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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True Humility Vs. False Humility, Part 1

When you do something good, and someone congratulates you or tells you what a wonderful thing you did, is your response always, “Oh, it was all God.” This is something my sister and I noticed recently and talked about. We never really thought twice about it until we watched the movie, “The Apostle Paul.”

There was a scene where Paul is talking to Luke (we believe) and tells him what a wonderful healer he was. I don’t remember exactly if he said “Thank you,” or just accepted the compliment, but I do remember that he never said, “Oh it was all God.” Now, that’s NOT to say that we don’t give God the glory because ALL good things come through Him, BUT we were noticing that we not only diminish ourselves, BUT the power of God IN US when we don’t also accept our part, as well. I know this sounds a bit crazy… Let’s take our reference verse:

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.”

I don’t think many of us truly know the biblical definition of what humility really is.

Often times, humility is recognized negatively. We have a misconception of what humility really means. We think it means to be passive, to think low of ourselves, or talk down of ourselves. I’ve often even thought humility gave off a sense of insecurity and passivity, but as we studied, it was just the opposite!

Here’s how the dictionary defines humility:

Humility– a modest or low view of ones importance.

  • That is actually contrary to true humility.

Now, let’s look at how the Bible defines humility:

Humility – the personal quality of being free from arrogance and pride and having an accurate estimate of one’s worth.

Right away, we see that according to the world, humility is viewed as a low view of ones worth, whereas according to the Bible, humility is actually an accurate estimate of ones worth! What a contrast! We have two kinds of people running around displaying opposing views of what humility is and basically with that lack of understanding, a lot of false humility masked as pride.

True humility in fact is NOT insecure or unsure about one’s identity and self-worth! True humility describes one who IS confident in their worth in Jesus Christ! I love the quote from C.S. Lewis: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Wow!

It really is just recognizing our dependency on God and not ourselves. When we focus on ourselves it becomes pride and that’s the opposite of humility.

False humility

We came across a podcast from Kris Vallotton who spoke on this subject and it so struck a cord in my spirit and we began digging into more on this subject. False humility masks pride; it’s subtle. That’s why it is so easy to think we may be walking in humility, but really aren’t. It’s always good to check ourselves and ask God our motives and if our actions are lined up with His. They may seem humble because we may say things like, “I am a nobody, I have nothing to offer,” but it’s a self-depreciation. We think by demeaning ourselves, we are being humble, but that’s actually false humility.

When we demean ourselves, we are actually demeaning God. It’s no different when we talk badly about how we look. As women, we tend to have issues with appearance and when we think or say things negatively about our appearance, our behavior – we are actually talking badly about Gods creation. Think about it –we are diminishing who we are, who God created us to be. We are actually operating in pride – the focus is on US! We tend to over spiritualize scriptures and misinterpret them, or have been taught incorrectly what humility really means.

Conversely, false humility can also disguise itself in a conceited confidence, one that exalts ourselves higher than others, and remember the Biblical definition of true humility is the personal quality of being free from arrogance and pride and having an accurate estimate of one’s worth.

We encourage you to read this story in  Luke 18:9-14… This story depicts both true and false humility…

Self-righteousness is dangerous and leads to pride, which is the opposite of humility. The Pharisees probably thought they were operating in Godly confidence, but they were in fact belittling others (the tax collectors) and exalting themselves higher. Though the tax collectors obviously had a bad rep around town, God looks at the heart, and this particular tax collector was recognized by God for his true humility. The Pharisees approached God with a false humility, exalting their righteousness and good deeds above God working in them, whereas the Tax Collector approached God in a totally different manner.  He was humble and exalted God and others before himself. He showed true humility.

Jesus is our greatest example! He humbled himself on a cross and played down his life, so we could be lifted up. What to the world was mocked and seemed weak and powerless, was the greatest display of strength and power! As Alec Motyer says “He (Jesus) recognized no limit to the extent to which his obedience in self-humbling must go.”

True humility takes a strength and confidence to know who you are! You cannot display true humility without the power and confidence to express it!

 

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Identity Theft; Who Owns Your Soul, Part 2

Here we are on Part 2 of Identity Theft and if you haven’t checked out our last blog, we discussed more broad ways we have lost our identity with pop culture and society changes. Today, we are going a little more personal on ways we tend to lose our identity and how we find our identity in the One Who created us!

We all have asked ourselves the question “Who am I?” But, where does that answer come from? Most define themselves by jobs, success, race, religion, appearance…the list goes on. We also identify by life’s experiences, whether good or bad. It could be a relationship, a loss, culture and media. We all are searching and looking for a sense of belonging.

The problem with defining and finding our identity in these things is that none of them are stable. At any moment temporal things can change or be lost and then we are searching and trying to identify ourselves through something else. It’s unstable to put our identity in anything besides Christ!

The world is constantly throwing their ideas of what we should be or look like. For us as women, we see billboards, magazine covers of what the world defines as beautiful and we think, “oh that’s what is could look like” but it’s a distorted view. We can’t look to the current pop culture, to a magazine cover, opinions of others, but to the Bible. What God says and thinks about us is the ONLY way we need to redirect our focus on defining who we are!

So today we are going to take a look at the truth of our identity in Christ. What does that mean? We are going to go to a lot of scriptures today, so pull out your Bibles!

Galatians 2:20 says, “My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me—we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine!”

Our natural understanding says we feel sick, we feel betrayed, we feel offended, we feel angry. Those are all natural things to feel. The problem is when we let those things marinate from our head to our hearts and they transform the way we see ourselves. If we are crucified with Christ and have risen with Christ, we are essentially little gods, Christ-men… I know that sounds very blatant too say, but I think we water down the truth of who we are in fear of people thinking we are calling ourselves God. In doing this, we have created a people who don’t truly live up to the power, authority and calling of who we were created to be!

We live less than. We as Christians live in poverty, sickness, fear, anxiety, depression. We name it and claim it as if it defines us! What about our past? How many of us have had tragic events in our past, things a loved one said or did to us and over the years it has defined us, prohibited us from doing things or moving forward? I bet most of us can say, we have had things said or done to us that have shaped the way we see things. And it should! But bot to the detriment of compromising the gospel and using that for the good of other’s healing!

My sister and I are reading a book, our Spiritual mama and Mentor, Cheryl Salem is reading with us on the Ministry of John G. Lakes. We have to say, this has truly opened our eyes to how we have become so lazed in our understanding of who we are over decades and why the Church as a whole is suffering. The bottom line – we don’t know who we are! To know God is to study God. To know who He is, is to understand who WE are! We have to be hungry for it! We have to be in our Word! We have to take off the old and put on the new – take off that fear, anxiety, past events and confusion and put on the robes of righteousness, because we were called to live a lot holier than we are!

Ephesians 4:24“And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness.”

It’s not about DOING, but BEING the reflection of Jesus. He left us with all He had and we take some of it, but not all of it! We have to want ALL of it! If we take some, we identify with some and some of our identity is still left in the world.

I want to quote John G. Lakes here. He said, “We have come down out of the heavenlies into the natural, and we are trying to live a heavenly life in a natural state, overburdened by the weights and cares of the flesh and life is all about us.”

Isn’t that so true? It’s all about what WE feel is right! It’s about what satisfies OUR flesh, what our political or personal view is that we HAVE to post on social media and get across! When do we stop and make sure what we are saying is lining up with the Word of God and not what we think? That’s when we will learn how to live in the Spirit and not the flesh. Until then, we will have no clue who we are because we are trying to identify ourselves by what’s around us, not who’s IN us! We allow too many outside influences to penetrate our hearts and minds more than we do Christ.

Another quote from Lakes states that, “The power of God, the Holy Ghost, is the Spirit of dominion. It makes on a god. It makes one not subject to the forces of the world, or the flesh, or the devil. These are under the Christian’s feet.” John said in 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.”

I mean do we get that, Church?? Do we truly get the power and authority we have? We are not subject to the forces of evil on this earth, whether it be sickness in the body or mind, our past, the devil – nothing!! WE are of a higher authority and have the ammunition and the victory, yet we jump to the end where Jesus got the victory and we do nothing in between! We are still on this earth, but if we are going to act like natural beings on this earth, natural consequences will prevail.

Lakes also said something profound about our identity, “Blessed is he whose interest in life, whose interest in the world is only used to extend the interest of the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed is he who has lost his own identity as an individual and has become a citizen of the Kingdom.”

Again, if our focus is on ourselves and what has happened to us, we will only continue to fulfill and feed the desires of the flesh. We have supernatural power to overcome. We were supernaturally created that way.

That’s not to say we have to forget what’s happened or move on just like that. God can heal. God can restore! But you have to be willing. Your mess will be a message to the next person.

Losing our Identity goes way back to the garden. In Genesis, Eve sacrificed her identity to the enemy and from there; it has been a struggle for us all. Deception will creep in and if we are not on guard, we are not exempt from falling, too.

Genesis 3:1-7 – Read this passage…

But we have the choice to look to God, our hope and redeemer to follow and align our beings up with. Our past may have held us back, but once we are enlightened to the truth, it is our responsibility to change.

2 Corinthians 5:17“Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.”

We need to mirror God and reflect His image, not our own fears and insecurities and definitely not what the world says is right, even if it’s the majority!

1 Peter 2:9“But you are God’s chosen treasure—priests who are kings, a spiritual “nation” set apart as God’s devoted ones. He called you out of darkness to experience his marvelous light, and now he claims you as his very own. He did this so that you would broadcast his glorious wonders throughout the world.”

Ephesians 2:10“We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works-we would do to fulfill it!”

We want to end with one more quote from John G. Lakes because I think the essence of it sums up the dispute between our past and who we truly are…

“Do you know that it is only as your mind settles back into the humiliation and suffering and the weakness and the fear and the doubting of the dispensation that is past, that you grow weak and sickly, and sinful? But as your soul looks forward and possesses in the present the glorious victory that Jesus acquired and exhibits and enjoys, does it rise out of its sorrows, out of its sins, into that glorious triumph of the children of God?”

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Identity Theft; Who Owns Your Soul , Part 1

Did you know that every 2 seconds, someone is a victim of Identity Theft? Thieves are on the prowl hunting down their next victim who isn’t on guard or prepared, who doesn’t seem confident or steadfast. They are watching you, studying your moves and ready to take on your identity and all that you have worked for.

We hear commercials all the time for Life lock and companies who guarantee to protect your credit and identity. But what happens when your inner identity, your soul is stolen and you don’t even know it? You become someone you never thought you would. You say and do things that follow the norms of your society and deception takes over until YOU are a victim of a whole different kind of Identity Theft!

John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

The thief comes to STEAL!!! That’s his purpose – that’s his goal. Don’t think he doesn’t know your weaknesses. He studies you!

There are several things that can cause us to lose our identity as Christians including anxiety, depression, allowing our past to define us, as well as a variety cultural and political agendas being pushed in our faces today!

My sister and I were just talking about how mental illness and depression seem to be at an all-time high. We look at the state of our nation and our culture and see things un-Godly that have become a norm for us. Many of us don’t even realize the sin around us because it is so covered up by political correctness and acceptance.

In this blog in particular, we are briefly discussing how we have lost our identity in the political campaigns being pushed at us today. Three of the biggest issues dividing our Nation right now seem to be homosexuality, abortion and political leadership. Now, these are HUGE issues we can’t obviously address in full context in 1 blog, but just to identify how we have lost our identity in social issues and turned from the ways of God, we will simply state them.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when they will no longer listen and respond to the healing words of truth because they will become selfish and proud. They will seek out teachers with soothing words that line up with their desires, saying just what they want to hear. They will close their ears to the truth and believe nothing but fables and myths.”

We shouldn’t be surprised that these things are happening…

2 Timothy 3:1-7– “But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of God.People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families, They will be ungrateful and ungodly.

They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander, Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God.

They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these! For they are the ones who worm their way into the hearts of vulnerable women, spending the night with those who are captured by their lusts and steeped in sin.They are always learning but never discover the revelation-knowledge of truth.”

Homosexuality

One issue my sister and I realized was that we just came off the heels of Pride Month and couldn’t take our kids to a Mall, ATM or restaurant without seeing rainbow advertising and even your favorite brands were sending out e-mails with sales and advertising the Pride Collection. Some of these things are so shoved in our faces that we begin to think it’s normal, it’s ok. Our culture claims if we don’t agree, we are hateful. Did you lose your identity in identifying as someone God did not create you to be? Did you lose your identity in fitting in or allowing the subtle lies of the masses condition the truth you use to know?

The Bible clearly states in 1 Corinthians 6:9-13, “Surely you must know that people who practice evil cannot possess God’s kingdom realm. Stop being deceived! People who continue to engage in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse, or extortion—these will not inherit God’s kingdom realm.It’s true that some of you once lived in those lifestyles, but now you have been purified from sin, made holy, and given a perfect standing before God—all because of the power of the name of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and through our union with the Spirit of our God. It’s true that our freedom allows us to do anything, but that doesn’t mean that everything we do is good for us. I’m free to do as I choose, but I choose to never be enslaved to anything. Some have said, “I eat to live and I live to eat!” But God will do away with it all. The body was not created for illicit sex, but to serve and worship our Lord Jesus, who can fill the body with himself.”

We have to be very careful in this day and age to guard our minds and hearts and not be swayed by the majority around us if we know the majority around us is wrong. Jesus was mocked and ridiculed. He hung out with sinners, yet never sinned. He called sin out and knew how to perfectly balance boldness with grace and love. We need to look more like Jesus and less like the world. We cannot allow the redefinition of sexuality, marriage and life to characterize this Nation. It’s truly time for Christians to stand up and take our place in the gap between God and mankind.

Thank you to our sweet friend Barbara Copeland – she posted an article from Grace to You, titled Unleashing God’s Truth and I really think everyone needs to read it.(Link will be at bottom of this blog) But it talks very candidly about why God condemns homosexuality – it overturns God’s fundamental design for human relationship and multiplying. There are so many scriptures on this we could go into, but let’s move on.

Abortion

Everett Koop, M.D., formerly the Surgeon General, states that during his 35-plus years of practicing medicine, “Never once did a case come across my practice where abortion was necessary to save a mother’s life.” 

Percentage of women who chose an abortion because having a baby “would; change their life (job, school)”: 76. Percentage who chose an abortion because of rape or incest: 1.

I never thought we’d live in a society where we were debating the life of unborn children, yet here we are, a nation divided. It’s not about abortion they say. It’s about women’s rights. Have we lost compassion for life and God’s plan for lives, no matter how little? Have we lost our identity in identifying with the masses? I definitely see a rise in our generation of Christians compromising the truth of God for the lies of the world.

Who are we to end life? There are no circumstances in the Bible where it is ever ok for mankind to determine the days we have. Yet, we have all these reasons why it’s justifiable to tweak God’s plan to fit our ideologies and beliefs.

Job 14:5– “Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You [in Your control], And You have made his limits so he cannot pass [his allotted time].”

Have we again compromised the FULL Word of God to fit the masses and identify with the world and the world’s views? It’s so easy to lose our identity in the majority. It’s so easy to lose our identity in the scope of what seems the “right” thing to do, but it’s not about the “right” thing or the Politically Correct thing to do, it’s about what God says, not in part, but in FULL!

Politics

We are divided over Presidency, politics, so much so that hate is all we see when watching the news in anything political. God called us to respect our Leadership, not if we agreed or not. The best thing we can do as a nation to unify is to pray together for our leaders, not divide and spew out hate and ugliness. Have we lost our Identity in hate and acceptance of things we know is wrong because everyone else is doing it? We talk about change. We talk about what we want and don’t want and yes, we live in a democracy where we do have a vote! But that doesn’t give us the right to be sore losers and spew hate and ridicule on the opposition, especially if they are put in to power.

There are so many examples of submissiveness that God tries to teach us –submissiveness to God, submissiveness to husbands, submissiveness to presidential and leadership authority, yet when we dishonor that, we are dishonoring God who put those powers in authority!

Romans 13:1-2– “Every person must submit to and support the authorities over him. For there can be no authority in the universe except by God’s appointment, which means that every authority that exists has been instituted by God. So to resist authority is to resist the divine order of God, which results in severe consequences.”

We are to submit and pray – not only if we agree or feel like it…We have the power as children of God to change the way this nation is going if we stand up for His principles and simply pray – not bash or gossip or spread hate. It’s not our job to change the world, but to pray and intercede in the gap on behalf of our nation and allow the hand of God back in.

Ezekiel 22:30“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

2 Chronicles 7:14– “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Have we truly humbled ourselves in prayer? We want the nation to change and if we spent more time on our knees instead of creating and posting harsh memes on Facebook bashing our President and leadership, maybe we would see a difference in our culture!

These are just a few of the things that have swayed us into slowly and subtly losing our identity in Christ. In the next blog, we will talk more about how we find our way back, how the only way to truly identify and know who we are is by knowing who HE is!

https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A170

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Prayer for Release of Strongholds

Our last couple of blogs discussed the power in our words and how to renounce that power that may have negatively affected you from words you have spoken over yourself or words that others may have spoken over you! Today, right now, we can break that curse! You may not feel anything at first, but keep meditating on scripture and prayer and little by little, you will see yourself differently, the way God has always seen you!

Here is a prayer to help you along the way, taken from Expect A Miracle Ministries online!

Father, Your word says in Isaiah 54:17 that “No weapon formed against me shall prosper, and every tongue which rises up against me in judgment shall be condemned,” and that this is my inheritance in the Lord. Right now I condemn every negative word that has been spoken over myself, my family and my future in Jesus name. I condemn every negative word I have spoken over myself, my family, and our future. I repent for vows made silently or spoken and I ask that You release me and all those affected by those things to be released from any ungodly vows. I repent for speaking any words that are contrary to Your will, O God, and I break the power of them now in the name and authority of Jesus Christ. I also break the power of negative words of others spoken out of their own fear, anger, criticisms, offense, malice, ill will, envy, jealousy, unforgiveness and bitterness. I break the power of physicians, parents, ministers, teachers, peers, and authority figures in our lives that had power to negatively influence us, create fear or harm our self image, self esteem or belief system. I call our belief system back into alignment with God and His Word. I break the power of negative words, including those that have evil spirits associated with them through the use of conjuring, spells, incantations, potions, and all forms of magic and witchcraft; words and spirit associations that have been assigned to us in order to perpetuate a curse must now be broken and all curses made void. I command in the name of Jesus Christ that all evil spirits associated with these curses to leave me, my family, and all that pertains to our lives, and be sent back to hell immediately. I command all open doors to the enemy that originated with these harmful words to be closed now and the blood of Jesus applied to those doorways. I forbid the enemy from crossing through the blood. I declare that those negative words will no longer ring in my ears, nor in those that have heard or repeated negative, condemning words. I declare that words that have beenused as a weapon will no longer ring in the ears of my loved ones and hinder their faith or their future.From this day forward, I declare their ears shall be deaf to condemning words laced with a spirit of death. All shame, insecurity, inferiority, fear,failure, unworthiness, rejection, loathing, rebellion, lawlessness, idolatry and perversity that originated from these ungodly words and their effects is now broken off of myself and all my family members. I declare only faith, peace, joy, love, and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ shall prosper in their heart, mind and spirit in Jesus name. Let the love of Your Holy Spirit, of Your mercy and acceptance be shed abroad in our hearts. Let there be revelation, truth and understanding be released into our hearts and minds. Let the counsel of Your Holy Spirit unravel every lie and bring us back to the truth that sets us free. Father God, I thank You and Holy Spirit for releasing blessing into my life and that of my loved ones and enabling us to walk with our heads held high. Thank You for breaking every ungodly yoke of bondage and oppression that came as a result of condemning words. In Jesus name, I thank you for a fresh start. Amen

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