Monday, July 14, 2008

The Week In Review

Healing The Hurts of Women

Ezekiel 11:19 “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:”

There are many women looking for dreams to be fulfilled. What happens then, when those dreams aren’t coming true? How do women handle it? What are the things we are searching for but because they have not been fulfilled we are faced with sorrow and are looking for the solace or comfort to our disappointments. What happens is many women become disillusioned and they begin to harden their hearts so that the pain will not be so hard. They begin to build walls around their hearts. What can remove those “walls” we have that keep us from reaching fulfillment to our dreams? Do you see yourself? And if so, what steps can you take to break down the wall?

What is preventing you from moving forward? What things may be causing a blockage for growth in you?

* The Lord doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers in our time frame. So instead of thinking it maybe because he has some work to do in us first, we believe he is not listening, so we get stuck where we are.

* What wounds have your received from life? - Did you feel like a blessing or a burden to your parents? Did you feel like a delight or were you wounded by physical or verbal abuse? These things can be a blockage from keeping us moving forward because we cannot see past these things in our life.

* What lies have you accepted? – You are not important. You have to earn your love. You are only worth love if you do everything right. Something is wrong with you. This lies we accept as true come from many areas in our life and until we place them before God, we cannot grow and move forward.

* What judgments have you made? – Have you made a judgment based on your anger or hurt and have allowed that to grow and fester in you? How can it hinder you? It keeps you from seeing clearly the truth and what happens is you begin to react from that area. You become caught in that area.

* What expectations have you developed? – Because of who you are, no one will love you. You will always have to take care of yourself, because no man will. Where could those expectations have come from? When life situations has taught you that you are of no value, it is difficult to move from this place without God’s Spirit revealing the truth of who you really are.

* What walls have you built? – Walls are built to protect, but they keep out everything, good or bad. What might be a wall that you have built inside of you that is hindering you from growing? Expose what is behind it and watch the healing come forth.

* What inner vows have you made? – We make vows based on past hurts and our resolve to keep it from happening again. We make vows such as, I’ve trusted before and I was hurt, so I won’t trust again. What vows have you made that are to protect you from hurt or rejection? These vows even though they seem good, are really walls that we have placed around our hearts that need God to remove them so that we can have a new heart.

* What unconscious messages do you send? – These messages are what we have recorded based on our hurts and our experience and we play these out as if they are a taped message on a recorder. Messages of you’ll reject me, everyone else does. You begin to live out this message, again and again. What messages do you send? This may take prayer and seeking God to truly show you what are your secret messages.

How do you get rid of those things listed above as they apply to you?

* We begin by being HONEST with ourselves and bringing everything to God for he knows what’s on the heart of all men. – Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: Psalm 139:23

* We CONFESS and SEEK God’s direction on what is inside. - Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. James 5:16

* We begin to pray to receive the Love of God. God’s love is the healing balm we need to apply to all of our situations and conditions. – There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:8

* Pray for the lies that we have accepted as truth to be slain on the cross and for Christ’s freedom. - And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

* Pray for repentance of any condemning judgments you made. You also must forgive those that have hurt you even if they are no longer living, because you are carrying that burden within yourself. – Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Luke 6:37

* Pray to God for the strength to let go of practiced expectations or behavior. – Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

* Pray for the walls to be torn down. Those walls that keep us from receiving and getting what’s on the other side. This will not happen in ourselves, only the power of God can remove that which hinders us. This may take some time of meditation on our parts so that we can “go around” and understand what the walls are. – By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. Hebrews 11:30

* Pray for authority over the inner vows taken. As long as those vows are allowed to rule, you will not have a life according to God. – For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son man. John 5:26-27

* Pray for the old messages that misdirected the heart and blocked God’s plan to be removed. It is then when you can walk in the newness and the freedom of God. – But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Sprit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. II Corinthians 3:14-17

* Walk in the prayers we have prayed. We begin to have hope in those things even though they have not come to be yet. – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:1, 6b

TO DO: Let us begin the process to receive God’s complete healing of ourselves so that we have nothing that hinders us from walking in the abundant life Christ has for us.

The Week In Review

Theme: Women charged by the Spirit
Preached Metropolitan Church of God
Detroit, MI, 2007

As a writer, sometimes I think I drive people crazy because as I look at things I look for the spiritual principle even if the writer didn’t mean for them to be there. There is a kid’s movie “Rudolph the red nose Reindeer” that I thought about when I prepared this message. I told you I see things in the everyday. If you remember in this cartoon, there was a group of toys that were rejected so they were sent to the island of misfits. There was a train with square wheels, and a jack in the box, with a name Charlie, who wants to play with a jack in the box named Charlie in the box? There was a boat that didn’t float. These toys wanted to belong to someone, but they could not fulfill the purpose of what the toy should be, so they were rejected.

Rudolph, who was a misfit himself, went to this island and met the misfit toys. In the course of the movie, Rudolph found his purpose. That stormy night when they thought Christmas wouldn’t come; Rudolph’s nose, (his time to shine, his bright light) was what was needed. That nose of his that everyone laughed at, talked about, and said didn’t belong, was just what was needed to help. And you know what happened, that misfit Rudolph didn’t forget about those that he had met on the island of misfit. He went back to that island and got those misfits. He helped those misfits find places of importance. I hope you’re following me.

There are many women in our world that are misfits. We have some that have been banished to the island of emotional misfits. They have been hurt by life. They have been so wounded that they don’t fit in anywhere. They feel discarded, angry, lonely, hurt and the list is endless. They don’t know if they’ll be able to make it, so instead they are left stranded on the island of emotional misfits.

There are some women that are banished to the island of worthless misfits. They have been told all their lives they won’t be anything and will not amount to much. Nothing they do seems right. They have sought approval from one relationship or another, but again they are abandoned. So instead they are stranded on the island of worthless misfits.

There are some that are banished to the island of rejection misfits. They wanted to belong somewhere, but everywhere they went, they were told you are not good enough. You are not smart enough, you are not pretty enough, or you just are not our choice bunch. So banished they are to the island of rejection misfits.

What will get them from those places? That is where we, as the church come in. Each one of us was a misfit. We didn’t fit in somewhere. Some were in the pitiful group. Some of us didn’t trust, we didn’t have faith, we flip-flopped in our decisions. We didn’t understand fully what we were supposed to be doing. Jesus didn’t choose you or I because we were the best or the brightest. Sometimes I wonder why he chose me at all? Yet he did. He chose us and what he did was tell us to come and follow him.
When we do, he promises us he will give us his Holy Spirit to equip us for the task ahead. What is that task, to tell others about the transforming power of God.

What does a transformed woman look like? A transformed woman is one that has been changed; she is no longer the same as she was before. She doesn’t walk the same, talk the same nor does she think the same. There is a conversion that takes place. The old self is exchanged for a new one. In other words, the old man is dead and the new one is made alive through Christ Jesus. There is a switch that takes place. Jesus switched places with you. He took your punishment and mine so that we would not have to, and he replaced our old, sin sick spirit with a new one, a cleansed one. So when we accept Christ the first thing he does is give us his Spirit and we must give him access so he can transform us. If each of you stood up and gave your testimony of where God really brought you from, we would rejoice in hearing how great a God we serve.

Unfortunately, we are too afraid sometimes of being transparent before others. We are afraid others will judge us, or look at us crazy because of where we came from. But let me tell you this that is especially the reason you have to tell. There is someone stranded on the same island of misfit, that you were rescued from. You have to be like Rudolph and let your light shine through the elements that blind others from seeing, so you can help them get off the island. See misfits know where other misfits are. You know what someone looks like that is depressed, if you fought with depression. You know the signs of someone lonely if you faced loneliness. Jesus came for the ones in need of healing. He came for the sick in soul and spirit. He needs you and I to go and offer this gift of transformation to the other misfits.

If you look up misfit, I believe my picture might be under the definition. If you look at me, it doesn’t look like anything could have been wrong with me or in my life. But I was a broken child, who became a broken woman. I was on my own at the age of 14, looking to find somewhere to live. I lived with my father, but his live in girlfriend hated me. She would not allow me to eat in the home unless I did things she told me to do. She had my father put out all of my other brothers and sisters and moved her nephew into our home. This nephew tried to rape me. When I told my father, I heard his girlfriend say, I was a liar. He never stood by me. When I had to go to court for this, he stood with the accused. Talk about rejection for a young girl.

So I went to live with my mother. That wasn’t any better. My mother had become an alcoholic and my stepfather was verbally abusive to my brother and me. He was physically abusive to my mother and I would hate to see the bloody fights and having to leave the home with my mother drunk, hoping that wouldn’t be the night we died at her hands. My stepfather thought it was his responsibility to tell me daily I would be nothing, I would have nothing and no one would want me for anything other than my body. He tried to sell me to the old men in the neighborhood, and when I refused, he made a joke about me being gay. What made me decide to leave my mothers home was she was fighting with my stepfather with a gun and it went off. She told me to come get it, but I thought if he kills me, she’d probably still be with him, so I said no. I decided then I would leave. The day I left my mother’s home I thought to myself, is this all there is to life? These were just a few of the scares because I had others. I was sexual abused, the first time I was seven years old and the last time when I was raped in college. Not by the same person, but by 5 different, random people. Truly something had to be wrong with me, why would these things happen to me? I had to be defective or something, right?

So you can image I was a misfit with residency on several islands. I could not image me being useful for anything or anyone. Yet, one day, Jesus said, follow me. And I did. He took this broken person and created something wonderful inside. He took the ashes of my life and brought beauty from it. When the Lord called me to preach I couldn’t accept it, because in my mind the words of my stepmother rang in my spiritual ear, she is a liar. Yet God told me, I know you. I have tested your heart and I know you.

You expected one person to be standing here today, but in his own way and for his own purpose, God ordained for me to be standing her. That’s what is so wonderful about our God. I might no be well known, I might not seem to be one chosen to have entrance to see the president, but that doesn’t matter to God. His Spirit worked things out so that this once misfit could tell some other once misfits and current misfits the good news. See there is somebody stuck on the island of misfits waiting for you. You have been charged by the Spirit to go and rescue them.