James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Loving like Jesus

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.


“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Luke 6:27-36 The Message


It's Christmas time, and as we reflect on the birth of Christ, we see in this scripture quoted above just why we need Jesus to help us walk out our earthly existence. God created us to love, and His grace alone gives us the ability to love God with all our soul, mind and strength and others as ourselves.  When we daily spend time in the Word and the Lord's presence, we get continually filled with the Holy Spirit; which then causes us to overflow with God's love and this capacity to love overflows to others.

These words are one of the many hard sayings of Jesus Christ that we find in the Word of God.  Jesus is teaching us how to love difficult people.  I quoted from The Message version of the Bible because I love the way it's explained to us.  It's pretty straight forward what we are to do, but is it possible to love this way?  I believe it is, one because God is not a liar,  Jesus would have never given us these instructions if it wasn't possible.  We can love this way, but only with the help of the one God sent.

 

We can see God gives us supernatural abilities to love when you look at the role of a parent.  I still remember the amazing experience of love that came over me each time I held my first born child.  A special ability to love was in my heart that I didn't even know existed. It was like an unconditional sort of love, and it seemed to overflow for this child.  Even with no sleep and the stress of being a new Mom, I couldn't wait to hold my baby in my arms each day.  There was this outpouring of love that would flow from my heart naturally.

Now, of course, I realize that not everyone feels this way immediately towards their child and this can be sad for both parent and child.  An unhealed brokenness or separation perhaps can cause this.  A person themselves may need healing and this is causing a disconnect of some sort.  I do believe God's design for humans is for such love connections, especially with Mothers.

When I was pregnant with my twins, I wondered how could I ever love another child this way, especially two of them.  Where would it come from?  Could I do it?  I quickly learned I could as I held those precious babies, that it was possible as this overwhelming love for them poured from my heart as well.

Now if I'm honest, as my children grew that love bond decreased some and as my own brokenness was exposed, it hasn't always been easy being a Mom or to love my kids unconditionally all the time.  There's been many a day when the love didn't flow quite so unconditionally, especially with some of the craziness of having twins, and also having three kids with developmental issues.  The truth is however, that it has been the love of God which has helped me to be the Mom they needed me to be. Those days when I feel like I can't handle it anymore, I always find the strength to return to God's presence, take a deep breath in and keep on going.

God gives us the relationships we have and we were placed on this earth to parent one another for Him. Even if you have never had children in the natural world you are still called to parent in the supernatural realm. Isn't that a wonderful thought? We are called to love each other and have been given the privilege to care for mankind, "God's kids".  We have it in us to love people the way God does.  I know it may seem impossible sometimes because let's face it some people are just so difficult to love!  It is possible, but only with the Holy Spirit residing in us can we do it.

I remember years back when I worked as a pastor of a street ministry. I was often called to minister to people who were very unclean, many in society would consider these people unlovable.  Their clothes were sometimes very dirty, covered in who knows what, and they didn't smell very good.  Sometimes they weren't the nicest people either to deal with because the world had not been their friend.

One day a drug addict who had been living on the street came to see me and God told me to give this man a hug when I was finished speaking to him.  I really didn't want to but I did it anyway.  God gave me the ability to really hug him with all my heart. This broken man with tears in his eyes said, "Do you realize you are the first person who has hugged me in over ten years."  Can you imagine?  God wanted this dear soul to know he was loved and used me to do it.  I would have never done it had the Holy Spirit not prompted me and given me the power to bless him this way.

From that day on, I made a habit to offer a hug, a touch on the hand, and eye contact with everyone I would meet.  I came to realize many on the streets felt completely invisible and had not felt a human connection for so long.  God was showing me how to parent and love like Jesus, those He sent to me.

When we trust God, surrender and allow Him to pour His love into us we can love like Jesus.  Sometimes It's not easy, but God always graces us with everything we need to love as He commands us to.  We have to realize that God himself has placed that power on the inside of us. The minute we asked Jesus into our hearts our spirits were born again.



The Bible says that our old self was crucified with Christ and we no longer live but Christ lives in us. (Galatians 2:20)  The same power that rose Jesus from the dead now lives in us, therefore we have the ability to love like God and be His hands and feet on this earth.  It may not be easy but with God's help, we can tap into that power every moment of every day when we need it and we can love even the unlovable.  Hallelujah - that's reason to shout!

May you come to the fountain and drink of God's love today and may God's love fill you to overflowing, and may you share it with everyone you meet along the way.  Be BLESSED my fellow narrow gate travellers.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for filling us with your Holy Spirit.  Lord give us divine appointments today.  Put people in our direct path that you want us to parent on your behalf.  Fill us with a fresh anointing, with your glory Lord. May you be glorified in all we do today.   Amen!

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.  Romans 5:5

 

 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence

Those who spend their time looking for the faults in others usually make no time to correct their own. –Art Janak


As we journey along the narrow gate, we begin to realize that God wants to do a healing work in us. Our job is to surrender to the work of our Savior.


For many years, I focused on other's issues and avoided my own.  I would focus on what was wrong with them, instead of what was wrong with me. I found it too painful to fix myself, so I did the opposite.

I've learned this is referred to as being co-dependent and was a result of being raised in a home affected by alcoholism. For many years I received my worth from fixing and trying to control others.  I was only happy when everyone agreed to live the way I wanted them to live, believed like me and acted as I acted.  I had a hard time just accepting people for who they were, and I had a hard time allowing them just to be who they were at that very moment in time and space.

Praise God, through recovery work and deliverance counseling I am free.  Today I can now daily reflect on my behavior and remember I've been set free from this unhealthy way of relating to others.

I've had to learn that everyone has their perception of a situation and that even if I am a hundred percent sure I am speaking truth, only God can reveal it to them. You may be the one God uses, to tell the truth (in love of course), but they may not immediately receive what you have to say, you may have been a seed planter.

We need to use discernment and pray through all situations in our lives. This is what it means to be lead by the Holy Spirit.  We need to realize we can't bully anyone into anything.  It will do more harm than good. We must be Holy Spirit lead people in all our affairs.

We can't fix ourselves or others; only God can heal us. Controlling co-dependent behavior is nothing but judgment and a distraction from working on our own "stuff" that needs fixing. Before we can worry about other people's "stuff" we need to look at our own with humble hearts.

 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23




In this proverb "guard your heart" means not just to guard what goes into your heart but also what goes out of it.  This whole chapter in Proverbs is talking about using good judgment and wisdom in your affairs. The King James Bible says: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

The definition of diligence is; careful and persistent work or effort.  Working on our hearts can be draining and hard work but to love like Jesus, we must take on this task.

Chances are what most annoys us about others is possibly an issue in ourselves.  There may be a hidden fear that we might become like that the person or that you are already like them.

I once dated a guy who was a raging narcissist, and God used this person to show me my self-absorbed behavior. Once I was honest with myself that I was moving in that same sort of spirit as well, I was then set free.

We need to look within our own heart before judging someone else and then ask God to show us what's going on. Be honest with ourselves.  We should never be so bold to judge someone or tell them what they say or do is wrong, without looking at our own life first.

Jesus talked about the same thing in Mathew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

God may also use these situations to show us an insecurity. The truth is if you know your worth in Christ,  you don't need to control what others say, do or believe. If you know your worth comes only from God and you are listening to the Holy Spirit, then you will be able just to let go, pray and surrender every person and situation up to God. Lay it at His feet and trust God's power to work in every situation.

There is three ways to look at the concerns of our lives.  There is:

  • Your Business

  • Their Business

  • God's Business


We sometimes focus too much on the latter two and not our own. We have to be careful to keep our noses in our own business.  We need to clean up our sandboxes first and let God and others take care of their own.

As you journey along the narrow path today ask yourselves these questions: How are you doing at minding your own business and not focusing on what's going on with everyone else? Are you more focused on others behavior then your own?  Have you judged when you could have shown love? Are you getting your worth from trying to fix people? Do you need everyone to agree with you to feel validated? 

God bless you on your journey as you ponder these things in your heart today!  ~Laura Sterling~ narrowgatetraveller.com

Prayer: Lord God, we praise you for your great love for us and thank you that because you first loved us, we can love others well. May we diligently seek to do your will each day. Help us to always examine our motives Lord. Show us clearly when we have overstepped our boundaries and taken to fixing others instead of dealing with our lives first. May our worth come only from you Lord and not from people or things in our lives. Thank you for showing us what we need to be set free from anything that hinders us from following you and for healing and delivering us completely. Thank you - loving Father. Amen!

 

transformedlife

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Heart For Revival

I am about to spend the next four days attending a revival meeting at my new church here in Calgary. This has placed me in a state of preparing to hear from the Lord and I am expecting great things as I always do in these meetings, which are often a boost in the arm for many war worn Christians.

I have a heart to see revival in the Church and I believe the Lord has anointed me for a time such as this. I am a "prophetic revivalist" (God's words not mine).  I feel called to help God wake up the body of Christ, which lets face it, does not have the influence in our society the way it once did.

I feel called to help bring God's people back to the heart of God, which really I believe is the job of a prophet. I have a soft place in my heart for the prodigals (Luke 15:11-32) those in society who have lost hope in their faith and the Church, they've perhaps been hurt or have become disillusioned.  They still believe in God, they just have a weakened faith.  A lot of this is pretty much by their own rebellion but none the less the enemy has put a whole bunch of lies in their minds that keeps them from even wanting to pray or go to church anymore.

My heart is to see them come back to the Lord in full force.  To help them see Christ again in a whole new light, in order that God can restore their souls and they return to a relationship with our Father.  I believe that this blog is one way God is using me to do that.  The prodigals are a large chunk of our society and I believe as they awaken the Church will come alive in exponential numbers.  I also see many tired Christians, dry bones per se who have faithfully attended church and even been in revivals in the past, but they've also grown weary too.

I've read a lot about revival and have truly been seeking God for signs that the body of Christ is in revival. I believe we are because I see that revival starts within us first and spreads out to the Church as the Lord does His transforming work.  I see many hearts hungry crying out for more.  I hear a prophetic call coming from worship leaders and preachers calling His kids back to their Father.  I pray you hear and see it too and it stirs you up if it hasn't already.

David Jeremiah, Pastor/Radio Host has said the following things about revival:

“Revival has only ever come when culture has gone to its very lowest and hope in anything else has been obscured.”

“Almost every single revival involved young people…it’s always at a time of the darkest time…and it always starts with prayer.”

“What God needs today, more than anything else, is he needs Christians who are fully engaged, sold out, not only to God but to their families and the church.”

“Before we spend too much time praying about God changing the culture, perhaps we need to spend more time asking him to change us.”

Bill Bright, who went home to the Lord in 2003 was an evangelist and founder of Campus Crusade for Christ said this about his observation of church revival. "Revival was preceded by a time of spiritual preparation through repentance, with a special emphasis on fasting and prayer. I know of no better way to humble myself in repentance than through prayer and fasting."

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Revival starts in our own hearts first! As Christians we need to repent and turn to the Lord in humbleness asking Him to do a work in us first. Clean up your own sand box first, so to speak!  Really what have you got to lose except a bunch of constricting hurts, awful habits and drag you down hangups.  The truth is repentance sets you free and you will gain a whole new life and understanding of who you are in Christ.  Now more than ever we need to know our identity in Christ, we need to know who we truly are, who we were created to be.

God is calling us to repentance, to bring any hidden sin out into the light. To stand up and face your demons, face your fears and inadequacies head on. What can man do to you? Chances are everything you are believing about your short comings is a lie from the enemy anyway. No one is perfect and the Bible clearly says, its Christ shed blood that makes us righteous, there is nothing we can do to become Holy.

Foman 8:1-8 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Every great awakening in history has come when God's intercessors prayed day and night for revival. If you are one of them praying for revival, pray first that God would protect Christians from evil, because we are facing great opposition right now. Pray for Christians around the world that they would have repentive, humble hearts and that we would humble ourselves and walk in righteousness.

Lastly, I challenge you to check your own heart! Where are you at with your faith? Are you just someone who believes in Christ or are you a full bloodied, willing to die for the cause Christian, like many are in other parts of the world .  Here's a way to tell the difference by pastor, Jarrid Wilson. Take this list to prayer today and let it challenge your heart like it did mine.

Here are 10 differences between a believer and a Christian.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. James 2:19

  1. A believer believes in Jesus. A Christian follows his commands.

  2. A believer goes to church on holidays. A Christian knows that a church community is the paradigm for their faith.

  3. A believer reads their Bible when things get tough. A Christian reads their Bible regularly.

  4. A believer prays when things get tough. A Christian gives thanks no matter the circumstance.

  5. A believer twists the Bible to fit his or her lifestyle. A Christian works to make his or her lifestyle resemble the teachings of the Bible.

  6. A believer will sacrifice when it’s convenient. A Christian will sacrifice no matter the potential outcome.

  7. A believer tithes when there is no risk. A Christian will tithe no matter the risk.

  8. A believer conforms under the pressure of culture. A Christian holds fast against temptation.

  9. A believer will share their faith when it’s comfortable. A Christian will share his or her faith regardless of the scenario.

  10. A believer knows about Jesus. A Christian knows Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior.


Prayer for today: Father, we confess that we've sometimes moved in a lack of love within the Church and out in the world. Lord, forgive us for not always representing you well, and for giving those outside the Kingdom the wrong message. Lord, we humbly wait upon you and ask you to do what you want to do in our lives. Do a work in our hearts Oh Lord, transform us from the inside out. May those outside the Kingdom see that we love them and nothing else.

We pray for the upcoming election in the United States and for those who lead our nations and your churches, that your will be done. Give our leaders wisdom, we pray for safety and well-being for them and their families. We pray that they will respect and uphold the office that they hold and that they will regularly pray and ask others to pray for them. We pray for spiritual renewal and revival in all leaders throughout the Nations.

Laura Sterling ~ Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries ~ http://www.narrowgatetraveller.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

Be Blessed!

A reminder from the Lord then and a Word for God's people now.

We must never forget who took us out of captivity and where the blessings in our lives come from! 18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

God wants us to be a blessed people, not so we can live a fancy dancy life of greed and a me, me, me existence. He wants to bless us so that we can bless others. It's not wrong for us to want to be prosperous, don't let anyone tell you that it is. God wants us to be prosperous so He can fulfill his promise. It's not for us, it's for Him. God warns us in this scripture of the damage that results when we don't acknowledge where the blessing came from.

Just think how many people you could reach with the gospel if you had the ability to go to them, or even the ability to just open up your wallet and help them whenever you wanted to. Believing that prosperity is only for our benefit that is not God's plan. God's desire is to bless and prosper His people, so that His will might be done on this earth period. Believing for wealth in all areas of your life is a good thing, finances, health, family life etc. Blessings will show up in many ways, don't put God in a box!

In this season when the harvest is ripe but the workers are few, we need to believe for the transfer of wealth to His people. Believe that as He blesses you and you honor God by taking the extra he's given you to make a difference in the lives of others you are fulfilling His covenant.

Prayer: Father, today may we always remember it's You who the blessing comes from and may we commit ourselves to lliving a life dedicated to You Lord. Thank you for a heart that longs to always do Your will in our lives with the blessings you have given us.. In Jesus Name AMEN!

Be blessed my fellow travellers, be Blessed and Prosper...Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries

Remember the Lord Your God

8 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. 5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.

6 “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— 17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’

18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God.

this-is-the-confidence

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Heaven Is Still Open!

carbyebye

 

God can and does move mountains in our lives! Amen! Today I paid off a mortgage, a new car loan and personal debt all totalling close to $160,000. Below is my blog entry from December 2015 - I'm sharing this again because today the Lord did exactly what he promised he would do for me back in mid 2015 when I prayed and asked Him for some things.

The blog below tells the story of how God answered my prayer to get a new car and how he used me to help someone else become debt free and just as he promised me then - today he cancelled all my debt also. When I prayed that prayer I never could have imagined all the things that were going to happen in my life to get me to the point that I could pay off all my debt, some very traumatic things, which eventually lead us to move to  a larger city to live with and help take care of my ex-in laws (but that's another story I will need to save for another blog post).

I have no idea what my future holds but I told God if he chooses to bless me with my own home again, I'd still want to be debt free.  This process has taught me that with our faith it's not about focusing on how God is going to answer our prayers, but it's about staying focused on what you want God to do and never stop believing and when you do not doubt what the Word of God says for you, your prayers will be answered.

What is it you need to start believing God for today? Be blessed my friends!  ~Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

 

 Living Under an Open Heaven




Do you know we live under an open heaven? I truly believe we do. What is that you might ask. What does an open heaven look like?

A pastor and fellow blog writer Bill Johnson with Bethel Church describes it as: “There’s a nearness of Heaven on earth. There’s a sense of presence, there’s a clarity of thought, of heart and mind that is unusual. People think for themselves within an open heaven and aren’t influenced by the spirit of the day or the spirit that seems to have dominance in a certain geographical area.”

I believe that heaven has been open for us for a long time. God has an “open door” policy. If we would just embrace this truth, that there is an open door to heaven, we would begin to recognize the power of God that is available to those that believe. We would begin to walk out our lives so differently as His people.

Revelation 4:1 – After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”

In the Bible there are many examples of how the power flows back and forth from heaven.  We read how God’s power flowed down to the earth as a dove and rested on Jesus and how it’s power flowed back up to heaven as Jesus ascended back up to His father. Mathew 3:16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.  Mark 16:19  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

I was blessed recently to buy a brand new car. How I came upon this vehicle is just a sign to me we live under an open heaven. I know buying a car seems like a strange example, but I believe God cares about every little thing in our life, and we need to recognize this power from heaven exists even when we go about the daily things of this world.  We need to see that we have and need this power from on High working in our lives everyday. Back to my story…

I had prayed and was believing for most of 2015 that I was going to get a new car this year. With only a few weeks left in 2015 I was beginning to wonder, then I won a spa day for my 10-year-old faithful little KIA Spectra. I laughed so hard when I climbed into a fully loaded 2016 SUV that they had loaned to me while my car had its spa day. God came through and answered my prayer I thought, here’s my new car, too bad I only get to keep it for three days.

Later on that night, I shared a picture of my “new car” with my Facebook friends and declared what a funny God we serve and how I should be more specific when I pray.  A good friend of mine reminded me that 2015 wasn’t over yet, and maybe I just needed go back to God with a more specific prayer and ask God for a car I can keep and include all the features, colour etc. So I made a mental list of my “new car” and then asked God again, “God I know you don’t want me to go into debt again because you already told me you were going to cancel my debt next year, so maybe I shouldn’t believe for a brand new car.” I clearly heard him say to me, “My daughter you deserve whatever you want, because you are my daughter, a princess of the living King, don’t worry I’ve got this covered, I’m still planning on cancelling your debt.” So I prayed believing for a brand new car with all the bells and whistles.

That morning around five am, I awoke to a notification on my Facebook page. It was a message from a friend asking me if I was looking for a new car. I said that I was and she told me she mistakenly agreed to help her son acquire a 2015 Hyundai Accent and he had been unable to afford the insurance and gave the car back to her to deal with after only a few months of having it. I knew this friend didn’t drive, so really had no use for a car, but worse I knew she was on disability and really could not afford this car and certainly not the $20,000+ debt she had been left with.

Right away I became excited, because the car I had prayed for was a Hyundai. “Lord is this my new car?” I prayed. I suggested to my friend I could perhaps take over the payments and take this car from her to help relieve her stress. We made arrangements to drive to the dealership together and see what they could do. On the way over to pick her up I prayed, “Lord if this is the car for me, let me know.” All I heard God say was, “Cancel her debt.” So I was pretty sure I was to take this car and burden from her.

As we drove her car to the dealership together, I just knew it wasn’t the car God was going to bless me with. For one thing, it was blue and I had asked for a red car! I prayed to myself, “It’s okay God, I will take this one if this is what you want me to have.”

We arrived at the dealership and met with a bright, bubbly and very tall sales advisor, named Jonah who my friend had previously dealt with. We soon discovered that I couldn’t just take over the payments, he suggested if we wanted to do this we could set up a private business arrangement where I gave her the money each month and she paid the loan payment. I knew this wasn’t the wise way to go and I knew God just wanted me to cancel her debt. So I turned to the sales advisor and said, ” Yeah, that’s not gonna work, I’ve actually been planning on getting a new car anyway, can I assume her debt and then trade this car in for a new car?”  Then I said, “I’ve prayed for a new car in 2015.” He looked at me and said, “Oh, are you a Christian?’  I said, “Yup!” And then he said, “So am I.”  I knew in that moment  that the God of the open heaven was real and was right in the middle of all this and that I was hearing directly from Him about this whole situation. Turns out we even attended the same church – go figure!  So began the adventure!

We started to look through the showroom for my new car. After checking out a few – we finally arrived at a shiny brand new 2016 “RED” Hyundai Elantra. I stood behind it and prayed and ask God what He thought even though I was already pretty sure this was it. Jonah, began to rattle off the features, and one by one he hit every thing on my list, including the front and back heated rear seats (a must have with teenage twins). Now, I’m one of those fortunate ones, who feels the physical presence of the Holy Spirit, so my body was on fire and all of me was beginning to shake, in fact I was ready to run around the dealership hooting and hollering, but I did what I could to keep it to a minimal excitement. I just knew this was the car God had for me, now off to buy it and a visit to the finance manager.

Noah whisked me over to his desk and as he took my information he said, “You are gonna test drive it before you buy it right?” I laughed and said, “Why yes, I guess I should.” Even though I knew it was the car I was the to buy.

He crunched the numbers and advised me because the car I was trading in still had a large debt and no equity there was a deficit equity – I would be taking on some of my friends debt to help her out of this predicament.  He said with an uncertain look on his face, “Are you sure you want to do this?”  He showed me how much and my flesh rose up and said, “No way, you’re not gonna do this!” Then I heard God’s voice again say, “Cancel the debt!” So I said, “Yup I’m doing it, but is there any wiggle room on this car, can you help lower the deficit? “I’m trying to help someone out here.” I literally begged. So he sent us back to the sales department and I prayed, “Lord help me out here.”

Back at the sales department, we shared with Jonah the full story of my friend’s predicament and how she was just trying to reconcile with her estranged son and never thought he’d leave her with this car. Jonah said, “I get it, I understand because I’m a Christian, I know why you are doing this, but I have to say this is blowing me away. I’m usually a tough nut to crack, I’m pretty choked up, this is incredible, I will see what I can do.” So he went off to the sales manager and my friend and I grabbed hands and prayed.

When Jonah returned, he offered some concessions including a very low-interest rate ( I had taken on a higher rate from her loan).  This new interest rate almost lowered the interest to nothing, and a few other things were given to me, including a free year of service for the car. They weren’t able to completely lower the deficit from my friends loan, but it helped considerably. I was happy and I knew that he had done his best to help.

Jonah suggested perhaps my friend could pay me a little every month to help with the deficit. The Lord, brought to my mind the story (in Mathew 18) of the slave who owed his master a huge amount and the owner forgave him after he begged for mercy.  The slave went away and when someone who owed him a much smaller debt came to him he refused to forgive his debt.  He was thrown in jail when his master found out and he did not forgive his debt.

God said to me, “Cancel her debt, because I’ve already cancelled your debt, a bigger debt than hers.”  I know this verse is speaking about forgiveness, but I knew God was showing her mercy for her poor judgement and was using me to help forgive her of this financial burden and maybe even for her poor judgement and for not praying first and asking God if she should do this. I knew I wasn’t to have any sort of business arrangement with her. I looked over to her and shared this scripture and then said, “Your debt is cancelled.”   She said, “Thank you, thank you so much!”  We all knew quietly without speaking in that moment the true nature of the spiritual debt Jesus had cancelled for us all.

What I did makes no sense in the natural world, but in the spiritual realm I choose to do this and I’m trusting because I gave to help a friend in need and because God cancelled her debt through me, He will also cancel my financial debt. Jonah was visibly shaken up. He said, “This is incredible, what you are doing, you don’t know what a testimony of God’s love this is.  None of the staff here can believe you are doing this.”  I said, “I’m doing this because God loves my friend, and he loves them too. Tell them God is real and he just performed a Christmas miracle.  He cancelled my friends $20,000+ debt.  Yesterday she was distraught with this burden, today she is free.   Jonah said, “Oh you know I will!”  I felt the praises of the angels rise up to God as they ascended up through the open portal to heaven in that moment.

The next day, I picked up my brand new 2016 Red Elantra which my daughter Emily has since so beautifully named Ruby red (or Ruby for short). The colour red by the way is my favorite colour, but I realized the day I purchased it, that it also represents the shed blood of Jesus which he shed for all, so that we might be set free from sin and death. Now every time I look at this car it reminds me of this fact, and I smile and feel so blessed.

I’m no one special (except in God’s eyes of course).  I didn’t do anything that any other Christian can’t do when they walk in step with God and walk in the reality of an open heaven and it’s power to do the miraculous for someone.  It is available to every believer down here.  The portal isn’t closed, we all can do supernatural things, like forgiving someone who has hurt us really badly, or like me,  help God forgive someone's financial debt. We can even heal the sick or deliver someone from evil when we tap into this power from heaven and pray in the name of Jesus.   On earth as it is in heaven, it’s a reality not just nice words we pray….

May the truth of this testimony strengthen your faith today and may you know the power that comes from Jesus and walk in the power of this open heaven everyday.  It flows back and forth to each one of us when we live and walk in it.  I believe the more we walk in it, the more it can manifest on earth and touch a dark world that is so in need of God's visible power and presence.  With love,   Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~

 

mejumpcar


Monday, August 8, 2016

The Wounded Spirit



 

Have you ever had someone call you a bad name? Maybe they told you that you were ugly, stupid or dumb and that no one liked you. At some point in our lives, everyone has been wounded by another person’s words. Maybe, it was a friend, or maybe an enemy, perhaps a teacher or a coach you really looked up to, maybe even it was one of your parents.

 

I remember one such incident. This is a scene that is forever etched in mind and I can still see it like it was yesterday. I was around 14 years old; I was playing football in a park with a bunch of my friends. The ball was tossed to me and went over my head and across the road and almost into a creek bed. I ran to save it before it hit the water, and on my way back across the road, one of the boys in the group yelled, "Hey! Look at the baby moose crossing the road."

Ouch! Not exactly something a fragile 14-year-old girl needed at that time. I was devastated, embarrassed and most of all that never left my mind for years and years.  I believed I was a big fat moose. This and many other jokes about my weight lead to years of disordered eating, and poor body image.


What happened to me that day is something that the Christian author Frank Peretti calls the wounded spirit. Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but as for a broken spirit who can bear it? Every time someone knowingly or unknowingly throws an unkind word our way, it wounds our spirit.


Did you know? Christians are biblically commanded to treat others with kindness? Jesus said the second greatest commandment was that we are to love, our neighbours as ourselves, and to do to others, what we would want them to do to us.


 

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 says: We are allowed to do anything, but not everything is good for us to do. We are allowed to do anything, but not all things help us grow strong as Christians. Do not work only for your own good. Think of what you can do for others.

 

What Paul was talking about whether or not it was lawful to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols and what he’s saying here is basically: because of Jesus and the freedom that His death on cross gave Jews/Christians, (liberty theology) all things are lawful, however, he goes on to say that not all things we do will help us grow as Christians, nor will they make others feel good, in fact, we could be harming them. He says whatever we do we should do it for the good of others. Wow!

 

So, how does this relate to us today? Has there ever been a time when you heard something mean being said about someone and said nothing? Maybe there was a time when perhaps you were the one with the mean words, or damaging words were being sent your way. Perhaps you watched someone being bullied and you were afraid to say anything so you just watched or joined in, or ran away and didn’t tell anyone.

 

Maybe, you think it will make you look cool or help people like you more, maybe you will fit in better if you act like other people are and be a jerk. And you know what that’s okay that’s your choice. But you have to ask your self, is this making me a better Christian? Am I helping someone else to feel good about themselves?

 

Some might think oh not me, not in my home or my school but you know what studies have shown that this type of thing happens in Christian homes and schools in the exact same percentages as those of nonbelievers. After all, being Christian doesn’t make us perfect it makes us even more human.

 

Perhaps you stand at the water cooler and you laugh at all the cutting remarks about the boss, or maybe even throw a few jabs in yourself. Maybe you’ve said things to your kids or spouse in times of anger. Maybe you’ve acted a way that’s just not you, just so people will accept you and like you.

 

I’m here to tell you that there probably isn’t a person who hasn’t at one or time or another, said or did something that was not very edifying to others. Just last week I did something that really hurt another person and I had to repent for my actions once I realized what I'd done.

 

You know another great gift that Jesus gave us was the gift of forgiveness. We are so lucky because he forgives us when we don’t treat people the way he would. But, it would make him so much happier if we just tried harder not to hurt people with our words or actions in the first place. Because when hurtful things are done to people, it prevents them from being all that God wants them to be.

 

So what can we do today to make sure we aren’t causing anyone to have a wounded spirit.

  • If you have a tendency towards this type of behavior or perhaps you've recently hurt someone you need to repent and turn from this behavior.  First, realize that you are forgiven. Jesus loves you and already paid the price for you and that you are loved and forgiven period. Nothing you've done can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!

  • Pray and seek His forgiveness and know that you have received it without question. And as Jesus would say, "Go and sin no more!"  Ask the person who you hurt to forgive you also.  Then ask Jesus to help you to resist this temptation the next time you are tempted to sin and hurt someone.  Stop it!  Just refuse to treat people poorly. Refuse to do what everyone else is doing just because it will make you look cool or belong.  In this world, we love to put people up on pedestals - just so we can knock them down.  Don't do that.  Refuse to operate the way the world does. Romans 12:2 says this: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

  • If you see someone being treated poorly – don’t allow it stand up for that person or go tell someone and get them some help. Don’t let their spirit be wounded.  If you are someone whose spirit has been wounded or perhaps is still being wounded, you need you need to talk to God and then you need to tell someone that this is happening to you. Tell someone you trust. And most, of all if you can, you need to confront the person and ask them to stop, especially if that person is a Christian.

  • As Christ followers, we must forgive those that have wounded us. This can be very hard, but bitterness and resentment can also be a doorway to the enemy. You need to forgive those that hurt you, you cannot heal yourself until you do this. Jesus forgives us when we do wrong, so as hard as it is you must also forgive others and God commands us to do this also. Mathew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.What this verse is telling us isn't that God won't forgive you because as I said earlier with Christ sacrifice for your sins, you are already forgiven. What it really means is if you are carrying around bitterness in your heart you won't feel forgiven and you will stay in a constant crazy cycle of anger, resentment, and bitterness.  That alone will make you mean and nasty. You can't walk in the fullness of God's blessing and won't have the abundant life Christ died to give us, you will be stuck in bondage to the unforgiveness.

  • Lastly, if you are finding this temptation hard to resist.  Consider whether you might be dealing with a spiritual oppression.  If you find that you've repented but still can't resist the temptation to sin towards other people or are always feeling negative towards people you should seek the Lord to see if there is a negative spirit operating through you, perhaps an unkind spirit. These kinds of spirits can come onto us when we ourselves get wounded even as young as a child. It may be more than your own flesh at work here. If you think it's spiritual you have the authority to pray and tell it to come off you in Jesus Name, or you may need to seek the help of a pastor or spiritual counsellor to help you with this to discover your own spiritual wound that might be acting as a doorway for the enemy in this area.



We are called of God to be like Jesus in this world.  I encourage you today to know that the more you know Him and His power in your life the easier it will get to become like Him. This has nothing to do with a works mentality.  Being kind to others, especially when it's hard is a bi-product of the Holy Spirit living in you and nothing else.  Without Him living a righteous life is pretty much impossible. When you realize the truth that Jesus actually lives on the inside of you through the Holy Spirit and you can manifest the same power as Him you will begin to transform.  When you are filled with the Spirit of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to operate through you instead of negative evil forces, you will naturally radiate God's love and you become more and more like Him.  Which is ultimately who we really are and why we were placed on this earth -- to be a beacon of God's love to one another.


Blessings on your journey - my fellow narrow gate travellers. ~Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~

  

Prayer for today: Lord help me not to be someone who wounds with my words or actions. Thank you that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead is alive in me.  I give you permission Lord to fully sanctify me and move through my being today God.  Help me to lay down all my temptations and fleshly desires today.  Show me what I need to do to become "Jesus with skin on" in this world that so desperately needs to see Him.  Show me where I need repentance in my life, thank you for forgiving all my sin.  Heal my heart fully Lord, so that I can be a blessing to you and may I fully walk in my salvation today, fully consecrated to your Word and your Way. AMEN!


If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior and want to. Pray this prayer: Jesus I need you. Come into my life and make me whole. I want to live for you. Amen!


If you prayed that prayer send me an email and let me know at: laurasterling@narrowgatetraveller.com

The Wounded Spirit

Have you ever had someone call you a bad name? Maybe they told you that you were ugly, stupid or dumb and that no one liked you. At some point in our lives everyone has been wounded by another person’s words. Maybe, it was a friend, or maybe an enemy, perhaps a teacher or a coach you really looked up to, maybe even it was one of your parents.

I remember one such incident. This is a scene that is forever etched in mind and I can still see it like it was yesterday. I was around 14 years old; I was playing football in a park with a bunch of my friends. They ball was tossed to me and went over my head and across the road and almost into a creek bed. I ran to save it before it hit the water, and on my way back across the road, one of the boys in the group yelled, "Hey! Look at the baby moose crossing the road." 


Ouch! Not exactly something a fragile 14 year old girl needed at that time. I was devastated, embarrassed and most of all that never left my mind for years and years.  I believed I was a big fat moose. This and many other jokes about my weight lead to years of disordered eating, and poor body image.

What happened to me that day is something that the Christian author Frank Peretti calls the wounded spirit. Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but as for a broken spirit who can bear it? Everytime someone knowingly or unknowingly throws an unkind word our way, it wounds our spirit.

Did you know? That Christians are biblically obligated to treat others with kindness? Jesus said the second greatest commandment was that we are to love, our neighbours as ourselves, and to do to others, what we would want them to do to us.

1 Corninthians 10:23-24 says: We are allowed to do anything, but not everything is good for us to do. We are allowed to do anything, but not all things help us grow strong as Christians. Do not work only for your own good. Think of what you can do for others.

What Paul was talking about whether or not it was lawful to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols and what he’s saying here is basically: because of Jesus and the freedom that His death on cross gave Jews/Christians, (liberty theology) all things are lawful, however he goes on to say that not all things we do will help us grow as Christians, nor will they make others feel good, in fact we could be harming them. He’s says whatever we do we should do it for the good of others. Wow!

So, how does this relate to us today? Has there ever been a time when you heard something mean being said about someone and said nothing? Maybe there was a time when perhaps you were the one with the mean words, or damaging words were being sent your way. Perhaps you watched someone be bullied and you were afraid to say anything so you just watched or joined in, or ran away and didn’t tell anyone.

Maybe, you think it will make you look cool or help people like you more, maybe you will fit in better if you act like other people are and be a jerk. And you know what that’s okay that’s your choice. But you have to ask your self, is this making me a better Christian? Am I helping someone else to feel good about themselves?

Some might think oh not me, not in my home or my school but you know what studys have shown that this type of thing happen in Christian homes and schools in the exact some percentages as those of nonbelievers. After all, being Christian doesn’t make us perfect it makes us even more human.

Perhaps you stand at the water cooler and you laugh at all the cutting remarks about the boss, or maybe even throw a few jabs in yourself. Maybe you’ve said things to your kids or spouse in times of anger. Maybe you’ve acted a way that’s just not you, just so people will accept you and like you.

And you know what I’m hear to tell you that there probably isn’t a person who hasn’t at one or time or another, said or did something that was not very edifying to others. Just last week I did something that really hurt another person and I had to repent for my actions once I realized what I'd done.

You know another great gift that Jesus gave us was the gift of forgiveness. We are so lucky because he forgives us when we don’t treat people the way he would. But, it would make him so much happier if we just tried harder not to hurt people with our words or actions in the first place. Because when hurtful things are done to people, it prevents them from being all that God wants them to be.

So what can we do today to make sure we aren’t causing anyone to have a wounded spirit.

  1. If you have a tendancy towards this type of behavior or perhaps you've recently hurt someone you need to repent and turn from this behavior.  First, realize that you are forgiven. Jesus loves you and already paid the price for you and that you are loved and forgiven period. Nothing you've done can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!
  2. Pray and seek His forgiveness and know that you have received it without question. And as Jesus would say, "Go and sin no more!"  Ask the person who you hurt to forgive you also.  hen ask Jesus to help you to resist this temptation the next time you are tempted to sin and hurt someone.  Stop it!  Just refuse to treat people poorly. Refuse to do what everyone else is doing just because it will make you look cool or belong.  In this world we love to put people up on pedastels - just so we can knock them down.  Don't do that.  Refuse to operate the way the world does. Romans 12:2 says this: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  3. If you see someone being treated poorly – don’t allow it stand up for that person or go tell someone and get them some help. Don’t let their spirit be wounded.  If you are someone whose spirit has been wounded or perhaps is still being wounded, you need you need to talk to God and then you need to tell someone that this is happening to you. Tell someone you trust. And most, of all if you can, you need to confront the person and ask them to stop, especially if that person is a Christian.
  4. As Christ followers we must forgive those that have wounded us. This can be very hard, but bitterness and resentment can also be a doorway to enemy. You need to forgive those that hurt you, you cannot heal yourself until you do this. Jesus forgives us when we do wrong, so as hard as it is you must also forgive others and God commands us to do this also. Mathew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. 
    What this verse is telling us isn't that God won't forgive you because as I said earlier with Christ sacrafice for your sins, you are already forgiven. What it really means is if you are carrying around bitterness in your heart you won't feel forgiven and you will stay in a constant crazy cylce of anger, resentment and bitterness.  That alone will make you mean and nasty. You can't walk in the fullness of God's blessing and won't have the abundant life Christ died to give us, you will be stuck in bondage to the unforgiveness.
  5. Lastly, if you are finding this temptation hard to resist.  Consider whether you might be dealing with a spiritual oppression.  If you find that you've repented but still can't resist the temptation to sin towards other people or are always feeling negative towards people you should seek the Lord to see if there is a negative spirit operating through you, perhaps an unkind spirit. These kinds of spirits can come onto us when we ourselves get wounded even as young as a child. It may be more than your own flesh at work here. If you think it's spiritual you have the authority to pray and tell it to come off you in Jesus Name, or you may need to seek the help of a pastor or spiritual counsellor to help you with this to discover your own spiritual wound that might be acting as a doorway for the enemy in this area.

We are called of God to be like Jesus in this world.  I encourage you today to know that the more you know Him and His power in your life the easier it will get to become like Him. This has nothing to do with a works mentality.  Being kind to others, especially when it's hard is a bi-product of the Holy Spirit living in you and nothing else.  Without Him living a righteous life is pretty much impossible. When you realize the truth that Jesus actually lives on the inside of you through the Holy Spirt and you can manifest the same power as Him you will begin to transform.  When you are filled with the Spirit of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to operate through you instead of negative evil forces, you will naturally radiate God's love and you become more and more like Him.  Which is ultimately who we really are and why we were placed on this earth -- to be a beacon of God's love to one another.

Blessings on your journey - my fellow narrow gate travellers. ~Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~

Prayer for today: Lord help me not to be someone who wounds with my words or actions. Thank you that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead is alive in me.  I give you permission Lord to fully sanctify me and move through my being today God.  Help me to lay down all my temptations and fleshly desires today.  Show me what I need to do to become "Jesus with skin on" in this world that so desperately needs to see Him.  Show me where I need repentance in my life, thank you for forgiving all my sin.  Heal my heart fully Lord, so that I can be a blessing to you and may I fully walk in my salvation today, fully consecrated to your Word and your Way. AMEN!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Love is....

I sat and watched my ex in-laws yesterday who have been married to one another for 61 years.  Sometimes you look at a couple who have been married that long and you are blessed by the love that has endured for so many years.  You wonder how they could of stay married to the same person for so long, through all the ups and downs and trials of life and still love each other.

Instead, what I witness when I watch them interact is an inability to have a conversation without spewing years of unmet expectations and disappointments onto each other.  A couple who has the inability to share a simple conversation without getting angry at the other person.  I see that life has eroded this relationship and literally driven a wedge between them.  Instead of blissfully enjoying their final years together and showing love towards one another, there are conversations that end in frustration and angry words and ultimately separation.  There is a coldness that exists in the room when they are together.

Don't get me wrong in some odd way I know they love each other and are still devoted to one another. When I watch them I realize I am watching a couple who grew up in the generation that didn’t believe in divorce and who believed you stayed together for the kids and for each other.  The sad thing is they didn’t know the truth that there’s a better way to love and communicate your needs to another person.

They grew up in a generation that really didn’t know how to communicate their feelings in a healthy way to each other.  They grew up learning that you didn’t talk about your problems with anyone. They didn’t learn how to set healthy emotional boundaries and certainly would not have gone to a stranger for counselling to discuss their marital problems.  They just trudged through life, loving one another out of their own neediness and unmet expectations and became unaware that they were using the other person as an outlet for their frustrated desires and unmet needs. 

It reminds me of the movie I watched once called Revolutionary Road with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.  In this movie they struggle with life in suburban 1950’s, when they met and fell in love their relationship was full of hope and promise and many dreams.  She gives up her aspiring career to stay home with the kids and yearns for fulfillment and passion, while he toils at a job he hates.  Slowly throughout the movie their ability to communicate becomes eroded and their dreams die along with their relationship.

I’ve come to realize that human relationships are a gift from God. They exist to help us grow spiritually. Whether it's a romantic relationship, a friendship, or our children; they are given to us to teach us how to love and serve others and how to fully love God.

There exists an enemy of our souls (the Bible refers to it as Satan) who doesn't want us to know this, it wants us to believe a lie, that we need these relationships to define us, tell us who we are. So we get wrapped up in these relationships, we label them; we claim them for our own. We become so focused on the person and finding our worth from them, we forget who we really are and what the purpose of the relationship was in the first place.

Soon, it becomes about them giving us something in order to prove our worth, and no longer about us serving them. We become attached to something which was never ours to own in the first place and this causes us to hold on and control, instead of loving freely.  When that person disappoints or doesn't live up to our expectations, (and they will, because they are only human) we suffer.  We feel lost and unsure of ourselves.

You see when it becomes about what we want; we lose sight of who we truly are and what we are here to do. We are here for only a short time to give, to love and to serve, not to be served...

May these words bless you today and bring you closer to the truth of who you really are and why you were created.

With love ~Laura Sterling~ Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3: 16-18

Prayer for Today:  Lord help us to love the way you created us to.  Help us to remember that you first loved us and that you have given us relationships to help us grow more like you and when we seek to exist in this world for our own good we miss the mark.  Remind us that when we put giving love first and not getting, the love returns to us without strings and expectations.  Thank you Father for loving us and showing us the way to love and be love.  AMEN!


Love is....

I sat and watched my ex in-laws yesterday who have been married to one another for 61 years.  Sometimes you look at a couple who have been married that long and you are blessed by the love that has endured for so many years.  You wonder how they could of stay married to the same person for so long, through all the ups and downs and trials of life and still love each other.

Instead, what I witness when I watch them interact is an inability to have a conversation without spewing years of unmet expectations and disappointments onto each other.  A couple who has the inability to share a simple conversation without getting angry at the other person.  I see that life has eroded this relationship and literally driven a wedge between them.  Instead of blissfully enjoying their final years together and showing love towards one another, there are conversations that end in frustration and angry words and ultimately separation.  There is a coldness that exists in the room when they are together.

Don't get me wrong in some odd way I know they love each other and are still devoted to one another. When I watch them I realize I am watching a couple who grew up in the generation that didn’t believe in divorce and who believed you stayed together for the kids and for each other.  The sad thing is they didn’t know the truth that there’s a better way to love and communicate your needs to another person.

They grew up in a generation that really didn’t know how to communicate their feelings in a healthy way to each other.  They grew up learning that you didn’t talk about your problems with anyone. They didn’t learn how to set healthy emotional boundaries and certainly would not have gone to a stranger for counselling to discuss their marital problems.  They just trudged through life, loving one another out of their own neediness and unmet expectations and became unaware that they were using the other person as an outlet for their frustrated desires and unmet needs. 

It reminds me of the movie I watched once called Revolutionary Road with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.  In this movie they struggle with life in suburban 1950’s, when they met and fell in love their relationship was full of hope and promise and many dreams.  She gives up her aspiring career to stay home with the kids and yearns for fulfillment and passion, while he toils at a job he hates.  Slowly throughout the movie their ability to communicate becomes eroded and their dreams die along with their relationship.

I’ve come to realize that human relationships are a gift from God. They exist to help us grow spiritually. Whether it's a romantic relationship, a friendship, or our children; they are given to us to teach us how to love and serve others and how to fully love God.

There exists an enemy of our souls (the Bible refers to it as Satan) who doesn't want us to know this, it wants us to believe a lie, that we need these relationships to define us, tell us who we are. So we get wrapped up in these relationships, we label them; we claim them for our own. We become so focused on the person and finding our worth from them, we forget who we really are and what the purpose of the relationship was in the first place.

Soon, it becomes about them giving us something in order to prove our worth, and no longer about us serving them. We become attached to something which was never ours to own in the first place and this causes us to hold on and control, instead of loving freely.  When that person disappoints or doesn't live up to our expectations, (and they will, because they are only human) we suffer.  We feel lost and unsure of ourselves.

You see when it becomes about what we want; we lose sight of who we truly are and what we are here to do. We are here for only a short time to give, to love and to serve, not to be served...

May these words bless you today and bring you closer to the truth of who you really are and why you were created.

With love ~Laura Sterling~ Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3: 16-18

Prayer for Today:  Lord help us to love the way you created us to.  Help us to remember that you first loved us and that you have given us relationships to help us grow more like you and when we seek to exist in this world for our own good we miss the mark.  Remind us that when we put giving love first and not getting, the love returns to us without strings and expectations.  Thank you Father for loving us and showing us the way to love and be love.  AMEN!


Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Bronze Serpent

Watching the news lately it doesn’t take much to realize, even if you don’t read the Bible or even believe in God that we are in some dark times.  It’s easy to wonder what is happening to the world and if God is even present and watching all this.  We might even ask where are you God? 

Well, I see that He is very real and very present and that He is doing exactly what many have asked Him to do – which is back off.  Many have become disgruntled in the world, even in the Church and unknowingly have denied His existence or that His power is greater against the darkness.  They have lost hope in the goodness of God.  Many in the church go through the motions of going to Church but don’t really exercise their faith or even believe in the power of God anymore.  Something very similar happened a long time ago in the Bible as well during Moses leadership and the time of wandering through the desert to the promise land.

In the story in Numbers 21 starting in verse four we see some pretty unhappy and discouraged people, just like many in the world today.   4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

This scripture is very similar to what is happening in the world today.  Many have become disgruntled and upset because they have wondered why the world is becoming so dark, many have turned away from the Lord and even cursed Him.  Many have fallen asleep and a powerful evil spirit has fallen over the world, especially the church - called the Python Spirit. 

Many nations are now considered Godless nations and it appears that all hell is breaking lose on some of those nations.   Because of this rebellion in the flesh and this evil spirits influence many people and nations have gone asleep and allowed this spirit to come on them collectively in the society, in the Church and in the world as a whole.  The Python does not want anyone connected to God and the one way it does this is by blocking our communication to the Holy Spirit – literally sucking the life out of our prayer life, blocking communion with God.  I won’t go into it but you want to know more about this spirit you can read more about the Python Spirit here to better understand what it is and how it operates: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/45638-what-it-truly-takes-to-overcome-the-python-spirit

You may not believe in spiritual warfare but I’m here to remind you that you are more than a body you are spirit and there is a spiritual realm and there is a battle going on all the time between good and evil.  The Bible tells us that we do not battle with flesh and blood in Ephesians 6:12 but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms., Jesus also told us that there is a devil in John 10:10 who came to steal, kill and destroy us but that He himself came to give us life and give it to us abundantly.  Hallelujah!

The truth is, this present society has unknowingly allowed this evil spirit in and it has caused mass destruction around the world, it has caused churches to go quiet and people to stop believing In God and stop praying and communing with God.  This evil spirit has done a good job and because many have been bitten by this spirit in the church and in the world and essentially because they turned against the Lord God has been forced to remove His hand of blessing and covering.  Light will not dwell where there is darkness, it's our choice either one or the other.

Many would not argue even non-believers of God that these present days appear very evil and very dark.  Hear me on this, God is not the author of evil or destruction, but when people choose to rebel against God, knowingly or unknowingly He has no other choice but to remove His hand of blessing and protection from His people.

2 Chronicles 2:13-says: 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”

It says, because they had forsaken the Lord He brought all this disaster on them.  Wow! But here is the good news -- just like in the time of Moses God’s people were also dealing with a deadly serpent that was biting people and even killing them and the Lord gave them a way out then and He gives us a way out now too.  

The Israelites looked at the fiery serpent on the pole, which scholars believe was a bronze serpent that Moses held up high for them to see, when they looked at it they were saved.  Hallelujah!   Those who had been bitten by the serpent did not die they were saved when they looked at it. By the way the Python spirit is also referred to as a spirit of infirmity, so if you are afflicted with this spirit after while its bite will cause you sickness and even death, just like the snakes that were biting the Israelites.  I’ve heard of people who were delivered from this spirit who had breathing problems and other illnesses, that spirit was literally choking the life out of them. 

We also have a way out - a serpent on a pole (the cross) that can save us – and it is Jesus Christ. 

Many in this world today have been bitten by the Python spirit, their communication with God is cut off, and they no longer believe in God, they’ve operated in rebellion against God. They’ve moved in sins of their flesh and of this world.  Praise God that many through the preaching of the Gospel and have repented and turned to Jesus have been born again and received the Blessing of God that was promised to Abrahams descendants.  The looked to the most powerful serpent on the pole – Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary and were set free.

Just to show you there is a correlation here, I believe the Lord has given me this revelation and  I’m not just making all this up, let’s look to Jesus who shows us clearly when He himself in John 3 refers to the serpent on the pole.  He is explaining to Nicodemus what someone needs to do to inherit the Kingdom of God in other words to be set free from darkness and walk under the blessings of God.  He first says you must be born again not of the flesh but of the Spirit.   Then show us clearly that He is the way to walk back from our sin and darkness and back under His blessing.

Starting in verse 14:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

This is why the Python spirit chokes out our prayer life.  If you can't pray you can't confess to God. The Bible clearly says when we confess our sins and ask Jesus into our life we are made right with God.  1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

If you are not a believer in God, you may have unknowingly allowed this spirit into your life. Maybe you’ve wanted to believe and even want to pray and ask Jesus into your life but find it hard to confess your sins, repent.  If that is the case you need to know that there is a spirit that is trying to prevent you from entering into the fullness of the blessing God has for you.  But God is greater and all you have to do is say: Jesus I need you, come into my life, I repent from sins.  There is power in the name of Jesus!  Your prayer life will begin to open up and your channel to God will open up.  If you still feel real stuck, you need the help of some strong prayer warriors to pray with you and defeat this demon.

If your a Christian and your faith is near dead, your having trouble praying, your filled with doubt, your unable to worship, you may even become stricken with severe illness.  You need to exercise your authority over this evil spirit, repent and consecreate your life to the Lord once again.  You may need help of a pastor or a strong prayer warrior to defeat this spirit, but awareness is the first step to freedom.  Repent and be set free.

Next, if you are already saved, sanctified and are walking in the full armour of God, just like the Israelite’s cried out and asked Moses to pray for them, this world is crying out for “those who are called by His name” to pray.  Now is not the time to sit around judging or even getting caught up in the chaos ourselves.  We must stand with our Holy God fully equipped in our prayer closets every day and confess and repent for our sins and for those who are under this demonic influence.  Jennifer Leclaire a strong spiritual warrior and a loud prophetic voice today says: We need to pray to the righteous Lord who "has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked" (see Ps. 129:4) that python has coiled around us. We need to repent for our sins—and the sins of our cities—that have allowed python a stronghold so God can surround us with songs of deliverance in His presence (Psalm 32). We have authority in Christ to cut in pieces this coiling spirit but, again, it often takes travailing prayer with the Spirit of God to free the body from the head of the snake in a region.  

The world needs Jesus and we need to dismantle any spirit that is blocking them from communing with God.  Luke 10:19 – Jesus said: I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Amen!

The choice is very clear.  Whatever sin you’ve committed or are struggling with that you think is so bad that God can’t forgive you, know that this is a lie from the pits of hell!  God can and will forgive you.  All you need to do is confess it and repent, which means turn away from your sinful life.  If your tired of trying to do things your way, bring your sin into the light as Jesus said look to Him the one who saves - Jesus Christ - and you will be saved.

I end with this:

If you’ve ever laid in bed and wondered what is the point of my life?  What is my purpose?  Why was I even created?  Here’s the answer -  you were created to do the will of God.  And what is the will of God you might ask? Jesus told us in John 6, it’s very simple.  

Jesus said in John 6: 28-29 after they asked him, “What must we do to do the work God requires?” 

He said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

That’s it.  What do you believe?  

You want the blessing of God in your life? You want the world to change? You want to know why you even exist?   Start right now exercise your faith and believe in the one God sent to save the world.

~Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries