From Secrets, The Heart Overflows

Matthew 12:34 says, “Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”

About a week ago Satan decided to use someone to completely break my spirit and knock me off course. The events that took place shook me to the core and it was then that I realized just how serious Satan is about silencing our voice. His goal is to make us feel worthless and helpless when faced with opposition. But God stepped in and revealed something that changed my heart. He used this person’s own words to reveal what was going on in their heart.

A harsh tongue reveals an angry heart.

A negative tongue reveals a fearful heart.

A boasting tongue reveals an insecure heart.

A judgmental tongue reveals a guilty heart.

A filthy tongue reveals an impure heart.

Knowing these key points changed everything. Had I known them before that particular conversation took place, I would not have taken anything that was said personally. Instead, I would have ended the conversation immediately and refused to listen to the lies that were spewing from that vault.

But God used it to teach me something. He reminded me that I am no longer in bondage. I have been healed and because of that healing, He brought to light a righteous anger that gave me the courage to stand up to the enemy without fear.

For years I sat back and watched things take place that were against the very nature of God. I knew deep down they were not right, but I was scared to death to speak the truth. For speaking truth only created more issues, so I lived in fear and mastered the art of keeping secrets. I had been lied to for so long that not only had I accepted it, I thought it was normal. After years of counseling, reading hundreds of self-help books, and spending time alone with Jesus, I starting gaining knowledge and wisdom. God revealed the truth and I was forced to come face to face with not only my lies but also the lies of others. I chose to repent, confess, and turn my life around. Doing so required me to rid myself of anything that would cause me to fall back into that trap. I now refuse to be a keeper of the lie and I seek truth. Because letting go of the lies is what truly sets us free.

If you are not a lover of the truth, you will be a keeper of the lie.

Psalm 51:6 says, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret.”

Let this be our prayer, “Lord, teach me wisdom in the secret.” If we are as sick as our secrets, then help us bring those secrets to light so that we can begin to heal. And create in us a pure heart as mentioned in Psalm 51:10.

If you find yourself struggling with a secret you have held onto for way too long, let me suggest a resource that will help. Beth Moore has a study out titled, “Sacred Secrets”. This study will change your life. Several of the key points in this blog come straight from that study. If we are only as sick as our secrets, isn’t it time we bring them into the light with God so that He can teach us wisdom? Because I promise you if they stay hidden, Satan will do everything in his power to expose them. Take your secrets before Christ and He will not only cover them, they will no longer be counted.

Luke 7:47  says, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven…”

Let me pray for you.

Dear Sweet Heavenly Father,

I come to you today in prayer for each of us reading this blog. You know our hearts and you know the pain we are feeling as a result of the secrets that are buried deep inside our souls. Please teach us wisdom in the secret. Reveal the truth and wrap your loving arms around us so that our fears vanish. Don’t let a secret sin or holding someone else’s secret have any more power over us. Mark 4:22 says, “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” Help us to heal so that we can one day reveal what you have done in us for the world to see.

Amen.

 

Here is a great sermon by Francis Chan titled, “The Biggest Lie In Your Life”. A very eye opening and moving message on the subject.

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I Use To Support Prostitution…

http://viralchrist.com/spiritual-growth/love/1559-qlover-or-prostitute-the-question-that-changed-my-life

Now before you jump to conclusions, let me explain. This morning I read an article titled, “Lover or Prostitute?” It started out by explaining the history of Christianity. Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. The definition of enterprise is a business or company. The writer was teaching this history lesson to a group of teenagers and one of the women asked a simple question. She said, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” His response was yes and then she said, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

I didn’t grow up in church, but I did attend with friends every chance I got. I loved it there. Everyone was so loving and welcoming, something my home life was lacking. I quickly learned that people in church were different. Their families were actually happy, or so they seemed from the perspective of a 13-year-old with such a dysfunctional one of my own. So as an impressionable young girl, I related happiness with church. And with that I also assumed that all people who went to church were good people. This mindset led me down a very destructive path, although I didn’t recognize it until it was way too late.

At 15, I started dating. The boy was perfect in my eyes because of one thing. His family attended church. For some reason in my mind it never occurred to me that just because people go to church, doesn’t mean they are without flaws. Fast forward three years and I am now dating a different person with the same mindset. I fell in love with him because of his family. They were everything missing in my life. In a mother and father that were still married, I saw perfection. They not only attended church, but his grandfather was a preacher. I honestly felt that God placed this man and his family in my life to give me what I was missing for so long. I now had the mother and father I had always dreamed of and their Godly son by my side.

Fast forward a few years and I am married to that man and I discovered that just because people attend church and know the bible does not mean they are any different from the world. I learned that people can put on a mask and pretend to be whomever they want to portray. I made the bold statement that I use to support prostitution because I supported things that were against everything Christ stood for. My ignorance allowed me to focus on the wrong things in order to try to gain the things of Christ. I did eventually gain the things of Christ and I continue to learn more with each new day, but I took the wrong path to get there.

It not only took me 15 years of growth to gain the courage to stand up against the wrong that was taking place, but it took me even longer to realize that having a relationship with Christ is nothing like a business. I use to think that in order to grow in Christ I had to attend every church event, volunteer for everything I could, teach the younger generation, etc. I had bought in to the body becoming a business because I had a mental checklist of things that must be done to reach the my desired goal.

When the body of Christ consists of people that don’t really know Him, there is no way they can love Him. Loving someone unconditionally requires knowing them. Knowing what makes them tick, why they are who they are, their hearts.

As the body of Christ, I think we better stop and check our hearts and our motives. Because if the majority of us that call ourselves Christians are out there prostituting the body of Christ, we who call ourselves the body are defiling the very nature of the one who gave His life for us on the cross.

The Friend Test

I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the years and learned a lot about myself and my God. But there is one area that still boggles my mind…FRIENDS. I have several people whom I consider my friend and I think they would say the same. But what I will never understand is why I am the one who always picks up the phone to just say hi or to let them know I care. Friendship is a two way street. If you care about someone and call them your friend, action must follow. Just as faith without action produces no fruit, onesided friendships can’t produce a relationship.

Today if you value your friends, let them know. Because I guarantee that one day they will kick you to the curb if you don’t! This same lesson holds true for dating and married couples!

Since most of us see ourselves as a good friend, here is a true test that will help you see the truth: Of the two of you, who has called to check in with the other out of the last four contacts? If it was equal, you have a good friend! Cherish them! If you realize it was you every time, you value the friendship more than they do. Let them know. They will either step it up or they won’t. Either way, you will determine if you should spend any more time pursuing them. If you now realize it was them that has been reaching out with no effort from you, make it right. If you value them, show them! Apologize for taking them for granted and make a conscious effort to be the friend you expect them to be.

Remember, relationships are a joint effort and they will cease to exist without both parties pursuing one another. Don’t lose a good friend because of lack of effort on your part and don’t keep a friend who is too busy to make time for you.

It Takes Two by Katy Perry

Everyone that has been in a negative relationship should listen to this song. Although it is hard to admit, we all make mistakes and say and do things we later regret. There are times when in an attempt to prove a point, we blame the other person for their bad choices and behaviors instead of taking responsibility for the only person we have control over, ourselves.

If you are reading this and happen to be in this kind of relationship now, hear this…YOU CANNOT CHANGE HIM OR HER!!! I don’t care how hard you try or what you try to do to accomplish this, they won’t change until they are ready. You can’t love them more or be a better husband/boyfriend, wife/girlfriend, mother/father, etc. Trying to save their soul is not your job. That is God’s job and we are not God. I didn’t learn this lesson until I was going through my divorce. I was still seeing the counselor we saw as a couple because I wanted to fix me. So I asked the tough questions and the one that I couldn’t figure out to save my life is where I went wrong. My counselor looked me square in the eyes and said, “You were trying to be his holy spirit and by doing so God couldn’t do His job.” Wow! That one took me months to process and he was right. I was so afraid that we were heading down a path of demise that I was doing everything in my power to ensure that we never reached that place. I shared scriptures, songs, testimonies, anything I could to open up my spouse’s eyes to the path he was taking in his own life. At the time I really thought I was doing it for his well being, but after some soul searching I discovered I was simply trying to fix him so that I no longer felt the negative effects of his sin. Because in my mind, if he was healed everything else would fall into place. I was wrong. I needed only worry about me and my issues. And after closing that chapter of my life, that is exactly what I did.

Sadly, a majority of us learn these lessons the hard way. But there is good news!!! It is never too late to change. Start by taking responsibility for you and your choices. Go to your Heavenly Father and ask for guidance and clarity in the areas you went wrong or could’ve made a wiser choice. Ask Him for forgiveness and apologize to those you wronged if that is what He says you need to do as part of the healing process. Let Him refine you and mold you into the image of Him and remember that He loves you more that anyone else in the universe!

God Grant Me the Serenity

There is a man by the name of Solomon that has always intrigued me. One night in a dream, God came to him and asked what he wanted. He could have anything he asked for and he chose to ask for wisdom, the ability to discern between good and evil. God granted that request and he was known at Solomon the Wise.
“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”1 Kings 3:9
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to have the kind of wisdom that the bible speaks of. Not book knowledge, but the ability to have Godly insight. To know and recognize what is true and right.
When I was in drill team in high school we said the Serenity Prayer before every performance. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Oh how that prayer has changed my life and guided me through situations that I had no control over time and time again. Who knew that all those years ago God was preparing me for what He created me for.
I probably should have had a clue about my destiny when I realized that my name, Shannon, means small, wise one. Through each bad decision I ever made to every time I had to make life altering decisions, God taught me wisdom through prayer and seeking His wisdom. Without Him, all I would have is a library of stories in my head with knowledge that is absolutely useless.
My point in sharing this story is first to lead you to seek wisdom in everything you do. Second, open your eyes to the mission that God created you for. You may have no clue what that is so start by praying that He reveals it to you. Think back to the stories that moved you as a kid before the world told you that you weren’t good enough to be used by God. You are a daughter/son of the King and He created each and every one of His children for a specific purpose. Don’t waste another day trying to mold yourself into someone that you are not. Think of it this way: God created every animal for a specific purpose. If a hunting dog spent his time and energy trying to climb trees like his friend the cat, that dog would think he is a failure because he is trying to be something he was never suppose to be good at. Get alone with God and discover the greatness that lies within. Once you discover who you really are, you will be unstoppable!

WARNING: More is Caught than Taught!!!

WARNING: More is Caught than Taught!!!

http://youtu.be/L11s56ALon0

Today as I was preparing my daily posts for my Facebook pages, I ran across this video. As I watched it, my heart was pained by the fact that we all have made stupid choices in front of our children at some point in our lives. As Christians we teach our kids to listen to what we say, often forgetting that our actions speak louder than our words. As my children get older, I have noticed some of the mistakes I made during the most painful years of my life have taken root in their hearts. Luckily God gave me His eyes and His heart during that time and made me aware of my own issues. Without that, I would still be indirectly teaching my kids behaviors that I would never want them to learn. Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way perfect now, but my heightened awareness allows me to see the areas where I need to grow and heal so that my kids don’t imitate my bad behaviors. If you are reading this and wonder how you can know if you are guilty of this, study your kids. They are mirror images of you. If they have a bad habit of being impatient, I would bet that one of their parents struggles with patience. If they have a low self-esteem, odds are a parent possesses that same trait. If your child is negative and sees life with a glass half empty mentality, they learned that from someone close to them that they watch every single day.

I know this is not easy to hear or to accept. As parents we want to raise perfect kids, but in reality that is not possible. No one is perfect and the ugly truth is that we all have baggage and bad behaviors that we caught from our parents, and them from their parents. But we can be the one who decides to make the necessary changes in our own hearts in order to foster an environment that encourages positive behaviors instead of passing on negative ones.

If today, for the first time, a lightbulb came on for you, know you are not alone. God is on your side and is right there waiting for you to ask him to start the healing process in your life. Trust Him!

Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. God will be with you and will never forsake you.”

Dear God,

Thank you for sharing with us in ways that get our attention. As we strive to be better parents, give us the strength and courage to get honest about us so that we can model YOU to our children. We know that we can’t give away what we don’t have so fill us with You.  Help us replace our old ways with Your ways. Thank you for giving us children and entrusting them to our care. Use them to reveal to us our hearts and open our eyes to the damage we are doing without even knowing what we are passing on.

In Your Precious & Holy Name,

Amen!