Fearless Faith

I want Abraham’s faith.

Look at his assurance and confidence in God’s faithfulness. God told him to sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22:2), but Abraham KNEW that he and his son would return. He told his servants, “We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5 NIV).

He had laser focus on God’s promise that his descendants would be greater than the stars. He went to the point of destroying the seed of that promise before God provided a substitute. I believe that all the way until that point, Abraham knew he and Isaac would still return. That’s faith!

In sight of even death, will you trust that God’s promises will still come to pass, or will fear and doubt make you quit early?

I want Abraham’s faith! How about you?

One Thing

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We have a real enemy. He will poke, prod, use people, sickness, etc. to try to find a way that he can pull you down to steal, kill and destroy you. He looks for open doors of sin, past hurts, fears, control, and tries to wedge into those doors with more sin, more past hurt, more things to fear, and offenses.

What must we do?

We must stay submitted to God for He alone is good. He is our Source, our Guide, our Friend, our Family, our Rock, our Healer, our Comfort, our Counselor, our Savior, our Shield, our Defender, our All in All. We must be thankful, stay close to our God in every breath, choose life, and be alert to recognize the enemies’ fiery darts so we don’t fall it!

It’s not hard work, but it is hard to resist your own emotions and not let them be your guide. All we must do is rest in what our Father has already done.

Father, help me rest in you. Put aside my selfish desires and lay down my life this day so my life will reflect you in me. I welcome you here. May your presence overshadow all the fiery darts and quench them out. Thank you for allowing me to rest in your Shelter! In Jesus name.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! Psalm 91:1-2

Broken Fathers

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Have you ever seen the movie Sybil? She had like 17 personalities. Well, I grew up with 2. I had the outward me and the inward me. I lived behind layers of attitude that protected me from being hurt by others.

The layers smothered me, they smothered my dreams and limited me in every areas of my life… relationally, financially, happily.

I learned at an early age to fight for myself – that if anyone was going to protect and take care of me, it was up to ME.

Today, I am going to through down one layer, unzip my heart and let you into the deepest part of my pain.

When I was 3 years old, my dad left our family to pursue a 22 year life of alcohol and drugs. Although he loved me, this little 3 year old couldn’t understand why her daddy left. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it scarred me with feeling rejected.

I felt rejected, unloved, and especially unwanted. I deeply longed for my daddy. I deeply grieved the loss of this man. Every day.

I actually remember spending days, nights, weeks, and years asking where my dad was. I asked about him until I was about 6 or 7 years old. My mom always told me that he was never coming back, he wasn’t a good dad to have and I was better off.

I appreciate her trying to help me understand, but what my mom didn’t comprehend that I was too young to reason. I had been left – rejected and she had NO understanding of the deep wound that it left.

No one did.

This rejection that started at such a young age impacted me for YEARS.
But, thankfully, I am healed of this because I know how to press in to my True Father. My adopted Daddy – who actually CHOSE me before I was born. I wasn’t an accident. I was planned for and cared for all these years. I know how to press into Him and trust Him with my security.

Even still today, I can feel the fear of rejection creep up in me. When I do, I have to remember that it is buried and it no longer has a hold on me. I have to stand firm and dig my heels into the throat of the accuser until he stops speaking! I have to stand firm, resisting the thoughts, words, and actions that are bullets sent out to hurt me, because my God has delivered me! I am safe when I STAY in Him!

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. Psalm 91:1 AMP

You see  ALL men are broken. Broken men break their children. These men were broken by their fathers and their fathers, etc.

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Some time ago, I found myself planted in a seat at IHOP… no, not pancakes, but International House of Prayer. One of my favorite worship leaders, Misty Edwards, started singing an unfamiliar song. It was about our earthly fathers.

By the middle of it, I was in full tears.

Overwhelmed.

Thankful.

Moved.

The line that BLEW me over was this: “Your babies will be my babies.

When I heard Misty sing that line, it was if God spoke it directly to my heart.

“It’s really over Sheri. I got your back. I have you. I have your babies. I care about them – just like I always cared for you. I chose them before they were born. They are mine. You are all safe with me. You can let down your guard now daughter. I am safe. ”

Whew.

Whatever it was in your past, whoever hurt you, they are just broken men. God’s got you. He’s your Daddy. He’s trustworthy and kind. He wants you to know that if you are holding onto any remnant – lay it down today. He’s trustworthy.

I hope this song ministers to you.

I hear Him singing over you
And some of you I hear him saying your name
Saying your name
He says to you
I’m not like your father
Listen my beloved one
I’m not like your father
‘Cause, even the best of them are just broken brothers
Listen my child
Listen to me
I am not like your father
Why are you putting that on me?
Listen, listen
I’m not like your father
I’m not like your father
‘Cause, even the best of them are just broken brother
Listen
For all men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But I’m bigger than that
Listen
I’m bigger than that
All men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But I’m bigger than that
Come to Me
I’m bigger than that
I am not like your father
And some of you have been so afraid of
Repeating the same mistakes that fear has your frozen
But listen, listen
I have the power to change things
And I have the power to make you new
And I have power to rearrange the same old chain
And listen
You’re not like your father
It’s a new day
It’s a new day
You’re not like your father
And the sins of your fathers
And their fathers
And their fathers
And their fathers fathers will not be on you
Just keep on
Keep on coming
Keep on coming
Keep on coming
Keep on coming
Listen my beloved one
All men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But listen
I’m bigger than that
You’ve got to let your fathers go
Your fathers were broken by their fathers
Who were broken by their fathers
Their fathers and their fathers
On and on and on and on
We’re all in this together
There’s only one good Father
There’s only one good Father
He’s the father of all of creation
He’s the father of lights
The father of glory
And He loves us so well
And all he says is
Everything is in My hands
It’s gonna to be alright
It’s gonna to be alright
You’re gonna to be ok
No regrets
Everything is in My hands
It’s gonna to be alright
You’re gonna to be ok
And some of you have been so full of regret
But your babies are my babies
Listen, Your babies are My babies
And I will be the Father
‘Cause, Your babies are My babies
I’m gonna to turn it all around
just wait and see
I’m gonna to make everything beautiful
just in time
I am gonna to turn it all around
Just wait and see
No regrets
I am gonna to make everything beautiful
Just in time

Jesus’ Name and the Authority to Use It

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In 2003, I didn’t have a clue that Jesus’ name was literally above every other name that could be named on earth. I had no clue that it was a name that had power in it or that it was for my use in my life to speak over mountains so they would be cast into the sea. I had no idea that I could use it in my family’s life while praying over them or for them. I had no idea I could share it with strangers at the grocery store and see them be healed.

In 2003, I was blind. I knew there was a God who loved me, but I wasn’t convinced that He was for me. I had no idea that He had left me with the same power that raised Christ from the dead.

From August of 2003 until about November of 2005, I dug into the word of God daily, searching and striving, hungrily devouring every page and every word. I would be in awe of who God is, who Jesus is. Hebrew says that Jesus is the exact representation of God.

I had an idea of who God was from the Old Testament and what I had been told by my church. I had an idea of who God was. I thought He was a God who was on a throne, dictating and controlling. He was kind of our puppeteer, if you will. Yet how could He be controlling a stepdad who was abusing his daughter? How could He be controlling my behavior? How could He be willing to put me through all of that? I’ll tell you how. He wasn’t. He was not.

He is a God who is sitting on a throne and sent His Son, who loves me so much, to bail me out. He sent His Son through every temptation that I would ever walk through. He left His Son on the cross to die. When Jesus ascended to be with God, He sent His Holy Spirit to come and live inside of me. He sent a piece of Himself to live with me, inside of me. It is a deposit guaranteeing my inheritance. Once He puts it in, He is not taking it back until He returns. It’s fully mine. I have full ownership of it. It’s part of who I am. I am in Him, and He is in me.

When you look at the attributes of what comes with the Holy Spirit, you see power. It is delegated power from God. It is like the alien mother ship sent me down as an alien, part of His kingdom, to take back this world. Hello? Yes.

He didn’t do it so I could spend every single day suffering and worrying about myself and taking care of myself. He gave me the same power that raised Christ from the dead and the name of Jesus Christ, which is a name above every other name, and the authority to use that name so that I could live life to the full and share it with others. How do people know we are His disciples? They know by our love. Amazing! Oh my goodness. I had no idea.

I was not taught in church that Jesus’ name was above every other name and God had given me the authority to use it. It’s not my name. It’s the name of Jesus. It’s what He did for us. It’s the finished work He already completed. I have it. I have the opportunity to exercise it. I can have a trial come into my face—a sickness, a doctor’s report, bills, strife, teenage rebellion—but it cannot contain me. It cannot take me.

If I pull out the weapon of Jesus, whose name is above every other name, the giant must fall. The mountain will be reduced to dust because it is just a molehill under the name of Jesus Christ. I have the power to use that. It’s true that I have the power to complain. I have the power to agree with all the turmoil and all the trials that come in my direction. I also have the power to choose to stand in the name of Jesus Christ, in His name and His authority and His finished work.

I once was blind, but now I see. Scripture says that it’s for lack of knowledge that we perish. I once didn’t know, but now I do know. I have the knowledge. I have the relational knowledge of knowing God intimately and deeply. I know that I have access to the name of Jesus Christ, a name above every other name.

Better A Neighbor Nearby

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I’m a mom of three. I love to watch my kids in their activities. I frequent dance and vocal recitals, as well as music and worship nights. I do have a sense of pride and joy in my heart when I see them express their love for God through their gifts. When I watch Jaden Stanley lead worship, I feel the same way. When I see a friend’s kid dance and lead across the stage with joy in their heart—and I know their heart—I feel the same way. Yet I know so many mothers that do not have that same kind of love for anyone else’s kids or grandkids but their own. I don’t understand it.

I think that having the same love for other people that you have for your own natural-born children is the love found in the spirit of adoption. How can you not celebrate every life? God does. I think that we sometimes elevate the bloodline family so high that we miss the bloodline of Jesus’ family. We don’t step into roles that we need to because there might be a missing link. We don’t step into the roles where we truly love each other. John 13:35 says, “And the world will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It’s by the way we love each other in the body of Christ. Not the way we love our own family. Not the way we love strangers. Not the way we love lost people. Not the way we serve the homeless. Not the way we love whatever else. It’s the way we take care of the body of Christ.

My kids have been without a grandma for almost twenty years. One year, a friend’s mom stepped in and blessed them with the voice of a grandma in their life. She met once a week with a little group of girls just to pour the Word into them. It was so precious. I loved her so much for doing that. I have also had an aunt step in who never forgets a birthday. She always remembers them. They feel dearly loved by her.

Sometimes I have so many friends who could step in and I just ask the Lord why someone hasn’t. Why hasn’t someone nearby stepped in?

“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away,“ says Proverbs 27:10. I believe that our family is supposed to be nearby, but it’s the family of God who fills those shoes while our family is away. When our family is together, we can take on the roles that we were naturally born into. When we are far apart, it seems we should fill those places with spiritual roles. I should be a spiritual mother to somebody when their natural mother is not present. Someone should be a spiritual grandmother to my children because their natural grandmother is not present.

I think life is just too busy. We’re too busy. It’s too easy to travel and fill those roles on a periodic basis rather than filling them where you are. I went through a season where I really grieved that loss for my family. It has made me realize that if something ever happened to me, I would pray to God that someone would fill that spiritual role of mother in my kids’ lives.

I wonder today if you have in your heart that love—that spirit of adoption—you need to give away to someone. Do you need to step into a spiritual family role and be a love-bug to someone in your life?

When I was a little girl, I had a home with a mom and a stepdad. But I went to church all by myself for years. I went alone from the time I was ten until I was seventeen. I just wonder why no one ever really adopted me and had the spirit of adoption to bring me into their family. Why didn’t anyone ever pick me up and take me to dinner? Or get me off of the church bus and start inviting me over for lunch? Why didn’t they start investing in me and teaching me the word of God? The only conclusion that I can draw is that they didn’t have the love in their heart to give away.

That is why we don’t step into that role. We don’t have the love in our heart or we don’t have the time. The enemy will do anything to keep us busy, to keep us from demonstrating the love Christ put in us to show the world, “Hey, look how the family of God takes care of one another. Isn’t it awesome how this family cares for these children?” 

As long as the enemy can keep us busy—too busy to love—the love of God will not be on display. It’s easy to love your own family, but it’s hard to find time to love others. I encourage you to look around in your life and see how you can truly love others this day.

Your Child Will Find Love Somewhere

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Our children need affection and love every single day.

“Sheri, what if I am not a hugger?” you say. “Sheri, what if I don’t like touching?”

Become one. Get over it. Be prepared to hold your child’s hand and stroke their hair or hug them. Boys have different ways that they like to engage in touching than some girls. Some are more needy and personal, and others aren’t. Decide what your child is, and get over yourself. Work it out. Become a hugger and toucher if you need to.

What if you’re not an encourager, but you’re great at pointing out flaws and giving criticism? Seek some training. Find a mentor. Recruit someone to hold you accountable. Become a mighty encourager.

Here’s a practical tip. Make sure you say each child’s name along with an encouraging (not correcting) word 10 times each day. Keep a checklist.

Everyone loves to hear their name. There are studies out there showing that people want to hear their name. Hearing our name triggers a reaction in several parts of the brain as if it’s saying, “Hey, that’s me.” People feel flattered and personally appreciated when addressed by their name. It makes them feel special.

As a child, I was used for someone else’s inappropriate pleasure—not the purpose God had intended for me. I was inappropriately touched and around that all the time, so physical touch disgusted me.

It still kind of does. It kind of goes all over me.

When there’s too much touching, I just want to shake it off and say, “Get away from me.”

My best friend in high school would touch my arm all the time. I would roll my eyes and jerk away. Our senior year, she made it her mission to break me of my phobia of being touched.

And that she did!

By the end of the year, although I wasn’t completely healed, I was a pretty big hugger.

Today, as an older mom, I still struggle with not really wanting to be touched if it’s not on purpose. I’ve had to get over my queasy, pain in the rear obsession in not doing that, and I want to recommend the same thing. God can heal your heart.

You and I need to become the biggest huggers and daily encouragers our children have ever seen, to the point where they believe in our love and feel so secure in it that we can witness it in their outside relationships!

Will You Be Bitter Or Better?

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Did you know that people can grow up in the same household and one sibling can have a completely different outcome from the other sibling? They can grow up with the same parents, in the same environment, and one of them can be happy and joyful while the other one is bitter and discouraged. One can be well, and one can be sick. We have a choice. We get to choose if we want to be bitter or better.

Whatever hand we were dealt in life, whatever came against us, we have the choice. We read in Deuteronomy 30:19, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life …” (NIV). That is a command. It doesn’t say, “Consider choosing life.” It says, “You, choose life.” But God gave us a choice. We get to decide if we want to be bitter or better. Do we choose life, or do we choose death?

We make that choice every single day when discouraging things happen. Maybe you are uninvited or rejected. Maybe you have a pain in your hip. You get to choose life or death. You choose the way that your thoughts go. You get to decide the path where your thoughts will go. Will your mind go to the negative what-ifs and fear, or will it go towards life and life abundantly? Will it go to the promises of God, or will it go towards experiences you had when you were hurt?

That is how people end up different. We get to choose.

After Jesus had risen from the dead, Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25 NIV). He decided what his will would be. His will was apart from God. He decided. He willed himself.

We have a will. We can surrender that to God and to truth, or we can pridefully hold on to our opinions and our own understanding. If we go with the second option, we are going to walk in deception every time. We will be deceived; we will be the ones left behind, and we will be the ones who are bitter.

I don’t know what is bothering you today, but I am praying for you. In this world, we have trouble. Everyone is hurting in some way or another. But I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we can take heart because God is for us. He has overcome this world. He has no plans to hurt us, be mad at us, or be angry with us. His heart’s desire is to love us. I believe He delights in you. He is so in love with you. You can hold on tightly to His promises and choose life and choose to be better.

2 Steps to Restoring Broken Relationships

Let’s talk. 
 
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The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
(Luke 6:45 NIV)
Yes, I know, we’ve talked about words before. 
 
Don’t roll your eyes or turn this off. Let’s talk. 
 
Our words are powerful. Do you agree with that? 
 
We can use words to build others up or tear them down. For a long time, I didn’t know how to control my tongue. I barked every feeling of disappointment or anger that I had. You know what I ended up with? Nothing but broken relationships. 
 
I spoke those awful things because I desperately longed to be justified. My sense of self-worth simply couldn’t handle another rejection or another time when I was wrong or a bad person. I was broken from my past experiences and my past mistakes. You see, I knew that I was a bad person because I didn’t have wonderful or kind thoughts in my head. 
My little heart was always offended, wounded, hurt, disappointed. It was a weepy heart always looking for people to treat me “right.” When they didn’t (according to my definition), I would take my ball and go home—but not before I blurted out toxic words.
 
If I didn’t say what I was thinking straight to their faces, I would say it in my heart. I am sure my actions represented my true heart even if my words didn’t. 
 
I was the girl with relationships always on a thread. I was a needy, desperate girl. I fought, bickered, complained, and gossiped because it made me feel better about myself. 
 
Ugh.
At that time, I didn’t know this:
“Show me a struggling relationship and I will show you toxic words. Every single time, you will see toxic words. Speak words of Life and watch God bless that relationship.” ~ Craig Groeschel, Soul Detox
I actually thought I had RIGHTS. I thought my actions and arguments were justified because of other people’s behavior. 
 
That’s a LIE. Trash!  
 
I was the problem all along. 
 
Ugh! How many dreadful years did I spend wrestling with this lie?
Too many!
 
If you are like me, there is HOPE!
Look at your relationships. Are they constantly falling apart? 
Look at your words. Are the words you speak full of life or death? 
Are you constantly complaining or constantly grateful? 
First 
You have to fill your heart with the love of Jesus. Oh, how He loves you! He wants you to come to Him—just as you are. You don’t have to change anything about yourself first. Simply come and receive His life. He lived the life you should have lived and died the death you deserved to die.
Know Jesus today.
Second  
Now that you have the love of Jesus in you, you need to know your new identity in Him. Sure, you may understand it partly, but you never fully arrive. It is a daily renewal of your mind. Every time you are outside of your comfort zone, you must go back to your identity so you remember that you are safe in Christ. When you are persecuted, you must return to knowing God and His love for you so you can hold fast and stand firm in the battles (Ephesians 6:10–18).
Don’t know your new identity? Check it out HERE.
Your relationships will prosper. 
How have your relationships been strained because of your words? How will you restore those relationships?

Halal – Overwhelming God

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I had the most overwhelming experience last night as my daughter led worship for our Truth Group. Truth Group is our bi-monthly Bible Study – I love these ladies.

My daughter shared her heart and I got to witness an inner love for Jesus poured out for all to see. Then she shared about a word that means so much to her – Halal! It means praise God out of the inner most passion you have for Him. She taught us how to Halal and we ended up in a full-blown party – celebrating our awesome Father God.

I am honored God allowed me to be a part of this awesome night.  

I am confident God will complete the GOOD work he has begun in my girl!

Thank you Mabel Chang for teacher Spencer guitar, IHOP Awakening Teen Music Camp for growing her up in worship – allowing her to play and sing on the teen team and to Amy Niles for growing her confidence in singing and every other way. I am so blessed to have you mentor my daughter in ways that only one day we will see the full fruition of God’s work through these people and experiences. 

How have you seen God reveal His work in your children?

Love,
Sheri

Know by Their True Nature

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There are two ways to know people: by their acts or by their nature.

You can know them because you are in relationship with them. You see their heart in action regularly. And because you do life with them, you know their true character; so much that when one thing seems out of whack, it doesn’t move you. You just know to pause and assume the best before making accusation because you know their nature.

This is the case in the best relationships.

This issue usually comes in marriage. If you don’t really know and trust his character however, you will nag him to death over every single missed act of love – because his true character hasn’t been proven to be trustworthy. You might even pull away and withdraw relationship from him because you are angry with his lack of action. We do this because we are immature in our ways, ladies.

Wives, we grow up when we know our husbands by their true nature. We stop nagging and making big deals out of small actions that are inconsistent with their nature – because we’ve become better. Instead of drawing away from our men because they fail, we draw near because we know their heart. Even though your husband may not pursue you (or whatever he lacks) like he once did before you were married, you know him intimately so you know that he’s into you anyway.

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
– Psalms 103:7

The Israelites knew God by his acts, but Moses knew God by His ways. The Israelites responded in fear resulting in working their own way out of their problems – which landed them in the wilderness until they died. To God, Moses responded by drawing closer to the Lord so that he could know Him better and follow his instructions well!

This is why Moses had so much stability and maturity even when things didn’t seem to be going well. The Israelites had none of those. They were flakey and back and tossed back and forth. They didn’t know God by his true nature; they knew him by his acts.

That can happen to us! If we only know God by his acts, we celebrate and love him when he comes through for us, but when it doesn’t come through for us, we doubt – is God really who he says he is?

We aren’t sure because our belief in God isn’t based on his character and true nature. Or beliefs are based on his works alone. This makes us unstable with the Lord. How can we live by faith if we are not sure of who God is? Is he for you or against you? Always doubting makes us volatile.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
– James 1:6-8, 16-17

In every relationship, I don’t want to be moved by acts. I will know people well, assuming the best about their character and trust that God will work it out even when I am wrong.

I want to know my Father God by his true nature, not by his acts so that when I pray for a physical or financial miracle, but it doesn’t come immediately, I am not moved by the lack of action. Rather, I am steadfast because I know my God always comes through for me!