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

 

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God Despises No One

Job 36:5 – God despises no one

Synonyms for despise:
abhor, detest, hate, loathe, neglect, reject, snub, look down the nose at, undervalue, disregard, have no use for, misprize, put down, wipe out

(Print out this scripture memory card and fill in the blank with the synonym of your choice)

God does not hate you, reject you, neglect you, or snub you. He sees your value and He has a purpose for you! So anytime you feel rejected, neglected, or of no value, speak this verse over yourself.

– 1 Cor. 13:4-8 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

– 1 John 4:8 – God is love

Domestic Abuse

I’ve watched several friends stay in abusive marriages, and several divorce because of abuse. There are many reasons why people choose to stay in these relationships, though it’s hard to image why. I’ve listed some reasons at the bottom of this post, but lets attack the topic of boundaries for a moment:

We need boundaries. Without boundaries we will become victims of abuse and adopt a powerless mindset. We should have a standard set for ourselves of how we will allow others to treat us. If people do not treat us as we have designated, then we should not listen or continue in relationship. Here are some things that we should require, and reject, in relationships and conversations. These actions will encourage hope and self-control (empowerment), and help us escape abusive relationships. Boundaries cause the abuser to face the consequences of their own decisions while empowering us with the choice to leave if they don’t treat us with respect.

– 2 Chron. 7:14 – IF my people, my God-defined people, respond by (1)humbling themselves, (2)praying, (3)seeking my presence, and (4)turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

What we should require & reject:

  1. Humility instead of pride & arrogance 
    Verbal abuse, or other means of belittling you, should not be tolerated.

  2. Requests (prayer) instead of demands
    Use of fear tactics, physical abuse, or other means of control, should not be tolerated.

    God gave us dominion over everything but people. We need to respect others and protect their ability to make their own choices. If their choice is to abuse you, then you need to make the choice to leave.
  3. Seeking presence instead of things
    If someone wants something from you, without wanting a relationship with you, then its un unhealthy relationship. This should not be tolerated.

    If you are married and your spouse habitually has sex with you without trying to connect on an emotional level, it’s abuse.

  4. Turn away from wrongdoing instead of continuing to wrong you
    Refusing to change, though you respectfully ask and show them how they are hurting you, should not be tolerated.

Notice also that God waited for these 4 things from His safe place, Heaven.

– Heb. 10:26 – For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins


If you are in an abusive marriage, you need boundaries. Consider a temporary separation if you do not want a divorce. Once faced with the consequences of their choices, if they repent then go back to them:

– 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

If they do not repent then divorce them:

– Rom. 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death


There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. Here are a few:

– My partner will kidnap the children and disappear.
– My partner will spread horrible rumors about me.
– I’m nothing. I don’t deserve better.
– I was brainwashed to believe that I couldn’t cope without my partner.
– I’m more comfortable with what I know, than the unknown out in the world.
– My children will blame me and resent me.
– My partner will turn the children against me.
– My partner doesn’t let me out of the house.
– I have no friends or family to call for help anymore.
– I believe my partner when he or she says that it will never happen again.
– My marriage vows.
– My religion.
– I love her or him.
– My partner has all the money.
– My partner charges up all my credit cards.
– My partner will lose her or his job if I report this.

Other reasons why women stay in abusive relationships


Make a list of your reasons and confront them. Get out of the situation. There are churches, programs, and safe houses designed specifically to help you. It’s scary facing these reasons, but its wisdom to escape the cause of these abuses. Say no to the abuser and leave them today.

– Prov. 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight

– Ps. 18:6-19 – In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

– Ps. 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

– Jer. 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Porn

There are quite a number of reason to become gay/lesbian. One reason why our generation has seen an increase of lesbians is because they don’t feel like they are beautiful. Mens sin of lust, and addiction to pornography, has fueled more than just broken relationships; it has fueled rejection of relationship. Women often feel like they have to become masculine to escape this abuse, or go to a woman to have genuine love.

God wants to heal your hurts, not your sins. Sin is only a product of pain. He wants to speak lovingly to you and doctor the wound

Fear

Big things come from small thingsChristians like to make hot topics out of ‘big’ sins and ignore ‘small’ sins, but everything big starts from something small. God says sin is sin (1John5:17). All sin grows, and all sin leads to death (James1:5). Trying to get rid of ‘big’ issues is often met with failure. We can pick up broken branches everyday, or we can cut the tree down and pull up the root once and for all.

Because the church isn’t talking about small sins, people often live under fear, competition, suspicion, and a variety of smaller sins their whole lives. They want help with their problems, but can’t pinpoint the issue, because no one is talking about the issue. Many of our smallest problems are the culprit for our giants. Today I want to show you how fear took root in my life and caused branches of immorality, broken relationships, dishonesty, and many other issues. Fear is a hidden killer, and this ‘small sin’ called fear is just as dangerous as the ‘big sin’ of murder. Lets look at how fear can hurt other, self, and our relationship to God.


1. Fear hurts others.

One day, in high school, I saw a girl crying. I had compassion, but I walked past her anyway. God kept nudging me to turn back, and eventually I did. I went and talked to her; she accepted Jesus, and a few years later she died in a car accident.

Don't fear man. Fear God

Don’t fear man. Fear God

I had the choice that day whether I would be a murderer or a lifesaver, and only by the grace of God did I make the right choice. It was just like the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke10), except it looked like the road from the cafeteria to the classroom. The Samaritan found a person half dead; he helped him, where a religious leader had passed by ignoring that voice of compassion.

Don’t you think if the Samaritan had passed by this half dead man, God would have held him accountable? If I had passed by this girl, wouldn’t I been held accountable? If they had died from our lack of help, wouldn’t we have the blood on our hands from our decisions?

I’ve missed many right choices and that puts the fear of God on me. I can see now that my fear is equal to murder, and it’s time for it to go to hell. Fear is just as deadly as any other sin.

– Rev. 21:8 – but the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Those who fear cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. God doesn’t have a hierarchy of sin; He sees fear as equal to murder – and it is. I was barely alive myself, in those days; barely making it. More times than not, I was scared to go out on a limb, and say anything, for fear that it would bring on even more pain. I was fighting suicide. I didn’t feel like I had the ability to help that crying girl, but Jesus was dying on the cross, and He didn’t fear piling on more rejection from people, or harm from the soldiers – He still spoke the truth. He talked to the two criminals hanging next to Him. It was a 50/50 shoot. Jesus was suffering the same thing they were. He took the chance and He saved one! One criminal accepted Jesus as his savior. The other, more or less, said, ‘Get yourself off the cross and I’ll believe what you have to say; why should I trust you if you are in the same position I’m in?’ It didn’t faze Jesus.

We feel like we don’t have the right to try to help others when we are going through the same struggle that they are. Jesus shows us otherwise. People don’t care about answers as much as they want to know someone understands what they are going through. God doesn’t want us to go through hard times, but since He gave people freewill, we often suffer for other people’s bad choices. He could save us, and often He does, but sometimes He ships us out to the front lines of a battle so we can help the people fighting there. This time I helped and we won; but my fear, my silence, my disobedience to God’s law (to share the truth with all people) meant death for someone else. Those times I made the wrong choice, I became a murderer. I left them half dead and something might have come behind me that took them out. Jesus has washed my wrongs away. He can forgive you of anything–even murder; you just have to ask Him. Don’t let fear hold you back. On your worst day, and in the middle of your worst situation, you can still speak Life to someone else.

– Is. 58:10 – if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

When you help someone else YOU get light in your life. Help someone and it brightens up your own dark places.


2. Fear doesn’t only hurts others; it hurts self.

My previous church split; it was a horrible thing to happen. The body of Christ being cut in half… Ouch, we cut Him in half… Yeah, its damaging. Our pastor was seeking God fiercely, and biblically, and I stayed. Many of my closest friends left with their families and  a spirit of fear came over me and said, ‘If my friends rejected the pastor, and part of the bible, they will reject me too’; so I stayed silent. Like I said, I was barely surviving in those days, and I let fear take over my relationships. I stopped opening up, sharing, or telling my perspective. I had no intimacy in my friendships, because I wouldn’t let them: into-me-see. This led me into problems like looking for intimacy in the wrong places, anger from not being understood, and loneliness which grew into suicidal thoughts. I was dying and I wouldn’t let anyone help, because I let fear of rejection take over. I had many friends and still felt utterly alone; fear stole my intimacy, and kept me from having someone to help me when I needed it. My enemies had a field day with me, because I wouldn’t let anyone see where I was and help guide me out. Jesus was there for me and my love for His laws kept me from going over the edge. The strand of fear was broken, but I was still strong in other areas. He saved me, and brought many teachers and encourages to me in those seasons. 

Fear can shut you down. It can steal your identity. It can open the door for other problems too.

Knowing Jesus as protector gives me courage to be vulnerable

One friend said the things the church believed were crazy. They didn’t know that the only reason I was still alive was because one of the people, with that crazy idea that God still speaks today, saved my life. They didn’t know I believed in the prophetic, or why I would believe in it; but today they do. Now I don’t have to live in constant fear of losing my friend. Their reaction will show me what our friendship is made of. Either they will love, respect, and accept me, or I need a better friend. And now they have heard part of my testimony of what God has done in my life. That prophecy, though it sound crazy, has held unquestionably true in multiple parts of my life.

“The standard has got to be set at such a high level that you have to be so uncompromising, and so unyielding in your convictions, that you make up in your mind that I would rather be my myself, than have somebody fall in love with a me that’s not me.” – Jamal Bryant

Acquaintances have often said hateful things about me to other people. Many assume that I am too prideful to talk to them. That’s why God tells us not to judge with our eyes. We can’t see what people are going through, unless we ask God to show us what He sees. Those people saw me as confident and arrogant. They had no idea that I felt beneath them. They didn’t know that fear had shut me down. I had a false confidence; one that used to say, ‘I don’t care what they think; screw them, because they look down on me.’ Now that God is tearing down fear in my life and helping me see through His eyes, I know that He sees all of us as equals. I ask Him to help me see myself as equal to others, and to help me speak when people walk by. I ask His Spirit to give me boldness, and power, to speak when I have fear. My introversion was full-blown, but even the Myers-Briggs is a witness of how God is transforming me. I am becoming less introverted. While people can cut me down with their words and actions, only God can kill my soul. He is my protector, healer, redeemer, and He has called me to be a light to others. I cannot be a light if I am hiding.

Hide it under a bussel? No! I'm going to let it shine

Hide it under a bussel? No! I’m going to let it shine

It’s foolish to hide who you are, then live in constant fear of what would happen if someone knew the real you. Just let what’s going to happen, happen and get over it. Either your relationship gets stronger, or you get to trust God to bring you a better friend. I’m slowly choosing life instead of fear. I’m casting down every idol of fear and it is making my life so much better. I feel free. I can be known and put myself out there, whether it be for rejection or acceptance. Now people can learn more about God through my openness and experiences, and I can be intimately known by those who love me. Win, Win. Who knew that fear could shut down intimacy? No one told me, so let me tell you! If you don’t have healthy friendships where you can be intimate and vulnerable, then you are going to look for the wrong kind of intimacy somewhere else, and it is still not going to fill the need of being known. God is Love, and in Love there is no fear. To have true, loving, intimate relationships, you have got to pull the plug on fear. God even gives us a helper to bring us out from under fear:

– 2 Tim. 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us fearful and timid, but gives us power, love, and good judgment.

People are looking for someone who understands more than they are looking for answers. That’s why you shouldn’t wait till you have come through a situation before you try to help someone else. You can help someone while you’re in the midst of your hard situation. Jesus gave up His life, and He gained it. He made a friend who was going through the same thing He was. It probably comforted Jesus to have a friend hanging there next to Him, going through the same pain He felt; especially after all his so-called friends had rejected Him that very day.


3. Fear hurts our relationship with God.

The root to all sin is not trusting God. When you don’t trust God for provisions, you’ll steal. When you don’t trust God where your marriage is concerned, you’ll commit adultery. When you don’t trust God plan, you fear and make your own.

Fear God not man; respect God above man.

– Matt. 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul

David trusted God, and God gave him victory over his giant

David trusted God, and God gave him victory over his giant

Most people aren’t going to kill you, so just do what God asks you to do. Even if they kill you, you don’t answer to man but to God. The judgement of God determines our eternal freedom or condemnation. He asks us to be fearless in taking the kingdom. Take the kingdom with force. Be a soldier. Don’t hide. The brave, and the valiant, gain great honor and wealth.

– Jos. 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

– 1 John 4:4 – You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

– 1 Sam. 17:24-25 – As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him.

– 1 John 5:3-5 – For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. Forwhatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Put your trust in God’s words. They are here to guide you in every situation. Renew your mind and allow God to show you how He would do things. Leave no stone unturned. Question every aspect of your life to see if it lines up with God’s ways. He will give you victory over everything. Even the smallest sin in your life could be the cause of your biggest problems.

– Gal. 5:9 – A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough

Sin grows, just like yeast works through dough. Don’t let sin sit in your life. Confess and turn away from even the least bit of it. Tear down fear today, because I am a living witness that it leads to death.


Worship: Voice of Truth, by Casting Crowns

“The stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them lookin’ down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth”

Prayer: Lord, start to show your people the destruction of the seeds. Bring forth more understanding of how small things can cause big problems. Raise up voices to talk about these issues so your people don’t live in confusion and ignorance. Help us see the problems so that we can overcome them by your strength. Help us hear your voice above all the others and know your truth when the enemy is coming against us. Increase our discernment of your voice. Teach us your ways. Tear off fear from each person; put a spotlight on it, so they can remove what they were stumbling on in the dark and so they no longer have to walk in darkness. Sign your light and let your word illuminate every mind and bring peace to every situation fear has affected. Help us chase after you without hinderance. Tear down this giant and take us that much closer to stepping into our promised land. Let us no longer fear being known. Let us no longer fear speaking in your name. Let us shout praise to you as you bring us through the battle; a war cry, and a shout of victory, for all to hear. Just as David took down Goliath – and he opened the eyes for others to see that you can bring them victory – many people were strengthened and later took down Goliath’s brothers. Grow and develop us. Help us work together, as your church, and take down every enemy, in the name of our crowned victor, Jesus; our God is mighty in battle, and at His name every knee will bow. Your kingdom lasts through eternity Father; Amen.

The Paradoxical Nature of Christianity

I’m in love with a king who became a slave.
I’m in love with a God who is humble.
You gotta go down, if you wanna go up.
You’ve gotta go lower, if you wanna go higher and higher.
You’ve gotta hide, and do it in secret, if you wanna be seen by God.
It’s the inside, outside, upside down kingdom,
where you lose to gain, and you die to live.

I love the lyrics to this song by Misty Edwards: Servant of All

Have you ever noticed how much of the Bible seems to have a paradoxical nature? I’m not saying that the Bible contradicts itself; I don’t think Jesus is bipolar. I’m saying that, the ways of God seem to be the stark opposite of our ways a lot of the time. It’s like watching a movie were there are two realms: 1)right-side up heaven, and 2)upside down earth.


Paradox: Hide to be seen
Misty used some great examples of the paradoxical nature of Christianity in her song. Let’s look at those examples, and some others in scripture, and try to understand why everything seems so backwards to us:

Matthew 6:16-18 – And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

People, by nature, want to be honored and get attention from others. It’s okay to want a reward, but we should want it from God not man. It’s not wicked to expect payment for your work. It is wicked to show off to people hoping that they will think you are better than them. Love is not prideful (1 Cor. 13). Fasting is not for man anyway, it’s for God; and we don’t get God’s attention the same way we get mans attention. We’ve got to hide, and do it in secret, if we want to be seen by God.


Paradox: The servant is made king. Least is the greatest. Last is first.

Matt. 23:11-12 – The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Servant and KingThe one who cuts others down, will be cut down, and the one who builds others up, will be built up. It’s natural for us to try to build ourselves up, by cutting others down – forcing our way into leadership, but that’s not God’s way. God is Spirit. Man is flesh. His ways are higher than our ways (Is.55:8). God says instead to humble yourself, build others up, and then they will build you up and you will have a strong following. Would you rather follow a leader who is clearly in it for personal gain, or one who is doing what is best for the workers?

Philippians 2:5-11 – You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was Godhe did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges… he humbled himself… and died… Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

Jesus, who was God, humbled Himself, and stepped down from His kingship to become a slave to sin and death. His willingness to die caused billions of people to live. God therefore, elevated Him to the place of highest honor.

Luke 17:33 – If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.

We now have the choice of whether we will: 1)briefly die to our own desires, so that God will exalt us with Christ and give us eternal life, or whether 2)we will live briefly in our own desires, and lose our eternal life.

Matt. 4:8-10 – the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

Jesus had the option to cling onto His own life. He could have gone ahead and stepped into His kingship, without dying on the cross. He probably preferred the idea, but Jesus realized that if He stepped into His kingship prematurely, without the hard work of dying to Himself, there would be dire consequences. He would have been eternally separated from His father, and He would have led the nations to battle, killing many of the people who He instead chose to save, help, heal, and deliver by being obedient to God’s timing/ways. Though it sometimes seems counterproductive, or contradictory, the best way to get the desires of your heart is to ‘let them die’ and hand over control to God. He will give you the desires of your heart, far exceeding what you could’ve expected or done for yourself.


Paradox: Lose your life, gain the world
Satan desired to be exalted to a higher level. He saw God make man in His image and Satan got mad about it. He wanted our position, so he cut us down for it. In doing so, Satan condemned himself to eternity in hell. If he had instead, humbled his desires, and served mankind, God probably would’ve raised him up to a new level of authority.

Ps. 37:4, 7, 9, 35-36, 38 – Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heartBe still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways… those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land… I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more… there will be no future for the wicked.

1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money… some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

How many movie stars and millionaires have we seen that commit suicide? Have you met people who were rich, who were still miserable? Most people desire a life of comfort; it’s natural for us to look to money for that comfort, but God says true happiness and comfort come from enjoying your hard work and by giving to others.

Matt. 6:31-33 – So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matt . 7:7-11 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!

It’s when we stop trying to build up ourselves, and start trying to build up God’s kingdom, that God gives us what we need and  want. If it’s God that makes us unique, and puts desires in our hearts, then its Gods job to bring us the fulfillment of those desires.


Paradox: Stop looking to find

– Gen. 2:19-22 – Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Did you notice that it says no helper was found for Adam while he was looking among the animals? Why was he looking for a helper in the animals? Sounds like modern America to me! We should be looking for someone made in God’s image, not a wild beast of a person. But even still, it was when Adam quit looking that God brought him a suitable helper. Not by our works, but by His grace He gives good gifts to those who love Him.


Paradox: Jesus is the Tree of Life

Jesus: the Tree of Life. I love the paradox of Christianity.

Jesus: the Tree of Life. I love the paradox of Christianity.

Jesus' death, on a tree,
 brought Life for all the world to see!
Enter into me,
 O, Jesus, who died on Calvary.
You died in front of all the world,
 yet your Spirit lives inside of me.
Let the world see that you live, you breathe;
 you came back with 'God speed'.
Wisest of the Wise,
 you confound everyone –
The wisdom of the world
 is folly to the One,
Who with a paradox 
 caused us fools to know,
That the battle has been won;
 we can rest in Him who's shown:
That in death, you have true life.
 and in service, you become king;
And to deny our own power,
 is to sprout God's very wings.
The Spirit's gifts 
 are for everyone to partake;
I am wholly yours, 
 make a fool of me and take:
All the lies,
 and all the works of man –
Burn them up, 
 billow and fan.
God is Spirit, 
 and God is Love,
 He lives in every man!
Not by my might, nor by power,
 but by My Spirit, says the Lord –
Go into the world, 
 and knock on every door!
He who hears My voice and opens
 shall surely say:
Jesus, you are my hope;
 the only Truth, 
 the only Way!

– 1 Cor. 1:25 – For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Paradox: We can’t save ourselves, but God can save us. When we accept God, God comes to live inside of us.  … you’re so weird God ❤


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Feast and Fast – Part 1

I have 347+ articles of clothing, which is disgustingly typical for the American woman. This doesn’t include undergarments, accessories, or shoes. If each article cost $20 that would be $6,940 wasted, since I wear maybe 17 articles in a week. I have enough clothes to wear something new, everyday, for 5 to 6 months.

Do these envious, gluttonous tendencies our culture tells us we need in order to ‘fit in’, cause us to be discontent and unhappy? People are walking 20 miles, without shoes, to get water to survive. There are homeless people, who don’t have a coat this winter, who might die. There are people starving to DEATH. How can we rationalize our gluttony? Is our clothing/possession reputation more important than real human lives? Wouldn’t we be happier if we saw the lasting and perpetuating joy from helping someone in need?


Guilt is not the response being called for here. God sent the prince of peace. Self-deprecation is a cruel response to Jesus, who died to make us righteous. Guilt is not Jesus’ medium. He is battling for global redemption right now; His objective hardly includes huddling in the corner with us, rehashing our shame again. He finished that discussion on the cross. We’re so conditioned to being a problem that we’ve forgotten we’re actually the answer. God is not angry with you; how could he be? You’re on the team. Don’t imagine He is sitting us down for a lecture. Rather, He’s staging a rally, gathering the troops. He is staging a massive movement to bind up the broken-hearted and proclaim freedom to the captives. The trumpet is blowing. The Bride is awakening. I don’t want to base my life on what I’m against; that’s not inspiring enough motivation. May we embrace unity over infighting, bravery over comfort, us over me, people over principles, and God’s glory over our own. Together, let’s become restorers of Eden. Let’s become His ambassadors ushering in His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. With this in mind, let’s get back to the opening statement.


Eccl. 5:10 – Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness.

Solomon was one of the wealthiest people in the world, and he tells us in Ecclesiastes that wealth doesn’t bring happiness, because the those who love money are never satisfied. Rich people are plagued by discontentment. The more we have, the more we want. Most of us don’t even see ourselves as rich. Rich people don’t like to admit they are rich. Their discontentment drives them to ungratefulness and denial.

A poll asked American’s on an income of 30,000/yr how much they would need to make to be considered rich. They said $75,000/yr. Another poll asked subscribers of money magazine how much they would need to make a to be considered rich. They said $5million/yr. We aren’t rich, but we know someone who is… and our eyes get the best of us. Always wanting more. Never satisfied. Never happy. What is happiness lies in living on only what we need and using the rest to help others become able to live on our same level?

We need to admit we are rich. If you make 44,000/yr COMBINED household income, you are in the top 1% of wage earners in the world! Even if you have running water you are better off than most in the world. We aren’t walking 20 miles to get diseased water; we are spraying clean water on the ground.

Acts 20:35 (MSG) – You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting’

1 Tim. 6:17 – Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth.

Arrogant: making claims to superior importance or rights; insolently proud; a sense of superiority, self-importance, or entitlement.

God is not a respecter of persons. We are not superior to anyone because we make more money. Every person is valuable. Ben Carson has a great example of this. His mother had a third grade education and couldn’t read. She worked multiple jobs to raise her children. She is now a doctor. We like to judge circumstances, but God sees our potential. We should start trying to see like God. We need to love people where and as they are.. you know, they way Jesus did. Scripture describes the people who drew Jesus’ eye: the poor widow, lepers, the lost and hungry, adulterers, the outcast, the sick and dying, the already dead. He gave up His life, as a King and as a God, to help them. Finery and opulence never impressed Jesus; quite the opposite. Maybe He knew what riches He was capable of having, and became disgusted by the pride of others. He rebuked religious leaders for their fancy robes, strutting around as if their ceremonial dress had any bearing on the condition of their hearts. Perhaps an obsession with even clothing has distracted us from the point of the gathering: a fixation on Jesus.

Prov. 30:8 – Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread

Give us this day our daily bread. Remember how the manna in the desert rotted if they gathered more than they needed? What if wealth, indulgence, and excess are creating a polished people rotting from the inside out, without even knowing it? Pretty on the outside, but dead on the inside; rotting from excess. We should take only what we need and use the rest to help others; then, we will be happy.

1 Tim. 6:17-19  – Command those who are rich in this present world… to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

He gives us everything for our ENJOYMENT. Then He says, remember that you are happier when you give. Give me my daily bread and help me live a life free from excess, willing to share, so that I will be happy and take hold of the true meaning of life: Love. We shouldn’t be moved by guilt, but by love. Love that shows respect for God and man, and moves us to compassion and generosity. Love, in many versions, is translated charity. If we are giving out of guilt then we still have a heart issue and we won’t be moved out of the key factor: Love. God says if anything we do is void of love, it is useless; we gain no reward. We also gain no peace.

2 Cor. 8:9 – Though He was rich, He became poor, that by His poverty He could make you rich

2 Cor. 5:14-20 – For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 17 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…  20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ

Ambassador: a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by a government to represent it on a temporary mission

If Christ loved all, we should love all; if Christ died for all, we should die for all. That is how we follow Him and become His ambassadors. We should be giving to those in need.


Maybe some of you have stopped there thinking, ‘But I tithe.’ We think this basic  obedience exempts the rest of our spending. We use this as an excuse to assuaging our consciences, checking the stewardship box. Is 10% really considered laying down our lives? We need to rethink that excuse:

Luke 11:37-42 (MSG) – When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn’t wash up before the meal. But the Master said to him, “I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. Stupid Pharisees! Didn’t the One who made the outside also make the inside? Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands. 42“I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God’s love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.

The Pharisees, like many of us, never miss a penny of tithing, but shamelessly we neglect justice and totally miss the point.

What if we gave new meaning to the verse ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, and gave 50% of our earnings to them, making them our equals? What if we gave 80% away? American statistics show that the more we make, the less we give. We need to realize we are rich, fight discontentment, not allow our hope to be in money. Not think that money can provide safety.

How can I be socially responsible if unaware that I reside in the top percentage of wealth in the world? Excess has impaired perspective in America; we are the richest people on earth, praying to get richer. We’re tangled in debt, because we feel like we are entitled to more. What does it communicate when half the global population lives on less than $2/day, and we can’t manage a fulfilling life on 25,000x that amount? It says we have too much, and it is ruining us. The day I am unaware of my privileges and unmoved by my greed is the day something has to change.

We think if we save enough money we can not only make ourselves happy, but save ourselves from certain calamities.

Prov. 18:11 – The wealth of the rich is their fortified city. They IMAGINE it a wall too high to scale.

Having a savings account is great; the Bible supports that. But we can’t look to money for safety or happiness. We should look to God who says give for happiness and my protection.

1 Chron. 29:12-14 – Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 14“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

We need to learn to be thankful for the wealth God has given us. It’s that thankfulness that will bring happiness, contentment, fulfilling life, compassion, and love/charity. How can we give our of love, if we aren’t thankful for what we have?

If Christ died for all, we should die for all; that is how we follow Him and become His ambassadors. I no longer want to follow my old man, which thinks about my own pride, is ungrateful, and builds a kingdom for myself. The Spirit is leading me to a fast, where the devil will tempt me to stay the same, but by the strength of the Spirit of God in us, we have the power to change and go against the culture of the world. I will fight for humility, thankfulness, and reconciliation to the hurting.


God’s idea of a fast is less about what we’re against and more about what we are for. True fasting isn’t a month about us, but a life about others. When we hear ‘fast’, we put on a yoke of self-denial. When God said ‘fast’, He meant to take off the yoke of oppression. This fast is not about abstinence; it is a fast from self-obsession, greed, apathy, and elitism.

Is. 58:3 (NLT) – We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond…

Is. 58:5 (NLT) – You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?

Is. 58:6-9 (NLT) – “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. 7Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. 8“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. 9Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

Joel 2:12-13 – return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13and rend your hearts and not your garments.

A true disciple of Christ never stops the cycle of fasting and lifestyle changes. After Christ was baptized, the first thing He did was go into the desert to fast (Luke 4). Fasting helps us renew our minds and become a new creature. The day I realized God was real, I changed my friends, I trashed all my secular music, and I decided to seek Him out. Today, I see His call for humility and I am willing to follow. First through a fast, of abstinence, to renew my mind; then, after journaling through the fast, I will decide which lifestyle changes I can adopt for the long run.

Luke 3:7-13 – John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him,… 11“Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13″Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

This baptism of repentance was not about going without something (a temporary fast), but instead about not taking more than we need (a lifestyle). It was a warning against exalting ourselves above others; a warning about excess.

Luke 4:1-2 – Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

In some supernatural way the abstinence from food was the catalyst for Jesus’ unveiling. After Jesus’ fast, He began healing, rescuing, redeeming. The Spirit filled up the emptiness Jesus created, launching Him into ministry. The fast launched Him into a new lifestyle. Maybe we should do the same, to rend our hearts and change our minds. Jesus gave to those He was around and those who sought Him out. Maybe their is also happiness in forming relationship with the least, instead of being faceless donors…


My new years fast will be this:

One Month FOOD Fasts and Goals:

Food Fast 1: Cut back on food options by picking 7 foods for the month: chicken, bread, eggs, avocado, spinach, sweet potatoes, apples. Use only minimal salt, pepper, and oil. No other foods, products, sauces, or spices allowed. Goal: Gain thankfulness for the surplus of food, and options, that I am used to having. Learn to give thanks before each meal.

Food Fast 2: Cut back on food intake by eating only 1 cup of rice, 1 day of each week. Goal: Gain empathy for the poor who are starving, or who live on 1 cup of rice a day. Give the money saved from daily food purchases to them.

Food Fast 3: Cut back on food options by eating nothing but bread for 1 day of each week. Goal: Gain understanding about how the Israelites felt eating manna for 40 years. Compare those feelings with the idea of staying in the same old mindset (same food), instead of seeking a new mindset (land of milk and honey).

One month PRIDE Fasts and Goals: 

Pride Fast 1: Cut back on pride by wearing a t-shirt and jeans everywhere. Exception for work only. No jewelry or other accessory adornments. Use only minimal makeup. Goal: Gain a renewed mind, free from pride, competition, boasting, and stereotyping.

Pride Fast 2: Cut back on pride by not handing out explanations for this months choice of clothing. Goal: Gain humility. Gain focus on the condition of the heart instead of our outward appearance. Gain trust in God’s ability to uphold us, instead of relying on self explanations and excuses.

Pride Fast 3: Cut back on prideful locations. Go spend time with the least by getting involved in outreach ministry. Goal: Gain humility. Gain a renewed mind, focused on the value of people. Gain a serving spirit.

One Month POSSESSION Fasts and Goals:

Possession Fast 1: Cut back on excess home things. Everything I don’t need, want, or use will go in a pile, including everything in storage. This will last much longer than a month, but it will get its start and a lot of focus in this month. Goal: Gain freedom from excessive chores and bills. Gain a heart for those in need of everyday items. Find someone in need to give my excess to and sell the rest on the Etsy store I’ll create during this month.

Possession Fast 2: Cut back on excess clothing. I’ll be doing this by setting apart the clothes I wear in that month. Once I have them separated, I can see what is being used and what is not being used. Things that don’t fit, or that I don’t like, can find new homes. Things that I love, but that are excessive can find new homes. Goal: Gain a heart for those in need of clothing. Find someone in need to give my excess to. Gain willingness to immediately give the shirt off my back when I see someone in need.

Possession Fast 3: Cut back on envious tendencies. No real, or fake shopping (online, in-stores, Pinterest, window gazing, note taking or complimenting friends clothing instead of their heart, etc.) Goal: Gain a heart of contentment. Gain and reallocate money that would have been wasted.

One Month STRESS Fasts and Goals:

Stress Fast 1: Cut back on time induced anxiety. I’ll cut my clocks back 15 minutes. Goal: Gain 15 minutes of travel time to make me drive slower and calmer. Gain time to pray or read if I arrive early. Gain a pure mouth.

Stress Fast 2: Cut back on Sunday activities. Choose one day a week to rest from all work, to gather with believers, and to focus on God. Goal: Gain obedience to the Sabbath commandment. Gain rest. Gain intimacy with God and man.

Stress Fast 3: Cut back on anxious thoughts by praying 4 times a day: upon waking, midday, leaving work, and at laying down. Goal: Gain focus on God’s purposes. Gain peace by handing over anxieties.


For more on this topic:

1. Listen to the Get Rich series here, by Chris Hodges.

2. Read part 2 of this blog post here, which will cover some great ideas from Jen Hatmaker’s Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.