GOD SAYS REPENTING IS REFRESHING

101_2069   shake it off

Every day when I come home from work, I go out to the backyard and prune the big leaves off the sunflower stalks. It causes more flowers to bloom where the leaves get snipped off and lets more sun get to the other plants below. Repenting is a lot like pruning the big leaves off. Our lives blossom more, and the people around us get more of the Son.

 

Nobody who works with other people or is around other people a lot is without the need for repentance. Nobody is that good all the time. We need to take the opportunity to let go of daily errors and sins, getting them and their effects off us by telling the Lord we’re sorry. When we say we’re sorry, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). It’s like we get to start over every day when we mess up. Tomorrow just may be the day we’re ALMOST perfect!

 

Acts 3:19 tells us repenting is refreshing: I think of how a Labrador comes running out of the lake and shakes all the water off. He’s clean and refreshed and ready to go again. That’s how God wants us to be every day—clean and fresh and ready to go again.

 

And repenting doesn’t have to be a long drawn out thing. If it’s from the heart, it can be as quick as that dog who just jumps out of the water and shakes it off. We need to jump out of the water every morning or every night and shake it off. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). God wants us to be free like Labrador and glorious like the sunflower. Let’s prune off the sins and errors quickly and often, and let every day be a new day to blossom and play in the refreshing of God.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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THE MAGNITUDE OF GOD – FRIGHTENING? COMFORTING? OR BOTH?

MAGNITUDE OF GOD1

When was the last time you went outside and looked at the stars? Whenever I do that, I’m reminded of how big God is and how small we are. It could be scary if I didn’t know that I am on His side. I experience a similar reaction when I look at certain passages of scripture, like in Isaiah 42: “Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein” (v.5).

 

“I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands” (v.8).

 

“The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools (vv.13-15).

 

“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them (v.16).

 

“They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, ‘Ye are our gods’” (v.17).

 

Though God has a sense of humor and fun and delight, sometimes we need to look at the “no fooling” side of Him as well. We see it in Isaiah 40: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God’” (v.1).

 

“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

 

“The voice said, ‘Cry.’ And he said, ‘What shall I cry’? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

 

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

 

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

 

“Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

 

“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

 

“Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?

“With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

 

“Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

 

“And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

 

“To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

 

“The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

 

“Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.

 

“Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

 

“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

 

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

 

“Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

 

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

 

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Is. 40: 1-31).

 

These scriptures from Isaiah have magnitude and majesty, and although we not understand the details, we are certainly going to be impressed emotionally by their impact on us.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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HANDS OF JESUS

hands

What does God say about children? And what can parents do when theirs are in trouble? Psalm 127:3 says: “Indeed, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward from him.” There are promises from the Word of God that we can earnestly pray and demand in the name of Jesus Christ, such as Isaiah 54:13, Psalm 105:15 and Isaiah 54:17*, but what happens when it doesn’t seem like our faith is working? The Lord showed me a remarkable new way to help our children. The key is in the hands of Jesus.

 

Look at what Jesus did in Luke 18:15a: “They brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them.” Jesus, like His Father God, loved the children, and He touched them.

 

The next part of that verse and the next verses go on to say: “But when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you; Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein’” (vv.15b-17).

 

When Jesus was crucified on Calvary, He bled from His hands, and in that, He returned powerful spiritual dominion into the hands of God’s children, us. This privilege was given to Abraham, Joseph, Joshua and other Old Testament believers. Regarding Joseph, Genesis 39:3 tells us: “His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” Jesus bled out from His hands so that we could be given back that privilege. Let’s start to believe it and exercise it. Don’t listen to the naysaying disciples who didn’t want Jesus to bother with touching the children. Whatever evil we encounter, we have the authority in Jesus’ name to render it harmless.

 

“They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:18).

 

We can lay hands on our children, and in the name of Jesus Christ, and by the power and cleansing of His blood that now lives in us, we can break the consequences and sources of sin off our children. We can lay our hands on our child’s pillow and declare that they are going to serve God, and they’re going to be healed and delivered and blessed. We have the authority. God gave us authority in the Garden of Eden; we lost it through Adam’s sin, and Jesus redeemed it on the cross. He laid down His hands for the insufficiency in ours. He wants us to take back the authority He gave us and make it good for our children.

 

We have a job as a parent to carry out the will of Jesus by letting Him work in our hands to bless the children.

 

“Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

 

And for those who don’t have children to bless, start thinking about and studying those Old Testament records on hands and touch, as well as what Jesus did with His hands. Let’s see what our hands can do for Him.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

  • Psalm 105:15: “Touch not mine anointed.”
  • Isaiah 54:17: “No weapon formed against [them] can prosper.”
  • Isaiah 54:13: ” And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”

 

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GOD’S COMPASSION FOR THOSE OF LITTLE FAITH

COMPASSION

My writer friend Ed sent me this e-mail: “I’m sure somewhere in my heart of darkness I’m a little bit of a Christian. Well, might be. I’ll look around, and check the basement and the attic of my heart; there might be a little faith somewhere.”

 

You need to understand that Ed is quite the cynic, so I didn’t feel I should immediately reply. I prayed instead.

 

A few weeks later he was at the writers’ group we attend. He sat down at our table. Jane asked him, “How’s it going?”

 

Ed rolled his eyes, “You don’t want to know!”

 

But when bad things pile up, most people want to tell someone, to get it off their chests. So, Ed opened up to us.

 

The IRS had just informed him that he owes a large sum of money for something a few years back, money he didn’t have now. Besides that, their air conditioning unit went out. It gets to be over 113 degrees here, and it’s nearly impossible to work in that kind of heat. He told us the A/C unit was an old one and the company he called was looking for a particular part that wasn’t being made anymore. They told him if they couldn’t find it he’d have to get a new unit which would cost somewhere around $6000! Ed was devastated and didn’t know what to do.

 

I told him we’d pray.

 

God had compassion for this man who thought his heart was dark and all he had was maybe just “a little faith.”

 

The next day after the writers’ meeting, Jane called Ed on an entirely different matter, but he was so excited he had to tell her what happened.

 

“You prayed, and it got answered in half an hour! The part they couldn’t find anywhere, well they showed up with it today, telling me it would cost around $800 to $900 to put it in. When they came down from the roof, they said it went in so fast it was only going to be $130! In the same half hour my 90-year-old mother called and said, ‘Heck, I’ll pay the IRS—the whole thing. Let’s get it off of you!’ You guys said you were going to pray and your prayers were answered. It’s a miracle! Our heads are spinning!”

 

God has compassion for all people who are in a hard place, people who don’t even really know if they believe in Him or not. Just the fact that the man expressed that he might be a little bit of a Christian was enough for the Lord Jesus to work His compassion in Jane and me to earnestly pray for this man and his wife. Strong compassion comes from the love of God in us. And I’m so thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for allowing us to be messengers of His love and miracles.

 

Lamentations 2:22-23 tells this about our God: “His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Love, Carolyn

 

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3. HOLDING YOUR GROUND
4. LEARN FROM THE CICADA
5. WHEN EVERYTHING GOES WRONG
6. NO NAGGING NECESSARY

JEZEBEL SPIRIT

JEZEBEL

By special request from Jane:

THE JEZEBEL SPIRIT

I was privy to a situation that taught me firsthand about a Jezebel demon. Most people think this is a spirit that entices men sexually and gets them into trouble. Yes, that’s part of it, but it’s much more insidious than that. Even though it has a female title, it’s not gender-specific, and though it goes after those in positions of authority, it also tries to bribe ordinary Christian believers in various sneaky ways. I’m going to tell you a true story to illustrate how it works and what the Bible says we can do about it.

 

When I walked into work, my friend Lupe was staring at a difficult-looking sample to match. Where did it come from? Well, not from her boss. It came from a middle management fellow, and it was for his friend, not for our company.

 

She avoided it for a week, and she told me she wasn’t feeling very comfortable with it. She didn’t even like the fellow who asked her to do it. She was double-minded about even starting it and then told me, “I’ll just find a close match as fast as I can, and that’ll be it.” We got busy and a couple of weeks went by. Then out of nowhere the female purchasing agent, Delia, came to Lupe and asked how the “special” sample was going. The fellow with the original request had called the purchasing agent to facilitate the completion of the sample.

 

Lupe was furious. She didn’t like the idea of doing the sample in the first place since it wasn’t a legitimate job. It was something she was just supposed to sneak in on the side. And now she was being seduced and pressured by Delia to get it done. She fumed and complained all day long. But she began the sample, and it took several hours. It was a tricky one and everything that could go wrong did. Then we heard that the boss was coming in. Lupe grabbed all evidence of the sample and hid it.

 

She had never done anything like that before. She’d always been very honest in her dealings at work. But Delia had pestered her so much, Lupe gave in and did something that was dishonest. Now she was caught in the trap. They had a secret. If Lupe didn’t say anything to our boss, then Delia would always have this trump card over Lupe’s head and could use it whenever she needed to make sure Lupe knew who was really in control. Now Delia had power over Lupe, which is exactly what a Jezebel spirit wants—CONTROL and POWER.

 

A Jezebel spirit operating in a person will always try to get them to join into a secret illegal bonding. With men, this Jezebel spirit will use the power of sexual passions to lure and then control the man. To a woman having this spirit in her, a man doesn’t even have to have physical contact, if a seductive glance of her eyes will do the job of capturing and controlling him enough to get what she wants.

 

The first mention of Jezebel in the Bible is with the manipulative wife of King Ahab. The Jezebel demon has existed way before the woman named Jezebel came along. But she is a noteworthy prototype, and thus the name, “Jezebel spirit.” She coerced over ten million Hebrews to bow to Baal and to kill God’s prophets. This one spirit was responsible for corrupting an entire nation. It is intensely ambitious, but it doesn’t want to be the King, it wants to be the sneaky shadow, controlling the King, as it keeps its packet of secret alliances ready for use whenever it wants something. Jezebel is a master at blackmail.

 

Proverbs 5:3 tells us: “The lips of a strange woman drop as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil.” And Proverbs 7:5: “Keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.” In these two verses, the word “stranger” is a Hebrew word meaning “a stranger to the truth, an alien, an enemy, one who turns aside.”

 

When I saw these verses, Delia came to mind. She has an unusually sweet, quiet, soft way of speaking—very compelling. One time she came up to me and whispered, “I think I put that big gouge in the floor. Do you think you could fix it without the boss seeing it?” I thought that was a little strange. I thought, “If the boss wants me to fix it, tell him, and he can authorize it. Otherwise, I’ll just keep doing what I’m hired to do.” And I never did a thing about it and never mentioned it again. At the time I had no idea what she was up to, but just glad the Holy Spirit in me didn’t let me get trapped by the sweet and oh so innocent-sounding voice!

 

Deuteronomy 13:6 tells us about the Jezebel spirit: “If thy brother, or thy son or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known.” That pretty much says it right there. The gods who are other than the true God are the ones who want us to do dishonest things: Things like stealing time, lying about things, hiding things—all those things that we intuitively know are bad. But with the clever enticement of a close relative or a friend, this Jezebel spirit knows all the right words to get us off track enough to do something that could easily come back to bite us later if we don’t chop it’s head off immediately.

 

Proverbs 23:27 tells us: “A strange woman is a narrow pit.” In other words, a tough one to get out of. First Corinthians puts it another way: “What? Know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.” Second Corinthians says: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” Just one hook-up with evil can take us down a long dark snake hole!

 

Proverbs 7:21-27:

 

“With her much fair speech, she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now, therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.”

 

“Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”

 

So, what does the Bible say we are to do about a Jezebel when it comes at us?

 

Proverbs 2:10-11 and 16 give us part of the answer: “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee, to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words.” “Disgression” is translated from a Hebrew word that means “a plan, craftiness.” Jesus tells us: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16).

 

Where it says “understanding shall keep thee,” the word “keep” means to “preserve and guard against danger.” Now that you understand something about a Jezebel demon, you can make a plan to keep yourself from danger.

 

Proverbs 5:8 tells us: “Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house.” Second Corinthians 6:17 corroborates what Proverbs says: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

 

There’s another point that’s important here. Deuteronomy 13:8 tells us: “Neither shall thine eye pity him.” This demon elicits pity from its prey. Because the person exhibiting the Jezebel spirit talks so nicely and seems like such a gentle and wonderful person, we are tempted to feel sorry for them and be nicer toward them, but God says don’t do it.

 

The way God has made for these people to get delivered from these demons is to be exposed and made naked. When exposed, they get so ashamed that they want to be delivered and get free from that spirit that is ruling their actions. See Hosea 2:5 and 19, Ezekiel 16 and 32.

 

There are many more examples of unholy alliances, and Jezebel demons luring good people down bad paths. The record of Samson and Delilah comes to mind.

 

I hope that this article has helped you. For me, once I saw Jezebel operating in real life and took the time to study it in the Bible, I feel I have a much greater awareness of what’s going on, and now I know what to do about it.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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FREEFALLING WITH GOD

I’ve been doing some drawings for my niece. I’ve done pencil drawings before, but this time it feels different. After completing the two cow drawings (in record time for me), I was feeling so wonderful and peaceful, I sat down and wrote a letter/prayer to the Lord: “Thanks, Jesus, for new talent – Talent to Listen! Thanks so much for guiding my hand with the drawings, like You do with my writing. I’m thrilled to do the “fuzzy eye” thing and get what You want. [What I call the “fuzzy eye thing” is when I physically squint my eyes to a fuzzy state and I see with my inner eyes what I need to draw]. You, Jesus, show me what needs accenting or pushed back, and I do it. I love that, and I’m so grateful.

 

All of us have those “fuzzy eye” moments, maybe not in the way that I do, but in your way. We have those times when we know we are in the flow with God, those times when we are experiencing Philippians 2:13: “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

 

In my prayer yesterday, I told the Lord: “Finally after six years of publishing, I know You’re there when I sit down to write, always there, exclusively for me. Now I see the same thing with my drawings. Thank you so much!”

 

Jesus already has endless joy, but every one of us adds to His joy. He has victory after victory in new and deeper ways. No one is like me, and no one is like you. If I write what blesses God, then it’s going to bless some of His people, and it will flow from their lives to bless more people than I even know. It’s the same with you.

 

When we’re doing, letting, following, and obeying the Lord, our lives touch many more people than we’re aware of. It’s not just about obeying, though. Many of us hear the word “obedience,” and cringe because it provokes a negative reaction, drudgery, weariness, failure. We have a “scrunchy-face” reaction. But that’s not God’s will.

 

God loves a thrill, a freefall. Trusting God and surrendering all to Him brings those wonderful intimate and thrilling moments into our lives. My atheist friend is a hang glider. I should ask her how the moment of lift-off feels. If you’ve been on a roller coaster, you know how the cars creep up to the top of a steep track, and there’s a slight tense pause at the top, a peak, a climax, a thrill like no other, as you begin to drop! If you like that feeling, as I do, that’s what it’s like in one way or another, with every freefall for the Lord. It’s pure elation. He’s got you, and you know it. The joy is unstoppable, and it’s the best ride ever.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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HESITATION – FEAR OR WISDOM?

hesitation

I admire the artists who can paint holiday decorations on storefront windows. When my friend asked me to paint something on her sliding glass door, I jumped at the opportunity. But when she said she wanted a New York skyline, just simple and fast, I should have hesitated and politely declined. I should have told her it would be my first time and there would be a definite learning curve to go through. The first attempt at doing a new art project with new media and new techniques is never “simple and fast.” But instead of listening to my hesitation, I muscled ahead.

 

As I started to research the project and thought through the process, I was getting more and more stressed. It wasn’t that I was afraid. I can work through “afraid.” But this feeling was more of a foreboding like if I started the project, it wouldn’t go well. I think we’ve all felt like that at times. We’re willing to start a new project, a new job, a new friendship; but no matter how excited we want to be, we honestly don’t feel any inner peace about it. We need to accept that sometimes hesitation is wisdom. The Holy Spirit is giving us a check, a little “Hey there, stop a minute and think honestly about this.”

 

I went to the local art stores, checked on materials, found out about techniques and did a lot of thinking about the images I wanted to use. In time alone, I used up more than the job warranted and I basically used up any money I expected to make on the project.

 

Finally, I realized I’d gotten myself into a big mess. I could feel my shoulders hunching, and I was overly agitated, and way too stressed out about it. I had to tell my friend I couldn’t do it. She understood, and I was relieved.

 

I learned several lessons from this experience:

 

  1. Don’t be too quick to jump into something I’m not qualified for, no matter how fun it looks. Accept that new projects require a learning curve.

 

  1. If I want to do something well, get some practice first.

 

  1. If I feel uneasy about something, it’s okay to hesitate and consider or politely decline.

 

  1. If I don’t have peace about a project, maybe I shouldn’t be doing it.

 

I think these principles apply to many things in life. Philippians 4:6-7 says: “Be careful [overly anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 

It’s not weakness or sin to hesitate when faced with certain new experiences. But we need to take an honest look at our hesitation. Is it a result of fear or is it the Holy Spirit giving us a check, a constraint? When we know the answer to this question, we pray, and we’ll know from the Lord what to do next, and then we can be at peace.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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