Illusions

Illusion: something with deceptive appearance; false or incorrect idea.

The enemy operates in the realm of deception and lies.  He wants you to keep your eyes on what SEEMS to be and not what really is.   He wants you to believe that you are living a life of lack: lack of health and peace, lack of provision, lack of evidence, signs, healings, miracles; lack of the Word of God working and producing in your life, lack of change, even the lack of God’s presence.  When you’re going through a trial, which of us doesn’t at some point have the thought of “Where is God?  I don’t feel Him!”?  This leads you to begin to doubt God’s love and provision and presence just because you don’t FEEL it.

The enemy functions in the realm of the senses and when we rely on our senses as our source of truth, we are then open to his deceptions.   We are then prone to believing his lies that we are lacking when the Word of God says that we lack nothing when we are in Christ.

Adam and Eve had it all.  No lack whatsoever.   They had peace, health, food, everlasting life and more importantly, intimate fellowship with God Himself yet what did the enemy get them to focus on?  The one and only thing that God said they could not partake of ……and why?  Because He was being mean and withholding something good from them?  No, because they would DIE if they ate it.  DEATH would be their reward.  Did they not understand what that meant?

If we allow ourselves to focus on the illusion of lack, then we are partaking of and eating the lies of the enemy and this brings death to us.

It begins to kill your faith.  It’s like a small infection that, if not treated, will keep spreading and growing until it eats away at anything living and good, leaving behind rot, decay and death.   The enemy knows that it is by FAITH that we receive the promises of God; he knows that the substance of FAITH is what makes those very things manifest and thrive in your life.

It kills off your trust in God and in His Word.  Did God really say?  Why isn’t it working?  I don’t see or feel anything different or better so it must not be working which means God’s Word doesn’t work, at least not for me….if I still feel this way then why bother praying and standing on the Word….and on and on and on…..  Don’t think for one second these thoughts are all yours.  Who do you think plants those seeds and then waters them with fear and anxiety and symptoms and unbelief?    The enemy knows full well the laws of sowing and reaping.  He knows how the spiritual laws of God operate better than most Christian’s do which is why he can keep doing what he does and be so successful at putting them under repeatedly.

It kills off your identity in Christ.  Well, if I really was then this would change…..I wouldn’t feel/be/act this way….since I don’t see or feel any change then maybe I really don’t….maybe I’m really not…..

It kills off your peace.  So, if I still have these symptoms/issues, and it doesn’t work, at least not for me, and I’m not what I thought I was, and God’s Word isn’t producing in my life, then there’s no hope…I’m not healed, I’m not protected, I’m not saved…..  It fills and torments you with fear and dread.  It kills off your joy, your light, all the things that Christ is to be in you, all the things that are the fruit of the life of the Holy Spirit within you….and this brings death to your spirit as the light begins to be overshadowed by darkness, suffocating the flame inside until it’s snuffed out completely.

THIS is the enemy’s purpose.

It can and does bring death to the physical body: sickness, disease, malfunction, fatigue, weakness.  People grow weary of fighting and some even give in to death, believing that it is better for them to die than to live.  The enemy wearies them into full subjection and snuffs out the light of Christ in another, to quiet another….because he lies.

And we believe.

He is the creator of lies, the stealer of truth.  We must stop letting him take from us what is rightfully ours.  ALL (not some) of the promises of God in Him are yes and in Him amen for the glory of God by us (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Paul tells us that we must bring ALL/EVERY thought(s) captive.  They must all be tried against the Word of God and if that thought does not line up with the Word, we are to discard it forcefully!   “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

DO NOT COMPROMISE with the enemy of your soul.  Not once, not ever.  He will steal any morsel he can get his hands on.  Give and inch and he’ll take so much more.

Be tenacious.  Dig in.  Know that no matter how bad the “illusion of lack” can seem God’s Word IS life, it DOES prosper but we cannot let the enemy steal that seed or allow him to dig it up and out from under us or it stalls the process.

Fight the good fight of faith.  Get and keep His Word, guard it like a precious gem, bury it deep within you.  It’s your only offensive weapon against the enemy, and he’ll do anything he can to knock it out of your hand so that you are left defenseless, left to become just another statistic of the devil, who started off so strong, but man, what happened???

Did God really say?  Well, go find out for yourself….

Then hold tight and don’t give up.

God bless,

Miranda

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The Good Shepherd?

I had a conversation with someone last week and something that was said completely disturbed me.

We were talking about God and suffering and I said that I absolutely do not believe for one minute that God puts suffering/sickness on us to “teach us a lesson” or to discipline us.  Aside from the fact that it is unscriptural (please do NOT mention Job’s boils or Paul’s thorn), it is out of God’s character to do such a thing.  The person I was talking to disagreed with me wholeheartedly and believed that He does do that.   After some back and forth, this person then tells me that they once heard a pastor (well-known) do a sermon on Psalm 23, the shepherd and His sheep.  I’ve personally read “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller (highly recommended) and couldn’t imagine where they were going with this.

They said that this pastor said sheep are inherently stupid, that they needed to be disciplined (i.e. the rod, of which this person also mentioned the “spare the rod, spoil the child” verse, etc).  This pastor then went on to say that to keep the sheep safe that the shepherd would BREAK THE LEGS of a wayward sheep to keep it from running away from the flock and into danger then he would carry it on his shoulders until it was healed and it would be dependent on the shepherd and never stray again.

I’m sorry…..WHAT?  I was so incensed by this statement because it’s so out of God’s character but I mean… is this what His people are really saying and believing about Him?  Of course I went and researched this statement to see if any of it was true.  Nope.  Not true.  It’s an anecdote pastor’s use.  (To keep this short I’ll paste one of the article links here http://pulpitandpen.org/2014/06/27/the-shepherd-breaking-his-sheeps-legs-myths-thatll-preach/ ).

But let’s say that human shepherds actually DID do that?  What does that say about God?  Would that in any way reflect how Jesus treats us as His sheep?  We have to measure everything against His Word so what does scripture say about the sheep (us) and the shepherds (pastors or God/Jesus Himself)?

First of all, there is a scathing judgment on the “shepherds” of Israel by God Himself in Ezekiel 34.  The first four verses read:

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.”  (Read all of this chapter, very telling)

Sorry, but to me, breaking someone’s bones to “keep them safe” is forceful, cruel and abusive.  Causing disease and suffering to “work something out” in people’s lives and character is forceful, cruel and abusive.  Let me ask you this:  would YOU do that to someone you love to teach them a lesson?  When children are harmed or beat in the natural, it’s considered ABUSE right?  Well, have you ever thought that maybe their parents are trying to work out some character flaw in them?  I mean, isn’t that what we’re saying about God?  Imagine this:  maybe you see your child is going astray, making poor decisions or acting in ways that are “sinful,”  ways that are going to bring more harm to them in some way….so based on this “logic”, maybe you should afflict them physically, inject them with poison or a disease so that you can “keep them safe” or strengthen their character, teach them a valuable lesson.  And not only that, but then they will come to depend on you as caretaker and parent and it will draw them closer to you.  Then, ultimately you get to decide when they are ready to be healed and restored, if at all.

Ridiculous, isn’t it?  Doesn’t that make you mad?

That would be considered a “captive audience” and God is the Liberator, not the Captor.  How many times does the Word say He came to set the captives free?  “And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity.”  (Jeremiah 29:14A)  And not only that, but God does not force Himself on anyone, He does not work against someone’s will.  We have free will, we make our own decisions and God cannot and will not go against anyone’s will.

Does that above scenario sound loving to you?  So how can people say that God is love and in the same breath say that God gave them cancer?  Or that He killed someone they love because “He needed them?”  They say it because that’s what they are taught.

Back to scripture.  What about Jesus?  What does HE say about sheep (us) and being the Good Shepherd?

Matthew 12:9-14 – “And when He was departed thence, He went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked Him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse Him. And He said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith He to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And He stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him.”  Notice: first, the man in the parable did not break the sheep’s legs to teach it to not stray, nor did he leave it in that condition, he went and SAVED IT.  Second, Jesus was talking about HEALING, healing the man, who is better than the sheep!

Luke 15:4-6 – “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” There is rejoicing over the one found.  Not anger or punishment. He left all the rest of his flock to go and rescue the one who was lost.  Do we not all get lost at times?  Do we not all go astray?  Are we always perfect and obedient?  No.  But God comes through LOVE, His Word, and His Spirit to bring us back to Him.  It’s the LOVE of God that brings people to repentance.

In John 10, Jesus talks extensively about the Shepherd and the sheep.  He says that He goes before the sheep and the sheep follow because they KNOW HIS VOICE.  When He speaks, they hear, they listen.  How does He speak to us today?  Through His Word and His Spirit.  He teaches us to heed His voice only, so that all He has to do is speak and we will listen.  He draws us in through love and trust.  And if the sheep (us) do not listen, if we do stray, we suffer the consequences of our poor decision to leave the safety of our Shepherd’s watch and care.  He doesn’t need to inflict harm on us, we do it to ourselves. And we have an enemy who will take full advantage of our disobedience.

V:10-11 – “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

He came to GIVE us life, not take it from us.  That’s Satan’s job and for people to lay blame on God for OUR sickness and suffering is blasphemy.  And if God “uses Satan” to teach us lessons (as some teach), then Satan is not a thief because he’s only doing what he is told and given permission to do.  If he has permission, it’s not robbery.

Jesus gave His life.  He took our punishment; the price was already paid for our sins!  If we need to be continually made to suffer punishment for our wrong doings, then there was no reason at all for what Jesus did.  All the scourging and suffering He endured was all for nothing.

God is love.  Love does no harm.

He mends, He does not break.

God bless,

Miranda

Stage fright

Well, it’s been made official. My book is finally published. It’s taken four years; a lot of time, a lot of laboring and waiting and patience and tears and excitement and panic. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. I certainly could not have done it without my husband. He put as much time into the technical as I did on the creative. Self-publishing has its benefits but be ready to put in a good amount of time and effort, do your research, look at others who’ve done it and learn from their mistakes.

Being self-published it’s not a perfect work. As a matter of fact I found a misprint in the published copy after I ordered 50 books but, hey, I’ve found typos and mistakes in professionally published books so it is bound to happen. This is where I have to bind and gag that task-mastering perfectionist and not allow her to freak out about it.

It’s a little unnerving to put yourself out there creatively, open to the criticisms of the public, even with a fiction novel. When I was younger, poetry was my creative outlet. Poetry to me was intensely personal; it was my inner self poured out into words on paper, my deepest thoughts and fears and emotions manifested into logos. And I was extremely cautious as to whom I let into those places. Not just ANYONE could read those poems. Not just ANYONE would understand. Not just ANYONE was allowed to look past the curtain and into the great beyond. I was always very discerning as to who was allowed to have access to those truths.

And here it is, a book that I’ve written now published, available to anyone who so chooses to pick it up and read it. Yes, it may be fictional, but it is still hugely personal for me on many levels. I wrote it. I spent 4 years of my life pouring myself into this story and these characters, and yes, as a fiction writer you DO put pieces of yourself into it somehow, someway. Maybe some piece of your personality becomes part of a character, you make your own personal experiences one of theirs, some part of your heart and mind and life does wind up in there, so in a sense it is still poetic, it is still you in there somewhere.

There’s also the story itself. It’s not a typical story. My husband asked me when I first started writing this book, “So, how would you categorize it?” I said, “Babe, I don’t think a book like this has been written.” (No, I haven’t read every book in existence, but this was how I felt about the story.) After he read it, he agreed with me. The entire time I wrote that book, I was thrilled about the story and couldn’t wait for it to be published. That being said, when it came time to put it out there, I would wake up in the middle of the night in panic about the story and the plot to the point where the thoughts came to just cancel the whole thing and not publish it (the enemy loves to come in like a thief in the night to steal your sleep and peace).

I got worked up into an anxious lather about all the ways people would pick it apart and hate it, that people who supported me would be disappointed once they read it. I started to believe that I was going to let people down. Thank You Jesus for the people in my life who reminded me that this was all inspired by God and it has a purpose and that these were just lies of the enemy because he knows that this story is going to touch SOMEONE, somewhere, sometime.

Is it a perfect work? Nope. Is it purposeful? Yes. And the only person that I have to be accountable to is God. I know that not everyone will love it, some may even hate it, and that’s okay. God will take it where it needs to go and His purpose will play out for a greater good. It’s not about me. Yes, I am ecstatic and grateful that He made my lifelong dream of being a published author come true and I will enjoy all that goes with that. I have my first book signing this Saturday and while I am a little nervous, I am excited and I have so many people around me who are excited for me. But it’s more than that. It’s an opportunity to share the love and truths of God in another way. And THAT’S what matters.
All for His glory, not mine.

God bless,
Miranda
http://www.hiselectnovel.com

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The Great Physician

It amazes me how fast we give up on God.  When He doesn’t “come through” on our time frame or operate under our expectations, we throw up our hands and say “Oh well, wasn’t meant to be” or “must not be God’s will for me” or some other excuse that we come up with that causes us to give up on God’s word, which, by the way, is His truth.  In a way, it’s giving up on God Himself.

Healing is one of the biggest and most divisive subjects in the church that this happens with all the time.  We, as the church, have failed in so many ways regarding this issue.  We have made up bad doctrine and false theologies out of our failures and then tell people “well, it must be God’s will for you to be sick then, oh He is chastening you because you’re in sin, He’s working out a character flaw, He’s testing your faith”…etc. etc…insert unscriptural diatribe here…..  (I could write a whole dissertation on THAT subject, like if it’s God’s will for you to be sick, then don’t pray it away or seek a doctor because then you’d be in rebellion, refuting Paul’s thorn and Job’s boils, but that’s for another day….)

However, they will then quickly go to a doctor and will follow THEIR directions and instructions to the T.  They’ll take the medicine religiously; they’ll read up on “their disease” and “educate themselves” about it, filling their heads with all the terms and technical jargon and statistics so that they can know all about it.  It begs the question: did they do as much for God?  Did they go and search and dig in the Word for His truths and promises and cling to them with as much dedication?  Did they fill their heads and hearts with His truth so they can know all about that?  Did they go after and seek God Himself, fellowship with Him, spend time in His Presence and get to know the One who created them?  They can talk with all knowledge and authority about the sickness but can’t give one scripture regarding God’s will for their health and well-being.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

They’ll allow the doctors to poke, prod, cut open, take radiated pictures of their bodies, fill their bodies with man-made chemicals in HOPES that it will work, remove organs and parts…thereby becoming a torn apart and now lesser version of themselves, certainly not any longer how God created and intended them to be.

The success rate of doctors and medication is NOT 100%.  Yet people STILL go despite the risks, of which there are many.  They still take the medicine in desperation for some relief despite the side-effects or that they may have to be on it for life.  So it’s basically managing symptoms, it’s not a remedy.  If they were curative, you wouldn’t need to take them every day for months, years, or even for the rest of your life.

How sad for God, the Creator of our bodies, the One who breathed life into us, who knit us together in our mothers’ wombs, that we trust more in man and his ways than in God and His ways.  How sad for Jesus who took our sin AND SICKNESS (Isaiah 53:5, Matthew 8:16-16; 1 Peter 2:24) upon Himself so that we could be freed from it in our redemption, that He seemingly took it for nothing when we continue to claim sickness and disease as our burden to bear.  Did He not bear it for us?  Would you dare look Jesus in the eye and tell Him, “Well, what You did wasn’t enough to cure what I have and to save me, but thanks anyway.”  Would you say that to Him at the whipping post, blood-covered and unrecognizable, taking stripes for you?

Is it really so much easier to wait weeks for a doctor to see you for maybe an hour, someone who doesn’t really know you, who only hears what you tell them in that short time, then decides for you on your behalf what THEY think is best for you only to shove you out and please come back in 6 months for a checkup (and then have to pay hundreds of dollars for their advice and treatment that may or may not work) than to fellowship with and get to know the Great Physician who already paid for your healing…with HIS LIFE??  You’ve already been bought and paid for, as has your healing.  It’s part of His benefit package when you sign up with Him (Psalm 103:1-5).

Jesus is available 24/7/365.  You don’t need to make an appointment.  It could be 3 in the morning and no one is around but if you seek Him, He will be there.  He’s just waiting for you to take that step.  A decent physician practices medicine to try to help people; Jesus the Great Physician heals people because He LOVES them and gave His life for them.

Let me say that again:  GOD LOVES YOU.  YOU.  YES, YOU.

Which report would you rather hear?

One that says, “Well, we found something and we’re going to have to cut you open, poke around inside your body, remove pieces of you that are sick, stitch your skin back together and then give you medication that may or may not help you and comes with a variety of side-effects that could make you feel bad….”?

Or one that says, “You’re healed.”  ??

I know which one I’d rather hear.  And you can hear it every time you look in God’s word because that’s a promise He gave to us.  Not only that, but one of His redemptive names is Healer, Jehovah-Rapha (Exodus 15:26).  The Hebrew word rapha means: to mend (by stitching), to cure, (cause to) heal, physician, repair thoroughly, make whole.

In the book “The Healing Creed” by Becky Dvorak she writes: “When we preach from human reasoning instead of truth found in scripture, people suffer.  When we put all our faith in the doctor’s report in place of the Bible, miracles cease.  When we trust secular psychology rather than heed biblical counsel, healing is hindered.  We suffer from unanswered prayers when we give in to the world’s system of doubt and unbelief, but we can change that situation around.”

How many times did Jesus say to those who came to Him for healing “your faith has made you whole” or “be it unto you according to your faith”?  So, whose report are you going to put YOUR faith in (Isaiah 53:1)?

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(Please, read this carefully and thoughtfully, as I know messages regarding divine healing are very conflict-ridden and cause offense in a lot of people.  Jesus offended a lot of people with it, too, but He loved people too much to be quiet for the sake of keeping the peace.  No, I do not know it all, and yes, I do have my struggles, too, however we must staunchly refuse to let our situations override God’s Word.  Our theology must never be circumstantial but must always line up with His word.  I do recognize that everyone has their own convictions regarding faith and doctors and are in different places in their walks with the Lord and that the Lord can and does meet people where they are in their walk/faith because He is a loving Father who cares for His children.)

God bless,

Miranda

Some books to consider regarding this subject:

The Bible

Christ the Healer – F.F. Bosworth

His Healing Power – Dr. Lilian B. Yeomans

Healing the Sick – T.L. Osborn

Jesus the Healer- E.W. Kenyon

War: Resistance & Opposition

So, my book is almost ready to be OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED.  My lifelong dream is finally coming to pass, and all because of God.   Ever since I was 10 years old and I wrote my first novel, I wanted to be the “Great American Novelist.”   At 15 when I started writing poetry, I wanted to be a Great American Poet.  Writing and publishing…that’s all I ever wanted to do.  I started quite a few novels in my youth, but I never did finish them.  I had books of poetry and only ever published a few poems.  I had a handful of short stories that I planned on making into a novel, but that never happened, either.

After the birth of my son, the poetry tapered off quite a bit, only a few poems were written here and there as an outlet for my down moments (which is what my poetry always was).  After I got saved, I wrote even less.  I just gave up the dream figuring that my writing was just something that I had as that outlet for my angst and depression and that it was no longer a needed thing now that I had Jesus.

And then, one day, an idea was hatched in my mind for a story.  Four years and 350 pages later, my book is now only a few weeks away from being “official” and I know if it wasn’t for Him that this book would not have been written.  It was Him all the way.  I have felt nothing but excitement over this endeavor but I have realized that the closer I get to the time of my novel going public, the more that some doubts and fear have begun to sneak in.  Doubts over the story, doubts over the plot, fear of people not liking it and speaking poorly about it, or God.

And we’ve already talked about where fear and doubts come from.  Not God.

It’s resistance and opposition from the enemy of our souls to keep us from coming into our God-given callings and dreams because he knows we are going to impact SOMEONE, and he hates that.

Since the beginning of my walk I have experienced quite a bit of resistance and opposition from the enemy.  About six months into my walk, I woke up in the middle of the night and I KNEW that there was a demonic presence in my bedroom.  I was paralyzed with fear. I opened my mouth to rebuke whatever it was and found that I could not speak.  It’s like my mouth was anesthetized and full of glue.  I kept trying and trying and finally I was able to speak and rebuke it in Jesus’ name.  The presence left but from that night forward I was stricken with intense insomnia.  For weeks (maybe even months, I honestly don’t remember) I received maybe 30 minutes of sleep per night.   Thirty minutes (and no, I am not exaggerating, ask my husband).  Do you know what that can do to a person?  I honestly felt like I was going to go insane.

I couldn’t even nap during the day though I tried.  I also tried EVERY natural “remedy” under the sun (herbs, creams, white noise, “sleep-inducing” scents, relaxation music/techniques, vitamins, change of diet, exercise, etc.) as well as a prescription antihistamine (once) and even an Ambien (once, and only once).  I remember at one point I went over 52 hours without any sleep at all.  Eventually sleep began to gradually come back however even to this day I go some of the time sleeping full nights uninterrupted and the other times waking up at least once a night and having to go downstairs on occasion to try and get some sleep…on the couch.

About halfway into writing this novel, I was put under the most intense attack of my life.  I started to be afflicted with almost constant panic and anxiety.  I started manifesting bizarre symptoms that sent me to the E.R. where they put me through a multitude of tests and found…absolutely nothing.  I could barely eat, I could barely function.  I had many prayers prayed for me, many times hands laid on me, I begged, pleaded and cried to God.  The enemy had taken such a hold over my thoughts that suicide crossed my mind on more than one occasion.  I would wake up and the second I was cognizant immediately these thoughts came in: “You’re never gonna get over this.  You’ll never be free of this.  There’s no hope for you.  God isn’t real and if He is, you’re never going to get healed.  It’d be better off if you just died.”  Except the thoughts were in first person, like they were MY thoughts.

I remember I woke up one morning and this one word kept going through my mind: thanatos.  I’d never heard that word before so I looked it up.  It’s the Greek word for death (in Strong’s concordance it’s G2288: death, physical or spiritual.).  Talk about frightening.  The enemy was literally trying to kill me, somehow, someway.

We DO have an enemy, friends, and he is cunning, conniving, wicked, evil, hateful.  He will stop at nothing to stop God’s children from coming into their full identity and inheritance.  He knows your weaknesses so intimately because HE HELPED CREATE THEM.  Isaiah 54:17 says “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”  The word “weapon” means something prepared and the word “formed” means molded; to determine; to fashion.  Yes, he will prepare weapons against you in the form of a very specific individualized attack based solely on YOU, on your fears, your weaknesses.  Any crack in the foundation is going to be absolutely exploited by him to bring you down.

If it hadn’t been for some very specific things, I would not have recovered from these attacks.

1: Holy Spirit baptism.  Yes, it is for us now; yes, we need it; no, the baptism and its gifts did NOT “die with the death of the last apostle.”  That’s completely unscriptural and just the kind of lies the enemy loves for people to believe for then they are without power.

2: A strong spiritual family and church fellowship.

3: Getting into the Word and digging deep for His truth and applying those truths to my life.  This is where we find out who we are and what His promises are for us.  You want to know God’s will for you?  Read His Last Will and Testament (Bible).

4: God and His faithfulness.  During this time He spoke to me often, gave me many prophetic dreams and patiently loved me into stronger places in my faith.

5: God still worked miracles and healings in my life and still worked healings through me as I stepped out and laid hands on others and prayed for them.  Even though I was in a not-so-good place, even though I may have had doubts for my own self, I never doubted for others and God was so good and faithful to act on His Word and those moments of faith.

GET IN THE WORD.  GET IN HIS PRESENCE.  Praise Him, worship Him, seek Him.  Resist the enemy.  I cannot thank My Lord enough for never giving up on me, for strengthening me, for loving me and for giving me my life-long dream.  I only want Him and more of Him.  I pray the same for you, because it’s in His presence, in that secret place, that we are under His Divine protection and care, our Good Shepherd, our Abba Father.  If we don’t, we are going to be casualties of this war, and that’s not what God intends for us, for you. He said no weapon will prosper, but we can’t act on what we absolutely do not KNOW.  Get into the KNOW, friends, and crush the enemy under foot. STAND.

God bless,

Miranda

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”  Psalm 18:2-3

warhelmets

Roots

So, it’s been a while since I’ve been here, written anything, or even been inspired to do so.  Aside from the fact that I have just been busy (tis the season) I’ve been dealing with some “issues” that, to be honest, I’ve given a lot of time and attention to.  Focused on.  Some weird symptoms had cropped up that I’ve never before experienced, and right on the heel of those symptoms was THE VOICE.  It began to immediately diagnose me, giving names to what COULD be wrong.  Oh that wretched, hateful diagnostician, always ready to pounce on the heels of any aches and pains, waiting in the wings with a paint brush in hand for just the right moment to begin creating pictures of fear and what-if’s and could it be?  Vivid depictions much like a horror movie begin to play and dance across the playground of imagination all the while backed up with fear and panic for good measure, just to solidify his agenda.

Doubting the Word of God.  Doubting God’s goodness and promises.

Did God really say?  Haven’t we heard that somewhere before???

And I’ve come to realize that these ploys are all just like a magic show….prestidigitation.

Look over here so that you’re not focused on what’s really important: the truth.

The Lord spoke to me through this trial and told me “Daughter, you’re focusing on the wrong things.  You’re trying to go after the fruit (symptoms) but what you should be doing is going after that root.  You can cut away branches all day long but if you leave the roots, the fruit will always come back.”

Yup, more gardening parables.  But He was absolutely right.  And what is my root?

FEAR.  (Shocking, I know.)

Now let me say something about the “roots” of physical symptoms and illnesses.  It’s true.  Stress can do so many awful things to your body.  It can cause your heart to fail, literally.  Fear and panic produces that whole adrenaline “fight or flight” response and if you read about all that that entails, you’ll see just how much these things affect your body.

Dr. Henry Wright wrote a book called “A More Excellent Way: Be In Health” and he goes into great detail about the effects of stress and anxiety and also wrong thinking on a body in every area and facet.  He noted that ALL women who presented cystic breasts and ovarian cysts, for example, had “issues” with their mothers.  “These conditions come out of a break-up of a relationship between a girl and her mother.  Unresolved issues involving a great breach where there is no fellowship.  It extends down to the reproductive area.  It involves a full issue of femininity.”  (page 265)  He states that IBS and all gastrointestinal disorders are always rooted in fear, anxiety and stress.  “Much of the malfunctioning of the gastrointestinal tract is caused by not having peace in your heart regarding issues in your life, with the exception of Crohn’s disease, which is an autoimmune disease.”  (page 211).   This book is full of his research on the correlation between operating in these fashions and the negative effects it has on the body.  The end of the book is chock full of testimonies of those who received complete freedom and healing from their diseases and disorders from being delivered and liberated by God and His truth.

I also recommend reading “Switch on Your Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf.  She goes into great detail about the way your THOUGHTS affect you down to the cellular level and how by changing your thoughts you can actually change your genetics.  CRAZY STUFF!  Which means we are NOT victims of an unchangeable force like the world would have you to believe but that we can change our lives by our thoughts.  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  Proverbs 23:7

So, back to my original statement.

God has shown me that my victory comes through defeating that fear personally in my own life.  He has already obtained that victory for me, yes, but I am responsible for applying that truth to my own life.  That means deliberately, consciously CHOOSING at ALL times to trust Him, even when my feelings say otherwise.  It means pushing past the fear, to not let it paralyze me and back me into a corner where I am cowering once again under its shadow.  That means getting into His Word (His promises, which for us are yea and amen) and digging deep to find in there what HE says about me, about my situation, about who I am in Him, about how much He loves me and that I should not fear.

The bible says that our minds are renewed how?  By His Word.  His truth.  Not the world’s version of truth, because the world system is under the influence of the enemy, who is the father of lies.  And we’re so surrounded by those influences every day: tv, radio, news, books, people!  Unless you become a hermit you can’t avoid these things.  But it’s taking the time every day to get into that place with Him, to seek and talk to Him, to worship Him, to know that He is with you ALL THE TIME, even when you don’t feel it.  One of the biggest lessons I have been learning is that if you are going to walk with the Lord, you absolutely CANNOT go by feelings, which has been one of the hardest things for me to be deprogrammed from.  We live in a world that is sense and feeling based.  “How do you feel?”  “I don’t feel in love with him anymore.”  “I feel so angry.”  People of the world are SLAVES to their feelings.  But faith has no feelings, otherwise it wouldn’t be faith.
When Jesus healed someone He never asked, “So, how do you feel now?”  He just said “Your FAITH has made you whole.”  And they were.  Every time.

Have the faith of God. It’s a gift.  Take it.

God bless,

Miranda

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

Be not afraid, only believe.”  Mark 5:36

Consulting the Dead

My entire life up until the last decade was pretty crazy. Quite dysfunctional. (And as I sit here typing this, my fingers just froze over the keys, overwhelmed at the thought of telling people anything about my past.) Funny thing: since I have become a Christian I have spent a good portion of this walk absolutely hating who I used to be, have felt deafening shame over my past and all those decisions I made and all those self-destructive things I did. It was tormenting, really, trying to reconcile who I was and who I thought I was supposed to be now as a “good Christian girl.” I tried my damnedest to kill off every part of me and shape myself into what I thought I should look like. I became very inauthentic and it drove my husband crazy. I was also driving myself crazy. I was trying to do God’s work for Him. (Are you thinking to yourself: how’d that work out for ya?)

I was living the try-hard life. The do-more-to-be-more way. Which is exactly how I lived my life up until then. Nothing was ever good enough and I received my validation in what I did not who I was and that attitude carried over into my walk with God. I created this perfectionistic standard by which I thought I needed to live up to in order to look like what I thought me as a Christian should be. So, even though I was trying so hard to bury my old self, I was still consulting that corpse as to how I should react and respond.

That dead girl still had a hold over me.

And she still does.

See, that dead girl lived a life a survival, just trying to live and get by, always wishing for something better but never expecting it. That girl made poor decisions, sought validation in a lot of wrong places, hurt herself and allowed other people to hurt her. Inside, she was still that little girl who only wanted to feel loved, to believe someone truly loved her and cared about her and would protect her but no one ever did, who always felt alone and abandoned and worthless and unlovable. She started writing novels at 10 years old to lose herself in other worlds where she was in control, who began to write dark poetry at 15 as a way to get the pain out, who, at 17 was compared to Sylvia Plath (and for those of you who don’t know, Sylvia killed herself by gassing herself in her oven while her two children slept in another room; she was 30).

That girl left home at the age of 16. Sixteen. (My son is 7 months away from the age I was when I left home. Incomprehensible.) She went from place to place, wherever anyone would take her, never really feeling at home, but always an outsider looking in. That girl went through a depression once so bad that for three months she suffered constant panic attacks, wouldn’t leave the house unless it was to go to work and lost so much weight that people feared for her life (she weighed in at 89 pounds at one point).

I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for this girl but only to give you an idea of the kind of person that for some reason I still insist on talking to even though she is dead. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And Romans 6:6-7 says “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

So, if that part of me is dead, I must be talking to a dead person.

Consulting her like a necromancer.

“What do you think? How should I feel? What does this mean? How should I react?”
I am grabbing that corpse by her tattered collar and asking her for direction. And the enemy is more than happy to oblige that kind of behavior. He cannot manufacture life, but he can certainly counterfeit it. He’s a ventriloquist, speaking to me from that corpse, giving me the answers he wants me to hear. A puppet-master with his hand in the back of that dead shell, making it move and respond, speaking to me through another source like he did with Eve in the garden. And I am listening.

Why? Why do I keep doing this? This is what I really want to know. I mean, if I am to be honest, all my old-nature responses and self-defense mechanisms don’t work, they don’t get me where I want to be but are only tiny little band-aids applied to gaping, infected wounds that desperately need to be HEALED, once and for all. Why am I still so intrigued by and in bondage to these old things when I hate them so much? Can familiarity be the only reason?

I’m praying the Lord will give me an answer but that means I have to want to hear it and be ready to move and act when He tells me what needs to be done. And I pray that Holy Spirit give me the strength I need to do so, because I cannot do this on my own.

The Word says that whom the Son sets free is free indeed and I need to walk out that truth in my life because until then I am a self-contained prisoner, choosing to live in the cell while the door stands open just waiting for me to leave.

God bless,
Miranda

“And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?”  Isaiah 8:19

Hard Confessions

I met a friend for coffee today.  We went to Leaf and Bean (great food and coffee by the way, it was my first time there) and as we sat there for a little more than an hour chatting and catching up, it happened.

Anxiety attack.

It was a “minor” one (i.e. the room swam a bit and I had that strange “detached” surreal feeling wash over me here and there with slight stomach twinges).  I nibbled my sandwich and sporadically sipped my coffee, talking and trying my hardest to focus on my friend and our conversation while the anxious waves came and went.  During the conversation, I mentioned to her that I have struggled with panic/anxiety throughout my life and hey, as a matter of fact, I am struggling with that right now, yes, at this very moment.  She looked at me slightly astonished and said something that has stuck with me all day.  She said that looking at me that she would never have guessed that I was having any anxiety issues, that I seemed composed and fine (not her exact words, but that was the gist).  I told her that I had grown pretty good at hiding it (maybe “stuffing it” would be a better term.) and that I have also struggled with intense, paralyzing phobias as well since I was 11 but that only a handful of people know because I choose to hide it out of shame and embarrassment (I did, however, fail to mention the “eating disorder” that is a byproduct of said issues).

I made it through our lunch date and my friend was so loving and supportive, even stopping to pray over me before we parted ways.  Then I got in my truck and just began to cry, feeling at first disappointed in myself (my initial thoughts after these episodes are usually self-berating because it happened AGAIN and why can’t I lick this thing for the love of Pete?) and I cried all the way to the store, that ugly, chest-hitching kind of sobbing that makes your face puffy and blotchy.  As I was driving and ruminating on what my friend said another thought came to me: Doesn’t that make me a liar?  To hide it and pretend like nothing is wrong, to not talk about it out of shame or fear of what others will think?  To stuff it and try to ignore it and hope it goes away and not reach out for help or someone to just talk to or pray for me?

See, those were learned responses from a lifetime of dysfunction and self-destructive tendencies, of poor choices, of being rejected and mistreated and yes, even sometimes abused (by others and even by my own hand).  It was a mechanism developed to deal and to cope in that world, in that life.

But that can only last so long before the whole structure built on lies and pain comes crumbling down.  There’s only so much you can stuff down before something detrimental happens.  Before the top explodes.

This is what the Lord has been patiently showing me,  that those mechanisms and habits have no place in His children, that those old nature ways and compulsions and behaviors cannot cohabit with His light and Spirit inside of us. Light and dark cannot have fellowship.  Where one is, the other cannot exist.  Over the last few years, this truth has come to a painful head in my life.  I have (almost) daily struggled with the anxiety/panic/phobias for over two years straight now.  This has never happened to me before for such an extended period of time.  It has gotten better as time goes on, but this process seems to be going way too slow for my taste, let me tell you.

It’s like there’s a tug of war between the darkness that has held sway over me for these last 40 plus years, that wants to keep me under lock and key and the Light that loves me intensely and wants nothing more than for me to be free of these things because they’re no longer needed and they’re all based on lies.  I think the hardest part for me is learning this new reality is really real.  My whole life (since birth) has been fear-based, those fears  always being repeatedly reinforced and so those have been my “truths” for my entire existence.  It’s hard to think of or imagine a life without those things being present because that’s all I’ve known and sadly I think we get comfortable in those places even though we say we hate them and want nothing more to do with them.  We don’t know any other way and change can be scary, even if it promises to be good.  You ever watch Shawshank Redemption?  You get so used to living on the inside, being a prisoner, that freedom seems foreign and strangely frightening.

Jesus came to a man at the pool of Bethesda who had been sick with his infirmity for 38 years and He asked him, “Wilt thou be made whole?”   Another translation says “Do you desire to become well?”  This Jesus asks of a man who constantly came and waited by this pool for healing.   It’s telling to hear the man’s response for why he is not healed: because no one helped him into the pool and others just went in before him.  I have to stop and wonder: did he ever ask anyone for help?

I know that what stays in darkness festers & rots but I also am learning that in bringing those crusted, infected wounds into the light is when the healing can truly begin.  It’s just hard to take that first step of being vulnerable and admitting to the dark, sad, imperfect things that are a part of you.  I still don’t want to do it, I hesitate to push the “publish” button for my dirty laundry to be aired for any to read but I also know that when I have heard others admitting to their struggles and being transparent about their truths, I realize that I am not alone. I have felt that way more often than not in the midst of this turmoil, like I am the only one going through this thing and no one would understand.  Yet, one thing the Lord has spoken to me recently is that I need to start being honest: to myself, to Him and to others, because anything else is a lie and I can’t become all He’s called and created me to be if I insist on being a liar.

So, here’s to another step in my journey of healing and change.

No, I do not have it all together even though it may seem I do and yes, I am sorry that I wasn’t honest about it.

Thank you for listening and God bless,

Miranda

 

Heavy hearts in heavy times

I have never seen or heard so much hatred in my years of being on social media.  It’s downright disheartening.  It brings me down, grieves my spirit.

I myself have been verbally attacked because I made statements about that very thing (people justifying hate speech).  I was called a p***y (sorry) and told that there’s nothing at all wrong in wishing someone harm or death.  I mean, hey it’s not like they’re going out there and doing it, right?

Speechless.

I was also called out by name (and workplace) on someone’s page for a long-drawn out debate that they had with several other people.  I made one statement to all those other people, naming no one and not even mentioning anything political, and this person decided to call ME out, questioning my “Christianity” then unfriended me.

What?

Needless to say I decided to stop making any such comments on anything relating to this subject.  I have spent more than my fair share of tears over these things and given it all over to the Lord because quite frankly I just can’t hang onto them and let them break my me.  It’s not worth my sanity.

You know, I certainly don’t agree with certain candidates’ policies, beliefs, etc.  I actually think some are downright wicked.  HOWEVER, that in no way gives me the right to go out and start spewing vitriol and nasty remarks about any of them.  To call them names and wish them ill-will, or, God-forbid death.  I mean, why would you do that?

I understand why the world does it, but the church?  Remember, we are here to represent HIM, not ourselves.  We are ambassadors of the Kingdom, of Jesus Christ and all HE stands for.  We can’t bring OUR opinions and biases into these conversations or statements.  What would Jesus say?  We are supposed to be the oracles of God.  Would God call these people degrading names, even if what they have done is evil?  My guess is probably not.

Jesus died for our sins, all of our sins.  He didn’t die for most of them or for a select few. Nor did He give up His life for people who are “worthy.”  Don’t be tempted to play the game “Well at least I never...” because we all have….. in some form or another.  The Bible says there is no one good, no, not one, and we ALL fall short of the glory.  He died for everyone.  EVERY ONE. Yes, even the evil, wicked candidates or politicians or their supporters who speak nasty awful things to those who don’t agree with them.  We should be PRAYING for them, putting them up in intercession before the throne of God and praying for their salvation.  The hardest people to pray for and love are the one’s who need it the most.

I am not saying I am exempt from this myself; Holy Spirit convicted me of this very thing and I am glad He did, because the last thing I want to do is misrepresent my Lord to anyone ever.  We are sometimes the only Jesus that some people will meet…and I want to make sure that I glorify Him in every way.

And not just in these hot, political climes but in every day life with everyone I encounter.  Those people are all an arms-length away from Jesus….in me.  And you.

Vote prayerfully today.  And please, slow down and think before you speak and respond in love. Press into His presence.  Know Him so you can show Him.

God bless, pray always and be safe….

Miranda

Ephesians 6:12

 

Go ye, therefore…

I was talking to someone yesterday about the heavily charged atmosphere of these current times, especially when you look at what’s happening in the political spectrum.  We also talked about how “churches” have changed, how they’ve “let go” and now follow after their own wishes and created doctrines, changing their beliefs based on what the world says is acceptable.

So, in this conversation I said, “I feel like there’s a winnowing going on right now in the church.”  The person I was talking to felt the same way.  This is where the chaff and the grain gets separated.  The divide between those who truly stand for Christ and those who only think they do is growing larger and more obvious.

Jesus said you’ll know His people by His fruit.  But it seems that the church has been so diluted in the world’s ways and philosophies that they have no idea what that means or what His fruit is supposed to look like, therefore they cannot make good sound judgments on whose fruit looks like what, least of all their own.  Why is that?

Because they go to church.

Well, you may be asking, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?  No, actually, it’s not.  See, if you study out the word  for “church” in the Greek, it’s the word ekklesia and it means “called out from.”  It’s speaking about usWE’VE been called out.  Called out of darkness into light, from death to life, from the world system to God’s kingdom, from sinners to saints, from old creatures to new.  Church is not a building, it’s not somewhere you GO, it’s who you ARE.

You’re not supposed to go to church, you’re supposed to BE the church.

Living stones in the temple of God.  A walking sanctuary.  Carriers of God’s presence.  As the Church, you are supposed to be a meeting place where people can come face to face with Jesus.  We are supposed to be imitators of God.  Ministers of reconciliation. What is the Great Commission?  For us to go out and do all that Jesus did, to introduce people to Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  (Matthew 18:18-20)  And if you read the Gospel of Mark, it says exactly what it is we’re supposed to do as His church (Mark 16:15-20).

It’s so much more than what people think it is or experience it to be.  And they are missing out on a truth that could not only change their lives, but the lives of countless others that need Jesus so desperately.   But that means sacrificing the flesh and all the things that people think they love and need in their lives and that they’d be “missing out.”

Really?  How sad that the gospel has been so watered down and diluted that it’s only about keeping people out of hell.  You know what it’s really about?  Getting heaven into you!

But let me ask you: isn’t He worth the sacrifice?

I hear “Christians” complain all the time about the state of the world and how awful it is….and we the church are supposed to be the change.  We’ve been given the kingdom of Heaven itself and most don’t even know it.

Who will you be?

A church-goer?  Or the Church itself?

“Is what you’re living for worth Christ dying for?”  Leonard Ravenhill

 

God bless,

Miranda