Honoring All Life

Every life is created in the image of God and is valuable to our Father and Creator God.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Philippians 2:3

This Friday, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington D.C. for the National March for Life. From all over the country, men and women will gather with one voice to declare to America and the world that we still value life, all lives, in America. 

What many do not understand is that life issues delve deeper than life in the womb. Although that is a huge stand, and important, it is but a fraction of the wholeness of the realm of all valuing life encompasses. We also need to with intentionality honor the marginalized and often forgotten members of society – the elderly, the isolated and lonely, and those with physical and mental disabilities. 

As a post-abortive and pro-life person, it seems paramount that every life is seen as valuable and cherished, as every life is created in the image of God and is valuable to our Father and Creator God.

Other ways the value of life is violated is abuse (all kinds), violence, racial prejudice, addictions, pornography (it is not honoring to reduce women and men to graphic images for selfish gratification),  gossip (yep, on the list), and sex trafficking. These are just some of the ways, we as a society have violated those created in the image of God. 

Those who oppose pro-life advocates, those who will stand against the March for Life, those who may even act out in violent retribution in response to the unbridled emotions deep within…all of them are precious in the sight of God, all are created in His image and He is deeply in love with every single one of us. 

As a pro-life person, I can be one to admit, we have not always honored every life well and have also responded in anger when misunderstood or mistreated. However, this is not the heart of God. I find it interesting, although I’m not going to go too deeply into this, but just interesting that the day we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day just happens to fall the same week as we nationally celebrate and honor life.  He was a man who advocated for honoring all people. As a nation, we have not done this well. Lord, I pray we can do this well, honor all life and all people well. 

As people all over the nation march this weekend for life, I pray the message of honoring life will ring loudly, and that all life is seen as treasured and cherished by our Father God, and I pray we can honor one another as well. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we pray protection over all standing and marching for life this weekend. We pray that people would recognize the importance of honoring all lives and would hear the heart of people waving the banner for life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Related Scriptures:

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.” 1 Peter 2:17

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:10 

 

 

The Why Behind the What

there is always a reason people act the way they do.

 

“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’” John 8:7

There is something I have said many times when faced with people who act out of woundedness and are engaging in destructive behaviors…

”There is always a reason people act the way they do.”

There are many hurts, bondages, and sins we have committed or that were committed against us that shape our behaviors. Not just ours, but those around us. When we can learn to view the world through this lens of seeing others through their woundedness, their actions become more understandable and hopefully our compassion more obtainable.

The question isn’t “What is wrong with you?”. The question then becomes with compassion, “What happened to you?”

It is from this vantage point that we can begin to understand our fellow man and ourselves.

Grace begs that we look on ourselves with compassion as we seek to understand our past and how it impacts us and others, and then move forward in healing as we recognize these shortcomings and seek the Lord to show the way towards health and wholeness.

As we allow the love of Christ to penetrate and heal our deepest wounds, we can then show love to ourselves and then love our neighbors as ourselves. It is grace and love that allows us to look past the flaws of our neighbors, friends, and others. Love isn’t the same as trust. If someone has deeply wounded or violated you, you are called to love, but trust is only built over time and consistent actions that reveal change.

But it is grace that chooses compassion over condemnation.

Jesus demonstrated this in many ways.

He demonstrated it when He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first,” when the Pharisees wanted to stone the woman who was caught in adultery.

And at the well with the Samaritan woman when He saw behind the woman’s sins and saw her, and offered her a drink from the Well that never runs dry.

Jesus saw behind the actions and looked at the person. He separated the sin from the person. May we be able to do the same.

May this new year be one of love and compassion as we seek to love ourselves and others with the love of Christ, see the person behind the sin, and do our best to remember there is always a reason people act the way they do.

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to love like you do. Help us to see behind the why into the what behind people’s actions. Give us your eyes and may we look deeply into the wells of ourselves and others, give grace and find compassion for ourselves and those around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Redemptive Power of Sharing Your Story with the Generation Behind You

“Showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Deuteronomy 5:10

Recently I was listening to a teaching on anxiety in kids for a continuing education class for my profession. In this seminar, the speaker referenced a study that indicated kids feel more secure and attached when parents share their story with them in a cohesive manner. This caught my attention. At the Deeper Still retreats, we talk about the healing power of sharing one’s story, and the freeing nature of sharing your story with family members, particularly your children. 

Sharing your story with your children not only frees you but according to the study referenced in that seminar, can benefit your children.

In an article linked below written by Karen Ellison, the President and Founder of Deeper Still, Karen shares another key reason for sharing your story with the next generation–it brings powerful redemption in ways keeping silent never will. This article was first published in TownHall.com on December 21, 2019. 

https://townhall.com/columnists/karenellison/2019/12/21/the-redemptive-power-of-a-parents-honesty-about-abortion-n2558255

“You have a choice. You can either let the fear of shame and rejection from family members be the end of your story, and you take those fears to your grave. Or, you can conquer your fears and take the long – and more impactful view. Your mistakes can have a redemptive thread and even be a lifeline for your progeny.” -Karen Ellison

As we enter into 2020, if you have had an abortion and haven’t yet shared your story with those who will follow behind you, will you prayerfully consider attending a Deeper Still healing retreat (if you haven’t already), and prayerfully ask the Lord if this is the year He wants you to share with your children. You never know. It could be the catalyst for the next level of healing, breaking the curse, and showing love to a thousand generations behind you. 

May this New Year of 2020 be a year of much healing and freedom! Happy New Year! 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you have removed my sin as far as the East is from the West. Thank you for showing love to the thousand generations that follow after me as I love you and keep your commandments, and I am no longer under the curse of the law. Lord, I pray for the generations that follow me to keep your commandments and know the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray for your leading and guidance on when and how to share my story with the generations behind me, and that this act of faith would lead to more freedom not only for me, but for those I share with who follow after me.  Have your way, Jesus. Amen. 

May 2020 be a year of healing and freedom! HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at Deeper Still

 

 

Testimony of Healing

The message of the gospel is absolutely true.

Lisa Mackie, one of our Deeper Still chapter leaders, was recently interviewed on the podcast Faith, Hope, and Love hosted by Bud and Ames. In this interview, Lisa shares her powerful story of redemption and healing through Jesus Christ. 

One of the statements Lisa said that gripped my heart was when she said, “I never told anybody [I had an abortion] for 29 years. I couldn’t even say the word for abortion for 29 years.” 

My heart sank when I heard she never told anyone for 29 years. What a tremendous burden to bear and secret to carry all those years. 

The following is more of her story. It is not the entire story, but rather segments of the podcast to give you an insight into the heart of a woman wounded from abortion before healing, the hope of healing, and the change after healing.

I encourage you to go to the end of this post and listen to the entire podcast. It is such a beautiful testimony and she shares so many details about her story and truly gives a glimpse of her heart through this journey of healing. What a privilege and sacred place to be invited into a person’s heart and journey of healing. Praying you are blessed by her courage and story today.

“I always had this fear that somebody would find out what I’d done. So you definitely learn to build walls because you don’t want anyone to know that you made this horrible decision.” 

“My relationships were a train wreck. Because you don’t believe you deserve a good person.” 

“You don’t think you have value. So you don’t hold out for someone who will treat you with honor because you don’t think you deserve any honor”

“Because of the abortion, there were a lot of reasons I was not a good mom.”

But then…Hope. “The turning point in my life was Jesus.” 

“I told him, if you hold onto me, I will hold onto you.”

“I was told about Deeper Still healing retreats in Knoxville. So I went. It was absolutely life-changing for me. Everything changed. The presence of the Lord was there. He put in my heart a desire to speak the truth about abortion and what it really does to women and dispel the lie that you’re not going to think or feel anything about it later. There became a big yearning in my heart to see other people free.”

“I learned to love the person God created me to be.” 

“My message would be directed to two groups: for those who have had an abortion–there is healing, there is hope in this journey. You really don’t have to stay attached to the dark place from a long time ago. There is freedom. God doesn’t want you to be tortured in this life on earth. Jesus really did pay the price for all of us and all our sins and He is the One you go to. It is not anybody else that decides your judgment. It is only Him. And He wants you and loves you beyond anything you can imagine and He just wants you to come to Him because He has more grace and more love than you could ever imagine. And He has something beautiful and incredible in this journey of healing.”

“And for those who are not post-abortive, that you would be a safe place for people to talk about this topic. If I have one passion, it is that we’d be able to talk about abortion with compassion so people know they can get healing, so they are not held hostage to a decision they made probably at a very difficult time in life. We believe the message of the gospel is absolutely true.” -Lisa Mackie

Lisa’s podcast interview with Faith, Hope and Love hosted by Bud and Ames

Lisa’s story is so full of grace, love, redemption, and hope. We love Lisa and we are so thankful for how the Lord has used the ministry of Deeper Still to bring her into deeper level of healing. If you or someone you know has had an abortion, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to learn more about our healing retreats and find one near you. Karen’s Ellison’s book Healing the Hurt that Won’t Heal is also available on the website and will help begin your journey of deeper healing. 

Healing at Hudson: God’s Plan is in the Details

Today’s post was written by Ashley Gregory.  Ashley is a mom of three, resides in Central Illinois and has a huge heart desire to share Jesus with others! This post was re-posted with permission and originally published on her blog site Grace Upon Grace.

God is a God of providence, detail, and timing. He cares deeply for us and exists in the details of our lives. Details don’t bog God down and overwhelm Him. No, details reveal Him. (1)

I had a measure of healing before heading to Hudson, IL. “Enough healing” I decided. I had been through enough sharing, enough forgiveness, enough prayer and experienced enough love to get me to the point where enough became just that… enough. With the Lord’s nudging, heading to Hudson became something I thought would be helpful, but not necessary. Three short days later and my heart’s soil would be tilled, turned, and tossed with fresh seeds of Truth. Healing at Hudson was His plan all along.

If our stories always stopped with us knowing best, God’s goodness would not be shared from the lips of those who have seen Him work. The restoration work ordained by the Lord for this Deeper Still weekend retreat reminded my weary soul that our God is a God of providence, detail, and timing. He cares deeply for us and exists in the details of our lives. Details don’t bog God down and overwhelm Him.

No, details reveal Him. 

In the details, we see where He has been and where He’s headed. God doesn’t keep his plans a secret; He gives us His knowledge and wisdom. He creates using careful detail, He speaks in detail to his people, and He lays out His plans with detail. Tabernacles were built and nations defeated with detail. Jesus was born and the cross came to pass with careful detail. God loves the details. The details of my road to healing were overlooked and underappreciated until recently. 

The morning was cool and windy in April 2005. A morning made colder by the death surrounding the building I found myself in. I can’t remember the exact date right now, that’s a detail I’m trusting God to reveal when He knows I’m ready.  I can remember the neon pink T-Shirt and gray cut-off sweatpants I wore that day. My choice in attire was meant to facilitate “my comfort” following the appointment. Nineteen years old was too young to experience such emptiness and heartache. All I knew was that life would be better in fifteen to twenty minutes. It had to be or else what was the appointment for? Just a simple procedure to fix everything: my present and my future in the hands of one doctor and a set of nurses. I’ll never forget the month of April 2005.

Baby Alexandra was born in April 2015. That date, I’ll always remember- April 7, 2015. One decade after having my abortion, I held her fresh, new life in my arms and nightmares reawakened with the diagnosis of a heart condition that came seemingly out of left field. Her tiny heart had a large hole that pediatric cardiologists warned us “may fail around six weeks old”. By then, I had a relationship with the Lord and remember praying that if God did not let me keep her, it would be because I deserved to lose her. I fought all the voices that told me this was my fault, but the lies were relentless. With both the birth of my newest child and the birth of deeper shame and grief giving way, I prepared for my life to come apart. Although I had accepted Christ, I still could not fight the idea that the God of the universe despised me for my choice. I found myself surrounded by cold chills and looming death in April. 

April 2019 brought about another milestone. God would bring me to a retreat to receive further healing for my abortion-wounded heart. Healing that I didn’t know I needed, but He did. This April was different than the ghosts of Aprils passed. I would have the opportunity to reconcile and grieve the child that I never got to hold in my arms. “A son”, the Lord told me. I felt it deep inside my spirit, like the feeling mothers get when they just know. God impressed the gender on my heart, whispering this: “Sweet daughter, you are his mother and you know”. 

I closed my eyes and prayed as the other men and women in the room selected bears representing the lives of children they had lost, too. I waited and prayed, shaking in my seat and holding back tears. I am certain I was only being held together by God’s mighty hands. Lord, strengthen my feeble hands and steady my knees that want to give way, help me be strong.

With tears rolling down my exhausted face, I held my bear, a symbol of the son I never got to hold tight and close. I imagined what he would look like- my nose and his dad’s bright blue eyes. I was a mother mourning the death of her child, coming to terms with what Calvary was really for. Jesus held me firmly at the same time He held my son, rocking and weeping with me, a Savior familiar with pain. He called me to come boldly to His throne of grace, throwing off all that hindered. He wrapped me in righteousness and truth. He removed my sackcloth and wiped off the ashes. The time for mourning, sadness, and silence in April was over.

In April, the light of my child’s life brought me home to the feet of Jesus. Sitting at the memorial service on the last day of the retreat, my assigned seat offered me a perfect view of the lake surrounding the retreat center. I sat completely still in my chair, staring out over the crisp water as my son’s name was given to him by the Lord. 

Hudson, firm and assured the name resounded. Throughout scripture, God gives names to children by way of revelation to the parents. Samuel to Hannah, John to Elizabeth, Jesus to Mary. This time, it was my turn.

“Hudson could not be his name”, I thought. “Lord, all of my children have names with an ‘A’ at the beginning- you know this! Hudson won’t fit. Hudson is the name of this place, not a child.”

The “A” pattern was my detail, not God’s; His ways are not mine.

Baby Hudson, who would have been born in November 2005, his life celebrated for the first-time earthside on April 28, 2019. His existence wholly recognized and honored, his spirit dedicated to the Lord. As quickly as his life ended in a cold, sterile clinic, He entered the presence of Jesus who will keep him for me until I get home. Oh the contrast!! Leaving this dark world and entering the warm, “so-bright-your eyes-water” presence of God. I, Hudson’s mother, hidden in Christ and loved well until the day we will meet face to face. Former things won’t be remembered, removed from God’s sight. 

God’s sovereign hand reigning over my past, present and future, reached into April and redeemed all of the details. He is the Creator and Keeper of time, the Ancient of Days still on His throne.

Brothers and sisters, God will make beauty from your ashes. He receives your brokenness and gives you a new name. Your empty hands, crushed spirit, and wordless groans are all He needs to complete the good work He began in you.

Let him restore all that has been taken from you. Your past has been stolen and destroyed by an enemy that doesn’t want you to believe God can do great things with your life. Trust Him with the details.

Scripture references: 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 27:14, Isaiah 65:15b-19, Proverbs 3:5, Hebrews 4:16, Romans 8, John 10:10, Philippians 1:6, Isaiah 35:3-4

Thank you Ashley for sharing your beautiful story of God’s redemption with us today! To read more from Ashley, be sure to visit her blog site Grace Upon Grace. 

If you or someone you know needs emotional healing from the trauma of abortion, please go to GoDeeperStill.org to learn more about our healing retreats and find one near you.

 

Abortion-Wounded Awareness

20190702_115343

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12

On the heels of political debates and commentaries where abortion is brought up constantly, it seems important to talk about this issue from another perspective. In all the talk in the news and media, abortion is conveyed as a political issue. However, abortion is not merely a political issue, it is first and foremost a spiritual issue.

It is important that we, as the church, do not lose sight of this. Last year, a friend wanted to have a booth for Deeper Still at a Christian mission conference, the booth was first rejected because the organization looked at abortion as more of a political issue rather than spiritual. This is common, unfortunately.  Issues of abortion, death, pain, bondages of sin, and healing through the blood of Jesus gets lost in the bombardment in the debates of choice versus life. However, it is all about Jesus, it is all about life.  

Pro-abortion groups miss the mark in overbearing rhetoric screaming proud proclamations that abortion was the best thing they ever did.

And often pro-life politicians and individuals miss the opportunity to show compassion on the ones who fell victim to false rhetoric or were blinded to the truth of what abortion truly is and what is does to not just the baby, but everyone involved.

The message Jesus Christ has is simple. It is not political. It is not filled with an agenda and doesn’t seek to advance a platform. The message is come. “come to me to have life “ (John 5:40)

 What is not addressed is that there is a whole world of people out there who have been wounded and traumatized from the effects of abortion. They matter. In spite of what the pro-abortion groups may shout, this is true. And perhaps their shouts are just loud Band-Aids to cover their internal bleeding they have no idea how to contain or stop. Projecting anger onto others can be a coping mechanism for not dealing with the anger within oneself due to self-loathing.

Abortion-wounds are prevalent and we need greater awareness. Thirty-percent of those sitting in our churches have been through an abortion experience. That is nearly 1 out of 3. Think of that. If we aren’t addressing this deep wound, we are missing one-third of our friends struggling. All the talk in the news either stirs up the pain to the surfaces or causes one to push it down further in an attempt to bury deep to not feel. Of course, burying pain never works for long. Pain surfaces one way or another over time.

This is why it is important that we, as the body of Christ, do not miss this important aspect to the pro-life movement. Acknowledging these wounds in pro-life groups and in politics would do a great service to our fellow mankind who need healing. In politics or church leadership, as it says in Colossians 3:12, “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Compassion, love, and care are always in style.   

Father, thank you for your love, care and compassion for your people. Lord, may we not project our own self-loathing onto those who are hurting, but rather embrace and acknowledge the pain of others with a spirit of compassion and love, whether that is due to abortion or other wounds. Let us become an abortion-wounded aware country. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Please Don’t Ask Me That

“If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:10-11

The scent of sterile overpowered all other senses as I opened the door to the women’s clinic. It was time for that yearly appointment, the one no woman likes to attend. The OBGYN I had gone to for years and who had delivered all three of my children was not on our new insurance list, so the familiar was replaced with a faint hope that this doctor would be normal and this visit would be routinely bland.

Can we just be honest? Women and honest. No one likes to go to the OBGYN…no one. But for a woman who has had an abortion, going to a new OBGYN brings an additional weight in the shape of a question.

The personal history form asks the routine questions about medical history, familial medical history, and pregnancies. But at the OBGYN there is also a question about how many abortions you have had.

Yes, there it was, just as I knew it would be. The question was there and I answered it. It wasn’t a big deal. It is just a piece of paper asking, not a person. Maybe they won’t ask me anything more about that.

The nurse called me back and began going through the paperwork with me. She reviewed different parts of the form and I secretly hoped that would be skipped. Please don’t ask me that.

Why is it that I can write this post where potentially thousands could read it and also share my testimony in front of crowds, but a nurse trained in medical practices asking me a question made me a little nervous?

Thankfully the moment passed and it wasn’t mentioned. A sigh of relief. Then the doctor came in.

The doctor was about my age, had a pleasant look to her and a bright smile. Her relaxed friendly countenance disarmed me and set me at ease. She also began going over my medical history with me. All good. She began asking me about my pregnancies. In my mind, again I thought, “Please don’t ask me.

She did. Then she asked if the abortion was chemical or a DNC. In a gentle factual voice, I replied it was surgical. She professionally asked about how far along I was and when it was.

  1. 11 weeks.

There was no judgement in her voice, just professionally doing her job, asking medical questions a doctor needs to know. I got through it. It was as if she was asking if I had a gallbladder surgery or had my tonsils removed. But that is their job. Perhaps there needs to be more awareness of how abortion impacts women (and men) emotionally and spiritually. From a medical perspective, caring for the whole person.

She was great, sincerely, and I would go back to her. But I have had much healing and I am ok and can answer those questions fairly easily, but not all can. Some leave that question blank to avoid the questions. Some answer it, but then spend part of the day in tears. Others hide behind a strong façade. And to be fair, there may be some who truly don’t mind the question.

Let’s face it, it isn’t a question often asked and abortion isn’t a fun topic. If you want to make people uncomfortable, clear a table or a room, bring up the subject of abortion. Works almost every time.

But just like that doctor needed to talk about it for physical health purposes at this visit, there are times we need to talk about it for emotional and spiritual health check purposes.

Even with this post, for example. If you are post-abortive, pay attention to how this post makes you feel. What emotions are you experiencing right now?

Can you relate to how I was feeling at the doctor’s office? Have you left that part of the form blank in the past? Perhaps you have never told anyone you have had an abortion. If that is you, I want to encourage you today to pray and ask the Lord to give you strength to tell one safe person. If you don’t have a safe person, you can contact us on the Deeper Still Facebook page and message us and tell us. We are safe and we will pray for you. You are not alone. There is a Savior Jesus who cares about what you have been through and there are people out there who care as well.

It may not be a question we want to be asked, but if the answer is yes, there is emotional healing.

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for those who may have never shared they had an abortion. Father, I pray that you would give them the ability and strength to reach out and share with one safe person. Father, will you begin that healing process today for at least one out there who needs it today. If this post was just for even one, it is worth it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If that one is you, will you let us know? We’d love to pray for you.

Go to www.GoDeeperStill.org for more information.   

 

 

Freedom in Knowing the Truth

Know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” John 8_32

“Know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

For years I thought this verse above meant that the more I knew the truth in the Word of God, as in memorizing scripture and reading the Bible, the freer I would be.  Although, this is true, I was missing the Source of freedom.  I was coming at it from an academic or educational position instead of relational. 

Let’s back up to the verse right before John 8:32, and read both John 8:31 and 8:32:

“Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. Then, you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free.'” 

The Truth isn’t just something to be studied or words on a page. Truth is a Person.  

Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, emphasis added)  

When we abide in “The Truth”, we change from a vantage of knowledge to knowing.

Bible study and even being informed and up to date with current events, although good, isn’t necessarily the goal. The Pharisees knew the scriptures, but that did not impress Jesus.  Jesus said to them, “You diligently study the scriptures because you think by them you possess eternal life. These scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40, emphasis added) 

There are many people who diligently study the scriptures, seeking the Word of God to bring them what they desire…prosperity, health, position, or blessings.  Yet, they never know the Truth.  They pile on scriptures like a covering over their heart.  And the very words spoken to penetrate depths and pierce the soul, are blocked due to fear, misguidance, or self-protection.  

The reason we study scripture isn’t just to have Bible knowledge or memorize promises. The reason we read the Bible and study the Word is so we can know the person of Jesus Christ.  

And when we KNOW the person of Jesus Christ, when we KNOW the Truth, then the Truth will set us free. He alone can set us free.  He alone is worthy of all our praise.  And who the Son sets free, is free indeed.  

Happy Freedom Day from all of us at Deeper Still! 

Father, thank you for the freedom we have through Your son Jesus. We thank you that because of the Cross, we can celebrate the freedom found in You alone. We ask for a deeper revelation of who You are and our freedom in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

A Father’s Day Blessing

To Every Man

 

As the family of God, on this Father’s Day, we want to honor and encourage the stewardship of fathering. We acknowledge that the celebration of this day can be joyful for some and painful for others. But whatever your gains or losses have been regarding your fathering, we are confident that today the Lord is ready and willing to pour out His grace for healing, encouragement, and affirmation on all our men, young and old.

Let’s first acknowledge that God Himself is a father and designed the gift of fatherhood. And He has given the stewardship of fathering to men. What an awesome privilege and responsibility! Father God entrusted Joseph to be Jesus’s earthly father. Joseph probably had his moments of doubt, wondering if he was up to the task, but his simple “yes” and obedience was all that God required; God supplied the rest. This child, Jesus, also needed an earthly father for His physical, emotional, and spiritual development. Even from this example alone, we see how deeply Father God values a father. We would like to pray a father’s blessing over every man reading this today. Whether you have biological children or not, we want to honor your father’s heart and bless you as you father those God brings into your life that need your fathering imprint. We also want to include our single men, our young boys, and even our baby boys in this blessing, for they too will grow up to be fathers someday.

Father God thank you for creating your sons and endowing them with a father’s heart. Thank you that, as image bearers, they too can cry out for a heart like Yours. Today, God, would you pour out your fathering spirit upon all your sons in this place, young and old? Will you expand their hearts and give them the capacity to embrace the stewardship of fathering? Give them courage, strength, vision, wisdom, leadership, and a servant’s heart. Where they have been wounded, would you heal them so they can take up their swords and shields once again and fight for their families? Where they have failed, will you pour out your grace and forgiveness upon them and grant them a new beginning? Where they feel weak and weary, will You show them that You are the great I Am and that You can supply all their needs? Where they feel disqualified, will you show them that they have a place at your table and that you have great Kingdom exploits for them? Would you commission them to go out and find the lost sheep and run to meet the prodigal and to kill the fatted calf for every lost son that comes home? Father God, you hear the cry of the orphan, and You promise to be a father to the fatherless. Will you raise them up to hear the cries and answer the call? We ask for these blessings in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen!

(This Father’s Day blessing was from Karen Ellison’s book Healing the Hurt that Won’t Heal, Freedom for the Abortion-Wounded and Help for the Church They Fear .)

Happy Father’s Day to every man. We honor you as a son of Father God and your stewardship as a father!

~Deeper Still

 

The Great Exchange

I will become what you are. And you will become what I am. (1)

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

During the Deeper Still weekend retreats, there is a processional ceremony involving tangible symbols that represent an exchange. Ceremonies often involve exchange. A marriage ceremony involves exchanging vows and exchanging one’s own individual life for the sake of giving of oneself to another in a pure and appropriate way. There are ceremonies at a graduation where a graduate is given a certificate that gives an identity of exchange from student to professional. The school has given of its resources and the student has given of him/herself for the end of that exchange.

In essence, what happens in an exchange is an agreement.

The greatest exchange that ever happened was the exchange God the Father made for us, His beloved children–the exchange of His Son’s life for ours. As Jesus willingly laid down His life, that exchange represented Jesus saying, “I will become all that you are. I will take on all your sin and your imperfections. And you will become what I am, with all my righteousness, and all that I am, that we may be grafted together as one.”

Think about that for a moment. Jesus became all that we are. He became sin. He became all our sin. And in exchange, we became all He is. We became the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. What an incredible exchange. He became our sin and we became His righteousness. We became one with Him, to dwell in Him, to move, live and have our being in Him.

If we truly understood this exchange, how different we would live.

Today, I pray for a deeper understanding of this exchange, all He is for all we are. Our sin, our shame, our brokenness, our issues, our bondage…He takes all of it and in exchange, we are made righteous, blameless, pure, honored, whole, free.

It doesn’t seem right, so we think surely that cannot be all, there must be more, something else we need to do. But no, there isn’t anything else needed. Nothing else needs to be added. Jesus declared, “It is finished.” And it was. The exchange was complete and we were made new.

However, just as a husband and wife live in the freedom and blessing of their new covenant and the new graduate has a degree representing exchange, it doesn’t do any good unless they believe their new identities and act on it.

That is our responsibility, to believe our new identity and live as we are in Christ, righteous, and free.

What if after you received your degree in medicine, someone came up to you and said, “You know, you really aren’t a doctor. I mean I saw who you were in high school and you did get a C that one time.” You’d say, “I have the certificate to prove it and I am a doctor.”  We have an enemy of our souls who will lie to us and tell us we haven’t really been made righteous, and besides look what you did and who you are. Jesus says, “I took what you did and now you have become what I am. It has been paid in full.”

It takes a renewing of the mind to believe this and over time the enemy loses his hold and can no longer lie because you won’t believe him. You can hold up your “Certificate” and say, “I am righteous, it has been paid in full! I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. And I have the certificate (the word of God) to prove it!”

If you have had an abortion, or there is another sin in your life that has kept you in bondage and left you feeling unworthy, there is Hope, and His name is Jesus. This sin doesn’t define you. If you have accepted Jesus, then there is an exchange of identity. He took your old and gave you His. Praying for you today to know this great exchange and for it to be real for you.

Jesus, give us a deeper revelation of all You died to give us, all You have, and all You are that we are now because of You, and this exchange. Amen.

If you or someone you know has had an abortion and needs healing, please visit our website at GoDeeperStill.org to find out more about our healing retreats. More information is also on our Facebook page Deeper Still and Instagram at GoDeeperStill