I want to let you know that a revised version of "A Matter of the Mind" is now available in paperback. You can order your copy via the website. I'll be also doing a book-signing June 18th at the Jackson Library from 1-2 PM. If you can make it, your support would be appreciated.
Event Coming Up:
I'm assisting a friend of mine get her ministry off the ground. She's named it "Warm Socks for Cold Souls." An outreach to the community providing the necessities of life (food, clothing, household.) For the past several years LAM has sponsored a year-end give-away providing these things to families in need, but this new outreach is taking the place of that. Lisa Vose is a good friend of mine, though she is blind it's not a hindrance to her abilities. On May 10th, LAM is supporting a Derby Days fundraising event at the Fiddletown Community Center in Fiddletown, CA from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm. Serving BBQ ribs and chicken, beans, dessert and drink for a low price of $6.50 adults, $2.50 children. Where can you go for a meal at those prices today? All proceeds will benefit WS4CSs. If you would like to donate to this benevolent fund, you can do so through the Pay Pal donation link on this site. Lisa has a slogan, "They are not strangers, they are us, By the grace of God go I." Thank you in advance for your support.
Do You Feel Stuck? by Linda
I was reading some passages in the Bible today and came across some verses that I think may help you in your walk, especially if you feel "stuck" in life. What I mean by "stuck" is that you have stopped on the road somewhere. Yes, life is still moving on, but you can't seem to go any further in your own life. A heaviness took root for some reason, and it's weighing you down in a certain area of your life. It's when you want to go forward, but you just can't... something is keeping you bound. So if this describes any of you, then I believe this article will be of great help.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
This says it all... so let me break it down for you.
First of all, we are not to be entangled "again" in the yoke of bondage. I find that many who are under guilt, shame, fear, with physical manifestations such as chronic fatigue, environmental illness, etc., are under a yoke of bondage. It's tiring carrying around a "yoke." A yoke is something that is around an ox's neck to bound him to the cart. What is around your neck and binding you to be "driven?" What is your cart of burden you are carrying? Who is at the helm?
Jesus came to set us free from this yoke. He even said, (Matthew 11:30) "For my yoke is easy and my burden light." Jesus didn't come to give us more stuff to carry... he carries it all for us. Again, what are we carrying around and why do we think we need to?
So as you recognize that "yoke" around your neck, it could be a regret in life, a sin you can't seem to stop doing, addictions, fear, etc., put that aside for now because we will deal with it in a moment.
The next part of the scripture talks about hope. As you can see, Paul is talking about having faith of hoping to be righteous. See, many of us are "stuck" because we are mad at ourselves. We can't see how God can use us because of our messy ways. But you need to have your hope restored today! That all your sins are gone... Psalm 32:1 says, "Blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven and whose sins are covered." This is a crucial scripture for people who feel "stuck" or "lost" or "depressed." We need to get a hold of this passage... ALL OUR TRANSGRESSIONS are forgiven. Our transgressions are our "acts" of sinful nature. And it goes on to say that our sins are covered. That means we have sins... but they are covered!!! We have to stop being mad at ourselves because we have sin! It's a given... we will never be rid of all sin BUT it no longer has dominion over you when you get this truth in your heart. ALL YOUR, YOUR, YOUR sins are covered... God knows that you have sins, you know it, so lets just take Jesus at face value and move on past it. But that is why many are stuck. Not realizing that they don't have to remain in a place of guilt and shame if they decide today to break that off by believing all their transgressions are forgiven and sins are covered!
Now the scripture goes on to talk about faith - and that faith is worked through love. So many are stuck because they don't love, they haven't forgiven those who hurt them, they walk around angry all the time and waiting for someone to "pat them on the back." Perhaps full of bitterness. This will cause anyone to stop dead in their tracks! If this is you, then make note of the individuals in your life you are angry against or have not forgiven... we'll get back to that in a minute.
Then it says, "who has hindered you?" Interesting it doesn't say, "what" has hindered you? It's a "being" of some sort that hinders us. What thoughts came to you? Were they God's thoughts or Evil thoughts concerning people? It's all about relationships, not about "what's" but "who's." So in your life "who" has caused you to become bitter and angry? And if you read further, those people will be taken care of, you do your part by forgiving them, let God do his part by dealing with them. Again, jot their name down... We are going to address these things at the end.
Paul goes on to say that he would like to see all those who trouble us cut off. But the truth is, when we feel like that, we are demonstrating anger which is not to be so. Then it goes on to say that our "freedom" or liberty, is fullfilled in one word... Love. If you feel stuck in life, if you feel in bondage, it could be that you aren't loving. Perhaps you want to, but you don't know how. Perhaps you are so full of fear, you can't see the trees in the forest? Perhaps you try to love but it only ends in disaster. The love you possess has to come from the throne of grace. When we love in our own effort, we will be disappointed. But if we receive God's love for us personally, then love others, it will be full of God's unconditional love. That's the only way to truly love. If this is an area for you, put this aside as well, we will get back to it later.
Walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. So how do we know when we are walking in the lust of the flesh? Here are some indicators: You are struggling! Yep, that's it. Now it's time to decide what you are struggling about. Because if you are a Christian, you have the spirit of God within you, and you have your spirit. Your spirit is attached to a soulish realm and that's where the "lust of the flesh" comes. However, you also have the living true God, holiness, within you... so now the fight is on. We are "wrestling" now because our flesh wants it's own way. In order to stop all this struggle, we need to settle down and say, "God, your will not mine be done." Our will is warring with God's will... It could be from a point of self-hatred, guilt and shame, it could be flat out not wanting to forgive... whatever it is, when we "struggle" there is always a flesh element involved warring against God. Once we finally understand this and stop striving with God, we will find our peace. THEN, and only THEN, will you be able to go out and do all you desire to do in the Lord. That's exactly what this passage says..."ye cannot do the things that ye would." We are "stuck" when we struggle within. What are you struggling and arguing with God about? Write them down... you guessed it... we'll get back to that at the end of this article.
So then IF ye be led by the spirit you are not under the law. Now lets look at "the law." Not only can we look at the 10 commandments, but we can also look at the laws and regulations we have put on ourself. Maybe you have said that until you pray 4 hours you won't hear from God. Or maybe you say, "If I only read the whole Bible, then I'll find my breakthrough." We are putting conditions to what is already ours by the "receiving." Remember, we are not to be entangled "again" in the yoke of bondage. These are yokes of bondages and we don't even know we are doing it to ourself! So, if we are led by the spirit, that means we are not under the law... the law of sin! But if we allow sin to overtake us... as some are... then we are not being led by the spirit, but by the flesh (sinful nature.) How do we break free? We confess our sin that we see unto the Lord, remembering that all our transgressions are forgiven and our sins are covered. We need to realize that the gospel is not hard... Jesus didn't come to give us burden and a bunch of "work." He said, "I come to bring you life, and abundantly." He brings it to us, we don't even have to go after it! We need to receive it.
So it goes on to say what the spirit of the flesh is, re-read it from the scripture above. What I want to address here is that you may say that you have done these things, even as a Christian. But the fact is, if you habitually do these things, continually without remorse, then you will have no part of the Kingdom of Heaven. And by the way, I would question someone's salvation... And the other part is that what I believe the Kingdom of Heaven is - is peace. When you continue "doing" these things you will have no peace!
Then it goes on to say what the spirit of God entails. Love, joy, peace... of which there is no law. See, it doesn't talk about acts, it talks about what is deep within our hearts. It's about having a clean heart. That's what it means to walk after the spirit. When we see a "sinful" thing in us, we take it to the Lord in repentance, giving Him permission to purge you, so that you can get back on track walking in the spirit of God. Remember what Paul said, "It's not me that does it, but sin in me..." (Romans 7). So he recongized this, but then goes on to say, "Who can save me from this body of death?" The answer? Jesus! How? By taking all our sins to the cross... confessing them, and BELIEVING... you are forgiven!
The other thing I want to point out is that - don't start "trying" to walk after the spirit, you will not succeed. What I mean to say is that this passage of scripture is a promise to you! It will become who you are. You will fulfill all that this passage (and any passage in the Bible) says WHEN, WHEN, WHEN you come clean in these areas you identified, with the Lord. You will no longer be "stuck" in life, you will begin picking up momentum. Instead of a rocky curvy road ahead of you, you will only see a smooth, straight road out ahead of you.
So what is blocking all these blessings from the Lord? What did you identify above? Now take each one of those items to the Lord and pray:
"Dear Heavenly Father. I realize that I have been stuck in my life, now I understand why. I have held onto something that I should have let go of a long time ago and it's causing me to stay connected to the past which is dragging me down. I cannot move forward because of this "yoke of bondage" I've got. Well, I see it now, it was my own sin of bitterness, unforgiveness toward someone else. I ask you to forgive me for harboring unforgiveness and bitterness, toward ___________________(name them). I ask you to forgive me for having felt guilt and shame, condemnation, anger and fear. I now forgive ______________________ and I also forgive myself. Help me to love myself more and more each day, in the midst of my own messy ways Lord, because the truth is "I am forgiven of all my transgressions and all my sins are covered." I find peace knowing this Lord. Help me get a revelation on this so that I won't fall "under" bondage to sin again. I am free, and whom the son has set free is free indeed (forever). I also ask you to forgive me for struggling with you. I do desire what you desire for me, I ask you to help me cooperate with you and not fight with you, I didn't even know that's what I was doing. I want to fulfill the call on my life and so "your will be done." Thank you for helping me see this Lord. Thank you for loving me Father and restoring me to you, and getting me out of the mud! I step out of that now and walk into the newness of life. If I find myself "snagged" again (in the yoke of bondage - again) help me to remember this simple prayer for total restoration again... In Jesus name, Amen."
Encouraging Words for YOU!:
I continue to minister to people on-line and I wanted to share this particular response with you because I believe it's not only for this individual (unnamed) but for you and me as well. I pray it blesses you as much as it gave peace and hope to this individual. Even after re-reading it myself, I was also restored to more hope! This individual had trouble because they had sin and felt they lost their salvation and any chances of being restored to God. I think we have all been there from time to time, so please read this with an open heart and receive all God has for you right now.
Don't lose heart... you have not lost your salvation nor have you blasphemed the Holy Ghost. Once you have confessed Jesus
Christ as your Savior, and because you have seen evidences in your life of change, you are saved! The Holy Spirit resides in you and helps you get rid of everything in your heart that is not of God. And that's what has been happening to you. Not to fall into fear because of what you see, but rejoice because God is allowing you to see so He can clean you up.
What I believe is happening now is that God wants a more closer relationship with you so that when the enemy does come to tell lies, it won't cause you to fall away into some deep pit... But in order to grow you up in these things, you will be tested...
We all failed the Lord Jesus... me included, and still do today. But what you have to remember is that Jesus died so that WHEN we do sin or feel like we disappointed God, we can still go to God because He HAS forgiven us because of what Jesus did. We should never feel "bad" or "guilty" even though we may have done something bad... because when we recognize that thing we did, that sin... we go to the Lord, not run from him in shame. But run to him, carrying our sin list with us... jump into His lap and thank him for forgiving you. Simply confess everything right now that is causing any guilt. Take responsibility. Don't be afraid to see those things, if we hide from them, they will keep us in bondage. Once all that junk is in the light, you will be restored again and freer than before. The enemy wants you to "think" you've done an unpardonable sin... but you have not. The unpardonable sin is someone who never received Christ! So put that out of your mind...
2 Corn. 10:5 says to take every thought that is not of God and cast it out.. replace those lies with the truth. Read your bible to get the truth implanted in you so that the Holy spirit has something to work with when attacks come.
About fear... fear only comes when you feel separated from God's love... so return to him completely by confessing all that you did, no matter how ugly, small, or big... he knows them anyway... and thank him for forgiving you and restoring you to Him. Fear has to go... all panic, etc., when you receive God's love personally. The Bible says, "Perfect love casts out all fear and torment." And it produces peace. You need your peace and security that only comes form the Lord.
There is HOPE... your life is not over, you have not lost anything, it's the enemy trying to make you "think" otherwise to take you down to the pit. But break through today... Here is a prayer to pray:
"Dear Heavenly Father. I recognize I have sinned. I felt like I've disappointed you, I've disappointed myself too. I am sorry for my sin. I confess that I entertained thoughts of evil. I confess that I done bad things. I confess that I turned from you at times. But you already knew all those things I would do. You already knew I was going to do these things even before I was born! But you loved me anyway. Jesus died for me while I was yet a sinner. My sins are covered, and I am forgiven. That is the truth. I repent for having believed the lies of the enemy. I cast out every thought that is not of you now in Jesus name. I ask for your thoughts to become my thoughts Lord. I want more of your love in me too. I ask for you to help me receive your love right now, perfectly for me, no matter what I feel like. Because it doesn' t matter what I've done or said, the truth is you love me no matter what! All the time, no matter what! Your love has no strings attached and there is no condition. There is nothing I can do or say to make you love me more or less.
Help me get this revelation. Jesus died for my sins, all of them, those in the past, now and those in the future. Let me remember there is NO sin that can separate me from you. I believe I am your daughter because I received Jesus Christ as savior. Let me never doubt that again, and if I do, remind me to tell the Devil to take a hike! Help me not to listen to those lies again. Restore me to you Father God. I ask you to forgive me for disappointing you. But the truth is, you have already forgiven me. I repent of any guilt I've felt, because I never need to feel guilty again. All I need to do is when I do sin, to immediately tell you about it... that's my job. Help me to remember how easy it is. Because there is nothing I can ever say or do to cause you to stop loving me. Thank you for restoring me. Thank you for cleansing me and forgiving me. In Jesus name, Amen."
I pray hope restored into your life! It's the enemy that has no hope and trying to get you to think like him... the battle is on. The Lord wants you to grow up spiritually... we all had to take these tests... it's just your turn. The one thing you have to always remember. God has never left you, he will never turn his back on you. Those thoughts only come from the devil. It's the devils' job to separate you f rom God.. it's your job to not believe him, but believe truth. That's it! The rest will come...
Be encouraged.. You have not lost God, you have not lost your salvation... you are just being tested.... to be sure you stand
strong in the Lord and not fall to pieces if a bad thought comes your way....