The Ultimate Betrayal

Jesus carrying the Cross
He opened not His mouth.

At one time or another, all of us have experienced some form of betrayal. Betrayal comes in so many forms: Gossip, cheating, lying, and treason to name a few. Whether it was a spouse, friend, co-worker, or family member, the pain can run so deep that it may seem you will never heal again.

The ultimate betrayal was found in the life of Jesus Christ. There are several accounts of betrayal he experienced from the people closest to him; to the absolute stranger who despised him. He was persecuted, betrayed, mocked, and murdered all for the sake of His ultimate purpose and sacrifice to die for our sins and to save the lost.

What should our reaction be when faced with betrayal? We should look to Jesus as the model of forgiveness. One example was in Luke 22:34. “And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny thou that knows me.

You may have experienced this situation at one time or another.  You spot someone in a room or familiar place that you know. You could be at the grocery store, shopping mall, or social event and someone you know sees you across the room but instead of a smile or wave, they just turn their head like they don’t even know you. 

This is just a minor example of how you may feel when someone doesn’t acknowledge your presence for whatever reason. Either way, it doesn’t feel good. Can you imagine how Jesus felt? The one closest to him denied him three times! There is nothing worse than a two-faced person. You may also question your relationship with that person even if they are only a co-worker, neighbor, or acquaintance. It’s a breach of faith in hopes of building a friendship or business relationship.

Another prime example was in Luke 22:48. “But, Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrays thou the Son of Man with a kiss?” Flattery is often buried under deceit. Sometimes the sweetest person is disguised as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You shouldn’t be suspicious of every kind and loving gesture but action speaks louder than words. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

The ultimate betrayal was in Mark 10:33-34. “Behold, we go to Jerusalem and the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and they should condemn him to death and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him and the third day he shall rise again.

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins out of his love and forgiveness. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.John 3: 16-21

There is only one account in the Bible that I’m aware of that God does not forgive. In Mark 3:29 it states, But he who blasphemes or mocks against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”

Forgiveness is not easy. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. It is also a life-long process. The act of forgiveness releases us from the negative emotions that hold us in bondage to the person who hurt us. However, if you happen to be on the other side of forgiveness, a sincere apology is the least you can give to the person you hurt. Empathy, patience, and understanding will have to be worked through in each issue of any relationship.

Forgiveness is not something that can be taught. It is the most difficult thing to overcome in the flesh. Memories play over and over in your mind which makes it hard to let go. However, the quicker you can let go of the pain, the faster you can move on. You may never forget, but you can forgive.

The best thing you can do is to acknowledge your pain, accept what you’ve experienced, and walk in patience because it takes time depending on the level of deception attached to the pain. It’s much like the grieving process of a lost loved one.

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to the same trifling people, situations, or circumstances. It means you can release the animosity, anger, pain, or guilt and open your heart to receive peace, grace, healing, and freedom from every emotion that’s imprisoned you.

The act of forgiveness is the ministry of Jesus. It is the foundation, and cornerstone of the Gospel. It is also found in your heart despite the difficulties, challenges, and disappointments you face in life. You are set free. Don’t let another hour, day, week, month, or year go by. Make the decision to forgive today.

“And whenever you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

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Wings of Freedom

rainbows_and_butterflies_by_paws720-d5eobr6

 “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Psalm 100:1-2

As we step into 2015, we hold great expectations and goals for the New Year. We anticipate change whether good or bad, but either way we go forward with hope or anxiety entering into the unknown.

As we confess our resolutions, plans, and goals, we may feel overwhelmed, yet hopeful of what is to come. However, we often put a time limit on success. When we don’t meet those expectations, we experience disappointment and we feel like a failure.

We live in a time-based society. We are consumed by hectic schedules and unrealistic demands. The Lord is not limited to time. He orchestrates our lives according to His intricate plan for our lives. He plants the right connections, family, friends, enemies, challenges, obstacles, struggles, and experiences in our lives for a purpose.

Some people are just for a season while others are rooted in our lives for longevity. “Each experience is not a result of luck or coincidence. It is the result of His divine plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11.

The ups, as well as the downs, are part of our development and growth process. It doesn’t take much to praise God in the easy times. However, when we are locked into bondage, it is hard to trust, praise, read the Bible and rest in the Lord.

We all have different prisons: A failed marriage, a friend or family member who has committed suicide or has died in a tragic accident, depression, drugs or alcohol addictions, poverty, job loss, natural disaster aftermath, or terminal illness.

We struggle with our identities:  Low confidence, self-esteem issues, jealousy, competitiveness, egos, and status. We may even be in a good place in life, but still, feel like we can’t breathe; stuck in a routine, and trapped in mediocrity.

All of our life issues send us on an emotional rollercoaster ride that is rooted in fear, anxieties, abuse, torment, confusion, isolation, procrastination, temptation, sadness, and discouragement.

When we have negative feelings and experiences, it sucks our energy dry. We are stagnate and idle. We are unable to focus or can’t seem to move forward.

The best thing to do when you have moments of despair is to praise the Lord no matter how hard it may be. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true.

However, if you are dealing with serious issues such as a chemical substance or physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse, you will need to seek rehab and/or counseling immediately.

All throughout the Bible, music is emphasized. The whole chapter of Psalms exhorts the Lord. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. It is the best way to get God’s attention. This is a form of worship and communication with God that builds relationships not only in the good times but in the worst of times.

Satan’s desire is to shut our mouth in prayer and worship. His whole goal is to steal our joy, hope, faith, and truth. He wars with us to establish lies into our minds and hearts. However, where God is present the devil can’t reside. Where there is light, darkness is obliterated.

Do you ever notice when you listen to music you start to feel better when you’re down? Music speaks to our soul. It is a powerful force. It stirs up emotions. When we listen to worship music it lifts our spirit. It encourages and inspires us. It gives us hope to go on. When you sing to the Lord, you open your heart to Him. You rejoice in his love, grace, and mercy even through pain, you begin the healing process.

It’s not about how we feel inside when we are singing or listening to music, but it’s because of who God is that makes worship so special and powerful. When you magnify Him, your problems become smaller and you enlarge His territory to work in your life. Your focus is now on the solution and not the problem.

Whatever trouble or prison you may be in, open your mouth and shout unto the Lord for He is worthy to be praised. “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.” Psalm 95:2

We are transformed by His power. He has kept us under the safety of His wings. We are released from whatever is holding us back once we renew our minds and align our thoughts with God’s thoughts. This is a season of action and redemption. Accept no limitations as we move forward in faith with high expectations in this New Year.

In 2015, receive God’s promises and blessings for you and your family.

Singing praises to the King, we are set free, in Jesus’ Name.

“And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundation of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.” Acts 16:25-26.

“Thou has turned my mourning into dancing thou has put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.” Psalm 30:11

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace we are saved.”Ephesians 2:4-5

Love is lacking or non-existent in our nation, communities and most importantly in our homes. Some may have felt it, yet abused it. Others long for it while others desperately search for it. Many may take it for granted while others never felt it or experienced it. But, unconditional love is something that can’t be forced.

How does a four letter word carry so much weight and complexity? It can drive someone over the edge or force another to change their personality, values or morals to please.

There are so many levels of love: Loving a parent, sibling or child as well as a husband or wife, partner and friend. We can also love our houses, cars, sports, electronic devices and other treasured possessions.

Love is a powerful emotion. It can wound us. Reject us. Control us. Destroy us. However, this is a human kind of love.

Pure, genuine love heals all wounds. It is forgiving. “Without love the most magnificent manifestations of gifts and the most heroic self-sacrifice means nothing. Love suffers long, having patience with imperfect people. Love is kind. Love does not envy since it is non-possessive and noncompetitive. Love actually wants and allows other people to get ahead. It wants the best for you. It does not parade itself. Love is self-sacrificing. Love is not puffed up or treats others arrogantly. It does not behave rudely, but displays courtesy. Love does not seek its own or demands precedence, rather it is unselfish.

Love is not provoked; it is not irritable or touchy, rough or hostile but is most graceful and merciful under life’s demands and pressures. Love thinks no evil and does not keep an account of wrong doings but instead it erases resentments. Love does not rejoice in iniquity finding satisfaction in the shortcomings of others and spreading gossip. Instead love rejoices in the truth, aggressively advertising the good in people. Love bears all things, defending and uplifting others in discouragement. It credits others with good intentions and is not suspicious Love hopes all things and never gives up on people, but continues in affirming their future and hope. Love endures all things, persevering and remaining loyal to the end.”  

We have the capacity to love because God lives within us. There is no other love on earth like God’s love. We can search for people or things to fill the void in our lives but we will continually come up short. We will never come to terms with being loved by God until we understand the capacity of God’s love for us.

Unfortunately, we often feel we are not good enough to be loved by people or by God. We live in condemnation, fear and judgment thinking that God could never love us. When things go wrong, we feel God is punishing us for our mistakes, behavior, thoughts and actions. We often blame God when things go wrong.

Some of Satan’s greatest weapons is the use of fear, doubt, shame, guilt, regret and confusion. He constantly taunts us of our faults, failures, weaknesses, circumstances and problems. The end result is a spiral of negative thoughts and emotions due to accepting defeat and failure. The devil is a liar.

The devil uses the same plots and schemes. He is not creative. Once you recognize his bag of tricks, you will understand how to defeat him through the Word of God.

God is forgiving. God loves us more than we will ever be able to comprehend. He loves us no less than He loves His Son. He actually waits for us to come to Him in prayer. God celebrates us!

Sometimes it is much easier to forgive others than ourselves. You will not have peace until you learn how to forgive. The guilt or shame can weigh you down and eventually destroy you. You must also learn to love yourself just as much as you love others.

Please don’t let shame or guilt rob you of believing that you’re in bondage. “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.” John 8:36

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” Psalm 103:12.

The Lord will redeem your mistakes. Every evil thing that the enemy meant for your harm will be turned around for your good. Genesis 50:20.

Building a relationship with the Lord is not built on repentance only. It is based on worship and praise for who He is; not on what He can do or provide.

God understands you and knows your heart’s desires. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5).

The Lord’s characteristics is of peace and not of harm. “For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm; plans for a hope and a future.” Jer 29:11

You are deserving of God’s love. It is the reason He shed His blood on the cross so we may have eternal life. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

His love does not have to bought, earned, manipulated or controlled. In 2014, let’s walk in love by first receiving and accepting God’s love as a prime example of His nature and honoring our bodies, minds, thoughts and actions by serving one another in love.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35.

“For I am fully persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor thing to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

The Act of Forgiveness

words of anger

“Let all bitterness, indignation, wrath, resentment, quarreling and slander be banished from you. Esphesians 4:31

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do when someone has hurt or mistreated you. Many people spend years being angry, resentful or even revengeful. Depending on how deep the pain or experience, it may take years to recover and release emotional, mental or psychological abuse.

Just because you forgive someone, does not mean you have to keep them close to you. I remember watching the Oprah Winfrey show years ago and she stated, “Once someone shows you their true colors the first time, believe them.” I thought that was a very powerful statement which I carry with me through life.

True character will eventually be exposed. People may try to mask their negative behaviors or attitudes, but it will eventually be revealed. If you don’t like the way someone treats you, you have a choice to remove yourself. You should also be cautious about who you choose to be in your circle. Negative attitudes and behaviors are contagious. Just like the saying goes, “Birds of a feather, flock together.” However, sometimes it is unavoidable to escape a negative person or environment. But, just because someone has done you wrong, does not justify treating them or others the same way. You are bigger than that situation or person.

Forgiveness is a process of letting go. It is by no means easy. It may even take years to overcome. Forgiveness may start in the mind, but it has to end in the heart. You can tell yourself that you forgive someone, but when you see them again or have to deal with them, negative emotions flair up. You truly know you have forgiven them when you can have peace in your heart, spirit and mind even if you never see them again.

When you live with unforgiveness, you are bound like a prisoner. Your emotions are locked up which can eventually lead to health problems and even terminal illnesses. Conditions of the heart is a real and serious thing. It can eventually destroy an individual, a marriage, family, a friendship, a work relationship or a community.

Jesus was the ultimate example of forgiveness. After being mocked and beaten, He hung on the cross and he said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Jesus’s whole ministry is about love and forgiveness. Most people in the world feels that forgiveness is a sign of weakness. However, it is a true sign of strength. It takes more maturity, courage, wisdom, strength and power to forgive.

If Jesus can forgive us for all the things we continue to do on a continuous basis and we “as His children” are heirs to the kingdom, we have the ability and the power to forgive others. “He (Jesus) who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4

When you forgive, you are set free. And, “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.” John 8:36

“Judge not and you shall not be judged, condemn not and you shall not be condemned, forgive and you shall be forgiven”  Luke 6:37

Five Stages to Building Solid Relationships

woman and man sitting on brown wooden bench

Our lives are based on relationships. We desire to develop and build satisfying relationships. We strive so hard to find someone who truly understands and relates to us. When we do find that special connection, we are considered very rare and special.

Social media has made communicating even more interactive to share and learn about others in detail. However, we should not forget how important it is to connect with one another in a social setting or individually.

There are five basic stages of building a relationship:

  1. Casual Conversation; also known as small talk; discussing things like the weather, sports, work, etc.
  2. Developing Trust; Sharing feelings, ideas, thoughts and opinions
  3. Deeper Trust; Sharing deeper issues such as dreams, mistakes, pain and frustrations
  4. Intimacy; sharing another’s quiet space and enjoying each other’s company without conversation.
  5. Union; sharing a bond of emotions, feelings, actions and communication as one.

There are many layers to a person’s personality and history. It is a process to learn someone and each stage should develop naturally and not be rushed.

When you develop a relationship in your personal, social and business settings, it will allow you to find the right mate, friend or business partner. It’s fine to have high standards and not settle for less than you deserve. Respect, honesty, trust and communication should be the basis of any relationship. It doesn’t just work one-sided. The key is finding someone who shares the same values and belief system that you do. “Do not be unequally yoked with non-believers. 2 Corinthians 6:14

Heartaches and several headaches can be avoided if only we apply the simple standards that God desires us to live. Prosperity, peace of mind, healing, joy and fulfillment are just some of the benefits that God has promised us.

We should also apply the same five stages in developing our relationship with Christ before we even try to develop relationships with others. Our main goal should be striving for a union with Christ. Through our relationship with Christ, we understand how to treat others and walk as an example for others to follow. Developing a union provides a secure foundation to build a strong, solid healthy relationship.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in e, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. B this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit so you will be my disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep my commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15: 5-12

References:  Elijahlist.com

Let it Go!

12-before-let-go

Why is it so hard for people to let go and embrace the new? They hold unto bad relationships, bad memories, bad habits, bad experiences, negative thinking and the list goes on and on.

There is a sense of freedom and liberation when you release whatever may be negative in your life. You can’t soar if you have a burden or walk around with unforgiveness in your heart.

close-your-eyes-clear-your-heart-let-it-go1 How do you do it? Simply, stop rehearsing it in your mind or talking about it. By  letting it go, you release negative emotions or anything that may be attached to  the experience, relationship or whatever you need to let go in your life. By letting  go of anger, bitterness, and resentment and replacing those negative emotions  with positive energy, you are taking back the power that was stolen from you in  the first place.

No one can control your thoughts, words, feeling or actions but  “YOU.” You are responsible with how you react and respond to a situation or  circumstance. You can’t change anybody’s ways of thinking but your own. It’s a  slow process at times, but you have to make a conscious effort. It’s not easy, but it  can be done.

If you’re struggling with a bad habit that you want to get rid of, you may need to go to a support group to gain encouragement. We are not born to be on an island by ourselves. We need each other. Just by being around others that can understand you, provides a great support system. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 Even though there are problems that are created which is not our fault. The majority of problems that we encounter is based on the mentality of people. Some problems are influenced by others and some problems are brought on by our own thoughts and actions. We must take responsibility for our actions and what we desire to change in our lives. I’m definitely not saying to ignore what you want to release. It all depends on what you need to let go in your life.

What you face will need to be handled and challenged head on before you let it go. But, at all cost you must face the reality of what you need to let go in your life. The process of change is gradual, but nothing in life remains the same. When you look back, you will realize how much you’ve grown through the process. Just like a butterfly, the cocoon stage is very ugly but through processing, the butterfly metamorphosis into a beautiful insect.

Peace & Blessings,