I Believe God Loves Me. Period.

I Believe God Loves Me. Period.

Why do I seek Jesus? Because He first sought me. I want to pursue Him with the same passion that compelled Him to pursue me. He was relentless in His passion for me. I want to be relentless in my passion for Him. He left the riches of heaven. He endured temptation same as me yet without sin. He suffered rejection and humiliation for me, enduring the punishment I deserved due to my own sin. He gave His own life in exchanged for mine. That is how much He loved me! Why would I not simply believe that and receive it? That is what compels me to love God. He first loved me...

14 For the love of Christ compels us (holds us together, urges and empowers), because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know [Him thus] no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17 NASB

My personal belief is that I can overcome or go through anything in this life as long as I believe God loves me. His love never fails. His love wants nothing but my best. His love brings deep and true healing to my soul-ish wounds. His love cannot be defeated. His love champions me. His love conquers all. It is as simple as that. Think about what the love of God means to your life and allow what the Spirit reveals to you to carry you through whatever life brings your way. One way to do this is to apply the Word of God to your now life…personalize it…

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as applied to my life…

Love is patient…even when I walked in willful rebellion, Jesus still pursued me. He loved me right where I was but loved me enough to not leave me there. He waited for as long as my repentance took!

Love is kind…even when I was cruel and hurtful and lashed out in anger, Jesus responded with nothing but kindness toward me. Hurt people hurt people…except for Jesus. My utter self-focus and confusion over who I was and what I was worth to others kept me roiling around in a whirlpool of lies and self-reliance that I could never have gotten free of had that whirlpool not been closed by the love of God in my life.

Love is not jealous…even when I gave my love to others He was faithful to reserve His love for me. Even when I allowed envy to lead me to desire the hurt of others to make me feel better about myself, He kept loving me in spite of the filth of my envious heart.

Love does not brag…even when I bragged about myself to make myself more presentable to others, trying to earn their acceptance and affirmation and approval, Jesus loved me boasting to all of heaven that one day I would open my eyes to the truth of His love for me.

“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Jesus
Luke 15:7

Love is not arrogant…even when I walked in pride and made ungodly choices that led me further and further away from His love, Jesus humbled Himself and kept pursuing my prideful heart. He humbled Himself to such a degree as to allow Himself to be tempted just as I would be yet not choose to sin. The love expressed in His desire to understand my temptations in such a deep way helped me get to the place of humility and repentance in my own life.

Love does not act unbecomingly…even when I walked in depravity of thinking; even when I walked in an identity that was in direct opposition to His intended will for me. Even when I sought to bring attention to myself, He bore my shame.

Love does not seek its own…even when I willfully sought my own way, He sought the will of the Father for me, choosing the will of the Father. He was tempted as I would be. He endured the pain I could not have borne. He took the punishment I could never have taken. He paid the debt I could never have afforded. He chose me over His own pleasure and peace. He endured hell that I might gain heaven.

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB

Love is not provoked…even when I allowed the smallest of lies of the enemy to provoke me to anger and malice and paranoia and fear and self-focus, Jesus never wavered or took His eyes off of me. He was even there in the midst of my sin - not taking part in that sin - but calling out to me to follow Him as the Way of escape.

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered…even when I allowed the enemy to remind me how much of a failure, how much of a loser, how much of a worthless man I was, Jesus forgot my failure as far as the east is from the west. Such love caused me to be relentless in my own efforts to do the same!

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth…even when I secretly - or not so secretly - rejoiced in the failure of others to make myself feel better about myself, Jesus spoke only truth-based love to me, choosing to see me as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, choosing to see me through the blood shed on the cross for me.

Love bears all things…even when I was overwhelmed by the weight of sin, Jesus took that weight upon Himself and carries it for me to this day, seeing me as clean before Him.

Love believes all things…even when I believed the worst about myself, He saw me as a pure, clean, spotless bride.

Love hopes all things…even when I believed the lies of the enemy and walked in utter despair; even when I gave up on myself, Jesus never lost sight of who I would be.

Love endures all things…even when I felt I could not endure, He took the weight of who I thought I was and carried me through until I could see what He sees in me.

Love never fails…even when I walked in complete failure, His love was still there through it all.

How can I not face life without hope when He loves me like that? My hope is not in human love. Human love is enhanced by God-love. My hope is in the One who demonstrated His love toward me in that while I was still a sinner knowing I would reject Him, He still chose to die for me. It was that love that compelled me to seek Jesus…and it is that love that compels me to this day. Why would I ever not follow such love?
Dennis Jernigan

Flying Lessons

Flying Lessons

Four Facets of Flight

    Everyone dreams of being able to fly. Why is that? I believe we are all born with an innate need to be free. We can thank sin for that need. Sin has left the world grounded in the mire of complete self-focus. Sin weighs us down and causes us to try and engineer our own means of achieving flight. That machine we devise to give us flight in our own strength can look like pursuit of wealth, pursuit of fame, living in fear of what others think of you, pursuit of performing for the acceptance of others, pursuit of sexual gratification, pursuit of mind-numbing drugs, and all manner of what I call false flying machines.

    Man’s efforts at forging a way to soar in this life all lead to one final conclusion: the crashing and burning of the individual. Mankind, as great as his achievements might be, was never intended to give us flight over the cares of this world. Since sin is the issue - the weight that drags us all down - sin must be dealt with before true flight can be achieved.

    One of my best friends is a pilot. My friend has flown me to destinations for ministry several times. Each time we fly, I am filled with both a sense of fear and a sense of wonder. Fear over whether this heavy piece of machinery will actually fly and wonder  at the power of God’s beauty coupled with the wonder of how applying the four facets of flight actually help such a weighty contraption be become airborne. My friend has discovered the four facets required to achieve flight, but what is amazing is that by simply applying the principles of flight my friend soars above the cares of the physical world with great ease. Could these principles be God-ordained for application to our spiritual existence? I think so.

    While I am no pilot, I understand the principles of flight on a rudimentary level. I am a man of faith, therefore I understand that by walking in the truth of the application of these principles in a physical sense allows me to attain flight in an aircraft. By the same token, I understand that, by applying the principles of faith to my experience on earth, I can actually soar over the pressures of life and actually use those very pressures to achieve the ability to fly over them!

    In no specific order, the four facets of flight are simply lift, weight, thrust, and drag. When these four facets are brought into balance, flight is achieved in a physical sense. Let’s apply them in a spiritual sense.
    
    Weight is the force of gravity. It acts in a downward direction—toward the center of the Earth - always directly opposing lift. In a spiritual sense, sin and the pull of the world, human wisdom, is directly opposed to the lifting of the soul into flight.

    Lift is the force that acts at a right angle to the direction of motion through the air. Lift is created by differences in air pressure created as the wing moves through the air. The shape of the wing increases the pressure below the wing, producing lift. Lift is always opposed to weight. So what produces lift in a spiritual sense? What do we use as our set of wings? Faith is like our very own set of wings. Just because we may say we have great faith, flight over the storms of life will never be achieved if we do not spread those wings. As with physical flight, spiritual flight must address all four facets or laws of aerodynamics if we expect to soar.

    Drag is the force that acts opposite to the direction of motion. Drag is caused by friction and differences in air pressure. As an airplane moves forward, the friction of the air it moves through actually works against forward progress. Spiritual drag would be the lies of the enemy and the wisdom of human reason that causes friction and slows down forward motion; temptation, regret, fear; the enemy always opposes our forward motion. Thrust is required to keep forward momentum, but thrust and drag are always opposed to one another.

    Thrust is the force that propels a flying machine in the direction of motion. Engines produce thrust. Thrust and drag are always opposed to one another.  Spiritual Thrust IS the power of God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit to move us forward. Things like joy and peace and hope are used of God to give us forward momentum. The enemy is always opposed to our forward motion.
   
    As when physical flight is achieved, all these four forces - lift, weight, drag, and thrust - must be addressed. Sin weighs us down. Jesus gave us the remedy for sin. The lies and temptations of the enemy try to drag us to a state of standstill. God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to provide forward thrust.

    In order to achieve spiritual flight, could it be as simple as spreading our wings of faith coupled with the power of God’s Word and Holy Spirit to propel us to heights over sin and over sorrow and over the circumstances of life? Could it be as simple as using the very things that oppose our spiritual flight - weight and resistance of the enemy - to increase the pressure upward beneath those wings and give us the ability to not only fly through but to soar over the storms of life?

    When flying with my friend, I never want to come down. Why? The exhilaration of doing something that defies human logic fills me with wonder and joy! But more importantly, the very act of flight enhances my point of view. From the high places I can see the big picture. From the high places I can see the edge of the storm in the distance and know that it will come to an end. From the high places I can see the destination and realize it is on the horizon and well within reach. From the high places I enjoy a fellowship with a friend based on the sharing of this very experience we are in together. From the high places I actually feel an increase in my faith - the very thing that lifted me to the high places to begin with. And this is all borne of simple faith in and realization that my God is on this flight WITH me!

    Unlike flying in an airplane, dependent upon all manner of knowledge of instruments and air traffic control and regardless of weather or circumstances, I can soar on my wings of faith directly due to the storm, directly due to my circumstances, directly due to my temptations, directly by applying the principles of faith to the principles of flight. Drag will always be opposed to forward thrust. Weight will always be opposed to lift. But the remedy to both drag and weight is to spread my wings of faith and to trust the power of the Word of God to lift me up and move me forward.

    And unlike physical flight that is dependent upon fuel to keep the engine running, our fuel source never runs dry! Because of our faith in Jesus Christ and because of the filling of the Holy Spirit and because of the power and authority of the Word of God, we can refuel in mid-flight as often and as much as needed! Our source never runs dry even - especially during harsh conditions and long flights! Another aspect of flying high with our God is the fact that there is no age limit required to meet the standards of being a pilot! Young and old each have access to the same Source of fuel and each, regardless of age, need but apply the principles of faith to achieve flight in the experience - the living out - of life!

    Isaiah had it right all along didn’t he?

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might
He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB

Dennis Jernigan

Read The Short Life, a brand new suspense thriller by Dennis Jernigan about a man who flies into his destiny on a fateful airplane flight. Get your copy at https://www.amazon.com/Short-Life-Dennis-L-Jernigan/dp/1977780806/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512578314&sr=8-1&keywords=the+short+life+dennis+jernigan

 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Well, here we are at that time of the year once again, When minds go to thoughts of pumpkin pie and turkey and dressing and purloin pie…where, right around the corner, we’ll be breaking out the decorations and singing carols and wrapping gifts and spending time with our loved ones. With the onset of the holiday season, it goes without saying that thoughts often turn sentimental and we long for the nostalgia of the good old days. We tend to be drawn toward the very attitude for which the coming holiday is named. Thankfulness. Gratitude.
 
Since we, as followers of Christ, endeavor to operate and live our lives according to His economy - His way of doing things - thankfulness - gratitude - should be one of the underlying foundational attitudes that we walk in…always…regardless of our circumstances.

[1Th 5:16-18 NASB] says 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

The opposite of gratitude is is ingratitude. A heart that has an ungrateful attitude tends to be a self-focused heart. Have you ever spent any time in conversation with someone who has a whiny, ungrateful attitude? Nothing is ever good enough for them, or everyone seems to be against them, or they talk about having to do everything themselves, or there’s a constant drawing of the conversation back to all things ‘me, me, me’? Do you enjoy being with such a person? I don’t!

A grateful heart is a heart that realizes the investments others have made in their lives; a heart that acknowledges it did not achieve success solely in its own strength; a heart that gives credit where credit is due; a grateful heart is the heart that deflects praise from themselves and points to God as the ultimate reason for their success…the ultimate bestower of any blessings they have received.

Expressing gratitude and appreciation to others for the ways they have blessed our lives is one of the quickest ways to overcome the liar and his subtle lies that try to get us self-focused. In fact, when I am feeling unappreciated, you know what I do? This is the truth…I ask the Lord to show me people who are feeling unappreciated…and I write them a short note expressing my gratitude for their place in my life. Before I am even through putting pen to paper, my feeling of being unappreciated is gone! Why? Because I took my eyes off of ME!

In my own life, I had to take this to the lowest common denominator in a sense. I reasoned that if God’s Word tells me I am to give thanks in everything, that means everything. This was difficult for me at first simply because I had gone through so many battles for my mind and identity through the years…through circumstances where I could not find anything to be thankful for…

Like the time when I was 5 years old and that man exposed himself to me and tried to coerce me to sexual things. How could I give thanks in that?

I give thanks that God to me through that and has brought healing to my mind since that time. He was there, going through every ordeal with me.

Like the time my grandmother - a source of deep encouragement and refuge - suddenly died. How could I express gratitude in that loss?

I give thanks that I have many precious memories in the bank of my mind to draw on reminding me of the encouragement she gave me. And I give thanks because I will see her again.

A mentor in college - someone I believe was sent of God - made a sexual advance on me when I went to him for help. How could thankfulness emanate from such an episode?

I give thanks to Father God for going through that very damaging time in my life with me and for using even what the enemy meant for evil for my own good and for His glory.

Through the years, I have received pressure to stop telling my story from well-meaning believers…even some telling me my music would sell better if I lost the story. And then on the other hand, through the years I have had those in the world tell me I fabricated the story to sell music. Where does a grateful heart find its way through sic a dilemma?

I give thanks based on [Psa 107:1-2 NASB] which says 1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

In other words, if we who have been redeemed do not express what we have been redeemed from, how in the world are those trapped in the same bondage ever going to know there is hope? In this sense, gratitude - giving thanks - is like a sword against the lies of the enemy. As I express gratitude to God for redeeming me from even moments when I was a victim, I go from being a victim to being a victor OVER those circumstances, regardless of how harsh they may have been.

I give thanks that the Lord has seen fit to get my music and message of hope out to the world in spite of the detractors and naysayers.

As a dad, when one of my children expresses gratitude to me, I tend to lean in to that child, feeling drawn to a deeper intimacy. It can be as simple as a glance across the table after passing the salt. It can be as simple as a hug after a kind word I’ve said. It can be as simple as a short note of thanks for a gift. I am a sucker for a grateful heart…and I am an earthly father…so how much more does our heavenly Father lean in toward us whenever we express thanks to Him? Something to think about.

One more picture of a thankful heart I want to share with you. From my point of view, I think the quickest way to a deep awareness of God’s presence is to express thanks to Him. I see God’s presence like a massively deep refreshing pool of water. Since I do not want to walk in a shallow relationship with Him and since the deeper places are out in the center of Who He is, I see gratitude as a diving board that can launch me out into the deeper places of Who He is…so I take a great big jump on the end of that board by expressing gratitude to God and the next thing I know, I am plunged into a deep awareness of His presence with and in me.

Do you want to walk in an attitude of gratitude? Do you want to experience the presence of God like never before? Do you want to take your eyes off of yourself? Are you tired of being a victim? Would you like to walk with a victorious attitude? Then begin by expressing gratitude to God for all He has done…and while you’re at it, thank someone today for their place in your life. Life is too short to allow ingratitude to rule the way we think. The attitude of gratitude is one of the most revolutionary things God has done for me…and I thank Him for it!
Dennis Jernigan

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Freedom

Freedom

The world’s definition of freedom:

Doing what I want, when I want, without anyone telling me I am wrong.

God’s definition of freedom:

Living one’s life within the parameters of God’s order and design

When life is lived within God’s parameters, one experiences true freedom. True freedom is not necessarily doing what one wants when one wants. True freedom is living one’s life within the parameters of God’s order and design. When one lives their life according to the wisdom of the world - the wisdom of man - one can expect consequences for walking outside that order and design. These consequences often involve pain and sorrow and suffering and destruction and a never-ending cycle of confusion.

There is a God-created order and design for sexuality. There is a God-created order and design for marriage. There is a God-created order and design for living a purposeful, fulfilled life in spite of the circumstances and temptations of this life. Man’s order involves self-focus. God’s order involves outward focus. It is when mankind seeks to live life outside of God’s design that wounding and destruction come into play.

True freedom - God’s freedom - always comes with restraints or boundaries. We see examples of this truth in the natural world. Ask a sky-diver if the restraints of the parachute add to or take away from his freedom to fall through the sky. Ask a scuba diver if the restraints of his gear add to or take away from his freedom to explore the depths of the ocean. True freedom always leads to joy. Worldly freedom always leads to false joy that eventually turns into bondage and death. True freedom gives us parameters within which to operate to our best abilities! When mankind goes against the design and order of God, all manner of destruction comes into play. Is is true weakness to walk in God’s design for us - or is it true strength?

The enemy - the liar - has coerced the world into believing true freedom involves doing whatever feels right…even if this feeling goes against the order and design of life itself. Why else do we see so much chaos and confusion concerning sexual identity? Why else are so many marriages falling apart in the world around us? Why else is there so much confusion and conflict in our modern, progressive-thinking world? Such progressive thinking leads to man-centered wisdom…and such wisdom leads nowhere but to back to man. Talk about futility. Talk about a lack of real freedom.

If you want real and lasting freedom, try living according to God’s order and God’s design for your life. Life may not get easier, but it will be full of joy as a result.
Dennis Jernigan

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NASB

If you desire freedom in the way you think about yourself, consider reading my new book, Renewing Your Mind: Identity and the Matter of Choice. Available at https://www.amazon.com/Renewing-Your-Mind-Identity-Matter-ebook/dp/B074G5SN39/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509372549&sr=8-1&keywords=renewing+your+mind%3A+identity+and+the+matter+of+choice

 

Thoughts on Wonder Woman

Thoughts on Wonder Woman

God speaks to me when I am not expecting Him to. Who would have thought He would invade my heart and mind while watching Wonder Woman?

I have seen the new film, Wonder Woman, twice now…and both times a couple of scenes held my heart and mind captive beyond the amazing computer generated graphics. Taking place during World War I sometime in 1918, there is a scene where Wonder Woman is being led to the front lines. Having never experienced the reality of war before, her gaze is drawn to injured men walking on crutches and being pushed along in wheelchairs. As they near the front lines, her gaze is drawn to the suffering of the innocent civilians, her heart obviously called to protect and rescue those people. Juxtaposed to her bewilderment at the pain being suffered was the obvious callousness of the hearts of the men who were leading her toward the front line. Although they fought for the same end to suffering as Wonder Woman, they had grown used to and seemingly numb to the same things that appalled her.

As my heart was moved by those images, I could not help but think of the reality of spiritual warfare being waged and raging all around me…and how easily my heart grows calloused and numb to the suffering and pain of others due to the sheer amount of exposure to that pain and suffering. My heart was challenged to remember that people are suffering and dying all around me and that I am called to bring the healing, rescue, peace, and love of Christ into the reality of the world around me.

To bring even more conviction from the Lord, another character, Steve Trevor, makes a statement earlier in the movie whose theme carries out through the entire movie…and challenged my heart as a follower of Christ: “My father told me once, ‘if you see something wrong happening in the world, you can either do nothing or you can do something,’ and I already tried nothing.”

I can do something. I have already tried doing nothing…and when I do nothing, nothing changes. What can I do? I can ease the pain of those who suffer. I can comfort those who sorrow. I can bring truth into the darkness of those who suffer due to their own sinful choices. I can offer a cup of water to a thirsting soul. I can do something. I can always express the heart of Jesus to those around me…even if they do not know that is what I am doing. My heart was renewed in the purpose God has placed me on this planet for…to keep telling the story of what God has done for me in the hope that His redeeming love would ease the pain and suffering and bring victory and peace to those broken by the warfare of sin around me.
Dennis Jernigan

In the film, Wonder Woman was relentless in her desire to set the captive free from tyranny. Jesus is relentless in his pursuit of our freedom. Download a free mp3 of the song Relentless at https://dennisjernigan.com/free-downloads

Dennis Jernigan Update

Dennis Jernigan Update

Use the link provided below to view the video update:

https://youtu.be/Te9ajGk0ous

 

Dennis Jernigan Update

I thought you might enjoy a video update rather than a written update! Thanks for watching!

Use the following link to view video update:

https://youtu.be/Te9ajGk0ous

A Message to Baby Boomers About Millennials

A Message to Baby Boomers About Millennials

A Message to Baby Boomers About Millennials or
Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me In My Twenties

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.
2 Corinthians 5”16 NASB

What is a millennial? Generally speaking, a millennial isa person born in the early eighties to early nineties and even those born in the early 2000s; the offspring of a baby boomer. If you listen to pop culture, this generation of young adults are lazy whiners who have no vision or direction and walk around in a mental and emotional malaise of indifference and generally have a sense of entitlement. Yet, that is not what I see when I think of the millennial generation!

God’s Word tell us to recognize no man according to the flesh. We are to recognize each individual - regardless of the popular stereotypes or perceptions - according to the potential God sees in them! When I think of a millennial in this light, I see young people with the potential of being visionary, positive, hard workers who are the movers and shakers of our world - and of God’s Kingdom!

Whenever I hear the talking heads in the media describe the millennial generation, I hear the old negatives that used to be said about me when I was a young adult! In a sense, nothing has changed! My generation was driven to perform for affirmation and acceptance. Replace today’s descriptives with my need to be affirmed through performance and the result is the same: people consumed with their need and going about meeting those needs in their own strength.

This reality got me to thinking about what a few kind words by the older generation could have done for my emotional and mental state of being. The very power of life and death is in the words we speak. We can either speak curses or we can speak blessings. This led me to thinking about what I wish that generation had told me when I was in my twenties. What follows is in no particular order of importance. Here are a few of the things that came to mind in the order they came to me:

Everyone has baggage.

The grass is not greener on the other side.

God wastes nothing. Not my sorrow. Not my pain. Not even my failure.

Honesty leads to freedom.

Guilt and shame are different. Guilt is the realization that I have done something wrong. Shame is the belief I am something wrong. Jesus dealt with both on my behalf. I am absolved from guilt and I am a new creation in Christ.

God does not command me to agree with others. He commands me to love.

Love is defined by the laying down of life.

It’s OK to be different. It is Ok to a different from a woman. It is OK to be a man.

It is OK to fully embrace my masculinity in spite of what the culture says.

It is Ok to swim upstream against the cultural flow.

Seek Jesus and not a ministry. Ministry flows out of your relationship with Jesus.

It is good for the redeemed to say so.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Hard work and consistency over time leads to success.

I wish someone had taught me how to handle money.

I never leave God’s presence. I either ignore Him or forget He’s here.

Hurt people hurt people.

Every human heart longs to know and to be known.

It is OK to fall apart as long as I fall apart in the arms of my Maker.

God uses broken vessels.

Life is not fair but God is just.

The Kingdom of God is not a democracy.

All people are not equal in gifts, talents, abilities, or wealth but all are equal in God’s love for them.

Happiness and joy are two different things. Happiness depends upon my circumstances. Joy depends upon my relationship with God through any circumstance.

Happiness is not a right. It is a blessing.

My gifts and talents were designed for use in God’s Kingdom. It is when those gifts collide with my brokenness that I discover my calling.

I always have a choice as to how I respond to circumstances I have no choice over.

He who has no Truth foundation is destined to flounder through life.

It’s OK to be sensitive as a man.

It is OK to say no.

It is OK to disagree with another person. I am not a racist simply because I disagree with someone of another race. I am not homophobic just because I disagree with a homosexual.

I am defined by my Maker and I have His spiritual DNA flowing through my veins.

Healing is a process.

You will grow old. Enjoy the journey.

Live to leave a legacy.

I am a bestower of identity and blessing.

You do not have to go to college.

It’s Ok to be a stay-at-home mom.

Wait and see because life has a way of working itself out.

You can count your true friends on one hand. The rest are just acquaintances.

It’s all practice.

Don’t waste energy on a lie.

Put on the other person’s shoes for a bit.

Make others feel important.

Be present and not in such a hurry.

Get off your cell phone and engage people face to face.

My parents are smarter than I gave them credit for.

It’s Ok to not know what you want to do.

You will fail from time to time. The only failure is when you fall and do not get back up.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21 NASB

I could go on…and I will as time goes on…because I believe their is power in the words we speak to one another. Even when we are not speaking to a millennial but are speaking about them, we can speak curse or blessing. There is power - whether you realize it or not - in the words we baby boomers speak over and into the lives of our millennials. Speak life and watch life spring forth.
Dennis Jernigan

To all millennials who read this, you may find yourself feeling as if you are in the middle of nowhere concerning your life. Here’s little secret: we all go through such times in our lives. To help you traverse these feelings, I have written a song that I hope will encourage you in the middle of nowhere. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/SblrWBom8hE and download the song at https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3954

This article/blog was written with the help of the Christ followers at my home church, All In All Church. I asked them for things they wish others had spoken into their lives in their twenties and they went to town, so to speak!

 

 

The Middle of Nowhere 2

The Middle of Nowhere 2

As long as we live, we will have times and seasons of walking in a wilderness of one sort or another. We will walk through the wilderness of hurt. The wilderness of being misunderstood. The wilderness of persecution. The wilderness of failure. Sin has seen fit to that - and the enemy loves to exploit the wilderness times. He is so adept as his subtle lies that he is often able to get the inspecting believer/follower of Jesus to want to go back to the bondage He has already delivered them from…back to Egypt! That is true wilderness!

At times, when the journey toward freedom in our thoughts leaves us weary and worn out, we find it easier to give up to old temptations - old ways of thinking - rather than trudge on toward truth and ultimate freedom. How may people have you met who seem to be going around in circles, complaining about the same old hang ups even though they say they have put off the lies and received the truth? It is one thing to recount the goodness of God through one’s testimony and quite another to walk in victimhood by reliving the same old stinkin’ thinkin’ moment after moment! Reality is that if we never exchange the identity of victimhood for the identity of avictor, we never walk in true freedom! Another way to say it? We never leave what we never grieve!

Even though the enemy - the liar - seeks to exploit the wildernesses of our lives, I have great news. So does our God! Yes, we will always have wilderness in our lives but the perspective of that wilderness means the difference between victory and defeat; between constant despair or refreshing hope. Reality is we will always be strangers and aliens in this world by virtue of our very nature as new creations in Christ. Rather than wondering around aimlessly, we need to recognize that we have been given something to look forward to. We look to our very own Promised Land!

Although it is disputed by many, It has been said that Winston Churchill once said, “If you're going through hell, keep going.” Not bad advice at all, if you ask me! When we are wandering through the wilderness times of life, we need to keep our eyes fixed on the Promised Land. Just what is the Promised Land? I have several that keep me focused.

The very presence of God that I never leave and that never leaves me. If my wilderness takes me to the highest mountain of insurmountable pain or suffering, I am not alone. If my wilderness takes me to the lowest place in the desert of despair, I am never alone - not even for one moment. He is as far as I can fall! He is Immanuel - God With Us! My ultimate Promised Land is Jesus Christ! With my eyes fixed on Jesus, what once seemed like barren wilderness now becomes an exciting and exhilarating adventure. We replace thoughts of futile wandering and helpless floundering with a sense of adventure! This takes us out of the realm of despair and plants our feet firmly on the Solid Ground of life lived with, in, and through the power of Jesus Christ. Joy is in that journey….and there are new vistas to be explored around each and every corner; new discoveries with every twist and turn; new moments of timeless splendor with every little side-trip our journey takes us down!

Here are a few of my former ‘Egypts’ - bondages - along with the wilderness they took me through, followed by the Promised Land I am now enjoying:

Egypt: My former identity
Wilderness: Working out my salvation by renewing my mind
Promised Land: Experiencing life with, in, and through Jesus

Egypt: Painful memories and wounds from the past; Stolen ground
Wilderness: Renewing my mind to see each of those wounds from God’s point of view
Promised Land: looking back to see all the altars along the way where pain was met with comfort; where old memories were replaced with God’s reality of perspective.

Egypt: Soul ties; anything physical or relational that tied my soul to my former identity
Wilderness: The process of severing those ties; burning gifts exchanged between me and a former partner in sin; ripping up pictures that connected me to my old identity; serving wrong relationships

Egypt: Current failures/sins
Wilderness: Seeking and receiving God’s forgiveness; Seeking forgiveness from those I have sinned against; Forgiving myself; Putting off the old and putting on the new once again.
Promised Land: Right relationship with God and others; Moving on down the road!

Because I now have a different perspective on wilderness, I often go into the wilderness on purpose…just like Jesus did. Going into the wilderness alone to seek God’s presence and guidance is never a bad thing. It is in this view of wilderness - regardless of its nature or specifics - that brings joy to what once brought me despair; that bathes me in love that expels any fear. Let me very clear: wilderness is not the problem. Lack of trusting God is with me IS! And bottom line? I never leave what I do not grieve.

I left the wilderness of self-hatred (part of my former identity) when I grieved my former wrong way of thinking about myself. I left the idol worship of ME in that same moment by placing my hope in God rather than in my performance.

I left the wilderness of old hurts, not by denying they occurred, but by seeing them from God’s point of view. He wastes nothing in my life! Yes, I have many scars, but scars are evidence that a healing has taken place. Evidence to the fact that I have gone through something painful - and lived to tell about it. Evidence that says God heal and restores and delivers! How do we get out of the old perspective of dreading the wilderness and replace that point of view with a new perspective? We do what the Children of Israel did. We follow the leader!

In November of 1981 I decided to follow Jesus. He led me to the cross. He led me to die to my sin. He led me to resurrection of thought. He led me to a brand new life! Who would not want to follow a leader like that?

Soon after that encounter with Jesus, I was introduced to the power of the Holy Spirit and the use of his gifts. The Spirit led me to wisdom. The Spirit led me to discernment. The Spirit led me to the constant seeking of the center of God’s will. The Spirit constantly leads me right back to Jesus. He leads me to find comfort in His presence and leads me to pour myself out for others.

Simultaneously, I longed for a healthy understanding of Father’s love and was led by the Father who had been waiting for this prodigal son to return home! Father led me to pursue Him as a child. Led me to trust. Led me to cut out all the other voices being for my attention. For 12 years I did not watch TV or listen to the radio of allow my mind to be filled with anything that did not lead me to my Father God! He led me to my passion for music. He led me to face my brokenness with my passion. This collision led to me to the ongoing discovery of my true calling in life. My relationship with my Father leads me to the constant honing of my ministry which is irrevocable. He led me right back to Jesus in this sense: I am to be about my Father’s business…to seek and save that which is lost.

If this is wilderness in my life, I love it…because the journey never get old when walked with a sense of adventure…when walked with the God of the Universe who loves ME! Even when I sorrow or suffer or find myself believing a lie, I keep my eyes fixed on the Leader and He always meets me right where I am - with a cloud of HIs presence - with a pillar fire of His presence - with the daily manna of His presence; With Bread of Life and sweet Living Water! Do you want to build this same sense of adventure or do you want to wander around with a sense of dread and fear? It really is your choice.

What is your promised land?
Is it freedom?
Is it restored relationships?
Is it moving on?
Is it ministry?
Is it your calling?
Is it all of the above and then some?
It doesn’t matter. You are not alone. Just follow the Leader and move with assurance toward the Promised Land.

Who is God? Cosmic Policeman or Powerful Advocate? You’ve got to decide. One view leads to performance and death while the other leads to true freedom.

Who are you? Pathetic Loser or Triumphant Overcomer? You’ve got to decide. One view leads to death while the other leads to life. My personal rule? Dennis Jernigan cannot call himself something his Father does not call him!

See your past from God’s point of view…

Seek and receive forgiveness…

Forgive yourself…

Move on down the road with eyes fixed on the Leader…

Expect and enjoy His presence…

Stand in awe of the cloud and the pillar of fire and allow your faith to be bolstered…

Remember who and Whose your are in spite of your circumstances…

Live the grand adventure called your life. Follow the Leader. He will lead you right to a land flowing with milk and honey and will give you power to put down the giants in your land. Just trust Him.

Dennis Jernigan
March 23, 2017

 

The Middle of Nowhere

The Middle of Nowhere

The Middle of Nowhere

Recently, I was asked to minister in the town of Hartley, Texas at Hartley Christian Fellowship. As people asked the question, “Where is Hartley?” I explained to them it was located about 78 miles north of Amarillo. Their response? That’s the middle of nowhere!

As is custom, I asked the pastor if there was any specific need he wanted me to address as I ministered, he wrote me back with “I pray for renewed passion and an openness and love for our changing community culturally.” A return to our first love as followers of Christ.

Taking this to heart, I began to ask the Lord if there were any things He would have me specifically address in relation to what the pastor had written. All I could hear in my thoughts was the phrase ‘in the middle of nowhere.’ I could not shake that thought - and knowing how the Lord operates in my mind, I prepared to receive a song about being stuck in the middle of nowhere.

The more I pondered that phrase, the more definitions I came up with as to what it means to be ‘in the middle of nowhere.’ According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the phrase literally means ‘far away from any towns and cities and where few people live’. Hartley certainly fit that definition, but I knew the meaning would have deeper spiritual ramifications…so I kept meditating on the phrase...and a song was born. Following are some of the thoughts that emerged:

The middle of nowhere could mean being lost in the wilderness. Just as the children of Israel wandered around in a physical wilderness, their wilderness was also one of a spiritual nature. Although they did not always correlate the two, the spiritual was actually more important than the physical. The physical wilderness was provided to show the people of God their spiritual condition.

They had just spent the past 400 years in the wilderness of slavery to Egypt and now they found themselves free from that bondage. It did not take long for attitudes of gratitude to change to second-thoughts and grumbling against leadership. In the very midst of the wilderness of the Sinai, God Himself had led them by a cloud in the daylight and by a pillar of fire by night. He had parted the Red Sea. And on a more personal level for each family and individual, He provided food fresh each morning in the form of manna. Yet, they chose to see the wilderness rather than the love and presence and power of God being demonstrated in their midst!

How often do we gaze upon our circumstances, surmising we are in the wilderness - smack dab in the middle of nowhere - yet we neglect to see the love and presence and power of God being demonstrated in our life daily?

Being in the middle of nowhere can be as simple as feeling alone. In that respect, being in the middle of nowhere can mean feeling alone in the middle of a crowd. The middle of nowhere can be in the middle of millions of people in New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and feeling as if no one can even see you. The good news is that we cannot possibly ever be alone if we remind ourselves that the God we are in relationship with is anywhere we happen to be. Being alone with God is not a bad place to be. In fact, I - being an introvert aside - find being alone with God rather invigorating. To be with God in intimacy - Him seeing all of me and loving me anyway and me taking the time to gaze into His presence - is to recharge my batteries on every level. Jesus intentionally went into the middle of nowhere for this very reason: to be alone with His Father and to recharge his spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical batteries. In other words, being in the middle of nowhere can be a very good thing.

When we are willing to stand alone for our faith; whenever we are willing to speak Truth to those we love; whenever we risk loving through service; we face the risk of being misunderstood. Because of the nature of my own story - freedom from homosexual identity and now identifying as heterosexual - I often feel as if I live in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of being misunderstood. The simple fact of the matter is that if we pursue Jesus with the passion He pursued us, we will be misunderstood. Each of the apostles had to walk through the wilderness of being misunderstood. They preached love. The world heard hate. The world - thanks to the deception of the enemy - is walking in darkness apart from Christ. The most loving thing to tell someone is that they need a Savior because of their sin. No one wants to be told they are wrong about anything, yet that was one of the most loving things ever spoken to me. “Dennis, you are in sin.”

Just as Stephen, we may be misunderstood to the degree that our very life is threatened. Just as with the children of Israel who had the choice of seeing and experiencing God’s love, presence, and power, Stephen chose to see from the Lord’s point of view while in the middle of nowhere. While being stoned to death for preaching the Truth of Jesus, He chose to look into the heavenly places, ‘but being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”’ Acts 7:55-56 NASB

The stoning continued but so did the faith of Stephen. ‘They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Acts 7:59 NASB

When finding ourselves in the middle of nowhere, whether in a desert, in a crowd, of being stoned, we must recognize and realize that even there we are not alone. In fact could it be that finding one’s self in the middle of nowhere is a good - and grand - thing? It all depends on the point of view, I suppose.

We can see a cloud of obscurity, or we can see a cloud that guides.

We can either see a fiery trial or we can see a fiery pillar of God’s protection.

We can see a sea raging all around us with no way through or we can see a parting of that very sea.

We can see eking out a bare existence or we can see even the smallest morsel as manna from heaven.

We can either see emptiness or the opportunity to be filled.

We can see brokenness or the opportunity for being poured out.

We can either see a desert or we can see a chance to meet with our Maker.

We can see wounding or we can offer our heartsand hurts to the Healer.

We can see the middle of nowhere or we can see the love, presence, and power of our God.

Ultimately, the middle of nowhere is a good and grand place - because it is there that we meet the God Who meets all our needs!

Dennis Jernigan
March 8, 2017

The Middle of Nowhere
WORDS & MUSIC
Dennis Jernigan
March 3, 2017

Download MP3 HERE.
Verse
Where can I go from Your presence?
Where can I go from Your grace?
How wounded and how broken must my heart be before
Your healing can't reach that place?

In the middle of nowhere!
In the middle of nowhere!

Where can I go when forgotten?
Where can I go when alone?
How long before my blinded eyes are able to see
This world is not my home?
In the middle of nowhere
In the middle of nowhere!

Chorus
In the middle of suff'ring!
In the middle of sorrow!
In the middle of pain!
In the middle of heartache!
In the middle of a desert!
In the middle of a driving rain!

Oh, Father, meet me there!
Father, meet me there!
In the middle of nowhere!
In the middle of nowhere!

In the middle of empty!
In the middle of the wilderness!
In the middle alone!
In the middle of the fire!
In the middle of darkness!
Middle of far from home!

Oh, Father, meet me there!
Father, meet me there!
In the middle of nowhere!
In the middle of nowhere!
In the middle of nowhere!
Father, meet me there!

Verse
Nothing I go through is wasted
When seen from the King's point of view
My life a grand adventure where I'm never alone
And when I get there I find You
In the middle of nowhere
In the middle of nowhere

Chorus 2
In the middle of grateful
In the middle of deliverance
In the middle of joy
In the middle of triumph
The middle of the enemy
In the middle of a lie destroyed
Oh, Father, meet me there
Father, meet me there
In the middle of anywhere
In the middle of anywhere

In the middle of a healing
In the middle of life
In the middle of grace
In the middle of a miracle
In the middle of freedom
In the middle of a King's embrace
Oh, Father, meet me there
Father, meet me there
In the middle of anywhere
In the middle of anywhere

 

Idols

Idols

Romans 1:22-26 NASB
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

I often wonder why people often fall back into the same sin pattern over and over again. As I was preparing to share with my home church this week, this was one of the things I was thinking about. One of the reasons I believe people who take the name of Jesus cannot seem to ever shake their sin patterns is quite simple: they have chosen to not tear down the idols in their lives!

What is an idol? An idol is anything that stands between us and God…anything that we place in importance above or before Him. An idol is built when we exchange the Truth of God for a lie of the enemy. Quite simply, an idol is a false god!

Whether we like it or not, we have all worshiped idols at one time or another in our lives - even as believers in and followers of Christ! Our God has a lot to say about this:

Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:4 NASB

You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 26:1 NASB

You shall have no other gods before Me.
Deuteronomy 5:7 NASB

Idols are things we have to build and raise up and exalt by our own devices! When we worship an idol, it is one we have built for our self! From my point of view, having walked out of idol worship in my own life, the biggest idol I ever erected and exalted over Jesus was - me!

As my friend Joanna pointed out, the first letter of the word idol is ‘I’. And as my wife pointed out, the first two letters form the initials ID - identity! Since the enemy is not omniscient, he simply plants the seed of self-focus and walks away leaving us to do his dirty work for him. The enemy of God always leads us to build idols in our lives to replace our need for relationship with Almighty God.

We often build idols because, like the children of Israel, we want to worship something we can see. Something tangible. Never mind the miracles of God like that pesky pillar of fire or that protective cloud or the fresh manna provided every morning or water from a rock or - you get the idea! Our God is bigger than merely seeing Him with our eyes!

Just as He commanded the Israelites to tear down and destroy their idols, we must do the same unless we want to keep wandering around in the wilderness of habitual sin for the next forty or so years! When I got tired of trudging through my own wilderness of sin, the Lord led me to the place of tearing down the idols on my own life…but first, He had to point them out to me.

When I left my old life and identity and replaced them with the new life and identity I found in Christ, the Lord led me to many idols I had erected through the years. Those idols? Anything that attached me to my old identity and way of thinking. Soul ties. Things that tied the old ways of thinking to my feet like weights that dragged me to a standstill in my faith walk. When He revealed them to me, He directed me to not simply rid them from my life - but to destroy them if possible!

My idols were things like pictures from my past that connected me to sinful relationships. Reminders of the old way of thinking. I burned all the pictures of me from those sinful relationships.

My idols were gifts and mementos that had been given to me by those I had been in immoral relationship with. I ripped them to shreds and burned them.

My idols were clothes that I had worn that reminded me of certain activities and emotions from my old life. I contemplated giving them away…but decided destruction meant destruction…so I burned them as well.

My idols were emotional relationships - friendships - with people I had sinned with whether physically or emotionally. I cut off all contact with them…even as they derided me and mocked me and said many evil things about me. I had to come to the place where I realized I was not their savior nor was I their redeemer.

My idols were places I had been able to sin in secret. I told others about my propensity to sin in these places in order to help hold myself accountable since I could not legally destroy someone else’s property, LOL!

My idols were old ways of thinking. I had to take those thoughts captive and then trample them under my feet as I replaced them with the Truth of God’s Word.

My idols were vain imaginations for fame. I replaced that idol with making Jesus famous.

My idols were the need to be loved and accepted by men. I replaced this need with my need for God’s love and acceptance…which I continue to receive in wave upon wave of His deep abiding love for me…just because I exist!

My idol was me. I allowed him (me) to be crucified and buried with Christ, replacing my old dead self with the new creation in Christ God raised me to be. And I leave the dead guy dead and buried. I even have a tombstone to prove it!

When we exalt our self above God, we become wise in our own eyes…but God calls this foolishness. The moment we raise our self above God, we effectively raise up our self as an idol, worshiping the creation over the Creator. Idols eventually crumble, one way or the other, because they are not eternal nor are they afforded any real power whatsoever. If we never repent and tear down the idols in our lives, we can never overcome sin. We remain stuck where we are and never truly move on to victory.

How can we walk in freedom when idols separate us from God? How do we tear down the idols in our life?

We repent. Repentance is a good thing because it restores us to right standing with God. Simply put, repentance is agreeing with God. If God calls it sin, we should call it sin.

We renounce the sin. This simply means we formally disown the sin. We take responsibility for our wrong choice and accept God’s Word as the Truth.

We receive the forgiveness of God. To receive Him is to receive all He is. He is love. He is righteous. He is holy. He is All in All. Oh, and while we are at it, we must forgive ourselves!

We realize our identity is in and comes from Him. He is holy, therefore I am holy. He is righteous, therefore I am righteous. He is with me, therefore I am with Him. He is healer, therefore I am called to lead others to healing in and through Jesus Christ. We live our life through the lens of Who God is:

    • in our sorrow, He comforts
    • in our pain, He gives grace to endure
    • in our lack, He provides
    • in our wounding, He heals

We recognize that anything can become an idol. My wife can become an idol. My children can become idols. My ministry can become an idol. My work can become an idol. How do I deal with that? I recognize my wife and children, my ministry and vocation, are gifts from the Lord…and I give them back to Him for use in the Kingdom. I am but a steward of such gifts. They do not define me. They remind me of who and Whose I am.

We resume our journey. We get back up from the place we fell and head right back for and to Jesus Christ! It is when we choose to hang on to our idols that our journey becomes stagnant and we walk in constant defeat. Let go of and destroy your idols today…and move on!
Dennis Jernigan

What idols do you worship?

Ephesians 4:21-24 NASB
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Renewing the Mind

Renewing the Mind

    I did not want to be defined as an angry man. I did not want to be defined as a fearful man. I did not want to be defined as a homosexual. I did not want to be defined as a recovering homosexual. I did not want to be defined as an emotional basket case - yet at one time in my life, I felt all those things. I felt that those things defined me since that was the way I felt. Feelings define no one. Feelings simply tell us what we are thinking about. If we can change the way we think, we can change the way we feel. Easier said than done, right?

Just a Thought on Feelings

Why in the world would anyone allow the way they feel to define their entire being? I sometimes feel like lashing out in anger. Yet, I don’t - and I do not call myself an angry person just because I felt that way.

I sometimes feel like taking something that does not belong to me. Yet, I do not call myself a thief just because I felt like stealing something.

I sometimes feel like a loser. Yet, I do not allow that feeling to define who I am as a person.

Every feeling I have comes as a result of something I have thought. Each feeling I have is attached to a thought I have had. What I have learned is that if I change the way I think, I can change the way I feel. Some have told me I am simply brainwashing myself…and I have to agree. I have allowed Truth to wash away the lies I have thought about myself and have replaced those lies with right thinking about who and Whose I am. And guess what? My feelings have followed suit!

Don’t get me wrong. This has not always been easy. It is a battle…but a battle worth fighting! Though I have fallen at times, I just keep getting back up. The only failure is the person who falls and chooses to not get back up.

I do not define myself. My Maker gets to do that. I seek Jesus. He reveals the lies I believe and shows me the Truth. It is up to me to put off those lies and to replace them with the Truth. A depth of freedom has come as a result of this mind renewal that I never thought possible. This realization keeps me seeking Jesus for more! It has afforded me something the world seems to think is impossible. Self-control.

Just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is…and it - that feeling - certainly does not define who I am.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2 NASB

    For the first 22 years of my life, I felt different. At first, I felt like I was something less than a real boy. I enjoyed drawing and playing the piano and I loved dancing. My emotional sensitivity was interpreted as effeminate and my sensitivities made the other boys uncomfortable…and I felt uncomfortable around other boys. I felt right at home with girls.

     When puberty hit and sexual awareness set in, I felt as if I were something less than a man. I felt homosexual. I felt gay. That awareness - that feeling - lasted until I was 22 years old. At that age, something wonderful happened - or BEGAN to happen - that would change everything I thought about myself. What I discovered was something revolutionary and new, yet as old as time itself.

    What I discovered was that I could change my feelings by simply changing the way I thought about myself - about the world in general. One of the first things that changed was my perception of homosexuality. No longer would I think of it as my identity. After that eventful day, I began to think of it as merely a temptation - an attraction that was contrary to the way God had made me; an awareness that somewhere along the way, my thoughts concerning my sexual identity had somehow been co-opted by what I now refer to as stinkin’ thinkin’.

    I had believed a lie.

    When one realizes they have been lied to - been duped - they feel betrayed. And I certainly felt betrayed. When one feels betrayed, they stop trusting the one who betrayed them, right? This book is my attempt to explain and express the journey toward mental and spiritual wholeness that set me free from something the world says one cannot be free of - something the world says you do not need to be free of. I write this in the hope that someone else out there might be going through the same struggle I faced - regardless of whether that struggle involves their sexual identity or an addiction or a wrong belief system that leads to constant defeat - and find what they are looking for in Jesus...THE Answer..

    My desire is to operate in complete freedom - what my Maker calls freedom - rather than in what the world calls freedom: man doing what man feels like doing and calling it an identity in order to make them feel better about themselves. Feelings change according to the thoughts we think. Unless and until we deal with the underlying thoughts that lead to the feelings we have, we will never get to the root of our issues and never walk in true and real freedom - and negative feelings will rule the day. It is the man/woman who deals with their thought life - replacing lies for what is true - that walks in true freedom.

    This writing, and that which follows, involves questions I have had to answer through the years that have led me from stinkin’ thinkin’ to right thinking; from feelings of rejection and confusion over sexual identity to feelings of knowing who and Whose I am and feelings of heterosexuality. I invite you to read on and challenge you to ask yourself the questions contained within these pages. I challenge you to see your life and identity from a Christ-centered point of view rather than from a humanistic/man-centered point of view. One leads to futility. One leads to hope. Which will you choose?
Dennis Jernigan

Declarations

Declarations

    If God’s Word is foundational to our reality, we need to take it to heart. Did you know that we have the power of life and death in our very tongues? In the words we speak over our own lives?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverb 18:21 NASB

    There is much to be said about the words we speak to ourselves. It is perfectly normal to realize that we talk to ourselves - even when we do not think we do! What do you think dreams are? We are talking to ourselves and we are conversing with God if we are people of faith - at all times! We are called to encourage ourselves in the Lord, just as King David did.
    
    There was an episode in the life of King David in which he led his army into battle. While they were away, the wives and children of David and his men were taken captive by the enemy. When David’s men realized what had happened, they blamed David and talked of stoning him. Here is how David responded:

Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
1 Samuel 30:6 NASB

    King David encouraged HIMSELF in the Lord. He spoke the Truth to His own soul! In his own words:

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.
Psalm 42:5 NASB

    Even when circumstances are beyond our control, we have the choice as to how we will respond. We always have a choice as to whether or not we will speak Truth to our own mind! In my own life, I have had several surgeries. After surgery, the pain meds wreak havoc upon my mind, leading me to hallucinate. IN those moments, I would call out to Melinda and ask her to speak truth to me - to give me something tangible to hold on to with my thoughts. She would begin speaking God’s Truth to me out loud. As my mind took stock of what she was declaring, my mind suddenly came to peace having a solid truth to hold on to! This became our practice until the day I was able to be rid of the need for pain medication!

    On the advent of the next surgery I faced, we were preemptive. My family made me a Truth Jar - a simple Mason Jar full of small bits of God’s Truth written on card stock and folded. Whenever I found my mind wandering to despair after surgery, I was to reach into that jar and read those nits of truth as needed. Without fail, all it took was reading one of those truths and my mind was brought back to reality, reality being what God calls Truth!

    We must learn to use the power of our own words just as King David did. We have the choice in how we talk to our self. We can speak either death or life. Which sounds like the wiser choice to you? Here are some simple truths to declare to your own soul in moments of mental anguish and self-doubt. Speak these Truths to your own soul as needed. This is who you are!

I am dead to sin.
Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11 NASB

I am born again.
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:22-23 NASB

I am cleansed by the blood.
…let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22 NASB

I am alive to God
Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11 NASB

I am a victor, destined to win.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NASB

I am a child of destiny and purpose.
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’
Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

I am eternally His.
 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB

I am found.
“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his [fn]life for My sake will find it.” Jesus
Matthew 10:39 NASB

I am free.
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Jesus
John 8:36 NASB

I am holy and righteous.
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 NASB

I am an overcomer.
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 NASB

I am redeemed.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us…
Galatians 3:13a NASB

I am crowned with victory.
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12 NASB

I am restored.
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Psalm 19:7 NASB

…if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Ephesians 4:21-23 NASB

I am resurrected to new life.
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
Romans 6:4-6 NASB


I am a new creation.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB


I am a servant of the Most High God.
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” Jesus
Matthew 23:11 NASB

“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” Jesus
John 12:26 NASB

I am a mighty warrior.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NASB

I am an ambassador for Christ.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20 NASB

I am chosen by God. I am a priest. I am royalty. I belong to God!
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…
1 Peter 2:9 NASB

I am a receiver of visions and dreams
‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says,
‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL [fn]MANKIND;
AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,
AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS…’
Acts 2:17 NASB


I am a letter of grace.
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NASB

I am a minister of reconciliation, leading others to be reconciled with God!
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NASB

I am a delight to my God
For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:12 NASB

The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

I am accepted.
…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:6 NASB

I am a Kingdom Seeker!!!!!!!
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Jesus
Matthew 6:33 NASB

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.
Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB

Who I Am

Who I Am

    How does one put on the truth when the reality of their life says one thing about their identity yet God calls them something new? What does one do if their feelings never change? What is ultimate Truth? We can argue over these questions all day long, but until we come to a firm grasp of where our foundation truly lies, we will always lack peace. As long as the wisdom of man is the foundation from which you base reality, your foundation lasts until the first failure of that wisdom - and have no doubt, man’s strength always fades. Always. If feelings are what you rely on to confirm your identity, you are still operating from a man-centered worldview. If I identified myself by the way I feel from time to time, I would be an angry, vengeful, wounded, greedy, over-indulgent man, to say the least! Thank God He gave me a brand new identity and reminds me I have no right to call myself something my Father does not call me!

    And just what is ultimate Truth? From God’s point of view it is His written Word. The Holy Scripture. The Bible. As new creations, we are no longer made righteous by the Law of the Old Testament (Covenant). That Law was fulfilled by the work of the cross and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We operate out of a New Covenant. Jesus fulfilled the Law and we are free to approach God through our faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, we are granted all the benefits of that Covenant because we have been made joint-heirs of the Kingdom again through faith in Jesus Christ. Here;s what the Word says in this regard:

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Romans 8:16-17 NASB

    If we are joint heirs of God with Jesus Christ, then all that is made available to Jesus Christ is available to us, as well! Do you get that? All that Jesus has, WE have! All the power He has been granted, WE have been granted! All the blessings He has received, WE are able to receive! All the power that raised Him from the dead is the same power God has given us! We have power over sin! We have power over temptation! We have power over our past failures! We have power over our present circumstances! We have power over our own thoughts! We have power over death! We have power over every choice we are faced with! We have the power to love to the degree that we believe we are loved! That is what ultimate Truth grants us! That is utter reality through faith in Jesus Christ! This is who you are, believer!

    Just because we choose to disregard the Truth has no effect on its validity or staying power. My lack of understanding or ability to see what God sees never negates the truth! That brings me great joy and peace as I pursue Him. If I believed everything that was said about me that is contrary to His Word, I would be relegated to deep, dark depression and stagnation! I simply respond to the truth in faith regardless of whether I feel like a new creation or not. That is what faith does. That is how a man or woman of faith responds. We respond out of the Truth in spite of how we feel. And speaking from my own experience, feelings always follow suit when I walk in the Truth of God’s Word. Always. They may not unfold in my being instantaneously, but as I change my thoughts, I give way to new emotions. My attitudes change in the process, and these changes effect the way I behave…and when I have success in my behavior, this produces even more healthy emotions and induces further righteous thinking…and whole new upward spiral floods in to replace the formerly downward cycle of my thoughts!

    The truth has the awesome ability to transcend any feeling or circumstance I face.

    The truth sets me free from the snares of fleshly feelings and actually taps me into the emotions of my Creator.

    The truth sets me free from the snares of hopelessness by taking my eyes off of me and my circumstances and placing my gaze upon the goal of my calling, Jesus Christ.

    As a new creation learning to see myself as God sees me, I must also learn to see others the way hesees them. I can no longer judge people according to all I see, but I choose to judge them according to their destiny and true calling. In other words, when we see someone who is acting in a certain way we deem selfish or sinful, we need to see what Father God sees. He sees a lost sheep in need of guidance and love. He sees a fallen child in need of rescue. We need to view others the same way and as we do, we will come to appreciate all the more who Father says we are. Remember, except for the grace of God, there go I…

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.
2 Corinthians 5:14-16 NASB

    With other believers I can make appeals for them to put an end to sinful behavior based upon their identity in Christ. When my own children were still at home, if I saw them sin - caught lying, for instance -  I would say, “Son or daughter, you lied to me, but that is not who you are. You are not a liar. A new creation’s true desire is to tell the truth. You are a truthful person. A portrait of God’s grace to the world, like a trophy that declares the power of God to all who see you!” Just as I did with my children, I now do the same thing for those I am in relationship with, regardless of whether they are my children - or grandchildren - or not! That is what Truth and love born out of my identity demand!

    In the last chapter, we focused on Who Father God says He is - what He calls Himself - revealing His character and nature. Let us go to the Foundation of His Word once again and discover some specific things He calls us. Who does Father say you are?


Who does Father say I am?
He calls me a trophy grace. This is my personal interpretation of what my life is to demonstrate about me. While this is not a Scriptural term, it does express Scriptural truth. What is a trophy? A trophy is a tangible reminder of some great accomplishment or achievement. The redeemed life is a trophy or reminder to all who see of one of God’s greatest achievements - you! Paul the apostle suffered much, yet he believed his sufferings and the display of God’s grace to carry him through them had a profound purpose. ‘...That the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:15).’ We must learn to put off the old and put on the new of who we really are. In that way, we confront and deal with sin, yet we tear down only the sin and not the person. This is how we build one another up. This is how God builds us up! In this way, we each become testimonies of grace.

Who does Father say I am?
He calls me a letter, written to all mankind

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NASB

    As others see the changes God brings about in our lives, it is as if He has written a love letter for everyone who comes in contact with us to read! My life without Jesus spoke volumes. My redeemed life reads like a letter that was written with the greatest of care. My desire is that God be glorified for all He has done for me - so I open up that letter (my heart) for others to see and read. My desire is that, as they read, their lives are brought to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as well!

What do others see when they read our lives?
    Will we allow others to see and read or will we hide what we have experienced of God? We have nothing to be ashamed of by being honest. Honesty is a byproduct of truth. Truth sets us - and others - free! Let us see beyond our own perceptions and see what we cannot always see. Let us see ourselves as Father sees us. Let us see others as Father does.

Who does Father say I am?
He says I am a winner!
He gives me the strength to fight the good fight of faith and to run the race toward the goal for the prize of my highest calling! Though I fall, I get up and keep running! To win a race I must run that race.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you win (1 Corinthians 9:24 NASB).”

The Word also says, “Let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB).”

What is a failure?
    A failure is the one who falls and does not get back up. Either freedom is worth fighting for or it’s not! Falling does not determine one’s identity. The Creator does that! I am not defined by past failure; present temptations; circumstances; or other people! I am who my Father says I am!

Who does Father say I am?
    He calls me a fighter! I do not give up - I am tenacious concerning my desire to conquer sin and to glorify my Redeemer. I fight the good fight of faith by taking hold of the eternal life to which I am called, declaring the truth to all who would see or hear - I am redeemed!

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12 NASB

    Father delights in me more than I in Him. His thoughts toward me outnumber the sands of the sea. Mine towards Him come nowhere near that!

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.
Psalm 139:17-18 NASB

    I do not have to earn His acceptance or approval. I already have it by virtue of the redeeming work of Christ upon the cross. God’s Word says that He has made us accepted in the Beloved - accepted in Christ!

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight
Ephesians 1:7-8 NASB

    He calls me His bride and calls Jesus my bridegroom. One day, my truest identity will be fulfilled in the consummation of true oneness with Christ in the eternal glory of heaven. What joy and pleasure to know I do not have to wait until heaven to experience that joy. I am known by my God in a deeply personal and intimate way and He allows me to know Him! This is my destiny: ’…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection...’ (Philippians 3:10)

My ultimate destiny?
    To be all God has called me to be! The overcoming testimony of my life? A fragrant aroma. ‘Thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place (2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB).’

    In am a treasure born of God’s spirit to be given back to Him as a sacrifice of praise.

‘But t we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not ourselves (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 NASB).’

    We will be afflicted in this life - but we will not be crushed. We may be perplexed by the twists and turns of our life - but we will not despair because we have hope. We will be persecuted for the sake of righteousness - but we will never be forsaken. We may even be struck down because of our faith - but we cannot be destroyed! Why? Because this is part of our identity and destiny in Christ. This is who we are!

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NASB).”

    Believer. This is your destiny. This is who you are called to be. I am so proud of you! Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy getting to know your God. I cannot wait until we have the time of eternity to share one another’s stories of God’s redemption.  Remember this: Our God wastes nothing! He will not waste one moment of sorrow or suffering or pain or even one moment of personal failure. He is able to take what we give Him, regardless of what it is, and make something beautiful of it.

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Genesis 50:20 NASB

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 NASB

    Let us be constantly on the quest of renewing our mind in Christ. Let us remember the enemy wants our destruction and that destruction begins in the thoughts is is able to plant in our minds. Let us not allow them to take root any longer. Let us make our mind good soil and be good receivers of God’s Word. Let us be transformed!

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2 NASB

 

Who Father God Says We Are

Who Father God Says We Are

Who Father God Says We Are

    If we are new creations in Christ, we need to view our life from that vantage point, rather than from any other point of view. This is both freeing and humbling. When I think about who and Whose I am, I think about my childhood and the way I was raised. I think about who my father is and was.  So much about me and the way I perceived my identity was based on what I learned from him. Whether we like it or not, we are heavily influenced by our parents - or lack thereof. Parents - especially our fathers - have great power when it comes to bestowing identity upon their children. That is simply a fact, again, whether we like it or not. If we perceive our father to be proud of us, we tend to walk in confidence. If we perceive him to be displeased with us, we tend to question everything about ourselves. That was my story.

    Everything changed when I replaced my man-centric worldview with a God-centric worldview. Not only did I begin to view myself in a whole new way, I also viewed my perceptions of my father and the way he raised me in a whole new light. I stopped blaming my father for my wrong choices. I stopped blaming him to the way I thought about myself. How did I accomplish that? Certainly not on my own! It was Father God and others who helped me put off the old ways of thinking and replace them with thew new way of thinking that brought me to the place of freedom I have come to enjoy!

    Rather than identifying myself by the way I perceived my earthly father saw me (which was skewed and perverted, to say the least!), I chose to view myself and think about myself from the vantage point of my heavenly Father. In fact, one of my personal rules to this day is that Dennis Jernigan does not get to call himself something his Father does not call him! But, again, just how did I get to the Father’s pint of view? I had to become like a child!

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
Jesus
Luke 18:17 NASB

    What is it about becoming a child that brings us to the place of entering the kingdom of God, of entering into the kingdom point of view, the kingdom way of thinking? Let’s think about the qualities of a child. A child trusts. A child desires to know his or her father. A child pursues his father. A child wants to know her father. A child believes it when his or her father expresses joy over their existence. A child is ready for the father’s embrace and finds joy in just being with him. A child jumps into thin air when they know their father is ready and willing and able to catch them! How did I get to know my Father? I asked Him to reveal to me who He says He is. In so doing, I believed knowing His nature would reveal mine! Jesus, when He was a boy, actively sought to know His heavenly Father, even risking alienation from his earthly parents. Once, he remained behind in the town synagogue when his parents headed for home. After searching high and low, they found him with the church leaders and elders. The response of Jesus?

“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Luke 2:49 NKJV

    A major part of our Father’s business is leading people know Him. That is why He sent Jesus to Earth in the first place! So, let us begin there in the process of renewing our mind. Let’s lay down all our preconceived notions about Who God is and let us be open to having our misconceptions about His character sent packing. Knowing Who He says He is will help us determine who we were/are created to be!

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.
Proverbs 22:1 NASB

    In God’s Word, He reveals much about Himself through the names He calls Himself. When I hear my own name, I hear the meaning of my name. Dennis means ‘Follower of Dionysius, the Greek god of wine’. When I was born again, one of the first things I was led to do was to redefine my name. Whenever I hear my name now, I hear ‘Follower and worshiper of the One True God’. That was an is a whole new way of seeing myself! That one mental rethinking moment was a major turning point in my self-thought life! Let’s take a few of the names God calls Himself and then let’s see how they apply to our own existence and identity…and lets’ be open to a change of reality from darkness to Light!

    He calls Himself Jehovah Shammah in Ezekiel 48:35. It literally means ‘The Lord is There’. What doe that mean? Regardless of where we find ourself, regardless of how we feel, and regardless of our pain or circumstances, He is there WITH US! In fact, one of the names by which Jesus is known in Scripture is Immanuel, which means ‘God With Us’ (Isaiah 7:14). We are never alone. When I was bound up in homosexual thought, I felt utterly alone for much of my life! But even in the midst of my feeling alone, reality was that I was NEVER alone. Not even one moment! As I began to look back on my life from that vantage point, I was able to see God as compassionate and always there pursuing me! I was able to find healing for the pain and wounds left by all those times I had felt alone…by simply seeing my God’s point of view! He loved me right where I was even in the midst of depravity, but loved me enough to not leave me there! That changed everything! I would never be alone again! Hallelujah!

    He calls Himself Jehovah-Nissi, which means ‘The Lord Is My Banner’ or ‘The Lord Is My Victory’. In Exodus 15, when Moses and Aaron led the children of Israel against the army of Amalek. The army of Israel was being pushed back, until Moses went to the top of a hill and lifted his arms. As he lifted his arms toward heaven, the army of Israel made headway. As his arms grew tired and fell to his side, they were again pushed back. In order to help hold his arms up, Aaron and a man named Hur helped hold the arms of Moses toward the sy…and Israel defeated the Amalekites! Moses named the place Jehovah-Nissi to remind the children of Israel that their God had brought about their victory.
    
    What that means to my life is this: God is the same God to me that He was in the battle with Amalek! He has my back just as He had the back of Israel! Jesus was victorious over sin! I am born again in Him, therefore I have victory over sin! Before I believed this, I walked in constant defeat, believing my inability to overcome sin and failure was just who I was! I considered myself a complete failure! As I began to proclaim this truth - Jesus is my Victory, therefore I am victorious - over my own mind, my feelings of defeat began to be replaced with feelings of triumph! I did not stop having moments of failure, but I decided to keep getting back up and heading for Jesus! I decided it was better to be a victor rather than to be a victim!

    He calls Himself Jehovah Rohi in Psalm 23. It literally means ‘The Lord My Shepherd’. Whenever I thought of God before I knew Him, I thought of Him as a distant dictator or cosmic policeman. My view was that He waited for me in heaven to see if I would obey Him or not - and whenever He saw me fail, He would swoop down and bop me on the head and beat me back into line. Into submission. This thought was reinforced by the way I treated a lamb I once owned. Her name was Abby. My job was to train Abby for the livestock show. My way of doing this? If she disobeyed, I struck her! I was so perplexed whenever I went for our daily truing session only to find her cowering in the corner, obviously gripped by fear! I felt mortified! Terrible! My solution? I began to take her carrots and other goodies - and began to treat her with kindness. After only a few days, the once-cowering lamb began to greet me at the gate…and followed me wherever I led her.

    When I was born again, I soon learned that Jesus is a good Shepherd! A good Shepherd never beats Hi sheep into submission, but leads them by example! As I applied this to my own life, I began to listen for the voice of Shepherd Jesus. He led me to clear fresh waters of understanding who I was called to be. He led me to fresh green lush pastures of His Word that began to transform the way I viewed reality…myself. He led me through the process of healing as He began to assess my wounds and began to apply the necessary balms of Truth to those same wounds. He led me to a feast of His presence in the very midst of my most dire circumstances.

    Before I saw God asGood Shepherd, my view was pathetic. I saw myself as deserving of only sitting beneath the table of His presence and groveling for any crumbs that fell o my lowly head from somewhere above. All along He had been calling me to sit AT the table and enjoy the feast of His presence - in THIS life! In THIS existence. That is how He sees me…and how I began to see myself! A child of the Shepherd Who is the King seated boldly at the table WITH Him! That was a life-altering point of view for sure!

    He calls Himself Jehovah-Rapha, ‘The Lord That Heals’. In Exodus 15, God reveals His healing nature to the children of Israel who had just come out of slavery in Egypt. In spite of all the miracles God performed to get them out of bondage, they still longed for the security of those old chains - and He still chose to heal them of all the diseases that afflicted the Egyptians! How often do we feel that same way? At least in our old way of thinking we knew our limits! How sad is that way of thinking?! And make no bones about it, it is a way of thinking! The Israelites had been enslaved to the Egyptians for 400 years. That’s a lot of time to build up the thought process that says ‘this is just the way it is and this is just the way it will be’. While that may give you a measure of peace, it does not give you victory. This is a sickness- a wrong way of thinking - that can only be healed by changing the way one thinks!

    If one does not believe they are sick, then one does not seek the Healer. My mental and spiritual healing began to be realized the day I chose to agree with God that I was sick in the way I thought about Him and about myself and then chose to put off the lies He revealed to me and then actively choose to put on the Truth according to His Word. It had taken me 22 years to build up the wall of lies I had believed. He encouraged me with the understanding that it may take time to tear down that wall and rebuild it with the Truth. Some lies have come down instantly while others have been a process. Some Truths have been grasped quickly while others have taken time to take root in my mind. Healing has come as I have chosen to trust my Healer rather than the wisdom of man!

    In Jeremiah 23:6, God reveals Himself as Jehovah Tsidkenu - The Lord Our Righteousness. This is actually a prophecy about the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:30, we find this Truth:  “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption…” When I was bound up in stinkin’ thinkin’, I felt (there’s that word again) that my only recourse to my constant failure was to perform my way through life - to gain God’s approval and acceptance and earn HIs love. That is how I FELT about the people in my life as well! The feeling should have given me the clue to the truth. Everything changed the day it dawned on me that there was absolutely no way to ever earn God’s acceptance, approval, or love other than the free gift of simple faith in Jesus Christ! In the most simple terms I can convey this Truth, Jesus Christ exchanged His life for mine on the cross. “He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” That’s 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB. In other words, When He exchanged HIs life for mine, and I exchanged my way of thinking/life for His, I effectively became righteous in the sight of God! How could that not rock my world and drastically alter the way I thought about myself? This newfound way of thinking made me want to turn from my sin more than ever…and to seek the Righteous Savior Who set my thoughts spinning in the right direction!

    In Exodus 31:13, Father God reveals Himself as Jehovah M’kaddesh, which means ‘The Lord That Sanctifies You’. When I think of sanctification I think of holiness, but God takes it even further than that. To be sanctified in and by Jesus Christ is to be set apart for a holy purpose! Not only am I made holy by simple faith in Jesus Christ, but I am called into a higher, kingdom purpose! This gave my life an never-before-seen vision and purpose - a destiny - that transcended my humanity! When I was in bondage to my particular sin - way of thinking - I could see no further than the sin could take me! In my sin, there was no procreation. In my sin, there was no hope for true love as God had ordained it. In my sin there was only hope for deeper depths of condemnation and fear of disease and ridicule of men. In my sin, there was no hope or future. To have Father God tell me He had made me holy and that I should see myself as holy and pure was quite revolutionary, but that was only the beginning of my revelation! He had a definite purpose for my existence! This new focus took the wind out of the sails of temptation for me in a dramatic way! My very real needs were now being met in the way God had intended them to be met all along. In relationship with Him! I am holy and set apart because He says so!

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Romans 1:17 NASB

    In God’s Word, we find the details of an episode in the life of the patriarch Abraham. Abraham had finally been given a son in his old age…and when the boy, Isaac,  was still a young man, the Lord directed Abraham to sacrifice him on the altar! Abraham, being a man of faith reluctantly obeyed the Lord and took his son to the place as directed by God…and just as Abraham lifted the knife to sacrifice his son, the Lord intervened:

But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:11-14 NASB

    But the Lord did not stop there. He went on:

Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Genesis 22:15-18 NASB

    When I was confronted with the choice of following Jesus, He asked me for everything. Had I held back from Him, He could not bless me in the area I withheld from Him. When we hold on to lie, we hold God’s blessing at bay in a sense. How can He fill with Truth something we fill with a lie? When I got honest with God about my greatest failures and shameful acts and thoughts, I effectively emptied myself - and He was given the freedom to fill those empty places with right thinking. The more I practice right thinking the more freedom came into my life. The more freedom I experience, the more my feelings changed! Why would we ever want to hide from God when rich blessings are the option of our honest confession? What I discovered in that moment of clear thinking was that the very things the world promised - momentary pleasure, selfish ambition leading nowhere concrete, material possessions that would one day crumble into nothingness - were pathetic counterfeits to the richness of knowing Christ! In His economy, we are granted the riches of heaven by giving Him everything we have and are! God is, indeed, the best Provider!
    
    One of the greatest Truths about Who God is revealed to be to me personally is found in Judges 6:24, where Father reveals Himself asJehovah-Shalom - The Lord Is Peace. In that account of Israeli history, a man named Gideon has been called of the Lord to lead God’s people against the marauding Midianites and Amalekites. Rather than believe God that he could stand against the intruders, Gideon chose to hide in the wine press, choosing to winnow grain in order to save at least the food rather than to fight for the people! He saw himself as something less than Father saw him! This is evident in the following passage:

The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior." Then Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian." The LORD looked at him and said, "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”
Judges 6:12-14 NASB

    Like Gideon, I once believed myself a coward, controlled by fear, frozen by the lies of the enemy into a state of constant panic. Like Gideon, I used to blame God for getting me into the mess I was in rather than to see it was by my own choosing. Like Gideon, everything changed the moment I chose to believe God’s Word. Gideon went on to find peace even before going to battle with the enemy. He and a small number of men routed the formidable foe and sent them packing! Like Gideon, once I believed and received God’s peace, I was able to confront the Liar and rout Him - and send him packing - all by virtue of believing and thinking the Truth of God’s Word to me! I am a mighty man of valor - in spite of the lies of the enemy and in spite of whatever the world and its wisdom may say…or do. I am who Father says I am.


    Of course, these are merely a few of the names God gives Himself in His Word, but they are important beginning steps to understanding Who He is. It is by understanding Who our Maker is that we come to have a roadmap to understanding who we are created to be - in spite of the way we feel. Feelings can change as thoughts are renewed! The name Jesus literally means ‘The Lord Saves’. How cool is that? Every name of God can be summarized in that one name. Jesus. And we need to be saved from sin, no doubt…but we also need to be saved from wrong thinking. Saved from our own self!

    Here is how drastic I became in my assault of stinkin’ thinkin’ as it relates to Who my Father says He is. If I have the DNA of my Father flowing through my spiritual veins, this truth not only affects how I view myself, but it informs me as to the reason of my existence. I am here for His glory and pleasure, not my own! I am to lead others to Jesus. I am to ‘be there’ for others. I am to be a champion for and fight for the victory over sin of others! I am to see myself as a shepherd of those I am in relationship with and seek to lead people to green pasture and fresh water in the Lord. I am f God’s healing power and love. I am called to walk in righteousness and have been set apart for a holy purpose - and am called to lead others to that same righteous and holy identity in Christ. I am to be an agent of provision, meeting the spiritual needs of those I am in relationship with. I am an agent of God’s peace. I am an ambassador for Christ on this planet! That changes everything!

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Philippians 4:8 NASB

 

 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

     The very first thanksgiving celebration in America took place in 1621 as the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast in Plymouth, MA. This feast was to thank God for His provision over the previous year. Through the years, the memory of that first feast slowly transformed into the celebration we now hold each year in America known as Thanksgiving. Although we, as a nation, have allowed the true meaning of the first celebration to erode - the thanking God part - we still use the day to gather together as families around the traditional feast.

    This year, let’s get back to the basics as the body of Christ. Regardless of whether or not all in your family understand the real reason behind the celebration, you can still direct thee focus of all who gather with simple little redirection.

    As you gather, ask for the opportunity to bless the meal and in that prayer thank God for His bounty.

    As you gather, ask for a short time of expressing thanks. Simply suggest your family go around the room and each person simply express one thing they are thankful for.

    If the first two suggestions are out of the question, consider going to individuals and expressing gratitude for them in some personal way.

    Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit this Thanksgiving and have as your attitude a grateful heart. Express that grateful heart at every opportunity. Your positive thankful heart will affect those around you and will be used of God mightily…because His Word does not return without accomplishing that for which it was sent forth. Read the following excerpts from the Word of God and you’ll see what I mean!

…in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB

…let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
Hebrews 13:15 NASB

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29 NASB

…having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
Colossians 2:7 NASB

     And let us remember this one last passage as we prepare to partake of the feast this Thanksgiving: If we who have been redeemed do not express gratitude for that redemption by ‘saying so’, how will those in the same bondage ever know there is hope? See the power of giving thanks? Walk in that power in attitude and in the expression of that thanks during the coming days.
Dennis Jernigan

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary…
Psalm 107:1-2 NASB

 

Thoughts on Persecution

Thoughts on Persecution

Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we WILL experience persecution. It may be as simple as pushback for a simple post of faith we make on Facebook. It may be as harsh as someone threatening us with violence. It may be facing possible censorship or the threat of imprisonment. It may come in the form of mockery or insults or shunning. But follow Christ and it WILL come. We might as well get ready for it.

Spiritual Warfare Basics

Spiritual Warfare Basics

Spiritual Warfare Basics

The Battle is Real
We have forgotten how vital the concept of spiritual warfare is to the body of Christ. We ARE at war. Not at war with people. People are not our enemy.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 NASB

The Enemy is the Enemy
The ENEMY is the enemy. The enemy of God - Satan, the Liar - is who we are at war with. And do not think our battle is not real for one second.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 NASB

Where is the Battleground?
And do not confuse the battleground. The battleground is our mind. We are at war for the Truth.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
Proverbs 23:7a NASB

We Have Been Given Authority
Jesus, Himself, told us we have authority over the enemy. It is up to us to take up that authority and to walk in that authority.

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.
Luke 10:19 NASB

How Do We Prepare
We must recognize the particular schemes of the enemy in our own lives; in our own families; in our own cities; states; nations…and come against them with specificity, calling them out by name. For example, in my own life, one of the schemes of the enemy is to play thoughts of irrelevance in my mind. I recognize this lie and denounce it by name, commanding it to leave my mind. Next, I replace that thought with the Truth of God’s Word and claim the victory…as often as necessary!

In my city/region, I have determined there are three main spiritual forces of darkness wielding lies over the populace: 1) Spirit of Religion rather than Relationship with Christ 2) Spirit of Poverty 3) Spirit of Division Among the Races. I attack each with specificity, speaking blessings of Truth over each area of concern, trusting God for the victory.

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’
Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

Put On The Armor
We take this preparation - putting on the armor of God - for granted. Most of the weaponry is meant for battle in our personal walks with Christ and help us guard over our thoughts. Mainly, they remind us of who and of Whose we are. I urge you to mentally put them on each day because the onslaught - the battle - is as close as your next thought. This battle is real. Read the following passage and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you to use the arsenal at our disposal as believers.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;
16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:11-16 NASB

Run TO the Battle
David did not wait for Goliath to come to him. He ran toward the enemy. Jesus did not wait for the cross to come to Him. He went TO the cross. We are meant to do battle. Use the armor. Use the weaponry. Use worship and prayer as weapons of warfare against the lies of darkness. Do not be angry with people. Be angry at the Liar who deceives people!

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12 NASB

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper…
Isaiah 54:17a NASB

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NASB

6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
7 To execute vengeance on the nations
And punishment on the peoples,
8 To bind their kings with chains
And their nobles with fetters of iron,
9 To execute on them the judgment written;
This is an honor for all His godly ones.Praise the LORD!
Psalm 149:6-9 NASB

Praying With Vision

Praying With Vision

Prayer Journal

For an 8 year period, Melinda and I were part of a prayer ministry that took place from 6 to 7 AM, Monday through Friday. We used the Lord's Prayer as a guide...and never ran out of things to seek God in prayer for...and - more often than not - did not have enough time in that hour to cover everything we wanted or needed to petition God for!

How does one pray without ceasing? It is called relationship. We talk with Father God and He talks to us. Reality is, whether we like to admit it or not, that we often run out of things to pray within a few minutes of setting aside time to pray! We often wonder why we do not get what we want in life when the utter reality is that most of the time we do not get what we want or need because we do not ask specifically! Add to that the fact that we tend to make time for what is important to us. Is spending time with Father in prayer important to you? Then make time!

Following are some things to help you build and grow your prayer life. When I am clueless as to what to pray for, I default to the Lord's prayer. I begin with worship (worship and praise IS prayer!). I then ask God to bring His kingdom to pass in my life, my family's life, my church family's life, etc. Next, I seek God for provision for myself and others. From there, I move into asking God to reveal any un-forgiveness in my heart and I repent and ask Father to cleanse me. I then ask Him to reveal to me any lies I am believing and to give me wisdom to replace them with the Truth of His Word, while also seeking Him for protection for my life and loved ones. Then I close my prayer with more worship and praise! You can always practice such prayer regardless of where you are and in spite of circumstances. Read through the Lord's Prayer and remind yourself of its patterns...then apply them to your life.

Lord's Prayer
“Pray, then, in this way:
Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Matthew 6:9-13 NASB

What is your Jericho?
We tend to get what we ask for. When we ask in generalities, we receive in generalities. Learn to approach the throne of God boldly by virtue of the access the blood of Jesus has afforded you! Want to know the attitude of God toward prayer? Read on...

As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They *said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
Matthew 20:29-34 NASB

• We don't get what we want because we don't know what we want
• Define success - be specific

Honi and the Prayer Circle
I visited a local church recently. The pastor shared the following story from Jewish history:

Honi was a Jewish scholar who lived during the 1st century B.C. It is reported that, on one occasion, when God did not send rain well into the winter (in the geographic regions of Israel, it rains mainly in the winter), Honi drew a circle in the dust, stood inside it, and informed God that he would not move until it rained. When it began to drizzle, Honi told God that he was not satisfied and expected more rain; it then began to pour. He explained that he wanted a calm rain, at which point the rain calmed to a normal rain.

• Honi was very specific with Father God                                                                                                                                                                                   • Draw circles rather than blanks...tell Father what you want or need and be specific
• Define a dream desire or promise and match it with God's Word
• Pray for that circle promise every day

Daily Prayer Guide and Journal

Nothing builds up faith like an answer to prayer...so why not document what you are praying for and then document when it is answered? Following are daily suggestions for what to fill your prayer times with:


Sunday - fellowship/communion with Father God
Monday - family
Tuesday - local, state, national, and international leadership
Wednesday - All in All Church and the body of Christ; people you know who need Jesus/ministry/salvation
Thursday - creativity and wisdom
Friday - marriages
Saturday - whatever the Spirit brings to mind

Devote Yourself to Prayer
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4

God Is For Us
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Romans 8:31 NASB

You Have Not…
…You do not have because you do not ask.
James 4:2b NASB

The Heart Of A Child

The Heart Of A Child

The Heart of a Child

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be fnadded to you.” Jesus
Matthew 6:33 NASB

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:1-3 NASB

We are called to seek first the kingdom of God. How do we do that? We seek the King! How should we seek the King? We seek Him as a child seeks after the arms of his/her daddy!

I pastor a small body of believers in my home each week. Some of my children attend with their children - my grandchildren. One recent Wednesday night during worship, which I lead from the piano, one of my grandsons, Ronald, made quite the impression on my heart. A bit about Ronald…

Ronald (16 months old) is the second-born sibling to older brother, Cullen. Cullen (2+ years of age)  makes a beeline for my outstretched arms as soon as he comes inside the room. Ronald does the same…which makes my heart leap each and every time.

During worship, we allow the children to participate freely…which means dancing around the room, playing away! We have to put up barricades so as to keep Ronald from trying to get to me at the piano. This past worship session I am speaking of, Ronald found a way to get to me! Before his parents knew it he was at my side! I felt a ‘presence’ to my right side…from which Ronald had emerged, having found a way through the barricade! Not wanting to break the flow, I picked him up with my right hand as I played with my left. By this time, his daddy had come to help. I simply passed Ronald behind my back, lifting him over my shoulder to his dad!

The picture of the kingdom was painted indelibly on all our minds in that moment! Ronald sought to get to me, going around barriers, traversing obstacles, and finding a way to get to his objective! Eyes full of wonder and heart full of joy at having accomplished his pursuit - relationship with me via my outstretched arms - Ronald demonstrated the heart of a seeker…and one who finds the kingdom!

What if we sought the kingdom and the King like a child? What would that look like?

We would be laser-focused, just like little Ronald. Single-minded!
We would have hearts full of joy as we pursue our goal. Joy in the journey!
We would be full of wonder and awe in pursuit of relationship with the King…just as Ronald’s eyes were fixed and full of wonder, never taking his eyes off of me!
We would not let anything stand between us and our King.
We would not be deterred.
We would rejoice at every sighting of our King.
We would seek Him as if our life depended upon it.
We would not be satisfied until we found the King.
We would rejoice in the smile of the One we seek.
We would be mesmerized by the look of love and acceptance on His face.
We would have no doubt of the King’s love for us.
We would run to His arms at every opportunity.
We would trust His arms.
We would just enjoy BEING with Him…

Seek the King like a child and find the joy of the Kingdom.
Dennis Jernigan