Tag Archives: Transformation

The Dark Side of Religion and Its Leadership

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, Gods special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

I did not grow up in church, and had no requirements to attend church on Sundays. There was no Bible or spiritual literature in my home to nurture my faith at an early age. I did not have a real encounter with the presence of God until the age of twenty-six. At that time, my mind was changed. It was as if there was such a shift in my thinking that it almost seemed unreal. Darkness lifted off of my mind in such a way that it appeared like I could see the dark shadows leaving, like in the movie “Ghost” starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. I had been living with tremendous internal pain.

I was led to purchase my first Bible ever, a concordance, and a Bible Dictionary. I devoured this material like food that I could not stop eating. There was insight and revelation that came. Visions were opened up to me; I could see things in the heavenly realm. These spiritual insights opened me up to the light of God’s presence, and how this presence should manifest in the world as light. I was having real encounters with God, and learning the way to access real light, truth, holiness, peace, joy and righteousness. 

I submitted my life in a spiritual house of worship under spiritual leaders and teachers who guided me and helped me to grow spiritually. They taught me how to take hold of faith and prayer to experience the supernatural power of God. I discovered purpose and the plan of God for my life in the world. There was such freedom and wholeness in my being. I was healed from emotional sickness and brokenness. My spirit was free and excited about life, and wanting to see others get whole. I experienced no controlling factors in the spiritual house that I got nurtured in; no fear, no dark persuasion, no manipulation. It was indescribable. If I could sum up these basic lessons of light that I learned in my early spiritual formation, it would be these:  

Lesson One: Faith is our compass. It is the way to please God. Faith demonstrates that we trust God to fulfill his word.

Lesson Two: Love is our guiding principle as we encounter every human being on the face of the earth.

Lesson Three: Touch others with love in our family and the world.

Lesson Four:  Use our gifts and resources to benefit others so that they, too, can discover faith, love, hope, purpose and destiny. 

Lesson Five:  Do no harm to any soul on the earth because that soul belongs to God. When we harm others, we harm God.

Lesson Six: Keep our lives clean and pure from wickedness. Manage our appetites with contentment. Live in light. 

Lesson Seven: God can see and know all things. There is no hiding place from the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to partner with us in the work of service to the world and for all that we do.

As I experienced these lessons and sought to walk them out in life, I had visions of light. I was taken in my encounters with God to a heavenly realm, and was shown how light and darkness would operate in the world. I was given an understanding of the workings of the mind, and how it can be influenced for light or darkness. I was able to see light and darkness operating through people. I could see when darkness would appear like light. 

I witnessed people with more than one face. I could read the energy of environments and could smell disease and death, even when people looked well. For many of these things, as they would appear in the natural, I was not given release by the presence of God to share these insights. I had to ponder them in my heart for a season. I heard the voice of God say during one of these visions, “I am going to teach you to see the darkness of people’s minds and teach you to help people to be aware of it and to get them free.” This understanding led me into the world of psychology and working with minds that went to dark places in their life experiences, families and the world. My interest has been uncovering the darkness of religion on the mind, and the leadership of religious systems who practice darkness.

God is leading me to uncover the darkness of religion, its leaders, and the impact on the minds of people, to bring healing to individuals, families, cities and world. Understand this: God did not create religion. Religion is an ego-driven human attempt to understand God by categorizing God in rites, rituals and rules. Religion in its purity is supposed to bring the real light of God to the mind and elevate people to a higher state of consciousness. Religion at its best will bring human beings in alignment with the presence of God, and help them live out the nature of God in the world. 

What is God’s nature? Love, peace, joy, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, meekness, faithfulness, patience, justice, righteousness and more. God’s nature is not dark, contradictory, controlling, manipulative, exploitive, conniving, greedy, arrogant, prideful, rude, abusive, hurtful, discriminatory, prejudice, deceptive, perverted or hateful. When these characteristics operate in religion and its leaders, this is not the mind and presence of God. This is darkness working at its worst!

The dark side of religion, and its leaders will manifest in these traits with no real moral conviction of the impact that these behaviors have on human society. There are leaders who can ignore the candle of God’s presence, and engage in dark thinking and behaving without thought. It has become a part of their lives. It has even become a part of many religious systems, and many personalities hide in the pretense of light, but live with two faces or multiple personalities. God is moving in the earth with such vast power that many religions, and their leaders who have been corrupted by darkness, are going to crumble. Some religious systems never started out for the purpose of bringing light. The intent of their formation was darkness appearing as light. Some that started out in light, have grown in darkness as they begin to get out of alignment with the presence of God.

When we as a people do not deal with the broken places in our soul, this brokenness becomes an avenue for darkness to express itself. When there are compromised moral standards, the doorway of darkness is opened up, and it never wants to be exposed to bring healing in the system. Darkness always looks for broken personalities in order to infiltrate into a religious system. I will start uncovering some of these traits so that we will know what to look for, and make a determination about our religious affiliations.

When darkness has permeated the system, and there is a vacillation between dark and light behaviors, we will witness this same spirit operating through many others in the system. There is a door that is opened in the hearts of those who are in the highest levels of leadership that gets filtered down. This spirit is manipulative and controlling. The modus operandi is to control people for its own selfish agenda and lead them down a compromised path. It is always to contaminate the true light of God.

In a religious system that has opened the door to darkness, people are merely used for the purpose of the system, not for the righteous standards of God. Anyone who can see these discrepancies and speaks to them, this person or persons will be a threat and a target to discredit, ostracize, ignore and destroy. When we operate in true light, and dark areas are pointed out in the system, those who are at the highest levels of the system who want light will move to bring about healing and change in the system, so that God’s light can come forth. The opposite will be experienced when the system and its leaders want to remain in darkness; it will move to destroy the bearers of light.

There are three broken personality types in a religious system at high levels of leadership that, when operating in darkness, will have an effect on the whole system at every level. In some systems, all of these personality traits can operate through one personality. The way that we are going to recognize and detect this darkness is through the eyes, behaviors and speech (words).

  1. Machiavellian- This dark personality trait will manifest in leaders that focus on self-interest as the prime motivation. Image, superficial appearances, cruelty and ruthlessness with no real mercy is the way they operate. Everything that they do is strategic. All actions are well thought out and planned in advance. They will use whatever is necessary to get their way. They will even create disorder in their own house or team. Every action is calculated by this dominate thought: “What is in this for me and how will my public image be impacted by my actions” 
  1. Narcissistic -This dark personality trait is a challenging leader to work with. They have an obsessively inflated ego, self-worth and importance. They believe that they are super special creations of God, and no one is more special than they are. Their status is above normal. They are not comfortable with the ideals and gifts of others. They only pretend to be interested. They will sabotage their own team to get their way. Discord is a strategy of their leadership. They struggle to accept criticism, or disagreements to what they desire to do. There is an insatiable need to be flattered, approved and praised. They love the spotlight, and will find one, steal one, or create one every chance that they get. They only want to be surrounded by people who will fulfill their ego needs. Yes, voices only please is their motto!
  1. Psychopathic- This dark personality is a charismatic and charming leader. Charm is one of their most powerful traits. However, the charm is superficial and not genuine. Their actions are calculated and they have no real depth of feeling. They experience no empathy or pain for their actions committed against others. As a matter of fact, they are incapable of real empathy. They can destroy a life or situation with no mercy. Lying, secrets, obsessions, and illicit appetites are some of their most dominate behaviors. They even know how to act humble while working their deeds with secret and danger.

The commonality of all of these dark leadership types in any religious organizations is that they have a desire to control the gifts and resources of people for their own interest and the interest of the system. Their behaviors can be passive or aggressive. Manipulation and control are always at the forefront of how these personalities lead. They play with darkness because they have no revelation or conviction about the all- seeing eye of God! (Proverbs 15:3, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

I offer this writing to help us to first gain an awareness and understanding that can help us to recognize these traits, not for judgement, but for prayer, healing, and to determine how to work with, and or to come out from under these leaders and systems. When we see leaders with these traits, and systems under their influence, we are looking at broken souls and broken religious systems that need God’s intervention!

Peace,

A Black Woman: Looking at Blackness Through the Eyes of Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited

Do not envy the oppressor, And choose none of his ways;” Proverbs 3:31 NKJV

I had to look back and examine myself, not through the eyes of my disinherited self first as Howard Thurman so beautifully conveyed, but I had to look at myself before my brutal captivity and inhuman travel from my homeland that I would never see again. 

I needed to look back at the narrative of me before the 400 years of my ancestral enslavement on the American and Caribbean shores. There in the cradle of civilization called “The land of the Blacks” was my motherhood, my Queenship, my rulership, my intelligence, my connection to the Creator of the Universe, and never will I forget my oneness with my Black King, my man.

There was no fear in me, no deception, no hated, only love. Love was my guiding principle. I was taught that love was the ruling idea of the circle of all life. My love was pure and innocent. It was the genus of my creativity, my sensuality, and the sharing of my gifts to expand the world. My Black King, with me always at his side, had no intimidation of me, no insecurities regarding my love, my beauty or my intelligence. I cultivated him and he cultivated me. My King and I were fully conscious in our understanding that our rulership together would be the glory and legacy that we would leave as a model to generations unborn.

He and I were indeed kissed by the sun, and manifested no shame as we wore our Blackness with dignity and as the gift that we knew it was meant to be. My inheritance was life, peace, prosperity, and wealth. My understanding of this richness was that it was to be shared with all; it too was my divine gift. There were no exclusions of humanity due to shades of hue. I was in tune with the chemistry and biology of melanin. My soul and connection to universal wisdom was that I was one with everything.

I was and still am powerful Black woman. I am a daughter of the Most High God who was born with an inheritance; but there came a shift in psychology. A new mind invaded my land and my wealth. A mind that was not enlightened with oneness. A mind that was full of fear, hate, deception and empty of love. This mind was scattered, deranged, deluded, psychotic, sociopathic, sadistic, narcissistic and schizophrenic. I witnessed this mind that lacked oneness with the Creator of the Universe destroy the fabric of communities around the world. In fact, this mind thought that it was God. My King and I were a threat to this crazed ego that pretended friendship of peace, yet used its power to demean, pillage, ravage, rape and destroy me, my people and my land. 

This mind introduced a psychology that hated my Blackness, and communicated on the world stage that my being, hue and melanin was inferior, inhuman, and that I was designed and destined to be sold for human ownership. So ripped away from my land, my man, separated and shackled in chains aboard a ship headed to a strange shore, I was subjected to a new psychology.  This new psychology gave my captors permission to beat, rape, impregnate, separate and sell the life that came through my womb away as property. This new mind destroyed my man, dethroned him as a King, and labeled him a brute beast. His power, understanding, love, friendship and peace was replaced with conditioned hatred of himself, of me, and at times of his own seed. Envy of our oppressors’ power and success took over his mind and ways.

My man, my King, wanted to experience again his intelligence, wealth and power. Through this captivity, my King and I lost something. We lost each other. We lost our connection. We lost our oneness. We lost our genuine love for humanity beginning with each other. I am his Black Queen, and he is my Black King. It is now time for him and I to go back and restore our community with the right mind, the Jesus mind, as we learn how to love and build each other again. It is time for the disinherited Black woman with her Black man to share our pain, and struggle to regain our spiritual power even though we still live in a strange land. 

I say to my King, look at me, remember me. I too have been kissed by the sun. Abandon the oppressors’ psychology and ways. I am not to be feared, deceived, or hated. You and I are the principle of love, and the embodiment of love’s movement. I understand your pain. Your pain is my pain too. I am a Black woman and your Black Queen. I am here to help us regain our inheritance!

I offer ideas that can support our desire to move towards manifesting change in our families, neighborhood, organizations and spiritual communities:

  1. Acknowledge that we have been psychologically conditioned in our mind to hate, fear,  deceive and mistrust each other as Black people by the ruling dominate culture.
  2. Develop think tanks (small groups) to begin having strategic conversations about how we were systematically indoctrinated to hate, fear, envy, and mistrust each other. Explore ways to develop a new psychology ( patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving) in-line with our historical self.
  3. Forgive one another for ways that we have been the instrument of each other’s pain.
  4. Confess the we took on the ways of our oppressor that manifested in our families, neighborhood and spiritual communities of worship.
  5. Develop an individual and collective plan of action that will support members of our families, neighborhoods, organizations and spiritual communities to refrain from deviant, inhuman, and less negative emotional reactions against ourselves and others.
  6. To every Black man, treat every Black woman as a Queen. Value her as a powerful spiritual gifted being and life giver. This is her inheritance!

Thurman, Howard. ( 1976). Jesus and the Disinherited Beacon Press, Boston Massachusetts.

Women Who Lead Other Women In Darkness

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” I John 1:5-6 NKJV

On October 27, 2020, I read the story about one of the most modern-day cult leaders of an organization called “NXIVM” who was sentenced to 120 years in prison. As a graduate in sociology, and psychology, I have for years been interested in group and cult behavior. There was a time that I thought I strictly wanted to be a researcher, and teacher to help bring awareness and strategy on how to bring group change that would create better individuals and stronger communities. As I have read the story and history of the cult NXIUM, I am illuminated yet again on the power of mind control and the danger of blind loyalty. 

The leader of this cult had a powerful mind-controlling influence over the women in this organization. Many of these women were brilliant intellectually in their own right — successful, influential, and some had amassed and used great financial wealth to help numerous ventures of this leader.

When women, the mothers of life, can be used to lead other women in darkness, this is a sad state of affairs. The power of darkness is real. The women in this organization were brainwashed by a powerful, charismatic leader who engaged in dark psychology for years to control their minds. 

Mind control is real; but, when we as women do not deal well with our vulnerabilities and with the strong need for male leadership or intimacy in our lives, mind control becomes easy and detrimental. Following and partnering with male leadership, and visions that connect with our spirit and aspirations, is a noble endeavor because God created male and female to be one creation to expand the universe with goodness and blessings. (Genesis 1:28 ) We were created to work together in harmony to bring love and peace to the world, but our power ought never to turn into corruption.

To walk in power as women, it is not necessary for us to castrate and belittle men to prove how powerful we are, though we have suffered much in a male dominated society. We don’t have to be agents of dark practices. It is time for women to wake up to our power and become wiser about being in tune with our vulnerabilities and needs. When we are aware of our vulnerabilities, we make stronger emotional and ethical decisions because we recognize what we are being led to do, and how we are being programmed to think, especially when we are being led to compromise our ethical living.

There are always red flags; sometimes we may not see them right away because the power of deception and delusion is real and strong.  But in time, and with prayer, our internal discernment will help us to make right decisions that will not lead us down the road of darkness, nor to influence other women in a life of darkness.

It is time for women to wake up to our power. It is time to expose leadership that operates in corruption in any organization or system. There are many lives that have been broken, and trust that may not be easily restored. It is time to have the conversations that are necessary to bring real, genuine women empowerment and healing in the lives of women.  We can no longer be silent in the face of mass abuse of the life givers of our world.

I want to list these ideas for the purpose of increasing awareness and empowering women to think about when we feel strongly that we are under a mind controlling leader, system or organization:

  1. Be aware of our vulnerabilities ( esteem, identity, losses, successes, failures, relationships, career desires, human needs)
  2. Listen and don’t ignore our intuition. It is a candle of the Holy Spirit in our soul.
  3. Connect with woman who are going to connect us to living in light, not to darkness.
  4. Never compromise our integrity and ethics; they are too valuable.
  5. Give no human being the power to control our lives and decisions. Watch for controlling behaviors no matter how innocent they may seem.
  6. Avoid secret societies and groups that make us offer some form of collateral ( lies, favors, sex, theft, drugs, blood covenants, murder, marriage swapping, branding), to hold secrets that demean our humanity.
  7. Never allow ourselves to be isolated from trusted family, and friends with whom we can be open and share our vulnerable thoughts and feelings. 

Heavenly Father,

Bring healing and renewal to the mind, heart, and life of any woman who has been under the power and persuasion of mind control. Remind her of her power and purpose in You. Give her new direction for her life that will be a manifestation of Your love, grace, mercy and goodness. Amen! 

Combating The Spirit of Hatred

“Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalms 2:8-9

There are times when it is difficult to walk in the gifts of God. When I was a child, I found it difficult to share what I was experiencing in the Spirit; but that is not the case today. In June 2017, there was a major transition in my life. I took on an assignment in the Western Region. It was one of the hardest decisions of my entire life, but I knew God was calling me to an assignment of spiritual warfare. Along with several co-laborers who operate in the prophetic calling, I engaged in extensive counseling and research of the Western Region before I made my journey to the West.

We understood that the warfare would be intense because the cosmic influence over the region was heavy and the demonic darkness has worked for years to control the West. This darkness has not only taken a firm hold of the region, but it has also impacted the spirit of local churches across denominational and non-denominational lines. The spirit of hatred is operating in the churches and seeking to destroy. In some instances, I encountered the demonic spirit of hatred just because I showed up for the assignment here in the West. God made it clear to me that I had encountered this spirit. Hatred is a nasty spirit that aims to destroy everything God desires to accomplish through His servants. It is a subtle and dangerous spirit that masquerades as an angel of light – for a while – then it unleashes its venom. The kindred spirit that accompanies the demon of hatred is the lying spirit. It speaks calculated lies with intention. Its aim is to gratify its fleshly desires and to discredit the prophetic voice of God. But the alarming thing is that any individual, clergy or laity, can be open to this hateful spirit; it simply needs a body to operate through. It nestles itself in the broken and insecure places in the soul of those who are unguarded against it or leave themselves accessible to it.

The spirit of hatred can hide temporarily, but not for long because of its agenda to dishonor and sabotage its target. The only thing that closes the door on the spirit of hatred is repentance, renouncing sin, and filling the empty place in the soul with the Spirit of Love. To the pastors, leaders, and laity in the western region, we have to search our hearts and attend to our daily walk moment by moment. When we are hurt by any matter or we face challenges with others, harboring hatred will not solve the problem. Hatred unchecked will take anyone deeper into bondage and will keep us in the hands of the enemy by carrying out his will instead of the will of God. We have to evaluate ourselves and close the gap because this spirit has a strong presence in the western region of the country, and many of the churches are being taken hostage by it. Even children and youth are affected by it.

Abba Father is not pleased because we have the power within us to close the door on this spirit by walking in unified prayer, forgiveness, and love with everyone. Love is God’s command. (John 13:34) This is God’s way of being. There are consequences for maintaining a spirit of hatred. The Word of God says, “Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good.” (Proverbs 17:13 NIV) Here is the warning: The anger of the Father is being poured out, but we can repent and turn back His hand. (Isaiah 42:25)

This is the question; why would we want our entire house destroyed as a result of harboring and practicing hatred? Wherever we see hatred, it is time to confront and expose it for what it really is. If we cast hatred out of those who have been carriers of that spirit and replace it with God’s radical love, I believe we will see God do an amazing work in our midst.

Let us do our part to start this revival by examining our own hearts. If we find that hatred is operating through us, we must acknowledge that spirit, confront it, and repent in Jesus’ mighty name. God is calling us to a higher place of praise and to transform The Church ~ Love!

Get Up With A New Determination

At the opening of 2019, I was flooded with thoughts about my life, my friendship with God, motherhood, marriage, ministry, and my relationships with others – in that order amazingly. I came to realize how my life was impacted by all of these roles. My ministry assignment in San Francisco, which has taken me away from extended family and close friends, has been one of the most difficult and yet rewarding endeavors of my life. It has opened and stretched me to a new determination. I do understand now why God allowed and opened this door of opportunity for His glory and insight.

I am going to new levels. There have been some painful moments on this journey; aloneness, but not lonely, rejection in unexpected ways, and misunderstood intentions. However, some things have been made clear to me. I have gained insight into obscure matters that blindsided me. I can see clearly now. What I love about friendship with God is that it never changes and God will never allow me to walk in the dark. God is consistent in His love and care for me as a human being created in His image. There are no contradictions in His character. His love endures forever.

I have all of this stuff inside me to fulfill and I know I have to work with a new determination to complete it. I have never been jealous or envious of the dreams and goals of others. I have been a cheerleader for other people’s dreams and have sacrificed much of my time and energy to see their dreams happen. I will continue to help others and encourage them to go after God’s best for their lives; but I woke up recently with a new determination to fulfill my dreams.

    I don’t ever want to stop dreaming. I don’t believe it is God’s will that I pour all of my life into someone else’s dream while my dream dies on the vine. God said in His Word, “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28) That means I should be increasing in whatever God has planted in me to advance His Kingdom.

Reader, on this journey of life, you are going to meet people in the world who are takers. They have unrealistic expectations of your pouring all of yourself into their dreams and goals, but they can never celebrate yours. You have to know when it is time to wake up or you could die asleep.  Don’t die with your dreams unfulfilled. You might have to take a season away from environments and people who are killing you. Get up with a new determination to start working on something. Even if it seems small, just do it! Help others, yes, but don’t get so absorbed that you can’t see clearly what God wants to do in and through your life. Decide today that, with a new determination, you will fulfill your dreams for God’s glory and honor!

Peace,

 

A Prayer Against Evil

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this day. This is a day that You have made and we will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank You for the privilege to come before Your presence. We believe that in Your presence is fullness of joy and at Your right hand there are treasures forever more. Create in each of us a clean heart. Examine our thoughts, words, and deeds and help us to align our intentions and motives with Your Word.

We have faced many challenges at the hands of persons who have done us harm and have committed great injustices against us. Some of us are still hurting, while some of us are working to put our lives back together through the power of Your Word. Help us to remember not to take matters into our own hands when we are hurting. Help us to cast all of our cares upon You because You care for us.

Father, teach us to watch as well as pray with the full understanding and awareness that our adversary seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, and that we can overcome the enemy’s work by relying on Your Word. Your Word is the lamp for our feet and the light for our path. Keep us steadfast and unmovable. Teach us to keep our hearts with all diligence because out of them flow the issues of life. Give us the passion to mediate on Your Word daily.

Speak life to our hearts today so that we will go forward and share that life with others. Be with us today as we give encouragement and compassion to others, understanding that it will be returned to us pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Heal hearts and minds today and while doing so, teach us to love our enemies and to bless them.

Father, You have great things in store for us and Your wonders You will perform on our behalf. We give You thanks and praise for what You are going to accomplish in our lives. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and guide us in Your holy way. In Jesus name ~ Amen!

Toxic Religious Communities: Where Is The Balm?

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful evangelism training event that helps to prepare and equip believers to be more effective witnesses for Christ. We discussed ways that we could be more natural and conversational in our approach to sharing the love that Jesus modeled for us while he lived in the earth some two thousand years ago.

During this training, I was up earlier than usual every morning seeking God in prayer because I am constantly searching for ways to be a better human being in the presence of people across all cultures. This was a four-day training. I assembled for morning prayer with others who wanted to experience God’s blessings daily for the entire training session. But something happened in me during prayer on the last day as I was preparing to leave. I got in my car to drive to the airport but I could not because the tears would not stop flowing. A full hour passed before I was able to drive. While in prayer, it seemed as if the heavens opened and the Spirit of God spoke and said, “Now be released from your pain; the pain you have carried being a part of a particular religious community.” In one brief moment, God flicked through those experiences like a quick movie flashing in my mind’s eye. I have chosen in this writing not to name that community as I do not desire to hurt anyone by the things shared. However, I do want to enlighten people through awareness of the many ways we inflict pain on others who are a part of our religious communities and those who come seeking healing. We understand that there are no perfect religious communities, but there should be evidence of the fruit of our love and forgiveness in the way we treat others.

It is only because of the grace of God and good friends that I have been able to stand, as many others have, through unkindness, unjust suffering, rejection, labeling, persecution, sabotage, lies, disregard, being hindered from advancement, and ill treatment toward our children. I have had many opportunities for advancement beyond the religious community I serve, but I believe God uses our experiences to help others. He taught me how to be continually engaged in the practice of Radical Hospitality in spite of ill treatment. I am fully aware that Jesus had to do the same thing. Let me say also, that there are beautiful people who I personally share with in the same community that have known firsthand the things I and others have suffered and they found ways to encourage us and also let us know that they were praying for our families and our fellowship communities. For them I am grateful.

Through my personal experiences with humanity and having been a practicing Mental Health Professional for more than twenty-five years, I have had the pleasure of being seated in sacred spaces with people who have been so wounded by religious communities that they no longer wanted to be a part of them. Many of them sought out alternative environments because they still had a hunger in their hearts for spirituality. At times my heart was broken just hearing about their pain and suffering. They had been controlled, manipulated, abused emotionally and physically, blocked from advancement, exploited financially, and raped of their gifts and talents. Some of their experiences reminded me of my own, but I listened with compassion and the desire to help them work their way through the pain.

Religious communities should make every effort to be havens of consolation where people can come and find a real healing balm. In the natural, a balm is often an oily, fragrant substance that is used as a comforting, soothing, restorative ointment for wounds, cuts, and bruises. It is known for its medicinal value. Ideally, this is what religious communities are supposed to represent – an anchorage where people of all nations can have soothing experiences and find comfort and restoration for their hurting souls.

I have never understood why there is such tolerance for inappropriate behaviors from leaders and other participants in religious communities. I believe we all have a duty to address the wrongs we can clearly see. However, if we become mere beneficiaries of perks, then there is silence while people are being injured – some who may never recover.

The weight of my pain is lifted. I forgave the persons who hurt me at the moment of the injury. What I did not realize was that I still carried the pain. I have released it. I have learned that God will never waste my pain or yours. God will use everything that you and I have gone through for destiny and for His glory. I have to continue helping others to overcome their pain and to share with yet others how they can survive maltreatment and hurt, and still move forward with God’s purpose and plan for their lives – even when their hearts have been broken in a religious community.

If you are reading this and you are connected to a religious community that has hurt you in any way, know that God’s love is greater than what you have experienced. If you will remain open in your heart to the awesome power of God, your pain can be healed.

To Religious Communities everywhere; leaders and laity, I ask you,
“Where is the balm in your community that can heal any soul?”    Peace

Getting Rid of the Old and Bringing In the New

As we have entered into 2017, many are making plans to change something. It could be a lifestyle, a hairstyle, a relationship, weight, buying a house, or moving to another state or county. The New Year always opens with people wanting to make some kind of change – getting rid of the old to bring in the new.

Getting rid of the old and bringing in the new is a good thing to do. Taking away or adding to our lives is much like the pruning of a garden that has been overrun with weeds. At times, we need to cut the weeds away to make for a better and healthier garden. Even in our personal lives, taking away the old to bring in the new requires that we have a plan of action that is manageable so that we will remain on the path of change to reach our goals. Stay away from lofty plans that will not bring about the changes you desire. Keep your change goals simple and reachable.

Make 2017 a great year for your life as you get rid of the old to bring in the new. Bringing in the new will fill your heart with joy when you accomplish the desires of your heart. Never forget that the God of the Universe is cheering you on and believing for your success. Go ahead, bring on the new!~SSC

Relationship Not Religion

When we think about Christ Jesus and look at the way “JESUS” has been portrayed in the world, it can at times cause great confusion. When we examine various faiths and religious expressions, it can leave us perplexed about who JESUS really is. Because of the way “JESUS” is characterized, we sometimes misconceive Jesus, The Christ and what HE came to do in the hearts and minds of people. There are many instances where JESUS’ mission and purpose have been misrepresented and rejected. JESUS was quite clear about what He was commissioned to do on behalf of people around the world.

Whenever God anoints someone by filling them with the Holy Spirit, it is always for a special reason, purpose, or intention. God will never waste the anointing; He directs His anointing toward a specific mission. JESUS announced what He would do with the anointing on His life; He would save people, heal them, deliver them, and set them free. Luke 4:17-19

This announcement was not a religious message. It was about building relationships – with God and with people. God’s healing power restores us to a right relationship with Him and with one another. All we have to do is believe, receive, and practice being a relationship builder in JESUS’ name. Only believe! You can do it. It’s about relationship, not religion. ~ Peace!

Trail Blazer

There are times that we find ourselves faced with decisions that can make or break us. Destiny requires that we make critical decisions that will lead us down the path that God has planned for our lives. God’s plan is to prosper us and not to harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11) However, we have to make sure that we are not making decisions that are not in our best interest.

There must be a willingness on our part to prepare ourselves for opportunities and doors to come open that will lead us to adventures of a lifetime by blazing some new trails. To blaze a trail we have to be risk takers. We cannot be afraid to travel on uncharted paths.

We cannot sit around waiting for others to give us an opportunity at destiny. To do so would mean that we have turned over the power of our lives into the hands of feeble human beings, which could lead to manipulation and control. We have to ask God to create opportunities for us to fulfill our purpose in life and make our paths clear for new adventure. There will be so many things that we will discover about ourselves and the impact that we will have on the world when we blaze new trails. Start walking~ PEACE!

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