Little Whispers

Joy Interrupted

Have you ever been going about your day, dancing to tween radio, getting things done, feeling like life is good, and all of a sudden you hear that voice in your head remind you of your failures, telling you that you’re nothing special, you’ll never be great, and nobody cares about you? It’s not usually a loud screaming voice, but just a subtle whisper that seems to stop your heart as you examine the evidence of its accusation.

In the New Testament, if you break down the Greek word for devil, it’s essential meaning is “little whispers” which is rooted in the concept of a subtle tossing of accusation. I picture a game of Hot Potato… devils don’t work through obvious, loud, or barefaced attacks, they will typically work through small, seemingly insignificant gestures, whispering lies while hiding behind partial truths, tossing a hot accusation potato your way with just enough evidence to make you seriously question your security. Devils wait for opportune times of weakness and vulnerability to plant seeds of doubt, fear, insecurity, shame, guilt, etc. That potato that is handed to you may be screaming hot, but the crafty way in which it’s delivered to you keeps you hanging on to it for far too long.

“…and after the fire, a still, small voice.” – 1 Kings 19:12b

It’s no surprise that since God’s voice reveals itself through the small stillness that the devil will seek to steal from us through a whisper. The difference is that God’s whispers bring freedom, the devil’s whispers bring bondage and grief. The word instructs us to be still and know, through rest and observation, what the Spirit is saying to us because as we quiet ourselves in a noisy world, we realize that the truth is already in us (Col. 1:27), He’s waiting for us to take the time to access it, receive it, and live by it.

With a variety of information at our fingertips, so much noise, so many shiny objects and no lack of options in our culture, it’s a daily challenge to stop and take moments to rightly divide the truth when the little whispers begin to shape your thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. God knew that there would be an intense battle for your mind and that the devil would do his best to steal your joy through your thoughts, which is why the Apostle Paul warns us to take the time to filter our thoughts through the nature of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

To Absorb or Not Absorb That is the Question!

It seems much easier sometimes to let our mind be more of a sponge than a filter. A sponge is a soft, casual, hippy-like material that says, “co-exist man, all are welcome, come on in and don’t even worry about taking off your shoes.” This unguarded mind yields to any substance that can break its barrier, not lifting much effort to examine or divide truth from fiction. Then, when it has reached its capacity and is spilling over, full of both the pure and tainted, it simply must be squeezed to relieve the pressure, which releases all of its contents, the good the bad and the ugly, thus causing the pattern to start all over again. A filtered mind, on the other hand, is carefully designed and crafted of strong materials with intentional areas of flow and blockage, specifically gauging what thoughts are allowed to flow through and which are tossed out, it is unwavering in its function to guard the gate so to speak. A mind that acts as a filter purposefully examines thoughts and attitudes and catches and tosses out the destructive intruders before they enter without disturbing the free entrance of the pure, edifying, foundational truth of the Spirit.

 

If It Doesn’t Make You Free, Then Honey, You Gotta Flee!

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

The word of God is the key to understanding your identity, and your identity in Christ is the key to your freedom. To know who you are is to know Whose you are and to know how to rightly divide freedom from bondage in your mind. Jesus said you will know the truth and the truth will set you FREE! Since the whispers of God bring freedom, the easiest way to determine if your thoughts are from God and are speaking the truth is to ask yourself, “Is this thought bringing freedom or bondage?”  

“It was for freedom that Christ has set you free, so keep standing firm and do not be bound again to the yoke of slavery”Galatians 5:1

Often times after I speak or minister in public I will be wakened in the late night/early morning hours to the devil’s voice whispering, “You are nothing and you are going to lose.” No matter how many times I’ve heard these types of statements in my mind they seem to sear through my heart like it’s the first time. For me, the outside voices that shout rejection aren’t nearly as tempting and convincing as that inside voice that comes as a convincing little whisper.

If I allow the door to open in agreement with the initial, simple statement of, “You are nothing, and you’re going to lose”, a whole flood of lies of why this is true will follow, “because, you’re a woman, nobody takes you seriously… you have no right to be a minister since you have very little experience…. You have little education…. You upset people with what you say… Other authorities were right when they said you are too loud, too sharp, too passionate, unpolished, rebellious, and out of order… There is something wrong with you… You’re too broken for God to use any part of you and it will never change.”

When this happens to me, I know I have a few choices, I can be the sponge and agree with the accusations, which if I’m being honest, in my most fatigue and tired states I have chosen to be the sponge and have downward spiraled quite painfully. I can choose to ignore the thoughts and hope they go away, like bringing a hungry, sleepy toddler into the grocery store and hope they don’t embarrass the snot out of you. Lastly, I can choose to be an intentional filter, take these intrusive thoughts captive and seek the Lord’s truth to be planted in my heart.

So, I wake myself up out of the fog, peel myself out of bed and sit on the edge of my couch and begin to talk with the Lord, “Who do YOU say that I am, Lord?” I remind myself that everything I am is hidden in who He is, and I am one with Him in spirit. I still my heart, and steady my soul to receive the truth. My Father will begin to whisper the counter-truths to the lies that are swimming around in my head and in the stillness He roots me and grounds me in His love:

“You are set apart”

“You are loved”

“You are saved”

“You are adopted”

“You are called”

“You are chosen”

“You are not alone”

“You have the power of grace to overcome anything”

“You have nothing to lose for I am with you”

“You are free to be who I’ve made you to be”

 

Your heavenly Dad knows exactly what your heart needs when you need it most. So, what is it that you step out in that causes the whispers to try and defeat you? Do you know who you are? Get in the word, let it lead you to the person of Christ, and when the devil whispers, “You are nothing, and you are going to lose”, stand up and declare who you are and know that with Christ in you, you got nothing to lose!

Blessings and Love,

Rheanna

Spiritual Bulimia – can we talk about it?

Binge and Purge– frequent episodes of grossly excessive intake followed by self-induced evacuation.

I had an acquaintance in high school who struggled with bulimia nervosa. She would go and purchase several bags of groceries, lock herself in a room, binge on all of the food in one sitting and then purge it all back up when she was done so that the calories didn’t affect her weight. This was a stronghold that gripped the way she saw herself. I felt helplessly terrible for her as I watched her struggle with this bondage for many years.

Bulimia is also called hyperphagia and is defined by having an abnormally voracious appetite or unnatural constant hunger. The condition of Bulimia nervosa comes into play when a person who suffers from this unnatural appetite attempts to continue feeding the behavior of excessive overeating but wanting to avoid the consequence of the weight gain. This becomes the psychological bondage of binging and purging episodes. In short, it is a demonic stronghold on the mind.


Spiritual Bulimia

I cannot help but see the parallels of the physical condition of Bulimia to the many who struggle with this as a tragic spiritual condition. Spiritual Bulimia as I see it is when we have an abnormally voracious appetite for the attitudes, mindsets, philosophies, and consumption of this world and we proceed to binge on them during the week, only to come to church on a Sunday and attempt to purge it all before the Lord, hoping to dodge the disturbing consequences of our intake. After we feel cleansed and in right standing we head right back into Monday feasting on the same old junk: gossip, anger, greed, pornography, drunkenness, rebellion, materialism, gluttony, sexual impurity, rancid media and all that contaminates our souls. And so, we return again to church on Sunday hoping to find peace from the torment with no real conviction, intention or passion to truly be changed. The world becomes our bag of groceries and the church, our toilet.

 

You were created for more!

“But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him”– 1 Corinthians 6:17

Did you know there is One who saw you, even at your lowest point and chose you specifically to be His? He laid His own life down and absorbed the bondage of sin and shame so that you could live and be FREE! If you have joined yourself to Christ, then you are ONE in spirit with Him, this means you are not a divided soul and no longer a slave to the darkness. As a believer you are called to live in this world but be not of it, meaning just because the fruit is hanging doesn’t mean you have to eat it, just because you feel like looking at pornography doesn’t mean you have to do it, just because you have information to share doesn’t mean you need to gossip and so on. Christ broke the chain of sin and death so that what used to keep you in bondage is no longer master over you unless you give it permission to be. It doesn’t make it easy, it just makes it possible through Christ. The Apostle Paul addresses the conflict of the two natures, sin and spirit, in his letter to the Roman church, and after acknowledging the wrestling of the two natures he gives the solution, “Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25). Don’t be the dog that returns to his vomit, stand up and say “NO!” to the devil when he whispers foul ideas to your ear, for it was for FREEDOM that Christ set you free, so stand firm and do not be bound again to the yoke of slavery! (Galatians 5:1)

 

You cannot ride two horses with one butt!

“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”1 Corinthians 10:21

Often times it’s our thought process to want our cake and eat it too, as fickle humans we want to find a way to have the desires of our flesh while keeping the blessings of the spirit, the culture of the world tends to call this “self-care”. Let me warn you, dear friend, that having no boundaries, and drawing no lines to indulgence is indeed idolatry of the flesh and is not a healthy way to care for yourself. In fact, the opposite proves to be true, like a child who has no boundaries or resistance to the demands of his impulses, he tends to become desensitized to the true need of his spirit, soul, and body and thus his ability to make judgment in any given situation becomes dim and he is a danger to himself.

We must also teach our flesh to be led by the Spirit, denying it much of what it demands so that it can see what it needs. If you expect to live in the blessing of the fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control, then you cannot continue to indulge your flesh in the antithesis thereof: Bitterness, Complaining, Discord, Anger, Selfishness, Malice, Strife, Pride, Vanity and the like. You must shut all doors to the things that breed these dark behaviors, shut off the social media, tv, computer, radio, close the books and magazines, stop hanging out at the establishments and become aware of what’s being inputted into your eyes, ears, heart, and mind. If you want to stop feeling pulled apart, stop riding the line, get your foot out of the fire, you cannot ride two horses with one butt and expect to get anywhere!

“For by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.”– 2 Peter 2:19


 

Good News!

Maybe you’ve struggled with this concept of spiritual bulimia; perhaps you’ve allowed lustful behaviors, idolatry, perversion, anger, malice, greed, bitterness, pride, and other attitudes and behaviors to be present in your life. Possibly you’ve gone to church each Sunday simply giving an apology to God, looking for the grace to be released from the torment of your choices only to return to them promptly on Monday. There’s good news, this doesn’t have to be the end for you! Christ broke the chains of demonic cycles so that you can walk free from the rule of sin and shame. Even things that your family has passed down to you is no longer yours when you make Jesus the Lord of your life, your DNA becomes HIs DNA and you are a new creature, all old things pass away!

 

I want to pray with you and for you:

Father, thank you for the person reading these words right now. Thank you, God, that You know this person and his/her deepest challenges, victories, struggles, and strengths. I pray Holy Spirit, that Your love would convict their heart of any areas that need to be surrendered, and that Christ, You would rule and reign in their heart, giving them the freedom that they’ve needed for so long. I pray that they may know that today is the day of salvation and true commitment for a better life of freedom. I break off every cycle of sin and behavior that has kept them in bondage and I declare the FREEDOM of Christ to emerge. May the know who they are and Whose they are in Jesus name, AMEN!!! 

 

Negative Space

“As you ramble through this life, my friend, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the doughnut and not upon the hole.”

Negative Space

It’s easy for us humans to see the negative space in the world because we were created to solve problems, and how can we do that unless we become aware of the need that surrounds us? However, just as we cannot and should not ignore the needs, we must also be careful not to turn our gift of awareness into the curse of meditating on the negative and becoming a consumer of lack just because we notice it. As believers, we each carry the solution to every issue, He is the One who answers all things and fills all things, Jesus Christ.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

We know there is certainly not a shortage of pressure, disappointment, failures, and turmoil in this world, but even more so we must take note of the victory that Christ bought upon the cross and revel in the awesome wonder and incredible blessings we have to be grateful for, for they are without measure. What you choose to put your face towards, will be the manifestation of your reality. We once had a downhill ski instructor that would emphasize this truth over and over again, “wherever your head goes, your body and your skis will follow, so keep your face forward!” Whether the blessings or curses, life or death, gratefulness or complaint, whichever you choose to focus your heart on, your trajectory will follow. If you choose to get up every day praising God and verbalizing each blessing that surrounds you that you can be grateful for, you’ll move in the direction of abundance. If you choose to wake up and focus on the negatives in your personal circumstances or the issues of the world, rest assured your attitudes, thought patterns and mindsets will manifest lack and heaviness.

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

What then are we to do with difficulty?

We must be sensitive to our challenges and compassionate to the pain of others around us, it’s what makes us alive in Christ, for as He is so we will be. However, the answer is never to absorb the pain and tribulation of this world onto our own shoulders, thus assuming we are the answer to the problems, no, the answer has always been to carry the burdens to the Only One who can fill, all in all, Jesus. You are not the savior of the world, He is, and He lives in you. You must realize you are not the answer to your or other people’s problems, you simply carry the One who is, so run to Him and keep your eyes fixed upon His amazing grace!

“And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:23

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Be blessed! (and eat a doughnut today)

Rheanna

FREEDOM CULTURE

Freedom is the state of personal liberty from oppression; spirit, soul, and body. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Galatians that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free!” Authentic, everlasting freedom is found where the Spirit of the Lord is. Therefore, it is our central mission at Freedom Culture to relentlessly pursue the presence of God through prayer and worship and to ignite Spirit-filled living through preaching the word, equipping spiritual gifts and ministering healing and deliverance to the bound and broken. Because we believe that God’s desire for freedom is not only found in eternity but also as a perpetual state of living, our passion is to see men and women set free by the power of the Holy Spirit, continue to live in freedom from the world’s chains, and become equipped to minister reconciliation to the world around them. Freedom Culture is a ministry comprised of people who unashamedly burn for Christ and seek to advance the fires of freedom wherever we go!

Join us as we pursue the presence of God together, first and third Fridays of the month beginning in February!

Blessings,

Justin and Rheanna Arfsten

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Created for Love

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting”  Psalm 136:1
Do you realize that you are the goodness of God?
Scripture says God is good (Psalm 136:1). It also says He made us in His image (Genesis 1:26). If we bear the image of a good God, then the original intent of our identity is good. After the sin of Adam, we lost our original identity and were sentenced to spiritual death; separated from God’s good nature. This brings about the necessity of being re-born into the kingdom through Christ Jesus, whom God sent as the propitiation of our fallen sin (1 John 2:2). Once we’ve received Christ as our Lord and Savior and have decided to take up our cross to follow Him, our identity is restored in who He is, not in what we can do. The grace of the resurrection restores us to our original identity through the payment of sacrifice so we can be in right standing with our Father once again (Romans 5:10). The word says we are now co-heirs with Christ, we’ve inherited all that He has inherited!
“and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” – Romans 8:17
I used to think that I wasn’t worthy of love. There was a point in my life when I’d felt like I wasn’t enough. I never measured up to standard and expectation; I didn’t say the right things or do the right things. Because of this mentality, I couldn’t believe I was worthy to be truly loved by God or those around me. In fact, if a person came into my life wanting to give me unconditional love, I was immediately suspicious of their intention. What was their motive for giving me grace? What was in it for them if they were kind? Would they love me if they knew the difficult parts of me? The filter through which I saw the world caused me to be unable to love anyone else around me because I couldn’t love myself or see my own value in the eyes of God.
God began to show me that I was seeing myself through the eyes of the first Adam; sin, and shame. He unraveled the truth of my identity through the last Adam, Christ; grace, forgiveness, and righteousness. I see now that I foolishly based my worth on personal performance, self-worthiness, and earned merit, but this is not the truth. My true and eternal value is based on who HE is not WHO I try to be. I was able to see clearly who I am by knowing WHOSE I am.
God gives the vision to perceive His creation the way He sees it to those who are willing to acknowledge His nature. Often, people who love themselves are able to afford the capacity to borrow grace to others. This was a perspective I’d eventually gain through the process of renewing my mind.
God was able to show me that no matter what I had done or what I struggled through that I will always be His goodness, not because I am good but because He is good.
I am loved because He is Love, I am saved because He is Salvation, I am righteous because He is Righteousness. I came to understand that He doesn’t make mistakes; He creates masterpieces!
Blessings,
Rheanna
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Feature Photo by Jamez Picard on Unsplash

In the Process

Did you know that if you cut open a chrysalis at just the right time in its process, liquid goo will spill out? There is an actual space in time while the caterpillar is in the cocoon that neither his former nor future form exists. He does not panic, nor can he receive assistance from an outsider, he must remain in the chrysalis and trust his Creator to bring him all the way to his destiny.

This is a process we will all go through in life in our own way; uncertainty, stretching, and refining will mature us into the beautiful destiny that God has for us if we let it. We will not be able to lean on someone else to do the work for us, nor will panic and worry be of any help. Abiding in Christ through faith and trust alone will bring us through the process to the calling of God in our life. Within the journey of growth, lies the hidden treasures of life.

Goals will give us direction and focus when we learn to embrace growth, but goals alone will not serve to mature us if we are limited to attaining them.

We must seek to be growth-oriented, and not just a goal-oriented;Goals seek a destination, but growth seeks transformation.

Blessings in the process,

Rheanna

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Feature Photo by Havilah Galaxy on Unsplash

3 Ways to Exercise Your Spiritual Authority

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What was the potency that drove the ministry of Christ, and caused even the darkness to obey? Authority. By His authority, Christ drove out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, and destroyed the work of the devil. As He summed up His ministry here on earth, Christ passed this authority onto us through His resurrection power. This is now the same authority that drives the weapons of our warfare, the boldness of our witness, and the proclamation of the kingdom of God.

“And He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.”–Luke 9:1-2

 

What is Authority?

When I was 14 I wanted to drive a car by myself. I had the ability to drive; I was tall enough to reach the pedals, strong enough to turn the wheel, and cognizant enough to understand the road laws. Yet, because I had no license to drive, I did not have the legal authority to get in the car and drive it. My ability could only take me so far before my lack of realized authority limited me. Likewise, spiritual power and authority have been designed to work together, while each having a unique function.

The meaning of the Greek word power is a force or ability that enables us to overcome the tactics of the devil. The word authority is the Greek word, “Exousia”, which is a delegated influence, or jurisdiction; The right to administer justice. Simply put, power gives us the ability to overcome oppression, while authority gives us jurisdiction to subdue the oppressor.

The source of our authority is in the resurrection power of Christ and can only be asserted through His Lordship in our lives (Hebrews 2:14). In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul explains how all authority was brought about through Christ when God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand. Chapter 2 adds that we too have been raised up and seated right there with Him. Proper power and authority cannot be exercised outside the salvation and Lordship of Jesus Christ.

 

The Trump Card

“Behold I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.”–Luke 10:19

It is of great importance to realize that your authority annihilates the power of the devil in your life. This verse in Luke 10 reveals that while the devil has dunamis power (force and ability), he has no authority (jurisdiction) over anything. He can try and attack you, but he cannot destroy or overcome you. Your power alone vs. the devil’s power will often times cause never-ending cycles of struggle; leaving you feeling hopeless. But, exercising both power and authority conquers the devil’s power, releasing victory to you, so that you can occupy the position of freedom. Here’s a practical example of applying power and authority:

Joe Christian struggles with an addiction; drugs, alcohol, pornography, food or the like. When desire threatens to carry him away, power gives him the ability to call on the name of Jesus. He invites the Spirit into his situation, thus empowering him to overcome the attack of temptation (2 Cor. 3:17); Joe’s power gives him the ability to overcome the temptation at the moment. Additionally, he must exercise his authority over the devil to uproot the issue. Joe must enforce his authority; removing the stronghold of the enemy’s power over him so that he does not find himself in a constant power struggle with the devil.

 

Three ways to Exercise Authority

Flex Your “No” Muscle– Make a decision that you will not passively manage strongholds in your life. Be honest; face your struggle. Embrace humility; recognize your need for Christ. Be diligent; exercise your authority over the enemy by saying, “No! You cannot operate in my life this way any longer, get out!”Put your foot down and refuse to let the devil continue to assault your life (James 4:7).

Speak the Word!– Jesus responded to every one of the devil’s schemes with, “it is written” (Matthew 4).The word is a weapon of warfare; it is the truth, life, and it is final. Use the scriptures to pray, praise God, and declare truth; Knowing the word of God is imperative in exercising your authority.

Fill the House– Abide in Christ (John 15:4). Since Christ is the source of our authority, it cannot exist apart from His Lordship. Anchor yourself in Christ through a constant study of scripture, worship, and prayer. Pray daily, “Lord, sit upon the throne of my heart and be Master over my thoughts, and behaviors today”

When you exercise your power and authority over the enemy, it’s like bringing a nuclear bomb to a knife fight. Go kick some tail and take back your territory, friend!

Blessings,

Rheanna

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Run Wild

I sat to the edge of the cold bed, bent forward, my elbows pressing on my knees. As I rubbed my hands together, the salty tears streamed down my face, and landed in a puddle on the floor. I contemplated the invitation that had been extended to me in this prison…

“Yes”, I whispered, “I do”.

It was as if I was the bride and He was the groom, and I was getting married, though I didn’t know to whom.

Thoughts of fear and excitement ran through my head, as I envisioned what this could mean from the side of my bed.

I heard the clanging of the keys in the hand of the guard, as he clicked open the lock and threw the door open hard.

You’d think I’d have ran straight out the door, tearing off my orange jumpsuit, my imprisonment no more.

But I just sat there, frozen, thinking of the years that’d been stolen, now my eyes fully open, my heart full of hope and…

My streaming tears had now turned into a raging flood, as I pondered the grace and the shedding of blood, that purchased this freedom I didn’t deserve, “am I really more valuable than the time that I’ve served?”.

I wept with passion I’ve never felt before, I kept staring ahead at this cold cell door.

Again came the flood but this time from inside, hopefulness, excitement, anger and pride.

Feelings of loss, pain, peace, and joy did roll, as an epic spiritual war raged on in my soul;

hosts of darkness waging war against the Hosts of heaven, forgiveness demanding 70×7.

My prison cell had been opened but I’d failed to respond, other than verbal surrender I couldn’t move on.

I realized I was now imprisoning myself, somewhere along the lines, I’d put my heart on the shelf.

“It can’t get hurt if it’s not in use”, no more pain being inflicted; no more darkness or abuse.

Like a beautiful eagle unable to soar, like an unquenchable thirst always demanding more.

That’s when He came to me in the midst of my agony, singing to me, loving me, never giving up on me.

He stood in front of me, knelt down square, He looked me in my eyes and brushed back my hair, I closed my eyes as He leaned in near, with all the love in His heart, He whispered in my ear.

You see I’d been on death row, for as long as I know, protecting and covering the darkness hovering, but with His breath, He awakened the death that was causing reality to scarcely digest.

The sound and vibration that could awaken a nation, just destroyed the chains that had me restrained, I was no longer shaken.

I jumped up and ran, I could finally see, I didn’t deserve it but He whole-heartedly loves me.

I went through the door, headed down the hall, I could hear other prisoners making their call, “What did He say that made you believe, you could do what you did, and think you can be free?”  I looked straight forward only Him my eyes could see, “Run wild, baby girl!” He repeated to me…

I’ve taken His hand and I’ll never let go, through fire and rain, I’m sure that I know;  His love is enough, His grace is sufficient, to hold me and keep me in His clear vision.

So if you’ve been locked up in that cage, a broken and beaten little child, stand up tall, abandon it all, take His hand dear one and with Him, Run Wild!!!

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What’s Love Got to do With it?

Love, Amore, Laska, Armastus, Kaerlighed….

In whatever language you speak it, it’s a message of the heart, the very foundation of our soul’s journey.

The Love Motivation

“I love…” is a phrase we use often for many reasons, for example, I love my husband, I love coffee, I love Jesus, I love shoes, I love sunsets,  I love my children, etc.  But what motivates us to use this term with such a variety of situations ranging from deeply heartfelt, to painfully superficial?

The term “I love you” seems to be lost in a culture that relates it on the same level as “I love Doritos” yet we do not have the understanding that there is a foundational difference between the meaning of Christ-like love and worldly love….

In the book of John, chapter 21, Jesus is just finishing up breakfast with His disciples, He leans in, looks to Simon Peter and asks “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”  (I wonder if He’s referring to the brothers, the fellowship, or the waffles… hmmm)

Peter confidently replies to Jesus, “Yes Lord; You know that I love You.”

Jesus then instructs him; “Tend My lambs”

This scenario repeats two more times with Jesus asking Peter if he loves Him, and Peter’s response being the same.  The third time, however, the Word says that “Peter was grieved” as he responded to Jesus’ question, yet Jesus still finishes the dialogue with, “Tend My lambs.”

Phileo vs. Agape Love

The Strong’s Concordance explains that the word “love” as Jesus used it in this verse is the Greek word “Agape” which means; committed, benevolence, to love as in a moral sense, chiefly of the heart.  Contrarily the word “love” as Peter uses to respond to Jesus is the Greek word “Phileo” which means; fond of, having a personal attachment, a matter of sentiment or feeling, chiefly of the head.

You see Jesus was asking Peter “are you committed to me in your heart at all cost”, and Peter was replying,  “I’m fond of you and have a personal attachment to you Lord based on my feelings, but am not committed to You.”, which is essentially why Peter, at last, was grieved about the situation, because he knew the difference.  But here is the redeeming grace of our Lord, read His response to this situation;

‘Truly I say to you, when you were younger, you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God”.  Then He said to him, ‘Follow Me!'” – John 21:18-19

What’s the message here?  When you are a baby in the faith, you do what YOU want to do, you see God how YOU want to see Him, you live out your faith the way YOU see fit for your life, but as you grow up, God requires more of you.  There is a shift that happens; you begin to die a death of “self” (expectations, comforts, doctrines etc.) by which you glorify God thus moving from being fond of Him (phileo) and having a personal sentiment towards Him, to being wholly committed to Him (agape) at ALL costs.  He then takes your hands, dresses you and leads you where HE wants you to go.  I find it interesting that Jesus says, “and lead you where you DO NOT WANT to go.”  Jesus promises that the journey He will take you on will be one of sacrifice, discomfort, and stretching.   He promises that where He will take you in your mature faith will not necessarily appeal to your flesh, but the rewards are immense!

Low call vs. High call

You have two choices;  The Bible says there is a “High call” in Christ Jesus that we must press towards (Philippians 3:14 KJV), therefore indicating there is such thing as a low calling.  There will be many in the faith who will love/phileo God (be fond of and attached to Him) and accept His gift of salvation for eternity.  Then there are the few who will press towards the high calling in Christ which is to love/agape Him (being fully committed at all cost) thus making Him Lord of their literal lives here on earth.  The high calling is one that has to be pressed towards, according to the apostle Paul, it requires sacrifice, endurance, discipline, consecration, and commitment, and it also pays the highest dividends (Luke 6:22-23).

So ask yourself; what is God calling you to do?  Does it not fit into your schedule?  Maybe it’s not your natural strength, or perhaps the financial aspect seems out of your league….  What is God putting on your heart right now that would require you to stretch beyond what you’ve known, give up your comfort and ideals and go beyond what you ever saw yourself doing?

Then ask yourself this;  Do I want to press into my high calling and glorify God here on earth for the purpose in which He sent me forth, or do I want to sit in my low calling where it’s safe and keep my hands tied so that God is limited in and through my life?

The choice is yours!!!

Blessings,

Rheanna

The Time is Now!

Tick tock.  Tick tock.  Tick tock.

Another day goes by….

Another season goes by….

Another year goes by….

We use phrases like:  “Time sure flies!”,  “Where does the time go?”,  “They grow up so fast”,  “It happened in the blink of an eye…”  “Seems like yesterday…” and so on.

Matthew 25:14-30“The Parable of the Talents”

Time is a form of talent or currency, we’ve all been given the same amount each day to spend, no hope of a lottery ticket giving us overnight millions of extra hours, no neighbor to borrow from when you’ve come up short and no government to bail us out when we run out.  Every single moment is important, every single moment.  Every moment you have a choice of how you will manage the time you’ve been given and the difference between time and money is that you cannot bank time in the natural sense, you use it or lose it, there is no savings account, no emergency fund, no retirement plan.

Ecclesiastes 3:1“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.”

So what time is it?

THE TIME IS NOW!

The time is now to tighten up your borders, find healing in the broken places, receive deliverance in the darkness, mend relationships, kick bad habits, cast down vein imaginations, declare victory over your life and family, and roll your sleeves up and DIG DEEP!  Educate, train, listen, speak, fight, and get to work!

Even as the world looks dark and hopeless, this is your time to shine, this is your time to rise up and do what Christ commissioned you to do.  There are no more excuses, no more whining, no more meditating on darkness, no more seeking shelter, NO MORE!

The time is now to be present in each day.

Being Present

My husband and I were out for breakfast one morning, just the two of us.  As we chatted over our coffee, I noticed a family of three sit at the table directly beside us.  After about 10 minutes I’d taken note that nobody was moving or talking so I turned to observe and I saw the mom messing around on her phone, the dad had his Ipad out fiddling around, and their, what seemed to be pre-teen, son had a Nintendo DS that he was playing on.  Not a word spoken through the whole meal, they ate, and they messed around on their devices….. “seriously?” I thought.

Much of the way our time is stolen from us, and others that come in contact with us, is that we are not present in the moment we stand in.  When we’re at work, we’re on our phone, when we are at dinner, we are on our phone, when we are playing a game with our kids, we are on our phone, when our family is having a movie night, we are on our phone.  Here’s your first tip:  SHUT YOUR PHONE OFF!!  Shut off your TV, your emails, your Facebook, etc. and be present in your life.  The mass amount of communication is inundating our thoughts, controlling our moods, and stealing our time!

The bible says in Galatians 4:4“In the fullness of time”  Jesus came; there was no tweeting, texting, Face booking, or emailing, there was one on one contact, present relationships, speaking out, reaching out, helping out, training, equipping, and the giving over of one’s will to do the will of Him who sent us forth.  Therefore, we don’t need all this technology in order to maintain status, reputation, relationship or the like, we NEED to get off our devices, and get to work!  Technology is great for many things, and brings advancement to communication but the overuse of it is killing our spiritual fruit.

The Commission

Matthew 10:7-8 “As you GO, PREACH, saying: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’.  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils; freely you have received, freely give.”

Notice the action verbs here: Go, preach, say, heal, raise, cleanse, cast out, give…. The time is now for you to lay hands on the broken and lost, proclaim the good news of everlasting life, especially in this time that the world is showing it’s true colors.  Don’t make your life about YOUR will, and just resolve to love Jesus, and love others and call it a day.  You’ve been built with a purpose to be God’s legal access into the earth so that the Kingdom of darkness can be overcome and the Kingdom of Heaven can be populated.  You can do this, you were made for this!

Is it always easy and comfortable?  absolutely not!  Anyone who gives you the feel good gospel and says that life’s just grand after your saved is selling you a bill of goods, salvation is only the first step, the honeymoon phase if you will…. here look at this verse as Jesus speaks to His disciples: “Truly, truly I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you and bring you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18)

What is He saying here?  Look, there is a time to be a baby in the faith, to figure things out, and do what you will, but as you mature, your life will no longer be about YOU, but about what He wants to do through you, and you will not necessarily like it all the time, but it’s about growing up, and putting your big boy/girl pants on and getting the job done, and that time is NOW!

Ephesians 5:15-17 “So be careful how you live.  Don’t live like fools, but those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what The Lord wants you to do.”

Take control of your time and as you put the Kingdom work first in life, God will redeem your time supernaturally so that all balance is complete.  Stop trying to spin all the plates, trust Him, He’s got this.

Let’s do this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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