Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 ESV

I’m writing this post to admonish you to guard your heart during this very trying season. It’s easy to become contaminated with unrighteous anger and bitterness. People will try you with their commentary. People will unfairly exalt the life of one over another. People will be silent as your blood curdles and screams at the loss of yet another one.

But God… He is still good! This is NOT His plan! Anchor your hope in Him, and you will not grow weak with fear.

Just yesterday I was watching tv and saw a big, black man in the background. My spirit leaped, and I thought “I’m glad he’s ok!” Just yesterday an older white woman snatched her young granddaughters from my son’s walking path as if he were going to harm them.

But God is still good!

I decided that I will NOT allow any of what’s taking place in this nation to contaminate my heart. I will not spew hatred. I will not cower in fear. I will not raise my son to be lily-livered and coonish in hopes to avoid white slander. I won’t do it. Furthermore I will not view whites, police officers, politicians, or ministers as my enemies. We are ONE nation, even if they choose not to see it.

Here’s what you can do to guard your heart during this season:

  1. Turn OFF the news and social media outlets that are grievous to you. Social media is a tool used to gauge your response to issues AND to incite issues. The systems of the world want to keep you in your FEELINGS, so you can’t think! Please please please stop watching and sharing the videos.
  2. Question EVERYTHING! A few times over the past few days, the Holy Spirit has said to me “Don’t trust that.”  Some things are manufactured to force a desired outcome. (Matthew 16:3)
  3. Pray in the spirit. The Holy Spirit will quiet your emotions and give you grace to stand. (Jude 1:20)
  4. Resist fear! Fear will have you making all kinds of bad choices. Hold your position! (2 Timothy 1:7)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (John 5:8)

Read Psalm 91.

Pray:

  1. I decree and declare in the name of Jesus that as my family walks in holiness and obedience to God, we will be exempt from the bloodshed happening in our nation.
  2. Lord, we pray for protection of innocent people and judgment of those who are targeting them through systemic injustice. 
  3. Lord, dismantle the powers that are controlling the air waves and devising evil on this nation. Let every evil thing calling for bloodshed be judged by the power of Jesus Christ.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Notice I didn’t say I found forgiveness because forgiveness is always available for the repentant…

But my heart was so entrenched and in love with the sin, I could not stop. Even when I was able to maintain my celibacy, I still dabbled in other areas of impurity. Because I was not totally pure I believe the Lord allowed me to become involved in what I thought was a Godly relationship, but within a few months became very tumultuous.

I’m telling on myself so that I don’t go back to that lifestyle. So there’s step one. When you’re struggling in sin and you KNOW you want to come out, expose the sin. Find someone to tell what you’re struggling with and that you want to be free. The enemy dwells in secrets, and as long as his agenda is hidden you’re bound. I remember calling up one of my guy friends who is married and mature. We had a mutual friend who would come by and “see me,” and I was tired of being used. When I spoke to my friend and told him what was going on, not only did the shame leave me, but the will to continue to allow this guy use me left as well.

That takes me to step two. Yes, I believe in accountability partners, but I also believe choosing that partner should be a Spirit-led process. I also don’t think it’s wise that one person know ALL your business. I have one girlfriend that I’ll call and report to when I see temptation on the horizon. She calls me in like manner. When pressing situations arise, I ask the Lord who I should trust with the matter. Usually He has prepared that person’s heart with a merciful word and guidance. Telling the WRONG person is one of the worst things you can do, so definitely be led by the spirit of God in this. If you’re in a situation where the person you’re involved with, wants you to keep the sin a secret (because men can be like that… chile) tell anyway. He can remain in his sin, and will likely do so. But you, my sister, must come out.

Step three… I’m so sorry for this one because it will turn you upside down. Pray this prayer: “Father, in the areas of my life where I don’t love you enough, teach me to love You more.” Not only did praying this cause me to become more aware of HOW the enemy was working in my life, but it also gave me the will to stand against the enemy because I became more confident of God’s love. This prayer forced me to obedient to what the Lord commanded or suffer the consequences. Consequences are horrible, but I will stay the Lord was gracious when I suffered.

Through these things the Lord worked TRUE repentance in me, and not just the sentimental “I’m sorry” or even the faux remorseful “I’m sorry I got caught/pregnant” repentance. Over time my opinion of the sin actually changed, and what was once so enticing has now become repulsive to me.

One last note… Someone needs YOU to be mature so they can trust you with the trouble going on in their life. Stay in the Word and in prayer so when they come (because they WILL come) you can encourage them to get back on track (Proverbs 25:11).

Believing God’s opinion and being able to walk it out is the true measure of purity. 

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:22 and Proverbs 22

Pray: 

  1. Father, even though I love this sin, help me to love you more.
  2. Show me who I can trust with this matter. Give them a word of mercy to encourage my heart to obey.
  3. In the areas of my life where I don’t love you enough, teach me to love you more.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Today I want to highlight a freedom that is more liberating than any other, and that’s the freedom found in Christ Jesus.

As an American, you have the right to choose your own path in life. You can attend school, worship how you see fit, vote for whomever you choose, buy and wear what you want.. You have choices. Liberty is a beautiful thing!

But for all the liberation granted in this nation,  a woman can still be trapped in her soul. And what good is the freedom to be who you want and do what you want when you have no peace or joy?

Asking God for forgiveness may bring us back into right relationship, but the soul is still worn and tired from being toyed with. A tired soul feels loneliness and guilt when its deeds are done. A trapped soul will cry on its pillow, but soothe itself by going back to the act that created the pain in the first place. What a vicious cycle!

For all you can do in this nation to express your liberty, what good is it if your soul is sad, worn, and defeated?

Paul says it best:

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful;
all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
(1 Corinthians 10:23 NKJV)

Yes, my sister, you can do what you want. But is it good for you? Will it push you forward? Will it give you peaceful sleep, or will it violate your conscience?

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:23, Romans 14:17

Pray:

  1. Father, deliver me from the snares in my soul.
  2. Teach me about true liberty, and help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy.
Being Saved, Uncategorized

After my divorce in 2009, I was demonically driven to engage in sexual activity. I thank God for being merciful to me during that time. Even though I was acting out of my brokenness, my disobedience was a stench in God’s nostrils. During that season I really began to cry out to the Lord for purity because my sin created such a rift. I literally could not close my eyes without the wrong things coming to mind.

Some of us simply struggle with the flesh. This is a natural, normal, and common battle. For others, we have become demonically inspired and even pushed into sinful acts. The devil literally made us do some things because we yielded to his power one too many times. For the latter, deliverance is needed.

Now while I believe in deliverance, I do find that believers use it as a cop out. We think we have permission to act up until God waves His proverbial magic wand, runs the demons away, and only then, are we able to live holy.

But the Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 10:6…

…and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

WHAT IS THIS?!

God will punish all disobedience, that is He will deliver you from the evil powers enforcing their will upon yours, but ONLY AFTER YOUR OBEDIENCE IS FULFILLED. You have a responsibility to obey the Lord despite the push to do otherwise.

God will not judge the devil working in your life as long as you continue to partner with it.

Have I ever told you about the time I farted out a few demons? Don’t laugh! I’m serious!

I was in a prayer circle before a service where my spiritual father was ministering. I felt the power of God hit me in the stomach and something leave my body. They went out a few different ways. By the time I was able to stand again, I felt lighter and freer. When I left that meeting, the force that was driving me to live unholy was completely gone. Every struggle I had after that was simply flesh-driven… a much lighter battle!

Before attending that meeting, I had been seeking the Lord about my deliverance. He lead me to have some things removed from my body (might share on that another time) and taught me how to pray myself out of temptation. When I enacted those things, I was able to bring every evil thought and every rationalization of wrong into captivity. That’s when deliverance found me.

Prayer lines are wonderful. We need men and women of God to lay hands on us to drive demons out, but those types of deliverances are not lasting without our obedience to God’s word. All the oil in the world can’t change an unwilling soul. Having said that, if the individuals laying hands on us are not clean, our problems are compounded. Been there too…

You can’t buy your deliverance. You don’t have to wait until some magical moment. Your deliverance is in your obedience. Set yourself free!

Read 2 Corinthians 10.

Pray: 

  1. Keep me from every evil temptation and give me the power to yield to only You.
  2. As I read your Word, may it fill me with the desire to do Your will and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Day 2: (Un)clean Worship

God wants one thing from you. Just ooone thing. It’s not your money. It’s not your sacrifice. It’s not even your sentiment, talents, or ability to exegete (*rolls eyes*) Scripture.

He wants your obedience.

I would go to church, because I sentimentally loved God, but my mind would play back images of things I’d done that were unclean. I would raise my hands during praise and worship and ask for forgiveness over and over. I would cry and enjoy the feeling of His presence. “Oh God, you’re so good. No one can compare! I love you more than anybody or anything!” Boo hoo hoo! Sob sob sob!

But God told me my worship was foul, displeasing, and unacceptable. How could He say such a thing after I told Him I was sorry? After I washed myself in the blood? Doesn’t the blood make me clean?

Sidebar here… I’ve met Christians who say God is never harsh or direct with them. They’ve never felt the chastising of the Lord, and if this is you, I have to ask… ARE YOU TRULY A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST? Because He chastens those He loves, and chastening does not feel good. Babes in Christ may get a little softer rebuke, but eventually the Lord requires obedience.

In the Old Testament, God required a blood sacrifice to cover sin. Abel obeyed and gave the Lord what He required. Cain offered what he wanted and expected God to accept it. This sounds an awful lot like the “God knows my heart” deception that’s running through the body of Christ. If you believe that you can continually live in sin, and that God will accept your [redacted] unrepentant self as His own because you SENTIMENTALLY love Him  or because you’re always at church working/tithing/giving, then you are deceived.

To God, love IS obedience. (John 14:15)

Offering unclean worship to the Lord is like leaving meat out to spoil then throwing it on the grill thinking it won’t stink. Not only does it stink, but it attracts flies and other unwanted guests. In fact, the Bible clearly says that offering our bodies as a living sacrifice (holy and pleasing to God) is our reasonable service, or in modern day lingo, the least we can do. Paul even goes as far to say that THIS is the act of true worship.

What sort of sacrifice are you offering the Lord? Is it pleasing to Him? Are you expecting Him to accept what He does not want? What does TRUE repentance look like, and how do you get there when you may truly enjoy the compromise?

Selah.

Read Romans 12 and 1 Samuel 15

Pray and declare:

  1. I will love God more than I love sin.
  2. I will be free from uncleanness and offer God a pure and holy sacrifice.

 

Photo credit: LicenseAttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Will Foster

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Day 1: Why Celibacy ISN’T Purity

Somewhere the message of purity has been diluted to one simple point… DON’T HAVE SEX UNTIL YOU’RE MARRIED.

Right?

And as true as that one statement may be, it’s pointed at one particular act and devoid of several truths. We love to ignore what’s not said because we can justify doing everything BUT that one thing. We shame those trapped in sexual sin or caught in its snares, but we secretly hold on to our private indulgences thinking they’ll never land us in the same (or worse) situations.

What about the M-word?

What about toys?

What about those sites those late night incognito web searches?

What about conversations that are impure?

Our thoughts and fantasies?

What about the things we agree to do in private that take us riiiiight up to that line?

What about the married man or woman that is being entertained in flirtatious conversations?

What about our rushing to the altar praying for a spouse so we can LEGALLY, but selfishly have sex?

What about the things we say, wear, do, and the pictures we take that entice others to view us sexually?  

What about the shows we watch and songs we listen to that ignite those passions in us?

What about ANY of these things are pleasing to the Lord?

It’s not about how close you can get to the act without sinning, but how far you can stay away. 

Read Psalm 24.

Prayer points:

  1. Father, give me a pure heart that I may enjoy true intimacy with You.
  2. Help me to take on YOUR righteousness and keep me from falling.
  3. Show me who I can trust as an accountability partner, and give me the boldness to reach out to them.

Photo Credit: N Medd via Compfight cc

Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

“You had to go through what you went through.”

That’s the last part of the story from my previous post. I chose to withhold that part because while The Vinedresser and His Shears dealt with the big picture, this post deals with a much smaller, more specific, more microcosm-y view…

Me.

This post deals with MY pruning process. And why it’s been so long since you heard from me last.

Sooo I had a baby. And she’s wonderful and chubby and drooly and happy. Her big brother and sister adore her. She’s brought a bit of Heaven to our lives in the most unexpected way. While I know you must be happy for my new addition, part of your brain probably short-circuited and recalled all that good Bible stuff I wrote in years past about living holy. Right?

Well I’m nothing if I’m not real, so I unashamedly confess that I messed up. I disobeyed and fell into THAT sin again. I sowed according to the flesh and reaped a harvest of disappointment, shame, and emotional pain. I went through the ringer on this one guys, but this post isn’t about my sorrow nearly as much as it’s about God’s redemptive plan and how He uses the shears to secure our destiny. I just chalked my situation up to my own stupidity and disobedience not really understanding that through all this God would mature me and set things right in my heart.

The truth is this. Had the Lord not pruned me, I would have continued to struggle with lust… and lust has incredible power to destroy one’s destiny. If you don’t believe me, look at Samson. My vine would have continued to produce bad fruit or no fruit at all which would have had me cut OFF instead of cut ON. I would never have the pure hope of enjoying a Godly marriage which I still have an incredibly confident expectation for. (Haha, devil! You don’t win!) What Satan meant for evil, God turned for my good. I am testifying to you today that I am COMPLETELY free from the bondage of lust, I bear no bitterness, and I’m enjoying my wonderful babies.

Here’s what I want and need YOU to understand. Pruning is painful and often humiliating. We often confuse pruning with persecution and spiritual warfare– these are tools for pruning by the way. But if you remain in position long enough God will show you what He’s doing in your heart. You will have to bear some shame. You might even have to hide yourself for a season, and that’s alright. But what you absolutely CANNOT do is remove yourself from the pruning process. It’s better to endure the shame for a short time than to continually live with an area of your life closed off from the Father.

Not to belabor the point, but I hear someone asking “How do I know if I’m being pruned?”

  • Has something bad happened in your life that you feel you didn’t deserve?
  • Did God tell you to do something that made NO sense and when you did, the situation ended up being uncomfortable for you?
  • Do you feel like you’ve been made a spectacle of?

Mmhmm. Stay. In. Position. Don’t make any sudden movements. Endure juuust a little longer. Two scriptures that helped me endure a full pregnancy and childbirth and taking said child to church with all the whisperers, etc., etc…

In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the LORD. (Isaiah 66:9)

And thou shalt know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me. (Isaiah 49:23b)

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

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

 

Being Saved, Uncategorized

A few months have passed since I wrote the post about the incubus and succubus spirits, and folks from all over the world (crazy, right?) have emailed me confessing that they’ve felt suffered from these attacks. Over the past few weeks, I’ve encountered some other sorts of spiritual attacks that are worth discussing.

It all started on a Tuesday afternoon. I was in the middle of a fast, and especially tired. I napped, dreamed about a friend, and woke up with crazy stomach pain. I couldn’t make it to service at church that night, so I watched it online and prayed along with the guest minister. I dozed and woke up around midnight from a vision…

I saw myself standing outside my apartment. There was no light anywhere except for at the door. I felt unsafe and heard people running and shouting up and down the street. I opened my apartment door and shouted “I can see you!” into the black night thinking it would ward off the strangers. Soon as the door opened I felt someone push past me into my apartment. When I looked inside, I saw a short figure with muscles running recklessly through my apartment. At that point I jumped out of my bed and began to pray. I warred in the spirit by praying in tongues for twenty minutes or so. After playing some worship music I dozed back to sleep confident that the evil spirit had been evicted. (Unlike dreams, visions are interactive. You experience them rather than just visualizing them. All of my physical senses were fully activated during this experience.)

Around 2:30 am I felt my body get incredibly hot. I tried to walk up the hallway to turn adjust the thermostat only to discover that I could not walk and could not see. I bounced from wall to wall until I hit my head forcefully on one wall and fell to the floor. I felt my mind beginning to slip, so I cried out to the Lord to help me. I knew that if I didn’t get off the floor I’d either end up in the hospital or worse. Thoughts of B&B being cared for by another sobered my thoughts and gave me the ability to cope with the pain. I crawled off the floor, turned down the heat, drank a glass of water, and passed out on the sofa.  I could literally feel the intense heat lift out of my body.

The next day I stayed home to recover. The stomach pain lasted longer than expected, and I could hardly eat the rest of the week. That afternoon, one of my girlfriends called to tell me she woke up around 2:30am and felt the urgency to pray for me until 4 that morning. What if she had not obeyed? My God!

Three other spiritual dreams followed over the next month, but thankfully, they were less intense. In the second encounter I saw a beautiful, but evil young woman mocking me. I asked the Lord who this woman was, and He said “She’s the one taking your blessings.” I had seen her many times before in my dreams, but only this time was it brought to my conscious mind.

The third dream revealed a large woman who monitored everything I was doing to the point that created a hole between my home and hers so that she could hear and watch what I was doing. I’ve had dreams of this spirit since  I was a very young child, but again, only now was it brought to my conscious mind.

This is a deep topic, but there are five points I want you get out of this post as it pertains to spiritual warfare.

  • God wants the absolute best for your life, and the devil only wants to steal, kill, and destroy. He HATES you and is working overtime to scatter the good things in your life. Don’t get it twisted… Any good thing the devil brings will end in heartache and shame, or worse.
  • When you receive Christ in  your heart you are saved immediately in your spirit, but salvation of the soul is progressive. Demons dwell in the soul of believers until we become free from them. Those who never receive deliverance find themselves frustrated in trying to live a holy life before the Lord. Many more, just don’t want to be free so they will not see the fullness of the promises of God in their lives on this earth.
  • Evil spirits come through a few avenues, particularly through family lines (generational curses, sins of the forefathers, promises and vows made by our parents, etc.), sins we commit, and sins committed against us. Repentance and prayer will keep these forces.
  • Spiritual attacks can be frightening particularly when we are spiritually strong enough to deal with them, BUT these attacks do not mean that God does not love us or that He has abandoned us. He is simply exposing the enemy and calling our attention to a serious matter that must be addressed through reading the Word, prayer and fasting.
  • Only the name of Jesus Christ spoken by those who have an intimate relationship with the Him can defeat powers of darkness. If you find yourself unable to move or speak when under attack and the spirit won’t leave, that is an indication that you must draw closer to the Master. The enemy knows who bears light and who is claiming they bear light but have no power. Don’t be like the seven sons of Sceva, try to fake the funk, and get that tail whipped.

There is more to come on this topic, but I’m curious to hear what’s going on in your spiritual life? Who are you seeing in your dreams and visions? What happens in your life before a breakthrough? I’m listening! Email me through the Contact page or at consideringthelily@gmail.com.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Smart, Uncategorized

I was looking for a piece of paper with some illegible scribble. That was the only sign in my mind that my dishwasher was fixed. Everyday that I came home and found no paper I became more and more despondent about having to wash dishes by hand.

I had become fond of the paper. The one time I could decipher the scribble, it read “I fisc the hole.”

Fisc? Ok, sir. Thank you ever so much. Now can you fisc my dishwasher? I know you said the part had to be shipped, but it’s been over a week now. And I NEED that paper? I will have conquered another item on my list once I get that paper.

So for seven days I trudged into the house, glanced at the mess on the dining room table… no paper… no fisc-ing. By day eight, I had resolved to call the rental office to remind them of my suffering. How dare they leave me without my modern day convenience? Yep. I came in the house, saw no paper, and planned to make the call. I glanced in the kitchen and thought “Boy, it looks different in there” then headed to my room to get a power nap before homework and dinner.

At 5:30 someone banged on the door and the kids shouted that the maintenance man needed to speak with me.

“Do it work alriiight, ma’am?”

“Work? Does what work?”

“The dishwasher, ma’am. I fisc it today. You no knooow?”

I felt like a fool. How could I not notice the paper I had been looking for for days? I ran into the kitchen, again admiring its cleanliness. To my surprise, my dishwasher was running perfectly with all the kids’ dishes from breakfast, my KitchenAid mixing bowls, silverware, and God knows whatever else was floating around the sink.

He followed me into the kitchen and watched as I discovered his gift of kindness. I hugged him and thanked him profusely for his kindness. And then I asked…

“But where’s the paper?”

“No paper dis time. I just come and do it for you.”

I gushed… half from embarrassment and half from… well, no. All embarrassment. All those dishes. All that mess. And I didn’t even notice the mighty gift that was offered to me because I was looking for a sign.

A foolish and perverse generation seeks after a sign… (Matthew 16:4)

That’s what the Holy Spirit spoke to me. That’s the same thing Jesus said to the Pharisees and Sadducees when they asked him to do a magic trick to make them believe.

Let us not be so wicked in our hearts that we look for the sign rather than trusting in the goodness and faithfulness of the Father. 

Selah.