LSOF: No Longer Bound

There are times when the Lord will have us face something in order to have it become a message that can be used to bring freedom for others, and really that could be said for each biblical character, this message hits close to my heart personally, and now I wanted to share.


A stronghold is…

  • Developed from lies we tell ourselves, or have been spoken to us.
  • Those things that hinder our ability to see reality.
  • Something that keeps us from seeing people as we should.
  • Something that keeps others from seeing us as they should, because we only show them what we want them to see….
  • Will often keep us from moving forward in the plans God has for us, also referred to as a “hurt or hang-up.”


I want to bring us back to the time that Peter was thrown into prison by King Herod which we can read out of

Acts 12:6-11.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”


It was the night before he would be on trial.

He was bound by two chains and between two guards, and there were more guards outside his prison cell. He had no means of escape.

We find Peter even in those chains…sleeping.

It is interesting to me how even though Peter was bound in chains, and there were guards surrounding him that could easily harm him, that he was able to REST.


We all are or have been bound by something in our life at some point, but how often have we just learned to “live” with them then allow ourselves to be set free from them?

How many of us find ourselves “resting” and finding “comfort” in those things that bind us?

Most times then not, we make ourselves accept the chains then figure out means of escape.


In Peters case though, in this literal sense, I believe the Lord allowed him to rest because he had gone through quite an ordeal. The difference was though his rest was in the Lord alone and not because he was up all night trying to figure out how to overcome it all.

“Be STILL and KNOW I am GOD,” (Psalm 46:10)

“ The Lord HIMSELF will fight for you, You need ONLY TO BE STILL.” (Exodus 14:14)

“He who watches over you WILL NOT slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—- The Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun WILL NOT harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121: 3-8)



In the middle of the night an Angel of the Lord came into the prison and struck Peter and his chains fell to the ground.


Before the angel of the Lord came into the prison let’s focus on the fact that Peter was in chains, He was bound to being between both those soldiers, and then when the Angel of the Lord came in he was struck and his chains fell to the ground. He was set free from his bondage right then and there.


This particular part of the story reminded me of Jacob wrestling with God and how when he was struck that he was then called a different name. He was no longer bound to the name he went by as “heel-grabber, or deceiver” after that moment. This story coorelates as to the fact that Jacob might not have had literal chains like Peter, but was bound by his old life until the Lord came in and struck him and made him walk “differently.”

24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” (Genesis 32:24-30)



The angel of the Lord then gives specific instructions on how for Peter to dress in order to get out of the prison safely. He first tells him to “put on his clothes and sandals, and wrap a cloak around and follow me.”


I think of what would have happened if he did not do as instructed. He could have put on his sandals and the cloak around himself, but he would be noticed fully that he was an escape prisoner.

Something we need to be on guard with is when it comes to the enemy, his plans are to harm us, to deceive us and torment us. I cannot imagine that Peter would have lived through the ordeal if he was noticed as an escape prisoner.


What is interesting in this scene the most is how Peter’s chains had fallen to the ground and he thought it was all a “dream.” In a sense, he did not really believe that his chains had come off him, he did not really believe he had been freed from bondage.


We can all relate to this part. One of the struggles in knowing our idenitity in Christ is knowing He has set us free. FROM ALL THINGS.


There was a series of events that happened in my past that seemed to repeat itself through each relationship in my life over time. It was a story that fueled the fear of rejection and other fears would stay at the surface too. Not too far back, I was having a conversation with someone and I shared about this situation that had happened, and fully expected that it would be taken out of context like many times in my past.

However, this time that was not the case. This time because it was a conversation with someone that has had a chance to know me, because of what the Lord revealed to them…and for the first time, I can fully say, it broke the chains off of me.

It was as if the Lord was saying, “ You are not who they said you were.”

And ever since that conversation it has been hard to have a good footing…I will often sit and think of it and just cry and say aloud, “ I am really free of that.”


In the movie, “ Shawshank Redemption,” one of my favorite parts of the movie, which is kinda gruesome but stuck out so much to me was when the old man was set free from prison but did not know how to live life after that, and he ended up hanging himself.


I think that can be us too, I think have to learn a new way to “walk” just like Jacob did when he was struck by the angel of the Lord.


Peter was led out of the prison and once he and the angel were cleared by the length of the street the angel of the Lord left him to walk on his own, and it was then standing in the street Peter realized he was no longer in prison.

He says to himself, “ Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people hoped would happen.”


Peter started out being bound by chains in prison, with no means of escape. He probably thought that was how his life would end. He probably thought that God would leave him there because he was called to die at that time.


We have to get out of the mindset that we are bound to the lives we have. We have got to get of the mindset that “ God must have this planned for me.”

And when He sets us freewe need to walk in it!


“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)












LSOF: Rise and Shine

Sometimes I wake before the sunrise, and I’ll drive 35 minutes to the beach just to watch the light first pierce the surface of the horizon. I love to stand there and witness a new day, fresh with new mercies. It is interesting that the sun has a “specific,” time to rise, and its as if the Lord makes it known how rest is important because the length of the night. Everything has its timing, and a purpose tied to a promise.

In Genesis 15, Abraham had a conversation one night with the Lord, He said to Abraham, “Look up to the heavens and count the stars—If indeed you can count them, so shall your offspring be.” This was a promise that the Lord made to Abraham. Further in Genesis 22, we can read that the Lord tests Abraham’s obedience by having him sacrifice his son Isaac. The Lord stops him and says these words, “ I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the sea shore…”

It is so interesting to me how God speaks first in Genesis 15 to establish the covenant promise but to not actually confirm it until He saw the obedience of Abraham, “ Because you have done THIS.”

God will not give us what He is not ready to reveal.

I remember attending a conference a few years ago and there was this one speaker that was a football coach and he shared a story about a player that had tried out over and over, but in the end never got to play. The player tried the first year and did not make it, tried the second year and did not make it but did much better than the first time, but instead of preparing again for the next time he became discouraged and gave up. The coach contacted him to try out the next year because he had seen the determination and wanted to personally offer him a chance to try out and he lost the chance because he had lost not only the determination to play the game, but he lost the will. He saw not making the team as losing instead of an opportunity to continue to prepare until there came a time he was ready to play and make the team.

I love Ecclesiastes 3:11, because it simply states, “ He makes everything beautiful in its time.”

I think we often can look at the Lord as if He somehow wants to jip us out of the desires of our hearts, but Jeremiah 29:11 states, “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

I found something interesting while studying out the word, “ready,” and its interesting because in Hebrew text according to Strong’s H3559, it also means, “ to prepare,” and what is further interesting is when I looked at one of the scriptures 1 Chronicles 28:2 it states, “ And rose to his feet.” So the same word for ready and prepare also could be suggested could mean to “rise.” Looking further in that scripture it also states, “ I had it on my heart to build a house for a place of rest.” So in essence it might just be refering to the building as “prepare,” but even in building something is developing and rising is about something starting from one level and continuing onto the next level. So maybe we can suggest that prepare is to “rise up,” and to be ready is to “walk it out,” or “let it shine.”

I am in a place of preparation, but there are also areas I am aware the Lord has revealed I am ready to walk in. I think it is in preparation that most of the revelation happens to us.

When we try a shoe on at the store we often believe right then and there that they are “perfect,” for us, but then after buying them and wearing them the first day, most of the time we develop blisters because we have to, “ break them in.”

It is the same as when we step into areas we are now allowed to walk in. We realize the shoes are very uncomfortable. We realize that what we have always seen the position to look like from a far is a lot more than we may have thought.

And just like “breaking in,” shoes by dealing with blisters, we realize there are going to be times when situations happen when holding our position and standing for truth can break our heart. But we continue to walk anyway, because the journey is about growing into who we are called in every sense.

Being confident in this, He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

We must allow ourselves to continue to grow, continue to develop, and continue to be teachable. If we stop in the middle it will be much harder to get going again. And we must believe in God’s plan, and have confidence in it. He does not hide things from us, He just reveals them when they are ready.

Here at night: a poem

Here at night…

Here at night as the bittersweetness of the day fades from memory…
I soak in music that speaks of your love and belief of your power…
Here at night as the season of paradise won and paradise lost, sowing and reaping, giving and taking finally lets my soul rest…
I lay back on my pillow and through the crevice of a wicker headboard I see the moon…
Here at night as I look above, I’m reminded that you love me through the deepest crevices of my heart…
Here at night as I let the moonlight cover the room…The world socializes about mindless chatter, heartache and hunger grows all the more, and hopes are torn away…
Here I am, Here at night comforted that I matter to you…
Here at night though the world may fear, and people don’t know where to turn…
You are the light guiding sight,
Through all the day, and even….                   Here at night.

LSOF: Healed, Restored, Renewed…

There are many old houses in the area that I live in, and some date all the way back to 1900’s, when there were still dirt roads, Western Union telegraphs, and horse and buggies. The house across from me was built in 1924, and sometimes when I look over at it in the morning before work I cannot help but wonder about its history. Recently, this house was sold again, painted on the outside and restored on the inside.

My friend and I were talking the other day and this verse of scripture was really on my heart,
“ They will rebuild the ancient ruins, and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” (Isaiah 61:4)

“They will REBUILD the ancient ruins…”

A house possibly so old could very well have damage to the roof, or the siding, or the foundation itself could begin to crumble.

We all have places that have been damaged, and many of us could admit our foundations have had places of crumbling.

I remember a verse that God gave me in regards to healing one evening, and it was so profound to me because of how He revealed to me the process,
“ He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

The Lord showed me that healing is a two step process.
1. He makes whatever we are dealing with bearable to continue on
2. He slowly starts to take care of the damaged parts of us.

“They will RESTORE the places long devastated…”
I watch the construction on the house for weeks, and each day I came home from work I would see something look back to what it may have back in the day.
Perhaps the stairs are being nailed back into their grooves, or perhaps there were windows that were broken or doors off hinges due to moisture.  Slowly each week it was more restored.
We all have parts of us that need to be restored. We all have parts of us where maybe it was a relationship, an identity, or some sort of situation that once the healing began then slowly we saw evidence of it being restored.

“They will RENEW the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations…”
I came home the other day from work and the house across the street had a completely different paint. It honestly took some getting used to, because I was used to seeing this white and blue house that now had tan and dark brown colors.
The family that had moved there wanted a different color scheme, they wanted a porch built on the side of the house, and they wanted the plant hangers on the outside of the windows removed.
It looked like a completely different home.  I knew from seeing it every day the changes that were made.

Personal Affirmation
Just like that house, there were parts of you and I that have to heal, be restored, but also be renewed.
I can tell you that just like the new paint on that home across the street I did not really recognize myself in the mirror for awhile. The more I wondered if things would go back to what they, “were,” or what was, “ comfortable,” for me, the more they did not.
We cannot be the same people, doing things the same way, and expect a new result….it just cannot happen.

Our culture places such emphasis on getting back to the OLD you, but if we did that what stops us from falling into the same habits…we have to change…in every area that is unhealthy.
If I were the same person, my mind would still attack me so much so that I would literally concentrate on everyone around me and wonder what they thought of me….or I would think what they “would soon,” think of me.
If I were the same person, I would not believe God could make me truly free of what I had been through.
If I were the same person, I would spend every day convincing myself that I was not good enough to be used for God and comparing myself to others.
I do not have the same attitude or perspective in my life in many areas.

To be renewed means you trust that God knows better.
Trust Him when He tells you that there is something inside you that He needs to deal with… and you let Him….Trust Him with relationships. Trust Him with your workplace, with your family, and with your health.
To be renewed means to trust that the paint God will use will look better than it did before– The artist completes His work with certainty.
My Pastor said to me the other day, “ Your eyes look good,” and of course I did not pay attention and said, “ Oh thank you, but its just this new mascara I am using.”
And He shook his head, “ No that is not what I mean. The eyes are a window to the soul, and I can see your soul is doing well.” Sometimes we do not always recognize that God has changed us or, “renewed,” us, and sometimes He has to find ways to show us.
If we truly believe the Lord can heal us, and then believe He can restore us, and then believe He will renew us…we will have a completely different life then we have ever known…

LSOF: Places of Desperation

I was sitting down with a friend a month or so ago, and I was sharing with her things God was doing and that I was learning. Her response surprised me…, “ Why do you sound so impatient?.”….

I looked at her with such a confused expression, I was telling her the good…I was telling her what God was working in me, and doing in my life…I was telling her all He was showing me…and then I took a moment to think about it…

Even though I had seen Him do many great things in me, and around me…even though I knew how good He has made so many areas….even though I had learned so much….
I was not content.

Since that conversation I really have been praying and seeking the Lord on this, and what I have realized that it was not impatience that my friend saw that day, she saw there was still some places in me that spoke louder for God to work in and move in…then the things He had.

I had places of desperation swelling up inside me, and clearly showing on my face…

It is truly a never-ending battle to be content in the places God has already placed His signature as, “completed,” whether it be healing of an illness, a relationship, and other things…but Paul was not exactly, “ A spring chicken,” when He wrote out,   ” I have learned to be content in all things…”

I had a Word spoken over me recently. I believe there are people out there with a gift to give the words straight from the heart of the Lord, and this was said, “ You have been waiting for me to do great things, You have seen me do many great things…Greater things are yet to come.”

The person had no idea of my story, and what the last year has been like.

What is so interesting in what was spoken was how well God knew my heart, because He started with, “ You have been waiting for me to do great things…” but then adding, “ You have seen me do many great things…”

He was telling me, “ Let what I have done speak louder than what is still, “ Under construction.”

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Pastor spoke last night about our, “ Divine Design,” and how God moves us into the places we are called….We all have a starting point. We all have a place of, “ rite of passage,” and we all have a place where we will move into the life we have called to walk in…

But it is always God starting with the pen. It is not us, and it is not up to us.

The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)

He orders our steps. He knows exactly where are are meant to be…He orders exactly what we are to say, and when we are to say it…

If we were really to think about it, “ The places of desperation, “ are really those places we do not yet trust God in or place our faith in that He can overcome.

I was writing something the other day to someone, and said so many things about how awesome God has brought more clarity in, “ this,” area and “that,” area…
But then when I spoke about the areas I still knew I needed Him to work in…I felt the anxiety rise up….I had fear in these areas…not one iota of peace…not one iota of faith…

I have seen Him do some amazing things…and yet in these areas I struggle…

When I thought of this I had the image of Peter when Jesus was being captured the night. Peter cutting off the man’s ear…after everything Jesus had taught him…” Turn the other cheek,” and that it was no longer, “ eye for an eye.”….

I believe I had this image, because God is telling me, “ You cannot fight this…Only I have the power to take this on, as I have also done in the other things.”

Jesus took on the cross to break the power of sin that rules over us. To break the chains from the enemy forever.

There is nothing inside us that says, “ I can take care of this if I just talk it out more, if I just blog about it more, if I just run around the block more…etc.”

The only good in us is Jesus, and it is not us in anyway that “upholds” ourselves in our lives, it is not us that can “ order” exactly where we want to step next, what the plan is for us next looks like…It is the Lord…Only the Lord.

It is His battle. He breathed us into this life, and He knows how to overcome it. 

“ Lord Jesus, I come to you to ask you to help us all to see that you are constantly working in us, and that we are being renewed day by day to not the standards we set for ourselves, but by the standards set by grace. Help us to know that you can overcome all things, Help us to be reminded daily on this, and help us to be content in you, and all you’ve done. In Jesus name, Amen.”

LSOF: Stirring

LSOF: Stirring…

I believe that there are those times when its possible to feel something so deep within, but there are not words to convey it.

The days can pass by, we go about our everyday routine…yet the stirring continues.
It may be possible to suggest that in those moments when the stirring within us just stirs and stirs, that perhaps it is the Spirit communicating with our soul.

There are secrets that belong only to the Lord, and there are secrets that He will share with us…in His timing.

Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

It can be easy to lose patience, and rush the process, but if we are still as we wait, sometimes understanding and clarity speaks in a still small voice.

The goal lately has been to put aside distractions, and Seek Him. Seek who I am, in Him. To allow the Lord to share what needs to be done, and the perspective that should be in place.

Psalm 27:8
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

I have found that when I am in touch with my Creator, He who changes times and seasons, and changes me from the inside out…I show I can trust the process.

It is like standing in a field waiting for flowers to bloom, but in the wait the sun shines…clouds pass overhead….birds sing…animals run about…and the wind flows gently through my hair….

I appreciate the now, and I wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

LSOF: Full Circle

It’s hard to not know the full outcome of something. It is the plain truth. No matter who tells you that you will just find peace in the unknowing…you would not be human if you did not wonder.

But in the waiting the question asked would be…would you keep your faith? Would you trust that God has it all planned out, and has the concrete poured on the foundation before you ever step upon it? Would you believe the promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 :

The Lord himself will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will never leave you. He’ll never desert you. So don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope.” 

This is has been so much my story for the past few years. I have had many times where I would give up, and then start over again. When the race got too hard I would just stop running and walk away. But that is not the way we can take on life, that is not the way we will ever accomplish anything worth it.

I have lost out on too many possible accomplishments, relationships and my own contentment, because I would not just trust God. I would believe in some areas, but mostly the areas I saw Him move and change before. We have to trust in the unfamiliar too.

I really liked this message given by a guest speaker at church today. He spoke on the story of Mary and Martha and how Martha began as this pretty much type A, always in control, always the workaholic…to someone who had deep reverence for the Lord and what she could believe in her heart to trust Him to do, and without her help….and of course we know that He raised Lazarus from the dead.

I liked this story, because it was the realization that Martha was changed. I have learned this past year all about how God is within everything, and that His ultimate plan is to bring us full circle, or the best way I could say it in Romans 8:28:  We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. He appointed them to be saved in keeping with his purpose. 

Something more interesting that I did not see until recently, that in order for Him to bring it all completely full circle that we have to let go of the familiar completely, or it is not really bringing all full circle, but semi-circle, because what we choose to hold on to will make the difference in who we will become.

Job came full circle, He started out very righteous, and very trusting of God, and then the Lord allowed him to go through so much trial and testing, worse then any of us could imagine….and there were plenty of times in his story that he just grumbled and asked God, “ why?” …At the end of the story we learn that Job recognized God after it all…He saw Him face to face.

So many stories in the Bible I have seen talk about this…most times people see God face to face are the times they are admist of the most trials…I can testify to that myself.

My ears had heard about you. But now my own eyes have seen you. (Job 42:5) The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than the first part. He gave Job 14,000 sheep and 6,000 camels. He gave him 1,000 pairs of oxen and 1,000 donkeys.   

Job also had seven sons and three daughters.  He named the first daughter Jemimah. He named the second Keziah. And he named the third Keren-Happuch. 

Job’s daughters were more beautiful than any other women in the whole land. Their father gave them a share of property along with their brothers.

After all of that happened, Job lived for 140 years. He saw his children, his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. And so he died. He had lived for a very long time.  (Job 42:12-16)

We can look at our story the way we learn in English class. You have the beginning, the middle and the end….And if you were to put it all in where it belongs…the story would make sense. But without the ending of the story….it would seem like all the character goes through is in vain.

And in most stories, before it ends…there is always one last trial for the character to go through.

I like how Lisa Bevere put it: “ Stay the course….you can get off it early, but if you do, when you get back on it there will be a retest, and it will be much more difficult…so stay the course.”

I encourage you through my own experience to just stay the course. Just keep trusting God. Stay in fellowship with Him. Know that He has it all planned out…for GOOD.

Take in everything He teaches you and let Him examine your heart and clean up the broken places and restore them from the ashes.

And lastly, know it is not by anything we do that we can come full circle. Only God in all of it, only His Spirit alone can work the things in our lives and put back in order.

If we try to help Him, we will may find ourselves taking a different course.

The journey will not be easy, but I promise you, it will be worth it.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. …

(James 1:1, The Message) 

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.       (James 1:12, The Message)