Songs of Deliverance

Songs of Deliverance

I’d like to tell you about the story behind my song, When the Night is Falling from the recording First Love.

Whenever someone asks me what is my favorite song I’ve ever received, this song is always in the top five just because of all God was doing in my life during the days it was born.  This song came over a two-day period - November 7th and 8th, 1989. Even though I had grown up in the church, I knew little about the Word of God - especially the Old Testament.

Even my favorite Christian band of all time played a role in this song being born into my life. You know how much I love the band, 2nd Chapter of Acts, because of the way God used them to lead me to freedom from my past and freedom from stinking thinking and into the deepest understanding of God’s love I had ever known or experienced up until the day He set me free. A year earlier - that would be sometime in 1988 - they released what was to be their final recording together, called Faraway Places. On this recording was a song called Sing Over Me…and once again, my mind was blown. God was trying to tell me something! In fact, Annie Herring - lead singer and song receiver of the band - had recorded a song called I Can’t Get Near You years before…and that song was from the perspective of Jesus singing over us! She had been modeling the Scriptural Truth for years and it had never dawned on me what she was doing…until it did!

One day, while talking to a friend about this song - his name is Doug Hinkle - great man of God who was always so encouraging to me concerning the Word of God and always so encouraging to me when it came to the songs God was giving me in those days. One day as we talked about the Word of God as it pertains to the depths of God’s love for us, I mentioned to Doug the song by 2nd Chapter of Acts called Sing Over Me and how much I loved that song and Doug said the most amazing thing to me. “You know that they’re singing the Word of God when they say God sings over us, right?” Doug brought up the verse Zephaniah 3:17 and asked me if I knew that God loved me so much that He rejoiced over me in singing - If I knew God sang over me? This was absolutely mind-blowing news to me. I thought about the ramifications of what this meant to my life for the next few days.

Now back to November 7 & 8 of 1989. After my conversation with Doug, I remember sitting in my ‘studio’ at the piano and ‘hearing’ the Spirit sing this melody to me.   Just the part that goes “How I love you, child! I love you! How I love you, child, I love You!” And I remember feeling that I didn’t want to move until I could hear Him sing His love to me – and then realizing that He is constantly singing His love to me and not wanting to move because I love to hear the waves of love rolling over me.  This song brought peace to my heart – the kind of peace that makes even physical death seem like an easy thing…and has brought me deep comfort since losing my dad in 2017. After my friend Doug Hinkle had shown me Zephaniah 3:17, I did a word study and came up with my very own translation just for me.  Little did I know that it would be the underlying theme of the rest of my life! I’d like to read my translation to you. Here goes:

The eternal self-existent God, the God Who is three in one; He Who dwells in the center of your being is a powerful and valiant warrior.  He has come to set you free, to keep you safe, and to bring you victory.  He is cheered and He beams with exceeding joy and takes pleasure in your presence.  He has engraved a place for Himself in you and there He quietly rests in His love and affection for you.  He cannot contain Himself at the thought of you and with the greatest of joy spins around wildly in anticipation over you…and has placed you above all other creations and in the highest place in His priorities.  In fact, He shouts and sings in triumph, joyfully proclaiming the gladness of His heart in a song of rejoicing!  All because of you!
Zephaniah 3:17 Jernigan Translation

God takes more delight in our presence than we take in His. We do not get to decide if God loves us. That’s a done deal. Our only two choices are to either receive God’s love for us or reject it. He loves you and me right where we are - but loves us enough to not leave us there, and He is constantly singing over us. Listen to the song now, but more importantly, listen for Father singing over you.
Dennis Jernigan

You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7 NASB

The song, When the Night is Falling, is available for purchase and download at https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3912

Listen to The Dennis Jernigan Podcast and hear the song at http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/when-the-night-is-falling/

You Are My Life

You Are My Life

    On March 9, 2016, as Melinda was preparing for a trip to Australia to be with our daughter for the birth of our daughter’s second child, I asked the Lord how I could bless her in her going. It is my practice to bless my wife  as a way to build her up and encourage her. The honest truth - from my perspective - is that she encourages me much more than I encourage her. On the day this song came, I was simply meditating on ways to bless her…thinking about all the ways she encourages me…pondering what my life would be like without her. Such thoughts reduced me to gratitude toward and intimacy with God. Before I knew it, I was singing the words to Father in praise and singing them over my wife in honest confession. I taught the song to our home church the very night I received it but did not tell Melinda the story behind the song so I could surprise her with the story the day before she left for Australia. I wanted her last thought of me to be one of deep encouragement, blessing, and how much she means to me.

    Yes, this is both a love song to my wife and a love song to my Maker. Melinda is not my Savior nor is she my Redeemer. But my Redeemer lives in and through her and uses her to keep my mind focused on the King and upon the Kingdom…which brings me to think about the things that are necessary to sustain and live an abundant life in spite of our circumstances.

    There are several things necessary for life to be sustained…to be lived fully. We need food to fuel our physical bodies…every aspect and system of our bodies requires fuel. Just as we need food to fuel our bodies, we must also remember that 60% of our human bodies are composed of water. Water is required for every system in the human body from our skin to our organs to our bones and brains. Without food we can survive for about three weeks. Without water we can survive for about 7 days…but there is one component of our existence we cannot live more than three minutes without…and that is the air we breathe. While all those components are needed for physical life to be sustained, we must always bear in mind that we are more than physical beings. We are spirit beings as well. Because we have a spirit at the core of our being, we must remember to take care of our spirit and meet the requirements of every human spirit and soul that has ever or will ever exist…and that is to know and to be known. It’s called relationship. we are wired for relationship with other people and we are ultimately wired for relationship with God.

    This is why this song operates on two levels. I  know I need relationship with God the Father through nurturing intimacy with Christ via the Holy Spirit. Intimacy requires that I not only receive life but that I give life as well. Just as when Melinda and I nurture our relationship on every level, be it physical intimacy or intimacy of the soul, life begets more  life. I give life to her and she gives life to me and our lives are sustained in the process…and not just sustained…but our lives thrive on such deep intimacy. I do not want to simply survive - just get by. I want to thrive. I see the need for human intimacy as just as vital to my life as food, water, and the air I breathe

    As important as nurturing my relationship with my wife, my children, my grandchildren, and my friends might be, none of them can ever replace my need for intimacy with Christ. In fact, I believe every human relationship is enhanced and made to thrive more fully when lived out through a giving and receiving and nurturing my relationship with Jesus Christ. Before I share the song, let’s just quickly talk through the lyrics. Verse one begins…

Just like the air I breathe
I know I need Your love
If I am to survive
Your love is life to me
Like the air I breathe

Just like the air I need
I need to breathe Your love
And You give me Your life
Your love is life to me
Like My need to breathe

    Relationship with Holy Spirit of God is like breathing. It is necessary. I do not think it any coincidence that the word for Spirit in the Word of God is the Greek Word, pneuma which means breath! Just as vital to life as the physical air we breathe is breathing in the presence of God. I don’t know about you, but I want my spiritual lungs to be filled constantly!

Let’s look at verse two:

Just the air I breathe
I breathe in deep Your love
And there I find my life
Your love is life to me
Like the air I breathe
Just like the air I need
I breathe in deep Your love
And there I am revived
Your love is life to me
Like my need to breathe

    Key to my relationship with God is the belief that He loves me. If I did not believe God loved me I would not be able to bear the sorrows and trials of life…but because I am convinced He loves me and wants nothing but what is best for me, I believe there is nothing I cannot endure in this life. Like the air I breathe, I breathe in deeply of God’s love for me. Moment by moment until I do not even have to think about it anymore. It’s as natural for me as taking in a physical breath of air. Life is good knowing I am loved…regardless of what comes my way.

The chorus of this song is my favorite part. It says…

I could not survive without You
I could never thrive without You
I could not feel alive without You
You are my life
I’d be left behind without You
I think I’d lose my mind without You
So lost no one could find without You
You are my life

    I believe life is meant to be an adventure. I believe that life will not be easy at times. Sorrows come. the enemy sends temptations my way. We are in spiritual battle for our very thoughts. I believe life is meant to be abundant in spite of my circumstances and like I said before, I do not want to simply survive. My desire is to thrive! Life is meant to be enjoyed. As you listen to the song, You Are My Life, take time to breathe in deeply of God’s presence and love for you. He is as close as your next breath!
Dennis Jernigan

…for in Him we live and move and exist…
Acts 17:28 NASB

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus
John 14:6 NASB

You can listen to the podcast version of this blog along with the song, You Are My Life, at http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/you-are-my-life/

The mp3 of the song You Are My Life is available for purchase and download at https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3908

A Father's Legacy

A Father's Legacy

A Father’s Legacy

The following is a Father’s Day letter I wrote to my sons and sons-in-law. As a dad - both physically and spiritually - I have been given the privilege and duty of bestowing identity and blessing upon my sons and my sons-in-law. The power of life and death is in the words we speak. I want my sons and sons-in-law to know exactly what I think of them. I thought it might bless someone else out there.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue…
Proverbs 18:21a NASB

    Father’s Day in 2018 has me pondering what it means to be a father…to be a dad. This is the first Father’s Day I have experienced since my father went home to be with the Lord on August 31, 2017. While I still find myself mourning this loss from time to time since that day, the grief is giving way to little reminders that death is not the end. In fact, if truth be told, I believe my dad is more alive than ever before in his eternal state. Though he was able to leave no earthly inheritance, the legacy he did leave was beyond measure. As I have had time to reflect upon what his legacy was to me, I cannot help but wonder about what legacy I want to leave my children.

    Just what does legacy mean? Legacy is something handed down from the past; an inheritance…or even a physical or personality trait…or a spiritual treasure chest of truth and wisdom. When I think about what my dad left me, my mind goes to a variety of wonderful and weird places. When I sneeze, I think of my dad…because I sneeze just like him. When I play the piano, I often think about the musical gifts of my dad who played both piano and guitar when I was a boy. When I sing, I can’t help but think of my dad being the first man I ever heard sing and how he could drop down an entire octave if a hymn he was leading became too high for him to reach the notes. I think about the time we grew a basketball goal from a seed (read the book The Incredible Growing Basketball Goal if you don’t believe me!). I recall the first ride I ever took on horseback with my dad and how much I love to ride as a result. Oftentimes, when I cast a lure into the water and begin reeling it in, I think of how my dad taught me to fish.

    When I look in the mirror, I see reflections of my dad in my physical body. When I feel melancholy, I recall the times when my dad seemed melancholy…yet kept plugging along, never letting his feelings sway him from doing and being what was right.

    Dad taught me to work hard and not to expect something for nothing. He taught me to drive the hay truck at around age 8 - bolting pieces of wood to the pedals so my feet could reach them. He taught me to drive a tractor, to rake hay and plow the ground. Taught me how to sharpen blades and change a flat tire. I never went without a job each summer from the time I was 8 years old until I went away to college because my dad taught me to work for what I wanted.

    Dad did not say the words ‘I love you’ to me until after I was married, but when I asked him why, he said, “My dad never told me, so I didn’t know how to tell you.” One of the greatest legacies my dad left me was in being willing to make things right. From the day I asked that question until the day he passed away, he spoke those words to me more than enough to make up for all the times he hadn’t before. In fact, the last coherent thing he spoke to me was the words, “I love you.” Precious to me.

    When I learned that his dad had never said those words to him, it dawned on me that in spite of not hearing those words as a child, my dad still expressed love to me. In fact, is not the greatest expression of love the laying down of life for another? My father did that in countless ways. Providing for my mom and my brothers and me. Being at every sporting event I was ever a part of. Coaching my little league team. Making sure we were involved in church. Praying over every meal. I can still recite the meat of his prayers to this day:

    “Dear heavenly Father, we ask Thee to bless the food we are about to partake…and ask Thy forgiveness where we’ve failed Thee…ask these in Jesus’s name. Amen.”

    From the early 1990s until shortly before he went home to be with Jesus, Dad worked for me in my ministry. He and my Mom would haul products to every concert and ministry time, driving from coast to coast on more than one occasion. One of the things I miss most is hearing him answer the phone. “Shepherd’s Heart Music! This is Robert! Can I hep ya?” Whenever I had car trouble, I called my dad. On more than one occasion he came to the rescue when I or one of his grandchildren were in trouble. Seems he was always there. Seems he would always be there…until he wasn’t.
    
    During the last couple of years of his life, my dad did something very special for me. Whenever we would come to Sunday lunch at my folks’s home - which is almost every Sunday - my dad would ask me how things were going then take my hand and squeeze it. The first time he did this my mind was flooded with healing from the days when he never knew how to say the words. Again, one of the greatest things I learned - inherited - from my dad was that love is more than mere words. Those hand squeezes said it all in those moments. My dad was not perfect…but he was there. The more I reflect on his life, the more of him I see in mine…and in a way, he is still right here with me in little treasures he left along the way. My Dad was a good father.    
    
    Just what is a father? In its most simple definition, a father is the male parent of a child, but in a spiritual sense, a father is one who prepares his child for life. As I look back, I see that all the negatives are difficult to recall while all the wisdom and good things have risen to the surface. Even now I hear him saying, “You can’t have a champagne taste on a beer budget” meaning don’t live beyond your means (said the man who never smoked or cussed or even let a drop of alcohol touch his lips!). Simple wisdom in a lasting legacy.

    The legacy of my dad extends further back into history the more I reflect on how my father got to where he was. This causes me to think about his father, Samuel Washington Jernigan, who served in the cavalry in WWI (my dad left me the bits from my grandfather’s  horse with the letters “US” stamped on either side) and who rode a horse all the way from Mississippi to Oklahoma in the 1930s where he raised my dad and his two daughters. Legacy can be passed down in oral history, proving the power of life and death is in the words we speak.

    The story is told in our family about how much my grandfather loved me. Even though he died when I was one year old, my grandmother Jernigan told me many times of how he would take me with him around to the oil leases he oversaw in the county. These were the days before car seats and laws concerning such matters. With me sitting on the truck seat beside him, whenever he would see a neighbor or an acquaintance, he would pull the truck over and take me out and proudly show me off to whoever would listen! What a legacy this leaves in my heart to this day…and I do not recall the memory yet I see it clearly in my mind.

    And my Mom’s dad - grandpa Herman - taught me so much about a lot of things. He taught me how to be an entrepreneur. He offered me a nickel for every terrapin or box tortoise I could find so that he could go to flea markets and re-sell them for a quarter apiece. Grandpa Herman was a pastor…I can still smell the old wooden floors and furnishings of the little country church he pastored in Liberty, Oklahoma…the church that he left to go pastor another church near Tulsa only to have the Liberty Baptist Church family move all their things from their new home back to the parsonage in Liberty because they loved them so much and did to want them to leave!

    You’ve probably heard it said that any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad. When I think of my father’s legacy to me, I think my dad was pretty special. Reality is that my legacy is long and storied and enduring and reassuring and peace-bringing…and rich beyond measure. One thing that leaves a great feeling of legacy from my dad to me is the memory of seeing him pick up my son, Israel, for the first time…and love on him! My selfish initial thoughts were “Where were you my whole life?” and then to repent and see that my dad was indeed loving on me by loving on my son. In that moment, my heavenly Father began to do a deep work in my mind and in my heart of how He was able to restore to me the things I felt had been robbed from me as a child.
    
    This brings me to think about my own sons and what I want my legacy to be to them. For my daughters I want the same, but since this is about the legacy of being a dad, I wanted to focus on my boys for this prose…but will be doing the same for my girls in the very near future. My hope is that my children would be granted the power to forgive my shortcomings and to embrace the good and right things I did…that they would never forget how wanted and how loved they were by me…that who they are is more than they can possibly see right now…that their potential is as far-reaching as they can dream…and that my hope is that they would be better dads than I was…from generation to generation.

    Following are excerpts from blessings I spoke over my sons and sons-in-law. Out of respect for them - to protect their privacy - I have removed their names but still wanted to communicate how simple it is to bless your children…even if you have messed up royally in the past. As long as you and your child are still breathing, there is hope…

    To my first-born son. When I think of you I cannot help but remember how much you desired to please me when you were growing up…and how much I wanted you to know how pleased I was with you just because you existed. You are one of the kindest men I know. You’re one of the smartest men I can think of. I trust you with my life and with the legacy of the name Jernigan. You are a massively wonderful dad to your girls and a massively wonderful husband to your wife. I cry when I listen to your silly songs because I know how precious they are to your little ones and that they don’t even have a clue as to how blessed they are to have you. I am so proud of you…

    My second-born son, when I think of you I cannot help but think about the awesome and incredible gift you are to our family - to the world. You are one of the most creative men I know. Your loyalty and patience are a beacon of hope to any you come in contact with - whether you see it or not! When I look back on the past two years of your life and how much you have had to endure and how much you have overcome to where you are now, I cannot help but think about how awesome and wonderful God is! You are blessed beyond what you realize concerning the deep loving heart God has given you. I love you just because you exist. Everything else about you is icing on the cake for me. I am so proud to call you ‘son’.

    To my third-born son…when I think of you I miss you incredibly…incredibly. I love your musical giftings and your sense of humor. As with your brother, I have watched you endure pain and sorrow and suffering with great endurance and strength beyond what I think I could have handled at your age…and I have praised God for His faithfulness to bring you back to where you are right now. I miss hanging out with you and going to the movies with you. I miss the annoying way you would sit on my lap and rub my cheek - no matter who was around! While I may appear embarrassed (which I’m sure is your evil plan), I actually love those moments of silly love. I love everything about you. I love you simply because you exist…and I am proud to call you my son.

    To my fourth-born son…I look at you and see a bold man of God, willing to do whatever is necessary to preserve your family…from wife to us. A real man walks with a repentant heart and you are a real man, son. You are just fun to be around…fun to be with. You go out of your way to make me feel smart even when we both know I know nothing when it comes to the digital age of music and recording. Your willingness to be patient with me during such moments is life to me and peace to my soul. Your talents are leap years ahead of where I was when I was you age and your maturity makes me feel so proud to be your dad. I am proud to call you ‘son’.

    Not only have I been blessed with the most amazing sons, but I have been blessed with equally amazing sons-in-law. Though not born of my flesh, you have each been born like sons in my heart…and you are a part of my legacy as I hope you count me a part of yours. I feel like the richest man on earth because of my nine children and their amazing mother…so add you men into the mix…and my grandchildren…I am beyond billionaire status in heritage!

    Son-in-law one, you are the hardest-working man I know. Your reputation precedes you. I love it when people ask me if I know you…often referring to what a great job you have done for them. I pop a few buttons during such moments, my chest becomes so puffed up with dad-ly pride. Thank you for laying down your life for your wife and children…and for the way I have watched you weather the storms of your life. You are a great man and I am proud to call you ‘son’.

    Son-in-law two, when I think about all that God has done to get you to where you are in this life, I stand back in amazement. Your early life was anything but easy, yet by the love and grace of God, He has brought you out of a great deal of darkness and pain and granted you a wonderful family of your own. I am proud of you for your overcomer’s attitude…and even enjoy your dad jokes. Thank you for laying down your life for your wife and children. You are a strong, good man and I am proud to call you ‘son.’

    Son-in-law three, your attention to being a great husband and great father is amazing to me. Not only do you work hard to provide for your family, but you lead them to a kingdom understanding of who God has called them to be. I cannot ask for more. You are a champion to your girls…a defender of your wife and daughters…a godly man I respect and admire. Thank you for laying down your life for your family. You are an awesome man and I am proud to call you ‘son’.

    Son-in-law four, your heart for God is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of you. The fact that you lead worship makes it easy to love you and understand you because we are similar in that respect…as well as alike in the Achilles tendon saga. Yes, I may be a bit biased when it comes to my sons-in-law, but it’s true! Your diligence to seek after God does my heart good. Thank you for laying down you life for your wife. You are an amazing man and I am proud to call you ‘son’.

    Jernigan men and sons-in-law, I worked hard at being a dad…and plan to work as hard at being a granddad. My goal? To leave such a legacy for the kingdom of God and the generations to follow that Jesus would be easily seen and remembered in my life. You are each - whether you like it or not - part of my legacy…and my dream is that you would each dare to leave such a legacy for those who follow you. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all your needs - and the needs of those you are responsible for - will be met. And how do we seek first the kingdom? By seeking first the King. The kingdom of God? He rules it all - even when the world thinks it rules! God causes ALL things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. My greatest joy? Knowing you love and seek Jesus and knowing you love and lay down your life for your own families just as Jesus did for you.

    When I think of you, I see a great legacy that was granted to me in spite of me…
Thank you for being my sons. I love you…
Dad…Papa J…Deege…Mr. J or whatever you want to call me!

The Middle of Nowhere Project

The Middle of Nowhere Project

If you know me, you know my message is freedom through relationship with Jesus Christ. In many ways, I find myself feeling more and more isolated from the world because of the nature of my story, but the more troubling aspect of my life is that I am feeling more and more isolated from the church for the same reason. This is not a pity-party. Quite the contrary. People reach out to me online daily and I minister to hundreds weekly online. Most ask for help concerning their identity. Many tell me they feel as if they are trapped in the middle of nowhere…between a world that defies their very desire for freedom and a church that dares not broach the subject matter. The need for the message of freedom and hope is greater than ever.

For these reasons, I am beginning work on a new recording I am calling The Middle of Nowhere. My vision is that it be produced with a level of excellence on a par with - or a cut above - that of the world. Because I am an independent artist, I must fund each recording myself. To produce such a recording will cost at least $50,000.

This is where I am asking you to help me. Would you consider being a part of a project that will minister to the lives of people long after I am gone from this world? If you feel this is a worthy cause, I ask you to give whatever you can afford, no matter how small. Every dollar helps. For being a part of the recording, I will list your name as one of the producers (unless you tell me otherwise) on the album credits. In addition, I will see that you receive a copy of the finished project.

To whet your vision and to thank you for taking the time to consider helping me out, I have provided a link to the demo of the title song below as produced by my friend, Joe Sicurella, in New York City where the recording will take place. The recording is being produced as an outreach of the ministry of my home church - which literally meets in my home - called All In All Church. To give toward the project, go to https://www.allinallchurch.com/donate-online/
Blessings,
Dennis Jernigan

Listen to the demo of the title song at https://youtu.be/AcP1zf58fn0

 

 

 

Everything We Need

Everything We Need

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

“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

   Have you ever begun a project and found you did not have everything you needed to complete it? My wife, Melinda, creates beautiful artisan pieces of jewelry. When working on a specific pattern like a signature bracelet called 'Beautiful', she depends on the supply of gems and crystals needed to complete the bracelet. If even one bead needed is not in her inventory, she cannot complete the project. Our friend, Joanna, when building a cake, cannot complete the cake if even one necessary ingredient is not in her cupboard. My son-in-law is a builder. If he is awarded a contract for a project, he must have all the materials required to bring that project to completion. Do you ever feel as if your life is missing certain pieces necessary to live that life abundantly? Dare I say that if we are in Christ we do have everything we need to do just that?! In the moment we stepped into faith in Christ and were born again, we were ushered into the kingdom of God...lacking in nothing we need to live an abundant life!

    What is the kingdom of God? It is God’s rule and reign in the here and now, past and future, spanning the universe. God is in control, pure and simple, causing all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. To enter that eternal kingdom requires child-like faith in Jesus. An exchange of our life with His. A child trusts implicitly. When I was a small boy, I can recall standing atop a fence rail and my dad extending his arms toward me, beckoning me to jump. I did not hesitate. Why? Because I trusted him to do what he promised - to keep his word - that he would catch me. And he was true to his word. He kept his promise…and he was an earthly father, so how much more can we trust our heavenly Father to keep His promises…to keep His Word? We will never know if we do not trust Him.

    I entered the kingdom of God on November 7, 1981 when I trusted Father God with my life by confessing my sin and receiving the work of the cross. I was born again. In that child-like step of faith, I leapt from the fence-rail of my old identity and into the arms of the One Who gave me my existence in the first place, allowing Him to show me who He intended for me to be all along. In a very real sense, He exchanged His life for mine and I exchanged my life for His. The old me was crucified and buried and the new me was made alive to God, my slate wiped clean and my eyes opened to the grand possibilities and wonders and mysteries of the Kingdom of God!

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 can look at my physical body and see reflections of my earthly father, from my body type to my personality and musical abilities. Every time I sneeze, I hear my dad! So much of who he is is in me that even my sneezes stir up the realization that I am more like him than I ever realized! Why? Because his DNA flows through my physical veins. Why do we not think about our spiritual DNA in the same manner? Either we have our heavenly Father’s DNA flowing through our spiritual veins or we do not. If we do, that changes everything! When Jesus exchanged our life for His on the cross, we were granted access to this DNA change. When we were born again, our spiritual DNA was forever changed as well!

    By virtue of this exchange of life by His divine power, I was granted every single thing I would ever need pertaining to life and to godliness…to living abundantly and to thinking and acting like my Father. Every single thing I would ever need! That is an amazing statement! It is through knowing Christ and being born again that I was granted such magnificent provision.

    This is a promise from God we can take to the bank. It is when we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness that all our needs are met. That’s Matthew 6:33 in a nutshell. We were granted access to the kingdom by a step of faith and once we were planted in said kingdom, we were called to live out our lives to the glory of God - to live in an excellent way. He has promised us a way of escape when temptation comes. We are no longer children of the flesh, ruled by lust. We are children of the Most High God and partakers in the divine nature of our Father, His spiritual DNA flowing through our veins! And just how do we live that out? By believing and trusting with child-like faith.

    Just what is our DNA? We find a great deal of what our spiritual or kingdom DNA is in 2 Peter 1:1-11. Let’s take a look at what we find there. This is my interpretation of what this passage says about who I am:

    He placed within us the desire to seek Him with all diligence. To seek Him with diligence is to seek Him with earnest haste. As new creations in Christ, we are to think his thoughts because we were given the mind of Christ when we were born again…whether we walk in it or not. Why do you think we must be diligent in the renewal of our mind? To stop thinking in our old sinful thought patterns? To exchange those wrong thoughts with right-thinking according to the way our Father thinks?

    To seek Him with diligence means we seek Him quickly as if our life depends on it…because it DOES! As we seek Him with child-like faith we gain everything we need by simply believing His promises to be true - then walking in them! When we realize we have believed a lie and then renounce that lie and replace it with the truth, our feelings change. When our feelings change, our attitudes change. When our attitudes change, our behaviors change. Why would we not seek Him and to think like Him with all diligence?

    We walk by faith and not by what we see with our physical eyes. According to Hebrews 11:2 NASB, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Our hope and assurance are in Jesus - THE living Word of God. We walk in faith by walking intimately with Jesus. We walk intimately with Jesus by receiving and believing He is with us and in us.

    We diligently step out in faith and apply to our faith moral excellence. Moral excellence is purity of thought, thinking holy thoughts just as our Father thinks.

    To our moral excellence we add knowledge. Knowledge is the understanding that we see life and the world from God’s point of view. This is called wisdom.

    To our knowledge we are to add self-control. Self-control is simply applying the rule of God to our own thoughts and to stand as a guard over the choices we make. Self-control is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions. My personal belief is that in the kingdom way of thinking I submit my will to that of the Father and the result is self-control.

    To our self-control we are to add perseverance. Perseverance is patient continuance in spite of the circumstances or sufferings one must face in life…like keeping on heading toward Jesus through the storms of life…like continuing to cut one’s way through the dense jungle life can be at times. According to Strong’s Concordance, perseverance is “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”

    To our perseverance we are to add godliness, Godliness is simply believing we are the sons and daughters of the Most High God and that we are like Him in the very essence of our identity by virtue of His spiritual DNA flowing through our spiritual veins. Godliness is reverence and respect for who and Whose we are!

    To our godliness we are to add brotherly kindness. Brotherly kindness is simply loving the family of God. As kingdom seekers and kingdom dwellers, we are to recognize no man according to the flesh, but rather, we are to view them as Father views them. This means extending kindness to those who don’t have a clue as to Who Jesus is by seeing them as Father does: potential children of the kingdom. This also means extending kindness to brothers and sisters we may not agree with. Blessing those who curse us. Loving those who hate us.

    To our brotherly kindness we are to add love. Love is the Word agape, which means the love that lays down its life for a friend. This love flows through our spiritual veins! This is part of who and Whose we are!

    If we are in Christ, then all these qualities are already in us! This means that if we are breathing we are of great use to the King and to the kingdom! By simply existing and believing we are who Father says we are we are called to extend the kingdom of God WITH Him! We are called to share the Gospel and to make disciples. We can all do that!

    The only conclusion I can come to after reading this passage is that I have everything I need to conduct the kingdom business with my Father…but it is up to me to walk in it…up to me to receive it and believe it. What does this passage tell you about your spiritual DNA? It’s already in you. It’s up to you and me to release it…but in so doing, we also walk in the reality of having all our needs met because our Father keeps His promises. Remember:

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

Dennis Jernigan

2 Peter 1:1-11 NASB

1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;

3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of [the] divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in [your] moral excellence, knowledge,

6 and in [your] knowledge, self-control, and in [your] self-control, perseverance, and in [your] perseverance, godliness,

7 and in [your] godliness, brotherly kindness, and in [your] brotherly kindness, love.

8 For if these [qualities] are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 For he who lacks these [qualities] is blind [or] short-sighted, having forgotten [his] purification from his former sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
2 Peter 1:1-11 NASB

 

Default Setting

Default Setting

    Recently, I upgraded to a new smartphone and, as always, when it came time to update software in my new phone, several glitches began to occur within varying apps. Similarly, I tried to update the software for my work computer and found that much of my software was not compatible with the new operating system. In both situations I had a choice to make. I could either throw the device against a brick wall and be done with it or I could go through the process of restoring the device to its intended settings. In the world of computing and smartphones, what do we do when we have a problem with said device? We restore it to its default settings. In the simplest of terms, that means I restore it to its original and intended operating settings put in place by the manufacturer.

    In the battleground of our minds - in our hearts and souls…in the way we think - why do we not do the same? As you may or may not know, grief over the loss of my dad in August of 2017, set in motion a glitch in my thought process - especially in the way I think about myself. Rather than restore my mind to the default settings Father intended for me, I allowed the lies of the enemy to take me further down the rabbit-hole of stinkin’ thinkin’.

    Here are a few of the lies I had believed in no particular order of importance: I have been abandoned by the church which led me to an inability to trust others; I am irrelevant and no longer needed; I am utterly alone, an embarrassment to the body of Christ and an anathema to the world; I am not worth pursuing.

    Stinkin’ thinkin’ is simply believing a lie the enemy has planted in my mind that is contrary to God’s default setting for me as a new creation in Christ. If not corrected, one lie leads to negative feelings of being ‘less than’, negative feelings lead to attitudes of failure and failure leads to patterns of wrong behavior, and wrong behavior leads to system failure. So what do I do when I find myself in system failure? I reboot the system. I reset my thinking to the default setting provided by Father God. And just what is the default setting provided to each and every believer in and follower of Christ? We find our default setting in the Word of God…specifically in Matthew 6:33.

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

    What does it mean to seek first His Kingdom? To me, that means simply ‘God rules’! God is in control even when the world around me is losing its collective mind. It is the basic operation system afforded us by the work of the cross and makes Romans 8:28 make even more sense.

    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

    Either God is in control or He is not. From this point of view, my circumstances become opportunities to see the Kingdom of God come to pass in my life. Feelings of fear reveal my need for the King’s point of view and are quelled by receiving God’s deep, abiding love for me…in just LETTING Him love me!

    Feelings of loneliness reveal the simple fact that I have taken my eyes off of the One Who never leaves and never forsakes.

    Feelings of hurt and abandonment reveal my need to forgive and that I have no real right to be offended in the first place. An added benefit of forgiving those who have wounded me is that the wounds are healed the more I lavish love on the very ones who hurt me…and I am able to receive more of God’s love for myself!

    Feelings of irrelevance reveal the very reality that as long as I have breath in this physical life I am needed.

    Feelings of wallowing in grief reveal my lack of faith that I will see my dad again…that he is more alive than me!

    By seeking first the kingdom of God, I reboot and reset my operating system - the way I think - and go back to the operating system within which I was intended to live my life all along. By seeking first the kingdom of God, I infuse Jesus into each and every situation. Bad moods or feelings of hopelessness reveal the state I would be in had I never been pursued by Jesus in the first place.

    Seeking first the kingdom involves repentance. Repentance is simply changing the way one thinks! Repentance is a good and wonderful thing…for as a man thinks in his heart, so he is according to Proverbs 23:7! Feelings always betray our thoughts. Feelings can be altered by altering the way we think. Think about the way God thinks about the world and about yourself and repentance comes quickly and always ushers in more freedom.

    Seeking first the kingdom and His righteousness means God is in control and that His righteous justice will always prevail in spite of what happens around us.

    Seeking first His kingdom leads to having all our needs met. What does ‘all these things will be added to you’ mean, after all? ALL THINGS!

    Feeling wounded? Seek the kingdom and grace will lead you to forgive and to love.

    Feeling alone? Seek the kingdom and you will find the presence of God with you and in you.

    Feeling irrelevant? Seek the Kingdom and you will find purpose and a mission.

    Feeling defeated? Seek first His kingdom and put off the lie and replace it with the truth that Jesus is your victory.

    Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and repent of the lies you have believed. Believing a lie leads to wrong attitudes. Wrong attitudes lead to wrong behavior. Wrong behavior leads to the enemy building a stronghold in our minds. Resetting our minds to the kingdom default settings tears down the strongholds because we have been given the mind of Christ and the weapons of our warfare are not of flesh and blood but are mighty through God to the tearing down of strongholds, to the casting down of imaginations, to the bringing down  the idolatrous heights of human thinking that exalts itself above the thoughts of God, giving us the power to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. And we don’t stop there. When we have obeyed God by resetting our thoughts, we are then to exact recompense on the disobedience of the enemy by taking down the accuser and his lies and sending them back to hell where they belong. That’s 1 Corinthians 10:4-6 way of wiping the hard drives of our minds clean and getting back to right-thinking.

    We can all use a little resetting and retuning…and in God’s view of things, we see more of the big picture…so why would you not take time to assess your own thoughts each and every day? When in doubt, reboot the system rather than allowing it to lead you to system failure. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness by seeking first the King and getting to His point of view.
Dennis Jernigan

Show Me Where It Hurts

Show Me Where It Hurts

The Healing Aspects of Worship   

    3 John 1:2 begins with this simple prayer. “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” As a worship leader, that is a significant prayer to have in my arsenal of spiritual weaponry…the simple understanding that leading people to a prosperity of soul will lead directly to prosperity in not only other areas of their lives but in their physical health as well. The word prosper in this passage literally means to have a successful journey. This is a very significant thought when used in relation to the healing of wounds through the process of worshiping God. Healing is a process…a journey!

    Because I have come through the healing of very deep emotional wounds in my life, I tend to attract emotionally wounded people. When they hear my story they tend to think ‘If God could heal Dennis Jernigan, then maybe He could heal me, too’. It is one of my responsibilities as a worship leader and minister of reconciliation in the body of Christ to share my story for that very reason…and by the way, we are ALL called to be ministers of reconciliation….and we are all called to worship God with our entire being. Yet, how can we do that unless we open our entire being to the Father in honest confession?

    We find Jesus has something to say about honest confession in John 8:32 when He says "...and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” We can quote that verse all day long and never walk in freedom. We only get to freedom when we take the first step truth requires, and that is our own honest confession.
    
    What keeps people from confessing their wounds or their sin? Fear of being shamed causes us to allow pride to keep us from being honest. What will people think if I confess my sin? Fear of more wounding causes us to not get honest about those wounds. Truth brings healing and freedom and the first step toward truth is our own honest confession.

    Here’s a great example of what I am talking about. If we go to the doctor with a wound that we know is going to kill us, the first thing the doctor will do is ask us to show him where it hurts. To not do so out of fear of what someone else might think and to walk away from that encounter and die would be foolishness. Yet we do that all the time in the church! One of my greatest responsibilities in leading worship is to remind people that God is there whether they feel Him or not…that He sees the things we think we hide and He loves us anyway. As I lead people to simply acknowledge the Lord’s presence in spite of how or what they feel, I lead them as a shepherd leading sheep. This begs the question, “Do you know the needs of your flock?”

    Whenever I prepare to lead worship, I do not ask the Lord what songs I am to choose. I ask two simple questions. “Father, would you give me a sense of what the flock needs right now?” and “Father, would You allow me to feel towards Your sheep what You feel towards them?” Once I have received His leadership and answer to those two questions, I then ask Him which songs will lead the people to the place of having their needs met.

    What pastures do they need to feed on today? Where do I lead them to drink today? Where is the place of restoring their souls? How do I present to them Your righteousness in worship? How do I lead them from fear to trust? From despair to hope? How do I lead them to comfort? How do I help them stop settling for crumbs beneath the table of the King and sit boldly at the feast of His presence? What wounds need binding and anointing with the oil of His presence today?

    I select songs that accomplish the answering of such questions. And then I explain briefly why I selected certain songs that day and lead by example as I share honestly from my own needs and how the Lord used the song in my own life. By lifting up Jesus as the Great Physician and then explaining how to express our hurts and failures to Him in complete abandonment in honest worship, the process of healing begins immediately as people sing the lyrics that cause them to take an honest look at their own needs.

    More often than not, after I sense the hearts of the people are ready, I remind them that relationship with God is a two-way street. Not only do we express our needs to Him in song, but He expresses His love for us…in song! Zephaniah 3:17 tells us He rejoices over us with singing. Psalm 32:7 tells us that He surrounds us with songs of deliverance…and this is where the rubber meets the road for me as a worship leader.

    I remind them that Jesus asks us to be honest with Him in our wounding. To do so brings about cleansing and healing and steps toward the Light of His love. I quell fear by reminding them of God’s love for them in that while we were yet sinners, Christ still died for us. I crush shame by explaining the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is the understanding that I have done something wrong. Shame is the belief that I AM something wrong. Jesus dealt with our guilt on the cross. He bears our shame in the same way. To say we are something wrong is to tell God He made a mistake when He made us. You are no mistake or you would not be here…because my God makes no mistakes. No matter how far we have fallen, His love can reach that far.

    To give people the chance to receive this love in a practical manner right smack dab in the middle of worship, I remind them that worship is an expression of relationship between Father and child. We have just talked/sung to Him. Now it is time for us tor receive a song of deliverance from Him. Often, I ask people to sit at this point of worship, but remind them to remain in a worshipful attitude because we are about to do something special. Something holy. Because I have already sensed the needs of the flock I am leading, I simply ask them to be honest with one another…and give them the opportunity to be the body to one another.

    At times, I sense many are going through grief, so I will ask those who are grieving the loss of a loved one to stand so I can sing over them a song of deliverance God has given me. A song of deliverance is generally a song from Father’s point of view that speaks to the need I am addressing in the body. I encourage the body to gather  around those who stood and encourage them to lay hands on those standing and to pray quietly while I sing over their needs. Because I have been honest with my own story and needs, others feel free to be honest about theirs. People will get honest when they feel they are safe too do so. Before I sing, I always remind those standing to disregard me and to hear Father’s heart for them. They know why they are standing…and God knows. That’s a great starting place for healing!

    If we never give people the opportunity to receive healing for their wounds, we never see full release of worship. My belief is that if I lead people to healing and freedom, they WILL worship openly and freely. I have had times when I asked those who were contemplating taking their own lives to stand. On one such occasion I was shocked to look up and find over 50 people standing in honest confession. Other needs I have sung over include the parents of prodigal children; the sexually abused; those going through a divorce; those who feel they were not wanted; those struggling with depression; those facing financial crises; You name it and I have probably received a song of deliverance for it!

    Worship leaders, remember this: healing is a process. To help you better understand how to lead your people via worship through the process of healing, consider reading my book Renewing Your Mind - Identity and the Matter of Choice. Do not be afraid to lead your people to honest confession. I guarantee this from having led worship for 37 years now: Lead people to healing and freedom and worship will be the natural response. Get to know the needs of your flock and lead them accordingly.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:16 NASB

Dennis Jernigan

To help you develop an arsenal of songs of deliverance, I have listed 2 collections of such songs below. I have also listed several specific songs along with the needs they address:

Songs of Ministry
https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=34&p=386

Songs of Ministry 2
https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=34&p=3238

Grief and Mourning
I Will Be There - https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=529

Overwhelmed, Hopeless
It’s Gonna Be Alright - https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=132
Just Keep Breathing - https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3910

Emotional Wounding
Show Me Where It Hurts - https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3539

Feeling Unwanted or a Mistake
I Wanted You - https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=669

Parents of Prodigal Children
Be My Child - https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3246

Songs of Honest Confession from Us to Father
When the Night is Falling - https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3912
If I Could Just Sit With You Awhile - https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3900

 

The following is an excerpt from the book Renewing Your Mind by Dennis Jernigan which is available at
https://www.amazon.com/Renewing-Your-Mind-Identity-Matter/dp/1613143737/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1521556508&sr=1-1&keywords=renewing+your+mind+dennis+jernigan&dpID=51j6qFZehXL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch


The Process of Healing
    When faced with the need for healing of our minds—the way we think about ourselves—the enemy would love for us to feel overwhelmed by the mountainous terrain that our stinkin’ thinkin’ raises before us. Let us remember that we are on a journey—an adventure—here and that journeys require time and planning. After all, it may have taken years to build up the mountains of wrong thinking you now experience, so it may take years to tear it down. Like a building that we build with our thoughts, we tend to build it brick by brick. When tearing down that building, it is often necessary to tear it down in the same way: brick by brick, thought by thought. Bottom line? Healing is a process. The process of healing was brought home to me through the years in very tangible ways, complete with physical reminders of deep spiritual Truths.
    Many years ago, I was working on my farm with my tractor. Having been grading the gravel road to and from my barn using the box blade scraper, I needed to take the heavy implement off so I could attach the brush hog and do some mowing. A box blade is like a small road grading blade one can attach to one’s tractor and scrape dirt and gravel and the like. While the blade itself is about five feet across and twenty-four inches deep, on the front of the implement are four long spikes called rippers that are spaced in front of the blade. The rippers cut through the ground and break it up, allowing the scraper to then come along behind and scrape the broken ground up. The entire apparatus weighs several hundred pounds.
    In a hurry to get to my next task, and having performed the changing of implements many times before, I did not take the time to go through all the necessary safety steps. As I disconnected the hydraulic arm to which the right side of the blade was attached to the reactor, it slipped off before I was ready—because of the vibrations of the still-running tractor. Before I could get out of the way, the blade fell from the tractor and onto my right leg. The ripper did its job, ripping right into my lower calf and pinning me in a very awkward position beneath the large rear tire of the tractor.
    My first thoughts? I do not wish to die this way. The tractor was still running and the goats, notorious for climbing on any and everything, were nearby. All I could think—and I am serious about this—was my friends would mock the way I died at my funeral! “Can you believe he was killed by goats?” If I ever needed to be in control of my thoughts, it was in that moment. After serval minutes of pleading with the Lord to help me find the strength to remove myself from this entrapment, He came through. As I looked down at the wound, I saw a gaping hole in my leg exposing my tendon, muscle, and bone.
    Not realizing I was in shock, I could only think of covering the wound and getting the flap of dangling flesh back in its proper place. Calmly, I pulled the flesh over the hole in my leg and held it there, walking all the way from behind the barn to the house bent over awkwardly while trying to keep the flesh in place. As I neared the house, Melinda came out and I showed her the wound.
    Wasting no time, she helped me get into the car, and she drove speedily to the nearest ER seven miles away. Nearing the ER, I told her to simply drop me off and park the car while I did the preliminary check-in.
    Approaching the nurse station, I told the receptionist that I had injured myself and needed help. She calmly replied, “You’ll need to fill out some paperwork.” Still in shock, I felt overwhelmed to the point I could do no more. Turning around from the window, I simply slumped to the floor beneath the window—and sat. As Melinda came through the door, she asked, “What are you doing down there?” All I could muster to say was, “I need to do some paperwork.” Bursting through the ER door to the triage unit, Melinda shouted, “My husband needs help!” And help came.
    Two surgeries later, I was sent home to heal. Miraculously, there were no broken bones. Just nerve damage and the wound itself, which had been nicely stitched closed, seemed merely incidental after the fact. A lot of trauma for such a seemingly small wound. Little did I know but that little wound would have a far-reaching effect upon my life—and the way I think.
    After a few days of rest and recuperation, I noticed the bruising around the wound was not getting any better. In fact, the flesh over the wound seemed to be growing darker and darker, fading from deep blue to deeper black. And it began to develop an odor—like rancid, decaying flesh. Since this did not seem right, I went back to the surgeon and showed him my wound. Without saying a word, he simply began to cut away the flesh, once again leaving a gaping hole in my lower calf, revealing the inner parts once again. I asked him, “When can you do a skin graft to cover the wound?” His answer sent holy chills through my being: “A skin graft will not work for this kind of wound. For this type of wound to heal properly, it must heal from the inside out.”
    With those words, “It must heal from the inside out,” I knew in that moment that the Lord was going to be teaching me a few deeper things about healing. Confused, I asked him what he meant. I asked him how that could be possible. He then explained to me the process of healing. His instructions, while simple, were full of profound, life-giving Truth. He instructed me to soak the wound twice a day in a bucket of warm water. In that water, I was to mix a cup of Tide detergent and soak for thirty minutes. His explanation for this? The wound needs to be as clean as possible in order to promote healing.
    As those words sank into my mind, I could not help but think of and relate this need for cleansing to the human need to confess one’s sins. As I have already stated in a previous chapter, you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free…but the first step Truth requires is our own honest confession—or cleansing! And the added bonus? Simply learning to rest in—soak in—God’s presence! Awesome in and of itself, but the doctor was not through.
    Following up the need for soaking and constant cleansing, he prescribed a large roll of gauze, sterile and clean. I was to pack the wound with said gauze as soon as I was through with my morning soak…packing it as tightly as possible so as to not allow any foreign materials into the wounded place. In addition, he instructed me to pull the gauze out before soaking at the end of the day. Curious, I asked him why. He told me that as I pulled the gauze out—which will probably hurt a bit, but will be worth the pain—any dead and decaying material would adhere to the gauze and be removed from the wound, bringing even more cleansing. Awesome! But wait, there was more!
    “As you remove the gauze, make the edges of the wound bleed as much as possible.” What? His words once again sent chills through my soul. “There is life in the blood. The blood will bring life-giving nutrients to the wounded places, and slowly but surely, the wound will gradually close as the flesh grows back.” All I heard was, “There is life in the blood.” Just as with the physical nature of the healing properties of my physical blood, the life of a new creation is healed as the blood of Jesus—the cleansing, redeeming, healing, mind-changing, debt-paying blood of Jesus—is applied to the wounds of our mind by simple faith!
    As time went by, my mind was consumed with such thoughts. As my mind began to heal in new ways, so the wound on my leg began to heal. Pondering this process, I understood the need for cleansing. With honest confession comes Truth. Truth sets me free. As I placed my faith in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, the wounded places in my mind began to come back into spiritual alignment with God’s Truth.
    Confession and the blood were easy to see, but I still did not fully understand the need for packing the wound. So I asked the Lord what the packing material for my spiritual, mental wounds was. He simply whispered to my mind, “Son, what did you pack into your wound that came as a result of leaving your past identity?”
Without missing a beat, I said to Him, “What shall we say, then? Am I to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall I who died to sin still live in it?” That’s Romans 6:1–2.
    Before I could say another word, He asked, “And what did you pack in the wounded place when the enemy would threaten you with humiliation and condemnation?” Again, without hesitation, I quoted Micah:

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me. (Micah 7:8)

    And then it hit me. The packing material of my life since being born again had been the Word of God! In every wounded place caused by the lies of the enemy, I had packed the Word of God, and just as with that physical gauze, I would pull the Word out of the wound and drag out more impurities. Then I would repack the wound again and again and again! Healing is a process—and I thought the lessons I had learned from the tractor incident were it…but there was still more.
    After a year of healing in my body and in my mind, I was finally well enough to play basketball again. In my first pickup game since my wounding, I was making a cut toward the basket—when someone hit me on the back of my left ankle with what felt like a baseball bat! Sounding like a literal explosion in my mind, the piercing pain sent me spinning around, crumpled, to the floor. Writhing in pain, I shouted to my buddies, “Who hit me? Did you guys see who hit me?”
    Confused at my response, one of the guys simply said, “DJ, there was no one near you. No one hit you.”
    The MIR later that evening revealed a completely shattered and severed Achilles tendon. Due to the circumstances, we had to wait ten days for the surgery to take place. As soon as I came out from under anesthesia, the surgeon said, “Mr. Jernigan, we did not have enough of your tendon left to put you back together.”
    Before he could continue, I moaned, “Oh, no!” in disappointment.
    Continuing, he simply said, “But we were able to repair the tear.”
    “But, how?” I asked.
    “During the time between the wounding and the surgery, so much scar tissue had formed that we were actually able to harvest some of that material and bridge the gap between the wounded places. We put you back together.”
By whose scars and wounds and own torn flesh was I granted healing that birdied the gap between my wounded, broken places and the Maker of the Universe? By the scars of Jesus I am being healed! Healing is a process…and scars are like altars testifying to the healing power of God! What do my scars represent?
    When I was a small boy, I was in the pasture petting one of our horses. We called him Big Red. As I petted him, he began to nip at my fingers. This caused great fear in my little heart. Spying the mulberry tree on the fence line, I ran with all my might to the safety of the tree as Big Red kept pace with my little-boy run for my life!
    Safely climbing the tree to what I thought would be refuge, I was horrified to realize that Big Red could still reach me! My only recourse? I could jump the barbed wire fence to the safety and security of the other side! If there had been an Olympic event called fence straddling, I would have won gold that day.
    No sooner had I been released from the ER than my mom asked me how I was doing. My response? “I can’t wait to show the scar to my brothers and my cousins!”
A scar is what’s left of a wound as a reminder that says—in a spiritual sense—“Yes, I went through that terrible, horrible, hurtful event…but look what my God did!” That is a kingdom-of-God perspective on the process of healing. Own your scars, but give glory to God. Rather than those hurtful memories being like stones draped around your neck that drag you down to despair and self-focus, cut them away with the Truth that says, “Yes, I went through that, but see what my God has done!” Healing is a process—a process meant to restore hope and bring healing at every point along the journey. Even when pain is involved, joy can be the result if the process is seen from the Maker’s point of view. Who made doctors? Who gave man the wisdom to create medicine? Who is the ultimate Healer? The One who made us.
    One more thing. There is only one time a follower of and believer in Christ should give up hope. We should give up the hope of ever changing our past! Stop trying! It cannot be done. Face it in honest confession and go through the process of healing in the areas of past failure and regret. Allow the Lord to take the rabble and messes of your life and bring something beautiful out of the rabble and the mess! He is able if we let Him see our wounded places. Open up your heart to Him and let Him be the Great Physician. He is a safe place for healing to take place. Soak in His presence. Pack the Word into the wounds of your mind. Apply the healing brunets of His cleansing blood to your wounds and allow His own wounding to bridge the gap between you and your Maker.
    My final thought: I am healed. I am being healed. I will be healed. Where I am is in process…and the process looks a lot like Jesus!

About Time

About Time

How to Live a Timeless Life and Other Thoughts on Time

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 NASB

There have been times in my life when I have been so overwhelmed with emotional wounds or grief or the lies of the enemy that I have found myself feeling incapable of feeling. Like when one plunges into an ice cold river and for a brief second feels so shocked they tense up to the point of even ceasing breathing. Even when the realities of life leave us feeling plunged into moments of mind-numbing shock, our God is still there. It is when I focus on eternity that I am able to see my way out of the numbness and the blood once again begins to ebb through my spiritual veins…and life is restored. Let us look to eternity today and remember that earthly afflictions are but for a moment in the expanse of eternity. In that place we find grace to thrive…in THIS life.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:19

The things we value are the things we spend the most time on. To look at my life, what do others see? Do they see work as most important? Do they see pursuit of income as most important? Do they see being known as most important? Not that I live by what others think of me, but I am here to represent Christ to the world around me. Therefore, if I am pursuing Jesus daily, the value I place on that relationship will be evident just by the living out of my life. Think about that...and seek Jesus today.

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 NASB

Let us slow down from our busyness today - at least for a few minutes. Before you head out the door, take a few minutes just to wait upon the Lord. As you drive to work or as you head out to do errands, take that time to talk with Jesus. It is as we wait on the Lord that we realize He is the One Who has been waiting on us. We never leave His mind. Make time to wait on Jesus today.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 40:1 NASB

God is God. We are not. God transcends time. We are human. We need God. When do we need Him? Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. All the time! If He is not affected by time, then He is able to restore what the locust ate yesterday; Able to meet us in the here and now; Able to be there when we get to tomorrow. He has us covered regardless of our awareness of time and regardless of how shackled to time we feel. If He is not fettered to time, then let us live and think like the eternal beings we are in Him. Think about it...

But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time;
O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness,
Answer me with Your saving truth.
Psalm 69:13 NASB

Time has no power over us whenever we step into the eternal point of view. Getting to that eternal point of view is made difficult at times due to the lies of the enemy. The eternal point of view shows that the Liar ultimately loses...but, more importantly, it shows that we win! Why would we not want to gain and live according to the eternal perspective? How do we do that? We simply seek Jesus and find out what His point of view is in the midst of any circumstance of life! Let us seek Jesus right now!

Seek the LORD while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Isaiah 55:6 NASB

The bottom line is this: God is with us through all time. the truth is - even if we only have a few minutes to spend with him during the busyness of our day - He can expand the experience of those few minutes and give the refreshment of a few hours spent in His presence. Can you spare five minutes? God can multiply those minutes into hours. After all , this is the God Who can suspend time! This is the God Who transcends time! Reality is that we can steal away with Jesus even when in a crowd. He is as near as our next thought. Think about it…that is time well spent…because He is timeless.
Dennis Jernigan

Getting Back to Reality

Getting Back to Reality

It seems as if the entire world is headed off the cliff of virtual reality. By it’s very definition, virtual reality is not reality at all! While entertaining at times, this way of viewing the world is permeating all of our culture and leading mankind to vain imagination…to something that cannot hold up when life gets tough. Vain Imaginations will lead us to despair, but God has given us the remedy for such stinking thinking:

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 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, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NASB

We live in a world of superficialities. We live and breathe for someone to like us on Facebook or Instagram or whatever the latest, greatest form of social media offers as reality and key to successful living. Most of the world does not operate in reality. It’s more about image and how the presentation of one’s self is perceived than what is true and utterly real.

This produces a false sense of self and leads to either self-worship and performance or to an attitude of ‘love me as I am because I don’t need to change’. Both lead us to somewhere other than reality. Humanity and the wisdom of man tends to lead with assumptions based on feelings rather than Truth. And just who is behind such false assumptions? The enemy of God - the Liar - Satan.

With the busy schedules most of us live in, it is easy to feel as if we are living in a whirlwind or spinning around on a never-ending merry-go-round. When caught is a whirlwind, I look for shelter. When stuck on a merry-go-round, I simply step off. How do we do that in life? We run to Father and find shelter. We step off and into His presence, regardless of our circumstances or feelings. We step out of the world and into his presence…but how?

What is the world and how do we live in it yet step out of it at the same time? Any part of the system of man that says man and his devices are the solution; Any system that takes God out of the equation is ‘the world’. We step out of that world and its belief system by reminding ourselves of who and Whose we are. By reminding ourselves of why we are here. Here are some practical ways to do that:

Step out of the world and into the Word.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:15

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
Matthew 4:4 NASB

Look at what you have and not at what you don't have.

25 "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
Matthew 6:25-30 NASB

Don’t compare yourself to others. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Joy is based on knowing we are never alone. Walking in this truth leads to contentment - regardless of the circumstances of life.

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
Philippians 4:11 NASB

Glance at the problem but fix your eyes on Jesus.

Stop trying to change your past. It cannot be done.

Forgive yourself and move on down the road toward Jesus.

Live in the moment.

When you just don’t know what to do, seek Jesus. Just call upon the name of Jesus.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10 NASB

When feeling covered or consumed with the residue of the world, call out to Him as…
Jehovah M’Kaddesh - Holiness

When feeling put down by the world for foolishly following Christ, call out to Him as…
Jehovah Tsidkenu - Righteousness

When feeling alone, call out to Him as…
Jehovah Shemmah - Present

When feeling like you are caught up in confusion or chaos, call out to Him as…
Jehovah Shalom - Peace

When you feel like you are lacking in an area of you life, call out to Him as…
Jehovah Jireh - Provider

When feeling defeated, call out to Him as…
Jehovah Nissi - Victory

When emotionally wounded, call out to Him as…
Jehovah Rophe - Healer

When needing personal care and guidance, call out to Him as…
Jehovah Rohi - Shepherd

No man has seen the face of God in this life, yet we see His reflection in every place we look. Look for God’s reflection in the world around you and remember He never leaves you and never forsakes you - in spite of your feelings!

See life from the King’s point of view. He sees through the lies of the enemy and into true reality. That is Solid Ground where I want to live. In so doing, we put down vain imaginations and replace them with the truth - with reality!
Dennis Jernigan

This Is My Faith

This Is My Faith

How to Endure

As a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, His Word is life to me. That Word of Truth gave me a brand new identity and forever altered the course of my life and message. I believe that Jesus can set anyone free from anything! This belief can get me in trouble sometimes with those who do not view the world from a Christ-centered point of view. It is part of my reality that I face opposition like this from time to time. One of the first things I do is to remind myself of the truth. How do you do that?

Declare your faith to your own soul…

For me, that often comes in the form of a song. One I received recently as a personal tool of declaring what I believe to my own soul is called This Is My Faith.Two nights previous to receiving this song, Melinda was reading some negative responses regarding my belief that God can change one’s sexual identity. Using words describing me as a hater and as a violent person were so far removed from reality - yet the enemy began to use them against me causing me to search my own heart to see if there was any truth in such statements. I found it difficult to sleep with such words echoing through my mind. In addition, California is considering a new law outlawing Christian belief that says one can change one’s sexual orientation, banning any moral point of view other than the LGBTQ point of view as illegal...banning the sale of my autobiography or the sharing of my story in that state. In order to take my thoughts captive to  the obedience of Christ, I began my day by proclaiming truth over my own soul. This song came as a result of those proclamations. But before I share the song, let’s remind ourselves of the truth of God’s Word.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB

You will suffer hardship in life. Either you are headed into a storm or you’re between storms. Sin sees to that. The lies of the enemy see to that. We live in a fallen world but serve a risen Savior…

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3 NASB

[2Ti 3:1-5, 13 NASB] 1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these... 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

How do we avoid such things as these? Know who and Whose you are…

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:12 NASB

[2Ti 2:8-13 NASB] 8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. 11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Be collected in spirit…

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:5 NASB

Deny yourself as the answer. Self is an idol that will always let us down…

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.?
Matthew 16:24 NASB

We know the Answer…and we are not it!

[2Co 4:5-12 NASB] 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.

Remember God sees the big picture…

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

Use your time wisely…

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 NASB

Remember, we win…

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even [fn]when faced with death.
Revelations 12:11

[1Jo 4:2-4 NASB] 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 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.

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to and declare This Is My Faith, go to https://youtu.be/tVi_-6CaCsE

This Is My Faith
WORDS & MUSIC
Dennis Jernigan
April 30, 2018

Verse
I believe that on the cross He bore my sin
I believe that He died and rose again
I was blind but now I see
I believe His blood has washed me clean

I believe that on the cross He bore my shame
I believe that He has broken every chain
I was bound but now I'm free
I believe His love left me redeemed

Chorus
I believe in the name of Jesus!
I believe in the cleansing blood!
I believe in the name that frees us!
I believe in redeeming love!
I believe in the resurrection!
I believe that He alone can save!

I believe in the name of Jesus!
I believe my heart was rearranged!
I believe in the name that frees us!
I believe I'll never be the same!
I am headed in a new direction!
I declare to the world this is my faith!

More Than Enough

More Than Enough

     This past year, I wrote and published a book called Renewing Your Mind - Identity and the Matter of Choice. Little did I know or imagine how much I would need to rely on the Truth of God’s Word and re-apply that Truth to my own soul again and again. I thought my life was in a great place after the process of writing and releasing the book. My marriage was great. My children were great. My grandchildren were  great. Ministry was great. And then my dad died…

     Walking through the dying process with a parent is difficult. Spending time with dad…even in ICU  with the tubes and IVs rendering him incapable of verbal response…even when I could not tell if he recognized me at times…even during the times of watching him finally fall into drug-induced sleep, I was able to grieve along the way. Grief is a feeling of loss. Mourning is the outward expression of that feeling. I was great at feeling the loss…not so great at expressing it.

     He died on August 31, 2017. The funeral was absolutely fitting and glorious, my dad having given me a list of 15 worship songs he wanted at his home-going celebration because he wanted us to be happy for him. Although we could only squeeze 5 songs from his list into that two-hour service, I shared them all in the passing days in live feeds on Facebook, something I think dad would approve of as a practical solution.
Thinking I had gotten all my mourning out of my soul and to prove myself past the bulk of my grief, I dove into an intense schedule of personal discipline to keep my mind focused on the real and on the present and off of the empty place left by by dad’s absence. Here is my actual schedule:

MONDAY
Broadcast on Facebook Live
Write at least 1500 words of either ministry or book material
Answer ministry emails

TUESDAY
Broadcast on Facebook Live
Write and record podcasts
Answer ministry emails

WEDNESDAY
Broadcast on Facebook Live
Write at least one week’s worth of personal daily devotions
Answer ministry emails

THURSDAY
Broadcast on Facebook Live
Write at least 2500 words of a new fantasy novel
Answer ministry emails
Write a newsletter

FRIDAY
Broadcast on Facebook Live
Write at least 2500 words on a new memoir or whatever I feel like writing
Work on marketing and epublishing
Answer ministry emails

     At the end of the first full week of December, my mind began to say ‘no’ in not-so-uncertain terms. One night as I lay down to sleep, I suddenly felt a sense of panic - like being overwhelmed - like falling into a deep hole of fear that kept sucking me deeper and deeper into despair. That first night was miserable. That second night was horrifying. The third night in a row of sleeplessness and its overshadowing fear left me feeling as if I would lose my mind. Melinda would simply speak truth to me from God’s Word. I would read the Word and listen to it through the night. But nothing seemed to help.

     Each night became the same….and the fear soon became ‘I do not want to fear going to bed each night.’ Melinda was so good to keep asking me what lies I was believing, but I could never put my finger on just one lie. I believe the enemy had woven such a web of lies that my thoughts had become so entangled they would never become whole again. Even as I tried to name any lies I was believing and even after putting on the truth of God’s Word, I still experienced panic attacks, leading to several more sleepless nights. During one of those episodes while driving home one night, I felt so overwhelmed I thought I needed to pull over to the side of the road as I cried out to God, “Help me. Father! Help me!”

     That very moment, my phone rang. On the other end was a friend I had not spoken to in years - a friend who happens to be a professional therapist! He simply said, “After all the thousands of people you have ministered to through the years, how many have ever stopped to ask you how you were doing? Dennis, how are you doing?” My mind was suddenly able to gain control at the thought of the miraculous intervention of God in my life in that moment. It truly was supernatural - beyond mere coincidence. My friend talked me through my panic and helped me breathe all the way home. He sang to me and assured me this was part of the process of grieving and that God would be with me through it all. He encouraged me to make a list of the things I missed about my dad and then he encouraged me to sing.

     That moment of God’s very evident intervention in my life helped lasso my thoughts back into reality. That night I mourned the loss of my dad. That night I began taking back the stolen ground of the past few weeks of panic. That night I slept. The next week, I went to my family doctor and told him of my experiences. He told me grief does weird things and shows up at strange moments…like experiencing the first Christmas season without dad. He diagnosed me with sleep-deprivation and prescribed a sleep aid and then he grabbed me and prayed with me for God to intervene and put my mind at rest. I have a great physician and a Great Physician!

     With the help of my wife and children and friends, I realized how loved I was…and the fear began to subside. Rather than diving into work to fill my sorrow, I began to fill my life with things that brought hope - something to look forward to…like fishing with my grandsons…like being with and knowing my wife…like movies with happy endings…like reading the constant family chat my children keep going on WhatsApp…like recalling all I have and not focusing on what I have lost. One by one, as rest and love replaced sleeplessness and fear, I was able to put words to the lies…and one by one, replace each lie with the truth.

     At the risk of being too transparent, I am going to share the brief version of that list of lies along with the truth I put in their place:

LIE: One day I will be strapped to a hospital bed with a tube down my throat, my hands restrained

TRUTH: Even if that were to come to pass, I would have God’s presence and grace to get me through…and if my dad could do it well, then so could I.


LIE: I am no longer needed or necessary, hated by the world and forgotten by the body of Christ.

TRUTH: I am still here, therefore I am still needed…regardless of what the world thinks - and I am still part of the body of Christ no matter what!

LIE: No one loves you

TRUTH: I do not need everyone to love me…just Father God, my wife, my family, and my friends will do!

LIE: You’re getting too old for this. You are a laughingstock - a has-been

TRUTH: I’m just getting started. I am adored by my Father. I am son of the King and will go down fighting for the Truth because the love I know in Christ is worth dying for

LIE: Even the church has no need of your message. The bulk of your income is derived from the churches you minister in and to. Since gay marriage is the law of the land, the church has no need of your message. You need to re-think what the Word of God really says about homosexuality. Get with the modern Gospel. YOU are the hater.

TRUTH: The church is not my provider. God is. I am commanded to ‘say so’ and tell my story of redemption and identity in Jesus Christ. Same sex attraction is a temptation - not an identity. God created us male and female. The world is headed for the destruction of the deception of the enemy concerning who we are intended to be. Confusion over identity has permeated every part of our culture. We need a Solid Rock on which to stand, not a wishy-washy gospel based on false-love. The Word stands forever. I choose to stand there on and with the Word of God…no matter what.

     It was in the midst of making that list (and there are so many more lies I had been believing but will not bore you any further with. As I recently listened to a podcast called Fun Therapy, I began to make a mental list of all my feelings. Any feelings that were fear-based I put in the lie column. Any feelings that were love-based, I placed in the truth column. The words of this song, More Than Enough, poured out as my honest prayer of honest transparency before the Lord. I will not languish in the place of fear any longer,  but I will walk through the process of mourning the loss of my dad by taking the hand of my God and His Truth as He leads me to the place of healing this song left me in. May it do and be the same for you.
Dennis Jernigan

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.
 1 John 4:18-19 NASB

To listen to Dennis Jernigan share this teaching, go to The Dennis Jernigan Podcast at http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/more-than-enough-1516730806/

More Than Enough
January 10, 2018

Verse
Sometimes I feel so broken
I just cannot be fixed
Like two perfect notes that should harmonize
But cannot be mixed
Sometimes I ache
Sometimes the hurt seems too deep to feel
So numb and so cold to find enough strength
To grasp what is real
I have come to conclude
I am never enough
And that is why I know
I need You so much!
 
Chorus
You are enough when I hang by a thread!
More than enough when I cling to the ledge!
You are enough!
You and Your love!
More than enough!
You are enough to quiet my fear!
More than enough! Always closer than near!
You are enough!
You and Your love!
Are more than enough!

Verse
Feelings reveal that somewhere I'm believing a lie
That my God is not there!
That my God does not care!
So just lay down and die
So I fix my eyes on Jesus Christ!
The absolute Truth!
That He wanted me so much that He died for me!
And I'm living proof!
I have come to conclude
You are more than enough
And that is why I know
I need You so much!

Chorus
You are enough when I hang by a thread!
More than enough when I cling to the ledge!
You are enough!
You and Your love!
More than enough!  
You are enough to quiet my fear!
More than enough! Always closer than near!
You are enough!
You and Your love!
Are more than enough!

Chorus 2
You are enough when I'm too numb to feel!
More than enough to bind my wounds as they heal!
You are enough!
You and Your love!
More than enough!
You are enough when my strength has been drained!
More than enough To comfort me in my pain!
You are enough!
You and Your love!
Are more than enough!

© 2018 Shepherd's Heart Music, Inc. Dennis Jernigan
7804 W. Fern Mountain Rd. Muskogee, OK 74401
1-800-877-0406 www.dennisjernigan.com
Administered www.PraiseCharts.com
1-800-877-0406

The mp3 of More Than Enough is available for purchase at https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=4075

I Am Changed - A Choice In The Matter

I Am Changed - A Choice In The Matter

I’d like to talk with you about choices  we make in life - and whether or not we always have a choice. To better explain what I am talking about, I am going to share the first chapter of my new book, Renewing Your Mind - Identity and the Matter of Choice. This chapter is titled:

Do You Believe You Have a Choice Regarding “Whatever It Is You Are Dealing With?”

The gay identity was one I never wanted, and it dawned on me one day that I should seek my Maker as to what His intentions were for my identity. My plan was to choose what He called right over what my feelings—and the world— called right. I chose Truth over comfort and momentary pleasure and found freedom from my old way of thinking. In the process, I found a heterosexual identity! In a world where a man could say he was born a man but was truly a woman on the inside—and be celebrated for it—one would think a man who did not want a gay identity and found a way to a heterosexual identity would be welcomed...tolerated. But I have not found the world too open about anything other than what feels good is right. Choosing righteousness over license is, in this current culture, not to be tolerated. Enough about that.

People often ask me if I am still tempted with same sex attraction. When I tell them that I still understand that temptation but it no longer has power over me, their reaction is often, “Then how can you say you’re changed? Nothing’s different if you are still tempted.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Honestly, I had no choice in determining what would tempt me, but that in no way negates my ability to choose how I would respond to that temptation! In fact, even Jesus did not get to choose what He was tempted by—and He was tempted in every manner just as we are, yet without sin! We are either always creatures of choice or never creatures of choice. Our humanity has a conscience which gives us the power to choose. If we could not choose, every man would be a rapist. Every person would be obese. Every person would walk in constant anger. Every person would be hopelessly self-focused and full of pride. We always have a choice as to how we respond to a given situation. It just so happens that having a relationship with Christ gives us the power to overcome those temptations and to choose wisely much more easily than in our human strength! If temptation defined us, then we would succumb to the statement that “this is just who I am, so I might as well give in and be whatever my deepest feeling suggests I am.” Temptation does not equal identity.

I did not get to choose what I was tempted by. It was just there. But it was never intended to define me. Even without Jesus, I always had the choice as to how I would respond to any given temptation, be it sexual or otherwise. Always. It was only when I allowed the temptation to define me that I began to walk in failure and allow it to control me—control my life.

I recall the look and sound and feel of temptation in that area; I am reminded of it in the media and in the culture on a daily basis (does every TV show or movie have a same sex storyline these days? Pretty much). It’s in my face. But that “recalling” in no way defines who I am. Temptation is a joy. What do I mean? When temptation comes my way in any area that could lead me to sin, I simply ask the Holy Spirit, “What is it, Lord?” My reason is simple. The enemy—the liar, Satan—desires my downfall. Temptation is intended to lead me to that destruction. I turn to God because the temptation has become my signal that God is up to something. Why else would the enemy be after me in a certain area if not to quell the work of God in my life?

So much time has now passed since I identified as gay that it is actually difficult for me to believe I was ever that way. Of course, the liar does not want me to forget, so he continues to try and trip me up in key ways—not usually of a sexual nature, either. He attacks me in the areas of my continuing vulnerability: my sense of security or my sense of being needed or my sense of the need of affirmation—all of which are now daily met in knowing Jesus. I am now so secure that I do not fear vulnerability, nor do I fear for my security, nor do I fear that others might not think my life significant. Temptation has been relegated to use for the kingdom purposes in my life.

When it occurs, I do not allow it to determine my direction. In the moment of being tempted, temptation is now like a fly that occasionally tries to land on the meal of God’s presence in my life. I shoo the pest away with the Word and continue to enjoy the feast of God’s amazingly abundant presence in my life, whether I receive threats and hate from the LGBT community (and I do) or not. The temptation to fear harm is handled in the same way as sexual temptation. “What is it, Father? Your son, Dennis, waits on You...and while I wait, I will apply Your Word to my existence, bathing my being in being with you.”

People can say I am not changed if I still understand temptation in my life, but for the doubters, here is a brief list off the top of my head of exactly what has changed since coming to faith in Jesus Christ:

My belief system: I once believed I was born gay, until I was born again. I no longer believe I was ever born “that way.”

My mind: I was transformed by the renewing of my mind.

My sexual preference: I used to be sexually aroused only by men. The sexual needs of my life are now met only by my wife, and I crave her body, by the way...

My outlook on life: I once was depressed and self-serving. I now look toward Jesus and lay my life down for the King and for the kingdom.

That’s the end of chapter one, but I wanted to leave you with a song that is very personally important to my own life. It is called I Am Changed. I wrote it on March 20, 2013 in response to someone asking me if I was still ever tempted concerning my old identity. Their implication? If temptation still exists then I have not truly changed. Nothing - NOTHING - could be further from the truth. The song speaks for itself.                                                                                               Dennis Jernigan

To order a copy of the book Renewing Your Mind, go to https://www.amazon.com/Renewing-Your-Mind-Identity-Matter/dp/1613143737/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523464180&sr=1-1&keywords=renewing+your+mind+dennis+jernigan

To listen to the Dennis Jernigan Podcast on this subject and to hear the song, I Am Changed, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/i-am-changed-a-choice-in-the-matter/

I Am Changed
Words & Music: Dennis Jernigan
March 20, 2013

Verse
Some call me a fool
For daring to say I’ve changed
If that makes me a fool
I wouldn’t trade what I’ve found for anything
I’m changed

Some call me a dreamer
For daring to walk away
From my old way of thinking
My old identity now passed away
I’m changed

Chorus
Changed from who I thought I was!
Changed by pure redeeming love!
Changed from death to life
And freed from every chain!
Changed from old identity!
Freed from lies and free to be
Who my Father says I am!
He calls me changed!
I am changed

Verse
Some call me a hater
For daring to disagree
Come to my own conclusion
Of who my Father says I am called to be!
I'm changed!

Some call me disillusioned
Some call it a mental break
Let there be no confusion
I am fully aware!
Fully awake!
I’m changed

Chorus
Changed from who I thought I was!
Changed by pure redeeming love!
Changed from death to life
And freed from every chain!
Changed from old identity!
Freed from lies and free to be
Who my Father says I am!
He calls me changed!
I am changed

 

Guilt and Shame

Guilt and Shame

We live in a fallen world. The enemy would love nothing more than us to become overwhelmed with guilt and shame to the point of simply throwing our hands up in the air and just saying, “ I give up! This is just who I am!” The result of such overwhelming weight on the human soul? Stress and anxiety and further burdening of the soul with burdens we were never intended to bear. Guilt and shame are such burdens. Their distinctions are helpful in understanding how to deal practically with both, while the answer to both is really quite simple and quite the same. The Answer is Jesus. He alone is the only one who could ever possibly bear the fullness of the burdens of guilt and shame!

What is the clinical definition of guilt and shame and what are their distinct differences? In the world of psychology, the differentiation between guilt and shame are based on the object of one’s focus. In guilt, the self is not the central object of negative evaluation, but rather the thing done is the focus. Similarly, authors, Merle Fossum and Marilyn Mason say in their book Facing Shame that "While guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one's actions, shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person.”

To help explain the difference between guilt and shame, I’d like to share the story behind my song Redeemer. This song came as I prepared for an Inner Healing Conference in June of 2013. Many factors came together to bring this song about, once again revealing the depth of God’s ability to help us hear and His ability to help me write down what will help us cry out to Him. I think a lot about shame and about how much God has delivered me from said shame. Because I hear so many stories from others in bondage to shame, I want to help people understand how Christ overcame shame for us...but to do that we must understand the difference between guilt and shame.

As I took part in a conference in Texas earlier that same year where Lisa Harper was one of the keynote speakers, she gave a wonderful definition and distinction of the two:

“Guilt is the realization that I have done something wrong. Shame is the belief that I am something wrong.”

If the enemy can get us focused on ourselves and to believe we are abject losers in every way - that we are of no worth simply for who we are - he has us completely enslaved to the bondage of constant feelings of failure and worthlessness and enslaved to the stress and anxiety that come with such bondage! The root of the very word, shame,  is thought to come from a word meaning ‘to cover oneself’ much as Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves after their eyes were opened to the realities of sin. How do we help cover the hurt shame brings into the lives of those who are burdened with it? Let me finish the story behind my song, Redeemer.

On the Wednesday the week before our healing conference, Melinda had asked our home church to pray over her - that during this conference she would be less like Martha and more like Mary. So we did.

The following Tuesday, she walked out the back door to shoo away a stray dog and slipped on the wood that had been moistened by the humid heat of the day...and promptly broke her leg, forcing her to miss the entire conference due to a five-day stint in the hospital.

My wife is servant. A go-getter. One of those if there’s not a way I can make a way, I can figure it out kind of women...much like we imagine the Martha of the New Testament. Little did she know of just how uniquely and specifically God was about to answer her prayer.

For the next few weeks, Melinda was forced to suffer the pain of a broken leg, the shame of not being able to fulfill her duties at the conference, and to her, the dilemma of having to be the one who was being served. Twice-broken. Broken by the guilt she felt at not feeling well enough to fulfill her obligations and broken by the shame of inadequacy the enemy tried to heap on her. But she had prayed that God would help her be more like Mary…the one who sat at the feet of Jesus and simply enjoyed His presence. We all knew God was up to something...and that He had just thrown us a great big curve ball.

As the Holy Spirit had directed me to invite my daughter-in-law, to speak at the conference, she told me she would like to talk about suffering in one session…and shame in another! I knew God was up to something when I heard her heart’s desire.

My daughter-in-law’s suffering came as the result of losing two children to miscarriage. Imagine dreaming of being a mother and finally becoming pregnant only to lose that child a few weeks into the pregnancy - and then to have it happen all over again a year later. She had many questions for God and was definitely broken-hearted twice.

But where did her shame come from? The same loss. The same pain. The feeling of being inadequate - not able to carry a child - less than...that somehow SHE was the something wrong,

Her conclusion? Christ dealt with both her suffering and with her shame as He bore them on the cross. Out of suffering, God brought forth healing and beauty. Out of her shame, God brought cleansing and acceptance and peace in spite of all she had gone through.

The week of the conference, I gathered the entire team together to pray at my house. After the prayer time, a friend, Dean Briggs told me the Lord had given him something for me to meditate on. He said to think on these words:

Broken once.
Broken no more.
I am the one You were broken for.

I could not stop thinking about those words - even through the night. Waking up the next morning and going to visit my wife in the hospital, I found myself thinking about those words all day long…and then began to think about them in relation to how Father has dealt with my own shame from my past failures.

Wednesday evenings Melinda and I host a home church group for worship and ministry. As I went to my studio to prepare for that time, the Lord began to pour out this song. I received the first verse and chorus ten minutes before we began and introduced the song that night. We knew it was special in that moment. Verse two came the next day - the first day of the conference. The Answer o both guilt and shame are fond in the release of both to the only One meant to bear them…to the only One Who was able to redeem them...the only One Who could absolve our guilt and the Only One Who could cover our shame!

How do we deal with guilt? We honestly confess our sin to Jesus, receive His forgiveness, and move on.

How do we deal with shame? We confess our perceived inadequacies to Jesus as the lies they are, we replace those lies with the truth of who Father God says we are, allowing Him to be our covering - and we move on down the road.

Let Him meet you in the midst of whatever it is you are going through today. He is in it and He can use it...whatever it is. He is Redeemer of the big things and redeemer of the small things. He is redeemer of all.

May this song bring you and your sorrow and your suffering and your shame right to the feet of Jesus…
Dennis Jernigan

The song, Redeemer, is available for purchase and download at https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3904

Redeemer

Verse
Broken once
Broken no more
I am the one You were broken for
Broken body
Blood flowing down
Once lost but now I’m found

Bread of Life
Broken for me
Broken to fill me, make me complete
Living Water
Love’s cleansing Stream
Washed me, left me redeemed

Chorus
Redeemer!
My Redeemer!
With redeeming love flood my soul!
Redeemer!
Gave Your life, Redeemer!
Broken to make me whole!
Broken to make me whole!

Verse
Once in shame
Shameful no more
I am the one that You bore shame for
Once unworthy, I realize
Still I was worth Your life

Crown of thorns
Piercing Your brow
Ancient of Days somehow here and now
Wounded Healer
Cleanser of sin
Savior Who rose a-gain!

Chorus
Redeemer!
My Redeemer!
With redeeming love flood my soul!
Redeemer!
Gave Your life, Redeemer!
Broken to make me whole!
Broken to make me whole!

WORDS & MUSIC
Dennis Jernigan
June 19, 2013
©2013 Shepherd’s Heart Music, Inc.
Administered by PraiseCharts.com

Un-encumbering the Soul

Un-encumbering the Soul

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, 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

In this day and age, we are expected to empathize with whatever the latest cause might be. The Me Too movement. Black Lives Matter. Whether or not you are leaving a heavier carbon footprint than the next person. Whether you support LGBT rights or not. Where you stand on gun control, foreign policy, what kind of energy resources you consume and on and on and on. And the current spirit of the age labels you morally and ethically wanting if you don’t empathize with the latest greatest cause. The bottom line is this: the human soul was never meant to carry the weight of the world. We cannot possibly empathize with every cause. We were never meant to bear the weight of the needs of mankind. Only a Savior - only Jesus - can do that.

Was Jesus ever stressed or anxious? Let’s think about that. He bore the weight of the sin of mankind on His shoulders on the cross, not to mention the agony of the impending doom He faced in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His crucifixion. In Luke’s Gospel, chapter 22 beginning at verse 41 it says:

[Luke 22:41-44 NASB] 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." 43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

Jesus was stressed and anxious and in sheer emotional agony, yet what did He do? “[He] for the joy set before Him endured the cross!” according to Hebrews 12:2!

How could He experience joy in the midst of such agony? He gave His burdens in prayer to the Father and He focused on us and our need for a Redeemer and Savior. He was able to see what His Father saw!

In the world of counseling there is a phenomenon called compassion fatigue. For the past three months, I have been in a needy place in my soul. Melinda described it as a hole I have gotten into that is dark and consuming. During the past week, she has come to the end of her capacity to carry the load for both of us and expressed her need to get some relief. In that moment, I realized I had so burdened her with my own needs that I had neglected meeting hers. She was experiencing compassion fatigue.

This, rather than causing me to digress further into the darkness, actually woke me up to the fact that I needed to cast my cares on the Lord…that I needed to fight for my freedom…that I was running a marathon and not a sprint. Simply put, I needed Jesus to be my care-giver and not cast all my cares on Melinda…because she was never intended to carry the entire load. She was called to be my help-meet…not my Savior. She had come to the end of grace and I needed to let her express that to me. Wake-up calls are good for the soul.

One time, many years ago, a friend and I went mountain climbing in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Colorado. With full backpacks and above 10,000 feet, we were suddenly caught in an intense thunderstorm, complete with lightning. My friend yelled at me, “Drop your backpack and run for cover!” He did not have to tell me twice. With deadly lightning bolts crashing all around us, we found shelter beneath a rocky overhang. In life, there are times when we must unencumber our souls and head for shelter in Jesus. Practically, it is called confession and hiding in Jesus! Let us be quick to do that today! Let us empathize with the causes that we have been given grace for and not worry about what the world around us thinks. Here are some practical steps to do that very thing:

• Lay aside the cares of the world and run for cover

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10 NASB

• Hide out in Jesus

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2 NASB

• Let Him be Savior and Redeemer of the world

A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF,
AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT,
UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY.
Matthew 12:20 NASB (Jesus quoting Isaiah 42:3 NASB)

• You empathize with the causes you have been given grace for

"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' 32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:27-34 NASB

• Fight for your freedom and run the race set before you

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith…
2 Timothy 4:7 NASB

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, 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

The bottom line? Let Jesus be Savior and Redeemer of the world. You simply be His child and daily un-encumber your soul to Him. He is God. You are not.
Dennis Jernigan

 

 

How to Walk in Intimacy With God in an Overwhelming World

How to Walk in Intimacy With God in an Overwhelming World

…we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NASB

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus
Matthew 11:28 NASB

Anyone out there feeling overwhelmed by life these days? What does it mean to be overwhelmed? It means to be buried beneath a huge mass. It means to be completely defeated. It means to be inundated. What is overwhelming you today? The cares of the world? I mean the cares of the ENTIRE world! Thanks to technology, we have instant bad news 24/7, do we not?

Social media bombards our souls with constant sensational, amazing, heart-rending, instantly gratifying and mostly empty and an unrealistic way of looking at life. Why do we fill ourselves with so much information and bad news? Every where we turn we are afflicted with bad news or with some humanistic way of solving the issues of the world. There is no human alive that ca live up to all the expectations placed on us by an ever-increasing onslaught of social media.

What is it that we all need? Someone to acknowledge our existence. Someone to know and to be known by. That need - that void - was intended to be filled by one and one only. It is intended to be filled by relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

We do not need more presence on social media. We need more of the presence of God! We crave and long for intimacy. That is part of being human. I use social media to further the kingdom, not to replace relationship. I limit my time there.

It is ok to be in the world but not of the world. Remember, we reap what we sow. We get out of our minds what we put into our minds. I fast from secular music. I fast from shows that fill my mind with evil. I fast from most news shows. Trust me, I get enough peripherally to know its bad out there. I hear from enough people struggling with their broken identities to know the world is falling apart.

So what are we to do to stem the flow of the overwhelming nature of the world around us?

I believe the answer to being overwhelmed is intimacy with Christ. Relationship requires intimacy. Requires an exchange of life. I must learn to step away from the things that overwhelm me and practice intimacy with Christ if I am to survive. It looks like this:

I step away from the chaos and present my heart and mind to Jesus and say, “Here I am, Lord. Into-me-see.” And in that same moment, I step out in faith and hear Him say to me, “Here is my heart, son. Into-Me-see.”

You say you don’t have time? We make time for the things we value. You find time for everything else. What can you give up - even for a few minutes - to make time for Jesus each day? We need truth from which to view the world. A place of Solid Foundation from which to see. We need intimacy, yet the enemy so compounds our lives with the social media onslaught that Jesus gets buried in the very chaos we dread and feel overwhelmed by!

Here are some practical things I think will help release you from being overwhelmed:

1 We need intimacy with God through conversation - prayer
Addressing the need for intimacy, Every human has a void only God can fill. The world - the enemy and his lies - try to keep us so overwhelmed we forget God and begin trying to live up to the expectations of the culture. What is beauty? What is your cause? What great feat will you accomplish today?                                                                                                                                   • Acknowledge God's presence with you
• Give Him your burdens

2 We need release…and worship is one of the great keys to me releasing the cares of the world. You say you don’t have time? We make time for the things we value.
• Worship in your car as you run errands or go to work
• Worship with music filling your home as you go about your daily chores
• Worship privately with headphones as you prepare to go to sleep
• Worship with your spouse as you can
• Get creative

3 We need to order our day
• Begin with reading a devotional thought that helps me focus on what is true.
• Ask the Lord to order my steps and order my day
• I keep the channels of prayer open at all times
• I do not spend much time on social media.

I do not watch the news all day long. I know it’s bad out there. That’s why a Christ-centered worldview is foundational and necessary to my well-being. When the world is falling apart, I have a place to fall back on that will not overwhelm me. Racial divides. Political divides. Hatred. Poverty. Catastrophes, both natural and man-made. Need I go on? I know they exist! Rather than being overwhelmed by them, I give them - these things the enemy intends as burdens - to Jesus and allow Him to do the heavy lifting. Last time I checked, He is the Redeemer He is the Savior. I need to not try and do His job for Him!

4 Admit your need and allow Jesus to meet it
I know my personality. I am an introvert who longs to be understood. I tend to feel empathy for everyone I meet. I tend to feel my way through life, but feelings are not a solid foundation from which to operate. Every feeling I have is rooted in a thought I have had. I trace the feeling to the thought and determine if the thought is truth or lie. If truth, I release it to God. If a lie, I ask God to reveal the truth of His Word to me.

• I cannot afford to play the ‘what if’ game
• I do not face tomorrow’s giants until tomorrow.
• I do not face my giants in someone else’s armor.
• I can worry or I can trust

5 Name my fears and remind myself of the truth God has gotten me through before
• Ask God for His perspective on what is reality
• I make a conscious choice to encourage myself in the Lord
• I remind myself of God’s past works in my life
• I remind myself of who and Whose I am
• Recognize I cannot change my past. I cant control tomorrow. Live in the moment!

6 Bedtime routine
• I unburden my soul
• I release my children to God
• I release my finances to God
• I release my fears to God
• I ask Him to show me reality
• I ask Him to meet with me in my sleep (Psalm 127:2)

7 Let me boil it down to the lowest common denominator for you. Jesus is the Answer. Make it and keep it simple. When in doubt:

• Pray
• Put on truth - Focus on the Word of God as your foundational Truth/worldview
• Steal away and unburden your soul each day. Make the time…even if it’s only a couple of minutes.
• Worship

It’s all about relationship with Jesus. You can have as much or as little as you need. It’s up to you. You can swim in intimacy with Christ or you can drown in the cares of the world. It really is your choice.
Dennis Jernigan

Resources for Taking Back Intimacy with Jesus
• FREE Devotion Book
Daily Devotions For Kingdom Seekers, Vol. 1 is a free book of daily devotions in the form of an ebook. You may download it for free at https://dl.bookfunnel.com/g7jet60yhj

A print version is available for only $10 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Daily-Devotions-Kingdo…/…/ref=sr_1_2…

• Worship Music
Over 30 collections of worship and ministry recordings at www.dennisjernigan.com
There is so much great worship music out there now. No excuse for not worshiping along with a favorite recording!

I Will Think On This: Practical Insights for Living Through Pain

I Will Think On This: Practical Insights for Living Through Pain

 

Here I sit now over six months since my dad passed away, still having periods of intense grief and all that goes with that grief. Moments of feeling ‘when will this ever end’ and moments of feeling ‘I know the truth but I am not feeling so free right now’. What I am finding is that, just as I have preached to others for years, grief and mourning are a process and not a one-time easy fix. It is a journey that one must go through. That journey is wrought with feelings of loss and anger and denial and fear and deep, intense pain. On the other side of that journey? Healing.

One of the things a wounded soul needs to recognize and to deal with is the simple fact that it is wounded! Sounds crazy but I thought I could skip parts of the process. I have found I cannot. What I have discovered along the way is that some phases of my pain are more easily passed through than others. It is easy for me to believe I will see my dad again. Not so easy to admit my anxious thoughts and the way they are affecting my physical body. My body keeps telling me to slow down and live in the moment. My emotions and my physical weakness tell me that if I just keep pressing on and filling up my time with projects, I will eventually break through.

The only problem with that way of thinking is that it leads to mental exhaustion, physical stress, and emotional breakdown. What I have found is that if I keep worrying about when will this ever end, my eyes focus on everything but the hope I have in knowing Jesus. Grief and its subsequent pain can also lead one down roads paved with stinkin' thinkin' like focusing on the fact that I have no public opportunities for ministry and the love offerings that come with them leads me directly to fear of the future and thoughts of ‘how can I call myself a man if I cannot provide for my family?’. God’s perspective? “Just Who is the Provider here? Just Who is giving you time off to heal? Why do you insist on trying to be Provider when I’ve got that covered? I am giving you time to heal. Take advantage of it, son!”

It is with that realization that many other facets of my anxiety have begun to surface and I will not bore you with anymore. Suffice it to say, I am changing my thought process even as I write these words and trying to see my grief and my anxious thoughts from God’s point of view…and in that process, I am seeing practical application that is Word-based.

Matthew 6:33-34 NASB says, ”But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Practical insight: live in the moment you find yourself. Do not try to fix tomorrow’s needs with the grace you have for today and its needs.

Practical insight: seek first the kingdom by seeking first the King. Worship as often as necessary…and reach out to people to share your burdens with. The people of God are extensions of the King and kingdom. Take advantage of the resources and put pride aside. Humble yourself and allow to be done for you what you do for others.

Practical insight: Trace stinkin’ thinkin’ back to the thoughts that produce them…even if you cannot pinpoint the specific lie, revert to the most common denominator. God has gotten you through in the past, Jernigan. Do you really think He won’t get you through this?

Practical insight: Spend time with children and grandchildren and family and friends. Nothing fills my soul like time with the little ones. Do things you enjoy. Walking through the woods. Sitting in my hot tub. Going to movies. I’ve see The Black Panther twice already.

Practical insight: get through the next minute…and just keep breathing.

Let’s apply the practical insights from Philllipians 4:6-8.

Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Practical insight: God has thought of everything. Trust Him to pick you up when you fall apart. Empty your soul to Him and to kingdom representatives. Keep the flow going even through the pain.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:6-8 NASB

Practical insight: What is true? God and His Word. Anything else is not worth investing another thought in. I ask my wife to speak truth to me when anxious thoughts come…and they are vanquished almost immediately.

Practical insight: What is honest? Share your story. Confession brings healing.

Practical insight: What is just? God is in absolute control even when my eyes and pain says otherwise. See through to that and let that be reality.

Practical insight: What is lovely? My wife and children and grandchildren. Dream for them. Dream of them. Cast vision before them. Remind them of who and Whose they are.

Practical insight: Whatsoever things are of a good report? Do not watch the news for a season. Do not take part in gossip. Believe the best about others. Recognize no one according to the flesh.

Practical insight: What is virtue? Think of and encourage goodness and do not reward evil. What you put in your mind is what comes out.

Practical insight: What is praise? Regarding the needs and virtues of others and living with a grateful, thankful heart.

Practical insight: What’s the worst thing that could happen? I could die. Reality is I would be with Jesus.

Dennis Jernigan

Anoint My Heart For Burial - The Story of Myrrh

Anoint My Heart For Burial - The Story of Myrrh

    Have you ever wondered why the wise men - the Magi - brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus? People often express value to others by giving lavish gifts. Some gifts may seem more frivolous than others. A gift of gold is easy to understand, but the frankincense and myrrh, while expensive and lavish in their own ways, were mere aromatic fragrances. What good would they be to a newborn king and his family?

    I am quite sure the gold came in handy as a means of support during the first two yeas of the life of Jesus since they were basically on the run from Herod and his decree to kill all the male babies. Since the fragrances were quite valuable as well, perhaps they could have been sold to help with expenses as well. Frankincense and myrrh were both often used in rituals of  worship, but they were also used to anoint a body for burial. This intrigues me…especially when I think about the life and death of Jesus…and how He was worshiped by many during His physical life on earth, yet slain by those He came to save. When I learned how myrrh in particular is obtained, it all began to make a but more sense to me…and makes me stand back in awe and wonder and worship anew as I think about why they brought myrrh to Jesus. It even inspired a song many years ago.

    That song is called Anoint My Heart for Burial. It was born on May 1, 1991 but the story behind the song is one of my favorites. If you know me, you know I believe God wastes nothing in our lives if we bring whatever it is to Him and ask Him for His point of view. Another way to look at life’s circumstances is this: How would I ever know the sweetness of the rain had I never gone through the desert? How would I ever know the joy of healing had I never been wounded? Life is not always peace and harmony and rainbows and unicorns is it? Sin has seen fit to that. As long as there is sin in this world there will be sorrow and pain and confusion and times of chaos…but the good news is that we have been given the remedy for sin through faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:24

    This song was inspired by the story of how myrrh is harvested. Myrrh is derived from the resin of the small, thorny myrrh tree found mainly in the middle east. For thousands of years the resin of the myrrh tree has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense, and medicine. When Jesus was buried we know that his body was wrapped with a mixture of myrrh and aloes to anoint his body for burial - and to help cover the stench of death.

    It seems that life is full of heartache and struggle.  Yet, Christ has made a way for us to see Himself glorified even through the worst of circumstances. God brought this to light in my life in the midst of one of those times of hurt and disappointment.  It is so true that hurts and wounds become opportunities to let his life flow out of our lives, when we choose to rely on His grace to carry us through difficult times.  I have discovered that “birth” comes more quickly and easily when I work with the labor rather than against it.  The Holy Spirit will be the most fragrant of aromas when we release Him to work through the brokenness of our lives.  

    So, what does all that have to do with the song Anoint My Heart for Burial and even more importantly, what does any of that have to do with the fragrance of myrrh? It has everything to do with the way the fragrance is derived or harvested from the tree of myrrh that illustrates what I am trying to express to you about God’s ability to use the harshness of life to bring about the beauty of the fragrance of His presence in the midst of some pretty awful circumstances. If you have ever smelled myrrh, it is a fragrant, aromatic, earthy smell like none other. I love the smell of myrrh...but as with life, I do not like the process by which myrrh is harvested when compared to the circumstances of my life. Let’s think about what the process of harvesting myrrh looks like and compare that process to the lives we lead and to the circumstances we experience.

    To obtain the resin that produces the fragrance of myrrh, the tree bark must be cut...must be wounded...must be bruised. In fact, the harvester would say he is making the tree bleed...and guess what those drops of resin are called? The drops of myrrh resin and are called tears.

    Ever feel so cut or wounded by circumstances of life that it feels like you’re bleeding to death? Ever been reduced to tears by a harsh episode of just trying to make it through a hard time - or through a difficult loss - or a betrayal - or whatever? When our soul bleeds and when our eyes cry tears, we tend to see only the loss rather than the future fragrance they could potentially bring.

    Once the tree has been cut and the resin has begun to bleed out  and once those tears have been harvested, you still do not have the fullness of the beauty of the fragrant aroma of myrrh. Those drops of resin - those blood drops - those tears - are allowed to harden. Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a circumstance of life that you grow numb or hardened to the point of trying to stop the pain? When I was a boy, I lost my grandmother - and I vowed I would not let anyone get close to me again because it hurt too much to lose them. I became hard-hearted...and a hardened heart leads to a lot more pain. Trust me. I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all. But life has a way of brining a hardening to our souls. So when does the fragrance - the beauty - the sweet aroma of myrrh actually arise from those hardened tears?

    After the cutting...after the wounding...after the bleeding...after the tears...and after those tears are allowed to harden, the full aroma has still not been released. Do you know when that happens? The full aroma of myrrh is released and realized when those tears have been crushed.

    Ever feel so crushed by life that you feel as if nothing good could ever come from the pain you experienced? I have. Let me put it this way: who would have ever thought it possible something good could ever come from my deepest pain...from my deepest shame...from my greatest point of failure? Yet, that is exactly what God has done.

    Sin left me wounded. Life brings wounds along the journey. My soul has been left bleeding profusely in guilt and shame and tears - many tears - of sorrow have been shed. Pain left me hardened of heart - numb. My hard heart was in need of crushing…so I cried out to God and something amazing happened. The crushing became my favorite part. Why would I say that? because I was crushed - my hard heart was broken wide open - by the love of God,  producing the fragrant aroma of God’s presence and purpose and promise and perspective!

    We can either be crushed and ruined by life - or - we can be crushed by the love of God and learn to see life and its many twists and turns from His point of view...taking the tears we have poured out and using those very sorrows as points of reference where we see what He sees.

    We see an insurmountable mountain. He sees a molehill that can be easily overcome. We see pain. He sees an opportunity for comfort and intimacy borne of His very presence. We see mayhem and destruction. He sees the opportunity to restore and for rebirth. We smell the stench of death left by our own sin and failure. He sees a way to save and deliver and bring the fragrance of life from that very same failure.

    Which sounds best to you? Seeing and living life from the perspective of death or seeing and living life from the perspective of God and the fragrance of His presence rising from that same life?

    Life is at times harsh...at times painfully unbearable...but that same journey can create a beautiful fragrance when placed in the hands and lived from the presence of the One Who made us in the first place.    

    I encourage you to listen to the song Anoint My Heart For Burial. As you listen to this song, allow the Holy Spirit to crush your hard places with the deep, deep, perfect love of His presence. Even if experiencing death in a certain area of your life right now, allow His presence to meet you in that place of death and replace that same death with the fragrance of life. Where you are wounded, apply the balm of His love. Where tears flow, apply the balm of His love. Where hardness exists, allow Him to crush it with perfect love that surpasses even our human capacity to understand. Allow the fragrance of life to arise from the deepest wounds and failures. there is no greater fragrance  than the fragrance of God’s love and grace applied to the human heart. Smells like freedom…
Dennis Jernigan

The mp3 of the song Anoint My Heart For Burial is available for purchase/download at https://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=611

Did you know Dennis Jernigan shares his life on a weekly podcast...and that it is FREE?! You can now listen online or via iTunes! To access the free podcast on iTunes, simply go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dennis-jernigan-podcast/id1307264290. To listen online, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/feed/
Please help me get the word out about this new avenue for ministry and encouragement!

Trust

Trust

“Don’t be too quick to smooth out all of the rough edges. They can serve as protection or warnings.”

    I’m sitting here in the dead of winter watching the bright red cardinals fly from one branch to the other while gathering in the same tree they choose every winter. The tree - in our back yard - is same one the families of birds choose to roost in during the winter each year. It has large thorns, not very pretty foliage and is not my favorite to look at at all, but it seems to serve them well as a refugee, a safe place to gather, to protect and give them shelter in the freezing temperatures.

    This picture while observing them made me think about my own needs. Not everything that is best for me will be smooth and pristine. There will be rough places I must traverse that I will find give me strength as I learn to walk through them. Thorns or sharp edges will at times hurt but may also protect me from getting hurt and can provide a shelter if I navigate truth properly.

    My safe place might not look pretty and all put together, but it is strong, reliable, able to weather any storm, and covers me when nothing else can. All of this reminds me of the Lord. He is my Rock, my Shelter, the One I can trust and run to. He is Ever Faithful, True, the one who allows me to make mistakes so I can grow and learn not to run away when times are hard but to rest in Him knowing He surrounds me in the shadow of His wings.

    My word for 2018 is Trust. There are still areas in my heart that are wounded and the Lord has promised to heal if I trust Him. I want to choose this year to be like the cardinal and fly into the tree with all of the thorns and thick branches and not fear but trust in the strength, shelter, and safety it will provide.
Melinda Jernigan

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

Resolutions and Consecration

Resolutions and Consecration

This time each year, as the old year gives way to the new, we hear so much about people making resolutions or turning over a new leaf. This may concern their desire to stop smoking or to stop drinking or to lose those extra pounds they just put on during the holiday season. Whatever the case, I see this as a good thing. In fact, I see this phenomena as a God thing. After all, Who was it that said it is possible to exchange our old lives for new ones in the first place?

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.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NASB

Even before the advent of Christ in our history, we saw God offering mankind the same opportunity to resolve its many issues - mainly those of sin. Three months after the children of Israel were delivered from hundreds of years of captivity in Egypt, Moses asked the Israelites to resolve a few things. In Exodus 19:10 NASB, the Word says, ‘The LORD also said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments…”’

In a sense, the Lord was commanding Moses to lead the children into a place of making a resolution. They had been in captivity for hundreds of years and Moses saw the need to make some resolutions. Think of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 as one form of doing so. But just what is a resolution?

The word resolution is formed by two words. ‘Solution’ - the solving of a problem or the answering of a question and ‘Re’ - again. When we make resolutions we are actually saying ‘here are the things I need to solve or answer again.’ One application of resolution would be repentance…the simple act of agreeing with God. He is God and I am not. He calls it sin. I will call it sin. You get the point.

But Moses, through the command of God, took resolution to a whole new level. God told Moses to go to the people and consecrate them. What does consecration even mean? The word consecrate comes from the Hebrew word ‘qadash’. Qadash literally means ‘to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate, to be set apart.’ And exactly what were they told to sanctify? The entirety of their being!

They were to set boundaries. Boundaries set parameters from within which to operate at ultimate levels of freedom. While a parachute may seem to hinder freedom to a certain extent and to make us feel cramped and uncomfortable, those same boundaries allow us to float safely to the earth. So, too, the bulky weight and binding straps of scuba gear may seem stifling and suffocating, yet it affords us the ability to breathe where man should not be able to breathe and to explore vistas few rarely see.

Consecration also requires cleansing - a washing away of the old. Through faith in Jesus, the old has been washed away…and new has come. Consecration may seem unnecessary to some, since we were consecrated to Christ when we were born again…but who wants that experience to ever end? As long as I live in a physical body, I will need periodic saving, periodic healing and periodic deliverance. I still need Jesus! I still need His presence. I still need to grow…and growth requires change…requires cleansing…just like the old year giving way to the new, we always need to ready ourselves for change - for growth.

Just as the Word of the Lord came to Moses for the children of Israel, we can seek the Lord for a Word of consecration for ourselves for the coming year. After all, we are His sheep and we can hear His voice. My challenge to you is simple: Make your resolutions for the new year to be consecrated to the Lord. And just how do I propose we do that? Seek Him for His Word.

Following is the list of areas I would like to consecrate to the Lord this year with a Word from Him for each area. Consider seeking God to do the same for you. Bear in mind, where there is nothing to look forward to - nothing to live for - there is chaos and death. Why not seek the Word for hope and peace and life for the coming year?

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18 NASB

Where there is no vision, the people perish:
but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Proverbs 29:18 KJV

EXAMPLES
Word of the Year - an over-arcing general Word that encapsulates and sharpens my overall vision for the coming year. You might ask the Lord this. “Father, what is Your Word for me this year?” For some that word may be ‘this is the year of healing’. For others that word may be planting, or harvest, or restoration or clarity in a certain area.

Personal Word of the year - this may be a word even more specific to your personal growth. For me, the Word for the coming year in this area might be mental peace or deeper inner healing

Marriage - “Lord, what is the word for the year for my marriage?”

Family - “Lord, what is Your Word to me for my family this year?”

Work - “Father,, what Word would you have for me in my work during the coming year? How can I make my employer even more successful?”

Play/recreation - “Lord, what Word would describe my need for rejoicing this year?”

Rest - “Lord, would you give me a Word that leads to practical solutions to my need for a sabbath each week this year?”

Finances - “Father, what is the Word for me in the area of my finances this year?”

Health - “Father, what is the word for the year in regard to my physical health?”

Dreams/Goals - “Father, in what areas would you have me set personal goals? What are Your dreams for me in the coming year?”

Visions - “Lord, I want to experience visions from you this year? Would you reveal that vision to me in the coming days?”

Remember this Truth from God’s Word :

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 NASB

Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 NASB

Make the resolution to consecrate your entire being to the Lord this year. Re-dedicate your life - your entire being - to Him. Keep what is good and necessary, but do not be afraid to move on from the old and into the new. It is called growth. Be bold to ask Him for specific Words for each area of your life. Remember - you CAN hear His voice. Delight yourself in Him. Put your hope in Him. Believe when others fall away. Seek Jesus at all costs. The Word of the Lord is life to the human heart. Do you want more life? An abundant life? Receive His Word for you this year…and really live!
Dennis Jernigan

Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Proverbs 30:5 NASB

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 NASB

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