Category Archives: Healing Hearts

The Secret Place, The Safe Place

When you abide under the shadow of Shaddai
    you are hidden  in the strength of God Most High.
He’s the hope that holds me and the stronghold to shelter me,
    the only God for me, and my great confidence.
He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy

    and he will protect you from false accusation
    and any deadly curse
His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you.
    You can run under his covering of majesty and hide.
    His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.
You will never worry about an attack of demonic forces at night
    nor have to fear a spirit of darkness coming against you.
Don’t fear a thing!
    Whether by night or by day, demonic danger will not trouble you
    nor will the powers of evil be launched against you.

Psalm 91

Charles Spurgeon said, “Until we have realized the presence of God, we have done nothing.”

When thinking of the Secret Place I like to think of it as “The Safe Place.” This is where the Father loves on us, and meets us. It is a place of intimate acquaintance, of fellowship and communion. It is a place each one of us has been invited into. It is a hiddeness we can participate in when overwhelmed. It hosts an atmosphere of surrender, a room conducive to true rest. Usually associated with prayer in a closet, the Secret Place is not a physical place, but where He is. Find yourself there.

I have often been overwhelmed by situations and responsibilities, life in general feels rushed. When I feel hurried by deadlines, and circumstances hound me for production I have learned to get my rest in spending quiet time with Him; quiet being the operative word here. Rushing into prayer is where I am habitually quieted. In Luke 11 the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. His response was to acknowledge the Father first, and secondly to exalt Him. When you pray, when seeking the quiet that comes from His heart, acknowledge Him first. Say, “Father;” acknowledging His personhood, His presence, His existence. Then worship Him. How often have I rushed to God, convinced that my urgency will move Him, yet the moment I address Him as Father and begin to set Him higher in my thoughts and heart I become restful.  The second part of the instructions to the disciples, after addressing and acknowledging Him, was to exalt Him. When starting out in prayer, say “Father,” and in your heart and mind intentionally exalt Him above the thing you came to pray about. Make Him bigger; set Him higher in your thoughts. Exalt Him, elevate His name and nature, and see the urgency melt away in the face of the Father’s enduring love for you.

Psalm 91 presents covenantal interaction; “He who dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High, will abide under the shadow of His wings.” In the Old Testament we often read about do to get, obey to receive covenants between God and man, this was an inferior way. We are in the New Covenant with God, but operatively a covenant still hinges on an action or deed. The New Covenant we find ourselves in today hinges on a person, and that person is Jesus. He, who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide. Here no enemy can destroy, no pestilence come near.  The execution of this promise hinges of the presence of Christ realized in our lives. There is a need for habitual dwelling in the presence of God that affords us the victory and protection we seek. It is in His presence that we are hidden. It is in His presence that we are safe. It is in the secret moments of the heart between you and God that you are strengthened. One word I would associate with the Secret Place is “intentionality.” It takes an intentional engagement with the heart of God. It requires you to intend to enter, it is faith to act.

The Secret Place is where you have communion with God. When we approach God with the intention of spending intimate moments with Him, we become well acquainted with His voice. Lingering here with Him helps us get to know Him, to see what He looks like. You have to be vulnerable in the Secret Place, but don’t be scared, He is a safe place. The Secret Place is intimate. When we come out of prayer, we are still able to draw from those tender moments to sustain us, it becomes a place where our hearts dwell, where we habitually know and are known. This is represented by knowing what to do in hard situations, understanding His intentions for yourself and others in the midst of lies, and overcoming fear and failure; this is drawing from a deep well of acquaintance with the One who knows all.

Say “Father,” and focus your attention on the idea of Him as Father. Understand this means you are loved. Also, understand this to mean that He has authority. Direct your thoughts to His goodness. Quiet your mind, and be known by Him. Allow the worry to fade away, see the King of Glory come with Healing to you. Be loved by Him today. In your heart, elevate Him. Set Him above. Exalt Him. Let your thoughts about Him make Him holy.

Set Your affections on him

Read with me, If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3

What does affection mean, and how do you “turn” it towards someone or something? Affection is essentially love, or a deep regard for someone or something. A mother feels affection for her new born, even though there is no intellectual connection made previously, and the baby is somewhat incapable of reciprocation. I think it is the same with God, He loved us first. We now have the amazing privilege of turning our love on Him in return. In order to do this, it is required that we give Him our attention, our full attention. This brings about a focus of our hearts and thoughts that is aimed at who He is and what He is doing. A refocus of heart and mind results in a subsequent realignment. Turning your attention and thoughts toward Him allows us focus and alignment with truth; with a person. In loving Jesus, it is imperative we remember that He is a person.  A person we can and should interact with. Loving on Him becomes easy if we can allow the mysticism to fall away and only remember He is a person, with us and in us. He is here.

Where is your focus? Colossians urges us to set our affections, to earnestly seek, to think of and focus on the things that are above. Are you thinking higher? This does not refer to mystical, airy fairy, futuristic things, but a knowing and thinking of where He is now. Where is He? What has He accomplished? He is here! He has won. Know this, then set your love on the man who has won for you. Set your mind on the fact that He has overcome the things you are struggling with. Do not focus your thoughts on the past, or the need, or the wrongs. But earnestly seek to think on what is higher and better.  Have thoughts that are elevated. Do you remember that He is exalted? Do you remember that He is seated at the right hand of the Father praying for you? Think on this. Earnestly seek to remember Him. Earnestly seek to set your love on the freedom and the grace He has given you. Forget what the flesh has done and wants. With intention, set your mind on Him.

Many people infer Colossians 3 to mean we are not to focus on earthly things, while in actuality they themselves are referring to material things. Colossians 3 is not speaking of things we have, but of things we are and do. Remember, material things cannot make you unholy or unworthy. Things are not evil. Having things do not make you unholy. But, when we allow our affections, our attention,  to be held by material things, and the gain thereof, we are in direct pursuit of fulfilment of desire and lusts. This is where pride enters, which subsequently leads to all other carnalities. Earthly refers to the flesh, the carnal nature. If you love yourself and make an idol out of material things, you are thinking earthly (flesh, man) thoughts. Just as setting your mind on self (earth) takes intentional directional thinking, so setting your affections on Him is a deliberate action.

Take a moment to turn your thoughts on the fact that He died for you. He chose you. He loves you. You are dead to your sins, your past is erased, and you are free and forgiven. He did that, for you. Think on Him. Have eyes only for Him. Be intentional right now with the awareness you have of who He is. Take a deliberate thought to exalt Him, elevate Him in your eyes, and remember who He is. Interact with Jesus today. Look at Him. Love on Him. Show your affection by fellowshipping with the truth. Intimacy is what makes words become deeds.

Surrender

Read with me, My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.” Proverbs 23:26

So often we are invested in making a mark on the earth. We become consumed with doing things for God, for others, for ourselves. The concepts of moving up and forward take foremost priority in our pursuit of significance. We are so busy doing, that we often neglect to be. How often do you initiate actions due to a promised reward? How often do you do accept additional pressure to perform tasks, based on the premise that there is gold at the end of the rainbow? We have allowed fairy tales to replace the word of God in our lives. He tells us to give Him everything, and to rest. We have adopted this fevered rush to do as much for God as we possibly can, all in an attempt to store up reward for one day. But in our frantic pursuit of gold, we have failed to see the delight there is in Him, right here, right now.

If the idea of doing less sparks fear in your heart, fear of repercussion, of eternal repercussions, I want to ask you again, why are you doing the things you are doing. Let me remind you that God is not sitting in judgment waiting for you to fail at simple tasks in order to withhold what He has already, freely and lovingly, given you. He is not a man that lies, He will not dishonor the price Christ paid by refusing you His love and mercy. He isn’t small minded, He isn’t petty. On the contrary, He rejoices over us, even when we have done nothing – NOTHING- to deserve it.  If grace has saved us, we cannot now maintain His good grace by doing things, we cannot now twist His arm for favor and favors. Stop living only for one day, for a reward in heaven, for what you store up. He is good, and He is here now.

He is inviting you to give your heart. There is beauty in surrender. I want you to notice that delight in Him and His way of doing comes after we have surrendered our hearts to Him. He emphasizes the idea that His ways are good and delightful. He also emphasizes the need to surrender your ways, first. Can you, today, surrender your WHY? Are you capable of laying down your motivations and see His way in your day? If you are driven to the point of exhaustion by doing works, surrender it to Him today. Let Him be the keeper of your heart, and see where He leads you to do and be. The reward?  Him. What do you get out of it? The delight of His presence! Is He still enough? Is He what your heart desires? Are you doing the work so you can one day be with Him, or are you doing the work because you are in Him, today? He has an uncanny way of calling us to rest, and to do less. He has such a delightful way of quieting the insistence of the world that says, “if you do more, you will have more.” This is the lie of a worldly system, the truth of the word says, “do less, be with me, see more.”

Surrender means to give over control of something. I want to challenge you today to hand over your heart – your feelings, intentions, business, life, work, children, faith, perspectives, etc. – to Him, and ask Him to show you what to do, by first doing nothing out of your own ideas. Give Him control of the outcome.  If we no longer have control over the outcome of our eternity, and allow Him to be the God that keeps promises, we get to live for Him in the moment. If our concern for one day is replaced with intentionally living in the moment, we get to delight in everyday life, unburdened by what is not in our control. In your heart, allow the belief that He is a man that keeps His promises and that your future, both here and eternal, is safe with Him. Live your everyday in Him, allow His love to compel you to love those around you, simply because He is good. When HE holds your heart doubt becomes very difficult, and affection is easy. Give it to Him, surrender, and let your eyes see His way of doing and loving, without the need and idea of reward.  

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Worship

Read with me, “Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.” Exodus 17:12-13

In Exodus 17 we read the account of the Israelites facing the Amalekites. Moses went up a hill, raised a staff in his hands. During the moments his hands were in the air, the Israelites prevailed against Amalek. Only, Moses’ arms would grow tired resulting in his hands lowering to his sides, again. The result was that Amalek would have the advantage as long as his hands were lowered. Aaron and Hur lowered Moses on a stone to sit, and stood one on each side of Moses, raised his hands in the air. As long as Moses’ hands were raised the Israelites had the advantage. God gave Joshua the victory over Amalek that day as a result of Moses’ raised hands.

What stood out to me in this passage of Scripture is the consequence that came from Moses, Aaron and Hur’s actions. Joshua won, because Moses was lifting his hands. As he raised his hands in the air, he was ascertaining victory for him, his people and their families. As Aaron and Hur lifted Moses’ hands, their own hands were raised, also. This entire passage reminds me that when we raise one, we raise many. It was necessary for Aaron and Hur to lift their own hands, in order to raise Moses’ hands.

Worship works similarly. When we are fighting, when the enemy comes against us, our answer is in worshipping Him. As we lift our hands in worship, we see the enemy fall. When our hearts are raised to Him in worship, we see others overcome the enemy. In raising our hands, we raise His people. Raising our hands inadvertently raises a standard against the enemy. It would not have been possible for Aaron and Hur to lift Moses’ hands without also raising their own hands underneath his.  As you consider this, think today of people you know in need of a breakthrough, in desperate need of victory, raise your hands in worship on their behalf today just as Aaron and Hur did for Moses. Stand in the gap and praise until they see a breakthrough.

Worship Him today, as a physical expression of your faith in His sovereignty, as a tangible way of displaying our faith in His ability to see you through the enemy’s onslaught. Know that He is mighty and able. Know the God that you worship gives you the strength to stand, heart and head raised. Position yourself to worship with reverence before Him.

Look to Jesus

Read with me, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

In Matthew we see the words, do not worry, do not become anxious, fret not. The word Anxious as it is used here, translates to “distracted” from the Greek. Our thoughts play such a vital role in our general state of being.  Doubt, worry, anxiety, distractions, they all serve to derail our thoughts, and our faith. Today I want to remind you to not allow yourself to be distracted. Situations can so easily lead our focus away from Christ, stealing our peace. I want to remind you today, that there is no medal for the best worrier. God never meant for us to do mental gymnastics to outsmart the onslaughts of the enemy on our souls. It is in no way His intention for you to suffer turmoil. It is the enemy that steals our peace. And our weapon is sharpened as we fix our focus, not on the problem, but on the Man. We are reminded to keep our eyes fixed and focused on Christ, who is the author and finisher of our FAITH. The answer is right there in front of our eyes (SEE what I did there?). If the lie is in losing focus, then the solution is cemented in keeping it. Faith is initiated when we behold Him, it is also strengthened and sustained in the quiet moments we intently lock eyes with Him and refuse to look away.

Did you know He loves to look you in the eyes? Today, He is inviting you into a tender moment of surrender. Look away from that which would keep you busy, from those things that demand your attention, the clutter of life, and just see Him.  As a husband lifts the veil in a marriage ceremony to share a moment of tender intimacy with his bride, so He has come and torn the veil that separates us from Him. (2 Cor 3:18) As a bride whose veil has been lifted, behold Him unveiled. In purity, give Him all you attention right now. Engage Him, love on Him. This is how we become like Him, by beholding Him. This is how your hopelessness dies. This is where the despondency flees. In His embrace  is where you see Him, and become like Him. Your answer is in beholding.

When we allow ourselves to be constantly distracted, worry becomes a way of life. We look to the left, we look to the right, and wonder where our help will come from. Turn your eyes to the hill, lift your attention higher. Set your focus on the hill, on that hill where He died. Behold Him there, attaining the hope of a free life…for you. Do not look to the left, look away from the chaos. Do not look to the right, take your focus off the lack. Set your eyes on Him, allow faith to be initiated in your heart. Do not allow distractions to initiate worry. Do not be anxious, take no thought of worry.

What are you looking at? What holds your attention? If you feel anxious, you might be reflecting what you look at. If you feel hopeless you might be representing the idea of what you perceive. Just behold Him. He is there in front of you right now. See Him as He is, kind and caring. See Him as He has always been, strong and able. He loves you. His hand is mighty to save. He is willing, ever present, and ready to help. Just behold Him. Turn your eyes on Him.

The Blood Speaks

Read with me, ” To Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:24

The past few weeks I have heard these words persistently in my Spirit…”the blood  speaks a better word.” I am reminded of the fact that we are daily inundated with myriads of voices and thoughts, persistent in their valuations and judgments.

Am I working hard enough?

What if I fail? Am I good enough?

What is my purpose?

Will they get better?

The constant onslaught of doubt can be draining. It is discouraging to not have answers. I want you to think about questions you are asking that leave you despondent.  Today, I want you to hear His voice over those questions. I want you to understand that when He speaks, He creates, and therefore there is abundant hope for your situation. Even in death, the blood of Jesus was speaking over our destinies. He will not leave you destitute. His blood is ever calling out purpose and better things over you. Allow His words to resonate with your thoughts, and refute the lies and despondency by hearing Him. Though introspection serves to guide us to self awareness which could ultimately lend itself to betterment, it is essentially the goodness, the betterness, of His words that bring about the internal awareness needed for change. 

Hebrews previously (11) describes Abel  as a man of faith who had obtained righteousness through an excellent sacrifice. Later in the same passage in Hebrews, it is mentioned that Abraham was considered as a man of faith because he believed the promises that God had made. When God speaks, He speaks well. There is something profound in the way faith comes by hearing. When we listen to what is being promised and declared, we cultivate faith. If you are struggling with despondency, and feel your faith is waning, I want to encourage you to get into the word of God and hear what He is saying. His is always the better way (words). Our faith is dependent on hearing and believing Him.  If you hear Him speak, do not harden your heart, believe Him, and be filled with faith.

Where we were once dependent in dependence on our works, Christ came and offered a life of surrender. When our thoughts scream at us that we are not enough, His blood speaks a better word. When we feel the need to suffer in order to deserve His love, His blood speaks a better word. When we are overcome with shame because of unbelief, we need only hear the better words spoken by His sacrifice. He did not leave the sacrifice incomplete. He went through with it, suffering and enduring. And now, that blood speaks of freedom, redemption, sufficiency and salvation. His blood speaks, it has a voice, calling you higher, urging you to know He has paid it all. You are called according to His sacrifice, His blood speaks of your worth, calling you son. 

Today, hear Him and believe. Find a passage of scripture, focus on it, hear it, know it, and believe it. Let Faith arise as you believe the one who speaks is faithful to fulfill. Believe the report of the Lord, over the report of people, doctors, media and peers.

Meditate on His word

Read with me, Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,  but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

We often experience self deprecating thoughts in the face of challenges.  It is all too common for self doubt to enter our hearts when things get tough, we feel like we cannot do the hard things in life.  While having conversations with people, facing everyday life, having to show up, do you experience fear, anxiety, or insecurity?  Today, I want to help us have victory over the lies of the enemy. I want to give you a practical workable strategy to combat the thoughts that hold you captive. Our sword is the Word of God, which active and alive, dynamic in its efficacy at helping us through all things life throws at us The word functions as a reminder of who He is, and who He makes us. As we behold Him, we see the amazing potential we have to be like Him.  The more we look in this mirror, the more we will know who He made us, know and remember. This is what meditating on the word of God does, it serves a mirror that reminds you what you look like, just as you would look in a natural mirror and see your true form, so the word shows you the truth of who you are.  Reading, knowing and meditating on His word bolsters our faith, brings clarity to our thoughts, and edifies our souls, renews the heart, enabling us to fully live a victorious life. Reading and meditating on the word eradicates the false impressions we have. He died so that we can live. He didn’t pay half a price, degrees of which  we still need to redeem through suffering. He paid it all. We get to stand in victory; we get to know Him in victory. We are no longer slaves or orphans, but Sons of the Living God. And as Sons we have been left a legacy of powerful living, not victimhood, not insufficiency, not suffering, but purpose and overcoming.

Think of a Scripture, for instance, Psalm 139, “ For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Meditate on this for a few minutes.  See yourself in that scripture. See God love you, and think of you, having intentions for your life before you were even born. Feel and know that you are known and accepted. Understand that He is a good father. Understand that has made you with intricacies, with depth, with intent. Know that you are loved by Him. Allow your heart to think this way, even if your mind wants to remind you of hard times. Even when your mind is screaming at you that you are undeserving, rest in the knowledge of Him, not in what you know about you, but in what you know about Him. Allow His love to fill your heart. Allow your heart to accept it, to know it. Think of how this can help you today. See yourself overcome fear. Love overcomes fear, see yourself strong in His love for you. It is free.  See yourself reign over insecurity, taking action against the lie that would have you remain inactive. Refute the lies of the enemy by believing His truth about you.

 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

first and last

Read with me, “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

All throughout Scripture you see God being gracious in His provision, provident in His answers. Throughout the Old Testament we see God promising His children victory before calling them to arms. He is a God who initiates happening, seeing it through to completion. He starts things, and He finishes them. He is a God who always provides a way of escape, knowing what we need before we even ask. It is a marvelous concept to understand that He determined to love you, before you were even born. He knows the end from the beginning every time. Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world, God providing the answer before there ever was problem.

That thing haunting you, that problem hounding you, stealing your peace, the burden of regrets, the pain of loss, the challenge of faithfulness, all of these are included in the provision God has made for us, before we ever knew to even ask Him. He made provision for our suffering. Our answer is in knowing Jesus. The provision comes as a result of the nature of His love for you. Matthew 6:33 reminds that HE loved you first, before. Before you were you, before you could screw it up, before you could even understand it, HE loved you. His love came before you ever needed it. His love came before, an answer to your need.  In Jesus is the provision we seek.

Now, we get to acknowledge and know Him as He is – first. Know Him first. Before you do anything, know Him in the seeking. Before you move, know Him in the work. Before you answer, know Him in the word. Seek Him first. All things have been provided, as we seek Him first. There is victory on the other side of Jesus. On the other side of knowing Him is insight, on the other side of spending time with Him is rest, and after loving Him is when you truly live.

Under the law, the priest, a man, had to go into the temple and sacrifice to gain atonement for the people’s sins. A man would go before there could be any sanctification. In Jesus’ life we see a divine exchange of law, works, and effort, with regard to man having to usher in sanctification. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way, to announce Him, to go before once more. The crucifixion rendered man’s sacrifices obsolete. After the cross, we now have access to the presence of God, forgiveness and sanctification through the blood. There is no more man crying out in the wilderness waiting for the Messiah, after the cross He now makes intersession for us. He went and did what no man can do. This made Him the first of many brethren.  This is the end from the beginning, His death the end of His life, His resurrection the start of ours. His blood testifies of a greater works. Under law a man had to go first. But then comes Jesus and  does everything perfectly, showing us how to walk like Him, to walk after Him.  He comes and finishes what He started first, allowing us to move in miracles and look like HIM! We get to be like Him.  We now never have to walk a road of sacrifice to gain forgiveness. We no longer profess the notoriety of man, we no longer prepare ways to usher in His presence. Now, after, we show up and be Him, allowing the finished work to put Him on display fully.  We just get to be with Him. He does the job completely, and offers us full sanctification. “For anyone who enters God’s rest, rests from his own works, just as God did.”  Hebrews 4:10

 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? NUMBERS 23:19.  He is good. He was good before we could ever try to be. So be good because He is. He commands, be Holy as I am Holy. He was Holy first, setting an example of godliness, providing a means to be righteous, so because He is, BE.

He knows your end from the beginning!  He has already provided for your life according to His loving kindness. I want you to do this with me today, look at Him. Set your eyes on His face. See Jesus, lock eyes with Him. Know His face, know Him. Who is this man? He is the one who knew you first. He knows you most. He knows you. Know Him. Allow your heart to search out His. Understand that He loves you. Be defined by His gaze. Revel in His friendship.  Set your affections on Him today, and experience your worries dissipating.  Look at Him, know Him, and receive the peace that comes from knowing Him. It might be hard for some people to look on a man. You might associate this human Jesus with every other human, those that betray and fail and cheat. I want to urge you to know Him. Remind yourself He is a good father, brother, friend, man. He loved, first. He died for you. He chose you, because He already knew you. This is amazing, Romans 8 says, He foreknew you! He  then made you in the image of His son, who was the first of many brethren. (Romans 8:29) He was, so we can be.

(un)offended

Read with me, Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

Offence, the internal resentment brought on by insult or disregard, seems to have become part of everyday discourse among most. How can we live unoffended in a culture that is rife with offending words and ideas? I would say to live unoffended, is to live aware of, but not for yourself.  Unoffended living finds its existence in honoring others. If you are aware of and attending to the plank in your own eye, you would lack the capacity to be preoccupied with your friend’s.  The Bible is clear on the fact that it is imperative for us to rid ourselves of offence. We are building a kingdom that is not divided against itself, but supports its own. The dangers of offence are that it lingers, and as it lingers it breeds contempt, infecting our hearts, and eventually informs decisions long after the offending moment has passed. It is a cancer that steals from you, seeping the life out of your destiny, clouding your God-given purpose. Offence has an uncanny way of muddling intentions, thwarting them to selfishness. Offence makes it about ‘me.’  This directs our actions to self gain and validation. An offended heart will constantly seek validation. It feeds off being acknowledged, being right at the expense of another.  Resentment is the subsequent  offspring of an offended heart. An offended heart lends itself to pity and narrow mindedness, because an offended heart seeks its own gain and validation, causing the person to see only what is wrong with the other. There is a miserable miscarry of love when we fail to see the value of others based on how they made us feel.

According to the dictionary, an offence is defined as ‘an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.’ This makes me cringe, because I know how serious most Christians are about their standards and principles. The problem arises when we want to impose those principles and ideas on others in the name of Salvation. Luke 17:1 says, “Then he said to his disciples, “It is impossible that no offense should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”  Offence is going to make its way to you, surely. But what do you do with you when it comes?  How do we avoid giving intentional offence?  By not returning insult for insult. Somehow we have made it our Christian duty to correct and question everyone about everything they do and say.  I feel the need to remind us to live for Christ. Being devoted to Him does not intrinsically garner you with the authority to judge others. This give and take of offence in the name of correction is the way of a fool that does not know when to keep their peace. It is imperative we realize that a critical spirit is not the spirit of discernment. A critical spirit does harm and disarms someone else, it undermines authority, ours and theirs, and severs the chord of brotherhood we have. There is no no honor in judgment. Before you come at me with your “I need to correct your sins as a good God fearing Christian,” I want to draw your attention to Luke 17:3-4, which starts with CONSIDER YOURSELVES. If you go to somebody to point out their faults, you better have considered yourself first. If he sins again, you better be ready to forgive, not be offended that you were not heard. Taking someone up on what they do wrong is an immense responsibility, and should be treated with utmost care and accountability on our part. Most correctional encounters are breeding grounds for offence because of pride. If a brother offends you, and you feel the need to correct him, have you considered yourself? Have you considered your reaction will be of he offends again, repeatedly? Or is your gain only in his good behavior. 

I am sorry to break it to you, but you should not matter in the matters concerning others. Live unoffended, to such an extent that you are dead. Seriously, you have died, the life you now live is not your own. You cannot be going around being self seeking if self is no longer alive. Let love win. Let patience win, let kindness win, let deference win, let humility win, in every circumstance.  There is glory in overlooking offence according to Proverbs 19:11. It might be that the validation we crave in correcting others might just be the outflow of overlooking those very faults.  We all want glory, but often this desire goes hand in hand with wanting to be seen and heard. Seek Him first. Let others live. Love them, pray for them. But know Him in all YOU do, consider YOUR own life first, and rid your heart of offences. There is no crown for how well you managed your brethren. There is reward for knowing Him! Seek Him first. In others, and in yourself, know HIM. Seek to know Him. Stop looking at people to validate your Christianity. Stop looking to people behave in order to validate your calling. Be unoffended, be like Christ, that’s validation right there.

 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19

Rooted

Read with me, “And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the Lord. For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:7-11

You know those times when you are desperate for an outcome? God has spoken to you to do something, but it is tough, hard, and seems to take forever. I want to draw your attention to the famous passage in Jeremiah. Jeremiah 29:11 is well known and quoted. But today I want to do a glance through some of the context that preceded the famous verse that we all know, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Often times the fulfillment of the promise we seek is directly resultant to a preceding command. Here we see God telling the people to pray. Pray for the territory they find themselves in, so that it may go well with them. This is significant, because the territory they were in was that of the enemy. In other words, it was not the land they would associate with blessing, prosperity, or fulfilled promise. I have found myself in these places before; places I associated where I found myself with lack, burden, chaos and fruitlessness. I also, inadvertently believed it was due to a lack of movement or breakthrough from God. Funny that God comes to His people and tells them, pray for the place you find yourself in, because if they prosper, so will you. Here, their welfare was dependent on their ability to pray during hardship. Their welfare was tied into community. God comes and says, do not listen to the prophets of their land, and do not listen to the prophets and diviners belonging to this place which is not yours.

Previously they had received prophecy, but it was inaccurate. Hannaniah lied, promising imminent rescue to the Jews. But, God had other plans. Disappointed, they were searching for a new promise, a word, a prophecy. The answer is seldom what we expect. In their loneliness and feelings of being adrift, God brings relief in the form of family and communion. Their belonging was secured in loving those around them and building community together. There was no imminent relief, no sudden slaying of the enemy, and no rapid exodus to better promises. The promise of His goodness till stood, even when they were enemy territory.

This passage beautifully reiterates God’s desire for us to present a spotless bride and multiply children of God. If we take a close look at the context of this passage, we might recognize a theme that is common throughout Scripture; the unction to not be thrown about by every word we hear, but to be established and rooted in Him. So many times we listen to the words that sound good and promise imminent relief, at the cost of recognizing Him in those promises.

God says, listen not to the lies, and do not allow your heart to be swayed by words that sound good after I have spoken. Listen not to their prophets, for I know the plans I have. He knows the plans He has for you. He is trustworthy. We cannot use prophetic word as the lever that arm wrestles God into changing His mind about His purposes. Our answer is in leaning and yielding. Our strength is in quiet, but bold, trust.  He is a good father, He knows.  When God said “I know the plans I have for you,” He was reminding them that the words of other prophets don’t change His original design for them. I can just see God saying, “Settle down (literally in their case), and be”. Know Him. Know His plans, so that the words of others, when they come with their dainty morsels of fleeting hope, do not uproot the established words of God in your life. He knows His own heart. Let Him remind you that you are supposed to prosper! Even in territory that is not yours, even in the enemy’s camp, prosper! Have hope! Long life! He doesn’t always promise immediate relief, or an easy out. He sometimes promises personal sustainability in the middle of the threat. He offers an anchor for your soul. Wisdom would be to not  ask for another prophecy, but  a promise, because His words are sure- alive and active.  He is able to accomplish His word. It does not return void. Let it have its work in you! Establish your heart in the word of God, not man. Although prophecy is good, and integral to our Christian walk, it should facilitate community and build the body, not unhinge into facets, inciting factions.

What has He spoken to you? What are you trying to rush, that needs more prayer? There comes a time in every believer’s life where we become settled in Him, resting in His goodness and the knowledge of Him, where we are no longer sojourners, but settlers. We become established. In your heart, settle this today, that you know His plans is good. There is hope. Do not look for the promise of a quick fix. Listen not to the words of the enemy’s prophets. Listen not to the men of the land. Listen not to the lies that tell you to hustle for favor. Listen not to the voices of religion demanding action, NOW. Remember His words to you, and be settled. He has a plan, and it is good. You win.