The Heart of Eve

I’m going to a group study with some girls from work and we are reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It’s about the fall of man and its affects on the human heart; particularly a woman’s heart.

Woman, in the garden, was made to be a helper, a beautiful life-giver. Women want to know that we are beautiful; and we were. We were the crown of creation, until the fall. Since the fall we have been cursed with dominating and desolate spirits; leaving us trying to control others, or leaving us with an overwhelming sense of loneliness, or a combination of both. That combination, is a recipe for ugliness. Let’s explain this phenomenon so we can start feeling beautiful again.

What made us fall?
The question of trust.

Can we trust God? Eve was convinced God was holding out on her. She wondered if she could trust God’s heart toward her. She wondered what God’s reasoning was when he told her not to eat this one fruit.

Eve couldn’t see that God’s request was out of love.
“Don’t eat the fruit, because you will die; and I want you to live.”
(Like telling a child not to touch something hot, because it will hurt them.)

Instead, she chose to see it as God withholding love.
“Don’t eat the fruit, or I will kill you.”
(Like telling a child if they touch something hot, you will kill them. Which is ridiculous!)

We continue to believe the exact same thing. We continue to question Gods commands and His motives! Why does he ask us not to covet, or lie, or have affairs? It can’t be that he loves us enough to warn us, because he knows that it will bring us death. It has to be because he wants us to suffer, and struggle, and fear his punishment. Well, which of these sounds like God and which sounds like the lies and perverted/twisted half-truths of the enemy?

What was the curse for our actions?

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” – Gen. 3:16

“the product of sin is death” – Rom. 6:23

Stasi, while contemplating this curse, states,

These things were not supposed to be so, but our sin caused them. Women today still struggle with this curse. We are cursed with loneliness (relational heartache), with the urge to control (especially her man), and with the dominance of men (which is not how things were meant to be, and we are not saying this is a good thing-it is the fruit of the Fall and a sad fact of history.)

Is your vast capacity for intimacy ever filled in a lasting way? Are you comfortable trusting your well-being to someone else? Most women hate their vulnerability. We are not inviting-we are guarded. Most of our energy is spent trying to hide our true selves, and control our worlds to have some sense of security. That self-protective way of relating to others has nothing to do with real love, and nothing to do with deeply trusting God. It is our gut level response to a dangerous world.

The lonely women are certain that if others really knew us, they wouldn’t like us-and we can’t risk the loss of a relationship, so we hide. We hide with angry silences and punishing withdrawals. We hide our truest selves and offer only what we believe is wanted, what is safe. Bringing us into many damaging relationships.

The controlling women, feel like they can’t trust anyone but themselves to do anything. Not allowing children to play, because they might make a mess. She believes that she had to take things into her own hands to get what she wanted. She took the fruit herself, because in her mind, God couldn’t or wouldn’t do it for her, and certainly a man could not.

Are we looking in the right place?
Whether we dominate and control, or withdraw in our desolation and hide, still the ache remains. When we feel the pain, we fill it with shopping sprees, second scoops of ice cream, romance novels, gossip, or anything else that can substitute-for a while-the real thing. But they never satisfy, so we have to continue to fill the emptiness with our indulgent bad habits; forming addictions and wondering if its possible to live without them. We take the fruit. We choose not to trust God. We get taken along the path to sin and broken relationships; And not until we finally break, finally realize that these substitutes will never cure us, do we look to God.

“I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” – Gen. 3:10

We hide from him and others. Masking our pain and unfilled desire for love, for freedom. And He seeks us out! He sees his lover and comes to the rescue

“God called to the Man: “Where are you?” –
Gen. 3:9. “Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife” – Gen. 3:21

“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

God had mercy on us, to clothe us and to give us a hope in the image of the first sacrifice, foretelling his plan to come die in our place; to take on the price of our sin on the cross. Now Christ has cleansed us with his blood and clothed us in righteousness through his death. We now have his blessing, and the way out from under the curse that Eve’s/our sin brought. By looking to him we can find wholeness and abundant life.

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him – Col. 2:9-10

“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” – John 4:13-14


Personal Testimony

This past week, of seeking God, has filled every void of loneliness and every void for intimacy. The hunger to know Him, and be known by Him, has been more than enough to fill me up. Luke 24 tells us that a couple of the disciples were walking along talking about Jesus, then Jesus showed up and started explaining things. I had a similar experience yesterday. After thinking and studying the word for a week straight, giving God as much time as I would a boyfriend, He started talking to me. He told me one of his purposes for my life, which blew me away. He showed me the path that he’s had me on and how it would play into this role. He brought up talents that I have thrown away, that He wants to restore and use for His glory. He even taught me more about them and how to use them. He brought up, and cleared up, issues of confusion from past gifts. He is all-knowing. He is intimate. He wants to give me a good life. He has prepared the way. He is guiding me into it even now; even before, when I could not see. I can trust His plan for me. I don’t have to take control of the situation, and I don’t have to hide from him, because he is here to bring healing and break down walls and set up banners of victory. I don’t have to keep him out, because he is safe. He is love. And he is my fortress of protection.

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Finding your Purpose & Giftings

The gifts of the spirit don’t have to be scary. They aren’t all speaking in tongues… Encouragement and teaching are gifts too. There are lots of giftings! Find out what giftings you have by taking this quick test. It’ll help you see your purpose and where God might be leading you in ministry. Once you know what your giftings are, go use them! Click the link below to download the test as a fillable form:

Giftings Fillable pdf Form


If you are scared to download it, here’s a preview:

Giftings & Purpose Test - Page 1

Giftings & Purpose Test - Page 2


My highest ranking gifts were: Mercy (15), Craftsmanship (14), Discernment & Knowledge (12). I joined an outreach team to work in the community using my gifts of mercy and craftsmanship. I know for a fact that I have a musical gifting, but at the moment it hasn’t been developed. In a few years, my strongest giftings may have changed. Why would God give us only one gift in our lives? He loves giving! God tells us to ask for the gifts and to excel at the gifts that build up the church.


If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Cor. 13:2-3

“Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.” – 1 Cor. 12:31

“Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.” – 1 Cor. 14:12

The Lord’s example Prayer

I love that God is honoring my request to learn more about prayer, love, and trust. Today, Pastor Chris spoke about the Lord’s Prayer. Here is a link if you would like to hear it straight from the horses mouth: http://www.churchofthehighlands.com/media

Below are some notes from the sermon: 7/20/14 – Teach Us to Pray


“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” – John 11:1

Immediately following this scripture, God gave us the Lord’s prayer. It was meant to be an outline of things to cover in prayer; teaching us how to pray. Instead of using it as an outline for our prayers, we have turned it into the prayer, losing the connection and power of the real deal. The following details how to use this prayer appropriately.


Matthew 6:9-13 – “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”


Topics covered in the Lord’s example Prayer:

  1. Connect with God relationally
  2. Worship His name
  3. Pray His will first
  4. Depend on Him for everything
  5. Get your heart right with God and people
  6. Engage in spiritual warfare
  7. Express faith in God’s ability

1. Connect with God relationally
“Our Father in heaven”

“The Spirit you received does not make you fearful slaves; rather, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15

Greek from Aramaic: ῾abbā equals daddy.

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:11


2. Worship His name
“hallowed be your name”

“The name of the Lord is a place of protection; the righteous can run there and be safe.” – Proverbs 18:10

In the original text of the Bible, God has many names. His names alway signify what he is to us; by knowing him for who he is, we can praise him for who he is; which is everything we need.

Jehovah – I Am
Jehovah Shammah – God who is near
Jehovah Nissi – the Lord my banner
Jehovah Shalom – the Lord of peace
Jehovah Jireh – The Lord who sees/provides
Jehovah Rapha – the Lord who heals
etc.


3. Pray His will first
“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”

What is his will? He asks us to love God first and for most, which we did in step 2; so step 3 follows his second command, to love others. Simple pray for the people and situations around you.


4. Depend on Him for everything
Give us today our daily bread”

Ask him for your own daily needs.


5. Get your heart right with God and people
“forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”

My last post on The Process of Renewal is a great resource for steps 5 & 6.


6. Engage in spiritual warfare
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”

Ask God to help you spot the schemes of the enemy and turn them into a way to show love to people. And to help you notice when you are acting in the flesh.


7. Express faith in God’s ability
“for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”

“Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17


Personal Example Prayer:

Present God, I praise you for being the God of peace and purity; an all sufficient God.

Lord, I ask that you be present in our country; that you help bring peace and pure motive to other nations, and that you bring peace and purity to our nation as well. Lord, purify us; sift out the waste in our government system; keep us from corruption. Daniel 4:32 says thatthe Most High God rules over all of the kingdoms of men. He gives them to anyone He wants.” Lord, these are your words; your promise. Lord, remove the rulers who stir up needless war. Raise up truthful leaders and news stations who serve the people instead of their own agendas.

Lord, I ask that you bring peace to my life as well. I ask that you shed light on the lies I believe and purify me.

Lord, forgive me for having blessing and cursing from the same mouth. Purify my mouth, teach me how to control it, and how to use it for your glory. Show me where I am weak, and make me strong. Continue to be present, point out issues as they arise, and give me the truth of your word to combat my obstacles.

I thank you that you are willing and able to do these things for your glory, in Jesus name.

The Process of Renewal

The process of renewal is:

  • Salvation: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Cor. 5:17
  • Renewing your mind, so that it can catch up to your spirit: “Casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” – 2 Cor.10:5

The following study is on the renewal of the mind; how we get hurt followed by how we get renewed.


A curse is the opposite of a blessing and if we believe that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21), then speaking a curse is much like speaking death over someone. As we all know, from experience, words can bring harm and destruction almost immediately, and sometimes when they just go unchecked. In my mind the word ‘curse’ always connotes voodoo magic or something, so for the rest of this post lets agree to use the alternative definition as our basis:

Curse:
1. something that brings or causes great trouble or 
harm
2. to abuse (someone) with obscenities or oaths
3. to bring harm upon

Example: A father says to his son:“You are so stupid. You are never going to amount to anything in life.”


Often the most damaging curses come from those in authority or the ones we love: parents, teachers, coaches, friends, and fellow christians. Those who speak them are usually not intentionally putting a curse on you; they just don’t realize the power that their words have. A curse does not always take effect immediately, but when we believe and receive the words, they become lodged into our soul and become a force for harm. When we first hear, or realize we believe, a curse we need to “destroy every obstacle, and take every thought captive to Christ.” – 2 Cor.10:5.


To break free from these hurtful words:
1. Recognize the curse
2. Choose not to believe the curse
3. Forgive and forget
4. Replace the curse with truth from God’s word

Prayer & bible study are the backbone of this process.


1. Recognize the curse

  • Take a few minutes to write down every hurtful comment that has been spoken over you, with the name of the person who spoke it. Write down any negative words you’ve spoken about yourself too.

Example:You are so stupid. You are never going to amount to anything in life.” – Name


2. Choose not to believe the curse

  • Think about each curse and how it has affected your life. I’m sure it initially caused pain, but after that, did you believe it? Did it alter your life? Can you see the effects of it in how you live today? Does it still effect you and those around you?Example: “You are so stupid. You are never going to amount to anything in life.” Because I believe this comment I stopped believing that I can amount to anything. I stopped trying to better myself. I refuse all compliments that don’t line up with this belief. When I am met with failure, I do not treat it as an obstacle I can overcome with dedication, but as a reminder that I will never succeed thus making me quit trying. So on…
  • Choose not to believe it anymore! If you can’t quit believing it, at least choose that you would like to not believe it and ask God to show you how He sees you; and to help you see yourself in the same light.

3. Forgive and Forget In a prayer to God, cover the following topics:

  • Forgive the person who spoke the curse over you
  • If you judged them for it, ask God to forgive you too
  • If you blamed God for their behavior, ask God’s forgiveness
  • If you returned evil for evil, ask for forgiveness for your own sin
  • If you believed the lie, forgive yourself for believing the lie

4. Replace the curse with truth from God’s word Ask God to show you His truth and to tear down the lie that is keeping you from receiving his love.

  • Next to each curse, write down scriptures that negate it. If you can’t think of any, take the time to do a bible study on the particular subject.Example: The curse that “You are never going to amount to anything in life” is negated by the biblical truths that God looked at me in my broken/sinful/worst state and decided I was worth everything; so I’ve already amounted to being the most important thing to God. He also says that through Him all things are possible, and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I was made in His image to bring Him honor and glory with my life. So on…
  • Next time the lie comes to mind, take it captive to God’s word. Choose to believe God’s truths not Satan’s lies. Don’t let him hold you back from God’s amazing love and gifts!
  • Continue getting to know God. The more you know God, the more you’ll believe Him. If you can’t trust God and His good will for your life right now, just keep seeking Him. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope.” – Jer. 29:11. Some of these hurts can be very deep, and it may take time to heal, but just take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Eph. 6:16-17.
  • Be on the lookout for curses, for “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. – 1 Peter 5:8. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33. And we have overcome the world through Him!

Example Prayer: “Lord, I want to be set free from the hurtful and demeaning names I have been called, such as (curse) and (curse). I forgive (persons name) for speaking this curse over me. I ask that you bless them and show them your love. I ask forgiveness for blaming you for the situation. I repent for believing the lies of (curse) and (curse) instead of taking them captive and making them submit to your truth. Lord, free me from the bondage of these lies and help me believe your Word which says, (opposite of curse).” “Lord, I repent of the lie I spoke over (persons name) that they are (curse) and (curse). They are great at (compliment) and your word says they are (opposite of curse).


When you forgive, also forget. Don’t go tell someone that you forgive them unless they ask for it. Make a list of the hurtful things you’ve said to other people, and ask God’s forgiveness. If you feel led, then ask the person’s forgiveness as well. Make sure you do this with a loving heart; not all people are ready to forgive.


Personal Testimony: Lord, I want to be free from the curse that was spoken over me, that, I wasn’t as pretty as someone else. I ask that you free me from this lie and help me believe your truth that we are all beautiful and are all made in your image. I ask that you forgive me for the jealousy and competition that arose from it. The next time jealousy and competition arise in me, I ask that you help me take a step back and realize what is really going on. I ask that you continue to show me things that may be attached to this hurt. Help me to trust you. I know that you alone can heal the brokenhearted.

I choose to forgive ‘person A’ for speaking this idle word curse over me. I see that it was simply the work of the enemy and that they meant no harm. Lord, I ask that you show them your love and your healing from any pain they experienced that could have distorted their view of the truth of your word. Help them to see you clearly as the loving God that you are.

Lord, I ask for forgiveness for treating ‘person B’ with jealousy. Please forgive me for my sin, which drove a separation between us. Lord, I ask that you help ‘person B’ work through any problems that I caused, and that you help them forgive me for my sins against them. Lord, I ask that you continue to heal any hurts from this situation on both sides and continue to reveal any other needed truths about the situation so that we can see you clearly.
Lord, teach me how to turn jealousy into love. When jealousy arises in me, help me to see that as a trigger, as an opportunity, to show your love.
Lord, when competition arises in me, I ask that you help me see your will. I know your will is not for competition, but for love. Help me take a step back, and see your plan and then execute that with love and trust in your plan instead of taking things into my own hands.
I ask this in Jesus name, for the glory of God, and for the healing of his people. Amen

Flesh vs. Fruit

It’s been 16 years since I made a commitment to Christ; a road of many lessons, and yet I’m now praying that God teach me how to pray, how to love, and how to trust Him. Lessons that should’ve long been learned, but that he wasted no time in starting. This is where He has been leading me…


Galatians 5:19-23 details two things:

1. Acts of the flesh: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and like things

2. Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control


A Closer Look:
Here is a list of definitions for ‘acts of the flesh’ terms. These are the things that God asks us to avoid/refuse in our lives.

  • an excessive favor toward self
  • feelings of hostility
  • a hostile state; opposition/resistance
  • quarrel, competition, rivalry
  • jealousy; trying to maintain or guard something; resentment against the success or advantage of others
  • mental uneasiness from suspicion
  • fits of anger; fits sprouting, from displeasure, from a wrongdoing
  • discord, disagreement, division
  • upset over, or desire/envy for, others success/advantages/possessions
  • intoxication or marked by intoxication; tipsy
  • sensuality, obscene, indecent, or lust; unrestrained or excessive indulgence of sexual desire, or intense desire
  • sexual obscenity, indecency, or defilement; indecent talk or writing
  • art, practice, or spells to exercise supernatural power through evil spirits
  • rowdy parties, wild festivity, or unbridled indulgences of any evil act

After doing this research I had to reevaluate some of my actions for sure. I’m not perfect.

– 2 Cor. 12:9 – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.


Learning First Hand:

– James 1:2-3 – Count it all joy… for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

The same day, that I did this study, I was tested. It’s thirty minutes before the weekend starts, and I’ve spent the day pondering a certain subject. I ask a friend a simple question and receive a response that cuts at my person. Furthermore, I couldn’t question the intention of this cut, because it was thrown as they shut the door behind them; leaving me to fester. I tried to brush it off telling myself they had a rough day, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. By the time I got home, the weekend had started and I thought I would never calm down, so I decided to pray. “God, be with so and so, de-stress them, and continue to teach them.” Not so bad a prayer, but it just made me madder. So, I prayed for myself next, “God, I forgive so and so; help me learn to turn my anger into love.” Not so bad either, but I was extremely mad by this point. Then this verse popped into my head: “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” – Luke 6:28. So that sparked a new prayer. “Lord, bless so and so,” and as the words left my lips the anger lifted! The weekend was saved! Satan, the reminder, tried to bring it back to mind here and there, but part of forgiving is forgetting. I chose to forget each time. I thought I had done it right! But a few days later when I saw them again, I realized I was giving them the cold shoulder. They quickly diffused it with fun and games, but that was enough to expose the stench of my flesh. Obviously there is a underlying issue at play in me. Upon evaluation this is what I found…

Renewal of the Mind:

  • God honors a prayer based out of the ‘fruits of the spirit’, not out of the ‘acts of the flesh’. God honored my prayer of blessing, not my prayer of vengefulness.
  • I can trust God’s word to be true and healthy. By blessing my enemy, my anger left.
  • “Vengeance is not mine but the Lords” – Romans 12:19. God’s only command is to love.
  • Avoiding someone is not love.

It’s baby steps, but He is definitely showing me how to pray, how to love, and how to trust Him. Soon enough we’ll be running the race!

‘Christian’ vs. ‘Disciple’ – A Study of Terms & Connotation


Acts 11:26 – “And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”


Disciple
a
 person who is a pupil of the doctrines of another; 
to teach; train
Christian
1. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of JesusChristlike
2. a person who believes in Jesus

Today the term Christian can bring a lot of flack with it.

1. Flack from the world: For some reason it has become common practice for many to believe that ‘Christian’ means ‘perfection’. It is now common place to hear Christians being called hypocrites just because we fall into sin. While one of the definitions for ‘Christian’ is ‘Christlike’, this term should endue the spirit of Christ, not the perfection of Christ. To believe that Christ’s followers are perfect, is a stigmatism brought on by Satan to steer away the unbeliever. The truth is…

  • We are all sinners: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23.
  • We can all attain purity through Christ: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 
  • We are not perfect, but are striving to be like Christ: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” – Philippians 1:6. 

2. Flack from self: Sadly because of this stigmatism, that Christians must be perfect, many Christians have started believing it! HELLO! It is unattainable in this world! We as Christians can not keep trying to hide all of our short comings. We can not be perfect, and God does not call us to perfection. He simply says “Follow Me”. We can be made perfect, only through Him. We simply have to be a disciple. He makes us pure, and then he teaches us how to stay pure. It is a process; a daily walk with Christ; one that doesn’t end until He returns to take us to glory.

Renewal of the mind:

  • We need to stop striving for perfection and start striving for Christ.
  • Let’s ditch the worlds connotation of ‘Christian’ and replace it with the term ‘Disciple’. We are in training; striving to catch Christ, until the day he returns for us.
  • We need to be honest and share our walk with our Christian brothers and sisters, so that we can help each other along the way.
  • We need to show the world that we are not perfect, and that they don’t have to be perfect either. We all just need to follow Him and come as we are; people in need of help.

“Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. –  Matthew 9:9