Spirituality

When Relief Is Only Temporary...

Have you ever experienced relief from a problem only to have it come right back? Sometimes the issue is a result of warfare or just natural circumstances, but other times it’s a direct result of our own stubbornness.

King Saul disobeyed the Lord, and because of his disobedience, he was tormented by an evil spirit. He found that he got relief from the torment only when David played his harp and worshiped the Lord.

That’s amazing, but the relief was only temporary. David could not possibly play 24/7. As great as the gift of David’s worship was, Saul could’ve easily found permanent relief by humbling himself and repenting of his sin.

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This same thing happens over and over today. People hide sin in their hearts and they end up suffering because of it. Then they go to church and experience God’s presence in worship. God’s presence is so wonderful and powerful that they experience some relief. But the relief is only temporary.

As followers of Jesus, we can’t just look for a “fix". It’s not enough to merely experience some temporary relief. We need to look to Him for Him.

You see, true peace only comes through being absolutely surrendered and obedient to Jesus. Partner with the Holy Spirit, who is your Helper, to live a life of purity and obedience! This is the pathway out of anxiety and into peace!


Today I want to share this amazing message by Havilah Cunnington. It is one of the best things I’ve heard in a while. Please check it out by using the button below.

Are You Sleeping With A Python?

There was a woman who had a pet python. Over time she noticed that her beloved pet was not eating. She took the snake to the veterinarian to see what could be done about the problem. The doctor asked an odd question, "Does your pet sleep with you?"

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Yuck! Turns out that indeed the pet snake shared the woman's bed. The doctor proceeded to inform the woman that her beloved python was starving itself so that it would be hungry enough to eat her when just the right moment arrived.

Wow! Let that sink in for a moment.

This story troubles me so much. It makes me want to just weep for people who I love, who are sleeping with their "pythons" and believing that it is a safe and acceptable way to live.

Rest Assured:

Your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23b)

It's time to take a big ax and chop off the head of that ugly snake. Don't delay another day. I beg you to do it now before it swallows you alive.

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:30)

Maybe you need to get rid of your phone or cable, or maybe you have some friendships or a relationship that you need to end. These measures are not too extreme.

If God is convicting you of something, agree with Him quickly and get a fresh start.

What Are You Hiding From?

If you're a Jesus follower, you are meant to shine. It can be easy to think that hiding in the shadows is humility, but it really isn't. God doesn't any get glory from you hiding your light. 

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.

If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand.

Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives.

By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 MSG

Destiny Key: Take some time to ask God what lies you're believing that are holding you back from shining brightly. 

It's time to come out of hiding! It's time to shine!

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When Your Future Is Foggy

The Christian life is a journey along a narrow road. While the road is straight, a lot of the time it's hard to see very far ahead. We get glimpses and impressions of what lies ahead, but in order to discover what's really there, we have to keep moving forward.

I regularly hit patches where I realize that everything I've been doing up until that point, has simply been preparation for what's ahead. All of the digging in to learn new things and the relational stretching isn't really about those things in themselves, it's about where God is taking you on the journey.

 
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It's like this: You walk along in faith, doing the next right thing you know to do, then all of a sudden you get a moment of clarity. The mist lifts, and you get a little glimpse into what God is up to. 

God's purposes for your life are so much better than you can imagine, and He has the passion and power to bring them to pass. Your job is to co-labor with Him by quieting your heart so you can hear His voice and by obeying quickly. 

Destiny Key: If you are in a foggy spot on the journey, don't give up. Keep pressing in and moving forward. That's what faith is all about. 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

 

How To Overcome Fear & Worry

Did you know that you can live in perfect peace? Did you know that fear and worry are tools of the enemy to keep you from your destiny? I'm so tired of the enemy tricking us into thinking that fear and worry are some kind of normal emotion.  

It seems to be so socially acceptable to worry about our kids or family members. But in reality, fear and worry are evil spirits that we can choose to stand against or agree with.  

We are in a battle. We need to see it for what it is and fight. Let's not agree with the enemy and let him have place to rule in our hearts.

We have to be aware of our self talk....the voices in our head. Every thought you have is not your own. The devil whispers lies constantly, and we have to practice recognizing them and not agreeing with them.  

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It is great to have a healthy friend or spiritual parent to tell your thoughts to. They should be able to help you decide where the thought is coming from.  

When we agree with God's thoughts towards us, we grow in peace and joy. When we agree with the enemy, we open the door for him to come in and destroy our peace.

Holy Spirit is our friend and helper. We need Him so much. As we take time to value Him and soak in His presence, He fills us up.  

The enemy will do everything he can to keep you from spending time with God. I bet everyone of us could come up with a huge list of reasons why we don't have time to spend resting in God's presence. It really takes practice.  

Quieting the heart does not come natural to everyone. You have to really set aside 15 minutes to practice. Put on some worship music that touches your heart and invite Holy Spirit to come.  

It's helpful to have a notebook to write stuff down. When you remember things you need to do, write them down so you can deal with them later.  

Write down things Holy Spirit whispers to your heart. If you take time to practice spending time with God, it will become easier. Getting to that place of peace and rest is vital. 

Key Idea: You do not have to agree with fear and worry. 

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3


 
 
 

How Big Is Your But?

 
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I know that God works all things for my best, but........ things just never seem to work out for me.

I know that God is good, but........ only to other people.

I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, but.... I don't really think that applies to me. 

Pay attention to the words that come to your mind after that sneaky little word "but." This is how you can tell what you truly believe. 

Don't let your thought life drift along with the natural current of the world's patterns. Be intentional to make your thoughts line up with God's truth.

The Bible clearly teaches us what we are supposed to think about.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

The fact that we are given this instruction shows that we don't have to be captives or victims to our minds, but that we are powerful to decide which direction our mind goes in.

Once you start to realize what your true belief system is, you can start to cooperate with Holy Spirit to transform your thought processes. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Key Idea: Read the Word of God every day to reduce the size of your but.

How To Avoid Falling Into A Messiah Complex

Having a messiah complex (living as though it is your job to make sure everyone in your life is happy) is a sure way to live your life completely stressed out. But not falling into this behavior can be a real challenge when you really care about people. It’s so hard to watch people we care about self-sabotage, and sometimes we just really want to swoop in and try to "fix" other people's lives since they don't seem to be able to do it for themselves.

The bottom line is: each person is responsible for their own heart and life.

You can lead by example and encourage others to follow, but when it’s all said and done, people have to make their own choices.

This truth is really important for parents and leaders. We can easily get caught up in the idea that it is our job to fix everyone and everything. The problem is, though we are to be like Jesus, we are not Him.

  1. You cannot control anyone besides yourself, and if you try to, you will make yourself crazy.
  2. Don’t try to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Take time to be filled up with Him, then partner with HIm to help others by letting Him flow through you to do the work that only He can do.

Key Idea: It’s time to present the people you care about to the Lord, and leave them there. If you notice yourself starting to move into worry and codependency again, just hand them back over to God as many times as you have to.

This is not unloving; it is actually obedience to Jesus. He commands us not worry, and He knows what’s best.

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How to Get the Grace You Need to Be Able to Forgive

The other day I posted this quote on social media, and I got some questions about it. I'd like to take a moment now to expound on it. The quote was:

 
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If you keep trying to forgive but can't seem to let go, you might have fallen into unrighteous judgment.

We all know that holding unforgiveness in our hearts is not the pathway to living in peace, but as much as we may want to forgive, the actual letting go can be really, really hard.

Here's the thing, if you feel like you've tried to forgive but just can't, you probably have moved from being hurt into the sin of unrighteous judgment. 

I'm not saying that it is always wrong to judge. In fact, there is a time where judging is actually appropriate. You can read more about that here.

Things get messy when you start to judge out of a critical heart. If you want to be free, you will need to actually repent of the judgment and ask God to forgive you for it. When you do, grace will come to your life. 

Key Idea: If you’ve fallen into the sin of unrighteousness judgment, repent of it and ask God to forgive you. This will unlock grace for you to truly forgive.

Here are a couple of resources (from some heroes of mine) on this subject: 

 https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Forgiveness-JohnAndamp-Carol-Arnott/dp/1894310756

https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Forgiveness-JohnAndamp-Carol-Arnott/dp/1894310756


I'm excited to announce the release of my 3rd book, 30 Days of Peace & Hope!

 
 Can you imagine how your life would look if you walked in peace and hope every day? Jesus gives us peace and then commands us to not let our hearts be troubled. This is both a gift and a responsibility. Let’s take the next 30 days to work together on cultivating a peace that leads to lasting hope.

Can you imagine how your life would look if you walked in peace and hope every day? Jesus gives us peace and then commands us to not let our hearts be troubled. This is both a gift and a responsibility. Let’s take the next 30 days to work together on cultivating a peace that leads to lasting hope.

 

How To Wait Without Getting Impatient

Have you ever noticed that God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry? As much as we might want Him to get things moving, He doesn’t seem to ever get impatient.

God is not constrained by time. He created time and is outside of it.

The Bible tells us that God’s Kingdom is always increasing and advancing. He knows that He wins in the end, so He doesn’t need to worry at all.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life where God will start to highlight a subject to me a year or two before I start to see movement in that particular area. It’s like I start to feel passionate about fixing a certain problem, or I get a new idea well before the window of time that the people around me are ready for it.

This used to bother me, but now that I have realized the pattern, I’m more easily able to wait patiently and stay out of frustration.

God’s timing is perfect. The journey between the idea and the fulfillment of the idea is an important time of personal growth and clarity of purpose.

Don’t get impatient in the process. Wait on the Lord.

Wait for the LORD;

be strong and let your heart take courage;

Yes, wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:14

 
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How To Resist The Devil's Plan To Keep You From Intimacy With God

I love Holy Spirit so much. He's just so good. The intimate fellowship that I experience with Him is like nothing else in this life. It fills me with peace that is beyond comprehension.

I know that this is a huge part of what Jesus was talking about when He said, "I come to give you life, and life more abundant."  

I'm so thankful to Jesus that He went to His Father and sent Holy Spirit to us: the Spirit of Truth who teaches us everything we need to know.

The devil hates for us to experience this sweet fellowship with Holy Spirit. He whispers so many lies to keep us from this divine connection.

Some of the lies he used on me over the years were:

  1. You're not really hearing from the Lord or feeling anything really spiritual. You are just making it up. 
  2. You're not as spiritual as other people, so you might as well serve others and not even try to have spiritual encounters. 
  3. If you were really spiritual, you could connect with God without using music as a crutch.    

Wow, do you see how accusing those statements are? I had to learn to recognize where the thoughts in my head were coming from.

Key Idea: Any thought that is keeping you from spending time with God, is not from God.

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What freedom! When I realized that all of those years I really had been so sincere in my love for God, and that He knew it and loved that about me, I started to enter into His presence in a whole new way.  

Now when I spend time with Him, I have confidence. I know that I love Him, and He loves me. I have thoughts running through my head like: 

  1. Holy Spirit, I love You so much. I love it when You come and spend time with me. 
  2. Jesus, thank You so much that I'm clean, and it's my nature to love.
  3. Father, thank You that I'm Your child, and You love to give me good gifts.

That's a little of my journey in connecting with Him, who is our Life. I hope you are encouraged to keep working towards heart connection with the One who loves you like no other!

What to Do About Bedtime Anxiety

Many nights at bedtime my mind kicks into high gear with ideas and strategies for how to best do all the things I want to do in life. I feel so inspired that I almost want to skip the whole night and get started right away on the next day.

Other nights I start to feel bombarded with doubts. 

I think we all have a certain time of day that doubts try to creep in; for me it's usually at night. Things that seem like a wonderful challenge during the day can tend to be much scarier at bedtime when we're worn out.

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We are always the most vulnerable and discouraged when we are tired.

Start to pay attention to whether there's a certain time of day that doubts usually try to creep into your mind. You should avoid making important decisions at that time of day. You will accomplish so much more in life if you make decisions from a place of peace.

Things generally are much clearer after a good night's sleep. When you're feeling unsure of yourself, choose to set your worries aside and reconsider your life with renewed perspective the next morning.

Each day has fresh grace from heaven and sometimes the grace for the day runs out just before it is time to close your eyes and recharge.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm4:8


Here's one of my favorite songs

for refocusing and de-stressing:

4 Ways to Have Peace From God

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  1. Start each day turning your heart to God in prayer. Most of us like to start off the morning with a hot cup of coffee. Let that first sip be a reminder to turn your heart to God in gratitude.
  2. Be intentional about learning God's ways. The best way to learn God's methods is to read His book. If you don't know where to start, I recommend John chapters 14-16.
  3. Trust that God will lead you each step of your life journey. Choose to shut down all of the "what if's" and believe that God knows what's best for you and is working to bring it about. Your "missteps" will never be too big or messy for Him. 
  4. Determine in Your heart to follow Jesus every day from now on. No matter what anyone else says or does, be a sold out Jesus follower. Jesus has a lot of fans: people who like Him. Don't just "like" Him, make Him your Master.

Here's the audio of a blessing I gave recently at Heartland Church

3 Steps to Living in Peace

How are you doing today? Have you stopped to take your internal peace temperature? I really want you to know that true, lasting peace is available to you, no matter who you are or what your circumstances may be.

John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Peace is a gift, and it is a responsibility. Jesus gives the peace to us, then He tells us it is our job to make sure we stay in it.

There is only one pathway to true peace: absolute obedience to Jesus Christ. This is the starting point to true freedom.

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Once you start to live in peace, abundant joy is right around the corner!

JOY HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE SO MUCH PEACE

THAT YOU CAN'T HOLD IT INSIDE ANYMORE!

John 15:10-11 goes on to say, "If you keep My commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

  1. Keep His commands
  2. Stay in His love
  3. Thrive in His perfect peace & joy

KEY IDEA: IT IS COMPLETELY POSSIBLE FOR YOU 

TO LIVE IN ABSOLUTE PEACE AND JOY!

The Time My Son Almost Had A Brain Tumor

A few years ago our oldest son started experiencing bouts of extreme dizziness and ringing in his ears along with some hearing loss.  After consulting with doctors it was determined that he needed to have an MRI.  Basically they needed to check to see if he had a brain tumor.

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Wow, that was unsettling.  It is so hard to go through these kinds of tests when you have to do so much waiting.  It's like they say, "This is really serious; go home and wait and wait and wait until we find time to help you out."

I remember ironing clothes and fighting this mental battle at the same time.  I had to choose to put the thought of cancer aside and think about other things.  It's like I actually imagined in my mind pushing the worrying thoughts over to the side and bringing thoughts of things I could control into the center.

The MRI did come back clear, and he was diagnosed with Meniere's disease. Miraculously his hearing loss has been restored!

Jesus gives us peace as a gift.  He also commands us to not let our hearts be troubled. Sometimes not letting your heart be troubled requires you to fight.

Peace is not the absence of war.

If you fear, you can't hear.  If you allow your heart to be troubled you won't be able to hear the whisper of Holy Spirit as He guides you in your life choices.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Have You Ever Been Seasick?

How Boring Is Your Life?

When you have a big dream, you need to also have a big willingness to stay in the pursuit of it day after day. So, what do you do when you're faced with so many days that feel just plain boring and ordinary?

My husband, Christopher, travels internationally a few times a year to minister in churches and conferences. He always says how it's so exciting until you have to spend all night traveling. He loves preaching and praying for people and seeing God pour out His Spirit. After he's done and heads to the airport, it's not quite so exciting. The discomfort that comes from a lack of sleep and the challenge of trying to find elusive sleep while sitting up in a chair is less than glamorous.

The thing is, you can't minister internationally without going through the hard work of traveling.

Falling in love and getting engaged is thrilling, but a life time of true love includes many days of laundry, housecleaning, and being faithful to show up at work so you can pay the bills.

Finding out you're going to bring a new life into the world is amazing, and the day the child is born rocks your world like nothing else can. In between the two events you go through days and weeks of uncomfortable growing and waiting.

Raising a child is full of exciting milestones. In between the milestones, you pass through uncountable moments of behavior training and mess cleaning.

I'm always amazed at Olympic athletes who train all day year after year for an event that only lasts 30 seconds! Talk about maintenance! 

Even famous people who are doing the things you dream of doing have maintenance days.  (Tweet this)

It can be easy to get lost in the swirl of the maintenance. Don't lose heart, faithfulness always pays off in the end.(Tweet this)

God is just so good and so faithful. Even when we get off track or discouraged, He is always weaving everything together to get us back on track.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6
 

Don't give in to apathy or boredom.

Keep stirring up your dreams and encouraging yourself in the Lord!