Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Your PAST"

So, you're saved now. You love Jesus. You go to church. You work on living this thing out. You read your bible. You do all of these things.. but deep down you still have this nagging feeling from your past. It's a guilty feeling that you have that you're not good enough, saved enough, powerful enough or strong enough.

Before I continue I want you to know that everybody has a past-- not just you. We needed Jesus because we had to be saved FROM something. As most of you know-- the biggest area I struggled with was placing my hope and trust in humans and not Christ-- specifically, my little boyfriends when I was single. I found value in relationship more than I did God and I made those relationships my idols. I wanted humans affirmation more than I wanted Christ so I jumped from relationship to relationship all while raising my hands in church and speaking in tongues. Although my past may not be like your past-- every single person HAS one. I believe that it's because we live in a fallen world that we WILL have tribulations but "Be of good cheer-- because Christ has overcome this world." (John 16:33). This blog isn't another attempt for you to get emotional, write down all of your past & crumple it up & throw it over your shoulder. Sadly, it will still exist. You must allow God to do a deep work in your HEART and let Him rip out anything in you that's not like HIM.

When you gave your heart to Jesus, He CLEANSED you from all of your sin & all unrighteoutness. (1 John). If you've been abused, raped, molested, hurt or physically abused I want you to know that God doesn't hate you & HE still wants to USE you. He hates sin. He knew that on this earth we would experience unspeakable things and that is why He sent His only Son, Jesus to this earth to make you whole again. We have to start believing that it is really Christ that can heal us from our past. "By the strips of Jesus you are healed" in 2 Peter 2:24 is spiritual and referring to SALVATION. Now that you are SAVED and belong to the FATHER "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" - 2 Corinthians 5:12 YOU ARE A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST! Now, you just have to BELIEVE by FAITH that you are.

When your past begins to cripple you-- this is what happens-- situations happen over and over again and instead of really dealing with those things head on and giving them to Christ--we begin to get hard. We say "I'm fine, I don't need nobody-- I'm GOOD" as you continue to push your hurt under the rug. What happens is the rug can only hold so much of your past so then your past begins to seep out into your workplace, relationships and every other area. You begin to charge others for what happened in your past. Then, you wonder why you cannot function properly in certain relationships. You jump from FRIENDSHIP to Friendship.. relationship to relationship.. boss to boss-- blaming everybody and everything for your HURT while you refuse to trust or commit to anyone in fear of getting hurt. You want things to work-- but deep down you cannot quite figure it out. It's because your foundation is hurt and not Christ. "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward." 1 Corinthians 3:10-14. So what does that tell me? It tells me that your foundation in life will get TESTED. If your foundation is based on the abuse from your past-- it's going to FAIL you over and over again. Until you allow God to rip up that foundation in your heart and let Him transform your heart into His image- you will remain spiritually crippled and heavy. 

I gotta be honest with you, if you're holding onto the guilt and shame from your past-- you're most likely doing it to others while you pray to be free. How can you afford to walk around and hold people to their past when YOU had one as well? We are the BODY of Christ! We must come together at some point and start building and encouraging each other! Tell God that you're bitter and jealous of everybody else and that you need help! God can WORK with somebody that is has a heart that constantly judges itself! He cannot work with you if you constantly IGNORE your very wicked heart.

This past weekend in Michigan! :) Happy Thanksgiving everyone! :) Baby Boy Lindsey is getting big!

So, how to deal with your past? Here's some practical tips! 

1) Confess all known, previously unconfessed sin. In some cases, feelings of guilt are appropriate because confession is needed. Many times, we feel guilty because we are guilty! You are guilty of choosing that man over God. Yes it was wrong but YES it can change right NOW. (See David’s description of guilt and its solution in Psalm 32:3-5.)

2) Ask the Lord to reveal any other sin that may need confessing. Be completely open and honest before the Lord. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). I often pray that God forgives me of any unknown sin and I ask Him to reveal my heart to me so that I can change and be conformed into His image.

3) Trust the promise of God that He will forgive sin and remove guilt, based on the blood of Christ (1 John 1:9; Psalm 85:2; 86:5; Romans 8:1).

4) On occasions when guilty feelings arise (and they will) over sins already confessed and forsaken, reject such feelings as false guilt. The Lord has been true to His promise to forgive. Read and meditate on Psalm 103:8-12.

5) Ask the Lord to rebuke Satan, your accuser, and ask the Lord to restore the joy that comes with freedom from guilt (Psalm 51:12).

6) Your PAST does NOT define you, Christ's death and resurrection defines you. Ask God to help you to believe this.

7) Cast down stupid thoughts that attack you. (2 Corinthians 10:5).

8) Guard your heart against TV shows and music that reminds you of your past. You have a part to play--- God will always play His part-- will you?

9) Don't go back to the sin that kept you in bondage. It's better to be uncomfortable in the arms of Christ than comfortable in the arms of a random that is cheating on you, beating you and using your body.

10) Walk in the newness of Christ daily. I don't have time to entertain my past because I'm much too busy focused on what God told me to do! I'm TIRED at the end of the day and I have enough energy to do what HE called me to do alone. As my sister would say, "I don't have time for all that extra!" haha! :)

Psalm 32 is an awesome study if you're struggling in this area. Although David had sinned (murderer, adulterer, liar, etc)  terribly, he found freedom from both sin and guilty feelings. He dealt with the cause of guilt and the reality of forgiveness. Psalm 51 is another good passage to investigate. The focus here is confession of sin, as David pleads with God from a heart full of guilt and sorrow. Restoration and joy are the results. I talk about spending time with God and confessing your sins often in "How to Spend Time with God"-- I think it's important that you recognize that true freedom comes from not just "knowing" but believing that Christ DIED for you.

Finally, if sin has been confessed, repented of, and forgiven, it is time to move on. Remember that we who have come to Christ have been made new creatures in Him. Part of the “old” which has gone is the remembrance of past sins and the guilt they produced. Sadly, we are SO prone to wallowing in memories of our past sin, meditating on memories which should have been dead and buried long ago. This is pointless and waste of precious time. It's time to refocus & get busy about accomplishing the will of God for your life. God has a plan for you-- regardless of your past. So, if you have people that are constantly bringing up your past and throwing it in your face (or even if you're doing this to yourself)-- remind them & yourself that "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"-- 2 Corinthians 5:17. You may have to tell yourself this twenty times a day but it's better to fight BACK than to sit and entertain your past. And if others are focused on your past, don't worry-- as they focus on it, you focus on Christ. Then, you'll look up and Christ will put you on BLAST & show you off, just to show this silly world that He calls the last.. first.

Have you signed up for Pinky Promise? There's local groups all over the world!

You can rock super cute bracelets, promise rings, & shirts at our Pinky Promise Store! 

Have you picked up my husband's book? "So, You Want To Be Married?"

God loves you like crazy,

Heather Lindsey

The new Pinky Promise tee! :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Unequally Yoked?

I think it’s important to address this area because unequally yoked relationships are hindering our walk with God in regards to our friendships, courting, and especially in your dating relationships. Then, you look up and you’re married to this person that you’re completely unyoked with but because you were so focused on leaving the title of being “single” behind—you ignored ALL of the warning signs and married this fool who “said” he was a Christian.

Let's clear up a few things:

1. Yes, you can be unequally yoked with someone at your church or another Christian. Just because they are sitting under the same word as you-- doesn't mean that they are taking it and applying it to their life. Maturity comes when we start living this walk and passing these tests.

2. Yes, you can be unequally yoked with your friend. At times, there's a fork in the road of your relationships where maybe your friend stops pursing God as you continue to pursue Him. You may find that surrounding yourself with that friend is pushing you further and further away from God. You find yourself compromising and heading the wrong way.. but you just don't know why.

3. Yes, you and your boyfriend could be totally unyoked. Maybe you're trying to make it work because you don't want to be single. Maybe you're rationalizing because .. you're tired of being lonely. Maybe you both are working on your relationship "together" as you sleep "together?"

4. NO, you don't throw away every person you think you're "unequally yoked" with-- some relationships (mostly FEMALE friendships develop & grow into great relationships as no relationship is perfect), but YOU have to control the environment (ie. invite her to church or to a positive event.) And knowing God-- He refuses to share His glory with your little sorta-saved boyfriend so--most likely, He already told you to break that off.

5. YES, you can be free from soul ties by confessing your SIN to God and HE will cleanse it. (1 John)-- Sometimes, we think we need this whole emotional production at church to be free from a soul tie. WALK in the cleansing POWER of CHRIST & turn away from that sin. Now, by faith-- continue to choose Christ and the light. Then, GUARD your heart. Block him from social media, change your number-- do what you have to do.

6. YES, there's times you will have to pull back from your family and not surround yourself with them 24-7 as Christ builds your faith. They may not accept or understand your walk with God and criticize you for it. Stand firm in love.

Even demons can “say” they are a Christian. What would you say if satan came up to you and said.. “I’m a Christian, I’ll go to church with you on Sunday.” He goes to church with you—lifts his hands during praise and worship and shouts like he was delivered from something. Would you believe him?  Well, you’ve just met most people that are in church today. We sit in church on Sunday for one hour a week and we live the rest of the 167 hours a week like no God exists on this earth. Although they may not be satan—they live their life like they belong to Him.

 1 John 2:4- “If someone claims “I know God, “ but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love Him. That is how we know we are living in Him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”

So, I'm saying that you cannot just SAY that you’re a Christian and expect to get into heaven. If you belong to God—you will live in the light and stay in the light and make decision that line up with His word. Yeah, you’re not perfect but if you DO sin, He’s faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you. (1 John 1:9) However, a real Christian isn’t practicing SIN. They practice holiness. They guard their heart. They’re intentional about living for God. So I challenge you. Do a lifecheck. Is there some fruit growing on your tree that PROVES that you live for Jesus? Stop telling me that you belong to Jesus if you hate someone that hurt you. (1 John 2:10). When you take each day—day by day—you’re living for Christ. When you GIVE Him your hate, frustration, issues and problems-- and ask Him to help you and you really mean it-- you're living for HIM.

So now that we have the basics down about what a real Christian is—let’s take a look at how to identify an unequally yoked relationship. You know deep down in your heart if you aren’t equally yoked with someone. You just know. Especially if you spend time with them and see how they respond to life’s issues. You may ignore those areas because you “love” him and he’s “on his way to being saved” or you’re trying to “get him saved.” The only thing you can change on a boy is his diaper. A man has to want God for himself. You may have been with that person for a really long time and you don’t want to start over with anybody else but you know good and well that person,  (insert name) is not God’s best for your life.

2 Corinthians 5:14-16- “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”

Remember that just because someone says they’re saved, they can still be an “unbeliever.” An unbeliever is someone who refuses to believe God’s word and live according to His ways. I'm so tired of Christians running around and saying they got saved at 4 years old and since then-- they've been living like hell on earth. YOU are LIVING for your master. Is your master GOD or satan? Your lifestyle best identifies with who your father is. 
Preaching in MO this past week! My hubby introduced me!

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.

1. An unequally yoked boyfriend or girlfriend can pull you so far away from Christ. They will poison you with their “ideas” and “philosophies” about God while planting seeds in your heart.

They may say, we are planning on getting married—"it’s ok for us to have sex. Nobody is going to know—I just want to be one with you. I’m committed to you and you’re committed to me—we have each other." Sounds like something out of a movie right? You feeling’ all warm and fuzzy inside but STOP. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20  “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.  Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” YOU cannot trust that man with your own purity and you're about to trust him to lead your life in a one-day marriage?

Your little boyfriend has made his flesh his “god” and is about to rob you of your purity and relationship with God by taking what doesn’t belong to him. Don’t be that girl that goes along with him. Your relationship will only get worse as you push God to the outside of it. Remember those that choose Christ are abiding in the light. They are choosing God when it’s hard. Remember that our relationships are supposed to push us closer to God—not away from Him.

   2. They can weaken your faith. It’s that person that constantly doubts everything about God based on some weird “logic” that they came up with.  So if you’re hanging around a ton of “friends” that are of different religions, you’re setting yourself up if you aren’t strong enough. Meaning, most likely, you will end up doing what they’re doing versus your Christian values influencing them. You cannot tip-toe around this area.

1 Corinthians 5:9 says “Do not associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulged in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to believe yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, worships idols, abusive, is a drunkard or cheats people.”

You may be thinking that this is a bit extreme. God knows that you’re not going to walk around sinless and neither will those around you but this text is referring to those people that deliberately sin, feel no guilt, shame or remorse and then come up with excuses in their head to why they think it’s ok. If you continue to read that same scripture—it says to JUDGE the person inside the church who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin. This isn’t a chance for you to yell at everyone and call the out unless you’re ready to call yourself out. You go to your sister in Christ and confront and discipline that person from a caring place of LOVE.

If you have a friend who you are watching go downhill in a certain area—talk to them in a loving way about this. But check and pull your emotions together before you speak to them. It’s vital for your walk as a Christian to make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with believers and Christians that live for Christ. More than anything- be GOD led.

Don’t you REALIZE that there’s a reason that God doesn’t want you to associate with people that aren’t going in the direction that you’re going in? God told Abraham in Genesis to LEAVE his family and go to a place where God would show him. God didn’t even give specific instructions. He just said GO. So, when God tells you to “go”—what excuse do you give? You don’t want to leave your boyfriend that keeps sleeping with you? You have chicks around you that are dropping seeds of doubt in your head? Are your “unequally yoked” friendships pushing you away from God? Of course they are. The proof is in the pudding. You get around that girl—and you find that you complain, gossip and feel heavy after leaving her presence. Back to the story—God told Abraham to get away from His family because his family worshiped idols. They didn’t belong to God. God needed Abraham to GET away from those people that were framing his thinking. They had influence on him. So.. who is influencing you?

Your life is much greater than having a billion friends and a ring on your left ring hand finger. At some point, we have to learn to trust God concerning these temporary things. Eternity is knocking at your door and you don’t want to stand before God and say “I didn’t obey you because I was too busy & distracted trying to keep a man that you never told me to keep.”

I know I will get this question—“What if you’re married?” Well, if you’re married—this isn’t a reason to run and get a divorce. You win your husband over to Christ by your quiet & gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:4). Trust me.. I've won my husband over in certain areas concerning areas in our marriage. I've watched God change my husbands heart because I learned to accept him-- ISSUES and all. I knew that I couldn't change his issues but CHRIST could if I moved out of the way and LET Him. YES 1 Corinthians 7:14- "For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy." HOWEVER, your goal should not be to marry somebody who is NOT equally yoked with you. Paul is referring to a person's "current" state-- not somebody who is pre-planning to marry a random. His instructions for that was "DO NOT DO IT." Don't marry an expectation that a person will all the sudden change once you get married. You WILL deal with so many other issues that come with marriage if your husband isn't saved. So don't even gamble with it. PLUS, how can YOU trust the leadership of your one-day spouse if his father is the enemy? So if you are married-- continue to pray and ask God for grace. But if you're not-- don't use this as an excuse to run and marry somebody. You will remember my words if you do. 

At the end of the day, this Christian walk is going to cost you something. You are required to DIE. Die DAILY. Die to your old way of thinking & being and taking on the image of Christ. So, you may think.. “my situation is different, we’ve been together for years and years and he says he’s saved but—I don’t see any fruit but he’s working on it.” Well, sista- you need to let him work on it, over there. Don’t be a distraction to his walk and most likely, while he’s working on it—he’s still dealing with his carnal nature concerning his flesh and your body. Don’t allow yourself to become an idol for a new Christian. They’re searching for somebody to depend on – make sure that space is empty for Christ. And make sure that yours is empty as well so it can be filled by CHRIST. You don't really need that man to be satisfied, you need CHRIST.

Few things:
SO sorry I haven’t been blogging! Hubby and I have been traveling NON-STOP & preaching everywhere! It's currently 10:51pm and we just landed in the Bahamas today as I preach on Friday! Whew! It’s pretty awesome and I’m thankful—I’ve just been busy and this growing belly is a reminder that I need to slow down. Also, baby Lindsey is a BOY! ☺ I cannot wait for March 2013! I will be blogging more moving forward! ☺

Have you signed up for Pinky Promise? There's local groups all over the world!

You can rock super cute bracelets & shirts at our Pinky Promise Store! 

Have you signed up for the Pinky Promise Conference? We would love to meet you!

Have you picked up my husband's book? "So, You Want To Be Married?"

God loves you like crazy!
Love always,
Heather Lindsey 
(last week in MO)- 22 weeks pregnant! 

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