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The Faces of Grief

I remember like it was yesterday when I experienced my first sting from grief. My protector, provider, my daddy, and my first man I ever loved, left this earth without a sign that he was leaving. I was 10 and the youngest of 6 very much older siblings. It was as though they talked at me about what I would experience and how I may feel. I was never asked the question, “how are you doing.” That was 32 years ago and much hasn’t changed.

I have learned that grief isn’t just in death. Grief can be experienced through divorce, change in friendships, loss of job, life as you may of known it, or illnesses. I have experienced grief in many areas of my life through out my adult life. I have been forced to cope with each of them for the majority of them all. That’s the thing with being the invisible one or the strong one that everyone turns to for support. Grief hits us all differently and we all process it differently. I have found that in this season of my life God has forced me to sit down in the midst of all the changes that have brought on grief (none involved death) and process through the raw reality and the pain of it.

It’s funny because being a pastor, a trained counselor and chaplain I have sat with tons of people and I have provided tools, cultivated atmospheres of safety and healing, but yet I struggle to either find or open up to receive this for myself. I am not sure if its because of the amount of people who I have opened up to and listened but did not hear. Perhaps it is those who once were friends and are now in need of my counsel, the position I have stepped into as pastor, or the fear of judgment or stigma from those I call friends or co-laborers.

I sat here today and after another blow to my heart realized that life is harder lived when we look for others to provide what God is so eager to provide. I have a strong belief that God is relational and he created us for relationship. But, as I am in this season of life I am seeing more that there are seasons that relationships will look and function differently. God will shift those you rely on the most to distant acquaintances and bring those who serve as conduits to your push into the arms of a loving God. Moving from what was normal to a new normal for the one who has to be in control or who hates change can be tough. But releasing control and our sense of normal into the one who holds our very lives in his hands gives us the inner healing our souls need.

Grief is a part of life. What isn’t a part of life is grieving and denying it. No one has the right to tell you what you can and can not grieve. You have permission to grieve and to not feel bad about it. Yes, it may come and you are facing it alone. Alone without the touch of another. You must know it’s in those seasons God is holding his arms out to you. He is wanting to cradle you in his arms and pour out his healing love upon you. There in the safety of His arms you will find peace for your mind, rest for your soul, healing for your heart, and a space to release all of your cares.

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God Is Applying Pressure

We live in a time where the belief that we can live any kind of unholy and un-submitted life in secret and then openly say we live for a holy God as Christians and especially leaders is okay. It’s a dangerous thing to touch holy things with blood stained hands(meaning willfully committing acts against God repeatedly).

God is applying pressure for us all to line up and get our own lives in order. Titles, followers, gifting, ministries, popularity, fame, or fortune doesn’t sanctify us or qualify us for eternal life.

You can fool people but who cares about powerless people when God has the power and authority to judge and sentence us on judgment day.

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Finish Strong

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
~ 1 Corinthians 9:27

I know times are hard and temptations are strong but we must spiritually discipline ourselves even the more. We must strive to finish this race strong. We must keep the prize of eternal life spent in our heavenly home in sight at all times. Don’t let your living be in vain and miss the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus.

Who Is Riding With You?

Sometimes the storm has nothing to do with you but everything with one person’s act of disobedience. Everyone saying they fear the Lord really ain’t fearing but fleeing from doing His will. Check who riding with you but yet sleeping while you fighting.

Jonah‬ ‭1:3-6; 10-12‬ ‭MSG‬‬

“But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from God as he could get. But God sent a huge storm at sea, the waves towering. The ship was about to break into pieces. The sailors were terrified. They called out in desperation to their gods. They threw everything they were carrying overboard to lighten the ship. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship to take a nap. He was sound asleep. The captain came to him and said, “What’s this? Sleeping! Get up! Pray to your god! Maybe your god will see we’re in trouble and rescue us.”

”What on earth have you done!” As Jonah talked, the sailors realized that he was running away from God. They said to him, “What are we going to do with you—to get rid of this storm?” By this time the sea was wild, totally out of control. Jonah said, “Throw me overboard, into the sea. Then the storm will stop. It’s all my fault. I’m the cause of the storm. Get rid of me and you’ll get rid of the storm.””

The Secret Nicodemus Spirit

God has been speaking to me about those who have a Nicodemus spirit for some time now. God spoke to me and said that you will see those in operation under this spirit name pop up or associated with the popular or those who are well known. This spirit would rather associate with those who can speak a word but have no power to lay hands and deliver.

This spirit comes to you privately because they know what you house on the inside. They meet you in your inbox, phone calls when no one is around while denying who you are in public. They will never openly support you no matter how much they come to be fed by you at night and declare how much they love you. Leaders with this spirit are afraid of losing their religious influence and laypeople are afraid of being labeled as not being loyal to them. This spirit sits quietly while you are torn down, lied on, and when given an opportunity to speak the truth will cower down with closed lips.

Nicodemus knew who Jesus was but the fear of what the religious would say or do outweighed doing the right thing. So Jesus had to die before he could show his devotion.

This should simply help you to continue on this course guarding your heart while still serving and doing the works of the Kingdom. Your reward is found in Christ and not people. Love as Christ and find your joy in him and him alone.