His Voice

Knowing God’s Voice:

We know we are following the Spirit of God when we are led by the fruits of the Spirit instead of the acts of the flesh (v19)

Gal. 5:16,22-25 – walk by the Spirit… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Is. 55:12 – You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace

Rom. 8:14 – For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

God is always talking: 

Ps. 139:17-18 – How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.

Ps. 40:5 – Many, O Lord my God, are… Your thoughts toward us… If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.

Matt. 4:4 – Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Comes not came! The command to ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 thess.5:17) is a call to dialogue not monologue. Prayer is listening to God just as much as it is talking to Him.

God lets us hear what He has to say:

 

1 Cor. 2:10-16 – The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God

 

1 Cor. 12:7-11 – Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Ways God may be speaking to you:

  1. Dreams. Write down your dreams and ask God what they mean. 

    Job 33:14-17 – Indeed God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices it. In a dream, a vision of the night, When sound sleep falls on men, While they slumber in their beds, Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction, That He may turn man aside from his conduct.

    Pharaoh had two dreams. God spoke in 2 ways, but God was saying the same thing (Gen. 41:25)

     

  2. Visions. Ask God to open your eyes. You may see visions while your eyes are open or closed.

    2 Kings 6:16-17 – “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

    Vision was allowed in order to encourage and comfort this person.

     

  3. Scripture. God revealed Himself through His Word to Jesus, as He will to anyone who seeks Him out through the Word:

    Luke 4:18-20 – Unrolling it, he (Jesus) found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to… Then He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

     

  4. Discernment. When we know the Word and understand who God is, we gain discernment about what is and is not God’s voice.

    1 John 4:1 – Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.

     

  5. Small Voice.

    1 Kings 19:11-13 – Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

     

  6. Audible Voice. Pray for Him to open your ears to His voice. He is a kind and polite God, if you do not want to hear, He will not force the matter. Jesus spoke and Father God responded for all, who were willing, to hear

    John 12:28-30 – “Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.

  7. Creation. God spoke to Moses and others through the world around them. Dead sticks grew flowers, seas parted, parables of farming were used, etc:

    Ex. 3:2 – There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

 

Ways God wants to speak through you:

 

  • Word of Knowledge. We can’t ‘read minds’ but God knows everything and He allows us to hear what is on His mind through His Spirit living in us. Sometimes He wants to speak to us about situations around us and give us an opportunity to lovingly teach others. This knowledge is something we can’t know, but that God can reveal to us

    Luke 7:39-40 – When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

  • Word of Wisdom. God speaks through people too. Moses was stressed, but Jethro had a word of wisdom from God to share:

    Ex. 18:17-19 – Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.

  • Tongues. God knows all languages and His Spirit may allow us to speak a language we don’t know on our own, in order to bring Him glory:

    Acts 2:7-8,11 – Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?… we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!

  • Interpretation of Tongues. He spoke through human language in the verse above, but not all languages are languages. Dance and music are languages we often practice interpreting, but are we practicing hearing God’s voice or our own? Start asking God about His thoughts.

 

The Fruits of the Spirit. When we exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, etc… people receive the Truth of God, are healed from past wounds. God speaks through His Spirit whether it be through the Gifts of the Spirit or the Fruits of the Spirit! Gifts are given. Fruit is cultivated. How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts.

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Reasons for Suicide

Matt. 27:3-5 – When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Judas was torn up over his wrongdoing. He went to church leaders who he thought could lead him to God, but they didn’t do their job. Judas should’ve taken a second step, going to his brother (Jesus) to make amends. If he had, he would’ve realized that Jesus would forgive him for the betrayal:

Matt. 5:23-24 – if you… remember that your brother has something against you… go and be reconciled to your brother

Instead Judas believed what the wicked church leaders had said. He accepted the lie that it was solely his responsibility, and right there he judged himself. We are not responsible for the final evaluation of anyone’s character, including our own. ‘He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes (1Cor.4:4-5)’. When it comes to judging a person’s inner personality, the only One who knows all the truth is God. And without knowing all the truth, we are not able to judge accurately or fairly–not others or ourselves. Only the Lord knows our motives. ‘He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives (counsels) of the heart (1Cor.4:5).’

Judas clearly stated that his motive wasn’t to see Jesus condemned, because he called that ‘innocent blood.’ The counsels of his heart were from church leaders, Judas perhaps thought he could trust, who deceived him with lies, and trapped him into their wicked ploys. Judas could not see clearly, making it the worse time to make a life altering decision. Sometimes we just need some time to sort things out and get a fresh perspective.

The whole point of Jesus is that we can now go directly to Him instead of to church leaders, who may have become corrupt, but in every case are sin prone humanbeings. We now have the Holy Spirit who comforts and counsels us. A leader who is close to God will be a great help however.

If you feel suicidal tonight, or are burdened by the weight of your own wrongdoings, have been deceived, have perhaps hurt or betrayed a loved one, or are suffering from a broken relationship–choose not to judge yourself. Accept what is wrong as wrong, and leave the judgement to God. Embrace God and He will forgive all your sin; ‘None of the sins that you have committed will be remembered against you (Eze. 33:16).’ With this clean slate, follow God’s lead in choosing not to remember your sins anymore. When we embrace God, accepting His son Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we stand before Him on the day of judgement and the Bible says, ‘The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight (Ps.18:24).’ In HIS sight we are pure and His judgement is not to condemn, but to reward. Stop condemning your sins, and start asking Jesus to wipe them away, so you can focus on rewarding your righteousness.

Eze. 36:31 – You will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations

Step 1 to being free from self hatred is: choosing not to remember what God chooses not to remember–your sins.

Eze. 36:33-36 – On the day I cleanse you from all your sins… the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins… are now fortified… those around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed

Give Jesus a chance before you give up. And if you’ve already accepted Jesus, keep trusting Him to bring you through by restoring and rebuilding you.


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Honoring God in the Work Place

If our boss wanted us to do something ungodly, would we do it? Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego decided they would not, even if they were ‘fired’ for it. They respected God more than man. Once they took their stand–may I add, in a respectful manner, still calling him Your Majesty–the bosses view of them changed. The boss became furious and made their work 7 times harder (v19). Would we refuse to do something against our God, even if it made our work lives miserable? Even if the boss hated us and made things harder on us? S,M,&A trusted God to take care of them, and God did just that. God kept them from being ‘fired’, ‘fired’ some of the people who tried to hurt them, caused the bosses view of them AND their God to change, AND even gave them a promotion. What if your next promotion rides on you honoring God in the workplace? What if someone’s eternity rides on it? What if the whole workplaces eternity rides on it?

Dan. 3:16-30 – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” 19Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” 26Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. 28Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” 30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.


The last season of my life has been a time of recovery. During that time, I didn’t do a great job portraying Christ to my atheist boss. The Spirit of God would not let me post this until I had texted him to apologize. What if my apology meant the reconciliation of him to God? What if he judged christians for being no different than the world? I can witness along side of him, that I am guilty by every measure, except the blood of Jesus has made me clean and purified me. I will try to do the things My Judge commands, even if it means sticking my foot in my mouth and becoming humiliated… I mean, humbled…

Matt. 5:23-26 – “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.


Dan. 3:1-6 – King Nebuchadnezzar (said)… you must fall down and worship the image of gold… Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.

  • This government forced everyone to worship a certain god

Dan. 6:7 – The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den

  • This government condemned everyone who worshipped a different god

‘You must worship this’ or ‘You can’t worship that’? America not only has decided it will make abortions legal, but around 2014 the government decided that all businesses must provide it to their employees. If America chose, by vote, to have abortions that’s one thing, but to force everyone to provide that service for their employees is another. The Catholic church and Hobby Lobby respectfully opposed this law by doing things the right way through the laws of the land. They were under threat of death; the government tried to close the business, put them in the news under fire from the people, and threatened to fine them one million dollars a day. What will you do if caught in this situation, where you must choose between honoring God or man? – Chris Hodges

The Methodist church is about to face a similar situation. The national United Methodist Church leaders are deciding whether they will accept gay marriage as God honoring or not. If they decide to honor gay marriage, any individual church under their umbrella that doesn’t agree can lose the rights to their buildings and land. If the leaders accept gay marriage, will these churches trust God to make them stand, even at the loss of their buildings? What if making that stance means their greatest promotion? If you’re the only church that makes that stand in your city, you better believe, there will be members leaving the other methodist churches looking for a place to call home. What if making that stance makes an eternal difference in our nation, for the members of that affiliation?

At my last job, a woman prayed for a girl who requested it. This woman was in a group of staff members, both male and female, and no one offered to pray for the young girl, although it was a christian business. The woman prayed for the girl, and was later confronted by her boss over it. This was a Church of Christ business, under the belief that women should not speak in front of men–whether to lead worship, lead a message, or even pray. Praise God for this woman’s courage to honor God at the expense of losing her job! Not everything each denomination believes, lines up with the Word of God. If we know better, we are accountable for our actions. May this woman’s courage make an eternal difference at her place of employment! And may you find the courage to do the same!

In 2015, Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley, released a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling: “I have always believed in the Biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. That definition has been deeply rooted in our society for thousands of years. Regardless of today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, I still believe in a one man and one woman definition of marriage. The people of Alabama also voted to define marriage as between a man and woman. I always respect the people’s vote, and I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has disregarded the choice made by the people of Alabama in its decision today.” Governor Bentley went against the nation as he refused to marry same-sex couples in Alabama. He caught a lot of heat for standing up for what was right! Satan himself went to tempt, and ruin, his public witness, as a year later Bentley fell into an affair and praise God that he went on record asking God to forgive him. May God redeem those who honor Him.

In the Bible, Joseph refused to disobey God’s laws at the command of his master who wanted an affair with him. He lost his job over the issue, but later God made him the ruler of a nation (Gen.39:10; 41:40). If Joseph hadn’t lost that job, he wouldn’t have become ruler of a nation. Trust God’s plan in whatever happens, and do your best to stand up for what is right. We all need God’s forgiveness, for we are all tempted, and all sinners–but still people that God can use to make a difference.

Natural Father vs Father God

notesWhile visiting friends at the beach, I went to a Sunday service that blew me away. Coast Community, in Gulf Breeze, FL, preached it much better, but since I used this for staff devo at my new job, I figured I’d share it with y’all too 🙂

Click here to download FREE, print ready, fill in the blank sermon notes. Preview:

 



1. God is
Our Father

What person on the planet got here without having a father?

– Mal. 2:10 – Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?

– Gen. 1:27 – God created mankind in his own image

God made the natural to explain the supernatural. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have a natural father, as we wouldn’t be here without God, our Father. Now, everyones fathers may have a different level of involvement; many people have a close relationship with their father, while others have an absent sperm donor, or worse–one that’s abusive. Our earthly fathers, whether for good or bad, shape our views of the heavenly father. Because of this, we must seek to see God, in truth, for who He really is; separating who He is from what sinful man has taught us about him. He’s not just father of Christians. He’s father of all mankind. We all have the ‘genetic’ nature; however, we don’t all have the nurtured character, which only comes from relationship with the father. Since there are so many broken homes in America, most of our views of relationships are skewed. One myth, we tend to believe, is that:

Myth: God is unreasonable

– Gen. 3:1 – Satan said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from ANY tree in the garden’?”

Satan wants us to believe that God doesn’t want us to have ANYthing, but that’s not true. Most of our earthly fathers gave us gifts, but one Christmas, did you have something you desired that you didn’t find under the tree? Are we grateful for the things our Father has given us, or do we let that one thing drive us away from him? Is it unreasonable to give us an ENTIRE garden, and yet ask us not to eat from a single tree? Is it unreasonable to create sex for our enjoyment, and ask us to not have sex outside of marriage? No. His laws are for OUR benefit, not His. He knows that sex can damage us, cause deep grief, that many people would commit suicide over the loss of relationship, and many would not be able to connect whole heartedly to their spouse after having sex before marriage. Remember that:

2. God is A Compassionate Father

– 2 Cor. 1:3-4 – Blessed be… the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction

Is God only good to Christians? No, He’s good to EVERYONE.

– Ps. 145:9 – The Lord is good to ALL: and his tender mercies are over ALL His works.

We just saw that God created everyone, so you understand that you’re a work of God, right? This verse tells us that his tender mercies are over ALL of His works. Now, sometimes we don’t feel like we’ve had much of that tender mercy. When you’re seperated from the Father, it’s easy to misconstrue who He is. When we decide we’re tired of being seperated from our Father, and we seek His face, we find out that:

– Lam. 3:22 – His compassions never fail

– 1 Tim. 6:17 – God… richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment

But the child who is away from the Father believes the myth that:

Myth: God is unreliable

– Jam. 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or change.

How can God be unreliable if he never changes?

– Ps. 59:10 (TLB) – My God is CHANGELESS in his love for me

Changeless in His love for me? I thought if I messed up it meant I’d be abused, beaten, and called ‘worthless’? I thought if I asked a question it’d be seen as challenging his authority, worthy of the cat of 9 tails? You mean even if my earthly father was a gracious one, those few times he didn’t tend to my wounds doesn’t even portray God? My God is changeless in His love and His compassion never fails? Do my beliefs line up with that?

– Gen. 3:4 (TLB) – “That’s a lie!” the serpent hissed.

– Ps. 33:4 – the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

– Rom. 11:29 – God NEVER changes His mind about the people He calls and the things He gives them.

His decisions aren’t based on our ability to do right or wrong. And God doesn’t do things without reason; if he gave you life, it’s because you have a purpose. This verse promises us that we can’t mess it up. He will always fulfill and redeem the purpose on our lives.

– Rom. 12:2 – Don’t conform to the world’s way or beliefs. Instead, renew your mind, so you know what God’s will is and what His character is like.

His will is always good, pleasing and perfect; giving us a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).

Instability in children’s lives causes insecurity. We should all be secure children, since our heavenly Father is changeless. He won’t turn on the winds of emotion. The only way to renew your mind is to hear, study, believe, and apply the word of God. We must renew our mind, to believe that:

God is an Attentive Father

– Luke 12:7 – even all the hairs on your head have been counted!

– Ps. 139:16 – Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be

He wrote down every second, of every day, of my life?! That sounds attentive!

– Ps. 56:8 – You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

So God wrote the book on my life, before I was ever born, and knew all the tears I would shed? God is love and love only exists in freedom. Our freewill causes us much sorrow, as we chose to go the wrong way–a rebellious life away from our Father and his rules. Maybe it wasn’t us that made the wrong choice? Maybe it was our family members who were choosing to do wrong. God doesn’t take away our freedom, in fear that we’ll make the wrong choice. He allows us to make wrong choices, but He’s grieved right along side us. But your tears are so important to Him that he saves every single one. We can’t believe the myth that:

Myth: God is unconcerned with me

– Jer. 17:9-10 – The heart is… desperately sick; Who can understand it? “Yet I, the Lord, search it out

– David said in Ps. 139:1 – you have examined my heart, God, and know everything about me

– Paul stated in Rom. 8:27 (MSG) – He knows us FAR BETTER than we even know ourselves

God calls us his beloved. While human infatuation statistically lasts 12-18 months, God has a sleepless and lasting infatuation lasting through eternity. While we sleep, He’s up all night thinking of us:

– Ps. 139:17-18 (MSG) – How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me CONSTANTLY! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!

God isn’t using up all those thoughts condemning us or judging us… he is in love with us. Every thought is praising us, building us up, and watching our steps as His plan unfolds–insuring that the enemies plans are turned toward our favor

3. God is Gracious

– Eph. 1:4 – we are blameless in His sight

– Heb. 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Some of our fathers probably got mad at us during our time of need. They blamed us or left us to figure things out alone. Perhaps, in their eyes, we couldn’t do anything right. But it’s a myth that:

Myth: God is unpleasable

The truth is that God has accepted you (Rom. 15:7).

– Rom. 8:28-29 – GOD works all things together for the good of those who love Him

GOD works all things for our good, not you work all things out for your good… becuase if we try to work things out, Satan would be at the core of it, working all those things together for the bad. The Bible says, if you aren’t for God, you’re against Him (Luke 11:23). God has a plan for our lives, just as Satan does. Satan’s plan is to steal, kill, and destroy everything in our lives, while Jesus’ plan is to give us a future, hope, and work everything for our benefit. We can mess up a lot, but God never leaves us. It’s us that choose whether we are going to talk to the Father that’s right beside us, or if we are going to give Him the silent treatment. If we choose to return to the Father and get to know him for who he really is, He will work all our mess into something beautiful. But we have to surrender to His authority and allow Him to take control. His laws aren’t burdensome (1 John 5:3).

– Col. 1:22 – when you return to the Father, He reconciles you… without blemish and free from accusation

Luke 15:17-24 – When he came to his senses, he said… ‘I will set out and go back to my father’… But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.



Prayer:
God, thank you that your ways are higher than our ways; and that you don’t mimic or resemble the world. Instead you call us up to heavenly places, where peace and love reside. You know our pains, experienced our weaknesses, and always have us on your mind. Free us today of any lies or myths our parents and culture have burdened us with. Take us back to the places of pain, and let us see them with new eyes… asking you to show us where you were in that moment. Let your spirit show us, and set the captives free, loosing our hearts to love you and others in a greater measure. Continue to reveal your true nature to us and help us accept the fullness of your love, acceptance, and pleasure in us; knowing that every single thought, you have about us, is good.

The American Dream: Early Retirement

The american dream is to be able to live without working. Aren’t we all trying to figure out a way to retire early? Don’t forget to work generosity into your living expenses both now and during that retirement:

Luke 12:15-21 – … I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

What if retirement looked more like helping homeless people as a full-time missionary in Hawaii, instead of sitting alone in your lake house deteriorating? Having a purpose helps keep you alive, happy, and blessed. Remember to be rich toward God by helping others.

My friend summed it up better: Retirement doesn’t have to be a selfish time devoted only to our personal pleasure. It can be the time of our life when we have more free time to volunteer to help others, spread the Gospel, and make the world a better place.

However, I’m not telling you to spend everything you have, or stop saving for retirement:

Prov. 21:20 (NIV) – The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

Prov. 21:20 (NLT) – The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.

It’s wise to save for retirement. God wants you to do that, but we have to remember who gave us the ability to store up that wealth, and remember those who might not have the same opportunities.

Those who store up and never give, will lose everything; but those who store up to give, God blesses with even more:

Mal. 3:10 – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

God has the biggest storehouse of all. It fills all the heavens! So it doesn’t matter how big your storehouse is, or how much money you have, as much as what you do with it. God is always giving and blessing us!

Deut. 28:12 – The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.

Be wise and start saving.
Be wise and start giving.

Luke 12:15 – life does not consist in an abundance of possessions

Matt. 6:19-20 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 – As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

His Love Songs

Zeph. 3:17 – The Lord your God… will rejoice over you with singing

The Lord is singing over you right now. Bask in the romantic moment as He reveals what has been on His mind, all the wonderful thoughts about you

Ps. 139:17-18 – How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand…

What kind of song do you think He’s singing? What genre do you think it’s in? Listen to Him now and ask Him to let you hear a piece of it. Write down what you hear:

Mine: Listen to the fireflies; hear the song I sing. They may not make a sound, but I know it’s what you need. Don’t get overwhelmed in all the things you do; sit down and listen to My song that’s just for you. 

What’s Yours?
Share in the comments below, and if you feel like an overachiever today, write out a lyrical response to Him.

Follow Desire or Prophecy?

Abraham tried to figure out a way to make God’s promise/prophecy work. Every time we try to help God out, we are in danger of producing our own Ishmael. It wasn’t what God had in mind! Abraham was deceived.
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Abraham believed God’s promise, however the prophecy was taking a long time. Abraham wondered if there was something he was doing wrong. He asked questions like: ‘Is there something that I need to do to make the prophecy come to pass? Is God waiting on me to do something? Shouldn’t I be co-laboring with God? What am I missing?’
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Deception means: to look for something where it’s not. Webster’s dictionary defines it as: fraud, double dealing, or trickery.
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I personally went through an experience where I gathered all the prophecies I had received through the years, looked over them, and tried to imagine what the fulfillment of those would look like. Suddenly, I found myself putting 30k toward a business I knew nothing about, plus going into debt for the first time in my life, all while unemployed, because I thought that was how the prophecies would all align. I found myself at the Red Sea waiting for God to part the waters, but I was too afraid to co-labor with the plan/prophecies anymore because I didn’t have money to survive. I later forfeited; I called the company, called it fraud and got a full refund (thank God). In my favor, they let me keep the books, allowed me to keep a few business start up mentoring sessions, and I found a local real estate mentor (for life instead of 6 months) for 1/30th of the price. Through all this, I learned that perhaps following our desires is the better option, than looking to our prophecies as a roadmap for our life. After all God isn’t controlling, so when He prophesied that I would have a business, knowing right well that I did not desire a business, I should have held the horses. Hmm, He did prophesy to ‘throttle back’; guess I missed that one! God tells us in Phillipians 2:14 that, ‘God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.’ So if you’ve ever received a prophecy that didn’t line up with your current desires, then sleep on it for a while; it may be for the future.
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As I started to look into the topic of ‘desire’, I found these gems too:
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Phil. 2:13 – it is I who gave you those desires

Prov. 16:26 – a worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on

If I didn’t have a desire for a business, that’s what I should have listened to–not try to force a prophecy to its fulfillment. God chooses to use our desires to lead us into the fulfillment of His plan for our lives. That’s what freedom looks like. God will shape and form your desires, and it’s at that point that you can co-labor with Him. And of course we aren’t talking about the desires of the flesh (Rom.13:13-14) here… we are talking about the desires to do His good, pleasing, and perfect will, which unfold as we continue to follow the path of righteousness.
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Any normal person would follow their desires… *self jab. Any normal person is following their flesh desires… right into the flames of hell. Put me down for trying something different! Antonyms for normal: abnormal, different, irregular, rare, uncommon, untraditional, unusual, exceptional, extreme (amen!), eccentric, insane (to the flesh)…  extraordinary! I’ll keep that last one tucked away for later. *self protect
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quotes_confusedBack to Abraham, we should take note that his desire was for his wife. It was his wife who directed his efforts from his desire, onto seeing the prophecy fulfilled and onto sleeping with the servant girl. We should also note that God was still gracious to his confused efforts by blessing Ishmael. However, God didn’t allow Ishmael, or Abraham’s efforts, to replace His original purpose and perfect will.

Rom. 11:29 – for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable

When God decides to give us something, He doesn’t change His mind, no matter what we do. In light of this scripture, I could’ve stood firm and rested in knowing that even if I hadn’t gotten back all the money I’d worked so hard to save, I could still believe God’s promise to me that: You won’t have to worry about finances; everything will be paid for; you’ll travel in state, out of state, and internationally, and live over seas for a time while being reimbursed like a job’. O, throttle back my heart, and wait for God to turn desire into fulfillment!

Prophecy: Forgery or Fulfillment?

God made a promise (prophesy), and you better believe that Satan was going to take advantage of it. Long before Jesus was born of a virgin, God told us that Jesus would inherit the nations of the earth.

Satan can quote scripture too you know? He spent a lot of time at God’s right hand before the fall. His whole outfit is based on taking the Word of God and twisting it into something different. He creates a cheap, deadly counterfeit for every rich and life giving original from God.


 

Jesus was getting baptized, and the second Satan heard the words ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’, it struck a cord. He remembered David writing something about that. He remembered what came next. Oh, this is when God promises to give the earth as an inheritance to His son… so he snuck on ahead. Since he knew what God had to offer, and what Jesus desired, why not try to beat them to the punch? ‘Surely, if I offer Jesus the gift first, He will take it from me?’, Satan snared.

Ps. 2:7-8 –  I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

Matt. 3:16-17; 4:1,8-10 – When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil….  Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

The enemy will try to create confusion about your future. If you’ve received a prophecy and ever wondered what to do with it, then know that it can find it’s fulfillment through two outlets: 1) Gods way or 2) the enemies way.

A lot of times when we receive a prophecy, Satan himself will show up and say ‘All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.’ It just won’t be as blunt as that. It’ll come by tempting you to do even the tiniest thing that you know is wrong. He’ll cause you to question some scripture, and coax you away from God. It’ll be so deceptive that you might even think that it is God leading you into the promise.

When God is pleased with us, He likes to give us gifts. He is pleased with you! We don’t have to earn His love; it is freely given too! But what better tactic could the enemy have, but to eavesdrop into a conversation between us and God? ‘What if I can glean what it is they truly desire from Him?’, he plots.

God is a good Father and knows our desires inside out; anything He desires to give us will be freely given. Satan, on the other hand, will use what you desire most as a temptation and a trap for you; it’ll always come with a price: your relationship to the Father. Satan will offer you anything to keep you from the Father; he’ll even give you the desires of your heart, but at a moment and a way that it will cause the most destruction.

Jesus knew what was prophesied over Him; He knew that it was God’s will to have him inherit the world. However, when His Father’s promise seemed to be finding it’s fulfillment through Satan instead of through God, Jesus wasn’t deceived.

Unfortunately, we aren’t going to see the image of the devil, a snake crawling on the ground, or a voice saying ‘worship me and I’ll give you’,  when we come to this place of temptation in our lives. We aren’t going to know for sure whether it is Satan or God, because satan can come as an angel of light, and God’s route could take us through a desert. How then can we know which is God’s way? How can we look at the prophecies that we’ve received and know the right path? After all, Jesus would’ve been set over the world if he had followed Satan too. Satan’s route didn’t require death on the cross. It was easier, but it came with strings attached: ‘Let me fulfill your desire,’ Satan tempted him.

Prov. 16:25 – There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death

More so than the fulfillment of any desire, we want you God.

Maybe it always looks like a desert route?  We have to desert every counterfeit fulfillment of the desire, then wait for God to give the real mccoy.

We need to make sure that we are always receiving our gifts through a relationship with God. Outside of a relationship with God, there is no good gift or good desire. God repeatedly tells us to ask Him for what we desire:

Ps. 2:7-8 – He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will

Matt. 7:7 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.


 

There are 2 ways to skin a cat, 2 ways to go at the fork in the road, and 2 ways to fulfill a promise. The first story of the Bible is there to remind us, we are all faced with a choice. Will we honor God’s ways? God isn’t keeping anything from us, He simply wants us to ask Him for the things we desire instead of going to a tree, a snake, an idol, a person, or alternate route that would lead us away from Him:

Gen. 3:1-6 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Stay in God’s will and His ways, always looking to Him and asking Him to fill your desires and bring about the prophecies:

Ps. 138:8 – The Lord will fulfill his purpose for you

Healing the Orphan Spirit – Part 2

Book Review
Healing the Orphan Spirit by Leif Hetland // Part 2

Below are some quotes, scriptures, and notes from the book. In Part 1 we left off with Job in his depression. Realizing that sometimes we have to lose the things we are relying on before the real issues can come to the surface. Loss is never fun, but it is an effective way to have to face your underlying issues. A brief moment of loss is worth going through, because we then deal with and find healing from the surfacing issues, knowing that once the season is over God will restore us with a two fold blessing of anything we lost.


 

Micah 7:8-9 – Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.

David, Job, and Solomon all mentioned how they saw wicked people flourish on earth. They also noted that they finally came to an understanding of why. The wicked are judged in eternity, so God allows them to live as they choose while on earth. We however, are free from judgement in Christ; yet as the children of God, we are disciplined, directed, and corrected by the Father while on earth, so that we can live a more prosperous life. That discipline and allowance of some fires/trials, help the dross rise to the surface. Dross is the impurity in metal. When heated up those impurities surface and the metal worker skims it away, purifying the metal. We will ‘bear the indignation’ for our sins for a brief moment, but the whole time Jesus is advocating for us to execute justice on our behalf, and see all things work out to our benefit.

 

1 Peter 1:7 – These trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

God tells us that we are of much greater worth than gold. Gold is put through fire, but it will not always be around. We however, are put through fire and get to live in eternity in our purified state.

Zech. 13:9 – This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’

I love this verse. It shows us that even though God finds dross and impurities in us, he still claims us as His children. The world has a habit of allowing hard times to drive us away from each other, but God shows us that in a relationship that displays true love and true commitment, hard times actually bring you closer together. It’s when we go through the fire that we claim and cling to God.

The enemy will try to create confusion about your future.

New. 4:6-9 – So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.

If you are in a season of seeking healing from God, setting boundaries, and building back up the things that the enemy has destroyed, then rest assured the enemy’s tactic will be to come and create confusion. In fact, if you’re making enough progress, and working intensely at it, all the spirits that you’ve ever cast out may conspire to come attack you all at the same time. That’s been my experience in this season. It was also what Nehemiah witnessed as Israel built up the wall of Jerusalem with one hand, and defended themselves with the other. In order to be successful in this venture, we have to be on watch day and night, prepared to stand our ground and not give up on the progress we’ve made so far.

If the enemy can cut you off from your future, you will always go back to your past. The word confusion means, ‘to hinder’.

New. 6:9 –  For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.”

Don’t sit on the sidelines. For many believers, the enemy created enough confusion in their life that they stepped away from the calling of God on their life, and decided to sit this one out. He will do all that he can to stop your progress. The ultimate strategy for the enemy is to stop the growth and maturity of the believer. When Nehemiah was faced with this strategy, he prayed ‘God strengthen (take hold of) my hands’.

Like Eve in the garden of Eden, the enemy knows that if he can create enough doubt about the validity of God’s word, then he knows he can continue with his strategy of moving us from certainty to doubt.

Micah 7:8 – Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.

Micah stated ‘when i fall’, not if I fall. That is the story of most of the people in the Bible. Moses committed murder, David adultery and murder, Jonah ran from God, Noah got drunk, Peter denied Jesus. We all fall. Just because you fail doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker – William A Ward
Failure is good. It’s fertilizer
– Rick Pitino
Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently – Henry Ford

Facts don’t always line up with the truth. The facts may say you’re going under, but the truth of the matter is, you will make it to the other side.

2 Kings 6:15-18 – when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

In the naturally they were surrounded by an army. The facts were against them. Sometimes we just need to ask God to open our spiritual eyes so we can see His army around us waiting to protect us and carry out His good will.

Eph. 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people

You can have light in your mind, but your heart has to be enlightened.

What does it take for the thoughts of hope to become seeded in our hearts? At what point does the hope start to enlighten our hearts?

Much like Nehemiah, the wall wasn’t built in a day. It was ‘a great work’ that took time and effort.

Prov. 4:18 – The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

We begin our journey with Christ while in darkness. We then travel, heading toward the light. Our path grows brighter and brighter with each step toward righteousness.

What is a stronghold? 

  • It’s where darkness reigns
  • It’s a thought pattern alien to the Word of God
  • It’s anything in us strong enough to keep us from becoming like Christ in a given area of life
  • It’s a command post, which the enemy works in the surrounding areas. It’s a system of logic that is a lie used to perpetrate the purposes of the enemy in our lives
  • It’s an act of rebellion much like cancer in the human body

2 Cor. 10:4-5 – The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholdsWe demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

A stronghold is a mindset. It is a system of lies that we believe that have made us unable to live in freedom in a certain realm of our lives.

Mark 3:27 – Let me illustrate this further. Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods?Only someone even stronger–someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.

Mark 3:27 – But no one can go into a strong man’s house and steal his property unless he first overpowers and ties up the strong man, and then he will ransack and rob his house.

If we have a stronghold mindset, then we have a strong man (demon) residing there. The only way to deal with it is to ask Jesus to overpower it. Ask Jesus to tie up, or bind, the evil spirit and reclaim us as His holy temple and abiding place (home).

We always need to be on guard to ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’. Any lie or enemy that slips past the guard can create of bondage situation. We will be like a wrestler whose component has gained a foothold (Eph.4:27), and if we don’t recognize it and get out of it, the enemy will gain a leg hold, and then a stronghold.

Strongholds are like a cancer. Just as cancer is an incorrigible maverick and refuses to be checked, rebellious thoughts, that have resisted orders from the head (Christ), have gone into thought patterns that are against the revealed truth of God. Cancer must be detected early, and rooted out. The longer it is allowed to exist in the body, the more it spreads, and the more complex the root system becomes, which will surely bring death.

The longer it lasts, the more rigid are the ideas that give the bondage a foundation.

Without the capacity to detect which thoughts are ours, which are God’s, and which are the enemy’s, we will be open prey for the demons to attack.

Intimacy requires a feeling of safety and security. Without security you will not open up!

The prodigal son had to learn the hard way that it is better to dwell in the house of his Father, rather than live in the dwelling place of the wicked.

Luke 15:18-19 – I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’

He did not care if he would be relegated to the position of a slave as long as the father was nearby. He knew wherever the father went there would be provision and blessing. He had spent everything he had in pursuit of happiness and ended up more miserable than ever. He was hungry for more than food; he was hungry for his fathers love.

No amount of good deeds can change your status from slave to son. The amount of sacrifice you have struggled with over the years pale in comparison to the glory of sonship.  This is why works cannot buy this privilege.

Father, is there any part of me that is like the prodigal son who has squandered or been careless with my inheritance just to pursue pleasures or desires that will not last? Is there any part of me that is like the elder son and where I try to work for what is already mine?

I refuse to live any part of my life in the slave’s quarter anymore because I know the palace is my inheritance.

‘I am no longer worthy to be called your son’ – Luke 15:21
‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him’ – Luke 15:22

The prodigal son could have reasoned with his father insisting he was unworthy of such kindness… and he would have been theologically correct. According to the Law, he did not deserve mercy but punishment. Sometimes we try to preach to God and tell Him we know more about scriptures than He does. When we try to refuse the kindness of God because of our past history and failures, we think we are doing Him a favor.

Romans 13:14 – clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ

God gives us His best robe. He clothes us with His righteousness through Christ. In jewish history, the best robe was one that the father would have worn himself. This was a prophetic foretelling of what God had in mind, to give us and clothe us with His Holy Spirit.

You can have the most expensive wardrobe comprised of signature clothing from well-known designers, but in the spiritual realm you are still naked.

Jesus was stripped naked before he was hung on the cross. He was made naked so He could pass on His clothes to us. The robe of glory and righteousness is also a badge of authority because in the spiritual realm it establishes the identity of the owner. The owner of that robe has full access  to what Father owns, and no servant of Father will refuse his request for help.

Jesus said he did not come for the righteous, but for sinners (Mark 2:17). As long as the elder brother continued to believe he could work his way into the heart of his father, he could never experience true sonship and would never receive what was graciously given to his prodigal brother. Saul had the orphan spirit, and, for it to be dislodged he had to go through a process. First, he fell off his high horse of religious pride, and was blinded. During his restoration process, he was made into a new person, and given a new name: Paul.

He will not lecture us, but love us, for we are His prize possession.

The mercy and love of our Father is amazing. He took extraordinary lengths to restore back to us our identity, our inheritance, and our position as sons and daughters.

They could not believe that Jesus, a supposedly righteous teacher, was actually having fun! He ate and talked with sinners, rubbed elbows with greedy tax agents, received food prepared by prostitutes, and answered questions asked by petty thieves and crooks.

Though Jesus taught occasionally in the synagogues (churches), he mostly taught as each opportunity arose in his day to day life.

Most of us will play the role of the prodigal son and the elder brother at some point in our lives.

I went from being a prodigal son to being the elder brother. I tried to win the favor of my Father by working tirelessly.

Jesus did not talk about the love of God based on what He knew from reading scriptures, but from an intense personal experience.

On July 31, 1838 on the Island of Jamaica, a man named William Knibbs gathered 10,000 slaves for a great praise gathering. They were celebrating the New Emancipation Proclamation Act that would abolish slavery on the island. They had built an immense coffin and into it were placed whips, chains, branding irons, fetters of all kinds, salve garments, and all the things that represented the terrible slavery system that was now coming to a welcomed end.

At the first stroke of the midnight bell, Knibbs shouted out, ‘The monster is dying.’ At each stroke of the bell that followed, this cry was repeated and the great crowd began to join in the cry. At the 12th stroke 10,000 voices cried out, ‘The monster is dead, the monster is dead, let us bury him.’ They then screwed the coffin lid down and lowered it into a huge grave and covered it up. That night, every heart rejoiced and 10,000 voices grew hoarse, shouting and crying with joy. Once they were in bondage to slavery, but now they were free.

There is a tragic side to this story. While many rejoiced in their new liberty and freedom, there were some slaves that lived in remote areas of the island. These slaves did not know they had been legally set free. Because they didn’t know for many years the Emancipation Proclamation had been made law, they still serve their slave masters. Their former masters successfully kept the news from them as long as they could. By law they had been declared free men and did not have to live as slaves any longer. However, ignorance of the truth kept them in bondage.

Hearing this may cause a feeling of sympathy or even anger, But the truth is, the same type of thing is happening in our day. Jesus through the cross has issued an Emancipation Proclamation of freedom from sin to everyone on earth, but like some of the Jamaicans, there are those today that don’t understand that they no longer have to live as slaves to sin.

As America continues to suffer from racial division I would add that there are even slaves who have legally been freed, but who choose to remain in their slavery. Instead of burying the whips, chains, dependences, and words that represent the slavery system coming to an end, they are holding on to them and using them against their own people. We can all understand the human desire to turn the tables, choose not to forgive, and make the masters children pay for the sins our their fathers, but to take the pains and turn them against their own people… that’s heart wrenching.

If we continue to use words that represent certain ideas, then you better believe that we are keeping those ideas alive. Satan loves to shape culture, and he has shaped a culture that is eating us alive where former slaves continue to use inflammatory words to describe their own brothers. As long as this continues they will never be free from the ideas and inflammation those words represent. They will live under the words/mindset as slaves, never realizing that they have already been set free. They will continue to hate the people who created the word, never looking up to realize that it’s themselves who are now using it. Freedom is scary, and it’s hard work, and it’s easy to give up and lay down especially if that’s what you’ve been trained to do.

Satan’s chief joy is to separate children from God, while Father’s delight is to turn their hearts back to Him.

Satan offered Jesus a chance to rule the world. He said if you worship me, I’ll give you. Satan always wants something before he’ll give something. Satan wants to give us the same gift that God wants to give us, not out of love, but as an opportunity to win us. He will dangle the gift in front of us and try to use it to his advantage. He’ll give it to us prematurely so that we can’t enjoy it. He’ll try to beat God to the punch so that we won’t get closer to Him. His way always comes at great price. God is the only good Father, and the only one who gives good gifts. He gives them to us freely, because He loves us. He will never ask for something beforehand or afterward. It’s a free gift.

He will teach us how to handle the gift however.

The passing of his tests qualified him to receive a nation, not as a servant, but a a beloved son.

Jer. 32:40 – I will never stop doing good to you

Jer. 32:41 – I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul

Phil. 2:13 – For it is I who gave you those desires

In Jesus, my love for you is revealed (John17:26). He is the exact representation of my being (Heb.1:3). He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Rom.8:31).


 

Well, there’s some quotes, scriptures, and thoughts from the book. Not necessarily cohesive, but tidbits of goodness. Get the book for the full read:

Healing the Orphan Spirit by Leif Hetland – $9

 

Healing the Orphan Spirit – Part 1

Book Review:
Healing the Orphan Spirit by Leif Hetland – Part 1


 

Here are some take away quotes, ideas, and statistics from the book–and some personal notes:

A true orphan knows what it means to live life without the security, stability, and warmth of a physical home. A spiritual orphan is not any different. He is also well acquainted with the feelings of fear, anxiety, rejection, and homelessness even if he has a place to go home to at night.

Children from fatherless homes are more likely to be:

  • Poor
  • Become involved in drug and alcohol abuse
  • Drop out of school
  • Suffer from health and emotional problems
  • Boys are more likely to become involved in crime
  • Girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens

Adam & Eve were not born orphans, but they acquainted the orphan spirit the moment they left the Presence of God.

Genesis 3:8-10 – And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

Man deals with fear by pushing it deep down in his spirit. Since he does not allow the Father to remove that fear, he begins to struggle and tries to handle it on his own. Instead of acknowledging fear within the inner-core, we learn how to be self-reliant, thinking we can fight off the rising dread within our spirit.

We cope with fear through the outbursts of anger, or we do the opposite and turn the emotion inward and retreat within ourselves. We are constantly pressured to fix everything on our own. We retreat because we are afraid to deal with the real situation at hand for it might hurt too much. We think if we ignore the problem or dilemma, it will just go away.

We turn our hearts to steel, thinking that, if we make our inner being as tough as a rock, we might become impervious to the string of failure and rejection. In order to sustain that tough exterior, we learn how to reject the love, comfort, and admonition we receive from other people. We live life without a home while we try to create the self into an island fortress, striving to be self-sufficient and having the ability to go through life without experiencing the rewards of fellowship and true friendship.

A deep-seeded fear drives us to succeed at all costs.

Overwhelmed, we begin to indulge in escapism. Alcohol, drugs, porn, or more socially acceptable mechanisms like losing oneself in relationships, drowning oneself in books, tv, video games, etc. In these instances we can sometimes justify our escape patterns, because the things we are escaping to are not sins. Nonetheless, addiction sets in, and before we know it, we are already neck-deep in the deal’s quicksand.

Prov. 9:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

We are commanded to be in awe of His ways and obey Him. However, we were never told to fear the presence of God.

Ephesians 3:12 – In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

If we do not understand the ways of the father, then it is perfectly understandable why we are afraid when He is near.

Instead of seeing God’s commandments as coming from the heart of a loving God, we see them as restrictions. The laws of God are seen by many as a test instead of as signposts, which would lead to a blessed life. Thus, there are 2 ways the orphan spirit will cope with this fear of Father: 1) rebellion 2) religion.

Religion assumes that formalities and adherence to a man-made code of beliefs will justify his lack of true contact with Father.

The result of sin is shame. Many choose to rebel instead of putting up with shame. They flaunt their sinfulness for the whole world to see. The religious person, on the other hand, tries to deal with shame by attempting to appease God with good deeds.

The newly freed Hebrew slaves were more than willing to go back into bondage simply because they could not believe the Lord would fulfill His promise to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. One glance at their immediate circumstances forced them to conclude that God had brought them into the desert to die.

Rom. 8:14-17 – For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

John 15:4 – Abide in Me, and I in you.

Jesus uses the illustration of the grape vine to make clear to His disciples what He means, and in this illustration the word abide is used eleven times. The word abide means to continue on in a permanent state.

Walk through a vineyard and you will see fruit but no tension. You will never walk up to a branch and hear it complaining or struggling to bear fruit. It knows that the fruit it bears comes from inside the life of the tree and not from ‘working it up’ on the outside of the branch.

Works are a product of the arm of the flesh, while fruit is a product of abiding in Christ. Fruit is a natural outgrowth of our union with Him.

We must abide in the vine of where Christ has placed us if we are going to produce fruit. If we don’t, we will end up like the Hebrews, ‘making bricks without straw.’ Lots of busy activity with nothing to show for it! Fruit is the result of life, not hard work.

Most of us understand the principle of tithing, or giving the first fruits of what God gives us. The word ‘fruit’ is used throughout scripture with more than just money however. It is used with soul winning, holy living, character, and praise:

Heb. 13:15 – Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of our lips that openly profess his name.

In tithing we give back to God the first 10% of what we receive from Him. In praise, why can’t we give back the first fruits as well? Give God praise with the first 10 minutes of your day. It’s a sacrifice, not always something we want to do or feel like doing. Science has proven that uplifting words can put you in a better mood. Fake it till you make it actually works after all!

If we talk about vineyards, then we also need to talk about pruning.

  • What does He prune? Whatever hinders my growth!
  • When will He prune? At the right season to produce the greatest amount of fruit.

Pruning is necessary for maximum productivity. If there is no pruning, there will be no increase in fruit.

Abraham tried to figure out a way to make God’s word work. Every time we try to help God out, we are in danger of producing our own Ishmael. It wasn’t what God had in mind! Abraham was deceived.

Abraham believed God’s promise. The prophecy was taking a long time. Abraham wondered if there was something he was doing wrong. Is there something that I need to do to make the prophecy come to pass? Is God waiting on me? Shouldn’t I be co-laboring with God? What am I missing?

Deception means: to look for something where it’s not. Webster says it is: fraud, double dealing, or trickery.

This could be the lost entry to my diary: Turning Point 13 – I took the prophecies I received, and did what I thought I needed to do to co-labor with God and see them come to pass. I put 30k toward a business I knew nothing about. I later figured out it wasn’t God. I called the company, called it fraud and got a full refund (thank God). Plus, they let keep the books, so I have learning material to grow into. I now have money to live on, buy a new car, or whatever. And my anxiety is a little less, seeing that the money isn’t sitting in mutual funds wasting away with the declining economy and I have 4 jobs biting this week. Guy Harvey at the beach, 50k without moving, slow & easy life + a free house, or meet a doctor? Hmm… ? All great things and hard choices!

God was still gracious to Abraham’s confused efforts, by blessing Ishmael. However, God didn’t allow Ishmael or Abraham’s efforts to replace His original purpose.

Rom. 11:29 – for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable

When God decides to give us something, He doesn’t change His mind, no matter what we do.

2 Cor. 3:6 – the written text brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Religion lives for rules. Rules are how we control people, especially in the church.

The Pharisees:

  • Loved prominence
  • Endangered the souls of men
  • Majored on the mechanics of religion
  • Lived a double standard
  • Talk didn’t match their walk

Rom. 7:24 – Who will rescue me from this body of death?

The term to which Paul alludes to is descriptive of a shocking execution that was employed by the Romans. A cadaver would be fastened to the condemned person so that he could not be released from the corpse. The deceased, decaying flesh of the cadaver accompanied every move he made. Eventually he would die a slow, painful, and emotionally horrifying death. It’s ghastly to think about, but that’s what it looks like for a person living without Christ. Their sin follows them wherever they go and produces death.

Facts of Fatherlessness:

  • The percentage of kids born out-of-wedlock has grown 223% since 1970.
  • 7 of of 10 African-American kids are born out-of-wedlock.
  • 3 out of 10 Caucasian kids are born out-of-wedlock, an increase of 440% since 1970.
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
  • 60% of repeat rapists grew up without father.
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father.
  • 63% of youth suicides are from a fatherless home.
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
  • 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother.
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
  • 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
  • 70% of juveniles in state prison have no father.
  • 85% of youth in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
  • 75% of prisoners grew up without a father.
  • Fatherless boys are 2x’s as likely to drop out of high school, 2x’s as likely to end up in jail, 4x’s more likely to need help with emotional or behavioral problems.
  • 43% of US children live without their father.
  • Each year America spends $48 billion on incarceration, $5 billion on parole and probation, and $6.5 billion on juvenile detention due to fatherlessness.
  • Over 6 billion people are in the correctional system due to fatherlessness. That is almost the same as the population of Hong Kong, China, or 3 times the population of Houston, Texas.

John 14:16-18 – And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

In the parable of the prodigal son we see two sons without a father. The rebellious son and the religious son. Both lived outside their father’s love.

Rebellious: The son has to wait, in most cases, for the last will and testament of the father, but this son asked for and received his inheritance early. He wanted his inheritance early so he could live outside of the fathers will. He took it and left for another country, creating as much distance as possible between him and the father. He wanted total control over his own life and did not want the guidance or approval of his father.

The son wasted his money on wild living, and when he had nothing left to give, his friends left him. Severe famine hit the land and he was forced to hire himself out as a pig farmer. He wasn’t treated like a human being. In fact, he was treated lower than slaves, as even the pigs were considered more important than him! He begged his master to give him a portion of the pig feed and they refused.

Then he remembered his father and that even his servants had food to spare. He came to his senses. Only one thing held him back: his belief that no one could accept a rebel such as himself.


As Jesus taught this parable, Pharisees and teachers of the law were listening. They probably wondered why Jesus was wasting his time talking about a sinner who deserved to be punished. They were confident they knew the Law and the moral of the lesson. The Law called for death:

Deut. 21:18-21 – If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

To the Pharisees, it would have been better for the prodigal to stay away because his father had the legal right to stone him for his rebellious attitude.

God welcomes back his lost son with open arms, giving him the best of all he has, and restoring him to sonship. God doesn’t want us to hide from Him like Adam & Eve did. He wants us to be restored to Him.


Religious: The elder brother from the parable of the prodigal son was noted to be working the fields with the servants. His rightful place was in the presence of the father, but he seemed oblivious to the fact that he was a son. He manifested the orphan spirit in a different way by acting as if he did not have a home, when, in fact, he had legal rights as an heir. The Pharisees, like the elder son, knew the father, yet did not seek intimacy. Instead they built a religion, or a to do list of works, around Him. Most modern churches still exhibit this model: Israel wanted God’s blessings and what He could do for them, but they did not want anything to do with seeking their Father’s face. They encouraged Moses to enter into the tent of meeting to commune with the Lord, while the rest of the nation of Israel were content to stay in their tents far away from the Presence of God.

God reminds the elder son that he is an heir, and has continual access to all the father has. Remember that you are a son and not a slave. Don’t let your work separate you from God, or think that your work is the only way to God, or think that God will only love you if you do His work. You are more important to Him than something you can do for Him. He has enough servants; He wants a son.

The father tried to change his mindset to think like an heir. ‘Everything I have is yours’ – Luke 15:31

Don’t continue to look with envy at the resources within your grasp while feeling unable to even glean from the ripened harvest.

We can’t earn His love. He freely bestows His love on us all, so stop working like a slave for it.

Our fathers nitpicked, condemned, and cut us down. They pointed out every flaw. They belittled us, made us feel unloved, made us feel like we had to earn their love by changing ourselves to get to their standard. We had to climb, work, and change to become something that they could approve. Sometimes it might have worked, but most of the time it didn’t. Who wants to change to live up to that evil standard anyway? Our heavenly Father wants us to know that we don’t have to do anything to earn His love.

Rom. 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God loves us while we are still sinners. He wants us just the way we are. We don’t have to strive, or constantly work to change ourself to His standard. We can rest in His love now, where we are, whether that be in a state of sin or righteousness. He will never stop loving us, so stop trying to earn it; He’s not going anywhere.

There is nothing I can do that can take Your love from me; and there is nothing I can do to make You love me because it is not about the doing. You just love me because I am Yours

Job is an illustration of what the orphan spirit looks like. In his case it took the pressure of difficulty to bring it out, but it is obvious it was there all along.

The Black Hole
The orphan spirit will:

  • Seek to drive a wedge between our heart and our Father’s love
  • Try to convince us that God is to blame for all our troubles
  • Cause us to look for answers from any other source but our Father
  • Create confusion and distance between us, and those closest to us
  • Cause us to live in despair when not healed by the power of Christ
  • Job saw himself as an animal trapped by circumstances. Job 19:6 – ‘it is God who has wronged me, capturing me in his net.’
  • Job felt like an innocent man being condemned as a criminal in court. He felt like God was treating him unfairly. Job 19:7 – ‘Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.’
  • Job felt like he was making progress, enjoying life, and doing all the right things before God put a roadblock in front of him.Job 19:8 – ‘He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, And He has put darkness on my paths.’
  • Job blamed God for taking away every good thing he had. Job 19:9 – ‘He has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head.’
  • It’s hard to be normal and function the way we want to when everything is out of sorts. Job felt like a building that had been completely destroyed. Job 19:9 – ‘He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone’
  • An uprooted tree will die. Without its root system it will not produce fruit or survive. Job 19:9 – ‘my hope has he pulled up like a tree.’

Heaviness takes the color out of life, and makes it difficult to see the truth clearly. Heaviness makes it hard to find purpose and direction in life. Heaviness can come from a variety of reasons:

Constant Criticism:
Ps. 69:20 – Insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, but found no one.

Spiritual Failure:
Ps. 119:25-28 – My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.

Family Difficulties:
Prov. 10:1 – A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

Worry:
Prov. 12:25 – Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

Trials & Pressures:
1 Peter 1:6 – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials

to be continued