Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Well, last spring I received some very pointed emails from a man claiming to be a Muslim. He emailed me numerous copies of pages from the Qur'an to argue his point. In his arguments he compared the teachings of the Qur'an to his misinformed information about the teachings of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Sensing that his arguments were as much of a question as they were a statement, I responded to one of his emails. Below, I will share with you what I said to him, and point out some of his arguments (which seem to be standard beliefs by most Muslims).
The obvious differences that I noticed in your Qur'an and the Taurat (Torah or Old Testament) seem to be the flow of the message. Both books contain many similar accounts of the lives of those who trusted God such as Moses, Abraham, Joseph, and so on. It even appears that both books point to Jesus (Isa) as being someone that we should seek to understand. The name Allah and the name Yahweh (One True God) seem to be synonymous in many ways, with language being the argumentative factor that makes them different, at first glance.
I know this is probably a lot of information for you, but I challenge you to read the entire New Testament just to see if you notice anything different (love, peace, joy, forgiveness, hope) that it offers. I think that Allah is a big enough God to hold his own. Put the words of Muhammad up against the words of Jesus and "test" them. Don't go by what others have told you, but rather read it for yourself. I read your message today because I wanted to know what you believe. Now, would you read for yourself and study what I believe?
May God (I say Jehovah; you say Allah) richly bless you and may He reveal His love to you in a new and powerful way."
Friday, September 18, 2009
Within the walls of every society lies a mix of ATTITUDES, OPINIONS, and PHILOSOPHIES that stain the souls of stubborn mankind; seeking to maintain peaceful relationships through a warped view of God and human nature. Left unchecked, a worldly demeanor cultivates hard hearts and robotic lifestyles, leaving no room for the Kingdom of God to be revealed.
Have you ever noticed that principles in God's Kingdom function the complete opposite of what culture and society teach? For instance, God says: to give and you will receive; to humble yourself and you will be exalted; to lay your life down and you will live; to submit to one another that you should inherit a blessing!
The term "submission" can be such a foreign concept. Whether viewed as a sign of weakness or as outdated protocol, many Christians will refuse to adopt a lifestyle of "submitting one to another" - especially in marriage. Tragically, all too often our words and our actions don't match up, when it comes to practicing life application skills of God's Kingdom principles.
1 Peter 3:1 says, "...wives, be in subjection to your own husbands." The word subjection actually means: to obey; to submit to one's control; and, to yield to one's admonition or advice. It is a voluntary attitude of "giving in". Are you in the habit of cooperating with the plans, ideas, and advice of your mate? Do you practice submitting?
Perhaps you are thinking, "My husband doesn't deserve my submission. He is too demanding. Besides, he's not even a Christian. I could never give in to his immature ideas." Peter tells us that as we worship God with a servants heart toward our mate, we present the gospel of Jesus Christ by our actions. He goes on to say that God places great value on a meek and quiet spirit. My friend, if the Lord calls something precious, then, we need to heed the importance of practicing Kingdom principles - whether we agree with our circumstances or not. Ladies, you can actually change the mood of your husband simply by making room for him to be the head of the household... even before he realizes his position!
Of course, Peter goes on to say in verse 7, "...husbands, dwell with them (wives) according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife..." Ideally, men and women should submit to each other. There should be a mutual submission, one to another. When couples live according to this principle, the Word of God says that your prayers as a married couple will not be hindered. This is your goal!
The problem that I find in ministering this concept to most married individuals, is that, usually one person "gets it" and the other person does not. So then, the same argument continues between them that she won't submit and he doesn't give her honor. Nothing can ever be accomplished until somebody gives in and - GOES FIRST!
God's ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). While it doesn't make any sense - in our minds - to give in to a situation that seems unfair, the Lord assures us, "...and if you suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye... (1 Peter 3:14)." Jesus himself suffered unjustly so that He might bring us to God (vs. 18), so we, also, should learn to have the same mind set as Christ to the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).
I know, some of you are thinking, "Yuk, I will never let anyone run over me! Submitting sounds like I must put up with abuse." Submitting does not mean that someone should be able to take advantage of you. On the contrary, they cannot take advantage of you, because you willingly offer a peaceable solution to every situation. In reality, you have the upper hand, because you have brought about the Kingdom of God in the midst of their rebellion. This is where the Lord steps in, shows up, and does miracles!
I remember the Lord teaching me to submit to my husband years ago. At that time, he was lost, immature, self-centered, and irresponsible. I thought, "God, you must be kidding! How can I submit to my husband when I know he will make a mess of things?" Still, the Lord confirmed in my heart that I was to submit to my husband and that He would be faithful to take care of our family, even when my husband made mistakes or poor choices (vs. 4:19). Did everything go smoothly? No, not at all, but in the long run... we were never ashamed! You see, in order for my husband to rise to his rightful position as head of our household, I had to step out in faith and act according to Kingdom principles before there was any return on my investment.
Today, my husband is the born-again, spirit-filled, leader of our home that I had always hoped for. We now mutually practice submitting one to the other and we see God answering our prayers as a family - on a daily basis. Things that were once considered overwhelming obstacles to us are now merely opportunities for us to call upon the Lord - together - for help.
Remember: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishith, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" - 1 Peter 1:7. So while submission may oftentimes seem to be a "trial of your faith", remember this is exactly what pleases God.
Think of it in terms of a little child submitting to their parents. We too, need to submit one to another to bring peace, love, and joy into our homes, as the Kingdom of God takes up residence in our lives.
So get started! Stop fretting over your outward appearance and start grooming the inward parts (1 Peter 3:3-4). For it's the sweet, submissive holiness of a God-fearing woman that has the power to bring a man to his knees in worship to the King of Kings.
Blessings In Christ!
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women
Thursday, August 27, 2009
In these uncertain times, I am sure that many of you may feel hopeless. As jobs disappear, homes are lost, families are torn apart, swine flu threatens, and the world schemes in hostility over how to "fix" our problems - life seems to be out of control. Where can you turn to for help? Where does your hope come from?
So, as I pondered the first verse of Psalm 91 which says, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty"... I found myself asking, "just where is the 'secret place'?"
As I reflect on the lives of so many of the patriarchs mentioned in scripture, I notice they all have several things in common:
· the FAITH TO TRUST IN GOD'S WORD
· the BOLDNESS TO ACT ACCORDING TO GOD'S INSTRUCTION.
These men and women of God "set their love upon Him". They knew God intimately because they spent each and every breathing moment seeking to understand Him. Their thoughts were continually aimed at worshipping the Lord, not only from within their heart, but also in worshipping Him by their actions. They sought to dwell in the "secret place" with God. They knew His name(s).
Were these Bible hero's perfect? Absolutely not; but they did all possess a sincere desire to please God in all of their ways. They were not afraid to be different. They didn't worry about what the crowd would say. These hero's of the faith lived a life that was so remarkably different than main stream society... even different than the main stream religious people of their day. They pursued an intimate relationship with El Elyon (The God Most High), and could not be satisfied until every word that God had spoken into their heart came to pass.
The Lord is so pleased with us when we trust Him. He longs to protect us in times of trouble. His will is to deliver us from the snares of life. Imagine Him as a mighty umbrella. As the storms of life beat vehemently upon the windows of our soul, He says, "Run to me." He wants us to run out of the storm, and into His presence... which happens to be a place of shelter; a refuge and a fortress.
Perhaps you have not sought to live in the "secret place" of the most High and now you are suffering the consequences of life's storms that have tried to overtake you. The GOOD NEWS is that it is never too late with God! Call upon Him NOW! Seek Him NOW! Abide in His presence NOW! He will deliver you and set you on high when you run to Him - setting your full affection and sincere love upon His every Word.
God will show you His salvation. The richness of His love - which rides upon the wings of TRUTH - will deliver you, keep you, and bless you forevermore. So, seek to dwell in the "secret place" of the most High; for it is there that you will abide under the shadow of the Almighty God.
Child of God, rejoice, because the habitation of the Lord brings peace... and through peace we obtain our victory! Now that's good news...Hallelujah!
Challenge: Read the entire Psalm 91, daily, until you get a revelation about the "secret place" of worship that brings deliverance.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Let's start our study by clarifying what a "friend of the world" really is...
We need to remember that it only takes a little sin (a little leaven)to lead us down the dark path of destruction. If we allow the lust of our flesh (our personal desires), the lust of our eyes (those things that are attractive to us), and our selfish pride (a know-it-all attitude) to dictate our behavior, we become guilty of being a "friend of the world", forfeiting God's covenant blessings that are rightfully ours, as Children of the King.
In order for the Holy Spirit of God to have full lordship in guiding our day to day affairs, we must practice self-control; we must crucify the flesh. As believers, God has equipped us with His precious Holy Spirit who keeps us from being entangled by the snares of this world - providing we surrender to His leading.
Satan knows this, and so, he is on a relentless mission to tempt mankind with everything this world has to offer. The devil is called the "Prince of this World" and he is a master at making the things of this world glisten in such a way that we will fall prey to his gestures, if we are not privy to his tricks. God's enemy has one thing in the forefront of his mind... to kill, steal, and destroy God's creation (John 10:10). He is constantly trying to lure us into being ruled by our carnal (natural, fleshly) minds - instead of being led by our spirit man, as God intends. Just take one look at television, billboards, magazines, or movies and you will quickly see how advertisements make everything from laxatives to obnoxious reality shows appear to be glamorous.
My friend, we are spiritual beings who live in natural bodies. The Word of God clearly tells us that though we are "in" this world, we are not "of" this world (John 17:16). Instead, our citizenship is in the spiritual realm and, in fact, as born-again believers, our citizenship is in heaven! On earth, we are merely sojourners (strangers or foreigners) put here for a short time to do the will of God. This life is only a vapor compared to God's eternity. Our passage here on earth (as far as scripture reveals) is for the purpose of giving God glory; to fellowship with God; and to "pass the tests" of life that qualify us for heavenly rewards on the day of judgment (James 1:11).
In the Bible, those who trust in the world's riches - the world's ideas and the world's methods - are called infidels. An infidel is someone who trusts in his or her natural senses more than they trust in the Word of the Lord. Really, an infidel is someone who does not exercise their faith; to put it simply, THEY DON'T TRUST GOD. Instead, they live in fear, trying to make things happen on their own accord in an effort to live a blessed life. The writer of Hebrews 11 tells us that, "without faith, it is impossible to please (God)." So, an infidel never pleases God, because he or she is always reacting in response to carnal instincts, instead of abiding and trusting in the Word of the Lord.
Some characteristics of an infidel include the following:
· One who is friends with the world because they fear man's opinion.
· One who is friends of the world because they fear a lack of material possessions.
· One who is friends of the world because they fear the unknown.
Be aware that "fear" can be a subtle unction. A person may not "feel" as though they are in fear, while in reality, it is their inner fears that cause them to doubt God and ultimately follow the world.
In 2 Corinthians 6:17, God tells us to "come out from among them, and be separate." While the inheritance of the Lord is , indeed, that of dominion, as well as, that of enjoying the fruit of the land, it has never been God's intent for us to be bound to the material aspects of the things of this world. Unfortunately, those who strive to be friends with this world are in the company of the vast majority, but God says that we - Christians - are to be separated from that majority. The Lord wants us to be free from the cares of this world in such a way that stress, guilt, and fear cannot torment our mortal bodies. In addition, He says that if we will first seek His Kingdom (His way of doing things), and His righteousness (fully trusting Him), then, all of these "things" that we need and even desire will be given to us (Matthew 6:33).
We need to rest in the fact that the Lord is not trying to withhold earthly pleasures and goods from us. On the contrary, His plan is to bless us with earthly and spiritual blessings, both now, as well as in the life to come (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30 and 1 Timothy 4:8). It all boils down to us "trusting Him". When we trust Him with our lives, He takes care of us... and let me tell you, He does a much better job than we could ever do for ourselves.
So really, being a "friend of this world" is just another temptation from Satan. He is trying his best to rob each of us from our rightful inheritance by causing us to react with panic, fear, and doubt - instead of living in faith, peace, love and joy. The devil knows that once we get into the trance of idolatry (seeking to get things, instead of seeking to fellowship with God), we become enslaved to his evil authority. Satan's ultimate plan is to annihilate us. He wants to separate us from God in any - and every - way that he can.
The book of James is very short - only five chapters - but, I think it serves as a great place to begin to learn how not to be a friend of this world. I'd like to challenge you to read the book of James, and then, ask the Lord to speak to you about areas of your own life that may need pruning.
Whatever it is that pulls at your carnal nature, I pray that you will be admonished to let go of this world's enticements, knowing that God wants to bless you - superabundantly! Remember, crucifying the flesh is something that all Christians must choose to do, daily. There will always be that temptation to follow the crowd, and the only way to overcome these earthly desires is to know God's Word, trust God's love, and abide in God's presence.
Yes, the Lord wants you blessed. He loves you and has great plans for you. Now, trust Him. Walk in the freedom of the spirit and don't worry about any of your needs. As you freely enjoy the provisions of this world that God allows into your life, rejoice, knowing that nothing has a hold on you! Truly, whom the Son sets free... is free indeed (John 8:36)!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
SURRENDER IS THE KEY!
Last week, I read a book by Joni Lamb entitled Surrender All (ISBN #978-1-4000-7375-7). While I sometimes find it hard to finish many books, because of the authors failure to draw me in, I must tell you that Surrender All is one that kept me interested from the first page... all the way to the last. The Holy Spirit is so evident throughout each paragraph as Joni shares so many testimonies where, either she, or, some of her closest friends have surrendered EVERYTHING at various crossroads of their lives, only to see God miraculously reveal His unfolding "good plans" - plans that far exceeded their human expectations.
Surrender All actually moved me to tears as I rejoiced with Joni's personal account of each story and how God's love brought each person from either heartache, pain, or indecision to a place of glorious VICTORY! As I read example after example of how each "breakthrough became a reality" - totally changing the course of each life mentioned - I was encouraged to surrender more of my life... even those parts of my life that may seem insignificant.
I really think "surrender" is the key that unlocks the door to the working of God's Word. So many times I've witnessed Christian's who try to manipulate God through crafty prayer and fearful denial, all in an effort to try and force God's will. While I do believe that we should "stand" on God's promises in the face of adversity (Ephesians 6:13), I also believe that our "standing on God's Word" should be done with a pure heart of humility that is willing to accept God's pathway to wholeness - regardless of our preference. (Have you ever noticed that God rarely unfolds things in our time... or in our way?)
The Lord is good and it is His good pleasure to bless His children (Luke 12:32). Our response to His love should be that of "trust". When we fully trust someone, we have no need to manipulate them; instead, we should rest in their desire to act toward our best interest. God's Word promises us that He will bring those things to pass that we deeply hope for. Not the selfish things of this world, rather: the hidden treasures of our hearts, our destiny, the purpose of our existence, the wholeness of our families, and the salvation of our souls. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), so there is no need to fret over the haunting "what ifs"; those strongholds (thoughts) that try to persuade us to control our situation... instead of relinquishing everything to God.
Learning to surrender requires a "leap of faith"; one that is anchored in the knowledge of God's character. We cannot expect to know God's character unless we are, first, willing to spend time reading His Word. In addition, we must be willing to fellowship with His people by going to church regularly and we must communicate with Him on a daily basis through a prayer life that is more eager to "listen" than it is to "speak".
Time and time again, scripture reveals how God moved when His servants were obedient to His "rhema word" of instruction concerning the dilemma of their moment. I'm talking about a "NOW" word; a word that is specifically for us at our moment of crisis. The Lord does not want us to live on yesterday's word or off of someone else's word; rather, He wants us to follow His leading - step by step - as we walk through unknown doors of "choice". While He does give us a free will to choose any door of life that seems good at the time, He also tells us - in His Word - that He is knocking on the door of life (Revelation 3:20), encouraging us to choose the path of surrender that He has prepared for us. This is the best path. This is the path to victory.
One of my favorite scriptures is Deuteronomy 30:19-20. This verse really sums up the Christian journey as God prescribes the pathway to victory according to His perfect will. As we "choose" to follow after peace by "surrendering" our will, to His, the heavens open up, as the natural is overcome by the supernatural. The glorious wonders of the Kingdom of God are made manifest as we stand in awe at the evidence of our breakthrough. As darkness gives way to light and our breakthrough becomes a reality, God's glory is revealed. This is where our tests become our testimonies. This is where our faith becomes substance (Hebrews 11:1).
SURRENDERING ALL is the secret ingredient of the soul that gives FUEL TO OUR FAITH. While "surrendering our will to His" is in direct contrast to our fleshly nature, it is the only sure way to walk in the spirit. We are told that true worshippers must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). As our spirit surrenders to His, He ushers us into His perfect will; a place of wholeness and victory. While He probably won't allow our breakthroughs to manifest on our timetable, I can assure you that He will not be too late. His timing and His way is always perfect. He is continually standing with open arms, inviting us to leap into His bosom.
What do YOU need to surrender, today? I pray that you will be able to free-fall into the arms of Jesus, as you "truly" trust Him with every aspect of your life. He will not disappoint you. Trust Him, today, with whatever it is that has caused you pain, unforgiveness, hardship, grief, or emptiness. He wants to take that part of your life and exchange it for His victory, His blessings, His comfort, and His wholeness.
Psalm 9:10 - "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee."
May you have a blessed day today knowing that God is for you.
I am praying for you!
I love hearing from you!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
My heart breaks for you. I know, it is very difficult to live day to day with a broken heart that bleeds because of betrayal from their spouse.
I will offer you this one Biblical escape from your torment, but I must also add that this is not necessarily God's best. In Matthew 19 Jesus tells the Pharisees that divorce is permitted in the case of adultery, but, He also adds that divorce is permitted because of the "hardness of our hearts". Even if you divorce your husband, you must still forgive him... I mean truly forgive him. Remember, God sees the heart. While others may not know the bitterness that can be in a person's heart for many years or even a lifetime after divorce, God see it all. It is my conclusion - as one who has overcome marital adversity - that if I must forgive my husband, I'd rather fight for his salvation, aiming to win the whole prize (our marriage, his salvation, and my clean heart) than to face the arduous task of trying to truly forgive after a bitter divorce.
It is my belief that God will use us as vessels of Himself as we stand in the gap for those that are lost and living in darkness. Your husband is obviously lost and living in darkness. While it is very painful to love someone who is unlovable, we are also told that learning to love our enemies is what makes us more like Christ (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27, Luke 6:35).
As in 1 Corinthians 13:8, I believe that "Love Never Fails". As you pray for your husband, speak the truth to your husband (not in a nagging way), live as an example of Christ before your husband's eyes, and forgive your husband, God will soften your husband's heart as you create fertile ground for your miracle. It is not a quick fix. You will need to ask yourself many times over if you can withstand the challenge of this spiritual warfare, knowing that the devil will not back down easily.
As you ask the Holy Spirit for His daily guidance and protection, while placing yourself in the strong hand of God, He will take care of you, guiding you step by step through the process of this dark valley. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He knows exactly what it will take for your husband to surrender and repent of his sins. God will use you as a vessel of light as you completely surrender to His pathway to wholeness for your family. Most importantly, you'll need to trust that your faith in God's Word will bring forth the promise of a restored marriage with a born-again husband. Many people come to the conclusion that someone will never change and so they give up the fight. I like to say, how long would you believe for the salvation of your child? How long would you commit to being the parent of your child, if they were in rebellion and sinning against you? Is your husband any more disposable than your child?
God does not want any to perish. He wants everyone to become a born-again Child of God. God does not want any marriage to end in divorce. He wants all families to remain whole. Knowing this, you can pray with confidence, knowing that God is on your side. The waiting and the suffering is not fun, but it is what every Christian goes through at some point or another, in some area of their faith.
When we suffer for righteousness sake, God works out things in our own lives that perhaps we didn't even know needed attention. He molds us and shapes us to be more like Himself as we surrender our will, to His. Though our surrender may be extremely painful for a season, we don't do it as one who has no hope. Instead, we do it knowing that God is faithful and He will not make us ashamed in the end.
We cannot change our husbands, but God can... and He wants to. I want to encourage you to pray the Marriage Prayer, daily. Also, I currently have my audio message of Faith, Forgiveness, Future posted at the bottom of this blog that you can freely listen to for encouragement - right from your computer. My teaching series of Root Digger, Not a Rug Sweeper (available on my web-site) is another valuable tool of encouragement that will help you during this season of pain. Finally, I have a new book titled, Healing a Broken Marriage: Love Never Fails . I highly recommend these resources, as they may prove vital to the outcome of your journey.
Again, you are ultimately the only one who can decide how to handle your situation. Divorce is permitted... but, it is not necessarily the best way. Ask the Lord to show you what to do - day by day - and He will. He loves you AND He loves your husband. He wants each of you born-again and set free from the bondage of sin.
As a "seasoned Christian," I actually pray for God's refining fires however, when they come in by way of infidelity I find that I fail the test every time. When I found out about the last incident, that happened between my husband and my brother's wife, I thought I would lose my mind. I shut down in every area of life and depression took over. I felt like a lousy Christian because I was consumed by grief. I felt like the Lord would never be able to use me again. I had always been committed to my family in spite of the infidelities, however, this one had crossed the family lines. What made matters worse was she had just lost her mother to cancer the same month I found out and had gained all the other family members sympathy in spite of her indiscretion. I was told to just "drop it and forgive and forget." There would be no accountability, how was I to handle that? I was at the end of my rope, I just couldn't take anymore of anything. The pain inside was unbearable, so much so that I began cutting on myself just to relieve it! What kind of Christian cuts herself to relieve pain when she should be turning to Jesus for comfort and healing? The joy of the Lord is supposed to be my strength! I began to doubt my own salvation. Then the tears of remorse began to wash over me as I remembered the day I was saved and baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit. There was no denying that to be true. Then the guilt of conviction kicked in, that I had abused my own vessel, God's temple, making me feel worse. Oh, would this merry-go-round of emotion, grief, and conviction ever stop? What was I missing in the lesson that I had to endure the pain of infidelity a fifth time? What are you trying to teach me Lord? I prayed, "Lord, please send me a teacher who will make it all make sense. Surround me with your "spirit-filled" people that will gently walk me through this trial so that I can be victorious this time." This is where your book found it's way into my hands and I rejoiced and cried as I read it. I said to myself, "This woman has the answers I seek Lord! She has Your wisdom Lord. Your Word is in her mouth and you have taken her on a similar journey and she has come out victorious!" Truly, Deborah, had it not been for your book, I would still be spinning on the merry-go-round in darkness trying to find the off switch. Thank you for shining your light through my darkness so I could "find" and "hit" the off switch! You gave me clarity where I could only see darkness. Glory be to God and may He bless your ministry ten thousand fold!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The Word of God teaches that unless we are "born-again" we cannot see the Kingdom of God.
· We cannot "live" in the Kingdom of God;
· We cannot "receive the benefits" of the Kingdom of God;
· We cannot "understand" the Kingdom of God;
· And, we cannot have "eternal life" in God's Kingdom;
... Until we become a born-again Child of God.
Being born-again is a supernatural experience that is - in some ways - much like that of being born from our mother's womb. The difference, of course, is that we are not physically born-again, but rather, spiritually transformed in our spirit man. When we were born from our mother's womb, we did not need to understand the process before we could enter this world. Yet, since the day of our natural birth, we have been continually growing in our understanding so that as adults we can begin to comprehend the miraculous wonder of conception, pregnancy and the childbirth existence.
Being born-again is no different. We don't need to fully understand the concept in order to become a Child of God. We simply believe in faith on the price that Jesus paid for our sins; and then, supernaturally, God plants His seed of righteousness inside of our hearts. That seed will grow throughout our lifetime as we gain a greater understanding of our born-again transformation. From that day forward we will be ever-maturing from that of a new born babe in Christ into a sanctified Child of God.
It is only when we allow the light of God to shine down on our hearts that we can see the truth about our sinful condition. Stepping into the light of God requires that we humbly come to the throne of grace with a true heart of repentance from all known sin. Repentance is not just saying "I'm sorry", neither does it try to justify thoughts and deeds with rational explanations of "why". Rather, repentance is a change of our heart and mind. When we repent, we admit our wrong doing or wrong thoughts while standing spiritually naked before God.
In order to be supernaturally transformed (born-again) we must first recognize that we are a sinner who needs a Savior. As God shines His light of truth (His Word) upon our hearts, our response should be a sincere cry of relinquishing our will to His. At that same moment, as we put all of our trust in the belief that Jesus is, indeed, the Son of God, and that He died for our sins; the breath of God blows the wind of the Holy Spirit into our innermost being as we are gloriously changed from a sinner to a saint. We don't have to fully understand it all. We just need to accept, by faith, that God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to make a way for us to live in His Kingdom... now and for all eternity.
God is love. God loves people. God is Holy. God hates sin. He has made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself. He sent His love, in the form of a man named Jesus, into the world to touch, heal, and save those who will sincerely believe that He is the Christ.
Jesus gave His life for you and I. Will you give your life back to Him and accept His outstretched hand of mercy, grace, and love? God does not want anyone to spend an eternity in hell (separated from His love). He wants everyone to live with Him forever!
If you want to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior... If you want to be born-again... If you want to be forgiven... Pray this simple prayer with all of your heart:
"Father God, I confess that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe, in faith, that Jesus is truly the Son of God, and while I may not understand everything right now, I do believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, He walked the earth as God in the flesh, He died on a cross, and He was raised from the dead by the power of God. I believe that you, Lord, love me so much that you made a way for me to have eternal life. I confess _____________ (fill in the blank for all known sin). Lord, help me to turn from sin. Change my heart and mind so that I will become more like you. Wash me clean and make me a brand new creature. God, please cause me to understand the Bible. I pray that your Word will come alive in my spirit as I seek to know you more. I give you my life. I worship you. I praise you. In Jesus Name, Amen!"
Now, tell someone that you have made Jesus your Lord and Savior. I would love to be the first person to know that my gift of love (this article) has brought you to eternal life. Comment to me about your born-again experience on this blog... or, click onto my web-site and write to me personally. Now, go and sin no more (John 8:11) for your sins are forgiven and you are truly born-again! Hallelujah!
Yours in Christ,
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
...that begins with a DECISION
The unforgiveness you hold in your heart does not hurt the other person; but rather, it slowly destroys "your" entire being, robbing you of "your" life, all the while separating you from the presence of God.
Oh, I know firsthand, the pain and suffering caused by that gigantic bitter pill that was shoved down your throat... against your will. You didn't ask for it; you didn't even deserve it. You've tried to get rid of it. Yet, here you are, going through the motions of life on "automatic pilot". No joy. No vision. No peace. Just a nagging replay of your offense, going over and over and over again in your head. You want so desperately to be freed from this torment... But how?
First of all, let me tell you that you "are" capable of forgiving. No matter how vile your injury, God has given you the strength, power, and ability to overcome those demonic forces that have hurt you.
Once you have determined in your heart that you must forgive, you'll need to stick with your resolve until your emotions line-up with God's Word. The ONLY way to do this is through PRAYER... and lots of it!
After my husband defiled our marriage of eighteen years by gambling our finances away, lying, alcoholism, drug addictions, and secretly (so he thought) lusting over pornography, I was angry and frustrated to no end. But, once he crossed the sacred line of our marriage vows (after all that I had already put up with) by committing adultery, it was as if Satan, himself, shoved a nine-foot-tall glass of bitterness down my throat. I was poisoned! And now, this poison made me think I'd never be the same. I thought I'd never be able to get over the hell that he put me through for so many years. I was mad at him; I was mad at the adulteress; I was mad at an in-law for deceiving me concerning my husband's whereabouts; and, I was mad at God for allowing this to happen to me!
First, when the Bible speaks of "seventy times seven"... it's not a finite number, such as four-hundred and ninety. When Jesus told Peter that he should forgive "seventy times seven", He was actually saying, "You must always forgive." Let's look at another passage of scripture that confirms this point...
Thankfully, this godly counselor gave me the following pieces of wisdom that saved my mind and made it possible for me to move forward in God's Will of forgiveness. First, he said, you must forgive your husband, as well as everyone else who has offended you throughout this trial. This does not mean that you have to stay married to your husband (Matthew 19:7-9 - according to scripture, divorce is permitted in the case of adultery - but this is not God's perfect plan); it does not mean that you have to associate with the adulteress or even keep company with your in-law. You "do" however need to stay in fellowship with God.
Then he said, "You need to compartmentalize your offenses so that you can deal with one hurdle at a time; leaving all of the other people and problems in the Lords care until you are ready to handle more." Learning to separate the troubling aspects of my life, to deal with one thing at a time, was a huge piece to the puzzle of my forgiveness journey.
And so, I decided to work on forgiving my husband, first. Of course, I knew I couldn't stay mad at God. After-all, without His blessings I'd never be whole again. He is my breath, my life, my strength, and my source. I needed Jehovah Shalom (My God of Peace) to restore my soul. I cried, "God help me!", as I literally ran to my closet - many times a day - screaming, crying, arguing, reminding, begging (yes, even begging) God to help me to forgive. I quoted scripture. I bound up principalities and powers. I bound good things (according to God's Word) to me, my husband, and my children. I pleaded, "God, take this bitterness from me! Help me to forgive!" Each day, the Lord would take my bitterness from me and I would be strengthened, but the next day... I would have to start the process all over again.
It's not that the Lord didn't take it; rather, I kept taking it back. The devil would flood my mind with horrendous thoughts and images sending me into a panic attack as adrenaline surged through every cavity of my soul. This was truly the hardest battle I had ever fought.
It took me about a year to purge the bitterness that consumed by being. I don't recall the exact moment, or the exact day, but I just know that at some point I became free. Of course, throughout this year long prayer vigil, I prayed for my husband (the one who offended me). Thankfully, he became a born-again believer shortly after our marital collapse; and so, I decided that if I had to forgive him, then I wanted the prize for my hard work. I wanted my marriage to be restored... and it was! Hallelujah!
Your situation may not require restoration with your offender. Perhaps you were violated by a stranger, or maybe by an acquaintance. Regardless of "who" hurt you, forgiveness mandates that you pray blessings and not cursings upon your perpetrator. If you find that too hard to do, start by praying for their salvation - that is more than enough. If the person claims to be a Christian, then pray that God will open the eyes of their understanding so perhaps they'll feel remorse over hurting you and ask for your forgiveness. If they don't... it's OK! Pray for them to not suffer the consequences of the wages of their sin(s) toward you.
I once witnessed someones house burning down in the middle of the night shortly after they blind sighted me with hideous rage. Through this instance, the Lord taught me the importance of praying for my enemies. That person, and their entire family, were not born-again believers and they would have all spent eternity in hell - had they died in their house fire that night. Was their house fire the wrath of God? That, I don't know; but, what I do know is that God spoke to my heart about the importance of praying for those who have offended me.
* Realize that forgiveness is a commandment from God... it's not a suggestion.
* Purpose in your mind and heart that you will purge "all" bitterness and malice toward your offender.
* Cry out to God DAILY asking Him to take the bitterness from you - UNTIL IT IS ALL GONE!
* Compartmentalize your problems so that you can accomplish one thing at a time, leaving the others in God's hands until you are ready to deal with them.
* Pray for your offender. Pray blessings and not cursings.
* Read your Bible.
* Praise and worship God in the midst of your pain. (This really confuses the devil.)
* Don't rehearse your bitterness. Only speak of your testimony in light of what God has done to turn things around, according to His Word - and not according to the desires of your flesh.
* Speak the truth in love. If possible, tell the person that they offended you. Perhaps they'll repent. If they don't... you must still forgive, for your sake!
Remember what Jesus said as He hung on the cross... "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." This should be your example. This should be your goal. When you choose to forgive, you create fertile ground for God to work a miracle. Who knows? Maybe "your miracle" will be a restored marriage, mended relationship(s), a new job, born-again family members, your offender becomes born-again, financial prosperity, healing in your body, a dream accomplished or ____________ (put your secret heart's desire here). With God, all things are possible!
...Forgive and be free in Jesus name!
Please know, I share the details of my marriage in a transparent way because I want you to know that if Jesus can save our family, change my husband, and heal my broken heart... He can do the same for you. I now have a wonderful husband who is a born-again man of God. He is the head of our household and is completely free of all addictions. The Word of God is true and powerful!
For more teachings on FORGIVENESS, please click this link and order the CD or DVD of FAITH, FORGIVENESS, FUTURE. http://www.deborahrossministries.org/
Another great resource for FORGIVING and for overcoming ADDICTIONS, GENERATIONAL CURSES, and STRONGHOLDS OF THE MIND is the double CD set titled ROOT DIGGER, NOT A RUG SWEEPER. Click the link here to order yours... http://www.deborahrossministries.org/
Yours in Christ, Deborah
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women