Praise and Thankfulness

“I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; Yes, I will praise Him among the multitude.” Psalm 109:30 

“[We] do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in [our] prayers.” Ephesians 1:16

Father, we give thanks to you for all you did last week to encourage these 30 leaders who attended the Deeper Still Chapter Leader Conference. We give thanks to you for these faithful prayer and financial supporters who stand with us in the fight for freedom and healing the abortion-wounded hearts across this nation and world.  May we never cease to give thanks. Lord, we will greatly praise you with our mouths and we praise you among the multitude! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Last week thirty of the Deeper Still Chapter Leaders from nine states and one international leader attended the first Deeper Still Chapter Leaders Conference held at beautiful Eagle Rock Retreat Center in Tallassee, TN.  

Huge thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ and all of you who prayed for this time together. The Lord is expanding the tent borders of Deeper Still and we recognize this growth would not be possible without your prayer support and partnership. We appreciate you and give thanks for you! 

From all of us at Deeper Still…Thank you! 

Chapter Leader pic

Prayer for Chapter Leader Conference

Three stranded cord

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Father, how amazing are you! Thank you for how you are expanding the ministry of Deeper Still across the nation and into the world. Father, we ask for this first chapter leaders conference to be full of many blessings from you for each person coming. We ask for you to strengthen and encourage each leader and impart your wisdom and knowledge. Father, I pray that as we come together, that iron would sharpen iron and together we would be strengthened united in your purpose to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. In Jesus’ Mighty name, Amen. 

Next week, the Deeper Still ministry will hold its first Chapter Leaders Conference. There will be thirty people coming representing ten chapters from nine states and one international chapter leader. How the Lord has been expanding the Deeper Still Ministry is amazing. 

The Lord doesn’t call us to do ministry alone. Jesus even had a team of twelve. Team is a foundation of the Deeper Still ministry. A team comes together and everyone brings his/her own strengths, gifts, talents, and abilities. When this functions properly, the team becomes a picture of the body of Christ working together to accomplish Kingdom purposes. 

A cord with only one strand is not as strong as a cord with three strands. This scripture is often used in weddings and was used in mine as well. The pastor performing the ceremony held up a rope, and used this scripture as a reference explaining each of us is one strand and the Holy Spirit is the third strand. Good analogy and true. 

This can also be applied to ministry. One strand is the individual person, the other is the team Jesus has put together around us, with the third strand being the Holy Trinity. All three are needed. We need community, the body of Christ, around us for healthy living and ministry. We need Jesus, and we need each other. 

Next week as we meet to gird up these leaders, called women and men of God to a common and higher purpose, I pray their hearts would be knit together in unity and for each to be strengthened as they come together with the Holy Spirit. Let them hold on first to you, Lord, and then come around one another to encourage each other that they may not be easily broken. 

Praise God for all He is doing to expand and grow the Deeper Still ministry! 

The Cure for Insecurity

I have chosen you.I have not cast you away.Fear not, I am with you.Be not distressed when the unexpected happensI am your God.I will strengthen you.Yes, I will help you.I will uphold you

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10

Recently a friend of mine shared a Chinese story with me based on a true story about a girl who was promised to marry a man of great wealth and influence. She was raised and groomed to be this man’s wife and was told how privileged and special she was from an early age to be chosen to be his wife.

However, right before they were to be married, this man was taken by traffickers and sold into trafficking in the United States. This man and woman never actually met, but due to the Chinese culture and custom, she was still legally “married” to this man even though he was gone. She lived in the wealth of his household and had access to all he owned.

A few years later, she too was taken captive and sold into trafficking in the United States. However, no matter how badly others treated her, she remained confident of who she was and her true identity.  She knew this was not her own doing, but it was being done to her and it could not define her. Her identity had been set at a young age and she knew who she truly was, a daughter destined for greatness and deserving of privilege and honor. She was beaten, abused in horrific ways, looked down upon, disgraced, and rejected. Still, her dignity and honor remained unscathed. Nothing shook her identity or security.

There is more to this story and who knows how much is true, but her secure position of identity in the midst of great pain, suffering, and injustice was remarkable.

Identity or lack of identity set in our youth greatly impacts the security of our future.

In this story, her secure foundation of identity in the value of who she was defined her even in the midst of horrific circumstances.

In most of our stories, the opposite happens. Often the stories I hear involve neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and/or emotional abuse. In these stories, secure identity was not set at an early age. The trauma endured has set a course of responses in life. So much so that as we enter into adulthood, our circumstances can change and everything in our life can seem healthy and normal, but our emotional reactions and lack of identity set at an early age can cause us to be insecure even in the middle of the most secure relationships and circumstances.

What is the cure for this? How can an entire upbringing lacking in the most basic essentials of human emotional needs, and negative horrific harmful behaviors be undone so we can be secure? How can we live in our good new normal and enjoy the blessings God has given us? Will we ever stop being triggered from the trauma of our past?

The cure for insecurity is security.

Yes, I know that sounds possibly too simple but so many biblical truths are simple truths.

The cure for insecurity is security in Christ. Letting Christ be our rock, strong tower,  mighty fortress, and the anchor for our soul is vital in our search for security.

One verse to start with in building up security is Isaiah 41:9-10:

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Each of these sentences is a rich promise from the Lord:

I have chosen you.

I have not cast you away.

Fear not, I am with you.

Be not dismayed (distressed when the unexpected happens)

I am your God.

I will strengthen you.

Yes, I will help you.

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (What security! To know He is holding you up!)

As my friend and the founder of Hope-Redefined, Lyschel Burkett, stated, “This verse changes the way I show up in the world.”

To be able to show up in the world knowing you are chosen by the One who formed the Universe and know He is for you is a big yet humbling esteem booster.

May we not grab onto anything of this world to define who we are and our true identities. Abortion, abuse, affairs, addiction, abandonment, or anything else can define us without our agreement. We can choose to refuse to agree with what the world would have us believe and instead choose to agree with the One who created the world with His Words.

Chosen one, He will not cast you away. Do not be distressed. He is your God and He will strengthen you. He will help you and hold you up so you won’t fall. Be secure in His security.

Today, here is prayer you can pray to build up security in Him…

Father, thank you that you have chosen me, that you do not cast me away. Thank you that you are with me, and that you are mine and I am yours. Father, thank you for strengthening me and helping me and holding me up so I don’t fall. Thank you for making me secure in your security. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

 

 

 

 

Miracle on the Mountain

Sometimes God uses a process of healing to cultivate intimacy and trust, and other times He chooses a miracle.

“Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins–He said to the man who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.'” Luke 5:23-24

About noon, my foot gently slipped while walking over gravel on the way to the dining hall at Eagle Rock Retreat Center. We had all been hustling about in preparation for the Deeper Still retreat to start later that day. Nothing big. My foot didn’t hurt and I continued walking and talking with a friend as we made our way to lunch not thinking another thought about my stumble.

Seven hours later, the Deeper Still retreat had started. Three team members made their way to the front of the room to share their testimonies before we all broke into small groups to share our stories. Out of nowhere, I began to feel excruciating pain build in my left ankle. The longer I sat, the worse it became. It was difficult to focus on the stories being shared up front as I tried to hide my wincing from the agony in my ankle.

Feeling like this could be spiritual and an attack since I was leading a small group that night, my first inclination was to press through and not let this hindrance hinder.  As I stood up when it was time to break into groups, I realized this pain was not only real, it was worse than I thought.  I took off my cute boots, opted for more sensible shoes, and made the trek from the main building to the building next door where we would meet for sharing our stories.

As our group shared their stories, the pain intensified and while I was able to hide the wincing in the big group, it was more difficult in the small group to hide my pain. This is true in life as well. It is easier to hide our pain in crowds than in close-knit settings.

After a few stories, I knew if I didn’t excuse myself from the group, my foot could go from a nuisance to a distraction. By this time, my ankle was swollen, red, and hot. As I stood up to excuse myself, I realized I couldn’t walk on my left foot at all. One of the other sweet team members carried me on piggy-back to the main building. Four team members loved on me and cared for me, brought me ice and ibuprofen, and prayed for me.

Tears ran down my face as I endured the pain, but those tears were for more than just a sore ankle. A fresh internal wound had shaken me prior to this retreat and internally I was hurting far worse than my ankle. My wobbly foot reflected the unsteadiness in my soul. Insecurities had risen from this heart wound, revealing the need for a more deeply rooted anchor that would not be easily shaken.

Over the past several weeks as I had tried to work through this heart wound, internally I was extremely wobbly.  When we feel wobbly, we may reach for external sources to try to steady our steps and we may even hope for a piggy-back ride while we work through the painful process of recovery. As we search for our foundation, we may try to find security or confidence in people, performance, possessions, or positions. But these were never meant to hold us up nor can they. They are not God. There is only one God and only He can hold us up and give us true and lasting security.

Other times, people reach for external substances or addictions such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, or food, but it isn’t limited to those. Anything used to replace Jesus is a stronghold that is less than adequate and dangerous. It will not comfort longterm, and only leads to destruction.   

As I sat there with my foot elevated, numb from ice and tears falling down my face, I knew the Lord was very close to me (He is always close to the brokenhearted-Psalm 34:18). I said to Him, “Lord, you know I am already hurting internally and now this?” My heart was sad as I knew that if I couldn’t walk in the morning, I would need to go home. It would be too much of a distraction if I couldn’t walk the next day.

I quietly whispered to Him, “Lord, would you heal me? If you don’t heal me, I’ll have to go home. I can’t not be able to walk.” With those last words of the night, I went to sleep.

Morning came. I hesitantly put my foot on the ground and stood up. No pain! No wobbling! I was completely healed! There was no more pain, swelling or anything! I even danced later that day! God had completely healed my ankle!

How sweet of Him to restore my ankle to wholeness and take all the pain away. What a beautiful promise and reflection of what He is doing internally as well, not just in my heart but what He was eager to do in every hurting heart on that mountain. He is Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals.

Sometimes God uses a process of healing to cultivate intimacy and trust, and other times He chooses a miracle. 

This miracle was a faith builder for every participant in the room and a declaration from Him that the same God who heals the lame, is able to forgive all sins and heal the brokenhearted.

All I know is that I couldn’t walk and now I am healed. I was blind but now I see. I was wobbly and now I am standing firmly on the Rock. He is faithful. He is unwavering. He is never wobbly or insecure. We can count on Him to be our strength. He will carry us to a place of healing, firmly rooted and secure in His love. There is no other anchor that will hold. Only Jesus.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]. ” Psalm 147:3

Father, forgive us when we look to anything else to be our source of comfort or security. May you be our Rock and firm foundation. Thank you for how you heal and bind up our wounds. Thank you Lord that you care about every detail of our lives. Thank you for being our Healer.  Lord, we ask you do it again this weekend in Fallbrook, CA, as another retreat is being held there this weekend. Do it again and heal every heart there. You are the miracle worker and we love you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Grief with Abortion

When we are free of guilt and shame, then we can name our loss and grieve our loss in a redemptive way.

People have many thoughts about abortion, mostly political at times. To think this issue doesn’t touch us is not reality. Statistics show one in four women in our churches have had an abortion, not to mention the men affected by it as well. It is all around us and we need to talk about it.   Today, I want to share another side to the story, to think about the lives lost and also those all around us who are alive but deeply wounded from a decision made long ago in crisis. As my 11-year-old daughter said in the moment of grace when I told her about my abortion, “People make bad decisions when they are hurting and scared.”

The world doesn’t allow or make room in our society for women or men to grieve the loss of a child in pregnancy. If someone loses a child through a miscarriage, we call it is miscarriage instead of losing a child or a baby. If someone has an abortion, there is a whole other element of shame and guilt because it was intentional.

Someone who has an abortion pays for someone to end the life of their baby. So how in the world do you grieve that loss? And do you have any right to grieve that loss or even acknowledge the loss?  So you just go on with your life and try to forget it ever happened. And you hope that no one will ever find out, so you live in silent shame, guilt and a wall barricades that part of your heart. Denial and secrecy become your allies. You hide behind that wall and can never let anyone ever get too close because to be known, fully known is too risky.  You hide hoping no one will be able to see you have secret to keep. This secret robs you of fully embracing your relationship with the Lord and others. A part of your heart is dead and you can’t explain it and may not even be fully aware of it. This loss is too much to come to grips with, so it stays hidden, unnamed and unspoken of. However, there is a pain, an ache in your soul from a loss you have never grieved.  For you cannot grieve your loss if you cannot name or acknowledge your loss.

Christians don’t know what to do with it. They don’t know how to comfort you or help you grieve your loss. And you certainly can’t tell your friend who had a miscarriage about it because they wanted to have their baby. It is not a pure grief, it is a muddy pond of grief. For it to become a pure grief, guilt and shame have to be extracted from it.

But too often, we as Christians pile shame on top of the shame already put on those with abortion wounds and the grief of that loss is buried somewhere under all that shame, unable to be identified or expressed, but the wound is seeping and causing all kinds of issues in a person’s life.

It takes revelation from the Lord Jesus that He has once and for all paid the price for all sin. All sin. And the Lord took our guilt and shame and nailed it to the cross with Jesus. Jesus took it all so we could live healthy and whole and in freedom. He came to bind the brokenhearted and to set the captive free.

When we believe we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and we are free of guilt and shame, then we can name our loss and grieve our loss in a redemptive way. 

We believe Scriptures support that these children go to heaven to be with Father God.

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. “ Ps 27:10

”But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.“ 2 Sam 12:23 (David is grieving over the death of his child with Bathsheba)

“And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Ecc 12:7

“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Cor 15:44

There is a part in the Deeper Still retreat on grieving and reconciliation. In the retreat, tangible symbols are used as a way to help us enter into hard things that our brain has otherwise found ways to avoid processing. Often we have been emotionally disconnected from our heart and so we have formed a well-worn path in our brains for how we process painful things.

For women and men who have had abortions, it is crucial that they understand the work of the cross, Jesus Christ has made the way to reconcile us first to the Father, and then to each other. Jesus paid the price for these moms and dads to be reconciled with their children. This profound truth allows them to embrace the existence and humanity of their child without the guilt and shame of once rejecting them. This opens the door for healthy release.  Emotions can include thankfulness, sadness, sorrow but also joy. This array of emotions is normal during the process.

We have seen such beautiful expressions of healthy grieving during this time and mothers and fathers are finally able to connect in a healthy way to their children in heaven and then release them in a healthy way into the arms of Jesus. This kind of healthy grieving can only be explained through a supernatural miraculous work of Jesus Christ. He is the Healer, Restorer, and Comforter of our souls. 

Father, I pray for those with abortion wounded hearts to be able to accept your forgiveness, healing and finally be able to grieve the loss of their children in healthy ways. Lord, we recognize this is impossible without your hand moving and your healing touch in these lives. Father, I specifically pray for those coming to the retreat this weekend to enter into this grieving and reconciliation and fully receive all the healing you have for them this weekend. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen. 

For more information on grieving loss due to abortion or to find out more about our Deeper Still retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org.

*(Part of this post was taken from the Deeper Still Training Manual and Retreat Manual written by Karen Ellison, the founder and president of the Deeper Still ministry. Karen has a book coming out in 2019 called Healing the Hurt that Won’t Heal. More information on that will be provided in the coming months.)

Across the Borders

“He has delivered (me) us from the domain of darkness and transferred (me) us to the kingdom of his beloved Son ... Colossians 1_13

 

Today’s post is written by our dear friend and Director of Operations for Deeper Still, Jacque Murphy. Thank you Jacque for sharing your heart today. 

“He has delivered (me) us from the domain of darkness and transferred (me) us to the kingdom of his beloved Son … Colossians 1:13 

Recently I had the chance to take a mission trip with my church to Tijuana, Mexico. My heart in going on this trip was to share my personal Deeper Still testimony. For two years I had it on my heart to share my story with the women of Tijuana. I believed, they too, much like me, carried shame and guilt because of abortion in their lives. 

Abortion crosses all borders and pays no partiality to ethnic or country lines.

The last day our team had planned do to a ladies’ retreat for a church there. Everyone had tasks to do and I asked what was my task. A team member encouraged me to go somewhere and just prepare. I was humbled that they would allow me to take time to prepare my heart. 

The place where the retreat was being held was in a condo on the beach offered by someone from the church. The windows painted a picturesque view of the ocean and breezes from the Pacific Ocean swept through the room. As I looked out over the water, I asked the Holy Spirit to fill my heart to overflowing. I began to praise Him for the freedom He had given to me and wanted that same freedom for these ladies as well. I asked Him if there was anything I needed to say I haven’t said before. 

While reading through my written story, the Lord brought to mind things I had forgotten. I remembered the old feelings. In my mind, He took me back to that time. As He did, I realized I still had these feelings lurking inside of me today. Even though I’ve read through my story a dozen times before I felt there were so much more the Lord was showing me this time. As I read through my story, I began to have a clearer understanding of what I’ve been forgiven for. The price of my freedom was great! 

The Lord revealed it wasn’t fear that had a hold of me but rather shame. Shame had become a part of my identity. Shame reared its ugly head often, eagerly reminding me of my failures and my faults. Shame’s accusations stole my voice from me. Shame squashed me as it continually attempted to keep me under its thumb.

I had received freedom from the shame of my abortion at my Deeper Still retreat but that was just the first layer. Shame had been a part of identity since childhood and its roots were vast and deep. Shame had hid out and dressed up in a guise of humility and or at times embarrassment. It focused on my failures and flew falsehoods that I should be ashamed because I wouldn’t want to be too puffed up or proud. 

This past year the Lord has reminded me in several ways of who I am in Him. When I began to believe it, shame would be right there to remind me of my failures and that I wasn’t enough.

In Mexico, the Lord showed me it was time to take off that coat of shame and put on my robe of righteousness and believe who He says I was in Him, a daughter of the Most High King; clothed in a robe of Righteousness, with a crown on my head, and wearing the family signet ring. That coat of shame fell off. The lies I believed that I wasn’t enough fell off.

This precious gift of freedom was given to me not by anything I’ve done but it was freely given to me by Jesus Christ himself. Jesus came to give Life to its fullest and I feel full!

I know I’m not done yet.There’s more for me and for you. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! He is the way to freedom, He is the truth of our foundation, He is abundant life.

Isaiah 61:1-4 has never been more truer in my life…

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them a beautiful head dress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of morning , and the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified.”

Father, thank you for so great a love. Thank you that you have transferred us out of the darkness and into your wonderful light. Thank you for how you continually bring new revelation of who you are and who we are in you. Lord, for those continuing to walk in shame, will you light up the darkness and reveal the great exchange you have in changing a cloak of shame in for a robe of righteousness. May we walk in the fullness of all you have for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Today’s post was written by our dear Jacque Murphy, Director of Operations for Deeper Still and team member. Jacque has been serving with Deeper Still for 7 years. She lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband Darryl, who is also a Deeper Still team member. She also is a proud mother to two US Marines and a daughter. Jacque enjoys a good cup of coffee and playing with her dog Mercy. Her passion is to see the abortion-wounded set free and find their identity in Him. You can read more about Jacque at http://www.godeeperstill.org

jacque murphy

New Planned Parenthood President is Right about One Thing

Lamentations 3_40

“Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40

Last week a new president of Planned Parenthood was announced, Dr. Leana Wen. In an interview she shared her reasons for deciding to take on this new position. Her tone indicated that she deeply believes in the cause of Planned Parenthood and has resolve to fight for and inspire others to fight for what she considers a right for all women.

Twenty-five years ago I entered the doors of a Planned Parenthood. Three heartbeats went through that door–mine, my boyfriend and my unborn child—two left, and one was silenced. The two hearts that left physically intact were emotionally and spiritually shattered.

As I listened to Dr. Leana Wen, a deep place within me grieved as she truly believes she is fighting for a just cause. She used terms like “healthcare” to describe abortion. She tells a story of a young lady who died in the emergency room she worked in because of a home abortion, a young lady who was too scared to go to an abortion clinic and that she believes this death was due to a failure in our system.

She is right. This death was due to a failure in our system—a system that fails to teach who we are as created in the image of our Almighty God. A system that fails to teach that if God is for us, who can be against us. A system that fails to teach that God can and does work all things together for good and His love is above and beyond all we can ask, think or imagine. Oh that we would search out and examine our ways and turn back to the Lord in our system.

If our system taught those truths, then this young girl might have seen her pregnancy and situation differently. She may not have sought out an abortion—legally or illegally. Every life lost matters.

There indeed is a failure in our system.

I meet women all of the time who did not physically die from an abortion—but their heart did that day. That day, a part of their heart became dead. They are hindered in their ability to mother, to nurture, to have healthy relationships with friends and in marriage. They are breathing, but not fully alive.

Every life lost is devastating and women die from abortion procedures at abortion clinics. Some have nearly died and not received medical treatment needed due to the abortion clinic not wanting to gain negative exposure.

Dr. Leana Wen also stated that she wants to “Fight for our most vulnerable individuals on a bigger scale.” This statement also grieved my heart. There are two vulnerable individuals we need to address.  One is the woman who may not have the emotional or financial support she needs, and the other is the baby whose life is at risk. Both of these need to be addressed.

The woman who is pregnant is vulnerable, perhaps alone, hurting and at risk.  She does need support. She needs the body of Christ to come alongside her, love her, support her and help her. However, abortion does not help her and to claim it does is to deny the reality of the pain abortion brings. God cares for the broken hearted. God will make a way when we turn to Him instead of trying to “fix” things on our own. He is saying, “Come to me, trust me. I can make this all turn out for good.”

The other is the baby whose life is at risk. There is no one more vulnerable and defenseless than an unborn child. The womb is intended to be a safe place for a child to grow and develop. Our society has made this safe haven into a war ground between a women’s right to her own choice and the precious life she was given to carry. The choice to have sex or not is the choice we have, except of course in the case of rape. But rape is tragic enough without the added trauma of abortion in a person’s life. Death on top of death is never a good solution.

Dr. Leana Wen sees abortion as mainstream medical care. She stated reproductive healthcare is healthcare and women’s healthcare is healthcare. Healthcare is healthcare. What I hear her saying is that abortion is healthcare. Abortion is basic healthcare, like going to the doctor when you are sick with a cold.

In some cultures this is a common thought and I have heard it often—getting pregnant and having an abortion is like getting a cold and going to the doctor. How far our society has fallen when our mentality of life is reduced to getting rid of cold, and ending a pregnancy is compared to eliminating a virus.

This is heavy on my heart and is indeed a heavy subject. We too must fight for our most vulnerable individuals and speak truth in order to change the failure in our system—the failure of not teaching the truth about who we are as sons and daughters of God, and that every life is precious and God ordained. Every life. Every single one is precious.

Dear Lord, I pray for Dr. Wen. Father may she see every life as precious. Lord, may we as a society have our eyes opened to the truth of our identity in Christ and who you made us to be. May we value each individual life and honor and respect each other as image bearers of the Most High. Oh Lord, how our heart grieves. Lord we ask for your light to shine on the darkness and for your truth to expose the lies. May we as a society choose life and our hearts would turn toward you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Aligning with the Accuser

Forgiveness and grace place us back in a position of honor even though it isn_t what we deserve.

“He said to her, ’Women, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’  And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” John 8:10b-11

Father, forgive us for often partnering with the accuser. Forgive us as the church and body of Jesus Christ for aligning with the accuser instead of lifting our brothers and sisters up who have brought their sin into the light of your presence and confessed it. Far too often they are met with condemnation and judgement rather than grace and forgiveness. Lord, help us as the body of Christ to do better in embracing our sisters and brothers and helping to restore them to the full place of honor you intend for them to have as your son or daughter. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

As the Church and body of Christ too often we fumble in how to react when our fellow brothers or sisters in Christ come to us with their sin. We act shocked and often respond in condemning ways. We unintentionally cover our brothers and sisters with a blanket of shame instead of reassuring them of their covering in the blood of Jesus Christ. Shame attaches to identity, can lead to self-hatred, which can cause a downward spiral of devastation in a person’s soul.

When we shame others, we are aligning with “the accuser”—the enemy, who is all about shame. He is the one who accuses. And our self-righteous, self-hating flesh is all to eager to agree. When we do this, have we not eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thinking we have the right to judge, condemn and put sentence on those who have sinned?

Grace cannot grow in the hard ground beneath the shadow of that deadly tree.

And if the offense was against us personally it can be even more difficult to maneuver our way from accusation and seeking justice to the life-giving place of grace, mercy and forgiveness.  

We live in a sin filled world full of fallen people. It is impossible to live on this earth without experiencing offense.  When someone sins against us, it can cut to the core ripping our heart in two. Emotional pain can feel physical if the impact is severe enough. There have been times when I wanted those who hurt me to experience the same pain they caused and feel the weight of shame.

The offense may have been horrific and God saw it all and He is the great avenger of injustice.  God understands the violation was great. He is not asking you to forgive someone who is innocent but someone who is guilty. 

Even after I thought I have forgiven an offense, a part of me may still be tempted to cry out for justice and want recompense. Sometimes we need another round of forgiving, or possibly seventy times seven before it begins to work through our system to remove the toxic effects of unforgiveness. We may even need a booster shot later when our hearts are exposed again.

Words from the book The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson express the Lord’s desire for restoration to an even greater degree.  

“Forgiveness restores the standard…Your forgiveness restored me back to the place of honor. Repentance means, ‘to be restored to the pinnacle, the high place.’”

Forgiveness and grace place us back in a position of honor even though it isn’t what we deserve. That is what grace does and that is what grace is. When we forgive another, it isn’t saying I forgive you but I still am going to treat you as I think you deserve to be treated. This may be the most difficult part of forgiveness—to give honor to those who we decided are undeserving of honor. God loves even the worst offenders. It is difficult for us as humans to completely grasp this kind of love, grace and forgiveness.

I pray we all can flourish in the fertile soil of grace under the Tree of Life, choosing grace over judgement and choosing honor over accusation. Let’s no longer align ourselves with the accuser but instead let us as the body of Christ be a life-giving place for our brothers and sisters to bring their sin into the healing grace of the light of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

Your True Worth as an Image Bearer

May there be a deeper revelation in the body of Christ of who we each are as image bearers, how valuable we each are and of our worth because of who God says we are--and no other measure

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, overall the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

Father, there is a lack of understanding of who we are as image bearers of the Most-High God. This lack has caused a barrage of violations from the worst and most horrific offenses to the subtle ways we dishonor one another daily. Oh Lord, will you give us your heart and your eyes to see others as image bearers, created as sacred and full of value and worth. Heal our hearts and lands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Worthiness is a truth I have struggled with most of my life. Whether due to words spoken or not spoken over me as a child or life choices that resulted in catastrophic fallout. It is not only me, most Christians struggle with walking in worthiness. We even feel it is prideful to feel worthy and coddle those unworthy feelings blanketed in pride of our humility.

Jesus calls us worthy. God sent Jesus because He decided we were worth the cost. Not that we did anything to deserve it. No. Our worthiness has nothing to do with us or what we do or don’t do, it is grounded in who we are created in the image of God and the price Jesus paid for us. Those truths and those alone determine that we are worthy.

When Eve took the fruit of the Tree in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3: 1-6), for a moment, she forgot her worth. She forgot who God had created her to be. She forgot who she was—an image bearer of God with all dominion and authority.

As a body of Christ, we too have forgotten who we are and who every person is—an image bearer, sacred and full of value as a son or daughter of God.

For years I have prayed Ephesians 4:1, that I would “Walk worthy of the calling with which I was called.” Last week, as I prayed this again while struggling with feeling unworthy (not due to any specific sin on my part, just not fully understanding who I am), I felt the Spirit of the Lord say the following in my spirit:

“Walk worthy. Walk in the worthiness you already have in me. It isn’t about a list of things you do or don’t do, it is about who you are in me. Walk in your worthiness.” 

Who we are created to be as image bearers has been weighing heavily on me. The Lord has been revealing more revelation about the value we have in that we are created in the image of God. The enemy hates us for that and it is his goal from before we are born to destroy and demolish the sacredness of our life. 

From the moment of conception, there is a plan to kill, steal and destroy who God has created us to be and many times those plans come to fruition in various ways. 

From abortion and the most horrendous abuse to how we treat one another in our marriages, and how we speak to our children or even the clerk at the store…it all matters, and it is all about how we value life and others around us. Every life is sacred and deserves to be treated as such–with full honor, seeing each other through the eyes of our Father. 

If the world had this revelation, that every life is sacred, created in the image of God with divine purpose and destiny there would be a stark decline in child abuse, pornography, marital strife, contentions, suicide, murder, sexual abuse, or rape.  

All of this is very heavy on my heart. I know God is bigger and we are not to carry this weight but I feel like I am tasting just a portion of how the heart of God is grieved by this. 

I pray for there to be a deeper revelation in the body of Christ of who we each are as image bearers, how valuable we each are and of our worth because of who God says we are–and no other measure. 

If this message blessed you, would you please share this message of life, healing and worth with your friends on social media. Praying this message spreads to the ends of the earth. Thank you. –Sue Molitor, Deeper Still 

 

Prayer for CareNet Conference

Life more abundantly (1)

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

Father, we lift up the Pro-Life CareNet Conference to you and ask for you to bless all going and all who are working to prepare for this conference. May every Kingdom purpose be completed. We ask for you to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask, think or imagine. Heal hearts, change lives, give all of those attending a deeper revelation of who they are as image bearers as well as who others are as image bearers. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Next week is the CareNet Conference, a national pro-life conference held for all pregnancy centers under the CareNet organization. The Deeper Still Ministry will be there as well with a booth to represent healing the abortion-wounded and the vital role healing this wound has to the cause of life. 

Many abortion-wounded women and men will attend this conference. Please pray for those who need deeper healing or are suppose to start a Deeper Still Chapter to be led to our table.

Thank you for your prayers. Some additional ways you can pray given from CareNet include:

  • Protection for those traveling to and from Atlanta. 
  • Blessings upon the keynote and workshop speakers.
  • Renewed energy and deeper empowering of our conference attendees 
    for ministry.
  • That abortion supporters would come to a point of repentance.

For more information about how you can pray and fast for this important time, click below on this blog post link: https://www.care-net.org/get-involved-blog/fast-and-pray-2018-national-national-conference

We appreciate you locking arms with us in the cause for life and healing for the abortion-wounded. Thank you!