Judging the News

Do not judge by appearances – John 7:24

If you hear… anyone saying… then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly – Deut. 13:12-15

The Lord said, “The outcry… is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know” – Gen. 18:20-21

Judge according to facts, never by appearances. Taking a snippet of anything, out of it’s original context is asking for a major misunderstanding. I’m sure you’ve had someone take your words and twist them into something you didn’t mean, or had someone enter the conversation at the wrong time–just in time to hear something that sounded off as a standalone comment. We are told to investigate, search out, and inquire THOROUGHLY before we draw conclusions. We have to see the whole picture first, and we don’t get that from a video snippet. God set the example, when He went Himself to investigate things instead of relying on the report of humans or angels!

Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me judge… between you?” – Luke12:14)

Jesus, the only truly righteous Judge, even refused to judge in situations where He was not yet in authority! It is for the justice system to decide matters of justice. You have the authority to go to the hearing and protest at that time if you feel the trial was corrupt.

Judge nothing before the appointed time – Luke 12:14

Goodness knows, we have some corrupt government, but that does not make them all corrupt. If they are proven corrupt, sentence them. If they made a mistake, then FIRE them like you would a doctor who messed up:

Bring it out in the open and deal with it… Hold this man’s conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can’t, then out with him! – 1 Cor. 5:3-5

Doctors and cops, have stressful jobs and stressful decisions to make. Mistakes happen. Rarely is a death with corrupt intention. These people don’t take killing someone lightly. A cop can go 20 years without shooting a person, then one day has to pull a gun and weep over the loss of life–being forced to make this decision.

Research the facts, instead of jumping on the bandwagon of hearsay:

  • Cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. ‪#‎DoWhiteLivesMatter‬? Data compiled by The Washington Post shows, 50% of the victims of fatal police shootings were white, while 26% were black. The majority of these victims had a gun or “were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force.” Although more whites were killed than blacks, The Wall Street Journal, 2009 statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62% of robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15% of the population in these counties; meaning even though blacks comprise the majority of criminal, whites comprise the majority of deaths. MacDonald also pointed out that blacks “commit 75% of all shootings, 70% of all robberies, and 66% of all violent crime” in New York City, even though they consist of 23% of the city’s population.
  • More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks. According to MacDonald, 12% of white and Hispanic homicide deaths were due to police officers, while only four% of black homicide deaths were the result of police officers. More so, a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black, than a cop killing an unarmed black person. However, according to WSFA, Montgomery Black Lives Matter is asking the police department to let citizens police their own neighborhoods instead of sending in white cops, even though we are now witnessing something called the “Ferguson Effect” in other cities, as murders have spiked by 17% among the 50 biggest cities in the US as a result of cops being more reluctant to police neighborhoods out of fear of being labeled as racists.

Our unrighteous judgment, suspicions about racism, and refusal to let cops do their job is about to cause even higher rates of murder in Montgomery, and other cities in the nation, that already struggle with this crime.

How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?… all the foundations of the earth are shaken – Ps. 82:2,5

The world will be a disaster zone as long as we continue to judge in favor of the wicked. When a criminal has a weapon, or is trying to attain a weapon, the police have the right to take action. America needs to understand the role of police. They will try everything they can to arrest someone without shooting them, but when forced, they shoot to kill. That means unloading a full clip. In the case of criminals who are hopped up on drugs or adrenaline–who don’t feel pain and continue to rush people despite being shot–it is even more justified to shoot these people until they quit moving.

We cannot defend criminals. We can however, wisely and righteously, bring corrupt government officials to justice when all the facts are well researched and presented–proving the matter. We should be rioting that Hillary Clinton was guilty of treason and yet not charged, and is being allowed to run for a higher position, not rioting that a cop shot a criminal who was about to pull a gun, or over the number of times they were shot. Some of the cases over the years could be corrupt, but they are not all corrupt.

Some government officials didn’t want to actively patrol heavy crime areas even decades ago. They allowed drug cartels and gangs to do their thing. Now, many of those criminals are the very ones trying to blind and deceive our nation with racist talk and lead us into orgies of unbridled sin (riots). Our news stations after decades still refuse to tell the whole story. Our citizens are unspiritual, untaught, and unjust in their judgments. It’s a perfect storm of all the things that have gone unchecked through the years.

Yesterday, a black cashier ignored me while helping two black customers behind me. As a white girl dating a white cop, there’s no way to hear about a handful of hate crimes without opening my ears to similar situations. While I do not believe this was an issue of race, but perhaps an issue of crowdedness, I do understand how a race that experienced 250 years of enslavement can easily listen to promptings of suspicion and assumption. If I, a christian who has not experienced much racism, am tempted, how much more will the world and those with much experience be tempted? God however, asks us to base everything on truth, and calls listening to suspicion and assumption a sin. When we act on the suspicion or assumption that something is a racial issue, we only perpetuate racism. It’s only when we take those thoughts captive, and choose to act out of a Holy Spirit that the cycle of racism ends.

Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free. – Prov. 11:21

It is a Biblical principle that the righteous not be condemned as the wicked. It’s a principle that runs throughout the Bible from start to finish! We cannot condemn all white cops because a couple mess up.

I admire my white cop boyfriend for his ability to handle high stress situations, and treat people with equality. He makes people that look like his grandparents put their hands on the steering wheel/seat when he pulls them over, just like he does someone he suspects, or knows, has committed a crime. He became a cop because he wanted to help protect everyone, and make his hometown a better place.

Thank you God, that YOU protect the righteous and watch over them, and guide their hand in battle (Ps. 144:1). Continue to see America free from racism and corruption. Help us weed out unrighteous rulers in a manner that is honorable. Raise up more judges, teachers, senators who will not take bribes, who judge with discernment, and want to do their job to the best of their ability out of respect for you. Raise up more people who want to lay down their lives for others, who want to pursue and rid America of criminal activity instead of letting it engulf certain areas, who are able to discern who is dangerous and innocent regardless of color. Provide us with more training for both cops and the general population to avoid mistakes. Help us come up with a system that protects the innocent, condemns the wicked, does not cave to human opinion, and is completely unbiased, in Jesus name.

Advertisements

Healing the Orphan Spirit – Part 2

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

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


 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The enemy will try to create confusion about your future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is a stronghold? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He will teach us how to handle the gift however.

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

Healing the Orphan Spirit by Leif Hetland – $9

 

Healing the Orphan Spirit – Part 1

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


 

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

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

Children from fatherless homes are more likely to be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pharisees:

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

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

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

Facts of Fatherlessness:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Black Hole
The orphan spirit will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to be continued

Faith & Anger

Would God rather us be angry with Him or have a lack of faith in Him? 

– 2 Kings 6 – Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25There was a great famine in the city… 26As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” 27The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you?… 28Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, … we cooked my son and ate him… 30When the king heard the woman’s words… 31He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”.. 33The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

… 2 Kings 7:1-2,20 – Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” 2The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”… 20And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

Cannibalism is a weighty subject, and probably got your attention more so than what I wanted to talk about. I hope to say more about it, and leadership, in the coming days. Today, however let’s touch on the topics of faith and anger in this passage.

The king was waiting for God’s to deliver them from the siege and famine, but when he heard that the people were starting to eat each other, he became angry. He started to lose his faith in God and he lashed out at God by threatening to kill Elisha, whom God often spoke through. Elisha responded 1) with force by barricading the door to protect himself, and 2) by telling the king to wait on the Lord one more day. Perhaps God didn’t respond as fast as the king would like, because the king was not acting the way he should.

  1. He should have been in sackcloth, asking for God’s help, while searching himself for any wrongdoing. Instead, he tried to hide his sackcloth under his royal clothes.
  2. He also could’ve sought God out beforehand, instead of waiting until the last second to see what God had to say about the siege. Seeking God should come first.

Nonetheless, there is an interesting principle in this story:

The king expressed anger by asking Elisha, ‘Why should I wait on the Lord any longer?’  Though he went with the intention to kill Elisha, he still listened to Elisha’s response and waited on the Lord one more day. The officer, however, expressed disbelief in God’s ability, and died because of it.

So anger is better than unbelief? Yes.
It is better to have faith in God, and get mad at Him when it doesn’t look like He is coming through for you, than it is to express disbelief in what God says He is going to do.

The king tried to wait on God, and tried to repent by wearing sackcloth. He didn’t do either of them perfectly, but he tried and God honored that. He intended to sin in his anger, but he ended up changing his mind and doing what was right. The officer, who did not believe God could help them, was not honored.

There is a situation in my life in which I have faith, and am waiting, though I may have times of anger or questioning. It’s nice to know that God is okay with that, and can put people in my life to renew my faith. It’s nice to know that there is grace, and that he honors a slip in faith as long as there is an effort of faith. I hope that encourages you as well. Faith is hard, and faith is necessary, but God gives us grace when we try.

Matt. 21: 28-32 – There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”“The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

There is a way to be angry and not sin, but that wasn’t what the king had in mind. Nonetheless, the king turned away from the sin in his heart and chose not to kill Elisha. He came to God in anger, and God helped him because he was willing to listen. It’s better to go to the person you have a problem with, before it turns into wrath, but God has nothing to fear. The correct response for us is to set a boundary, and get help, like Elisha did by gathering elders to barricade the door. God however, just wants you to come to Him for help. If getting to a breaking point, or a rage, is the only way you’ll come to Him for help, then He accepts that. Job expressed his anger to God, and God helped him see how things really were.


Heb. 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.


God asks us to have faith in Him, and to even put His words, ways, principles to the test. If we test Him, in our faith, He will reward us:

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

When the Bible says that testing God is wrong, it is referring to testing God in lack of faith. Testing God is nether right, nor wrong in itself; it simply depends on your heart.

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.

Deut. 6:16 – Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah.

Ex. 17:7 – And he called the place Massah (testing) and Meribah (quarreling) because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

James 1:6-8 – But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Ps. 94:18 – When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.

Mark 9:21-24 – Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Help my unbelief. That is a prayer that God honors. He loves truth; even when the truth is that you are angry, He honors it. Seek Him first, ask Him to help your unbelief, and just choose to be real with Him today.

Glory & Trial

When the Spirit of God descended on Jesus, it immediately drove him into the desert for a time of testing. When Jesus emerged victorious, he was springboarded into the beginning of his ministry.

– Mark 1:9-12 – At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.

To get from one mountain to the next, you have to go through the valley; a time of testing.

– 2 Cor. 3:18 – And we all having been unveiled in face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.

I can rest easy knowing God’s plan because he’s already told me his promises in the ‘logos’ (written) word and in the ‘rhema’ (spoken) word. Before I was laid off at work I received a prophetic word that God was promoting me, pouring more into my hands, and that my life was changing, but that I should sit still and be unmovable in this season. This is just the valley on the way to the higher mountain. This is just the wilderness experience that comes with receiving the words of the Spirit. This is just the moment when Jesus flips the tables; that paradoxical nature he operates in. He hides his poker hand to everyone for the opportune moment, but he’s already shared the secrets with the one he loves. His promises give us peace and focus in the trial, and his word never returns void, but accomplishes that to which he sent it to do. And at the right moment there’s a royal flush revealed

– Rom. 8:31-34,37-39 – If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one…  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

– Ps. 40:5 – Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

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

– Eph. 2:8-10 – this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

He has a plan for every moment of our lives before we were even born. He will bring it about. His plans are good. The enemy intends to harm us, but God works it all out for our good (Gen.50:20 & Rom. 8:28).

– Ps. 139:16-17 – You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

The Process of Dreams


– Gen.37:5-8 – Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, “Listen to this dream I had. We were all out in the field gathering bundles of wheat. All of a sudden my bundle stood straight up and your bundles circled around it and bowed down to mine.” His brothers said, “So! You’re going to rule us? You’re going to boss us around?” And they hated him more than ever because of his dreamsThe brothers were saying, “Here comes that dreamer. Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these old cisterns; we can say that a vicious animal ate him up. We’ll see what his dreams amount to.

Joseph had a prophetic dream, but then became a prisoner. He didn’t understand the fullness of the prophetic dream. He didn’t understand that he wouldn’t be a ruler over the house of Jacob, but over the earth, in the house of Pharaoh as well.

What if all the prophecies we receive, have a far larger application than our original interpretation?

Joseph was a great prophet, and he didn’t know the interpretation to his own word. Joseph used his prophet gift to try to manipulate his own jailbreak. He asked the cup bearer, who he helped, to get him out. God didn’t allow him to get out at that moment, because Joseph would’ve gone home to a dysfunctional family; to a father that didn’t believe he was alive, brothers that were trying to kill him, and they would’ve all starved to death in the 7 year famine. God doesn’t always grant our requests because we would settle for less than the best for our lives. Joseph went from the pit to the palace, and he wasn’t a prisoner in Egypt; he was a prisoner to a prophetic process. God puts the film into a dark room when He wants to develop a clear picture. He agitates the film in the solution to get the picture to come through.

Film Development in Dark Room

Don’t give up on your dreams. If God gives you a dream, He can bring you into it. It might not look like it is working out, but it will. There will be no question that it was Him that brought it to pass.


You have to be able to tackle the mountain of ME before you can take another mountain. ‘For the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross (Heb.12:2).’ 

The cross is the process of getting from where you are, to your dream
– The cross is the contradiction

We need to understand the paradoxical ways God works, and trust Him to take us through the process to our promised palace.

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


If you enjoyed this post please +follow lovedisciple