Does Your Thought Life Defy God?

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Ephesians 4:18

“You are insignificant … Nobody cares about you … You have nothing of any real value to offer … Things will never change … It’s hopeless.”

I wonder if any of those words seem a little too familiar.

I’ll confess I’ve heard them myself. Many times. But they weren’t spoken by another person. I heard them in my own mind.

Whether we openly admit it or not, we all have fears that rob us of the blessings God longs to pour out. Messages often rotate through our thoughts on auto play, keeping us captive to their deceptions.

Beloved, we sin every time we believe them.

We all easily recognize things like lying, stealing, cheating, and lust as sin. But God hates everything that separates us from Him. And much of the time, what separates us from Him are the thoughts and attitudes we maintain that defy His Word.

When we believe we’re insignificant, God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” Jeremiah 1:5

When we believe nobody cares, God says, “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3

When we believe we have no value, God says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Beloved, every time we actively believe messages that contradict God’s truth, we sin. And that sin separates us from the life of God.

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Ephesians 4:18

It’s time we step from ignorance into faith, dear one. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. His sacrifice freed us from the powers of darkness that rob us of abundant life. But we’ll only experience the life Jesus offers when we choose to believe Him.

Beloved, those messages repeatedly filling your head do have a source. The enemy of your soul planted them in your mind and heart. And every time we trust his words over what God speaks, we fall into the same sin Adam and Eve committed in the garden. We reject God in favor of his enemy. And we give the enemy power he isn’t meant to have.

You and I need to stop bowing down to the wrong spirit.

Isaiah 51:22-23 makes a bold promise.

Thus says your Lord, the Lord, your God who pleads the cause of his people: “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more; and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors…”

Jesus has turned the tables on our tormentors—the ones filling our heads and hearts with darkness. Who are those tormentors? Ephesians 6:12 describes them.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

We fight a very real battle against spiritual influences. They pursue us relentlessly, trying to get our hearts to agree with their dark, oppressive messages. The rest of Isaiah 51:23 reveals where they get their power.

…who have said to you, ‘Bow down, that we may pass over’; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over.”

I wonder if that scripture brings out the same repulsion in you that it does in me. Nobody likes the feeling of being walked on. But that’s exactly how the Word of God describes man’s posture with the enemy.

The cross of Christ released us from our position under the enemy’s feet, beloved. But we have a nasty habit of placing ourselves right back under them. Notice how they get their power. “Who have said to you, ‘Bow down, that we may pass over.’” All our spiritual enemies can do is suggest behavior to us. We position ourselves under their feet every time we believe them.

Beloved, the enemy and his forces have been using our bent backs as their streets and bridges.

But you and I hold the power to stop them, dear one. Jesus set us free from Satan’s authority and placed him firmly under our feet. To manifest that victory, we simply need to start believing what God says.

The next time one of those thoughts comes knocking, don’t entertain it. Your story has been rewritten with Jesus’ blood. The enemy can’t tell you who you are. He doesn’t own you anymore. Only God has that right. Choose to believe what God says, and His Spirit will empower you to stand.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

A Night I Won’t Forget

Last week marked a year since my husband and I spent a frightening evening in the ER with our oldest son. Tears still threaten when I recall the story. But wonder of wonders, I don’t look back on that night as a terrible memory. Grace made it one of my better ones. Because God showed up and taught me an unforgettable lesson about the power of prayer.

Distress Call

In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:6

It’s the unexpected things that send us reeling. Extraordinary circumstances that reach into an ordinary day and make it anything but.

Like when a few hives decide they won’t respond to Benadryl. Or steroid shots. Or IV antihistamines.

And you watch those hives cover every ounce of your child and set his skin on fire. And he develops a fever. And he swells so much it takes two nurses and two technicians thirty minutes to find a place on his body where they can insert a needle to draw blood.

And you hear a doctor say words like, “He may have Steven Johnson’s Syndrome, which is very rare but very aggressive. If that’s what this is, we’ll be sending him out to Hopkins or Hershey for treatment.”

When a mother hears words like that, tears burn and threaten to fall. But they don’t. At least not right away. Because those eyes need to look into the eyes of her son and let him know it will be okay.

But when she slips into an empty room in the ER and shuts the door, that’s another story. There strength crumbles, and she gasps for oxygen.

At least that’s what I did. I cried out to my heavenly Father, begging for His breath.

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

God has such beautiful ways of providing, dear one.

Like sending a friend and prayer partner to wrap me in her arms and let me know I am loved. And that I wasn’t fighting for my child alone.

She held my hands in that ER prayer closet and together we ran to the throne of grace.  Hearts merged and tears fell while prayers reached heaven on behalf of my son.

And heaven moved.

My heavenly Father answered with an amazing sense of peace. I felt it wash over me and settle. Fear had no place in that room. Only power. Love. And a mind at peace.

Then the Spirit swelled within me, stirring my heart to pray in a way I hadn’t before—with the authority of one who is seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). I prayed from my identity in Christ, as one who sits “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Ephesians 1:21).

I told the destroyer he would not have my son. And he didn’t.

Spirit led prayer moves mountains when you pray from your position in Christ. #knowwhoyouare Click To Tweet

Sensing that this was a spiritual attack, I proclaimed that my son was covered by the blood of Jesus and I would not permit this enemy to advance any further. And the blisters and burns that follow a Steven Johnson’s diagnosis never came. Instead of two months in a burn unit, Austin returned to school in just three days.

Yes, dear one. Heaven moved.

The Glory of Suffering

Few things shake a parent like watching a child suffer. We do what we can to prevent it. And when suffering comes, we’ll do anything to end it.

But that isn’t what God did, beloved.

God surrendered Jesus—His only Son—to suffering.

Unfathomable. Ridiculous. True.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10 NIV

God chose suffering for Jesus. Willingly. His love for us compelled Him. His love for Jesus didn’t stop Him.  Jesus suffered, dear one, so that He could redeem ours.

He knew it wouldn’t end in death. No. Jesus’ suffering resulted in glory.


And ours.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that unimaginable choice. Because Jesus’ suffering released the power of resurrection life.

For you. For me. For my son.

And regardless of how things appear or even how they play out in this life, when we are in Christ, death can’t win.

Because Jesus already won.

And sometimes we get to witness His resurrection power right here in the midst of our suffering. Like when doctors can’t explain what happened, but you know. Because you ran to the throne of grace and watched heaven win.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Are We Helping People into Hell?

Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. Isaiah 59:14-15

It’s getting harder and harder to stand in agreement with God’s Word without being attacked. Isaiah 59:14 reveals why. Truth has stumbled in the public squares. The deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9) has established his agenda, convincing the public that wrong is right. Even self-proclaimed Christians have bought the lies and wandered from God’s truth, allowing society’s convictions to dictate theirs. Now,

Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

Recently, my husband’s defense of biblical marriage between a man and a woman earned him the accusation of being homophobic. Today people rush to judgment without understanding. I’d like to set the record straight.

While I’m aware that homophobia is all too real and even dangerous, many people who don’t support the LGBT lifestyle for biblical reasons aren’t projecting fear or hatred toward those involved in it. We fear for them.

Beloved, we believe in Jesus, and Jesus came to deliver mankind from our destructive bondage to sin. He came to sever our attachment to anything the enemy of our souls planted in our hearts that pulls us away from God and the life He planned for us. Those things are the natural desires of the flesh that find their root in darkness.

Ephesians 2:1-3 describes our fallen, natural condition.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Beloved, without Jesus, our very nature condemns us. Ephesians 2 explains the reason we have need of the cross! The natural passions of our flesh come from the evil one instead of the God who created us. Our sin nature that sets us following the course of this world instead of God’s desires positions us for wrath.

But God loved us too much to leave us in that state! So He sent Jesus.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

John 3:17-19 confirms God’s intentions for mankind through Jesus.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

Beloved, I fear for those who choose to remain in darkness. Because I know where that choice will end. And my heart aches for the influence the darkness wields over their minds and hearts.

Do you know what lies at the heart of the transgender movement, dear one? The prince of this world has convinced people to hate who God created them to be. The inner voice telling them something is wrong with them has become so powerful they’re willing to mutilate their bodies to try to feel better and escape the pain. Pain that only exists because the deceiver has blinded them to the beauty of who they are. God did not give them that misery, dear one. The thief robbed their identity. Jesus said,

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

What these people are searching for can’t be found by different clothes or a surgeon’s knife. Bruce Jenner proved that. People applauded his bold step to come out and reveal his life long struggle with his identity. But my heart broke as I saw the pain in his eyes during his interview. He fought tears much of the time.

You see, taking that step didn’t make him feel any better. Becoming Caitlyn didn’t end the pain.

Choosing a new gender identity didn’t fix the problem, beloved. Happiness still eluded him. And it will until he discovers that true joy only comes when we find our identity in Christ.

Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it.

We think the way to help people who suffer this way is to support their decision and make them feel safe. It isn’t. The problem isn’t that God made a mistake and gave them the wrong parts. He doesn’t make mistakes.

They suffer from a heart condition. The deceiver has darkened their thinking and stolen their joy.

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Ephesians 4:18

Beloved, only Christ can deliver them from the darkness. I’m not against establishing LGBT rights because I hate them. I believe Jesus wants to save and restore them.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14 NIV

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provided a miraculous gift. He saved us from our condemned condition. He died to redeem our flesh, taking our sin so He could give us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus has literally provided us with divine power to change our natural, self-destructive desires (2 Peter 1:3-4)—the desires that keep us bound to the prince of darkness and will also bind us to his eternal fate. But we must, “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

If we keep pushing an agenda that supports the LGBT lifestyle—establishing what God has declared wrong to be right (Romans 1:18-32)—we only help send people to their eternal destruction. And we keep them from discovering the answer to the pain that their heart really longs for. Jesus.

Love doesn’t establish law that makes sin easier and helps people self-destruct. It speaks the truth and extends a hand to pull them out.

“Love is unselfishly choosing for another's highest good.” -C.S. Lewis #thecrossdelivers Click To Tweet

Their highest good is their deliverance!

Jesus said, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He was either a lunatic, a liar, or exactly who He claimed to be: The Son of God who came to save the world.

I happen to believe Him.

When Fear Costs a Blessing

The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. Proverbs 5:22

I don’t like drawing attention to myself.

I know that might sound strange coming from a woman who regularly speaks from a stage, but here’s the truth. I would never have chosen this path for myself. I prefer obscurity.

I’d rather live life far from any public eye, enjoying my family and loving people. But God had other designs for me when I said yes to Jesus’ invitation to “Follow Me.” It’s like one of our pastors said in his sermon on Sunday. “Following Jesus will inevitably lead you to places you’d never choose to go on your own.”

I’m living proof of that. Once I fell in love with Jesus, my desire to follow Him pushed me past some overwhelming fear. I determined that I would trust Him no matter what. So when He began to open doors for me to publicly teach His Word, I stepped through them—fighting through the nausea that told me to run the other way.

And I began to see Jesus work miracles every time I stepped up to a podium. Each time I taught His Word, God responded to my faith by showing up. His presence would push back the feelings fear had brought and overtake me with His peace. Not only that, but the people hearing the Word encountered Him too as He gave them new understanding of His truth. The grace poured out on me, marked them.

Now Jesus has conquered my fear in that area of ministry. I no longer fear public speaking. He set me free! But even when we’ve come so far with Him, His mercy will reveal places we have yet to go. And on Sunday morning in the middle of worship, He showed me one of those places.

While we were singing, I felt the Spirit well up inside of me, urging me to the front of the church.

I didn’t go. And I missed a blessing.

I hesitate even now to share the story. I’ve spent the last 18 years telling God that I’ll go wherever He sends me. And I believed I would. I’ve followed Him to churches and retreat centers all over the place. Yet when He sent me to the altar in my home church to lift my hands and proclaim my freedom in front of the congregation, my feet would not move.

…she is held fast in the cords of her sin. Proverbs 5:22

You see people don’t typically flood to the altar in my church. They stay in their seats. They worship in the safety of anonymity. But Jesus asked me to step from the crowd, walk boldly to the front alone, and raise my hands to Him in worship.

His prompting came in answer to my own prayers. Desperate to experience more of Him, I’ve been asking for bold faith—faith that moves me from my comfort to love the lost. You see, the podium—once my greatest fear—has become my safe place. I can share freely because the people I’m talking to have chosen to come and listen.

But what of the man sitting next to me on a plane? Or the waitress whose pained look reveals a burden? I find that I struggle to “impose myself” on someone who hasn’t invited me to help them.

But that’s not who Jesus is. He pursues the lost without shame. He extends Himself without invitation. He gives of Himself freely without fear of rejection—a fear I admit I’ve wrestled with most of my life.

And during Sunday morning worship, God provided an opportunity to follow Him. The lyrics we sang invited me to proclaim my deliverance. I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God. As I sang the words, I wanted to run to the front of the church and step into that freedom. But I couldn’t.

Apparently, sometimes I still live like a slave.

Don't settle for old victories. Jesus has new ones for today. #livingfaithdoesn'tstaycomfortable Click To Tweet

I felt my heart beating faster as I hesitated, trying to discern if it was really Him prompting me to go. Then He whispered, “Walk with Me, child.” I knew He wanted me to put one foot in front of the other and walk out my faith to the front of that sanctuary. And I discovered the stronghold keeping me from living my full inheritance.

I fear how people will judge me. I worry what people might think. How will I follow Him to the lost if I can’t follow Him to the front of the church?

I’m like the woman with the issue of blood who sought Jesus for her healing. She slipped quietly through the crowd to touch the hem of His garment. Immediately, she felt her body heal and retreated into the crowd.

She wanted miracles, but she preferred anonymity. Still, Jesus challenged her to reveal herself.

And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” Luke 8:45-46

Jesus’ question intrigues me. He knew exactly who touched Him. Scripture reveals that Jesus knows the thoughts of men. He certainly knew hers. And still, He asked the question.

 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Luke 8:47-48

 Beloved, sometimes we can experience miracles but still carry our shame. We prefer not to expose ourselves to people, because the enemy of our souls has convinced us it’s safer in the darkness.

But Jesus dwells in the light, dear one. If we want to shine as light in the world, we’re going to have to trust Him and leave the shadows. Darkness might be comfortable, but it’s bondage.

And Jesus love us too much to leave us there.

Father, forgive me for letting my comfort keep me from obedience. You are worth everything! I thank You for Your new mercies every day. Thank You for revealing the source of my fear. I confess my fear of judgment, and leave it at the cross. Empower me to walk boldly with You wherever You call me to go. Help me to love You and love people more than I love my own comfort. Help me to give freely to You and others without shame. You deserve more than I have offered You. People need to see You in me. Thank You for loving me perfectly. Amen.