Busting the Blackmailer

unchainedI’m sure you all have memories of a sibling or cousin or childhood cohort who used to do the “OoooOOOOO!  I’m gonna TELL!” trick.  You may have been the one doing the accusing, or even outright blackmailing.  It’s a horrible feeling when you’re on the receiving end of it.  My brother used to pull this stunt on me all the time when we were kids.  It was usually, “If you don’t _____, I’m gonna tell Mom you did_____.  Sometimes he would even make up crimes with which to blackmail me!  “If you don’t smell my socks, I’m gonna tell Mom you cussed!”  Haha! 

Well, in reality, trying to keep a hidden sin hidden is torment.   Our enemy knows this and he takes full advantage of our vulnerability.  He loves to use our shortcomings and secret sins as a barrier to keep us from being intimate with our Father.  After the fruit fiasco, Adam and Eve trying to hide their naked hides from God.  The consequences of Achan’s hidden plunder, shooting down the alibi, “I’m only hurting myself.”  Peter’s withdrawal from the others after the triple denial incident, apparent in Jesus’ resurrection speech: “Go tell my disciples AND PETER…”  Instead of being repentant, they all got on the defensive.  Why?  Because the enemy convinced them that they could no longer trust God to be compassionate or at the very least, fair.

What’s even worse, guilt and crippling fear are compounded with the fact that our prayers are hindered by the wall that sin puts between us and God.  The psalmist wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”  (Psalm 66:18)

What I eventually learned, as a kid, that if you just ‘fess up, right then and there, the punishment is much less severe. Sometimes there’s even a hug instead of a hand.  As a matter of fact, if I could trade the two now, I’d rather have taken a licking than to walk around in constant  fear and dread of being found out. Oh, I couldn’t see it at first, because it seemed as if I were more in control if I could just placate the accuser.  Here’s a revelation:  God already knows all about that thing you’re hiding.  However, He can’t HEAL until you DEAL.  Only you can do the confessing and forsaking of sin, and until you do, the wound will never close.  The accuser’s singsong, “OooooOOOOO” will reverberate in your ears.  You’ll be too busy looking over your shoulder to keep your eyes forward.

We know that God is a holy God, and that He cannot tolerate sin, but we fail sometimes to recognize that His passion for our holiness is fueled by His righteous, perfect love—the love of a Father.   Ignore that sin?  No, He won’t…but while He’s helping you perfect that area of your life, He’ll be holding your hand every step of the way.  David brought an interesting revelation in the 23rd Psalm.  He said, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”  The sheep can trust the Shepherd’s love, even His tough love, because the Shepherd will never let him fall prey to danger.   Beats the daylights out of hiding from Him, doesn’t it?

 My word for you today is DE-STRESS…CONFESS.  Run to the Lord today.  Run, don’t walk.  Run to Him before you chicken out, and confess those things which torment you.  Get a grip on your temptations by being accountable to a pastor or trusted spiritual leader…and renew your mind daily to the Word, which serves as both mirror and tweezer to pluck out that offensive thought, action or habit.  Fortify yourself, then the devil no longer has “the goods” on you!  Be free!

 “Neither should you give place to The Slanderer.” (Eph. 4:27 Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

Kicking the ‘Family’ Out of the Curse

Karate KickChrist took away [redeemed us from; bought our freedom from] the curse ·the law put on us [L of the law]. He changed places with us and put himself under that curse [L …by becoming a curse for us]. [L For; Because] It is written in the Scriptures, “Anyone ·whose body is displayed [L who is hung] on a tree is cursed [Deut. 21:23; C an executed man’s body was hung on a stake or tree for humiliation and warning; Paul here applies it to Christ’s crucifixion as the curse/judgment for our sin].”  (Galatians 3:13) EXB

Kicking the family out of the curse…sounds as if I’ve got it backwards, eh?  Well, it’s high time you disowned an entity which bears the distinction of being a part of your family,  once and for all. No, it’s not your great-uncle with the annoying habit of chewing with his mouth open! I’m talking about disowning that illness, iniquity, or misfortune that seems to have adopted your family as its own...the family curse.  You need to write your family out of the list of heirs in this particular inheritance.  You may be stuck with the family nose or the high forehead, but friend, you do NOT have to be the genetic carrier of destructive habits, poor health, or spiritual deficiency to pass on to future generations.  IF YOU ARE READY TO USHER PEACE AND BLESSING INTO YOUR HOUSEHOLD, READ ON.

When we reach the age of parenting and grandparenting, we start thinking beyond our own needs and begin making plans to pass certain things on to our posterity. It’s profound indeed when we discover that we are not a universe of one! We will, without a second thought, deny our own needs in order to see those young ones have theirs met. Often we stretch far beyond just meeting their needs; we find delight in lavishing good things not even asked for upon those we love.  Is this not a reflection of the love our Heavenly Father displays toward us?

So why then, when we so eagerly attend to their physical and material needs, do we not recognize the necessity of setting up blessing and protection in the spirit realm for our family? By passively coexisting with the works of darkness—rather than dealing with them—we host and then perpetuate elements which steal, kill, and destroy now and into the next generation.

This teaching is not for the wimpy! It involves using the Word of God to illuminate the dim recesses of our souls. Let’s face it: uncovering the painful truths hiding in our history is not fun. At times we even let bad traits carry an air of honor. Think of it…folks who will in ignorance attach their name proudly to a curse! The “Smith temper.” (Random names of course!). “Joneses always get even with our enemies.” Or, “He’s pure Mayfield, alright…all the Mayfield males are womanizers.”  How about, “She’s a pill-head, just like her mother.  Their whole family is addicted to one thing or another.”  I also want to throw in the illnesses that we unwittingly accept as members of our family, without even fighting to be set free. “Yep, I’m an Edwards…we Edwardses always wind up dying of heart disease.” Well, what about it? Don’t you think it’s time to kick the ‘family’ out of the family curse?

You would never knowingly put your child in the hands of an abuser or someone who would drive drunk with him or her in the car! I challenge you today to bravely put on that same bulldog tenacity when it comes to ending generational curses and to fighting for the souls of your family.  You have the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, the name of Jesus, and the blood of Jesus as weapons of warfare.  Your God is El Shaddai—MORE THAN ENOUGH; however, it is up to you as the spiritual leader in your home to give Him His rightful place at the head of the household.  It is up to you to create a climate in your home which invites the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Be honest with yourself as to what traits in your family need dealt with. This isn’t to cause you to fall under condemnation—or to start a blame game among your household occupants—it’s an exercise in bondage breaking!  While certainly not all misfortunes and attacks of the enemy are traced back to generational curses, many are and need to be dealt with accordingly.  At times, plagues of various sorts will try to take root in the lives of intercessors and the seed royal of godly families.  If you’re not sure what the origin of your attack is, God can reveal it to you in your prayer time and in your study of the Word.  Also, it’s important to note that not all behaviors are learned behaviors.  Someone can be plagued with the sinful attributes—or the illnesses—of a family member he or she has never even met!  The devil loves to linger beyond one lifetime, and do collateral damage by transferring demonic influences and cursed traits to another generation.  So, what is that disease-bearing organism hiding under the bark of your family tree?  It might be diabetes, depression, or adultery. It might be a recurring pattern of babies born out of wedlock, poverty, addiction, tragic or premature deaths in your family. Cancer. Sexual perversion and deviation. Obesity. Alzheimer’s. Infertility and miscarriages. Birth defects. Prejudice. Grudge-bearing.  Or, even just uncontrolled anger!   It could come from a variety of origins—rebellion, complacence, lack of discipline; it could lie in idle words, dishonesty, oaths taken, unforgiveness, pride, disregard for authority, sins committed over and over until they become iniquities, or plain old ignorance.   The list of sources can be long; but in short, herein lies a wrong that needs to be made right.  It’s up to you to lead your family out from under that cloud and to seal up the cracks in the hedge around your household.

Passengers on an airplane are taught that, in the event of a loss of oxygen, they are to first put their own mask on, then to put the masks on their children.  In this spiritual life-saving tactic, you too must begin with yourself. Begin to denounce those things in your family which plague YOU. Then, begin to denounce even those negative traits which may have bypassed you and are potentially threatening your kids.  If you have adopted or foster children, you have the spiritual authority as their new guardian to break curses passed on by their birth families.  Denounce those traits, and immediately stop branding your kids with destructive declarations and comparisons to others who exhibit bad behavior. Instead of saying that your son acts just like your obnoxious younger brother Gene, start confessing instead that your son has the mind—and character, and the demeanor—of The Lord Jesus. Start speaking out the things you want to have instead of what things are in front if you now! Go ahead, speak to that mountain.  Furthermore, if God reveals to you that certain items need to be removed from your possession, don’t hesitate for one moment to rid your family of them.  Some examples might be: talismans, good luck charms, Ouija boards or other objects of divination, unholy books, video games, art, movies or music with dark influence; or even tribal relics which are thought to evoke certain activities in the spirit realm.  As well, know that any objects which are attached to unholy soul ties (gotten through adultery, ungodly alliances, etc.) need to be purged from your home.  No matter how trivial or harmless they might seem, or what kind of significance to your ethnic heritage they might hold, don’t leave ungodly objects in your house ONE MORE NIGHT!  These are often overlooked gateways of satanic dominion…and your mission is now to close any access doors that the enemy has to your family.  And for heaven’s sake, if you sweep your house clean of the devil, don’t put him in a yard sale or give your bondage to someone else!

For those of you who may be battling an illness which the doctors have called terminal, I encourage you to continue to fight, fight, fight…and believe for your healing and deliverance.  Healing is the bread of God’s children!  However, I would challenge you to take your faith a step farther and close the door of illness with yourself.  Whether you are healed miraculously in this life, or you should receive your healing in an incorruptible body later, break the curse off your descendants now by drawing a blood line and forbidding the recurrence of this curse in your offspring.  Invoke the health and blessing of the Father upon your children and grandchildren.  Your own healing does not have to be manifest already in order for you to be qualified to choke off the devil’s access to your children.

Here’s an example of how you might pray concerning generational curses.  Pray your petition after you have taken time to exalt God and to give Him due adoration, praise, and worship; and then rejoice afterwards for the freedom you are receiving by faith for yourself and your family!

“Father God, I come to you today in repentance for my family’s ancient and also present iniquities, sins, and also the consequential evidence of their existence.  First of all, I may not realize what all lies in my bloodline.  If my family has ever worshiped idols or satanic entities or practiced witchcraft or divination; if my ancestors have robbed, raped, shed innocent blood, took despicable oaths, or committed sins worthy of death, I repent before you for those sins and I ask you to put them under the blood of Jesus.  If there is ill-gotten gain, forgiveness to be sought or granted, or situations in which You would require restitution, reveal that to me as well so that no doorway is left open for the evil one to enter.  As for me and my house, we will serve You and we want no blood ties to anything from the past which carries a curse.  Your Word says that Christ changed places with us at Calvary, and He Who knew no sin became sin for us.  Father, I confess today that the sins of my ancestors are now nailed to the cross.  Show me if there are specific areas in which I need to deal or repent.  Let there be no stone left unturned.  I choose today to be honest before You and honest with myself.  Father, I name the following as a condition which appears to be generational in my family:  (name whatever bondage(s) your family wrestles with).  Father, I surrender myself to you as the diplomat of my family, as a spiritual leader in my home.  I denounce all things which You despise.  I break the curse of ____________ from off myself first; and as the first freed member from this curse, I loose the bonds of the remaining members of my family.  (Name their names and what they’re being loosed from, if you wish.  If you have adopted children, fosters, or extended family over which you are guardian, this is the time to name and deal with whatever curses you might know to exist from their birth families.)  I declare that the curse from past generations is no longer attached to my family.  I plead the blood of Jesus around the perimeters of my home, over each of my children, my spouse, my grandchildren.  Thank you for freeing us from the consequences of our ancestors’ sins, and thank you for granting us grace as we forsake our own sins and endeavor to live holy before our Holy God.  Our spiritual and physical DNA is healed! Our genetic code is rewritten, beginning now—with me—and in my bloodline of future generations. I love you, Father.  My family is YOUR family!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Songs of Deliverance

timbrelThen Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine and led the women in dances.  And Miriam sang this song: Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously.
The horse and rider have been drowned in the sea. (Exodus 15:20-21 TLB)

One of the Bible stories I really liked as a child was an aftermath story…of the rejoicing done by the children of Israel, when they reached the other side of the Red Sea and God had wiped away the enemy who’d been in hot pursuit of them. They were delivered from slavery and they were going to stay that way. Miriam, sister of Moses, was a worship leader that day! Tambourine in hand, she and a throng of others danced and sang an impromptu song of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for what He had done. Being musical since my early childhood, that woman dancing, writing songs, and playing an instrument intrigued me…and she still does.

God has delivered all of us from circumstances where the evil one would surely have conquered us without the Lord’s intervention. Take time today to look behind you, just long enough to take stock of what He’s brought you out of. Sing some simple words just from your heart; they don’t have to rhyme or have meaning to anyone else (and they don’t even have to be in tune!), even if it’s nothing more than, “Thank You, God, for taking care of me.” Then rejoice…for you are delivered from slavery and you’re never going back! You may not have reached your destination today; it may yet be a long journey ahead, but you have evidence already that GOD IS FAITHFUL! Have a blessed day, friends, and be thankful for it.

You are my hiding place from every storm of life; you even keep me from getting into trouble! You surround me with songs of victory.  (Psalm 32:7 TLB)

“I Wish,” Said She…

 

Hand Holding WishboneThe day had been a hectic one. Drenched in perspiration, blood pressure elevated from hours of one stressful event after another, she looked around at so much left undone. The woman thought of how anyone else’s life must be better than her own. Maybe a winning lottery ticket? She said in her frustration, “I wish. I wish I never had to work again. I wish I didn’t have to cook, to clean up messes, to work on the bills, to be piled high with responsibilities. If money were no object, I’d go somewhere no one knew me and no one was constantly calling or dropping by, wanting something. I wish my feet would never be tired again. I wish I didn’t have to live by the clock and the calendar. I wish my kids were not constantly whining about something. I wish my husband would stop irritating me with his messiness and his sports channel on tv. I wish.”

As she mused what it might be like in different circumstances, she fell asleep sitting straight up on the loveseat. She dreamed of her words coming back to her, and getting everything she’d said she wished. ONLY…

She woke up to find herself much, much older. Her surroundings weren’t familiar, but the sounds and smells and uniformed staff quickly let her know she was in some kind of healthcare facility. It was a nursing home! She looked to her right and saw a wheelchair parked beside her railed bed. And she heard her younger self saying, “I wish I never had to work again.”

An orderly pecked on her door and addressed her as “Ma’am,” announcing that it was lunch time. He raised the head of her bed and placed a tray on her bed table which contained a plate of soft, unrecognizable foods, a cup of coffee, and a bottle of nutritional supplement. Once again, she heard her younger voice saying, “I wish I didn’t have to cook.” It all seemed so surreal. She couldn’t have gotten old overnight! A few bites of the tasteless food had her wishing she were in the kitchen, baking her mother’s heirloom biscuits. The orderly came back and collected her partially-eaten meal. She reached for a tissue to wipe her bed table clean, and he said to her, “That’s ok, Ma’am. I’ll clean it up.” Again, her voice echoed, “I wish I didn’t have to clean up messes.”

The time ticked by as if it were in slow motion. A volunteer came around, delivering mail to each patient. When the small bundle of mail was carried to her bed, she fumbled through to find nothing but junk mail, sale flyers to stores she could no longer visit, and a Medicare statement. “I wish I didn’t have to work on the bills, and to be piled high with responsibilities.”

Later on, after a nurse dispensed several medications and drew some blood, she announced that today was Visitors Day. Excited for any variation in this dull day, the woman sat up a little straighter as the nurse and an attendant gingerly helped her from the bed to her wheelchair. They placed a pair of shoes on her feet which looked as if the soles had never touched the ground. “I wish my feet would never be tired again.” They wheeled her into the activity room with other patients and their visitors. As she waited nervously, the clock suddenly seemed to pick up the pace. She looked around at perfect strangers and wondered where her own family was. At ten minutes before the end of visitors’ time, one of her sons came hurrying through the door, apologizing about how busy he was and how he’d been hauling his boys around to football practice. He seemed restless, as if he were relieved that he’d gotten there almost too late. In the awkward silence, the voice of her past came back again, like a prosecutor: “If money were no object, I’d go somewhere no one knew me and no one was constantly calling or dropping by, wanting something. I wish I didn’t have to live by the clock and the calendar. I wish my kids were not constantly whining about something. I wish my husband would stop irritating me with his messiness and his sports channel on tv. I wish.”

“I haven’t seen your father at all today. I can’t imagine where he is!” she said to her son. He looked at her with tired pity in his eyes and said, “Oh Mama, you don’t remember, do you? Pops has been gone about 3 years now. Heart attack. That’s when you came here to the nursing home. He took good care of you after your stroke, clear up until the day he died. I’m so sorry.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++

“I wish…I wish…I wish.” She was shaking her head and saying the words over and over, when a hand on her shoulder shook her gently out of her sleep. It was her husband, who’d gotten worried when he woke up and saw her side of the bed empty.

“What do you wish, Honey?” he asked. “What were you dreaming about?”

As her eyes adjusted in the dimly-lit living room, she was relieved to see the familiar chaos. Toys strewn on the floor. Bookbags by the door. A stack of bills. A calendar full of appointments and a long store list. As she stood to her feet (she could walk!), she welcomed a twinge of pain from having stood on them so long earlier in the day. All the things which had irritated her before were now welcome signs of life. Tears dripped off her cheeks as she whispered a prayer of repentance for having complained about her life. She truly had so much to be thankful for!

“I wish that every day of the rest of our lives can be as good as this one,” she said, taking his hand.

Do you allow the frustrations of life to rob you of your sense of gratitude? Sure, at times we all need a break, a vacation, a change of pace…but we mustn’t wish away the precious moments which are woven among the hectic ones. Life can change in the blink of an eye. Find the wonderful things about today; give thanks for and cherish them. Gladly accept the bitter just for the privilege of having the sweet, too. Remember, it’s a lot more painful to wish for yesterday than it is to wish for tomorrow. Make today count.

“Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.” (Psalm 90:12 CEV)