Being Saved, Pursuit of Purity, Uncategorized

Sometimes the Word just gets on my nerves…

You know that little “ugh” you feel when you know God is dealing with you about something, but you aren’t ready to face it? Let’s talk about that grating feeling and the consequence of IGNORING and RESISTING. It’s called chastisement. I am a walking (sort of), talking advertisement for it.

I spent six weeks of my summer in the hospital. On June 12, I received a call at work that a particular blood level had reached 14,000 when it should’ve been around 100. Needless to say I was admitted and kept for what seemed like foooorever. As soon as my body hit the bed, my strength left. I couldn’t even roll to one side. I’ll save you the gruesome details of the months leading up to my hospitalization, but I should have died with what was fighting against me. God is merciful.

I’m still trying to be super intentional about reading my healing journal every time I take my prescription meds. One GIVES life while the other gives me acne, a fat face, and a super fast heart rate. But there’s still a resistance in me that has to be worn down.

For as long as I’ve been able to read the Bible, there have been passages of Scripture that made me feel uneasy. They either outrightly convicted me of wrong or grated against my sense of self-righteousness. In either case I’m faced with a choice. I can either let my feelings lead me away from the truth of God’s Word, or I can acknowledge that something is wrong in me because the Word is the truth. I believe this is one reason so many people turn away from the Lord. They will not reconcile that His truth is higher than their personal emotions and opinions. Instead of pursuing truth in Jesus Christ, they take comfort in what they “think” is right which often looks, smells, and feels like philosophy watered down in sentiment, churchy platitudes, and no power or even desire to live right before the Lord.

My healing journal has two verses from Hebrews 12 that make me cringe every single time I read them. Even now I hate how the words flow. I hate the message they convey. I hate how they put a burden of responsibility on me rather than appeal to my hopes that Jesus will miraculously fix it, then I’m off the hook. I feel like the Lord is asking me to do something that is impossible.

I only clung to those two verses of Hebrews 12 (notice I haven’t said which ones… heh), but I knew the rest of the chapter had more answers for me. I dipped and dodged until the rebuke came from my spiritual father, and then I read the chapter over and over and over again like it was my lifeline. And for about a week, I just stared at the hospital walls King Hezekiah-style…

Here’s a snippet of that chapter, and what the Holy Spirit spoke to me in red letters.

 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

You didn’t fight hard enough. You didn’t look for your escape.  You let your fear of man override your fear of Me. Resist to the shedding of your own blood. When you obey me, you are protected.

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

You’re here because I love you.  The enemy wanted to take your life, and you gave him permission to do so.

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined  us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

If you don’t go through this, you’ll lose your soul. If you don’t feel the consequences of your choices, you won’t fulfill your destiny. But I have not abandoned you. I’m with you like a GOOD father.  Walk with me through the painful seasons, and you will be restored.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

Your responsibility is to strengthen yourself physically and to be at peace and live holy. Keep your heart tender towards me, and whenever I show you areas of bitterness, repent so they can be uprooted. Getting caught isn’t repentance. Crying over consequences isn’t repentance. Walk with me as I transform your thinking. One day you’ll look back and not recognize yourself as you are now.

Whatever the Lord has you reading and studying, read it and study it again and again and again. Sometimes we’re so focused on meeting our daily reading quota that we forget to meditate on the Word, and that’s where transformation usually comes. Those scriptures that annoy you should be your dwelling place until the Lord leads you somewhere else. When you walk, recite them. When you wash the dishes, ask the Lord to teach you about them. The Lord will cause you to dream and remember things that need to be healed and dealt with so you can live freely.

Endure the little chastisement so you aren’t binding up your wrists and knees and learning how to walk again like those of us who are a bit more… oh… disobedient. Y’all keep me lifted!

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Being Smart, Pursuit of Purity, Uncategorized

Reveal the hidden places where we’ve run to instead of You, Lord. Show us the height from which we’ve fallen into ourselves and not into You.  (From “We Return” by Alberto and Kimberly Rivera)

I marched… more like hobbled… out of the neurologists’s office with my orders in hand. MRI’s, blood work, and other tests had to be completed in the coming weeks, and even though it all sounded like torture, I felt comforted. My doctor’s was kind and knowledgeable demeanor put my mind at ease. I held on to those papers tightly over the next few days… a little TOO tightly. They reminded me of his promise that he’d find out what was going on. For days I flipped through those papers looking things over as if they had the answer. I would’ve made them a blanket if I thought they could keep me warm.

The Holy Spirit sharply rebuked me. “Take comfort only in MY Word!” I had exalted the doctor’s orders over God’s Word without even realizing it. Somehow the comfort I received from man caused me to switch off my “now” faith in exchange for a sympathetic and hopeful “We’re gonna find out what’s wrong with you.”

Being taken care of feels good. Something about addressing an uncertainty brings a bit of comfort. But at the most the doctor can only do what man can do, and this situation is spiritual. I’d be a fool to let these papers, much less a diagnosis, replace my faith for divine health.

I had to quickly counter my steps towards unbelief. I grabbed one of the three empty journals in my bedroom and a fresh ink pen. I began listening to sermons about divine healing and health from the Copelands, Hagin, Joseph Prince, and anything else I could find on YouTube. I’ve started to write all the scriptures I can about the nature of God, healing, and finances (because medical bills– YIKES!).

I read through these scriptures ALOUD three times a day. I’ve found a prayer that I shout at least three times a day. Instead of holding on to the doctor’s orders, I’m holding on to words of life personalized by my hand and God’s voice. The orders from the Great Physician are far more powerful and life-changing than anything a doctor can do.

My daughter, attend to my words. Read and say them over and over. Incline your ears to my sayings.  Be ready to hear from Me at any point in time. For they are life to you because you’ve found them. They are health and medicine to your flesh. Proverbs 4:23

I will hold fast the confession of my faith for my complete and total healing without wavering because my God is faithful Who promised. Hebrews 10:23

With long life will You satisfy me and show me Your salvation. I’m not satisfied with only 35 years of life. My children need me. I have more work to do. Save me! Psalm 91:16

Let Your hand be my help for I have chosen Your precepts. You have laid the foundation, but I can’t see the end. I will trust what You’ve given me so far. Hold my hand and help me to obey and trust Your Word. Psalm 119:173

What does any of this have to do with purity? Well how many times has life pressed you into the wrong person’s arms or into some substance to find comfort? While God provides us many ways to enjoy our lives, He desires to meet our needs before any other. That’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit who is known as THE Comforter. Have you ever noticed that when you’re having a crisis, no one is free to answer the phone? Fill up with His word, and turn to Him first in times of need.

There is situation so urgent that we cannot first acknowledge God! 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Being Saved, Being Smart, Pursuit of Purity, Uncategorized

You should send the children to their fathers. You’re going to be in a wheelchair in a few weeks, and I’m going to kill you by October.

Those are the words the devil whispered to me just two weeks ago. I’ve been having significant physical challenges since February, but this October will mark one year since the struggle began. The old deluder satan gave me my death sentence, and I almost accepted it…

Where I’m from whenever someone tells of an unfortunate occurrence, another person shouts “The devil IS a lie!” Yes, I know we should say liar but where’s the flair in that? The truth of the matter is that the devil DOES lie, so why is it so tempting to believe his poisonous words?

The word lie implies that what was spoken is completely untrue, and because there is often some air of truth to what is said, we become tempted to wholly agree. For example, I was in significant pain, nearly helpless, and becoming worse by the day. It was plausible that I could die in a few months if not for the Lord’s mercy. The logical thing to do would be to send the big kids with their dad, and my baby with hers. I had to decide whether I wanted to agree with a plausible half-truth, or the truth of the Word of God. It’s a good thing my faith in the Lord speaks louder than logic!

The Bible provides several descriptions of satan’s character that help us understand exactly what to do with him when he starts running his filthy mouth. Let’s look at the different ways he lies to God’s children (2 Corinthians 2:11).

As a deceiver… When the serpent told Woman “If you eat this fruit, you will be like God” he was telling her a fact. But facts are often void of truth. She would be like God in that she would know good and evil, but God never intended for us to know evil, much less have to discern the difference between the two. The devil deceived Woman by giving her a fact and spinning it in a way that would appeal to her senses… “It looks good so it must taste good so it must be good.” Whenever the devil tells you something that appeals to your five senses, I guarantee there is a deception attached. Stop, and let the Holy Spirit (not your feelings or your heart) lead you. (Galatians 5:16)

As a beguiler… The devil operates as a beguiler when he uses charm to entice a person to agree in order to take something away and to corrupt (Colossians 2:18). Beguilers look good, smell good, and have the very thing you want, but they are deeply entrenched in their own lies. In 2017 terms, they are catfish. Beguilers are trained to pick off the innocent and unstable (2 Peter 2:14).

As a deluder… The devil operates as a deluder when he uses your own blind spots (maybe pride or ignorance) to trick you into doing something that is irrational or believing something that is unrealistic. When I think of a deluder I think of someone selling snake oil or adjusting the odometer of a used car. Deluders operate by leaving out important information. Deluders conspire. When you come out of the delusion, you say to yourself “What in the world was I thinking?” You have power against deluders by staying full of God’s Word. Those who are deluded, by definition, have made a choice to believe what is unreasonable and unlikely.  Isaiah 44:20 says “This kind of man feeds on ashes and is satisfied; A deceived mind has led him astray, so that he cannot save himself or ask ‘Is this thing that I am holding in my right hand not a lie?'” MIND. BLOWING.

As a mocker… Mocking is a tool the enemy uses to make a person feel insignificant. “You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re unworthy of love. No one likes you anyway.” I once had a dream that someone close to me was bad-mouthing me in a public setting. I had another dream immediately following where I saw a monkey hanging over my bed laughing at me. Mockery is a tool the enemy uses to beat you down emotionally. You have to cut it off quickly and even shout “SHUT UP!” and counter the mocking by saying the opposite of what he said. If he says you’re ugly, you shout “Shut up, devil! God made me beautiful!” Depression and anxiety soon follow if you are not diligent to cut off these types of lies. (Proverbs 23:7)

As a trickster… The devil uses trickery by getting you to agree to a set of terms then changing up the game. Guess who loses? Not him. Anytime you can get something quickly by doing this, that, or the other, KNOW that it will cost you far more than you’re willing to pay. Think Jacob and Laban (Genesis 30:25-43). Be careful of contracts and agreements that offer promotion. Only God promotes, and He does so by our obedience. (Psalm 75:6-7)

As a tempter… The devil works as a tempter when he entices you to believe that a sinful act is acceptable under certain conditions. It is just a small matter and easily forgivable by God when a tear-trenched prayer is offered. (Ah. I’m stepping on my own toes here.) But the same devil that tells you it’s a small matter to get you to do it will condemn you afterwards by taunting “How could you do something so big and awful!” The tempter becomes the accuser. The tempter becomes the accuser. The tempter becomes the accuser. (Did you get that?) How do you get free from the lies of temptation? Do what Jesus did in Matthew 4. Speak the Word of God and act in obedience.

No matter HOW he lies, YOU must be quick to catch it and cast it down in Jesus’ name. If you believe the lie, you empower the liar. Don’t even mentally assent to the words of the devil. Immediately reject them!

Here’s what the Holy Spirit spoke to me about the devil and his lying. And before I say this I want you to picture Oprah standing on her stage and shouting “AND YOU GET A CAR! EVERYONE GETS A CAR!” That’s how excited I am about this revelation.



It’s not so much that he is a liar (even though he is)…

THROUGH THE EXERCISING OF THE WORD OF GOD, YOU MAKE HIM A LIAR!

YOU MAKE HIM A LIAR!!

AND YOU MAKE HIM A LIAR!

EVERYBODY MAKE THE DEVIL A LIAR!

NOW SHOOOOOUUUUT!

 

OK, I’m done here. I’ve preached myself happy.

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Pursuit of Purity, Uncategorized

I don’t know a single Christian who is a fan of what I’m about to discuss in this post. No one is eager to welcome suffering and temporary pain that comes with this topic. No one sees the outright benefit of not enjoying one of the few relatively sinless pleasures life has to offer. Yet the Bible is clear about its role in the Christian’s life. “WHEN you fast” is the phrase Jesus used… not if. When.

I am, by no means, a fasting master. But in the midst of this season many churchgoers are undertaking what looks like, smells like, tastes like, and feels like a consecration yet grievously misses the mark. And we wonder why breakthrough and miracles seem to be little more than a myth!

I was supposed to do ten days of a Daniel fast this month. I purchased my fruits, veggies, and whole grains to prepare for the week, and when I got up on day 2 the Lord canceled my plan and simply stated “Just eat what I tell you to eat when I tell you to eat it.” I obeyed for breakfast and mid-morning snack, but the time noon rolled around, I was aching. I so badly wanted to grab a salad from District Taco that is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY Daniel fast compliant. But do you know what He said to me? “I want you to feel the hunger. Stand here in pain.” Four hours later one person I needed to be removed from my life was cut off by a simple slip of the tongue. Bless, Yahweh!

It is in the moments of physical pain that we experience spiritual victory. The churning of an empty stomach places a believer at the feet of the Master to request the grace needed to press forward. I don’t think I ever understood that point before this past week.

Fasting is designed to do two things for the Christian: to prevent unnecessary suffering by controlling physical appetites AND to prepare the body to undergo suffering that will yield great spiritual fruit. Fasting will help you manage appetites for food, sex, attention, spending, etc., etc., etc. The need for gratification drives our decisions far too often, but fasting can bring those things back into balance and PREVENT a whole lot of drama. Secondly, the Lord spoke very clear to me that Christ-followers will and do suffer as a part of our walk. Fasting strengthens us against the hardships that will certainly come. The Lord spoke it to me like this: “You must beat your body to prepare it to be beaten.”

Selah.

Before my brain completely checks out, I want to share these points on fasting as the Lord has given them to me.

  1. You should really, no really, keep fasting a private matter. I find one exception when you’re looking for support with brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve had to check myself on this several times, and when I was pressed this week about why I wasn’t eating the turkey meatloaf, I said I was doing a “cleanse.”
  2. Fasting is about abstaining from FOOD. You cannot fast TV, social media, or just sweets. If the fast does not cause you to feel the pain in your belly and make you tired and cranky, it is doing little work in your spirit and soul.
  3. Fasting is BEST accompanied by abstaining from television, social media, and excess communication with others. Why? Because your spirit man is WIDE open, and whatever gets in can and will compete with the voice of God. Hide yourself as much as possible to increase your intimacy with the Lord.
  4. People have lots of different ways to fast. Some do 6am to 6pm with no food. Some do the Daniel fast with only fruits and veggies. Some are so sick and tired of their problems they just stop eating altogether for a few days. The type of fast you choose to do should be Scripturally- supported. Don’t go making up something based off your preferences or even cultural norms. Look to the Word of God and obey the voice of the Lord.
  5. Fasting may trigger dreams, and sometimes, spiritual attacks. Because your spirit man is unusually open you will encounter more, but if you’re continually filling yourself with the Word of God and spending time in prayer, you are safe and well-equipped to deal with your enemy.
  6. Watch those moments when you feel like you just need a little “something.” Often the enemy distracts us to when the Lord is preparing to speak. Endure those sharp twinges, sip water, and hear from the Lord.
  7. If you want to grow quickly or if you have stubborn problems LIKE I DO, plan to fast regularly. I used to fast twice a week back in the day, and the growth I experienced was tremendous. Now the Lord has me on a different plan, but I’m looking forward to the outcome.
  8. Fasting will undo physical damage. Sin will literally change your body and cause it to break down in ways you can’t imagine. Every disease and disorder known to man has a root of sin, if not from the person, then from their generational line. I believe fasting is God’s way of disconnecting us from the sin in our bloodlines, causing the blood of Christ to flow through our veins, and to bring us complete and total healing.

What has the Lord taught you about fasting? What can you commit to doing each month? Do you have stubborn problems that only fasting can break? How can you create room for God to move in your life if the space you’ve provided Him is the space it’s always been?

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

P.S. I delayed posting this, and on Saturday the Lord told me to fast all day. I didn’t obey. Gah! A TRAP WAS SET FOR ME, AND I DID NOT ESCAPE! Father, help!!

Pursuit of Purity, Uncategorized

Did you know that the most basic requirement of the Christian walk is to present our bodies as a living sacrifice? We often define the sacrificial lifestyle for singles as celibacy, but God keeps poking my heart and teaching me that celibacy is far cry from purity. You can be physically a virgin, but in your soul have all the turmoil and residue from dabbling in sexual sin.

I’m challenging you, my sister in Christ, to deal with the pieces of your life that may be hidden from plain sight, but in your heart, you KNOW God is not pleased. If you are bold and ready to experience liberty, then join me for 30 Days in Pursuit of Purity.

Partner with me and a group of my closest lady friends as we explore topics like phone accountability, generational curses, and dating strategies (because sometimes it feels more like war) through the lens of God’s Word. If you’ve read any of my posts, you know I like to dig deep, and I don’t mind getting dirty as long as it brings glory to God.

Think you might want to join? Here’s what you can do to prepare:

  • Ask a girlfriend to partner with you.
  • Follow @PursuitOfPurity on Twitter or like my Facebook page for general information.
  • Buy yourself a nice journal, pen, and  a big, pretty water bottle.
  • Subscribe to my blog to keep up with daily posts and prayer points.
  • If you’re interested, check out my book Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow. You can purchase it on Tate Publishing’s website.

The challenge will start July 1! I’m in the process of blog-writing, gift-buying, and sanctifying, and I pray the Lord will impress upon your heart to join me.

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana