faith, Fear, forgiveness, Love and Life of a Testimony, Parenthood, prayer, Salvation

Shannon’s Story of Forgiveness

How many times does our Father or Mother’s sin effect our life as we grow up as children?  Sometimes we carry around the sin, the guilt, the blame and yes the feelings of rejection and un-forgiveness in life or even deal with the battles our parents never conquered.  This story was made purposely not to expose one family’s faults but in some way we may all have experienced this or know someone who has.  The ultimate goal of the enemy is always to kill, steal and destroy, however as Shannon met her sister for the first time upon her father’s death bed, Shannon found something she had been looking for her entire life….freedom and forgiveness.

Watch as Shannon tells her story of forgiveness…..

Matthew 18 Living Translation

21Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

22“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!


Encouragement, Made you smile

Covered By Vomit

I remember when Lyle was a baby I had him up in the air over my face making him laugh when all of a sudden a gush came out of his mouth and landed on my face and in my mouth.  Regurgitated formula is worse by taste and smell the second time around.  There were also times in the middle of the night where one of the boys came to my bedside to tell me they were sick and then up-chucked in my bed, on my hair, on my clothes and on the floor.  There were times where they didn’t always make it to the bathroom or they missed the toilet completely.  This was a chore to try to clean the floor and the wall or the side of the toilet and if you are a mother you will eventually have stories about gross vomit, the smell, and the chunks of food you must clean up.

Are you getting sick yet?  The funny thing about these stories is that you don’t have to teach someone how to vomit.  It is an automatic reflex of getting out what has made one sick.  In medical terms it is the forceful expulsion of the contents of one’s stomach through the mouth and sometimes through the nose.  It is an automatic reaction of what that is inside and is forced to come out.  I can tell you by experience that eating popcorn along with tootsie rolls and then getting sick is not the greatest combination in which to throw up!

Now what does this have to do with Biblical principles you might ask?  There are many people today that go around just vomiting on everyone, not in the physical sense but in the realm of attitudes, motives, and non-christian behavior.  Can you say, negativity?  Have you ever had a person who comes up to you and the first thing they want to do is puke all over you with gossip, negativity or downgrading someone?  How about nagging, name calling or bashing someone’s character just because you didn’t agree with them?  If we could just for one day see in the spiritual of the case of vomit covered people we might think twice about opening our mouth before expelling the disgusting puke in which no one wants to clean up or be covered by it.  My point is, vomit is the result of being sick on the inside!

English Standard Version (©2001) Mark 7:12-23  After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man who can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.[“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]  When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornication, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.“All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

7:14-23 Our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, defile us, and these only. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. A spiritual understanding of the law of God, and a sense of the evil of sin, will cause a man to seek for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to keep down the evil thoughts and affections that work within.

How do we cure it?  Do we continue to vomit until what is on the inside comes out and then it makes us feel better or do we take medicine to counteract the process so that we don’t vomit and affect others?  Do you know that the word of God teaches us to meditate on His Word day and night and hide it in our heart.  The word, meditate comes from the root word, meaning the same thing as medicine.  Therefore the Word of God will be medicine to our inner being if we search, read and learn it.  Nevertheless it will prevent us from being negative on the inside therefore preventing us from puking on the outside.

Prayer:  Lord, I know you are constantly working on us with your Spirit to teach us and guide us, please give us direction and keep our heart pure.  Let our actions and our motives along with our attitudes be of your Spirit.  Let us focus on your Word and hide it within our heart so that we may not sin nor vomit on others in this process called life.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Abundant life, Leadership, marriage enrichment, Salvation

When is Sin a Sin?

Someone asked me the other day, “How do we know if an action is a sin or just an action in which we choose not to do or like because of unfamiliarity or breaking a tradition?”

This is what I find when people are within a battle of the mind.  They do not participate in a certain activity or lifestyle because they believe it to be sin, so they choose to avoid it.  Regardless if it is something just taught or if it is in the Bible they stay clear of it in fear of promoting or committing sin.

For example, years ago I knew someone who would not shave her legs.  She was very strict about this conviction.  She was taught that it was a sin to shave or remove hair from her body.  This was a cultural tradition passed on from her family.  When she got married, her husband understood, but being a man it was difficult to see her point.  Every time she shaved her legs, she felt condemned, depressed and guilty for disobeying what she felt was a sin.  However, over time she was able to break that tradition and walk cleanly shaven without remorse.  What she thought was a sin was actually only an unfamiliar action or preference of a man and not the word of God.  She was able to break from it to please her husband.  In turn she found freedom and revelation.  I am sure she looks back on this and thinks of it being silly to think what she did or how she viewed it.

The same goes with just about anything else.  Sin is an action that goes against the Word of God.  It is an action which causes hurt to either God, ourselves or to another individual.  Sometimes we can see sin and know it is a sin because it goes against the Bible.  We all know the ten commandments.  We all know that murder, to lie, to steal or commit adultery is against God’s teachings but what about some of the actions we might question?  Sometimes we might think we know the action is sin because we judge or come to a conclusion that it is a sin due to our cultural difference or unfamiliar territory.  It could be how we were taught, how we were raised or told that it was wrong whether it was truth or not.  What we may think is true to God’s word however, may not always be true but man taught.  This is when the battle of the mind takes place and strongholds are set.  This is when people want to argue over petty differences of what they think sin is.  Whether it is shaving the legs, watching television, going to the movie theater or wearing long white sleeve shirts, get the picture?

Wearing a low-cut blouse showing cleavage for example, is it a sin?  A motive must be determined in this action.  Is the wearer clueless that this causes attention to be drawn to her breast or is this what she is seeking? Are there underlying issues of needing others to love her?  Does the exposing of the breast cause a man to lust after her or cause him to dwell on unclean thoughts?  Is she the cause for another man’s sin?  These are all questions one must ask themselves when making daily decisions of choice.  If a woman exposes her breast, we can all come to the conclusion that sin will most likely follow regardless if she thinks it causes sin or not or even if she thinks it is not her fault.  Human nature takes its course.  If you are a Christian and you wish not to commit sin then it is best not to wear revealing blouses.  Now, let’s go back to the unshaved legs.  Is the unshaven or shaven legs causing anyone to sin?  I doubt it.  God I don’t think really cares if you shave your legs or not but what He does care about is pleasing your spouse and having a great relationship of love.  If the unshaven legs is causing division then it is a sin in your marriage because you are unwilling to part with a tradition or preference instead of pleasing your spouse in which God has joined you with.  Does this make sense?

Whether it is sin or not it is often determined by viewpoint and tradition or preference choice.  The next time someone wants you to go over your comfort zone with an action, or you choose to go against what you have been taught think twice about it.  You might be just limiting yourself on receiving revelation or freedom.  Think about whether it is just a preference of yours because it is an action you were taught was wrong.  Is this action against God and the Word will determine if it is truly sin or not.  We cannot rely on our feelings of how we feel because the woman who didn’t shave her legs felt guilty about doing so.  Sin doesn’t always make us feel bad but good, so don’t rely on how you feel to determine if it is sin or not.  We must determine sin by the outcome of the action and the effects it might have on not only ourselves but others.  If it causes abuse, division, harm to others or oneself, promotes the opposite of Christian living then my friend it is a sin.

Prayer:  Lord grant us wisdom to determine what is best in our lives when it comes to choices in life.  I pray that you lead and guide us into all truth and show us your loving ways.  Continue to pour out your grace and mercy upon us when we fail to do what you have asked.  In Jesus Name, amen.

New International Version Romans 8:5-9
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.

Abundant life, Encouragement, faith, Fear, Leadership, Love and Life of a Testimony, Salvation, Soul Winning

Hello, My Name is …. and I Am An Addict

Hello, My name is….I Am An Addict

Addictions result from inadequate relationships or inability to solve problemsPeople often seek pleasurable experiences through drugs, smoking, sex or alcohol for the purpose of giving themselves a sense of temporary relief from life’s stress.  People also seek pleasure when faced with painful personal experiences of perceived threats to their acceptance by others.  Whether we call it peer pressure or stress it is certainly not the devil that makes us do things of sinful nature in which causes harm to our bodies.  These little pleasures which may or may not lead to addictions still impact all of us in this world whether we want to admit it or not.Alcohol gives people false sense of courage to overcome fear

Addictions are not just a substance as much as it is as an addictive lifestyle.  Substance or sinful activities is used to support the role that the person would like to play in relationships with others and with God.  It is a role that the person desperately attempts to reproduce.  Here are some examples in which I have learned through counseling.

  • People you know may be addicted...Sexual addictions are used has a shortcut for a sense of fulfillment in relationships without the commitment with building wholesome relationships with other people.
  • Alcohol gives people a false sense of courage or encouragement to overcome fear or anxiety of his or her inadequacy in relationships.
  • Narcotic drugs are used for the reduction of emotional pain that people feel in relationships to produce happiness despite the pain.
  • Marijuana produces anti-motivational attitude that is later used to reduce the need to achieve what others are urging them to do.
  • Hallucinogenic drugs create an altered euphoric state to avoid the reality of failures in relationships.
  • Uppers like amphetamine, cocaine, or meth destructively and temporarily lift people from their mundane existence to make the feel excited and wonderful when they know their lives are often just the opposite.
  • Sedative drugs are used to reduce sense of stress and restlessness that people experience in relationships without have to face or solve any of the problems that caused the stress in the first place.Addictions in life

After being saved for over twenty years, sometimes it is hard for me to understand the new believers lifestyle when they struggle with past habits that are contrary to the Word of God.  Seeking pleasure is a failed substitute for personal spiritual growth and is only a temporary shortcut of relief.  Stress or painful situations in life happen.  When a believer is faced with these realities, it is an opportunity and also a challenge for one to experience positive change and adjustments to life with God.  Personal conflict could instead provide direction of really learning how to solve problems and gain spiritual benefit of knowing what God is revealing to that person through the difficulties.  We sometimes don’t understand how God can use painful experiences to shape and mold us for the betterment of our character.   Instead, some use pleasure to overcome the heartaches, (along with guilt from the conviction of the Spirit) hoping to bypass the pain but yet it only makes it worse than better.  When a person fails not only themselves and now God as a believer, positive outcome is replaced with greater personal degradation and the decline of the person’s character.   Because of this feeling and overwhelming emotion, people stop giving their all and go back to the addictions to relieve them from this ongoing conflict or as we call it, spiritual warfare.  However, once a person who once gave their life to God now cannot be relieved by these substitutes and find themselves even more lonely and stressed in a repeat cycle.

find true happiness with JesusHow can all this be solved?  There is no high like the most High!  No drug or substitute can compare to knowing and experiencing this ecstatic state.  My name is Melissa and I am an addict of Jesus Christ.  It is my lifestyle, it is my habits, and it is my daily activity to have a relationship with the Almighty.  I do not view God as a safe haven only during times of stress or as a source of doing good in religion.  I see Him as my love, in which I live with, talk to and walk beside.  I am confidant in which He resides in me, with me and goes everywhere I go.  I believe He speaks through me and my hands are His hands working to produce fruit.  It is through selling out to Him that helps me deal with relationships, conquers my fear, anxieties or worries, and erases all pain of the past.  It is through His Spirit that pushes me beyond my limitations as a human with failures.  He forgives and never holds grudges or belittles me.   It is through His daily guidance and wisdom in which helps me solve problems and situations I may face.  It is Him that I can live with excitement in knowing there is nothing impossible He cannot do.  He gives me strength to face all circumstances in life, the power and victory to overcome and live a life of abundance full of peace and joy!

Greatest Addiction for lifeI call all of those who have never tried this type of addiction.  It will never run out or give you a false sense of fulfillment.  It will never leave you with a hangover, in bondage to fear or broken.  It will however make you hungry for more and empower you with miracle working abilities to walk in the Spirit victorious.

Prayer:  Lord, even when I fail, You are there ready to forgive because your grace and mercy endures forever.  I thank you for walking and living with me, for your love you bestow upon me.  I am proud to be a believer full of your spirit and power.  Help me to help others find this favor.  Nothing can replace you!  In Jesus Name  amen.

John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” NIV

I John 5:4  …for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Luke 19:10  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

John 8:51  I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.

Galatians 6:8  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Abundant life, Encouragement, Leadership

Murder She Wrote

Murder She Wrote - stop crimeEveryone remember the television show Murder She Wrote?  It usually was about a murder case in which need to be solved by a keen detective. In the show the police suspect the innocent person and the person who actually committed the crime is exposed by the star actor.

Murder we seem to take so easy as if it is nothing in some ways and in others to extreme.  It is time to be the detective and recognize crime.  It is time to check ourselves to make sure we are not the suspects.  There are several murders around us everyday.  It is in the form of gossip and slander.  A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about people and proceeds to reveal that information to those who have no business knowing it.  Gossip is often placed in with other sins in which we all teach about but never considered gossip as murder.  Gossip is idle talk or rumors.  It is usually about the personal or private affairs of others. gossip or slander is sin out of control - heart issue It forms one of the oldest and most common means of sharing unproven facts and views.  It also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information transmitted. Have you ever played the game of whispering a statement in the ear of someone sitting next to you and they in turn do the same?  By the time it reaches the last person in the room, it has changed into something in which people “thought” they heard or added to the story.  How does this relate to gossip or does it?

Gossip is distinguished from sharing information in two ways. 
 The first is intent. Gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad and exalting themselves as some kind of repositories of knowledge. 
The second is the type of information shared. Gossipers speak of the faults and failings of others, or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval in order to pull others down to their level.  Even if they mean no harm, it is still gossip.  There are several reasons why people commit this crime.  On a personal level it reverts back to self with pride, bitterness, hostility, anger, resentment, and low self-esteem.  It could also be just to be accepted by a group in peer influence.  It is a result of a heart issue and reveals the true nature of sin out of control.

gossip or slander is intent to murder or harm There are consequences to this type of murder. The reason people gossip or slander someone is to hurt.  They try to murder the reputation or even referred to as character assassination.  The one who is spoken against can receive hurt or pain, embarrassment, damage to their character or reputation.  It can be destructive and cause division.  If we take a closer look the rabbis in the Old Testament and the writers of the New Testament consider gossip or slander as murder.  True, words may not physically kill anyone but it is still murder.  Ruining a good name can have lasting effects for generations to come.

Gossip is part of the sinful nature in which everyone is born with yet it can be conquered through developing the love of Jesus Christ.  If you recognize this is part of your daily habits, it can be changed.  As a person seeks Jesus Christ and His nature to live for Him the results will be that of good fruit. To overcome our own passions, requires more steady management, than obtaining victory over an enemy.  Don’t be a guest star that commits the crime on Murder She Wrote but know who you are as a believer, be a crime stopper and be a star in the Lambs Book of Life.Believers produce good fruit

Prayer:  Father I pray your Spirit convicts us all every time we fall prey to our sinful nature when it comes to our conversation.  Help us to have your mercy and compassion along with patience in dealing with the sin of gossip or slander.  Let only good fruit proceed from my mouth; let my seeds be of sweetness.  In Jesus Name.

Ephesians 4:29;31 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

1 Peter 3:10;16 Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech…keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 16:28 A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

Abundant life, Emotional, Encouragement, faith, Fear, forgiveness, Leadership, Salvation

Locked In A Cage

locked in cage of emotional sinsHave you ever been around someone who is always caged up in an emotional crisis?  Every good thing or bad circumstance that may come his or her way they react as if it was a life or death situation.  Women tend to be more emotional than men, but all of us deal with emotional sin.  It is compared to a wild animal caged in a zoo.  There is no hope of ever escaping the bars of captivity when you live a life of emotional sin.

Emotional sins have to do with the state of mind or attitude.  Sometimes we don’t realize our emotions can create an attitude of sin.  Everyone will experience emotional sin in his or her life because of our human nature.  However through the power of giving our lives to Jesus Christ we can be over comers and live a productive Christian life.

Adversity is outside pressure of life; stress is inside pressure of the soul.   Stress is caused by oneself, by emotional sins; adversity is caused by other people and outside circumstances that may be beyond our control.  Adversity is inevitable; stress from emotional sin is optional.  The next time you confess stress, think again about what you are saying.   Is it truly stress or is it adversity?  If you confess stress, it is as if you are saying I refuse to change for the better and stay locked in a cage of emotional sin.  Within the cage, you may have the basic needs of survival but you also will feel alone and live without true freedom.

Don't be caged with emotional sin...come out through knowing Jesus ChristStress destroys the spiritual life of the believer, which increases doubt and fear.  Fear is the opposite of faith. Emotional sins make a person have stress therefore results in being forgetful and impair the memory in regards to acquiring new knowledge. As a result, emotional sin impairs the ability to learn.

Emotional sin also affects a person’s perception of reality.  Listed below are some emotional sins in which we must strive to conquer which strength in Jesus Christ is the only way to overcome.

  • Pride means to be arrogant, conceited and to think only of yourself.  It is putting self above others in self-importance.
  • Lust is an eagerness for sexual desire, yearning for something so bad you are willing to break God’s laws to get what you want.  It is self-pleasing.
  • Envy is being jealous, showing greed and wanting what somebody else has in such a way you show inappropriate behavior with spite or resentment.
  • Anger is displeasure and to become greatly annoyed, having irritation, rage, fury and resentment.  Anger is a secondary emotion of fear or rejection or being hurt intentionally or unintentional.
  • Slothfulness is being lazy, sluggish, slowness, tardy, late, not very responsive lacking energy and being lethargic.  Having I don’t care attitude and not willing to get involved.
  • Covetousness is greediness, wanting somebody else’s property, yearning to have the materialism or a strong desire for more even in ways you will get whatever it takes to get what you want.
  • Greed not only desires for more but can also be in the form of gluttony, self-indulgence, or strongly desiring more than required.  Goes beyond the needs.
  • Low self esteem, selfishness and negativity also goes along with emotional sins.

If we find ourselves with these emotional sins, the first step is to claim the promises of God and ask for forgiveness and renew the mind with repentance.  It is to take on the heart of Jesus and press toward the goal of righteous living.  Emotions are a unique God given feeling however we should never let them control our attitude or body to sin.  Through the death, burial and resurrection Jesus Christ has paid the ultimate sacrifice where we are no longer bound by emotional sin.  Step into a new life of living and get out of the disturbing cage of emotional sin.

Prayer:  Lord, forgive me of emotional sin.  When I feel stress coming on, help me to recognize the cage of emotional entrapment.  Take my life and use it for your glory as I overcome through the blood that you shed and by your resurrection power.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.