The Pain of Hiddenness

Sarah laid her head on the back of the chair as she struggled to get out the words, “I have never told anyone this. I had an abortion when I was in college.” She continued, “I knew my boyfriend and I were too young to get married and we didn’t know what to do.” Now Sarah was sobbing as she explained, “I have kept this secret for years. The regret and shame of that decision have been my constant companions for over 28 years.” I reached over and touched her knee and prompted her to continue by saying, “How about we spend some time talking about it now.”

Research tells us that private people or those who harbor their shame and secrets tend to have increased health and psychological problems (Flora, 2017).  Larson and Chastain (1990) found that secretive people are more depressed, shame-prone, anxious and sensitive to the perceived judgement of others. These traits make them both tight-lipped and vulnerable to potential physical illnesses. They state this type of person may be a hard worker, often lying and avoiding situations that would bring their secrets to light. Secretive people also regulate their emotions in a dysfunctional way by suppressing them (Flora, 2017). The constant tension can even alter their body’s stress response.

Everyone has hidden something at some point in their lives. Secrets often reflect our false beliefs about ourselves. A secret about an abortion could echo the thought that you are somehow no longer good enough or valuable. This type of shame is unhealthy and an attack on our whole identity. Basically, it is the difference between “I did something bad” and “I am bad.” Unhealthy shame urges us to stay isolated, determined to keep us from reaching our full potential and our God given destiny.

We have all experienced self-doubt and known the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty or trepidation. Fear and uncertainty can keep us from establishing healthy relationships with others. Our insecurities can trick us into not opening our hearts. In a place of hiddenness, we get stuck in the struggle and often become more and more hopeless. This, in turn, tempts us to doubt God’s word and his goodness. This is the same tactic satan tried to use on Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus overcame these lies with the power of the truth of the Word and His deep intimate relationship with His Father. We can do the same!

When we are secure, we do not ride the waves of our situations or emotions. We are free, healthy, and safely attached to God and the community of believers.  In this place, we are marked by trusting relationships, high self-esteem, and an ability to openly share our feelings with other people (Kirkpatrick, 1994). It seems our lack of trust towards God or others keeps us from total honesty and then we distance ourselves from the very thing that will set us free.

 A healthy relationship with our Messiah opens the door to complete freedom and wholeness. You never need to struggle with self-doubt or hiddenness again, when you are secure in Him. In addition to our relationship with the Lord, people that prove to be safe over time can also help to heal our insecurities (Clinton, 2006). In other words, our openness and vulnerability can actually create more safety and security in our own lives.

God does not want us to feel anything less than whole and secure. Why? Because we fulfill His call on our lives only out of a place of intimacy and safety in Him. In short, we become who he created us to be. Unfortunately, keeping a secret can discount others’ ability to understand you and reinforces the idea that you must go through life’s struggles alone.  It exacerbates the original problem and compounds the feelings of isolation.

Sharing a deep secret in a safe environment is a good way to release the pressure that mounts from hiding and living with a lie. Look for people who are willing and able to patiently support you without judgement or criticism. Someone might regret their past choices, but if they explore them in an openhearted setting, their suffering tends to diminish. It is the pain of shame that keeps the secrets magnified. Most people report a sense of relief and gratitude, and a lifting of sadness or anxiety when they are open to someone they trust (Flora, 2017). Most importantly, these interactions also reach places deep inside us and tell us that God not only loves us...He likes us.

As a professional counselor, I know that allowing ourselves to experience feelings is an integral part of the healing process. In our place of despair and sadness, our heavenly Father is sad right along with us. The safety you experience in Father God opens a door to a whole new way of living. You will no longer be held captive by your past, but will instead courageously step into God’s plan for your life. You will be known by your joy and peace, and you will reproduce His healing touch in the lives of those around you.  You may even become a “minister” of healing for others dealing with similar issues.  This is often the beauty for ashes trade God works on our behalf.  Nothing is wasted in our experiences – all things are redeemed and turned into victory.  These are his promises to us.

There is power in remembering what God has done for each one of us. If we want to see fruit in our lives and experience total freedom from guilt and shame, it means we must embrace honesty and full vulnerability with Him. If we are afraid to speak out, if we keep dark secrets hidden from those we love or from God, we may be living in bondage and compromise. We are rejecting the precious gift of freedom Jesus died to give us.

The extent to which we settle for less than complete transparency with Christ is directly related to the extent we live in peace and rest. The more we compromise, the less free we become. Our stories of overcoming drive out doubt in ourselves and others. In the same way the Book of Acts builds up our faith, so do our miraculous individual histories. Our testimonies bear endless fruit. What greater glory and worship can we give our Savior than to parade His triumphs before others in order that they may gain confidence in the victory themselves?

Trust the Lord to see you through, and don't worry about what other people think. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV). Even though you may not have experienced the abundant life yet, take heart, Jesus has overcome the world. He warned us that we would have trouble, but that in Him, there is peace and victory.

 

Diane E. Arnold

Diane is a licensed professional therapist with specialties in family and marriage counseling. She is also the co-founder of ‘The Grace Center,’ a healing and prayer center located in South Carolina. She is the co-author of “Take Heart-Reclaiming Your Identity and Inheritance”. Diane continues to travel and speak on the importance of family and leader restoration so that we can all better demonstrate God’s love, wisdom, and power to those in need.

 

1. Clinton, T. E., & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why you do the things you do: the secret to healthy relationships. Nashville, TN: Integrity.

2. Flora, C. (2017). How Secrets Can Destroy A Relationship. Psychology Today, March/April, 49-55.

3. Larson, D. G., & Chastain, R. L. (1990). Self-concealment: Conceptualization, measurement, and health implications. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9(4), 439-455. Retrieved August 20, 2017.

4. Kirkpatrick, L., Hazen, C. (1994). Attachment Styles and Close Relationships: A Four Year Prospective Study. Personal Relationships, 1, 123–142.

5. Holy Bible: New International Version. (2005). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The Food is Changing

I wanted to share a word I heard last night at the Grace Center and I believe it is for all of us.

 

He said to me our food must change.  What are we “feasting” on?  Is it the kingdom of man?  We have been eating manna in the wilderness.  The manna while a sustaining and supernatural food it is not the food for this next season.  As it says in John 6 – your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they have all died.  Manna is not ruling and reigning it is surviving.  It is not cooperating or co-laboring with Christ it is living within only our daily needs. This is not kingship.

We, as Christ followers, must understand when the food source changes.  We are to begin to feast on the “milk and honey” of the Promised Land.  In the bible, milk and the honey represents the kingdom of abundance.  This is the prophetic (not one already seen) abundance of the kingdom of God.  We must speak words of the King (not our thoughts) and we must speak them from the right kingdom (not the natural kingdom). 

We must begin to declare the desire of the King of Kings to begin to create the kingdom of heaven here on earth with him.  This is only manifested in the prophetic.  We are to call into existence the things in the heart of our heavenly father.  His heart is the one of abundance even when we see lack.  His power is the supreme overcoming power even when others have lost hope.  His love and mercy is the power to overcome evil even when we want justice on our terms.  He is not confused or scared about what to do next.  We are not to be watching.  He is moving in power – so we must be as well.

Setting Our Will

When we set our will to do God’s will, we find strength and purpose. Jesus said,  “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” John 4:34

Self-will is a noun. It is defined as being stubborn or having an obstinate willfulness, as in pursuing one’s own wishes and aims. When we set our aims above God’s, He cannot nourish us. It is as though we have clenched our jaws shut from receiving His blessing.


Our wills are continually before the face of God. He always knows whether our hearts are submitted to His plans and purposes, or whether we are set on having it our own way. 

Derek Prince teaches that our will, like the grain offering on the altar of the Temple, must be ground down to a fine flour. Our Father wants us as a pure substance, ready to be made into a pliable dough without resistance or opposition to His stretching and molding.

We have the ability to choose to submit our will to His will. And when this choice is made, a world of healing is opened to us. It is His desire that we take on His name of love and leave our past names of shame and sin behind. The obstinate self-will holds on to negative labels and difficult life

experiences. The soft, pliable, submitted will humbly believes they are who God says they are: loved, accepted, and important. Our renewal is not built by our works but by our full surrender.


When our desire is to allow Him to do what He desires, we are transformed. The more we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit, the more the resurrection power of Christ will reside in our mind, our wills, and our emotions. 

The degree to which you allow Christ into your inner world is the degree to which you will have authority over your outer world...In the same way, your life will be a clear indicator of the depth of relationship you carry with Christ. Do you walk in peace and joy, or are you as stressed out as

unbelievers around you? Is your family thriving? Are you living a lifestyle of prayer, or do you simply speak of its power from a distance?

Battle Plan for How to be Successful

In 2 Kings 18-20 Hezekiah was given some wonderful promises by the Lord. We are told; 

*  ‘so the Lord was with Hezekiah’ 

*  ‘Hezekiah was successful in everything he did’ and

*  ‘There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah’.

We each want that level of authority to be in our lives and ministries. But, how was Hezekiah given that favor? What was the cost? 

Hezekiah had a successful plan for reaching this goal. He shows us in 2 Kings several steps to accomplishing them in our lives.

1. Verse 18:4 says ‘He tore down the high places’. Hezekiah taught the people to repent for their sins. He lead them to understand the danger of serving idols. When he became king, he found his kingdom full of enemies. However, he did not seek  foreign aids, as his father did, but trusted in the God of Israel to be the keeper of Israel. 

 2. Verse 18:5 says he trusted the Lord, the God of Israel’. Hezekiah was purposeful about submitting his will to the Lord’s will. It is nearly impossible to trust in yourself and also trust in the Lord. Hezekiah had made a choice to lay down his own will and submit to God’s plans. This is a daily choice for all of us.

 3. Verse 18:6 tells us ‘he remained faithful in everything’. He was long suffering and uncompromising with his service to the Lord. Many times we get frustrated with the time between when we receive our promise and when we those promises fulfilled. During that time, the Lord is often building our strength like He did with Hezekiah.

 4. Verse 18:6 says ‘he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses’. Hezekiah feared the Lord. He was careful about doing exactly what the Lord had told Moses. What does it mean to fear the Lord? Many times we forget to have a holy reverence for the commands of the Lord. Fearing God is good because it saves us from caving into our own sinful nature. That's why hearing someone is God-fearing actually makes us trust that person more. If they fear God, they are more likely to keep their word and treat others with kindness. In fact, Romans 3 is classic chapter on sin. These verses say that our chief sin is that we "have no fear of God at all".

5.  And, lastly, the step that we want to focus on today. Verses 8-12  tells us that Hezekiah conquered his enemies. Hezekiah was purposeful about understanding his authority. Authority is considered ‘the right to govern or the freedom or ability to act’. God's authority can't be separated from His rulership. Jesus said that all authority in Heaven and earth had been given to Him. He is the King of the Kingdom of God. He delegates that authority to whom it pleases Him.As believers we all have a measure of authority because we are "in the Name of Jesus". We speak the command of the King to demons and they have to flee. We speak to diseases and they are healed. All done by the authority of the Name of Jesus. As we continue with Jesus we come under authority—His delegated spiritual authority. 

Finally, our authority is exercised through our spoken word. The power of life and death are in the spoken word: Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." We have been given the power to agree with God about our authority. Matthew 28:18 tells us, "Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me".  Hezekiah knew he carried God’s authority, he carried out the battle plan. This is what it means to carry authority.

Counterfeit Promised Land

The Promised Land provides us a picture of how God’s government works. God made the initial promise to Abraham for the land long before it became a reality. Then with Moses, He took his people on a journey to prepare them to trust Him and Him alone. His goal was not just to get His chosen people to the Promised Land.  It was to prepare them to rule and reign over the enemies they would encounter in the land, enemies in the natural and in the spirit. This merging of the spiritual and physical realms continues to illustrate how God intends to mature His Church today. We are to naturally flow with redemption and restoration for a world bound by deception and chaos. The world will notice. However, unless we have the courage to cross the Jordan, we too, like the Israelites, will spend our years on earth wandering around in no-man’s land.

If we are not seeing fruitfulness in our Christian lives, we need to ask the hard questions about where we have taken up residence. If we are not living on the right side of the Jordan, it is time to move. Don’t strive to paint your wilderness green. And if we are living in the wilderness, it is time to ask the harder question: Why?

For one thing, the idea that life is to be endured on earth until we arrive in Heaven blinds us from God’s full restoration power. We see the world’s problems and we hope for a quick escape. This is a cop-out and a cheap substitute for the abundant life Jesus promises us.

Many Christians view the world as their enemy, or they may fear the power they carry is really not sufficient to overcome today’s evil.

Many of us have not experienced real power in action. We may not have seen people healed or delivered. Sure, we’ve read about it, but unless we experience it, uncertainty will linger. And so, doubting His ability to work miracles today, we allow ourselves to live a life of indifference and complacency when it comes to the heart of the Gospel.

What’s more, we intuitively know deep down that giving up control creates a place of reliance on someone else. This causes us great fear, and in turn we keep people at a safe distance, including our heavenly Father.

When we measure our merit by our own might, we will always come up short, leaving us feeling unworthy and ashamed. In this place, it is easy to choose distance over vulnerability. Paul says, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.” When we live with Christ, we cannot keep expecting to earn our way to the Father’s heart. Quite the contrary; we are already there!

We must also embrace meekness. The Bible tells us, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” In our culture, we view the meek as pushovers. How could they possibly impact society?

The proper translation of meek is “acting in humility,” like Moses. Yet, he walked in great leadership. True meekness is not trusting in our own strength, but learning to rely the Father. As our trust and understanding of our Father becomes larger, we begin to function closer to the victorious life available in Him. Our hearts become joined with Him and we look more like Him. We take heart, not in our own victories, but in His.

The Pain of Rejection

Matthew reminds us that as Jesus suffered the ultimate phase of His rejection on the Cross, bloody and bruised, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And there was no answer from Heaven. For the first time in the history of the universe, the Father turned a deaf ear to the Son’s cry. Then Jesus knew that His Father had rejected Him. But, why had He rejected Him?

Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness, and God averted His eyes and stopped His ears to the cry of His Son. “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil . . .” After that, there was only one more cry that came from the lips of Jesus before He died. It has been said that He died of a broken heart, not from the rejection of His people, but from the rejection of His Father.

For every person who has suffered the agonies of rejection, I want to tell you right now that Jesus experienced the deepest pangs of rejection. He did this so we might be saved and healed of our wounds so that we will never have to face the rejection of the Father. Nevertheless, that does not mean we will not face rejection from men. In fact, we believe that some wounds are so painful that the mind refuses to acknowledge them. They are there though—deeper than the mind, reason, and memory. They strike at our value as a person. They are a shot from the enemy’s arsenal of rejection, fear, shame, hopelessness, and low self-worth.

Like shrapnel, these wounds are sometimes invisible on the surface. However, if left to fester for years, they can change our God-ordained destiny in the Kingdom. They injure us even deeper as they dislodge from their scar tissue and head straight for the heart during times of stress or pressure. However, dealing with pain face-to-face with God, rather than turning our backs on Him when we are wounded, allows the Holy Spirit to remove the shrapnel and to guide and support us as we move forward.

Following a painful or devastating experience, like rejection or abandonment, the body and mind may become disconnected. This survival mechanism helps hurting people cope with unimaginable pain in their lives.

Research in neuroscience suggests that traumatic memories are stored not only in the brain but also in the body. These studies tell us that heartbreaking fear and shame impact every part of the individual: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Consequently, a complete healing needs to address each of those specific areas.

We understand a personal experience with damaging fear and shame establishes unhealthy emotions in us. Therefore, it makes sense that it will take another healthy personal experience to restore us to a place of wholeness and wellness.

What’s amazing is that God interacts with us in the Spirit, as well as the natural. In His Presence, through worship, our spirits are opened to healing. What this looks like will vary for every individual. Some laugh, some cry, some are extremely expressive, others are filled with solemn peace. No matter what it looks like, experiencing His power and love is indescribable and draws us into the deeper part of God Himself.

We’re not sure what season of life you’re facing. Maybe it’s a marriage where you feel alone, or you’re divorced and feel abandoned by the one you loved and trusted. Or, you are fighting a sickness and you feel disconnected from the life you once knew.

Let us assure you that we are all made for a real connection to a heavenly Father who wants to heal our hurting hearts. 2 Corinthians 13:14 states, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” In His Presence, the Lord allows us to experience what the Word told us was available to us: His grace and love. He is healing hearts, souls, bodies and minds in the river of rest.

The Ticket to Glory

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?’ He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them. And He said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.’”

Humility is the condition to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus taught his followers about this character principle, by pointing them to the most obvious example of weakness and humility: a child.

Children, by nature, are dependent; they know their needs. Children are also teachable, constantly learning and responding positively to correction. When we humbly admit our needs to the Father and respond positively to correction like a little child, we will be met with understanding and care. This is the most secure place to be.

David modeled true humility. In the end, he was not willing for anything to come between him and his connection with his heavenly Father. David came to a place of true repentance over his sin. He was teachable.

If we do mess up, and we all will, we must humbly and quickly move toward Father’s heart in repentance and invite Him in to bring us to a place of healing in our hearts and souls. This is where we find true rest and peace. This is where we will be transformed. This is where we will find true security and acceptance. When God says that we are accepted, it does not mean that we are tolerated. It means that we could never bother, upset, or disturb Him. We are all His favorites!

It is impossible for us to take too much of His time, to annoy Him, or cause Him to reject us. He wants nothing more than for us to be close to Him. He never pushes us off into a corner and says, “Wait, I’m too busy. I don’t have time for you.” No, He says, “I’m interested in you. I want you. You’re welcome here. Come in. I’ve been waiting a long time for you.” He longs for us to be with Him.

However, there is one thing that does upset Him: when we choose to stay away from Him.

As Adam demonstrated all too well, one of the largest hindrances to intimacy with God and others is choosing to stay distant, closed, and refusing total honesty and vulnerability. Yes, it is common for people to think they will be rejected if others know the truth about them. While it may be true some people may judge us if they knew all the secrets in our closets, this is clearly not the heart of our Father. More importantly, it is not how He wants the body of Christ to operate.

And while we might suffer rejection from those we we love, God will never reject us. He always loves us.

What’s more, there are many more people who will value you because of your open heart and vulnerability. Hiding your junk only puts up walls. Honesty opens the door to healing and relationship.

David wrote a special psalm to God after he sinned against Him. Let’s pray along with David,

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin….Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your Presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Amen.

Shame is the Real Enemy

Unconfessed sin will quickly catch up with us. In David’s case, he pushed God away, and finally was confronted by the prophet Nathan.

What if you were David?

How would you feel if your most shameful sin was supernaturally disclosed to a man of God, who showed up at your front door with some bad news?

Then, how would you feel if he proceeded to tell you that what you did was going to be broadcast on every major news channel?

Adam and Eve chose the “duck and cover” fig leaf approach, which was unfruitful. They seemed to have quickly forgotten God is omnipresent.

David’s original response was trying to conceal the event by murdering the one man who might discover his secret. However, God intervened and sent a prophet with a serious wake-up call. At the height of this prophetic confrontation, we are given a breakthrough example of how to deal with shame in a healthy manner.

David chose the pain of correction at the hand of God in order to be restored in relationship, instead of trying to continue to hide or remain in rebellion to God’s requirements. David responded, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Like David, we need to fear the Lord. It is important to have a high regard for God and His Word. We cannot fear God and love evil.

David knew his Father as good and feared His approval more than the thoughts of men. He didn’t let shame hold him back!

Shame tells us the bridge back to God is unsafe and too far to reach. Shame makes our problems seem bigger than they really are and we feel smaller and more alone than we truly are. Shame makes us want to hide from the problem rather than move toward the Problem Solver, God. There is nothing that will make us more insecure than hiding our sin or not dealing with shame.

Avoiding repentance by wallowing in shame or ignoring our issues does not cancel our sin. It actually forfeits the great gift of grace and the peace that flows from it that Jesus gave to us on the Cross. Because it is God’s nature to love and forgive, repentance always brings us closer to Him and makes us more secure.

Repentance of our sin goes much further than feeling bad about it or expecting God's goodness to cover it. It actually means to change our mind. God does not get in the way of our ability to choose our own will. He will not compete with our choice to make His will a priority in our lives.

Revelation 3:19 reads, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” Correction and discipline are actually signs of His love. Our Father loves us enough to help us change, to help us transform, and to steer us away from our destruction.

David didn’t stay angry at God or get offended at how things turned out. He knew His Father was good, that his Father loved him, and that his Father always wanted the best for him.

Many of us get stuck at this point. We get offended and angry at God. We stare at how broken we’ve become. But remember, brokenness is not the end, unless we choose to stay there.

Even though our Father may not deny the consequences of sin in our lives, He loves us perfectly and is faithful to heal our wounds. The resulting fragrance is one of lasting peace and rest.

In 2 Samuel 12, this healing grace manifested when Bathsheba bore another son, Solomon, meaning “peaceable.” Nathan the prophet came back under the command of God to give the child a second name, Jedediah, which means “beloved of the Lord.” God’s plan for David’s son became a beautiful picture of Heaven’s wisdom displayed here on earth. What a stunning example of the profound grace and peace the Lord extends to those who repent, submit to His will, and accept His love and kindness!

Stairs to Promises

We all love God’s promises.  We all love to hear the prophetic words over our lives.  We need to hear these promises and words.  However, promises and words have some steps we must climb to be able to inherit the kingdom.

We often skip over the training steps enroute to our ruling and reigning part.  But if we examine in the bible – God cares enough about us occupying our promises that he puts us through some mentoring.

David was anointed by Samuel to become king over God’s people.  But he did not go from the meeting with Samuel to the palace.  There was some waiting and some training.  We all intuitively know this even for our own lives.  We must learn some things.  What are the things we must learn.

God expects us to learn to hear and obey him.  He is the King of Kings and therefore if we are to reign with him we must learn to hear his voice.  This sounds easy enough, but most of us need to remove a little noise to be able to hear him.  We like our voice and thoughts better than his.  We must become aware that his plans and thoughts are better than ours.  We must learn to be still and know that he is God.  His ways are perfect – above reproach.  Mine not so much.

Learning to obey.  Most of us made it into the kingdom without the flesh fully being put in subjection.  This is normal.  This does not make us bad.  We will always have a battle of our own will.  God wants us trustworthy.  Not just for our lives but if we are to rule and reign we must be worthy to partner with him for the benefit of others.  Our desire for power and recognition must be put in subjection to God’s desire to see others blessed through us.  We must learn to not corrupt God’s perfect plan for the lives of those around us.

The stairs to our ruling and reigning allow us to be truly successful according to God’s plans once we are in the position of power and influence.  We unfortunately see many flawed leaders all around us.  If we are honest this includes us.  We are flawed as leaders.  This is why humility is one of the most important traits to become an able leader of others.  About the time we think we have it all together is about the time we stop listening.  We believe we deserve to reign.  We become careless in those things that continue to make us partner with the perfect One.  We lose the very thing that made us catch the first word or promise.

Let’s not lose out on the way to our Promises and our Prophesies.  We are to be the branch.  May his Presence flow through each of us in as “unblemished” a fashion as possible.  Lord make us more like you.  May we serve with a heart of a king but may we reign with a heart of a servant as you did.

Hiddenness

1 John 1:7 NIV - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  We all like to have the freedom to do as we wish.  This is an innately human desire.  But it is not always good.  I am not sure we would like to have every detail of our life exposed for the world to see.

The Bible refers to those things that are hidden as occupying the night.  This is a place where real intent and motives are not always exposed.  We have become cynical of the leaders we see in elevated positions like in government.  We all know there are agendas that are not fully provided for all to see.  Even in media today we are left to try to sort out what is real or pure and what is being “staged” to sway our opinions without full disclosure.  We can become exhausted trying to know what is true.

But there is a source of trustworthy truth. Daniel 2:22 ESV he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.  The question is will we be fully submitted to this heavenly search light in our lives.  1 Thessalonians 5:5 NIV You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

Hiddenness – this is an important topic today.  There is easy access to pornography without being seen walking into an illicit store.  Once we have been exposed to these types of materials there develops an appetite that increases and increases in extremes. The problem with sin is it has a road.  It leads to enslavement and death.  The same is true in anger or gossip.  It causes our heart to be calloused.  It is a disease of the heart.  The bible refers us to those things done in hiddenness as being in the night.  But he says it will all be brought to light. Luke 8:17 NIV For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

We need to develop a lifestyle now that operates in light.  We need to expose everything we are doing to our spouses.  If we would not be proud of it in front of everyone don’t do it.  It is territory used by the devourer.  He is looking to ensnare and drag you into death.  He is not interested in your pleasure – he is interested in your demise.  God sees all things and he is bringing us into light.  This is where true freedom lies.

Revelation 22:5 NIV There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.  We should live this way now.  Your freedom is his desire – just not from a fallen nature.

Brokenness

Brokenness.  Fragmented, incomplete, not functioning properly, out of order.  There are many word descriptions for brokenness.  We all have experienced this at some point in our lives.  It might have occurred in an untimely loss of a loved one or close friend.  It might have been caused by a closed door for our dreams.  It might have happened due to a physical ailment.  The world we live in carries significant opportunities for us to be impacted by these.

But maybe we are all broken – always.  We seem to resist the implication quite readily.  Whether in spoken or unspoken ways we don’t like to appear too needy.  Brokenness carries a severe negative connotation.  But it can also in a very real way rob us of joy and cause us to walk in a fog or worse a state of depression.

We all cling to a semblance of normal.  Regardless of the state of our lives we seek to demonstrate to ourselves and others that we have it all together.  We all have an innate need to feel ok – not broken.  But is this real?  It seems weird to fight for the idea that we are all broken.  Almost like admitting defeat.  But is this true?

Should we not all embrace more quickly the reality we are all broken.  As Paul tells us in Acts 17:28 for "'In him we live and move and have our being';  We are only complete in him.  Do we really KNOW this?  We seem like our teenagers – often trying to prove we can do things on our own – only to have less than positive consequences.  But when we admit we are broken and turn to him – we have life and more abundantly. 

We are all in need of a savior.  Not just once – but on-going.  We don’t have all the answers.  Does it really lessen us to admit this?  Shouldn’t we begin to have more freedom in brokenness?

Take Heart

John 16:33 NIV "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

This is not a verse we hear quoted very often.  It has a positive and a negative connotation.  We are to have peace.  Sounds good.  In this world you will have trouble.  Ugh.  Do I have to?  Can I pick another option?  But all of us have encountered some difficulty.  I know many of you have overcome unimaginable trials.  Even in our families some times.

It seems these days we could all use a little take heart.  It feels like turmoil and angst are coming at us from all angles.  People seem quick to be upset or be offended at something.  We are all branded very quickly as for or against our favorite topic and then we are sworn enemies to be discredited at every opportunity.

I think one of the other key points of this verse is “I have overcome the world”.  I know I and maybe you have fallen for the idea that I was to trust in my ability to overcome.  But this one says Jesus overcame and I am to take heart in this. 

Clearly the disciples encountered some difficult once Jesus left for heaven.  He knew they would be attacked even by the religious leaders.  He knew they would suffer much for the gospel.  It is probably worth remembering we are not the only ones who have been attacked.  It has been going on for a long time.  However, we are to not lose sight that He overcame.  This is the source of our unshakeable trust and confidence.  It is in HIM.

He is the source of our victory.  He is our reason to believe there is victory at the end of our testing and trials.  I don’t have to know how for this to be true.  We all will be overcomers if we faint not.

Sometimes we must endure because he is disciplining us.  Hebrews 12:7 “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”  Sometimes it is not. 2 Timothy 2:10 NIV “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.”

However, we will participate in his inheritance - 2 Timothy 2:12 NIV if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us.  We are reaping a reward.  He is just and faithful.  Do not lose heart.

Encourage another rather than stir up discord. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  Hebrews 3:13 NIV But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today," so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.  How many people have you encouraged this week?  May we be known as those who build up and stir up the gifts within one another

Take Heart.