Posts

You’re Not Who You Think You Are

He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24

I wept today.

In case you’re picturing gentle tears of joy or wistful tender memories, it wasn’t. Quite the opposite. Wrenching sobs erupted from someplace deep.

You know the kind. Unguarded vulnerability releasing decades of pain that sent the dog hiding under the desk.

I’m not even certain what triggered it, exactly, except that Jesus has invited me to explore the crimson-stained gifts His cross unleashed for us. And for more than a year, He has repeatedly drawn my gaze back to this promise sprinkled over us through His shed blood.

By His wounds you have been healed. 

I hope you noticed the tense encasing that promise. You have been healed. It isn’t something you’re striving toward, dear one. It’s already happened. You received perfect healing as a gift of grace poured out through the blood of your Savior.

Healing is a gift of grace poured out to us through the blood of our Savior. Click To Tweet

That truth prompts me to ask the question: Am I living as one who has been healed? Do I live out the reality of that promise? Because I don’t feel like it a lot of the time. I seem to vacillate between moments of glorious celebration over God’s faithfulness and ravaging self-doubt.

And I’m tired. Aren’t you?

I’m tired of settling for a theoretical version of the Gospel. Jesus came as a flesh and blood man. He felt real pain and endured real suffering. He shed actual blood. And that blood redeems what the enemy has stolen. It unleashed divine power, not doctrinal theory.

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:20

I think it’s time we learned to live in that power, don’t you? I’d like to invite you to open your heart and step into this truth with me.

Christ’s blood makes impossible things possible.

Are you living out impossible promises, dear one? You should be, and so should I.  

What if the pain surrounding us in these dark days offers an invitation to raise our expectations and believe God for the more we’ve settled for living without? What if He’s simply waiting for us to exercise the faith that ushers in His impossible promises?

Let’s take a moment to contemplate what God sent Jesus to the earth to do.

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38

Do you see it, dear one? The good that Jesus came to accomplish—what God anointed Him to do—was heal all who were oppressed by the devil. If you’re a human being, you fall under that promise. But don’t miss what enabled Jesus to fulfill His calling. For God was with Him. That detail also allows us full access to God’s promises.

Isaiah 61:1 describes Jesus’ job description with a few more details.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.

Today we celebrate the good news of the Gospel: Jesus came to set captives free! But I need you to notice what precedes experiencing that freedom in this verse. Healing. Jesus must bind up our broken hearts, enabling us to leave our captivity and live free from oppression.

Consider this thought with me, based on my own experiences. How can a woman celebrate God’s work with overwhelming joy and clarity, yet find herself ravaged by doubt and fear in the very same day? How can a person surrounded by loving community find herself feeling completely alone and crushed under the weight of isolation?

Wounds are how. Tender places where the enemy has bitten us and left his mark. Painful experiences linger that have allowed the deceiver to whisper messages into our souls that defy God’s truth about us and rob our identity. So just as we start to move forward into God’s promises, the enemy digs into that old pain to draw fresh blood.

But here’s the thing about wounds, dear one. The Physician can’t bind them if we aren’t willing to expose them. Jesus will never heal a wound we pretend not to have.

You and I need to let Jesus lift the veil on our brokenness. Not to shame us, dear one. We need to expose the wounds we carry so He can heal and restore us, freeing us from the enemy’s influence.

Remember the promise we started with in 1 Peter 2:24,

By His wounds you have been healed.”  

The enemy wounds us by whispering messages into our souls that defy God's truth. Jesus' blood brings healing to all wounds. Click To Tweet

You received that gift of healing the moment you put your faith in Jesus. But, if you find yourself perpetually tormented by darkness, that pain reveals areas where you haven’t yet realized your divine identity. Wounds exist that you have not exchanged for the healing Christ has given you.

Lies remain in your belief system, denying the Truth that sets you free.

Deep down, we already know. The lingering ache in our hearts reveals our need. A longing deep within cries out for more. Let’s stop settling for the lie that this is as good as it gets. Don’t waver between the darkness and the Light. Let’s press into Jesus and let Him reveal His healing in our lives. You’re not who the enemy says you are. Fear and doubt have no business oppressing you. Jesus speaks the final Word.

And His blood declares you healed.

join the klm

Community

Sign up to receive to receive our blog, news and updates, ministry opportunities and more!

Despairing of Hope, or Living With It

But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came. Job 30:26

I wonder if you’ve ever felt the heavy weight of our opening scripture.

Perhaps you allowed your heart to hope for good—believed God for something good—but the good you hoped for didn’t appear. Instead evil leered at you, taunting you with a darkness that overwhelmed.

And you were tempted to disbelieve John 1:5.

 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

I faced that temptation last week, beloved. Pain has a way of casting a shadow that seems impossible to escape. Especially pain evoked from loss.

And I recently lost someone I love to glory. The frail tent of my dear aunt’s body gave way to the cancer she battled. Now my mother grieves the loss of her beloved sister while facing another three months of chemo herself. Chemo she didn’t anticipate. Her doctors and faithful prayer had projected remission.

It didn’t come.

Now faith is tested while hope dwindles. Darkness approaches, proclaiming a message of hopelessness, sucking away life like a vacuum. Only the emptiness isn’t a void. Fear fills it. Unimaginable pain. Sorrow. Despair.

We so easily allow the darkness to rob our hope, beloved.

But what if we refuse to let the darkness win? What if we recognize that we are the light that overcomes darkness? What if we choose to believe what God says despite what circumstances declare?

I know my God, dear one, and I know His goodness. He is incorruptible. Perfect. Kind. And He always keeps His Word. Always.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

It seems impossible to believe. Can God really bring a great good from death and suffering?

Yes, beloved. Just look at Jesus. What appeared to be humanity’s darkest hour became its brightest. Jesus’ suffering unleashed life and blessing that still produces a harvest.

And now He challenges us to follow His example.

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13

Glory looms on the horizon for the heart infused with faith. And hope for a future joy that waits beyond the darkness.

Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:49-50

Life flows into the hearts of the afflicted when we choose to believe God’s promises. I am living proof of the miracle faith produces when we yield our hearts to the will of our good, good Father. My heart hurts for the people I love. But I do not despair. Hope in my Father’s Word engulfs my heart with peace. It beats with purpose, anticipating a harvest we cannot yet conceive.

Joy released through suffering.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Beloved, God loves us too much to allow us to live lacking. He wants us perfect and complete, and He will do whatever it requires. He gave His Son to remove our lack. Will we also trust Him by surrendering our loved ones?

The Holy Spirit recently gripped my heart with Jesus’ words in Mark 10:29-30.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

What are you willing to leave for Jesus’ sake, beloved? Will you relinquish your suffering loved ones? Will you entrust them to God’s will, feeling the sorrow but releasing all bitterness?

No one who has surrendered a loved one for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold blessing, now in this time. This isn’t just about heavenly crowns. It represents an earthly harvest. But the fulfillment of that blessing will be released through persecutions. Pain. Suffering. Loss.

And faith.

What is that harvest worth to you, beloved?

Surrender your heart to your Father’s will. Find hope as you believe His Word. And experience His resurrection life.

You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, “It is hopeless”; you found new life for your strength, and so you were not faint. Isaiah 57:10

I believe, Lord Jesus. Bring life.

Disabled by Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Have you ever had a moment that robbed your peace so suddenly and completely it felt like the ground you were standing on actually shifted? I had one of those last Monday.

Nothing particularly extraordinary happened. I simply received some news. But that news opened a door for a thought to enter my mind that I hadn’t considered before. And that one thought sent me reeling.

It’s amazing how a simple piece of information dropped into a conversation can change everything.

But the funny thing is, it wasn’t the news itself that caused the problem. It was what my heart suggested I do with it—the overwhelming sense that I should fear it. I didn’t have any concrete evidence to justify my fear. It was simply a thought—a whisper—a possibility.

But once I had it, I couldn’t get away from it. It repeatedly drew all other thoughts back to it, and every time it surfaced my heart pounded while my stomach churned. Because at the end of the trail that thought led me down, I saw pain for my family. Pain I didn’t want. Pain I was certain I couldn’t handle.

So my heart raced and my stomach turned. And I bent in submission to the fear.

Do you know, beloved, that you and I have a right to choose whether fear can have its way with us? If you have been redeemed and the Spirit of Christ dwells in you, fear has no right to govern you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear… (2Tim 1:7).

Yet fear does often govern us, doesn’t it? It did me. It took hold of me with such oppressive force, I couldn’t shake it. No matter how much I tried to regain control of my thoughts, I couldn’t. Instead, those thoughts, whispered by an unseen enemy, did exactly what they were intended to do. They threw everything I knew and believed as truth into confusion.

Can you relate, dear one? Have you, like me, ever beat yourself up for not having greater victory over your fear? For not managing it better?

Tuesday morning began the same way Monday ended. The moment my mind crept from its slumber and wakened to face the day, the oppression resumed. My stomach began its churning before my eyelids fluttered open. By the time I made it downstairs to get my boys ready for soccer, I was so overcome I didn’t know how I would function.

I had been leaning against the fridge filling a thermos with water when the tears came. I felt powerless. Helpless. I couldn’t get myself out.

And then I realized. I didn’t have to.

Leaning my head on the fridge door, I closed my eyes through the tears and whispered four words. “Come get me, Jesus.”

And He did.

It wasn’t immediate, but throughout the day peace slowly emerged. I found the strength to focus my thoughts and even managed a few hours of writing I needed to complete. The next day I discovered with joy that my worst fear would not be realized. The thought that fear had tried to convince me was certain remained what it had always been: a possibility, one that never came to fruition.

Dear one, the spirit of fear disables us. And while as believers sealed by the Holy Spirit evil spirits cannot possess us, they will work hard to oppress us and stifle the works God calls us to. I spent a lot of years bent under the oppressive spirit of fear. No more.

I recently read this passage from Luke 13 with fresh perspective. Perhaps it will speak to you like it did to me.

Now he [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. Luke 13:10-13 ESV

A disabling spirit had oppressed this dear woman—a daughter of Abraham (verse 16) —for eighteen years. Consider her posture. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself (verse 11). I can’t help but think of myself that morning, bent over in grief while I filled that thermos, unable to straighten under the weight of it.

Look what Jesus said to her. “Woman, you are freed…” Listen, dear one. Jesus has already set us free through the cross from every oppressive power. We don’t need deliverance; we’ve been delivered. Perhaps it’s time we believed Him and walked in the Spirit we have been given, one “of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7).

And in those moments when oppression comes so quickly and powerfully that we find ourselves bent under its force, it will not be our efforts that bring the victory. We need a touch of grace from our Savior.

And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. Luke 13:13

Death: The Door to Life

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24

Death scares most of us. We spend the majority of our lives trying to avoid it. And no wonder. Death represents an end, ceasing to exist in the way we’ve known. What follows is unfamiliar territory. And most of us prefer the comfort of familiarity, even when what’s familiar to us isn’t all that great.

Like the way we feel about our sinful nature.

We don’t want to let go of it; it’s what we know.

It deceives us. It hurts us. It even harms the people we love. But we can’t fathom life without it. We fear the death of it more than we fear the pain it causes. So we rebel against Jesus’ command to crucify it.

Yet Jesus forever changed what death means for us as believers. He came to the earth and shared in our humanity,

. . . so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15

In Christ, we should no longer fear death. Jesus has conquered its power! Instead, He asks us to embrace it. Even seek it.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

Jesus challenges us to lose our lives for Him.

We read those words and our flesh kicks up. We don’t want to lose our lives. That’s death, and we’ve always been afraid of death.

But Jesus has freed us from that fear. In Christ, death isn’t an end, dear one. It offers a new beginning.

And Matthew 16:25 extends a clear promise: When you lose your life for Him, you will find it.

You will find your true life, beloved, when you’re willing to lose the one you have.

It doesn’t make sense to us. Logic wars against it. Everything in us screams to hold onto who we’ve always been. After all, it’s what we know.

But when you and I fear the death of our old nature and try to protect and preserve it, we settle for a less than life.

How can I say that? Jesus said it first.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Jesus wants you to experience life to its fullest extent. That happens when you stop living from your old nature and allow Christ to live through you.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

When you and I cease to live—when we put to death our sinful nature—Christ lives in its place. And that scares the enemy of our souls, because he knows he can walk all over us as long as we still live through our old nature. He governs that nature and can easily manipulate us.

But the enemy can’t do anything against the power of the living Christ. Jesus need only utter a word, and he’s undone. He’s powerless… feeble… nothing. And so he does all he can to convince you to remain in your own weakness. He whispers that you should fear death.

Beloved, Jesus has released you from that fear. It’s time to walk in the fullness of life Christ offers. Death has become your catalyst to abundant life!

Imagine it for a moment. What if you crucified your insecurity and let Christ’s assurance of who He Is reign in its place? What if you let go of bitterness and experienced the flooding of His love equipping your heart to feel joy again? What if you buried your self-centeredness so Jesus could replace your impatience and agitation with His perfect peace?

Abundant life awaits, dear one. You need only trust His Word.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4

Will you walk through that door and trust Jesus for your new life?

A Mother’s Struggle to Trust

Not again.

Clutching my Bible and prayer journal, I retreated to my favorite chair, eager to spend some time with the Lord. Well, that’s what I told myself anyway. I really just wanted to feel better.

Here I am, Lord. I scratched the words on the page, searching for where to begin. Worship filtered through my headphones, the uplifting beat of the melody marking a stark contrast to my mood. My mind tuned to the lyrics, “All we need is You.”

Instantly, conviction pierced my heart with the unsettling knowledge that I didn’t agree—at least not that day. That day I needed more than Jesus. I needed Him to fix things.

Guilt compelled me to confess. I’m sorry, Lord. I want you to be enough, but this is too much . . .

A jagged scar from an old wound had just been torn open. The familiar longing for acceptance tugged at my heart, crying out for satisfaction. Rejection had found me again. But this time, it had come for my son.

That changes things. I can handle the battle when I’m at the heart of it. I’ve learned to trust God’s plans for me even when I can’t make sense of them. He’s proven Himself faithful over and over again.

But this felt altogether different. This wasn’t about me. This time my child’s heart had been shattered, and I desperately wanted to fix it. I can’t be expected to idly watch one of my precious ones suffer.

My heart rebelled at the injustice of it. Anger mingled with the pain, begging retaliation. This wasn’t fair. He deserved better.

God should do something.

Soon His gentle Spirit stirred within my heart, lifting the veil so I could see. Realization dawned, penetrating my grief with this undeniable truth: God knew. He understood rejection. He understood the pain of seeing His Son cast aside—of wanting the world to recognize His great value, yet seeing it deny Him.

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” John 1:11, ESV

In that moment, I knew His suffering. I felt His pain. How the Father must have wept when they rejected Jesus. How He still must weep as we repeatedly devalue His only begotten Son . . . the Son He loves . . . the Son He gave.

Hope flickered through my sorrow, God’s own understanding of my feelings encouraging me to press in close. I asked Him to speak to me, to help me trust Him with my own son’s fragile heart. I needed Him to help me believe what I knew His Word declared: that His plans for him are far greater than my own.

True to who He is, God answered. Once again, His Spirit stirred, reminding me of truth. God never allows suffering for its own sake. Suffering, according to Scripture, marks the path to glory.

“But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13, NIV

Then I knew. God had glory to reveal in my son’s life.

This pain would pass, and God would somehow bring good through it. It wasn’t what I would choose for him, but the God who created Him and wrote his story knew what I couldn’t. For whatever reason, my son needed to walk through this. His despair would not be in vain. Through it God would reveal Himself.

I sat in the stillness, pen in hand, and listened, inviting the God who speaks to do so again. Soon His quiet whisper stirred within me, and I found my hand moving once more across the page.

He is mine, beloved, just as you are mine. I AM greater than his pain . . . than your pain. You will soon see.

A promise.

Tears fell in response, my heart hopeful. God always keeps His Word.

I thought of Abraham and how he must have felt as he placed his son, Isaac, upon that altar. I imagine he did it with trembling hands and a breaking heart. But place him there, he did. And Isaac received the blessing that came through his father’s promise.

God had spoken blessings over my son as well, and I had a choice to make. I could retreat into my anger and justify my sorrow. Or, I could trust God to keep His Word in my son’s life. I could fight to change things and try to manipulate his circumstances so I’d like the look of them better, or I could choose to believe the God who speaks and entrust my son to Him with open hands.

I decided I wouldn’t withhold him from the God who loves him even more than I do . . . and then it came. I experienced Jesus’ promise from John 14:27,

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” ESV

The wonder of it always astounds me. I can’t explain the how of it. I simply revel in the miracle of it. But when I run toward Jesus in my confusion instead of from Him—and I listen—I find peace.

It happens the moment I resolve in my heart to believe.

Did God Really Say . . . ?

Following Jesus isn’t getting any easier, is it? While God’s plumb line for distinguishing right and wrong has remained eternally the same, the world’s keeps changing. Things that our grandparents would have considered appalling have become commonplace. Acceptable. The lines have blurred, and so have our convictions.

Dear one, allowing anything other than God’s truth to shape our thinking leads to trouble. Sadly, tasting the sweet enticements of this world eventually results in death.

Kelly Minter witnessed this lesson experienced the hard way.

Lessons From a Lizard

Last week I was out for one of my neighborhood runs on an exceptionally hot and humid day in Nashville. Stifling is the word that comes to mind. I was about 20 minutes into my route when I noticed the oddest thing on the sidewalk . . . a lizard of some sort . . .about 9 inches long . . .

The really bizarre thing . . . is that its head was stuck in a Dr. Pepper can. I am not making this up. I have several theories, but my best one is that the glistening drops of sugary water lured this reptile in on a hot summer’s day. The poor little thing had worked so hard to wedge its head in there that it couldn’t get it out. It suffocated in the smothering heat.

. . . I couldn’t help but catch the symbolism. As I stood there staring at this peculiar sight, I though of the many times I had discovered a few drops I thought were sure to offer life. They were sugary sweet and went down smoothly, offering a respite from the blaze of summer’s heat. . . In the end they left me more thirsty and desperate than before . . . [Kelly Minter, No Other Gods, Lifeway Press, 2007, p.54-56]

Funny how some things are so easy to walk into and so impossible to back out of.

Have you ever found that to be true? At first something seemed so appealing, so right, so perfect. So you went after it. But once you got yourself in, you discovered a whole other side you hadn’t bargained for: the death side. The part that, had you known about it up front, would have stopped you from ever going in.

Beloved, God sees all of it, including the death that follows. That’s precisely why he has established boundaries for us, not to keep us from experiencing the sweet, sugary taste of momentary refreshment, but to protect us from the suffocating death that accompanies it.

The enemy has been deceiving and tempting us out of God’s protection since the Garden of Eden. Perhaps it’s time we got wise to his schemes.

Look at God’s instructions to Adam in Genesis 2:16-17.

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Pretty straight forward, right? Eat anything you want, except this one thing that will bring you death. Simple enough.

Enter the serpent.

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

God tells us one thing. The prince of this world tells us something else.

That’s where our enemy always begins, dear one, getting us to question God. He raises doubts about His motives, His goodness, His trustworthiness. Did God really say . . .

  •       Sex is only for marriage
  •       Wives should submit to their husbands
  •       Drunkenness is sin

Then he makes us believe we’re forfeiting something by obeying God.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5

And here’s the really tricky part. The world’s prince always offers some truth in his deceptions. Their eyes were opened (verse 7), and they did become like God in the sense that they would know both good and evil (verse 22). But what really hurt them—what devastated them— was what the enemy failed to reveal: the consequences of experiencing those things.

Had the serpent given full disclosure, I’m quite certain Adam and Eve would’ve made a different choice.  But that’s not his way.  No, our enemy reveals only what we’d perceive as benefit to entice us.  The rest of the dark horror that follows he keeps hidden, relishing the moment we will discover it for ourselves. 

Imagine his glee as he led Adam and Eve to experience a rush of emotions they had never known before. Shame. Fear. Guilt. Isolation. Blame. 

Imagine their terror as each chilling feeling gripped them and they began to face the reality of what they’d done.  Feel the awareness creeping over them that the relationship they’d known with their Creator was lost.  Sadly, that wasn’t the end of their pain.

Seeds of sin that we allow the enemy to cultivate in us don’t just sprout immediate fruit. 

They continue to birth consequences long after they’ve been sown, even transcending generations. 

As a mother of two boys, I’m especially stricken by the unimaginable grief that must have consumed Adam and Eve as they suffered the loss of a beloved son.  I wonder if they held his lifeless body in their arms, staring in disbelief into the vacant face of the first dead man, their precious Abel.   Far worse must have been the knowledge that he was taken from them at the hand of their firstborn.  In one terrible moment, jealousy and rage—two devastating results of their choice—stole their two oldest boys from them forever. 

Beloved, when you disregard God’s instruction, you may experience a momentary thrill. But what follows will devastate you and those you hold most dear.  The consequences are not always immediate, but they will always come. 

This is precisely why salvation comes through faith, dear one. We must decide whose voice we will trust to guide our steps. Will we follow the voice of Truth who always gives us full disclosure? Or will we follow the world’s prince and allow him to deceive us into death?

I don’t know about you, dear one, but I choose Jesus.

© Kelley Latta Ministries | Design by