Wow! What an amazing finish to this year! God so blessed me to finish “His” book: Don’t just breakthrough, BREAK FREE! I say His book because I had totally different intentions when I started writing the tome. But beloved, God had to bring me through various trials and deliver me from some things in order for me to understand the gist of what I was writing about! Including: stubborness, unforgiveness, pride, homelessness, joblessness and debilitating sickness. I payed the price with blood, sweat and tears! It took me nearly 7 years to finish this book!
I now realize if it had been published when I first started writing it, it would have been verbiage and not experience. It would have been words but no substance. It reminds me of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. God had to allow me to be thrown into the fiery furnace to test this word that I was proclaiming; He had to test my faith by fire! Luke 22:31-32 says, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail! So like clay, instead of being burned up, my faith has been refined into a beautiful vessel! Hallelujah! A vessel for salvation, a vessel of hope, a vessel of light to the lost, depressed, and those that are struggling to live another day!
Many of you may know I’ve recently lost a dear loved one. You never really realize the magnitude of death until it knocks on your door. When I was writing this book, for some reason God put on my heart to write: “From time to time, God will send you a travel companion to help you along your way [on life’s journey]. Although you may be tempted to get upset when they leave, don’t!” Page 237. I could not understand at the time why I had written that as I never really lost anyone close to me to death. While editing the final chapters of the book, when I reread that sentence, I wept. Beloved, God knows the trials we will endure before we can ever conceive of them. Surely, we can never understand why God allows good people to die violently, but oh how He loves us and protects and keeps us in the midst of life’s storms. I love you and God bless you!
When a rescue boat arrived at a canal in Beaumont Texas, there they saw 3-yr-old Jordyn floating atop torrent waters wearing her little back pack; which would turn out to be be her life-saving device that kept her afloat as she clung tightly to her mother. Fearing for her little life, I could only imagine, as her mother, 41-year-old Collete Sulcer lay dead, face down in the canal having tried to save her infant daughter from flooding waters. Upon reading this harrowing account of one of the most heart-wrenching casualties of Hurricane Harvey, if not the worst, I sobbed profusely. The reality of a child losing a mother at such a young age and now having to navigate the harsh waters of life — alone.
Watching newscast reports of haunting stories of Harvey victims, I felt guilty and helpless. And now with Irma having touched down in the Caribbean and threatening her wrath across the Southeast US by Thursday, and hurricane Jose and Katia following close behind, it brings fear and anxiety for the fate of our Southern neighbors and perhaps even us in New York if Irma extends her reach far north. As we sit by and watch haplessly news reports of its looming destruction, you may feel helpless or despondent. “What can I do?” You may ask yourself. Simply: Pray! There are people called to go support on the front lines and there are others that are called to fight behind the scenes! This is where I need your help! I’m asking that if you are reading this post, if you can pray and spread the word to pray against Irma in your immediate circles and dedicate a day or two to fast. Who knows? Maybe we can pray Irma away from its deadly path of destruction or lessen its impact. The Bible says in Matthew 18:20, that where two or three are gathered together in my name I’m there in the midst of them. Let’s call on God’s infinite power to intervene. Let’s stand in proxy for our SE neighbors. And, moreso, with pressing events happening around the world, now is not the time to be apathetic. It’s time to pray!
It reminds me in Isaiah 1:17, when Isaiah commanded the rain to cease from falling.
Now Elijah the Tishbite was a prophet from the settlers in Gilead. “I serve the Lord, the God of Israel,” Elijah said to Ahab. “As surely as the Lord lives, no rain or dew will fall during the next few years unless I command it.”
In this context, Isaiah commanded the rain to cease because at the time Israel was under the rule of wicked King Ahab and many in Israel were worshipping false gods. Idol worshippers in Israel believed Baal to be the god of agriculture and seasons. When Isaiah commanded it to stop raining, it did for 3 long years, those complicit in worshipping Baal soon realized they were worshipping a false god.
Beloved, when we are faithless, God remains faithful and He answers prayers! But, first we must ask!
When we think of temptation we may relate to the anecdote of satan, a physical presence in the form of a snake, tempting Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Eve is enticed and tempted by the captivating fruit that she desires, but in which God told her was forbidden.
I want to talk to you today about a not so obvious temptation; one that is hidden but its bite is as viscous as a snake’s. It’s very subtle, often times catching you off guard and causing you to act out of character.What I’m talking about is emotional temptation. It’s a type of temptation that the devil uses to break your peace. It is when he assigns demons, thru people, to harass and entice you to react negatively or cause you to lose control.
Satan knows your weaknesses. Most temptations are physical: lust, adultery, stealing, alcohol, drugs. e.t.c. But what I’m speaking about in this text are inward temptations: fear, doubt, anger, rage, vanity — to name a few. Temptation that deals with your emotions. Satan often sends his messengers through people to break your confidence, question your looks or abilities, aggravate you, get you flustered and frustrated; which causes you to deflect. By theory you’re a nice person but you have been so severely tormented and harassed by satan’s tempters, it causes you to forget who you are. It causes you to forget your inner beauty, good manners, compassion and dignity.
Some of you don’t even know who you are anymore. You’ve been hijacked by the devil! You used to be loving, kind, and gentle, but because of the circumstances of this life, you’ve turned inward: feeling victimized, feeling sorry for yourself, and letting bitterness take hold, in which you then give back to the world.
If you don’t know who you are the devil will steal your identity! Emotional temptation by the enemy causes you to momentarily be used by the devil by losing your temper, retaliating, and seeking vengeance. After the damage has been done the end result is embarrassment and degradation, then satan leaves just as quickly as he came and you’re left wondering what just happened. You were a pawn to do satan’s work. If you are not wise you will fall into his trap every time, causing destruction upon yourself. If this is your weakness you must be very mindful and prayerful regarding this area of your spiritual walk. Ask God to give you discernment and give you wisdom every time you’re provoked emotionally, not to let satan use you.
Beloved, we have to use common sense as well. If it doesn’t look right, sound right or true, if it doesn’t feel right, it’s sent from the enemy! Walk away! Or if you are in an environment where you can’t walk away, remain silent or try to ignore the offense. Resist the urge to respond, argue, fight. If God leads you to speak on the situation, do so tactfully and kindly then leave the rest to God. Resist the urge to retaliate or seek vengeance. Vengeance is the Lord’s.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
He will take care of the person. You may feel violated, taken advantage of or victimized. Resist the urge to defend yourself from emotional temptation, otherwise you’re walking into the fire. It will take disciplining and training yourself in order to not be provoked by condemning or confronting situations.
Through subjective life experiences, you have learned to respond to situations a certain way; whether good or bad. Pray that God breaks the bad habits. Further develop your good habits.
Signs you’re dealing with emotional temptation:
-Always angry, upset
-Holding a grudge
-Closed off from people
-Used to give freely now holding back
Ask God to remind you who you are, then ask Him to remind you of your first love: Him! If you don’t have a personal relationship with God ask Him to show you how to love like Him; if you do, ask God to help you fall in love with Him again, only then can you love people despite the devil working through them. We must be reminded how the Bible says we should love:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Print this out! Hang it on your mirror, refrigerator, dresser. Get these verses into your spirit, Beloved. Live it, don’t just simply read it! Only then will you be able to look contempt in its face, walk away with peace in your heart and let God fight your battles.
O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
2 Chronicles 20:12
This was the cry of the people of Judah who soon learned that they would be attacked by an alliance of the Ammonites, Moabites, and Menuites. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, out of great fear, sought the Lord for help and proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah.Beloved, though this story happened in Biblical times, it still rings true to what the people of God are experiencing today.
Those spiritually attuned can sense a more diabolical presence of evil in these last days. Sometimes it may feel as if you are being smothered by spiritual attacks on all sides: in relationships, on the job, commuting, and even in your own home; like the land of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 20:1, when word went out that Judah was under attack by surrounding neighbors.
Sometimes the warfare can seem so intense that the first thing we do when we face an attack is reach out to a spouse, relative or friend first. And, most of the time you go away just as you came: still distressed, frazzled, and confused. Most people will listen but aren’t really qualified to help you. Why is God always our last resort? Because we want immediate answers. We want to be soothed and comforted in that moment. We want a word now! More, oftentimes in these situations God seems silent and we need immediate answers.
In 2 Chronicles 20:3, the Bible says the first thing Jehoshaphat did was SEEK THE LORD and proclaim a fast. How often do we forget simply to seek God first and not let emotions get the best of us. The second thing we do is seek spiritual guidance or desperately try to get answers from a person whom we may feel hears from the Lord. Saints if you are to ever grow spiritually and eat the solid food of Christianity as Paul says in Corinthians, you must learn to seek God’s face yourself. Wait to hear His voice, wait for His leading, wait until you get direction from Him before you move. Wait before consulting others. Many people put their faith in other people as opposed to God, or worst they put more faith in the problem than in God. More, you don’t trust God but you trust others’ fallible opinion. No, you must believe that you too can hear from God. That’s the only way you will mature in spiritual warfare. You must learn to fight your own battles. We must have faith in God and stand firm on His word as the people of Judah:
‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’
2 Chronicles 20:9
Most of you are running around in panic and sheer terror regarding this evil trial that is facing you. You are stressing yourself out when God is simply telling you to give it to Him. This battle really is between evil and righteousness. Darkness and light. Demonic forces are sent out to try to frustrate God’s plans for your life. But what God has written in stone shall be fulfilled no matter what forces try to oppose it.
Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’
2 Chronicles 20:15
But here’s where you drop the ball. In the midst of the trial, what are you thinking? Are you thinking defeated thoughts? You are believing the enemy’s lies that you aren’t gonna get through this situation; to give up; there’s no hope. So you neglect to read your Bible, neglect to fast and hope the situation will just go away. You’ve given up on the inside. Therefore, you are already defeated. If you can just muster up a mustard seed of faith and open your mouth and believe. That’s all it takes, and proclaim the goodness and mercy of God over your situation and it WILL change! PRAISE HIM! Beloved, your worship determines your victory!
And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.
2 Chronicles 20:22
Beloved, sometimes you just have to praise your way out of persecution, trials, attacks. God goes to war to the command of praise!
In continuation from the last post, I would like to futher explore what I feel God is speaking to singles this year; as well as those that are separated from a spouse or those who feel isolated within a marriage.
I am a girl’s girl! I love having friendships and bonding with my fellow sisters. I love that women can come together in times of need to edify, encourage, and uplift one another. I love that my friends and I don’t take for granted the need to bond and break bread together. Oftentimes when we come together we cry, laugh, and share anecdotes of embarrassing moments, mistakes, regrets, courting and of course men! It is out of some of these very intimate conversations that I feel led to write on the subject regarding singles. While this post isn’t entirely for women, there are many men that may identify with and learn from this text.
It seems as if dating and sex are the elephants in the room at many churches. There, I said it! Often there are ministries devoted to couples, single moms, youth, seniors, even prison ministries but a consensus that I find that is often lacking in many churches is a ministry devoted strictly to middle aged singles. Yes, there are some churches with singles’ ministries but sadly many of them are simply singles’ retreats that don’t address the underlying issues many single people face: dating, lust, and sex!
Many singles are struggling in this area and sadly are resorting to fornication, pornography, lust, and masturbation while singing in the choir, ushering, and working in ministry because they feel their specific concerns aren’t being met corporately within the church. This is the most common area where many women secretly confide in me for answers. One woman told me she had been single for years and was simply tired of waiting on God! Sadly, she started a sexual relationship with a young man and it ended horribly. Beloved, God knows best! Wait on His timing! It seems as if this subject is taboo in church, which should not be. If there are any clergy reading this post, I admonish you in your prayer time to ask God how to incorporate a singles’ ministry into your church or if there is a singles’ ministry, ask God how to get to know the needs and concerns of its members and restructure a plan to meet their needs.
First off, let me start by saying, according to the Bible, I believe single people should not have sex until marriage. But because of underlying root problems many singles are forgoing this belief whether because of agnosticism, pop culture, loneliness, peer pressure, or a need to feel loved and accepted. And that is what I would like to address today.
LET’S EXPLORE THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Beloved, many singles, even though some sit under sound doctrine at church are fornicating Saturday night but are Holier than thou on Sunday morning. Because of these dalliances babies are born out of wedlock, some are committing adultery, some are contracting STD’s and sadly, some are aborting babies to hide their sin. All for what? Love, loneliness, a need to feel wanted, a feeling of rejection? All of these key factors play an important role in this behavior, but the most important I believe, is rejection! Let’s delve exactly what rejection is and the ramifications caused by it. Rejection is a feeling of unacceptance and exclusion by another party or parties. In the spirit realm, it manifests as a spirit that attaches itself to people and if not recognized and cast out can cause many to live unfulfilled and loveless lives. Some people carry a spirit of rejection because of many different factors:
▪️Rejection in the womb.
Some people were rejected in the womb at birth. Some women who got pregnant didn’t want the child therefore spoke a curse of rejection over their child’s life, either verbally or emotionally. Some women tried to abort a child, but for whatever reason had the child. Some women put their child up for adoption. Many adoptees, even though some have been raised by a loving family, desperately search for birth parents because they still feel unloved and unattached–spirit of rejection. Beloved, rejection in the womb is a spirit projected onto a person from birth that if not cast out will cause a person to go through their whole life, unbeknownst to them, desperately looking for someone to love them.
▪️Rejection as a child.
Some children were rejected by parents, relatives, or peers and it left an indelible mark on their emotional state. Some people felt rejected by their parents because the parents perhaps worked more on their jobs than spending time with them. Some people, their parents were in the home but only talked to them when scolding or beating them; or their presence was in the home physically but not emotionally–they didn’t communicate with the child. These parents never told their kids they loved them or showed them any type of affection. In continuation, many people were told that they were not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough and that led to very low self-esteem. Some people were called names or teased by relatives or peers because of a birth trait, or physical trait that left them feeling insecure, indifferent or unworthy. Beloved, the spirit behind these hurtful words told them that they were not good enough. Therefore many have spent their lives trying to be accepted, trying to measure up, trying to seek the approval of people who’re often unworthy of them.
Beloved, many curse themselves with their own mouth because of what they believe about themselves. Because of bullying by peers as mentioned above, some will carry the insulting words in their mind well into adult hood, look into the mirror and pick themselves apart: I’m not pretty enough to get the mate I want, I’m not smart enough, I’m too fat among other self-hating thoughts that people tell themselves daily. Beloved, if you believe these things about yourself you will believe others share this same view about you and it is simply not the truth! There is a spirit of vanity in today’s culture that is causing many to measure themselves up against celebrity standards. Contrarily, some people fall on the opposite side of the spectrum. Rejection has caused some to exhibit a false sense of pride. No man or woman is good enough for them. They may be very attractive and have everything going for them, but this spirit of rejection drives potential suitors away because internally they really don’t accept themselves. It’s a spirit of perfection. How you see you is how others will see you, despite appearance. Beauty comes from within. People gravitate towards a beautiful spirit. Work on yourself internally first. Study what God’s word says about you. Psalms 139. Begin to speak life over yourself, not death. Proverbs 18:21. You have to learn how to accept yourself before anyone else will. Until you rebuke this spirit of rejection and accept yourself, you’ll never attract your divine mate because this spirit of rejection will chase them away. I also advise you to seek out deliverance ministries and allow men of God to lay hands, anoint with oil and pray for you concerning this area.
▪️Many feel God has rejected them.
Beloved, I have talked to people who strongly feel that God rejected them because parents abandoned them as children, they lost a loved one or a spouse cheated on, abused them and/or walked out on them. In their minds they think God is their enemy, that He has cursed them, or rejected them. That cannot be further from the truth. In this life we all have our share of heartache and pain, but many internalize theirs with a narrow-minded subjective view. Let this type of thinking go. God loves you and wants the best for you! Recognize who the real enemy is: satan. The Bible says he comes to rob, steal and kill. John 10:10. Some people refuse to believe that satan or a devil exists. He does, and sadly he is destroying many lives, some because of choices made or doors left open to sin, yet God is still getting the blame! Beloved, God gives us free will to choose. Some choose wrongly then blame God. God is speaking restoration this year. Restore your relationship with Him. Let go of the anger and animosity you feel towards God and allow Him to heal you!
GOD LOVES YOU
Beloved this spirit of rejection has destroyed many of lives. The need to be accepted has caused many women to turn to prostitution, the sex industry, drugs, and live lascivious lifestyles all because they have not dealt with the root cause of their problem. As well, men by trying to find love through money, status, wrong relationships and many sexual partners, but to name but a few.
GOD IS RESTORING SINGLES
God wants you to know that you are worthy! He loves you! He wants to restore you in this season. Get behind the root of your behavior; whether it’s low self-worth, loneliness, abandonment, or rejection. Find out why it is you behave the way you do in regards to relationships. When you do I guarantee God will meet you where you are and the healing will begin. You can’t take this word nonchalantly but run with it! Help him heal you to be able to love the way He created you to love: in honesty, purity, truth, and transparently.
After you have dealt with the root of your problem, you have to know what you want, you cannot be double minded. One minute you want to be married the next minute you don’t because of past hurts or fear. Whatever you want, be firm in that position and pray for God to bless you! God says make up your mind then I will bless you! Because of anger, resentment, pain, and past hurts, (some decades old) many people’s relationships have been stunted, wombs have been closed, hopes, dreams have died and weddings have been put on hold. Deal with the root of your problem, only then can God grow holy, pure, beautiful, loving relationships in 2016.
I was made a servant of the gospel by God’s special gift, which He gave me through the working of His power. Ephesian 3:7
The above verse is commentary from Apostle Paul, mentioning his implantation in God’s kingdom as a disciple of the most high. Paul says in the aforementioned verse, I was “ made a servant” of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not that he went in his own volition or was a follower of Jesus. Quite the opposite! Many who are familiar with Paul’s story knows that before his conversion from Saul, he was a diabolical opponent of Jesus’ teachings and followers of Christ. Paul persecuted and killed those who followed Christ and deemed to eradicate the movement of the gospel. It was on the road to Damascus that Jesus appeared to Paul and reprimanded him for persecuting him, closed his eyes of darkness and thus gave him the gift to see (Acts 9:4-15).
So what does this so called “gift” have to do with loneliness and isolation? In Ephesians 4:7, Paul says that each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. You see beloved, God didn’t just strike Paul blind, I believe the blindness was a metaphor for Paul’s spiritual darkness. Paul thought he was doing a noble, lawful thing by persecuting followers of Christ. He thought he was preserving the current religious laws of the land. God shut paul’s eyes to show him the evil, wicked, and immoral life he was living through pride, self-righteousness, and murder. And God, through Ananias, revealed to Paul that the only way His eyes could be truly opened to the spirit realm and receive true sight is to be touched by God! (Acts 9:12). Even Ananias pleaded with the Lord that this man was too wicked and evil! But I love how the Lord says in Acts 9:15, “Go your way, for he is my chosen vessel to bear my name before nations and kings, and the children of Israel.
Beloved, God chose Paul as his disciple, opened his eyes to a deeper understanding of the things of God that most Christ followers at that time couldn’t comprehend, and gave him many spiritual gifts. One being a gift of deliverance (or exorcism), when he cast out a spirit of divination in a girl in the village whom merchants were using for profit. (Acts 16:18). But the irony is that with these spiritual gifts will come loneliness and isolation! Even on Paul’s spiritual journey there were moments of loneliness and isolation. Recall when Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas when they were spreading the gospel in Pamphylia, which later caused contention between Paul and his cohort Barnabas and they too would eventually part ways.
It was He who gave gifts to mankind; he appointed some to be pastors and teachers. (12) He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. (GNB).
How many of you God has given a gift and you denied it because of your own personal dreams, goals, or worldly ambitions. Or, how many of you have denied His gift because you feel like you aren’t qualified to represent God like Paul, or do not have your life together. But does not God say in 1 Corinthians 1:27, that He uses things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful (NLT). More, some even deny the gift because of concern with pleasing spouse or family. 1 Corinthians 7:33 says, a married man concerns himself with worldly matters, because he wants to please his wife; and he is pulled in two directions. And more — this part many women do not want to hear: 1 Corinthians 7:34, says an unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord’s work, because she wants to be dedicated both body and spirit. There are so many woman who are depressed and feel alone because they want to get married and feel like God does not favor them because He has not given them a husband. I speak to many of these women and a common consensus, I find, is a lack of Biblical study, or even spending time with the Lord. Many, men and women, do not spend intimate personal time with Christ to learn His heart, His leading, His direction for finding a mate. They have a void within themselves, an emptiness that they think only a man or woman can fill when Jesus is already waiting at the altar; He already fell in love with you, but you’re trying to fill that love outside of Him! I wonder if women and men would concern themselves with the Lord’s work and be dedicated to Him in body and spirit first, how many would attract mates who are drawn to them because of their worship of Christ – because they are operating in their gift! Amen!
More, I find that the people God does truly call or give a spiritual gift, often do not want to go! It’s the ones that God does not call that are the ones that are happy to let you know with titles of a Dr., prophet, prophetess, a preacher a pastor etc. before their names. Sadly, some go to push their own agenda, or propaganda. But those that are truly called to proclaim the gospel, there can be, in the beginning, an inward struggle. It takes a letting go of the person’s plans, goals and ambitions; laying down of their life to follow Christ. Beloved that is not an easy task! The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:12, that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted! Who in their natural mind would want to sign up to be persecuted? That’s why it is a struggle for some! Beloved, the spirits that operate in this world are wicked and evil, you are going to be persecuted anyway, so why not for Christ? The devil will only give you temporary satisfaction. The devil makes deals. Whatever he gives you he wants to collect something else for it in return!
Romans 11:29 says,
For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable!
Amen! That means that when God gives it to you, He expects nothing in return! The “gifts” of God are irrevocable! Many people want to be in control of their own lives and the lives of others, so they turn to dealing in the occult to get gifts from the devil. You best believe whatever satan gives you he wants a return on his investment! Why do you think you read about so many people involved in these types of practices who commit suicide or murder, or perform other bizarre behaviors that are incomprehensible? Beloved, there is a spiritual realm and it is real! Granted, when a person submits to God’s call, as 2 Timothy 3:12 says, will suffer persecution because the devil will do everything he can to stop the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that will involve times of loneliness, rejection and isolation. Some people will simply think you have become too religious, some will now feel uncomfortable around you; feeling like they can no longer do things around you that they used to do in fear of judgement, and other times God will allow periods of being alone to teach you how to hear His voice; to teach you how to love Him, and to perfect your gifts.
Beloved, that’s why we must constantly do our part and work on our personal relationship with Christ. Work on learning His heart, what pleases Him, and learning His ways. If not, we will turn inward and blame Christ and develop and angry attitude towards Him simply because we don’t understand with our limited thinking. We will begin to blame God for our mishaps when the enemy is simply the devil, and not God!
As people called in Christ, God has given us a gift. In Ephesians 3:3, Paul says that God revealed to him the “Secret plan.” I love that verse because those die-hard followers of Christ know this secret! No matter how much they are persecuted by satan and his cohorts, they keep fighting because God has opened their eyes in the spirit realm. Like gifts, anyone can obtain the secret but some are too busy with the world’s system: money, recognition, power, wealth. More, some are just too busy with the ordinary day-to-day goings on of life to get His secrets or gifts to defeat the enemies in their lives! It has to be a strong desire to live holy and righteous and to want to know the truth of God to really receive this gift. Paul says in Ephesians 3:5, that God has revealed this secret by the spirit to His Holy apostles and prophets. Sadly, some people in church don’t have the gifts, though they sit Sunday after Sunday in their designated church pews only socializing with their inner church circles, while new converts are often isolated and lost in a new environment to eventually stop attending church altogether. Some are even so concerned about recognition within the church that they neglect their own family’s needs and do not even call or check on sick family members or neighbors in their neighborhood outside of their church, outside of their church ministry or without receiving recognition. Sadly, these have not yet received the gift! I say yet because beloved, I have been on both sides of the fence. I am so thankful to God that He has lifted the veil, and opened my eyes like Paul, and it is only because of deep prayer, and wanting God’s heart that He gave me true vision!
It is truly a gift to be sensitive to others’ needs. You never know what people are going through or if one day they may decide to take their lives because they feel like no one cares. Even if people may slight our greetings or invitations we must put our own feelings aside and not let a spirit of rejection enter our hearts and become embittered or angry. We must keep reaching out to God’s people, despite rejection. And this I will tell you takes much patience and diligent prayer. Somehow, we have turned into a me me generation. What are people doing for me, or how can this benefit me. I will be the first to vouch for this because I was this way for years. But what I had noticed was it was a generational curse passed down my lineage. It was a spirit of pride operating in my family and I was determined to break the cycle!
Moreover, sometimes God will allow loneliness and isolation so you have no other choice but to go to Him; so you have no choice but to cry out to Him! When God is ready to elevate you to the next level in your spiritual growth, He will remove the cushion of family, friends, and sometimes church members! It will seem like in the physical everyone is acting up or abandoning you, but in the spirit God is pulling up the weeds, planting new soil, killing the infestation of dead religion! — creating new fruit in you! A servant that is going to be used by God must first learn how to serve. Nowadays, everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, everyone wants to be in the spotlight without first learning humility; how to cater to their brothers and sisters’ needs first. Sadly, with the resources of social media, I believe it is exacerbating selfishness, self-marketing and self-promotion. As humans we are so driven by our ego and the constant need of validation, recognition to prove ourselves, our worth or talent. Hard we may try, we still fall victim to the world’s propaganda and ideologies, when God calls us to be the exact opposite: to validate others, build up others’ self-esteem; help others to recognize their gifts and help nurture it! We look at shepherds as leading the flock, but in essence shepherds serve their flock: nurturing, caring for, and feeding each and everyone.
If you are to be a shepherd for Christ, you must grasp this lesson. Get it! Ingrain it! If we are to be used of Christ, we must put ourselves aside; our egos, and serve God’s people! I’m not just talking about in church, but in everyday life. Serve your family first: call your family, check in with them if you haven’t heard from them in a while – not text or email, but be a compassionate voice on the other end of the line. Serve at your job by being a listening ear to a despondent co-worker. Serve a person on the bus by giving up your seat, and showing the love and generosity of Christ. Serve your neighbors by introducing yourself, and letting them know you are available should they ever need anything. Beloved, that’s showing the heart of God and using your gifts! Serve from a place of humility, lowliness, not self-validation, recognition; putting others before ourselves, their needs, wants – most, putting God’s love before our own need for love. It was once said, “whatever you need, give it away.” Beloved, that’s how you truly overcome loneliness and isolation. Give yours away! It’s hard, I know because we all want to feel loved and needed, but for some of us, God has made us self-sustainers and has given us his self-sustaining love that we grasp stronger than most. These that understand this love in a deeper more profound way, He calls to spread that love to others who feel lonely and unloved; those who are weaker in the faith.
The problem is we began to get jealous of God’s love for others and turn inward and ask, “what about me, Lord?” When God has equipped us with all the love we will ever need in Him! We just have to learn how to tap into it!
So today I look at my Christian walk through new eyes, a new perspective. God calls us to go out and feed His sheep, only then will we cure our own loneliness!
I had been wanting to go to Thailand since forever! I can remember as a child, it seemed as if every product, toy or candy was labeled, made in Thailand. I envisioned a tropical island with colorful flowers, sandy beaches, and people lounging on hammocks all day, sipping fruity drinks out of coconuts. Thailand…it sounded so exotic! And, it was very fascinating to me that these products came all the way from across the world to my local stores.
Fast forward to now as an adult. Because of the foodie in me, and a penchant to try foods from different countries, I was reacquainted with Thailand. The first Thai dish I tried is still my favorite: Pad Thai! It was love at first bite! Moreover, Thailand has become quite the popular tourist destination in recent years. Many of my friends have made the trek some 8,000 miles or so across the world, and they’ve all come back telling me how fun, lively and exciting it was! Not to mention all the shopping they’d done and all the great deals they found at rocket bottom prices! It’s settled, I’m going one day, I quipped!
A few years later, the time, or shall I say times came, but both trips fell through. Quite disappointed, I thought Ok, am I ever going to get to go to Thailand. While complaining to God over the mishaps, a thought came to me, did you ask God should you go. What? Ask God? As a Christian, it didn’t even dawn on me to ask God should I take a trip. I’m so used to taking off and running when I make a decision about something, without first ensuring if it is God’s will. I was then reminded of the Buddhist culture there and the many temples and idol worship in Thailand.
The word of God teaches you how to fight. When you face trials and tribulation, you will either succumb to the attack or put on your God appointed armor and do battle! Caveat emptor: It requires discipline! Just face it now, if you’re born again and you choose the call of The Great Commission, you will face a life-long spiritual battle with the devil! The life of Christianity is not passive. It is not desperately sitting back waiting for the battle to be over, but contrarily picking up your spiritual weapons and fighting back until you have penetrated the enemy’s ground! So many Saints struggle in this area of their Christian walk. They endure a life of harassment, mental torment and persecution from the devil. Often settling for their health, joy and peace to be taken away from them. If you have a dogged determination and stand firmly on God’s promise, you can take back ground stolen from you, your family members and loved ones; precious lives the enemy has destroyed.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Beloved, one must be spiritually prepared, and not blindly walk into encampments set up by the enemy to destroy you! What are those encampments? Your household, your job, your friendships, your business dealings, your finances, your health! Sometimes the attack is so vicious it may feel like you are stepping on land mines all around you! Satan works through people, including yourself! More, some battles you will lose! Others you may have to keep fighting a lifetime with the enemy not budging!
There was a beloved pastor’s wife whom I knew of. This beautiful, humble soul was stricken with cancer at an early age. It was reported that she had suffered 21 or so grueling surgeries! One can barley tolerate the thought of one let alone 21! Sadly to report, after many decades of prayer, the church interceding, and fighting the devil, the First Lady eventually lost her battle to cancer. Some things we will just have to endure that only God will know the answer to. But, we must not lose hope! It will take persistence, consistence, and diligence to keep fighting the good fight of faith! When severe pressure is upon us, hard as it may be, we must not cave in and quit or give up. Even when you feel like you can’t pray, God knows your thoughts before you even think them–keep your mind on Him! When you feel like you can’t read your Bible, turn on worship music and let the words minister to you! Remembering:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 KJV) You cannot give up!
The “night” matures us spiritually, it makes us more Christ like. When you first gave your life to Christ, there may have been overwhelming joy and great anticipation of your new christian walk: you joined a church, attended new believer’s classes, and supplied Christian books to read. There was a general feeling of euphoria that you were finally on the right path in life. You felt God’s touch on your life and some, God may have delivered out of deep bondage. But along the way, you began to face situations that challenged your faith, situations that tested your will, situations that you couldn’t find the answers to in a self-help book! My friend, you may have experienced devastating, life altering situations that resigned you to that of a fetal position, on the floor weeping like a baby, the pain hurt so badly! Beloved, this may have been your night, BUT! The Bible says that if you will just trust in Him with ALL your heart and ALL your mind (Proverbs 3:5), your joy will come in the morning! Amen!
I find that there are different stages of our christian walk. After conversion, you first learn how to pray, how to maneuver the Bible, and what it means to live a God called life. Secondly, God then begins to show you what your calling is in Him. Along with that calling, rest assured, will come an assigned fleet of demons whose job it is to do everything in their power to disprove the anointing on your life! The next phase will be a phase of the testing of your will and your faith. Indeed, the hardest stage for the called in Christ! In this stage you will experience extreme torment from the devil, even though you may be doing all the spiritual work! For those that may be saying this is not my testimony, this message is not for you!–but those on the front line of spiritual warfare, those that are experiencing extreme harassment from the devil because of your anointed call in Christ! The devil vehemently hates it when another pastor is birthed, another church is planted, and when another sinner gives his soul to Christ!
You will go through periods when God’s voice will seem reticent, or you may question: ‘God where are you?’ It will seem as if all hell has broken loose in every area of your life! You will be persecuted on every side, and may feel as Paul did on his Christian journey:
For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. (2 Corinthians 7:5)
It may seem as if you are screaming out to God with all your might and yet your voice is inaudible. You may even become angry at God in His silence. It’s a time of testing, tearing down, building up, and strengthening you. It will cause you to go deeper in the work of Christ; deeper in study, deeper in spiritual preparation, deeper in prayer, deeper in fasting. His silence is teaching you how to adamantly trust the word of God and not your feelings! No matter how dark the valley is, He’s teaching you to fear not the evil one, He’s teaching you that, although you cannot see Him, or feel His presence, He’s fighting right beside you! It’s like the parable of the footsteps in the sand. Some things you will look back on and wonder in amazement, how you made it through! Amen! It’s because God carried you! We were wounded and ready to be slaughtered, yet a loving Savior picked us up where our strength failed, and carried us the rest of the way! Selah!
The longer it takes us to completely trust and have faith in God, I believe the longer our spiritual growth will be stunted in our Christian walk. Christianity requires proactively growing in Christ. There will be trial and error in our growth yes, but to grow in Him with a purpose and a plan, that requires diligent study, prayer, and a concerted effort to make time with God daily. Beloved there is something to be said about spending time in God’s presence! The anointing comes down! There is a sweet peace. God will give you wisdom, knowledge, and signs and wonders. He will give you secrets, direction, and ideas your mind could never possibly conceive on its own.
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. (Acts 5:12 KJV)
In the latter part of the Christian walk, you may enter into a place of supernatural discernment. You will have Godly wisdom and a deeper understanding of spirituality! Those called began to teach, edify, encourage, prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:4-12). There will still be testing, but it will not destroy you like it used to! You’ll know the exact spiritual tools to apply against your enemy and come out a victor! Amen! You will have a concrete belief in God; no trick, lie, or scheme from the devil will be able to dissuade you. You know it’s a war between good and evil, and you will distinctively know your place in the battle. You know that silence does not mean neglect. You know that you and God are in this together!
Lastly, the valley experience changes your attitude! You may have walked with Christ for years but still have a defeated attitude! Instead of thinking you are a victor, and knowing that you are already equipped to win the fight raged against you ( Luke 10:19), you are numb because of persecution, and are thinking defeated thoughts.
To live a victorious life in Christ, there has to be a turning over of mental thinking to the side of victory. Your spiritual language has to change. You have to learn to always speak positive words over your life and circumstances no matter what your physical eyes may be telling you. You have to learn how to see with our spiritual eyes–the eyes of faith!
Additionally, your mind set has to change. A lot of people may quote the verse, say the Christian slogans but deep down inside, perhaps because of continuous oppression, have not come to a place where they believe what they are even saying! If you have a certain call on your life the opposition can be so intense, that you have given up on the inside! You’re spiritually dead! You have been sowing, but sadly feel like you are not reaping. It’s a testing beyond your imagination! With all your might and knowledge about God, you’ve got to take God at His word, getting in your spirit man the living word!
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 KJV)
People often talk about the character of God. That is a culmination of His teachings, His anointing on the lives of the Biblical prophets, and His grace. The devil tries to undermine God and His work in your life. Fight hard with all that is within you to not believe him! There is an evil, vile, more diabolical level of spiritual warfare in this day and time. Satan’s kingdom has become more perverted, more wicked. Its mission is not the ungodly–he already has them under his control–but specifically to attack the saints of God! The death in the valley is so gruesome beloved, let us not forget the saints that are literally fighting a physical battle with the devil; having been permanently scarred, maimed, and tormented. Those who have lost their lives for the sake of the Gospel! As we continue to carry the weight of our cross–with blood, sweat and tears–let us remember: the battle is not between us and the devil, but between God and satan!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
It is often said that the eyes are the window to the soul. These eyes are intense; yet subtle. Strong; yet vulnerable. They are full of life with an overshadowing of death. They seem to tell an enigmatic story. Yes! I can see a soul through those big, brown, eyes. It seems to be SCREAMING, FIGHTING, PLEADING; but its cries go unheard encaged behind a steamy, fog clouded glass. Its tears becoming the dew, slowly dripping down the window of despair. Those eyes seem to be a prisoner of a lifetime of pain. Those are the eyes of Daniel Brown.
As I sat watching Daniel Brown’s story on a TV program, I was astounded and heartbroken to learn about this man losing the innocence of his life. Mr. Brown was alleged to have raped and murdered a female companion whom he had casually dated. Danny, as his family called him, had a rock solid alibi and there was no physical or tangible evidence connecting him to the crime. The only witness to the murder was the deceased’s six-year-old son. And unfortunately, it was because of his sole testimony–albeit ambigious–Mr. Brown was sentenced to a lifetime in prison.
Sadly, there was no justice in this case for either side; Mr. Brown would spend 19 years locked up in a jail cell while three small children would be emotionally locked up not being able to enjoy the precious gift of a mother. After almost two decades later Mr. Brown, who was never before in trouble with the law, was eventually exonerated at the advent of DNA technology. The DNA evidence linked the murder to that of a known serial killer. But unfortunately–at press time of this writing–the state of Ohio refuses to expunge Danny’s criminal record, maligning him still a convicted murderer.
I kept turning this story over and over in my mind, contemplating the physical loss of human life: death and incarceration. This is one but of many cases of injustice in the legal system, but I couldn’t help but ponder the injustices many also endure in the religious system. An injustice where in some parts of the world Christians are forced to worship covertly–in underground hideouts, dugouts, and even caves–for fear of their lives. It made me think about the the physical bondage many Christians endure simply by claiming Jesus as their Lord and savior.
Those disciples that have a call on their lives to serve in ministry, I believe, are attacked most severely because satan is still aggressively trying to stop the movement of the Gospel. Likewise, he tries the case with no evidence but is ever ready to convict. He assigns his counsel of chief demons–in the form of man–to viciously persecute God’s saints! This was the same diabolical spirit that was sent to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden at the very beginning of God’s creation in the Old Testament. And, also the same spirit that was responsible for the Apostle Paul’s numerous stonings, lashings and imprisonment that ultimately resulted in him being beheaded in the New Testament.
In the book of John God admonished his disciples, telling them that the world, or the spirit that’s in the world will not receive them because they are following Christ:
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you~John 15:18-20.
Unfortunately, Mr. Brown spent the prime years of his young life physically and mentally locked up behind bars, enduring tumultuous years of hardship, isolation, and one would suppose hopelesness, for a crime he didn’t commit. But how many Christians across the globe are serving the same life sentences; being beaten, tortured, burned, mutilated, and killed for a crime waged against them by a false witness–the crime of loving Jesus.
If you would like to read about Danny Brown’s story or have a loved one that you believe is falsely incarcerated please visit Centurion ministries’ website for more information:
Please also get involved and support a ministry that helps persecuted Christians. Here are a few to consider: