Category Archives:Eating Disorders

God Can Do ALL Things: My Diminishing Shadows, Part 2

In my last post on this series I gave you a brief breakdown of how I KNOW that God can do ALL things.

I will share my testimony with you once again. Obviously, it will not be completed until I return to my heavenly home. Ponder my Diminishing Shadows

I was born in Orange California in 1958. When I was 1 ½ years old my biological mother took my grandfather’s car and abandoned my dad, 2 half-brothers and I. She had an affair with a friend of my dad’s and moved to Illinois. After six weeks or so my dad and grandpa went to bring the car back. Dad took my brothers to their grandma’s house and proceeded to get sole custody of me; very rare for the courts to award custody to the father in 1960. For approximately four years dad raised me on his own with the help of my grandma and aunt. In 1964 he married the woman I call mom, and I gained a mother and brother.

For many years I knew something was different but couldn’t put my hand on what it was. When I was twelve I was caught shoplifting at our city mall. I was not arrested, but my dad was furious. My mom was much more gracious.

On my thirteenth birthday my childhood best friend and I spent the night with my paternal (biological) grandparents. I asked my grandma if mom was in fact my biological mother. Grandma told me to talk to my dad. I told her I was asking her because I knew she wouldn’t lie to me. So I found out the truth. When my mom found out that my grandma told me the truth she banned me from seeing my grandma until I was eighteen. Our next door neighbors arranged for my grandma and I to meet at a shopping mall in Costa Mesa. I was elated. Dad knew that I was meeting her and never said a word to my mom. She did find out later, when I was seventeen and they almost divorced over it.

On February 20, 1973, when I was fourteen, a friend in Jr High invited me to go to church with her. We watched a movie entitled “A Thief in the Night.” To this day I love the song, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” Afterwards, Billy Graham gave the invitation to accept Jesus in my heart and I responded. The following evening my brother joined us and also gave his life to Jesus.

I counseled teenage new believers whenever Billy was in town. He was an amazing man, so loving and gentle spirited. I also became active in our church choir. Our choir, Presbyterian Youth Chorale traveled every summer to sing for various churches across the United States. My new best friend and I had Bible studies in the hay loft above her family’s garage. We named are secret meeting place “Bethel,” which means “House of God.”

That same year I ended up in the ER for severe stomach pain. The doctors told my dad that I had gonorrhea. He told them he would bet his life I didn’t. After evaluating me and taking x-rays, the doctor told him that I had endometriosis and needed to go to a gynecologist. So I did, and was told I could never have babies. I was devastated, as I had baby sat since I was nine, and loved children. After graduating from High School and attending one year of junior college, I became pregnant. I was engaged to the father of the baby and my dad told him that he would marry me. Against my beliefs, I got an abortion. A couple weeks afterwards when I used the bathroom a little limb came out of me. Instead of getting help I turned to drugs.

I started working for a floor covering company and ended up having an affair with my boss. He was married with three beautiful daughters and one on the way at the time. Even worse, we discussed having an affair. He eventually divorced his wife and we were married after living together for over two years. By now I had an addiction to cocaine and overdosed on my birthday in 1984. We both quit drugs and became involved in ministry at Calvary. My dad never accepted him. Then, two years later I had another affair, and after marriage counselling we my husband and I decided to separate. I am thankful that he has forgiven me, to this day we are friends.

I met a man in 1987, and began dating him. I became pregnant again, not knowing who the father was, my husband or boyfriend. After talking to them both about the situation, I chose to keep the baby and be a single mom. The baby belonged to my boyfriend.

In 1991, my half-sister was murdered in Nevada and when I came home after her funeral, I again became pregnant with a girl. Her father wanted me to abort, but this time I refused and chose to keep her. My son’s dad said he would adopt her, that way she and our son would both have a dad who loved them, and the same last name. Eight and one half months later my son and I were in a car accident only one block from our home.  The police offered to take me to the hospital, but I chose not to go as I felt her moving and had a doctor’s appointment the next morning. When my doctor examined me, there was no heart beat from my baby. Labor was induced and five hours later Alexandra was still born. The placenta was lodged in my left rib cage and I had emergency surgery, and given a couple units of blood. By this time, I was attending Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa again and Pastor Carl led the funeral service. I have never gotten over this completely. The loss of a child is difficult to accept. I take comfort, however, in knowing that she is in heaven and has never had to encounter the horrific things this world avails.

Angry at God, I again backslid, this time I did even stronger drugs and led a very promiscuous lifestyle. This led to me getting date raped three months after the loss of my daughter and again had an abortion, even though it was against my beliefs. I tried to justify it with the fact that I was raped.

Later that year I began dating a man and it lasted four years. In 1996, I again became pregnant and made the decision to abort. After the fact, I found out that my boyfriend would have married me and wanted the baby.

In 1997, I rededicated my life to the Lord and my son was saved the following weekend. God is so good. We were baptized together by Pastor Chuck Smith at Pirates Cove, San Clemente. Papa Chuck told me that this time I was going to serve my Lord. This is a day I will never forget as my son and I were baptized together at the same time. It was awesome! We went on a retreat shortly thereafter and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!  I now began counseling new believers every Sunday and Monday evening at Calvary and annually at the Harvest Crusades in Anaheim. My precious son hung out with the Christian artists that led worship on these occasions and became really close to most of them…Phil Keaggy, Crystal Lewis, The Kry, OC Supertones, Dennis Agajanian, Two or More, and DC Talk. I met my second husband while counseling. Unbeknownst to me he and my son had been hanging out for six months while I was counseling. We were married exactly one year to the day from my son’s and my baptisms. After only a year we were having problems; My husband at the time was very controlling and I was a strong-willed woman. February 2000, I had a nervous breakdown at work and was placed in a state mental facility for 2 weeks, from my recollection. When I came home I began cutting myself by slashing my wrists. My husband would not let me see any of my family or talk to them, and would tie me to my son’s bed with neckties while waiting for the police to arrive.  In July the same year we moved to Indiana and things just got worse. My husband would not hold a job and was verbally and mentally abusing me to the point of my continued self-mutilating, and several attempts at suicide. I was placed in the mental unit at our hospital several times because of this. My doctor did not trust my husband, and honored my wishes to keep him away from me while I was hospitalized. At this time, I was on 17 different medications and was hardly able to function. At night, my husband would whisper in my ear that if I ever left him he would find and kill me. But God was still in control, and I met my best friend who is still my spiritual sister. She has had cancer in several parts of her body for 16 years and has a Soon after moving to North Salem, IN in 2001, I began a youth ministry, “Solid Rock.” The board gave us a generous budget for our teens. In 2003, I finally quit cutting myself and attempting suicide.

In 2004, my dad became sick with lung cancer while my mom was living in Memphis with her sister for close to eleven years. That summer when my son went to visit his dad in California, they stopped by to check on my dad and called to inform me of my dad’s illness. I called my mom who told me he was fine. Prior to this, I had two pulmonary embolisms, blood clots in my lungs, had carpal tunnel surgery and also had my ankle rebuilt after several sprains. That November, one week after my ankle surgery, my mom called and informed me that my dad was dying, and my son and I had a plane ticket waiting for us at Indianapolis International Airport that was to leave the very next morning. A couple days later dad was sent home with a diagnosis of six months to live. Five days later he died, while my son was headed back home to Indiana. After attending my dad’s funeral, I also flew home to Indiana.

I started attending Lakeview Christian Church in Indianapolis, an AG affiliate, I was teaching second grade Sunday school and counseling teens. My husband began having an affair with my coworker, and I took the opportunity to file for divorce. My amazing son and his best friend came and moved me back to California in 2009. I rented a house from a lady over the phone, little did I know how important she would become to my life. We are still very close, and she now lives in Kentucky.

I found out in 2011 that I was the victim of identity theft and the culprit was my ex-husband. My cousin passed in 2011 with complications from colon cancer. Praise God that my spiritual sister led him to the Lord.

In 2013 I was living with my mom when Irvine PD informed me that my now ex-husband was in town. His name showed up because he received a traffic citation. My brother chose to believe rumors about me imposed by another family member, and on Christmas Eve my brother and sister-in-law evicted me from my mother’s home while she was in the hospital. I moved in with my son and daughter-in-law for a couple of months. They had just married that August. God gave me Psalm 42:8 for comfort:

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,

And in the night His song shall be with me —

A prayer to the God of my life.

In February 2014, I moved to Missouri to start over. My son and daughter-in law, along with my spiritual sister were the only ones who knew where I was. In October 2014, I married my soul mate and best friend.  The following Spring, 2015, I received a phone call from my mom and she and my brother and sister in law apologized with tears for what they did to me. God always has a way of making things right. It has taken me all this time to truly forgive my ex-husband. Only because God made it possible for me to do so.  I can honestly say that if I were to see him again, I would thank him as I have never been happier or closer to God. My son and daughter-in-law visited us Christmas, 2015, for the duration of four days. Upon returning to California, my son expressed, “Mom you left everything behind and God has blessed you tenfold.” No words have ever been truer from his precious mouth.

Despite my efforts to be rebellious, God has always been there, placing amazing people in my path. He has given my husband and I this ministry to reach out to others who need Him.

So, it is true, with God ALL things are possible! I am living proof.

If you have a testimony you would like to share, please contact us. We would love to use on this site with your permission. We can be reached through our email address: outofseasonministries@outlook.com

God bless you.

 

 

 

 

The Most Glorious Christmas Message You Will Ever Hear

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

The key is believing (trusting) in Jesus. That’s the provision that God has required for those to be born again. You are born again when you, by faith, believe in Jesus Christ, that He bore God’s judgment for your sins in His death upon the cross, and you receive Him into your life. You are then born again by the Spirit of God and have become now a new creature in Jesus Christ, a son of God, a child of the King. Believing in Him, that is the key.

Then Jesus went on to declare to Nicodemus,

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17

I do not know why we always seem to picture Christ as condemning us. Well, I guess it’s because we’re so guilty all the time. But we always are thinking of Him in that posture of condemning. “You,” you know, “you’re doing it again!” And we’re always thinking of Him in that posture of condemning. But Paul the apostle asked the rhetorical question in Romans 8, “Who is he that condemneth?” And then he answers, “Not Jesus! For He died for us; ye, rather is risen again and is even at the right hand of the Father making intercession.” God didn’t send Him into the world to condemn the world. Jesus hasn’t come to condemn you. Jesus has come to save you. “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” He didn’t need to come to condemn, because the world is already condemned.

He that believeth in him is not condemned. John 3:18

Oh, did you hear that? Do you believe that? “He that believeth in Him is not condemned.” What a glorious message of God’s grace to us tonight! That ought to thrill your soul beyond measure! “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who believe in Jesus Christ” (Romans 8:1). Isn’t that what it says? Do you believe it? Why is it that we are always going around condemning ourselves? Why is it that we are always going around feeling so defeated and so discouraged, when there is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus? For he that believeth in Him is not condemned; however, he that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18

What is His name? Yeshua, the Lord is salvation. Jesus came to save. That’s what His name implies. “Thou shalt call His name Yeshua, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). He did not come to condemn, He came to save. His name implies His mission. Jesus declared it plainly. He said, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Now, “he that believeth not is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

And what is the condemnation?

that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be manifested. But he that doeth the truth comes to the light, that his deeds might be made manifested, that they are wrought in God. John 3:19-21

What is the condemnation? That men won’t come to the light, Yeshua (Jesus).

The key: Believe in and trust Jesus. He is all you will ever need. Halleluyah!

 

 

Uprising of Spiritual Abuse

 

Spiritual Abuse is real. There are several ways in which abuse can be spiritual abuse. People use this term with a variety of meanings and it is quite important to keep track of which definition people have in mind.

There is a sense in which all abuse can be spiritual abuse. For example, any form of child abuse can do damage to a child’s emerging spirituality. The fact that the damage includes damage to the spiritual self is what makes it spiritual abuse in addition to whatever other kind of abuse is going on.

Some abuse is spiritual abuse because it takes place in a spiritual place/context. Sexual abuse by a priest or pastor, for example, is clearly a form of spiritual abuse in addition to sexual abuse.

The use of spiritual truths or biblical texts to do harm is another form of spiritual abuse. Sometimes battered wives are told that God wants them to be submissive to their husbands. Sometimes children who are being molested by their parents are told that God wants them to be obedient. Sometimes people quote “do not think of yourself more highly that you ought” to suicidally depressed people. These are examples of abuse–even if what is said is a quote from the Bible, even if ‘submission’ and ‘obedience’ are in a general, sense virtues. It is the twisting of good things to do harm that is so disturbing about this kind of abuse.

Some abuse is spiritual abuse because the victim is perceived to be in a position of spiritual authority. Think here, for example, of the abuse of pastors by congregations. The real power in religious systems may not be in the hands of the obvious leadership.

Coercive spirituality is a form of spiritual abuse. This is most obvious in totalitarian cults. But there are many other forms of coercion. Compulsive religious practices are thought by some to be appropriate forms of Christian education of children. Others more committed to the notions of ‘soul freedom’ and ‘liberty of conscience’ are repelled at the idea of religious coercion.

Some abuse is spiritual abuse because it invokes divine authority to manipulate people into performing behaviors which meet the needs of the abuser. Example: If I am anxious in my relationship with God and I think that ‘success’ in evangelistic activities will solve that problem, then I may try to get someone to convert so that I will feel less anxious. This ‘using’ of someone else’s spiritual life to meet my spiritual needs is uncomfortably analogous to someone who ‘uses’ another person’s sexuality to meet their own needs. The latter is sexual abuse. The former is spiritual abuse.

Some abuse is spiritual abuse because it introduces a grace-less contingency in our relationship with God. This form of spiritual abuse is one of the central preoccupations of the New Testament text. Consider Jesus’ harsh comments about those who ‘lay burdens’ on others — those who make God’s love contingent on spiritual practices of one kind or another.

Biblical references on spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse as speaking for God when God has not spoken
Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’-when the LORD has not spoken.
Ezekiel 22:28


Spiritual abuse as adding burdens

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
Matthew 23:4

“why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?”
Acts 15:10

Spiritual Abusers as Ravenous wolves
“Beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Matthew 7:15

Spiritual Abusers as Whitewashed tombs
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside, are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Matthew 23

Spiritual Abusers as “Brood of vipers”
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”
Matthew 23:33

Spiritual Abusers as “Blind guides”
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
Matthew 23:23-24

RESOURCES

  • The National Association of Christian Recovery nacr.org
  • Three lectures on the topic of spiritual abuse by Jeff VanVonderen:

Healthy and Abusive Spiritual Dynamics

The Abusive Religious System

How We Get Hooked

This video can also be viewed online for free here

 

Do You Want to Stop? Then Find the Escape Hatch.

The most important strategy for beating temptation is avoid it all together. Stay out of the contest. Do not even go near it. As humans we like to play with danger, to have options, and take trouble head-on, because we believe that we can always pack on more power than our opponents. Not true!
With these temptations our instincts get us into trouble. You see, temptation pits us against our own sin nature and all the powers of evil. Just look around you. Sin weakens us and compromises our ability to receive God’s favor that He wants to give us.
Ponder this thought, we would never sin if we were never tempted. Stay away from the deceptive tactics of Satan whenever possible. Eve would not have eaten the forbidden fruit if she stayed away from the forbidden tree. The same is true for us.
For example, I overcame drug addiction. And because I have decided not to smoke pot, or use any other recreational drugs, I avoid places that are prone to have drugs available; parties and friends that use drugs. Someone who has overcome drunkenness will tell you that having decided not to drink, they stay out of bars, liquor stores, and away from drinking friends.
Someone who struggles with pornography has stated that he had started pulling into an adult video store on his way home from work. It had now become a habit. He was asked “is there another route you can take to get home?” He admitted that he never considered that option, but also watched trashy shows on HBO while his wife was sleeping at night. “Do you really want to quit?“ he was asked. He answered in the affirmative. He was advised to cancel his subscription to HBO. He did, and now enjoys sleeping with his wife in peace.
When you are ready to quit something that is ruining your life, you will do whatever necessary to remove that sin. But know this, it is refreshing to know that if you ask God to help you avoid evil, He will. He is your Father and watches out for you even when you do not. Just ask Him and He will tell you where not to go.
The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “13 No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].”
Imagine for a minute that you are standing in front of your home and see a stranger coming up your street. He is dressed in black and walks in your direction. You notice that he is checking mailboxes and house numbers. You realize that this figure is here to do you harm, so you suck behind some bushes. A soon as the stranger finds your address, he steps up to your door and knocks.
As you watch, the door opens, and you see something remarkable. The person answering the door is Jesus.
The stranger hesitates, “Excuse me, but isn’t this the house of _____?” And he speaks your name.
Jesus replies, “As a matter of fact, it is. But My friend has asked Me to guard the door.”
The stranger tense, grinds his teeth, and seems to consider forcing his way in. Then he looks down at the hand on the knob. He sees the nail scars. He glances up at Jesus’ head and the marks left by the thorns.
And the stranger scowls as he turns away…
This is a defensive measure used by Martin Luther, the reat reformed of the sixteenth century, when he faced temptaions of all kinds. On the front lines of a spiritual awakening that wa shaking the world. Luther felt himself under constant attack. His story of Jesus answering the door of his home when temptation came calling had a specific purpose. It was his way of meditating on a powerful truth about Christ’s power to help us escape temptation. “Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.” Hebrews 2:18.
This is the wonderful escape clause in 1 Corinthians 10:13. In His faithfulness, God pledges to not allow any temptation to push you beyond your ability to resist.
How do I use this? I say aloud, “This temptation to (name of sin) is not too strong for me, because my Father has limited it to what I am able to cope with right now; the truth of it is that there is a way out of this temptation, and God will not allow it to overpower me!”
You see my friend, God will help you in your temptation. He will open the way for you to escape.
If you do not already have a personal relationship with God, and desire one, why not prayer this prayer:
God I’m sorry for my sin. I turn from it right now. I thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sin. Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart and life right now. Be my Lord, Savior, and friend. Help me to follow You all the days of my life as Your disciple. Thank You for forgiving me and receiving me right now. Thank You that my sin is forgiven and that I’m going to Heaven. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Perhaps you have strayed from Jesus Christ. You have been a prodigal son or daughter. God will forgive you right now if you will return to Him. He tells us in Scripture, “My wayward children, come back to Me and I will heal your wayward hearts” (Jeremiah 3:22, If you would like to return to God and rededicate your life to Him right now, you may want to pray like this:
God I’m sorry for my sin. I’m, sorry that I have strayed from You. I ask You to forgive me now as I repent of my sin. I don’t want to live like a prodigal any longer. Renew and revive me as I once again follow You as my God. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Satan Loses Another Battle

Change is something we tend to fear and become anxious about because we do not feel in control of life. The good news is that God has a plan for your life, hope, a future, and to prosper. If we trust in God and allow the change to grow us to become more like Jesus Christ in how we respond and act, then we are promised that all things will work together for good for those who love Him and keep His commandments. Romans 8:28

This weekend we met a single mother of four children who are in foster care for the time being. We are elated and thankful to God  that with His leading,  we were able to her to get the help and support that she needs . She is a homeless, Christian woman struggling with addiction, depression, lack of self worth, and a need to escape domestic abuse. God has provided a roof over her head, a wonderful support group,  and hope for a productive future.

There is always hope.

If you struggle with addiction, abuse, depression, anxiety, fear and panic disorders, self-mutilation, suicidal thoughts and/or tendencies, or any of the other issues mentioned on this website, please reach out to us. You do not need to be in our home town to receive our help. We will do whatever we can to get you the help and support that you need.

Please email your story to us at outofseasonministries@outlook.com.

All names are kept anonymous.

All we ask is that you allow us to pray for you and help in any way we are able.

You are not alone. God desires to show you His love. I beg you to allow Him.

God already knows you are afraid. All He asks is that you step out in faith.

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. Philippians 4:6-8

Death Has No Victory Over the Child of God

When a bee stings you, it leaves its stinger in you along with part of its abdomen and digestive tract, thus killing the bee.

The same is true when Jesus died on the cross. In his continuing hatred for God’s Son, Satan thought it a boundless idea to have Jesus betrayed, arrested, beaten, and then crucified on a Roman cross, a most barbaric way to die.  However, everything went as God had planned, and the sting of death defeated itself.

So where is the sting of death for the believer? It is ripped out because at the cross, Jesus took the stinger out of death. As Christians, we no longer need to fear death because our souls will live on forever with Christ. Halleluyah!

He will swallow up death [and abolish it] for all time.
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
And He will take away the disgrace of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 25:8

Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol (the place of the dead)?
Shall I redeem them from death?
O death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion is hidden from My eyes [because of their failure to repent].

Hosea 13:14

And when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says, “Death is swallowed up in victory (vanquished forever). 55 O death, where is your victoryO death, where is your sting?”

 

1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Lose Yourself to Gain Yourself

And He (Jesus) was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].

Luke 9:23

When I was dealing with discouragement and despair I noticed that it was because I was putting my focus and trust in everything else besides God. I was constantly dwelling on my problems and taking my eyes off of God.

Self-preoccupation is disorienting, because when we are looking at ourselves we are not looking to Jesus. and we are not looking at the road we are running on. The Bible states that Jesus is our example in Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

Note: Sometimes the public shame of the cross is overlooked when one thinks of the pain and agony inflicted by it, but in the Roman Empire crucifixion was a shameful and disgraceful way to die, a form of capital punishment from which Roman citizens were exempt; and in Roman comedy it was used in a curse: “Go to a bad cross!”

It is disappointing because we never find in ourselves what we are looking for. Therefore, it frequently leads to discouragement and despair. Ironically, we are often lured into self-centered introspection, which leads us into a vicious cycle of self-improvement efforts, self-indulgence, self-disillusionment, and new self-resolves.

When you do this that gives the devil an opportunity to tell lies such as God is not near you and He will not help you.

Please don’t listen to these lies. I found out what I was doing wrong and I went into prayer mode.

Take your eyes off the things of this world. Allow difficulty to bring you to your knees in prayer. Fight off those lies by crying for help. Trust in the Lord, not your circumstances.

The Bible states that Satan is a liar and deceiver. Follow:

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] 1 Peter 5:8-9

The one who practices sin [separating himself from God, and offending Him by acts of disobedience, indifference, or rebellion] is of the devil [and takes his inner character and moral values from him, not God]; for the devil has sinned and violated God’s law from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

Jesus tells us that if we are not of Him, we are of the devil:

He who is not with Me [once and for all on My side] is against Me; and he who does not[unequivocally] gather with Me scatters. Matthew 12:30

He who is not with Me [believing in Me as Lord and Savior] is against Me [there is no impartial position]; and he who does not gather with Me [assisting in My ministry], scatters. Luke 11:23

43 Why do you misunderstand what I am saying? It is because [your spiritual ears are deaf and] you are unable to hear [the truth of] My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths. John 8:43-44

The key to overcoming despair is keeping your mind on the Lord, which will keep your mind at peace.

Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. Colossians 3:2

Take your eyes off the things of this world. Allow difficulty to bring you to your knees in prayer. Fight off those lies by crying for help. Trust in the Lord, not your circumstances.

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness[His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. Matthew 6:33

Be Aware: Occult Symbolism that is Hidden in Plain Sight

Over thirty years ago I was involved with Menconi Ministries, an organization founded on keeping parents involved in their children’s lives. The purpose was to aid parents and grandparents in connecting communicating with their children and grandchildren so they could instill family values and lead them to Jesus. One of these ways was to be informed as to the music these children were listening to and to share with them the dangers of the modern day musicians. As most of you know, Lucifier, (Satan) was the Worship leader in Heaven. He  is now the worship leader of the Earth. Not of Christ Jesus, but to himself. This is a perfect example:

There are many symbolisms and occult references that stand out in the music culture today. From historical artifacts, to the music artists today, it seems the occult world has never really gone away, but in fact has become more flagrant and blatant. The problem is that many are unaware of the meanings behind what many consider to be just artistic entertainment that appeals to the senses with no real hidden meanings, or agendas behind them. There are many artists that promote their music through occult influence. The evidence that will be provided will show striking similarities with occult ideologies that are synonymous with many artists in the music industry.

Kanye West is a popular musical artist who promotes music and imagery with deep occult meaning, which is rooted in Freemasonry. The pictures presented will parallel historical pictures from ancient cultures to recent ones. There are too many similarities for it to be just coincidence. The music culture has aligned itself with something much more than just poetic lyrics and sounds, but is progressing into something much bigger that is symbolic of the veil that is thinning between the physical and spiritual realm. It is important to be aware of the occult agenda that is manifesting in greater force these days.

The representation of the pillars behind Kanye West are ubiquitous with many cultures as an entrance, or gateway which holds the key to power and enlightenment. Kanye West is pictured at the gateway as the chosen one to represent the hidden rulers of the world that reside behind him.

The ancient Egyptian god, or deity known as Horus was considered to be the Sky god, which represented the symbol of the single seeing eye. The one eye is the most well known in occult symbolism as the all-seeing-eye; the Great Seal of the United States originates from Horus

The symbolism of Horus is very important in Freemasonry. The path of the initiate, through the Masonic degrees, is described as the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened.

The pillared gateway is for the exclusive illuminated ones. Kanye West is wearing a Horus pendant, which has importance and significant meaning not only in ancient Egyptian culture, but in Freemasonry as well.

The horned females next to Kanye represent two goddesses ofancient Egypt, Isis and Hathor. Isis was the goddess of nature, magic, and motherhood. Hathor was the goddess of music, dance, and fertility. They are known as the protectors of the dead as they journey into the afterlife.

In the occult, the initiate symbolically dies and is reborn. Kanye West is standing under the sword of Damocales as part of a Masonic ritual to obtain the 33rd degree. The rite happens in public; the more there are witnesses, the more power is given. In a metaphorical sense, Kanye West kills off his former self and is reborn to receive power right in front of the eyes of the public audience.

 

Eight Ways Jesus Suffered for You

1. He was betrayed by His disciple Judas. Jesus’ pain was not just physical. Can you imagine the sorrow He felt when one of His own trusted friends became the ultimate traitor? We aren’t exactly sure how to calculate the modern value of 30 pieces of silver, but many scholars suggest about $950. All the pain Jesus endured on Good Friday began the night before, when Judas took blood money to have his Master arrested.

Think about it: There’s a bit of Judas in all of us, and we all betrayed Jesus to get our own way. Yet He chose to forgive us!

2. He was abandoned by His other followers. We often focus on Peter’s denial of Jesus. But the Scriptures remind us that all of Jesus’ disciples “left Him and fled” after His arrest (Mark 14:50, NASB). Jesus had to suffer alone. All the men He had taught and invested in for three and a half years abandoned Him in His hour of need.

Think about it: Jesus paid it all. He accomplished His work of redemption without our help. But He forgave us for our denials!

3. He carried the burden of the sins of the world. Jesus’ greatest agony didn’t start on the cross. It began at Gethsemane, where God laid on His Son the sins of the world. Jesus agonized so intensely in those moments that He sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Scholars say He probably developed a condition known as hematidrosis, in which blood is emitted through the sweat glands because of intense stress.

Think about it: Your sin was transferred to Jesus’ account, and He bore the punishment you deserved!

4. He was falsely accused and rejected by Jewish leaders. Can you imagine the heartache Jesus experienced when the very people He was sent to save spat in His face, blindfolded Him, cursed Him and accused Him of blasphemy? The Sanhedrin set up a kangaroo court and sentenced the Son of God to death.

Think about it: Jesus did not open His mouth in self-defense when He was falsely accused. Now, when Satan accuses you, Jesus argues your case and declares you not guilty!

5. He was mocked and abused by Roman guards. After Pilate caved into pressure from the Jews, Roman soldiers flogged Jesus with a whip, drove a crown of thorns into His scalp, beat His head with sticks and mockingly pretended to worship Him. The flogging alone—which would have involved leather cords with pieces of lead or bone attached—would have drained much of Jesus’ blood.

Think about it: Jesus could have called on angels to stop His torture—but He chose to endure the pain because He loved us!

6. He was crucified between two thieves. We cannot even fathom the pain of crucifixion. Metal spikes were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet, and He had to slide His mangled body up against the wood of the cross in order to catch His breath. And because it was the habit of Romans to crucify criminals naked, Jesus endured the ultimate shame. What’s more, He hung on that crude cross next to two men who had been convicted of crimes—while He was completely innocent.

Think about it: We should have been on death row, not Jesus. But He took our place!

7. His body was pierced with a spear. Even after Jesus took His last breath, a soldier jabbed a spear up through the chest cavity—most likely to make sure Jesus was dead. John tells us that blood and water spilled out (John 19:34), evidence that the spear pierced the pericardium, the sac around the heart. Jesus’ heart was literally broken for us.

Think about it: Just as Adam’s side was opened to bring forth the first woman, Jesus’ side was opened to bring forth the church. His piercing produced a fountain of life for us!

8. He tasted death for all. This is the most horrible reality of the cross. Christ did not die metaphorically or symbolically. He died literally. The Son of God, who had never sinned—and who was least deserving of death—died so we could have life. His heart stopped beating, He stopped breathing and His spirit left Him. First Peter 3:18 says: “For Christ also died for sins once and for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.”

Think about it: Because Jesus died in our place, we no longer have to die. Eternal life is His free gift to us!

This Easter season, ponder the steps the Savior took from Gethsemane to Golgotha. Look at His nail-pierced hands and feet. Take a careful survey of His wondrous cross, and thank Him for hanging there six hours for you.

 

Everyone Worships Something. Yes, I Said Everyone!

While I am NOT an expert in any of these areas, I have experienced many of them. By the grace of God I am an overcomer. It is a daily struggle but I trust in Him to get me through one day at a time. He has brought me through so much in my 58 years of life; He can and will do same for you if you will allow Him.

As a child, I led a normal life with the exception that I felt closer to my dad than my mom. At the age of 13 I discovered that my mom was not my birth mother. Truly it did not matter, as she always loved me as her own. My only regret is that my parents had not been honest with my step-brother (I call him brother to this day) and I sooner.

When I was a baby, 1-1/2 years old, my biological mother left my two half-brothers and I with my dad to be with another man. Granted I was too small to remember, but my half-brothers were older. After approximated six weeks following her departure, my dad took my two half-brothers to their maternal grandmother’s house a short distance away from where we lived. We were not to see one another until I was 19 years old.

My mom, the one who raised me, married my dad when I was 4 years old. She brought with her my brother with whom I was raised. We had a fairly normal life. We were a happy family. About two weeks before my 13th birthday I was caught shoplifting at our local mall. I had been shoplifting for close to two years by this time. Honestly, I was glad that I was caught. I knew right from wrong and it ate me up inside. You see God has created all of us with the need to worship. Who or what we choose to worship is our choice.  Praise and worship seems to be universal. Have you ever heard of an explorer finding a new tribe or culture that doesn’t worship? Worship is a natural instinct and a basic need for every person. A simple definition of worship is to regard with great devotion or to honor as a divine being. Take a second to think about what you are most devoted to in this life and ask yourself, “Is it worthy of my devotion; do I worship a divine being?”

We don’t all worship the same God, but everyone worships something or someone. Since we all worship, we should question the reason for this desire. The most logical conclusion is that we were created by a higher being for the very purpose of worship. Addiction is a worship problem.

The ongoing quest of man is to find answers to the fundamental questions of human origin, human nature, and human destiny. There is one book that has the answers to all these questions, including our questions about worship. The Bible is the wonderful and mysterious book that God has chosen as a way to communicate with us. God loves you and will not force you to love Him back. That’s genuine love.

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.

In the weeks to follow I will be sharing more of my journey thus far with you in hopes that God will touch your life and lead you to a relationship with Him. He never promises that we won’t go through trials and suffering, but if you are truly a child of God, He promises to get you through it. Jesus teaches us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. I implore you to give Him chance. You will NEVER regret it.

Please feel free to contact me through this website, confidentially of course. I have added a ‘contact me’ page for this purpose.   I do not have all the answers, but I will do my best to get you any help you might need throughout this journey we call life. Blessings to you all.