A New Spin on Forgiveness

I love it when the Holy Spirit blows me up. He keeps bringing revelation about love and forgiveness. At Yes and Amen  the Lord  called for us to fall in love with Him.  How do we love Him more? At WGR class last Tuesday, we looked at the parable Jesus told about the two debtors.

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. (Luke 7:41)

Jesus used this parable to challenge the hard-hearted homeowner who scorned the woman washing Jesus’s feet with her tears.  The bottom line is he who has been forgiven much, loves much. Jesus directly equates our ability to love with our willingness to receive forgiveness from God. But there’s more.

Sunday morning, I was in a wad  before church and  journaled out some confusion and frustrations in relationships. The Lord spoke that forgiveness was the key. So I wrote out the names of the strained relationships and asked the Lord to bring forgiveness to bear in the hearts involved. Then, what was the topic at church on Sunday morning?

Yes, a message on forgiveness. There were  new pieces revealed in this conversation with the Lord even as the pastor was speaking.

The pastor, Scott Hughes,  taught out of Luke 9 where Jesus said that if we are to follow him, we must take up our cross daily. I began to groan under the hint of “work it up” theology, but  Scott quickly commented how misunderstood this verse is. He broke down the meaning. The cross is a symbol of God’s love, the sacrifice of Jesus, the total forgiveness of our sin, but also the sin of every person in the world.  The cross means I’m forgiven, but so is the person I have conflict with.

So when we take up our cross daily, we take up, we carry around with us, the weight, the meaning, the reality, of God’s love and his total forgiveness. We carry the cross so we think rightly about our relationship with God and our total acceptance by Him. But we also carry the cross as a reminder that the others in our lives, even the ones we want to punch in the face, are also dearly loved and forgiven by God.

Then the Lord added His beautiful touch of revelation and the pieces starting connecting together like magnets pulling pins together.

He brought back a memory from another sermon from a few Easter’s ago. Greg Pinkner had fish tank on the stage and illustrated the story of the ax head being raised up out of the river. He said it was a picture of the resurrection of Christ. Greg had a blooming dogwood branch in his hand. As as he taught — about things begin buried, out of reach, and should not be able to be raised up, things like an ax head, like our sin, like  the crucified man named Jesus—he would push the dogwood branch down to the bottom of the water and hold it there.

But as he talked about the power of God, the power of His word, the heart of God to restore all things, Pinkner would release the branch and it would spring back to the surface of the water. The branch could not stay submerged. It had to come to the surface. He did this three or four times. By the third time, I wanted to stand up and yell HALLELUJAH!!! God has taken our sin and our separation and by His own Hand, He buried it in Jesus, once and for all. And then by His own mercy, He called Jesus back out of the grave and us with Him! Jesus could not stay in the grave!

So the cross isn’t just a sign of death. It is a sign of Life. New Life. Resurrected Life. When we pick up our cross daily we can take our offenses and hurts and “bury them” in the Cross of Jesus. He will bring new life where there was only death and separation before. And part of His new life, is an increased love for Him and for others because of this beautiful forgiven and resurrected life.

Oh the beauty of the Forgiving Father! The power of the Resurrected Christ! The promise of the Wonderful Counselor who leads us into increasing freedom with others, and from others.

Could we love others more if we forgave more? Could we love others more if we embraced how much we have been forgiven by God? May God grant us eyes to see and ears to hear all that He has in store for us through His love.

Seeing, and Speaking, Truth

Charis and I were watching a football game with Chuck and of course being bombarded with the ads as well. There were two ads that continued to repeat in the same order every couple of minutes. Then it hit me.

“Charis, watch this ad. What is the guy doing?” I asked. She proceeded to tell me how he  “thinks he is all cool, and doing all that rapping and talking about how good he is because of his shoes. And he got all those different colors. He doesn’t need so many pairs.”

“Do shoes make you cool?” I asked.

“No mom, but that’s all he’s talking about. ”

“Okay now watch this one.”  We sat in silence watching the ad, again, but this time focused on its message even though both ads had already washed over us at least four times before. Pay attention to what you are soaking in.

“Charis do you see the difference between these two men? One is about the outside appearance. He is saying,  what I wear makes me cool. It’s all about him, what he gets, what he wants. But this  second ad is about a man who is giving to others. It is about him being strong and brave because he is serving others. His value is on the inside pouring out.”

Oh, the difference between sports shoes and the Marines. But in a two-minute time capsule the great war was revealed. It’s not the argument surrounding materialism vs the military. Those are secondary opinions. It is the war of shallow self focus vs a surrendered life of sacrifice.  When we think we have to own, or wear, or look on the outside a certain way, to feel right on the inside, we have been deceived by our enemy. It’s that simple.

Our worth is who we are in God, to God, through God. It is the truth we possess on the inside that creates our strength, power, beauty, love. Indeed our worth.

You know this. You just unwrapped Christmas presents. Regardless of the wrapping, you judged the gift by what was IN the box. Not the paper and bows.

You are the dwelling place of the The Most High God. No pair of sneakers will substitute for, or add to, this great gift inside you. And honestly, nothing will satisfy our aching hearts like His presence. Are we seeing, and speaking, this truth to ourselves and the next generation?

Every time we turn our hearts toward heaven, every time we breathe a prayer of thanks, or ask in faith, we are strengthened to live inside out.  May it be so.

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25

A Great Light

I was adding ornaments to my tree this morning. I had to laugh. They look like miniature disco balls. But they also looked liked mosaics. Broken shards delicately placed together to form a whole new piece of art.  And when the little white Christmas lights hit them, “Voila!”

Sparkles. Colors. Reflections bouncing everywhere. Grabbing color from the tree and other nearby ornaments, it became so much more in the light.

You were made to reflect the light. Not be the center or source of light, but close enough to reflect and bounce and dare I say it, dance in the light.

No wonder then that Jesus is called the great light that has come into the world. No wonder the darkness can not overcome Him. No wonder we look and feel so much better when we are close to Him. He came so we could reflect Him. Brilliantly, beautifullly, eternally.

And just as an exclamation point to this thought, I came back to the tree a little later in the morning and the sun was shining on the tree…talk about glowing!

So shine baby, shine.

“Blessed is the people who know the joyful sound;
they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance.”  Psalm 89:15


Sweetly Broken – Abortion Healing

Sweetly Broken

Finally find freedom with yourself, God and others about your abortion.

Play One Woman's Story


I thought I was over it.”

I’ve never told anyone.”

I’m afraid God is punishing me.”

How can I make this right?”

How can I forgive….?”

We know how you feel. We have been there too. Through the fear, nightmares, denial, anger and regrets.

But we have passed through to a new place called peace, and true forgiveness. We are still sad about the fact of our past, but we are no longer held captive by it.

God has shown us there is beauty in our brokenness.

We invite you to a tender, honest and safe weekend to hear about how to walk forward in freedom.

What you can expect:

Time to process, time to worship, time to hear truth, time to be honest, time to sort out what’s next?

Teaching and materials by Jana Spicka. Assisted by Alexa Stephenson.
2 night’s lodging in a large spacious chalet.
Check in at 3pm. Check out at 11am.
Heated pool on site.
Four meals and snacks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday morning. (Friday night dinner is on your own before first session.)

This is an intimate gathering limited to 12 women. Click here to register now or become a donor.

$40 per Woman Attending Retreat

$100 Donor/Prayer Partner

We want every woman who needs to come, to be able to come but they need your help spiritually and financially. We want every women who comes to have a prayer warrior standing with her in spirit, and to help her bear the burden of the cost. Will you invest your prayers and your funds in another woman’s freedom?

Join us for this unique retreat held at Smoky Mountain Christian Village, a beautiful complex out of the traffic zone of Pigeon Forge, TN.

Letting God Reveal What’s Real

My daughter, Salem, was writing a letter to a friend and I was so struck personally by the story and the parallel to all our lives, I thought I would share it.

“I was reading The Edge Chronicles: Midnight over Sanctaphrax in school, and one of the characters so reminded me of you. She’s the ship’s stone pilot, and she always wears this hood so you can’t see anything of her face. Nobody knows who she really is or what she is capable of.  One day, she gets hurt, and the captain has to take off her hood and her coat to heal her. Under that hood and concealment, she’s actually really beautiful.

That reminded me of you because you hid what you were made to be and concealed what God had made you to be.

Underneath, there was someone so incredibly_________. Let Him fill in the blank.

The reason the character wore the hood was because she didn’t live up to what people wanted her to be, and she was ashamed of who she really was. She thought she wasn’t enough. She was wrong. Even though you don’t think you’ve pleased everyone and you think you’re not enough, you come in first place in His eyes. And He sees everything the way it is. He sees His most prized creation being unmasked to bring out the Him in you. He sees someone who’s gonna do great things. He sees someone who he’s gonna change and reveal new things to.

I think God loves His job. Getting to show you (and me) new things we could never have imagined. I’m glad that mask of shame got taken off.”

Thank You, Lord that You love Your job of revealing the Real You inside the Real us. Take off our hoods of shame and “not enough”. Fill in our blanks. We are all incredible in Your sight. Amen

He’s So Funny

Guess what I’ve been working on this morning? New songs for the new worship CD:  Real.Life.

And I wanted to share a funny God moment. I have iTunes playing randomly in the background, different songs, different artists. As I was refining the lyrics, I hear a familiar hiss telling me my songs are garbage. “Why bother?” he sneered.

I was writing on a song about trusting the Lord so I just kept plugging along despite the lie that was like an incessant dripping in my head. And lo and behold, guess what songs came on next?  The songs from my last CD!

“Oh yeah? He thought those would never work either!”  I heard my singing God say. I rejoiced in my spirit. Liar, liar devil on fire!!

Press in to the dreams and the goals of your heart. As Graham Cooke says, “You can’t have a desire that is not mirrored and matched by His desire. Because that where it started.”

Seek to be where He is first and foremost. He is our life.

Straight Stick Theology

DL Moody has this beautiful quote: The best way to prove if a stick is crooked is not to argue about it, but to lie a straight stick alongside it.

For example. You hear, “I am a worthless piece of sh–.”  “I am ugly.””I am alone, no one loves me.” They sound familiar and perhaps even convincing. And we waste time to debate and argue with ourselves or anyone else hearing any of these lies.

But if you take a bent stick and lay it next to a straight stick, you can clearly see which is which.  In the spiritual, try laying any lie next to the truth.

“I am a worthless piece of sh–, in Jesus’ name.”
“I am ugly, in Jesus’ name.”
“I am alone, no one loves me, in Jesus name.”

It just doesn’t work. You can’t do it. They don’t fit, can’t fit, will never lay side by side as straight sticks. In Jesus’ name, you can’t be worthless, because He died for you just to prove your worth. In Jesus’ name, you can’t be ugly because He has called you “all beautiful My
darling. ” And He never lies. In Jesus’ name, you can’t say you are alone and unloved because Jesus is the One Who promised to never leave you or forsake you.

Try this at home. Test your thoughts. Examine your heart. Let the peace of Christ rule in your head, heart and home. (Colossians 3:15) There is power in His name. He is the branch that all life is measured by.

Lord, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Ps 19:14)

Tired of Being a Duck Yet?

When you choose to live on the “How am I doing?” spectrum you live somewhere between the Trophy Woman and the Invisible Woman. But you are still living out of a lie. The whole spectrum is a lie, from one end to the other.

So it doesn’t matter at what point you fall, it’s still a point on spectrum based on a lie.

God has a better way. It’s called freedom. It’s not that you are not aware of yourself. But you are aware of the Truth about you. Position rather than condition. There is a way to live and move with Jesus so that you are more concerned and focused on His opinion than anyone else’s.

And do you know what His opinion of you is?

I didn’t think so.

That is why we are always on the hunt. We don’t know, or believe, what the God of the universe has to say about us. We don’t know who we are, because we don’t know whose we are.

There is a childhood story about an ugly duckling. The plight of this duckling is that it did not look like the other ducks and so she was shamed and discarded and abused by the other ducklings in her flock. She tried very hard to be like the other ducks. But alas, she suffered terrible heartache because she was so ugly, or unlike, the others.

I think God would have us look more closely at the story as we look at His love. The problem of the story is not that the duckling was ugly.

The problem is that the duckling wasn’t a duckling at all.

It was something altogether MORE. So are you.

 The duckling failed to know, or believe the truth, because her only point of reference was the other ducks. She kept trying live up to their definitions. But she simply could not cut it as a duck.

There was a cure.

When the duckling saw what she really was, the truth of her definition, she no longer tried to be a duck. She could care less about the ducks. The glorious swan got a glimpse of what she really was, and what she was really becoming.

To be born in a duck’s nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg.

We don’t need to worry about being “ugly” ducklings. We are not ducklings at all.

Christ in you the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

It doesn’t say the hope of being like everyone else. It doesn’t even say being puffed up about your glory. It declares, proclaims, announces:


In you.

The Hope.

 Of Glory.

The Lord started telling me I wasn’t a duck. And over time I believed Him.

What is God telling you? Are you tired of trying to be a duck yet?

Excerpt taken from Unhindered, Chapter 42

Let’s Get Real Here:

What is God telling you? Are you tired of trying to be a duck yet? What are the implications of being a swan? What would it take for you to believe God’s truth about you?