Bombard the Darkness with Light

Bombard the Darkness with Light

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

When I was a kid my mother would say, “What happens in this house, stays in this house.” It was our family’s mantra. It was a theme so instilled until it was no longer a house rule, but a way of living. And even when things started to fall apart, it was ingrained in us to keep mum. When sexual molestation invaded our family unit there was never a question as to whether we would tell someone. We would not. We had become prisoners of our own beliefs. And so for years it went on devastating me and my sister while my parents quietly went on with their lives. And by the time they found out the damage, psychologically had been done to my sister. Somehow I survived only minimally scathed.

Darkness is a powerful force. It is where the spiritual evils live. They don’t lurk here or ease around here they run rampant and free, thriving, feeding off of secrecy and shame and fear—all elements of the dark universe. They unabashedly assault and torment those who are too ashamed to tell and those too fearful to share. They torment best, when in their element.

What is interesting about the story of the woman with the issue of blood as that she came to Jesus secretly. Her plan was to simply touch the hem of his garment, get healed and keep moving. But Jesus called her out, openly, publicly. He stopped in his tracks to give full attention to this woman who had suffered in silence for so long. There was no shame in her affliction because Jesus had come for people just like her! But legalistically she wasn’t even supposed to be seen in public. But the healer had come. The deliverer was here. The law was being fulfilled. No need to hide. No need to feel unworthy.

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, (Col. 1:13)

Right now, my daughter is dealing with depression. We are praying and standing on the Word of God for healing and wholeness. When I first found out, my initial instinct was to do as I’d been taught to do from an early age—down play it and deal with it on a very private level. Listen, my friend Satan’s plan is to assault you privately and watch you suffer publicly. To tread gingerly is to battle in the devil’s realm. To keep quiet or low key out of shame is to walk on the same grounds as he.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Gen. 2:25)

 

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Shame represents a sin consciousness; it is laid upon us by the enemy. It is a condemning vice which represents blame. Adam and Eve did not know shame until they had a sin consciousness and this was of course after they’d eaten of the forbidden fruit. The book of Revelation calls Satan, “accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10). But Jesus defeated sin by the blood he shed. We no longer carry the guilt and shame of sin. We are free! Therefore we must resist this shame with the Word of God. It is not ours to handle or hold. And once we annihilate the shame we can use our weapons to wage this war confident that we will win.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (II Cor. 10:4)

 

Calling others who understand the power of prayer and are using those same weapons is a way to seriously assault and slay the enemy’s plan. You may have faith. You may be able to pray quite well—so can I. But I know others who can and will agree with me. You cannot have too much faith or too much prayer. My plan is to bombard heaven with the prayers of faith. This doesn’t mean that everyone in your neighborhood has to know everything that is going on in your household. You don’t even have to announce it to the entire church congregation. It simply means, with the leading of God, reaching out to others, with whom you can share your situation.

You see I’m completely vested in my child—spiritually, physically and mentally and it can be trying. Others will be vested with concentrated effort—all out spiritually warfare. The enemy is serious about his attack and we must be likewise about ours. We have all been given a measure of faith. We can use it for ourselves as well as others.

Brooding quietly in darkness waiting for relief is not the answer. There are believers who are willing and waiting to intercede on your behalf. Although there is darkness, the light of Christ cannot stand against it.

 

 

When You Share Your Faith

When You Share Your Faith

When we talk about sharing our faith many of us get visions of Bible-waving believers or John the Baptist messengers preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. But at the end of the day no one cares how many Bible verses you can quote or how many inspirational phrases you tweet. And on the other hand many of us don’t even bother talking about God at all at the fear of being off putting or too much.

Be a Doer

But the sharing of your faith is most effective in the demonstration of your faith. At its core, at its foundation it is simply about sharing the love of God. And that always takes action in which we connect with someone else.

His love covers the gamut of good deeds and heart felt dealings. It can be as simple as texting a co-worker to say “you are in my prayers”. It could be listening attentively as stranger shares personal information with you—people are crying out to be heard. It is offering hope instead of exchanging instances about how hard things are, how this country is doomed, or comparing illnesses and family drama. It is demonstrating the peace of God and the love of a Father.

You see when we speak in Christianese or try to convince people that we are good church going folk we are at that moment like the long line of believers who go through the symbolic motions of being typically religious. It is boring and ineffective. It is mediocrity in its purest.

When we demonstrate our faith it is a reminder to the cynical, non-believer, the hurting, the doubtful that there is yet hope for mankind because there is a God of love that is real and he is long-suffering. Good things do happen. God loves us and yes he answers prayers.

Every time we behave as the world does we reaffirm what many already believes—mankind is eternally lost and the God above isn’t doing much about it. When you demonstrate your faith you plant that seed of goodness. Another will come along and water with a word of God. Perhaps another will cultivate with an invitation to church or some event. But it starts with your seed. Your seed opens up the heart of someone who may have stopped believing that there is a good God.

Love without action

Demonstration of our faith can be a moment or singular action but it is also a lifestyle. As we walk in love, our demonstration becomes as natural and as much a part of us as our accent or eye color. It becomes woven into our DNA because it is who we are.

In one passage of scripture Jesus said:

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works.” (John 14:11, MSG)

Others may not believe what you say, but they believe what you do. And that is demonstrated in and through us every moment of every day.

 

A Higher Calling: Trust God’s Plan

A friend and I were speaking the other day on how we came to live in the Nashville area. There is an influx of transients and we are among them. She is from Fresno and came when her husband’s employer relocated him.

“When we first moved to Nashville I was flying back to California every three months. Every three months without fail.” She said. “And when it was time to come back to Tennessee I would weep.” She had no friends, no family. It was completely unfamiliar territory and she could not make herself content here.

 

Nashville Skyline

The Moment of Enlightenment

Her change came on one of her trips back home. Her spiritual mother quietly pulled her aside and said to her, “How will you know what God has for you there if you are always coming back here? It was like shafts of light delivering a room from darkness.

In her heart she knew that God had uprooted and placed her here for a reason. But she was unknowingly closing her heart off from whatever God was saying. She did not want to be here! Couldn’t God get that? But the day that beautiful woman of God spoke to her, she had to humbly shift her attitude and submit to whatever his plan was.

Change Your World

Once she settled it within herself to be content, things change, or at least her perception of those things. Now her heart was open to receive. God led her to a faith-based church. She developed a formidable prayer life and over time family members back home in Fresno began to give their lives to God as she witnessed and stayed before God on their behalf. It was life-changing not just for her, but for a generation.

Did I say she changed a generation? Absolutely. When those from our bloodline give their lives to Christ, they are taking that spiritual force to their bloodline, setting up spiritual bastions that ultimately destroy strongholds and generational curses and bad habits and shifts the outcome of our families for years to come. Do you remember Rahab? (Josh. 2:12) Those redeemed siblings and loved ones no longer live under the curse. So now they are able to positively impact family in a way that no tradition or ritual can.

Our lives are part of a Higher Calling

Our lives are always intersected with others. God understands this, but sometimes we forget. When he directs us or leads us down his path of purpose it is not so that we can sit happy and content in our posh, comfortable environment. Our experiences, trials, life-changing moves are for a higher purpose. We may not know what it is right away, but we trust the one who does know. His intricately design plan may seem off-kilter to our self-seeking mindset but he knows how to use his vessels to change the lives of our families, friends, communities and even generations. As she accepted this, the move to Tennessee was no longer one to weep over, but one in which to rejoice.

 

 

 

God has a plan for you, are you walking it out?

Let’s face it, we like being in control. We love to create fantastic plans and revel in the thrill of them being played out. Then we become frustrated when things go awry and it seems as if the entire universe is against us. But let’s be honest–how many of us seek God first for direction? How many consult with him regularly and the move accordingly?

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Provb. 16:9, ESUVK)

Sometimes as we are caught in the moment we move quickly, excitedly because after all, we are endeavoring in a good thing. But every good thing isn’t expedient or our job to accomplish.

God is one of purpose. He is not a God that moves on a whim; he is not swayed by our emotions or frustrations or desperation. He has a plan. It is for our good. His plan has perfect timing; it has a rhythm and season. It does not fail even when we do.

 

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We Do Not Live to Please Ourselves

We are not designed or created to pursue goals to live blissful lives according to our own desire or world view. We are made to be used by Him. We are a part of a whole– a single, intricate thread designed by God with precision and purpose and woven into the fabric of reconciliation. He has called us unto Himself—and in turn he uses some to influence and bring others to Him as well. When we focus solely on ourselves we lose sight of the greater good. We are only a small fraction in the grand plan. And we must trust his plan. Trust his way.

 

If You’re Lost don’t be afraid to ask for Directions

Sometimes our frustration grows out of our failure to hear, listen and submit to His way. He is always speaking, but are we always listening?

If it seems you’re circling the same path, stuck in the same situation, frustrated by the obstacles which tripped you up last year, stop and ask for direction. It is not God’s desire that we waste time or repeat for the sake of repetition. Ask Him for next steps. Seek to know if you’ve gotten off task. Talk to Him and he will certainly talk to you.

In the Moments of Quiet

In the Moments of Quiet

If you are like me you are on a constant move from the moment your feet hit the floor. From the kids, to the hubby or wife, work and so on your ‘to dos’ are heap upon a plate that is overflowing. Perhaps as you are dressing or in the car on the way to work or school you breathe a quick ‘thank you’ to God, call it your morning prayer time and keep it moving. I know the feeling as I’ve done it more times than I care to admit.

Now prayer doesn’t have to be a 90-minute knee-bending event or a drawn out session where we dump on God our every woe. But it is important that we crave out some quiet time with God–have a conversation before the day begins to wear away.

Prep Time

I’m not a huge sports fan, but I know others that are and from my understanding before the coach send his players out there to face the opponent he takes time to encourage, uplift and direct and yes, pray. He prepares them for the challenge, to mentally fortify them with what is necessary to win. This isn’t the time to scrimmage or lift weights, no. You see the coach understands that the game is both mental and physical and if either is lacking, the opponent can easily undercut. For us this life is more spiritual than natural. Anything that has or will materialize exist spiritually first. We must prepare. Moving in our day unprepared leaves us open to the enemy and his tactics.

 

Coach Prepping Team

The bible says the devil is as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (I Pet. 5:8) He is seeking—a slow calculating search for those that are open, inattentive, unaware. Prayer is our preparation—our scrimmage, pep talk, rally, conditioning period. It is the time we equip ourselves to deal with those spiritual influences that will surely challenge us throughout the day. It helps us to divert stress, escape danger and receive direction. We cannot blame anyone when we make a wrong decision if we did not first seek the Master. (Prvb. 3:6)

God walks to talk with you

A friend of mine has a daughter with whom he was estranged from for some years. When they finally reconnected she was on a perpetual quest to get everything she could from him. She only appeared when she wanted money, gifts or a place to stay. Once she had what she was after, she was gone. When he couldn’t provide what she asked for, she pouted like a two-year-old ranting that if he was a real father he would make it happen.

God is a real father and he will do for us. But God is about relationship. He wants to talk with you, hear your voice and hear your praises. Our prayer is not all about a list of wants( although he is a God of provision). It’s about communing with our Lord, finding out his heart so that ours may align with it. It is a time we check with him on today’s agenda. How many tragedies would be averted it we’d only checked with God?

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God sometimes will give the preverbal tap on the shoulder sometime during the day, to tell us to take a different turn, but how much more so if our hearts are already open to hear him. If the world’s voice is louder than his, we’ve missed something.

Talk to him. Share your heart and then let him share his. Sing a sweet love song, He, like us loves to hear the sound of His name.

But there isn’t any time

There is always time, but it is our priorities that we must adjust. Twenty-four hours is twenty-four hours no matter who you are. Time spent with God may make the difference in wrong decisions, tragedies and bad moods. Time with God is never wasted, no matter how we may waste away the rest of the time.

Take the time. You will be glad you did and so will He.