives, but had never corporately worshipped Him until after this incident on the water. Why? Because this time it involved them! This time, it was THEM that were saved! Worship is personal!! Worship is intimate and allows our hearts to be ONE with our God. 

Breakthrough Worship stories

Why is worship so important? Why does worship matter so much? Worship is the only thing God cannot give Himself! To worship – you have to have something higher than yourself and there is noting higher than God! 

Luke 19:40– “Jesus responded, “Listen to me. If my followers were silenced, the very stones would break forth with praises!” 

*Everything that has breath will praise the Lord and even the rocks will cry out! All of creation was designed to worship God! 

Joshua 6:1-27– (Walls of Jericho) God gave Joshua specific instructions on what to have the people do for the walls to come down. He instructed them to march around the city once a day for 6 days and on the 7thday, march around 7 times and the priests blowing on the trumpet, the long blast on the rams horn and the people shouting then at the top of their lungs and the walls would come down…Joshua and the people did as instructed and as they worshipped and followed God’s instructions, the walls came down!

Acts 16:25-26– “Paul and Silas, undaunted, prayed in the middle of the night and sang songs of praise to God, while all the other prisoners listened to their worship. Suddenly, a great earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. All at once every prison door flung open and the chains of all the prisoners came loose.” – Again, it was through worship after they had been severely beaten that the chains broke! Very symbolic of the chains we live in ourselves!

**The story of Jehoshaphat

Tribes against Jehoshaphat and his tribe were outnumbered. Again, God told him not to be afraid, that he would be with him…

2 Chronicles 20:18-19– “Then Jehoshaphat knelt down, bowing with his face to the ground. All Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping God. The Levites (both Kohathites and Korahites) stood to their feet to praise God, the God of Israel; they praised at the top of their lungs!”

2 Chronicles 20:22“ at the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and mount Stir to start fighting among themselves.”

In all these stories, they had every opportunity to fear, to worry or complain. They were in despair, moments of weakness. What brought the breakthrough for each of them? Worship! Worship is what invites and allows God to fight our battles. How amazing is that? As we worship and praise, God fights on our behalf. Too often we are fighting in our own strength, when all we need to do is praise!

This reminds me of a song I love:

You go before I know

That You’ve gone to win my war

You come back with the head of my enemy

You come back and You call it my victory 

All I did was praise

All I did was worship

All I did was bow down

All I did was stay still 

Worship needs to become a lifestyle! It is who we are, not what we do. It’s an inward state of being that becomes an outward expression.

God is looking for worshippers! Those that will worship in spirit and truth, to respond form our heart to His, to respond in total adoration and reverence.

We were created to worship, all creation!

Psalms 150:6 “let everything that breaths sing praises to the Lord”

Psalms 148: (READ 

As Stormie Omartian stated:

“We were created to worship God. It’s a state in which our soul finds true peace, rest, and purpose. But it must become a condition of the heart, a way of life, a pattern woven into the fabric of our being. Worship must become so ongoing that it is no longer even a decision that has to be made because the decision has already been made. Worship must become a lifestyle. When you make worship a lifestyle, it will determine in whose image you will be formed and what you become. Sometimes praise and worship will be the only thing you do in a situation. You will stand and praise God while the tornados of life whirl around you, and you will see God move on your behalf. And then you will understand the hidden power of praise. When you understand that concept, it will change your life.”

Worship5

The Heart of Worship, Part 1

Worship1Worship – when you think of worship, what usually comes to mind? Maybe the first half hour of church service singing songs, putting on “worship” music in the car…I think when most of us hear the word worship, we think of it as an action, doing something. Worship is none of those things. Music and worship songs can “lead” us and feed our spirits in worship, but worship is our being, it is our stance, who we are…worship is relational.

Again worship is not about being a singer or playing an instrument. It’s not about performance, but WE are Gods instrument. I love how our spiritual mama Cheryl Salem says it, “ We are Gods instrument! Who is playing you? It’s either God or the devil!”

Worship is an issue of the heart; it is where we give God His rightful place. It has nothing to do with words.

In fact, Mark 7:6-7says, “Jesus replied, “You are frauds and hypocrites! How accurately did Isaiah prophesy about you phonies when he said: These people honor me with their words while their hearts run far away from me! Their worship is nothing more than a charade! For they continue to insist that their man-made traditions are equal to the instructions of God.”

Jesus then goes on to say in verse 15 “its not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HEART!!!!

He says, their “worship,” is nothing more than a charade. He wasn’t talking about their singing. He was talking about their hearts. The Pharisees worship was motivated by their desire to look holy to others, not motivated by love. We can’t confess to be Christians and follow God if our hearts and motives are wrong – it will show through.

John 4:23-24– “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father inspirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

God was talking to the Samaritan woman here about the location of worship not being as important as HOW we worship. God can be worshipped anytime, anywhere, not just in Church before the sermon. True worship is Holy Spirit led, anointed and power-filled.

Jesus said, “the hour is coming and now is…” Up until that time, people could not worship in Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not come. We are a 3 part being, just like the Trinity is 3 parts. We are body, soul and spirit. Body=clapping, singing…Spirit=our hearts, feelings and emotions…But man had not been given the Holy Spirit yet, so Old Testament people could not worship in Spirit…True worshipers began in the New Testament, on the hour of Pentecost.

Jesus says, “…now is…” because He was here and He was the first worshiper.

Look at the Tabernacle – again 3 parts…Outer Court, Inner Court and Holy of Holies, where no one could enter, except the High Priest at certain times…When Jesus died, the veil connecting to the Holy of Holies was torn so we now had a way in and could fully worship God in Spirit!

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Worship is important – it’s not what we do, but who we are!! Worship is not about singing, but about our hearts being one with our God and pouring out a love, honor and reverence only reserved for Him.

Exodus 34:14– “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

Satan knew how important worship was. Let’s look at another verse…

Matthew 4:9– “All of these kingdoms I will give to you,” the accuser said, “if only you will kneel down before me and worship me.” But Jesus said, “Go away, enemy! For the Scriptures say: Kneel before the Lord your God and worship only him. At once the accuser left him, and angels suddenly gathered around Jesus to minister to his needs.”

This was Satan’s last attempt to be worshipped. But Jesus came to save us, to point us TO God…

I love how when Jesus resisted the devil, Angels came and ministered to Him. When we resist the devil, the Lord sends angels to encourage and minister to us!

Isaiah 14:12– “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground,You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven,I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…”

Worship was what got him sent out from heaven! Yes, he wanted to be more like God, but his desire was to be worshiped instead of God! He wanted to be like God. He wanted the attention and exaltation. This was the very first account of sin in the Universe and Satan’s crime? To be worshipped and exalted above God. This is the origin of sin and ever since, Satan’s desire is to lure us away from worshipping God, to draw us away from God instead of pointing other to God.

If Satan tried to lure Jesus from accomplishing God’s will, how much more do you think he tries to lure us? Look at the state of our Nation today? Satan is the god of this world and controls everything from the Media to the business world, to things we watch, read…Most of the time, we don’t even realize these things lure us from God. He entices us with things of this world so we will bow down and worship him instead of God. We can easily listen o music more than we worship God. We can read books or keep ourselves so busy, we don’t have time for God. These are all things that in and of themselves may not be sinful, but anything we put above worshipping God, is sin and the enemy is crafty.  But if we are in our Word and prayer and worship, daily, we will recognize those futile attempts.

Let’s look at the first time the word worship is even mentioned in the Bible…

Genesis 22:1-19 (Abraham Tested)

Remember, Abraham was tested just 50 years prior to this, as well. Abraham was asked to leave his family and he did. Why did God test him again?? Same as us – we can revel in God’s goodness when He is working things out for us, but after that, we can easily drift back into the world and the world’s way of life…

When God asks Abraham to take Isaac up to Moriah, Abraham immediately obeys. The Bible doesn’t say he questioned or fought back. He obeyed. It took 3 days to arrive at their destination… Why 3 days? Because that gave Abraham time to think about this – was this God who was asking him to sacrifice his son worth all this? Was this God worth his worship and praise? For 3 days, he could have thought long and hard and not went through with this… Instead, EVEN IN THE STORM OF HIS MIND, HE WORSHIPPED!!

Genesis 22:5– “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

This is the first time the word worship is used in the Bible. What would be going through your mind when you are asked to do something this horrific?? And I bet none of us have ever been asked to do something like this!! Most times when we are in distress, worshipping is the last thing we have the heart or energy to do! Yet, Abraham took his son and they worshipped!!!

Worship requires a sacrifice! It’s sacrificing that which is most precious to us… in this case, for Abraham; it was his promised son Isaac. Often times, we need to sacrifice that which is most important to us, that which is crowding our lives so we can be in the position to operate in worship.

What is stopping you from being a worshipper?

The second time the word worship was used in the Bible was pertaining to Job. We all know the story of Job – he wastested to see if he would still worship God when he would ultimately lose EVERYTHING!!!

Job 1:20– “Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.”

In both Abraham and Job’s circumstances, they were in distress…Most of us wouldn’t even be able to worship, yet it was worship that broke the barriers for them and ushered in their greatest blessings!

Do we worship God when things are good? When prayers are answered? For his benefits? No, God should be worshipped for who He is not for what He does!

And in the Old Testament when they didn’t have a Bible, they didn’t have Jesus, they didn’t have hope – if they could worship, how much more can we having Jesus, having the Word, having the Holy Spirit because Romans 8:28tells us, “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.”

Job was a man of faith, but like us, his faith wavered. One minute he was in distress crying out why is this happening to me, then the next minute praising God. It was normal for him because He didn’t have the Holy Spirit or the Word. When we waver in our faith and worship, we are living the Old Testament experiences and we are not under that life anymore! Our worship is to be full in spirit AND truth!

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True Humility Vs. False Humility, Part 2

Last blog, we talked about the distinction between true and false humility. I think it’s an important discussion because there are two opposing definitions of humility; the world’s definition and God’s definition, both polar opposites.

We discussed more of what false humility was and just to recap, false humility basically exalts oneself over others and displays a more arrogant and conceited tone, whereas true humility actually invokes a confidence in who we are in Christ allowing us to humble ourselves to exalt others first.

Our key verse is from Colossians…

Colossians 3:12 – “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Humility is something we are to put on, to clothe ourselves in. It isn’t something we naturally operate in. It takes effort, practice, a heart.

We were born into a fallen world. In today’s generation, we see the attitude of entitlement, quick results or we get upset, overly confident in ourselves, always trying to get the best selfie! We have become narcissistic and competitive, prideful…

Differentspirit.org says, “While someone is preoccupied with thoughts of self, they will never be free of self. While someone is preoccupied with their failings, they will never be free of self. While someone is impressed with their own achievements and talent, they will never be free of self.”

We need to learn to accept compliments, be strong is who we are and in who God created us to be in full: mind, body and spirit…

A study by psychologist Pelin Kesibir describes humility as a quiet ego and explains that humility involves a willingness to accept self’s limits and its place in the grand scheme of things, accompanied by low levels of self-preoccupation. He says a humble person is a person with a calm sense of self-mastery. Such a person knows what he/she can do well and what they are bad at and they never seek confirmation or praise.

This reminds me of David in the Old Testament…We all know the story of David and Goliath. But, if we look at the story, David truly showed humility. He was a Sheppard boy tending sheep. It probably wasn’t the position most of us would want to take. During the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, David helped his father and tended sheep while his brothers were a part of the army. We see David was in his position and did it humbly. We don’t see him complain, “Why am I just tending sheep while my brothers get to be in battle?” He didn’t talk low of himself, but was confident in who His God was. He was so confident in God, that it came across as arrogance.

1 Samuel 17:28 – His brother says, “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” But we know that David ended up defeating Goliath and becoming the king. He went from a Sheppard boy to king, because of his humility, his confidence in God and his obedience.

He could have easily been insecure about his position, jealous of his brothers, envious of the display of seemingly faith in their ability to serve at a much higher rank than shepherding sheep, but he faithfully and obediently served and God honors obedience.

Reminds me of two other verses:

Colossians 3:23– “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”

1 Samuel 15:22says, “…obedience is better than sacrifice…”

What it all boils down to is seeking God’s wisdom in all we do, say and think. Are we walking in true humility or false humility?

John 3:30 reads, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

I think we take that literally. We may have been taught that to decrease, we must become lower, in a belittling position. However, what was taking place was that John and his disciples were baptizing people and people began leaving them and going over to Jesus. In verse 26,“John’s disciples came to him and said Rabbi the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah is also baptizing people and everybody is going to him instead of coming to us,” so when John responds with “I must decrease so He can increase” shows true humility. He allowed Jesus to be increased. He didn’t need the attention on himself. John knew his mission and calling and did it without reservation!

The best way to truly learn to decipher is to ask God the intent of your heart. The second way is to build yourself up! Get in the Word and know the heart of our Father.

The Bible gives us several benefits of walking a humble life.

  1. Proverbs 3:34– “If you walk with the mockers you will learn to mock,
    but God’s grace and favor flow to the meek…”

            God’s favor and grace follow those who are humble.

  1. Proverbs 22:4– “Laying your life down in tender surrender before the Lord
    will bring life, prosperity, and honor as your reward.”           

When we lay our lives down and pick up the ways of the Lord, we will walk in prosperity, life and have the honor of God on us!!

  1. Proverbs 11:2– “When you act with presumption,convinced that you’re right,don’t be surprised if you fall flat on your face!But walking in humility helps you tomake wise decisions.”

When we define what is right in our own minds, we will fall flat on our face. Without God, we have no clear direction of where we are going because we do not have the blue print for the direction of our lives without God. BUT when we submit our lives to HIM and walk in humility, we are able to see the path and He will enlighten our journey.

  1. Proverbs 15:33– “The source of revelation-knowledge is found as you fall down in surrender before the Lord. Don’t expect to see Shekinah glory until the Lord sees your sincere humility.

Shekinah glory is a visible manifestation of God on earth, whose presence is portrayed through a natural occurrence. Shekinah is a Hebrew word for “dwelling” or “one who dwells.” It’s the divine presence of God.Without a humble spirit, we cannot expect to see that Shekinah glory.

Humility believes that God is able to lead, that His Word will light our path.

Here are a few scriptures about humility…

James 4:6– “But he continues to pour out more and more grace upon us. For it says, God resists you when you are proud but continually pours out grace when you are humble.”

Proverbs 29:23– “A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor”

1 Peter 5:5-6– “In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for God opposes the proudbut gives grace to the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

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