Finding Comfort In the Midst of Grief

man-walking-on-the-beach-in-slow-motion-silhouette-of-a-boy-moving-along-the-coastline-a-guy-walk-in-the-evening-at-sunset-silhouette-20s-european-male-outdoor-person-move-in-hd_sti65xnnIt is possible to experience God’s healing power in the midst of sorrow.

For those who have longed to feel His comfort but have been disappointed when it seemed absent, I can relate. I’ve been there; and I stayed there unnecessarily for far too long. My disappointment over the lack of comfort I felt from God was on a subconscious level, so it was easy to just keep shoving it down, stuffing it away where I didn’t have to look at it. I think I had expectations of what it should look like for God to comfort me; maybe Him speaking to me in an internal audible voice or through angelic visit. I had to lay those expectations down. While God does sometimes comforts in these ways, this wasn’t my experience at that time.  When God didn’t comfort in the way I thought He should, I assumed He didn’t care enough to help me.  I hope the hard lessons I’ve learned over the years will help others who may be grieving and in need of God’s comfort. Continue reading

Healing From The Heartache of Rejection

so-sad-2551808_960_720There is a way out of the pain.

Feeling accepted goes beyond just something we all would like to experience; it’s a basic human need. Rejection shrinks us, tempting us to pull back from others. It can cause us to seek isolation to prevent further rejection. It tempts us to become invisible so others won’t see our perceived failures and weaknesses. It has the potential to keep us from our destinies. Rejection can be like a contagious virus, infecting everyone it comes into contact with. It ricochets back and forth between people like a cruel game of catch. Rejection is one of those emotions that not only could be described as extremely painful, but a place of agony. Continue reading

When depression settles on you like a thick blanket, KICK IT OFF!

pexels-photo-320007Depression cannot stand in the presence of worship

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to… give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” Isaiah 61:1-3

It’s often called a lot of things: depression, mental illness, a chemical imbalance. The Bible has another word for it: a spirit of heaviness. It is also called a spirit of despair, or fainting. The Hebrew word for it means to be dull, dim or faint. Continue reading

The Day Depression Began to Lose Its’ Grip

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It all began with a simple prayer request. Our daughter Lauren and her husband Ray were part of one of their church’s community groups, and this night they asked for prayer for me. They asked their group to pray that God would set me free from depression.

It was right after this that I began to look back over my life and the impact that depression had had upon it. During the 25 years that I felt such bondage to depression I had a distorted view of the effect it had had upon myself and those I care the most about. Now as I looked back, I could clearly see that depression hadn’t just occasionally influenced my life. I could see that there was a consistent pattern of it stealing from myself and my loved ones. It was like looking at the landscape after a hurricane has passed by; the devastation had been there all along, stealing joy, contentment and a sense of well-being.

Continue reading

What does it mean to be given a spirit of power?

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“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Have you ever read a scripture a hundred times, then suddenly you come to understand it on a whole new level? Today was one of those times for me. I wasn’t even looking for it, and there it was.

First of all, let’s lay some groundwork. We as human beings are made up of body, soul and spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Our spirit has been given power. The Greek word for this power is dunamis. It means ” (miraculous) power, might, strength.”    It is a miraculous power, given by God, to His children.  This power enables His church to perform marvelous works and is, in itself, a miracle. Strong’s concordance suggests that this power energizes us with physical power. It gives us the ability to achieve all that He calls us to do with strength. It implies possessing force that gives us the ability to produce a desired result. This power enables us as believers to be powerful and effective in this world, having an ability to be productive and successful in what God has gifted us to do.

Ephesians 1:18-20 says,

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”

The same Greek word for power (dunamis) is used to describe both the power that raised Christ from the dead and the miraculous power that has now entered our spirits!

What are the implications of this scripture? When the world, or our flesh or the evil one tries to convince us that we just don’t have it in us to accomplish what God asks us to do, we have a sword of truth we can pull out…

“For God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power…”

Dunamis is a miraculous power that energizes; it gives us the strength to produce the desired result we are called to. This miraculous power raised Christ from the dead! It was unstoppable! Even death could not overcome it.

Here’s the deal; I want to offer one disclaimer. Accomplishing our calling does not mean that we will never suffer. It doesn’t mean we’ve become immortal.  Hebrews 11 is full of examples of God’s people who, while victoriously accomplishing the call on their lives, still at times suffered. We are no different. Victory in God’s eyes isn’t necessarily success in the world’s eyes. This power from God has been entrusted to God’s people to accomplish God’s purposes on this earth. When we walk in it, we will bear fruit for His kingdom, enabling us to one day hear those precious words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

In His name we overcome,

Arlene

 

Overcoming the spirit of slumber

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How To Overcome The Chronic Fatigue It Causes

“As it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day.” Romans 11:8

The spirit of slumber is an evil spirit. This is not an evil spirit that influences just one individual, but one that influences groups of people. It falls among the category of the more influential evil spirits listed in Ephesians 6:12 when it says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This evil spirit has a higher rank in Satan’s kingdom than others. An earthly analogy would be a governor over a state having more influence and power than an individual citizen. If a person having the gift of the discerning of spirits were to travel into an area where this spirit is in operation, they would suddenly feel the effects of this spirit. So what are those effects, or markers of this spirit? Continue reading

The Armor of God – Part 2

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“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

It has been said that when we are born again, we are born onto a spiritual battleground. Ephesians 6 describes the spiritual warfare that individual believers will face and reassures us that we have been given everything we need in order to walk in spiritual victory. The imagery of war used is a metaphor that highlights the many similarities between a physical, earthly war and the unseen spiritual war that believers are a part of whether we realize it or not; we see territories being fought over, the armor required by the individual soldier, spiritual rank and strategies of warfare. As believers, we have been given everything needed in order to walk in victory over the enemy. Author and teacher Dr. Tony Evans defines spiritual warfare as “The conflict in the invisible realm that affects what you’re going through in the visible realm.” Continue reading

The Armor of God – Part 1

sword-2140940_960_720Understanding authority in the spiritual realm

Spiritual warfare can be kind of a scary topic for a lot of people, but understanding the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and the authority that we as believers have goes a long way toward alleviating those fears and will keep us from feeling intimidated by the enemy. Even if we are already familiar with these truths, this might be a good opportunity to do a little self-check, asking ourselves if we truly believe these things on a heart level. First of all, let’s take a look at the authority of Jesus:

Jesus has been seated at the Father’s right hand, and all other authority is lower and less powerful. Continue reading

Is it Wrong for Christians to Judge Others?

As I sit down to write this post, I’ve been processing what the main point is that I hope my readers will walk away with, and I came up with two. First, I want to offer an acknowledgement that that we Christians have at times judged others in a way that Jesus never intended us to. Secondly, I want to make an appeal to our culture to dig a little deeper to find out exactly what the Bible has to say about judging.

First of all, I want to apologize on behalf of the Christian community for every time that we have judged others in a critical, condemning, self-righteous, prideful, or disrespectful way. Jesus himself made it clear that it is possible to judge others in a wrong way, and we as God’s people haven’t always gotten it right. I cringe when I think of some of the ways that I have heard Christians shouting hateful, condemning words to those whose value systems don’t match our own. But it isn’t just “those Christians” who’ve made me cringe. I cringe when I remember times when these same critical attitudes have distorted my own judgments…times when I made judgments which were fueled, not by love, but fear, self-righteousness and a lack of honor for others.

So for those situations, I want to say that I am truly sorry for any pain or injury that we Christians have caused. I want to ask if you can forgive us for not getting it right sometimes. While we may not always agree on every issue, every human being deserves to be treated with gentleness and respect. I am truly sorry for any wounding that you have received from judgments rooted in unloving, critical or condemning attitudes. If you have suffered from cyber bullying by Christians who have not acted out of love, but out of hate-filled words, I sincerely ask if you would be willing to forgive us. If you are a politician who, instead of feeling honored and encouraged by Christians, has been treated in the opposite way, I want to ask if you can forgive us for the lack of respect, prayers and encouragement that we have demonstrated.  While these actions cannot be undone, I pray that the Lord Jesus Himself will heal the wounds that we have caused you and that we will make amends wherever it is called for. It is my sincere hope and prayer that we as Christians will grow in our ability to honor others and have repentant hearts for the pain that we have caused.

If you are one of those who have felt condemning judgment from Christians, I can only imagine that it must be tempting to come to the conclusion that judging others is a bad thing that needs to be eradicated from our society.   I want to ask if you’d be willing to take another look; to resist the temptation to “throw the baby out with the bath water” by taking a closer look at what the Bible has to say about judging. Continue reading

What Are Inner Vows and How Can They Be Broken?

pexels-photo-411213The young man should have protected me, but his indecent proposal did just the opposite.  It all began at that tumultuous time of life when I was just becoming a woman. While the innocence of childhood still lingered over me, I instinctively understood what the veiled proposal meant. Thankfully, nothing happened that day on a physical level. The emotional, however, was another story. I went home, and with an inner steel in my soul, I vowed: “If this is what becoming a woman brings on, I want nothing to do with it.” I bound my chest tightly with cloth, hoping to hide the changes that were happening in my body. I went into denial mode. This wasn’t happening to me. Maybe if I just ignore it, it will all go away. Feelings of shame washed over me. Without a single spoken word, I unknowingly had made an inner vow; a vow that shut down a part of the emotional and spiritual maturing process in my life. It would be years before I came to understand what I had just done and how I could be set free from that vow. Continue reading