Grace Place Insights
SEEK GOD FOR YOUR CHILD'S DIRECTION WHILE THEY ARE
NEVER GIVE UP
PAUSE AND REFLECT
MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
UNDERSTANDING HOW TO WALK IN
OVERCOMING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
WALKING ALIGNED AND BALANCED
THE IMPERFECT VESSEL
EFFORTLESS CHANGE... WELL, ALMOST!
STICKS & STONES
PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
Find even more Insights from
Vanetta at her website...
DID YOU HEAR THAT?
MENTORING AND STAY-AT-HOME "MOMS"
THE RAINBOW: GOD'S CHARACTER DISPLAYED
SO, WHAT IS A BIRTHRIGHT
BIRTH DETERMINES IDENTITY
YOU CAN OVERCOME STRESS
“Train up a child in the way he should go and
when he is old he will not depart.” Prov. 22:6
Have you known people who, from your perspective, raised their children in
the things of God and taught them to get to know God, for themselves, yet
in some instances, this verse appears as if it’s not true? I know I have.
Anytime I have experienced something that makes it seem like there must be
a mistake in the Word of God, I let it cause me to become like a
“Spiritual Scientist.” Seeking God and searching the Word to discover
what I am not understanding becomes paramount to me. Recently, I have
received a great revelation that has application for me, so thought I’d
share a little of my story.
God has blessed me with three children. All three of them were seers from
birth. One of our children was born seeing, and gifted in discerning
spirits. At that time, nearly thirty years ago, my husband and I were
completely unaware of these types of giftings, and missed so many things
for which we now wish we’d had greater understanding. We began learning
about the spirit realm about the time our oldest was entering high
school. A real blessing is that through them and their conversations, my
eyes were opened to how I was gifted that I’d simply thought was normal
for everyone. God will show us anytime we are ready and willing to learn.
Because of the particular destiny placed by God into one of our children,
we were ‘at odds’ you might say, from Day 1. This person’s “bent” is to
go INTO ALL of the “world” (meaning the typical places that lost people
tend to hang out), and reach people with the unconditional love, and
compassion of God via prophetic words, dream interpretation, healing,
signs and wonders. My husband, and I are destined to NOT go into ALL of
the ‘world’, but to go into the CHURCH and help equip people to know who
they are in Christ, know what they have, in Him, and how to experience all
that is theirs, so they can disciple and equip others.
All of my life, I lived walking in the way I was gifted—though unaware.
I simply ‘knew’ which way to go, which places to AVOID and so on. All of
my ‘evangelical’ attempts never seemed to ‘work’ because everyone I came
in contact with were already saved, and were simply needing some counsel,
insight, or encouragement. We were set up for a clash. My husband and I
were trying to teach our child to avoid situations, to avoid certain types
of people, and so on. We took advantage of all kinds of Christian types
of experiences, but never understood why there seemed to be an element of
resistance in some ways. Our focus overshadowed the way God had created
our child to be. Now, we understand that we dropped -the-ball by not
providing the appropriate mentoring experiences by people who were
involved in street ministry via prophetic words of encouragement, sharing
the interpretation of their dreams, laying hands on the sick, seeing them
recover and the like. I am thankful that there is
“therefore now no condemnation for those
who are in Christ.”
for even though we missed the way this one was wired, there has been a lot
of Truth implanted. God is THE GREAT TEACHER and will make sure our
children get what we failed to give them, and in that, they will know God
in the way that is uniquely theirs..
have been a dreamer my whole life. God used my chidren’s dreams, from a
very early age, to cause me to pay closer attention to my own dreams and
stirred a strong desire for me to learn how to discern what they mean.
Through this, God opened opportunities for me to learn about prophetic
street evangelism. I am hooked, even though I’m primarily called to
Discipleship Ministry, and mentoring leaders.
spite of my ignorance, opportunities now abound for our child and many
others to be involved with people on- the- street/in workplaces, etc. to
give words of encouragement for everyday Grace-Living. I encourage you, as
parents, to listen to God regarding His plans for your children. Get them
involved with trusted mentors as early as is reasonable and appropriate so
they can mature and become equipped to better flow in the things of God
for blessing, encouraging, and healing others.
Copyright 2011 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
NEVER QUIT, NEVER GIVE UP
Endurance is the
result of having gone through something and stayed the course all the way
to the finish line. In the U.S., in particular, we've become quite
accustomed to "instant" or "quick" results for so many things, that if
something doesn't come in a nano-second, we lose our patience or give up
altogether. "Waiting" has, practically, become a bad word. How can we
turn this around?
In Habakkuk 2, I
believe there is a key to how to wait with a positive attitude and hold
on, by faith, until we receive what it is we are believing for and
expecting to receive.
“I will wait to see what he (God) will say to me; ….. The Lord answered
me: ‘Write down the vision; write it clearly on clay tablets so whoever
reads it can run to tell others. It is not time for the message to come
true, but that time is coming soon; the message will come true. It may
seem like a long time, but be patient and wait for it, because it will
surely come; it will not be delayed….. But those who are right with God
will live by trusting in Him.”
The most important
thing to do is to hear from God. What is HE saying to you to believe? Is
there a desire in your heart or a need in your life? Ask Him for His
solution. He is your source for everything pertaining to Life. In Him is
the way in which He has planned for you to go, so ask Him to lead you and
make it plain.
Once Habakkuk heard
the Word, what did He do next? He wrote the vision/word down. In this
way he had a reminder, and it helped others to continue to believe for
what they had not yet received.
We have a tendency to
lose sight of, or forget, what we are hoping for when it takes longer than
we might prefer to receive the tangible expression for what we are hoping
A real key for
enduring is to have your solution recorded. For some, a written note card
posted in a prominent location is what works. For others, like me, a
picture is worth a thousand words.
When I was in my
thirties, I had gained about 25 pounds that "I" didn't like carrying
around. (I know and understand that discussions about weight are
uncomfortable for many. I am only sharing "my" story.) I finally decided
that I would feel better if I would lose these excess pounds. I believed
that I would be healthier and have more energy once those pounds were
gone. I believed (had faith for) losing 25 pounds. My hope (confident
expectation) was in attaining my goal weight. I wrote down, “I am
shedding 25 pounds” on a note card and taped it on my bathroom mirror.
Since I am a highly
visual person, I found a picture of me at my 'right weight'. I posted it
in the kitchen in a prominent place where I'd see it before I stuck
something in my mouth. It helped to keep me focused and served as a
constant reminder for what I believed and expected to experience. I had
to literally 'see myself' as having already reached my goal. I had to get
that image/picture down deep inside of me. I had to be able to see myself
at my goal-weight anywhere I was so I could choose the appropriate
behaviors that would be consistent with the “new me”.
The next thing I did
was study what thin people do. I learned that, although, there are some
thin people who can eat whatever they want, in any amount they want,
anytime they want, and not gain weight, that is not the majority of thin
people. Thin people actually think differently and behave differently
than those who are heavier.
I discovered that thin
people almost never clean their plate. That went against everything I
had been taught! My parents grew up in the Depression era, and so hated
to waste anything, especially food. They knew what it was like to be
really, really hungry and having to do without meals. I had to learn a
new habit. At first, I put smaller, measured out portions on my plate.
Gaining a visual for what serving sizes were supposed to look like was
necessary for me. Then I could clean my plate without feeling any pangs
of guilt. In time, I learned to be satisfied with much less and don't
need to portion out my food to that extent.
Thin people make
activity their focus, and not their food. They center their lives on
playing games, riding bikes, walking, playing in the yard, swimming and so
on. They do not sit around a table, mindlessly grazing. This was another
habit I changed.
I observed, paid
attention, and recorded in any way I had to, until I had the
revelation--the 'aha moment' --inside of me. I had to literally see
myself thin, and see myself 'behaving' like thin people behave if I was
ever going to experience the results. I had to change many beliefs and
thought patterns that led to the behaviors that supported and didn’t
sabotage my goals.
I had recorded my
vision through photos, magazine pictures of people who were at their right
weight doing various activities as I mentioned above. I paid attention to
real life people, friends or strangers, who were at their right weight and
living their life actively. I stopped focusing on food, and focused on my
goal and new actions.
Then I began talking
about myself as "thin". Every day, I'd look in the mirror and declare
that not only am I the Righteousness of God, but I thanked God that I was
a thin person. The 'real' me is the right weight. It didn't matter to me
how many pounds might have covered up the real me, I spoke what was real.
It is exactly the same thing when we declare Identity Truths of Grace. We
don't 'see' Spirit things necessarily, but they are true because we know
that HIS Spirit in us is what makes us who we are, and enables us to do
what we do, etc...
As I did these things,
the right, supportive behaviors for experiencing what I was believing
became more and more natural. I stopped thinking as an "I wish I were
thin" person, and spoke” I AM thin; I do what thin people do,” long before
I reached my goal. In time, the goal became evident. I had received in
this natural, physical realm, what had already accomplished in the Spirit
realm. My ‘outside’ matched what I already knew on the ‘inside’. I
barely noticed the natural experience because I had changed my mind about
who I was, in this area of my life, long before it was evident to anyone
else. I became the thin person I knew God had created me to be. Now, I
neither look nor act like that ‘old me’.
Looking back to
Habakkuk, He said that “it’s not
time for the message to come true, but it was coming soon. It may seem
like a long time, but be patient and ‘wait’ for it.”
Many times there is a
waiting period from the time we hear a direction from the Lord regarding
your solution to a problem or experiencing your dream, and so on. The
word, ‘wait’ in this passage is indicating you are to stay ‘glued’ to this
message. You don’t become unglued when it seems to be taking so long to
receive what you are expecting. You can actually learn to celebrate, and
have a victory dance before you receive what you are hoping for, because
you confidently know that God’s words accomplish their purpose.
As another example,
one who knows they are pregnant, confidently knows what they are
expecting---new life. There is no doubt; only excitement that builds
every day. Their anticipation grows as the days, and weeks go by. When
God gives you a Word, we become the incubator for that word. It takes
time for it to grow. You can know there will be a birth, but only if you
don’t abort the process by giving up.
If you want to
experience endurance and not quit, then believing that you heard a word
from God, however He chose to communicate it to you, for your life, seeing
yourself as having reached your goal--down deep inside of you--
confidently speaking out, or declaring, what you are believing for as if
you have already received it,--because in the Spirit realm you already
have--are vital. By the time you actually are experiencing it in the
natural/physical realm, it will almost seem like “old news” to you because
of where you have set your mind.
Endurance and patience
is the same thing. Each word is referring to walking in faith for
something for a long time before you tangibly experience the expected
result. This is a Fruit of the Spirit. Through having many opportunities
you will get to practice and learn how to cooperate with the Spirit in
you so that He can produce the Fruit of endurance, or patience as you stay
focused, and not swayed by unbelief and receive that for which you were
Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
PAUSE AND REFLECT
In a recent conversation with one of my
sisters, I was reminded to go back and look at things I've written in
journals that date back many years. In Habakkuk 2:2, we are reminded to
record the vision, so it can be read and told to others. So easily we can
forget things that have not been written or recorded in some way. For the
past week, or so, almost daily, I've gone back over and re-read my old
writings, notes, and dreams and what I felt my Heavenly Dad was
communicating to me.
In this time of reflection, I've been reminded of many things; things I
really don't ever want to forget. At the time I wrote some of these words,
I didn't really have the understanding. In other instances I clearly
understood, but had no idea about the timing.
It's been a fascinating discovery! The time period I am looking at
currently, is 2002 and 2003. Now, I can see so much that I missed due to
hindsight. One thing I wanted to share with all of you is a dream I had
January 24, 2003.
In the dream, I was observing a couple meet, and later become engaged. The
woman had to tell the man her desires about their wedding. He, actually
had to be the one to see to the arranging of every detail..
Later, He came to pick her up, and drive to the location where they were
to be married.
She called me and said how pleased she was.
I told her, "How wonderful to have a man/husband/friend who really listens
to you; who hears your heart---one who hears and understands even better
than you understand or even know yourself!"
Then, a voice spoke to me. I heard Him say:
"I AM that man!"
God is our perfect Father, our best Friend, our perfect Husband. His ways
are above and beyond anything we even dare to think. He is Trustworthy and
always works everything out for us for better than good, as we yield our
wills to His.
I know none of you need to have me say this. I was so refreshed to hear it
again. Maybe “I” am the only one who needed to hear it again. Who, but
God, would have known eight years ago that I’d be reading this again, last
night! And, it was just the “right time” for me.
This message is simple, in that it’s not a difficult thing to understand.
But the depth is incredible. Never despise even what seems like a ‘little
word, or a little thing’ from God for in one word from Him, there is
enough power to make all the evil forces tremble in fear and flee! And, it
has the power to transform lives, forever!
Negative past history is good NOT to revisit. Forgetting the past, in that
regard, is a blessing. BUT the awesome things that God has done, may we
never forget! We have those treasures to pass on and leave as a legacy for
So many of us can get so caught up in the trappings of activities and the
pace of society, on the whole, that we need to take time to pause and
reflect on what is really important.
In Luke 2: 41-42, Jesus told Martha, when she was frustrated, and very
busy with preparations for her guests and irritated that Mary was “just
sitting at His feet”:
"Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one
thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be
taken away from her."
We can choose the better thing: to SIT at His feet and learn of Him, for
this will carry over into all of life. In fact, this IS life. We are
called into a "state of being", not into a 'state of doing".
There will be activity, but it should follow our time of listening and
learning from Jesus. The Grace- life is full of activity, but from a
completely different perspective. We aren’t working “for” anything. It's a
life of good works that GOD has already prepared beforehand for you to
WALK in. It's simply walking the path of peace and fulfilling what He has
already performed for you.
Your journey IS your destiny. It’s not a destination. When you are led by
God for “this” day, you are in your destiny. Being led by HIS Spirit, in
you, will place you where HE wants you. He’s already met every need you’ll
have, because He’s already been in your ‘today’. Remember that He prepared
your “path” before you were born—even before the world was made. His yoke
is easy and His burden is light. If it becomes weighty or burdensome, then
it’s time to do a “check-up from the neck up”.
Check your motivation. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing what I am doing?”. If
it’s from anything other than love, then stop, and take the time to talk
and listen to God. Perhaps you’ve just lost sight of the purpose along the
way. Or, maybe that activity is to cease. God may have you stop for a
literal rest for a period of time, and then lead you into what He has in
mind for the next phase of your life.
Another thing that can happen is that your activity can become your
identity. As a Child of God, your identity can only be in who God declares
you to be. Those things are the only unchangeable things. What you do in
your lifetime, is always subject to change. One way to tell, is noticing
how easy it is, (or isn’t) for you to take a break from the activity for a
time, not knowing whether or not God is going to have you continue in
that. That can be quite revealing.
Without having that time of sitting at Jesus' feet and learning from Him,
you will have the tendency to try to 'handle things yourself', set your
own priorities, your own schedule, and so on, which often means you are
headed toward burn-out, eventually. Mary chose the peaceful path, which I
personally believe, gave her the endurance she needed for her own journey.
Since Jesus is our Perfect Dad who knows us better than we know ourselves,
wouldn't it make sense to hear what HE has in mind for us? Receiving what
He has planned is not stressful. Planning our own things is quite
stressful and can take much more time. In Him, nothing is ever wasted.
And, He is the redeemer of all things, including time. Such freedom!
If you’ve never done this, I’d like to encourage you to record, in some
way, your own notes, thoughts, dreams, or anything you believe God is
saying to YOU, personally. In time, when you decide to pause from your
normal routine, and look back over those things, I believe you’ll see some
amazing reflections of God, in you, at work while you were possibly quite
unaware. You may even discover that you are already walking in those
things He’s prepared and told you about some time ago.
May you thoroughly enjoy your journey into discovering just how much God
loves to speak in a variety of ways, to His children!
Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
Now all these things are from God, who
reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of
reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to
Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed
to us the word of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NASB)
Everyone has been given this opportunity to build someone up in whatever
setting we are in. Everyone needs and wants to hear hope and life-giving
words. Think about how you feel when someone is giving you words of
encouragement. It makes you feel stronger and like you can accomplish
something. It brings you more confidence. It brings you peace.
The following is an acronym you might find helpful as you seek God’s
wisdom for how to minister to people you come in contact with in your
daily life. Don’t let the word “ministry” scare you off. By it, I mean it
as a way to “give aid or service to someone who is physically sick” or
struggling with thoughts and emotions that are stealing their peace.
Through you, God wants to express His love and compassion for those who
are not at-ease for any reason. I’m just here to ‘cheer you on’!
R E C O N C I L E For the context of this article, Webster’s Defines it
as: “to restore to friendship or harmony”. According to The Complete Word
Study Dictionary, it means: “…restoration, exchange. A change or
reconciliation from a state of enmity between persons to one of
friendship. Between God and man it is the result of the redemption, the
divine act of salvation, the ceasing of God’s wrath. In the NT it means
reconciliation, ie. A restoration to divine favor of bringing about a
change in man, conversion (Romans 5:11; 11:15), the means. or occasion of
reconciling the world to God.”
Since Christ has reconciled us to Himself, we have PEACE. Before Christ
came and became sin in order to pay for sin, we had been under a
relationship with God that demanded justice. Christ took on Himself ALL
judgment for sin and ALL justice that the law demanded. This is why Jesus
is our peace. He made peace with God on behalf of mankind. He satisfied
God’s wrath. When we became Christians we became Children of God and will
never, ever be under His judgment. People who reject Jesus’ offer of
salvation, and the devil with all of his minions are on whom judgment is
intended. This is why it’s imperative to learn this now so you can be in
peace when calamity falls, and not get into fear. He wants us to be led by
His Spirit, and not by fear of anything.
God never changes, but His method of dealing with us has! Praise God for
sending us His Son, in Whom we have redemption…!
Here is an acronym that can help you focus on what God desires to do in
and through each of us to build His Kingdom: R E C O N C I L E.
R - Reach out. Since you’ve received God’s peace, share it with
other people. You have your own unique gifts and talents for touching
others with the Great News of the Gospel. Rest in His strength and in His
ability to accomplish His purposes as you just yield when you feel the
nudges He gives you.
E - Encourage, equip, edify! Build people up. Leave people with
HOPE. Never settle for telling a person where they’ve been or where they
are. Give them the hope for their future. Jer. 29:11! Correction is God’s
business. If He is truly leading you to give this kind of word, then pray
about it and make sure it is a word to say, and make sure that you have
the kind of authority in the person’s life that gives you the permission
to say it. It may only be something God gave you to pray and not say.
Don’t give it until you have the compassion for the person that is
evidenced by it being more painful for you to say it than it will for them
to hear it. Let your words be seasoned with Grace. Seasoning takes time to
settle and be incorporated throughout a mixture, so let this work for you
in your words. A true word from God will keep. It will stand the test of
C - Christ focused. Remember the Grace shown to you. Remember the
kindness of God that brings you in line with His plans for you. Give that
O - Overcome the evil one. The word “overcome” implies that
everyone has things to come over. All of us are ‘in process’. The Spirit
in each Believer is as complete and perfect as God! The soul, which
consists of our mind, emotions and will is in process. The body will just
follow along. Not allowing either the soul or body to lead is our goal. We
want to learn not to let Satan stop us from doing what we believe God is
desiring us to do. Making up your will is the key. (You can’t make up your
mind---that is only your ‘thinker’. The will is the decision-maker)
N - Know your true identity. You are a child of God who acts
obediently sometimes and sometimes acts disobediently. Your true identity
is unshakable because it is based on the finished work of Jesus and is in
accordance with who He is in us and who God says we are. It is NEVER based
on how we do or do not perform. We are SAINTS who sometimes sin and
sometimes act obediently. We have been taken out of the dark kingdom and
placed in the Kingdom of Light. Learning to act like who we are in this
New Kingdom takes some time, but we are identified as “Children of the
King” no matter how our actions line up. Continuing to grow in this
knowledge and revelation will lead to overcoming the enemy with greater
ease and living in greater experiences of peace.
C -“SEE” the treasure in others. Focus on their gifts and callings.
Help them see what they have been given. Help them see how much God loves
I - There is no place for “I”. “I” am “in Him” and HE is “in me”.
All of us are made SECURE simply because of the Truth of John 14:20.
Picture where you are as you read this. This helps keep jealousy,
competition and every other evil thing out of our relationships. Helping
others is about us keeping our “EYES” on them and their need. Helping
others is NOT “about us”. Developing our ears to hear empathetically is
crucial so we can hear their need. There may be a time when God wants a
portion of your story to be told, but it’s not when you should be
listening with a heart that is seeking to understand the hurting person.
Everyone desires to be listened to. Growing past your need to be heard is
another key to overcoming the enemy’s ability to distract you from the
purpose God has in the situation you are in.
L - Love Motivated. In Christ, our motivation for everything we do
is to be love. By love, serve one another, we are told. Even our faith
works by love. We won’t have faith for anything if we don’t first believe
that we are loved by God and that He desires us to walk in or have
whatever we need/desire. Jesus is the embodiment of how much God loves
YOU!! And He loves everyone exactly the same way. Because of His great
love, He sent His Son….not for condemnation, but to RESCUE us and make it
possible to be with Him forever. Only because He first loved us, can we
love ourselves or others.
E - Enjoy God—Enjoy others. Everyone being in their own place or
position so that more can be reached for The Kingdom of God.
Colossians 1:20-22, “…God made peace through the blood of Christ’s death
on the cross. At one time you were separated from God. You WERE His
enemies in your minds and the evil things you did were against God. But
NOW God has made you His friends again. He did this through Christ’s death
in the body so that he might bring you into God’s presence as people who
are holy, with no wrong and with nothing of which God can judge you
Everything we think we are, were, or will be guilty of has already been
placed on Jesus. Everyone was found guilty and Jesus took our death
sentence for us, because He so loved us! I encourage you to let this be
your motivation for everything and everyone. You won’t be able to do it
through human effort or simply willing it to happen. It is God doing it in
and through you regardless of how it or you feel. That is supernatural
power!! His unconditional love breaks all bondages. People want to be
loved. God is love and is loving everyone without conditions. May He
reveal this to you, specifically, so that you can pass on what you have
received to others, without restraint!
We are all ‘in process’ of being transformed to an accurate likeness of
Christ. It cannot be imitated. It is Christ in you, free to express
Himself as He desires. It’s as if you are the water hose and He is the
water. When Holy Spirit came inside of us to live, the faucet was turned
on FULL Blast. With the faucet turned on the water (Spirit) just easily
flows. Anytime we waiver in indecision or are not in peace, then in
essence we kink the hose….we can hold back the Spirit and you’ll feel the
pressure. He is always ‘ON’ and just ready to act on everyone’s behalf.
The key is to cooperate with Him. Then we will see the great things He
will accomplish through us!
Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
UNDERSTANDING HOW TO WALK IN
a Fruit of the Spirit. It is a powerful demonstration that Christ lives in
you if you are a child of God. This is not something the flesh (human
effort) can produce. What the flesh produces is seen when everything is
going smoothly, or when the challenges haven’t exceeded a person’s human
When a person is exhibiting peace in the middle of horrible things
happening in his life, that is something that should make others take
notice. That is not 'natural'. Guess what! You are absolutely right! That
is SUPERnatural! It is God producing who He is through the person. The
person is able to allow Christ to manifest in Peace because he has ceased
from striving, trying, worrying, etc. He is at peace; resting in the
ability of God to take care of him in the situation.
The peace that comes from God is based on God, and Him alone. It is IN
SPITE of our circumstances or situations. It is not based on a job or
family, or other sources of happiness and security. That is why it is a
fruit of the Spirit. Humans cannot manufacture this type of peace....or at
best, not for very long.
God is after our hearts being fully dependent on Him and trusting Him for
our very LIFE, and not just for the things of life.
I believe there are some very tough things coming for us all to have to
walk through. I believe we all will have to have our ears and senses
trained to know where and how to walk through things that will be
unfamiliar and extremely uncomfortable. God loves HIS children. We are NOT
“children of wrath”. He is willing and able to lead us to triumph, but we
have to listen and be quick to obey.
Fear leads to panic and paralysis. I can tell you personal stories of how
this is true, but will save that for a future 'note'. Peace will enable us
to receive direction at the proper time so we can have the opportunity to
be in the right places at the right times.
Peace leads to stability and maturity. Christ is our very LIFE! This is
what He came to give us. God’s abundant Life is spelled "J E S U S". His
very Spirit indwelt us the minute we were saved, Eph.1:13-14. He is the
guarantee of all God’s promises to us. This should give us incredible
peace and confidence in sharing His love with others around us.
Walking in peace and stability while experiencing great adversity is a
fabulous testimony to God’s supernatural power. In time, people around are
likely to ask us how we are able to do this. What a great opportunity to
introduce them to God and His kingdom!
God has great intentions for us to grow in our understanding of how much
favor He has given all of His children, so we can let the world know we
are Christians by our love and peace.
Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
Emotions are like
indicator lights on a car’s dashboard. When the oil light comes on, for
example, you don’t get out the tools and fix the light. Why not? Because
you have learned that ignoring the oil light, and not checking the source
to discover why the light came on in the first place, has the potential to
ruin your engine. That could leave you stranded, facing huge expense, and
costing you quite a bit of time and effort.
Due to the times in which
we are currently living, I thought it might be beneficial and encouraging
to use the emotion of fear as an example of what you can do to walk in
victory over negative emotions. Remember, applying God’s Word to your
thought-life doesn’t necessarily mean your circumstance(s) or situation(s)
will change. God does, however, promise to change you and me. You can
walk in victory in every situation, even if things in your life NEVER
Here are some great verses
for you to meditate on and read, repeatedly, until you feel like the
“aha-moment” has happened. It takes time. Remember that everyone
has belief systems that have been established since childhood. Some are
great, and in-line with the Word of God. Others are mindsets that are not
helpful. The enemy of our souls has done many things repeatedly to
reinforce these mindsets. Be patient with yourself and know that it may
take awhile before you feel like anything has changed. Feelings are much
slower at changing than thoughts. This is not an exhaustive list, by any
means. This process can be applied to any emotion. It is coming into
agreement about what the Word of God is telling you to do, and then doing
it! Ask God to highlight to you, personally, what it is that you need.
He will, just give Him time.
Romans 8:1 “Therefore
there is NOW NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ.” (NASV).
are a Child of God, then you are NOT judged guilty, ever! This is a great
verse to apply to the “if onlys” that come to your mind. They go
something like this:
“If only I hadn’t taken
“If only I had seen that
“If only we lived here
“If only I had taken
advantage of that investment opportunity.”
“If only I had finished my
“….married this other
“….lost some weight.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God
has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power, of love and
Children of God have received perfect, unconditional love
from God, so now we are to walk in it and give it to others. From this
love perspective, Christians have the ability to discern things the way
God sees them.
1 John 4:18 “There is
no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves
punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (NASV).
Century Version of this verse says it this way:
“Where God’s love is,
there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. It is
punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made perfect in the
person who fears.”
Understanding the depth,
breadth, and height of the kind of love God has for us, NO MATTER WHAT
(there are NO conditions on God’s love), is the revelation everyone needs
to see the negative emotion of fear leave, and peace move in.
(See Ephesians 3:18-19.)
Emotions of fear may
continue to arise but knowing that YOU are perfectly loved by God, even if
the whole world is against you, is where courage comes from enabling you
to take steps needed so that fear is no longer in control. The Truth shall
make you free to be all that God has created you to be.
The feelings of fear,
or any other negative emotion, may not completely leave; the goal is to
make them submit to your will and not let them control you. Make them
submit to your new thoughts that are based on The Word of God. I love an
expression I heard many years ago, and I do not remember who to credit
with this saying, but it goes like this: “We may not be able to make
the ‘butterflies’ go away, but we can make them fly in formation”.
This means that you can control your emotions, by:
1. Recognize what you are
2. Check what your
thought-life has been like. What has been coming to mind? What are you
picturing? What are you LISTENING to/paying attention to? (This last one
is a biggie, since faith is strengthened by what you listen to and focus
3. Ask yourself, “How do I
4. Evaluate the situation.
Are you looking at the result of some actions to determine if what you did
was right or wrong?
Feelings always follow
what you are thinking about. Everyone thinks at lightening-speed or has
habits and conditioned responses that were developed over a period of
time. Many times we are just unaware of what is going on in our thought
life. When negative emotions, like fear, begin to take over bit by bit,
it’s time to look at what you are thinking about or imagining. It isn’t
good to let emotions lead. They are fickle.
The key to experiencing
the fruit of a renewed mind, and live in peace, is to believe that
God speaks the truth. You have to decide if God tells the Truth, or if He
lies. There is no in-between with God. He is all one or all the other.
If you believe He tells you the truth, then use that truth to settle the
doubts that come to mind and pay no more attention to them. If they come
back, speak the Word of truth and do what the word says.
When you feel negative
emotions rising to the surface, look at them as though they are red lights
and delve into what caused them to be set off. Fixing the root problem is
the only way to overcome negative emotions. Make them follow.
Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
Walking Aligned and Balanced
On the morning of June 25,
during a time of quietness, I began to picture myself in the driver’s seat
of a car. In my mind, I imagined myself driving a car that kept pulling
either to the right or to the left. I could feel the frustration that
occurs when this happens in real life. In addition, I thought about how
rough the ride would be when the wheels need to be balanced. When both of
these things happen, we are in for anything but a peaceful, relaxing ride.
Isn’t this a great picture
of how our lives can feel? In these difficult economic times, and with the
types of weather disasters that have occurred during the past several
years, many people are not walking in peace. Thankfully, in Christ, we
already have the ability to walk peacefully in and through all situations.
Most of the time, we just don’t know how to access this peace. We don’t
know how to experience it in our daily lives.
Here is an acronym that
will be helpful as we apply it to a situation we may be facing, or are in
B - A - L - A - N - C - E.
– Bring all Your thoughts into the
A great tool for doing this
is a journal. Your thoughts can, and do, bounce around in your mind. One
thought leads to another and so on. Talk about chaos! Taking the time to
jot down some things that seem to go around and around in your mind gets
them out! Now, you have a way to see what you spend your time thinking
A - Analyze what has been written.
Take a closer look at what has been written. Are there any
recurring themes? Are there intense feelings indicated by the choice of
words as they were penned? Some examples might be fear, anger, jealousy,
L - Line up your thoughts with the Word
Look up Scriptures that fit
the context of what you are dealing with. For example, when you feel
afraid, Psalm 27:1-3 says, “The Lord is my light and the one who saves
me. I fear no one. The Lord protects my life; I am afraid of no one. Evil
people may try to destroy my body. My enemies and those who hate me attack
me, but they are overwhelmed and defeated. If an army surrounds me, I will
not be afraid. If war breaks out, I will trust the Lord.” (New
Century Version) This is a great verse that speaks of fears coming
from a variety of sources!
Now, if you’ve never had
anyone in your life that you felt you could trust, it may be hard to put
your trust and confidence in God’s ability to lovingly care and provide
for you. Growing in your ability to trust God is one of the purposes for
which this ministry exists. God is FOR each of us, always. Whether or not
it feels like He is, believe He is! Whether or not you messed up ‘on
purpose’ or accidentally does not separate you from God’s love and His
desire to come to your aid. (There are some other resources/Bible
Studies/articles on this site to help with gaining more knowledge and
understanding of this or another topic).
A - Apply the Word to
To make any change requires each of us to do something
different than what we are currently doing. I’ve heard the definition of
insanity as “doing the same things but expecting different results”.
I don’t know who to credit for saying that, but it is a great one.
In the Bible, the emphasis
is always on changing the way we think about things. Scriptures like:
Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh within himself, so he is.” (New
American Standard Version) Romans 12:2a, “And do not be
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,”
(New American Standard Version) 1 Corinthians 10:5b, “…We capture
every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (New Century
Version), and many others show us that our thoughts are what have
to be changed. We cannot change our emotions. In fact, the more we focus
on trying to make our feelings change or go away, the stronger they will
actually become. Feelings always FOLLOW what we are thinking about.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem that this is true. Thoughts pass so quickly
through our minds that we may not have paid attention to them. Also, many
emotions have become familiar from some thought that we had many years
earlier. Now, it’s practically an automatic response and the thought is
not recognized, as if the emotion is so tied to the thought that we are
only aware of the feeling. Of course, our enemy loves this. His job is
much easier once we’ve adopted a habit.
This is why writing down
what you are feeling and thinking can help make what seems elusive, or
hidden, actually become visible.
N - Necessary Action.
Replace the old thoughts
with new ones. You can overcome fear by renewing your mind. Changing the
thoughts that feed fear, or any other emotion, to righteous thoughts can
cause you to rise above the emotion, move past the emotion, and continue
down the right path God has for you.
Right behavior always
follows right thought. Again, it takes time. God’s kind of change starts
on the inside and can take a while before the changes show up on the
outside. But this kind of change is change that lasts!
- Center Your mind.
Focus, intently, on the
Word of God; on Who God is….Who Jesus is…Who the Holy Spirit is…Keep your
mind set on things of God and on the revelation of Truth He’s given for
the defeat of your particular struggle, and fight to maintain it. The
enemy does not want you to succeed and will attempt to steal the Truth.
Keep your mind focused on the Truth that is taking the place of the old
thoughts, because that is where the battle is won! The spiritual battles are in
the “head”- or mind. Where the head/mind/thoughts go, the body will always
follow. What’s going on in your mind- your thought life- is going to
determine the outcome of whether you experience victory or defeat.
Once the Truth has been
revealed, you are empowered to defeat the enemy. You are equipped with
what you need to overthrow him and his thoughts.
Writing down some specific
verses that God has given revelation for on how to overcome any type of
thought that wants to defeat me and keep me stuck in some way, is a tool
that has helped me over the years. I like to write these verses on 3”x5”
cards. I include anything I feel the Lord has shown me, pertaining to that
verse. Then, I put them on, or around,
my computer screen, bathroom mirrors, over the kitchen sink, on the
dashboard of the car, etc. Anything I can do to help enable me to quickly
shift my focus is my goal. The enemy wastes no time, so I want to be
armed. It takes 21 days of consistency to change a habit. So this is just
one of many “practical” suggestions to help keep the new Word in place,
instead of the old ones that used to go around and around in my mind.
E - Experience the victory.
As you practice catching
the old thoughts and replacing them with the new ones, the victories
experienced will enable you to move into a lifestyle of overcoming the
Revelation that starts on
the inside is the key to any lasting change. When we feel out of control,
or we can tell by our emotions that something isn’t right, it’s time to
take note of them and see what they are indicating. Journaling is just one
idea. It has worked great for me for many years. God may have a specific,
unique way that He wants you to capture your thoughts. The tool isn’t the
important part; the Truth is.
By aligning your thoughts
with God’s through knowledge of Him, His Word, and gaining understanding
and wisdom, you can more easily walk a balanced, peaceful life regardless
of the circumstances and situations you may have to pass through on your
Copyright 2009 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
THE IMPERFECT VESSEL
Lord, I am Your vessel.
Though my desire was to be clay in Your hands,
I’m afraid I helped You too much with my own
I thought I could see so clearly,
So I helped You with my opinions and thoughts.
You let me help for many years, until finally
The vessel broke with many tears.
I diligently crawled on my hands and knees,
Each tiny piece I wanted to retrieve.
No piece missing, but now a mess,
I lifted the pieces to You and admitted
I had tried too long to be the perfect vessel.
I see, Lord, You knew all along
My plans would never work.
You let me try, by Your great patience.
Now, with having surrendered
All of the broken pieces
I see with greater clarity how valuable
All of the cracks in the vessel are to You.
Each piece, You have placed with great care;
Quite different from my ideas.
In this arrangement, I see that it is all
The Glue-Who holds it all together.
You don’t want perfect vessels.
You want vessels that allow You to do what You
Most important is not what the container looks
But how dependent each part is upon You
Holding everything together.
I no longer fear brokenness,
For out of it, I see construction
For a more dependent me-
Upon my Savior.
In You, The Imperfect Vessel is made
Copyright 2009 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
EFFORTLESS CHANGE... WELL,
“Oh magnify the Lord with
me, and let us exalt His name together.” Psalm34:3
I grew up in a Christian
home and had parents who were very involved in different aspects of church
ministry .The above verse, and others that are similar, were heard or read
often. Singing about magnifying the Lord was not
uncommon. However, it wasn’t until many years later, as a young wife and
mother, that I finally gave some thought to what I was singing. It is not
a complicated thing, but truly I had never given it any thought. I had to
change the way I thought about this verse.
Paul said in Philippians
4:8 to take great care in what we think about! Why? “As a man thinks
within himself, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7. All action starts inside.
We do the things we do, because what we think feeds what we believe.
Actions are just the outside manifestations of an inward heart condition.
In order to change anything, our belief system has to be changed. For me,
my focus had to be shifted to how magnificent God is. I had to make Him
bigger than whatever negative thing was weighing down my thought life.
In case you are wondering,
the word magnify (according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
of the Bible) simply means: to make bigger; to enlarge.
In addition, it means to lift up; to advance; to boast; exceed,
excellent, grow, increase, nourish, promote. The idea is to center
our attention, and let our thoughts dwell, on how magnificent God is. To
make Him bigger than any other thing or person in our lives that is vying
for our attention. This includes lamenting over our mistakes or even
things we have done on purpose.
As an encouraging word to
you, I want to tell you that change is simple! God’s word to us is simple.
The flesh and soul will be at odds with us as we attempt to make changes,
but the word is a simple word. It is this: shift our focus.
Simply put, it means to determine to look at, listen to, and feed our
minds with God’s word. To concentrate on Him and learn more about who
Have you ever wanted to
grow peaches? You would need to purchase a peach tree and prepare the
soil. Once planted, the tree would need regular watering. Fertilizing
appropriately would be very important, as well as applying some type of
bug repellent. In the right season, what would be your expectation? If
you said, “Peaches”, you’d be correct. You’d have a confident
expectation that the tree would bear fruit because of the attention paid
to the nurturing of the roots.
I have absolutely great
news for you! All of us are just like that tree. Letting the Holy Spirit
attend to our roots, taking care of the weeds and pests, we can have the
confident expectation that at the proper time, fruit will appear. How
easy is that!
As you choose to change
the way you think, I highly recommend the tool provided on this website
called the BIRTHRIGHT
BOOKMARK. Read it everyday while standing in front of a mirror,
looking at yourself straight in the eye. Something great will happen! You
will begin speaking these truths with confidence and boldness, because the
Truth will sink deep into your heart.
As you do this daily,
gratitude for God will increase. Magnifying Him will begin to flow out of
you as the revelation of how truly awesome He is sinks deeper. In time,
you will find that the things that weighed you down no longer have the
same hold on you that they once did. Feel NO guilt or condemnation if you
stumble. God is not condemning you. Just get back up and keep going. It
is a journey we are on. The destination will be reached. That is the fruit
of your spending time with Him. No fruit of the Spirit is ever produced by
humans. It is God, Himself, manifesting in your life in the form of
patience or peace or love, for example.
What we focus on will
develop in our lives. If we dwell on the negative things happening in our
economy, as an example, we will find fear growing instead of peace.
Success will occur only when our thoughts are on the pure, lovely truths
of God and of His kingdom. Think about these things and enjoy the fruit.
Copyright 2008 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
STICKS & STONES
“Sticks and stones may
break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
This familiar childhood quote was said many times by me,
and probably by you too. So, is this a true statement? Do words hurt?
What I have found in my lifetime is that many of my scraped
knees, sprained joints, and bloody noses have actually healed and are
quite forgotten. However, when something goes wrong, or when I make a
mistake, I find I immediately can hear stinging words of the past replay
in my mind. Literally, in seconds, I can be back in the past at the time
and place where ugly, hurtful words were spoken. Here, once again, they
spill over into my mind and heart, causing pain.
We all have experienced the hurt and wounds of unkind
words. So the truth is, words hurt. That’s the bad news. The really good
news is that there is something we can do about it. We do have a choice.
Romans 12:2, states, “Do not change yourself to be like the people of
this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking….” I have a
choice to learn to think differently from what I have ever thought before.
This is crucial to understand, so that I can take my
Birthrights, bring them into my
Earthlife, so I can experience the
KINGDOM LIFE God intended for me to live.
Romans 3:4 says, “God will continue to be true when
every man is a liar.” That means anything I speak, anything I read or
listen to, that says anything different from what God says, is a lie!
We may not be able to control the words of other, but we
have a choice with our own words. Our words have creative power. We can
create order and peace for our lives, or chaos and confusion, which is
destructive. In Deuteronomy 30:19, God said he sets before us two paths
for us to choose. One is life, and the other is death. Proverbs 18:20-21
says that life and death are in the power of the tongue, and that we will
eat the “fruit” of whatever we speak. James 3:6(b), “The tongue is set
on fire by hell, and it starts a fire that influences all of life.”
This is a powerful scripture that reinforces the truth that what we speak
influences everything we do, and everyone we come in contact with.
James is also quick to point out that there is no one who
can tame the tongue (3:8), but that doesn’t mean we should not stop and
consider the things we say. In addition, it would be good to evaluate what
we are listening to, and looking at. They are speaking to us all of the
I am a new creation. Praise God I am NOT what I do, and I
am NOT what I don’t do. I am a child of God, who finds some things easy
and some things difficult. This is why we need each other. I can bring
life and hope to you when you are experiencing difficulties, and you can
bring life and hope to me when I am experiencing these things
Letting the Truth that all of us are valued and dearly
loved by our Heavenly Father, in spite of our mistakes or our wrong
willful choices, is the key to walking in victory over every unkind or
hurtful thing that has ever been spoken to us. Since the Creator of the
universe chose to love us, while we were still His enemies, (Romans 5:8),
how can we not love ourselves, nor love others? We truly do have a
I have been making some new recordings in my mind. Now,
when things don’t go right for me, or I feel like I made a stupid mistake,
I have the new tape that I can choose to pop in, with a new message to
replace the old one. The old one was a lie. The new one is the truth! Now,
I can choose to live without rehearsing my past, and in this way, it’s
like I have a brand new past. It’s as if those ugly things were never
said. But it’s up to me to put in the truth, and it’s up to me to know
the truth, so the truth can indeed set me free.
The next time you hear this rhyme, consider that words may
not break bones, but they do break hearts and hurt people’s lives.
Copyright 2008 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
kingdom of heaven is like a man looking for fine pearls. When he had
found a very valuable pearl, he went and sold everything he had and bought
it." Matthew 13:45-46.
have probably heard many teachings on this great passage. It is referring
to how valuable the Kingdom of God is and how we should be willing to give
up everything for the sake of pursuing the wisdom of God. For a few
minutes, just to BROADEN our thinking, lets think outside the box.
I want to approach this from a little different perspective...
would like you to consider for a moment that the man looking for treasure,
or fine pearls, can represent God (or more specifically, Jesus).
knew, from before the world was created, that the enemy would tempt the
first man and woman to sin, and that he would succeed. His plan had
already been prepared. There would be an appointed time for God to send
His Son to rescue humanity from the clutches of the enemy.
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever
would believe in Him would not perish, but have eternal life." John
word "so" in this verse means, there is no more. There is
no more love He could show beyond giving His Son to die in our place, so
that we could live. This is extreme love.
Jesus also has this love in Himself. We read in Philippians 2:6-8,
"...who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality
with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the form of
a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in
appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point
of death, even death on a cross."
as we look back to the passage from Matthew, with the verses from John and
Philippians in mind, we can see the picture of God, the Father, and the
Son looking at the "pearl" of great value. I want to encourage you to see
that YOU are that pearl of great value and worth to God. The value of
something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it.
may be thinking, "Well that's okay for my friend or family member, but
I'm not worthy; I've messed up too badly; I'm filthy; I'm too broken".
I could go on and on, but I believe you get the idea. All of us were
enemies of God. In fact, Romans 5:10, in the New Century Version of the
Bible, states: "While we were God's enemies, He made friends with us
through the death of His Son. Surely, now that we are His friends, He
will save us through His Son's life." This is an incredibly wonderful
verse. Jesus died while we were still hating Him. Dying for a friend shows
great love, but how many of us would die for an enemy? Not many!
know it's difficult to think of God loving you, especially when you read
words that are all inclusive like "the world" in John 3:16. Truthfully,
if you were the ONLY one that needed Christ to die for you, He would have
come and done everything He did for the masses, just for you! I am
praying for you to hear what the heart of God is saying to you. You are
HIS Pearl of Great Price. He saw YOU, before you were even born.
Then, Jesus placed so much value in you, that He left heaven. Which means
He chose to leave all He had ever known and experienced, and a truly
perfect world, to come here. And for what? To be humbled and mistreated
in every way imaginable to "buy you back", (that's what redemption
means), from the enemy. He paid the price that you could never pay to
present you to His Father as perfect, blameless and HIGHLY valuable. He
wants you for His very own. He considers everything He paid for you worth
it. He loves you so much that He has done everything, so that nothing
could ever separate you from His love (Romans 8:39).
desire of God the Father, and Jesus the Son, is that you see the value
that they have placed in you. No one can love themselves, or any other, if
they don't see the value. To walk in love for others requires you to truly
love, value, and respect yourself. Note that I'm not talking about
rudeness or haughtiness. Rather, it's the true worth and value God has
given you. You are truly free when you embrace that, and allow others to
be how God created them to be. When you know that the Creator of the
Universe loves you perfectly and accepts you AS YOU ARE, how can you not
treat others with that same perspective. This is why it is so important to
understand that you are a PEARL OF GREAT PRICE.
that you are truly worth everything, and loved dearly by God. Then
recognize that God loves everyone with that same love and value. The
outcome will be a deeper relationship with God. Worship and gratitude
will begin to flow from your heart. You will experience a new-found
freedom to be all that God created you to be; truly free to just enjoy
Copyright 2007 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights
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