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!
Justin and Rheanna Arfsten
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,
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!!!
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!!!
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.
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.
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!
My husband and our teenager recently got back from a missions trip to Mexico. They spent a week with the locals, ministering to them, meeting their needs, and seeing the power of God heal and deliver them from affliction. They came back with such fresh perspective and gratefulness for the luxury of immense blessing that they enjoy here in America. Even in what we would consider our financially “tight” weeks they raved about how a simple thing like advanced indoor plumbing and water pressure was enough to sing Hallelujah!!! It got me thinking about the concept of gratefulness and I began to examine my life and my attitude….
Earlier that week, as I was mowing our lawn, I found myself somewhat grumbling about the current, lengthy, difficult, season of life I was in; Its intense, hard labor, both in the physical and in the spiritual was bearing little to no available, tangible fruit as of yet. There was a weariness that was setting in, as I would see many around me being blessed and excited about the fruit they were picking from their trees of life. I asked God this question; “What is wrong with me?, why is it so hard for me to be happy for these others in their happiness? I know it’s not my intent to be disgruntled, in fact I preach against it, so what is my real problem Lord, what is causing me to feel this way?”. He began to speak to me about my weariness (Galatians 6:9) and encouraged me to stand in the ring and continue on for the harvest. He also showed me that it was more of a self-pity problem than anything else, to which I at first resisted, but ultimately conceded and asked for forgiveness for. Early that next morning, as I was reading the Word, He brought me to Matthew 6:22-23
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. if then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
At first read, I didn’t really understand the meaning of this scripture or how it pertained to me, but I knew there was something there. As I prayed and studied out different key words and other correlating commentaries and scriptures God began to deal with me heavily about the issue of my current heart attitude…
Eye in the Greek is “Ophthalmos” meaning by extension – The faculty of mental perception and understanding.
We see the meaning of the eye come full circle later in Matthew 20:15 in the parable of “Laborers in the Vineyard”. The landowner (who represents God) had hired several laborers (who represents us) at different times throughout the day, so some worked 12 hours, some just 1 hour but at the end of the days work, he compensated them all equally. The reaction from the people who worked the longest was outrage, they felt it unfair that they worked a long 12 hours but were paid just the same as the ones who came on board for just a measly hours time. The landowner’s response was this; “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?”.
They eye is our mental perception and understanding of everything that takes place in us and around us. When our eye becomes “bad” it is because we are clouded with worldliness, materialism, and the “me syndrome”. Our eye can also become bad when we judge the blessings of others based on how we’ve chosen to live our lives for Christ. On the contrary our eye is clear when it is receptive to the redeeming grace and powerful generosity of God the Father who gives every good and perfect thing to His kids (James 1:17, Matthew 7:11). So the word says that when our eye is clear then the light is within us, meaning when we have surrendered to grace vision then we are full of light and prepared to operate in that light to touch the hearts and lives of those around us, and our power becomes limitless. But when our eye, our mental perspective and understanding, is dark and clouded with selfishness and worldliness then even the things we perceive to be light in the world is just all darkness, rendering our anointing powerless and ineffective.
So we see that the Laborers in this parable were so concerned with “getting their fair share” that they couldn’t see with an eye of grace and be touched by the generosity of the landowner towards the others who didn’t deserve the full pay. They missed out on the opportunity to be moved by God’s grace towards the lesser because they were clouded by their self-pity, as well as self-righteousness. How many times do we miss what God is doing because we are so preoccupied with our own self loathe? How many opportunities to encourage and be thankful for others do we miss because we ourselves are still laboring long and hard hours to gain our fruit? We live in this world where we do things according to “what’s best for us” with no regard for other people, to the point that we cannot even be happy for others who are achieving an succeeding because we aren’t getting our “fair share”. It’s a sickness that is taking over the souls of man/woman without us even realizing it, it eats away our grace for one another, it tears apart our compassion, our understanding and our genuine love for God instead of money and “stuff”. We bicker over how overpriced everything is, or how so and so spends their money, how ridiculous it is for the Miller’s to have 5 boats, and we can barely keep our family vehicle maintained. We’ve adopted an entitlement mentality to erodes away our dignity to the point of expecting others to give us some of what they have because “its just not fair!”. You see it in politics, in schools, in reality TV shows… everywhere.
More over, our eye becomes clouded with the mundane details of this world and it’s affairs, and we are rendered useless to extend the gospel of salvation and peace to those around us. If we ask God to wake us up so that our eye is clear then we can see clearly to extend the love and salvation of Christ to a lost and dying world out of the gratitude of our hearts for what God is doing in and through us. We have to stop measuring our success by the world’s standards, numbers, accumulations, relevancies and the like. I believe what we are missing out on is what God IS doing in our lives, the blessing He’s trying to show us how to receive – ““What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”- (Matthew 6:31-33 MSG)
This hit me like a ton of bricks, and tears began to flow in repentance for my foul attitude towards God’s generosity and blessing towards others, I asked Him to wake my eyes up to clearly see by grace and not be clouded by the selfishness of the world that I didn’t even realize was setting into my soul. The world is a tricky thing, it’s narcissistic perception, and ugly attitudes will creep in without you even realizing it, so stand guard, pray that God will awaken your “eye” which is your mental perception and understanding, to see clearly and humbly, His grace and mercy. Continue to renew your mind to see others with love and respond to God’s gracious giving in your own life, so that you may be at peace to operate out of the overflow of abundance, instead of laboring so hard for every little bit. Wake up grateful every day for the ways that God is and will work in and through you, blessings to you as you walk in an attitude of gratitude!!!
“Who am I?” A question I’ve often asked myself throughout my life. A question that provoked a year long journey into the heart of who I am and who He is…
When I sit and have serious conversations with people, I find this question and others like it, to be trending. There are two primary issues that are causing an identity crisis in our hearts today;
#1 – We don’t understand who we are
#2 – We don’t understand Whose we are, therefore we are not led by the Spirit of God in ALL things.
Who are you?
If you were to reflect on this question, who would you say you are? Mother/Father?, Husband/Wife?, Friend?, Leader?, Writer?, Teacher?, Singer?, Fitness expert?, Chef?, Business owner? How about small group leader, Pastor, Baptist, Catholic, Charismatic, Church administrator? If you spend a substantial amount of time perfecting or strengthening these areas more than you do your spirit, chances are, you find your identity in them. These labels are roles that we play in this life, they are not WHO we are! You are blessed to be a steward over these offices in this life, therefore we should always show excellence in all things, however they do not define your identity.
The primary issue with seeking identity in what we do here on earth is that is usually ends in disappointment, emptiness, discontentment, loneliness, frustration, and control issues. The offices we hold, things we possess, and gifts that we manifest were GIVEN to us, they are not ours. You were not meant to be tethered to the weight of this world by hiding your identity in the roles you play; you cannot save your children, you cannot control your sphere of influence, you cannot ride the wave of the ups and downs that the world gives and maintain the peace of God.
Thank God that when Jesus came, he took care of this crisis for us by giving us an identity in Him! 1 Peter 2:25 (MSG) “You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. NOW you are named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your soul.” Hallelujah we don’t have to search for our identity or wonder who we are or where we are going because we are NAMED and kept for good by the Good Shepherd who gives purpose to everything under the sun!
So Who are You?
You are a spirit, you have a soul (mind, will, emotions) to give your spirit expression, and you temporarily live in a body. (Thank you to Pastor Cesar Nieto for breaking this down in such a great way)
Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made us in HIS image. The word image has several dimensions of meaning, a couple of them being: A representation of, a copy, a reflection or resemblance. So lets say this verse, taking out the word image and replacing it with the definition. “and God said, let Us make man as [Our representation or reflection]….” God is not flesh, He is Spirit and he made us to be a representation of Him on the earth.
Philippians 3:20 – “But our citizenship is in Heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, The Lord Jesus Christ.” You are here on assignment, this place is not your home, your citizenship is in Heaven. Pull your anchor out of the world and it’s dealings because this ship is sinking, and if you hang on tightly to it, you will go down with the ship, you must remember that the natural parts of you here on earth serve purpose for the spirit, not the other way around.
Another part of our identity is explained in these next two verses and deals with our authority in the earth, and that’s a topic I’ll cover on another article but for the sake of understanding the identity portion of it, lets take a look…
Ephesians 1:20-22 – “which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.”
Ephesians 2:5-6 “even great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace)and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
In chapter 1 it describes who Jesus is, and then in chapter 2, it defines who we are in Him. So, in other words, you are royalty! You are anointed ones! You are holy! You are powerful heirs to the throne! You are His priests and as such; Satan is under your feet, failure is under your feet, poverty and lack are under your feet! It’s time to stop operating under the fake I.D. and start knowing who you are so you can effectively complete your calling here!!!
In addition to this description in Ephesians, the bible is full of declarations of who we are in Christ, and I encourage you to get them, write them down, post them to your wall, and speak over yourself and your family every day as a reminder of who you really are. Here are a few to get you started…
Whose are you?/Therefore who or what is leading you?
Everybody is a is led by something; something motivates and moves us to say what we say, do what we do, buy what we buy, live where we live, have the relationships that we have, attend the church where we do. Some of the common things that lead us are: Emotional hooks (needing acceptance and approval), other people’s needs/emergencies, fear of rejection, religiosity, legalism, doubt, insecurity, fame, importance, money, status, fun and excitement, trendiness… no matter what it is, we are all led by something or someone.
Romans 8:14 “for all who are being led by the Spirit of God, THESE are the sons of God.”
Romans 8:6 – “for the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and is peace.”
The second fundamental reason that we have an identity crisis in our culture and are not fulfilling our call in this life is that we are not being led by the Spirit of God in all things. We allow life’s problems, excitements, the needs of others, and our feelings/perspectives to lead us into situations that we are not prepared to deal with, thus leaving us confused, complacent, frustrated and exposed. Take a look at Romans 8:6 again… “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” If you are being led by fleshy, worldly or even prideful and selfish things you are giving your spirit a slow death, it may even feel good for a time but the trouble of it will always follow, the regret, the pain, the confusion, the questions, the darkness, and tragically the eventual falling away of your soul.
Here are a few thought-provoking questions for you to inwardly and honestly answer to reflect on your identity and what you are being led by in your life…
I was praying for the body of Christ a few months ago, and I was pleading “God, what is going on, you are speaking something so profound to the body, and they aren’t hearing You! Your prophets speak up and it falls on hardened hearts and deaf ears, help me with this God!!” He spoke to my heart and said: “There is incoherency.” The word incoherent can mean disjointed, lacking unity or harmony. The primary issue that the identity crisis is causing, is incoherency among the people. We are so embedded in our doctrines, our denominations, our Pastors, and the world and all that goes along with that, that we can no longer hear from God.
The Lord then took me to Matthew 13:13-17 when the disciples asked Jesus why He taught in parables to the people and wondered why He didn’t just speak in plain language, this was His response, “Therefore, I speak to them in parables; because while seeing, they do not see, and while hearing, they do not hear nor do they understand. In their case, the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says: ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand. You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive. For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears, they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise, they would see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return, and I would heal them.‘” Oh, Jesus help us!
Why does God speak, but we reject it because our denomination says “that’s not how we operate in this church”, why do we care more about the worship song selection for that Sunday than we do about worshiping God?! Why do we look to the success of the world to bring relevance to the church and bring new people in by entertainment, while those that once loved The Lord are falling away by the droves?! Let us WAKE UP and separate ourselves from those things that keep us from following God, not just in the things that make sense to us, and make us feel comfortable, but even the new things and uncomfortable things that He’s calling us to! Let go!
So how do we make the transition?
Now that we’ve uncovered some issue, where do we go from here? As a fallible human being, I would never claim to know anything about your personal journey, let alone everything about how to achieve perfection in the spirit. I will, however, give you some light on your path…
There is a profound difference between living YOUR life (your plans, your comforts, your ideas) and loving Jesus in the process, and literally having no life without Him. Think about that. You were meant for so much more but you have to grasp the reality of your spiritual identity!!! You ARE a spirit, you HAVE a soul, and you live IN a body. The time is now to know who you are, to rise up and to take on the mission that God is calling you to!!!
Blessings on your journey!
You are beautiful! You are powerful! You are inspirational! You are pure in spirit! You were created for greatness! Nothing can separate you from the love of God!
The problem today is that many in the world have been sold a mask to wear. What are these masks? Guilt. Pressure. Expectations. Performance based approval and affection. Comparison. Shame. Religion. Insecurity. Distortion. Lies.
The weight of these things can keep us from being our beautiful selves. We toil and work so hard to please people, achieve, and become everything to everyone, and in the midst of it all we lose who we are; beautiful. We lose sight of who God created us to be and when we look in the mirror, we only see discrepancy. When we were little we could look in the mirror physically and spiritually and see what God sees in us; greatness, beauty, value, purpose, and passion. As we grew up and the world pressed in, we become callous and jaded only seeing fault, shortcoming and failure in all that we do.
We need to be reminded that we ARE just as God created us, and He still sees that value, that beauty, that grace in us. It’s high time we circle back to that child like vision and begin to see clearly again who we ARE in the midst of this dark and superficial world. Beautiful.
“You are all together beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” – Song of Solomon 4:7
The Beauty Within
There’s nothing more that I love in a person than pure unadulterated, raw beauty. Inside as well as outside, there is nothing I find more beautiful than a person being fully and unashamedly themselves; no make-up, no defenses, no fraudulence, no excuses, just embracing all of who God made them to be.
“Do not let your adorning be [only] external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be [also] the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
Although TV, magazines and catalogues will paint a different picture, indeed beauty is much, much deeper than the outer appearance of our being. We spend so much time fussing with the imperfections that we see in the mirror and primping and prepping our outer selves to be seen by the world, while we give little to no attention to the inward appearance of our hearts, our souls, or our character. It is my belief that if you work on caring for the inner parts of your beauty, you’ll need very little primping and prepping on the outside, because inside beauty radiates 100 times the light and makes your outer countenance and appearance beam with beauty.
This brings to mind, a movie I once saw in my earlier years; the storyline in a nutshell was that this man was so hung up on the outer appearances of ladies, that he couldn’t see through to the true character of a woman. He happened to cross paths with a famous motivational speaker who secretly hypnotized this guy so that he could only see a woman for what she was on the inside. Suddenly he was seeing the beauty on the inside of a woman showing on the outside, and likewise seeing the ugliness of a woman’s heart being worn on her face and body.
The point is this… take a look around you, all the plastic surgery in the world cannot reverse the undeniable fact that you’re going to age, and your beauty will eventually fade on the outside, but what’s on the inside of you; your character, your heart and your spirit, will radiate through for eternity and no matter how many wrinkles or grey hairs you come across in your life, you will always be radiant and beautiful to those you cross paths with if you’ve spent time cultivating the beauty within.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Take care of your outer appearance because your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and your beauty radiates the beauty and creativity of God. Take care even more to your soul, for your character reflects the heart of God and attracts those around you to the life everlasting.
Death By Comparison
“Comparison is the death of true self-contentment.” – John Powell
We hinder ourselves with these kind of thoughts!
If it’s one thing that I try to drive home with my kids is that everyone has value. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you’re great at or what you could use improvement in, you have value. Just as everyone has value, everyone also has weakness and imperfections. There is no such thing as a perfect person, situation or life, do not be fooled by this thinking. We tend to point out and see all of our own shortcomings whether physically or spiritually, but then on the same token see all the ways somebody else has it all together and then we begin to compare ourselves and become dissatisfied with who we are and where we are. The reason people have strength in areas is because THEY WORK ON IT! If you feel you could use improvement in certain areas that would benefit you or your family and the Kingdom then pray, seek, and get to work!
Get your eyes off of the concerns of others and stay focused on who you are and where God is leading you, comparison is just a distraction from obtaining the greatness God has placed in you, don’t let it grip you! Everything in life is all about perspective. If you seek fault you’ll find it. If you pursue gratitude and positivity you’ll find there’s a whole lot in this world and in who you are to be thankful for and appreciate.
“In everything, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1Thesselonians 5:8
Get out from behind the mask that life has put on you, be you, just you. Pursue all that God has for you, and radiate the beauty inside and out. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!!
Be blessed on your beautiful journey ~ Rheanna
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis
Life Here on Earth
Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” – John 13:36
You have been left behind on purpose, for a purpose, to live with purpose.
It’s difficult to understand why it’s so hard for us to dig deep, we roam about this earth accepting the norm, moving within our natural talents and only stretching just enough to feel satisfied within our own selves that we’re doing our “due diligence”; we work hard, we attend church, volunteer at the local food shelf, care for our children and pay our tithe on Sundays – which are all great things- but then we brush our hands together and sigh relief.
Is that all there is? Is that the extent of the power that was handed over to us at the cross? Why are we so hesitant to abandon all ideals and expectations to find a deeper call of living? What is in that place that the enemy does not want us to see and experience? Could it be that we are just too afraid of what that process may do to our perfect realities? This is the journey I am on and the questions that burden my heart today…. where are the warriors of the faith? Where are the men and women of God that have reckless abandon to see miracles and experience what it means to truly LIVE? Do they exist anymore? I know they do because I’ve had the blessing of befriending a few, but what keeps the majority of us from this level of living?
John 14:5 – Thomas said to Him, “Lord we do not know where you are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Even the closest few who knew Jesus were nervous about being left behind here, they worried saying, “how do we know the way?” and be it just like Jesus to give an answer that doesn’t come with some profound poetic process just simply understanding that there isn’t a “way” naturally speaking, there is no amount of good deeds to be done, or some scientific formula that will manifest a “way” to the deep places of living, He IS the way. Seeking Him out, and what God wants for you and your life, IS the way, it is the only way. You can do all of these great natural things that I spoke of in the last paragraph but if you rely on them to fulfill your spirit you will be left feeling empty and discouraged.
If you are truly pursuing God you will find yourself in a place of disillusionment and challenge. It is a vital part of the process to question who God is, if He is real, and to be frustrated with the point of life, it means you are honestly pursuing truth and depth. Without question and frustration, there is no depth, you are merely swimming in a shallow pool of comfort.
His Kingdom has come, His will is being done
“…For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst.” – Luke 17:21(b)
Look no further! God IS doing magnificent things right within your midst. Open your eyes and your soul to perceive what is happening in and around you, do not be dismayed by the destruction that this world is going through but search deeper and find the fulfilling of His plan in action so that you may be a light in this dark place. Thank Him in your prayer time for His will being done on earth, and in earth (in you, for you are the salt of the earth) as it is in Heaven! Do not question whether or not He’s forgotten about you or turned a blind eye to the darkness appearing in the natural but understand that this battle is being fought on much deeper ground than we naturally see, so therefore you must seek it out on a much deeper level to find the rewards of your purpose. If you seek the kingdom here on earth, you will only be disappointed; pastors will disappoint you, churches will disappoint you and religiosity will disappoint you, because His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) it is of another world and must be sought with wild abandon and deep intention.
God is With us
We are to be the workers in the field, bringing in the harvest. We were created to be the warriors fighting for the victory in the battle, God has equipped us by sending the Holy Spirit to help us “finish the job”…
“But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” – John 16:6,7
I urge you to not be distracted with the frivolities of worry, anxiety, concern and control, the firmer you hang onto such things the more you will experience unnecessary grief. There is a purpose for you here on earth, and you’ve been equipped to fulfill this purpose and that purpose will come with power if you surrender yourself to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I’m not talking about the Spirit as He enters us upon salvation, I am talking about an intentional filling and following of the power of the Spirit, there is a difference and that’s a whole other topic of discussion. God is with you, He walks beside you and goes before you, He has given you the tools to live a powerful life that will speak to others through intangible evidence. Take heart and search Him out!!!
…there is a season for everything under Heaven
Not long ago in dealing with a family issue the Lord spoke to me and gave me the word “tumulous” I had never heard the word and did not know what it meant so when I got home I looked it up and the word tumulous is an adjective and means “full of mounds [a natural or unnatural elevation of earth, as for defense; barriers]” I had an illumination of the fact that the journey before me was not going to be without resistance and required a certain tenacity if I wanted to truly purpose to do all that God had for me to do here on earth. This means seasons of abundance as well as seasons of discomfort.
The seasons of abundance seem to be easy to handle, exciting, fruitful and naturally enjoyable. However when the season of challenge comes to move on to new levels, and for God to clean out the shrapnel in my soul; to disturb my “red-tape” ideals, that’s when I find it hard to resist the temptation to be troubled, dark, stressed, lonely, anxious and heavy. I believe this is why God’s word refers to these conditions so often in warning us not to succumb to them and giving us a way to deal with the temptation of falling trap to them, because he knew we’d be entering un-charted waters where the only vision we have is trusting in what He says and where He’s leading us (Phil 4:6).
If we’re being honest with ourselves these seasons can be the most difficult even for the strongest of spiritual warriors, Jesus didn’t come and tell us we’d never have issues if we followed Him, no, on the contrary he said “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” – John 16:33 (MSG). So yes, seasons will be sure to bring obstacles but God has given you a way to fight against them and work through them while enjoying the journey with Him. It seems counterintuitive but if it wasn’t so, He wouldn’t have said it!
We Need to Renew our Mind and Have Victory!
“Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful.” – Joshua 1:8
Woo Glory! Thank you Jesus that there is a way to renew and refresh, there is a way to have victory in this dark world!! We may have been left behind for a purpose, but we are NOT forgotten or forsaken! God of angel armies cares about your victory, His best for you is ready for you to receive. You do not have to live at the level that this world says you do, you no longer have to watch TV shows to have adventure or romance, you don’t have to get drunk to experience relaxation or fun, and you don’t have to be on 50 medications to experience health and wholeness. The Holy Spirit wants to fulfill every need you have, He’s just waiting for you to receive it. God’s favor is waiting to cover you, Learn to Receive it!
The purpose of God’s word is for your sake, God gave you instructions and insight because He knew you’d need it, especially in the time we live we need nourishment for our soul and spirit, food to mature us, to push us forward and to challenge us to continue to become. If you ever think you’ve arrived and have God figured out, I will warn you to look out! So meditate on it, read it, breathe it in, let it refresh you, renew you and bring you through to victory so that you can be a living testimony to those around you.
In closing I want to challenge you to find a discomfort with this life, a disillusionment with the process and a hunger for deeper things of God, for it is in this vulnerable state that you will find the filling of the Spirit and new levels of living beyond your wildest imagination! There is adventure to be had, lives to change, miracles to see and refining to experience! “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!” – Joshua 1:9
Blessings on your journey to the deep!!!
Oh how I love the idea of the finer things in life! The big house, the well groomed yard, the luxury vehicle, New fangled electronics, a fit and healthy body, the latest trends hanging in my closet, the little details and decorations adorning my home on all levels, the idea of my kids being in multiple activities and being the best at whatever they do. Even in homeschooling the vision is cast of having super achievers, scholarly graduates and highly knowledgeable students on all levels.
In the midst of the lure of all these things I can hear my soul crying out, “simplicity where are you?” Where can I find a place to be quiet and rest? Where can I go to find peace and serenity, a place where my “to do” list doesn’t exist but only the simple tasks of living and enjoying the small things are on the days agenda?
You see the reality of it is (as my husband would say) is that my longing for simplicity; for peace, serenity, and rest have been swallowed up by the natural desire to work at acquiring and “having it all” in this life. The more I strive to get, the more weary and empty I become and the more I long for a simple life. I begin to forget to look around and enjoy the landscape bursting with colors, the smell of fresh baked bread no longer comforts me, the giggle of a baby no longer moves me. I become cynical, careless, busy. The cleaning of that big house takes up an entire day of time, the washing of those trending clothes morphs into a big blob staring me down every morning when I wake up, and every night when I go to bed. The electronics divert the attention of my loved ones, and we become silent, detached and disinterested in one another. The vehicle has to be maintained, the grass needs constant mowing and treatments. I start pouring in the coffee as I toil in vain to mold my kids to become the best, because they sure don’t seem to give a rip so I work twice as hard to accomplish the feat.
and then God downloads this into my spirit…
“31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ~ Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)
My favorite version of this verse is found in The Message…
“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”- Matthew 6:31-33 MSG
All of this fussing and working in vain avails me very little, and this one truth begins to take center stage and illuminates in darkness of my weariness and humanness and that is this; All of these things are already done for me, all of these needs and desires are already met, the table has been set, the invitation has been given, it is for me to pull up a seat to and partake. This partaking comes when I trade in all of my reliance on my own efforts in exchange for His blessing and grace.
Relying solely on my ability to “do it all” robs me of the most precious gift in life; peace. The understanding that His blessing and grace is what sustains my hard work, gives the abundance in life a whole new level of enjoyment.
As the blessing pours in; the laundry and homework pile up, the grass grows long, the dust settles on the furniture and the work beckons to be done it’s easy for the finer things in life to lose their appeal in the stress of it all. My perspective has a paradigm shift and suddenly I feel like it’s more of a burden than a blessing to maintain the abundance that God so freely and graciously gives. I begin to murmur and complain, judge and become negative. The TV suddenly gives way to a world that gives me a break from reality and sinks me deeper into that emptiness. Religion sets in.
Yet again God downloads His perfect truth and word…
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28 (MSG)
This world is so hectic and demanding, pressuring us to do it all and obtain it all, it doesn’t give us permission to enjoy the small things in life, to be content in the season we’re in while we use our faith to seek new levels. You must give yourself permission to do these things, to let go, to only hang onto what’s important and to seek God and the riches of His glory so that the abundance that He desires to release to you in life can be yours to enjoy just the way He intended you to.
Be blessed on your journey!!