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So far Jessie Mejias has created 44 blog entries.

Intimacy With God

Intimacy With God

Written by Sherika Chew, Director of Marriage & Family Ministry

sunset field

I’ve spent most of my Christian walk trying to be a good person—someone who God could be proud of, and that others would respect. But it’s a very heavy burden and, honestly, flat-out stressful to carry.

I had heard it preached a million times that everything I was striving for was already mine and just waiting to unfold for me. Occasionally, I would see seasons of this starting to manifest in my life, but overall, it definitely wasn’t my experience. No matter how many times I quoted Matthew 6:33 and told myself that, if I could just seek Him first, all other things would be added unto me, the concept didn’t fully connect.

It wasn’t until I finally embraced the truth of God’s love for me that I began to fully experience its reality.

This is something with which so many followers of Christ struggle. We know in theory that everything we do should flow from our comprehension of God’s love for us. But how, in practice, do we gain that understanding? How do we make it sink in? How do we move from a surface level of mere acquaintanceship with God to a deeper level where we love Him sacrificially, and desire to know Him and His heart above anything else?

Have you ever met someone who seems to truly know God—who seems to live from a tangible, everyday experience of His presence? Do you ever find yourself wondering why, after years of doing all the “right” things, you are no closer to this level of intimacy? It can be so frustrating to have these realizations and questions. But at the end of the day, we can’t simply manufacture intimacy with God. Either we get it, or we don’t; either it’s genuine, or it’s not.

God Calls Us to Relationships With Others

Recently, I was reading through the book of Genesis, and found myself in a feverish search for direct instructions from God to Adam and Eve to seek communion with Him. God had been confirming to me, over and over, that rest and relationship were key, so it made sense to me that it would have been part of His first set of instructions.

But instead, His instructions were to “be fruitful and multiply.”

“Be fruitful and multiply” sounds like work to me, not relationship. It seemed to contradict my whole new theology of “being” over “doing.” I felt like His instructions should have been more along the lines of “abide in me,” or “know my love.”

I know that rest and work in the Kingdom are not polar opposites the way they are in our human understanding. But having recently been freed from a mindset of striving, it seemed strange for Genesis to come along and tell me there was just one more thing to do. It was, needless to say, very confusing.

Yet a few weeks later, I was talking with a friend who was angry about the way our society seems to blatantly attack the institution of marriage and family. He was expressing how sad he found it that so many young people have decided that marriage is an outdated practice, and that many no longer even desire to have children.

As I began to share in his sentiment and explain to him how much my relationship with my husband and my children has shaped me, God reminded me of a particular Sunday service when I had been feeling bogged down and overwhelmed with condemnation. I remembered asking God why He kept pursuing me when I was obviously such a mess.

He had answered by reminding me of the birth of my first daughter, which was literally a near-death experience for me; there were many complications, and it was terrifying and painful. And yet it was entirely worth it. So worth it, in fact, that when I was surprised with the news of a second pregnancy, I was willing to do it all over again. Even now that my children are teenagers, and even after having experienced the lovely and not-so- lovely ups and downs of parenting teenagers, I would still do it all again.  Parenting my children has been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.

And at that realization, He said, “This is how I love you, Sherika.”

And somehow it all made sense.

The way I instinctively want my children to know, do, and have more than I did as a child helps me understand why God is so determined to write His purpose all over my life. The way I desire for my children be my legacy and carry my likeness helps me understand why He wants me to bear His image and show His glory in the earth. I’m willing to lay down everything for my children; how much more would God do this for me?

How His Love Changes Us

I began to wonder: what if God’s command to be fruitful and multiply was inherent in His command to know His love? What if God called Adam and Eve into relationship with one another so they would have this example of intimacy with which to respond to Him?

Is it possible that Satan knows what would happen if we ever fully allowed God to guide how we walk out our relationships with each other? What if bitterness and unforgiveness were not only direct attacks against our relationships, but efforts to keep us from fully experiencing the Father’s heart, and from understanding true relationship with Him?

Loving the Father is a direct result of understanding and receiving His love for us. We only love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). But more often than not, we simply don’t get it. Is it possible that we struggle so much with this because the examples God has given us are all broken? God’s desire is that we experience His love within the context of community in our churches and families and friendships. Is it possible that the more we are able to, like God, give and receive sacrificial and unconditional love with the people in our lives, the more we would know exactly how much the Father loves us? Would we be able to genuinely love Him back?

Maybe God didn’t demand intimacy in the way that we understand demands. Maybe, just maybe, buried deep within His first command to us, we can find the tools we need to begin a journey toward understanding true intimacy with Him.

Then intimacy with God would be not forced onto us, or devised out of our own strength. Rather, it would follow that it is naturally birthed into our hearts, allowing our lives to be fruitful and multiply in ways we could never imagine without Him.

Is the Lord calling you to new levels of intimacy with Him? How could that change your spiritual walk, and your life? If you’re looking for new ways to connect with God, consider signing up for the 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice class, which Sherika will be leading, starting Aug. 31, 2017.

You can also make a prayer counseling appointment with Finding Home Institute today. To schedule an appointment, email us at (preferred) or call (571) 393-1278. You will receive a response in no later than 1 business day.

Who is God for You?

Who is God for You?

Written by Jessie Mejias, FHI Founder and Director

looking up to lightThis year, the theme of identity seems to be at the forefront in the Body of Christ. It’s true that knowing who we are and understanding our true identity in Christ is life-changing. But it is vital that we also know whose we are, because knowing who we are starts with knowing our God.

We know that God made us in His image:

Genesis 1:26
Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.

Therefore, it is by getting a glimpse of Him and His character that we begin to understand who He has intended us to be.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

When we look in the mirror, Jesus is who we want to see. But if we don’t know Him or His nature, we won’t know what we are looking for. If we don’t know what we are looking for, how will we know it’s Him when we see Him?

Have you ever asked yourself what you would see if you saw Jesus when you looked in the mirror? Would you see fear, rejection and weakness? Or would you see confidence, peace, and strength?

Colossians 3:1-4

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Emphasis mine)

When we know who He is, and when we can look at ourselves and see Jesus, we are looking from His point of view. It is when we believe that our old selves have died and that our life is hidden in Christ that we can start to do so. We will then begin to fully see and understand every attribute that He has.

The more we look upon those attributes, the more we will live into them.

If, when we see Jesus, we see someone who knew who He was at all times, it follows that we will also know who we are at all times. If we see someone who had quiet confidence and strength, we too will have quiet confidence and strength. We are to cast our gaze on Him so that we may allow His attributes that are already in us to grow, and to exude.

As Mark Virkler of Communion with God Ministries has said, whatever you look at, you become. So God is calling us to stop looking in the mirror just to see frail human beings; rather, He is calling us to see the King of kings and the Lord of lords within us, and to start to live into His attributes.

Psa. 17:15
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

1 John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

* * *

So, in this quest to know God, where do we start?

Naturally, we look to the Word, but not using man’s reasoning. We look to the Word through the lens of the Holy Spirit’s anointed reasoning and revelation. When we do, we realize that there is so much to know about God! As we read through the scriptures, we can ask God what He wants us to know about Himself. We can spend time simply listening to what He says about Himself.

When we are babies, our parents meet our needs by being everything to us: providers, comforters, and unconditional lovers, among other things. As we get older, wise parents become different things for us: coaches, cheerleaders, and eventually, counselors. And just as our earthly parents do, God meets our needs through each stage of our lives through the many facets of His character.

In my recent journaling, I have felt God drawing my attention to several specific facets of who He is—facets that I need in my life at this moment. He has been showing me that:

  • He is our Intercessor
  • He is our King
  • He is love
  • He is good
  • He is the Prince of Peace

This, by no means, exhausts the attributes of God, but it shows me where I am to set my sights in this season as I look in the mirror and seek His face.

In my next series of articles, I will be exploring some of these aspects of God. In the meantime, I would encourage you to ask God who He is for you in this season. It’s as simple as asking Him, “Lord, what do you want me to know about you?” He may give you one word that you can dig into by looking up its definition. He may give you a scripture that you can meditate upon and memorize. He may give you a contemporary picture that symbolizes that aspect of His character. He very well may give you all of the above! However He speaks to you, allow the knowledge of Him to sink into your spirit, and let it be what you see when you look into the mirror—and see His reflection.

How has God been revealing Himself to you in this season? How could seeking Him in community move you along on your journey? There are so many opportunities to explore your connection with the Lord this fall at FHI, starting with the 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice and Elijah House School of Ministry courses, to a seminar on healing from trauma, to our inaugural conference about every believer’s Identity and Destiny. To learn more and register, visit our Upcoming Events page!

7 Ways to Correct Children Out of Love, Not Anger

7 Ways to Correct Children Out of Love, Not Anger

Written by Jessie Mejias, FHI Founder and Director


Even parents who wouldn’t dream of disciplining their children through physical abuse can be apt to using another of equally dangerous abuse: verbal abuse.

In our society, it is so common for us to correct our children by yelling at them, and by using harsh words and negative labels. This type of abuse is just as damaging to a child’s tender personality as physical abuse is to his frail body.

Harsh, angry words give a child a spirit of rejection, and deep wounds to the spirit that can only be healed when his or her parent asks for and receives forgiveness, and follows up by making a real commitment to show love through both word and deed. Otherwise, negative labels can become self-fulfilling prophecies that children receive as facts and set out to prove as true. Only reinforcing the truth from God’s point of view can counteract this destructive pattern.

Another consequence of parents’ angry words is the way they teach children to speak in anger to one another. As a mother of two, I often found that harshness and anger were the order of the day when it came to my children. I rarely spoke to them in a soft voice; I thought that if I didn’t yell, they wouldn’t hear me. And I became even angrier when I started noticing how my oldest son would lash out at his younger brother.

When I brought my son’s problem to the Lord in prayer, His response was, “He will stop being angry when you stop being angry.”

Me, angry? I was stunned, caught unaware of the effect I’d had.

I asked the Holy Spirit to enlighten me as to the source of my anger, and began to put down my thoughts about it on paper. In writing, I realized that my anger had nothing to do with my children. My anger was a result of the hurts and frustrations of my life as a divorced, single, working parent. I had neither fully dealt with the pain I felt nor accepted my lot in life. Instead, I let all of it turn into anger, which I took out on the people closest to me—my children.

There was another, more subtle source of anger I found as well, one I was less willing to admit: pride and impatience. I couldn’t allow my children to misbehave. They always had to be at their best; otherwise, how could I go out in public with them? If someone ever pointed out to me an area in which my children could improve, it hurt me immensely—both in my pride, and in the secret core of guilt that I nursed at feeling that I was not the best mother these boys could have. I also had to acknowledge that my own mother had disciplined me out of anger, and I had unconsciously passed the same along to my children.

I am so thankful that, as a follower of Christ, I have a heavenly Father to whom I can look for an example of a perfect parent, and from whom I can draw the strength to be the best parent I can be. His Word is our guide to raising our children. He demonstrates infinite patience and understanding toward us as He gently and consistently guides us in our growth.

God wants all parents to have this same attitude toward their children. Fathers are especially singled out in the Bible in being told to guard against anger, since their children’s view of their heavenly Father often mirrors their relationship with their earthly father. Though it is a challenge, it’s one we can meet with through the power of the Holy Spirit. God uses these parenting challenges to teach us so much.

If you have taken out your anger on your children, the following steps will help you find your way back to a more peaceful path.

1. CONFESS your attitude to the Lord and claim the promise of 1 John 1:9. Ask your children to forgive you for your harsh tone of voice, because odds are good that it was not what you said that was the problem, but how you said it. Enlist your children’s aid in helping you recognize when you are speaking harshly. Not only is this surprisingly effective, but it also helps them practice Ephesians 4:25 (“speak every man truth with his neighbor”) in order to solve problems rather than hold onto hurt feelings.

2. CONCENTRATE on the solution—not the problem. Claim Romans 8:1, that “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Stop accepting the accusations of the enemy, and forgive yourself for past mistakes!

3. CONFRONT the real source of your anger with a mind to resolve it and forsake it. In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus equated anger with the sin of murder. Determine in your heart to not act or speak out of anger. Write out your thoughts and feelings, both as a harmless release and as a means of being objective. If necessary, seek counsel.

4. COMMIT yourself to helping your children see right from wrong while letting them know they are valued. Help them to separate what they do from who they are. Purpose in your heart to take problem areas not as personal slights, but as opportunities to help your children learn and grow socially.

5. COMMUNICATE with your children. Learn from experts what is appropriate for their age in order to have realistic expectations concerning their behavior. Let your children know what you expect from them. Be prepared to repeat over and over again what you want them to do—not what you don’t want them to do. A child’s subconscious only registers the verb when he receives positive instruction. For example, if you tell him, “Don’t forget,” it’s likely he will only remember the “forget” piece of the instruction! Instead, a more positive version would be asking him, “Please remember to…”

Proverbs 15:1 tells us, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” If your tone is matter-of-fact, children will respond with confidence. It may be necessary at times to speak firmly to make sure you’re taken seriously. But if your tone is harsh and angry, children feel unloved and rejected—and anger, rebellion, and stubbornness result. If you notice these problems in your child, start listening to the way you talk to him or her. If your harsh speaking pattern is a learned behavior, realize that you can change now that you recognize the problem.

6. CONSIDER your children’s feelings. Remind yourself that, as much as you love your children, the Lord loves them more. Ask Him to melt your heart for your young ones. Remember: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

7. COMFORT yourself in the Lord. Realize that none of us are born parents; we all have to learn parenting, just like we have to train for our jobs and professions. Give yourself time to learn and room to make mistakes. As you seek to please the Lord by being a good steward of the ones He has entrusted to you, your children will respond, and the Lord will bless your efforts!

Connect with God’s peace and purposes for your family, and find freedom from anger. You can learn how by making a prayer counseling appointment with Finding Home Institute. To schedule an appointment, email us at (preferred) or call (571) 393-1278. You will receive a response in no later than 1 business day.

Fruit Happens

Fruit Happens

Article by Sherika Chew, Prayer Counseling Intern. You can learn more about Sherika and her work with FHI here!

bearing fruit grapesAll week, I’ve been trying to muster up the motivation to write this article. This morning, pressured by a rapidly approaching deadline, I sat down with my laptop determined not to move until something came to me. Staring at the blank screen, I prayed aloud, “Lord, you gotta give me something”.

And… nothing.

I closed my eyes and listened for His voice. I flipped through my Bible, hoping some Scripture would leap off the pages and inspire me. Still nothing.

Just as I was about to give up, I was reminded of something I have had to tell myself over and over again. I have even had to write on my bathroom mirror lest I completely forget. Fruit happens. It just does.

It is not something we in our humanness can produce at will. It is a direct result of a relationship with the Father. Just as a plant’s growth is dependent on the soil in which it is planted, and has absolutely no control over what it can and cannot produce, so it is with us. A plant’s sole job is to receive water and light; then, fruit happens. It just does.

Reminded of this, I got up from my laptop to sit with my Daddy for a while and just receive from Him, with no regard for deadlines or agendas. And as we talked, two Scriptures came to mind.

Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5

[People will]… having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:5

These are two very familiar scriptures that we all know and quote often. But I tried to not let familiarity rob them of their innate truths. The Lord began to tie them together for me and bring them to life, and in doing so challenged me to evaluate myself.

What It Means to Bear Fruit

How often do I attempt to bear fruit with no connection to the vine? How often do I go days or weeks without receiving personal revelation from the Father, and feel fine about it because I still appear godly to others? How often are my prayers laden with requests for God to fulfill my desires or to make my day easier? What would it look like for me to instead, several times a day, go away with Him and just receive His love?

Would that be enough? Do I really believe I would see results in my circumstances?

How much more power would there be in the works that I do, in the words I speak to others, and in the way that I love? How much more fruit would I just “happen” to bear?

Even as I write this, I feel a caution to look closely at these questions–to ask them not because they sound pious, or because acknowledging them makes me feel better about myself, but rather, because I need to really take the time to look at my life. I want to determine if my behavior reflects the concrete belief that I can do nothing without Him.

Does it just sound nice to say? If I am burnt out, is it possible that I am denying the power that is necessary to be able to walk this thing out? Do I sit with Him until love and good works naturally flow out of me? Or do I often go where I have not been sent? Or worse yet, am I so far from His heart I can’t even tell if I am being sent?

If I have learned anything over the past few years, it is that I am a complete mess without Him. I know this cognitively. I think we all know it on some level, but how quickly we forget! The cares of life, our own insecurities, the noise of the world, and the lies of the enemy all bombard us and try to drown out the Father’s voice. But He is most assuredly speaking, and this is the only real burden He has given us: to be diligent in finding that still small voice.

We have to make it our business to sit with it and do nothing else until we can clearly hear it and understand it; until it shapes us, and sets us free; until it, and only it, empowers us to action. Nothing else is required of us. All else will pour out from that relationship. Fruit will inevitably happen. It just will.

Receiving From the True Vine

We are all uniquely created to display a different attribute of the personality and creativity of God, but it is He who expresses it through us. It is He who sets men free. He is who mends the broken hearts, heals the sick, and writes sermons on our hearts; He is the only reason I am writing this now. He is the only reason you are reading this. If He isn’t saying it, it’s not worth being said.

This revelation is freeing for me today. Where are you stressed today? I urge you, right now stop what you are doing and receive from Him. I guarantee you, fruit will happen.

Lord, please help us to remember that we can truly do nothing if we do not abide in you, and that the power to walk out genuine godliness comes from direct relationship to you. May we be brave enough to hide away with you, and humble enough to only move at your command. You are everything. You are enough. Make this real for us, dear Jesus; may we never become so familiar with your Word that we rob of it of its potential to change our lives. Please show us the places that we have already let this happen, and revive our sleeping spirits. Draw us by your spirit to true repentance and daily, moment by moment intimacy with you. Remind us that your voice and spirit are all we have, and nothing else matters. In Jesus’ name.

Continue Your Journey

When we are aligned with God’s heart for us, we give His light back to the world around us. Are you ready to hear what He has in store for you directly from Him? Join FHI this fall for the class 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice, where you can grow in the ways that you personally connect with the Lord. Class starts Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Richmond, VA, and runs for 8 weeks. You can learn more and register here!

Prayer counseling can also help you more fully connect to the True Vine. If you’d like to make an appointment or learn more, email or call 571-393-1278. You will receive a response in no later than 1 business day.

How Grace Can Change Your Life

How Grace Can Change Your Life

Written by Jennifer Weatherly, Communications & Administrative Manager. You can learn more about Jennifer and support her work at FHI here!

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask.

1 John 3:20-21

When your heart speaks, does it ever condemn you, speaking words of criticism and judgment? Have you ever been in a place of having no confidence before God?

Maybe it was after a moment wherein you overreacted—lashed out in anger—in a way that hurt someone you loved. Maybe, in that moment, you realized what you were doing, and barely recognized yourself.

What a strange feeling—one that can send us into a tailspin of hating and berating ourselves.

cave darkness to lightWe’re called to live out of the truth stated in Romans 8:1, that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” But when we only know that truth in our heads, and our hearts can’t take it in, then it won’t make much of a difference in our daily lives.

A pattern of self-condemnation keeps the power of grace from flooding every corner of your life, and from soaking and cleansing everything so the new life God wants for you can take shape. It creates distorted self-images, and distorted views of God, leading to overwrought ideas about the size of our sins.

Overwhelmed By Our Own Sin

It’s true that there are times when we see our sin as smaller than it is, failing to take into account how it hurts others. But more commonly, we tend to see our sin as big—even insurmountable.

This dwarfs God’s grace, and gives Him little to no credence. We devalue the work He has already done to erase the stain of sin.

It’s a mindset that leaves us unbelievably vulnerable to the enemy’s lies. Our self-talk takes a turn that reflects his harshness and cruelty: “I’m worthless.” “I’m unlovable.” “There’s no hope for me to change.”

Yet in his lies, the enemy shows his hand, because they reflect the reality that we do need love, and need to have hope. These deep needs make us human, and are entirely legitimate. But when we choose to believe those lies anyway, we start seeking to meet our own needs, often in illegitimate ways, failing to see that God wants to be the Father who meets our every need.

It’s similar to, for example, being addicted to snacks and junk food. We try to sate real hunger with anything greasy, salty, or sweet—or even too much of something healthful—because we cannot believe or comprehend that normal portions, or the simplicity of plant-based foods, could ever be satisfying enough.

And just as with any addiction, we fall into a cycle of striving to be “better,” while only really spinning our wheels. Like cars stuck in the mud, we get nowhere near where we want to be by attempting perfection. Perfection is impossible, by definition, and when we fail to reach it, the lies rise up once again. Our hearts condemn us once again.

But God, as the verse says, is greater than our hearts, and He knows the truth. The truth is this: His grace is sufficient. And as I heard it recently said, Jesus is not obsessed with your sin. He is obsessed with your health.

Of course He is—He wants us to be well! He wants us to be whole, and spiritually healthy. He wants us to thrive.

So how do we get to a place where our hearts do not condemn us—a place where we can receive and know love, truth, and grace?

Letting Grace Change Your Life

  1. Admit that you have believed a lie

When we are not honest with ourselves, it’s like having peripheral blindness. It makes it easy to fall into certain ditches and ruts, such as self-pity. Coming out of denial is powerful, though, and allows us to see with a wider frame of perspective than before. We need to allow ourselves quiet moments within which we can be vulnerable with ourselves, and with God.

Only when we admit we’ve been lied to can we come closer to receiving the truth.

  1. Ask God for His truth

In your time alone with the Lord, ask the Holy Spirit what the truth is in your specific situation. Trust that He will reveal it to you in a way that your spirit can receive. Odds are, the answer will surprise you—and give you a realization of how deeply you are loved. 

  1. Accept the gift of grace

Grace, by definition, cannot be earned. It is the gift of breathing room—undeserved, but ever welcome. It cannot be adequately explained; it must be experienced. As such, I believe that we are able to accept it when we know what it feels like. Ask to experience—to see—His grace, and in coming to know the capacity and depth of this gift, you can accept it, too.

Grace truly changes everything, and gives us unparalleled freedom—but only if we allow it to, and allow He who knows everything to give us the truth.

Perhaps this quote, from writer and psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan, highlights its power and sums it up best:

“Perhaps it is time to quit seeking change and to begin seeking grace. And when you lean into the embrace, you will discover that your frantic effort to become someone else is replaced by a blessed peace with being you. Finally.”

It truly is that simple, and it’s all you have to do: relax into who He has made you to be. Finally.

Ready to let the power of grace break in and send you on a new journey? You can start by making an appointment for prayer counseling, or joining us for one of our upcoming events. In Richmond, Virginia, Freedom From Anger is a two-hour seminar being held on Saturday, June 17th; the class Prayers That Heal The Heart starts on June 22nd and runs for 8 weeks. You can learn more and register here.

To make a prayer counseling appointment, email or call 571-393-1278. You will receive a response in no later than 1 business day.

Further reading:

“A Manifesto For Grace: How A Radical Embrace Changes Everything,” from Kelly Flanagan’s UnTangled blog

“Do You Believe What God Believes About You?”, from Graham Cooke’s Brilliant Perspectives blog

Forgiveness: the Divine Antidote

Forgiveness: the Divine Antidote

Written by Jessie Mejias, FHI Founder and Director

open hands forgivenessThe most important element of healing is forgiveness. In all the years that I have been receiving and ministering healing, I have never known any lasting healing or deliverance to occur without forgiveness.

Imagine that you had been poisoned, and were slowly dying. Now imagine someone else came to you, telling you that they had the antidote that would completely cure you. But in order to have it, you would have to let the one who poisoned you go free.

What would do? Would you take the antidote, or would you prefer to die rather than let the perpetrator go free?

God has offered us an antidote to hurt and anger, and it is 100% guaranteed to work. But only if you take it as prescribed.

What is that antidote? Forgiveness.

Choose Forgiveness and Choose Life

The choice that we face when we talk about forgiveness is simple, but serious: we can choose death or life. We can take the antidote that seems so hard to swallow, and live, letting our offender go. Or we can keep the offender in prison, and die slowly of our own bitterness each day.

When we look at what God’s word tells us to do, this choice seems even simpler:

Ephesians 4:32
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (New King James Version)

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. (Amplified Bible)

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. (The Message)

Why Do We Need to Forgive?

Forgiveness always starts with God’s forgiveness of us. It is continued in His command that we forgive one another. And it is completed when He enables us, by His grace, to release those whom we hold captive through anger and unforgiveness.

There is something about the effect of forgiveness that ripples into the heavenly realms. It has the power to break spiritual bondages. Through forgiveness, anger can be conquered, and physical healing can be reached. It is why Jesus died on the cross: not only so we could be forgiven, but also so we could turn around and forgive others.

Can you think of a better model for forgiveness than that? Even in death, Christ exemplified what forgiveness can do. On the cross, when He was forsaken by His Father, still He forgave those who crucified Him, and then turned to offer forgiveness to the thief on the cross beside Him.

He knew that with forgiveness comes freedom—for ourselves and for others.

This is the greatest reason of all to forgive. When we fail to forgive, the result is more than just bitterness. We also remained tied spiritually to the people who offended us—the very people from whom we want to be free! When we do not forgive, it is like steering a car exactly where you do not want to go. It effectively makes those who hurt us our focus, and the thought of what was done carries the same fresh feeling of hurt as it did the day we were first wounded, even if was twenty years ago.

This is nothing less than living as a slave to the past.

When We Don’t Forgive

When we have been hurt, we’re angry. We want revenge, and for those who have hurt us to suffer the way that we have. Though these are our emotions and thoughts rather than actions, they go deeper than that, because the core of anger is always the same: murder.

But what does this mean? It means that deep down, we actually believe those who hurt us deserve nothing short of death for what they have done. In our brokenness, we think that if they were dead, we would no longer have to deal with them.

As long as we harbor these feelings of unforgiveness and revenge, we are no better than murderers who sit on death row. This is the profound meaning of what Jesus meant when He equated anger and hatred with the sin of murder (Matthew 5:21).

But oddly, though we have this desire to never see our offenders again, not forgiving them means we actually hold them closer than before. Anger and unforgiveness are like invisible chains that bind us to those who hurt us.

John 20:23
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

But when we forgive, something breaks in the heavenlies. The chains snap off of us, and they also snap off of those we have been holding with our unforgiveness. We are set free to finally walk away, and to no longer feel the power of their hurt. They lose their power over us. We can think about them without feeling a fist tightening in our chest or a constriction in our throat. We are really free! And God is now also able to work in the other person’s life because we are no longer strangling them with our judgment.forgiveness cross

How Can We Forgive?

True forgiveness only occurs by the grace of God. We need the Holy Spirit to show us how and what we are holding against those who hurt us, and to show us that our part is to forgive. When we forgive, we let go of our need to control, and let God give us new life. And He rejoices, because on the day that we forgive, we take one more giant step to becoming conformed to the image of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have to start by first choosing to let go of the desire for revenge; then, by asking for the Lord’s help. There are so many ways He can intercede to help us. One of the most effective, I’ve found, is the 9-Step Prayer, which you can find at the end of this article [1].

In all of this, we cannot forget to forgive God (because after all, He let it happen) and ourselves for our part in the sin of unforgiveness, in which we set ourselves up as judge and jury.

A Lifestyle of Forgiveness

As long as we are in these earthly bodies, we are going to face hurts. If we choose not to deal with hurt properly as soon as we recognize it, it can become lodged in our hearts and fester. But when we keep up a close relationship with the Lord and listen to Him daily, His Holy Spirit will always be faithful to show us when we are holding onto unforgiveness. The Lord can even reveal unforgiveness to us through our dreams if we pay attention.

As soon as we realize that we have been hurt, we can swiftly respond by making the choice to forgive our offenders, release them from our judgment, and ask the Lord to bless them. If you feel like you are unable to make this choice, or are blocked in some way, then you may need healing from a painful memory or experience. This kind of healing happens when we invite Jesus to show us where He was and what He was doing when we faced such traumatic experiences; doing so allows Him to bring truth to our hearts.

Forgiveness and the healing of painful memories go hand in hand. Sometimes, choosing forgiveness can remove a block to the healing of a memory; other times, healing the memory removes a block to forgiveness. I have seen both of these happen in prayer counseling.

In the first scenario, when people are having trouble seeing Jesus in their memories, choosing to forgive the offenders in question completely removes the blinders. They can then really see Jesus in the scene and receive His healing truth. In the second case, when the Lord begins to show people where He was and what He was doing, He’ll often light up their understanding with how He feels about the offender, too. This offers an enlightening change in perspective, and opens the doors to a new willingness to forgive.

The Results of Forgiveness

Whom the Son has set free is free indeed. Forgiveness is the path the Lord has chosen to set His people free.

Through forgiveness, we can have peace, hope and joy in our hearts, but there are other benefits, too. Forgiveness is the means of healing deep wounds to our spirits, thus making the way for healing of our bodies of physical ailments that may have come in through hurt and unforgiveness.

Forgiveness also paves the way for deliverance from demonic oppression. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, and he uses whatever is already within us to accomplish his evil purposes. But when we forgive, we remove that foothold, that legal ground for him to attack us.

Luke 11:4
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.

Forgiveness. It is the antidote to hurt, and the balm that heals all wounds. It is the simple yet powerful solution, like the tweezer that pulls out the thorn from the angry lion’s paw. Forgiveness: it is God’s chosen way for us, and we can choose to follow it to a place of real freedom.

[1] The 9-Step Prayer is a great tool for helping us walk through the steps to forgiveness. It is from the book Finding Freedom Through Forgiveness by Jean C. Wulf.

  1. Forgive me for the anger and resentment I feel toward You, Lord; my parents; my siblings; my spouse; my children; all those who have caused me to feel __________.
  2. Forgive me for judging You, Lord; my parents; my siblings; my spouse; my children; who __________.
  3. Stir Your grace within me that I might forgive You, Lord; my parents; my siblings; my spouse; my children; all of those who made me feel __________.
  4. Stir Your grace within me that I might forgive the debt I feel I am owed because of the wrong that was done to me.
  5. Stir Your grace within me that I might release the sense of entitlement I feel to __________.
  6. Forgive me for my pride in my woundedness and struggle that feels as if it is more than others have had to endure.
  7. Stir Your grace within me that I might forgive myself for being caught in these judgments.
  8. Lord, destroy the fruit of these judgments in my life and my family’s life even for future generations.
  9. By Your grace, Lord, enable me to desire Your blessing to be manifest in the lives of all those who have hurt me.

When we pray this, we make the choice to forgive, to release the offender from our judgment, and to bless him or her. Do not leave out any of these steps. In my ministry, however, I have added a step. We bring the unforgiveness, bitterness and judgment to death on the cross, asking the Lord to destroy these at their root and then replace them with whatever He wants to give to one who is forgiving. Then I ask the Lord to show the one who is doing the forgiving a picture of what that transaction, trading the unforgiveness for His blessing, looks like.

Forgiveness in Action: Upcoming Events

How can forgiveness help you on your healing journey? We have two upcoming opportunities where you can find out. Join FHI for Prayers That Heal The Heart, a weekly class in Richmond, VA, starting on Thursday, June 22nd; and Freedom From Anger, a half-day seminar in Richmond, VA, on Saturday, June 17th.

You can also make a prayer counseling appointment with Finding Home Institute. You can email us at (preferred) or call (571) 393-1278, and will receive a response in no later than 1 business day.

A Time For Redemption

A Time For Redemption

Written by Cassandra Matondo, FHI student and volunteer video producer

redemption“Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Jesus’s prayer as He hung on the cross was a supplication for forgiveness, but it was also a plea for mercy and extended time. Time, so more people could come to hear the Word, confess, repent, and know the Father through Jesus Christ.

Biblical scholar and commentator Warren Wiersbe has offered insightful thoughts about this verse:

“We must not infer from His prayer that ignorance is a basis for forgiveness, or that those who sinned against Jesus were automatically forgiven because he prayed. Certainly both the Jews and the Romans were ignorant of the enormity of their sin, but that could not absolve them. The law provided a sacrifice for sins committed ignorantly, but there was no sacrifice for deliberate presumptuous sin. Our Lord’s intercession postponed God’s judgment on the nation of Israel for almost forty years, giving them additional opportunities to be saved.”

Certainly, God’s judgment could have befallen the people of Israel over two thousand years ago. But our Lord prayed, and there were forty years between the His death and the destruction of the nation of Israel.

Over two thousand years have passed since Jesus’s crucifixion, and I believe that King Jesus is in heaven right now, still praying this prayer over all the people on Earth—those who know Him, and those who don’t. He asks that God the Father, in His mercy, would extend time for more and more people to not only understand the enormity of sin, but also the bigger enormity of forgiveness and love available to each of us, all because of the great sacrifice made by Jesus Christ.

He is the one who makes “redeeming the time” possible, as Paul puts it in Ephesians 5. He makes space for this opportunity to find freedom in His love with each new day.

My prayer is this:

King Jesus, thank you that, when you were on the cross, with all the weight of the world on your shoulders, you were thinking of us. Thank you for taking the punishment for sins committed both ignorantly and deliberately. I pray that we would experience your loving mercy, and that more and more people would experience the same.

In your holy name,


Introducing Conference Speaker Sandra Sellmer-Kersten

Sandra photo1We’re excited to introduce Sandra Sellmer-Kersten, who will be speaking and teaching at FHI’s inaugural conference in October 2017!

Sandra served on staff with Elijah House Ministries (USA) for nine years under John and Paula Sandford, traveling extensively and carrying the message of sanctification and transformation. Sandra now works with The House of Nacham Ministries, Elijah House New Zealand, Elijah House USA, and other Elijah House ministries around the world.sandra sellmer kersten

Her husband, Peter Kersten, attended Bible School and Ministry Training in Brisbane, Australia; successfully pioneered a church in Blenheim, NZ for six years; and moved to Hawke’s Bay in 1994 where he started Kersten Building Recyclers.

Peter and Sandra married in 2011, and since that time have traveled and ministered together as much as possible. Sandra and Peter move powerfully in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and minister with gentleness and compassion.

Sandra and Peter now travel together to minister to, train and equip others. They share a passion for prayer ministry, desiring that people be healed and set free from unresolved trauma, pain, shame, and sinful habit structures and patterns, so that they can walk in honor and dignity as children of the King– fully released into their true identities and destinies.

Celebrate Freedom on Good Friday

Celebrate Freedom on Good Friday

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and will not be judged, but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24 (NIV)

the cross good fridayAs we approach Easter, we’re reminded that the Resurrection is at the heart of the healing process that is the journey to freedom.

John Sandford of Elijah House Ministries puts it this way: there are two sides to healing. Bringing the old things to death—Sanctification—and bringing something new to life—Transformation.

Without the cross, there would be no forgiveness of sins or reconciliation with God. Without the Resurrection, we could not rise to new life in Christ. One side cannot exist without the other.

Let’s start off this day, Good Friday, by meditating on not only the new life the Resurrection brings to us, but also the power of the cross. Because there’s a power in letting the old self pass away so the new self—the true self—can emerge victoriously. That power comes only from the love of the Christ.

This Easter, put it on your heart to start moving towards the renewal and the freedom He has provided for you.

“It Is What It Is, Man”

‘It Is What It Is, Man’

Guest post by FHI student Kristen Wind, who lives in Richmond, Virginia but is originally from Perth, Australia. This is about her recent visit home. Article originally posted on her blog.

When people ask me how I feel about living away from home, I don’t always know how to answer that question. I love my life in Church Hill in Richmond, Virginia, alongside a husband who is sweet and kind, yet strong and wise, and who loves me and our boys with such fullness and humility. I love our friends, our community, our spiritual family and the ways we feel God is active here. After much prayer and consideration, we believe that this is where we are supposed to be.

it is wellDay to day, I feel full, content, happy and confident that we are following the path God has laid out for us. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today had a handsome Southern boy not swept me off my feet and moved me here to the other side of the world.

However, moving to the other side of the world has not always been a fairy tale. It has painfully stripped away many of the false comforts and “band-aids” that formed my identity and kept me chugging along apart from Jesus. Over time, I’ve come to discover who I really am and to Whom I belong — and that my identity, peace and happiness are not based on circumstances, beauty, my family, material things, intelligence, popularity, pleasing people, keeping up appearances, or what I do. Rather, it is firmly rooted in Christ Jesus. I no longer feel tossed about.

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
Ecclesiastes 2:11

BUT… the pain of saying goodbye to my family after every visit to Perth never gets any easier to handle.

I’ve lived in the US for seven years now, and we recently arrived home from our latest trip to Perth. When we come home, I normally “soldier on,” trying to switch off Australia and jump straight back into life as quickly as I can.

This time was different.

At 4 AM on the Monday morning after we returned, I was wide awake, completely undone, anxious and fearful about facing the day. My “soldiering on” plan was not really working to push through the jet lag. It had been a few days since I’d really slept. Frustrated, and feeling hopeless, it didn’t seem like my prayers were being answered, or that God’s grace was meeting me. All that seemed real was that I had three sleepless boys, battled intense and nauseating migraines the day before, and didn’t know how I would make it through the day.

As I said, my philosophy is typically to just get on with it — or, as my brother Rhys would say, “It is what it is, man.” But I felt so exhausted, afraid, and heartsick.

Enter in the sweet nudge of the Holy Spirit saying, “What exactly is it that you want to invite me into? What are you not acknowledging? What hurt do you want me to touch? I can’t help you if you are not willing to acknowledge what’s going on and what you’re feeling.”

It wasn’t even on my radar, but all of a sudden I knew.  I heard from deep within myself: “I wish my mum were here right now. She would know just how to help, just what to do with the boys. I miss my family.” And I just starting crying for hours.

I don’t think I had ever allowed myself to feel the weight of these things before. But I was held by the sweetness of a God who feels our pain, cares about our feelings and hurts, captures and cares about every tear, Who understands our feelings better than we do, and weeps with us. In that moment, I knew that it was safe to feel, because I knew to Whom I could take those feelings.

That moment turned into another opportunity to knock down some walls I had built around my heart, to release some emotions I had buried deep for fear of their pain, and to simply say, “Pull me a little closer, Lord, and meet me where I am today.”

He can only meet us when we first acknowledge that we need to be met. He knows what to do with our tears, fears, weaknesses, and emotions. He sees it all through the eyes of love.

“I don’t understand the mystery of Grace— only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”
– Anne Lamott

And in that moment He left me with a couple of go-to words for the days ahead.

That “God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). That “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave or forsake you (Joshua 1:5).

When we are at our most raw, vulnerable, ugly, we need to pause and say, “Pull me a little closer Lord.”

I don’t know why I ended up here on the other side of the world, but… “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

He has been so faithful to provide for us where we have been planted. In the middle of the tears, the sleep deprivation, and long nights watching the sun come up, I now can’t help but feel thankful and grateful. That is something that can only make sense in the Kingdom of God. He always shows up where we weren’t even looking for Him.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord while I am here in the land of the living.
Psalm 27:13

So how do I answer the question, “What is it like living so far away from your family?” It really hurts, and I miss them, and there are moments like these I especially wish my mum were here. BUT GOD!
God is real.
God is good.

That truth has left me with some food for thought, and crucial questions for how to deal with these feelings moving forward. What emotions do we tend to strive to not acknowledge or feel? And how can coming to a place of acknowledging them actually set us free?

We all have fears and worries. But bringing God into those fears can change everything, and He can show you the truth of His love in any situation. Learn practical ways to pray through and deal with your fears and anxieties on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at FHI’s Freedom From Fear seminar. 

You can register today at

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