Identity Theft

Our identity in Christ is key to walking out our destiny. Many times when we are moving forward , walking through the process of healing, becoming more like Him, we change in different ways. This can affect our relationships. Sometimes those closest to us, do not know this “new person”, and say things and/or treat us like we haven’t changed at all.  Sometimes, we are not showing outwardly the change due to fear of rejection.  We can be afraid that if we show the change, we will lose those closest to us. Sometimes that in fact is what is necessary ( at least for a time). In fact, many times those who we would think know us the best, are the very ones that don’t seem to know us at all. Most of the time it is because we haven’t been vulnerable enough to let them. I want to share a story on how I learned to let go of the identity, and titles others may have given me. I am and will always be a work in progress. We need to understand this in order to walk in His identity, and His destiny for our lives.

Quite a few years ago, I attended an event my church had every year. It was called the Holy Spirit weekend. As part of the weekend, I remember they had a chart up on the big screen. It had the negative things we can believe about ourselves, with scripture to nullify that belief. We were to declare God’s word against any negative thoughts and mindsets. I remember the scripture Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus. When I tried to open my mouth to say those words it was as if I went mute. I could not even say the words.

A few years later, I attended another Holy Spirit weekend, and they had the same exercise. This time however, I said Romans 8:1 loud and strong. I felt God showing me that He had healed me. However, I was in a dark place. I felt as if my daughters were saying things opposite of just that. I felt as if I was still in the place of allowing others to verbally abuse me. At the end of the conference, they had people who would pray with you if you wanted so I went over to the corner where they were praying for emotional healing.

There was a line, and two people were praying. I remember wanting the young man who did worship because I enjoyed his worship time. But, instead I got the young lady who was with him. God had a plan. When I told her what was bothering me, the first thing she said to me was “You are a good mother”. I was shocked because I didn’t understand how she knew I didn’t think I was. She told me that she grew up with a single mother who took care of her, and explained that because God had been healing me, the enemy was trying to use the mouths of my children against me. I understood the scripture Ephesians 6:12.  At that moment, I forgave my girls, and felt free of any condemnation. I am happy to say that my daughters do not speak negative words over me anymore.

Not only did that moment free me, but it gave me discernment for the future. Since then, there have been times when those closest to me have said things to me that I felt were opposite of God’s identity for me. Now, I look back at that moment, and know it simply is a plot of the enemy to obstruct the destiny He has on my life. Now, I am not saying that we don’t listen to people when they are trying to correct our wrongs, or to question authority in any way. I am saying that we need to go to the Father when negative words or accusations come our way. Let us pray:

Lord, give us wisdom and discernment when we hear negative words and false accusations come our way. Teach us to be humble in our wisdom. We forgive all those who may have hurt us knowingly or unknowingly (Luke 23:34). Forgive us when we have done this to others as well. We declare your identity to be released in us. We trust in you, not men (Psalm 146).  We declare your destiny to come forth. In Jesus name, Amen

Vindication is from God

Have you ever been falsely accused, or felt that your character was misrepresented in some way? Sometimes people seem to come up with assumptions without knowing the whole story.  We are all guilty of seeing things through lenses of bias and past hurts.  Sometimes there is a misunderstanding and wrong conclusions are drawn.  Deception, I believe is a major ploy of the enemy to destroy relationships. Many times because of it our destiny seems to be delayed. But God calls us to rest in Him, to trust that He will vindicate us.

I don’t know about you, but to me that is a very difficult task. The part of “resting in Him” that is difficult to me is His timing. However, I do know that no matter how long I wait, I know the truth will always prevail. it just seems to take too long for my liking. I am just being honest.

Another thing that is difficult is that waiting and resting in Him doesn’t always mean that we sit back and do nothing. Sometimes He asks us to take steps that are difficult for us. Sometimes we must confront some fears deep inside us. It may look like being silent in some form or it may look like having difficult conversations. Shouldn’t we strive through trials to be more like him?

Peter 2: 21:23 (NASB) For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,  who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;  and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.

God is doing a work in us as we wait and rest (whatever that may look like). I know he has humbled me, and taught me to surrender in deeper ways. No matter how long it takes, always remember God will indeed vindicate us! When we try to defend ourselves (our way), we make matters worse. Al least that has been my experience. The truth will be made known. God is trustworthy!! So let us persevere in faith with hope.

Romans 5:1-5 (NASB)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Rejection, False Accusation and Humility

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Sometimes in life, there are moments where we can see a trend happening. I would like to think that we can learn from them.  Lately, I am experiencing rejection and false accusation all around me. It has happened in places of personal relationships (from those closest to me) and in a larger scale (where injustice is a result from a false assumption). As I have noticed the trend, I have been praying and asking what I need to change about myself. What is God trying to teach me through all that is happening around me?

I have been learning a few lessons in navigating this process of rejection and false accusation, I am learning how important honest vulnerable communication is.  Words have scarred me in many ways throughout my life, and I have hurt others in ways I have or have not expressed my thoughts.  In order to honor and respect others, we need to learn how to communicate well.  Danny Silk’s book Keeping Your Love On has been very helpful!

I am also learning that I need to be more humble. For if I were, rejection, false accusations and basically how other people view me would not affect me in the way that it has. The quote below by Andrew Murray explains this lesson:

Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised.
~ Andrew Murray

For like Paul, I want to always be content and even grateful. I want to always remember the fact that His grace is sufficient for me. I desire to stay humble and know that God’s strength can be made known when I realize my weakness. (see 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).

Lord, help me not be selfish; teach me not to try to impress others. Help me be humble, thinking of others as better than myself. (Philippians 2:3)
In Jesus name I pray. Amen

What Does Victory Look Like?

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As we dig deep into prayer and action for those who have been abused and/or exploited, I have been pondering what victory really looks like.  Is it possible to measure answered prayer, and breakthrough of freedom and justice.  The answer to me seems complicated, yet simple. Yes, we have seen so much happen with awareness and major steps in collaborating with all aspects of society to end human trafficking. I believe that prayer has much to do with that (along with the persevering hard work of many).  But what does victory look like?  I know there are ways to measure “outcomes” when we have specific goals and a plan of action.  But, I think victory really is an issue of the heart.  In my experience, it is those moments where things  happen when no one is aware of (behind the scenes). I have appreciated those who have not judged my intent, and actions, but instead gently guided me back on the right path when I have gone astray.  Those moments of sacrificial love and acceptance play a key role in my victory.  I am forever grateful for those who have loved and have not looked for anything in return.  They have helped me most.  They have motivated me to be more like them.  Or should I say more like Him.

The Greek word for sacrificial love is agape.
“Unconditional love that is always giving and impossible to take or be a taker. It devotes total commitment to seek your highest best no matter how anyone may respond. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change whether the love given is returned or not. (taken from Focus on the Family article)

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:46-48  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Pray with me:  Lord, forgive me when I have not loved the way you have commanded me to do.  I confess that sometimes I have been self righteous, and judgmental.  I desire to be merciful, even as my Father is merciful (Luke 6:36).  Help me be a witness of your love so that victory can happen in my life, and those lives in my path.  In Jesus name, Amen

To be prepared

As I was reading scripture on how Jesus was warning the disciples about his death.  I started remembering all the times that God gave me warnings during changes in my life. I would like to think that He was preparing me for what was ahead.  I have many stories of how He prepared me just before my relationship ended with my husband.  He prepared my heart just before both my parents went into eternal glory, and the list of stories goes on.  God also prepares us for the work He has called us to do.  He uses things that we experience for His glory in the future.  The relationships I made along my life’s journey (especially the difficult ones) has prepared me to work in ministry now.  As I look back, just like the disciples, I had no idea that God was even preparing me.  Those times when I thought he might be preparing me, I had no idea what for.  That still holds true for today.

John 14: 1-5  reads“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe [a] in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way where I am going.  Even just before Jesus died, he was comforting the disciples about what was ahead.  We need not worry about anything, for He has already prepared a place for us- how comforting is that?

I just want to end with one more thing that I found interesting as I studied the greek word for prepare (hetoimazo). It simply means to make ready.  Revelation 21:2 reads And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband;  The NLT version uses beautifully dressed for her husband- what a wonderful way to describe prepared! 

Lord, as you prepared your disciples (including us) for what is ahead, may we be prepared (beautifully dressed) for your return!  Amen!!

 

Love Never Ends

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

One of the reasons two people fall in love is because of how they feel about themselves when they are with each other. They allow each other to feel accepted and beautiful. They inspire one another to be their best.   1 Corinthians 13 says:

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends;

When we are rejected by someone we  love, or that love is not reciprocated , that love takes on a different form.  When that happens  it can become a blessing. It can be God’s way of showing us how He loves us even when we didn’t love Him. He trusts us enough to have a glimpse of how He loves, to personally experience love incarnate.  Instead of feeling disappointed, we should feel delighted and privileged that He wants us to experience that type of love. So,  be glad,  rejoice and keep loving!

A Time to Break Barriers

It can seem overwhelming at times as we begin to address the oppressions associated with human trafficking.  It is one thing to bring awareness about racism, violence (in all it’s forms), sexual abuse and pornography (just to name a few).  But it is another thing to really talk about it (both one on one and in a group).  Each of these sensitive issues affect people in so many different ways.  There are many life experiences that give each person a different perspective.

Yes, there are facts and statistics that need to be shared. They make us realize the reality of it all.  But more importantly,  these statistics are actually people whose lives have been affected, carrying deep wounds that need to be healed.  And yes, WE are those people.  In order for barriers between gender, generation, races, religion etc., we need to learn how to better communicate. Here are just a few prayers with scripture to help us:

SPEAK

Proverbs 31:8

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing.

As we speak for others (or for ourselves), we can actually do more harm than good.  We may think we are protecting some while oppressing others.  I have realized that from being on both sides of the spectrum.  It is important to speak our opinion, yet in an appropriate way.

Lord,

Help us to better at communicating our words to others:

Give us wisdom, and discretion

Proverbs 5:1-2

My son, be attentive to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding;  that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.

Proverbs 11:22

A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.

Proverbs 17:27

He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

Teach us to speak words that give life, honor and respect

Proverbs18:21

Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life.

Titus 3:2

to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.

Give us your words, not our own

Psalm 141:3

Take control of what I say, O LORD, and keep my lips sealed.

Please protect our hearts, and teach us to not let our own pain influence our words

Proverbs 4:23

Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life

Luke 6:45

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Help us to let go of all bitterness and anger

Colossians 3:8

but now do ye also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth

Ephesians 4:31-32

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

LISTEN

James 1:19

My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Speaking from my own experience, I can understand how important it is to be listened to and to listen to others.  A good listener is a gift from God

Lord, give us an attentive ear to the needs and emotions of those around us:

Give us patience to listen first

Proverbs 18: 13

If one gives answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame

Humble us! Help us receive words of instruction

Proverbs 19:27

If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you have turned your back on knowledge.

Proverbs 12:15

Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.

Humble us! Heal us from selfishness

Philippians 2:2-4

Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Heal us, Teach us not to be offended

Proverbs 19:11

Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

 

My last prayer is that through shining light in the darkness, by being courageous enough to discuss painful and difficult things, God gets glorified!  I pray that He uses those very things that have seperated us to unite us! I pray that as we learn to communicate about painful things, we learn to hear each other’s deep pain with the love of our Father.

Ephesians 4:15-16

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.

John 17:21-23

The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind – Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are –  I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you’ve sent me and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me.