Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why Spoil The Facade?

Jo Ann Fore“We intend to hide our shortcomings, and the fear inside our hearts, but instead we hide our beauty, our true selves.”

 Jo Ann Fore, When a Woman Finds Her Voice

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12 (NASB)
I have the privilege of being a pastor’s wife to a strong, godly man. We have read and studied the above verses many times throughout our years of ministry, yet one Sunday morning in 2003 they came alive. That was the moment a dear group of comrades and I realized the intense physical “episodes” I had been experiencing were indeed “not against flesh and blood.” We were involved in an unseen war against “the spiritual forces of wickedness.”

I would like to be able to say that we discovered my problems were solely spiritual warfare and were finally defeated, or that we were brought to the realization that it was all just mental stress that could be cured through counseling and medication, or that in the end we discovered it was indeed some mysterious disease explained in medical books, for which I am undergoing effective treatment. Yet the reality is that God has revealed to us through this now fourteen-year journey that it is a combination of all three. So, I am still on a mission- a mission to share my story of the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of my problems. Yes, I am a Christian. Yes, I am a pastor’s wife. And, yes, I have problems.

It is with joy, as well as trepidation, that I share my story. A snapshot of our smiling family in our Christmas photo portrays near “perfection.” A handsome, dignified-looking father and his mirthful wife, four gorgeous offspring, and a cheerful dog to boot! Why spoil the façade? I believe my Lord is calling me to step out in faith to help raise awareness of the intense spiritual attacks Satan launches, especially against those in public ministry. I want to expose how the “holes” in my life experiences opened the door to demonic oppression. By God’s grace, those “holes” have been filled with the blood of Jesus. As author and teacher Sue Jakes has said, “Due to the fall, this world is not a playground, it is a battlefield!” I believe Christ wants to use our journey to advance His kingdom. He is building His church, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

What about you? Is God calling you to speak out about an unpopular topic?  I know what a struggle it is to open up.  Being a part of the launch team for Jo Ann Fore’s book, When a Woman Finds Her Voice, is giving me greater boldness to step out in faith.  How may I pray for you?
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I’ve Found My Voice!

I was in the 6th grade.  Tall and lanky, wearing pants to short for my long legs.  The teacher called my name, Cheryl Pelton.  It was time to walk to the front of the classroom and give my oral report.  Panic gripped my heart, as I stood in front of all of the peering eyes.  I sought to open my mouth and speak.  Words wouldn’t come.  Only shaking and tears.  I couldn’t find my voice.  I was intensely shy an insecure.  I felt anything I said would sound just as stupid as I believed myself to be.
The teacher finally excused me to go to the bathroom and wash my face.  I had never felt so humiliated.  Out of a full class of 6th graders, why was I THE ONLY ONE who couldn’t give an oral report?Social anxiety and intense shyness, coupled with sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, had left me silent.
Fast forward 24 years.I am the keynote speaker at a women’s retreat scheduled for September 27th and 28th.  I have found my voice!  But only through the powerful healing of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  You can have that healing as well, dear ones.I have the special privilege of being on the launch team for Jo Ann Fore’s book, When a Woman Finds Her Voice.  I encourage you to pre-order your copy today.  I trust the Lord is going to use Jo Ann’s story to embolden a new generation of ladies to speak out for Him.  Silent no longer.Read the words of Exodus 4:10-12 (NIV)
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”Will we ask Him to send someone else, or will we lift our voices and shout, “Pick me! Pick me!”

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Weapons of Righteousness

Momentary & Light Afflictions
 
In 2 Corinthians 4:17, the Apostle Paul refers to his afflictions as “momentary & light.” 
 
Yet, let’s read a little more about them:
 

“But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger…” 

2 Corinthians 6:4-5.

 
Wow! Do those sound “momentary and light” to you, dear reader? 
Let’s look at verses 6 & 7 to help shed some light:
 
“….in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right and left.”
 
Paul and others could endure the terrible hardships they faced by the purity, knowledge, patience and kindness of the Holy Spirit.  They didn’t fight their attackers with earthly tools. They had genuine love, the word of truth, the power of God…and the weapons of righteousness!  
 
How about you dear ones?  Will you respond to your attackers, or the hardships you are facing, in the flesh, with fleshly tools?  Or will you respond with the weapons of righteousness?  
Perhaps you wonder, what is a weapon of “righteousness”?  
 
When referring to the relationship between person and person, The New Concise Bible Dictionary, defines righteousness in this way: “An action which conforms to the requirement of relationship and promotes well-being and peace.”
 
Are you feeling like your circumstances are too hard? Too overwhelming?  Too unfair to respond in righteousness?
Listen to all the “yets” in verses 8-10.
 
“By glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; 
regarded as deceivers and YET true; 
as unknown YET well-known, 
as dying YET behold, we live; 
as punished YET not put to death, 
as sorrowful YET making many rich, 
as having nothing YET possessing all things.”
 
Remember, dear ones!  The afflictions are temporary, the glory they are producing in us, eternal!  
 
Will you respond in righteousness today?

I’ve Been Set Free!

image“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17
“This light and liberty are transforming;  we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, from one degree of glorious grace unto another, till grace here be consummated in glory forever.  How much  therefore should Christians prize and improve these privileges! We should not rest contented without an experimental knowledge of the transforming power of the gospel, by the operation of the Spirit, bringing us into a conformity to the temper and tendency of the glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Matthew Henry
Now that is something to dance about!