Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Chain Is Tightening

I met a young man named Jeremy this week. He expressed that he was deeply troubled about forgiving the man who murdered his uncle long ago. After serving a twelve-year sentence, the man convicted would be freed in the next several months. Jeremy was uneasy about the man’s upcoming release.

Jeremy looked up to his uncle and the fine Christian man he became. However, something must have happened to his uncle’s Christian resolve. Slowly, alcohol crept in and took over until his uncle ended up in the “gutter of life.” It was there that the gunman took the uncle’s life. Jeremy was heart broken over the way his uncle’s life had ended. I perceived Jeremy was not only mad at the shooter but also his uncle as well. He didn’t understand how this could have happened to a man once so dedicated to the Lord.

I explained to Jeremy that the enemy is very subtle as he works to deceive God’s children. He gradually convinces us that we have become worthless to God, and we will not be able to rise up out of our pit of regrets anymore. Self-condemnation and shame becomes the stronghold that keeps us bound inside. Finally, the enemy wants to secure our death so that we will never be a threat to his kingdom again. (John 10:10)


Later, the Lord showed me a picture of a chain around Jeremey’s neck.

First, I recognized the chain as a choker like one used on a dog to insure obedience. If Jeremy’s present state of mind continued, the enemy would father tighten his control and eventually choke the life of God out of him leaving him bitter and defeated.

Why did God allow this to happen? I have the right to be angry. Look what that guy did to my family. I am still having nightmares. My uncle was a good man. I don’t think I have the strength to forgive him after what he has done.

In other words, I sensed Jeremy was not sure he was ready to give up the battle he had maintained all these years.

Likewise, a second picture appeared. I recognized the chain as a beautiful necklace that all could see and appreciate. I sensed that God wanted to initiate a personal promise to Jeremy. If he would show grace and mercy by learning to forgive this murderer, then God would bless Jeremy abundantly with the peace, the joy, and freedom He knew Jeremy needed.

Then, when Jeremy was ready, God also desired to help him use his uncle’s death to become a living testimony of God’s love and forgiveness. In this way, Jeremy could honor his uncle’s memory instead of allowing the past to destroy his life.

Don’t let the power of the past dominate
your present and determine your future.

Now, Jeremy has a choice to make.

What about you? Is there a crisis in your life that requires forgiveness to gain freedom? Are you going to be someone who will keeps a bitter vendetta alive or someone who will rise and became a living testimony of what God’s forgiveness can do? 

What will YOU choose?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Standing On The Promises

My friend Josie asked me if she could tell me about a dream she had had and what I thought it meant. I knew depression had been trying to crush her lately so I was glad to help, if I could.

In the dream, Josie was lying down on the ground. A huge rock was on top of her so that she could hardly breathe. She struggled desperately. Yet, no matter how hard she tried, Josie could not get the rock off.  The dream ended.

Afterwards, I closed my eyes. I got the picture of a stick person (Josie) squirming and frantically trying to push the large rock off her chest. With my eyes still closed, I felt the Holy Spirit’s strength come up from my innermost being.  Then, I noticed the outcome in my vision started to change directions. As the stick figure continued to push and rest then push again, the rock eventually rolled away.  The rock did not move because of her power but after the power of the Holy Spirit infused her with His strength. As soon as the load was removed, Josie was able to stand up, climb upon the rock, and claimed the victory. When arms rose high, I saw the stick figure’s countenance glorify Jesus with all her might.

Later, I realized that the stick person could represent anybody with a ‘heavy situation’ on his or her heart. As, I sought the Lord; this is what He gave me.

Remain under the influence of the Holy Spirit. When we received Christ, the Holy Spirit came to live within us. It was like our soul was knitted together with His power. He is our seal of sonship so he never desires to leave us or forsake us. He job is to energize us with boldness and inspire us with godly wisdom and direction. If, we continually choose to obey His advice, the victory will manifest in its designed time. Half-heartedness or double-mindedness can hinder our progress so consistency is vital.

Replace your worldly vision with God’s proactive promises. The Holy Spirit inspired the Word of God. The Bible is His textbook. He leads us to the perfect promises. As we add our faith, then results are assured. We have to keep in mind that God was not born yesterday. He is not rushing around up in heaven trying to figure out what to do next. He knew about our situation since before we were born. Therefore, He has the completed plan already in mind. He does not have to guess what the outcome will be. Now, all we are required to do is pray, listen and choose to be lead by His Spirit. Remember…your faith is not in what you can do but what the Holy Spirit can do supernaturally through you and for you. Looking unto Jesus…. the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Reap the rewards for God’s kingdom. In order to stand upon the rock in the end, we have to consistently stand upon the promises until the situation completely disappears. Afterwards, we may have a clear understanding of why God allowed our circumstances to surface in the first place. We do not like going through these painful times, but the maturity gained in our spiritual understanding makes us soon forget the trouble we once had to endure. 

As the Holy Spirit reminded Paul, I will remind you:

My grace is sufficient for you:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

What is the rock that makes you breathless? Is it you’re...self-esteem, lack of direction or motivation, job, finances, spouse or children? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the deepest root issue and then to the promises that will help you overcome. Mediate on those promises until faith arises. Then wait and see how the stone rolls away.

Friday, October 4, 2013

What’s A Snake?

Quite some time ago, I lived in a place called Lake Providence, LA. The town was built around this beautiful cypress crusted oxbow lake formed from the Mississippi River centuries earlier. We loved to go down to the lake and sit on the dock. You could catch catfish, brim, and bass and swimming anytime the weather permitted.

One day, while I was sitting out on the pier, I noticed a snake had caught a catfish and was proceeding to swallow the fish whole! When I walked over to observe, the catfish was halfway in. But as I stood there, I noticed the snake reversed his intent and began to release the catfish from his jaws. Soon the fish and the snake were gone.(Video of snake/fish)

Researched characteristics of snakes:

·      They can ‘unlock’ their jaw to accommodate any size meal they catch.

·      Their skin is expandable so the meal can go all the way in to be digested.

As I pondered on the spiritual implication, the Holy Spirit spoke up and said, “The snake is just a mouth and a tail.”

“Yes, but what do you mean by that statement?” I replied.

“The enemy has a big mouth. His mouth can only speak negatively about your past, the tail. He cannot proclaim or create truth so everything that comes out is a lie.” the Holy Spirit answered.

Yeah, I thought.He gains power by manipulating my thoughts and feelings to make me doubt whether I am measuring up to God’s standards. The enemy wants me to remain insecure about God’s love and the power of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. So if I agree with the enemy, he will proceed to unlock his jaws and swallow me whole. Slowly and methodical, worrisome thoughts fill my mind as his mouth covers my head halfway. If the enemy of our soul can maintain control of my thinking and keep me double minded about God's love and forgiveness then he will be able to swallow me whole killing my passion and my destiny.

So…how should I think about our past sins then? Are they all forgiven?

If we confess our sins, his faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
 and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

When I went back to study the Greek translation on this passage and others, I found out Jesus not only took all my sins (past, present, future) away but having to feel the shame, guilt, and condemnation of them too. I never have to think about the past again in a negative light. I use it to show others His amazing grace. If I allow these negative thoughts to swallow me up, then it is not God who is glorified in my ‘self-proclaimed humbleness’ but it is Satan’s lies that I am exalting. I have had a hard time believing the total scope of God’s grace but I am now opening my heart to believe. The result is I am experiencing freedom and boldness on a whole new level.

Are you struggling with thought patterns designed to sidetrack your progress? We all do. However, the ones who can see those patterns for what they really are, throw those destructive thoughts out and replace them with the Truth of God’s word. It may not be easy but it is life changing. Blessings to all who are reexamining the Truth that will set them free.

Then you will know the truth and 
the truth WILL set you free. 
John 8:32