Category: Growth in the Lord

Born for Relationship with God

As I ministered to a client about the spirit, soul, and body the Lord began to show me something in Genesis 2:17. Many see that verse as talking about Adam and Even eventually dying. But I have always seen it as much more than that, as the death of the spirit. But the spirit could not have actually died, because a body apart from a spirit is dead, as Paul said. But what did they die too, they died to their full connection with God and their ability to walk in His freedom, love, and holiness, thus peace and joy. They were now slaves to fleshly passions, and could not freely go into the presence of the Lord anymore. I began to think that the word die is a strong word for God to use for this. Dead is dead, gone for good, without a resurrection. Then I began to see that the connection they had with God was so full of life and flowing freely back and forth, that God saw fit to use the word death to describe what would happen to them if they disobeyed. Ponder that for a moment, they had a connection with God that none of us have ever experienced consistently, day after day. They had no bad thoughts that got in the way, just pure connection, love, relationship with the Father! That is what we were meant to have, we are born for that. We are born created in His Image, and were meant to reflect that image through our relationship with Him!! Wow! Lord I long to have that depth of connection, don’t you?

Dr. Lisa Winchell

Jesus the Passover Lamb – His glory for your shame!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! I am humbled and floored. I was reading last night, I read John 2:24 and my eyes wandered to the other page to my right John 3:34-36 and they became powerfully connected. “during Passover, many believed in His name, seeing the signs He was doing. But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all men. He did not need anyone to testify about man, for he knew what was in man.”  Next chapter “The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. the Father loves the Son and has given everything into His hand. He who trusts in the Son has eternal life. He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

So this man/God/Jesus who has the Creator’s Spirit without limit in Him, doing miracles for these people He could never entrust Himself too. He, who came to preach the good news of the gospel to the poor, set captives free, heal the brokenhearted,  and give sight to the blind, did all this for us but could not trust Himself to any of us fully. He knows what is in man, He will never receive back all He has given because we are not capable and only by Him are we partly capable of not betraying Him daily. He has come to give us full participation in eternal life, with Him, this people He can not even entrust Himself too. Yet He shows up on this earth that He could wipe out in a minute and lays down the glory of fully being God only, to put on a man suit for people He can not entrust Hisself to fully. Michael Kouliannos, In The Jesus Book, adds to this so powerfully, talking about Jesus’ torture and crucifixion, laying there with deep wounds on a dirty floor, eyes swollen shut from beatings, sweat, and blood everywhere. He is then taken to see this high authority, Pontus Pilate. A place you typically go dressed your best.  But Jesus had no choice in the matter, in that moment. He went as He was.  Yet, Ps 88:9  says “My eye wastes away because of affliction.”  Jesus had decided before the foundation of the earth how this would all go down. After quoting Ps 88:9 Michael continues, “It was His decision to stand before His accusers looking this way (it was planned from the foundation of the earth). Because He chose to become a spectacle of shame, we will shine with glory in Heaven. He trades His beauty for our disgrace that we may receive His beauty.” This Passover, Good Friday and Easter. Let’s remember the man, Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit pouring out His love for each one of us so we can be free from sin and be transformed into His Image on this earth, and enjoy His glory for eternity. We are a blessed race!! We have the greatest God ever!! There are none like Him! Truly!! Has He won your heart? Whether you think He has done anything else for you or not, This is His love that brings you eternal joy, even beyond this earth!!

Walking Away from Sin by His Love and Grace

I had a dream last night. As I considered and prayed about the dream I realized it was part of a series of dreams over 8 months or more. I will not give all details but rather the substance. Some are walking down an “aisle to be married to perversion.” (symbolic for most). You don’t feel it is a problem because many around you don’t say anything. In fact, some pastors you know do not see it as a problem. You feel at ease and are assuming that is God’s peace or at least a lack of His conviction. Yet there is still a “knowing” in you which makes you almost wonder why everyone is okay with you in it or not saying anything. But remember when you or I have engaged in a lifestyle, attitude or process that seems to be well accepted by many, over a period of time, we get numb to God’s conviction. Especially, if someone can find a pastor or ex-pastor to confirm it with words like God loves you right where you are at, so I do to”. They stop there instead of truly loving you by saying “this choice, attitude or behavior is ungodly and will hurt you. and grieves the heart of God. Let me lead you into freedom.” In the continuum of dreams, in this last one I heard come out of my mouth (I was a representation of the church and individuals) “No, I am not doing this” and walked away with great strength and peace.”. God wants you to know whatever you may be engaged in that is not biblically considered godly, you can keep getting led by the enemy down that aisle unaware or you can go the Word of God and allow God to show you how much He loves you and has delivered you FROM unrighteousness, not into unrighteousness. “therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled” Study Hebrews 12, and let God bring peace and wholeness through His love, His blood, discipline and a harvest of righteousness in you. In my dream, I saw that is possible for many of you to just say no and walk out of the “wedding hall”, so to speak. Whatever agreement you have made with unrighteousness, its time to say no by the grace of the Holy Spirit that is all over you right now, call on Him and ask for more grace. He will give it to you!

We Belong to a Kingdom that Can Not Be Shaken

What can be shaken will be shaken, but since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude-through this we may offer worship in a manner pleasing to God, with reverence and awe, For our God is a consuming fire. Heb.12:28 We are not of those that shrink back to destruction, but those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:39. Though they (the enemy and his diseases, his chaos, his poverty, his persecution) will fight against you, they will not win, for I am with you, to deliver you. It is a declaration of the Lord. Jeremiah 1:19 I was thinking about something David Wilkerson said years ago, in countering some people’s concerns that America would go through a great persecution phase. He said something like this, “Americans are wimps, God knows that American Christians would not come out well in persecution therefore we probably will not deal with as much as others.” I laughed, at how right he was and considered it a few times. But as time moves on, we get greater revelation on things that build on previous believers’ revelation. I agree with David’s premise but I do also see how God will USE things like the present scenario to strengthen American Christians. (I am not saying God sent the virus, it is the enemy fighting against us), God will prepare those He loves for whatever will come. We can even see how the economy got so strong right before this happened-preparation. Also, large parts of the church have been sensing and declaring that a great move of God is coming, and have been empowered in deep ways – preparation. Most of you can look at your lives and see great times of growth that were followed by great pain or hardship -preparation. God loves us and He prepares us. Will we answer His call to respond to HIs preparation in faith, not shrink back but allow our “faith muscles” to be tested and grow. We can come out of this a mighty army to be dealt with in the spiritual realm, or we can remain weak even as David saw decades ago. This world and God’s time clock will not wait on us. But God will never leave us behind, He worthy to be worshipped and worthy 

Standing Strong and Having Compassion

Standing against fear and having compassion! It is important to understand that every believer operates in different gifts of the spirit. Those that are more gifted in prophecy, discernment, words of knowledge, etc are going to be more instructional even in their natural statements about what is going on in the world. Those that tend to the prophetic will be more assertive in their approach to lead people away from things like fear, sin, etc. Those that tend towards the gift of mercy are going to speak, even naturally, from the perspective of mercy and feeling what those hurting are feeling. It does not mean either is wrong. It does not mean that those that take on the fight against fear and sin don’t have compassion for those hurt by the pain and disease creating it. It does not mean those who feel the pain and go there with people in their words or posts, don’t see the intense ramifications of the fear or sin. We are all different parts of the body, called to be who God has called us to be. What we are not called to is accusing each other that others do not see this or that or are minimizing this, or judging and not loving these people, etc. Yes, there are weaknesses each person with each gifting has, and each of us grows to have more of the part we need from God to bring balance. But we will always tend to the approach that comes from the giftings God gave us. God’s word is full of all of these because He, the Holy Spirit, is the one that fills us with His gifts in the first place. In one place in the Word He is firm and takes a strong stance against fear, and sin, in another place He is showing great compassion for those hurting and scared. God hates fear and sin, but He loves people. This is why there are different messages coming from godly people who care enough to speak out against the fear or sin and to have compassion for those most vulnerable in sin, sickness, or pain of any kind.

Choosing Personal Responsibility rather than Blame

I never saw this in the Word before. Did you know that Moses blamed the people for his anger? Deuteronomy 1:37 As Mark and I were pondering it this morning I began to see that not taking responsibility for your behavior can keep you from going into the Promise Land. We know that Moses struck the rock twice in his anger. He was tired of the people complaining after many years, and God tells him to strike it once for water to come out (a typology of Christ being sacrificed once only). But he strikes it twice and as a result, messes up God’s visual of His plan to only sacrifice Jesus once. I have always been taught that is why God would not let him go into the Promise Land. But I see something much deeper here. Moses was not truly repentant. You can not be truly repentant if you are blaming someone else for your anger or sin. Could this be the real reason Moses did not go in? Did his lack of personal responsibility keep him out of God’s best?  In comparison, King David, the only man in the bible called a man after God’s own heart, did repent when he was confronted. The kingdom was not ripped from him because of that. Yes, he suffered some consequences but he was still King and did much more for God. In comparison, Adam and Eve. They also blamed each other or the serpent. Rather than taking responsibility for their sin. As a result, they were not only put out the garden because of the original sin but so many more curses upon them and one of their kids later killed the other. Could this also be because they never took responsibility for their sin? I do believe that blaming others for our sin will keep us out of the promised land!!

By Dr. Lisa Winchell

Walking in Love and Enjoying the Benefits

There is a three step process for a happier, more loving, and fulfilled life with your family, friends, and church. The first step is getting rid of the offense/strife. The second step is finding a common cause to move forward in together.   Where there is purpose and unity we can accomplish anything together. The third step is honor, seeing and calling out the good in others.

 

Let’s start with overcoming offense and strife.   That is only possible if you CHOOSE to live free from these things. We need to make an all out war on offense and strife in our homes, and churches.  War meaning, the battle you must commit to, inside yourself.  We can not make others be non offensive.  But we can release them to the Lord, and surrender our own hearts to Him.  Choose today, to say no to offense and strife.  Choose to be quick to forgive, and unoffendable.  Titus 2:12 says God’s Word teaches us to say no to ungodliness.  Therefore we know where to get truth that will drive out the lies that lead us into offense and strife.  You may say,” how is it lies.  That person really did act mean?”.   Yes, I am sure they did, and many more to come may as well.  But their meanness has no control over you, that you don’t give them.  Jesus Himself determined to walk in love, yet many around him were offensive towards Him.  Jesus is our model, and He also lives in us through His Spirit to empower us to walk the way He did.   Your offense, is a defense mechanism, to protect your sense of value and identity. When you go to the Word, and develop an intimate relationship with the loving God revealed in the Word, you will begin to receive your value and identity from Him, not from others.  When you meditate on scriptures telling you who you are to God, and who you are in Him, you can retrieve those truths right at the moment you feel that offense rising up.  Stop, drop, and roll.  Yep, it works here too.  Stop those thoughts, drop to your knees (surrender to God), and roll in the truth of how much God loves you and how full of His love you are, and let those truths consume your heart.  Quickly your emotions will be at peace and whatever you say will put out the fire, rather than stir up.    One of the best books I have read on offense is The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere, Check it out. Literally, from the library.  J

 

Second step to loving and unified relationships is finding a common cause. We see several examples In the Word of God of the power of unity in purpose. In the book of John, Jesus prays to the Father that the body of Christ would be one with each other, and with Him even as Jesus is one with God.  Why? So that we can reveal God to this earth.   Which means we will not complete our mission without love and unity, in our families and body of Christ.  We see at the Tower of Babel, God Himself said, because they had unified in purpose that nothing they put their hearts to do would fail. Wow!!! That is powerful!!  Unity works for good and bad. Therefore the enemy uses it as well.  If you and your husband are in agreement daily that you will continue to accept the strife in your home, guess what?  Nothing strife wants to do will be impossible.  Kick it out now, and agree with God!  Agree with love, and nothing Love wants to do in your family will be impossible. In the book of Nehemiah, we see another story of what unity can accomplish.  Actually it is a good story for all three of these points.  We see repentance of offenses, we see favor come to him, then a common cause, and honor that he continues to give.   You too can rebuild the walls of your family, your church, or even of the larger body of Christ, even as Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.

 

The third step is honor.  You will only become consistently unoffendable, if you on purpose become the one who brings honor to each situation.  Honor is an outpouring of love and humility in your own heart.  Ugh, did I say humility?  Yes, humility is a stronghold for our Christlikeness.  Everything that we are, we are in Christ.  We are presented holy and blameless in Him, we are the righteousness of God in Christ, we are seated in heavenly places in Christ.  We are only fallible human beings, apart from Christ.  The greatest step of humility we can take is to come to God each day, to His Word, to worship Him, and lay ourselves before Him to honor, praise and allow Him to do what He wants in us.  When you do this, it creates greater humility in you towards others. Because you know where your strength comes from, and without Him you would be a much different person.  Stop coming to God praising yourself, wanting yourself built up.  Come to Him to worship Him, and your flesh will die and your spirit will be built up. Then when something comes to your mind that is negative about someone else, choose on purpose to think and speak a positive thing about them, behind their back and in front of them.  Sometimes we think if we praise someone who is screwing up, then we are enabling them to keep screwing up. Those of us who have experienced that, have a real issue with control. Yep, we think we are somehow in control of this person’s destiny.  Let them go,  to God, and start doing what God does towards them, and you will really affect their destiny. Let your love be revealed to them, and honor them.  Love never fails, but control, manipulation, fear, and criticism always fails.  If you walk a life of honor, then God may at times have you speak something to someone, in love.  Do you know how to know if that is what Is happening?  A good way to tell if God is really telling you to do that, is to check your heart.  Is it gushing with compassion for that person?  Are you hurting for the place they are in? Is that really your first thought, or the one you bring up to excuse your judgment?  Take that issue to God, saying “God do you see what they are doing?”  I remember something God told an author Francis Frangipaine.   “Yes, Francis I see that, and I gave my life for them.  Now go do the same”.  That is honor at it’s best.

 

I have an excitement that those  who set themselves on this track, will be tremendous ambassadors for Christ, revealing God’s great love to those around them and shifting the attitude, moods, and atmospheres around them.  This is when the Kingdom of God will spread to every nook and cranny of this earth, and we will see even greater works of God on this earth.              by Lisa Winchell

Identity Struggles

So what are God’s thoughts about identity struggles?  I am sure we would all agree we don’t know all of God’s thoughts, but we would equally agree that He has laid out most of his thoughts about mankind in His Word.  In his Word, identity is a big thing to Him. So much so, that He started out this whole world with making us in His Image!

So what is your identity? Is it where you live, what you wear, where you work, what you look like, who you hang out with, or how well you succeed?  If your answer to any of these is yes, then you may have just found the reason why your sense of self value is ever-changing, and you may be trying to be someone you are not.  Because each of these potential sources for identity, and your perspective of them, are ever-changing.

How important do you think your identity is, to your life and your sense of fulfillment, happiness, and success?   If God started the existence of the human race off with creating us in His Image, making our identity in Him, than that tells us that identity is a powerful force in our lives. The Word of God says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7.  Interestingly, neuroscience is discovering more every day about how much our thoughts of ourselves control our life.  How you see yourself, will be who you act like in life, how you feel, and where your perspectives come from.  The more you follow this truth, in the Word of God, you will find His Word chock full of who He created us to be.  You will also find in there who mankind decided to become as we listened to lies and not His truth.  But His answer to our slipping way, was to restore our identity, through Christ Jesus. At least 50% of the New Testament is about who we now are in Christ Jesus.  He restored us to our original image, through Christ!!!

God created us to live from our identity, and gave us the identity that would make us most fulfilled, happy, and successful. That identity is His image, in us.   He knows our happiness can only come when we get back to that core identity, being created in His Image. Then all other parts of our identity will come into balance and peace.

It takes being transformed by the renewing of our mind, to these truths, to begin to walk in the freedom this identity brings us.  It never changes, it is always who we are, we are forever valued as God’s chosen race, to be created in His Image.  His Image is love, peace, joy, and holiness.

In the press lately we have all seen much about Bruce Jenner and his identity struggles. I would like to say first, that we have all had identity struggles.  They may not always be in sexuality, but we all have dealt with or do deal with a lack of value, insecurity, uncertainly of who we are, and many more value issues.  Many in this world reject themselves every day, by never being able to say no, or by being prideful, and unwilling to change for their own success, or by not loving on those around them and thus producing an environment where people give them a hard time, or by never forgiving, and by putting themselves down, condemning themselves, people pleasing, being someone for someone else, and many more ways.

Could it be that Bruce Jenner moved into the ultimate self-rejection?  That He never accepted himself, his own identity? Therefore, convinced himself he wasn’t supposed to be who he was, and turned away from his masculinity, and male gender?  The unfortunate thing is that when any of us turn away from who we really are, we never find peace until we deal with our core identity issues, rather than our sexual identity, or financial identity, or social identity, etc.

I have spent my career helping people find freedom in life, through their true identities in Christ.  Which always leads them to loving themselves and building stronger, more loving relationships.  It is a glorious transformation!!  It is what God intended, for transformation.  Our path to being happy with ourselves, is not to reject who God created us to be. But it is to embrace who we are in Him, and be transformed by His love, peace, and joy in every other area of our life and identities!

Power of Imaginations Surrendered to God

Testimony of God’s faithfulness!! A client has been struggling with her identity, and value to God, after some sin issues. As we were praying, God showed her, her before His throne; Jesus presenting her to the Father blameless. He covered her in a white veil and the angels were all around her rejoicing!! if you have not opened the eyes of your heart to allow God to give you new imaginations and visions, I encourage you to do so. This gift from God has become a powerful tool in bringing freedom to many, in my counseling sessions and my own walk with the Lord. God told me, “there is too much going on in the heads of my people, just changing their thoughts is not enough for many. But they must allow me to change their imaginations by giving them new ones. I want to replace all the old pictures full of pain, anger, offense or fear, with pictures of my love for them, and pictures of how I am seeing the issue they are dealing with”. I encourage you to do as Habakkuk says, “look and see what He will say to you”. Look and see, what He speaks. Interesting huh? I am writing a curriculum that includes this model of healing as well. So stay tuned. Oh, and no worries, in spite of the fact that religion has told us in the past that visualization is ungodly, remember God gave you an imagination and gave you 66 books in the bible with prophecies and parables that ignite your imagination. Also, we use that component of our brain, all day long for negative thinking, without thinking anything of it. LOL. It is time to own our imaginations and lay them before the Lord, to be fill up with all that He wants in us, truth!!!