Category: Guest Posts

Grace Your Tongue: Do You Have Mouth Disease?

Argument-tongue
The Bible says death and life are in the power of the tongue. Which will you choose? (Kurt Bauschardt via Flickr)

If so, ask the Holy Spirit to heal it.

Note: This is an excerpt, used with permission, from my friend Carol McLeod’s book: Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue. Carol is a wonderful writer. Enjoy!

By Carol McLeod

During this month of April, I hope that you have enjoyed reading some of the principles from my new book, Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue, as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you!

I pray that as you read this final excerpt from my book that you will examine your speech habits and decide to begin again today!  Decide that you will change the words that come out of your mouth from frustrating to forgiving … from impatient to gracious … and from accusatory to encouraging!

Now listen to me … none of us is immune from mouth disease so this week’s blog is going to hold great challenge for you!  But I believe in you … You can do it!

It is time for you to stick out your tongue and say, “Ahh!”

Have you done that dreaded but extremely vital self-examination lately? Now—look in the mirror as you do it.

Do You Have It?

Do you have “mouth disease”? Are you infected with an “oral bacteria” of the very worst kind? Have the germs of the culture attached themselves to your vocal chords? Is your tongue rife with verbal viruses?

What is it with women and their words? What is it with anyone and their words?

We are definitely defined by the stuff that proceeds out of our voice boxes.

The organ that lies between our pearly whites has the capacity to control our very lives.

It is as if we are compelled by a force of nature to continually talk, and we often refuse to stop talking until we have the very last word in every conversation and in every argument.

The vile eruptions that come tumbling unbridled out of that lovely orifice called the mouth are often what color our relationships and the atmosphere of our homes.

Our words have the propensity to direct us, to define us—and to drive us.

It is as if we are compelled by a force of nature to continually talk, and we often refuse to stop talking until we have the very last word in every conversation and in every argument.

The anchor verse that will change the way we talk is found in Proverbs, the book of wisdom that is changing our thought processes, giving boundaries to our emotions, and now will impact the way we speak.

Perhaps you have previously read it and wondered what application it had for your life:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Prov. 18:21).

The stark reality is that, someday—in the not-too-distant future—you are going to be forced to eat the fruit of what you have chosen to say.

When dealing with the tongue, your options are twofold: you can speak life or you can speak death. There is no middle ground between those two choices.

There is no gray area when it comes to the words that you speak.

That’s it. Just life or death. Which will you choose?

When you understand that you have the power to speak life or death every moment of your existence, it will underscore the fact that controlling your own tongue will be one of the most vital endeavors of your life.

First, you must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ; next, you must guard your heart faithfully; finally, you must put a bridle on your tongue.

If you don’t first think something or feel something, then, in all probability, you will never say it.

Any idea or opinion begins in the mind, travels to the heart, and finally comes out of the mouth.

Perhaps there is no other life matter that we should take more seriously than the matter of the tongue.

The ability to discipline your tongue is more important than the number on your bathroom scale, more essential than your education, and more profitable to you than climbing the corporate ladder.

Consistent discipline in the attempt to manage your mouth will create more beauty than will a home that is attractively decorated and provide more true wealth than will a full retirement fund.

According to the always-applicable truth of the Bible, your tongue has the power to control the type of life that you will enjoy in all of your tomorrows.

Will your life be a fruitful one?

If you can maintain godly government over your tongue, your life will be one of joy and peace; you will cultivate a home atmosphere that is warm and inviting, and you will maintain friendships that flourish.

Conversely, if you refuse to regulate the discharge that comes out of the cavity that lies beneath your nose, your life will be dry and brittle. Nothing beautiful will grow in your life, and you will be known for “halitosis” of the very worst kind!

When Craig and I had our first child, Matthew, every time the pacifier came out of his mouth, we threw it away and plucked a new one out of the sterilized packaging. No dirt was going to touch the lips of our precious, darling boy!

When we had Christopher, just two years later, we could no longer afford the volume of new pacifiers that our previous behavior required, so we placed his discarded pacifiers into boiling water on the stove. Every evening, whether a pacifier had been thrown to the ground or not, it received the boiling treatment under my watchful eyes.

Then, when we had our third son, Jordan, I would merely run his dirty pacifiers under running water at the kitchen sink. I wasn’t picky about the temperature of the water; hot or cold water would do. I justified that it was clean enough after a dousing of fresh water from my kitchen spigot.

When our fourth child, Joy, would throw a beloved pacifier out of her mouth, I would simply put it in my own mouth to clean it off. Just a quick lick, and it was as good as new to go back into her little rosebud mouth.

And finally, with baby number five, Joni Rebecca, I didn’t even bother to replace, to boil, to rinse, or to lick. I would just pick the pacifier up off the ground and put it efficiently back into her mouth.

We can laugh at the way we have parented over the years and how diligently or how casually we have protected our children from germs, but the truth is that none of us would knowingly expose our children to a fatal disease.

There is not a compassionate or concerned person who would willingly bring bacteria or viruses into breathing distance of their loved ones.

Yet, if it is true that our tongues hold the capacity to pour serious and life-altering matter on those whom we love, it is vital that we examine the words that we speak and the tone of voice they are spoken in.

The Holy Spirit is speaking to you, and He is reminding you that words have power for good and power for evil.

Words can bring life, and words can destroy. Words can revive, and words can kill.

You choose … which will it be in your life?

Carol McLeod is a best-selling author and popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. She also hosts highly successful Just Joy! outreaches. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Visit her website at justjoyministries.com.

Declaring and Decreeing Through Prayer

Minister-Kathy-Degraw
(Kathy DeGraw Facebook Page)

Declaring isn’t a “name it, claim it” game. You take a biblical fact, a word of knowledge, or a revelation that the Father has given you, and activate your faith.

Note: This is an excerpt taken, with permission, from my friend Kathy DeGraw’s book, Speak Out, published by Creation House.

By Kathy DeGraw

Declaring and decreeing is putting out and calling forth what you received through prayer. It distributes out through the power of your words what you received in prayer. Declaring is activating your faith and creating movement in the natural based on the revelation you received. I like to say that prayer is where we take in from the Father and declaring is where we put out what we received. It is taking everything you received from the Father in the secret place and releasing it to establish the kingdom and break down strongholds.

Declaring charges the atmosphere around you. When you start to declare things that you know in the natural and keep declaring them, the Holy Spirit will arise within you and start giving you further revelation about what else to declare. When you receive discernment and co-labor with the Holy Spirit your prayer time ignites, and you become excited to pray!

One morning as I was meditating I heard the following in my spirit: “Give me favor, unexpected blessings, and help me reach people far and wide.” I repeatedly kept hearing these words in my spirit and then started speaking them out in prayer. Repeatedly, for fifteen to twenty minutes, I kept speaking out in a normal tone, “God, give me favor, unexpected blessings, and help me reach people far and wide.” I prayed and spoke out the words the Spirit told me to pray. When we spend time with Him, He will lead and guide us in prayer. I prayed those words until I felt the Spirit of the Lord release me to pray in a different direction.  I experienced 15 manifestations of that prayer declaration in just one day!

Declaring isn’t a “name it, claim it” game. You take a biblical fact, a word of knowledge, or a revelation that the Father has given you, and activate your faith. Put authoritative words with it to call the spirit realm into action! We don’t go around loosely naming and claiming. When in alignment with God’s will, anything can manifest in our lives.

Declaring is not for everything we want. If it were, everyone would have everything and would go around declaring all the time.

There is power in the out-spoken word when we ask according to God’s will. He knows what His will is for our lives and what He desires to impart. We need to make sure when we are asking that what we are seeking from Him is to accomplish His will. Therefore, when you ask, make sure you are not asking amiss (James 4:3).

Declaring is not for everything we want. If it were, everyone would have everything and would go around declaring all the time. The Scriptures give us the guideline for declaring by saying, “In accordance to His will.” He will reveal His will to you and guide you in declaring by His Spirit.

Declaring is to speak out and reveal something in the spiritual to cause it to happen in the natural. It is to proclaim out and speak out with words in order to get a response. Declaring can include releasing some positive thoughts out of your mouth at the beginning of the day. It can include:

  • I declare I am going to be happy, joyful, and full of God’s love today, demonstrating God’s love to all I encounter.
  • I declare forth unity, love, and restoration in my marriage.
  • I declare my body is going to be full of strength to accomplish God’s work.
  • I declare I am going to have favor in the sight of the Lord and with man
  • I call forth a good Christian job to come my way where I will have influence and favor in the marketplace.
  • I call forth the full release of my prophetic destiny.
  • I call forth doors to open on my behalf where I can share my talents, giftings, and love of the Lord.

Our Father God declared over Jesus, His Son. When we look at the story of Jesus being baptized in water and prophetically declared over we see that a series of events took place. The Father spoke a prophetic declaration over His Son:

And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  —Mark 1:10-11

God declared out loud! It was a declaration from our Father over His Son. As powerful as it was, immediately the devil came in and activated on the out-spoken word and prophetic proclamation by the Father.

Prophetic declarations will bring forth both results and warfare, but there is a positive aspect in knowing how to declare. When you know how to declare you can decree against the warfare that will attempt to attack your situation.

Kathy DeGraw is a prophetic healing and deliverance minister and the founder of DeGraw Ministries.  She is passionate about releasing the love and power of God to empower and activate people.  She is the author of several books including; Speak Out, Warfare Declarations, Who is Speaking? and Powerful Prophetic Proclamations.  You can connect with Kathy on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/kathydegraw/ or visit http://www.degrawministries.org.

Lord, Why Am I Here?

 

Kyle-Winkler

God doesn’t want you stuck and miserable.

Note: This post is a video from my friend, Kyle Winkler. If you’ve ever felt like you’re going nowhere, or simply stuck in a rut, Kyle tells you how God can deliver you.

Being stuck where you’d rather not be is a real attitude and faith tester. But here’s a lesson that just might help you see a silver lining in any waiting season.

KYLE WINKLER is impassioned to see people radically transformed by the presence and power of God to live in the victory of Jesus—every day. Kyle Winkler Ministries is a Christian ministry that provides teaching and resources that equip people to live in victory. Explore our website to learn more about the ministry and find helpful tools to strengthen your faith journey and share it with others. For more of his teachings, visit kylewinkler.org.

The Day That I Failed to Pray

Im-sorry
There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. (Getty Images)

God is bigger than my reaction.

NOTE: This is a guest post from my friend, John Garay. What a story, and what transparency. It’s something God wants from us.

By John Eli Garay

It all happened rather quickly. In a matter of a few months, we went from receiving the news of cancer, to gathering as a family to say goodbye.

The trajectory of events was a bizarre one for me. To start, I was in complete denial of the gravity of the matter from the get-go. I reasoned that he was a strong man that would beat this monster in no time.

I knew many people who had fought the same battle, and with the help of chemotherapy, they fought and killed off the alien-life-form in no time. If they could do it, so could he. This was a no brainer for me. Nevertheless, the announcement of this was still like a slap across my face, and “boy did it hurt.”….. So, I did what I knew to do best when faced with pain. I kept my distance. Yes, I know that it was a selfish of me, but at the time, I had the coping skills of a pet rock. Basically, they did not yet exist.

I remember getting the call from my mother telling me that I should probably go see him and pray for him. I had been ordained into the ministry just a few years earlier. For that point on, I was my father’s pride and joy. Perhaps I failed to live up to his expectations of taking over the family farm, but this was equally worthy of his praise. He was so proud that one of his kids was serving the Lord in ministry, and he told everyone about it. Hearing my mother’s request, I reluctantly took in deep breath of air, mustered up some energy, and drove to the hospital.

As I walked up to the room, I heard the sound of someone moaning from pain. Stepping into the room, I saw his sister-in-law walking around the room, and praying. “Be with him Jesus. There’s power in the blood. Hold him Lord,” she prayed with fervency. Despite being an ordained minister, I was scared to look at him. However, not even my deepest fears prepared me for what I would see. The strong man, that I grew up admiring as one of my personal heroes, lay confined to his bed and shriveled up in pain. My nephew lay there too, holding him, and trying to comfort him. But there’s no consoling anyone who is in that amount of pain and discomfort.

I don’t think he was ever aware of my presence. His condition was so far advanced that I’m not sure he even knew what was taking place. It was too much for me to take in all at once. I wanted to run far away, but I was frozen in horror and heartache. I wanted to rescue him from his suffering, but I knew better. I knew that I was powerless against this battle. As I stood there assessing what my eyes were seeing, his sister-in-law asked me if I would like to pray for him.

I don’t remember much after that. All I knew is that I placed my hand on his and nervously said a two-sentence prayer that didn’t have much significance. That very moment my sadness skyrocketed above any ounce of faith that I had in me. As soon as I was done praying, I excused myself, I ran home, packed my car, and drove 2 hours to the nearest campground that I knew of. I spent the night alone in my tent crying. I had failed my brother, I had failed my family, I had failed God. At a time that they needed me, I ran.

That night my brother’s suffering ended. However, my shame remained for years after.

My story from shame towards grace is one that I share quite often on this blog, and I encourage you to take some time to browse through this website to read about it. However, I’d like to use the next few moments to share with you 3 things that I have learned since that moment.

  1. It’s OK to freak out. The tradition that I was brought up in taught me that it was improper for a man to show any sign of weakness. When I saw my brother’s condition, I was unable to emotionally handle what I saw. I initially interpreted this as complete failure. Since then I’ve learned that my inability to handle a situation is the perfect place for God to demonstrate his grace and power. The moment that I feel like running away is an opportune time to run to the arms of God.
  2. God is bigger than my reaction. I’ve learned that God is not fazed by my over-dramatic response to pain, heartache, and stress. In fact, he meets me where I am and ushers in hope, healing, and encouragement. When I feel like I can’t go on, He carries me. When I feel small and powerless, he always manages to lift me up to safety.
  3. No prayer is ever wasted. I am amazed at how Jesus never instructed his followers to pray perfect prayers. Instead he encouraged them to have mustard-seed-faith. As time has passed, I’ve discovered that some of my most powerful prayers have been prayed when I had no idea how to start praying. I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit helps me weak moments when I don’t even know how to start praying.  In fact, the Holy Spirit prays for mein groanings that can’t be expressed through words. In other words, regardless of how inarticulate my prayer may sound … it is always heard … and God always answers.

Surprisingly enough, since losing my brother, I have had the privilege of being with many people while they are transitioning to eternal life. God, in His grace, has redeemed the fear I have and has blessed me with the ability to be present with others during a very significant part of their lives. I’m happy to report that I no longer feel the need to run. Instead, I feel the desire to be present. Present for God and present for others.

JOHN GARAY has spent over 15 years mentoring and coaching individuals in life skills, career transitions, and through organizational change. He has worked in behavioral health, pastoral care, and higher-education. He has found that he is most satisfied in life when he is helping people recognize their potential and assisting them to reach their goals. You can read his blog at john-eli.com.

Why You May Have a Broken Heart and Not be Aware of It

broken-heart
Your heart may be broken and you may not even know it. (Mio Miranda via Flickr)

This article will bless you and could help heal years of brokenness and misunderstanding.

NOTE: This is a guest post from my friend, author and evangelist Mark DeJesus. For the entire article, please visit markdejesus.com.

By Mark DeJesus

Too many don’t even realize or think they have a broken heart. People have been suppressing pain and emptiness for generations.  We revert to busy lives and focus on productivity, while we have no idea of how our hearts are doing.

Meanwhile, billions of people are ignoring the fact that they have a broken heart. What makes matters worse is that we are not talking about the life of the heart enough to recognize broken areas.

The Symptoms of a Broken Heart

Many people are experiencing symptoms of a broken heart:

  • Depression, unhealed discouragement, mood issues
  • Chronic anxiety, panic attacks
  • Numbing out, isolating, cynicism
  • Vulnerability to addictions
  • Constant busyness and performance based living
  • Confusion, double mindedness and scattered living
  • A burned out stress response, burnout

The list can go on and on.

In fact, medical health professionals give legitimacy to how carrying a broken heartcan actually impact your cardiovascular system, mental health and even muscle failure.

Quite often, people go to the emergency room, thinking they are having a heart attack. When in reality, they are experiencing anxiety, stemming back to a broken heart that has not been addressed and healed.

The life of the heart will affect you, no matter what you try to do to hide it. So it is critical that we stop shoving the issues of life down and allow the Father to really do some productive work in our hearts.

Moving Past Denial

Most people do not think they have a broken heart. They shrug their shoulders in denial and brush off any need to address life experiences. We can often say “the past is the past” more in a protective form of denial than a fruitful belief.

The past is the past when we have allowed ourselves to process it in a healthy manner.

Others don’t think heart healing is necessary. They can stack Scriptures or cliche statements to cover over any need to deal with their brokenness. Yet it still oozes out into their relationship field.

The problem is that we typically don’t deal with brokenness until the crap hits the fan and crisis appears. At this point, the crisis is often revealing years of neglect to issues of the broken heart.

Broken Heart Awareness

It’s only been in recent years that believers are beginning to understand the need to experience heart healing to the spiritual and emotional aspects of their life. More and more people are recognizing they have a broken heart and are allowing God to walk them through a productive healing journey.

Mark DeJesus has served as an experienced communicator since the 1990s. As a teacher, author, transformational consultant and radio host, Mark is deeply passionate about awakening hearts and equipping people towards personal transformation. He is gifted in helping people address the core issues that become limitations to their God given identity and destiny. He is the author of numerous books and hundreds of teachings. Mark and his wife host a weekly online show called Transformed You and he writes at markdejesus.com. His articles have been featured on sites like CharismaMag.com.

 

Love Those Who are Challenging to Love

anger-management-god
Aren’t we supposed to be all about God’s love? (Flickr)

Note: This is a guest post from my good friend, Kathy DeGraw, from Kathy DeGraw Ministries. She is a great teacher, genuine and loves God with all her heart.

Kathy DeGraw

What is love and how do we truly exhibit love?

I think we all go on these love craves where we desire to show God’s love as much as we can.  We have an encounter with love and want to pour out love every second we get and then we then don’t pour out His love as well as we should.  I believe God’s love becomes a fad like a W.W.J.D. bracelet.  They were a hot item for a while and probably made the creator a lot of money; however then they wore out naturally and spiritually.

Aren’t we supposed to be all about God’s love? The first place we can start being about God’s love is in the home.  How can we show God’s love in the world if we are not showing it in our own home?  What does this mean?  Spending time with your loved ones. In the day and age of modern technology we are in the room with each other, but are we with each other?  No.  We have our laptops on, phones within reach and a movie or video game on the TV screen.  How is this showing love?

What about getting irritated with our family members?  Should we snap, get angry, have sharp tones and comments and get irritated with what another person said or did? Is that truly showing God’s love?  I think that is where the WWJD bracelets come in. How would Jesus react to another family member?  The answer is with love.

We need to learn how to extend and be love to those people who sometimes “drive us nuts” “we can’t stand to be around” or “drain us emotionally.” Why do we even feel that way about “those” people?  I was talking to the Lord recently about what the world would label, “high maintenance people who we need to extend a little extra grace.” The people who don’t seem to want to do anything for themselves or ask you to pray for them all the time.  How many times do you want to shout back at them PRAY FOR YOURSELF—YOU HAVE TWO LIPS AND A TONGUE!  In all seriousness, why do we get irritated with them?  Because we do not love enough, we do not love like Jesus loves.

When will we get back to the place of compassion and love? Of pouring ourselves out on people and TRULY serving them and being a channel of love. When will we do it right? When will we love like Jesus loved? When will we be a stream of constant love?

You know why those people do the things they do to us above? Because they need love.  They are hurting, lonely, rejected, insecure, inferior, and they need love. They need someone to pour into them. They need someone to invest in them and to say, “You know what, you are valued, loved and you are important to me.” They should be important to you,because they are God’s children! Aren’t you supposed to love like He loves?

I challenge you to be love. You know who that person is that maybe you would rather have not bug you so much, perhaps you would be happy if they were not in your life? I want you to love them abundantly! I want you to make them your love assignment. Be nice to them.  Go out of your way to love on them and pray for them. Pray that God would give them a love encounter and that they would receive the love of God that comes through other people in their lives.

Make it a practice and a way of living to out love the other person. Think about how much you are loved. I want you to pour that much love out, that you out love the next person who loved on you. Yes, a love mission!  Learn to out love the next person. Learn to be love.  And when you think you accomplished your mission, when you think you have achieved love, ask the Lord to help you love even more, because it’s all about L-O-V-E!

Kathy DeGraw is passionate about releasing the love and power of God to empower people!  She uses her prophetic anointing and the love and power of God to strengthen, teach, set the captives free, and equip believers to experience the fullness of God.  Kathy is a dynamic speaker!  Full of energy and enthusiasm, she releases the love and fire of the Holy Spirit on her audience, leaving them hungering for more of the Lord! She is passionate about prayer and fasting and has over 15 years’ experience in teaching, leading, and organizing prayer, healing rooms, and services. She believes in the power of declaration, warfare prayer, and empowering people to pray.  Kathy, along with her husband, Pastor Ron, have also been directors of an International Healing Room.