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Posts tagged ‘Garden of Eden’

8 Steps to Breaking Addiction in Your Life.

(© Madja/

It’s 6 a.m., and the alarm is beeping relentlessly. Decision time: Slap the snooze bar, or up and at ’em?

These days my feet hit the floor with great anticipation for what the Lord has planned for me. In prayer and in His Word, I get my marching orders for the 24 hours ahead.

It was not always that way. Before my life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ in 1980, my bed was my hiding place; the clock, my enemy; sleep, anidol. If only I could hide in eternal night, free from the responsibilities of marriage, family, life in general. I hated myself, and I was sure God hated me too.

Each new day was torment for me. Desolate, depressed and despairing, I held my husband and children hostage with my unpredictable mood swings. The addictions and compulsive behaviors that wreaked havoc in my life were like idols on a throne: alcoholism, prescription drugs and a host of cross-addictions to such things as cigarettes, soap operas, the occult, shopping, exercise, volunteering, food and toxic relationships.

My life was out of control. If one thing didn’t work, I’d try another. And another. Even death began to seem like a welcome change of scenery.

Little did I know that the Divine Physician stood patiently by, waiting for me to surrender my destructive self-will to Him. His plans were to heal me and prosper me, to give me a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).

But I was too distracted by my idols to notice.

A Recipe for Pain

How did I arrive at such a place of painshame and rage? Actually, I followed the classic recipe. Place the following ingredients in a mixing bowl:

  • dysfunctional family in which the child’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs are not met
  • One or two addictive parents, hooked on something—alcohol, drugs, work, food
  • Abuse—sexual, emotional or verbal
  • Poor personal boundaries
  • Fear of rejection or abandonment

Add a heaping spoonful of shame. Fold in unforgiveness, rebellion, pride. Add a pinch of perfectionism, control, low self-worth, anxiety and denial. Sift in generational curses and family secrets.

Mix thoroughly until batter is well-blended. Warning: Mixture will tend to be lumpy. Bake anyway for several years in an alternately hot and cold oven.

My dad was a workaholic; my mom, a ferocious fighter of dust and wrinkles (she had OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder). I was an only child, the glue in their loveless marriage. When I was 5, an uncle sexually molested me.

As an adult, I was an easy mark for Satan’s heavy artillery of addictions, compulsive behaviors and unchecked emotions. These became idols that usurped God’s rightful place in my life—just as the enemy had intended.

Bill W., founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, called addictive behaviors “self-will run riot.” Self, the baby, wants the throne all to itself, surrounded by its toys: alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, work—the list is endless.

But there is good news. Our wonderful Father God will move heaven and earth on our behalf to set us free from compulsions and addictions by the power of His Holy Spirit. His arm is not too short to reach us in the deepest pit of our sin and rebellion.

The key word: surrender. We must surrender our self-will and seek God’s will for our lives.

Tearing Down Idols

The flesh is a relentless, carnivorous beast. Its insatiable appetite cannot be appeased—except by divine intervention and healing.

If only we would realize that Christ alone can meet the needs we attempt to satisfy by indulging our fleshly desires. In Him, we can be overcomers; with Him, nothing is impossible. All other idols must fall away when we put Him on the throne of our lives.

Idolatry occurs whenever we put anyone or anything—spouses, children, careers, ministries, addictions—equal to or above God. When we are more responsive to their demands than to His will, we’ve plunged into idol worship.

God is a jealous God. He will share His glory and His rightful place in our lives with no other. “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,” He told us (Ex. 20:5, NIV).

God created us to have fellowship with Him. In fact, this is the reason He sent Jesus—to restore the intimacy He had with us before Adam and Eve destroyed it in the Garden of Eden.

God’s love toward us is like a refiner’s purifying fire (Mal. 3:2-3). When we feel as if the heat is being turned up underneath us, it probably is!

God is shaking everything that can be shaken in our lives, our families and our churches so that all the idols we have put before Him will fall down. He is preparing a bride who will have neither spot nor wrinkle.

Our compulsions and addictions must fall! Embracing the purification process is the first step toward true freedom in Christ. To begin, you must:

1. Repent of your idolatry. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices'” (Ezek. 14:6).

2. Seek His forgiveness for your specific acts of idolatry. List them. Ask Him to do “divine angioplasty” on your heart, to surgically remove bitterness, judgments and unforgiveness. What wounds, what negative attitudes are hiding there? Ask Him to reveal the root causes of your struggle so that you may be healed and set free.

3. Be reconciled to those you have “aught” against or who have “aught” against you.Remember, forgiveness is not an option if we want the Lord to forgive us. It is a decision of the will; the feelings will follow.

Perhaps the greatest access Satan has to the church is our unwillingness to forgive those who have offended us. Be reconciled now—to God, to others and to yourself.

4. Accept the fact that you must change certain things in your life. As the saying goes, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

5. Prioritize your life. Your priorities are out of kilter if they’re not God first; your family, second; and work or ministry, third.

6. Take an inventory of the stumbling blocks in your lifethose people, things and circumstances that seem to trip you up on a regular basis. How do they interfere with your relationship with God, your family, your work?

7. Make good friends of discipline and obedience. They work together as a matched pair. You’ll sabotage your journey to freedom without them.

8. Most importantly, give the Lord the “first fruits” of all you have and all you are. Spend quality time with Him each day in prayer, meditation, reading His Word. Praise Him! Worship Him! Adore Him! He already adores you. Even though you may feel like a miserable failure, in His eyes you are a winner—an overcomer.

He created in each of us a special “God-space,” a place in our hearts that is His alone. It’s His sanctuary, His throne room. False idols are not allowed!

He reigns sovereign and supreme in His great glory, and He calls us to join Him: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:21).

The Hound of Heaven

My life turned around miraculously in 1979. A faithful group of prayer warriors in Billings, Mont., where I lived at the time, put me on their “Ten Most Wanted List.” They had heard of my third suicide attempt and my admission to the Montana State Mental Hospital at Warm Springs.

“Lord,” they prayed, “send someone across Sandy’s path to tell her how much You love her.”

A beautiful young woman named Karen appeared at the hospital. She’d lost her fiancé in an automobile accident and was inconsolable. Daily she cried out to Jesus.

She became my “hound of heaven,” following me constantly and telling me that Jesus loved me and had a plan for my life—a plan that didn’t include destroying myself.

How could He love a pile of garbage like me? I wondered.

Then one night, Karen awakened me from a deep sleep. She had a desperate look in her eyes. “Does Jesus love me, Sandy?” she wailed.

I struggled out of bed and held her in my arms. She was like a sobbing child.

“Yes, Karen,” I said. “Jesus loves you.” And at that moment, everything changed. It was as though my body had been struck by lightning.

I knew that I had been touched miraculously by God’s mighty hand. In those predawn hours, the idols on my throne began to shake at their very foundations. I knew I would never be the same.

A few years later, wanting to send Karen a copy of my book, The Compulsive Woman, I wrote the institution to try to track down her address. I gave them all the identifying information I could think of.

A few weeks later, they sent a reply: There was no record of a patient named Karen fitting that description. Karen, I believe, was an angel sent by God to rescue me—to pull me out of the miry, hellish pit of life-threatening addictions and compulsions and set my feet on the solid Rock of my salvation.

My odyssey back from that pit was not easy. God used a combination of the spiritual and the secular: alcoholism treatments, group therapy, intense counseling, alcohol support group meetings and prayer, prayer, prayer. He lovingly tailor-made just the right recovery program for me. The process took time, hard work, patience and a crucial ingredient: a sense of humor.

And God’s not done with me yet. After conquering many addictions and compulsive behaviors with His help, I found myself raising up a new idol after the death of my beloved husband, Len, in 1996.

It seemed as if bedtime was not such a monster if I ate a pint of toffee-crunch ice cream first. After months of this decadent nightly ritual, I wondered why my clothes were shrinking. I was literally swallowing my grief—”eating” my feelings of loneliness and sadness so I wouldn’t have to feel them.

But the Lord didn’t let me get away with hiding in my compulsion and denial. Once again, He led me to surrender my self-will to Him, and another idol came crashing down.

One by one by one, the idols in my life have been replaced by the only One to whom all praise and worship is due. Today I am a new creation, free in Christ! “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36, NKJV). And if Jesus set me free, He will do the same for you.


Sandra LeSourd is a popular conference speaker and lecturer on the topic of chemical dependency and compulsive behavior. She is the author of The Compulsive Woman and The Not-So-Compulsive Woman.

Whose Fault Is It?.

R. Loren Sandford
R. Loren Sandford

You may think me extreme or alarmist (and I’m not so thick-skinned that this won’t bother me), but I feel less free as an American today than I did before 2008, and this both frightens and grieves me. What troubles me even more, however, is that I am convinced Americans will once more believe the false promises and lies they will be told in the next election cycle—and the one after—so that we will once again vote away another batch of our freedoms.

You don’t believe me when I say we are losing our freedoms? What little we’re consciously aware of may seem small and negligible—even a small price to pay for things like health care and domestic safety—but over time it adds up. Most of us don’t realize how much we’ve already lost. Lately I’ve been hearing firsthand stories I can’t share because they were told to me in confidence. Trust me when I say that ominous trends are underway.

Maybe all of this is just my prophetic nature that lets me feel the future coming. Maybe you’ll think I’m just wrong. But agree with me or not, this is a season for concentrated prayer. On that point I think we can all agree. At the very least, we in the body of Christ need more time to prepare for what must inevitably unfold. We desperately need an awakening and a turning toward holiness exercised in love and grace, and we need men and women of God in leadership both in and out of the church who will lead us there.

It would be a mistake to blame this on a sinister government. The root of the problem lies in the rapid disintegration of our culture of which our government is only a reflection. Historically, it seems to me that a culture can descend into lawlessness and evil very quickly but to develop a culture that conditions its people for the good takes a very long time. For example, although the seeds of evil were sown at the end of the First World War, Germany, an educated and civilized nation, moved from democracy to dictatorship and genocide in the space of just five to six years. Had the victorious allies shown mercy and not exacted reparations, it might have been a different story, but once evil took root, it didn’t take long to wreak havoc on the whole world.

We adopted slavery in the U.S. almost from the beginning of colonization. That evil institution established itself very quickly and began to warp the thinking of an entire people toward non-white races, blinding Americans to the application of the very principles of liberty and faith on which the nation was ultimately founded. Later, after decades of debate and conflict over abolition, we fought the Civil War, the bloodiest in our history, and freed the slaves—but then another hundred years passed before we could establish civil rights for the descendants of the slaves we freed. Wickedness took root very quickly and became a culture. It has taken a century and a half to begin to overcome the evil of the cultural attitudes slavery spawned and create a culture of equality and respect. And we have yet a long way to go! Evil comes as quickly as a momentary wrong decision—witness Eve in the Garden of Eden—but establishing the good takes time.

Western culture, especially in America, has deteriorated very quickly on a number of fronts in less than a lifetime, and it will take time to repair it, assuming we still can. The moorings that bound us to solid Judeo-Christian morality and integrity have largely been severed. The evidence? Divorce as a percentage of all marriages has increased from 4 percent to 51 percent since my childhood in the 1950s, with the resulting devastation to children raised in broken homes. For the first time in our history, more than half of all babies born in the U.S. are now born out of wedlock. Sexual abuse runs rampant. Our prisons have become overcrowded as the number of inmates has exploded. Drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions. We are crumbling as a nation.

All of this is reflected in our political situation in the laws and executive orders that government officials feel they must pass and the actions they take. When a self-centered population loses its sense of godly morality and accountability, rejecting the idea that a righteous God hands down absolutes to ensure the well-being of society and everyone in it, then government steps in to fill the vacuum with force and control to protect us from ourselves. Freedoms are lost when morality becomes relative to the feelings of the individual and when the culture rejects the concept of a holy God who judges evil.

Our Congress and our president have clearly failed us, even lied to us in order to manipulate our perceptions to get their way, but they are not the root of our problems. They merely reflect what we all have fallen into.

Where is the selflessness of the cross and the loving sacrifice it represents? Where is godly morality that ensures the loving sanctity of marriage, family and society as a whole? Where are the reconcilers who understand we have been given the ministry of reconciliation? Where are the Elijahs with the courage to confront evil and idolatry but to do it with genuine love?

Pray for the rise of a new generation of righteous leaders both in and out of the church who really get it while there is still time to prepare. The days are crucial, and the clock is ticking. We can shine gloriously as lights in the growing darkness or we can find ourselves overwhelmed by it. Let us choose the glory!

R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colo. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic People, The Prophetic Church and his latest, Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look For and How to Prepare, which are available with other resources at the church’s website. 

Enjoying Sex God’s Way.


The Bible‘s prohibitions against our misusing our sexuality are there to protect us, not to punish us.

As a Christian gynecologist, I have had the privilege of treating thousands of women during the last two decades. Many of them have had the courage to ask questions about one of the most private aspects of their lives: their sexuality. The issues have ranged from the values of virginity to sexually transmitted diseases; from wedding night romance to the challenges of geriatric sexual relations; from birth control to plastic surgery.

The majority of couples struggle with these sensitive and important issues of marriage in a spiritual vacuum. They wonder how their faith in Christ and their human sexuality can peacefully coexist. Sensing that there must be more to their sexual lives than they are experiencing but wondering if God really approves of these secret desires, they ask themselves: Is sex the forbidden fruit?

Sex Is God’s Idea

Of the many hundreds of questions I have been asked, the fundamental theme remains: What does God think about sex? The answer I give is the response I received from my pastor in my youth when I asked the same question: It’s God’s idea!

God created the sexes and sexual intercourse. He instilled the sexual drive into our bodies, knowing it would work its way into our thoughts and minds. He is not ashamed of our sexuality, nor does He regret creating it.

From the second chapter of Genesis throughout the pages of Scripture we can read about God’s plan for our sexuality. And from one passage to the next, the theme is one of pleasure, joy and fulfillment within the boundaries He has created.

Yet many Christians mistakenly perceive that the few hedges of protection God placed around our sexuality indicate that God is against sex. The truth is, our sexuality is God’s gift to us, not just for reproduction, as many in the church seem to believe, but also for intimacy and pleasure in the comfort of marriage. And yes, He knows how much fun it is. He made it that way!

But for so long, the church has looked at the way the fallen world has expressed itself sexually and closed its doors to all discussions of sex, seemingly fearing that the influences of the secular world will corrupt the holiness of the church.

The sometimes irresponsible approach of the church to human sexuality has left many sincere Christians sitting in their church pews each Sunday wondering if God is for or against sex. Is God condemning them as they struggle with questions for which they desperately need answers and for feelings that threaten their very walk with Him? The answer is, absolutely not!

I can tell you on the authority of the Bible that God is definitely interested in your sexual life—and not just so He can say, “Don’t do that!” He longs for you to experience all He has created you for from the beginning. Though we may not achieve what we would have had in the Garden of Eden, we can surely take hold of a lot more than we currently enjoy, and we can do it without the guilt and condemnation that has so often hounded the sincere Christian.

Consider God’s motivation for creating a companion for Adam and His ultimate design for their relationship. During God’s creation process, He said: “‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'” (Gen. 2:18, NIV). Then, according to Scripture, “The Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’…For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (vv. 22-24).

It was God who created a beautiful woman and brought her to Adam as His precious gift to him. When Adam saw how Eve was made, he also learned how his body fit together with hers. The two became one flesh, which is how the rest of us got here!

In fact, God’s first command to them was to “‘be fruitful and increase in number'” (Gen. 1:28). In other words, God told them to have intercourse; it was their first assignment as a couple!

Boundaries for Sexual Activity  

Clearly, God is the one who initiated sex as an activity to be enjoyed between two people who are married to each other. However, He states in His Word that it is not to be engaged in outside this parameter. Whole chapters in the Old Testament are devoted to the regulation of sexual activity (Lev. 18; 20).

In the pagan cultures that surrounded the people of Israel, sexual activity between father and daughter, mother and son, brother and sister, or men and animals was not uncommon. Homosexuality was also a problem. So God established boundaries for His people and commanded them not to engage in these types of sexual activity.

The few rules He established were designed to distinguish the Israelites from the pagan cultures around them. But they were also a hedge of protection around the sanctity of the family in places where sinful sexual practices had destroyed the foundation of those cultures. God did not want the nation of Israel to fall victim to the same fate.

But some Christians read chapters 18 and 20 of Leviticus, in which the punishment for sexual sin is specified as death by stoning, and conclude that God is fierce and vengeful, ready at any moment to strike them down if they sin sexually. They forget that God is also a God of grace and forgiveness. The boundaries still exist to protect us, but forgiveness is ours for the asking because of Calvary.

New Testament heroes reveal little information of their marital lives to us. But Paul teaches us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy unto God (Rom. 12:1). He reminds us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we must strive to honor God with it (1 Cor. 6:18).

So how does one honor God with his body, be an acceptable temple for the Holy Spirit, live holy before God, and yet experience the joys and delights of sexual union? Many of us have thought that when the Bible says to present our bodies as living sacrifices, it really means sacrificing a fulfilling and exciting sex life.

We find ourselves envying those television and movie “role models” who seem to enjoy sex with guiltless abandon. Some of us escape into the fantasy world of romance novels, soap operas or worse, pornographic videos, to become spectators of a dark and lonely life from which we have been set free. This dilemma seems especially difficult for those of us who carry memories of a pre-conversion sexual life that was fulfilling.

Though the secular world has, admittedly, pushed the envelope of sexual exploration to extremes, we as a church have been robbed of our inheritance in Christ. The lack of proper scriptural interpretation and explanation of God’s true design for marriage hinders a mutually satisfying intimacy with our spouse.

We have had too few champions from the pulpit to encourage us to reclaim what has been stolen from us. Much preaching that touches the topic of sexuality has emphasized the sins of sex with little, if any, reference to the joy of sex that God ordained.

A New Look at Biblical and Medical Truths 

Thankfully, a new generation of spiritual leaders is dedicated to reclaiming the sexually broken and to teaching young adults a godly pattern for beginning their marriages. We are living with an epidemic of divorce, adultery, fornication, sexually transmitted diseases and pornography.

Yet God has given wonderful promises in His Word to all who would hear and be set free by its truth. And, perhaps surprisingly, the Bible reveals beautiful examples of the pleasures that proper sexual expression should bring to our lives.

The Song of Solomon is undoubtedly the largest and most detailed biblical example of the beauty of sexual life God intended us to share. But it is by no means the only example. The Book of Proverbs warns against adultery while extolling the pleasures of intimacy in your own house:

“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. … Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love” (Prov. 5:15, 17-19).

This passage contains a simple instruction about enjoying sexuality in a healthy way. In the New Testament, Jesus quotes from the Book of Genesis regarding God’s intention for marriage:

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Mark 10:6-9).

Jesus reminds us that from the very beginning it was God’s intention that man and woman come together sexually and become one flesh, a condition that occurs only in intercourse. This drive to unite is so strong that a man will leave the comforts of home and all that is familiar to begin a new life with his wife. This bond is so important to God that He commands that no man separate it.

The undeniable truth is that God wants you to have great and satisfying sex; it’s His idea. By following specific and appropriate boundaries, we can have a life and marriage that are not only satisfying to us but also pleasing to the One who made us.


Scott FarhartM.D., the author of Intimate and Unashamed, from which this article is adapted.

Why Christians Are Broke.

girl in poverty
(© humonia iStockPhoto)

The Bible says we are to be witnesses in all the earth. It’s very important that we not only tell people about Jesus but also live in a way that testifies of His goodness.

No one witnessed to me about Jesus when I was in the world. My mentality was so far from God that if a person wanted to minister to me, he could not approach me from a religious standpoint.

Most of the people I knew who claimed to be saved painted an undesirable picture of salvation. I will never forget Mrs. Christina, a woman who lived five houses down from me when I was in the military at Fort Stewart, Ga.

She was a Christian who always told me that she had Jesus but never told me how I could get Him. Her living conditions were not the best, and she was always in desperate need of the simple necessities for herself and her children.

At the time, my goals in life were to have money and be famous. My exposure to the athletic world led me to believe I would find a husband who would sweep me off my feet and move me to Hollywood. Instead, the man I met swept me off my feet and moved me to a mental institution.

When Mrs. Christina sat at my kitchen counter telling me about her hard times, I was at a low place in my life. I felt as if I could not fight anymore. I was coming to the realization that I needed something, but I did not know what it was.

I remember that she would pause every now and then in the midst of her bad luck stories and shout, “Hallelujah,” “Praise God,” or “Thank You, Jesus!” I could not tell which one of us was in a worse condition.

I was a heathen and far from knowing Jesus. But Mrs. Christina knew Him only from a religious standpoint. She had no concept of Jesus as her deliverer and provider.

My natural instincts told me that if she served a God who was so powerful and loved her so much, He would not allow her family to starve every night. Mrs. Christina would quote the few Scriptures she had memorized, but something on the inside of me knew she had no idea what she was saying.

My compassion for her was great because I could not imagine my babies being continually hungry. At least once a week, I cleaned out my refrigerator and gave her family all the food I could spare.

They lived in a house built by the government, so their mortgage was little or nothing. Still, their lights were often turned off, and their furniture had an odor that I’d smelled on her clothing. I am convinced that scent is related to the spirit of poverty.

Demons are referred to in the Bible as foul, unclean spirits. The definition of foul is “to be putrid, offensive and impure.”

Today, I can detect the same odor that was in Mrs. Christina’s house in many homes. My husband and I share the belief that there is a distinct odor that accompanies poverty and lack.

Poverty Complacency

The spirit of poverty has elements that a person does not need a spiritual gift to detect. For example, in the neighborhoods where I grew up, it is common to live with roaches. Christians do not have to call down fire or speak in tongues to get rid of them; just call an exterminator!

Some have been offended when I’ve ministered in this area. However, I know from experience that the devil will trick a person’s mind to make him or her think living in a roach-infested house is normal.

My ministry has been very effective in what we call the “guttermost,” but sometimes my messages have to get down and dirty. I remember hearing the Holy Ghost say one day, “There are demons in the dirt!”

When I started preaching on spiritually and physically cleaning house, a few people felt as if I was picking on them about something they could not help. I understood where they were coming from because I had been there and done that, too. But as an apostle of God, it was my responsibility to let them know they did not have to stay where they were.

Many people who have lived in ghetto environments and survived welfare were never taught basic principles of living. This is the mentoring aspect of evangelism. Sometimes we have to get involved in the private lives of people.

There is a spirit that will make you settle for less. I know the signs, and they all add up to what I call “poverty complacency.” People get used to empty refrigerators, having milk once a week or having to get gas money from the people they are picking up for church.

These things should be dealt with immediately. They are unacceptable spiritual assignments that will keep people from fulfilling God’s vision for their lives.

Staying on top of everyday issues, such as maintaining a good driving record, having auto insurance and changing the oil in their cars is not common in the lives of many of the people I deal with. No one ever took the time to teach them that these are priorities in life.

They are used to hustling. And when people conform to what they have always been exposed to, their potential for transformation is destroyed. Without transformation of the mind, there will be no transition to the next level.

Numbers 14:24 says that Caleb and Joshua had “another spirit,” one that was different from that of the others who were wandering in the wilderness. The word spirit in this passage is ruwach. One of the meanings of this Hebrew word is “mind.”

Joshua and Caleb did not focus on what they were up against in life. They said, “Not only are we able, but we are well able!” (See Numbers 13:30, KJV.) They went forward to possess what God had promised them.

The other folk in the wilderness had no hope of transition. Just like Mrs. Christina, they came out of darkness (Egypt), but they never entered the marvelous light (the land of milk and honey). After God delivers us from whatever our Egypt was, we must get a new attitude in order to enter into the fullness of salvation.

The word salvation means more than going to church every week. It is soteria in the Greek, and it means “welfare, safety, deliverance and health.”

I understand that people will have challenges in life, but we must consider the vicious cycle of the python spirit of poverty. It is so called because it slowly squeezes the provision out of a person’s life. It will allow much to go out and nothing to come in.

Financial Curses in the Word

A sure sign of the poverty spirit is a lot of bills with no provision to pay them. These financial curses found in the Scriptures must be recognized and then renounced:

The curse of Cain. Because of Cain’s actions—withholding his best offering from God and killing his brother in a jealous rage—he was banished from the presence of the Lord and cursed in his ability to produce a harvest.

Cain was also subject to wander in the land of Nod, east of the Garden of Eden. When we try to hold back on God, we end up with nothing. But Proverbs 3:9 says if we honor the Lord with all our substance and the firstfruits of all our increase, God will fill our barns with plenty.

The curse of Malachi. Malachi 3:10-11 tells us to bring all the tithes into the storehouse. When we obey this principle, God promises to open the windows of heaven over our heads and rebuke the hand of the devourer on our behalf.

Many are plagued with curses because they do not honor God in their tithes and offerings. These are holy unto God.

Some make the mistake of not releasing their tithes in their minds. Mentally, they follow the money to the offering room, the bank and even the board meeting, worrying about how it is spent.

The word holy means “separated unto God.” Our tithing is not pleasing unto the Lord until we have the right attitude about it.

The curse of Haggai. The people’s disobedience to God produced bad fruit and brought poverty into their lives in several ways:

  • They expected much, but little came in. The little they brought in, God blew away (Hag. 1:9).
  • Heaven withheld its dew, and their crops failed (v. 10).
  • God decreed a drought on the ground and on the work of men’s hands (v. 11).

God was angry because His house was wasted. The people said that it was not time for the Lord’s house to be rebuilt; instead, they took care of the needs of their own houses (vv. 2-3).

The generational curse of poverty. Exodus 20:5 explains that the iniquities of the fathers can affect as many as four generations.

If the fathers do not hearken to the voice of the Lord to do His commandments, poverty is one of the curses that shall be a sign upon their seed. Deuteronomy 28:46 says, “And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.”

The curse of Ananias and Sapphira. In a time of great revival, the people were laying their offerings at the feet of the apostles (Acts 5:34-37). But Ananias and Sapphira withheld from the church a portion of the profits from the sale of their property and lied about it to the Holy Ghost. Both of them received the same punishment—death—when Peter exposed their sin.

Through God’s power, all these financial curses can be broken. I have seen people with tragic situations miraculously set free. But I get the greatest joy out of seeing a poverty-stricken person transition into the financial promises of God.

Liberty From Lack

The keys to freedom from poverty are available to every one of us who is willing to do what God tells us in His Word. If you will start being faithful in your tithes and offerings; if you will honor God’s house and seek to pass on a godly inheritance to the next generation, then you can begin to reverse the curses mentioned and, with God’s help, break their power over your life.

As a preacher and an apostle to the nations, I feel that my ministry is not fulfilling the vision of Christ unless the lives of the people around me are changed for the better. I believe it is a sin to live below the standard that God has given us.

Jesus died so that we would not have to suffer from poverty and lack. When He came to set the captives free, He took the chains off our bank accounts and unlocked our minds, too. Selah! (Pause and think on that.)

The church doesn’t need any more Mrs. Christinas making Jesus appear unconcerned about a person’s physical condition. You can walk in victory over the spirit of poverty and lack and give others a reason to hope for their own deliverance.

Allow God to bring the transformation in your life that will take you to the next level. Then His blessings will become a reality that everyone can witness.


Kimberly Daniels is the author of From aMess to a Miracle, published by Creation House Press, from which this article is adapted.

Kirk Cameron Film Explores Age-Old Question of Good and Evil.


Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron releases a new documentary next week called ‘Unstoppable.’ (Facebook)

Actor Kirk Cameron releases a new documentary next week called Unstoppable.

In it, he explores an age-old question: Why does God allow suffering and evil in the world?  Cameron said that is the question that often wrecks people’s faith.

The film, he says, is based on a true story. Cameron recently lost a teenage friend to cancer—a tragedy that sent him searching for answers.

“That event really hit me hard,” he told CBN News. “It really pulled all of the air out of my lungs because this was a good boy, a boy from a great family who loved God and went to church.

“And when he died,” Cameron continued, “and God did not heal him in spite of all the prayers, in spite of all the people crying out to God, it really caused me to ask the big question: Where is God in the midst of my tragedy?”

Cameron said Unstoppable takes him on the most personal journey of his life where he has to examine his own faith, and he does it by going all the way back to the origins of good and evil.

“What I discovered is that it’s much better to understand your tragedy and mine in the context of a much larger story,” he said. “And so what I do is I try to take you up to heaven’s balcony and give you a wide-angle-lens view of history, and we start in the Garden of Eden.”

In the film, Cameron said he overcomes his own doubts and that he comes out on the other side of this meat grinder even stronger in his faith.

“Regardless of our background—whether you’re Jewish or Christian, Muslim or atheist or agnostic— we all ask this question,” he told CBN News.

“It’s easier to be excited about your beliefs, whatever they are, when things are going well in your life, when you’re happy and healthy,” he added. “But when the roof comes down and you get hit by something you didn’t see coming, all of a sudden the questions begin. I think you will come out on the other end of this movie not having your faith shredded like has happened to many, but you will have it strengthened like it did for me.”

Back in July, Unstoppable created a social media firestorm when Facebook and YouTube blocked access to the movie trailer. That’s when over half a million of the actor’s fans rallied around him.

Facebook later said it was just a mistake and both sites ended up removing the block.

Unstoppable opens in theaters Tuesday. That night, Cameron will broadcast a special event from Liberty University. He said he wants to settle once-and-for all that good is stronger than evil and that faith is stronger than doubt.

A thousand times better…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…”
1 Peter 1:3-4

In his death and resurrection, Jesus goes from being an itinerant preacher that had a few disciples, to paving the way for God and humankind to be reconnected just as we were in the Garden of Eden. And when the Holy Spirit falls on his disciples, these men and women go from being just people following a great, healing prophet’s moral teaching to realize that, no, this is the Son of God who has filled us with his power. They went through a death when they lost their great leader, but they also went through a resurrection.

So, this becomes the whole theme of the New Testament – death and resurrection. We die to sin that we may be raised alive in him, especially in a Church that was persecuted, where people were dying left and right for their faith.

The Church father Tertullian said the blood of a martyr is seed. You kill one martyr and a thousand others will spring up in his place. That’s the spirit of Christianity. There is this hope that, no matter how much loss or death comes, we don’t say that we like death – we hate death, we hate loss – but we believe by faith that we serve a God who takes the death and the loss and the horrible things that happen in life and he turns it around for good.

God can take even something that we thought was just incredible, so great, and allow it to die so that he may convert it into something that is a thousand times better.

Prayer: Dear Lord, though I fear loss and death, in spite of it, I also look forward to what you have in store for my life. I know that when I am mourning, soon I will be welcoming your next blessing in my life. Amen.

Reflection: When you have lost something in your life, describe a time that God redeemed that loss with something even better.

Seeing God in Your Work.

Seeing God in Your Work

The difference between barbarism and culture is, simply, work. Lester DeKoster

If you’re like me, you’ve often heard the saying that “work is a curse” as result of the fall in the Garden of Eden. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

Our Original Purpose
In the beginning, prior to sin, God assigned Adam and Eve important work. In Genesis 2 we read about man’s first day of work: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15).

We were created to be stewards of God’s creation through our work. The opening two chapters of Genesis provide a foundation for how God sees work, culture, and our responsibility. This same perspective extends throughout the Scriptures.

Work is not a curse, but a gift from God given to us before the fall, although the effects of the fall make our work frustrating and difficult at times (Gen. 3:17–19). By our work, we employ useful skills to glorify God, love our neighbors, and further God’s kingdom.

The Original Worker
We can better understand our work assignment from God by studying the work that he did in creation, when he brought order out of chaos. A gardener does something similar when he creatively uses the materials at his disposal and rearranges them to produce additional resources for mankind.

We were created to be stewards of God’s creation through our work.

Thus, Adam’s work in the garden can be seen as a metaphor for all work. Tim Keller offers the following definition of work: “Rearranging the raw materials of a particular domain to draw out its potential for the flourishing of everyone.”

For example, an architect takes steel, wood, concrete, and glass and rearranges them for the flourishing of mankind. A musician rearranges the raw material of sound to produce music. That is what Adam was called to do in the garden, and that is what we are still called to do in our work today.

God’s Call to Work
In the opening chapter of Genesis, God gave Adam a job description. It is called the “cultural mandate,” also sometimes called the “creation mandate:” “God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Gen. 1:28).

By our work, we employ useful skills to glorify God, love our neighbors, and further God’s kingdom.

Why is it called “the cultural mandate?” According to Merriam-Webster, a “mandate” is an “authoritative command; especially: a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one,” or “an authorization to act given to a representative.” This is clearly a command given directly by God the Creator to Adam and Eve, his creation.

In her book Total TruthNancy Pearcey explains why it has been called the “cultural” mandate:

The first phrase, “be fruitful and multiply,” means to develop the social world: build families, churches, schools, cities, governments, laws. The second phrase, “subdue the earth,” means to harness the natural world: plant crops, build bridges, design computers, and compose music. This passage is sometimes called the Cultural Mandate because it tells us that our original purpose was to create cultures, build civilizations—nothing less.

Building Civilization
The cultural mandate was meant not only for Adam and Eve, but for us as well. To find satisfaction and meaning in our vocational callings, we must begin to understand the importance of the cultural mandate. It is the only way to see our work in a truly biblical framework.

The cultural mandate still stands as God’s directive for our stewardship of his creation. According to Dorothy Sayers, when we understand our work through the cultural mandate, we will finally see our work as “the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

Because of the curse of the fall, work can be difficult, frustrating, and dull. But Christians must understand that work itself is not part of the curse; it was part of God’s original plan for humanity. It is an opportunity for us to exercise our creativity, gifts, and interests in order to be effective stewards of God’s creation. With a proper understanding of the cultural mandate, Christians can use their work as part of their broader calling as servants of Christ.

What about you? How does understanding work as a calling from God change how you approach your studies, your job, and your time?.

Hugh Whelchel

Hugh Whelchel is the executive director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and author of How Then Should We Work?: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Hugh has a master of arts in religion and brings over 30 years of diverse business experience to his leadership at IFWE.

[Editor’s Note: Hugh’s article was originally posted at Resurgence.]

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