Wealthy in Love

Today my sweet sisters in Christ Jesus I want to explore with you Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi found in Philippians 2:1-11.  The church was experiencing many of the same challenges you and I face as believers.  Conflict, unforgiveness, pride, selfish ambition, vain conceit, dislike, and false teaching had found it way into the church. 

Paul opens his letter in this way… “Therefore, if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ as there certainly is in abundance, if there is any consolation, comfort, support of love, if there is any fellowship that we share in the Spirit, if there is any great depth of tenderness, affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love toward one another, knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ.” Verses 1-2 personalized  Paul is pleading with them to resolve the tension and seek to heal any brokenness found.  He says if that can be accomplished it will make his joy complete (verse 2).

Paul further describes the condition of the church with these words “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit through factional motives, or strife, but with an attitude of humility being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than yourselves.  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”( verses 3-4) 

Put simply you cannot claim to love God and dislike, hold bitterness for others.  The question arises “Why do people do the things they do?”  I believe that we have not fully comprehended the suffering and sacrifice Christ made for us…that day on the cross in which supernatural love was poured out for us…Loving others is so costly only Jesus’s costly love for us can move us to bear the cost.  Jesus has a radical love for us! This love is so profound, so expense…it is a mystery so deep we can only know it in our spirit!  If we can grab hold of this love, we will be so rich in love we will be forever changed, unable to dislike or hold bitterness.  In our humanness…our mind and body cannot ever understand!  This love is spiritual and supernatural! When we step into this love it is spiritually supercharged.

I want to try and bridge our lack of understanding by helping you and I to understand exactly what Jesus did that day.  Most of us can easily say these words “Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me” however that is so limited.  The depth of Jesus’s love for us is revealed on the cross not so much in the physical suffering but in how society looked at this form of death.  What does it cost for God to love us? We know He sent His only Son to earth for the purpose of leading us in knowing God and restoring his relationship with us, revealing who we really are and redeeming us through Jesus’s death.  Philippians 2:6-8TPT says “He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize.   Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant to be exploited. He became human!  He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient.  He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!”

The cross was consider to be the most degrading form of death, the people of Jesus time saw crucifixion differently; the Jews saw it as being cursed by God, ultimate insult, shunned;  the Romans used it much like the Mexican cartels today who hang their victims in a public place as if to say “don’t mess with us”;  the Greeks saw it as humiliating, scandalous, disgraceful, further evidence that God could care less about humanity; to all it was an abomination, degradation, torture fit only for a slave. There is no other death in which the individual’s life could be destroyed that has the same impact and yet Jesus took the weight of the world, the sin and suffered this for you and me.  I don’t know about you but just writing these words is making me nauseas and tearful.

What great love…I will never fully comprehend while I walk this earth.  This is where love is revealed…we must let this revelation lead us into understanding how much we are loved and redeemed by a risen Lord.  And for this reason alone…verse 9-11TPT says “Because of that obedience, God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names!  The authority of the name of Jesus causes every knee to bow in reverence! Everything and everyone will one day submit to this name—in the heavenly realm, in the earthly realm, and in the demonic realm. And every tongue will proclaim in every language: “Jesus Christ is Lord Yahweh,” bringing glory and honor to God, his Father!”

You see, the Father, the Creator of us all acknowledges what Jesus has done for love!  We are rich in love!  And so now I leave you with this question can you love as He did?  Philippians 2:5 leaves us with these words…”And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.”

Blessings, Sister Laurie

This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Love by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India.  It is available on RightNow Media.com

The Wretched Man

There are three positions in God’s Kingdom, each and every person falls into one, here and now! Paul pens in Romans 7:24 NASB,  “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”  Whether you find yourself still doubting the existence of God, a new believer, or a matured believer there is an ongoing struggle against sin.

The unbeliever battles to understand right from wrong because God has given all people knowledge, an understanding of God and His ways from the very beginning. Romans 1:19 says “Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”  Humanity has no excuse, just as God knew us in our mother’s womb and placed our spirit there, we also knew Him. In this position there is continuous struggle and  chaos. A distorted sense of truth exists, selfish ambition and desire guide the decision-making process.   Psalms 138 fully describes how intimately God knows us and that we belong to Him. The second half of Psalm 139:14 clearly tells us “Wonderful are Your works, and my soul (spirit) knows it very well.”  See right there, as infants growing within our mother’s womb we have the truth, God’s truth!  This truth is there for one purpose to be completely discovered and revealed with the help of the Holy Spirit.  The word “know” here is an intimate understanding, relational, experiential, and personal.  We are God’s creation, made in His image, His children.  So yes, Wretched man that I am!

The new believer struggles because they are now acknowledging the “knowing”. Their eyesight improves which gives them hunger and thirst to experience the love of God.  It has always been there, just as the ability to know right from wrong, but now there is a shift, an understanding that God see them, sin becomes clearer.  We know from God’s Word that we are no longer held captive to the bondage of sin, the old man has been crucified, sin shall not have dominion over you, the mind of the spirit is life and peace. Romans 6:6, Galatians 5:24 and Romans 8:1, 5-6. There is an acknowledgement that God is the great I AM…an embracing of Jesus’ sacrifice for them personally.  That without God they are lost to sin and a fallen world.  They find themselves asking questions “What do I do now?”, “How do I”, “What now is God’s asking?”, “How is this personal relationship suppose to work?”. They have these habits or behaviors that do not give God honor, acknowledge their love for Him, in some cases they go against the law…all of this has new meaning.  The big question now becomes “How then shall I live?” So yes, Wretched man that I am!

The mature believer now has worked this God thing out, a little farther down the road and yet…in Romans 7:15-20 Paul openly shares his frustration. “For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate.  However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good.  But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.  For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.” So yes, Wretched man that I am!

The struggles against sin is real for everyone.  This is exactly why God had Paul include this truth about himself.  Paul suffered under spiritual attacks, he wrestled with his past and he grappled with unworthiness.  Yet, God chosen this man, His grace put Paul in a unique position to share God’s Truth, to testify concerning Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.  In all of this God gave Paul the inspired Word in which he authored thirteen letters in the New Testament.  Like Paul the mature believer has stepped into greater responsibility therefore subject to greater scrutiny of self.  Yet, Paul suffered under his old self just as we do, in Paul’s case I believe that the thorn in Paul’s side speaks of him wrestling with past behavior and the spiritual battle in the form of shame the devil continually heaped on him. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 confirms this thought, “Because of the extraordinary greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” Thank you God, for encouraging Paul to be transparent with us. This is true for all believers serving Jesus, stepping out and living daily for God.

 I find myself, the wretched man, forgiven, justified and righteous through God, still battling spiritual attacks and dealing with consequences of sin.  You see sweet sisters we are all like Paul “The Wretched Man.”  There is no place I would rather be then to be found, proven, and refined by my Forever Father, my King, loved and not forsaken, positioned as His daughter, the daughter of the Most High King.

Be Blessed,

Sister Laurie

Secrets, Shame and Abortion

Secrets, Shame and Abortion

 “We must each fully embrace how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” Hebrews 9:14-15 MSG personalized

Strap yourselves in, this is going to get real, the kind of real that you may have brushed to the side, swept under the rug, voiced an opinion, or harbored strong emotions. Right here I want to say that there will be those of you who stop reading at this point or maybe in one of the next paragraphs,  it may get to tough or real however, I encourage you to take this journey of truth with me.

I need to get some statistics out of the way so that we can really see how abortion in the United States is destroying all of us.  I was sick to my stomach as I was gathering these numbers from reliable sources. So here we go…

Reported Abortions from 1970-1979 were 7,977,611, the female population ages 15-44 in 1979 was 41,857,686 or 19.06% of the women had abortions during the 70’s.

Reported Abortions from 1980-1989 were  13,283,150, the female population ages 15-44 in 1989 was 58,512,473 or 22.7% of the women had abortions during the 80’s.

Reported Abortions from 1990-1999 were 16,633,105, the female population ages 15-44 in 1999 was 49,554,764 or 33.57% of the women had abortions during the 90’s.

My findings were supplied by the Abortion Surveillance Organization and the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC as well as the population numbers through PopulationPyrimad.net and USGOV.org.  Note:  A small percentage were women who had multiple abortions or were out of the age range however the numbers do give us a picture.

A  further break down of these numbers reveal a greater number of people who have been affected by abortion in the United State during 1970 through 1999. Let me be clear why I choose these years and age groups.  These women are you and I today, you and I fall into one of three categories we are the daughters, mothers, or grandmothers.  We are the ones who have suffered in silence.  But this number is much larger let me explain. For every abortion there are at least five people who are involved not including the pregnant woman or her unborn child. There is the father to consider, the confidant, other family members, the doctor, the nurse, even other staff members.  Abortion touches way beyond the woman and the unborn child, it is like a pebble thrown into a pool having numerous ripples carrying a horrible secret and shame.  All of that being said can we agree to multiply the number of abortions by six and see how many people have really been affected. Let that sink in…

The Secret…as you shop in the grocery store, sit in your favorite spot at church, attend a movie or sporting event; look around…there is a very strong likelihood that you are very near at that moment to someone who has had an abortion and it’s a secret shrouded in shame.  This is an all-consuming situation that is affecting everyone lives. 

The woman who had the abortion is the victim (yup! I said “victim” every single one of them), you see behind every abortion is a woman who had to make that decision.  Every story and circumstance are unique, yet the bottom line is the woman carries the secret and the shame. The procedure is a violation of her body and the killing of an innocent child, both are a complete defilement of God’s design. 

Here are some scriptures to support how every child is by God’s Design…valued, loved, not a mistake and created to live with purpose.

The Old and New Testament confirm why God created the world and us.

Isaiah 45:18 God’s Word Translation (GWT) says “The Lord created the heavens. God formed the earth and made it.  He set it up.  He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited.”

Ephesians 1:4 (MSG) explains how the earth was created for us “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.”

There are many passages that speak of how God is our Creator and Father, each one of us He set in motion from the very beginning, here are two of my favorites.

Psalm 139:15 in the Message (MSG) translation says “You, God know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”

Psalm 139:16 in the Living Bible (LB) Translation says “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”

Other verses speak of how “He knew the sound of your voice before you were born” and “He (God) breathed life into you.”

No matter where an individual is in their relationship with God, every person knows that we belong to something greater, we embrace the knowledge that every human life matters, every unborn child is more than important, that baby is precious and a gift NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. This is why, abortion operates in darkness shrouded in secrets and shame.

The secret causes the victims to display many of the symptoms associated with PTSD.  Abortion and PTSD share this description “A soul injury, an overlooked, unassessed wound that separates one from their own sense of self.”

The word secret is defined as “not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others; something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others. The skeleton in the closet; a discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep unknown.”

I cannot express to you more clearly how much I am 100% against abortion (the killing of innocent life). It has to STOP!  As women we need to create a better, safe place where a woman can come and be encouraged, helped financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally when they find themselves carrying a beautiful new life unexpectedly.

Now take it back a little farther to the root of the situation…intimacy belongs in the marriage bed between one man and one woman, not before!  God has a design for us, a plan and every detail of His plan is found in the Bible. We destroyed His plan when man decided to call it sexual intercourse as if it was a function, sport or game instead of a precious gift to be shared, the “knowing” of someone is one way it is expressed in the Bible, for “two to become one” another.  The price of intimacy outside of marriage and the painful results are well documented by God in the Bible.  God knew how man would twist this precious gift and that is why He clearly explains His plan to keep intimacy a sacred gift within a covenant created by God.

Right now, I would like to address any unmarried woman as clearly as possible…First, a man who wants intimacy before marriage does not respect you and will never be the man you are looking for. Second, you do not have the “sexual desires” of a man that is a lie made up by men to fulfill their sinful desires.  God also explains this plainly in His Word, just read the Song of Solomon.

I know you are probably thinking…who does this person think she is, she does not understand. BUT I do and I will say this…I know on a very personal level every sentence, action, emotion along with the price paid, the life lost to man’s wickedness the idea that it’s permissible for  man to murder innocent unborn life. Please stay with me…keep reading.

The shame…let us talk about the symptoms associated with shame and abortion.

I found this statement from the National Library of Medicine. “Many women experience long-term emotional, spiritual, psychological, and interpersonal difficulties following abortion, including complicated grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and relationship disturbances. Guilt and shame play important roles in generating and concealing post-abortion symptoms.”

There is a great brokenness physically, spiritually and emotionally when a woman finds herself contemplating abortion, that’s when the secret and shame begin.  She does not set the appointment or enter the “clinic” smiling and confident…NO…she is broken, lost, bitter and disappointed in herself that this is where that day is heading.  Little girls play with baby dolls for a reason…God wired us to be the one to carry His gift of new life and to raise, nurture those children.

I cried for days after finding out I was carrying a child, unmarried, my mother said these words of encouragement to help “it’s just blood, cells, tissue”, “you are not capable of being a mother”, “this baby is better off not being born”. The shame and guilt overwhelming…my decision…how did I cope, I shoved every emotion, every dream down deep inside…like blowing out a bright candle cutting the wick so short it can never be lit again, my life changed forever…the path was one of self-destruction. 

Pro-Choice would say “it’s your body so it’s your choice” that right there puts all the shame and  guilt right on the woman. Abortion should never be a choice; should never enter a woman’s mind. Pro-Choice is man’s way of trying to justify their sexual habits and the killing of unborn children.

Those who suffer from post-abortion PTSD experience a disconnection with life. The shame will manifest itself into one or more behaviors, there is NO maybe…we find ourselves self-destructive, suicidal, victims of substance abuse or eating disorders, depression, extreme anxiety, suffering complicated grief, self-loathing, destructive relationships, even anger and violent behavior.

This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike, each woman must come to grips with her decision, the death of her child at her own hands. There is a natural emotion to grieve the loss of life however in abortion those emotions are suppressed.  Women feel they have no right to grieve because they were the ones who made the decision.

The non-Christian woman might be able to bury her decision and death of her child for a period of time.  However, the truth is her conscience is built on God’s truth.  She will still suffer, there is grief to be dealt with along with shame.  She might find temporary excuses, distractions, however, her life will take a different course, who she is, her self-image, self-esteem will be built upon her decision and the death of her child.  Anger, resentment, empty self-righteousness, over-achievement, stress, and anxiety, numbness take over, her life will spin out of control.  Society will not see it, blame will be laid at her daily commute, finances, disappoint in her career, relationship issues to name a few.  She will eventually seek help to cope with life based on man’s acceptable fixes which may or may not address the true root of her physical and emotional state.  Self-help books or counseling lead to even a bigger sense of social separation and she reaches to medication eventually substance abuse.

The Christian woman will experience all the above and even more than the woman who does not know Christ.  She has the Christian community who unknowing continue to condemn her.  She seeks absolution outside of her church family, if she even has the strength to seek.  You see, she knows that forgiveness is found in the blood of Jesus but not this…Christians are really good at ranking sin (wrong doing) from one to hundred. Scripture tells us that all sin is equal. She has listened to the lie whispered to her by Satan, possibly for many years, about how her decision and abortion has no forgiveness available.  She gathers enough courage to seek out help within her church, unfortunately she witnesses the look of horror and condemnation on the well-meaning Christian she has finally reached out to.  This is the hard truth in today’s church. 

For me it took over 30 years to gain the courage needed, I had sought forgiveness at the cross after I became a Christian, but the damage done, the shame and guilt remained.  The devil had done a work and I had punished myself experiencing most of post-abortion PTSD.  So many years lost to self-loathing…

Through the love of some amazing women, I began to embrace God’s truth about forgiveness and sin.  I know that God sent them to me when I was ready to forgive myself and accept His forgiveness.  It is not an easy journey and I had to stand my ground as Satan tried over and over to destroy.  Scripture was so key.  My life verses of 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8, Hebrews 4:12 were my go-to every time the devil whisper lies. I had to allow God to cut the damaged flesh thinking vulnerable to Satan’s voice from my inner man, my God given spirit.

Today, I stand with confidence given through God and His forgiveness.  I walk in His righteousness, His daughter, restored and free. There is still the pains of guilt a consequence of sin BUT more importantly there is hope that in my forever home my child is waiting.  In fact, my story is now His story and He has given me to courage to speak His truth about secrets, shame and abortion from personal experience.

In closing, while researching for this blog, I stumbled onto an article written about women suffering under the weight abortion and how we as a church can help.  The article called, ”Post-abortion Counseling” by Julie Ganschow, link can be found below.  Here I have included some profound truth which I could not have said better…

Her article written in 2017 opens with this staggering truth…It is estimate that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One is six women in the evangelical church.

Her article ends with these words of hope and our responsibility…

Bringing Gospel Hope. Along with watching the negative things that we say, we also have to actively bring gospel hope to her. Romans 8:1 is very clear that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So we have to point her to Christ, to the freedom that comes in His forgiveness and His work on the Cross.

We can also turn to passages in the Psalms, particularly ones like Psalm 32:3–5, David’s response to his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. David says, “My body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me” (NASB). What a beautiful illustration of how a post-abortive woman feels. This guilt is weighing on me constantly. He continues, “My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” Many of these post-abortive women express this idea that they are so burdened by this that it destroys their strength. It consumes them.

But then David says, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’” And then, here’s the hope: “You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Even with murder and adultery, sexual sin and taking the life of another, his sins were forgiven. God provides restoration, and He provides freedom in Christ. We have to communicate these truths to hurting post-abortive women.

Ultimately, we desire healing through Christ for each post-abortive woman. In our awareness of the very real effects of abortion, as well as the impact of our words on these women, we have the opportunity to love them and point them toward Christ. As pastors and caregivers, we can point them to the One who brings true hope and true healing, but we must do it with grace and compassion rather than judgment or condemnation.

Find the whole article at https://www.careleader.org/post-abortion-counseling/

Blessing, Sister Laurie

The Lie, the Sin and the Road to Forgiveness

This is going to be a tough one.  I want to have the transparency needed to speak the truth of Jesus Christ to whoever God brings into my life.  There is no healing when there is a lie hiding within us. Lying is directly the work of our flesh mixed with the devil and we cannot talk our way out of it.  The smallest indiscretion opens us up to the devil and all his buddies.

So here we go, first let us look at the definitions…

“Lie”; A lie is an assertion that is believed to be false, typically used with the purpose of deceiving someone. The practice of communicating lies is called lying. A person who communicates a lie may be termed a liar. To speak an untruth about a situation or thing because the situation or thing is connected to an action or decision that would damage trust, hurt another person, break an agreement.

“Deceit” is the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.

Lies are damaging to relationships because they block intimacy. Lies are considered harmful because they destroy trust.

In scripture Gods tells us

1 Peter 2:1 says “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”

Again in 1 Peter 3:10 we read, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.”

Let me start at the beginning and work my way to repentance and forgiveness.

Some of you may know that I recently finished my first year of school to become an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.  In the application we are asked to sign an agreement to abstain from drinking alcohol. Doug and I enjoy a dinner cocktail or glass of wine during a meal.  We knew that this would be a requirement, after a discussion we decided that while we do not share their view in this area it was important to honor this requirement.

I’m stopping right here to pray because this whole experience has me physically sick and my head is swimming full of remorse, anger (at myself) and a desire to erase the last couple weeks. Emotions and feelings are getting the best of me and so now the devil is at work destroying my ability get my emotions under control and ask God for the grace needed in this situation.

God give me the courage to speak this truth and to repent from all untruth in action and word. I have disappointed you by breaking the agreement and further lying to our family. Lord help me and  I ask for your forgiveness and clarity to speak your truth. Mend any broken trust caused by my sin. I ask all this in your name Jesus AMEN.

I briefly will share how my flesh and sin lead me to speak this truth.  I want you to see how quickly we can fall into deceiving those we love, break a trust, and dishonor an agreement. A couple weeks ago, we had one of our sons and his girlfriend visiting from out of town and so we decided to stop by our grandson’s work to show them the restaurant.  We asked if he  was working and the hostess said he was not in yet. It crossed my mind that my son and his girlfriend would want to order a drink at the bar and enjoy sitting outside before we left to meet up with others for dinner. Yup, you guessed it we also ordered a drink as well.  Right there the deception began.  In my mind I was thinking well, our grandson is not here…

Right now! Ugh! My stomach just did that swirl thing which makes you nauseated. Help me Jesus! Please Holy Spirit come and speak for me, this is a testimony and transparency necessary for others to see and know that God, our Father is a loving and forgiving God. 

We sat outside as planned drank our drink, paid the bill, and left to have dinner. You see, our visiting son would not think twice about that drink however, our Grandson and his family also serve God in ministry, so the deception of having a drink is not a little mistake but a calculated decision.

Last night we went over to my Grandson’s house to celebrate the birthday of his older brother.  His parents and younger sister were there as well. Doug mentioned that we had stopped by his work. Right there in that moment that uneasy feeling stirred as I recalled that we had a drink. My Grandson mentioned he thought he had seen us at the bar. My heart sunk, sin revealed, a broken agreement I committed to honor. I wish that right here I could say I just said “yes, we were at the bar.” Instead, I side stepped, fumbled, tried to avoid the truth. Here it is the lie, trust broken, in fact as I try to recall every word spoken it is a horrible blur. The bottom line is I did not just admit the truth “ yes, I had a drink and yes, you might have seen me paying the bill.”  Instead I remember saying I thought you were not working and then we changed the subject without even realizing, the sinful nature of man proved, a cover-up was happening.

One more thought about the battle; our sinful human nature, the devil and truth of Christ and who we were created to be that lives within us is so real.  2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” We cannot walk with our eyes closed any longer, we must be on our guard, as scripture says the devil is roaming the earth to see who he can devour.  However, we have the hope spoke of in the Bible and we have scripture that clearly lays out the battle plan and tells us that true victory for the believer has already been won through Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.  I leave you God’s powerful words to meditate upon…

2 Chronicles 20:17 “You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves (check your foundation), stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem (Daughters of the Most High King). Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.” Personalized NASB

Matthew 7: 24-27 “Therefore everyone (my daughters) who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock (firm and lasting foundation).  And the rain fell, and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed (everyday struggles, trials, even consequences for our mistakes), against that house(you my sister are the house) and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock(Jesus, the price He paid for you and your personal relationship with him).  Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them (comes before the King and repents asking His help to overcome), will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Personalized NASB

1 Peter 1:21 “who through Him are believers (you my sisters) in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” NASB

This morning, as God’s conviction began to work, the devil joined in doing a great job of beating me up…However, in writing this and asking God to forgive me, the relief is coming, a covering of God’s goodness that He is on this journey with me…God brought me this scripture “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

It is time to ask to be forgiven, by God, by those who’s trust I broke through this lie, unspoken truth, we live by example as believers in Jesus Christ.  For me it means that I must tell my grandson and his family how deeply sorry I am that I lied or avoided truth.

God tells us…

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:10-11

In closing, I broke God’s heart, I broke my heart and I greatly disappointed myself when I broke the agreement I agreed to honor.  Sweet sisters in Jesus Christ I pray God will use this truth so that you may come to your own truth and allow God to reveal the areas of your life that need to change. Conviction of your wrong thinking and mistakes is tough, but we have a loving Father who loves us and challenges us to repent and begin again. To not carry our sin like a sack of potatoes on our back but to come to the cross and leave it there.

Be Blessed, Laurie

What is Sin and how does Free Will play a part?

The ministry God has called me to takes me into places and with people that you might call lost with a capital “L”. You must be incredibly careful how you label those that have yet to discover there is much more to God than salvation. All sin in God’s eyes is equal however some sin has a more obvious effect on our physical bodies as well as our spirit. In studying for my ministry exam, I stumbled upon a well written explanation about sin. I wanted to share with you my understanding in the hope that it will help you have a deeper insight as well.

Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Ouch! I’m going to repeat that statement…Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Eve was deceived by the serpent (Satan) with simple words that got her thinking…”I want more, why not?” See Genesis 3:1-6 This is at the center of all sin. It may not look like pride or self-exaltation sometimes because as the sin grows it causes us to keep making poor decisions, mixed with reasoning and rationalizing. Our outward actions reveal our sin and then we “hide” Genesis 3:7-8, cover up. We soon find ourselves hiding through addiction and behavior that disguises the sin even from ourselves. This is why sin and evil are often compared to darkness, we hide in the dark…sin is the absence of light. It is a force that is active and has a harmful effects usually very gradual or subtle.

The Bible tells us that sin originated in an abuse of the freedom given to Adam and Eve who are God’s created beings that He equipped with a will. God did not create evil. Evil disregards the glory of God, His plan or will for us as written in the Word of God. The devil has cleverly sown discontent into our thoughts, he has turned our yearning or spiritual hunger for God into a thirst for self-gratification. This thirst cannot be satisfied in anything not centered in obedience to and faith in God. The result is a decision to step out of God’s protection and enter into moral failure. God permitted this freedom of choice for reasons known only by Him. We are unable to search out and understand God’s reason by human reason. God, in providing us with a mind and spirit truly free to make moral decisions, has allow the possibility of failure. Without that possibility there would not be genuine freedom or true personality.


Sin originated in the free choice of God’s creatures. Instead of believing and trusting God, responding to His love and provision, we have let wrong thinking fed by Satan exalt ourselves above God. I know you are thinking not me…anytime you make a decision and that little voice, your spirit, says not a great idea, yet you still follow your decision; you just made your decision and action over God’s will. So, your decision was better than God’s. That is where self-exaltation happens. The essence of sin is the substitution of the satisfying self for the original and highest purpose in life…seeking God and the relationship we were created to have with Him.

Apostle Paul says this will be a struggle for everyone.
Romans 7:14-25 outlines the struggle we have within ourselves against sin, Paul says “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” NASB


Thankfully, we have a Savior, Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself so that we have through repentance…forgiveness of our sins. The fight is on, how can we break the stronghold of sin? First, there is no way we can minimize sin even the slightest sin. No sin is too small for us to overlook and fail to seek forgiveness. James 1:13-15 warning us about the origin of temptation and sin…”When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation. Instead it is each person’s own desires and thoughts that drag them into evil and lure them away into darkness. Evil desires give birth to evil actions. And when sin is fully mature it can murder you!” TPT.


We must not let our minds dwell on some temptation or wrong desire, we must stop ourselves from reasoning. Recently, I was ministering to a group of women and one of them boldly spoke about being a homosexual, she went on to say “If all sin is equal and everyone sins then my sin is no worst and acceptable.” Justifying sin never works, if we make sin a habit or a way of life, it will bring spiritual and eternal death, a final separation from God. This lost woman has set her sin and self above God, His protection and love. The Bible says, “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.” Philippians 4:8 TPT Sadly, she has let an evil thought and desire incubate into action. She cannot see that she is the glorious work of God, she is blinded from what is real, honorable, admirable, and so much more. I am praying that she will have a supernatural experience of God’s unfailing love for her and that she will come to the cross in repentance.


I know in many of my other blog articles and many times when I am speaking before a group I use my life scriptures. A life scripture is one that you hold dear to your heart and meditate on when your mind moves into wrong thinking. These scriptures break evil strongholds, they will lead you in freedom and moral character pleasing to God and healthy for you. God has given His Word in order for us to have authority over sin and live in peace until Jesus returns.

Here are mine…
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” NASB


Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” NASB

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” NASB


Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” AMP


Hebrews 4:12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is supernatural and powerful, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword(a weapon for good). It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where our spirit and flesh (sinful desire) meet! It reveals and surgically removes any wrong thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.” Personalized and paraphrased

A special thank you to the authors of “Bible Doctrine, A Pentecostal Perspective”, William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton. Their research and insight bring a profound understanding of God’s Word and His desired relationship with each of His children.

My prayer that these words help you to go deeper and run harder in your pursuit of God and live the life He has designed for you.
Blessing,
Laurie

What is Sin and how does Free Will play a part?

The ministry God has called me to takes me into places and with people that you might call lost with a capital “L”. You must be incredibly careful how you label those that have yet to discover there is much more to God than salvation. All sin in God’s eyes is equal however some sin has a more obvious effect on our physical bodies as well as our spirit. In studying for my ministry exam, I stumbled upon a well written explanation about sin. I wanted to share with you my understanding in the hope that it will help you have a deeper insight as well.

Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Ouch! I’m going to repeat that statement…Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Eve was deceived by the serpent (Satan) with simple words that got her thinking…”I want more, why not?” See Genesis 3:1-6 This is at the center of all sin. It may not look like pride or self-exaltation sometimes because as the sin grows it causes us to keep making poor decisions, mixed with reasoning and rationalizing. Our outward actions reveal our sin and then we “hide” Genesis 3:7-8, cover up. We soon find ourselves hiding through addiction and behavior that disguises the sin even from ourselves. This is why sin and evil are often compared to darkness, we hide in the dark…sin is the absence of light. It is a force that is active and has a harmful effects usually very gradual or subtle.

The Bible tells us that sin originated in an abuse of the freedom given to Adam and Eve who are God’s created beings that He equipped with a will. God did not create evil. Evil disregards the glory of God, His plan or will for us as written in the Word of God. The devil has cleverly sown discontent into our thoughts, he has turned our yearning or spiritual hunger for God into a thirst for self-gratification. This thirst cannot be satisfied in anything not centered in obedience to and faith in God. The result is a decision to step out of God’s protection and enter into moral failure. God permitted this freedom of choice for reasons known only by Him. We are unable to search out and understand God’s reason by human reason. God, in providing us with a mind and spirit truly free to make moral decisions, has allow the possibility of failure. Without that possibility there would not be genuine freedom or true personality.


Sin originated in the free choice of God’s creatures. Instead of believing and trusting God, responding to His love and provision, we have let wrong thinking fed by Satan exalt ourselves above God. I know you are thinking not me…anytime you make a decision and that little voice, your spirit, says not a great idea, yet you still follow your decision; you just made your decision and action over God’s will. So, your decision was better than God’s. That is where self-exaltation happens. The essence of sin is the substitution of the satisfying self for the original and highest purpose in life…seeking God and the relationship we were created to have with Him.

Apostle Paul says this will be a struggle for everyone.
Romans 7:14-25 outlines the struggle we have within ourselves against sin, Paul says “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” NASB


Thankfully, we have a Savior, Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself so that we have through repentance…forgiveness of our sins. The fight is on, how can we break the stronghold of sin? First, there is no way we can minimize sin even the slightest sin. No sin is too small for us to overlook and fail to seek forgiveness. James 1:13-15 warning us about the origin of temptation and sin…”When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation. Instead it is each person’s own desires and thoughts that drag them into evil and lure them away into darkness. Evil desires give birth to evil actions. And when sin is fully mature it can murder you!” TPT.


We must not let our minds dwell on some temptation or wrong desire, we must stop ourselves from reasoning. Recently, I was ministering to a group of women and one of them boldly spoke about being a homosexual, she went on to say “If all sin is equal and everyone sins then my sin is no worst and acceptable.” Justifying sin never works, if we make sin a habit or a way of life, it will bring spiritual and eternal death, a final separation from God. This lost woman has set her sin and self above God, His protection and love. The Bible says, “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.” Philippians 4:8 TPT Sadly, she has let an evil thought and desire incubate into action. She cannot see that she is the glorious work of God, she is blinded from what is real, honorable, admirable, and so much more. I am praying that she will have a supernatural experience of God’s unfailing love for her and that she will come to the cross in repentance.


I know in many of my other blog articles and many times when I am speaking before a group I use my life scriptures. A life scripture is one that you hold dear to your heart and meditate on when your mind moves into wrong thinking. These scriptures break evil strongholds, they will lead you in freedom and moral character pleasing to God and healthy for you. God has given His Word in order for us to have with authority over sin and live in peace until Jesus returns.

Here are mine…
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” NASB


Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” NASB

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” NASB


Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” AMP


Hebrews 4:12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is supernatural and powerful, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword(a weapon for good). It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where our spirit and flesh (sinful desire) meet! It reveals and surgically removes any wrong thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.” Personalized and paraphrased

A special thank you to the authors of “Bible Doctrine, A Pentecostal Perspective”, William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton. Their research and insight bring a profound understanding of God’s Word and His desired relationship with each of His children.

My prayer that these words help you to go deeper and run harder in your pursuit of God and live the life He has designed for you.
Blessing,
Laurie

God’s Glory Manifested in You

Doug and I have been watching Derek Prince’s “The Roman Pilgrimage” on YouTube.  As the title suggests it is a study of the Book of Romans. Romans gives way to spiritual truth, it is our guide which compels us to persevere in our journey of knowing God and receiving all that He intended for us. God has been speaking so clearly through this study to me.  Confirming His love and purpose for us. Chapters 1-7 confirms our position of righteousness and defines God’s Love for us.

Let us look at Romans 4:1-25, Paul is speaking about Abraham, who is the perfect example of our relationship with God.  He was a man who believed God’s promise by faith alone without evidence.  As you remember he and Sarah were childless and of an elderly age, yet God had promised him descendants as many as the stars in the sky.  The key here is there was no physical evidence, Abraham believed in God and His Promise. Now let me say at this point which is a bit of a rabbit trail. Sarah talked Abraham into taking matters into their own hands which was out of the will of God. (Romans 4:1-5) That is a discussion for another day. I will say Abraham’s mistakes did not keep God from fulfilling the promise He made to him. Abraham’s sin came through doing more than what God asked him to do. This is a question we must ask ourselves daily…are you allowing God to go before you or are you moving and then asking God to get behind your decisions?

So, let us get back to my original thought.  There are 5 points here in scripture that Paul shares about Abraham’s relationship with God.  These should be our guide to a personal relationship with God as well.

Receiving the promise as Abraham did depends on walking in faith. (Romans 4:13-22)

1.         As believers we accept God’s promise by faith alone without evidence.  We must live by faith no matter what the world or our circumstances look like.  This belief gives us the position of righteousness in God.

2.         We must recognize that this position of righteousness is NOT obtained by works or religious ritual.  We are incapable of producing the promised result on our own.

3.         When we focus on the promise without wavering, we step into God’s given righteousness. This righteousness is not based on our actions it is freely given by God and through His grace and mercy.

4.         Physical and spirit truth will manifest in us supernaturally and uniquely.  This supernatural power comes to us through the Holy Spirit living in us.  We share a common thread in this that God’s love belongs to each of us. 

5.         When God’s promise is fulfilled in us, God is glorified.

God is always moving us forward by challenging us to live and make every decision by faith and allowing God’s grace to cover us.  Let us  talk about grace briefly…Grace begins where human ability ends, it is received only by faith Ephesians 2:8 AMP says it so well…”For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God.” and the result always glorifies God.

“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:5-6 NASB

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB

What does this word righteousness really mean? Not according to the world but God? Simply said “we are accepted before God with no condemnation.” The believer and non-believer alike hunger for righteousness “moral character” “acceptance” this position can be found in the world and when we seek righteousness in the world sooner or later, we compromise everything God created us to be.

Romans 14:7 says “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

In closing this righteousness God’s speaks of is not connected to anything we do here on earth.  Righteousness comes through faith, offered to ALL those who believe…there is no distinction.  It has no social status, ethnic origin, educational degree, financial credit rating, position within the Christian community or most importantly where you lay your head at night.  Righteousness comes to those who believe in faith, seek only God’s truth, live humbly knowing that we can do nothing without God.  We must find our identity daily in His Word and through His grace.

Blessings, Laurie