Confession

I Have A Confession

In 1989, five boys, ages 14 to 16, were arrested for causing trouble in New York’s Central Park.  While they were being held for questioning, a 28-year-old woman was found in the same park, critically beaten and sexually assaulted.  The detectives asked the young boys if they had anything to do with it, they all said no.  After hours of interrogation, the boys were professionally coerced into admitting they were the ones responsible for the awful crime against the innocent jogger, even though they were not.  The detectives had them convinced that if they would just make up a statement, they could go home. And they wanted to go home, so they confessed.

When the cases of the five boys went to trial, there was no incriminating evidence against any of them.  In fact, all the evidence pointed to the fact that they did not commit this crime.  No DNA from any of the boys was found on the victim and they were in another part of the park, causing trouble with a bunch of other kids, when the crime would have happened.  But a district attorney had their confessions on tape and because of those confessions (which did not agree with one another) they would each spend the next seven to ten years in prison!

I learned many things while watching The Central Park Five. The most important: do not confess things that are not true!

We make confessions every day.  We confess we are tired.  We confess we are stressed.  We confess we don’t feel good.  We confess we are overweight.  We confess we don’t like our jobs.  We confess we aren’t good enough.  We confess the wrong kind of confessions all of the time, and most of the time, we do it without even realizing it.

Hebrews 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

The word confession in this verse is from the Greek word homologia and it’s not referring to someone who just reads confessions or makes mindless parrot-like confessions, it’s referring to someone who has meditated on God’s Word and has it so down in their heart that it fills them with hope and when they open their mouth they can’t help but confess what God says about them.  They can’t help it, because they believe it.

When you hear people talk, or see their Facebook posts, about how they are dreading Monday or about how it’s going to be a realllly long week, you can be sure they haven’t taken the time to get in sync with God concerning those things. I know this because I know He isn’t dreading Monday and I know He’s not complaining about the long week.  He says, “This is the day I have made, rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

We have to pay attention to our confessions, because they matter.  Life and death are in the power of the tongue.  When you say things about yourself, your husband, your children, your day, your week or your year, that don’t agree with what God says about them, you are confessing things that are not true!  When those boys opened their mouths and confessed to a crime they did not commit, they changed the path of their lives forever.

Don’t let your circumstances coerce you into confessing a lie!  Get in the Word and let it sink down into your spirit, so when you open your mouth or update your status, you confess truth, hope, and faith in a faithful God!

InterpreterFacebook

The Root Of Relational Frustration

When I was in seventh grade, I went on a mission trip to Peru with a group of teenagers from my church. The native language in Peru is Spanish and, “Me no hablo espanol,” so if I wanted to communicate with anyone there who, “No hablan ingles,” I had to have an interpreter.

Interpreter: a person who translates the words that someone is speaking into a different language.

I can still remember our group’s interpreter, Liz. She had wavy, dark hair and wore red lipstick. She not only translated what we were saying to the Peruvians, but she translated what they were saying to us.

If she were ornery she could have really messed with me by misinterpreting some of the things I needed her to translate. I could have asked her to order me a hamburger and French fries and since I don’t recognize very many Spanish words she could have ordered me a plate of fried guinea pig and I wouldn’t have known it until the “delicacy” arrived at the table.

A few weekends ago I was at a women’s conference listening to one of my favorites, Pastor Jimmy Evans, when he said something that hit me like a ton of bricks. I pray as you read this it has that same type of impact on your life.

“Stop letting the devil interpret the people in your life to you.”

Satan is an interpreter. He will take words, thoughts, and actions, and translate them into a different language, his native language.

John 8:44 (NIV) When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

I’ve heard many teachings on how the devil will lie to you about yourself. He’s great at making you think you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or spiritual enough. He knows just what thoughts to plant in your head to make you feel inadequate. I’ve learned through the years how to recognize his voice and take those thoughts captive by meditating and declaring what God’s Word says about me.

I don’t let the devil interpret me to me, I am all God says I am, but what about other people in my life: my husband, my kids, my friends, my leaders, my God? When the enemy plants a thought about one of them in my mind, am I as quick to recognize that it’s a lie? Am I as quick to run that thought off by speaking God’s Word and declaring that the person Satan is interpreting to me is all God says THEY are?

Satan cannot be trusted as an interpreter. Eve learned this the hard way. In the third chapter of Genesis she has one conversation with Satan where she allowed him to interpret God to her. She doubted God’s goodness and His motives, all based on lies and misinterpretations from a conniving snake.

Satan loves to tear relationships apart, especially marriages. He is an expert at taking one thing your spouse said or did, or didn’t do, and translating it to you in a way that causes you to take up a great offense with them. Maybe it’s something as small as your husband not taking out the trash when you asked him to. It wasn’t a shot at you or a picture of his lack of love for you, but if given the chance, Satan will interpret that one action into a lie that causes you to resent your husband and then he will continue to build on that.

When you find yourself frustrated with the people in your life, ask yourself why. Is it, perhaps, because you have been letting a liar interpret them to you? Don’t stand for that! Defend your loved ones with the Word of God like you would defend yourself.

I Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

MothersDayHurts2

When Mother’s Day Hurts by Jamie Jobe

I stayed home from church that day. I just couldn’t muster up the courage to go. It was Mother’s Day 2012. I had lost two babies in less than a year; one by miscarriage at 12.5 weeks, and another stillborn at 26.5 weeks. Even now, I question why I count the ‘half a week.’ I suppose it’s because to a mom, every day, every moment, matters. My children matter.

I remember telling my husband Brian that under no circumstances was I going to church that day. The last thing I wanted was someone greeting me at the door with ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ and a smile. They wouldn’t know my anguish. I was still heartbroken. It wasn’t a happy day. I wasn’t even sure if I would ever truly bounce back from this.

You may understand those feelings. They are not uncommon. In fact, they are possibly the most common feelings of grief and despair. The feeling that no one understands.

Countless women lose children through miscarriage or stillbirth each year. The emotional toll is horrendous. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself avoiding the one place, and maybe even the one person, that can help you the most. Jesus is the answer to your pain, and His church is what He uses to strengthen and restore His people.

We need Jesus, and we need a body of believers to help us when we are hurting.

Loss is emotionally and spiritually draining. You may never know why you lost your baby.  And even if you knew, it wouldn’t take away all the hurt. However, you can know for certain that your child is in heaven. And you can be certain that God has a plan for your healing.

Isaiah 40:13 (KJV) They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

The same verse in the Hebrew actually says, “They that gather together before the Lord shall renew their strength.”

It’s important to be in church. Go to where the gathering is happening (your local church). Church is where you will find strength to walk through this. Strength to face your grief head on. Strength to heal. Run to where the strength is.

Is it scary? It was for me. I already told you that I skipped church the first Mother’s Day after my loss. It felt like more than I could handle. I had buried a child three weeks earlier and was in so much pain. What I didn’t know was that church was where the strength I needed was. I was fearing what God actually intended to use to help me.

The devil wants nothing more than to keep you away from church, and away from Jesus. He will try to tell you that no one at your church understands. He will try to tell you how awful it will be If someone unknowingly greets you with well wishes for Mother’s Day. He will try to tell you that no one has felt the way you feel. That’s simply not true.

Today, I no longer have a reason to grieve. I no longer dread Mother’s Day. God has carefully walked me through my grief and led me to a place of restoration. I found freedom and contentment in Him. I will see my kids again. So with my head held high, I choose to walk into church each Mother’s Day. I hope you will too. I choose to accept every ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ greeting, and I thank God for the kids I have the honor of raising AND for the ones I will one day see again. I thank God that eternity with my children is so much longer than life on earth without them.

Whether your children are in your womb, in your arms, by your side, or in heaven, YOU ARE A MOTHER.

This year with Mother’s Day quickly approaching, can I speak gently with you? Will you let me invite you to church this Mother’s Day? Will you be brave and allow the Word to begin to heal your heart? Will you allow Jesus to recognize, acknowledge, and honor you as a mother? Will you run into the arms of your Savior?

God knows how much the devil wants to isolate you. He wants you to know that He understands. He wants to celebrate you this Mother’s Day. Will you let Him? Come. Join me. Sit with me. Let me hold your hand. You are not alone. You are a mother, and you are welcome at church.

Rest

Rest Without Reservations

My daughter Sunny loves to be held. She’s the third child of the family so that doesn’t happen as often as she would prefer. But she seems to understand and just takes whatever she can get. If you want to make her night, just pick her up and carry her around with you for a little bit. Let her lay her sweet little head, full of wispy blonde hair, on your shoulder, and she will snuggle until she’s satisfied, or until you have to pull dinner out of the oven.

My son Gus is almost 7 and he’s figured out that he can pick Sunny up. Sunny has figured out that she doesn’t like it when he picks her up. He lifts her under her arms and she’s pinned to his body, facing outward, her arms flailing. He’s laughing and she’s yelling. I’m sure it’s pretty frightening for her. She gets that he’s just a 6-year-old boy and he really can’t be trusted to carry her around. He’s not strong enough, high enough, or calm enough for her to be able to rest easy on his shoulder. When 5:00pm rolls around and Sunny is looking for someone to hold her, she’s not looking for her big brother, she’s looking for mom or dad.

When Sunny lays her head down on my shoulder, it’s a picture of trust. She trusts me completely. She’s not looking down to make sure I’ve got a good grip on her or asking me if I’ve read any books on how to hold a toddler. She doesn’t have a single doubt in her mind about my ability to hold her. She puts her full weight into me without any reservations.

Many of us say that we trust God, because we are Christians, and that’s what Christians are supposed to say, right? But are we resting in Him, fully leaning into Him without any reservations?

If you could see your spirit man right now, what would you see? A spirit that is at rest on the shoulder of a loving, trustworthy Father? Or a spirit that is totally uncomfortable, arms flailing, and yelling?

I think sometimes when the going gets tough, we start to lose sight of God’s love for us, and we end up seeking comfort in something that isn’t strong enough, high enough, or calm enough to provide the rest we need. In turn we end up stressed out and overcome with fear and worry.

I John 4:16 (VOICE) We have experienced and we have entrusted our lives to the love of God in us.

We have experienced the love of God in us. If you are a Christian and you have made Jesus the Lord of your life, you have experienced His love. The experience part is pretty simple, God is love and you can’t have a relationship with Him without experiencing His love. It’s the entrusting our lives part that gets people.

Today, when you are tempted to stress over your ridiculously long to-do list, entrust it to Jesus. When you are worried about your health, entrust it to Jesus. When your 4-year-old is being extra challenging, entrust it to Jesus. Whatever is causing your spirit to feel like you are being carried around by a 6-year-old who isn’t quite sure what he is doing, take that and run to Jesus with it.

Let Him pick you up and hold you. Entrust every part of your day to the love He has for you. Lean into Him without any reservations. He’s strong enough, high enough, and calm enough to give you the rest you need.

Move!

This morning my daughter was sitting on the couch, watching her favorite show, while I was picking up the toys that had been strung all over the living room.  I kneeled down in front of Beau, to pick up the stethoscope that goes with her Doc McStuffins doctor kit, and I heard her little sweet voice say, “Move, mom!”

Apparently, I was blocking her view of the television.  Don’t worry, I told her that, “Excuse me, mom,” was a more polite way of letting me know I was disrupting Team Umizoomi.  As I finished picking up, I began to think about how even a toddler knows that if something is in her way, she should tell it to MOVE.

In Matthew, chapter 17, a man brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus and tells Him that the disciples tried to cure him, but it didn’t work.  I’m sure the disciples were embarrassed.  It’s never fun when a customer lets your boss know that you aren’t doing your job correctly, but rather than fire them and find replacements, Jesus used this opportunity to teach His disciples.  When the disciples asked Him why they were unable to heal the man’s son, Jesus replied with this:

Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Jesus let them know that when they come up against mountains—like a demon-possessed boy, for instance—if they have faith, just the size of a mustard seed, and they tell the mountain to move, it will.

I imagine it was pretty frightening for the disciples, attempting to cast out demons without Jesus around.  Maybe they weren’t bold enough to say, “Hey demon, MOVE!”  Maybe instead they were saying, “Excuse me, demon, you are kind of messing this kid’s life up, could you please go somewhere else?”  Whatever the case was, they weren’t operating with mountain-moving faith.

I was raised to be polite and I’m trying to raise my kids to be polite, as I’m sure you all are, but when the enemy has placed a mountain in your way, you don’t have to be polite.  You don’t have to say excuse me or please and thank you.  You don’t have to walk the long way around so you won’t disturb the mountain.  Jesus has given you permission to be bossy.  He has given you authority to say to the mountain, “MOVE!”

So don’t be polite when you address that mountain of fear the enemy placed in your path this morning, just tell it to move.  Don’t step up to the mountain of stress that’s standing between you and a good day, with your head down, and quietly ask it to go away. Get authoritative and tell it to move.

Jesus made it easy enough for a 2-year-old to understand, so don’t over complicate it.  When something gets in your way, tell it to move, and believe that it has to and it will.  Learn how to say, “MOVE,” and mean it, and nothing will be impossible for you.

What Happens When You Pray

In Exodus 17 Amalekite warriors attack the Israelites. At this point their leader Moses was getting too old to physically battle, but he had a huge part to play in the victory of God’s people.

He sent Joshua and some other men to fight and he went to the top of a hill and prayed his heart out.  When he prayed, Israel prevailed; when he stopped praying, Amalek prevailed.  He could see the battle from the hill.  He could see his prayers were working and the effect they had on the battle.  So he kept praying.  He prayed so intensely that he began to grow weak.  He had to have Aaron and Hur pull up a seat for him and help him keep his hands raised in prayer.  Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our prayer life were like that?  If we could get up every morning, sit at the top of our stairs, enter into prayer and behold with our physical eyes the effectiveness of what we were doing?  It would make it a lot easier to spend time in prayer if we could see the fruit of it right then and there. Like Moses, I’m sure we would be more motivated to pray until we were exhausted. To pray until we could no longer hold our own arms up.  But most of the time, at least for me, that’s not the case.

When I pray, I can’t see all that’s happening with my two eyes, or four if I haven’t put my contacts in yet.  I pray, I look around the house and everything seems the same, in the natural.  I can’t see the angels that I sent out to protect my family.  I can’t see the favor surrounding me like a shield.  I can’t see the spirit of fear running out of the house. I can’t see the peace of God that guards my heart.  I can’t see the fresh supply of strength God is giving me.  I can’t see the shield of faith I’m carrying. But it’s all there. It’s all happening in the spiritual realm.

Moses’ prayers were the difference between life and death for Joshua and the Israelites. He could see that.  It was obvious.  The time we spend in prayer could be the difference between life and death for ourselves and the ones we pray for. Your prayers have an effect on your life, maybe not one you can see right away, but the things that are happening in the spirit when you pray are just as real as what Moses could see happening when he was praying up on that hill.

James 5:16 (amp) The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

Let’s Be Honest

My husband and I are celebrating 12 years of marriage this June!  I married Josh just a few months after I turned 18 and even though I felt like I was so much more mature than all the other 18-year-olds I knew at the time, I still had a lot of growing up to do.  My M.O. the first few years of marriage was being a poor communicator.  Josh would notice that something was bothering me and ask me what was wrong. I would always answer with a short, “Nothing.  I’m fine,” even though something was bothering me and I wasn’t fine.  I would go about the rest of the day with my bad or sad or whatever kind of attitude I had that Josh was sensing, and continue to say that I was okay every time he asked if I was, until finally, hours later, usually after an argument, I would say what was really going on.

I could have enjoyed a lot more days and prevented a lot more arguments if I would have just shared what was on my mind as soon as Josh asked me.  I’m glad I finally figured that one out.

In Nehemiah, chapter 2, Nehemiah is at work one day when his boss notices he’s got a long face.  Nehemiah didn’t have just any job, with just any boss; he was the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes of Persia.  It had been four months since Nehemiah heard the devastating news about the state of the city of Jerusalem and he still hadn’t recovered.  During that time in history, a cup bearer was not allowed to be sad in the presence of the King.  Most kings put themselves on the level of a god, and if you were in their presence, you should be in awe.  Sadness was not permitted; it was a punishable offense. Nehemiah was fully aware of this.

Nehemiah 2:2-3 So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.” Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

Nehemiah was terrified, but instead of answering his boss with, “Oh, I’m fine.  I just had something in my eye,” he tells the truth.  He lets the king know what was going on inside that head of his. Instead of firing Nehemiah or calling the guards in to take him away, the king says, “Well, how can I help you?”

Nehemiah must have been so overjoyed with his decision to be honest!  He let the king know how he could help, and that played a major part in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.  I don’t know if Nehemiah could have done it without him.  It was totally God that he shared what was really going on in his life that day at the office.

Sometimes we revert back to those old rules of not being allowed to be sad in the presence of the King.  We think if we were to let God know what was really on our hearts, that He might get upset and punish us.  He’s not that kind of King.  He’s a King that notices when you have a long face and even though He already knows why, He wants you to talk to Him about it.  He wants you to be honest with Him.

If you wake up and something is weighing heavily on your heart, let your King know.  He wants to help you and is completely equipped to do so, whatever the case may be.  There is nothing you can tell Him about that will stump Him.  He’s got the answers for everything.  Don’t let your M.O. with God be that you are a poor communicator.  Don’t pretend to be fine when there really is something bothering you.  There is no sense in carrying that around with you all day, all week, or for the rest of your life. Get it off your chest and into the hands of the King who has the power to make it better.