Overcoming Failure

Because you’ve failed at something does not mean you’re a failure. God designed us to be renewed in every way. Restoration, new beginnings, and finding hope is what our great God is all about.

Image result for small white PopcornLast evening, I made a big bowl of the best popcorn ever! I decided that instead of supper I’d indulge in a huge popcorn treat that I have been longing for. I had purchased small tender white kernels of popcorn at a specialty store in December, popped them just about perfectly and added some butter! Wow, what a treat, I ate it with much pleasure while viewing a documentary. Before I knew it, I had finished the entire bowl! Oh, my stomach felt it… this morning as I write I feel a bit lousy for eating it all. I failed to maintain my goal of eating mindfully and in small portions.

Failure is common to all of us. In reading the book of second Peter this morning I saw the restorative way that God works within us when we fail. Setting our eyes upon greater things puts our failures (great or small) into proper perspective. As you may know, Peter himself would be considered a failure in his early journey with Jesus. Jesus told him ahead of time of this impending failure, yet because of fear, he denied he knew Jesus three times when questioned. The agony Peter went through from this experience was dreadful. Have you been through an experience of agony over your own failures? Perhaps it’s an entire season in life where you have felt it was a failure. I have and many people I know have as well. So how should we respond when this reality comes to us?

Let’s look at some of the things Peter has written, under the Holy Spirit’s direction, in his second letter. What can we learn from this man, who failed, yet became one of Jesus’ greatest servants? Peter was impetuous and deep-hearted at the same time. As you read the text, think about how we are instructed to live. Read slowly, soak it in, note the promises and the warnings he gives. I believe by the time you finish you too will see how God is able to take anyone of us and through His grace free us from ourselves, our past and our failures. God calls us higher and gives us clarity on how to walk by His divine nature at work within us. We can be overcomers, just as Peter was.

2 Peter – English Standard Version (ESV) – Chapter 12Peter1 4

1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Confirm Your Calling and Election
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Chapter 2
False Prophets and Teachers
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Chapter 3
The Day of the Lord Will Come
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Final Words
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Note: a full reading of First Peter will explain the groundwork for an overcoming life.

Photo Credit: Google Images.

There’s Room for You

Christmas AloneAs we consider Christmas, I’d like to remind you that there is room for you close to God’s heart. He desires a relationship with us and awaits your reciprocal desire for Him. His extension of love by giving Jesus Christ as our deliverer is the greatest expression of love He could show.

Christmas alone 2This time of year can feel cruel to many people. A time when love, laughter, and Christmas cheer is promoted, many feel lonely and isolated. There are so many stories that could be shared as to why, yet I’d rather focus on how to remedy this condition.

I received a Christmas card telling of someone dear to me who is facing consequences for their addiction to gambling. It is heartbreaking to see how families of those habituated to some life-dominating problem are drawn into the sad drama of someone else’s poor choices. We feel helpless, and if untaught, victimization can settle in. As a friend or family member, we may want to standby and spectate, or facilitate–further complicating the problem.

DENIAL

What can I do? Step 1 is to stop denying that there is a very real problem that may need some tough love and boundaries placed. You can make a choice for yourself.  These good choices can help you get out of God’s way so that the other person can see their need, and this “love” may bring them to the end of their trail. This may sound hurtful but it works similarly to the process of salvation with God. Until someone comes to the end of their human abilities and resources and states “I give up, help me!” they will not become a true believer. When denial ends, then salvation can begin. This soul-transaction only occurs for those who desire it and are desperate enough to humble themselves and cry out to God to save them.

A word of caution concerning boundaries. Boundaries can be misused and turn into a cruel form of punishment if not properly handled. Having a mentor/counselor who can objectively help prevent further complicating issues is a good idea. Boundaries are not to be used to alienate someone, rather they are designed to increase your ability to love one another. A great resource on understanding boundaries are the various boundary books by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.  “We do not set boundaries to anesthetize our life, we set them in order to build love, honesty and freedom in our relationships.” ~ Henry Cloud.

Desperation or InspirationDESPERATION

Often times the spouse, family member, or friend of someone struggling in relationships prolongs their own journey toward freedom by not understanding their part in the process. They hold on to offenses rendered and become bound in unforgiveness and possibly contempt. But no matter what offenses have come to you, it is not worth missing out on a relationship with your Heavenly Father, who loves you dearly.  I pray that at the apex of your heart’s expression of pain, you will break and fall at His feet and allow Him to help you. That is the entire reason for which Jesus came. Giving you, your family members, friends and all, the possibility of being set free from what is dominating the heart. Inspiration from God is a better choice than desperation.

My own sin keeps me separated from God and others. We are in constant warfare between heaven and earth in the spiritual realm (John 10:10). Can you identify? I truly can. Jesus, while sinless, faced battles with Satan and He told us this would be part of our journey too. Those who’ve been enlightened through God’s Word can recognize this truth. Those who live without knowledge or desire for God are bound and cannot discern why. The angry tumult of the soul affects all people at some point, yet many do not understand what they are experiencing. Receiving forgiveness is needed and then, in turn, forgiving others is necessary; the Holy Spirit will enable you to forgive as you grow in Him.

As a result of the miracle of Christmas, we can truly forgive—and what a powerful miracle that is! Christ’s coming and His subsequent death for our sin, His victorious resurrection back to life, and then giving us the Holy Spirit to live within us makes this all possible.

Christmas GiftAnytime we face a difficulty in life it is God’s opportunity to bring us to Himself. Have you found this to be true as well?

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” These words are recorded in John 16:33 and you may wonder what Jesus was really saying. To understand this relationship, we must have a proper perspective and see that we were not created to dwell here alone, but rather in relationship to our true Father now and for eternity. The Father’s desire is closeness and oneness with you; our gift from Him is comfort and peace. He provides everything needed for that to happen, yet so few choose this relationship. Why?

Our fallen nature works against submission to God. We, through self-will and our sin-nature, oppose God. It’s our choice to humble ourselves and walk with Him, and this is contrary to everything we understand from a humanistic perspective. We strive to do this on our terms, by self-effort. This results in someone or something other than God sitting on the throne of our heart and His rightful place is given to another.

DISCOVERY

Our human perspective is to live for ourselves and our own pleasure, naturally. When Christ comes to invade our world, many are offended by that, reject Him, and suffer the consequences; temporal and eternal. But those who will become like a little child and believe that He is who He claimed to be and are willing to humble themselves to receive Him, they gain true abundance in this life. This, in turn, provides freedom from sin, including addictions — which are a false source of comfort or relief.

Christmas Bible and CoffeeGod’s Word is the primary source from which understanding and oneness with God comes. Anyone struggling with loneliness will find themselves filled with peace once a relationship is developed and the power of God’s Word is applied. It works every time I am tempted toward dwelling in loneliness.

This Christmas, will you Make Room in your heart to receive Him? Are you willing to lay your life down, just as He did for you? The abiding joy He gives, the peace that passes all understanding, and God’s love will overtake the inner turmoil. Pray and ask Him for help you overcome the obstacles in your heart. There is room at the cross for you… will you come?

Photo Credit: Google Images

Music Link: Make Room (feat. Matt Maher) Casting Crowns

Painful Pasts – Part 2

pexels-photo-712413In Part 1, we looked at the importance of holding onto God’s Hand as we walk through the process of healing from a painful past. Here, we’ll look at the importance of a renewed mind in this process. Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Heart/Soul/Mind: We are told to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. So how does someone love God with their mind? How is it possible? We are told in scripture by Jesus himself to do this; and this is how we find the abundant life He offers us (Matt. 22:37).

Our Past: When we suffer from a painful past, something negative has occurred and we find ourselves circling back to that event (consciously or not) because it has lodged within us. Of course, everyone’s past contains both good and bad memories. For some, the bad causes fear, anxiety and often changes the way we interact with others. Can these instances that have harmed us be used somehow by God as a useful tool? Indeed, there are examples in scripture that indicate this. Joseph is a good example of someone who suffered much and was used by God because of his obedience. He delivered his family from starvation, while also teaching them what forgiveness looks like (Read Genesis Chapters 37-50). You too can be used by God as a result of your painful past.

Step 1: Brain Cleansing
In order to overcome our “triggers” and turn them around on our enemy to be used for God’s glory instead, we must renew our mind so that we can think rightly and then act accordingly. His powerful Word is what accomplishes this for us. Perhaps you’ve tried reading it before and you cannot lay hold of what I’m saying or even believe it contains the power to transform your mind. Please believe me, it does, and you will need to explore for this yourself — ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and He will. The more you douse your mind in the inspired Word of God, the more you will think according to your Creator’s design for you. That is when miracles happen! I am a living testimony to the transformative power of God’s Word to do this.a-2729794__480

In order for us to rebuild, we need the Holy Spirit to cleanse and refresh our minds, as well as our bodies that have been affected by the constant chemical dumps from stress. Neurologically we need renewal, a shift in the pathway that our brain has been following. Through the hormones and chemicals in our brains, we have laid down some counter-productive ways of dealing with life and we need to lay a new path. You already know this, so now begin to take action to change your brain.

Here are some helpful scriptures on renewing your mind: Luke 12:29-31, Romans 7:21-25, Ephesians 4:22-24, Proverbs 16:3. Journaling scripture and your thoughts help as well.

Step 2: Antidote for Anxiety
Have you suffered from a traumatic event, years of oppression, abuse, manipulation, or something significant that has altered your view of yourself in an unhealthy way? Do you find you become like jelly when you need to express yourself, rather than being able to say what you really feel? Perhaps when you attempt to talk with a person associated with the pain all that comes out is frustration and anger? There’s help for you. It can be difficult to step back and see these behaviors for what they are. Depending on what has occurred and for how long, the fear factor can be overwhelming; trusting again can feel impossible. Many fall into sinful lifestyles after these events, not because they want to, but because they feel incapable of  overcoming these feelings.

If you have not truly experienced salvation through Jesus Christ, then this is the beginning of your journey to freedom. Next, renewing your mind in God’s Word daily and obeying what it says, is how you gain the Holy Spirit’s authority and power within. You are no longer simply a human being living your life alone, vulnerable in this world, rather through redemption, you are transformed into a Child of God. You receive family benefits (and a powerful elder Brother named Jesus) from this transaction, but you must learn how to lay hold of these gifts. They are there for you, and you need to realize that and appropriate them.book-2617987__480

Look up these scriptures on fear and apply them to your life – they are part of the family benefit package: 2Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 12:28 & 13:6, 2Peter 1:3-4, 1John 4:18-21, Psalm 56:10-13 (the Psalms are filled with passages about not fearing people). These are just a few samples, there are many more. Advance your mission and search!

Step 3: Remove Double-mindedness
I am thankful that people cared and reached out to help me during my early days of recovery and much double-mindedness! They carefully walked me out of the prison cell I was living in. It did not happen overnight and God led me to various people who helped. The trauma was deep and there were layers of conditioning and painful places that needed to be dealt with. I was very fearful and filled with anxiety about many things. This fear manifested in pride and an overly self-protective attitude and left me in a very double-minded condition emotionally.

One example of fear I experienced early was going through the process of counseling with a couple who were trying to help me. Their focus was marriage counseling in order to work toward reconciliation. I later realized that this situation was premature and in my thinking I was being asked to trust an untrustworthy person. I felt vulnerable and was constantly battling between my position in-Christ as His child and submission to this person who had dealt treacherously with me. I realized later that sin needed to be brought into the light, acknowledgment of the secrets involved was needed (confession), and a reasonable determination if true repentance occurred was needed. With out exploring if godly sorrow (2Cor. 7:9-11) over one’s sin was occurring vs. the sorrow of the world (ie: getting caught), it is not possible to move forward. While going through this experience it seemed impossible to look beyond the person to God because everything remained shrouded in deception and I was stuck there.

If you have been harmed in an ongoing way by someone in habitual sin, the deception and manipulation are very damaging and learning to trust again can be difficult. A counselor who is nouthetic (willing to confront sin) is needful. Covering over sin is never going to produce a good outcome.

In order for you to get a sure footing and move forward, you must know where you areBoots heading, why, and how to get there.

I recently visited West Point Military Academy with a couple of young friends and learned how it is designed to train a cadet to overcome their fears – how parallel this is! If you do not enroll, engage, and strip yourself of doubt and unbelief as to the mission before you, you will not make it. The battle is in one’s mind. If you are going to become free from your painful past, you must decide and act. If you have a divided heart — going back and forth between your feelings and what God says, you will fail. Jesus said in Luke 11:7 that a Kingdom or house (heart) that is divided (vacillating or double-minded), will not stand. So in order to succeed in your endeavor to become free, you must gain a single-minded heart. Helpful scriptures are Luke 5:22, Hebrews 4:12, and James 1:8.

PRAY: Talk to your Father in Heaven as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-13. You may find reading these few verses with a surrendered heart can ignite your mind into greater vision! Think about what Jesus is saying here:
1. You have a Holy and loving Father (that is established throughout scripture).
2. As you surrender to God’s will, He performs it through you (an opportunity to glorify Him).
3. He gives daily to those who ask Him (seek Him).
4. He forgives all your sins, and we are to do the same to those who have harmed us (yes, it’s a process).
5. Evil is all around, ask Him to deliver you from it and recognize that living in His Kingdom enables you to lay hold of His power and live for His glory (there’s no better way to live).

Victory and freedom boil down to your commitment to wanting to experience healing from your past. It takes singleness of mind and heart to do so.

Scripture Study: I encourage you to daily have a physical Bible that you can write and highlight in. There are also useful on-line helps to do word studies: A simple way is through: biblegateway.com A more detailed way (including Hebrew and Greek) is through blueletterbible.com, they also offer Bible Study courses.

If you find it difficult to study on your own then I suggest asking a godly mentor or biblical counselor to walk the path with you. If you do not have someone you know that can help, pray, ask around, and commit to the journey — you will not regret it. Our teacher and comforter, the Holy Spirit, miraculously takes the inspired words of God and transforms our minds (hearts) through the process of reading, hearing and apply His Word. I can tell you that there is no greater power to transform and lift a heart from pain to promise than the powerful Word of God. He has miraculously transformed my mind and does so daily. Hallelujah!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Relates Part 1 and Forgive & Live! Part 3

Painful Pasts

autumn-2857032__480If you have lived through a very painful past then you are able to understand how exhausting and emotionally dark it can be to recount these experiences… you feel the pain and turmoil all over again — as though you have purposely gone back for more. Who would want to do that to themselves? That is why many never come to healing because they fear the process – but you do not have to.

I recently had a taste of this experience upon my visit home to Wisconsin. After several days into my visit, I scheduled a day to go and visit several friends from the past. I had not previously taken the opportunity to tell some of the details of my recent journey and felt free to share more of my story during this visit. All went well with these friends and I enjoyed my time, but that night in my sleep a floodgate of pain poured into my soul. Upon waking, I felt like I had lost the victorious ground I’d gained – like I had traveled back to a very broken place in my climb; what happened? This experience caused me to think about why this occurred.

When we re-enter the large room of our painful past and relive it, that doesn’t mean wewoman-837156__340[1] are still there. It may feel that way momentarily, but what we do with these feelings will determine how we think. We can choose to restructure our minds and return to the place of peace God has given or continue ruminating upon the feelings that have resurfaced.

Many face fear when thinking of their past, and so leaving it alone is the solution they choose; yet God has a better way. In my view, if you are not holding tightly to God’s healing hand and being guided by the power His Word offers, it is a fearful and dangerous proposition to regurgitate the past. Hope and healing that proceed from your Creator’s heart is the safest arena from which to process the painful experiences you’ve lived through.

Truthfully acknowledging that we have suffered is honest and right to do. Bringing into the light all that is darkness (or sin) is needful (I John 1:7). Forgiving our offender is necessary (Matt 6:14-15) and is a process that we want to pursue; a good counselor/mentor can help with that. Allow God to set things straight (Romans 12:19). Healing from the wounds is God’s will and if you desire that, it can happen — that’s is God’s specialty.

I’m thankful our hearts and minds can be powerfully renewed and rebuilt through the Holy Spirit’s work in us. Sharing our testimony about what God has done for us is good. When Jesus Christ suffered and died for sin, He offered the possibility for us to gain freedom from our past. This includes sin we have committed as well as those committed against us. Jesus suffered the awful price and penalty for our sin on the cross 2000+ years ago, we are now left to respond to this great gift He offers. How we appropriate His sacrifice for sin will determine our freedom and healing, or not.

If you are struggling concerning the pain of your past, through poor decisions made and/or violations committed against you, I hope this helps you in your climb to freedom. God’s plan is to recover and deliver you from destruction. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy us, but Jesus said He came to give us abundant life! (John 10:10).

There is hope for you! No matter what your journey has been, remember God can redeem it and give you great purpose in your future because of it.

This is part 1 of a 2 part message. We will look at the steps to recovery and deliverance from the pain in the next message.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.

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

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Continue to Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disciples – Are you One?

spiderwebAre you a disciple? … one who is willing to be taught, learn and grow in your understanding of the Scripture and then live out what you are learning. The truth is you will recognize a disciple by the fruit of their life. What a person gives their time and energy to reveals their heart and soul. It determines their interests and makes clear who or what they are serving. Disciples KNOW where their IDENTITY lies (Col. 2:10).

SIN in our world — When we hear of a mass shooting or some other wickedness warperpetrated against human beings, are you left dumb-founded, finding it difficult to understand what is happening? Do you ask, “How can someone do something like that?” Scripture tells us we are seeing manifestations of evil, schemes devised by Satan to “steal, kill and destroy…” (John 10:10) through a person whose life is given over to sin.

I find it interesting that Christians will acknowledge SIN, yet often they try to find help for spiritual problems with a system that does not have this 3-letter word in their vocabulary. The DSMMD (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) cannot acknowledge this as a diagnosis, yet sin is the foundational cause of man’s problems. We live in a fallen sin-cursed world and wooden-heart-3077104__480need a victorious, hope-filled solution that is found in Christ. We are told in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart, for out of it flows all the issue of life“. True deliverance from oppression, including anxiety attacks, depression, overwhelming fear and mental anguish can have organic (physiological) involvement, yet many neglect the first and primary place of importance to investigate and that is the spiritual heart and soul. This is where sin has its effects. This is why being a disciple and offering yourself to the ministry of discipling (teaching, admonishing in obedience to God and His Word) others is so important.

I am thankful for men and women of God who have been surrendered to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and have been used by God as teachers and godly examples to us. Paul admonishes Timothy, the young pastor at Ephesus, as a son in the faith to teach to others the things that Paul had taught him. (2Timony 2:2) He went on to say that Timothy should find faithful men (and women) that he could teach and disciple and then, in turn, these would do the same for others. This is the pattern of the early church and one we need to carry on today.

Derek PrinceDerek Prince (2)
I want to briefly share with you the ministry of Derek Prince; an Englishman who together with his inspiring wives (Lydia and after her death, Ruth), served as godly examples as followers of Jesus Christ.

A brilliant man who began his studies in philosophy and while reading the Scripture, as a philosophical work, became a follower of God. He taught the scripture with profound clarity, under the anointing the Holy Spirit. Derek passed away in September of 2003 yet his godly legacy lives on in many nations of the world today.
Derek’s teaching has helped many of us who have walked through periods of struggle against the spiritual forces of wickedness in our world (Sermon: Spiritual Warfare on Earth). Educated as a scholar of Greek and Latin at Eton College and Cambridge University, England, he held a Fellowship in Ancient and Modern Philosophy at King’s College. He also studied several modern languages, including Hebrew and Aramaic, at Cambridge University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

For those who have not heard or read Derek Prince, I would urge you to take time and listen to the links here, or on my RESOURCE page. He was also gifted in teaching on the spiritual realm and understanding the present spiritual battle we are in with Satan, demons, and workers of iniquity. When you look at our world, yet do not understand or acknowledge spiritual forces you are left with only a partial view of what is taking place around you.

LINKS: Derek Prince Biographical Summary and 10-minute video documentary of his life. Lydia Prince taking in orphaned children in Ramalla, Israel, 30-minute video of two of their daughters testimony, the war-torn situation, Derek’s testimony of marrying Lydia and becoming father to her eight adopted children.

Tv Media junkieMay I admonish you to become a disciple if you are not one yet? This will not happen by default. Begin by reading the Word of God daily and asking the Holy Spirit to teach you from the Scripture. Become engaged in a fellowship of believer’s where Truth is not hindered. No church offers everything, so find one that has something solid you can embrace and carry on with the ministry of reconciliation to those around you (2Corinthians 5:18). Those called to ministry are there to equip you to DO the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).

My gifting and calling is teaching and discipling others; while doing that the Holy Spirit gives me discernment and insight based upon God’s Word into situations before me. We were created to be His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do His work (Ephesians 2:10) and He supplies what we need. God takes us, our personality and the gifts He bestows and is able to use our lives for His glory IF we set that as our goal.

TV WatcherWhere’s your focus today? Do you want to become fruitful in His Kingdom and make a difference in your world? It will require effort and focused determination to not be swayed by the allurements of this fallen world. A disciple is a disciplined one who follows their Master. Jesus is our Savior, Priest, and soon coming King. Will you be happy to see Him upon His return or ashamed that you squandered your earthly days with lesser things that amounted to little – having no eternal value? I pray you will decide to become the best disciple you can for God’s glory and for the benefit of those around you.

The most fulfilling life on earth is experienced by the one who understands who they are in Christ and follows the Holy Spirit’s leading into a deeper walk with Him.

Photo Credit: Derek Prince Ministries, Pixabay