Crown of Thorns

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We have all heard the story of The Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.

We know he was unjustly sentenced for proclaiming who He is and all the works and miracles that he performed. We know that even though the government found no wrong in Christ, they allowed the citizens to choose who to set free, and the citizens choose a murderer named Barabbas.

We know that he was taunted by the religious folks of the time, called names, spat upon, whipped forty minus one time by a cat of nine tails.

Forty less one stripe-Jewish law stated that the maximum amount of lashes a person may receive is 40. The reason for them giving 39 is room for error in the counting, so as not to exceed the punishment.

Cat-o-nine-tails- an instrument  of torture comprised of a short cluster of whips approximately 3 feet in length. Each strand made of leather has a sharp piece of bone or metal attached to the end. When it strikes the body, it tears off the upper layer of skin in a stripe several inches wide, causing pain and profuse bleeding.

They then made him carry his Cross down the Via Dolorosa (Way of suffering) to the hill called Galgotha (place of the skull)  outside of the city where he would be nailed to the cross and the cross was erected for all the world to see. He eventually suffocated to death. I highly recommend that you read the actual science behind the crucifixion. This is a very stripped down overview.

All the while this ordeal was taking place, he never said a word. He never fought. He never defended himself. He knew what the end result would be, and this death had nothing on the glory that was to come for both himself and the rest of the world for those who accept this most amazing gift.

I highly recommend reading the entire chapter of Isaiah 53, but here is a short clip from the chapter:

3 He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him.

4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

The one thing that I want to focus on is the Crown of Thorns.

When Christ was being crucified, they fashioned a crown of thorns to mock the King. Thorns. They placed this crown upon His head and beat it into his skull.  Take a minute to let that sink in.

We know that by His stripes we are healed. Healing is available to everyone who accepts and believes because of the stripe. It’s been paid for. It’s up to us to accept it and walk by faith in the healing.  The one thing that we overlook is that crown and its symbolism.

Part of the curse in Genesis 3 is that the land would produce thorns. If a crop bears thorns and thistles, that crop is worthless.

So here’s my question for you:

Have you ever been called worthless? Have you ever thought of yourself as worthless?

Have you ever been made fun of? Have you ever felt degraded? Let me go a step further…Have you ever had voices in your head that told you all these things?

You are a nobody

You are worthless

You’ll never amount to anything

You’ll never be good enough

What if …happens?

What if there’s not enough money?

What if I screw it all up?

I’ve made too many mistakes.

Nobody could ever love me

Are you recognizing these voices? These are voices that those suffering from depression, anxiety, bi-polar, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses hear.

There is not a single thing that Christ went through that was void of meaning. Jesus wore the crown of thorns…the thorns that went deep into his skull, so you can be free of mental illness and mental oppression. Just as he received 39 stripes so you can be healed. Just as he died on the cross and literally went to hell and defeated Satan, so that you don’t have to.

And the most amazing thing is that 3 days after He died on the cross, He rose from the dead. He walked this earth for 40 days before ascending into heaven. Nine days later, what is now known as the day of Pentecost, He sent His Holy Spirit. It is His Spirit that lives inside of those who have received Christ as their savior. This is very important because it is the still small voice of the Holy Spirit that has the ability to override those voices in your head.

The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us. Therefore, we have the mind of Christ.

It would be heartless of me to tell you all this without telling how to deal with it.

The bible says in Philippians 4:6-8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is anything praiseworthy-think on these things.

Think on things that are positive. Stop the “what-ifs”. Find out who you are in Christ. You are worthy. Look up your identity in Christ. Search the scripture. Anytime you see the words, “In Christ”, “In Him”, and “In whom”…that’s talking about YOU. That’s who you are.

The apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh, yet he was who had this revelation. A Thorn. Sound familiar?

Another reference is scripture to read is about the Armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-17. In this scripture, it speaks of the helmet of Salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.

In order to defeat mental illness or mental oppression, it is important that EVERY DAY when you wake up, that you get dressed in the Armor. The helmet protects the head…the mind. The sword of the spirit is the words you speak. A sword is double edged, so be careful with it. You can speak life or death. You can protect yourself, and with the same sword, you can kill people with your words. That’s another story for another time, but right now, we want to put the focus on protecting ourselves. This is where the thinking on these things comes into play. Every action starts with a thought then it manifests through the mouth. That is the action. Stop speaking and thinking negatively. When a negative thought comes into your mind, take it captive and change it to something positive.

Faith is awesome, but it’s dead when there is no action behind it. It’s wonderful to think that Christ took our physical and emotional pain on the cross, but if you don’t put into action what He provided, you will remain in the same predicament that you are in.

Allow me to speak from experience. I come from a long line of worriers. Anxiety is a very strong curse in my family. My grandmother had it, my mother has it, I have been known to suffer from it, and my daughter has it. It’s bad. It can make you sick and paralyze you. Several years ago  I went to a conference called an “Encounter with Christ”. It was a great weekend service where we learned all of the symbolism of the cross, just as I have touched on above. The part that really got me was the revelation of the crown of thorns. Through my battle with worry or anxiety for many years, I finally learned how to put into action the things that I have talked about above. My quality of life drastically changed. I became someone I didn’t even know, and I liked her.

At some point, circumstances in life happened and I started losing ground. The reason I lost ground is because I stopped clothing myself daily with the armor of God and I stopped thinking and meditating on positive things. Now I am basically back to square one. I have determined to find that person again who was free of anxiety. I don’t have it all together, but I do know what I have to do. I just have to do it. Earlier this year, I decided to find her. I do good mentally when I practice this, but I have not yet made it a habit.

I want to encourage everyone who is interested in getting free from anxiety, depression and other mental oppression, to join the journey with me.  Not just for a day or 2, but until it becomes a habit.

No Place I’d Rather Be

Close your eyes. Take a deep relaxing breath. Exhale. Think of the most wonderful and peaceful place that you have ever been. Maybe on top of Pikes Peak, or on a quiet beach in the Caribbean. Just stay there for a few minutes and bask in the serenity. Imagery is a very positive tool to use at the end of a long day at work or when you are getting ready to go to sleep.

When I was in high school, my theatre teacher would have us do relaxation exercises once a month. She would take us onto the stage or in the band hall and have us all lay down on the floor and turn off all the lights. She would walk us through deep breathing until we were all in a very relaxed state, then she would start giving us ideas of imagery in order to take us to another world. We would be floating weightless on clouds through the most beautiful scenery without a care in the world. It was the closest to heaven I have ever been while on this earth. When our class was over, we were so relaxed and at the same time rejuvenated. The rest of the day we were able to focus on our tasks and let the worries of life not affect us.

Several years ago I was in a pain management clinic and the therapist would have us go through the same type of relaxation exercises once per week. It really stuck with me that no matter what I am going through, I can escape this life for a little while in order to regain strength and carry on. Some may call it hypnosis, but in neither case were thoughts fed to us to make us change anything. It was just the deepest and most refreshing type of relaxation.

The storms of life can be harsh. My own experiences is that I don’t just have rainy days. I have monsoon seasons. During those times when it seems like nothing is going right, I have a place I go to hide. I curl up at the feet of my Daddy. Not my earthly daddy, but my heavenly Daddy.

Think about the person that you love more than life itself, maybe your spouse or significant other. Have you ever just cuddled on the couch with nothing going on in the background other than maybe soft music and just enjoyed being in his presence? Take a deep breath and inhale his scent. Lay your head on his chest and hear his heartbeat. You feel safe in his arms. Nothing else in the world matters but this moment and the love and affection you feel. Scientist say that this is very healing.

Would you believe that you can have that same kind of relationship with God? People have a hard time understanding this concept because you can’t see or touch him. But you are a person who lives in a body that is also made up of a spirit and a soul. There is more to you than just your five senses. There is a sixth sense that needs to be free to feel alive. This is the part of you that no man can touch and it’s a void that can only be filled by our Daddy.

So, when the storms of life rage, I go to that place. I turn on worship music and put my earbuds in. I block out the natural world and my soul starts to sing. I get lost in His presence. I feel more love than I have ever known.  Even though in my life I may be going through hell on earth, I always know that there is a place I can go that peace passes my natural understanding, where I can relax and refocus and wait upon the Lord and I know that my strength is being renewed. I listen to Him while I am in this place. He speaks to me with a still small voice. I may not always get answers, but I know that everything is going to be alright.

The hardest part about being in His presence is when it comes a time that I have to leave. I wish I could just live there every hour of every day, but I can’t. Just as you have to eventually stop the intimate cuddling with your partner and get on with life, it’s the same in this situation as well. But you always know that you will have time to go back to that place.

There is a difference between going to church and having a relationship with God. The church is where you have a relationship with other like-minded people, but a relationship with God is very private and intimate and it feels like home. There is no place I’d rather be than in the presence of my Daddy.

I encourage every person who ever reads this to find that place.

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The Dirty Word: Math

Math. People either love it or hate it…I would venture to say that most hate it. Some may tolerate it for a profession, but the word itself has become such a bad word in the mouths of millions of people.

It’s all a matter of perspective, but math can be fun and challenging, like a puzzle, if you look at it in the right light. I personally see it as a necessary application to life. Take a look at the people in your life and your situations.

You have people who suck the life out of you. These are negative people. The symbol for negative is the minus sign. Who in your life drains you every time you get around them? If you constantly walk away from a person or situation because it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, that person is subtracting from your life. Get away from them. Stop the negativity in any way you can. Stand up and tell them that if they are going to constantly gossip about everybody, or be negative all the time that you will not carry on a conversation with them. Strife and contention are killers. Stress hormones are released when you are around negativity and you can and will become increasingly ill. Google it, I’m not making this up. Your immune system fades away. You become who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with negative people, you will become one yourself. NOBODY likes to be around negative people. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to do about it. Negativity is contagious and is a cancer that will eat away at your very being.

You can attempt to add positive conversation when confronted with negativity, but if you have nothing to give, then that is impossible. Which brings me to my next point, and one of my favorites. Surround yourself with people who add to your life. If you need joy, surround yourself with joyful people. If you need peace, surround yourself with peaceful people. If you need advice on your finances, surround yourself with people who are successful financially. If you need help in a certain area, pick up a book on that subject and read it, then implement the ideas into your life. Combat the negative areas in your life by adding positive things and people to your life. Sometimes the negativity is so far below zero, it would take a miracle to catch up. Do what you have to in that situation. You’re not going to get every math problem right and you are not going to get every situation in life right. Keep trying.

You can’t talk about simple math without discussing multiplication and division.

Are there people or situations in your life that divide you or your family and friends? Sometimes it’s as simple as toxic subjects such as politics and religion. Pick your battles carefully. Most subjects are not worth the division they cause. Sometimes you have people in your life who always create drama. They are always running their heads about things they know absolutely nothing about or putting their nose in everyone’s business but their own. These are dangerous people. The bible says that a house divided against itself will never stand. People who divide will ruin multiple lives, not just their own. I cannot stress enough how dangerous these people and situations are. When meeting new people or starting a new job or entering a new event in your life, step back and simply observe. You don’t have to be the one talking and being social. In fact, if you are that person, you will miss the toxic people until it’s too late. Observe  a person’s character. That does not mean to be judgmental, simply judge to see if this person is good for you or not. Are they talking about everyone and how everyone is wrong? Run! They will talk about you too. Don’t give that person any ammunition. Love that person from a distance. You can be civil without allowing that division to come into your life.

Just as it takes subtraction to divide, and the result of division is greatly negative in your life, so is addition to multiplication.

When you have people in your life who add, and you surround yourself with those people, your life will multiply greatly. This is when the abundance comes. Exodus 1:7 reads, “But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them”. I don’t know about you, but I desire the exceedingly abundant lifestyle. I’m not talking about just finances here, although that is a great benefit. Figure out who adds to your life, then multiply it by change and action and see what happens. Design your own board of directors in your life. Find people for every area of your life. Spiritually, financially, in parenting and relationships, in joy, in desires. Find people with the same vision as you have.Find people who are successful. Surround yourself with positive people in every area. When you add these people to your life and you act on their advice and by parroting their lifestyle in that area, something powerful will happen. Your life will multiply. These people attract other positive people, therefore, your land will be filled with people who add and multiply to your life.

Ephesians 3:20-“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. That power to multiply is the change and action. The end result is the exceedingly abundant life.

Now you see how simple math can be applied to your personal life. Now, do something about it. Reflect on your life. Take a look at where the math has gone wrong. Correct it. Even if it takes correcting it over and over again until you get it right. You will eventually work this puzzle called and the pieces will all come together as long as you don’t quit.

Math does not have to be a dirty 4 letter word when you understand it.

 

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