“Did I say that?” (Are you listening to the words coming out of your mouth?)

A few years ago, I’d gone into Staples to pick up some office supplies, and happened to be there at the same time as a young mom with two small children.  I remember those days, that season of life when you need an extra set of arms, and eyes in the back of your head.  Those years when you seem to function in a constant state of tired.  To all mothers of young children – take courage for this too shall pass!

Surely, I must have caught this mom on an ‘off day’ and what I observed was not representative of her typical engagement with her children – for there in plain view for all the world to see, this frazzled mom was trying to ‘discipline and rally’ her children into better behavior by very loudly telling them how stupid they were and how disgusted she was with them.  And my heart broke for them all.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”  (Proverbs 18:21)

Faith Like A Seed
Faith Like A Seed

I lead a women’s small group, and for the past few months we have been studying the power of our words to bring forth blessing or cursing into our lives, into our families, and into our every day circumstances.    As we explore the simplicity, and the complexity of ‘changing our confession’ so that the words we speak out of our mouth come into agreement with what God has to say about a subject/concern, we discover that ‘speaking life’ over ourselves is not about releasing magic words as if they were part of some sort of spiritual incantation.  But what we do learn from studying our Bibles is that there is power in the spoken word, power to bless and power to curse.  James has a lot to say about the power of our words.   Bible teachers like Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer and Charles Capps have also had great impact on my life and radically changed my thinking on the power of our words.

 “Today I am giving you a choice of two ways. And I ask heaven and earth to be witnesses of your choice. You can choose life or death. The first choice will bring a blessing. The other choice will bring a curse. So choose life!”  (Deut 30:19)

We know from Matthew 12:35 that the words we speak reflect what we believe in your heart.   If we want to know the condition of our heart, or of our spiritual health, all we really need to do is to pause and listen to what’s coming out of our mouths.

Are we speaking words of encouragement, of hope and compassion?  Or are we speaking words of fear, judgment and hatred?  Are we speaking of our confident expectation in the promises of God?   Are our words agreeing with the words of the enemy who wants to steal our dreams, rob our resources, and utterly destroy any positive impact we can have in a hurting and broken world?

If the words that a man speaks are like seeds planted in the ground which will yield their harvest at the appointed time, whose word-seeds are you planting?

Blessings,
Jenny

 

 

Seeds planted, with high expectations for the harvest!

I love to garden – to slip on my gloves and green rubber boots, and get out there to play in the dirt.  Especially in the spring, when gardening energies run high.  The blackberry patch invites me in to cut back last years fruit vines, and stake the canes that will bear this summer.  My Weigela is already budding out and is sure to be overtaken with blooms by late June.  And this year, I am absolutely certain I have cracked the code for a high-producing vegetable garden.  The seeds are planted, and I am anticipating a bounty large enough to keep my daughters and their families fully stocked with berries and vegetables for most of the summer.

But I like gardening for more than just the fruits and vegetables.  I like it because it reminds me of two beloved passages that have transformed my life.

Luke 8:11-15
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

 

Faith Like A Seed
My “Faith Like A Seed” craft project (summer vacation 2011)

Mark 4:26-29
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.
  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.

In these two passages, I’m reminded that the Word of God is a like a seed that a farmer plants into the soil of his heart, which if it is held onto and tended will produce of its own kind.   In other words, just like those Kentucky Pole Bean seeds I planted are guaranteed to sprout green bean and not orange trees, I can be certain that all those “Word-of-God Seeds” that I have planted into my heart over the course of my lifetime, and most especially over the last few years, will produce for me from the type of seed sown.   It’s the way the Kingdom of God works, just like Jesus said it works.

And so as I carefully planted my zucchini, green beans, beets and other veggie seeds a few weeks back, I was also reminded of the “Healing Seeds” I’ve got in the ground for the healing and full restoration of family members.  Oh, and over there, I’ve got some “Provision Seeds” for financial blessing upon my income and retirement accounts.   I’ve even got me some “Husband Seed” planted, and I’m waiting in faith for that godly man to come along.

And guess what!  The “Career Seed” I planted two years ago is just about to start producing fruit, just like those berry vines will later this summer.   Yes indeed, for two years I’ve been callin’ in my harvest for that ‘perfect, well paying, and satisfying job’ to manifest … and in May 2014, after months of prayer and multiple confirmations from the Lord, I launched my own small business!   Turns out my perfect job wasn’t one that someone else was going to give to me, but one that the Lord Himself called me to create.   I’m a small business owner! 

Friend, if you’ve got some “Word of God Seed” in the ground … don’t give up on it!  Keep on tending to it by making sure you keep those ‘pesky critters’ of doubt and fear out of your garden and off of your seed.  And keep your seed watered, by continually reminding yourself of His faithfulness to you, and His faithfulness to His Word .

It may not look like anything is happening right now … but you can’t see all that’s going on underneath the ground.  So keep taking care of your seed, and believe (trust in) God.  With faith, patience, and a little TLC … that seed will produce!

Blessings,

Jenny

 

The nightmare and the warrior: step 3 – punch!

This is the conclusion of a short series of posts. If you’ve been following along, we’re at step 3 now, which is my favorite part of the lessons learned!

I had the opportunity to hear Lisa Bevere last summer, what a mighty woman of God! As she shared from her book Fight Like A Girl, she held up a charmed bracelet, designed to be a daily remembrance of the lessons in the book. The charm I like most is the boxing glove – to remind us to “strike when the enemy draws near”.

STEP 1: prepare – prepare for battle by putting your armor on!

STEP 2: position – position yourself for the greatest advantage over the enemy!

STEP 3: PUNCH!

Friend, when the enemy draws near you, you’ve got to ball up your fist, and PUNCHHIMOUT!!

As I shared in a previous post, my victory over nightmares didn’t come instantaneously. But what happened over a fairly short period of time, was that my human spirit – (the part of me that got reborn when I accepted Jesus as Savior) – well, grew a spiritual backbone! Yea baby. Uh huh!

With the increasing understanding of who I was in Christ, came a new and bold attitude and I determined in my heart that if the enemy was going to bother me with a nightmare – I was going to bother him right back! So the next time I had a nightmare (once I was able to wake up from it), I swung my legs off the bed and began walking around my bedroom, commanding devils in the Name of Jesus to get out of my house, and off my property! [punch!]

Then I called out for God’s hulk-iest “big @$$” angels to come stand in military position around my house (“back to wall”), so that no power or principality that was acting in contrast to the Word of God could enter back in! [punch!]

And I cranked up the worship music!! Not the sleepy-time stuff, but the loud, full-on worship!! I wanted to make sure the enemy knew that I knew who’s house this was! [punch!]
I am a daughter of the Living God! And having made my dwelling place in Jesus Christ, I dwell in the shadow of the Almighty!! If he wanted a fight, he was going to get one, and I wasn’t the one he was going to be fighting with!! Are you getting the picture? [TKO!]

Finally, once I was confident that the enemy was black and blue, humiliated, cast out, and cut off … I went back to bed, and went back to sleep.

Within a few weeks, I noticed I was waking up quicker into the dreams, their power over me weakening with every encounter. When I did have a dream, I’d go through the process of making my enemy pay for disturbing me, and then go straight back to sleep again. The dreams got shorter and shorter, and less frequent.

That’s not to say that I don’t still have the occasional dream, I do. But they are few and far between, and nothing like they used to be. It’s as if the Holy Spirit that lives within me sends an alarm to my human spirit, which then tells my body to wake and call on Jesus’ Name for rescue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken just enough to mumble “Je-sus” in a sleep-slurred voice, maybe raise a sloppy arm towards heaven while doing it, and them promptly roll over and go right back to a night of peaceful sleeping. Usually, that’s enough to do it – but if not, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m still firmly committed to making my enemy pay, and pay BIG, for daring to mess with this daughter of God! I know who I am, and I know whose I am! I sound that Heavenly Alarm, and worship my Savior while the armies of Heaven swoop in and kick the crap out of him!

If you are experiencing nightmares or panic attacks, I pray that my simple story will give you encouragement. Through Christ, you can experience victory over your enemy, making nightmares, PTSD and panic attacks part of your past, not your present! Implement these steps. Get plugged into a life-giving church. Pursue God and pursue His promises for the better days that He has planned out for you. He is faithful, and He will get you through this!

In Him,
Jenny

The nightmare and the warrior: step 2 – position

This is a continuation of a previous post, sharing of my personal deliverance from decades of recurring nightmares.  Hopefully you’ve read the previous two so that you have a background of understanding regarding this blog series.

Me:  “Pastor, I started having dreams again.  I haven’t had them in years, but they’re back.  I know what to do during the day when memories or anxious thoughts threaten to overtake me, but this is at night when I’m sleeping.  Sometimes I’m afraid to go to sleep, for fear of what will meet me there! I feel so helpless!  So defenseless!”

I remember that call like it was last summer. I felt so ashamed to tell my Pastor about my nightmares, the context of them, the effect they had on me.   Many of my dreams were a mix of torment and ‘cloaked remembrance’.  Some were just ‘straight from the pit of hell’.  In my dreams, the enemy taunted the deep places in my soul, shouting “See, you’re not free of me!  You can’t stop me!”  In my dreams, I was still a victim, and I could still be victimized.  It was so shaming, so degrading.

Pastor D:  “You are not defenseless, even in your sleep.   Your body might be sleeping, but your spirit (the spirit of man, which is the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit living within you) is wide awake and on the job.  You are not without defense!”

He probably said it a little differently and maybe said more – but that simple assurance that I was not without defense, and still able to engage the enemy and win, even while my body slept – it was such a miraculous concept to me that I think I might have stopped listening for a few minutes (oops).  But I digress.

STEP 1:  prepare – prepare for battle by putting on God’s protective armor

STEP 2:  position

Just like a wise warrior wears protection (armor) for the battle, he/she will also prepare for battle by “positioning” themselves so that they have the greatest advantage over the enemy.  You’re strategy also needs to include “positioning”.  Before the end of my call with Pastor D, he gave me these simple instructions.   I am calling them “Step 2”, and am going to list them quickly here and then expound upon them a little more in a future post.

Pray before going to bed.
And in your prayers, remind yourself that as a believer, you have made your home in Christ Jesus, and therefore you are covered by the shadow of God Himself.  He is your protector while you sleep, and His Spirit resides within you to stand guard over you from the inside out.

[I recommend you read/study Psalm 91 to build your understanding]

Worship. 
Put on some worship music – something soothing (after all, you’re going to bed – not a rock concert).  It doesn’t necessarily have to be in your bedroom, but play it somewhere in your home and ideally, let it play all night long.

[Don’t laugh at me, but I like to -and often do- listen to Scripture Lullabies.  Not only is it calming worship, but I’m memorizing scripture at the same time.  One of my favorite songs is “Strength of my Heart”, but they are all amazing. Who says lullabies are just for babies!!]

Speak the Name of Jesus.
With head on pillow, and as you drift off into sleep, quietly speak the Name of Jesus to yourself. There is power and authority in His Name, and even the whisper of His Name heard through your ears will bring comfort and peace … and sleep.

 

That one phone call, and implementing these three practices, was the tipping point in my decades-long battle with recurring nightmares.   It didn’t happen overnight, but greater and greater breakthrough came, and then they began to pile up on top of each other!   I was now armed with the Word of God, protected by the Armor of God, and positioned under the Shadow of the Almighty.  Within a fairly short period of time, the enemy was on the run!

I encourage you to start implementing these practices tonight and get started on your journey to the good kind of pile up!  If you haven’t already downloaded “Love Letters”, please see the Step 1: Prepare post.   You’ve got to get the enemies words out of your head, and the only way you can successfully do that is to replace his thoughts with better thoughts.  And who has better thoughts for you than the One who created you, and sent Jesus to bring you back to Himself?   No one!!    [Oh, I would so love to tell you more about the love of God for you!]

Don’t forget to watch for the release of Step 3: Punch!   It’s my favorite step!!  🙂

Be blessed
Jenny

 

The nightmare and the warrior: about forgiveness

If you are/have been reading along in “The nightmare and the warrior” series that started here, first of all – thank you!  I realize that this subject matter is not “everyone’s cup of tea”, and if you have been reading along – it is likely because you have some familiarity (by personal experience or someone you know) with the type of night terrors I am addressing.

Innocence, by Seventh Day Slumber These are often things people suffer with in silence, either out of shame or out of hopelessness for freedom from them.  And that is a lie!  I hope my story will inspire you to stand up and fight the enemy of your soul – not on your own strength, but in the strength of Him who has already triumphed over every foe!  Through Him, you can experience freedom!

I spoke briefly in the last post about forgiveness.  That’s a complex subject, and I’m sure I’ll write more about it in future posts.  But today, I simply want to share a song that meant a lot to me when I began to confront my past and the torrent of emotions I was experiencing.

The song is “Innocence” by Seventh Day Slumber.  It’s raw.  It’s angry.  It’s redemptive.  It spoke my heart, and still does.  May it be a balm to your wounded heart as well.

In Him,
Jenny

 

Inspired by my last name, I'm on a journey to better understand the intertwining of FAITH & HOPE.

%d bloggers like this: