Thursday, May 7, 2015

Setting The Table of Truth (Part 2)

Christians are being persecuted and murdered. This has always been so to a degree, but it has now gone to new evil levels. Or at least it has in our lifetime.

Many people, from all walks of life, have endured severe persecution and suffered at the hands of evil people with evil hearts. Our Native American and Jewish brothers and sisters have endured this for decades upon decades.

The true root of all this is spiritual.

The same spirit that controlled Hitler during the Third Reich is now controlling ISIS and all other terrorist groups worldwide. It’s the same spirit that controlled Haman in Esther’s day. There are wicked principalities and powers at work. It’s one of the “rulers of darkness of this age” Paul laid out in Ephesians 6.

But, we have the power to overcome through Christ.

This is an ancient battle that has long raged on. It is a battle of kingdoms. A battle between the Kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. A battle which Jesus ultimately won. He secured the victory. 

In no way am I being cavalier. However, I am speaking truth.

Most of us are deeply concerned about what is happening in the world today. Absolutely we care. It is heart-wrenching to see such brutal evil unfold. It’s heart-wrenching to see the pain and suffering of people for any reason, but this kind of atrocity is something the majority of us witness from a fairly safe distance. 

Yes, we must go on living our lives, taking care of our families and our personal responsibilities, as well as what we each deal with or the circumstances we find ourselves in. And for many of us, our circumstances are just as heart-wrenching and life-changing albeit in different ways.

There is no sugar-coating the depths of human suffering. And there is no good thing that comes out of comparisons either (i.e. this is worse than that; be glad you don’t have to deal with what they do; my pain is worse than yours, etc.). Gratitude is definitely good and needed, but no one’s suffering is necessarily easier than another’s.

However, as people of God, we must start getting serious about how we pray and operate in our God-given authority; if we aren't already. Perhaps that will be a first for some. And perhaps that also means getting serious in our relationship with God in a way we never have before.  

This isn't cotton candy Christianity. And yet many have ingested, or been fed, copious amounts of sugar and not nearly enough spiritual sustenance or real nourishment. Paul referred to it as milk versus meat. Too much milk and not enough solid food creates serious imbalances and deficiencies. And the truth is, many are spiritually malnourished for this very reason.

Sugar highs are dangerous; both in the natural and in the spirit. Sure, it gives you a quick boost, and may even have you bouncing off the walls with energy for a period of time, but just as quickly, you'll come crashing down feeling much worse than you did before. This is why it's called a sugar crash. 

We're having too many "sugar crashes" in the Body of Christ. And just as we suffer physically when we don't get good, proper, healthy nutrition, so do we spiritually. It can severely stunt our growth. 

Our Heavenly Father is not a Sugar Daddy.

Jesus is not an action figure to mold into whomever we want Him to be.

The Holy Spirit is not a mystical fairy tale nor is He a bird.

And this faith is not some kind of game to download and remove at will. It’s not a smooth pill we swallow to permanently ease our consciences or make us look cool. It is not a free pass to do whatever we want and then expect God to back us up. It isn't a grace license to willfully sin, or act elitist and self-righteous.

The truth is, those who know more are held more accountable.

Conversely, God is not an angry drill sergeant with a big stick just waiting to whack us over the head when we mess up or make mistakes. He isn't a selfish, egotistical deity who forces people to worship Him.

He’s not a pimp, a smokescreen, a genie, a buzzword, a scheme, or a figment of weak people’s imaginations.

He’s not pie in the sky. He’s not a gravy train. And He isn't a fortune cookie.

He’s not your abusive father, mother, or spouse. He’s not your biased, sanctimonious neighbor. He isn't your flawed pastor, priest, rabbi, or spiritual guru.

Don’t mistake Him with imperfect people, which we all are.

He is the Creator of the Universe.

He is love.
He is light.
He is holy.

And He cares about people. All people. So much so, He died for the whole world.

He didn't come to condemn us but to rescue us.

He didn't come to say I told you so. Rather, He came to say I love you.

Jesus is the true revelation of God.

He doesn't ask us to kill for Him or earn our way into His good graces.

He freely offers himself and His sacrifice to us; to whoever will receive Him. He is a personal God who wants to have a very real relationship with us. But He also gives us free will to choose, even about Him.

In this age of advanced technology and philosophy, it can be easy to dismiss our need for Him. It can be just as easy for those on the outside looking in to scoff at our desire for Him.

All of our collective intellect and reasoning can never comprehend our true need of Him.

Intellect and reasoning have their place, but they will argue, debate, and analyze spiritual matters all day long. And miss it.

Only our spirits and our hearts can receive this, which really brings me back to the beginning of this post.

Good and evil will continue warring against each other in the days to come. But we are not without hope. We are not without empowerment. Christ is our hope and we have power through His victory over the enemy. We don't pay back evil for evil. We overcome or conquer evil by doing good.

Darkness cannot cast out darkness. Jesus put it this way: “How can Satan cast out Satan?” 

Only light can do that. Specifically “the Light of the world,” which we carry on the inside of us. So what are we doing with it?

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. And because He is the highest power and authority, both in Heaven and Earth, He has given us all power over the power of the enemy. 

Not some. ALL. 

We, as believers, need to understand how to rightfully exercise our power and authority in Christ. We don’t fight against flesh and blood (people). Our fight is against spiritual (demonic) principalities, powers, rulers, wickedness, and strongholds.

Satan is real. Evil is real. But neither are greater than God or His Kingdom.

God is all-powerful. Omnipotent. God is all-knowing. Omniscient. God is ubiquitous. Omnipresent.  

And He has entrusted the stewardship of this earth to us. So what do we do?

We are to occupy. We are to be salt and light. We must be Jesus where we're planted.

We must speak like Jesus.

Think like Jesus.

Pray like Jesus.

Love like Jesus.

Forgive like Jesus.

Shine like Jesus.

And walk in true authority and obedience like Jesus.

If we do that, we'll start seeing the darkness diminish in our communities, cities, and nations. But it starts with us.

We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of hopelessness, fear, or apathy. Neither can we stay offended or attack each other. We must guard our hearts.

Redemption is a grace-laden gift from Christ alone. He is the doorway to new life. And this new life is what makes overcoming evil possible, first in our own lives, and then in the world. 

The Church is destined to overcome. I believe she is rising into her finest hour. However, we have lost sight of some vital things. But Christ can and is restoring our vision. He is at work. It might not look like what we think or expect. Nevertheless, the Head, the chief cornerstone, knows how to rightly care for and purify His body. 

He knows how to bring the change we are in need of. And that is why the Gospel is such good news. Even for believers. 

~ Michelle

Copyright © 2015 Michelle Holderman

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Setting The Table of Truth (Part 1)

We are at a breaking point - globally, nationally, locally, and even in our individual lives. Things are breaking open.

God does not author evil, confusion, or strife. He does, however, orchestrate the revealing or breaking open of truths. And the truth, including the ugly, is coming out so that The Lord can administer true change, correction, justice, healing, restoration, and redemption.

There are structures and strongholds that must be exposed and torn down. They have tried to exalt themselves against the true knowledge and power of the Living God.

The roots of this are spiritual. There are demonic strongholds behind it all.

God is deconstructing or tearing down these false things. This is messy but worthy work, which is followed by the construction or building up of what is true. And what is true always has a strong and righteous foundation.

If the foundation is weak and fractured, the whole structure built upon it will become weak and fractured as well. This is what has happened in many spheres. Therefore, broken foundations, and broken hearts, are being revealed.

In this process of tearing down in order to rightly build up, it will always look worse first before it starts to take shape and get better. Nevertheless, it is necessary to the building of what is true.

We must remember Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 6. Our fight is not against flesh and blood (people). Our fight is against spiritual principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this present age and wickedness in high places.

It is a very real battle of darkness trying to prevail over light. 

Let’s define light and darkness better.

God is light. There is no darkness in Him whatsoever. None. He operates in complete truth, righteousness, love, mercy, peace, and grace. He is not only a creator, He is THE Creator.

Satan is darkness. But he tries to cloak himself with light in order to fool people. He is a liar. He operates in deception, hate, fear, accusation, and exploitation. He is an imitator and a con artist.

Satan always try to emulate, pervert and distort what God does. He’s a trickster. And sometimes, The Lord allows him (evil, wickedness, deception) to be fully seen so that we can fully see and know the truth of what’s really going on. This can be quite jolting, but it’s necessary.

God operates on a higher plane. The highest. Everything He does functions to the righteous utmost. He functions in complete excellence. His agenda is to redeem, restore, and give life.

Satan operates on a lower plane. The lowest. He functions in complete contradiction to God. He, and everything associated with him, functions in evil and darkness, although, as I said, he often tries to disguise it as something good. His agenda is to kill, steal, and destroy.

God wants to bless and give life.

Satan wants to curse and destroy.

We, the people, can choose, by an act of our wills, to operate and come into agreement with either the light or the darkness.

We choose.

And whatever we choose to operate and come into agreement with is what we will empower. It goes even deeper than that. Whoever we accept is who shows up in our lives. We give legal spiritual access to whomever or whatever we receive.

The spirit realm is very real. More real than many people give it due validity. And until we get a hold of this, we will often misunderstand the true root of what happens in our lives, and in society and culture.

There are two powers and authorities operating in this universe:

God (The Kingdom of Heaven; light).


Satan (The kingdom of darkness; hell).

God is the true power and authority. He is greater. He, and His power and authority, is ultimate or supreme.

Satan is the false power and authority. He is lesser. He, and his power and authority, is subordinate or inferior.

We are influenced by our choices; by who and what we allow into our lives. So whomever or whatever we accept and come into agreement with, is who and what we allow and give rightful access to us. This defines how we ultimately function; how we think, speak, and act.

This is how it breaks down:If we give God access, we are influenced by Him and His Kingdom.If we give Satan access, we are influenced by him and his.It can’t be both. It’s one or the other.

The truth is, God is for us. 

Satan, the devil, is not. But his sham, his smokescreen, is to deceive people into thinking he is. He wants a foot in the door so he can work his way in. Remember he likes to cloak himself with light and bits and pieces of truth, but his motive is false. He's false.

This is why we need godly discernment. 

Jesus said of the devil: “…He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).

Jesus is the true face, the true revelation, of God. And He came in grace to empower us to live in truth. 

When we claim to love and serve God, our lives should truly reflect it. Christ has given us His grace for this, and this would include what the Scriptures call bearing fruit. But here’s the thing about fruit - we cannot produce it on our own. 

Jesus referred to himself as the Vine and us the branches. Just as branches cannot bear fruit apart from the vine itself, neither can we a part from Christ. If we stay in Him, He stays in us. Otherwise it doesn't work.

We should also desire to be obedient to what He asks of us. Not in a legalistic, overbearing way, but in the way Jesus walked in true obedience with The Father. And we should purpose in our hearts to keep His commandments. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

We cannot give casual lip service to this. We can't proclaim to live for Him with our words and then deny Him by our lifestyle. While none of us are perfect, we mustn't take lightly that we are living epistles. We represent The Lord and there is a responsibility that comes with it. There is a standard of righteousness and it's God's standard. 

We should produce spiritual fruit that reveals and points others to Christ, and the Kingdom of God, within us. There should be tangible evidence of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives. 

We are ever growing in Him, and we all go through winter seasons, however, bearing good fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) should be the norm and not the exception. It should be a natural manifestation of our relationship with Christ. 

We are sons and daughters; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus.

We must embody this truth. 

We must embody Him.

~ Michelle

Copyright © 2015 Michelle Holderman