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

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7 Quotes from the Cross

Jesus went through His worst day, to help you through yours. When we go through junk, it makes us masters and gives us wisdom for those going through the same struggles. In one day Jesus was emotionally distraught to the point of sweating blood, was physically beaten, strung up naked for public humiliation, rejected by all his friend, suffered the most agonizing death, and yet he still perfectly taught us how to get through a bad day. He said 7 things on the cross, and all of them are significant for us today:

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)
  2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ( Luke23:39-43)
  3. “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John19:25-27)
  4. “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt.27)
  5.  “I’m thirsty.” (John19:29)
  6. “It is finished.” (John19:30)
  7.  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke23:44-46)

Fix your Eyes on Jesus– Heb. 12:2 (MSG) – keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.


1. On your worst day, forgive people
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)

– Eph. 6:12 – we struggle not against flesh and blood but evil forces in the spirit realm.

If you need someone to be mad at, get mad at the devil.

Leave It, or be a Slave to ItForgiveness is not:
1) Minimizing the seriousness of the offense
2) Instant restoration of trust
3) Resuming the relationship without changes

We need to forgive because:
1) Our own emotions can’t be healed from the pain until we let go of it
2) Everyone has done something wrong
3) If we can’t forgive, we can’t be forgiven by God or man
4) Jesus forgave us
5) The people who hurt us were victims too


2. On your worst day, help someone else
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ( Luke23:39-43)

Criminal on Cross– Luke 23:39-43 – One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

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. 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.

Help othersWe 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. On your worst day, and in the middle of your worst situation, you can still speak Life to someone else. ‪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 day. It’s easy to say ‘I can’t take anymore’, but what if helping someone else is God’s way of lifting our pain? Taking our mind off our own problems can ease our anxiety. Seeing someone else go through the same struggle can give us a different perspective that can help us. There are countless ways that God uses helping others, to help ourselves.

– 2 Cor. 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

– Col. 3:12 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


3. On your worst day, take care of those who are important to you
“Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John19:25-27)

Jesus helps Mary from the cross– John 19:25-27 – Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Joseph, Mary’s husband, was dead and Jesus, her son, was dying. Jesus’ situation was really bad, but He still did what it took to take care of those He loved; even if it meant getting a friend to help Him do it.

The people closest to you, usually get the brunt of your bad day, but Jesus took care of the people closest to Him. What a great example!


4. On your worst day, you’ll feel like God has forsaken you
“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt.27)

Job forsakenSometimes we try to make God tell us why, before we do what He assigned to us.

– Job 3:23 (MSG) – What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?

Realize that there are going to be some questions that you don’t get an answer for. We live by faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. God says His plans for us are good, so we have to take His word for it sometimes. When you get to heaven, and get the answer, you will say, ‘Oooo, ok. I couldn’t see that, but I’m glad that happened the way it did.’ God’s plan for everyone is good. Job basically said, ‘God, make this mess in my life go away, or at least tell me why my life is so messed up.’ There are 35 chapters of that, before God responds from a scary storm:

– Job 38:2 – Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?

– Job 38:1-5 – Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

– Job 38:18-21 – Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!

– Job 40:2 – Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?

God creates UniverseBasically, we assume that if God gave us an answer that we would be able to comprehend it. Gods understanding far exceeds our own. Sometimes the answer is too complex for us. We can only understand it once we get to heaven and see how it played out with our new, more capable, mind.

God got a little sarcastic with Job. God who has lived infinite years, said ‘Surely you know, since you have lived so many years!’ The point is, we don’t have to understand everything. We can just trust Him. Paul & Silas did:

– Acts 16:22-23 – The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison

Was it God’s will for them to be flogged and imprisoned? No. It happened because God gave people freewill, and the ability to make their own choices. Freewill is a gift, but unfortunately it is one that is highly abused. God chose not to control us, or make us slaves, and I thank Him for it, because I’ve had enough control and manipulation in my life to be sick of it. Anyway, they were flogged and most of us would be wondering why God would allow that to happen. Yes freewill, but yes, He could also save them. God could’ve rescued them. God rescued several other people from things like this. Nonetheless, they weren’t offended that God didn’t rescue them. In fact:

– Acts 16:25-26 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Paul & Silas in PrisonGod delivered them. He came through. Not on their timing, but with perfect timing. They went on the mission to spread the gospel. The free people didn’t receive the message, but God knew who would. The people in the prison had been mistreated the same way Paul and Silas had. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Paul and Silas had freedom, and that freedom got on everyone. God allowed Paul to go through the flogging so he could save all the prisoners. Since that was Paul’s intentions of going to the city anyway, I don’t think he would’ve had a problem with being flogged, once he knew how many people it saved. But Paul didn’t have to know God’s plan in advance. He knew God and trusted that His plan was good.

Remember:
1. God is always with you; even in the depths of hell (Ps.139:7-8 )
2. God is never late (Hab. 2:3)
3. God knows best (Heb.11:39-40)
4. God cares (James5:11)


5. On your worst day, you have needs
“I’m thirsty.”
(John19:29)

Jesus drinks Be human enough to acknowledge your need. We feel like we can’t have feelings or emotions. We like to act like we have it all together, but God Himself acknowledged His need. We need people in the church to start being real with each other.

We all have hidden weaknesses, a desire for approval, and past hurts that need healing. We need support, growth, protection, and unconditional love. This is what the church should look like.


6. On your worst day, you need to know that it doesn’t last forever
“It is finished.” (John19:30)

HopeBe confident that there is a purpose, and an end, to every suffering. No struggle is pointless. No suffering is unending. This life is temporary, but the glory to come is eternal and every tear will be wiped away.

– Ps. 126:5-6 – those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

– Rom. 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

He works everything out for our good.

– 2 Tim. 1:12 – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

1. I know that God loves me
2. I know that God wants the best for me
3. I know that God has a plan for me
4. I know that God will bring me through

– Lam. 3:21-22 – Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

– 2 Tim. 4:18 – The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


7. On your worst day, you can give it to God
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke23:44-46)

quoteJesus felt abandoned by His father, but He still knew that He needed to trust Him. Surrender your day to God, and let it go. I’m going to turn this loose and let you have it, God. I want to hold onto this, but take it over.

– 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

– Phil. 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Worry is a control issue. Are you going to be in control or is God going to be in control? The root word means to choke or strangle. It means a divided mind. Worry is unreasonable, unnatural, unhelpful, and unnecessary.

– Matt. 6:27 – Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

RestWorry doesn’t make life better, it shortens life. Ever heard the phrase: ‘I’m worried sick.’ Worry is bad for us. Remember God promises us 7,000 times, in the Bible, that He will take care of us.

– Matt. 6:32 (MSG) – People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

– Matt. 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1. Get to know God
2. Put God first in every area of your life
3. Live one day at a time


For more on this topic: How to Live Through A Bad Day – Highlands Sermon Series
Worship: Where you Go, I Go, by Jesus Culture


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Lord of the Dance


God didn’t create our bodies to respond to music so we would have something else to fight. He made us want to dance, because He wanted us to be joyous! I’m not talking about bumping and grinding, that is a perversion of what God created. The purpose of that dance is to sexually seduce. Footloose did get the Bible verses right though. The true, intended, and holy purpose of dance is to praise God radically and unabashedly! Everything is aligned with its intended purpose when it is used as a tool to love God. Dance is to 1)celebrate what He has done for you, and to 2)ask Him for what you need; it’s 3)to lift moral, because a merry heart brings life and health to the body. Dance is can teach people just as much as song or lecture. Dance is biblical, and maybe if dancing were still in every church we wouldn’t be missing an entire generation of young kids and teenagers; maybe people would wake up excited to go to church, stay longer, build community better, and leave happier

– 1 Cor. 14:26 – What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Choreographed dance, theatre, and the arts can show us who God is just as much as anything else. Every person should be able to show what God has given them. Dance doesn’t even have to be choreographed to happen in the church. Everyone should be able to let loose in praise, using their bodies to celebrate the God who gave it to them.

– Ps. 149:3 – Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!

– Eccl. 4:3 -A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

– Ps. 30:11 – You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

– Jer. 31:13 – Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

– 2 Sam. 6:14 – And David danced before the Lord with all his might

David celebrated God's presence with dance

David celebrated God’s presence with dance

David’s wife confronted him and tried to shame him, or say it was ungodly, and he responded with:

I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.

When God delivered Israel from Egypt:

– Ex. 15:20 – Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.

– Zeph. 3:17 – The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

– Ps. 150:4 – Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

We celebrate marriage, and festivities, with dancing, and God wants us to do that with Him. Celebrate the God who gave you the spouse, the job, the raise, the home, the harvest, the souls. Celebrate him everyday, even when it seems like you aren’t winning. Paul & Silas praise him from prison chains and the praise set them free emotionally first, then also physically.

– Rev. 19:6-7 – And I heard something that sounded like a huge crowd, like rushing water and powerful thunder. They said, “Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty, exercised his royal power! Let us rejoice and celebrate, and give him the glory, for the wedding day of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Rushing water are shouts of excitement and the powerful thunder is dance? STOMP! How are you going to crush the serpents head without a stomp and a dance? Walking gets tiring, but waltzing to the destination give you something different. Joy takes you further. You don’t even realize you’re tired when you are having fun. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be dancing on my wedding day to the Lamb, and I’m gonna go’head and practice now! At church, on Friday, I grabbed up a flag, went to the back of the church, and danced. Jehovah Nissi, is my God; my Banner and my Victory.


Worship:
Stomp, by Kirk Franklin
Dance, by Jesus Culture
Shackles (Praise You), by Mary Mary


Paul & Silas sing in the prison, then an angel opens breaks off their chains

Paul & Silas sing in the prison, then an angel opens breaks off their chains

Prayer: Lord of the dance, bring back the dance! You are Lord of Lords; You are the king of celebration and joy. Help us see you as you are, break every chain of religion, and loose your people to praise you with all their mind, heart, soul, and strength (Deut.6:5); you tell us that praise looses your people from bondage. Use dance to heal, deliver, and set free every mind and body. Tear down every man made law that stands in the way of your laws. Fear of man leave, and fear of God return in Jesus name. Bring joy back to the church as we realign ourselves to your ways and see who you truly are. We may feel humiliated in our own eyes as we dance, but you exalt those who are unashamed to praise you with all their strength! You made joy to be contagious, so raise up people to dance without shame and show your people that there is freedom in You; let all those who are free from the chains of sin and death rejoice!

As our country continues to talk about black&white, slave&free issues, cause your church to lead. Where blacks were once slaves, and white free, today the tables have turned. Your beloved black church is living in freedom, and your white people are slaves to religion and man-made law. Cause a war to rise up, and people to fight for the freedom of every person. Bring your people together. Send out those who will stand for freedom, justice, equality, and tear down the lies, chains, and man-made law that hold us in bondage and keep us from praising God with every fiber of our being. No longer shall it be shameful to say ‘you dance like a white person.’ Let is now be said with the meaning, ‘Wow, your dancing has put us to shame!’ Raise up whites who are radical in praise! Bring the spirit of Africa to us. No matter if we have food, clothing, or water, make us joyful with what we have. Tear down this idol of reliance on wealth and possession, and cause us to take joy in You. When the foot taps, let the body move, and tear down this idea that skill is required. Let the people dance without care of man or level of learning.


My friend is over in Zambia, Africa changing lives and building water wells. The people there know how to celebrate God’s gift of water. Lord, bless us with this Spirit just as you blessed them with water:

You can donate at Water282.org

Free Will to Homosexuals!

I would like to repent on behalf of Christians, to every gay and lesbian:

Christians sinned when they pointed out and exalted one sin above another. God says sin is sin, and every Christian who hurt you has sinned. I’m sorry for the pain it caused you. May God forgive us for hurting you, and for disobeying Him. God called us to love (respect) you, and Christians failed to do that for way too long. I would like to repent on the behalf of believers for not showing love to you in the same way God showed love to us. Gossip, pointing fingers, judging others, and singling out is sin. God asked us not to give into sin; we stood against homosexuality as He asked, but not in the way that He asked. We failed to keep from judging, harassing, name calling, and disrespecting you. I’m sorry for the pain and shame this has caused you. I hope God shows you how much you mean to Him. I hope you see that no person is without sin, especially Christians. Christianity was never meant to be based on human efforts to get to God. We cannot save ourselves by obeying the law, because we all have sin. Christianity was meant to be falling in love with God, because God loved us while we were still sinners, and nothing we do can separate us from His love. Jesus saved us while we were still sinners; He didn’t come down here a condemn us all, like Christians have done to you. Christians did a terrible job of portraying God, who is Love, to you. They did not portray Love at all. It is by grace that God saved us, not by our own ability to follow a whole heap of laws. You do not have to earn God’s Love! He loves you as you are. I ask God to bless you, heal your heart, and bring true Love to you by revealing His true nature – not this sick portrait that Christians have painted for you. God wants you to have a choice. He outlined the choices for us – the blessings and repercussions for each choice – but  He asks us to choose life because He wants us to have the best life possible. Regardless, He never takes away our right to choose for ourselves. He will never disrespect you by forcing you to do anything. May you live in freedom, make your own choices, and see which path leads to Life and Love; and may you be healed from every pain that Christians caused. I am truly sorry for not loving you in the correct manner.

Turning to Love for you,
a christian


I would like to challenge every Christian reading this to follow the way of Love, and repentance. We are the BODY of Christ; we are one. We are responsible for the actions of each person who calls themselves a follower. Please share this, and let’s take on the responsibility of our actions in true repentance before God and man.


1John1:8-10-to say we have no sin is to deceive ourselves. Confess your sin and He is faithful to forgive; James5:16-confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed; James2:10-whoever breaks one law is guilty of breaking it all; Eph.2:8-saved by grace, not by works; Rom.12:5-we are the body of Christ and each member belongs to the others; Gen.2:9-God put 2 trees in Eden; Deut.30:19-I have given you a choice, now choose life and blessings; 1 Cor.6:9-11-homosexuality is sin; Rom.1:26-27-gay and lesbian is wrong and harms your own body; Lev.20:13-homosexuality is sin and harms your own body; Rom.3:23-all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; John8:7-11-let the one without sin be the first to throw the stone. They all left. Jesus said I don’t condemn you either, now go leave your life of sin; Rom.8:1-no condemnation for those in Christ; 1Cor.13:4,5,7-Love is kind. Love does not dishonor (disrespect) others. Love protects; 1John4:8-Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love

If a christian did not love you, they did not know God at all; but you can know God right now. He loves you and cares deeply for you. He does not want you to feel condemned. Every person has sinned, and ever person can come to God:

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

The False Gospel

Christians act nothing like Christ, right? Why? Over and over again the Bible shows us that there is a true gospel and a false gospel. Paul talks about this in Galations, but the first allusion to the 2 gospels was in the Garden of Eden. We’ll look to see how this true & false gospel relate back to the Tree of Life (TOL) and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil (TKGE).

– Gal. 1:1 – Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead…

– Gal. 1:6-7 – I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Self-righteousness is the false gospel. It's rampant in the South. It's why people hate 'Christians.'

Self-righteousness is the false gospel. It’s rampant in the South. It’s why people hate ‘Christians.’

One gospel is based on religion, or man’s attempt to get to God; it’s based on how well you can follow rules. This is the basis for most every religion in the world. It asks the question: How am I going to become godly? The other gospel is based on a relationship with God; you fall in love with Him, so you draw close to Him. How am I going to become godly?

– Gen. 2:8-9 – The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

– Gen. 2:16-17 -The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

– Gen. 3:1-7 – Now (Satan in the form of) 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

the serpent deceived meSatan appealed to Eve’s desire to be godly. He said, eat this fruit and it will make you like God. Once they ate from the TKGE God threw them out of Eden so they would not eat from the TOL. Some of us have already eaten from Jesus, the TOL, but we are currently eating from the TKGE. This is not good. Don’t keep eating or keep living in deception; Salvation is in Christ alone.

… “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. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Religion can give us a knowledge of what is good and what is wrong. It can make us look righteous on the outside, and make us look like we are wise, but it always makes you naked. Every person has fallen short of the glory of God. We all sin. If you trust in your own ability of knowing good vs evil, you will still fall short. You cannot save yourself, nor can this knowledge always keep you from sinning. Partaking of the TKGE will always result in your nakedness, shame, and failure. What are the two different gospels? 1) One focuses on what you do: You aren’t thinking about reading your Bible because you love the Bible – you’re thinking about how many chapters you’ve read. You think you have it together because you haven’t missed a Sunday all year, or you’ve checked all the boxes on the spiritual to do list. One focuses on what Jesus does: You aren’t focused on how much you read, but on how much Jesus you can find in what you’ve read. You aren’t applauding your scheduling, but all that Jesus has done in your life and around you during the year.

– John 5:39-40 – You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

2) One focuses on getting God’s approval: This is the inherent belief that God is mad at you. There was a study done on how different regions see God, and the South predominantly believed that God was mad at them or that He was hard to please. This thinking says, I better not clap too loud today cause God knows I’m a hypocrite and didn’t act right this weekend. You think you have to memorize the book of Proverbs to have God’s approval. You treat sinners as beneath you. One focuses on receiving God’s love: You aren’t focused on gaining His approval; you are resting in His approval. You may sin, but God still loves you. He doesn’t like the sin, but the sin didn’t change His love for you. You show sinners God’s love, right where they are, without condemnation about anything. Love is Alpha and Omega.

– Rom. 5:8 – While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We don’t get our act together to get to God; we go to God to get our act together. Within His love there is no condemnation; only conviction that raises us up from our sin, and shows us how to love on the same level that He does.

– 1 John 4:19 – We love because he first loved us

3) One focuses on external duty: I have to do this or do that. One focuses on internal desire: I want to do this or do that.

– Jer. 17:10 – I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds

The Lord sees the heart and knows which tree you are eating from. He does not want to punish you. He wants you to choose to eat from the TOL.

– Gen. 3:24 – guard the way to the tree of life – Rev. 2:7 – To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. – John 14:6 – Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life.

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

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

Jesus is the Tree of Life. We need to partake of Him and His grace. We should not partake of the AntiChrist (TKGE/religion) that says 1)I know Jesus, 2)I know what He says is good and bad, and 3)I can follow those rules to save myself. Self-Righteousness cannot save you. Trying to obey the law cannot save you.

– Eph. 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. – James 2:10 – For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

– 1 John 5:3,12 – In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome… Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

His commands are burdensome if you are eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil (TKGE). It is burdensome to take the whole weight of the law on yourself and think that you can carry it by your own power. It’s only when we eat from the Tree of Life (TOL), the grace of Jesus, that the burden of the law is lifted and we can live in the freedom of His Spirit.

– 2 Cor. 3:17 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom

How do I eat from the Tree of Life (TOL)? 1. Fall in love with Jesus (Think about who He is (Love), and the death He endured to save you.) 2. Don’t allow condemnation 3. Make the choice everyday

– John 14:15 – If you love me (Jesus), keep my commands

We can read this from either tree: TKGE: If you love me, you will obey me and show me that you are a good person. TKGE reads it backwards; they make it say: Keep my commands to prove your love. TOL: Just love me. Just love me, and you will automatically do the things that show me love. You’ll want to do the things.

– Deut. 30:19 – This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life

In every moment, take your thoughts captive and test them to see If they line up with the Tree of Life. Lie: God is mad at me because I sinned. The TKGE says I will be punished for my sin. God must be mad with me. I should punish myself and allow others to punish me. Truth: God loves me. Jesus, the TOL, says He died to take away my sin. When I ask Him to forgive me, He does so immediately; And though He knows everything, He chooses to never again remember my sin. He took on the punishment; He is not interested in punishing me. We are in right relationship and our love can freely flow. He is proud of me. I am His child, and He is my patient, loving Dad. He takes delight in my honesty that I messed up, and He says ‘I’ve already got you covered, now go have fun and make the right choice next time.’


To learn more listen here: The Two Gospels – Galations Series, by Highlands If you enjoyed this post please +follow lovedisciple

Put a Bird On It!


Put a Bird On It! 
This awesome scene from the tv show Portlandia says so much! #WakeUpPortland

Christians like to put a certain stamp, or bird, on everything they do. But when it comes to life, or comes inside the building, they kill it; they panic and freak! Why?

The seal of God is the Holy Spirit, who is described of as a dove:

– Luke 3:22 – and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.

– 2 Cor. 1:22 – God set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

– Rev. 9:4 – They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads (renewed mind).

Seal
It’s the end times! We need to put the seal of the Holy Spirit on every mind! We can’t say we believe God is active today then deny the power He left with us. A seal often marks the currency of a kingdom: You are God’s riches! A wax seal leaves its form behind: God created us in His image with the seal of His Holy Spirit!

– 2 Tim. 3:5 – We often have a form of godliness but deny its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

We like the bird until it comes to life. We like the cross until we have to die on it.

– Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

– Matt. 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

– Acts 2:4,38-39 – everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability… 38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off (2015)—for all whom the Lord our God will call

– 1 Cor. 12:1-10 – Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit isgiven for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,a and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Russian Doll
The Gift of the Holy Spirit is for you! He is the gift that keeps on giving! Once we have Him, He gives us more gifts! They are contained in Him.

– 1 Cor. 14:1 – Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.

–  Eph. 4:22-24 – You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 tobe made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

–  Rev. 3:14-22 – To the Church in Laodicea 14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

–  Gen. 3:11, 21 – And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?“… 21The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

–  Luke 24:49 – I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Proverbs 31:25–  Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…
… Acts 2:2-4 – When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Lord, I ask that you blow right now, mighty breath of God (Holy Spirit), on every person present. That you fill the house, their bodies (your temple), with power and gifts that you enable so that we may go to all the earth as witnesses, and with evidence, of the One True Living God!

Just as you empowered Jesus to start working in miracles when the dove descended on him. You promised us in John 14:12 – ‘I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works’

#RaiseUpYourPeopleToBeTheLightOfTheWorld

dove

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Shame & Beauty

If you could change something about your body would you? Which part(s)?

If you said yes, are you driven by shame? Think about each part you said yes to changing and recall the times someone shamed you for that part.

Do you want shame to win or you? Jesus loves us as we are. We need to work on seeing ourselves the same way He does. His love is never conditional to our ability to change. He died for us before we ever accepted His love. Love, however, is a powerful force that causes change. Its not by forcing/controlling us. Love changes us because love makes us want to be able to connect even more to the one we love. We want more connection not because they want/require change, and not to earn more love, but because we want to be as connected to them as possible.

So don’t give into shame, which says you have to change to be loved. Give into love. Accept yourself. Cut down the enemies lies and start to see yourself the way God sees you.

We might say:
Sos 1:6 – Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!

But He says:
Sos 4:1 – Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!

So we lean on Him:
Sos 8:5,10 – Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?… then I was in his eyes as one who finds peace

Go back to the situations that brought you shame and choose to believe Gods words instead of the enemies slanders. If your enemy called you ugly, find out what God says. Don’t we typically care more about what our friends say about us than the people who hardly know, or don’t know, us at all? Believe God’s word, then you will have peace and you will not feel like you need to change to get love, because God’s love will replace the pain.

Sos. 7:10 – I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me