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.

 

 

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.

 

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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.

New Year’s Resolution: Forgive

New Year’s Resolution: Forgive

We are on the brink of a New Year and in typical human fashion New Year’s resolutions are abounding. Whatever it may be–cut the carbs, exercise more often, volunteer regularly—we are committed to make the change, to parallel the newness of the season to newness in our lifestyle. I won’t go into how many resolutions actually fail within the first few weeks, but I challenge you to take one on that will change you from the inside out: Resolve to forgive.

I challenge you to walk into the new year free from of the burden of debt—spiritual debt—holding people to pay a price for which they cannot. I challenge you to release them of whatever ill or wrong they have done and in doing so free both yourself and the perpetrator.

 

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Forgiveness is a Powerful Force

 Sometimes we don’t realize the effect of holding on to stuff. Yet forgiveness is a powerful action; it frees the soul to breathe and receive good from God. I like the God’s Word® translation which reads:

“If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” ( Matt. 6:14)

Forgiveness cleanses the soul of ill intentions and foul moods. It helps to deliver us from the toxins brought on by the stress of the burden. Yes, that’s right, we feel better. We will be free from a useless task of the heart because harboring wrongs lead to nowhere.

The Unforgiving Heart

Like pathological disease our harboring will not be contain to just that one offense or even several offenses. An unforgiving heart will develop and even at the height of our successes we are never truly at peace because of something we have not let go. You may say “I am perfectly at peace.” But we are not at peace with God. And without His peace, we truly do not have it. A different interpretation of Matthew 6:14 reads:

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. (Matt. 6:14 Msg)

 

 

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Our goal is to be more like Christ, to love unconditionally. When we refuse to forgive we truly distance ourselves from Christ. I mean after all, he came to earth just to forgive!

A New Start

I challenge you to start with a fresh clean heart for the incoming year. And forgive yourself; we often hold ourselves to a higher standard than even God does. Throw often the baggage of dead things and launch a new start and live.

Change the atmosphere: Reflect the Heart of Christmas

Change the atmosphere: Reflect the Heart of Christmas

It’s not uncommon to hear that amidst all of this Christmas cheer and do-gooding others are left with a melancholy that will escort them well into the New Year.

But there is no magic dust that suddenly appears at the first sign of Christmas lights and holly. We are not instantly overcome with joy simply because our favorite radio station is playing holiday tunes for the next 25 days. And to add to our struggle to be merry we feel compelled to buy, buy, spend, spend and give, give. And even giving can’t alleviate sadness if our heart is apart from it.

The good news is that we can change it. We can relieve ourselves of the burden to fake the Christmas cheer. We can change the atmosphere of our hearts to reflect the truth behind this joy that is often so elusive.

 

For unto us a child is born

Embrace the First Gift

The privilege to celebrate the birth of Christ is indeed a gift. It is God’s gift to us. We are living, breathing beings with the opportunity to live forever—to live well in this life and even better in the next. For many this is a hard thing to accept so engulfed are they by circumstances and internal struggles and a lifetime of disappointment. But He says, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10, MSG)

God’s gift is the life force. It is the sustainer of every living thing. It is connected to our very existence and intertwined with our purpose. Without it our world would be dismal indeed. And if we deny the truth of this gift, discount it in any way and override it with our own belief, life song, or truth, we will be on a perpetual search for the meaning of it all:

“Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.” (Ephes. 4:14, TLB)

Holidays will become ritualistic, vain tasks to appease the mind of guilt; good deeds will become meaningless actions which simply move us from one season to the next. The cycle will continue year after year.

Embrace the gift of Christ; he is Savior, Redeemer, and Lord. This gift is complete, perfect and it changes the game forever.

 

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The Game Changer

Christ is the game changer. When we know Him not only will we live forever but we can reclaim our life here and now. Christmas will become a time when we celebrate someone we know, love and appreciate—Jesus Christ! Who did you think? And because we celebrate him our dark hearts are filled with light. The chasm of our hearts is filled with love, because He is love. We will give and do and bless others not out of obligation but because we are ambassadors of Christ. Part of our life’s purpose is being played out because if God is nothing, he is a giver and giving reflects our Father’s heart. And who doesn’t like to please the Father.

Change the atmosphere of your heart and make it brighter than the brightest star and be filled with more cheer than any song you could ever sing on this Earth.