On Fire…..

fire

Flames! Flames! Flames! Red hot flames of fire burning in my front yard.

What was on fire?  Why was there a fire in our front yard?

I must have been in the third grade and maybe not even that old.  I was a little girl who lived in a house with a monster.  You know what a monster is? One who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character, a threatening force.   A person of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness, or cruelty.

The monster in my life was actually supposed to be the person who loved me the most.  He was supposed to care for me, protect me, and provide for me.  My dad was the monster. He existed it seemed to torment us. And he was quite successful at doing so I must say.

On this sunny day I was a little girl who was coming home from school.  I should have been anxious to get home to Barbie dolls, play houses and imaginary friends.  Not the case. The monster went off in to a familiar fit of rage.  He took a baseball bat and went through our house and beat in every wall.   Smashed every light and chandelier.  Broke everything that could be broken.  His rage was powerful and full of destruction.  He took our furniture, every bit of it…the couches, the chairs, the tables and the beds and he carried it all out in to the front yard and dosed them with gasoline and set them on fire.

When I got off the school bus and walked a short way to my house I could see the flames in the distance.  I could feel the knot turning deep in my gut.  The fear blinding me and overtaking me as my heart pounded.  I wanted to run.  I wanted to hide.  I wanted to escape desperately to a safe place but no such place existed.

When you are a little girl and you are coming home from school you really need to be able to have a place to retreat to that is safe, secure, and full of love.  A safe shelter.  I did not have that.  My siblings did not have that.  I never knew what would be waiting behind the doors.  On this day the terror was not behind a door but on public display for the entire neighborhood.  Our front lawn was on fire and in the fire were the things that belonged to us. Where would we live?  How would we live? My bed was in that fire and I wondered where would I be able to sleep now?

Flames that burned all of our furniture that day ignited within me even more fear.  Fear for my life.  Would he kill me?  Would he kill the people dearest to me, my mom, my little brother or big sister?  What would he do next?  The thought of death was on my mind.  Staying alive.  Breathing.  Those were top priority.

That day was lived out in paralyzing fear of the unknown just like most of the other days.  It was no different. There was no stability.  There was no consistency.  There was no rhyme or reason.  There was no hope of it getting better.  There was no protection.  No place to hide.  Torment growing in my stomach, worrisome thoughts eating away at my peace of mind.  Eating away my childhood and creating horrific memories and later as an adult some unwanted flashbacks.  One day things would get better…….but not on this day.

Thank God for HIS protection and HIS angels that kept me and the rest of my family alive that day and many other days that we had to endure tormenting rage.  Thank God.

Thank God for a sound mind.  Thank God this is just a memory, a part of my story.  The story has a great ending.  I am so grateful for life.  My life has been recreated.  What was intended to kill me or harm me in any way…God has used to make me a stronger healthier person.

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https://beckyray1964.wordpress.com/

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I have loved writing since I was a little girl.  So many times I didn’t get to have a voice.  it was snuffed out.  But only for a time.  My words are alive now. I invite you to take a minute to visit my blog site https://beckyray1964.wordpress.com/ Here you will find a few of my stories.  They are all from my heart.  Feel free to leave comments or pass my writings along to others.

You Will NOT Break!

Be encouraged today if you are  feeling  like you can’t handle even one more thing… One more problem, one more disappointment, one more unwanted opinion, one more stab, one more period of darkness, one more step into the unknown, just one more thing and you will break…..

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Isaiah 42:3 Living Bible (TLB) He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair. He will see full justice given to all who have been wronged.

Are you a bruised reed today?  If so God will not break you!

What is a bruised reed exactly?  A bruised reed – The word ‘reed’ means the cane or calamus which grows up in marshy or wet places. The word, therefore, literally denotes that which is fragile, weak, easily waved by the wind, or broken down; and stands in contrast with a lofty and firm tree. The word here, therefore, may be applied to people who are conscious of feebleness and sin; that are moved and broken by calamity; that feel that they have no strength to bear up against the ills of life. The word ‘bruised’ (רצוּץ râtsûts) means that which is broken or crushed, but not entirely broken off. As used here, it may denote those who are in themselves naturally feeble, and who have been crushed or broken down by a sense of sin, by calamity, or by affliction. We speak familiarly of crushing or breaking down by trials; and the phrase here is intensive and emphatic, denoting those who are at best like a reed – feeble and fragile; and who, in addition to that, have been broken and oppressed by a sense of their sins, or by calamity.

What God says he WILL NOT DO-   He will not carry on the work of destruction, and entirely crush or break it (the reed). And the idea is, that he will not make those already broken down with a sense of sin and with calamity, more wretched. He will not deepen their afflictions, or augment their trials, or multiply their sorrows. The sense is, that he will have an affectionate regard for the broken-hearted, the humble, the penitent, and the afflicted. Luther has well expressed this: ‘He does not cast away, nor crush, nor condemn the wounded in conscience, those who are terrified in view of their sins; the weak in faith and practice, but watches over and cherishes them, makes them whole, and affectionately embraces them.’ The expression is parallel to that which occurs in Isaiah 61:1, where it is said of the Messiah, ‘He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted;’ and to the declaration in Isaiah 50:4, where it is said, ‘that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.’

If you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends and your strength is running low….our God understands the smoking flax – The word used here denotes flax, and then a wick that is made of it. The word rendered ‘smoking’ (כהה kēhâh) means that which is weak, small, thin, feeble; then that which is just ready to go out, or to be extinguished; and the phrase refers literally to the expiring wick of a lamp, when the oil is almost consumed, and when it shines with a feeble and dying luster. It may denote here the condition of one who is feeble and disheartened, and whose love to God seems almost ready to expire. And the promise that he will not extinguish or quench that, means that he would cherish, feed, and cultivate it; he would supply it with grace, as with oil to cherish the dying flame, and cause it to be enkindled, and to rise with a high and steady brilliancy.

“But I will take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going.  I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country.  I’ll be right  there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.  These are the things I’ll be doing for them-sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute”.  (Isaiah 42:17) ~ The Message Bible

Sweet Benefits

 benefit

  • thank you for the benefit of another new day
  • thank you for the benefit of peace
  • thank you for the benefit of a sound mind
  • thank you for the benefit of favor
  • thank you for the benefit of prayer
  • thank you for the benefit of healing
  • thank you for the benefit of understanding
  • thank you for the benefit of being honest
  • thank you for the benefits of your son’s blood on the cross
  • thank you for the benefit of friendship
  • thank you for the benefit of correction
  • thank you for the benefit of being able to hear from you
  • thank you for the benefit of praise
  • thank you for the benefit of making mistakes and learning from them
  • Thank you for the benefit of pain which makes me look to you for help and comfort
  • thank you for the benefit of being able to know the creator of my heart
  • thank you for the benefit of your love, being able to receive it and show it
  • thank you for the benefit of honestly
  • thank you for the benefit of reaping and sowing
  • thank you for the benefit of walking with you
  • thank you for the benefit of being unchained
  • thank you for the benefit of sweet freedom
  • thank you for the benefit or your brilliant light
  • thank you for the benefit of having an abundant life
  • thank you for the benefit of hiding your word in my heart
  • thank you for the benefit of walking thru dark times
  • thank you for the benefit of all your provision
  • thank you for the benefit of being raised in a  church
  • thank your for the benefit of fellow-shipping with your saints
  • thank you for the benefit of working to earn a living
  • thank you for the benefit of tithing
  • thank you for the benefit of being able to encourage myself
  • thank you for the benefit of laughter
  • thank you for the benefit of being able to tend to some of your furry creations
  • thank you for the benefit of a teachable spirit
  • thank you for the benefit of having pride ripped out of my heart
  • thank you for the benefit of knowing you as my strength when I am worn out
  • thank you for the benefit of emotions and being able to experience the wide spectrum
  • thank you for the benefit of being unique and not like any other person
  • thank you for the benefit of being able to tell my story
  • thank you for the benefit of forgiveness, both receiving and being able to give it
  • thank you for the benefit of paying it forward and knowing a stranger is blessed
  • thank you for the benefit slobbery licks from puppies
  • thank you for the benefit of getting to experience the seasons
  • thank you for the benefit of renewing my mind
  • Thank you for the benefit of knowing you as my father when I never knew that growing up
  • thank you for the benefit of sending me mentors to help me know your ways
  • thank you for the benefit of having great Sunday School teachers as a kid
  • Thank you for the benefit of not getting everything I want but having all that I need
  • thank you for the benefit of seeing your light when all around me was so dark
  • thank you for the benefit of hearing your voice
  • thank you for the benefit of finding wisdom and understanding
  • thank you for the benefit of  being grateful
  • thank you for the benefit of having a great amour to wear every day
  • thank you for the benefit of your hedge of protection
  • thank you for the benefit of seeking you to find my way
  • thank you for the benefit of just being able to thank you for just a few benefits!

And So What?

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A message I heard yesterday by Pastor Toby Davis inspired me to do a short study on Isaiah 53.  Especially verses 3-5

Isaiah 53:3-5 New International Version (NIV)

He was despised and rejected by mankind,  a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus died on a tree or a cross.  And so what?  What does that have to do with me?  May sound a bit flippant but how are we actually living? So what does it all mean to us Christians anyway?  When we get sick, diseased in our body, depressed or anxious are we really any different than those who don’t claim to even know Jesus?  Sometimes it looks as if we are not any different.  Sometimes instead of taking time to study and read what God’s word says for ourselves and applying it to our situation we just react the exact same way as those do who don’t even have the covering of the blood on them.  So what sets us apart?  Really, are we any different If we are… why do we respond the exact same way as they do?

Are you ever sick in your body?  Are you sometimes tormented in your mind?  Does life get so heavy at times you feel as if you are going to break under the load?  Ever suffer from depression or have your mind not want to shut off due to racing anxious thoughts?  Better yet, have you ever just had a full-blown panic attack? Ever tormented in your own head?

This whole “Jesus died on the cross” thing just may be the answer you may want to know more about.  Especially if you are a born again believer.

So His hands and feet were nailed to a cross.  Ok, what’s the big deal about that anyway?  According to Dr. Frederick Zugibe, piercing of the median nerve of the hands with a nail can cause pain so incredible that even morphine won’t help, “severe, excruciating, burning pain, like lightning bolts traversing the arm into the spinal cord.” Rupturing the foot’s plantar nerve with a nail would have a similarly horrible effect.

Jesus actually did some pretty nasty suffering.

Yes Jesus loves me.  That’s a cliché everyone is familiar with.  Just four simple words right?

Well, look just a little closer.

Do you have any idea just much Jesus actually loves YOU?  James Thompson believed that Jesus did not die from exhaustion, the beatings or the 3 hours of crucifixion, but that he died from agony of mind producing rupture of the heart. His evidence comes from what happened when the Roman soldier pierced Christ’s left side. The spear released a sudden flow of blood and water (John 19:34). Not only does this prove that Jesus was already dead when pierced, but Thompson believes it is also evidence of cardiac rupture. Respected physiologist Samuel Houghton believed that only the combination of crucifixion and rupture of the heart could produce this result.

Jesus died of a broken heart.  Do we really get that?  Jesus did not die from exhaustion, the beatings or the 3 hours of crucifixion, but that he died from agony of mind.  His physical heart actually burst, it ruptured. 

When we read that Jesus was despised and rejected and he was a man of suffering and familiar with pain just what does that mean exactly?  In the Hebrew and Greek this reference to suffering and being familiar with pain implies a bodily pain and disease as well as any sickness or disease, anxiety, mental torment, affliction or any evil calamity.  Read that again.

  • Bodily pain
  • Diseases
  • Sickness
  • Anxiety
  • Mental torment
  • Affliction
  • Any evil calamity

It was a severe suffering of both body and soul. Every nerve sensitive to pain in Jesus body was exhausted.  He felt my pain as HIS own pain.  He was well acquainted with and familiar with all types of grief and pain.  Again, if we were to study this in the Greek this means pain was His constant companion.  When He bore my suffering He actually carried it.  He did not just magically remove it, which He could have done.  He picked up the load of it all.  The Greek states “he took it upon himself” and “took it away from me”.  He felt it. Every bit of it.  Bearing it, upholding it, carrying it as to remove the burden from my shoulders and put it on his own.  Again, He was acquainted with sorrows, all types of sorrows.  All types of pains in the mind, anguish, anxiety, trouble of the soul, distresses in the mind.  He was subjected to mental sorrow and afflictions enough to remove them from ME.  I don’t have to carry them.  He was wounded, tormented.  So why should I be wounded and tormented now?  He already suffered it for me.  He endured a painful physical piercing and mental pain.  He was bruised which indicates He was broken to pieces, crushed in inwardly and outwardly.  By HIS stripes we were healed.  By HIS stripes I was healed.  By HIS stripes you were healed. Stripes are blows to the skin, bruises, hurts, wounds where blood collects under the skin.  We would refer to “beaten black and blue”.

Since Jesus actually did all this why then would He expect any of us to suffer and carry sickness, disease, depression, anxiety or any other mental oppression? How foolish would that be?  Stop and think about it. He bore it; He already picked up and carried sickness and disease as HIS own.  He did this so we would not have to.  He removed it from us.  So therefore by HIS stripes we were healed.  It has already been done.  We don’t have to beg for healing. So Why do we do it?  Why do we walk around suffering?  If we do this, then Jesus death on the cross meant what for us?  Why would he suffer, carry and transfer the load from me to HIM only to expect me to pick it up and carry it again in my mind and body?

Yes, Jesus died on the cross for us.  But it’s a little more complex than it sounds.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  But there’s a whole lot more to the story than just that one sentence.  Yes, by HIS stripes I am healed but take a closer look at what that means for you, what it means for me.

If Jesus lives in your heart and he has forgiven your sins take time to look closely at what that means. What does that really mean to you?  What does it really mean to me?  Does it make any real difference to use while we are here on earth?   It’s so much more than just a Bible story.  By HIS death I have life, I have health, I have healing, I have a sound mind, I can walk through this life with purpose and meaning.  Yet, He is not going to force us to walk with HIM.  He is not going to force you to be healed, whole and well.  It’s all a gift.

Time To Dust…

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Today is a good day to do a little dusting!  In Matthew 10:10 Jesus said if anyone rejects you or does not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet.  Move on to the next town.  What does that have to do with me?  He was talking to His disciples.  Well, he is also talking to me.

There people in my life who no longer welcome me.  They no longer want to hear what I have to say.  They no longer want to participate with me.  Walking away and moving on is never MY first option.  I do not give up on anything easily.  That is both a curse and a blessing I suppose.   I drive myself crazy trying to figure them out.  I want a solution.  I want things fixed and settled.  That’s my personality.  I just don’t care to have unfinished business in my life.  Yet, there are people who prefer to engage in passive aggressive behaviors.  They will not explicitly state their demands, they avoid accountability and confrontation.  At some point they must have received a message that it’s inappropriate to show anger or true feelings, they get their way by other measures.  They’ve even been socialized in to believing that being indifferent, being silent, being passive aggressive is a genuine Christian behavior.

Indifference, silence, passive aggression all are maddening to me.  Hostility has life at least.  Indifference is insipid, draining, debilitating.  Most times, like right now, I don’t shake the dust off my feet very easily.  No, I go on trying for way to long past the time to quit.  I lose my perspective.  I take it all to heart.  I lose my joy.  I am inhaling dust and it is choking me, I cannot breath. I am drowning. So often times I put myself in the jury box or better yet I sit as the judge.  My prayer today is that I remove myself from these positions.  I must make a choice NOT to judge those who have rejected me or who are indifferent toward me.  That’s God’s job, not mine.  Only God knows why they are so passive or so frustrating and silent.  All I am required to do is “shake the dust off”.  Move on.

Dust clings.  Dust covers.  Dust chokes.

I am reminding myself again that Jesus said in Matthew 10:10 to shake the dust off your feet.  What in the world would this mean to me exactly?

Rejection.  Don’t dwell on it. Don’t let it settle on you.  Don’t play it over and over again in my head. Shake the dust off!

Frustration.  Don’t sit in it, don’t grovel around it int.  Shake the dust off!

Don’t assume it is all about ME and take it to heart.  Remember only God knows that stuff.  Shake the dust off!

Failure and rejection are not the same thing.  Shake the dust off!

If we don’t shake the dust off we will carry it.  It will embitter relationships, sour friendships; sap energy, leak hope.  We have to shake the dust off!

There is a choice I can make and that is a choice NOT to be angry with indifferent people.  I have no idea what makes them so bafflingly indifferent.  I can make an effort not to be surprised or devastated by indifference in people.   I will choose not to be bitter.  I will shake the dust off! Dust is dead skin, dry earth.  Dust is death.  Only God can create life out of dust and ashes.  That is not my job.  I am to shake the dust off my feet.  By doing this I am letting God do what only God can do.  My dust shaking is in essence a prayer that God will do a miracle my making beauty arise from ashes.  I am allowing him to take full control and from the dust I have shaken off my feet He can now create something from it.  He is God.

So what do I do with my pain, grief, sadness, the loss that comes from walking away (dusting)?  After all I am walking away from a person, a relationship, a friendship with the job unfinished.  The dust not settled.  This is exactly what I am going to do: continue praise God while I am dusting.  No need to lament on failure, or dwell on the silence and the rejection.  I will praise God who made all things out of the dust of the earth, and still does.

Paralyzing Darkness

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Some people are experiencing this Christmas season feeling alone, abandoned, depressed,broken, anxious and forgotten. They won’t be with a big happy family opening gifts on Christmas morning. They have not been invited to any dinners or parties. their refrigerator may be empty.  Their life may be empty. It may be a struggle for them to get through this day and then the next.  They have no appetite. They don’t want to get out of the bed.  They don’t want to shower and face the day.  That may be you. If you believe in God or have a relationship with him or not, it says in the bible that David had to encourage himself. Sometimes it is best that we don’t sit back and wait on someone else to step up to the plate and reach down to lift us out of the pit. Yes, one might assume that since it is the season of giving and supposedly thinking of others that this would be an easy thing for someone to do for you. But the truth is easy as it could be for them to do, most people are wrapped up in the busyness of this season. The lonely, those who are forgotten and depressed most often just do not even enter the minds of those who are going about their business of celebrating the season. This would include your friends and your very own family members. On some occasions God may send one of his messengers to help you. Other times it is on you to encourage yourself. This may mean that you will have to force yourself get out of your comfort zone. Instead of waiting on someone to call you, you be the one to pick up the phone and make that call. You be the one to get the bible off the shelf and look for your answers. You be the one to take a step to find a church to attend. You be the one that if you need professional help or counseling get the number and take the first step …make yourself an appointment. But PLEASE don’t sit in a dark hole alone feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t allow  the enemy and those voices in your own head to pull you so far down in to self pity and despair that quitting is an option. Don’t get so low that you think life is perhaps just not worth the effort any longer. YOU are worth the effort.  YOU are valuable.  YOU are going to come through this.  So stand up in your own mind and in your spirit and have the courage to ask for help. Have the courage to just whisper the name of JESUS. There is power even when you are powerless within yourself. Have the faith as small as a mustard seed to believe this too shall pass. It will get better. This season will end.  And just maybe you will be in a position next Christmas season to offer a word of hope to someone who is wearing the shoes you are wearing now.  Perhaps you will be the one  God chooses to send as a messenger of hope.  Who better than you can deliver that word?  You are the one who walked through the darkness in to the light.  Your words, your story will radiate light for someone who can see nothing but darkness all around them.  There are great things in store for each one of us.  Believe.  Do NOT give up. DO not give in to despair.  Keep walking.  Keep moving.

 

Joke’s on YOU

 

lifeMeet my enemy, Satan. Yes, he exists. The Bible says so in John 10:10 “the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy”. His job, his occupation, his work is to actively oppose me. He is my adversary, foe, archenemy, rival, antagonist, thief and combatant. He seeks to harm or weaken me. He seeks my death and destruction.  However, today the joke is on him.

He is at work to rob me of my personality, my position in life, my security, my peace, my happiness, my goals, my sanity, my identity and anything else he can take. When a thief robs someone he is up to no good and often uses lies and deception to get the job done. Actually the word thief is a Greek word, kleptes. This word this word describes a person with a persistent, neurotic impulse to steal. Think of the word kleptomania, which is a condition of not being able to resist the urge to steal or rob someone. Again, Satan’s job is to be persistent and relentless in accomplishing his goals. He works to wear me down. He uses deception to plant lies in your brain.

He is however a defeated foe. Jesus defeated him. He knows this and he is frantic about it. He has no real power. He has no position to win. He is a low life coward who knows he can’t win.  He can’t accomplish any of his goals in my life unless I relinquish the power to him to do so.

I would like to publicly bash him in the head on this day by reminding him that in 2008 he messed with my mind to the point of clinical depression and I was hospitalized from October 21st -27th of that year. Then again, another attack in 2009, December 15th -20th I was hospitalized for depression and panic disorder. Panic disorder by the way is nothing short of living in fear.  Your body goes automatically in to the fight or flight mode.  December 31st  of that year  to January 5th of 2010 he relentlessly kept a violent assault going on my mind..The definition of assault is a sudden, invasion, violent attack; onslaught. The military definition of assault is the stage of close combat in an attack. During these specific times I was in a battle. I was under attack. My mind, my thinking, my ability to reason was all under a violent assault and attack from my enemy.

He was telling me things like “kill yourself”, “you can’t come through this”, “you will never make it”, “give up”, “quit” and many other voices like this were running havoc through my brain with no shut off valve. He was in facet very persistent. He was doing his job relentlessly: he was intense and unremitting. It was violent, it was painful and it was almost unbearable.

Then just like the woman with the issue of blood in the bible, I too kept putting all my faith, money and trust in the doctors. That meant relying on a prescription medication to defeat what was actually a spiritual battle.  Of course that did not work. I am in no way against doctors or medications.  God can give physicians wisdom to know how to appropriately help a person with a medical problem.  My problem was not a medical problem.

In walked Jesus, my savior! A savior according to the dictionary is a person who saves rescues and delivers. However this was not just a “person”. This was Jesus Christ! This is the one who went to the cross and died for my sin.   He carried all my suffering. He is familiar with all my pain.

So I was helped. I was delivered. I was given new hope. I was made alive again. I became a new person.  It is now going on five years since those events took place in my life. I am here to state that God is a mighty God. He fights on my behalf. He heals, he rescues and he saves. He is almighty.  He loves me and He is for me.

Satan: You are defeated, overthrown, conquered, subdued, beat, defeated. You are a looser. You lack reticence and power to restrain me. You DID NOT WIN!

 

 

 

Living Paycheck To Paycheck

mammon

How about your pay check?  Does it last until the next one or does it run out and you always end up falling short and needing more? Are all your needs being met?  If you are a christian isn’t God supposed to meet all your needs?  Are you sitting back wondering why it’s not working for you?  Why are you ending up in the negative every time?  Where is this so called abundant life at anyway?

This is/ was me.  So this is why I am sharing.

Where is all our attention going?  Are we focused constantly on getting all the bills paid, wondering how we are going to just survive?  Are we just a tad bit angry that we are serving God and HE is just not coming through for us like we were taught that He would?  What is really going on anyway?

God is not holding back on us.  He is not against money, wealth or riches.  He IS against money having us.  He is aginst the Spirit of Mammon which operates in our lives. We need to be very aware of what is actually going on.

So you barely make it from one check to the next.  You ask God for increase.  You expect things to get better. Nothing. Maybe there is a block.  Just maybe if you open up and pray for a teachable spirit you may learn some things you never knew.   I did…

When I prayed for a teachable spirit and asked God to reveal why I am in this rut this is what He showed to me in great detail.

Maybe you are working off of a cursed pay check.  Mine has definitely been cursed. Well what do I mean by that? Well, first I have been robbing God. Anytime we rob it results in a curse on our finances.  Yes, that means our paychecks, check books, loose change, pocket money, spending money and the like.   A curse means that something dies before it’s time.  It runs out.  It is not fruitful.  Being cursed refers to scarcity which is insufficiency or shortness of supply and barrenness. 

Because we keep running out … if you are like me you just can’t afford to put God first in your finances.  There are way too many things that you need.  Not want, but need.  You have to fill  the gas tank up to get to work.  You have to pay the rent and have a place to live.  You are not out wasting all your money on frivolous things that you don’t need.  You are trying to make an honest living here.  So what in the world is the problem?  God certainly should understand where your heart is and that you just can’t put one red cent in the offering plate or tithe envelope.  He is God and He knows this.  You are serving Him as best as you can.  So what if you don’t have any money to contribute?  You want to do the right thing but you are stuck (enslaved).  You just can’t get out of that rut.

I found out that I was serving a master that I knew nothing about (maybe you are too).   No, I am not talking about God.  I am talking about the Spirit of Mammon. Who in the world is that you may ask?  Well, let me explain….

Matthew 6:24 tells us we cannot serve two masters: for either we will hate the one, and love the other; or else we will hold to the one, and despise the other. We cannot serve God and Mammon.

I was saying “well, I am not enslaved to anyone.  I am not serving anyone but God.  That’s what I thought too”.

First let’s get clear as to what is it like to be enslaved or to serve someone or something?  According to Webster the definition of a servant is: a person who is devoted to or guided by something.  The definition of enslaved is: to be a slave-someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay, a person who is strongly influenced and controlled by something.

So what does that have to do with anything you may be asking.  Mammon is simply money or riches right?  We certainly don’t even have enough money.  And riches, well that’s another story.  That’s way out of our reach.

Well the truth is Mammon is not just referring to money or riches.  Let me explain….

 I had no idea what Mammon was, I always thought it meant money in general. Well, I learned that Mammon is an Aramaic word which describes a spirit that is operating in the world system.

Mammon  was a term used by the Babylonians and it  meant “planted in confusion”.   Mammon is actually  spirit ruler. It seduces (leads, draws away or persuades) me to put money ( or the attention on money) before God. It seeks to dominate and control me. It seeks to enslave me. It causes me to live beyond my means, to live financially on the edge all the time, to live in fear that I won’t have enough. It’s operation in my life will produce anxiety over unmet needs, fear of my needs not being met in the future. As long as I am serving the spirit of Mammon I am operating in fear and pride. I think “I can do this”. “I’ve got this”. I don’t trust you (God) enough to take care of me. I strive to do it on my own. Somehow it will all work out, I just have to keep on keeping on. But I also learned that in Malachi when he says I am cursed for robbing God, one of the meanings of “cursed” means to wither and die before it’s time. My money runs out or dies and dries up before my next check gets here. Therefore I remain a slave to Mammon. This nasty spirit causes me to keep going around and around in circles.. the same pattern.  Never getting anywhere financially.  Staying stuck.  Stagnant. 

But when we finally get the revelation of who is operating in our check books and controlling our pay check we may want to get that spirit off of us and out of our lives.  Stop serving Mammon.  We can’t serve God and Mammon.   At this point you may think (as I did) that  you are in control but that is just a smoke screen.  You (we) are actually being controlled.  You (we)  are serving.  You (we) are enslaved.

So I encourage you (along with my own self)  to renounce that spirit and stop its operation in your life. Put all your trust in God for your financial needs.  Put all your attention on seeking HIM first and let HIM add everything else to you.

In the old testament Deuteronomy 29:4-6 in the Contemporary English Version says: “He has even told you, “For forty years I, the LORD, led you through the desert, but your clothes and your sandals didn’t wear out, and I gave you special food. I did these things so you would realize that I am your God.” But the LORD must give you a change of heart before you truly understand what you have seen and heard.”

God can put a blessing on your money, bank account and pay checks.  When God blesses He can make things last longer than they should.  He did it for the Israelites.  Their clothes and shoes lasted for over 40 years.  God can do supernatural things, He is a supernatural God after all.

So I am challenging myself and you to stand up, get up and STOP serving and being enslaved to the Spirit of Mammon. Serve God and don’t rob HIM. 

I am expecting great things!!