Being Saved, Uncategorized, Video Blogs & Podcasts

Overcoming Sickness

This is my first podcast, and I hope to jump on the iTunes bandwagon soon. Here are the Scriptures used to support this teaching.

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Luke 13:10-13

Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

 

Isaiah 53:5

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

 

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

 

Luke 1:37

With God, nothing is impossible.

 

John 9: 1-3

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

 

2 Corinthians 4:17

For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!]

 

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With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Be Not Condemned

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] L [/dropcap]ast night I practiced the technique from Will You Hear from God Part 2: How to Hear from God for YOURSELF!

The Lord took me on a bunny trail which began at 1 Peter 3, and ended with my meditating on the differences between condemnation and conviction. Hop down this trail with me a little ways.

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3: 14-17)

Every so often a mini-attack is launched my way, and it often comes through a believer. I’ve learned to deal with the person as gently as possible and to never to get into a debate, so the verses above really spoke to that situation. I often to ask the Lord why would a believer come so strongly against another, and He said “Because of their own heart issues.”

See… God points out our heart issues in one way, and that is through conviction. The enemy works in the heart of a believer (and nonbeliever) through condemnation. I didn’t get this in a sermon, you understand. He spoke this to me last night, so walk with me.

Imagine if you will, two packages. One  is a ragged, misshapen box with outdated, torn wrapping paper. The other is neatly and attractively wrapped with a beautiful matching bow on top. Both boxes are handed to you.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the contents of the two boxes and their affect on our lives.

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Condemnation does the following…

  • Issues you a sentence for your wrong & points to you as worthless, stupid, and unable to do anything right, etc.
  • Says “You’re never gonna change. Look what you did again.”
  • Sings songs like I’ve “Gotta clean up what you messed up. I’ve started my life over again.”
  • Makes you feel dirty and insignificant, so you have a hard time receiving the love of the Father.
  • Causes you to become hypersensitive and thus critical of others who are enjoying their freedom in Christ.
  • Keeps you walking on a tightrope to maintain your salvation.
  • Makes you a sourpuss that no one wants to be around. Oop.
  • Disconnects you from God’s spirit and causing you to be self-sufficient.

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Conviction does the following…

  • Issues a judgment on the action and heart intent while reminding you that the price has already been paid!
  • The message inside says “It’s time to change. Here are the tools.”
  • Sings songs like “Oh the blood of Jesus! It washes white as snow!”
  • Reminds you that the Blood of Jesus is enough, and that a righteous man falls seven times but gets back up!
  • Removes the bad feelings that come from sin and guides you to seek out spirit-led support and accountability.
  • Frees you from guilt and shame and allows you to live a life in Christ through freedom and liberty.
  • Causes a genuine change in heart followed by repentance which is followed by JOY!
  • Keeps you hooked in to the life line of the kingdom causing you to grow and blossom into your full destiny!

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If you struggle with condemnation (i.e. feeling cursed, incompetent, worthless, destined to fail) in your walk with Christ, you will not get far! You must send away the bad feelings and accept Christ’s love for your shortcomings. This is one of the MAIN reasons people do not even come to Christ in the first place! They don’t think they deserve to be forgiven of their sins, and so they won’t be. Let this unbelief not be among those of us who call ourselves Christ followers. Read Romans 8 until you get in your spirit that your walk in Christ is not all doom and gloom!

The message of the cross is heal, set free, deliver, proclaim good news… any doctrine outside of this is NOT the Gospel of Christ. Yes, we have to tighten up some areas of our lives to become free in our spirits but those things should never come through control or manipulation. As a last point, be careful who you allow to feed you spiritually. Many preachers in this time share their personal preferences and opinions which are NOT the Gospel of Christ. Don’t allow others to bind you up over their personal issues.

 We all slip up from time to time. Which box do you choose?
The Father’s conviction which heals and delivers or the enemy’s condemnation which brings a curse?

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

My Daily Bread

My Father Who sits in Heaven,

You look down upon the Earth, not as a God who is distant or uncaring, but as one Who longs for reconciliation to Your creation. You made me because You desired companionship, and though I’ve turned my back on You, You’ve loved me and longed for me still. The blood Your Son shed is the only way I could be restored to You. I thank You for giving Your Son because now I can come boldly before Your throne in prayer.

My Father, You are Holy. There is none like You! In You there is NO evil, and because You are so good, You must judge what is wrong in me. Judge me, Lord. Judge my heart and cleanse me from any thing that is not like You. Your ways… Who can know them? How can I ever understand Your thoughts toward me? You are highly exalted above the Earth, yet Your presence rests on me and within me. You promised to never leave me, and I will never leave You.

Lord, I ask You to bring your kingdom to this Earth. In Heaven, there is no sickness. In Heaven, there is no grief. In Heaven, there is no lack. I don’t believe I have to leave my physical body to live in Heaven. I can have it now! So God I ask you to bring Heaven to Earth in my life and in this world. So many suffer, Lord, because they don’t know You are the answer. Use me to meet their need. Use me to bring Heaven to Earth. Let Your will be done in Your servant and in the Earth You created.

Father, Your presence is my daily bread. Food alone cannot sustain me. Some days I feel as if I’ll die if I can’t hear Your voice. Lead, guide, and direct me in my dreams and speak to me during the day. Your voice satisfies my soul. Nothing else matters if I cannot hear You. I trust You to provide everything I need for the day… not just money, but peace, guidance, wisdom, and joy. I thank You for the new mercies that will greet me when I open my eyes every morning. I don’t take Your grace lightly. I won’t use it as license to sin. 

My Lord, forgive my debts as I forgive those who owe me. I owe far more that I could ever repay, but I trust You to meet my need. And, Lord, I ask You to forgive me of the things I’ve done, said and thought about others that displeased You. Lord, I forgive those who have wronged me, and I ask You to bless them abundantly.

I struggle sometimes, Father, with worry and daily stress. My body wants to do the opposite of my spirit, and so I fight to do right. My desires are not always Yours, but God, I ask You to protect me from myself. Let me not sin against You and grieve Your Holy Spirit. The enemy wants my life. He wants my children’s lives. Let your angels guard us in our ways of obedient service to you. Protect me from those who’ve set themselves against me. You promised to defend me from my enemy and to cause them to be at peace with me. Quiet my enemies, Lord, and those who refuse to be quieted, I ask you to break their teeth so that they come against me no more.

For this is your Kingdom and in it resides Your power and Your Glory forever….

In Jesus’ name,

 

Amen.

How can you make the Lord’s prayer your own prayer?

 

 


Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Mixing Faith & Politics: Don’t Believe the Lie

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Two weeks ago I wrote about personal rights and righteousness, but this time I want to discuss our legal rights as they pertains to our freedoms and liberties. This post is political in nature, and though I hate politics with a deep, burning passion, I will blog on the matter while my rights to do so are still in tact.

Here’s what I won’t do in the post.

  • I will not share my voting preferences for parties or persons.
  • I will not address any of the issues that are currently being discussed in the media.
  • I will not define or discuss politics from a political science or even legal point of view.

So what the heck am I going to do?

I’m going to remind you of WHO YOU ARE in Christ and WHY it’s of the utmost importance for you to take your faith to the polls.

Being a person of faith, regardless of which faith, requires more than just weekly attendance to your house of worship, prayer, and reading of a holy text. Regardless of whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu… to be a good *insert religious affiliation here* you have LIVE according to your belief system. And your belief system infiltrates EVERY area of your life right down to voting.

As a Christ-follower, I believe fully, completely, and totally the doctrines that Christ taught and lived. What’s more I believe that the Old Testament God and New Testament God are one and the same even though His covenant with us has changed. Therefore my Bible dictates every aspect of my life included finances, relationships, business, and politics… This is not a mark of weakness or inability as some would assert. Keep your negative opinions to yourself until you’ve read all of what I have to say.

I strongly believe that faith and politics do mix. After all, if you don’t take your belief system to the polls, who will? Who will represent your God?

Not convinced? Ok… walk with me.

God has ordained YOU to bring His will into the earth.

People often ask how God, if there is a God, could let such horrible things happen in the world. The scripture very clearly states that God has given the earth to MEN (Psalm 115:16). If we permit injustices to happen in the earth, He will also. So that means the depravity, sickness, poverty, etc., that so heavily grieves us is our own fault. We KNOW that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect so we have a twofold duty…

  • To pray THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE (Matthew 6:10), and
  • To allow God to USE us in the answering of the prayer.
Exercise your kingdom authority in this earth. How can we pray for one thing, and then act against the very thing you prayed? Oh God, save our nation’s children… *casts vote for…* (I said I wouldn’t do that… sorry.)

Separation of church and state was never intended to remove God from the picture.

The purpose of this clause is to prevent any religious organization from dictating the laws of a nation and the rights of a people. It seems to me we’ve only used this clause to remove the rights of a set of people so as to not offend others. I guess we all have a right not to be offended, but is that a reason to remove prayer from schools or to stop kids from wearing an American flag to class? Ugh… that offends me!

This land is MY land.

Don’t try to dictate what I can and  should do in my own nation when you are not a citizen. I know being a “global citizen” is popular right now, but there’s something to be said for patriotism. America was founded on strong Christian principles, and not those “watered-down, wimpy, let’s be friends with everybody” sentiments that I’m seeing in my Facebook news feed.

Your skin-color is temporary… your kingdom purpose, eternal.

God knew me before the foundation of the earth. He knew you too. He chose your Black/White/Asian/Hispanic parents for the purpose of building His kingdom, not to give you a limited perspective of life from which you would vote. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Before anyone fought for my rights to vote as a Black person or woman, Christ DIED so that I might live. My loyalty is to Him first!

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

This statement, as common as it used to be, rings true! Christians often say they accept things that are contrary to Word of God because they don’t want to IMPOSE THEIR BELIEFS ON ANYONE ELSE. I really don’t understand this mindset… at all. It’s hard for me to even formulate an argument because of the gross fallacy represented here. But here’s my attempt…

  • If voting for or against a particular issue is, in fact, an imposition of beliefs then those who disagree with you are imposing their beliefs ON YOU… so you let the other person win and give up your rights? That’s not smart.
  • The Bible says that peaceMAKERS, not peacekeepers, will be blessed. It’s your job to stand for what’s right even when it makes others uncomfortable, because through the fight you will be blessed and others may be saved.
  • To agree with people doing whatever they wish just because they “can” is anti-God. This is not Christian love, people. I don’t care how you try to justify it, God is not pleased.

Standing up for what you believe is hardly an imposition on others. Don’t be so naive. Let the other side squirm, squeal, and cry… You stand and speak out, or else their whinings will eventually silence you. In case you haven’t noticed, our freedom of speech is being taken away little by little.

United we stand, or divided we fall.

When President Obama took the office, White Christian America went slammmmmmm off! Whether he is or isn’t the man God wanted in office was a moot point after the election… The Bible makes it very clear that we are to pray for our leaders so that we may have peace. Agreeing with him or her is not a requirement. Pray God’s will be done! (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

 

After all is said and done, God still reigns. And you and I will have to answer to Him. My earnest prayer is that God will say to us “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into my rest.” I know this piece doesn’t address the obvious challenges in our system and that no one candidate represents all of what we’d like, but I wanted to, at the very least, stir up your faith and remind you of what’s really important.

Let us reconsider our position on these critical matters.
Are you who you say you are?
Do your actions line up with your beliefs?
Do your beliefs line up with Christ’s?

With love, sincerity, and hope for our nation’s future,

 

Alana

Photo credit

Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Making Melodies

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Undoubtedly the 90’s gave us the BEST R&B music and by best I mean the most sexual, soulish, crooning-est harmonies ever. Nothing was held back for listener’s interpretation in the lyrics and even less was left to the imagination in the videos. It’s a wonder some of us made it out of that decade with no babies, AIDS, or other STD’s.

All those songs I sang in my high school feelings… If it’s wrong to love you, then my heart just won’t let me be right… I didn’t have good sense. Fortunately I did have Godly music to sustain me and to counter some of the garbage I put into myself. At the time the lyrics seemed so real and relevant. They gripped my very soul and satisfied what seemed to be a deep need.

But God! Now I know there is a song that goes to the deepest part of my being and resonates with every part of me. And that’s the song that the Lord sings over me that I can’t help but sing back to Him.

So this post is a call to action. It’s time to change our songs, ladies and gents.
It’s time to re-affirm our faith in Christ and clean out the junk that drives us to make one bad decision after another.

I won’t go as far to say that all secular music is bad… That isn’t my point. I am saying that to continue in this walk, we’ve got to listen to music that breathes life into our being instead of the music that just tickles our emotions.

My favorite scripture, Zephaniah 3:17, says that the Father rejoices over us with singing. Let us sing back to Him the praises that He greatly deserves!

 

Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs

The Bible admonishes us to “Speak out to one another (and to ourselves) in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices and instruments and making melody with all our hearts to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19)

A psalm is a sacred song used in worship. These are intimate melodies that speak of God’s faithfulness and goodness. I actually have a piece somewhere about writing psalms, but I shall save that for another day.

Hymns are written for the purpose of praise, adoration, or prayer. I’ve found myself singing hymns like “Draw Me Nearer” and “I Surrender All” lately. I know these songs remind us of granny’s dry Sunday morning service, but the message is timeless. Change up the style as you sing it to the Lord. Make it fresh and exciting, but tap in to the deep roots of these songs.

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord to the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord to Thy precious bleeding side.

Spiritual songs are melodies that relate to God and His spirit. This is a much broader category, but it’s definitely not a catch-all. Spiritual songs keep us flowing in God’s presence and tend to bubble up in our spirits when we need them.

Few Christian artists worship like Israel Houghton. This medley takes me in every time.

Songs of Deliverance

You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah–pause, and calmly think of that! (Psalm 32:7)

Have you ever found yourself in trouble? Maybe, like David, you were surrounded by enemies. Or like Saul, maybe your trouble resides within. But isn’t it comforting to know that God, on His throne, sings songs of deliverance over you? Notice David was in a place of hiding. When we encounter trouble, the best place for us to be is on our face before the Lord and requesting that He keep us out of further trouble.

I used to listen to this song when I was walking through that valley… Enjoy Jason Upton’s “Freedom.”

 

The New Song

O SING to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! (Psalm 96:1)

Don’t you get tired of hearing the same song over and over and over? What makes you think the Almighty feels any different? I can see Him leaning forward on His throne and tapping praise and worship leaders on the head everywhere as if to say “What else you got?”

While the scripture above could very well mean a new or different song than what you’ve been singing, I truly believe the new song is one that is birthed when a believer is in deep worship. As I pray I often find myself singing in the spirit. Sometimes a melody with lyrics pours out, and other times a free-flowing tune lights from my lips. Either way… the song is new and I find myself restored. Singing the new song creates an atmosphere where miracles can be released to and through us.

The song below is by a Phatfish, a British band. Words cannot express how… just listen to it!!

 

 

What songs have made a difference in your walk with Christ?
Share them in the comments section, and let’s build each other up!

 

Photo credit: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by Rob Ellis’

Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Thirsting

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She was a Samaritan.

She was promiscuous.

She was churchy.

 

This poor woman has been lambasted in pulpits everywhere. She is considered to be nothing more than a loose and undignified woman, yet we overlook the most vital elements of the story.

 

She was thirsty.

 

And all of us are thirsty for something.

 

It’s a fact that humans can live for weeks without food, but only three to five days without water. How much more will spiritual thirst drive us to seek relief from these so-called “tall drinks of water”?

 

I won’t go as far to say that I admire the Samaritan woman, but I do understand her. Five times married. Sixth man shacking up… She hoped in love, couldn’t find it, yet kept on trying.

 

I’ve been there. Well, only married once… But countless times I’ve sought for love.

 

Back at the well, a place where only single and unattached women were to be found, she met Jesus. Think back to when Abraham’s servant sought a wife for Isaac… where did he go? To the well, and there he found Rebekah. Where did Jacob first see Rachel? Again, at the well. Where do you go when you want some attention at work? To the proverbial water cooler…

 

So why would a woman who lived with a man be at the well if she was already “involved”?

 

For the same reason many of us run to the club. Or wear revealing clothing.  Or take new photos for Facebook and Instagram everyday. Or lay ourselves down in hopes that he or she will love us. Or tell someone we love them knowing we do not.

 

Many of us are unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and disappointed. We’re thirsty.

 

We have a deep desire to be loved and deeply cherished, not just “chose”. (Chose is twitter terminology for being good enough to be picked by someone to be in a relationship yet the term does not communicate anything about the quality of the relationship. It simply means you’ve got somebody which, to me, means very little.)

 

And here comes Jesus, with his smooth line…

 

“If you knew who is speaking to you right now, you’d ask me to give you water. And if you ask me, I’ll give it you and you’ll never thirst again.”

 

In hood vernacular, “You ain’t never met nobody like Me.”

 

Every time I read that line I smirk. Say what you want about my Lord, but He knows how to talk to a woman.  You can’t tell me that sister from Samaria didn’t melt. No wonder she had to come up with all that crap about where and how to worship. She was nervous!

 

But back to the story. Place yourself at that well for just a moment. Look deep down and consider whether the thing you’re desiring is at the bottom. You already know what’s there. You’ve been drinking from it for how long?

 

Now look at the bucket. Can such a small vessel possibly hold the fullness of what you desire? Certainly not!

 

Now turn your eyes to Jesus… He is the seventh man in the story. He is offering exactly what you need. He will fill YOU so that you need not come back to the well for something that temporarily satisfies! He will fill complete you, perfect you, and mature you so that you can help someone else.

 

I must leave the well. Single and unattached, I may be but there’s nothing at the well for me.

 

Your well may not be the same as mine. But consider… the lilies… and your secret longings. God is faithful to give you those desires, but not until we have turned to Him and allowed ourselves to be filled by His love and grace.

 

With sincerity, love, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

Scripture references: John 4, Genesis 24, Genesis 29

Photo by Kashif Mardani from Flickr

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Keeping Your Heart

To be perfectly honest I had felt disqualified to write about spiritual things even though I was commissioned to do so. Well, last week I was rebuked for NOT writing, so I must do as the Lord leads.

False teachers are springing up EVERYWHERE today. They’re on my tv, in my ear, in my family’s ear inviting us to try their wares. Try my manna bread and holy spring water. It’ll heal your body. Try my little prophet friend who can call out your credit card number. Try my miracle while I promise you miracle money just for listening to how great I am. 

While some of these ploys are obvious and meager in their attempts, others are much more pervasive and, ultimately, more dangerous. You see or hear a so-called man or woman of God and they acknowledge Jesus Christ as the son of God. So they pass the first test. And they preach the written Word. They pass the second test. The signs and wonders follow… seems to be a bonus there. But your spirit man knows. Something. Just. Ain’t. Right.

In this dark spiritual hour, we must be cognizant that demonic doctrine has slipped into the church and even some of our most respected national ministers may teach falsities from their pulpits. Some of these teachings have passed down from previous generations because “mama and daddy and ‘nem” couldn’t read and had no choice but to believe “Passa.” Others, however, have turned their backs on the kingdom platform that Christ explicitly stated in the Word, and because of their influence, many believers still accept them as part of Christ’s body.



So how can WE as believers guard our souls from such artfully-crafted lies? Here’s what the Lord has placed on my heart.

  1. We must learn to identify and recognize the voice of God. How does this happen? First, by reading His Word, particularly the Words of Jesus. His words always revealed the heart of God as it pertains to love for the lost and hatred for sin and hypocrisy. Second, through prayer and by prayer I mean you send your requests, then stop and listen for His. The Father’s words have a certain tone about them. They bring peace, yet they turn your mind upside down. His Words pierce and convict your heart of wrongdoing, yet comfort you at the same time. Learn to recognize this tone, by inclining your ear and quieting your spirit. (John 10:5, Isaiah 55:3)
  2. We must do what the Spirit says. Have you ever helped someone through a difficult problem, but they didn’t take your advice? They just wanted to talk and talk and talk, but never come to a resolution. Some people don’t want to do the right thing. Some don’t want to do anything at all. So I’ve learned to stop talking to those folk. I believe God handles us the same way. To keep the communication open, you have do more than listen. Obedience is the key to keep the spirit speaking. (Isaiah 1:17-19, 1 Samuel 1:22, Psalm 51:11)
  3. We must deal with our personal lusts and any desire that leads us away from Him. We tend to think of sex as the only source of lust, but this isn’t true. Anything that we desire so much that it causes us to miss God MUST be put into its proper place. Lust is the result of an imbalance or lack of prioritizing. Put your desires in their proper place, so every seemingly good thing that comes your way doesn’t lead you astray. (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 37:4)
  4. We must have a solid spiritual covering. Without having the foundation of a solid church home, we are all prey to enemy. God gave us pastors as shepherds. Shepherds guard the door to keep predators out, AND they protect the sheep should a prey sneak in another way. If you are NOT in a Spirit-led, Bible-teaching, fire-baptizing, people-loving church where the pastor(s) seek the face of God, it’s time to search elsewhere. (John 10)
  5. Pride HAS to go! Nothing sets one up for deceit quicker than pride! How many scriptures warn us against thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought? The one that speaks loudest to me reads something like this…”God resists the proud.” Ouch! So you can be a child of God, loving Him, thinking you’re doing the right things, but because of your pride, He will resist you. And most people in this situation think it’s the devil. I check myself fairly often for this, and I always find that in some capacity I’ve gotten a big head even if I haven’t communicated it to others. (Proverbs 16:18, James 4:6, 1 Corinthians 8:1-2, Romans 12:3)
  6. Inspect the fruit. With so many proclaiming to be ministers of the Gospel, it’s no wonder people are being led astray. Jesus gave us ONE litmus test for these situations. You shall know them by their fruit. In other words, not everyone who claims the name of Jesus, preaches His Word, and operates in signs and wonders is a follower of Jesus. You must check their fruits of the spirit. It doesn’t matter how gifted a person is if they lack maturity, joy, peace, and love for mankind. Keep your hateful, squawking Gospel. It’s not true to form! (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 7:15-20, Jude 17-25)

Regardless of what takes place in the heart of others, God commands us to keep our hearts with ALL diligence. That means we must spend time questioning our own beliefs, casting down anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Furthermore, we must keep our pastors, other ministers, and our brethren (and “sisteren”) in prayer when we see them starting to drift away.

I truly believe that God is not willing that any should be led astray, and for this reason, He will restore our lost loved ones to us. But in the meantime, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and to intercede for those who haven’t made it back home yet.

Thanks for reading. If this post has blessed you in any way, please please please repost, re-tweet, email, share, and forward. Comments are welcomed also. I’ll be glad to answer any questions to the best of my Scriptural knowledge and as the Lord leads.

Your sister in Christ,

Alana

 

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Being Saved, Uncategorized

Goosebump Christianity

“See that your believing is right, and if it is, you have no reason to doubt.”     -Rees Howells

Welcome to the Belief System Checkpoint. Warning! Your toes will be stepped on. Please remove your Steve Maddens and secure your feet with a pair of steel-toed boots. Go ahead… I’ll wait. Actually I need to find my own because I’m going to need them as much as you.

Now I am not pretending to be a theologist, minister, or even a philosopher. I am simply an imperfect woman who is madly and desperately in love with Jesus. Does that qualify me to make some of the statements I’m about to make? Pretty much, because I’m tired of all the foolishness we do in Jesus’ name that has nothing to do with Him or His Word. Don’t like it? Get your own blog, talk bad about me, and redirect the traffic to me so others can follow me too. (I said all that with a smile.)

I read my Bible pretty often, not always everyday, but at least several times a week. I don’t just read the verses and keep it moving. I meditate on them… talk about it… ask questions… wait for the answers… on and on. Being a critical thinker means I have to verify that the Word someone is teaching me is the truth. Not to mention, God has blessed me with an AWESOME mentor… shoutout to Apostle Demontae… that promptly and sometimes painfully whips me into shape. He’s a very patient man. :)

Over the years I’ve heard some krazy stuff… and the only reason I can think people would say any of it is to give folks goosebumps. I like a good goosebump and spine chill as much as the next person, but is that really evidence that GOD is in it? Too often we get caught up and sensationalize a matter and miss the point. 

So here are my top seven favorite goosebump-giving LIES that have been told to churchfolk that need to be EVICTED from our doctrine…

  1. God knows my heart, so if I do this He’ll forgive me. I’ve said this so many times… and even now I catch myself. But if I’ve done something I shouldn’t have, that means something bad is in my heart. And, yes, God knows that. Does it exonerate me from the consequences? Nope. Does it mean God is tolerable of my sinful nature? Absolutely not! God’s grace is not a license to sin, but it will change our sinful nature to a righteous one. In the meantime, let’s just call sin what it is and repent. There’s provision through repentance, but not through manipulation and deceit. And the heart, above all, is deceitful. Yeah, that’s Bible. 
  2. If you don’t tithe, you’ll lose your job. I heard this when I was church-hunting a few years ago, and I was tempted to stand up and shout “The devil is a liar!” That would’ve been wrong of me, so I waited until things were settled in the service and grabbed my children and our coats and rolled out. What the preacher really meant was that if the people didn’t pay their tithes, he wouldn’t be able to put the four-dollar-per-gallon gas in his Escalade. Other than that, I will refrain from making commentary on tithing other than to say that what I tithe is between me and God. No one needs to know how much I make per year, so that part of the envelope is left ____________. (I just lost a lot of readers.)
  3. The “RAPTURE” in general. I have always been taught that there was a rapture and one day Jesus would crack the sky and all his people would be taken out of here. About three years ago, I heard for the first time that this doctrine is questionable at best. I debated with some folks until they finally helped me understand that the word “rapture” is NOwhere in the Bible. Yes, Jesus will return but we don’t know for certain if that’s before or after the tribulation. The problem with this doctrine is that it makes for lazy Christians. What reason do we have to war against the kingdom of darkness if the Lord is going to show up and zap us out of here in a blink of an eye? Why would he tell us to fight? “Peter, go buy a sword so you can hold it on your big comfy sofa and watch TBN til I come and rescue you from the world the devil’s made a mess of.” Nope… that’s not what He said. Granted, I don’t want to be here when all the water turns to blood either… but if I have to, then I need to be prepared.
  4. You’re not supposed to judge. I hear this so much because, yes, I’m a little judgmental. It seems the only people that know this verse are the people who don’t want to do right. Yeah, I said it! Stop quoting this one Scripture if you don’t believe the rest of Bible. And the Bible does say not to judge or you will bring judgment upon yourself, and, boy, is that true! But the Bible also says that we know each other by the fruits of the spirit that are produced in our lives AND one day we will judge the angels. So for me, I’m careful to pronounce my opinion as to whether a person is right or wrong, but I do speak to their actions. Simply put, some things are wrong, and I’d rather someone tell me and save my soul from hellfire than to turn their head and let me fall. Then there are folks who feel like you’re judging them just simply because you want to do what’s right. That’s THEIR problem!
  5. A prophet’s words will always confirm what God already told you. Again, I was raised to believe this, but the more I grow in the Lord, the more I discover that it isn’t always true. Then again, I’m not getting words from a parking lot prophet. Sometimes when I get a word through a prophet it does confirm what God has told me. Other times it’s something I’ve never even considered. Why would God do that? Because I’m a person that’s imperfect and may miss it unless my mentor tells me… I’m not looking for God to match what I already think and make me feel all gooey inside. I’m listening for guidance and direction to make the right choices in life so I can fulfill His destiny for me. And honestly, if someone tells me what I already know, they’re not much of a prophet anyway. JMHO…
  6. Name it! Claim it! Word of Faith has made this euphemism (in)famous. I grew up in a Word of Faith church. “If you want that car, go put some oil on it. Demand it from the Heavens!” But who are we to demand anything? Jesus didn’t respond to the rich man who demanded He perform a miracle. He responds to those who inquire of Him in sincerity, humility, and faith. When the Lord Himself needed a divine intervention, He gave thanksgiving to the Father Who opened the Heavens, and then Jesus made a request that was within God’s will. I can’t imagine anything stinking more in the nostrils of the Almighty than our self-serving sense of entitlement.
  7. God, give me a sign! Oh, I know… we ALL get weak. I would looooooooove a sign right now, but signs are for nonbelievers. You do believe right? Then walk by faith! Walk in the spirit, not the flesh. He is faithful to direct and guide. Just obey each baby step… (personal rebuke embedded here). You will find confirmation as you go, but there’s no sense in being a Gideon in every life situation. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for asking for a sign. Again, we’re demanding God to appeal to our insecurities when He’s asking us to grow up. If I asked my son to take out the trash, and he didn’t do it but told me he was waiting on a sign to see if I really meant what I’d said… You get my point.

I don’t mean to take your goosebumps away, but bad doctrine is a faith-breaker. If you think that God is one day going to do something that His Word never promised He would do, then you will lose faith in Him. And really, the problem is your (my) belief system. Not God.

Goosebumps are often a by-product of feeling God’s presence, and the only way to guarantee that you feel it more (which is the only thing in this world that is ultimately satisfying) is to obey Him. Sometimes I don’t feel Him right away when I pray for others, but once I start, He’s there. He’s looking for growth and initiative… much like your boss. But God pays better!

So how can we fool-proof our faith? First, read your Bible and meditate on the Word. Second, become Spirit-filled if you haven’t already, and pray in the Spirit if you have. The Holy Spirit will trigger us to seek for truth when you hear something that’s not quite right. Third, trust the Lord to keep you. He is able to keep us from falling.

I know I’ve said a lot, and some of it may have hurt. I’m sorry… really I am. But the wounds of a friend are valuable. I don’t want you going through life believing a bunch of lies, then get to Heaven and see what could have been. No more kraziness, people… only the truth should reign in our hearts.

I’m coming out of krazy, and I’m bringing all the religious, uptight, stiff-necked, blessed and highly-favored, folks with me…. ya’ll pray for me! This might be my most difficult battle yet.

Your cybersister,

Alana
Photo by Glen Van Etten
Being Saved, Family, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized

The DoorMat People
So in yesterday’s post I didn’t really tell you THAT much about myself, but I’m not sure if today’s the right time. I mean, really… it’s only the second date. How much do you need to know? I’d much rather let you inside my krazy thoughts than to give you facts and let you stereotype me accurately. But for interest’s sake, you should know that I come across as unexciting and snobby, when inside my head I’m really having a party. If you could peek into my brain, my thoughts would probably make you blush or tick you off… thus, I try to remain quiet. But now that I’m blogging, BEWARE!

I was going to write this deep, philosophical narrative about the moments of uncertainty in our lives, but that will wait for a day when I have much more time to think. Instead, I’m going to tell a story… a nutty story… a story that will make NO sense to at least 70% of my readers… so 7 out of all of you 10 that actually cared enough to click the Facebook link won’t get it. Read it anyway! You may be able to help someone else… :)

Three years ago almost to the date, I was extremely worn out from full-time grad school, full-time teaching, extra responsibilities at work, full-time mommying of a two and three-year old, and full-time failing at taking care of myself. My husband at the time was away on business, and I was beyond exhausted. I let my tiredness slip into anger, and before long I was in a full-fledged fit of rage.

I was ticked at everybody. The kids were being… well, kids. I was mad at their dad for being wherever he was for a month. I was just mad! The dang laundry wouldn’t fold itself. I had been let down by friends and family, and the only thing I could think to do was to get away from everyone and everything. Spring Break was just a few days away so I booked a trip to Atlanta. (I had a ball while I was there, but that’s not the point.)

Through my continuous fussing, crying and pouting, I packed my bags and made arrangements for the little ones to stay with their grandmother. 

I started to blame God (silly woman that I am) for my feeling like a doormat. I felt totally unloved and unappreciated because of disappointment and hurt. People just kept letting me down, and the most recent wound made the last one hurt all the more. I blamed myself… I just couldn’t do anything right.

Now don’t get me wrong. I was to blame. I had made poor decisions on how people shared in my life. Too many were too close and demanded too much but provided nothing good for me. But they were wrong as well. There’s no doubt about that.

In a weak attempt to release my anger, I fired my cell phone across the bedroom. An “unmentionable” person had let me down for the last time. That same day I loaded up the little people to find to the closest Sprint store.  What if that “unmentionable” person decided to call me back? I should be available, right? (Put your judgmental finger away… you’ve got some “unmentionables” too.)

The entire 15 minutes of the drive I cried. I sobbed and snotted… snotted and sobbed… until a sweet, tiny, squeaky voice behind me asked “Mommy, why are you crying?”

That threw me deeper into frustration. I wanted to reply “I don’t know why I’m crying!” like the women on the postpartum depression commercials do, but that would’ve been ridiculous.

“Mommy’s tired.”

Yep. That was the truth. I was beyond tired. You’ve been tired too, or maybe you haven’t experienced deep-seated disappointment on top of exhaustion and anger. Perhaps you’ve been the cause of it. If any of us think hard enough, we will find ourselves having played both roles.

So I get to stoplight on Staples Mill near the 7-11… I forget the name of the road there, but I’ll never forget that moment. To my left side I noticed a big white van. On the van was printed an ad that said “Doormat People. You can walk on us.”

My first thought… “I should get a job there. That’s something I actually can do!” My second thought was to my Maker: “Et tu, Brute?”

My third thought was a boisterous laugh, and it came out me so fast and so hard that it shattered the disappointment that I felt moments before. Was God going to walk all over me too? Of course not! But He was teaching me that if I tolerated foolishness, He would tolerate it for me. How could He deliver me out of something that I welcomed and permitted for myself?

What people fail to realize about God is that even though He is sovereign, He isn’t pushy. So in His infinite wisdom, He whipped my backside for blaming Him for my faults and for allowing others to abuse my kindness by arranging a few moments in time where He seemed to step His all-powerful, holy foot across my pitiful face. Then, I was able to ask Him for help, repent for foolishness, and laugh at myself…

Shortly after the giggling began I heard, “Mommy, why are you laughing now?”

Since that day, I’ve searched several times for the Doormat People… once just now. I can’t find them!  Maybe they went out of business because they let their customers get away with not paying their bills? I don’t know… I just can’t find them!

Creepy, right?

Just the same, I’ll hold on to the lesson. If we lay ourselves down at the mercy of those who have no interest in our well-being, we will always lose. No one can save you from yourself, but you… with help from the Maker of course, but the decision is still yours. Even though friends and family love us, the best will most likely dance around the ugliness of your face under other people’s feet, and the worst will exploit it.

Lesson learned.

And as soon as I find out what happened to the Doormat People, I’ll be one day closer to sanity. Until then I’m still coming out of krazy…

Signed,

Alana

 

Photo by Gregg O’Connell
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