Where the Evangelical Church Went Wrong (part 1)

The evangelical church has lost its way in the last 25 years. It began in the mid-50s when the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith movement seeped into its midst; I believe this was the forerunner of what we are currently seeing. The current state of evangelicalism is one of selfishness, callousness, judgmentalism, condemnation of others, and outright rebellion against the teachings of scripture. What is happening now in these churches is driving people away from fellowship and even faith as they decide if God supports these kinds of actions, attitudes, and ideals, they don’t want anything to do with Him or those who call themselves His people.

I’ve been involved in church since I was six weeks old. I had what evangelical Christians call a conversion experience in 1974 when I was 14 years old. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit less than six weeks later. My faith gave me the strength to endure an abusive childhood, being molested by my stepfather, and a violent first marriage. It helped me through 15 years as a single mother. Prayer, attending church regularly, and some bending hours in the Bible every week was the cornerstone of my life for over 30 years. So, what happened?

In the mid-to-late 90s, I started realizing the magnitude of the divide between people with power in the evangelical church and those who supported them. Instead of being a servant, the pastor was seen as the ultimate authority. If you attended Brother So-and-So’s church, you’d better not ever be heard speaking out against anything he said or you would face admonishment, correction, or discipline. They rationalize this by misquoting Psalm 105:15, which tells us not to touch God’s anointed. Taken in context, this verse refers to the entire body of believers, not just pastors and their cohorts. Unfortunately, in the evangelical church this has led to an attitude that you cannot question leadership, prophets, or anyone in a position of authority without risking the wrath of God. This attitude fails to recognize that we are all are sinners, prone to mistakes and deliberate errors, and we are not above correction regardless of where we are in the hierarchy of the church:

In addition, the undercurrent of the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith movement became more prominent as time progressed. What began with the minor distortion of Luke 6:38 became a full-fledged perversion as things progressed from God blessing you because He’s good and wants to bless you to God blessing you because He’s obligated to do so based on how much money you put in the offering or what ministry support. People who embrace this false doctrine forget there are many passages in the Bible talking about our obligation to minister to the poor, take care of widows and orphans, and to not treat the rich as if they are better than the poor — because wherever we are, it’s in God’s will for us to be there. I actually heard several pastors over the years tell you if you’re poor, it’s because you’re not giving enough money to the church. If you’re sick, it’s because you don’t have enough faith. If your loved one dies, either they weren’t faithful enough, or you neglected to do something right. The gospel as they believe it has become one of works, not faith. It is no longer the good news for all people, but a transactional relationship, kind of like putting quarters in a vending machine and getting a bag of chips. That’s not how God works.

Another thing I find concerning is their lack of empathy/sympathy, compassion, and caring for those who are struggling. Their token answer for just about any situation has become, “Place it at the foot of the cross and walk away.” They seem unaware, either deliberately or otherwise, not everything can be resolved in that way. The church should be a resource for the homeless, the hungry, abused, neglected, lonely, and struggling. It should be actively working to help these people is a way of showing the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world, but they seem to have forgotten this mandate in favor of promoting their twisted version of the good news.

I specifically remember a certain pastor saying his goal was to have his parking lot full of luxury cars, not clunkers. My question is this: if, as it says in Luke 5:31, “…it is not the healthy who need doctors, but the sick,” why do they only want rich people in their churches? That’s like sending healthy people to the hospital and telling sick people to stay home. If we don’t welcome and embrace the struggling to show them the love and hope found in our faith, what makes it any better than a country club or bar? If the offering on Sunday doesn’t go to bless the poor, but instead lines the pastor’s pocket or helps the church build a new multi-million-dollar edifice for their rich parishioners, what good does that do the community at large? How does it fulfill the great commission? What is the good news if it’s not the message that Jesus can meet you wherever you are and help you regardless of your circumstances? Where is the hope in that kind of gospel?

As it embraced the Prosperity Gospel, the Word of Faith movement, and now Dominionism and the New Apostolic Reformation, the evangelical church has become nothing more than a members-only club where the rich gain more wealth and the poor stay that way. They can never get ahead because they’re being encouraged to give every penny to people who don’t need the money or the help. Offerings aren’t being put into meeting the needs of the suffering, but instead going to increase the prosperity and elitism of those in power within evangelicalism. It is, in a way, a form of hypocrisy, because it violates the principles of compassion, giving, sacrifice, service, and looking to God to provide us with what we need instead of making a list of what we want and asking God to give it to us. To suggest we can demand something from God because we tithe and give offerings is heretical at best. Judging people because of what they have instead of loving them because God created us all is no better than what the world does. How are we showing our love for our neighbor by putting our own wants before their needs? How many of these pastors are taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly but refusing to help their own members in need of assistance with rent, groceries, or medical bills? Requiring hungry people to sit through a two-hour church service in order to get groceries to feed their family isn’t compassionate or charitable. Telling people who are financially struggling they need to get another job instead of helping them with their rent doesn’t show the love of God.

The evangelical church is sick. A cancer has invaded part of the body of Christ, and it needs to be excised. Unless they are willing to repent and change their ways, there is no hope for restoration or redemption. I hate to say that, because I used to be one of them and it was an essential part of my life for many years, but there it is. I no longer identify as evangelical because I cannot support what they believe, how they act, or where they’re headed. It’s sad, because they have the potential to be a force for good in the world.

Forgiveness isn’t optional.

I threw away most of the notes I took during Bible College, but this teaching hit home for me as a survivor of childhood and domestic assault. I discovered a long time ago that forgiveness ties us to our offenders and that letting go of our pre-conceived right to resent them holds us back while they go on their way. Forgiveness is for us, not them. It frees us of the hold they have on our hearts, our innocence, and our growth.

Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin. Forgiveness is costly; we pay the price of the evil we forgive. Yet we’re going to live with these consequences whether we want to or not. Our only choice is whether we will do so in the bitterness of unforgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness.

An unforgiving spirit destroys respect.

We cannot forgive while we’re hanging on to our rights and our sense of injury. We cannot forgive without consenting to suffer the loss ourselves.

See yourself standing in a circle which is called the will of God. Nothing therefore can touch you from outside the circle, unless it has first penetrated that circle. The thing in question may be hurtful, unfair, and callous, but no matter how it originated, by the time it has reached you it has passed through the circle of the will of God; it has become God’s will for you; it has been permitted for wise and good purposes of His own. Therefore, by resenting and refusing it, you are in reality rebelling against God and His will.

In forgiveness, God is not asking us to do anything which He has not done for us to an infinitely greater degree.

What then is forgiveness? It is a miracle of grace whereby the offense no longer separates. The offense is real, and the hurt is real, but forgiveness means that this real and horrible offense shall not separate us. Forgiveness means that the power of love that holds us together is greater than the power of the offense that separates us. That is forgiveness. In forgiveness we are releasing our offenders so that they are no longer bound to us. In a very real sense, we are freeing them to receive God’s grace.

There is no torment like the inner torment of an unforgiving spirit. It refuses to be soothed; it refuses to be healed; it refuses to forget.

When tragedy comes into your life, allow yourself to grieve. It is a God-given source of healing. Refusing to grieve can harden the heart.

Embrace the hurts of life. God is in them. Allow His purposes to triumph.

Forgiveness is crucial. Not only should it be felt, but it needs to be expressed. Without it, we cannot move on. If we desire to grow, mature, and become more like God, we need to let go of the hurts and offenses that shaped us and let God do His work in our lives.

In Search of Worship

I have been searching for a new church since I moved back to this area a year ago. I have had to leave several services early because the music was so loud it gave me a migraine. Is this really worship, or is it a concert? Does it enable the average church member or visitor to set aside the cares of the world and focus on God, or is it meant to entertain? Do we need a darkened auditorium, spotlights, and fog machines to proclaim the majesty of Almighty God? What I see from my seat in these environments is less and less participation, especially when the “worship team” chooses songs with too many words or a melody line outside the range of most average singers. It is becoming a spectator sport instead of a way of coming together as believers to give reverence and awe to the God who gives us hope in a lost and dying world.

I know this will age me, but I was taught that praise and worship served a purpose, and that was to bring us into the throne room of God and prepare us to hear what God wanted to say to us. It was a way of setting aside the worries and concerns of daily life, unifying us as a people, and focusing on the One who could give us hope when all hope was lost. It was, at times, a sacrifice, especially when we were struggling or hurting or angry. It was a way of declaring that even in the midst of our trials and tribulations, God was still on the throne, and we were going to set aside this time to focus on Him instead of ourselves.

Our worship team was seen not only as a vital part of the ministry of the church, but also as people who set an example for young believers and newcomers. We dressed appropriately, wearing modest clothes so as not to draw the eye of the weak to areas they shouldn’t be looking at. We were not seen as the focal point, but rather as vessels. Our goal was leading the church into the presence of God. Being on the worship team was a privilege and a responsibility.

I fear that in the search for contemporary relevance and relatability, and in an attempt to get more backsides in the seats, we have lost sight of our vision. We have watered down the truth of the Gospel to pacify people who want to come to church, but don’t want to change. They want to feel good about what God has done for them, but they don’t really want to do anything for God. They don’t want to alter their lifestyles, give up their sinful behavior, or make any significant modifications to their lives.

We have taken the phrase “Come as you are” and forgotten that an intense, sincere relationship with God will not leave you where you were when you began. Failing to challenge believers to become more holy, to be in the world but not of it, and to seek to become more Christ-like is falling far short of the mark of excellence we are called to as Christians. We should be different. We should be peculiar, odd, & seen as out of place on this planet where sin, hate, strife, and division are spiraling out of control. We should be a light in the darkness.

It is simply not enough to come to church on Sunday, sing three songs from the current CCM radio station playlist, listen to a feel-good sermon, and walk back out the doors unchallenged and unchanged. That is not worship…. It is entertainment.

C.S. Lewis on Christmas

Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus

by C. S. Lewis

And beyond this there lies in the ocean, turned towards the west and north, the island of Niatirb which Hecataeus indeed declares to be the same size and shape as Sicily, but it is larger, though in calling it triangular a man would not miss the mark. It is densely inhabited by men who wear clothes not very different from the other barbarians who occupy the north western parts of Europe though they do not agree with them in language. These islanders, surpassing all the men of whom we know in patience and endurance, use the following customs.

In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card. But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival; guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the marketplace is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.

But having bought as many as they suppose to be sufficient, they return to their houses and find there the like cards which others have sent to them. And when they find cards from any to whom they also have sent cards, they throw them away and give thanks to the gods that this labour at least is over for another year. But when they find cards from any to whom they have not sent, then they beat their breasts and wail and utter curses against the sender; and, having sufficiently lamented their misfortune, they put on their boots again and go out into the fog and rain and buy a card for him also. And let this account suffice about Exmas-cards.

They also send gifts to one another, suffering the same things about the gifts as about the cards, or even worse. For every citizen has to guess the value of the gift which every friend will send to him so that he may send one of equal value, whether he can afford it or not. And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, they have been unable to sell throughout the year they now sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.

But during these fifty days the oldest, poorest, and most miserable of the citizens put on false beards and red robes and walk about the market-place; being disguised (in my opinion) as Cronos. And the sellers of gifts no less than the purchaser’s become pale and weary, because of the crowds and the fog, so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think some great public calamity had fallen on Niatirb. This fifty days of preparation is called in their barbarian speech the Exmas Rush.

But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush, lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much supper as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. For wine is so dear among the Niatirbians that a man must swallow the worth of a talent before he is well intoxicated.

Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which I know but do not repeat.)

But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, “It is not lawful, O stranger, for us to change the date of Chrissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left.” And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, “It is, O Stranger, a racket”; using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is an instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis).

But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb.

Change in the Wind

I’m considering going back to school to get my Bachelor’s degree. I’ve always wanted to do this but the last decade or so has been almost overwhelming, and it was a struggle to merely keep my head above water for a long time. I’m far from fixed, and I have my issues, but I think it’s time to fulfill this dream. It will probably be an online program because I don’t know if I can handle campus chaos, but hey — an achievement is an achievement, no? How we get to where we need to be may not be how we imagined it, but the journey can be fulfilling and satisfying anyway.

(I think the neighbor is rearranging, at 4:30 in the morning….don’t ask me why I’m still awake because I can’t say except to note that my mind won’t shut up again. I keep hearing scraping and moving sounds over on the other side of the wall,)

It’s getting cooler here and fall is definitely in the air. After 3 winters in Florida I have the feeling Missouri is going to kick my backside once again. Hopefully this will be my last year here for a while, if all goes as planned. I’m looking into getting a house with my daughter and her family in another state because they can’t afford what they need on their income, and I need to be around people whether I like it or not. Their family respects my introversion when I choose to be alone in my room or go on a trip by myself, but they also provide me with a sense of belonging and companionship I can’t get when I’m living on my own. Yes, they’re amazingly loud at times, but that’s what headphones are for, right? I stayed with them a bit over the winter and early spring and we did okay….as long as they respect my need for privacy when I shut my door and I give them space when it’s necessary, we should get along fine. Families in other parts of the world make this work all the time. We can do it, too. Multi-generational living has definite advantages. It’s not perfect, but life isn’t either.

God has been good to me. Bumps, bruises, pain, loss….it’s all in His hands and He can make something good from even the worst that happens to us if we allow Him to move in our lives. Yes, I’ve had it rough at times, but other people have gone through much more for longer and they survived. I’m tenacious, determined, and willing to go with the flow to get where I need to be. Hopefully I’ll be an inspiration to someone else who just might need to hear that our past doesn’t dictate our future if we can let go of the pain and stop the negativity that wants to pull us under.

I’m not perfect. I’m a work in progress just like everyone else. I have a bit of a different viewpoint than a lot of folks, but that’s part of who I am. I’m not tied to places or belongings, but to my God and what He has for me even when I have no idea what that is or how I’m going to get there. That’s faith. I trust that when He calls me to step out, there will be ground under my feet or He will help me fly. What more do I really need? He’s gotten me this far and He isn’t about to let go now.

Choosing a Simple Life

“7 Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9)

This is my daily prayer. All I need is enough. Any extra I get, I share. Anybody who claims to be a Christian and does otherwise has a serious problem. God doesn’t give us money so we can pad our bank accounts, live in fancy (sometimes multiple) houses, drive expensive cars, or own private jets so we don’t have to be around those in need. When and if God blesses us financially, it’s so we can share with people who are suffering.

If the church did what the church was supposed to do, we wouldn’t need social welfare programs. Greed and materialism have invaded the church, and the “prosperity gospel” goes a long way toward making those who do have money feel better and more worthy than people who struggle to pay their rent and feed their families. Does anybody honestly think that’s what God had in mind? I don’t think so, not for a minute. The next person who tells me I’m struggling financially because I don’t have enough faith to believe God for financial prosperity is going to get smacked upside the head. Sometimes we are poor because being around people with no money gives us an opportunity to be a witness for Jesus in that environment.

Nowhere in the Bible is it promised that God’s people are going to all be rich, in perfect health, and gloriously happy. It does say that we will be persecuted, tortured, and even killed because of our beliefs. It says men will revile us and persecute us. The Beatitudes even say “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

How does that jive with the prosperity gospel? It doesn’t, because the prosperity gospel isn’t biblical. It’s metaphysical and part of the New Thought movement. I challenge anybody who doesn’t agree with me to find a verse in the Bible that tells me God wants me to be rich, live in a gated community where I don’t have any contact with poor people or people in need, and totally avoid the uncomfortable reality of poverty (both physical and spiritual), all the while telling people how favored I am.

No thanks. I will take my simple lifestyle any day.

Midnight Thoughts

We have all been through trials and tribulations. We have faced dark nights and scary times. However, there are those of us who have been to the gates of hell and back again, and for those women, those people, I have something to tell you.

You are precious to God. There has not been one minute in your life where He hasn’t been right there with you. When you were being abused, neglected, raped, beaten, tormented in your mind…… He was there with you. He felt your pain. He knew your heartache. He has seen everything you have gone through. He has wept with you, and been with you through all of those struggles. You have not been alone for one second.

You may feel damaged, but you are not broken. You are precious in the eyes of God just the way you are. He can take those experiences, the things the enemy wanted to use to destroy you, and turn them into a powerful testimony. He can use you to reach people nobody else can touch. He has a purpose for your life, even if you can’t see it. He sees you whole and complete, and His desire is for your healing. He never intended for us to walk through our lives burdened by the past. I’m not saying that you will wake up one morning and not remember anything you’ve been through, but he can use those experiences to make you stronger, more dedicated, and more able to minister to people in need.

All you need to do is get lost in Jesus. When you get lost in him, when you spend time saturated by his presence, thinking about nothing else on Earth, He can reach in and begin to peel that pain away and replace it with the knowledge that you are His infinitely precious creation. You are a pearl. Many of us learned in school how pearls were made. At the center of each pearl is a grain of sand. It causes such irritation inside the oyster that the creature coats it with layer upon layer upon layer of iridescent, luminous, gorgeously shiny material in order to ease that irritation and pain it feels. Each of us who has experienced abuse, abandonment, or violence has that grain of sand in our hearts. God, if we will allow it, can coat that pain and that agony with something that is beautiful and valuable and precious. He can take the ugliest situation and make it shine for His glory. He can indeed take what was meant for evil and turn it to His good if we will just allow him to do so. If you will trust Jesus, if you will yield your pain to His hands, and if you will allow Him to work in your heart, He can and will do for you what no man can do. He can show you what you mean to Him, give you a sense of purpose, and make what was broken whole.

You Are Enough.

Those of us who experienced abuse in childhood or marriage – whether verbal, physical, sexual, psychological, or any combination thereof – often struggle with feelings of inadequacy, self-criticism, self-hatred, doubt, fear, and even self-condemnation. We need to remember that Jesus bled and died for us, too. He was with us through those times, holding us up with His hand, because He loves us. He knows how we struggle to reconcile the concept of a loving, caring Father with the examples we were exposed to. He is aware of how it skewed our thinking and caused us to struggle more than others with seeing Him as One who accepts us as we are, not the way someone else thinks we should be. He hears our cries in the darkness, is fully cognizant of our tormented minds, and stands with us as we battle the forces that would cause us to get so mired down by the treatment we endured that we would even give up on our hopes and dreams. His will for us is victory, confidence, and the assurance we are His chosen children – not in spite of, but sometimes even because of our scars. We are fighters. We survived sometimes hellish circumstances, things we never told anyone else, and we came out on the other side with a tenacity and a strength known only by those who endure this kind of hardship.

What you have been through has made you especially capable and competent at ministering to others in pain. You know what it’s like to be afraid to speak loudly, to draw attention to yourself, to be an individual, and you can see it in others. The compassion engendered by your experiences was given to you for a reason. It’s not just there for you to acknowledge, but it’s been given to you so that you can minister to others who are going through or have been through similar circumstances. Someone who has never been abused can feel sorry for what a survivor is struggling with, but they just don’t know how it feels. You know because you’ve been there. You recognize the downturned gaze, the self-deprecation, the avoidance of personal talk, the attempts to be invisible; they are as familiar to you as your own skin. I can recognize an abused woman or child a mile away. It shouts the story in how they walk, carry themselves, talk, and even dress. The scramble to pacify, the constant need for reassurance that they’re good enough, the reluctance to speak about what they’re enduring is like red graffiti on a white wall. Because you’ve been there, you see what others don’t. You get them. This gives you an unique opportunity to minister to them from experience, not just what you’ve been taught in a class, read in a book, or heard second-hand.

We often look at the struggles in our lives and ask God, “Why is this happening to me?” The question itself isn’t as important as the reason behind asking it. We can have one of two attitudes when posing this query:

  • Why me? What did I do to deserve this? How can a loving God allow anyone to endure such trauma?
  • How is this trial preparing me for my calling? What can I learn from it? How can I apply the strength I gained coming through this experience to benefit the kingdom of God?

How we look at living as a human being in a world full of sin affects our response to the circumstances we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, being finite often leaves us seeing only our immediate situation; it’s like viewing a quilt from the point of view of a single piece of fabric or listening to a symphony from the third violist’s chair. We can’t see our lives like God sees them. We simply aren’t created with that capability. This is where faith comes in. We have to choose to trust Him to lead us through what will shape us into the person He intended us to be. Sometimes this means walking in darkness, trusting Him to guide us. It may require us to lay down things we want to do or be in order to receive His best for us, even if we don’t understand it at the time. For abuse survivors, this kind of trust can be really difficult. Victimization can lead to a whole mess of thought processes capable of interfering with letting go of what we think is good and right. We may fear more than just the loss of control, and justifiably so; vulnerability has betrayed us in the past, and we are leery of yielding that kind of power to anyone else, even God. In fact, it may take us much longer to learn to put our confidence in His desire for our good. This explains, in a way, why the faith of those who have suffered abuse may be much stronger; for us to get to the point where we can yield our will and desire for self-protection to someone else requires a decision not reached without much internal conflict, and one that will not be easily challenged or abandoned. I may at times doubt my ability to do what God has called me to do, but I am never dubious about His love for me. In fact, it has been the only thing I had to hold on to more than once. In the middle of everything I’ve been through, He has been the constant I could rely on – even when I was so mired in misery I wondered if I should just give in. This knowledge has been my anchor, my rock, my confidence when everything else was falling to pieces around me. I am sure of this: no matter what I’m going through, I am never alone. I may not be happy, healthy, wealthy, or successful in the eyes of the world, but God has a plan for me that will bring Him glory no matter how weak or frail I am, or how many times I fall.

No matter what anybody else tells you, what and who you are is exactly what and who you were created to be. You may have made mistakes, or fallen, or rebelled….but God knew all that when He created you, and He loves you anyway. Don’t let those lies imprison you. Remember, He knew you before He laid the foundations of the world, and He would not have you be anyone but who you are. Never forget that.

©2018

Part of Me

Long ago,
when I formed you
in your mother’s womb,
I placed
a piece of Myself
inside you.

I have been with you
since your conception.
I was there
as your organs formed,
as your fingers and toes
took shape.
I determined
the color of your eyes
and
the sound of your voice.
I was the one
Who decided
what you would
look like today.

Nothing
that has happened to you
has been hidden from Me.
I have seen
what was done in the open
as well as
in the hidden places,
the places
others thought
nobody would ever find.
I have shared with you
every moment
of every day
of your life.
None of it has been
hidden from
My watchful eye.
Nothing you have endured
has come as a surprise
to Me.

When necessary,
I have intervened –
Informed the enemy,
“Enough. This far
and no further
will you go.
This child is Mine.
The mark is there,
clear to see.
Take your hands off.”

I have watched
as your character formed,
as the pressures of living
forged in you
a strength
that an easy life
would have left you
deprived of.
And,
though the furnace
was hot,
the heat was
always controlled
by my hand.
Never too much,
never too little;
always just enough
to shape you
into the person
I knew you could be.
Strong, reliable,
trustworthy –
yet still dependent on Me.

And now,
today,
I hold in My hand
the desire of your heart.
It is there,
but you must
reach out and take it.
Do you really want it?
It will cost you –
some will not understand,
others will be jealous;
you may not even
comprehend for yourself why –
it is because
I have placed it within you.

Look and see
what I have for you.
It is a blessing,
meant for you
and no one else.

Do you trust Me?
What I have for you
is a good thing,
I will say it again –
it is a good thing.

Take hold of the blessing.
It is there for you,
And it is a good thing.

©1998

Your Heart

I am doing a work
in your heart.
There are
scarred areas,
wounds from
deep-seated
hurts and fears…..
I am healing them.

I am ever so gently
removing the dead tissue
and replacing it
with flesh that is
alive,
feeling,
breathing.

I am taking away
the dead parts
that have
withered and
shriveled up from
lack of use,
lack of feeling,
and putting My love
in their place.

I am dealing with
and healing hurts,
fears,
insecurities,
and wrong ways
of thinking
that were put there
by those who hurt you
and replacing them
with thoughts of
righteousness,
purity,
holiness and
wholeness.

It is time to
say goodbye
to the past
and to set
your eyes forward –
toward what I have
for your future.

Don’t limit Me
with your mind,
with your thinking.
Keep your eyes open,
watching for the blessings
that are coming
your way.

Raise your
expectations.
Don’t hesitate to
reach for the stars.
I have put them
within your grasp.

Hold on tight
to the promises
I have given you;
yet –
don’t limit Me
only to those promises.
I have
much more for you
if you will only
prepare to receive it.

Trust Me with your heart.

©1998