My Interview with Jen

I was recently interviewed by Jen Selinsky and below is a copy of the interview, please enjoy!

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I took creative writing in High School and the teacher said I had a flare, but it was left there or, so I thought.  I did not pick it back up until 1998 when I was saved. 

 

Who are your favorite authors? (Please limit your answer to five or ten.)

I only have one favorite, Joyce Meyers.

 

What are your greatest sources of inspiration?

The love of God—see details below

 

What genre(s) do you write?

Christian fiction and non-fiction adult and children

 

Do you have any current or future projects?

Deep Waters—A modern day Jonah story

 

Do you have an author website?

God’s Love Revealed: Author Sandra Lott

 

Do you have any blogs?

God’s Love Revealed: Author Sandra Lott

 

On the same site: yes

 

Where can people find your work? (to purchase or just to read)

The Pen It! Publications bookstore, AmazonBarnes & Noble

 

Do you have any pseudonyms?

No

 

Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?

Although writing is my passion, I also enjoy making jewelry and candles.

 

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I enjoy every opportunity to share my story, my testimony.  I was married to a man I adored and had two children, seems great?  Then life hit.  I was married in 1981 and he was in the service, after he got out we moved back to my home state of Texas around 1995.  He began drinking and it slowly became worse and into drugs, and so the nightmare began.  Years of this hurt not only myself, but my children as well.  Life was filled with fear when he went into his rages whenever he needed a fix.  I was losing my identity because living with an addict/alcoholic, everything is about their happiness and getting their fix no matter the cost.  I was saved in 1998 and an overwhelming desire to write filled my heart.  I started out writing poems and in the year of 2000 when my youngest son was killed ironically enough, I began writing my first book, called God’s Love.  it was a journey of discovering more of what I needed, love and it was a healing process as well.

 

Since then I have written 13 adult books including a study guide to one of them and the poems I began writing.  I have also written 7 children’s books; 6 are part of a series, two of these are published and the rest are in production. 

 

I am in the process of writing another adult book called Deep Waters, a modern-day Jonah story.

 

I have done several speaking events and on the schedule for an event in Sept 2018 for Wellspring United Methodist Church in Georgetown TX.

 

I have been through abuse and the loss of my son, divorce and God has turned my life around to making a message out of my mess to help me discover my identity and purpose.  

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Hope is an Anchor

(Hebrews 6:16-20) “People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.  Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

  

Hope is an anchor to your soul, meaning it keeps you firm and secure in your faith and trust in God.  Hope will carry you through the difficult times, those times when it looks dark and no help to be found.   You may ask, as I have many times in some of the darkest times of my life, “How do you hold on to hope and faith when it seems as if you have no hope left, no one to help and you have been forgotten?  How do you hold on to hope in the darkest times of your life and it feels as if the world is caving in around you and you feel all alone?”

 The first step is to choose to keep hoping, you hold on to hope by choice.  You must decide in your mind you are going to keep hoping and keep trusting God even when it seems as if your prayer will not get answered.  As Joyce Meyers says, the battle is in the mind.  You must make up your mind that you are going to trust God no matter what, otherwise you go over to the other side.  There is no middle ground.   (Matthew 12:30) “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.”

The second step is use the two weapons God gave you!  The weapon of your mouth and His Word!

 (Proverbs 18;21) “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

(John 6;63) “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.”

(Psalm 149:6-7) “May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations And punishment on the peoples.”

(Romans 10:17) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

The third step is, you keep believing, keep hoping in faith that you know that the God who would come down through Jesus Christ, and die the painful death He died to save you from your sin and bestow on you eternal life, is the God who will be faithful to ALL His promises found in His Word.  He will carry you through your whole life, never leaving you nor forsaking you.  (Matthew 21:22) “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

And finally, the fourth step is, you keep praising Him and thanking Him as if you already have it!    (Psalm 106:1) “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  Faith is the title deed that takes possession of what you are hoping for, (Hebrews 11:1) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, they wanted to kill him, they threw him into a pit, sold him into slavery and he was accused wrongly and thrown into prison.  He served as a slave for about 30 years and another 3-1/2 in prison and he did not give into hopelessness. We know this by the grace and favor he received, (Genesis 39:3-4) “When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.”  So, he must have stayed close to God and we can also ascertain this due to the fact that he had no trouble interpreting the dreams of the cup-bearer, the baker and of Pharaoh.   If he was not close to God and had given into despair and hopelessness, he would not have been able to hear so clearly.

Remember Elijah and when he ran from Ahab and Jezebel?  He hid in a cave and God came to him in order to wake him up to go and appoint Elisha to service.  Elijah ran and gave into fear and hopelessness.  (I Kings 19:10) “He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”  God sent a strong wind, an earthquake and a fire, and God’s voice was not in any of that.  (I Kings 19:12) “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”  God’s voice is in the stillness of rest and trust.  The earthquake, fire and wind represent the all the voices screaming at you to give up, to quit, to worry, to stop believing, it is never going to happen.  They represent the voices of unbelief and negativity and God’s voice is not in that; it is in trust because God is love, and He is peace and there is complete peace in trust.

Hope is an anchor; it keeps you firm and secure in God’s care because you trust Him and your heart in return is filled with His everlasting peace.

(Isaiah 26:3) “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

 

             Immanuel: God With Us

 

 (Matthew 1:23) “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel’—which means, “God with us.”

 

As a child of God traveling down life’s highway, no matter what you are going through, good times or bad, your Heavenly Father is always with you.  (Deuteronomy 31:8) “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Isn’t that reassuring!  To know that no matter what the trial is you are going through, God has already been there ahead of you, should bring you a since of relief and peace.  It should help you to trust Him more.  This is another way in which our Heavenly Father shows His love for us.  Nothing happens here on earth without God’s approval first.  (Daniel 4:25) “The Most High is Sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes.”  (Jeremiah 27:5) “With My great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please.”

 

We do get discouraged when the problems we are facing seem to be overwhelming.  The hurt or worry we are dealing with seems to blindside us and cause us to take our eyes off Jesus.  That is when discouragement and doubt will set in.  Take heart, God will not let you stay that way!  He loves you and will bring you back!

(Psalm 147:5) “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.”

All you have to do is ask.  (Deuteronomy 4:29-31) “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.  When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey Him.  For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which He confirmed to them by oath.”

God lets things happen sometimes that will mold us into who He wants us to be.  He also lets things happen that will lead us to salvation.  God gave us free will.  He wants each and every one of us to be unique and not robots.  The trouble with that is Satan.  He takes advantage of that.  He will tempt you and deceive you.  He is ruthless.  He has to be, to have once been an angel in the presence of God, and turn against Him.  The light of God‘s love brings you peace and joy, and Satan did not want this.  This, I cannot understand.  It just shows how evil and self-centered Satan is, and that he has no love in him.  He only wants to bring harm to the ones that God loves, to get to Him.

(I Peter 5:8) “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

So out of God’s overwhelming love for us, He will do whatever it takes to help us see the light and turn to Jesus Christ for our eternal salvation.  (Job 33:29-30) “God does all these things to a man– twice, even three times– to turn back his soul from the pit that the Light of life may shine on him.”

Though things may get rough from time to time, know that God’s ever watchful eye is on you.  (Psalm 121:5-8) “The Lord watches over you– the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm– He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over you coming and going both now and forevermore.”  In everything you go through, know that God is always with you, and He will lead and guide you.  (Exodus 15: 13) “In Your unfailing love you will lead the people You have redeemed.  In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.”  As long as Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit is always with you.  (John 14:16) “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of Truth.”  With the Spirit of Jesus living within your heart, you are never alone.  All you have to do is call on Him and He will give you peace.  (John: 14:27) “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  When I feel the presence of the Lord I am more content than at any other time.  Our precious Lord and Savior is always there for us.  Sometimes you feel so down that you don’t even feel like praying, I know this as well.  But trust me, just call out His name and the rest will get easier.  (Psalm 145:18) “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”  As you do this you will find you enjoy every moment you have with Him.  The Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t pressure you, or get irritated with you or put you down like so many people do.  He is the best friend you will ever have.  (Proverbs 18:24) “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  As long as you are a child of God, He will always be with you.  (Joshua 1:5) “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  When you go through a problem that you just can’t see a way through, remember that God has already been there ahead of you and will guide you, but you have to ask.  (Isaiah 43:1-3) “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

The trials you go through are to mold you and help you grow as a Christian, but your Heavenly Father will always protect you.  (Psalm 23:4) “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”  We will go through hard times but God, Immanuel, God with us is within us through Jesus Christ; just look inside and call on His holy name and He will hear the prayers of your heart.  (Luke 17:21) “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”  The more you trust God and faithfully follow Him the more you will learn who He is to you through your trials and the more you will learn the depths of the Father’s love and how He really is with you through them all.

In this season of love, Christmas, remember what we are celebrating, the birth of Jesus Christ.  Remember the overwhelming love He has for us, so much that He gave up heaven for a bit to come to earth to suffer and die on the cross for our sins.  Jesus, Immanuel: God with us.  By His unselfish, overwhelming love for us, He died on the cross to reconcile all men to Himself by faith and repentance.  Nothing else needed; all you have to do is believe and receive.  Will you receive this gift of love and salvation this Christmas?  It is free! Just believe, ask and receive.  It is that simple, and you will have the Holy Spirit of Jesus in your heart forever. He will be with you and never leave you, He will help you through life and walk with you everyday here on earth and when your time here is up, He will lead you home to heaven.

 

(Ephesians 3:17-19) “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

KEEPING CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS

Christmas is the time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Keep Christ in Christmas by the love that you show in this season and every other day of the year. The gifts given, celebrate as a symbol of the greatest gift of all, Salvation of our souls by His death on the cross.  Christmas is a time when we gather with friends and family and enjoy sweet fellowship.  We gather for food and fun and to exchange gifts, to show each other we care for and love them.  God wants us to have fun, to enjoy the lights and decorations of the season, the fellowship, just do not forget the WHY, behind the celebration.  As you gather, read the Christmas Story found in the book of Luke and remember why He came.

The Tree

The trunk–made of wood symbolizes His humanity
The green branches–for the new birth He made possible
The lights-for the illumination of our souls when we invite
Him into our hearts.
The Ornaments–Represent the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we
Receive the moment in comes to live in our hearts.
The Red Bows-stand for His shed blood on the cross.
The Garland that wraps the tree--stands for His unconditional love that He clothes us with.

 

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE

               

Is there a miracle in store for you?  Just take a look around and see the beauty of the world.  It’s there for all to see.  There are trees big and small and flowers of every color.  There are mountains standing high; some are rocky with a beauty all their own and some are covered with a diversity of trees, with leaves of different sizes and just as beautiful when blowing in the breeze.  There are springs of water everywhere, some flow into rivers, some into lakes and still others into the sea which flows into the oceans wide and deep.

Is there a miracle in store for you?  The beauty of the world in which God created is a miracle in itself.  But if that is not enough; take a breath.  The air that you breathe and the ability to breathe in itself is a miracle from God.  Look into the eyes of a newborn baby and you will see the miracle of birth and life in which God has given to you and me.

Is there a miracle in store for you?  From the creation of the world to the breath of life given to each of us, God gives a miracle every day.

Yet, He gave us another miracle in the birth of Jesus Christ.

The miracle He gave us in Him is the gift of eternal life.  This gift is for free and it is for all who will believe and receive.  This is the greatest miracle of all!

 

 

Keep Christ in Christmas-enjoy the season and the festivities, just don’t get carried away with all the commercialism and remember Jesus and what He came to earth to do for us.

Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year!

The Unexpected Path

 

(Isaiah 42:16) “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

  

When I used to live in South Carolina we used to take trips up to the Blue Ridge Mountains and drive through the Parkway.  There were trails all along the way.  I loved to walk the trails and see the beauty of the mountains. These trails were not familiar, but we would walk them anyway and would find new treasures of God’s beauty on each different path.  If you are always scared of the unknown, too scared to walk a path you have never traveled on, you may miss out on something beautiful that God may have in store for you.  Don’t try to always figure things out in advance, leave room for the unknown, to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things and new paths.  (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  It is when you allow for God to lead on paths not known or traveled before, that He will amaze you!

 

The Israelites were leaving Egypt, finally after years of bondage!  Then Pharaoh sends his army out after them in chariots.  Of course, the Israelites being on foot, the army caught up with them.  There was absolutely nothing in-between them and the Red Sea.  To them and even our natural eye, there was no way out, but God!  God is God Almighty, He created the world and everything in it.  He is Creation!  So, of course He can do anything He wants with it!  Don’t ever count Him out when in your natural eye, it seems as if all hope is lost.  (Psalm 77:19) “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters–a pathway no one knew was there!”

 

No one ever expected for God to part the Red Sea!  God has a way, He has a path that you may have never seen or even imagined.  You don’t have to know.  As long as you are a child of God and your faith and obedience are in Him, you do not have to figure everything out.  You do not have to see each carefully planned out step.  All you have to do is trust God.  As parents, our children don’t worry themselves over how they are going to eat, or where they are going to live or if they will have clothes to wear.  They trust their parents to provide.  God wants us to have that same faith.  (Matthew 18:3) “And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Trust God, allow Him to reveal what he chooses, while keeping some details hidden in order to amaze you!

In the hardship you are facing, too many bills and not enough money and nowhere to obtain it, trust God.  In the illness that will not go away, trust God.  For that wayward child that seems to be deep into darkness and you even fear for his or her life, trust God; He has a way.  He has a way that He has not told you.  He wants to amaze you and in the end, it will build up your faith and give you a testimony.  Let Him be God; all you have to do is trust, follow and obey and give Him the praise due His name.  He will do the rest.  He has a plan you have never thought of and when it manifests, you will be amazed!

 

(Romans 8:17-19) “And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.  I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the revelation of the sons of God to be revealed.”

              Give Thanks!

 

 (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

 

          In this season of thanksgiving take a moment and examine your relationship with God.  Let us begin with this passage.  In Luke 17:11-19 we are told about ten men with leprosy.  As Jesus traveled by, they cried out “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  Having mercy on them Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests.  They were not healed until their faith moved their feet and they started walking to the priests.  They were healed on the way.  Only one came back and praised Him and gave Him thanks.  Isn’t that extremely sad?  Yet, in one way or another we all do that; we come before Him with all of our needs.  Do you ever stop to think that God needs to be appreciated and loved?  In Genesis 1:26 He says, “Let us make man in our image.”  We were made in the image of God with the emotions that He has and as we need to be appreciated, so does God.

So, examine your ways; are you truly thankful for Jesus and all that He went through for you?  Do you ever just take a moment to just thank Him and love on Him; to let Him know that His sacrifice alone whether you ever receive anything you are praying for or not is still worthy of all your praise?  (Isaiah 52:14) “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him—His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness.”

Jesus was beaten so bad His face was unrecognizable, He was spit on, ridiculed and He carried a heavy cross; the one He was nailed to for us.  It was not just heavy due to its own size and weight but due to the weight of our sins; the sins of the world.  I myself, have to repent.  I get caught up and the whirlwind of problems going on in my life and do not praise Him enough for just being Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Because of God we have life; give Him thanks and praise.  Because of God we have an eternal home in heaven; give Him thanks and praise.  Life is not about how we live here on earth, but instead it is about here on earth how we are preparing for our eternal life afterwards.  Because of God we have a roof over our heads; we have clean water to drink and food to eat.  Give Him praise.  Because of God we are still alive; that means we still have time to make a difference.  (Isaiah 58:6-7) “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away your own flesh and blood?”

Is this the way you live your life?  This is in fact showing Jesus that you love Him.  He says in (John 13:15) “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”  He laid down His life for us; He put us first.  Do you do that for others?  (Philippians 2:3-4) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Are you living this way or are you just concerned with your own agenda?  Is your agenda yours for your own personal good or is it for the good of those in need?  Are you reaching out to others; others outside our church walls; the ones that sadly enough may have never heard of the name Jesus?  The great commission is not to take care of self, family and church.  No!  It is to take as many people we can with us to our eternal home in heaven.  Jesus met the people where they were; He gave them what they wanted before He gave them what they needed; a Messiah.  He fed them and then taught them.  He healed them and then they saw Him.  Is your agenda truly for God or is it yours?  Do you show the love of God unselfishly to those in your everyday life even those who have unlovable qualities, so the “Jesus” in you can be displayed and plant a seed in their hearts?  God did that for us.  (Romans 5:8) “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we still sinners, Christ died for us.”  He did not wait for us to clean ourselves up before He loved us; “He loved us first.”  Do you give Him thanks for being who He is?  Do you ever take time to just spend with Him without giving Him a grocery list of wants and needs?  Do you praise Him for being God Almighty, Creator, Messiah, Savior, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God and Prince of Peace?

Give Him thanks and praise for He is worthy!  Give Him thanks,

(Psalm 136:23-26) “to the One who remembered us in our low estate, His love endures forever and freed us from our enemies, His love endures forever and who gives food to every creature.  His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the God of heaven, His love endures forever.

Humility is the Open Door to Healing

Excerpt from Repairing Broken Walls: Restoring Joy & Peace

 

  Nehemiah could not get through the Fountain Gate, which is a symbol for the Holy Spirit and the Kings Pool that is a symbol for the fruit of the Spirit. “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38). It was due to the rubble of the torn down wall. The Holy Spirit cannot get through your heart as well due to the rubble of emotions caused from all the pain. Nehemiah had to enter through the Valley Gate, which stands for humility. Before you can go any further, you need to admit you have a problem.

Pride keeps saying, “There is nothing wrong with me,” when your actions and the overflow of your mouth prove otherwise and not to mention the lack of spiritual growth. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

God will confront and show you areas of your heart that are filled with sin or heartache, so He can lead you to forgiveness, healing, and restoration. He confronted Adam and Eve in the garden when they disobeyed to bring their sin out in the open, and their sweet fellowship could be restored as it was before. Sin not repented of and heartache held inside is an open door and a tool for Satan to use against you and hurt you even more.

“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). This verse means that there was nothing hidden in their hearts—no sin—and they felt no shame, only peace. You need to humble yourself and admit that you do have a deeply wounded heart in need of repair. When you rid yourself of the root of pride by humbling yourself and surrendering all to God, it allows you to proceed through to the road of recovery.

With all the rubble in front of the Fountain Gate and Kings Pool, Nehemiah could not enter, and all the pain in your heart has created a wall of rubble from the ruins and the residue of the past that has overwhelmed your heart. The fruit of the Spirit, which is God’s peace and joy, etc., cannot get through. “But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law” (Galatians 5:22–23).

Pool in this text is from the Hebrew origin barak—pool meaning “reservoir,” and barak meaning “abundantly blessed.”

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)

God has a reservoir of abundant blessings stored up for you, but you must allow Him to cleanse your heart. To do this, you must admit that you need his help and invite Him into every area that needs to be healed. Next, due to the pain in your heart, I am sure, just like me, it caused you to react and speak in ways that are not Christ like. So, you need to repent of any sins. This takes us through to the next gate, which is the Dung Gate and it represents a place of cleansing. As you draw close to God through prayer and confession, He will draw close to you and begin the healing process.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and He will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:7–10)

The Israelites felt disgraced at seeing the walls torn down. The walls of Jerusalem were a symbol of strength and a right relationship with God. This troubled Nehemiah as he saw this.

“Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.’” (Nehemiah 2:17).

 

 

If you would like to read more of this book, which includes the rest of the Gates of Jerusalem, their meaning and how it applies to your own broken heart, follow the link below to purchase.  Enjoy!

Repairing Broken Walls-Book   

Cover Only Broken Walls Book

Repairing Broken Walls: Study Guide

Cover Only Broken Walls Study Guide

 

 

Boxed In

(II Corinthians 4:7-9) “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”

  

In the time of Nehemiah when the Jews were returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding under Nehemiah’s leadership the king had imposed property taxes on the Jews that owned land.  Too much to pay and survive, some had to mortgage whatever they could to be able to buy grain for their families to eat.  They mortgaged to their fellow countrymen, who in turn were taking advantage and imposing a high interest rate.  This was making it impossible for them to get ahead.  They felt “boxed in.”  (Nehemiah 5:6-7) “When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!”

Nehemiah 5:1-11

Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.”

Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.”

Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.”

When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!” So I called together a large meeting to deal with them and said: “As far as possible, we have bought back our fellow Jews who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us!” They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.

So I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest! Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them—one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.”

 

Sometimes life will hit you in all directions, family, finances and health issues.  These are all similar things that usually hit all people.  When they come at you all at once, you get “boxed in,” and you seem to have no one to turn to and no avenue of help of any kind.  When it comes to finances many times, out of fear, we will choose an avenue of self-preservation that only causes us to get more deeply in debt, tightening the financial straight jacket that is around us.

You are just simply trying to survive. In the text above, Nehemiah’s comments are coming from God’s heart as he addresses his comments to the ones imposing the harsh fees.

“So I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest! Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them—one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.”

We are supposed to be the “family of God!  Family helps and does not hinder or make things harder.

(I Peter 3:8-9) “ To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;  not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”

(Psalm 133:1-2) “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes.”

(Hebrews 13:1-2) “Let love of the brethren continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

God heard their cry and spoke into the people’s hearts.  Nehemiah ordered them to give back their grain and vineyards etc.  They took an oath and did as they promised.  Don’t be afraid to go to the family of God, the church that you belong to, or your personal family for help.  They just may be the very people God wants to use to help you.  Cry out to God for help.  He hears you and is waiting for your call.

(Psalm 106:44) “Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry.”

(Psalm 34:17) “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”

God hears the cry of his children; he hears you.

 

(Psalm 107:1-9) “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.  Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.   They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.   Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.   He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.   Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,  for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

Stop it!  Stop the Clamor! Speak & Your Heart Will Hear

 

(Romans 10:17) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

 

Your mind is constantly being bombarded with all the issues in your life; depression and worry are trying to consume you and passion is fading as a result.  Thoughts of that one that cut you off on the road and the anger bubbling up.  Thoughts of that fight you had with your wife or husband.  Maybe it is the dangerous self-destructive road your child is on, maybe it is the unfair treatment you are experiencing at work.  Maybe it is the mountain of bills and not enough money to go around or health issues.  Regardless, the issues are overwhelming, and they are consuming you.  Stop it!  When you come into a dark room and turn on the light the darkness leaves, immediately.  So, it is with the negative thoughts running through our minds, turn on the light and stop the clamor!  How do you do that?  You take them captive, (II Corinthians 10:5) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

 

holding head

 

Have you ever noticed when you are thinking about something and you start speaking, the thoughts stop?   This is how you not only stop the clamor, but you take those thoughts captive as well.  Put on your daily armor, put on the armor of God.  (Ephesians 6:10-18) “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Take the steps the Lord has given you in His Word to be victorious; that is why He gave it to you!  Use it and you will be victorious; you will win!  You can change your position from that of being on the defensive to being on the offensive and chase that devil off!

 

police chasing

 

As you retrain yourself to start speaking the promises of God found in His Word regarding your circumstances, putting on your daily armor, you will find yourself less and less overwhelmed.  This is giving Him your burdens.  (Psalm 55:22) “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

 

Casting your cares, speaking out the promises when the negative thoughts come, will change your heart, you will begin to trust and not worry, and His joy will overtake you!

 

(Romans 15:13) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Exercise Your Faith: Let it Burn

(I Corinthians 15:58) “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

  

A few years ago, I was in an accident and it injured my knees, re-emphasizing the pain from a previous injury.  My knees have become stronger but, I am not able to walk long distances at a time without them beginning to hurt.  I can walk at least 30 minutes or more at a time, but not much more.  I have a lot going on in my life right now, and all at once, it is kind of overwhelming.  God used my morning walk to speak to my heart.  Yesterday while I was walking, my knees began to hurt, and I was tempted to cut the walk short.  Then I heard, “Keep going, let it burn.”  I am sure you have heard that phrase in exercising, “let it burn.”  When you feel the burn in your muscles you know it is working them.  He told me, just as you work your muscles when it burns, you know you are burning fat and strengthening your muscles.  When you exercise your faith, even in those times when it is hard, when it seems as if nothing is happening, you are burning the fat of unbelief, worry, doubt, lack of trust and working the muscle of faith. (Hebrews 11:6) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  In those times, your faith will grow.  (I Peter 1:7) “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

We cannot move to the next step God has for us if we keep wavering in unbelief in this step, (James 1:2-8) “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

When you learn to trust God consistently, then He will move you on to the next step, knowing you will be ready to handle whatever He has for you on the new path.  (Hebrews 11:1) “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  You do not take a cake out of the over before it is done, it will fall. Out of His overwhelming love for you, He will not move you on to the next step until you are ready to handle it.  He does not want you to fall; trust Him with all of your heart.  (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Daniel’s three friends would not bow down to the image of Nebuchadnezzar and it made him furious!  He threw them into the furnace and turned it up 7 times hotter!  Are you going through one of those times?  Learn from them, they were not harmed!  Jesus was in there with them!  And in the end, they were promoted by the very one that threw them in there in the first place!

 

(Daniel 3:16-30) “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.  So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.  The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.  Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”  They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”  He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”  Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.   Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.  Therefore, I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”   Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”

 

Work your faith muscles, your faith will be rewarded, and in those trying times, call out to Him.  He will help; He is our “ever present help in times of trouble.”