We have hidden enemies

OceanWe live in a world filled with such beauty, it takes your breath away. Places so splendid you want to stay forever just to bask in the beauty. The beauty of standing on the beach, curling my toes in the sand, listening to the waves as they crash around my feet, as I breathe in the scent of salt air. Watching the sun dip into the ocean anticipating a sizzle as it disappears into the ocean.

We also live in a world filled with horror. Places not fit for vacation yet millions are trapped with no way out. Scrounging for food and clean water. The simplest of things most westerners take for granted are luxuries for millions.

This world we live in is filled with atrocities and unspeakable things going on behind closed doors. Pedophiles. Rapists. Murderers. Abusers of all kinds. Serial killers. Greed. Neglect. Sex traffickers. Cancer. Disease. Accidents. War mongers. Gangs. Cults. The list goes on and on.

Do you feel slimed? You should. Don’t think for a moment the Church isn’t impacted by this and more. It is. The horrors of this world have invaded every part of our society.

And who do we blame for every bad thing happening in this world and in our lives?

We have an enemy who quite frankly doesn’t like to draw attention to himself or his minions. He likes to stay behind the scenes imitating God since he can’t be him. And believe me when I say, He wants to be him with every fiber of his being. What drives him as he stands before God accusing us, pointing out all our flaws? Jealousy. On his best day he can never and will never be God. It eats at him, so what does he do? He goes after us, causing as much damage as he can and making sure we blame God as he hides in the darkness.

“Why do bad things happen to good people?” It’s the age old question which I’m not going to respond to or try to solve in this post. Bad things happen. Period. We live in a war zone. The enemy is defeated, only he doesn’t know it, accept it or believes it. He continues to prowl around like a roaring lion imitating the One he wants to be.

He all knows God has a destiny for each and every person in this world. All 8 billion of us. Yet every day millions are killed before they are ever born. Millions are killed by war, disease, genocide, suicide, drugs, murder, accidents and the list goes on, before they ever reach their destiny or potential.

You have an unseen enemy. He hates you. He hates the destiny God has placed in you. He wants to destroy you. It seems as though he has unlimited resources to torment you. It’s an illusion. He is on a limited budget as Graham Cooke would say. He doesn’t own a cattle on a thousand hills. Actually he doesn’t own anything. He uses God’s resources and distorts them for your destruction. He will use your family, your church, your friends and you to either destroy you or make you doubt what God has placed in you.

He makes you think his thoughts are yours or God’s. All the while saying, “look what God did, why he didn’t stop it. He could have you know.” We buy it hook, line and sinker. We rail against God all the while the enemy snickers and runs off.

These enemies of ours have no authority or power of their own. They are impotent. They can’t be everywhere and there are more of us than there are of them. Recognize them for what they are. Nothing, with less than nothing.

How do you overcome this enemy? Hear God. Know His voice. Study Him. Learn Him. As we know His voice, His character then we can best know how to defeat the already defeated. We take what he enemy meant to destroy us and allow God to do what He does…bring beauty out of ashes, blessing out of mourning, and praise instead of despair. He will comfort the broken, release the captives and set prisoners free. He will put broken bones back together again, wrap them with muscle and flesh and breathe life into what was dead. (Isaiah 61 and Ezekiel 37).

For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against might powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesian 6:12 NLT

We are in a battle. But the war has been won. “Pray in the Spirit at all time and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent…” Ephesians 6:18 NLT

I jumped to the end of the book. WE WIN!

 

 

Your freedom is God’s will

FreedomThe clang of metal the echo of groans as Marley works his way through the closed door into Scrooge’s room. Though he’s a ghost the weight of the chains are evident by the look on his face. Each link shouting out the bondage he was in. Even in death. All he wanted was to be free of the chains. He could never be free but he could help his partner find freedom before he too died.

FREEDOM

This. Is. God’s. Will.

“God does not give us sickness (or pain, death, abuse…fill in the blank) to teach us a lesson or to build our character. God will cease every opportunity to build our character but He would rather heal us.” Pastor Alan Smith Catch the Fire DFW

Our chains are not God’s will.

Shortly after Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness Jesus walked into the local synagogue in his home town of Nazareth. When it was time to read the scriptures, He stood to read from Isaiah 61.

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim captives will be released, the blind will see, the oppressed will be set free, and the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

Freedom. Your freedom. It’s why Jesus left joy of heaven for the confines of earth. The Greek word for salvation is sozo. It means salvation, healing and deliverance. Not only did He come to save us, He came to set us free.

What do I mean by freedom? Pastor Alan Smith of Catch the Fire DFW puts it this way, “Freedom isn’t the absence of a problem, but the presence of the Father. Freedom is when I can respond to God as I was created to be. Freedom is becoming who He called and redeemed me to be. To be satisfied with His love. Freedom isn’t about what’s absent, it’s about whose present.”

We stop focusing on the problem and allow God to be our source.

It isn’t God’s will for us to suffer abuse, death, pain or heartache. On the other hand He doesn’t stop all those things from happening either. He’s not a puppeteer. There are no invisible strings tying us to a great manipulator in the sky.

What He has promised is to never leave or forsake us. When life gets hard He doesn’t fade away or hide from the hard questions we ask. He can shoulder our cries of pain and anger.

So how do you find freedom? Is it forgiving and forgetting. Is it putting the past behind you? Or pretending it never existed? I can tell you I tried them all. Yet, in pretending the pain didn’t exist you could hear the clang of chains I was dragging around.

Freedom isn’t elusive. It’s a choice. A choice to dig through the lies we believe and replace them with truth. It’s discovering who I am in Him. It’s about God being my source.

Have you ever been blind-sided? Someone says or does something to hurt you to the core of your being? We’ve all been there. It happened to me recently. God didn’t cause the pain or bring it about but He sure did use it.

My first reaction was to make sure everyone knew how much I hurt and to understand why I was hurt. I even spread the hurt around myself. Hurt people hurt people.

God’s will is my freedom.

For a time I didn’t want freedom. Wallowing in the pain felt good until I realized it only made me a victim. Not going there.

From the moment I sat in my seat at Church that night. I sought the Comforter…he began to speak my language as Pastor Nancy Smith would say. He first reminded me who I was in Him. During worship I lifted my voice in praise. The presence of God was heavy as each song built on the other as I offered him all my hurt and allowed him to comfort.

Then it happened, as I offered my love and adoration to Jesus the song shifted…”Things we thought were dead are breathing life again. You cause your Son to shine in darkest nights.”

The scab was ripped off and the blood of my tears flowed…God knew I was hurt and reminded me this was an old wound that needed healing. Just when the pain eased, God did a little surgery by cleaning out the root of the infection as Pastor Alan talked about rejection. To say I was a sobbing mess is an understatement. And oh by the way He wasn’t done yet.

He used the message to begin the healing process to cover the wound with salve so the real healing could begin.

Your freedom is God’s will.

Soak in the song Jesus We Love You by Bethel. We Will Not be Shaken CD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Master Designer – The Song

The songMovie review

Are you a lover of animal documentaries but get frustrated with their assumption it all leads back to evolution? Even as you watch the uniqueness of the animal kingdom it seems so obvious a creator is behind creation.

You will enjoy this documentary by Exploration Films. Hosted by Brian Corsetti, you will learn nuances and characteristics of the animal kingdom from the bees to the crickets. With wolves, bison, elk and even the camel thrown in.

How do bees know the best design to build their hive and store their honey? Why a hexagon and not a triangle? They communicate through dancing and are mathematicians. Scientists have studied the bee and their uniqueness is extraordinary. Did they happen by chance or is the honey bee a tiny miracle of God?

The movie tackles the age-old question, was all this created by God or did life just happen? There are arguments on each side. This documentary pulls it all together for you.

Did you know Bison’s aren’t buffalo? And they have 4 stomachs? Camels have 3 eyelids, one they can close in a sand storm. And oh if they get sand in their eye, the eyelid will wipe the sand away. They aren’t pretty but they are distinct and tough. The original 4 wheeler.

Let’s not forget the creepy creature, the cricket. I’m good with crickets as long as they are outside and I love the sound they make. I will never look at the cricket the same way again and neither will you.

Kids of all ages will enjoy the movie. Most documentaries lead you to evolution this movie leads you to creation. And yes you will wonder how anyone could believe all this happened by chance.

Beautiful scenes of our earth are eye candy and the music complement’s the movie without being overwhelming or distracting. No bible thumping or put downs, no bashing of evolution. Just the facts presented so clearly and . It’s what you always believed but had trouble putting into words.

The question the movie continues to ask…is there a conflict between science and creation? Can you believe in God and science? The answer is a resounding YES!

 

God is good. Satan is bad.

Sand Castle2You’ve been violated, betrayed, shattered. Our natural inclination is to place blame. Someone must be at fault. The question is who?

Most often we assume God is at fault. After all He’s God isn’t He? He’s everywhere all the time. Was He not paying attention or am I not important to Him? He could have stopped it. Right?

We question the very nature of God. God is good, he doesn’t cause bad things to happen to teach us a lesson or to build our character according to Pastor Alan Smith.

The question is…who is seeking our destruction? Who hates us with a passion? Who wants to skew your view of God? Satan. He wants to be God but he can’t so he imitates Him. According to I Peter 5:8 he prowls around like a roaring lion. Jesus is the Lion of Judah. Satan is a fake who uses smoke and mirrors to deceive us into believing God is the cause of all our pain.

God is good. Satan is bad.

Satan is a thief. John 10:10 NLT “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give you a rich and satisfying life.” It’s the very core of his nature. There’s nothing redeeming about him. If his lips are moving, he’s lying. He counterfeits everything good that God is.

Can I explain why my childhood was like it was? Or why I married an abuser? I can’t.

For years I thought God was at the center of all the bad in my life. My view of God was skewed. I thought He was the great punisher in the sky. I was bad and unlovable so this was my lot in life. How distorted my view of God was. Over the last 10 years my view of God has changed. I’ve grabbed hold of the belief that God is good and Satan is bad.  

I had a reoccurring dream through the years. In the dream I could seeing myself sleeping and a shadow of a man sitting on my bed with his hand on me. I never understood the dream until a few years ago when God showed me it was Him sitting on my bed each night watching over me as I slept, caressing my arm and bringing comfort.

Before I knew Him, He was there.

It was such a gift and a dawning of the depth of His love. It all started with a question, “Father, show me where you were when…” and show me He did. I didn’t ask out of anger or frustration but from a desire to know. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think of His great love for me even when I thought I was unlovable.

In my first marriage, there were many times I begged God to rescue me or kill him. I was waiting for a white knight to rescue me but it never happened. It took years to realize it was never God’s plan that I marry him or stay with him. They were my choices, I ignored the red flags, then chose to stay. I was too blinded by fear to see an escape. I believed the good times out weighted the bad. They didn’t.

There was no purpose for the bad in my life. God didn’t fall asleep on the job. Yes it made me the woman I am today. BUT. If I had made a different choice I would still be the woman I am today but with a different story of how I got here.

Change my past? In a heartbeat.

God is good. Satan is bad. Will God use my story? Absolutely. He already has. Do I wish I had another story? A thousand times…yes. Have I come to accept my story? Yes. Though it has taken 10 years to get here.

Satan spent his energy trying to destroy me. He failed. He wasted his time and energy. Why? Because I choose to believe God is good and Satan is bad.

Many books have been written on this subject and we could spend hours in debate and scour the bible for answers and try to explain it. At some point each of us must decide for themselves…

God is good. Satan is bad.

Do you want to begin to heal? This is the foundation you can build on…God is good. Satan is bad.

No matter what your story is, don’t let the start stop you from finding freedom. Begin the journey today. Next post “Your freedom is God’s will.”

Want someone to chat with? Email me at ChaostoCastles@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Hurt people Hurt people

IndulgenceThe fairy tales I grew up with were the Disney animated version. I’ve read parts of the original fairy tales years ago. They are much more gruesome than what you see on the big screen.

The theme is the same, the damsel is in distress and prince charming rescues her from the evil Queen or step mother. In the end they fall in love and live happily ever after.

I’ve enjoyed the live action remakes of some of my favorite fairy tales. Most of the remakes still involve the damsel and prince like Cinderella (Ever After) and Snow White (Mirror Mirror) and my new favorite Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent).

In the animated version of Sleeping Beauty the evil queen is truly evil. Hard and bitter are two words that come to mind. She is wicked. What makes someone evil? Are they born that way? Or were they so deeply hurt that they chose hatred, anger and revenge over healing. I admit I hadn’t thought about the evil characters in my favorite fairy tales until I watched Maleficent.

Spoiler Alert ~ Go no further unless you’ve seen the movie.

Maleficent is a story of hurt, betrayal, anger, bitterness, revenge and in the end redemption. What began as a budding friendship develops into the bud of love. Until greed and power take over and Maleficent is betrayed by her true love. She allowed the hurt to fester and turn into anger and bitterness. Creating a wall around her kingdom no one could breach. She sought revenge on her betrayer by cursing his child. The cure for the curse is true loves kiss. She chose it because based on her experience it didn’t exist.

This isn’t the version I grew up with but it won my heart. Seeing how hurt and betrayal can destroy not only us but those around us.

The king sought revenge on Maleficent for the curse on his child. Instead of protecting his daughter, he sent her away. He began his journey of self-destruction by closing himself off and looking for ways to destroy Maleficent.

It’s a never ending cycle of revenge.

Hurt people hurt people. The first time someone said this to me I wanted to punch his lights out. I was so angry, it was as if he was making excuses for what my then husband did to me and our children. Over the last 10 years of healing I can see just how true it is. Even of myself.

As part of the healing process I had to look at how I hurt others because I was hurt. It was a hard reality to face. It broke me completely. Here I was the victim of another’s abuse yet I too caused pain to people around me.

The cycle splashes on the innocent.

Aurora was beauty and innocence. Her acceptance of Maleficent was pure. Over time Maleficent’s heart softened and she looked for ways to end the curse. The solution was a young prince. Or so she thought. It never occurred to her that she was the answer, that it was her love for Aurora that was true loves kiss.

So yes, hurt people hurt people. What’s more important is free people free people. This is the cycle which should never end.

Happy Anniversary!

Sand Castle2Anniversaries are meant to be a time of celebration, to remember an event with fondness. For me today is an anniversary of sorts. December 26, 2004, the day I found courage. 10 years ago today I walked out of an emotionally, verbally and physically violent marriage. A marriage built on intimidation, manipulation and control.

The week leading up to this day was filled with silence, anger, verbal punches and emotional rollercoasters. I battled indecision, should I leave, should I not? A never ending daisy. You’d think it would be a no brainer.

Filled with terror and panic with the quiet voice of my mom encouraging me, letting me know she would back whatever decision I made. Knowing this was one decision I had to make on my own.

Terror consumed me as I thought of his consequences. Knowing I would disappoint God, after all He hates divorce. Knowing deep in my heart He wanted me to leave. Yet I found it hard to trust His protection. The turmoil of lies waged war in my mind.

Christmas day sealed the deal as the worst Christmas ever. This man who 30 years prior pledged to love me didn’t know the meaning of love. Narcissistic to the core. He was only truly content when everyone orbited around his darkness. When we bowed our will to his. This is not marriage. This is slavery.

Stick a fork in me. I was done. This. He. Just wasn’t worth it anymore.

My decision was made.

After the family went to bed, he and I stayed up. Not to enjoy the quiet around the tree but for him to mete out punishment. For hours he barrage me with all my failings and the consequences if I ever cheated or left. It took everything in me to not laugh in his face, knowing in a few short hours I would be gone.

Finally by 3am his rage was spent. And off to sleep we went as if nothing ever happened.

I rose the next morning. Washed my face, brushed my teeth and grabbed my bags as my mom and I walked out the door. Fear mocked me as we loaded the luggage into the trunk. I was doing this. Really doing this. Leaving not on a jet plane but in a Monte Carlo. As we quietly shut the car doors, I turned the key and instead of the roar of an engine we were met with silence. Total and complete silence.

In a flash my hope was as dead as the engine. I jumped out of the car, crying, yanking luggage out of the trunk. There would be no escape today until the voice of my mom penetrated my fear, “Karen. Karen! We’ll call a tow truck.”

Finding a safe place to wait, my knight rode up in his shiny white tow truck to save the day. “I’m running away from home.” I said. “You must not wake him,” I warned. As my fairy god mother and knight drove off to recharge the Monte. I waited in anticipation and trepidation. The sight of seeing my fairy god mother drive up filled me with hope once again.

As we drove off hope soared. I was free!

Little did I know my freedom journey was just beginning. Like Marley in the Christmas Carol I was chained by the past. One by one over the years the chains broke off as layers of lies were broken.

Looking back without wallowing in the muck of emotions, without pain or the rise of bitterness and revenge is a sweet release.

In the last 10 years I’ve learned who God really is. Not vengeful or spiteful. Discovering He loves me more than He hates divorce. To realize He never intended for me or anyone to stay in such a marriage. It was my own fear that kept me in bondage. Looking back and realizing all the opportunities where I could have left but allowed fear to overrule my common sense.

For the last 10 years God has been restoring what was stolen. Enjoying my new life with a husband who loves me for me and whose words evoke my beauty. The past has faded and has lost its hold and is now a faint memory.

Are you ready to take back your past?

“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway to hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity…” Hosea 2:14 – 15 NLT

 

 

 

 

The Mystery of Christmas

nativity-291x300It was a night like any other night. Or was it? The evening sky glittered with tiny specks of light. Nighttime sounds are heard along with the baying of animals. Suddenly the darkness filled with the sounds of screams, first of a woman, then of a baby.

After 400 years God broke His silence. On this night God who was incapable of being seen could now be seen and touched in the form of a babe.

On this night there was a shift. The world changed with a cry of a baby and not just any baby but the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah.

Heaven came to earth.

Did the great deceiver feel it? As the babe cried, did he also cry in agony? Did he sense his impending doom? Did he get a headache, feeling as though his skull was being crushed? Did he remember the curse placed upon him thousands of years before?

It didn’t take long to know something huge happened in the heavens. With the shout of the angels and the host of heaven singing it would be hard to miss. I imagine the great deceiver frantic trying to figure out just what happened and how he missed this day.

The great mystery began with the cry of an infant. One day this babe would sacrifice himself so he could live in us. No longer to visit and leave, no longer for a chosen few. For anyone who wanted they now could be inhabited by the creator of the universe. We would become the dwelling place of the Most High.

All because of a babe wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger. All the authority, power and glory of God wrapped into a sweet bundle of joy who needed to be fed, changed and cuddled.

Mary carried the glory of God for nine months and now she held him in her arms. She watched and listened when the shepherds came with their encounter with heaven. She hid every word in her heart. Any time she wanted she would remember every detail right down to the smell.

Now we too can carry the glory and have our own encounter with heaven.

I’m in awe of all that Jesus endured to bring heaven to earth.

After the sounds of Christmas fade and you sit in the quiet, take a moment to ponder how heaven came to earth in the form of a babe and made the invisible seen.

Originally posted on My Purpose Now 12/15/2014