It is NOT too late. Honest.

Here is a shift in perspective for you. A shift that powers down a particular attack of the evil one. First, how many of you have had distressing thoughts about time running out? How many of you have agonized over the thought that you are too old and its too late in life for you to be useful in the kingdom of God? How many of you are sad because you desperately wish that the truth you understand now is something you had understood back then (when you were younger)?You can put your hands down.

Here is what the enemy is up to. He is pressing your buttons in order to get a painful emotional response from you: disappointment, regret, anger, self-hatred, shame and so on. Why does he bother pushing your buttons? He wants to suck down the life energy that flows from your heart when you are miserable (Proverbs 4:23).This “energy”—for lack of a less New Agey word—has been measured by scientists who call themselves neurocardiologists. Neurocardiologists call this negative energy emitted by the heart when a person feels upset a discordant heart sine. Let me suggest that this energy is what the adversary is seeking to devour. Consider that he is cut off from the life of God and stripped of all power. From where does he get life and power?

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

These same neurocardiologists call the harmonious heart beat that results when a person is at peace or grateful or in awe of something amazing and beautiful a coherent heart sine.

I have set the Lord continually before me … Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices. Psalm 16:8-9

Let me suggest that the evil one is NOT able to prey upon the positive energy produced by a heart at peace. What does this have to do with the painful belief that the time you have left on earth is too little and too late? Let me answer that question.

Such thoughts about the meaning and purpose of your life being over are not God’s thoughts. They are a ruse by the devil to produce in you the distressing emotions that result in negative energy.

This prophecy came forth in Little Church a few meetings back. The one prophesying saw an old car on the side of the road and buried in weeds. From the look of things, this car was never going to be useful again, but then the motor roared to life (after a few cranks of the key) and a tow truck with a huge hook arrived and pulled that old car back onto the road. Here is the gist of the words prophesized:

You thought it was over. That you have been sidelined because you are old and useless, but that is not true. This car may be an Old-s-mobile, that was abandoned on the side of the road, but now it is a priceless antique, a showpiece, restored and ready to go.Don’t be fooled by that roaring lion. God knew from the beginning the course of your life. If you have a day left on this earth, rejoice and follow the Lord. If you have 60 years left, rejoice and follow the Lord. Don’t let time sit on the throne of your life.

Let’s pray: 
Father, God, Creator of heaven and earth and time. Forgive me for listening to the lies of the devil. He tricked me into focusing on time instead of You. Whatever time on earth I have left Lord, doesn’t matter. Help me follow You. In the beautiful and majestic name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray.

(To learn more about Neurocardiology and the research that supports their findings, go to https://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/details/).

Hugs and blessings, 
Susan
205.556.4555 (Leave a message. I will call you back. We don’t answer unscheduled calls because of spammers).

Send me your emails.
thepool@thepoolministries.org 
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The Scheme of the Evil One

No! Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot!

baby holding

Ok, people. I have been noticing something going on in the churches that is targeting the minds of the leadership. Exactly what I have been seeing became clear this morning after an intense time of spontaneous worship. I’m going to put this out to you very straightforwardly. My hope is that you will share it and, together, we will beseech the Lord to shatter a stronghold that is emerging.

God’s next move will be among the young people. That is not news. I mean what other large group is there that needs rescuing from the kingdom of darkness? The enemy is anticipating this. And he already has implemented a plan to short circuit this upcoming revival.

Let me explain the problem, then I will expose the enemy’s plan. Today’s young people suffer the most from poor parenting within a culture that caters to their carnality. Their parents, teachers and other role models are themselves deeply wounded and immature. When God sweeps these young people into His kingdom they are going to turn to the older believers for parenting.

The church is packed with mature believers who have worked hard to develop good character. They are equipped in many ways to help ground new believers in the great traditions, history and disciplines of the faith. Most of the young people caught in God’s net will have never been churched or exposed to scripture. They will be profoundly dependent upon mature believers until they become solid in Christ.

My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you … Galatians 4:19

Maturing these new believers will be quite a challenge. It is the elders among us who will shepherd this flock. Not the leadership or specially gifted or the fancy ones. But the many men and women in the ranks who are steadfast and who are capable of being the parents, teachers and role models that our young desperately need.

Here is the enemy’s plan. He cannot stop God from rescuing the young people, but he can stop them from becoming mature Christians. He is already setting his plan in motion. Here it is:

1.Leaders in the church are aware of God’s desire to win the young people. They long to partner with God. That’s good.

2.The enemy is twisting that good desire by creating tunnel vision among our leaders. In other words, ALL focus is being shifted to winning young adults.

3.But the enemy has deceived many in leadership about HOW to win young adults. So, methods of winning them borders on pandering to what they like. We will play their music. We will give attention to their gifts. We will give them a platform. We will dress like them and talk like them.

There are two problems with this: First, this current crop of young people has been pandered to all their lives. They are looking for real, safe grownups who will call them to maturity, not more pandering. Second, God will bring them into His kingdom in His time and in His way. We don’t have to make it happen.

4.This pandering is being done at the expense of the many grounded believers in the ranks. Their gifts and wisdom are being ignored. They are being marginalized in the name of winning the young.

5.This means that when God sweeps a bunch of youngsters into the church there will be very few parents, teachers and role models there for them. Those with a good understanding of the faith; those with strong character, and those well-formed in Christ will be gone. They will have left seeking a place where they are treasured.

6.There will be too many new believers for the leadership to shepherd. So, once again, our young will be left to parent themselves. We all know how well that works out. As an aside, the leadership will be bereft of prayer support as well.

That is the enemy’s plan. He is forming a way of thinking among our leaders that seems good, but is not God. This way of thinking, if left unchecked, will develop into a mental stronghold that will completely control the perspective of church leaders.

This is how we pray against it:

Father God, in the name of Jesus, I ask You to shatter the mental stronghold that is trying to, or has taken, our leadership captive. I ask You to destroy the evil spirits that live within that stronghold. I ask that You completely destroy this evil plan against the maturing of new believers.

Deliver those leaders who have been attacked by the evil one. Restore their rationality and free will. Adjust their perspective according to Your will.

Strengthen those of Your people who fill the ranks of Your church. Prepare them to parent, teach and guide the children shortly to be born into Your kingdom.

Angels! Go to war on our behalf!

Amen.

Pray this prayer often! God is much, much, much greater than the schemes of the devil.

We are not ignorant of his (Satan’s) schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:11

Blessings upon you and those you love,
Susan
205.556.4555 (leave a message)
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Transition: Arrived!

This is Part 3 of the series on transition.

showers of blessings

It’s been awhile since I have written because I have been happily nesting in our new home. And, yes, there is a crazy story about finally getting here because we are NOT in the sadly neglected house mentioned in the previous article about transition. So many lessons learned during this amazing (and amazingly stressful) transition that I can’t think of a single title that begins to cover them all.

It has been a year since my mother passed away and my transition into a life without a living parent began. During this year, I managed to survive settling her estate and moving into a much larger house to accommodate my adult son. Jay is intellectually challenged and really needs a space to call his own. Sam and I thought we had found a house that would suit all of us. It was a gorgeous old girl, but it needed lots and lots of expensive work.

Finding a house that would work for us all, that we could afford, wasn’t easy. So we felt really blessed when our bid was accepted. But then things started going crazy. The closing date kept being moved forward because, unbeknownst to us, the sellers were in bankruptcy. I grew more and more anxious as time rolled on until finally, after another night of tossing and turning, I completely disrupted our plans by calling our agent and asking if we could look at some other houses. It was the call she had been waiting for apparently, because she immediately canceled our pending contract (we got our earnest money back) and set up appointments to view other properties.

This all happened without Sam’s knowledge. He had gone birding (shorthand for bird watching) with some of his buddies, leaving me alone long enough to hear from God without interruption. (I live in a busy, noisy house. Even my two cats are noisy … and opinionated). As soon as I made the call to our agent, the peace of God came crashing back and resumed its rightful place. I had missed that peace.

So what was Sam’s reaction to my high-handedness, you ask? He was profoundly relieved one of us had made the call. Because, you see, he thought I had my heart set on that house AND I thought he had his heart set on that house. We wanted to please each other so much that we ignored our anxieties, forgetting that we are supposed to seek the peace of God … not satisfy the whims of our spouse.

Lesson Learned! Seek the peace of God, stupid! I mean really! How could we have forgotten that? It is so very basic. And if you are tempted to correct my confession, please don’t. Just don’t. Nothing is more stupid that a human doing their own thing. Let’s be honest about it. That is why we need the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Lesson Learned! God will yank you back from the ledge if you will show just a little bit of gumption. The day before I cancelled our contract on the grand old lady, I was overcome with the oddest sensation. I felt like a bride conflicted about her upcoming wedding. I really didn’t want to marry my fiancé, but didn’t feel like I could back out because of all the time and money invested in the ceremony. Plus, I couldn’t disappoint everyone or bear the embarrassment! I felt trapped!

God had nailed how I felt about marrying that old house. But I still had to make the call. I had to risk missing out on a wonderful house. I had to risk disappointing and upsetting Sam, Jay, the sellers and our real estate agent. I had to risk following God.

Lesson Learned! Following God is worth the risk. Two days later we found our house! It’s not perfect, because nothing is this side of heaven, but it is near perfect for our needs. The moment we walked through the door, all three of us felt the presence of God and his assurance that this was it! We moved in about three months ago and I have been busily nesting ever since. So fun!

But what if I hadn’t followed God? We would be spending our little bit of money putting on a roof instead of buying an awesome sofa. We would be having a HVAC unit installed instead of kitchen counters. God would be patiently walking us through the challenges of fixing up a sadly neglected house on a budget. In other words, we would be learning our lessons the hard way. And one day, down the road, we would face another risky decision that required us to choose between following God or following what had been set in motion.

Let me pray for you (then I’m going to paint my new – found it on the roadside – coffee table).

I pray that God will give you the gumption to follow Him, no matter the risk. And I pray that He will give you ears to hear clearly when He calls you to those kinds of decisions. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

And remember! Seek his peace!

Hugs and blessings to you all,
Susan

thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555

(Leave a message when you call. So many spam calls these days, we don’t answer unless we recognize the number. So leave a message).

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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Transition: Are We There Yet?

showers of blessings

I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Exekiel 34:26

The wife of one of my long-ago pastors told a story about her rude and cranky neighbor. After a run-in with this neighbor, she reported being shocked at what had poured out of her mouth, finishing up her story with these wise words: You don’t know what is in your bucket until someone kicks it over.

Transition is good at bucket kicking. That in-between stage of “one foot in what will be and the other stuck in what was” is a stressful place. Uncertainty, impatience and anxiety spills out of our inside bucket, sometimes in a flood; sometimes in a trickle, but out it comes during times of big change.

My mother passed away in September 2017. Being without a parent has been a difficult emotional transition for me. There is no way to describe it except to say it is a very odd and disconnected feeling.

Settling my mother’s estate has been a long and challenging process, requiring me to meet and interact with relatives, lawyers, stockbrokers, real estate agents, estate sales managers, auction house movers and so on. Then, when her house sold, the closing date kept shifting around. I felt like I was chasing a broken egg across the kitchen floor. All my prayer appointments became maybes. (Thank you to all those I pray with for their patient understanding). My settled, predictable life became very unsettled.

When my mother’s house finally closed, I grieved it, unexpectedly. I had no idea what that house meant to me until I walked through it one last time. This was the house where I had visited my mother for 30 years. The house she loved. The house she died in.

So what did Sam and I do in the midst of this life transition? We bought a house! A big beautiful, sadly neglected house that we could in no way afford unless it had been sadly neglected. And guess what? That closing date is shifting around! AND the sellers are in bankruptcy, which was NOT disclosed at the time we made our offer. So, we don’t know for sure when we will be moving or even if we will be moving. And there is an enormous amount of expensive work to do on our new house. What were we thinking?!?

So here I am suspended in transition, painting the windows of our current house, getting it ready to go on market. And like a tired cranky child riding in the backseat on a too-long road trip, I’m asking the Lord: Are we there yet?

Here is how I’m handling TOO MUCH transition. Heads up: it’s not pretty.

  1. Panda Fun got my take-out order wrong. I cried.
  2. Sam stepped in front of me to use the sink while I was cooking, I bit his head off. (Not as tasty as Panda Fun).
  3. I’m spending too much time on Facebook.
  4. I’m restless, unfocused and sleeping poorly.
  5. I’m worrying about the new house. Did we follow the Lord? Have we made a mistake? What were we thinking?!?
  6. I even caught myself watching a mental movie of the previous day’s social interactions while the devil provided a nasty commentary. I haven’t succumbed to that kind of self-hating nonsense in years.

What’s going on besides transition?

  1. The Devil. The enemy requires negative emotional energy (the dark stuff) in order to have any kind of power. He sees transition as an opportunity to amplify any fear of the new and unknown. Fear is negative emotional energy.
  2. Unresolved Historical Pain. Past issues stored in your bucket (the heart) surface during times of anxiety. That unresolved emotional pain mixes with, flavors and amplifies any present-day uncertainty.
  3. The Fall. We live in a fallen world. This means that we are surrounded by fallen people acting in fallen ways. They are afraid and uncertain, too. We feel their distress and add it to ours. Ugh.

Help! Is there help with transition?

  1. In the midst of my distress, the Lord posed a question. He said: “If you were in heaven and I gave you a challenge, like the one you are facing with your new sadly neglected house, would you be afraid?” I answered, “No. I would not be afraid because I would have all the resources of heaven to call upon to help me.” The Lord responded: “You have all the resources of heaven now. It just doesn’t feel like it because you are in the Fall.” I remind myself of this when I’m scared.
  2. It has helped to read the books of Proverbs and Psalms.
  3. Worship is helpful.
  4. If you have unresolved historical pain, work on it. If not, but the enemy is trying to take you back to resolved pain (what was happening to me), recognize what is going on and tell him to get lost.
  5. Sending my angels to bring in the help I need to accomplish the task at hand.
  6. Reciting the Lord’s attributes in my mind (so that I don’t give in to worry). He is kind; He is willing to help me; He is eager to guide and advise me; He wants to share His wisdom with me and so on.
  7. Remembering to be kind to myself, being my own best friend, the friend I always wished for has been helpful.

Let us pray together as we grow together, that our buckets will contain less and less of the nasty stuff and more and more of the good stuff. Because, while we are in this fallen world, our buckets will get kicked.

This time of big transition has been emotionally upsetting AND beautifully humbling. Any notion that I was a spiritual big shot full of faith and confidence is long gone. I still need a savior. And I have learned that when the challenge is big enough, what is in my bucket is going to spill out.

I bless your journey wherever you may be.

Hugs,
Susan
thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555
(Leave a message when you call).

Please share this teaching if you found it helpful.