Monday, February 20, 2017

Shift in the Atmosphere



“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.’  He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.”  Psalms 2:1-6

Oh Lord, You see the vain plotting of those in the world who do not understand You.  Father, they are deceived and do not know what they do.  At one time, we may have even joined in their depraved chorus.  Lord, open the eyes of those cloaked in deception.  Father, may they see the truth to avoid Your judgement. May their words be turned from bringing death to speaking life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I recently read an article in a popular teen magazine that brought tears.  Not tears of joy or even sadness, but tears of pain.  My heart ached for the one who wrote the article and for those who would join in applauding her exposé. 

In the article, the writer gave advice to friends of teens who are about to have an abortion or just had an abortion.  Her ideas for comfort included a variety of superficial gifts that boasted to aid the physical ailments after her “procedure.”  What this author disturbingly missed and what so many in the world fail to accept is that no amount of physical effort can comfort the pain of the heart ripped in pieces from this “surgical procedure.”  As women, we were called to bring forth life, not destroy it.  Everything about abortion goes against nature.  It goes against our natural instinct to protect and nurture the life inside our womb.  However, pro-abortion groups constantly insist there are no emotional, mental or spiritual ramifications for abortion—only a medical procedure. 

In fact these groups would have us believe that not only is it no big deal, it is also the new normal.  The depravity astounds and defies sanity.  I wrote a post on how one in three or four women in our churches have had an abortion.  My reason for this post was to bring awareness that there are 1 in 3 or 4 women in our churches who have abortion-wounded hearts and need healing.  About a month ago, I read an article from a pro-abortion group that also brought up this statistic but not for the purpose of bringing awareness of healing.  Rather the goal was to show that abortion is normal.  The very thought makes this heart cringe in pain.  To think of destroying the life of the unborn as normal is barbaric and should not be considered a viable viewpoint.   

However, there is hope.  In the past month, legislation in the house and acts by our new President have proven to be consistently for life.  There has been a shift in the atmosphere and where there is a shift, there is bound to be turbulence.  We can expect to see more pro-abortion groups and those who support them to come out speaking in support of abortion. It is important to pray for these people.  Pray for the Lord to open their eyes and hearts to His truth.  Pray they see the hurt caused by abortion --as an unborn life taken and the mother and father hearts devastated.   Pray for life to continue to win and for the hope of light overcoming the darkness to spread from this shining city on a hill to the vast domains of the earth. 

As later on in Psalm 2 it says, “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.”  Amen. 


Monday, February 6, 2017

Why I Love White Crosses: My Journey From Anger to Love


"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."  Jeremiah 1:5

Father, we praise you and give you thanks for all you are doing in our nation to bring others the truth about life.  We thank you for servant leaders who will listen to your voice and stand for life. Your word says, “I bring before you life and death.”  The choice you give is simple.  From what we say to the actions we choose daily, we choose life or death.  I pray we would be a nation and a people that continually chooses life and honors life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

These past weeks have been historically significant regarding pro-life and the national March for Life was last weekend. Spring isn’t quite here in East Tennessee, but with all these happenings, there is a sense of new life emerging.  The atmosphere feels like a new day, a revolution of life bursting forth. However, there may be some whose pain has been awakened along with the revolution.  I understand your pain and there is hope.  Today, I want to share a story of a Spring in my life that was filled with pain and death.  The Lord healed me another Spring day, in April 2013 at my Deeper Still Retreat many years later…

The dogwood trees were blooming, shouting new life for all who passed. Squirrels scurried up and down the trees gathering nuts. The white blossoms sprinkled the blanket of emerald grass on the quad of my college campus. Many times I had traveled this path. Many days and hours were spent on this grass studying for a test or reading an assignment.    

But this day was different. This day as I walked home from a college class, the warm sun was reflected by the white flowers on the ground almost masking the larger cloud of white up ahead. I drew closer, the blurred image cleared and became a vision forever imprinted in my mind.

White Crosses. 

This was my first encounter with the crosses after my abortion.  As I walked up, I wondered what the crosses represented.  A sign was posted…

"Each cross represents the death of 1 million babies aborted."  


Anger rose from the depths of my soul--an anger hidden and buried. 

Spring was exploding with life, but all I saw was death.

Beside the white crosses, a sweet young college student stood handing out brochures. This brave young girl was taking a stand for life.  But I didn’t see her as brave or sweet.  Wounded eyes clouded my vision.  A soul filled with brokenness, depression, and void of hope was my processing filter.  Those crosses uprooted the wounds of my heart, my abortion-wounded heart.   

My thoughts raced, “How dare they put up those crosses!  How dare they make a marker for a grave that was never dug!  How dare they make this statement proclaiming with abortion there would be one dead, in need of a tombstone, in need of a white cross. Don't they know!  Don't they know the pain this causes?  Don't they care?  They don't know what I have been through.  They don't understand my pain.” 

The anger buried beneath the surface erupted like a carbonated beverage shook too hard and then abruptly opened.  All the pain pent up deep inside was unleased on that poor sweet girl.  Then I ran back to my college dorm.  Crying. Broken. Wounded.  Depressed. Hopeless.  

This outward manifestation was but a glimpse of the hemorrhaging happening on the inside, a cutting of my own affliction.  Those white crosses on a field of green sprinkled with white flowers revealed the anger and pain in me and my need for the Cross of Jesus, the only one who could heal my wounds and free me from the tormenting chains of shame, guilt, and anger.  

January 22 was Sanctity of Life Sunday.  Perhaps on your path over the last few weeks, you came across white crosses or other symbols of life.

Before I went to my Deeper Still retreat and received a deeper healing, the sight of white crosses made me cringe.  However, the white crosses no longer bring me pain. Now all I see is beauty. The white crosses are beautiful, lovely, and honoring.

Above are written some of my thoughts that spring day, “They don't know what I have been through.  They don't understand my pain.”

When we receive healing, it is then that we can begin to take our eyes off ourselves and our need for healing and begin to see the bigger picture and honor the children lost.  It becomes not about our pain any longer, but about a person—a person deserving of honor. 

Talking about abortion, the crosses, standing for life and sharing abortion testimonies will bring up pain in the abortion-wounded.  What I want others to understand is this tension is not bad.  In contrary, this is good.  We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when sharing about any topic, but perhaps hushing is hindering the Holy Spirit from doing a much needed work in people who need to hear the hard stuff.  God uses the hard to stir up a discontentment for the status quo and open eyes to our need for Him to heal.  It is easy to ignore the pain when it has been numbed and dormant.

The pain of recovery is temporal.  The pain of denial is infinite.

The crosses not only contribute to the revealing of the need for healing but also honor those deserving of honor. The crosses represent a life created in the image of God cut too short.  As a church body, we need to acknowledge those most vulnerable.  As a society, we need to acknowledge the loss suffered and offer healing.  These are not just crosses, they are lives and we honor them. 











Thursday, January 19, 2017

Come and See




“And Nathaneal said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’  Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’”  John 1:46

Oh Lord, we thank you for the miracles and wondrous works You have performed in Your people wounded from abortion.  Lord, I pray that as the stories are told, You are glorified and those in attendance at the banquet would come and see that You are our mighty Healer, whose mercies never fail.  Lord, we ask for You to do a mighty work at the banquet and may all Your purposes be fulfilled in it.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Prejudice can take hold and strangle the view of light.  When that hold is released, our eyes are opened to see the works of God in unexpected places. 

One of the first to follow Jesus was Philip.  Philip was a friend of Nathanael.  He went to him and told him about Jesus. 

“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote of Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’’  John 1: 45

However, Nathanael had a prejudice against those in Nazareth.  From reading research and commentaries, Nazareth was a small town and disregarded in stature.  The Jewish people had been waiting centuries for the Messiah to come as prophesied by Isaiah.  Pomp and circumstance were overshadowed by a manger and a small town man.  Nathanael had a predetermined idea of the Messiah and Nazareth didn’t fit the mold.  It was because of his preconceived ideas, he nearly missed a divine meeting with the Messiah. 

No matter where someone is from, this truth remains:  When God enters into the picture, He changes the darkest of circumstances into a bouquet of life.  The Lord loves using those we would least expect.  In fact,  1 Corinthians 1:27-28 states, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty, and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen.”

Abortion is dark.  Nothing good comes from it. And in fact, some may despise those who have had abortions.  But God loves to turn those overcome with darkness into dauntless warriors for His Kingdom proclaiming the truth of His love and life for all who will come and see. 
 
When God enters into that place where nothing good can come, He brings life where only death once reigned.  He showers down healing to the dry barren lands.  He shines light until all darkness is expelled.  He releases the slave and the captive is not only freed, but becomes a force of reckoning.  This is the miracle of meeting the Messiah.  This is the miracle one must come and see.
 
“Come and see the works of God;  He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.”  Psalms 66:5





Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Thrill of Hope



“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord ...Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, ‘ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”  Luke 2:11-14

Dear Heavenly Father, oh how we thank you for the gift of your son Jesus.  Thank you that through Him, we have hope of eternal life and can rejoice and find joy in life here on earth.  Thank you for such a precious gift. We pray for those who are weary to be able to find joy in you this Christmas and see your hope.  We love you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

I saw this sign the other day that read, “A Thrill of Hope, the Weary World Rejoices” and it has been in my mind ever since.  It is a line from the Christmas carol, “Oh Holy Night”.  This Christmas carol just happens to be my favorite!  However, for some reason this line never stood out to me before the other day. 

“A Thrill of Hope, the Weary World Rejoices.”

Maybe it is because being in ministry has magnified the weary condition of this world and how vast the need is for hope.   Maybe it is because I see how the wounds of abortion and other wounds bring much weariness on the people of this world.   This world needs the hope.  And true hope is only found in the  One who came in the dark of an oh so holy night long ago in the form of a baby…

Jesus. 

God is a God of hope.  Biblical hope is defined as “having an expectation of a positive outcome.”  We can have this expectation because our God is good and we can rest securely and confidently in His love.  Even when things look bleak or the outcome is different than we imagined, we can trust in the goodness of His love knowing He is working all things for good.  The angels even sang it when He was born!  (Can you even imagine being a shepherd that night and seeing that?!  Amazing!)

From what I have seen, many in this world are weary.  Are you weary?  Is the thought of Christmas heavy on your burdened heart? Maybe your marriage is struggling or the divorce papers have even been signed, maybe you lost a loved one recently, or you received a bad report at the doctor.  Or perhaps the wounds of past hurts and rejection still sting and grievously weigh down your heart.  Whatever has caused weariness, I hope to encourage you today.  God knows.  He sees.  He cares.  May the joy of the season surround you.   Hope is right there.  Reach out and grab onto hope. Hold onto hope tightly.  He is right there holding on with you. He won’t ever let go.  Step out in faith and dare to hope. For yonder waits a new and glorious morn! 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises (Romans 15:13).  This is my prayer for you today.  May you be overwhelmed with His presence this season and be full of the thrill of hope that you may rejoice in the Name above all names, Jesus!

May your Christmas truly be MERRY and BRIGHT!  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Much Love,

From all of us at Deeper Still!  We Love You!  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Power of Yes


“Then Mary said, ‘ Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ “ Luke 1:38

Father, Let our hearts be as Mary’s the night Gabriel spoke to her.  Let our hearts be filled with a “YES” to all You are wanting to do.  May our response be as Mary’s, “Let it be.”  In Jesus’s Name.

Christmas is approaching.  Wreaths are hung and lights are aglow.  Songs fill the air in department stores and restaurants celebrating the birth of our King Jesus.  And change occurs.  Those who normally wouldn’t lift up their voices in praise, begin praising unaware of the words on their lips.  All around we can admire the changes in the atmosphere as the One who came to save is celebrated.  

One song I love is a more recently written Christmas Carol, “Mary Did You Know.”  When Mary said, “Yes” to the request of her Lord, did she really know how the story would end?  Did she really know all the Lord was going to do?  Could she have known all that was to be?  I don’t believe she truly knew the weight.  I believe the Lord gave her a child-like faith to say yes without knowing all her yes would entail. 

When the Lord comes to us and asks us to do something for Him, He won’t give us all the details and the total plan.  If He did, we would be too overwhelmed.  However, if we step into the “Yes”, we will see miracles happen and see the glory of the Lord. 

Last year, I was faced with an opportunity to say yes or no to a request.  As I was praying about the decision at hand, I felt like I heard the Lord say in my spirit, “You can say no and nothing will change OR You can say yes and see what I will do.”  I was terrified of saying yes.  Fears of failure and insecurity rose up in me.  What if I fail?  What if everyone sees me fail?   But I knew deep within that my weaknesses would make room for the Lord to show up and be strong where I am weak.  
And. He. Did. 

2016 was a year full of the glory of the Lord and full of growth for Deeper Still, and I am so thankful I said yes and was able to witness and be a part of the miracles God did through this ministry.  Lives were changes across the globe.  There is much power in a yes.  What if I would have said no?  I believe the Lord would have risen up someone else to do whatever needed to be done.  However, I would have missed out on the blessing the Lord had for me and wanted to do in me. 

Can you imagine if Mary would have said no?  God would have chosen someone else and we would be singing songs with her name instead! 


What is it that the Lord is asking you to do?  Don’t be afraid.  Just step out in faith and believe. If He is asking you to do it, He will be with you.  For if you say no, nothing may change.  But, what if you say yes, and see what God will do?   As Gabriel said to Mary, “For with God nothing will be impossible.”  Step out in faith and say “Yes. Let it be”. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thank You! {A Testimony of One Life Changed}



“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

Dear Lord in Heaven,  how can we thank you enough.  Oh Lord, we give You thanks and praise for Your wondrous works!  Thank you for sending Jesus to set the captives free.  Thank you that because of Your love, we can live in freedom.  Our lives truly have been changed.  It is with all praise, glory and honor due Your Holy Name, that we pray. Amen.

To all those who support Deeper Still, we give thanks! Thank you for giving.  Thank you for donating time and financial resources.  Thank you for praying.  Thank you for serving.  We love you!  Through your time and resources, you are changing lives!  The following was an email we received from one of our male participant from the last retreat in Knoxville, TN.  It is with his permission that I am sharing this today.  On behalf of this man and all others touched by this ministry (myself including!), we say THANK YOU!!!!

"I have purposely refrained from saying anything because I wanted to give myself time to see if all this was real or just an emotional weekend that faded away as the days rolled by.

I generally cringe whenever I hear someone say something "changed my life" because, let's face it, that's a pretty tall order.  I mean, really?  It actually changed your life?  
How pliable one must be, I thought; That could never happen to me, as my clay had hardened into an impenetrable shell long ago and every retreat, program or lesson had only left me more hopeless than before.  Truthfully, I was sure that's what our weekend was going to be like, but I was desperate for healing.  Real healing!

Praise God!  What a life changing, awesome weekend I had.  Yeah, I know! I said "life changing".  And I truly mean it.  

I had carried around shame, guilt, fear, anger, sadness and hopelessness for what seemed like an eternity, but Jesus reached into my heart and removed all that junk.  At the same time He replaced it with a peace I haven't felt in a long time, if ever.  Words can't describe the monumental shift that has taken place in me.

I honestly feel/know that God has forgiven me and is not holding a grudge or waiting to destroy me.  I think what really put the icing on the cake was at the end of the song played during the memorial on Sunday.  When the child asked God what her mother had done, and He replied, "I don't remember".  Man, that still brings tears to my eyes.   He doesn't remember!!!

I want to thank everyone involved with the Deeper Still team (those we saw and those we didn't), and my sisters and brother that walked this journey and shared your souls with me.  

I pray for y'all daily and hope that God continues to bless you richly.  

Deeper Still team:  I can't thank you enough for your humble, selfless service to us and the attention to detail that brought much needed closure and made the weekend one that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

My heart is full of love for all my brothers and sisters!" – Keith (a man whose life was changed because of your giving.)

If you would like to donate to Deeper Still, find out how you can get involved, or if you need to come to a retreat and experience for yourself what awaits you on the mountain, please go to www.godeeperstill.org


Monday, November 7, 2016

Prayer for Deeper Still Training {And Thank You!}

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”  James 5:16b

Father, thank you for hearing and answering our prayers.  Thank you for your faithfulness.  Lord, we ask for the Deeper Still training this week to be full of your great power and produce wonderful results for your Kingdom purposes.  Set ablaze the hearts of those in attendance for your people’s freedom and healing.  Open our eyes.  Show us Your will.  Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Take us deeper and equip us to lead others to the deep with You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Erin Moore from Deeper Still of Central Illinois Chapter wrote this in an email to the Watchman on the Wall (WOW) prayer team after the October retreat in Illinois.  Her words convey the genuine gratitude we have for all of our prayer partners.  We are thankful for each and every one of you who pray for us!  We could not do this ministry without you.  As she says below, your involvement in this ministry by prayer is the most important “job” of all.  With all our hearts, we say thank you. 

And thank you Erin Moore for sharing with us today!

Dare I say that your "job" for the Deeper Still retreats is the most important one? I have had the privilege of serving onsite for 4 retreats and each time I realize that none of this could happen without the prayers of the saints. Through spiritual preparation (repentance, prayer, study of the Word, fellowship with the team), I can prepare as an onsite team member. However, when we arrive at the retreat site things change.

 The Holy Spirit is tangible amongst His people...from your prayers.

I can trust His still small voice completely...from your prayers

I can speak words to participants and be confident it's not from me but Him...from your prayers. 

I can tell a participant, "You can do this, there are 130 prayer warriors on their knees for you"...from your prayers. 

I can teach my segment and be confident in the Spirit...from your prayers.

We can do nothing apart from your prayers.

God does major heart surgery during the retreat. It is one step from heaven to witness a heart changed and renewed right in front of you. That is because of the sacrifice of time, energy, family, sleep that you give to us and your Lord over the weeks surrounding the retreat. I cannot wait for the day when you will be able to see what your prayers have accomplished for the kingdom of God. In the heavenlies when you can see with unveiled eyes the results of the prayers you lifted up for those the Lord called to heal for "such a time as this"!