I am writing to you dear friends and believers, those of you who call yourselves Christian. Yet often you doubt because you don’t think you are worthy of salvation, and it’s not about your faith in Jesus, but rather about your doubt in yourself. If you are like this today, I would ask that you read 1 John. Yes, the whole letter. For it is a letter to you, for it is written to believers. But you can see by the letter that John writes to caution all of us to watch out for pitfalls, for those who claim Christianity, but who practice otherwise. In the first 4 verses, we see the encouragement to believers, “We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” But then he writes that: My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” (2:1) We need to understand that right away, because we all sin, and sometimes that sin makes us doubt our faith, because we expect more from ourselves. ( If we just had enough faith, we wouldn’t sin so much) While it’s true that our Lord wants us to walk like He walked, we also know that this flesh is corrupt, and until we reach eternity, we have to contend with a corrupt flesh. But when that happens, we should have the confidence that we have an advocate with the Father, and that is the very One who saved us by giving Himself as an offering for all our sins, past, present, and future. That doesn’t mean we are fine with sinning, but we should be always striving to live for Him. John writes in this letter: “What you have heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life. I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as He has taught you, remain in Him.” 1 John 2:24-27 What is asked of us is that we become more like Jesus, and for that we don’t need teachers to tell us how to do that, but rather, rely on the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, to reveal truth to us. But it seems like there are so many who want to tell you how to live, and we learn to rely on those who seem more “righteous” than us for those answers. Yes, we need teachers, but teachers who remind us of what the bible says, not their own theology that takes us away from scripture, but rather points to the scripture. Instead of just wanting to hear what that person says, check out with what he/she says with scripture. Does it confirm what the scriptures tell you? If so, then you’re good. If it doesn’t line up with scripture, seek other believers who you trust, and who give an honest profession of the faith, to help guide you. Just like Philip, who helped the Ethiopian Official understand what he was reading. The Official said, “How can I’, he said, ‘unless someone guides me.” Acts 8:31 You will learn to understand the word, even if it takes “guiding”, but trust first the Spirit that guides you in Scripture. He will also guide you to the right people. So, If you call yourself a Christian, because of your belief in Jesus Christ, and Him alone for Salvation; that God sent Him for such a purpose, and after the cross, raised Him from the dead, to sit at His right hand, where He intercedes for us to the Father, then you are on the right track, and you can be assured of your salvation. Yes, you might not feel like you are good enough to be saved, but thank Jesus Christ, that He came to save those who were not good enough, and give them new life, by believing in Him. Do you trust Him fully with everything that you have inside? Do you know that He died for you? Do you believe that Jesus will come again? Do you believe that He sits beside the Father even now interceding on your behalf when you falter? Do you believe that He did not leave you alone but has sent the Holy Spirit to be with you and in you for the rest of your days on this earth? Then rest my friend, for our Lord is with you. And He will keep picking you up every time you fall, and I mean every time. There is no limit to His great love for you and me, and we can be secure in that, without doubt. Pastor Andy

Earthly Status Means Little to God, But Humility Gets His Full Attention

There is a powerful story told in 2 Kings 5 about Naaman, who was commander of the Syrian King’s army. The Bible describes him this way:

  • “He was a great man with his master and in high favor.”
  • “By him the Lord had given victory to Syria.”
  • He was a mighty man of valor.”

Because of his military might, he would have most likely been considered the 2nd most powerful man in Syria.  B-U-T, he had a gigantic problem.  Naaman “was a leper” which would kill him.  If some miracle didn’t happen to reverse this slow moving, devastating, disfiguring, ugly disease, he would die a lonely, humiliating disease.  There was no cure.

Isn’t it amazing how often God uses simple details placed in the exact spot and time to produce His will. In this case, it was “a little girl who been carried off from the land of Israel, and now worked in the service of Naaman’s wife.”  She was aware of Elisha, the great Jewish prophet, who had performed numbers of well publicized miracles. “She said to her mistress, ‘Would that my lord was with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’”  Naaman’s wife shared this with him who immediately told the king.  The king of Syria sent a letter to the weak king of Israel that he “may cure him of his leprosy.” This sent the king of Israel in all kinds of panic thinking this was a tactic to instigate a quarrel between the two countries with Israel being decimated.  “Elisha, the man of God” got wind of this and sent a letter to his king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

“Naaman came with his horses and chariots (bearing 750 pounds of silver and 150 pounds of gold along with 10 changes of clothes fashioned by the highest profile designers) and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.”  Notice how Elisha handles Naaman,And the man of God sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be, and you shall be clean.’” 

  • He didn’t even go out to meet Naaman but “sent a messenger to him.” 
  • Then, he tells the 5 Star General to go out into the Jordan River and wash himself 7 times to be healed.  Naaman thought this was a ridiculous idea.

He ended up furious at the undignified way that he was handled by this po-dunk prophet, “Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So, he turned and went away in a rage.”  Then, some gutsy servants “came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So Naaman went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”  He was thrilled!  What a miracle…from leprosy to skin like a new born baby!

God used Elisha to humble this high-profile man. He made him see that proudful, self-centered, earthly profile is bankrupt in context of the Kingdom of God.  Proverbs 16:18 is blunt, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” 

Currency to God begins with humility. 1 Peter 5:6 is candid, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”

The call of God to each one of us is found in Matthew 11:28-30, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Like a Mike Tyson Punch to My Gut

Recently, I felt insulted by another individual.  I wish that I could tell you that I responded in a humble, meek Christian manner.  Quite the contrary.  I tried to pay the individual back with a smart aleck comment…thought he deserved it!  I felt justified with my response…that is until I read one of my daily devotionals yesterday which highlighted 1 Peter 3:9, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”  This verse felt like a Mike Tyson punch to my gut. What a jerk I am!  According to St. Peter, as a Christ-follower, I am commanded to “repay” a sucker punch from another individual with “a blessing.” This expectation knocked the wind out of me.  I regained my spiritual senses and realized that I violated “the fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22&23. More specifically, I was a poor testimony of “self-control.” Believers are challenged to be “self-controlled” not “other controlled.”  If I had allowed the Holy Spirit within me to produce “self-control”, my response to the insult would have become a moment of grace rather than a hateful reaction of self-justification.  The “offending” person did not cause me to sin, I did that on my own. 

James 1:19 declares, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.”  Conversely, I translated this verse in the ways of the flesh and the world, “react immediately with vengeance by verbally lashing out at the assailing person who unfairly invaded my emotional space without any need to listen to his viewpoints. I’m the victim!” 1 Peter 3:9 above made it obvious that I need to align my walk with the “Spirit of God” in humility with Christ continuously on the throne of my life not my small-minded, selfish spirit. The Holy Spirit pricked my memory:

  • James 1:26 states, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
  • 1 Timothy 2:8 declares, “I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

The verse just prior to my initial text (1 Peter 3:8) explains to us how to live…Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”  If I had heeded this verse in obedience to Jesus, I would not have reacted the other day over such a silly event but would have responded compassionately and humbly.

To live out agape love, you will not be able to walk in the energy of the flesh.  Only Jesus can live a life of agape (unselfish, sacrificial) love.  Each of us need to walk “filled with the Holy Spirit” daily. Then and only then, “If someone slaps you on one cheekturn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them” (Luke 6:29).  “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Mark 5:41).  These verses reveal that this life is not about me, myself, and mine. The Bible gives the Christ-follower the great commandment, “love one another: just as I have loved you.”  Amen…

Don’t Feed the Baby Cubs

Be careful to observe your inner self-talk.  Your mind may repetitively get engaged in feeding an emotional “baby cub,” and before you know it the cub has grown into a “roaring lion”.   Now you have a problem!  Your self-talk becomes lustful, noisy, demanding, hurtful, and/or out of control. Depression, anxiety, addiction, attraction to porn, lusts, hatred, bitterness, etc. are at a point that you are now being overpowered.  Many of us daily live in darkness, emotional pain, guilt, frustration, defeat, and worst of all, hopelessness.  I lived in mental darkness for many, many years. 

Never ever give in or up!

Hope is to be had if you purposefully and intentionally set and keep your will focused on God.  This will not be easy.  The process will most likely be arduous but well worth it:

  • Hebrews 12:1&2 declares, “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  These verses emphatically challenge us “to lay aside every weighty and clingy” thing that encumbers and binds so tightly that it chokes out life. Then, the author instructs us “with endurance” to live life focused on Jesus “who endured the cross”, a game changing event in the spiritual world that leads to freedom in our mental life. Then, Christ “was seated at the right hand of God”, the most powerful throne in existence.  Nothing compares with His authority…nothing! 
  • Hebrews 4:12 is dynamic, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  His word is alive and full of energy “piercing” to the depths enabling you to “evaluate and validate” thoughts as they originate.  If you will allow His Word to penetrate down to the deepest parts of your mind, God will transform your thoughts making them truthful, pure, wise, righteous and healing to your soul.  This should give you H-O-P-E. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
  • Find and involve yourself in a faith-based recovery group.  These folks will become incredibly close friends to you.  Do not try to work thru strongholds alone.  Very few are successful.  My suggestion is to get into ReGen.  I am graduate from this program my and continue to watch the success of this ministry.  James 5:16 is clear about this, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”.

Start the journey towards healing and get to know God intimately in the process.  Stop feeding baby cubs!

A Great Calm

God despises noise. Anxieties are emotional noise.  There is an episode between Jesus and His disciples that reflects this. Mark 4:35-40 narrates, “When evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm40 He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid (emotional noise)? Have you still no faith?’”  When Jesus took control of the bedlam, there was “a great calm”.  The Spirit of Christ yearns for “a great calm” and can enable it within your mind.  Romans 8:6 tells us to “to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart” Colossians 3:15. The peace of Jesus is an indication that God controls your heart, the very core of your being.  Your heart generates self-talk, self-talk produces your emotions, and emotions dictate your behavior.  Psalm 46:10 states “Be still and know that I am God”…a great calm.

Psalm 23:1&2 declares this, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” John 14:27 is clear, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid”, no noise (John 14:27). 

Let me give you several suggestions:

  1. Recognize Who God is.  Proverbs 3:5&6 explains this, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him (recognizing Who He is), and he will make straight your paths.” Identify almighty God as we walk with Him daily…. 
  2. Get off and stay off the throne room of your life. Galatians 2:20 instructs us, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 
  3. Start every day in Philippians 4:4&5 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.”

Begin each day rejoicing in the Lord focused on Him not cares of the world.

Allow God to breathe in all areas of your life developing a gentle spirit.

Know “the Lord is at hand.” Realize He’s near every moment of each day!

4. Memorize and meditate on scripture.  Psalms 119:11,103&105) states, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you…How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

A great calm!

Can’t Love Others Because You Don’t Like Yourself

If you are like me, you are often your own worst enemy.  Luke 10:27 exclaims, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Many folks struggle with the last part of this verse, “loving your neighbor as yourself.”  Why?  You don’t love or like yourself.  How can you care and show compassion to others when you can’t stand who you are or represent?  You may lack self-confidence, may be jealous of another, envious of others compared to your perceived capabilities, looks, social status, achievements, etc.  Many feel that your sibling is more highly favored and respected than yourself.  You may not have met your own expectations.  In some cases, you are ashamed of your actions and/or thoughts.  Maybe you walk with a chip on your shoulder.  If you have gone mental with moment-by-moment difficulties dealing with depression, anxieties, and self-image, you are unable to free yourself to love others. Has someone hurt you and you’re tethered to them because you feel unable to forgive them? You may be bashful and self-conscious.  Maybe amends between an individual and you have not been made.

1 John 4:18 declares, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Get rid of relational fear. Love is strangled by fear.

Mark 11:25 is eye-opening, “And whenever you stand praying, f-o-r-g-i-v-e, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”  Forgiveness is freeing.  Never forget that the two root words of “forgiving” and “forgave” in Ephesians 4:32 (“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”) are “char” meaning joy and “charis” meaning grace.  This liberates you to “love others as yourself.”

Let’s look at the fifteen characteristics of Jesus’ love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that Jesus wants you to live out when you rub against each other. 

  1. Love is patient.
  2. Love is kind.
  3. Love does not envy.
  4. Love does not boast.
  5. Love is not arrogant.
  6. Love is not rude.
  7. Love does not insist on its own way.
  8. Love is irritable.
  9. Love is not resentful (keep no record of wrongs)
  10. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing.
  11. Love rejoices with the truth.
  12. Love bears all things.
  13. Love believes all things.
  14. Love hopes all things.
  15. Love endures all things.

You love like this, Jesus will be pleased, and you will be fulfilled.  “Love as Christ loved and love your neighbor as yourself.”  Joy and grace will be your experience in life.

Not Afraid of Bad News

I don’t know about you, but some of the political commercials that are currently being aired are so unjust and ungodly that my knees buckle when I hear them.  They are abrasive, arrogant, and all about effect. Truth and “God’s will” are unabashedly being shoved to the side.  There is no longer a question.  Politics has become uncivil with “arrogant desires, devious and selfish drives” constantly being proposed.

God scolded me this week with my lack of trust in Him.  In my daily reading I came across a couple of verses that Christ-followers in America must heed.  Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:6&7).  Notice the very first modifier, “Surely”, which can be translated “assuredly, certainly, doubtlessly.”  Without reservation, “the righteous will never be shaken.” As Jesus people, we should stand strong, firm, and steady.  Why?  We are to keep our eyes on our omnipotent, omniscient, loving God living courageously and strong knowing Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  Our faith “will be remembered forever” by those closest to us.

As a result of the courage and truth we obtain from God, when we hear and see false, “bad news” from Fox, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc., we should never forget Who is in control.  When lies and ungodliness are heard, we immediately offload things to Jesus requesting His help and courage each moment as we walk through trying times.  Psalm 112:7 states it this way, “their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”  Amen!

If you look further at Psalm 112, there are some wonderful proclamations to those who keep their eyes on God during trying time:

  • Verses 1&2 exclaim, “Hallelujah! Happy is the person who fears the Lord, taking great delight in his commands. His descendants will be powerful in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”
  • Verse 4 declares, Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous.
  • Verse 8 states, His heart is assured; he will not fear. In the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

When you hear ungodliness, immediately get that out of you mind leaning on His Word:

  • Trust God in each and everything, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6&7)
  • We are assured by Him. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Don’t be afraid of false, bad news.  Why?  God is in control.  Arrogant, deceptive, manipulative people may not realize that now, but they will.

Do You Pass by on the Other Side?

Today, do Christ-followers have the Godly yearning to love our “enemies” as Christ loved us when we lived ungodly?  With our current attitudes, how do we fulfill the great commission which includes our local communities, the city we dwell, the state we live, the country of our nationality, and then the rest of the world community.  Will we be able to bring to fruition our calling while expressing haughty looks, separatist views, and derogatory attitudes? 

Jesus tells us in the great love verse that His wonderful salvation is available to the “whosoever’s” in this world.  John 3:16, “For God so loves the world, He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Who is going to tell these “whosoever’s” about Jesus?  If you guessed “you and me”, you are correct.  Are you available to do that or have you segmented yourself from “that crowd”? 

Jesus had an unbelievable discussion with a Jewish attorney who asked Him, “‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’  Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ 27 And the attorney answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ 28 And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live’” (Luke 10:26-28).  This Biblical passage should be the very heart of a Christ-follower. 

As Jesus continued the dialog (Luke 10:29-37), the lawyer asked Him, Who is my neighbor? 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”  Much like the Priest and Levite, I ignore the needs of others in our dark, hurting world and “pass by on the other side”.  Is your behavior like mine?

Isn’t the attitude of the Priest and the Levite nauseating?  It’s time for us to walk as the good Samaritan did on the side of the road where the hurting and disadvantage reside and be Jesus to them.  Let’s stop “passing by on the other side.”

If you have intentionally reached out to care, comfort, and share with a non-Christian, please register a comment on the Barnabas Man site, and I will pray for you.  Please do the same for me. 


As I was reading a book about the church last night before bed, I was struck with a word that seems to stand out, but seems to also have so many different meanings. This word is still with me this morning, and this word is “Truth”. There are so many who want to live the truth, but follow a truth told from man as definitive truth. So the question remains, “What is Truth?” Interesting when Jesus stood before Pilate, these same words resounded from the unbelieving lips of Pilate. Here is the Scripture: “Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, ‘Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?’ ‘I’m not a Jew, am I?’ Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed You over to me. What have You done?” ‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ said Jesus. ‘If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.’ “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. ‘You say that I’m a king,’ Jesus replied, ‘I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.’ ‘What is truth?’ said Pilate.” John 18: 33-38 Today many still ask the same question, but the problem is that they are looking for truth among men, but the truth Jesus talked about is the truth of God. The truth is that He loved the world so much that He sent His Son, for this very reason to die for the sins of the world, so that the world might be saved through Him. Pilate couldn’t understand it; the Jews couldn’t understand it; many of the people couldn’t understand it, and all because of their hardened hearts, and their own desire to find truth among men, and not from God. I admit that when I read some of scripture, I don’t like the sound of it either, but I’m not going to change the truth because I want it to make me feel better about myself, if I change the truth of the word to fit my own narrative. Men want so much to have meaning to their lives, but they want it their own way, so they invent truths that make them feel better about themselves. That doesn’t change the truth that comes from God, for He is truth, and His word is truth. If only we would surrender our pride, our ego, our arrogance, and listen to the word, listen to the very scripture that I posted above, and see and truly listen to what Jesus was saying. He came to testify to the truth, and everyone who is of the truth listens to His voice. He is the truth. He said earlier in His walk, when talking to His disciples: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 Jesus is the truth, because He came from Truth, from the very heart of God. He lived the truth, and He died for the truth, and He rose again in truth. Let’s not try to make a different kind of truth to satisfy any guilt we have of not being true to Him, but rather, let’s get right with Him, by listening to Him, for He is the truth, and we will see His glory on that day, and all will know the truth. Pastor Andy

Shrink Wrapped

Today, there are a number of gifted folks who are burned out with life, disappointed, discouraged, and marginalized to the sidelines no longer on the playing field.  Many have been deceived by something that was said or written by an ungodly or misinformed person.  Others have been falsely accused by a loved one or an associate with the mental/emotional impact similar to a devastating bullet tunneling within their mind.  Some have been bullied and maybe even humiliated by the insensitivity of personal agendas.  Often, manipulative people who candidly don’t care how you feel prey on your vulnerable mind. A number have lived in the world of depression seemingly without hope surviving one day at a time.  If you are bitter and defeated and have “shrink wrapped” your world and goals because of harsh, ever present anxieties, I am going to ask you to consider two things.

First, read Proverbs 18:1 and understand what this means for your life, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”  I spent 30 years in self-isolation from ministry and goal orientation ashamed of being buried in the darkness of depression not wanting anyone to know how bad off I was spiritually.  Living a “shrink wrapped” life severely reduced my effectiveness towards others by being mentally and emotionally enslaved. Those years were multiple cycles of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  Finally, I found hope versus the ever-present emotional and mental eclipse. A Life Group leader who had patiently earned my trust challenged me to get involved in a ministry mentoring young couples before they were married.  God started working in me and using me.  I came out of my self-imposed cave by B-E-L-I-E-V-I-N-G T-R-U-T-H and S-P-I-T-T-I-N-G O-U-T L-I-E-S and started to cut through “the strands of a mental/emotional spider web.” Once, I started breaking free from unsound self-judgment, I became enCOURAGED

Please start taking the steps to free yourself from self-isolation.  “Chew on” the following verses, and they will guide you.  Matthew 11:28-30 tenderly calls us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  You will never regret being yoked to Jesus!

Second, allow someone to help you to heal.  Galatians 6:1&2, “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness… Bear one another’s burdens.”  Romans 15:1&2, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”  Give a trusted Godly person the opportunity to support your restoration. Each of you need a patient, tender hand from someone who is healthy, whole, and real.  Be transparent. 1 Peter 5:6&7 is clear, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

“Shrink-wrapped” is diametrically opposite of what we should be experiencing in Christ.  Jesus declares to Christ-followers, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Paul the Apostle testifies about the enabling power of the Holy Spirt in your life, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” It’s time to get out of the dark cave of isolation.  Allow God who is patient and trustworthy to shine His light in the crevices of your soul cleaning up the debris from years in darkness.  Jesus tells us in John 8:32, “Abide in my Word, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Freedom based on the authoritative truths in the Word of God is powerful and liberating…no longer “shrink-wrapped!”

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