Living Light

Stirring The Deep


Persecuted Church, A Watchman’s Call

Persecuted Church, A Watchman’s Call


In an email exchange as I was reading about the persecution among Christians in China, it became clear the church in the United States is suffering grave persecution as well.


I received an email from a son of a friend who is in China and working with the underground church. He talked about the persecution that goes on. They are often under surveillance with the goal of incarceration or expulsion. Foreigners cannot legally teach any Biblical subject or evangelize the Chinese. They are being expelled left and right as they are caught doing so. They receive calls on Saturday night to tell them where church will be held on Sundays. Some of their church members have been arrested, persecuted and threatened. Several of the services were “interrupted” by the police who confiscated Bibles and personal items and threatened people to attend only the government sponsored churches. Their phones and emails are tapped.


In the US, the churches are suffering persecution of the truth. The truth is being water downed, twisted, and manipulated for greedy gain of money and people’s souls. Church is big business in the US. Motives have become corrupt and as a result, many souls are on a slow death track as their bread of life is being stolen, hidden, and spoiled with lies by those they trust.

Man and the church system he has created have taken the place of God in many believers’ lives. It has become their teacher, provider, salvation, and protector. Even “good” churches have subtly moved into people’s lives where God should be. The church has become what it was never intended to be. History is repeating itself. It happened in the day of the Pharisees and it is happening now.

It is no longer if you are cultivating a relationship with God, but are you in church? Are you serving the church, are you giving your money to the church? If people do these they feel good about themselves and their relationship with God. It is about outward appearances not an inner relationship. As a result of being coerced in the wrong direction, God is distant from their hearts. Matthew 7:21-23.

The Word has been pushed to the bottom of most Christian’s priority list and serving the goals, visions and will of man to the top. Works are more important than abiding. Because the praise of men is more important than doing what God asks – to abide in Him and His truth and let the works be His fruit not ours. Churches have become about self and profit all in the name of God.

Churches are full of subtle lies that the Word isn’t that important to abide in. Oh if you have time but who does? Just come to church and you’ll be fine. One problem with that thinking is that without the pure truth you have nothing to test the words of others by. So you believe what sounds good and fits your current paradigm. Not a wise choice because that makes you a prime target for deception.

Disciples are made of men and not Jesus Christ, the Word. Because it is man’s words and interpretation of truth that people listen to. People go to religious leaders to be fed, to learn about God, and to enhance their relationship with God. Few abide alone in the pure Word of God, one-on-one with His Spirit as His disciple, as His bride cultivating intimacy with her Husband. They would rather hang out with the groomsmen. There always seems to be some fallible human as a mediator between them and God and His truth.

The worst part of this persecution is that it isn’t obvious. It looks good in the eyes of most people. People are blinded and thus the perfect victim to fallen sanctuaries that have become homes to “Satan’s” lies. The music and entertainment are putting many into a deceptive sleep like Odysseus and the sirens.

The worst persecution isn’t from the outside, it is from within. The most insidious and dangerous form because it is much harder to detect and it kills the spirit not just the flesh. In the last days many will fall away, many will be deceived, and many false prophets and teachers posing as ministers of light (truth) will lead the way. Matthew 24:11, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

We need to wake up and start watching. Luke 21:36


How You Know You’re Saved

How You Know You’re “Saved”


For years I would repeat the “sinner’s prayer” over and over just in case it didn’t stick the previous times. I wanted to believe those preachers who said if I just said a prayer I was saved, but deep down I knew something was off. So, how do you know you are saved?

Saved means we are no longer simply flesh human beings but spirit as God is spirit. That spirit is eternal. It is a part of God like our flesh is a part of our parents. 2 Peter 1:4 Its life comes from being connected to God. John 15:5

The way that we are able to enter into this spirit life is through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. To abide as spirits with a holy God, we need to be pure and holy. Jesus is holy and our sacrifice. He paid the price for our sins, which is death. As our Savior AND Lord, He took our place so we can take on new eternal spirit life. Because of what He did for us, we are resurrected into new life as He was, and a life that is perfect, eternal, and holy. 1 Peter 2:24, John 10:10

I believe God saves. We didn’t choose Him. He chose us. Just as we didn’t choose to be physically born we don’t choose to be spiritually born. Someone who is spiritually dead can’t choose life. Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:11

And when God saves us, His Spirit makes it home in ours. John 14:23 Therefore, some proof of that spirit life are the following:

Our spirits:

1. Know God as our Father
2. Long to draw near to Him in truth and love
3. Want to know Him
4. Desire to be like Him

First, our new spirits identify with God as our Father. Galatians 4:6 John 10:4 Just as a child knows his dad because he is a part of him and has a relationship with him. We connect with God in a similar way.

Second, our spirits long to draw near to Him because He will draw near to us. James 4:8 Children desire to be with their dads because they love them and want their love. We want to and do abide in His truth and His love.

Third, we want to know Him. 1 John 2:5 Children, especially when they are older, want to know their fathers. We want to spend time in His Word getting to know Him and learning of His ways. We keep His Word close to our hearts and fill our minds with His truth because it is the words of our Father.

Fourth, our spirits desire to be like Him. 1 John 2:15, John 14:24 Children want to be like their fathers, we desire to be like our Heavenly Father. When we walk outside of His will we feel convicted of that sin (anything not God’s way) and want to leave our ways (repent) and walk in His paths. There is a desire to leave our old ways and not simply because we should or have to.

A spirit born of Him is growing into these four points and it starts with a desire to draw near to Him.

The underlining factor to each of these and defining factor of whether we are saved or not is an action packed desire to be in a relationship with God. If we are cultivating a relationship with God, one-on-one like someone we love, then I think it is proof we are His. Anything else, confession, going to church, or trying to be good can be easily motivated by other things like guilt and pride. But to spend our time with no one watching to abide, to seek His face and sit at His feet with a heart to know and cultivate intimacy can only really be done from the desire of being a part of Him. Not to be a scholar, but a bride who is passionate about her bridegroom. When we are God’s, we hunger to know Him, to draw near to Him, to spend time in His Word getting to know Him as He is.

Looking back, when I said the sinner’s prayer it was out of fear not going to heaven. True Christianity is about being a loving bride not a scared rule bound convert. Christianity is living as an eternal spirit who is of God and therefore longs to be close to Him. It is about being united to God like someone we deeply love.


Connecting to Others’ Souls

Pets seem to be very in tune with us – more than most people.

It fascinates me how my two cats respond to my real thoughts or emotions. Despite my outward persona, it is my inner rhythm that they are connected to. What I truly think and feel impacts their actions. It is incredible.

Malcolm, my male Ragdoll kitten, was keeping his distance from me, and I thought that he just didn’t want my affection like his sister, Sophie. No big deal, they are just different. However, after a conversation with my brother, an animal lover, I realized that thought was causing him to keep his distance. At that moment I changed. Instead I thought – he wants my affection just as much as Sophie. Almost immediately he acted differently; hanging around me, wanting to be picked up, and cuddling with me. Since then our relationship has been totally different – and needless to say much more satisfying for both of us. And all I did was change my thinking.

Our thinking affects our attitude, emotions, temperament, and actions. It is the sum of these that others pick up on. In speaking to others, 70% of our communication is non-verbal, so most of what we say is what we don’t. Others obviously don’t know what we think, but what we think affects what they receive from us. Our thoughts are very important. If we change them then it affects everything else. I think this is why Paul told us to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8, 1 Timothy 4:15

Our thinking impacts how people respond to us because it is the source to what we put out. To connect with others on a deeper level we need to be aware of our thoughts toward them and if they are hindering or helping, and second we need to be willing to look past their exterior to what is really going on.

The other day I was feeling a bit down. Malcolm tuned into how I was feeling and followed me around and sat down with me on the sofa. His affection was a bit different than normal – he knew I was upset even if it was subtle. Pets are amazing animals. For those who have a good relationship with them you know what a comfort they can be. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but when I talk to other pet owners they experience similar interactions. They seem to pick up what’s beneath the exterior.

If we do these two things, attend to our thoughts and look beyond the exterior, a more meaningful connection can be established with others.

However, there are things that can interfere with looking beyond the exterior.

Often we have so much of our own stuff in the way preventing us from truly focusing on someone else. Fear, self-focus, pride, unforgiveness, living in the past, and worried about the future all affect our ability to be fully engaged in the moment and love others in such a compassionate and real way. And often when we do pick up on what is going on underneath we don’t respond to it for various reasons – at least I don’t.

Imagine if we were in tune and responsive to one another like our pets. . . how different our relationships would be? We wouldn’t respond to each others masks or defense mechanisms; we would look into the soul and respond accordingly. Several years ago, Larry Crabb wrote a book, Soul Talk. It was about connecting and talking to others at this deeper level. It is a great concept, but I have found it is easier said than done. Focusing on my self, how I am perceived, trying to please others, fear of rejection, reacting to the surface level of defense mechanisms that anger and hurt me, and pride all get in the way. But interestingly, as I abide in God’s truth and He frees me from my own issues and fills me with His love, I am finding that looking past the exterior is coming naturally.

We are here to love God and love others Luke 10:27 – if we aren’t clued into each other’s deeper needs then we can’t love and have compassion like we could otherwise.

Malcolm & Sophie

Malcolm & Sophie


Rejoice Always

Rejoice Always



This morning during my quiet time I read 1 Thessalonians 5 . . . verse 16 says rejoice always. Isn’t it amazing that our God desires us to rejoice always? How much that declaration says about His heart for us. How much it says about the life He desires for us.

The other day, my husband and I saw a child jumping around, smiling, and having a great time for no apparent reason. Just enjoying life and feeling good to be alive. Completely in the moment, not trapped in the past or concerned about the future. She was one happy kid.

My husband said, “That is what it is like to be in the spirit.” And it is so true. Children don’t worry about what others think, they aren’t judgmental, they accept others’ differences, they openly love, they are affectionate, full of happiness, trust, don’t worry, and don’t carry their past around like a ton of bricks.

God calls us to be children in His arms, trusting, resting, in the moment, full of joy, and embraced in His love. This is the life He calls us to – what a God, what a gift. Yet, we so often exchange the life and freedom He gives by getting distracted trying to do His job – fixing ourselves, fixing others, trying to control our future, healing ourselves, proving our worthiness, providing and so on.

God came to simplify our lives and give us abundant life. If we truly believe and follow Him then our lives would be simplified hundred-fold and entail those things we truly desire.

God said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” All these things are the things that pertain to life. The things this world chases after we no longer have to because God is providing them for us. He takes care of us so we can focus on abiding with Him as His bride so that His power and glory may be shown through our lives.

A couple of years ago, I started to take this verse to heart. I worked at not working and instead at seeking and abiding. Though I still have a long way to go to be at a child-like status, I’ve let go of a lot in my life and I find I’m slowly moving to a life of trust and dependence. As a result, the changes in my life and true progress in me has been beyond what I thought possible. Once I trusted Him, then His work started to abound in me and in my life. I am fully convinced of the truth of this verse.

Most of us try to make it more complicated most of the time. We are busier than ever trying to live up to the extreme expectations this world places on us to be better, stronger and smarter. God says stop, I’ll take care of all that, just seek and abide. It isn’t giving up life; it is gaining it in abundance with freedom, rest and joy.

True, there are times we are brokenhearted like seeing the vastness of deception and death (physical and spiritual). And these heavy emotions bring us to the feet of God to cry out to Him from the depth of our souls. But He is the one to redeem, heal, and deliver. It isn’t about our strength and power but His. And His love and faithfulness infuses hope into all things. Because of Him and who He is to us we can rejoice always.

When you look at all His promises to us, there isn’t an area of our lives they don’t cover and our part in obtaining these promises is to trust and believe. Believe is our work John 6:29. And in a world that contradicts the ways of God it is indeed work. Our efforts and works have overtaken many of our beliefs. But the Christian faith is established on grace and God’s work in our lives – not ours. It is His performance, not ours.

In addition, becoming a child not only benefits our lives, but others. When we are a child, then He can truly “use” us. Because His love, power and truth move through us into the lives of others and we stop trying to force it by living out a weak copy-cat instead of the real deal. When we abide, in time His presence becomes a natural outward flow from our lives to the lives of others.

A child-like life comes from a new heart born of His Spirit. Our actions are the fruit of living with a new heart. This heart doesn’t come instantly. It starts small. It is cultivated over time as we grow in grace, knowledge and trust. If we trust Him, He will mold a child-like nature in us. He does it all. His Word is full of promises of what He will do for us. May we work to believe in them, live out the freedom they bring, and rejoice always.