I have recurring dreams often. The first time I’ll dream from point A to point B. The next time I’ll dream from point A to point D. Then at some point– maybe days, weeks, months, or years later my dream will finally make it to point Z.
And most times– dreams are strange things, you know– I won’t even recall having fragments of the dream until that dream has come close to the point of resolution.
So imagine my surprise this morning, when I woke up replaying a dream in which statues of foreign gods and goddesses were strewn about my home. I was surrounded by them, and they seemed to be mine. Some were small and unassuming like fine home decorations. Others were tall statues made cast of iron. One in particular had long feathered arms, a round head with a short neck, sharp teeth, and protruding eyes. I thought “Why would I buy something so ugly and violent?” The Lord spoke immediately and said “You didn’t buy it. It was passed down to you.”
I knew that these idols were not only displeasing to God but also detrimental to my spiritual condition.
Then my cousin, a sweet gentle young woman, came to visit and as we talked I found myself putting these things away… in a trash bag to be more exact. And as I tossed demonic heap into the garbage bags, she nodded and smiled in agreement. And that’s the last thing I remember when my alarm went off.
Those who’ve followed my blog long enough know that the Lord just drops Scripture phrases in my mind, and then I’ll go hunt for the reference. Well this is what I heard in my spirit today….
“And I will walk among you, and I will be your God…”
I copied and pasted what I heard into a browser and Leviticus 26:12 popped up as the reference. Nice, right? Or just meh? Yeah, I went for meh. But I know my Lord’s voice so I knew that what He was saying would be found right in that chapter, so up to verse 1 I scrolled.
You shall make for yourselves no idols nor shall you erect a graven image, pillar, or obelisk, nor shall you place any figured stone in your land to which or on which to bow down; for I am the Lord your God.
WELL NOW! Speak, Lord! But for real, Father. There are no graven images, pillars, obelisks, or figured stones in my home. You can come on walk up and through here and I promise you won’t find one! Try me, Lord! It’s not here. There is one massive obelisk just a few miles away from me, but that ain’t mine. And more than likely, Father, my Hindu neighbors have many of the idols I saw in my dream. So why would you give me this dream?
Obviously He wasn’t speaking of my physical home, but my heart. God exposed the generational crap passed down from my ancestors and the trinkets I’ve welcomed on my own. Time for it allll to go!
I can honestly pick out two of the many idols that the Lord revealed… unhealthy food and, uhhh, tweeting. Through some prayer and fasting I’ve found myself less controlled by desires for these things. I believe those were the items I put away in my dream.
CLEAN ME OUT, JESUS!
Surely I’m not the only person who has idols erected in my heart. Perhaps you’ve never considered that the benign and seemingly good (read “tasty”) things you’ve invited into your life can become idols. Here’s how you might identify those things that you exalt above Christ. (Idols can be people, objects, ideas, concepts, thought patterns, etc.)
So how many things just ran through your mind? I’ll give you a moment to reflect. Go ahead and read the list again. I’ll wait.
*twists locks of hair*
Hopefully you heard SOMETHING from the Almighty if you didn’t turn Him off. I’d be remissed to stop writing without telling you HOW to get rid of your idols, so at the risk of writing a super long blog, here goes! (Our freedom is what matters most here!)
Now that I’ve told all my business with half the detail, I’m PRAYING that you too can become free of the images and idols that impress upon your being. You are created in the image and likeness of God. Any person or thing that destroys or alters who you are in Christ must be removed for your salvation’s sake.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
Last 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.
Condemnation does the following…
Conviction does the following…
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,
Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.netRead More
In Will You Hear Him? I listed several ways in which God speaks to His people. The first way is through His written word, the Bible. There are two root words for “Word”…. logos and rhema. Logos is the written word and rhema is the spoken word. God uses BOTH methods to communicate with His people.
We often read the logos, not realizing it applies to our lives in a tangible and practical way. Apostle Demontae Edmonds, my mentor, shared this via email today, and how it fits what has been on my heart!
After posting, I will be practicing this technique because I need answers as well!!!
I wanted to share with you a very simple but efficient way to “hear” direction, encouragement, and/or wisdom from God.
Last night after I prayed I asked God to give me Scriptures to read. I was tired and didn’t want to fumble around or waste time in the Word.
God gave me 4 chapters in 4 different books. Each of the 4 chapters spoke to things on my heart and mind. One of them was very specific about something God had been dealing with me about.
This enabled me to go in prayer again and PRAY THE WORD!!!
When I was single in 2005 I asked God about my wife the Scripture Isaiah 62:5 came into my spirit. I had NO IDEA what it would say and I opened my word and read, “FOR AS A YOUNG MAN MARRIES A VIRGIN……”
I dropped the Bible and was totally shocked. The Word itself spoke directly to my situation.
You too can receive direction from God. Pray and then after ask Him for a Scripture to speak to where you are at in life. Quiet your soul and write down the first two books and chapters & verses that come to you.
The Word of God is a “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19).
Enjoy! : )
Apostle Edmonds www.freeinva.com
What questions do you need the Lord to answer for you?
Will you activate your faith and be still long enough to hear Him?
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
A few of you watched my first video which included the announcement of a year of no dating. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the link.
In these sixty days, I can’t say that I’ve been terribly lonely. I can say that I’ve already begun to see myself differently and I’ve learned there’s so much more to life than the happiness that only exists (apparently) in romantic relationships. Like family. And money. And peace. And the abiding presence of God.
I would not have believed this if not for the hell I’ve been through the past two months.
In the effort to not over-share (i.e. embarrass anyone), I’ll just say that I’ve had to stand. And by “stand” I really mean kneel in prayer seeking God’s will and provision for me during this season. I’ve had to call on others to hold me up because, at times, my faith just wasn’t enough.
So instead of telling stories of grief and heartbreak, I’ll share those of minimal disappointment… with a moral and happy ending of course.
Maybe six weeks ago I started looking for a new home. My apartment is lovely, but I miss having a big, spacious kitchen with granite countertops where I can make lavish cakes and dinners to feed my friends and family. But I didn’t find a single house that I liked. The seller pushed and pushed and even put a great deal on the table, but I heard a quiet “no.” So on I went to look at homes elsewhere. Found one, fell in looooooooove, and came darn near close to signing the paperwork. Again, a “no.”
I couldn’t understand why He kept telling me “no” but since God seems to know what He’s doing, I passed on both opportunities. Just two weeks later, I found out a third of my monthly income had been lost to someone else’s mishaps.
What if I had signed that contract? Selah.
I relied heavily on that money. Double selah and a “Lord, forgive me.”
With little money in the bank and no guarantee (from what I could see in the natural) of any more coming in, I was excited to hear about a job opportunity– and when I say opportunity, I mean the job I’ve been wanting for the past two to three years. I knew God was telling me “no” but I wanted to be sure, so I checked in with my mentor. He made it easy for me to write an apologetic email thanking the folks for considering me, yet respectfully declining.
Then…. (oh I’m not finished yet)…
My daughter became ill. I don’t know what kinda bug she picked up but baby girl went from having a mild case of pink eye to having a roaring temperature of 104 degrees. Her body temperature was as high as my bank account was low. God gave us favor with the doctors because with the loss of that aforementioned income went the insurance too. But I had to face a real challenge when I heard the cost of her medication… $84 for the full prescription. There was exactly $60 in my wallet. I purchased half the prescription and a bottle of ibuprofen and walked away with only twelve dollars in my wallet. I cried at the checkout counter, yet God showed me mercy. By the third day, I noticed that the pharmacist had given me 3 full doses instead of two and a half!! God bless that man!!! After a few days of pushing liquids and analgesics down her throat, baby girl recovered.
All this with minimal family support due to other circumstances which I cannot even bear to mention here…
I’ve come to a place where I realize that God’s “no” is not a denial of what I want, but moreso the way in which He protects what He wants for me. Had I signed those papers, I would’ve ended up with a house that He didn’t want for me and unable to pay for it.
What did bother me was that I wasn’t hearing any “yes’s”. Well today I heard more than a few! I can’t share at this point, but I will say this…
There is nothing in this life that we will lose for Christ’s sake that He will not return and multiply to us. Can you even imagine the house he has for me? The job? The husband? No??!! Neither can I…
And that’s the point…
For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 10:11
Sixty-down. Three hundred to go…
Looking back, when did God’s “no’s” protect you?
What’s keeping Him from saying “yes” in your toughest situations?
With love, sincerity, and hope for your (and my) future,
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.netRead More
How do you define love? Being nice?
I’ve heard each of the following statements, and I just can’t help myself but to shame the devil. Consider whether each statement embodies love as you know it or some other sentiment.
Oh, Alana, you’re so beautiful. You make me feel so warm inside.
Alana, I think about you all the time.
Look, Alana. I’m tired, but I’ll do it because it’s important to you.
You’ve got to love others more than yourself. Everyone else comes before you, Alana.
Two of these statements express emotion and approval. One expresses obligation and duty. One is a lie.
So which is love?
On my drive to church this morning I began to question the Lord as to how we can be so convinced that we love when, in fact, we do not. I thought about what it really means to love unconditionally. I won’t copy and paste 1 Corinthians 13 here because you can read that for yourself. Yet, I think we lack understanding in what God’s purpose for loving would be.
The word we typically associate with Christian love is agape. Agape means “to be full of goodwill and exhibit the same.” It means that you love out of obligation and duty. In other words, feelings are not a factor. You’re going to do what’s best for the receiver of your agape. You will sacrifice for them. The third statement shows agape love.
A second type of love is phileo, what we classify as brotherly love. This love denotes befriending, the giving of approval, liking, etc. It’s the warm fuzzies. The first two statements demonstrate phileo, which is nice, but on its own is not lasting.
The final statement is a lie. And I’ve been living under this– as my pastor would say– “mental virus” since childhood. And so I ask….
Are we REALLY supposed to love eeeeeeeeeverybody? Let’s be for real. God is God. He has unconditional love for his creation (John 3:16), but is it His requirement of us to love every person on this planet, good or bad, unconditionally?
Let me back up. I was raised to be nice. I was raised to be doormat. I thought I had to love everybody to the extent of allowing them to cause me harm. I had no fight in me. And why? Because I spent so much time “bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things” for folks who had no concept of who God is or what His love is.
So again, I ask, does loving unconditionally mean that we have agape for everyone on this planet?
I heard the Lord say “No.”
Don’t leave me now. I know this is contrary to what we all have been taught. But I hunger for God’s truth, and to be honest, I need to be set free from some folk. The fact of the matter is, you do too.
So I asked the Lord to show me this truth in His Word, and this is what I heard…
This is My commandment: that you love (agape) one another just as I have loved (agape) you.
Here, Jesus was speaking to his disciples. This was not a commandment for them pertaining to the outside world. This was a commandment regarding their interactions with one another. “In the same way, that I, Jesus have put up with your crap yet stayed by your side, I expect you to do for each other.” Agape love is given to those that serve and labor alongside us in Christ. (John 15:12, Matthew 10:14)
Being the inquirer that I am, I needed a scripture telling me not to agape those who do not honor Christ. And the Lord immediately dropped in my spirit…
Do not love (agape) or cherish the world or the things that are in the world.
I thought I knew this scripture, but my understanding was limited. I had to look up “world” in its original language and context, and it means “the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ.” I literally got up and danced when I read this. This should set somebody free!! That old devilish co-worker, parent, sibling, boyfriend/girlfriend, boss… YOU DON’T OWE THEM A THING!!! God does NOT require us to be obligated or dutifully serve people who mean His kingdom and its people no good. He does require that we “walk” in love. That means you demonstrate the love of Christ as you walk by. But you don’t stop to linger, pitty-patty, or dilly-dally. Keep! On! Walking! (1 John 2:15) And we should not hate people. There is a balance tothis. We must have a God-given love and compassion to intercede and minister to the lost, but this is not the same as the love we give to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And how does our love related to God? Can we really love Him unconditionally?
Hey Pete, do you agape me? Yes, Lord, I phileo You.
Jesus seemingly asks Peter the same question three times. Seemingly. In fact, Jesus asks the above question only twice. What the Lord is saying is “Peter, do you dutifully with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, agape me more than the others?” And Peter responds, “Oh, Lord, You make me feel so good inside. I phileo You.” And again, Jesus says “Peter, do you dutifully with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, agape me more than the others?” And Peter gets hype and says “Halleluuuuujah, Lord. Oh, You know that I deeply phileo You because you’re such a good friend to me. Yes, Jesus, my heart skips a beat when I see you coming.” And in that moment, I believe Jesus realized that Peter just didn’t get it. It wouldn’t be the first time ol’ Pete missed the mark. But in His infinite grace and wisdom, the Lord comes down to Peter’s level and says “Peter, do you phileo me as your friend?” And Peter, distressed, knowing he was getting the answer wrong for a third time, belted out the same emotional, non-convincing, non-convicted response. I shan’t repeat it again.
A few scriptures down it’s written that Peter starts to question John the Beloved… “Lord, what about that teacher’s pet over there? He’s your favorite. What’s going to happen to him?” Jesus… ah, He slays me… rebukes Peter and says “What’s it to you? Follow me!”
Pardon me, while I chuckle. I’m certain the Lord has said this to me many times.
So let’s love appropriately… What God requires of us is to love out of duty and obligation those who serve Christ. Those who openly resist the Lord and His kingdom are the recipients of love walk-by’s. Let’s face it… not EVERYONE loves God or is even for God. And, lastly, we are to love the Lord out of sincere devotion and obligation, and as such do what He tells us.
If you love me, keep my commandments.
And that needs no further explanation….
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,