Fifteen minutes ago I sat down with the intent to still myself, silence my thoughts and meditate. As I closed my eyes and began to focus on my breath, I began to push aside the many thoughts that were rushing towards me. As I relaxed more into the moment, I began to think about letting go and moving forward. I tried to push that thought away as it kept coming back to me, but eventually gave in and realized Spirit was wanting me to focus on something very specific.
We are embarking upon a new year soon and shortly thereafter a new president. Many are concerned about the uncertainties that lie ahead for our country, our economy, our people. The new year is twenty-eight days away, but yet I feel hopeful about what will come to an end in order for something new to begin. You see, a new life is just a moment away — the moment in which you decide it will begin. I have been writing since I was a child, short stories, poems and, most important, messages from Spirit. Unfortunately, I stopped writing when I was about twenty years old and, although Spirit continued to speak, I was choosing not to listen. Each time we ignore the voice, His voice, it becomes more faint, our path becomes less clear and our life journey harder.
As I move daily towards 2017, I now live by rules of three, which is my power of now, one of which I’ll share with you. First, let it go — forgive everyone of everything. Second, give it time — you won’t feel better immediately, but stay the course; patience will bring the joy. Third, you can rest knowing All is Well! What is unclear now, will all make sense in the end.
Everyday is another chance for a fresh start; every night is a chance to leave behind who and whatever doesn’t serve you. While I will continue to write and share via my blog and FB posts, it is now my intention to move into 2017 in a new format. Today, and each day, I speak and confirm my new vision and will work until it manifests. I do what each day allows and each night I re-declare: “I move forward, and leave today behind; NOW is the time.”
Let it go. Give it time. All IS well!
BElinda poWELL© December 3, 2016
This summer I was driving my daughter to camp in Southeast Dallas. Nearing our destination, we were stopped at a red light where there happened to be an AT&T truck with quite a bit of equipment outside of it blocking a small portion of the intersection. What we didn’t see, however, was anyone “manning” the vehicle or the equipment. A short time later, my daughter saw a technician rising from the manhole. Her first response was one of fear, “I wonder if he’s afraid to go down there; I would be,” she said. I told my daughter that although that’s his job, I was quite certain that upon his first time entering, he may have experienced some feelings of anxiety or fear, but you move forward in spite of it to get the job done.
I then began to think about every “new” adventure in my life and the fear that almost always gripped me. Leaving my parents’ home to go off to college; leaving college to move to Los Angeles; meeting, marrying and divorcing my ex-husband; moving to New York, meeting, dating and losing what I thought was love — first the Italian and then the Armenian — and most of this occurred before I turned twenty-eight. I recall one situation in particular; the fear was so overwhelming that I developed an intestinal disorder, not realizing that I had disconnected so much from my feelings that it took a toll on me physically. I was doubled over in pain. I eventually realized the source of my problem had originated with my thoughts and I needed to get control of the mind if I wanted to regain control of what was manifesting in and through my body. You see, unknowingly I had allowed fear to control my life.
Scripture references at least 365 times to either fear not, or don’t be afraid. Mark 5:35-36 is one such passage. While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Why did Jesus tell the synagogue ruler not to be afraid; he could simply have told him to believe? The reason he told him to not be afraid was because fear brings doubt, and doubt kills faith. God acts according to our faith. How many times have you received an inspiring thought, belief or idea and then shared it with someone, only for them to speak from a place of fear (all the what if’s that can go wrong)? Then, if we’re not careful, we allow doubt to creep in, so much so that it’s all but diminished our spirits and drained our energy! We have to be mindful of the fact that we simply cannot share everything with everyone. Some ideas have to be carefully guarded; God has entrusted you to bring it to completion. Too often many ideas are aborted before they take root in our hearts and are never birthed because we’ve allowed words of doubt to have a greater impact than the thoughts and vision of God.
You were birthed WITH purpose and you’ve been entrusted with an assignment to execute. When you’ve been called to do what you think is outside your capabilities, fear will come knocking, don’t give in to the trembling. We have to learn to trust in order to achieve the triumph. You are already equipped to get the job done. No matter how dark or intimidating the hole appears, the mission is not only possible, it’s already done. Don’t be afraid, manifest. Go in and get the job done!
Belinda Powell© November 2, 2016
Yesterday while driving home from work with my daughter, I stopped to get her something to eat. I happened upon a particular restaurant next to a building on Zang, which brought back a memory related to my father. I began to tell my daughter the story of how one day I was going into this building on Zang to get information regarding joining a business organization. As I parked and gathered my materials to go inside the building, there was a group of older men congregating outside the bank entrance. As I approached them, I noticed their conversation ceased and they turned their attention towards me. They acknowledged me; not wanting to make much eye contact I returned their greeting and proceeded swiftly inside to conduct my business. After collecting the materials, I needed to hurry back to work. As I approached the exit door I saw the same group of men, now larger as more men had stopped to visit with them, still maintaining their position outside the building. As I exited the door and walked past the men, I overheard some of their conversation regarding their opinions of my physical appearance. Unbeknownst to me, my father was exiting Bank of America in that same building and heard the men commenting about this particular woman walking away from them. “Man, did you see her; did you see those legs, oh she had a pretty smile, etc.” So, my father (who told me more of the conversation later), said as he got closer to the men they pointed him in the direction of the woman they were commenting about; unbeknownst to them, his daughter.
Although I had my head down—as if I was so engrossed in the literature I had just picked up from the organization—I was really just trying to avoid the men, their gestures and catcalling. Sometimes a lady will greet/acknowledge as a matter of common courtesy, but some men take that as an open door and become offended if they pursue further and you state your disinterest. Later that evening, my dad called to tell me he saw me earlier in the day and explained the scenario at the bank. I asked, “why didn’t you call out to me, why didn’t you make your presence known?” My father responded that first, I was walking so fast that I was almost to my car when he realized it was me and second, he said the fact that the men were talking and laughing and yelling so loudly he didn’t know if I would have heard him or not, to which I responded, “I’m your daughter; I know my father’s voice!”
Today, in the midst of all the chaos in the land, the voices of the naysayers, the criticizers, the liars, the perverters of Truth, your Father is wondering, why won’t you call out to Him, why won’t you make your presence known. No matter how loudly they are talking, He wants me to tell you to listen, He is speaking. Stand still, turn around; close your eyes. Listen for the voice of your Father!©
Belinda Powell October 20, 2016
I logged onto my blog today with the mind to write and saw in my drafts three posts I had started earlier, but had not completed. One post is dated January 8, 2014, another July 9, 2014 and the third, which is the heart of the matter today, dated July 28, 2014. What was I going through in July that I didn’t finish the assignment? Well, as I began to read the post dated July 28, 2014, it was entitled “Hidden Spaces.” I began telling about the process of putting my house on the market and preparing it for staging. I detail how I basically kept my house in a “staged” setting all the time that the realtor didn’t have much to do in terms of suggestions or adding additional pieces. My house was already “staged.” Emotionally, I was going through a lot during that time. I was still figuring out how to deal with the loss of my father and the resulting aftermath that death usually reveals in family structures. I was still recuperating from a foot that I had broken three months earlier. My world “felt like” it was spinning out of control and, instead of stopping and becoming still, rather than speaking to the raging winds, I allowed fear to take over until those winds gained more momentum resulting in a fully formed, havoc wreaking tornado in my life.
What was the crux of that post that the enemy didn’t want me to share? Well, I began to confess that during the process of making sure my home would photograph well, I strategically placed some items in closets, or upstairs where I knew no one would see things or even just moving some items to the floor out of the area to be captured by the photographers lens. You see, there were things that I didn’t want to be visible. But hey, that was just the first stage of hiding, oops I means staging (lol). After the house listing went live and eventually a contract was placed on it, I then had the task of preparing to box up my life for the new owners to take possession. I had to go into those closets, into those chest of drawers and other places that held either things and memories I was refusing to let go of or was just simply not ready to deal with. I was holding on to many photographs, cards, letters and notes written from admirers, “friends” and lovers …. I was holding on to pictures and cards of trips taken to Paris and London, Montreal, Quebec City and various tropical destinations of people, situation and things I thought I had let go. I was forced to clean out those hidden spaces. But did I really clean them out? Thus the reason why the post couldn’t be written two years ago. I simply re-packed them and allowed them to stay in storage …. I stored them back into some hidden spaces. They were definitely out of sight, but those memories had tentacles securing themselves in hidden spaces of my heart and were not out of my mind.
A week ago one of those hidden desires surfaced and in such a way that I could not ignore its presence. I reached out to a friend to discuss what I was physically feeling and I wanted to do something about it and I began to make plans. But, many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). I was forced to sit with those feelings for what seemed like an eternity. I tried to sleep and couldn’t, I eventually took my daughter to an outside movie venue in an effort to get out of my head and in touch with my heart. The next day I spent even more time in another very public setting to get outside of my head and into my heart. After a week of silence and seeking His guidance, I was able to learn that this was spiritual …. I had given ground to something and for about twenty years had allowed it to lay dormant in a crevice of my heart and God wanted it to be dealt with. Now I’m presented with how will I choose to deal with it …. (i) allow it to fully come up for examination and healing, (ii) act on it or (iii) stuff it down even deeper just because I didn’t like what I was being shown?
When God has a call for you, when there’s a work for you to do, He needs to show you all of you. Why? Simple. When there’s no enemy within, no enemy without can do you harm. I Timothy 3 outlines qualifications for overseers or those desiring those positions and speaks of a proving that needs to take place. If we’re to be honest, clearly we can see from scripture that many have called themselves into positions and have not been called of God. Thus the warning given in I Timothy 5:22 …. many have partaken in the sins of others because they were either ordained too quickly or given positions for which there had been no call. In the Bible, Moses’ first set of 40 years he learned what it was to be somebody; his second set of 40 years, he learned what it was to be a nobody; in his third set of 40 years, he would now walk into his call. He was built up to be broken down so that he would come to learn who he really was. But yet we get excited when we hear eight, ten and twelve year olds who learn to hoop like their elders and place them in positions where no building or breaking has even had time to occur.
Matthew 4 details the three great temptations presented to Jesus in his ordeal with Satan. Yet, I’m certain in Christ’s 33 years of living he encountered more because it says after Jesus resisted him, when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left until a more opportune time. But in John 14:30 we read a statement of Christ’s victory …. the prince of this world cometh AND he has nothing in me. Jesus lived in submission to the Father. In order for us to resist our enemy, we have to first allow God to expose the hidden spaces of our hearts through submission, nevertheless not my will but Your Will God. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts and see if there be ANY wicked way in me. The enemy knew that of all the disciples he could tempt to betray Christ, he could definitely appeal to Judas. Why? Judas had been stealing from the treasury all along; he was already a thief. The enemy only used what was already in him.
If we’re to walk effectively in our callings, we have to allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate and we freely clean out those hidden spaces in our hearts; the carnal mind is an enemy to God. If you’re His sheep, Psalm 139 and Psalm 23 should take on newer meanings to us today. His sheep know His voice and another they will not follow … He leads in paths of Righteousness for His name’s sake. Disciple, what is hidden in you …. what can your enemy appeal to? What areas of your life have you perfected and staged so that you appear whole? God wants to save us, even from ourselves!
John 8:32 (KJV) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
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Although I had four brothers, I was the only girl and growing up, my mother wouldn’t allow me to hang out with them using that phrase, “girls can’t do what boys do.” So, I lived a somewhat solitary existence …. when my brother’s friends came over I had to make like a ghost and either be so quiet that they didn’t notice me or retreat to my room so that I wouldn’t be visible. In my house, I was made to feel that I was either not wanted, not needed or that I just didn’t matter UNLESS it was to serve them in some manner. I was sandwiched between two brothers older than me and two younger …. so I was either vacillating between being abused in some manner by the oldest or being nurturing to the younger. But my older brother closest in age to me was the wild card in the family. Due to the abuse he endured, he learned to be a rebel, he pushed back against all authority and I began on some level to live through him. Inside I was screaming, inside I was arguing back, inside I was dying because I was not living out loud …. as a result of my abuse, my voice was being silenced. So while I was shrinking, my brother two years older was acting out what he was feeling. He acquired a reputation in the school and the neighborhood and I admired him. While I didn’t have the desire to act in the manner he did, his reputation gave him some “street credibility” as they would say and I was able, on a few occasions, to use that to my benefit. There were a few times in church I recall having to live up to being TP’s little sister and fight some battles. However, on the block we lived on, I never had to scrap with anyone because I was known as “TP’s sister”. So unknown to him, his actions, his reputation had benefits for me and I was able to make my way through, or in some instances avoid altogether, some tough situations.
I read a lot of posts on Face Book where those who profess to be believers in God, born again or Christian often speak of telling the devil that whatever tribulation or temptation he sent their way was nothing, encouraging him to come at them again or to try another way and in other instances talk often about how they are having to fight Satan. I’m often perplexed at these statements because I see no where in scripture are we ever told to fight our enemy. What example(s) do we see from Jesus … we never see Jesus fighting Satan. Jesus submitted to His father, prayed, and He resisted the enemy by walking in (SPEAKING) truth! James 4:7 instructs us to submit ourselves therefore to God; RESIST the devil, and he will flee from us. Resist him by not buying into his LIES. Ephesians 6:13 says to take unto ourselves the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. We are doing none of this in our might or power and maybe that’s where we go wrong. Look at Colossians 2:15 … Jesus disarmed powers and authorities, made a public spectacle of them and TRIUMPHED over them by THE CROSS.
The Spirit Himself [Holy Spirit] testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:16, 17, NASB)
In John 15, Jesus spoke with his disciples making a distinction between them being no longer servants but friends: “no longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” But we have an advantage over the early disciples. In John 1:12, we’re told but as many as received him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. I’m more than a friend, I’m a son of God and joint heir with Christ. When I am afraid or when my enemy appears too strong for me, I can rest on Jesus’ reputation, His “street credibility; all I have to do is call on the name of my Big Brother!
We are OVERCOMERS by the Word; let’s enter into His rest …..
Belinda Powell, ©May 29, 2015
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Around the time my daughter was turning four, I purchased her a few kid appropriate books to begin to teach her about her body and the rights she had over it. Sad that we have to begin with our children so young, but children are very impressionable, quick to trust and easy to manipulate and intimidate — devices used by those who prey upon the innocent. One book in particular I just loved the cover and the title, “I Said No.” Often in our parenting, we sometimes fail to empower our children. What does it mean to empower? Webster defines it as making (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in directing their life and claiming their rights. I remember how I was as a child, depending on who told me something, some things came in one ear and out the other just because of who said it. That person had either established themselves as being a nag, unreliable in their information or just plain untrustworthy. Now that my daughter is older, I’ve taught her that while there are many sources for information, the best reliable source for wisdom is God and that He speaks to every aspect of our lives. So, I had her revisit the children’s books I purchased years ago and then showed her what God’s Word said about who has right to her body. She knows that her body is the temple of God and according to Leviticus 18 she read for herself what God’s standard is and how specific He can get. No one touches the sister of their mother or their father whether she was born in the house or born elsewhere. So, from my teaching, to purchasing her books and finally showing her God’s Word, she understands that these are not my thoughts and ideas, but they are God’s! God has a lot to say about children, especially His.
Whatever your spiritual foundation may have been as a child, as an adult you are now responsible for gauging the veracity of what you were taught. Do you really know if your foundation is sure? I visited a church a few months back pastored by someone from my teenage years. At one point during the service, the pastor began reprimanding some adults from the pulpit for being tardy to service and said if they didn’t want their positions, God would remove them and give it to someone else. Now in the process of this Sunday morning chastising, the pastor then went on to say that also during that week the death angel appeared to her and she shared it with her husband and began to pray over the congregation as it wasn’t revealed who it was for. Then, one of the ministers on the front row jumped in and said, “I saw it too” and the pastor said, see there, God is speaking and you better listen up! (They were using scripture, incorrectly, that speaks out of the mouth of two to three witnesses shall a thing be established). I’m shocked that this stuff is still being used effectively. After leaving that church, the responsibility was now upon me as a parent to correct for my child what she heard. The only thing that would have been sadder than me not correcting it was me not knowing that it needed to be. God said His people are destroyed not because they lack faith, but because they lack knowledge. There is no death angel and one of the scriptures that’s usually being referred to in the Bible stems from the Exodus passover passage of the blood being placed on the doorposts. Now, what is key here is, no death angel is spoken of. The Lord Himself is the one doing the striking and not of His children, but of the Egyptians, their oppressors. The key to salvation then is the same as it is today, the blood! God saw the blood and passed over their homes and today if we’ve accepted Christ’s sacrifice, God sees us justified by the blood! The Bible supports the idea that God can use angels to carry out His judgments, including death. But this is a far cry from a special “angel of death” whose only task is to take life. Many charismatic and/or pentecostal churches are fronts for cults, occultic and witchcraft activity. Check your foundation. If the foundation is unsettled, so is everything else supported by it. Hebrews 1:1-4 says, Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” Look to Jesus, the Word. Each individual is responsible for his own soul’s salvation. I have been empowered by the Word of God to know what is true and when anything is contrary to Truth, don’t think against it, you speak against it. We are commanded to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. I AM a part of His Body, I have the right to say NO!
The Great Commandment Matthew 22:34-40
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
While these commandments should be our goal each day, it’s generally around the holidays that many of us focus on giving and receiving and turn our attention toward acts of love. Defining love has been the subject of many conversations, books and songs. Universally, we all say we agree that God is Love. However, what we don’t universally agree on is who God is. If we lack agreement on the first commandment, how do we effectively do the latter commandment of loving our neighbors as ourselves?
Absence of meaning and purpose in a life is a cause for most of the pain in one’s life OR the pain we inflict upon the lives of others. Therefore, how we relate towards others is a direct reflection of how we relate to ourselves. If I’m not loving towards myself, I’ll find it hard to be loving towards anyone else. If I can’t extend myself grace and forgiveness, I’ll find it difficult extending grace and forgiveness to others. God set the standard by showing us that anything we want, we have to first be IT ourselves. Why do we love God? Because while we were yet His enemies, He demonstrated His love for us … I John 4:19 says we love Him because He first loved us. When you have a society of individuals who have exacted their own standards for right living believing “I can do as I please, when I please,” we are destined to have chaos and pain. Philippians 3 says the god of these people is their own belly and their minds are set on earthly things. So they have fashioned a god of their own creation, to their own liking and will thus love you according to their own standards and not God’s. Forgiveness is the highest form of love; Love your enemies. If we only love those who love us, what reward do we get? If we profess that we are the sons of the Most High God and God is love, by loving our enemies we are in essence a reflection of God’s heart, HIS LOVE, for them. In this season of giving, give yourself the gift of love and forgive those who have offended you. Love really is the answer!
This evening I ran a simple search, “how to be happy” on Amazon.com and, to my amazement, there were 191,393 hits with books on this subject alone, and that’s just one website. The Word says there is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is destruction. Culture seems to be influencing the church in this regard as there are more messages now than ever before on how to be happy, how to live your best life now.
According to the United States Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is a well-known phrase, which gives three examples of the “unalienable rights” the Declaration says has been given to all human beings by their Creator, and for which governments are created to protect. What is happiness? Happiness depends on what is happening in one’s external environment, thus the reason it is always fleeting. Moreover, while we have a right to pursue happiness, many do so by means that are not right. But, what is right? According to culture, “right is relative. Relativism is destroying the very fabric of society. Relativism is the theory that truth and moral values are not absolute but relative. Meaning no one is wrong and everyone is right in his own mind. However, what I find interesting is this: the word “theory” by definition means, an idea of or belief about something arrived at or formed by speculation (an opinion based upon incomplete information or facts). This “theory” of relativism has been presented as absolute, meaning complete, perfect or lacking limitations based upon something that is incomplete and lacking. What irony! To that end, it appears as though the pursuit of individual happiness — at whatever cost — is on the rise, with individuals being comfortable with the means by which they obtain what they want, because in the end, what’s wrong for you may be right for them; getting what you want by any means necessary.
In Judges 21:25 it says, “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Are we repeating the same error? One day, we will all stand before the Righteous Judge and give an account of our lives. We all have a conscience and instinctively we know right from wrong. Instinct is those feelings or desires that come to us neither through learning or even having to think, it is that inherent KNOWING given us by our Creator. Truth and moral values are not relative.
It is written, be holy because the I AM is holy. We are commanded to pursue peace with all men AND pursue holiness without which no one shall see the Lord. Yes, there exists a plethora of books offering the key to happiness, but in reading The Book I believe I may have found the answer is as simple as this: surrender your life to God and He returns it back to you only it is healed, it is new, it is abundant. Pursue Holiness and in doing so you will see that Holiness produces happiness. Happy is that people whose God is the Lord! May that right to pursue be forever protected!
Belinda Powell, copyright July 2014
Ever realize how much brighter loose diamonds appear when placed on a black cloth? It’s done so you can visually see the contrast of the brilliance of the diamonds as they shine against the darkness. We shouldn’t have to say we are the light when we’re called to BE light in the midst of darkness. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good and glorify Your Father in Heaven.
Shine bright like diamonds!
This is not meant to judge anyone, but rather to share my own thoughts with what I call “Christianese” or rather the phrases we use when talking with others. A few years ago a new employee started work in our office services department. When secretaries would go in for assistance and ask how she was doing or when people passed her in the halls and inquired as to her well being, she would always respond, “I’m blessed and highly favored.” Well, one day I overheard a group of ladies talking about her and the responses she gave them. One of the ladies decided to ask me if by chance I knew what she meant because they didn’t. Although I knew where they were going with that, I answered and said, “if she’s blessed and highly favored you’ll have to ask HER why” (you see I’ve learned and am still learning not to answer for what comes out of the mouths of others). But, have we ever really considered what being blessed really means?
As I read FB posts and I hear conversations of others, that phrase is said a lot. However, when put into context of the conversation, generally people say that only when they feel they’re on top and winning, when they think they’re getting what’s “due” them or if they feel God is answering prayers for things they’ve asked for. While having things can be a blessing, being blessed has nothing to do with possessions.
Mark 8:35-37: Jesus says, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” That’s a powerful question to ponder, “what will a man give (what material possession, what relationship) in exchange for his soul? What God wants prospering above all else, is our soul.
When I think about Christians in other countries who are being persecuted and put to death for believing the gospel, those who exist on dimes a day, those who lack the beautiful worship centers and hide in homes to meet, are we saying they are not blessed and lack God’s favor? Look at what God said about Paul in Acts 9: “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Make no mistake about it, there will be suffering for Christ’s sake, but he said you will be blessed for it and yet we see blessings as anything other than suffering.
Christians have been taught and feel compelled to make salvation a matter of works and visible things instead of God’s grace. No matter how clear the Bible is on the subject, folks will often pluck out a verse here or there and build a works-salvation doctrine around it and center on things to be the visible evidence of God’s blessings. A time of shaking is coming, but those who are rooted and established in the faith need not worry. For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” [I John 5:4-5]. Let’s keep our focus, don’t get sidetracked and look neither to the left nor to the right. Stand firm to the end, if you’re abiding in the Word and bear His name, you are blessed and highly favored!
Belinda Powell, ©June 2014
Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs ever and being a single parent can seem four times as hard. With that being said, motherhood is one of life’s highest callings; many women long for a child and never have that prayer answered and then there are those who put no thought into the tremendous responsibility of bringing a life into this world and produce many children.
There are many noteworthy mothers in the Bible. Sarah, wife of Abraham, mother of the nation of Israel, was barren and knew what it meant to wait on God to act. Rebekah, like her mother-in-law Sarah was also barren. Isaac her husband prayed for her and God opened her womb and she conceived twins. Jochebed, mother of Moses, is one of the underappreciated mothers in the Bible. Very little is written about her story. To avoid her son being slaughtered, she set him adrift in the Nile River. God so worked it that Moses was found by Pharaoh’s daughter and Jochebed became her own son’s nurse. Hannah is one of the most touching stories of a mother in the Bible. She also suffered long years of barrenness. Although cruelly taunted by her husband’s other wife, Hannah never gave up on God. After God blessed her with Samuel, she acted selflessly and honored her vow to God and God favored her with five more children. Bathsheba was known for having been the one whose husband was put on the front lines by King David to be killed to cover their affair and the impending birth of their unborn child. After their child died, God favored Bathsheba with another son, Solomon. The first story we read of Solomon’s reign as king is after he requested wisdom from God as to how to rule over His people — the story revolves around two harlots birthing male sons three days apart. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist (who we know to be the forerunner of the Savior of the world), was yet another barren in her old age who, like Hannah, decided to give her son to God. Mary, the mother of Jesus is probably the most honored mother in the Bible. Mary accepted God’s will for her life and suffered enormous shame, but yet was a shining example of obedience and submission to the Father’s will.
Parents can appear to be as gods in the eyes of their little children, but in all actuality, parents are ministers. A minister is one who listens and counsels, guides and supports in the development of the spiritual nature of those in his or her care. A minister aids the needy by providing sustenance and basic needs. A minister acts as an agent of teaching for those in his or her family. A minister is an ambassador, lending aid and support in matters of a delicate or personal nature. Finally, a minister is a servant. He or she serves for the good of those in his or her care selflessly. The goal of each of these activities is salvation, meaning preserving for the highest good the mind, body and spirit, which is the concern of most ministers and should be for all parents. Parents as ministers should serve their children by giving them their best and expecting the best from them. If you have read some of my earlier posts, you will recall that I was basically born and raised in the church. My mother was a teacher, a choir member and eventually a minister; yet, I suffered tremendously as a child in every way possible (body, mind and soul). I always thought it strange that she could comfort and encourage those in the church, but I never received her comfort or encouragement. I noticed how gentle her voice was with them, how she provided a comforting hug or a shoulder to cry on, but I never received the same. She dosed out advice (wisdom) to others for living, but shared none with her own child. I longed for my mother’s attention, I craved a touch, a smiling glance, a hug; I longed to be ministered to. One instance in particular, I recall inquiring of my mother what I needed to know about coming into “womanhood.” Kids can say some dumb stuff and by the sixth grade, it seemed as though most kids knew things I had never even heard of. I eventually received at her hands a black book and when I opened the cover it read “Women’s Encyclopedia.” At thirteen, too many of those words were either vague, ambiguous, over my head and just plain clinical. The next book I was given when it came to search out answers for womanhood and life was The Color Purple and, if you’ve read that book, that was a wee bit too much information going on in there for a youngster of my age. Later on in my teenage years, that black book eventually became my source of information for all things physical.
I always felt invisible to my mother as if I didn’t matter. Because of the abuse I suffered and the lack of positive attention, I grew up trying to control every aspect of my life. I excelled in school, always on the A honor roll, perfect attendance, anything to try and feel a sense of worth. I learned pretty much every lesson in life either through sheer embarrassment or the hard way because I had never been ministered to. After becoming an adult and relocating back to Dallas, I had the occasion to hear many women speak so highly of my mother and all the things she taught and shared with them during a 70th birthday party I organized for her. Sometimes as parents we learn things after the fact and do to others what we neglected to do with or for our own. However, these groups of women that I heard sharing stories of all the wisdom and knowledge she poured into them were mostly older than me, some younger than me and quite a few the same age. And yet I had no similar story to share.
As parents, we have to understand that by serving our children, we are serving God — the child is simply the recipient of the service. I fought motherhood for years. As children we always have in the back of our minds the things we believe we’ll not do, do differently or better than our parents. During my marriage, my husband longed for children and secretly I did as well (in my heart) but would not allow myself to give in to it or him. I had dreams of my children often; however, being that I had never been ministered to, being that I didn’t know a mother’s love, I feared even the possibility of being neglectful, cold or unloving towards my own. Isn’t it ironic that the things we fear are often the things which come upon us. As a result of the unresolved pain of my childhood and the deceitfulness of sin, a mother was eventually birthed in me. However, it had the total opposite effect of what I expected. From the moment my daughter was laid upon my chest, I then knew not only a mother’s love but also how much God loved me — and continues to love me — through this experience. My trials as a single mother have been a strategic path to my healing, maturity and peace. Now, only time will tell what my ministry of motherhood will produce. But, by the grace of God, through prayer and a healed heart, I can say I’m trusting this legacy to God’s care and it will be good! Not that I will do everything right, but I’ve given back to him the ministry He’s given to me!
Mothers, love your children! Give to them what’s most important in life, LOVE! Love for God, Love for self, Love for others, respect, discipline, self-worth and value. Children are gifts. They are not ours for the breaking. They are His for the making. No matter my beginning, I’ve come to realize I’ve always been in God’s hand and today say, “thank you mother for your ministry of motherhood.”
Belinda Powell, copyright February 2014
I love the fragrance and beauty of certain flowers such as peonies, lilies, roses and hydrangeas; however, I have to purchase them as I never acquired the patience or “green thumb” it takes to nurture and grow them. So, as I sit here typing, I’m taking inventory of the actual “living” plants I have in my home — two peace lily plants and one ivy. First question, is that by accident or design?
As a child, one thing I noticed about my mother was she had that knack for growing plants. I can recall one of the first times I observed her going into a place and, when the opportunity presented itself, tore off a piece of someone’s plant, wrapped it in tissue and stored it in her purse. Once she returned home, she immediately got a mason jar or any old glass, put water it in, placed the piece of plant that she acquired in it and sat the jar on the kitchen window-sill to bask in the sun. Periodically, she would change the water as needed. Eventually, the stem would begin to produce roots. The plant stem would remain in the container — for a time she seemed to know best — and then would then be transplanted to a flower pot to allow the roots to come into deeper union with what will now help sustain it — the soil. Oh, but let me not forget to mention another part of her process. There was this old plastic gallon milk jug that she kept underneath the cabinet filled with crushed egg shells. She would make sure she kept water added to that jug of egg shells from which she would “feed” the plants. Once she had a mature plant, she would then repeat this process of tearing, rooting and transplanting and eventually plants were all over the house!
So, back to the state of my three plants. It takes a considerable amount of care and time to grow and sustain plants. You begin to know when it needs water or has had too much water. You determine the best location in the house that’s most advantageous for it getting the proper amount of light. You periodically observe the soil levels and determine if it’s best to add more or whether it’s time to transplant it to a larger container allowing it more room to thrive and grow. My first plant is a small ivy in a large container. The planter actually contained a large palm plant and the ivy was meant to be a filler plant at the base, purely for decoration. However, I have to admit, palm trees and I don’t fare so well. So, when the palm tree died, I removed almost all evidence that it was ever in the planter and the plant that was meant to act as decoration only, the ivy, now remains. My second plant is a mid-sized lily that’s been in my daughter’s room for over 8 years. Instead of taking the risk and shocking the plant, or worse killing it, I’ve allowed it to remain in the same planter for years, and will prune it — which means I cut it back to keep it from growing beyond its present container. My third plant, a luscious, vibrantly green large peace lily sits so lovely in my family room. I’m amazed at how beautiful this plant yet is. You see, I didn’t grow it to its current state, I purchased it that way and hope to prune it as I do the mid-size to keep it from growing beyond its present container (wish me luck). If you’re reading spiritually, as I trust you are, I’ve said some very important things here. The three plants I have are not by accident, but by design. You see, ivy plants are one of the best plants to have for someone who lacks that proverbial “green thumb” — you can neglect them with a lack of water and/or inappropriate sunlight and still it can be brought back to life no matter how badly you’ve cared for it. As for my peace lilies, I’ve learned that if I go too long and forget when I’ve watered it, I can wait until I see signs of the leaves drooping to know it’s time to revive them with appropriate watering.
Revive: to impart new health or vigor or spirit to, to restore the effectiveness of, to renew in the mind, to bring back to consciousness. What good is the salt if it has lost its usefulness or the light if it’s not being turned on? When we see the state of our world — our homes, churches, schools, our cities and states — it makes one wonder, just how concerned are we? The signs of complacency in the church have been evident for quite some time. In some cases the soil is being allowed to harden. In others, the plants have been intentionally cut back so much so that their growth has been stunted. In other cases, the plants have been neglected altogether; they have dried out and died, or where plucked from their place of origin as if they were never there — as if it’s all by design; but whose? The current state of the church is not by accident.
Why aren’t we seeing a revival in the land? Simple, because it’s not wanted. Not that the plants aren’t showing visible signs — they’re thirsty, malnourished, they need appropriate lighting and right conditions to grow and thrive. It reads in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV), But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV) says, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
Revival will happen when the people of God earnestly pray for it, not because pastors bring in evangelists for a week. True revival is a sovereign work of God. Christ so loved the church and gave Himself for it that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. So, “revival” means “to bring to life again.” You can’t bring those to life again who have never been alive before. To be revived, you must have been alive once before. The enemy has sowed weeds among the wheat. Let the church’s prayer be thus today: “Lord, wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:2).” Once the Holy Spirit cleans up the Body of Christ, then He will start drawing the unsaved in.
James 4:8-10: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. Romans 12 exhorts us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Let’s pray for revival and come back to consciousness!
Belinda Powell, ©February 2014
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28 (NIV)
When God delivered the Israelites after four hundred years of oppressive slavery in Egypt, millions of Israelites and a “mixed multitude” of others were miraculously led through the Red Sea on their way to the Promised Land. God provided for their every need on the journey, even feeding them bread from heaven daily. This manna provided such a perfectly balanced diet that there was not one sick or feeble person among them for forty years. It filled their bellies and kept their bodies healthy and strong. However, the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes.” (Numbers 11:4-7)
God heard their murmuring and complaining. God said, “The Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord. God sent them quail in such a great abundance they stacked it two and a half feet dep. And they ate and ate, and while the meat was still between their teeth, before it could be consumed, thousands of them died and were buried there. And, according to verse 34, that place became known as KibrothHattaavah, which means “The Graves of Lusters,” as a memorial to those who ate themselves right out of the Promised Land.
The Old Testament was a foreshadow of the One who was and did come. Unlike baptism, which is a one-time event, Communion is a practice that is meant to be observed over and over throughout the life of a Christian. It is a holy time of worship when we corporately come together as one body to remember and celebrate what Christ did for us. So why do we observe Communion?
First, we observe Communion because the Lord told us to. We are to obey His commands:
And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24 (NIV)
In observing Communion we are remembering Christ and all that He has done for us in His life, death and resurrection. The bread and wine are used as symbols representing Christ’s body and blood, in remembrance of his enduring sacrifice. Also, when observing Communion we are to take time to examine ourselves:
A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28 (NIV)
When we observe Communion we show our participation in the body of Christ. His life becomes our life and we become members of each other:
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (NIV)
There is only one loaf, and we who are many, make up one body. Ephesians 4:4-6 says, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
God sustained the Children of Israel for forty years with manna – bread from heaven and none was sick among them. It was when they heard the complaining of the mixed multitude that they began to lust for the things they had during their years of bondage. Are you still feasting on the bread of life? Is that enough to sustain you or have you given in and gone along with the cries of the mixed multitude? We have to watch our company. You see the mixed multitude were not God’s people and God didn’t become incensed when they complained, only when HIS children complained. You see that mixed multitude was undoubtedly tired of being oppressed in Egypt and while they probably had not come to believe in the God of Israel, what they did come to know was God had shown Himself more powerful than the gods of the Egyptians. They wanted the benefit of the things of the Children of Israel’s God, but lusted for more than the Bread of Life. They had all been delivered out of Egypt, but Egypt was still in them.
What are you desiring; what are you lusting after? Are you satisfied with the Bread of Life? All that is in the world is lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life and those things are not of our Heavenly Father. The manna — that heavenly bread — which kept the Children contented, filled and healthy, was no longer enough? Let’s be careful to examine ourselves and not follow in the path of the Children of Israel who lusted, murmured and complained like the mixed multitude. This is one reason why observing Communion – and doing so often — is vitally important for God’s children. I Corinthians 11:27-29 says, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.” The Word says this is why many are weak and ill, and some have died. God gave the Children of Israel what they lusted after. All those who died, the Children of Israel and the mixed multitude, ate themselves out of the Promise Land; let’s not do likewise. Jesus says in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Lord, it is the pure in heart that shall see God. I ask that You create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Give us this day our daily bread. Amen. Amen!
Belinda Powell, © February 2014
There are so many things in this world that competes with, and downright fights for, our time. You want to devote time to prayer and to reading and studying the Word, but don’t. Between the spouse, kids, grandkids, getting an education, the job and other stresses of life, it seems difficult to squeeze in time for — or remain consistently focused on — the things of God. Listed below are common things that can interfere with our walk with God. I must say, not all of these things are “bad” in their nature . . . in fact, a lot aren’t. However, when we allow these things to distract us from looking at and to God in all things, in all of our ways, at all times, when we allow these things to have more priority in our lives than God, then they become problematic. They become idols and/or gods.
- Money. You knew this had to be on the list. Matthew 6:24 tells us that no one can serve two masters; you can’t serve both God and money. The believer shouldn’t be worrying about our life, what we’ll eat or drink nor what we’ll wear. Our Father takes care of the birds of the air. Yes, we all need money to live in this world, but we must not be owned by it if we are to be not of this world. You see, it’s the love of money that’s the problem. We are told to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the things we have need of will be added to us. Our Heavenly Father knows what we have need of. If we trust God, He will take care of us. While money may be the driving force of the world, it shouldn’t be for those who are in Christ . . . the just shall live by faith.
- Social Media. I have to admit, this is probably one of my biggest distractions. I find myself getting sucked into reality shows — Basketball wives, Housewives of ATL, Love and Hip Hop — and then am angry with myself afterwards for not turning the channel. Someone recently suggested I watch Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots — they said it was very well written. CAN’T DO IT. Viewing a trailer of an episode made we question just what are we REALLY feeding our spirits. What’s your indulgence? TV, movies, Wii, the internet, the radio, music, sports. It is so easy to get sucked into these mediums. We think, what’s the harm . . . .it’s just a little entertainment. Most of it is loaded with hidden agendas and messages — making us think this is the life, that we’re missing something, bombarding us with images of how they think we should look, feel or act. Influences that are harmful; that do and can subliminally affect us and the things we desire. We have to be wise in what we watch and read and how much time we devote to it. I have since replaced my reality shows with more time devoted to things that are good for my soul.
- Relationships. Yes, even our relationships can distract us from our walk with God. Friends, parents, siblings, spouses, children, girlfriends, boyfriends. The relationships with the most danger of becoming a distraction from our walk with God is probably those of an intimate/romantic nature. Because those relationships demand the most time, it is extremely important that they be centered around God. In other words, make sure you’re not unequally yoked! God does call us to love one another, but not to the point where these relationships displace our time, affection and attention to Him. Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength.
- Church. I know you’re questioning my thought process, but allow me to explain. Many people go to church for many reasons and often it’s never directed to pursuing God. In many churches, people put on a facade, pretending to be perfect (perfect meaning whole/well) thinking that if they show their weaknesses and struggles that they’ll become outcasts. Unfortunately, because so many people have adopted this way of thinking, if one person does reveal their weakness, they are looked down upon so easily. This is the opposite of what the church is supposed to be. Church is supposed to be a body of believers, there to help one another, to pray for each other, to love one another AND to hold each other accountable. We need to get past religion and into relationships — with God and our fellow brothers in Christ.
- Desiring a blessing from God, more than God Himself. How many times do you find yourself praying, asking, asking, asking but forget about simply spending time with God. Fellowshipping, thanking, exalting, glorifying, blessing Him. Remember, seek Him first and then things will be added.
- Our pastors. Yes our pastors. I can’t tell you how many times I talk with people and they can’t start a sentence without saying, my pastor said or the bishop said (subject matter for later discussion). It is not our pastors responsibility to feed us all we need in order to be spiritually healthy . . .it is our responsiblity. Many people never open their Bibles until they get to church on Sunday and even then still don’t as they have the text printed in bulletins, programs or up on the screen. Your pastor should be a great leader. Period. Don’t become dependent upon your pastor.
- Ourselves. While I saved this one for last on the list, it is probably the most likely to distract. By nature, we are sinful and, if we live by our nature, we will not get close to God. We are to die to ourselves daily. There is a constant battle between spirit and flesh. Paul said those things that I desire to do I don’t and those things I don’t want to do, I do. Ask God to reveal to you, by the power of His Holy Spirit, those secret things of your heart and once He’s revealed, be quick to deal with them. While our sin may be a private matter, no sin is — and never stays — a secret matter . . . . what you do affects you as well as the body you’re connected to!
The best way to become spiritually mature and spiritually strong and thus walk closer with God is to practice a life of self-discipline. Self-discipline is not denying ourselves of those things we should not have, but of those things we can have. 2014 is already in motion and while many are expecting new things in a new way, I offer you a simple, basic, no-fail recipe if you want to walk closer with God and see Him as you never have before.
Ready? Here goes: Prayer + fasting + feasting upon the Bread of Life! Peace, blessings and abundant living to you . . .
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
It’s time to start loving yourself like you’ve been loving everyone else. Often we give so much of ourselves away, putting everything and everyone before yourself, that we have nothing left to give ourselves. Make a change today, start treating yourself like you are your own best friend.
Therefore, no matter what is going on in your life — no matter what it looks like and no matter what it feels like — I want you to know LOVE, He will fix it. Put some love on top! God you’re the one that gives your all, You’re the one I can always call and when I need Him, He puts my love on top!
Baby it’s you.
God You’re the one I love.
God You’re the one I need.
God You’re the only one I see.
Come on baby it’s you.
God You’re the one that gives your all.
God You’re the one I can always call.
When I need you make everything stop.
Finally you put my love on top.
Jesus saw a great crowd and had compassion on them as they were like sheep without a shepherd and He began to teach them many things. It grew late and His disciples wanted to send them away to buy something to eat. But Jesus answered them and said, “You give them something to eat;” and the disciples questioned Him as to how they were to do it. Jesus asked what did they have and they found a lad with five loaves and two fish. Jesus took the five loaves, blessed and broke them and He gave the loaves to the disciples to set before the people.
On another occasion, we find Jesus with the disciples in the upper room for the Passover. As they sat to eat, He took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave them to eat saying, “Take, eat this is my body.” Jesus was broken bread and poured out wine prepared for a hungry people. God is ever looking for broken vessels for broken bread. The more broken we are, the more God can do with us. I see a large crowd, it’s getting late in the day, the people are hungry and milk won’t do. Jesus said go therefore and make disciples . . . teaching them to observe all that He commanded you. Fill in the blank with your name. “__________, do you love me? Then feed my sheep.”
Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord GOD, when I will send a famine on the land. Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD.
©October 29, 2013
To lie is to deliver a false statement to another person which the speaking person knows is not the whole truth, intentionally. So, what is truth? It’s not what comes out of someone’s mouth per se, but rather what actually happened or what IS. The first step to healing or recovery is being able to speak or acknowledge the TRUTH – that is to say, what happened or what is happening. The Word tells us that Satan is the father of lies, so to be called a father of something means there are offspring. Therefore, I don’t write this for those of the world, for they’re doing what’s in their nature to do. I write this to those who profess – not confess – to know the I AM. First John 2:4 says, “the person who says I know Him, but does not do what He commands, IS a liar and the truth is not in him. So, even scripture identifies that truth is evidenced, established and proved by what IS, not the “what” that is said.
My daughter is quite perceptive for her age. I’m often astonished during our conversations when I’m helping her decipher between what she heard versus what happened. At six, her response generally starts out with “xyz said thus and so.” I then begin to ask her to start with “what she knows for sure” and then assist her in walking through the steps to arrive at the heart of her question. At some point in the process the light goes on and I can see she’s arriving to the destination of knowing what she can now say is truth.
Paul penned a letter to Timothy charging him to oppose false teachers. But how could Timothy do so if he didn’t know what to look for? From the books of Matthew, John, Acts, Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Hebrews, James, I and II John, and Jude we are warned repeatedly about them and how to detect them. They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside they are greedy, predatory wolves. Look at what they’re compared to – wolves — predatory in nature. Why are they hard to detect? Well, because they know how to fake humility and they are often gregarious and very studious in the Word. A thief, a greedy person and one who uses power to obtain sex are all seizing something that does not rightfully belong to them. Yet, many professed Christians are following them? Many who pastor, teach and evangelize today were liars, thieves, greedy, adulterers, fornicators, pimps, womanizers, child molesters, drug users, abusers, etc., etc., etc. and yet years after their professed conversion show evidence of some of the same behavior – spiritual bullies – and love to often use the example of King David, while trampling upon God’s grace, to explain it away. Romans 6:1-20 teaches that we are slaves to who we obey, whether it be of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness; we should be dead to sin and not slaves to carnal lusts.
Bullies often browbeat, harass, frighten, oppress, persecute and terrorize people. Paul, in his unconverted nature, was a bully of bullies and good at it. He went on crusades looking for Christians to terrorize and imprison. In I Timothy 1:12-14 Paul confesses that he was a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man. However, Paul states he was shown mercy because he acted in ignorance and unbelief. A spiritual bully uses laws, teetotalism and theology to control people from questioning their authority. Spiritual bullying is taking the truths of one’s religion, and using them to intimidate, hurt, and manipulate. Spiritual bullies verbally assault with dogma, keeping people “in check” with threats of excommunication within the church or removal from a position. In some cases, they might force you to choose sides as they use the tactic of placing friend against friend or a family member against another relative. The most effective weapon by far of the spiritual bullies is fear. They want people to be afraid and use ultimatums, manipulate others to agree with them, or threaten to expose the victims’ faults. Often the spiritual bully in the church is a professing Christian and it is possible that he or she is a true believer who is living a life of disobedience walking in their former lifestyle. Spiritual bullies are modern day Pharisees who use religion and God for their own self agendas.
It took the intervention of a sovereign God with his grace to rescue Paul from his spiritual bullying and made him to be the greatest edifier of the church in all history. Something happened to Paul – he was converted on the road to Damascus and throughout scripture we read evidence of that conversion and learned what he suffered for Christ and the Kingdom’s sake. Jesus was an expert at putting spiritual bullies in their place, read John 9. Jesus exposed them for who they were, stubborn and spiritually blind, guilty of sin and judgment. It is bad to be ignorant, but that’s a state easily changed by the gaining of knowledge. Paul came into the knowledge of Christ on that road. Today, spiritual bullies tend to be those in positions of leadership and while they can be dealt with, typically they aren’t. Why? Often because they’ve gotten those they “bestowed” leadership positions or titles to, to do their bidding. Let’s consider the charge given to Timothy to guard against partiality and to be careful to not participate in the sins of others . . . working to keep himself pure. (I Timothy 5:22)
This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Shakespeare
Here’s a tip: Those who cannot admit truth to themselves lack the ability to tell the truth to anyone else.
© September 11, 2013
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I Corinthians 6: 19-20 (ESV): Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Although banks and schools were open, yesterday was in fact a holiday and one that I was fortunate enough to have off. Normally, all my holidays are spent with my daughter as she’s typically out of school. However, with school being in session, I was so looking forward to having some “me time” and not thinking about all the things I’d have to get done – laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework, etc., etc., etc. I had the pleasure of going to the spa for a long overdue day of pampering and relaxation. Prior to having my daughter, going to the spa was sort of a regular indulgence for me. However, priorities change when it’s no longer just about you. So, I scheduled an hour massage, an hour facial, followed by lunch and then an hour each for a manicure and pedicure – five hours of pure bliss. As I’m taking the walk with my massage “therapist” towards the room she begins to ask how long has it been since I’ve had a massage – six and a half years I say – and, the more important question she asked was, “are there any problem areas I need to be aware of?” It’s quite an interesting process if you think about it. You’re literally baring yourself – physically and sometimes emotionally – to someone you’ve never met before, engaging in fairly substantive conversation, hoping to free yourself of the stressors and burdens weighing you down. I thought about it for a moment and responded that there was muscle pain in my upper back.
Let’s face it, life can be overwhelming and downright stressful. Doctors have come to learn that there is a direct correlation between emotional and physical pain. You see, most of the wounds or scars we have aren’t external. I have one prominent external scar, which I have strategically learned how to cover, and no one knows it’s there until I either disclose it or I allow you to get close enough to discover it for yourself. Many people are living with trapped emotions, covered wounds; pain which is not easily detectable by the human eye. What does that look like you ask? Perfectionism, anger, the never ceasing comedian or class clown, rudeness, arrogance/pride, alcoholism, substance abuse or misuse, promiscuity, lack of self-respect or respect for others, abuses of all sorts – food, people, sex, excessive shopping, overspending, being judgmental and/or critical of others. This is just a small list. It has been said that the funniest and/or most successful comedians are those who have a lot of pain. Actors tend to be tortured souls as well projecting their emotions and experiences into the characters they play. Many of us are the same except our performances aren’t played out on a big screen, but rather on the stages of our daily lives and cameo appearances in the lives of those who encounter us. In order for something to be released, it first has to come up. Many of us have experienced situations where we ingested something we could not digest or handle, and thus the body aids in correcting the situation by forcing it to come up and expelling it. Whenever emotions are suppressed and not dealt with, walls of toxins are created in our body rendering us incapable of wholly giving or receiving love. As a result, therein lies the cycle of wounded individuals connecting with other wounded souls leading to an increase in what they’re masking – PAIN. Allow those issues to come to the surface—force them if you must—look at that problem(s), examine it and then RELEASE it for HEALING.
Matthew 21:12-14 is one account of Jesus clearing out the temple:
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
Jesus went into the temple and cast out what should not be; the temple was to be a house of prayer, contributing to healing. What have you made your temple to be? What’s residing in there?
I went to the spa yesterday not looking for healing, but as an aid to relax. What pain are you carrying in your temple? What issues are you battling or covering up? Lack of purpose, self-esteem, fatherlessness, deceit, abortion, divorce, pride, greed. Are you willing to be made willing? He won’t force you. Whatever it is, you can allow it to come to the surface for healing knowing that you no longer have to cover IT because it’s been covered by the blood. He wants your temple cleansed and healed!
© February 2013
Several times in Old Testament prophecy and once in poetry, God’s chosen people are referred to as a city. Zion meant Jerusalem and, later, Israel as the people of God. So when you read Daughters of Zion, it does not refer to a specific person. It is a metaphor for Israel and the loving, caring, patient relationship God has with His chosen people.
Why speak of them as “daughters” and not sons? Unfortunately, many children grew up without fathers in the home. In some cases, there are those of us who had a father in the home, but it was often in presence and not relational fellowship. Then, there are those of you were fortunate to have that loving, protective, guiding provider in the home. One who made sure you felt safe and secure and, even when you had done wrong, found it difficult to discipline you, although he knew he had to. Fathers typically are more loving and affectionate, longsuffering and gentle in their dealings with their daughters than they are with their sons. Their tone of voice is softer, yet firm and they discipline with a softer hand, not always giving us what we justly deserve. Well, God uses the term daughter as it relates to his people because He is just that — a loving father. God is Love. He cherishes, even when rejected. Although He was frustrated and angry with his chosen people, He always had an eye to the future when the relationship would be restored and He could once again return to them and welcome them into His arms. Is America under judgment? I can’t call it (as TI says in the movie Takers), but it would appear so. Have we turned away from our first love? There is a way to return – repent!
Make God the God of your city again and I don’t mean where you physically live, but where He should be residing, within your heart. Matthew 15:8 speaks of those people who draw near Him with their mouths, and honor him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. When we turn our hearts wholeheartedly to Him, then will we see change. For greater is He that is within me, than He that is in the world. Restore the relationship and then speak to our present suffering: Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Daughters of Zion, make Him the God of your city, for greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city! http://youtu.be/abj_-iXrv1k
(Please, when you can, watch the video. I hope it inspires. I love you with the love of Christ!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2talU4fA-Y&NR=1&feature=fvwp
Matthew 16:25: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
Abraham. Hannah. Eli. Job. All of these individuals have a few things in common. First, they are all examples to look to in the Bible for lessons relating to parenting. They all know about loss. They all know about pain. They all know about sacrifice and what it means to give up to gain, except one.
Parenting. It is defined as the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting is usually done by the biological parent(s) of the child, although governments and society often take a role as well when children have been abandoned – whether physically or emotionally abandoned – and left to their own devices. Parenting is loaded with so much responsibility. It can be overwhelming when two parents are present and involved; thus, imagine what it’s like for the single parents. That’s why we should be ever so careful to pass judgment — in a critial way — of what we think about someone’s children — especially when you don’t know what they may be enduring or the parenting style under which they are being reared. The reality is, kids don’t come with an instruction manual, and there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. However, the Bible gives two directives I’d like to focus on for those of us rearing children. First, trust in God will all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. Second, train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart. Trust God, acknowledge Him and lead our children in the path they should go. Lead our children in the way to go . . .
I recently posted a comment on Face Book that people do what they know; I followed that up with the post, Do What you Want To See. Two of the worst things we can do in rearing our children is failing to discipline and setting bad examples for them to follow. A lack of discipline in parenting often stems from us not wanting to look or appear “mean.” Therefore, many parents choose to do nothing instead, setting the stage for serious problems, like delinquency, later on in the child’s life. Many parents have also adopted the position that they will “reason” things out with children. However, without consequences, the line between what is good and bad behavior can become blurred or even non-existent. Actions speak louder than words. What is your child learning? Parents are the first teachers for children, and their actions make the biggest impressions. You’re wrong if you think kids aren’t paying attention. Children mimic what they are exposed, whether it be good or bad behavior, if exposed to it frequently. Lord, help us — how do we find the proper balance?
While the Bible doesn’t give a list of specifics of do’s and don’ts, it does instruct parents to train them in the way to go. If we are believers, to train means we should be modeling a disciplined, righteous lifestyle before them. This means we should always put God first before anything that we want – even if what we desire is a good thing. What are you desiring in your heart? What petitions have you made known to God? Now the question that many of us don’t take the time to think about and answer is, are we willing to sacrifice what we’re asking of God? In other words, are we willing to give up the very thing we’re asking Him for?
Let’s look at some Godly parents. Abraham, Hannah, Eli and Job. In our first two scenarios we see an unconditional promise and a vow. Look at Hannah. In order to get what she wanted – a son – she vowed to also in turn give him up. Does that seem odd? This is what we call a paradox and God’s truth is full of them. (Consider the scripture above, Matthew 16:25, one such example of a paradox). Hannah showed that God came first by sacrificing what she wanted most. Abram also displayed his trust in God when asked to bring Isaac as a sacrificial offering. Jesus said we must be willing to give it all up and then God will reward us with what matters most.
Job was a man whose heart was upright before God. The Bible says Job rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of his children, for Job said, “it may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts”. This Job did continually. Contrast these three parents with Eli. Eli’s love for his sons prevented him from correcting their blasphemy towards God. God told Eli that because he honored his sons more than God, that no man in his lineage would live to see an old age. I Samuel 3:13 Eli’s sons were wicked men. Eli did nothing to restrain them or correct their behavior. How many of us stick our heads in the sand when we hear of things our children are doing? Avoidance doesn’t make the problem go away. Reasoning doesn’t always fix it either. Eli is a prime example of what happens when one neglects to take action. Even if Eli didn’t see the behavior firsthand, he still couldn’t escape dealing with what his sons were doing. Many people told Eli about the vile behavior of his sons. Eli was fully informed of how his sons stole from the Lord in the sacrifices. Eli heard about everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Eli knew what kind of people his sons were, he even talked to them about it from time to time, and told them it was not good what he was hearing about them. He attempted to reason with evil behavior. Eli’s lack of discipline and correction, however, illuminates something about Eli. Eli’s behavior was worse than that of his sons. How do you ask? Well, Eli was not only a parent, he was the High Priest, someone who serves God for the people. Eli’s behavior was worse than that of his sons because he honored hypocritical, adulterous, lying, thieves above God. Eli was practicing idolatry.
Idolatry is the human tendency to value something or someone in a way that hinders the love and trust we owe to God. In idolatry we fail to give proper thanks to the Giver of life and its goods. It is an act of theft of honor from God. As thieves one thereby steals God’s rightful honor and severs, or at least diminishes, fellowship with both God and others. People of position and in positions have the tendency to convince themselves that what they think they’ve gained is too valuable to lose — positions or titles, recognition, reputation or standing in the community or church. Don’t we realize that of all we have, it is God who has given us the ability to achieve? Every good and perfect gift comes from above. You see, Job had the right attitude of heart: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Our focus, therefore, should never be on the gifts themselves in a way that demotes the gift Giver. Eli placed his ego, his pride, his position, his sons above God; above doing what he knew was right to do.
Let me end with a final observation. There is grace available for this situation. What situation? Sorry if I’ve lost you. There is grace available for parents who take the path of parenting as Eli. Please know that as bad as any mess is, Jesus is able to cleanse and heal. But, He can only cleanse and heal what is confessed. There has to be accountability. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confess! Do not continue to disregard or hide bad behavior and wait to see if it will be exposed. Trust me, one won’t need to wait long. However, the unfortunate thing is there will be more innocent lives harmed and possibly ruined if you do.
Repent! Parents who are also leaders or elders are not fit to continue as leaders and should not continue until situations are properly dealt with. Look at the Children of Israel and how they were defeated in battle because of undealt with sin in the camp. One cannot effectively lead in God’s house while avoiding dealing with his own house. Actually, the Word tells us that what you see occurring in God’s house is often a reflection of what’s happening in the elder’s house.
Be cleansed. We have to put God first rather than what we want. The houses of “Eli’s” must come down. When the foundations are corrupt, they must be torn down. Perhaps God will raise something out of the ashes, perhaps not, but one should not participate in — by way of covering up — others’ sins.
The final analysis: the heart will be where its treasure is. I am certain I will make many mistakes on this path of parenting. While the decisions we face are many, we have to question are we choosing what we want or, what is pleasing to God. No one promised this job would be easy. Heavenly Father, we need your help. Teach us, guide us by your Holy Spirit!
Luke 18:29-30: And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
Are we really willing to give it all up to gain?
You may not have someone there to encourage you, telling you that you can make it, will make it. I Samuel 30:6 reads, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
No matter what the situation, encourage yourself in the Lord your God.
I asked my daughter last night who she is. She started off describing herself by stating her name. I eventually assisted her down the path I was trying to get her to — how to really know who you are. The person behind the name. Many of us at this moment have trusted our very lives to people we feel we know, when really all we know is their name, we don’t really know the person.
But, there is a name that all will come to know — “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
You may know the name of Jesus, but do you know the person behind the name? Does He know you? The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.
I subscribe to receive a parenting devotional through Parenting by Design. While I rarely get a chance to read the emails they send, I found this one to be so timely and thought I’d share it with you all. Often in trying to teach and discipline my daughter, I basically find that I need to “check myself” first. What am I modeling for her; what does she see me doing? Am I picking up behind myself? Am I managing my time wisely? Am I eating my veggies? She will do as she sees first before she hears what I say. How’s your personal discipline? If we’re slack in disciplining the physical man, then I wonder how effective we are in matters of the Spirit. Paul is in essence saying don’t preach what you yourself aren’t doing. Ouch.
Personal Discipline . . . .
1 Cor 9:26-27: Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (NASU).
Everyone knows we ought to practice spiritual disciplines such as quiet time, prayer and Bible study, but how many of us consider physical discipline as an important example for our children. What type of model do we present when it comes to eating and exercise?
Sometimes we have to give up the good for the better. Passing up an extra helping and spending some time in the gym may be the types of activities that can make you a better parent and a better witness for Christ. With the popularity of video games and the proliferation of TV channels, your kids could use a little time outside – how much better if you train yourself to go with them.
A Spirit-filled mind and a disciplined body are a formidable opponent for the enemy.
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