Thought for the day: Holding unforgiveness against those who have hurt us is as self-destructive as drinking poison hoping that the other person will die.

Girl looking upThought for the day: Holding unforgiveness against those who have hurt us is as foolish and self-destructive as drinking poison hoping that the other person will die.

Unforgiveness is a trap of the enemy based on legalism.  Legally, we have the right to hold people’s offenses against them.  We have the right be feel angry, hurt and ripped off. We have the right to wish bad things for them. We have the right to accuse them in our hearts for everything that they have committed against us. And the enemy loves nothing more than when we do that.  Satan is the Accuser of the Brethren and a legalist, so when we accuse others we join him in his efforts.  When we accuse, we act like him and we don’t even know it.

Revelation 12:9-11 – And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

But when we forgive, we act like Jesus who kept silent even while he was being falsely accused, lied about and wrongly sentenced to death. He forgave those who were murdering him AS they were standing there watching him die.  

And on top of that, Jesus forgives us from ALL of our sin and iniquity when we come to him in repentance. All that we have done in rebellion against the holiness of our merciful God is NOTHING in comparison to what others have done against us and if we don’t agree with that statement, we are not in touch with the depth of sin that we have been forgiven of. 

Ephesians 1:7 – In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

In the Lord’s Prayer, the Lord is specific in His command that we forgive those who have trespassed against us.  He is so clear that it should shake us all out of our complacency when it comes to holding unforgiveness to other people’s accounts.  God will forgive us AS we forgive others.  So the degree to which we clear the accounts of those who have debts against us is the degree to which we ourselves are forgiven by God.  Oh boy.

Matthew 6:12 – And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Now you:

  • Are you holding unforgiveness against anyone? 
  • Do you feel that their sin against you is something you cannot forgive?
  • Do you feel as though this person will be “off the hook” if you let them go in forgiveness?

When you forgive someone, you set yourself free.  Their sin is between then and God, not between you and God. When you forgive, you are not saying that what happened is OK. It probably isn’t OK at all.  But what you are saying is that you will not be their judge and jury.  You are allowing God to handle the situation.  He works in ways of love of redemption that are far above our understanding. 

When you are in Heaven with Jesus, you will not have this hurt.  But you will have the record of whether or not you forgave.  Unforgiveness will be a point of separation between you and God on that day.  Will it be worth losing your place in heaven to hold on to this fleeting pain? God wants to heal your heart right now and give you ability to begin the process of total forgiveness.  

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, I ask for Your help forgiving (name their name/s).  Please lead me in the path of forgiving and letting go of this pain and hurt.  I release to You those who hurt me.  I forgive them and let them go into Your hand.  I ask that You would help them to be all that You created them to be.  Help me to become all that You created me to be.  I will not allow this pain to identify me and define me any longer.  I am free to love with God’s love which is shed abroad in my heart.  My life reflects the fruit of love in every season.  I forgive and receive Your forgiveness for my sins, Father. Thank you for the grace to forgive and not allow the enemy to refresh these hurts in my mind.  I set up a hedge of protection by the blood of Jesus around myself and my thoughts as I walk out obedience to You, Lord.  I renounce all patterns of unforgiveness and decide as an act of my will that I will no longer attach myself to the sins of others through unforgiveness.  I release myself from them in Jesus Name. I am free, Amen!

 

The Season of Breakthrough: It’s time to go to the next level

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On Sunday, May 21st, the Lord impressed this word on my heart and I shared it with our congregation. (See note at bottom of post.)

I the Lord declare that this is a new season.  This is a season of Breakthrough – a season where you are rising to another level. This is a season where obstacles are being removed, shackles are being pulled off, and fetters are being shattered by My Spirit says the Lord. You as My children, and you as My Church, ascend up the steps to My Presence, says the Lord.  You are being drawn my My grace. Rivers of mercy, rivers of My lovingkindness are drawing you as a lover is drawn to the Bridegroom.  You hear My voice.  Your heart is being tenderized in this to love Me, to yearn for Me, to know that there is no other satisfaction; that this earth has nothing for you; that all that you long for and all that you are is found in Me and in Me alone.  You will no longer be satisfied by other lovers. You will no longer be satisfied by paltry things.  For it’s the richness of My presence that will draw your heart and satisfy your soul. You will yearn for Me in the night season.  You will yearn for Me when you wake in the morning.  Your heart will be so stirred by My voice.  Obedience will be easy.  You will walk in My ways.  You will run in the paths I lay out for you.  And you will show forth My Glory in a season where the darkness wants to roll in.  My Light is brighter. My light shines forth and drives back darkness.  You show forth My Power and My glory as My children and as the Church. And now I say, Children, turn your heart to Me. Turn your heart to Me. As you turn your heart to Me, you are drawn. And you will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart, says the Lord.

Now you:

  • Do you need to see breakthrough in certain areas of your life or in the lives of those you love?
  • Has there been a particular issue that has caused you to be in bondage or kept you contained?

Know this: It’s never God’s will for you to be bound or contained by anything.  If you are a child of God, your position has already been established in God’s Word in the book of Ephesians. According to Ephesians 2:6 you are seated with Christ in heavenly places. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”.

And according to Ephesians 1:21, Jesus Christ is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named.  So where does that put you? Far above everything that would try to push you down and place you in a prison of doubt, fear and lack – if you remain in Christ.

Ephesians 1:19B-21: “These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

God has declared that this is a season of Breakthrough.  I am not the only one who is hearing this from God.  Many ministries all over the world have declared the same thing. And when the Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, speaks that He is moving in a certain way, it is our responsibility to get on board with what He is doing and not tarry. The Lord creates the seasons and we align our faith to them.  That’s the part we play in response to the voice of the Lord.

This is really good news! In these last days, God is pouring out His Spirit to draw us closer, to hear Him more clearly, to obey Him more completely and to love Him passionately.

Be blessed!

Note: It may seem from my two recent posts regarding prophetic words from the Lord that I do this every Sunday, but I don’t.  Recently, however, the Lord has been drawing me into a season of fasting and prayer where He is speaking to me and pulling me closer than I have ever been. I sense His Presence and His leading so much more clearly right now. I know that He has a purpose for this and I am trying to be as yielded as I can.

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Fruit That Remains: Excerpts from my journals that nourished me and might encourage you, too!

grapevine-with-detail-of-grapes-picjumbo-com.jpgFruits That Remains: Lessons from my journals. These are excerpts from journals over the years.  Some are more current than others. I love going back into my journals because I always get refreshed and re-learn the lessons that the Lord has taught me and that I have faithfully scribed.

Strategies for spiritual warfare and for staying refreshed under pressure:

I must sing worship songs and make melodies in my heart to the Lord in the midst of spiritual warfare.  The Lord will speak to me and peace will come over my soul.  Worrying won’t change my situation so I might as well feel God’s peace while I’m going through it – and He may speak to me solutions and strategies.

Forgiveness is another weapon; no matter how feeble my prayers start out, God won’t turn me away.

My body, mind, and spirit must be united.  If my mind is worrying, my body wants to sleep, and my spirit is not leading, I will be divided, my prayers won’t be fervent and I won’t get results.  During spiritual attacks chaos hits.  I must be led by my spirit and bring myself back in line.  Wounds left unattended attract evil spirits.

Goals:

  • Speak the Word to keep my faith level up. Keep doing it until there is light in the darkness.
  • Pray until I hear from God. God can raise dead things to life, but we cannot consider the deadness but put our focus on the One who can resurrect the dead to life.
  • The person who will consistently get alone with God will never go under. Trials will come, but this person will never be overcome! I will continue to be faithful to my time with Lord even when I’m so tired that I want to stay in bed.

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Fierce love repels rocks

Holding a rock.jpg“Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”  So the saying goes.  The meaning of this phrase is that people shouldn’t criticize or judge another person for a flaw when they struggle with the same thing.  I would take that definition one step further and say that none of us should ever stand in an attitude of prideful judgment over another human being seeing as we have SO many flaws in our own lives.  I may not struggle with the issues you do, but I’ve got a lifetime’s worth of my own issues I should be focused on. And so do you, by the way!

Let’s look at a version of this life lesson as told by the disciple John in the Gospel of John chapter 8, verses 3-14.

Jesus is just minding his own business when the Pharisees and teachers of the law drag a woman over to Jesus and throw her at his feet.  These men were always trying to trap Jesus and make him do something they could accuse him for.  When they threw her at Jesus’ feet, they wanted him to condemn her because she had been caught in the act of adultery. (Does anyone think it’s weird that they all knew where this woman would be and what she would be doing? How did they all appear at the scene of the crime at the same time? The Bible doesn’t go into those details, but I watch too many crime dramas not to be suspicious of a set-up!)

But anyway, these Pharisees say that their Jewish law demands that this woman be stoned and they ask Jesus, “What do you say?”

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Homecoming: The end far outweighs the beginning

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This past weekend, my husband and I traveled with my in-laws to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.  We had a wonderful long weekend in that absolutely gorgeous city! Not only was the weather perfect with hardly a cloud in the sky most of the time, but Quebec City is like stepping back in time.

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I have heard that if you want to experience France without having to fly (if you live in the U.S.), Quebec City is the place to go…and that comment was true.  I loved hearing French being spoken all around me and seeing every sign in French! The architecture was exactly like Paris and I felt like I was there when we were walking through the streets and eating in small cafes!  20160903_103314_resized.jpg

Quebec City is a 5.5 hour drive for us from New Hampshire, so on the way up I had time to visit with my in-laws and time to think.  During one of my pensive moments, I got thinking about traveling and how much I LOVE to do it! I love planning a trip, packing my bags and especially starting out on the road…wherever that may be.  Essentially, I love leaving the house and getting in the car with all of my expectations and anticipation bubbling inside.

Then I thought about how I don’t like the end of the trip.  I’ve blogged about this before in the post, “Wish you were here… “, but I don’t like heading home at the end of a vacation. I have never thought, “Gee I wish this vacation / trip / visit was over already. I really want to get back to work / cleaning / dishes / laundry.” Homecoming is always bittersweet for me, and is often accompanied by what I refer to as “Post-party Depression”.  Party’s over and it’s time to go home.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love my family, my home and my job. And I really am fond of the town I live in and all that there is to do where I live.  But there’s just something exotic and adventurous about heading out into unknown territory.

So as I was musing on the excitement I was feeling while we headed north to Quebec, I correlated the joy of the journey to our walk with God.  We’re all on a journey with the Lord.  The Bible refers to our journey as a path, as a race, as a walk, and even a run.  (I notice that the Bible doesn’t say we’re on a drive!)

I distinctly remember the exhilaration I felt when I first came to know the Lord and felt the immense weight of sin lift off my shoulders.  I remember the awe of being able to enter His presence and finally understand what the Bible was talking about!  The beginning of the journey was stellar, to say the least.

But this journey is different than the journeys I take for vacation or even for work because this is the journey where the end is going to FAR outweigh the glory of the beginning.  For as wonderful as coming to know Jesus was for me, and for how much incredible ‘scenery’ I have taken in over the years, the end of my journey is going to blow the doors off anything I have ever experienced in either the natural realm or in the spiritual realm.

1 Corinthians 15: 51-58

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

The end of this journey, if we have made Jesus the Lord of our lives, is going to be a homecoming like nothing we’ve ever imagined or dreamed about.  In fact, we have absolutely no frame of reference for this homecoming.  How can you picture, imagine or conceive of seeing the Lord face-to-face, never experiencing pain, sorrow or loss again, never having to feel ashamed, guilty or wrong, being reunited with loved ones and never having to say good-bye again. This homecoming is where every difficult season and every tear is wiped away and a joy unspeakable and full of glory becomes tangible, no longer a hope but our eternal reality.  This is the end of the hard journey where everything is wrapped up in the love of God and made perfect. Sin and fear will have lost their footing forever and death will no longer be an enemy.

Isaiah 25: 7-9

On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say,“Surely this is our God;we trusted in him, and he saved us.This is the Lord, we trusted in him;let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Now you:

  • Do you ever struggle with homecomings after a vacation?
  • Do you wish that the “good times” could go on forever and you could experience the relaxation of the vacation ceaselessly?

While the Bible doesn’t say that we will float around on clouds with harps when we go to heaven (Thank God! I’d be so bored!), it does give us incredible pictures of what the new heavens and the new earth will be like and how we will forever be with the Lord and each other. Our homecoming is going to be glorious and the stress and striving of this life are going to be rewarded.  I love how Paul tells the Corinthians that in light of the amazing reward lying ahead for them, they should always stand firm, letting nothing move them and they should keep up the hard work for the Kingdom because the reward FAR outweighs the sacrifice!

Be encouraged.  When life is tough, the future is brighter!

“Free”: The word that gives access

 

Free PassI love free stuff.  In fact, “free” is a four letter word that gives me great joy! I especially love free stuff when it’s great quality and something that I have been wanting for some time.  I remember once when I needed a chandelier for our dining room.  We didn’t have the money to purchase one but I had seen a chandelier at a local store that I loved.  One day, my mother-in-law, not knowing anything about the chandelier I had been eyeing, gave me a gift certificate to that very store! You better believe that I bolted over to the store, purchased the chandelier and had my husband up on a ladder installing it that night! And the best part about that blessing is that every time I look at that chandelier, I am reminded that God provided the exact thing that I was hoping for which made the waiting so worthwhile!

What about you? Do have any stories about stumbling upon or being given something that you wanted for a while?

Here’s another angle to “free” stuff that I was pondering the other day.  A few weeks ago, my husband and I rented a beach house for our vacation.  We rent the same house during the same week of July every year.  We let our grown children, extended family and friends know well in advance that they are welcome to come up and enjoy the beach house.  We only ask that they let us know in advance when they plan to come so we can prepare food and make sure that beds are made.

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Get Hungry or You’ll Starve to Death

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I felt guilty that I wasn’t hungry.  My husband and I had taken separate cars to church as we had commitments at different times.  He left for home before me and began preparing a lovely lunch.  He knew I was famished, because half-way through the sermon my stomach growled and I was outed!

I left the parking lot soon after John, but didn’t go right home as I had an errand to do first.  I stopped to purchase more of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar that we like to get from this amazing Italian market that sells specialty Italian food items.  When I walked in, they were just taking a fresh tomato and basil flatbread out of the pizza oven and I caved.  Even though I knew that John was at home working on lunch for us, I couldn’t wait.  I had allowed my hunger to go too long unattended; so when temptation came across my path, my resistance ran out the door like a burglar!

And that’s why I felt guilty that I wasn’t hungry when I finally got home.  Did I come clean about my “appetizer”?  Nope!  I ate every bite of what John prepared.  But it didn’t taste as good as it would have if I was still hungry.  And my stomach actually felt uncomfortable eating that much food after the two pieces of pizza I previously ate!

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Memorial Day Message: Can you give three minutes?

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Dear Readers,

Today is Memorial Day in the United States.  For those of you who are readers from countries outside the US, let me explain what this day means to us.  This is a holiday (now  a Federal holiday where most stores, businesses and banks are closed) that is celebrated on the last Monday in May to honor those who have died in any military service. Its origins go back to the years after our terrible civil war in the mid-1800’s when our country wanted to remember the hundreds of thousands of our men who died supporting their cause either from the North or the South.

No one really knows where this day originally became celebrated, but we know it started out being Decoration Day because thousands would arrive at Arlington National Cemetery to decorate the gravestones of fallen soldiers. After the US came through World War 1, the day became a Federal Holiday, celebrated by both the North and the South and was named Memorial Day.

For information about Memorial Day, you can visit this site: Memorial Day History

My family, sadly, has no military background.  No one that I know on either side of my family has served in the armed forces.  While that provides us with a sense of security that we are never going to get “that visit” where fellow soldiers appear at your door to give you the dreaded news that your loved one has died in service to their country, it also disconnects us from the reality of the cost of service.  Most families are disconnected from this cost – the cost during and after a loved signs up for military service and the cost of surviving their death.

Today, many Americans will be firing up the barbecue grills, inviting friends over or simply enjoying a relaxing additional day off.  Most of us will not really be considering what it is like for our military personnel to give their lives for our country and for our freedom.  We won’t be thinking about the physical pain they endured, the mental anguish of knowing that they were leaving their families behind to mourn them, the emotional turmoil of battle and the fear of death that they had to push aside to execute their mission.

I pray today that all of us reading this post will take three minutes to ponder what battle is like, to meditate on the bravery and valor that was needed for our soldiers to perform their duties and the cost of the loss of their lives to their families. Please allow your emotions and imagination to conjure up the depth of the reality that our soldiers endured and their families continue to endure.

Our soldiers are worth three minutes of your day today.  And if you’re reading this post after Memorial Day, you can still participate.  There is never a bad time to show honor.  Thank you.

Father God, thank you that You endued our soldiers with the bravery, the courage and the fortitude to stand their post even until death.  Thank you for keeping our country safe and for providing us with the men and women who support and maintain our freedom in ways that we can never fully comprehend.  We ask for Your hand to be upon those in service today, for wisdom, intelligence, insight, courage and safety. Please help us, Lord, never to take our soldiers for granted or become apathetic to the freedom that they purchased for us with their lives. Amen.

Words in Red: John 5:34-35 -Freedom from the approval trap

John 5:34-35: Not that I accept human testimony…John was a lamp that burned and gave you light and you chose for a time to enjoy the light.” (Italics mine)

Lord Jesus, help me not to live for human applause, acceptance or affirmation.  Help me to root my feelings of acceptance and affirmation in You.  But to do that, I realize that I need to hear you clearly as You affirm me in love.

If I can hear the God Who is over all creation telling me that He loves me and is pleased with me, I know my heart will be steady and satiated.

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