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IDOLS

Idols

Romans 1:22-26 NASB

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

I often wonder why people often fall back into the same sin pattern over and over again. As I was preparing to share with my home church this week, this was one of the things I was thinking about. One of the reasons I believe people who take the name of Jesus cannot seem to ever shake their sin patterns is quite simple: they have chosen to not tear down the idols in their lives!

What is an idol? An idol is anything that stands between us and God…anything that we place in importance above or before Him. An idol is built when we exchange the Truth of God for a lie of the enemy. Quite simply, an idol is a false god!

Whether we like it or not, we have all worshiped idols at one time or another in our lives - even as believers in and followers of Christ! Our God has a lot to say about this:

Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19:4 NASB

You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 26:1 NASB

You shall have no other gods before Me.

Deuteronomy 5:7 NASB

Idols are things we have to build and raise up and exalt by our own devices! When we worship an idol, it is one we have built for our self! From my point of view, having walked out of idol worship in my own life, the biggest idol I ever erected and exalted over Jesus was - me.

As my friend Joanna pointed out, the first letter of the word idol is ‘I’. And as my wife pointed out, the first two letters form the initials ID - identity! Since the enemy is not omniscient, he simply plants the seed of self-focus and walks away leaving us to do his dirty work for him. The enemy of God always leads us to build idols in our lives to replace our need for relationship with Almighty God.

We often build idols because, like the children of Israel, we want to worship something we can see. Something tangible. Never mind the miracles of God like that pesky pillar of fire or that protective cloud or the fresh manna provided every morning or water from a rock or - you get the idea! Our God is bigger than merely seeing Him with our eyes!

Just as He commanded the Israelites to tear down and destroy their idols, we must do the same unless we want to keep wandering around in the wilderness of habitual sin for the next forty or so years! When I got tired of trudging through my own wilderness of sin, the Lord led me to the place of tearing down the idols on my own life…but first, He had to point them out to me.

When I left my old life and identity and replaced them with the new life and identity I found in Christ, the Lord led me to many idols I had erected through the years. Those idols? Anything that attached me to my old identity and way of thinking. Soul ties. Things that tied the old ways of thinking to my feet like weights that dragged me to a standstill in my faith walk. When He revealed them to me, He directed me to not simply rid them from my life - but to destroy them if possible!

My idols were things like pictures from my past that connected me to sinful relationships. Reminders of the old way of thinking. I burned all the pictures of me from those sinful relationships.

My idols were gifts and mementos that had been given to me by those I had been in immoral relationship with. I ripped them to shreds and burned them.

My idols were clothes that I had worn that reminded me of certain activities and emotions from my old life. I contemplated giving them away…but decided destruction meant destruction…so I burned them as well.

My idols were emotional relationships - friendships - with people I had sinned with whether physically or emotionally. I cut off all contact with them…even as they derided me and mocked me and said many evil things about me. I had to come to the place where I realized I was not their savior nor was I their redeemer.

My idols were places I had been able to sin in secret. I told others about my propensity to sin in these places in order to help hold myself accountable since I could not legally destroy someone else’s property, LOL!

My idols were old ways of thinking. I had to take those thoughts captive and then trample them under my feet as I replaced them with the Truth of God’s Word.

My idols were vain imaginations for fame. I replaced that idol with making Jesus famous.

My idols were the need to be loved and accepted by men. I replaced this need with my need for God’s love and acceptance…which I continue to receive in wave upon wave of His deep abiding love for me…just because I exist!

My idol was me. I allowed him (me) to be crucified and buried with Christ, replacing my old dead self with the new creation in Christ God raised me to be. And I leave the dead guy dead and buried. I even have a tombstone to prove it!

When we exalt our self above God, we become wise in our own eyes…but God calls this foolishness. The moment we raise our self above God, we effectively raise up our self as an idol, worshiping the creation over the Creator. Idols eventually crumble, one way or the other, because they are not eternal nor are they afforded any real power whatsoever. If we never repent and tear down the idols in our lives, we can never overcome sin. We remain stuck where we are and never truly move on to victory.

How can we walk in freedom when idols separate us from God? How do we tear down the idols in our life?

We repent. Repentance is a good thing because it restores us to right standing with God. Simply put, repentance is agreeing with God. If God calls it sin, we should call it sin.

We renounce the sin. This simply means we formally disown the sin. We take responsibility for our wrong choice and accept God’s Word as the Truth.

We receive the forgiveness of God. To receive Him is to receive all He is. He is love. He is righteous. He is holy. He is All in All. Oh, and while we are at it, we must forgive ourselves!

We realize our identity is in and comes from Him. He is holy, therefore I am holy. He is righteous, therefore I am righteous. He is with me, therefore I am with Him. He is healer, therefore I am called to lead others to healing in and through Jesus Christ. We live our life through the lens of Who God is:

• in our sorrow, He comforts

• in our pain, He gives grace to endure

• in our lack, He provides

• in our wounding, He heals

We recognize that anything can become an idol. My wife can become an idol. My children can become idols. My ministry can become an idol. My work can become an idol. How do I deal with that? I recognize my wife and children, my ministry and vocation, are gifts from the Lord…and I give them back to Him for use in the Kingdom. I am but a steward of such gifts. They do not define me. They remind me of who and Whose I am.

We resume our journey. We get back up from the place we fell and head right back for and to Jesus Christ! It is when we choose to hang on to our idols that our journey becomes stagnant and we walk in constant defeat. Let go of and destroy your idols today…and move on!

Dennis Jernigan

What idols do you worship?

Ephesians 4:21-24 NASB

21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,

22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Thoughts on Persecution

I used to think persecution - real persecution - meant imprisonment or martyrdom. Little did I realize that anything that tries to silence my voice of influence for Christ is, indeed, a form of persecution! That changes everything! Anything that threatens me to try and use fear to silence me is persecution. God has much to say about persecution - and it’s many blessings. But the best news of all? He endures it WITH me!

I have been physically threatened because of my faith. I have been mocked. I have walked through sign-carrying protestors to get to my own concert/ministry gathering. I have been called names. I have shared my story of deliverance on a college campus while a group mocked me the entire time. I have been called names. Been lied about and written about in the blogosphere. Been sneered and jeered at. I’ve been told I am doing more harm than good. I’ve been abandoned by ‘believers’ who told me ‘this is your calling, not mine’. I have been shunned. I have been thrown under the bus by more ‘progressively minded’, more ‘enlightened’ segments of the body of Christ. Through it all, I have determined that I cannot be silent about what God has done for me. Why? If we who have been redeemed do not say what we have been redeemed from, how can those in the same bondage ever going to know freedom is possible?

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,

Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

Psalm 107:1-2 NASB

Another reason I continue to share in spite of the ever-increasing darkness in our culture is knowing that nothing stands forever - not the threats, not the wisdom of man, not humanism - except the Word of God! So, I choose to stand upon the Word in spite of the culture!

The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.

Isaiah 40:8 NASB

Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we WILL experience persecution. It may be as simple as pushback for a simple post of faith we make on Facebook. It may be as harsh as someone threatening us with violence. It may be facing possible censorship or the threat of imprisonment. It may come in the form of mockery or insults or shunning. But follow Christ and it WILL come. We might as well get ready for it.

Paul Nyquist, in his book Prepare: Living in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, says, “Because of our relative inexperience, we Americans tend to have a limited view of persecution. We typically think of it [persecution] in physical terms (imprisonment, martyrdom), and as such, may question whether our experience truly qualifies as persecution. But this definition is too narrow. The biblical term suggests a broader view including aggression, oppression, and violence affecting body, mind, and emotion…Simply put, persecution is the societal marginalization of believers with a view of eliminating their voice of influence.”

Lisa Cherry, in her book Like a Flood, provides a much-needed tool for the body of Christ as we face this present darkness. I would encourage you to read this book to prepare your heart for what’s coming…to prepare your heart to stand firm and strong through the onslaught. Below is a link to a list of 100 Scriptures dealing with persecution. I would encourage you to read through them and allow the Holy Spirit to use them to strengthen your heart and mind.

http://www.openbible.info/topics/persecution

Dennis Jernigan

To get your own copy of Like a Flood, go to http://frontlinefamilies.org/home/product/likeaflood/

To get your own copy of Prepare: Living in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, go to https://www.amazon.com/Prepare-Living-Increasingly-Hostile-Culture/dp/0802412564

Dennis Jernigan

My Choice

My Choice

Much of my freedom has come in realizing I always have a choice in any given situation. Hear me: I understand I may not get to choose the circumstances of my life…and I don’t even get to choose what I’m tempted by…but I ALWAYS have a choice as to how I will respond to the circumstances and temptations of my life.

I used to think God couldn’t love me…until I was confronted that either He is love or He is not…and that He either loves me or He doesn’t. Freedom flooded in the very moment I decided - changed the way I thought - and chose and accepted His love for me rather than reject that love.

I used to think God had abandoned me when thinking about how my grandmother died when I was 13. She had been a refuge for me, so when she was gone, I felt abandoned. I chose to believe I would be alone…until I realized I had a choice in the way I responded to her death. I chose to believe I would see her again because of her faith in Jesus. I chose to allow the good memories of our 13 years together to be my focal point rather than the fact that she was forever gone from her physical body. Freedom came as a result of my choice.

Regarding the temptation of same sex attraction, I always had a choice as to whether or not I would respond to that temptation by giving in to said temptation…but chose to believe God’s Word is true and chose to change my way of thinking along with my point of view. Rather than allowing the temptation to define me and draw me into sin, I chose to use the very temptation to draw me to intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. In the process, He began to renew my mind…and I began to allow Him to define me. My choice.

Throughout my life, I have example after example of circumstances and temptations that have presented themselves, and example after example of how making a simple choice proved to be the difference between freedom or bondage.

I choose to forgive those who mock me and try to wound me emotionally.

I choose to believe the best about people.

I choose to bless those who curse me.

I choose to see the storms of life as opportunities to experience God’s grace.

I choose to allow God to take even the things Satan means for evil and use them for my good and His glory.

I choose to be victor rather than victim.

I choose to see every situation from God’s point of view.

I choose.

It’s my choice. Always…

Dennis Jernigan

June 17, 2016

Just a Thought on Feelings

Just a Thought on Feelings

Why in the world would anyone allow the way they feel to define their entire being? I sometimes feel like lashing out in anger. Yet, I don’t - and I do not call myself an angry person just because I felt that way.

I sometimes feel like taking something that does not belong to me. Yet, I do not call myself a thief just because I felt like stealing something.

I sometimes feel like a loser. Yet, I do not allow that feeling to define who I am as a person.

Every feeling I have comes as a result of something I have thought. Each feeling I have is attached to a thought I have had. What I have learned is that if I change the way I think, I can change the way I feel. Some have told me I am simply brainwashing myself…and I have to agree. I have allowed Truth to wash away the lies I have thought about myself and have replaced those lies with right thinking about who and Whose I am. And guess what? My feelings have followed suit!

Don’t get me wrong. This has not always been easy. It is a battle…but a battle worth fighting! Though I have fallen at times, I just keep getting back up. The only failure is the person who falls and chooses to not get back up.

I do not define myself. My Maker gets to do that. I seek Jesus. He reveals the lies I believe and shows me the Truth. It is up to me to put off those lies and to replace them with the Truth. A depth of freedom has come as a result of this mind renewal that I never thought possible. This realization keeps me seeking Jesus for more! It has afforded me something the world seems to think is impossible. Self-control.

Just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is…and it - that feeling - certainly does not define who I am.

DJ

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2 NASB

I Stand - a new worship song

I Am With You - a song of deliverance

Leaky Roof

Leaky Roof

December 30, 2015

Dennis Jernigan

During the weekend after Christmas 2015, our area was inundated with record-level rainfall for three days without end. Creeks overflowed. Roads were closed. And our roof began to leak…

We first noticed the seeping and leaking from beneath the baseboards in the basement - the basement we had just had sealed and made leak-proof a few months before. As the family used the shop vac to remove the deep puddles and manned the mop brigade to finish up, a new leak developed in the basement fireplace…

As the crew began dealing with this new leak, a cry came from upstairs. “The French doors are leaking and the floor under the piano is soaked!”

With the mop crew now fighting the leak battle on three fronts, my wife called from the bedroom, “The fireplace in our room is leaking!” Frustrating to say the least…

To top it all off, I could not physically help due to having just had surgery on my shoulder. This made me feel extra frustrated because I could do nothing to help in this battle, leaving my wife and children and children’s spouses to fight the good fight without me. The enemy began to have a hay day with my thoughts.

“Wow, you can’t even fix a simple leak. What kind of man are you?”

“Your wife and children think you’re lazy.”

“You are useless.”

As I mulled over the thoughts bombarding my mind, it dawned on me that I was allowing in a spiritual sense what was taking place in the physical realm. My mind had sprung a few leaks. A mind-leak is a lie I have allowed to penetrate the roof and walls of Truth God has built there through the years. What did I do to mop up the mess and seal the leaks in my mind?

Recognize the lies. Put off the lies. Put on the Truth. Keep declaring the Truth in spite of the rain of lies the enemy bombards my mind with. Leak seals. Mind is at rest. Peace floods in where lies once reigned!

The Truth? Whether I can fix a physical leak or not, I am no less a man than the macho he-man who can fix anything.

The Truth? My wife and children served me and blessed me and honored me by taking up the slack left by my infirmity. Love conquered even the physical leaks!

The Truth? Though physically weak, I became a prayer warrior during the three day deluge, asking the Lord to bless my wife and children and asking for the rain to stop. In the process, I saw my children walk in maturity and my wife not feel so alone in the great leak battle of 2015!

As with physical leaks, the leaky lies of the enemy are best battled with others on our side. That is why I surround myself with people who will tell me the Truth and help me pinpoint lies I believe. As with physical leaks, I take the necessary steps to mop up the mess left by lies by putting on the Truth. As with physical leaks, I take the necessary steps to ensure they are sealed properly…once again, with the Truth.

Got leaks in your thought-life today? Get Truth!

Dennis Jernigan

Tips for repairing the leaks of thought that come from time to time:

Do not call yourself something your heavenly Father does not call you

I use a simple phone app called MoodKit to help me keep my mind stayed on Christ. Within this app there is a tool called Mood Tracker. It allows me to assess my mood on a scale of one to ten. If my mood is anything less than a ten, I immediately ask myself and the Holy Spirit what lies, if any, I am believing. I then put off that lie and replace it with the Truth…and generally, my mood lightens within minutes!

Put on the Word of God with verses that help remind you of the Truth, like Isaiah 26:3 NASB which says, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”

My Sanctuary

My Sanctuary

December 29, 2015

Dennis Jernigan

What is a sanctuary? A sanctuary is a place of refuge or safety. Some people find refuge in self-medication. Some people find refuge in living their lives to please others. Some people find refuge in their bank account. Some in fame. Some in sexual gratification outside God’s boundaries. All such sanctuaries eventually fail. How do I know? Because, to some degree, I have tried them all in the past and each left me feeling abandoned and alone in the wreckage left in their wakes. Thanks be to God I found THE Sanctuary.

He is Jesus. He is Emmanuel. He is God WITH us. Period. As I discovered the safest place in the universe - the presence of God - and put my faith in Him, I have never been disappointed. He has been and will be with me in the very midst of each and every situation and circumstance I encounter! My relationship with Him is the very essence of that sanctuary I always longed for. Relationship is the conduit of life. As I delve deeper into that relationship with God, I am overwhelmed at the layers and facets yet to be discovered! Here is a recent case in point.

On December 15th of this year, I underwent shoulder surgery. I thoroughly enjoy Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and look forward to blessing my children and grandchildren during the holidays. This year, due to the surgery and recovery period, the celebration would be quite different…or so I thought.

A few days following my surgery, I was finally able to shower and feel more human. It took me awhile to go through the process of bathing and dressing myself with only one functioning arm, which meant I was late to the family conversation in the music/worship room that morning. As I walked into the room feeling refreshed, little did I know the most true and real refreshment was about to take place.

We had already told the children to buy us no gifts and to expect none from us (this was for a variety of reasons, but, for us, the right thing to do). As I sat down, it became apparent that my children and their spouses had begun going around the room - one by one - and speaking blessings upon and over one another. My heart and psyche were met with an overwhelming wave of love and blessing as my children each began to speak to me what my life and existence meant to them. As the wave of love washed over me and Melinda, we cried tears of gratitude. I felt safe and secure - in spite of the tremendous physical pain and lack of physical gifts.

This was an extension of God’s presence. This was my sanctuary. Lack of earthly gifts could not make a dent in this treasure. Bitter cold could not begin to affect the warmth I felt in the deepest place of my heart. Circumstances of life could not dampen the joy flooding through my soul. In this moment of experiencing true sanctuary, I felt invincible and indestructible and cared for and BLESSED!

Christmas morning came and went…but the memory and solace of the sanctuary God provides through my family endures to this day - and rings true through the corridors of eternity. Let the winds blow. Let the rains come. Let the cold surround. I’m good. I have my Sanctuary…

Dennis Jernigan

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;

My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2 NASB

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Since 1983 this Scripture has been important - vital - to my existence:

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,

Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

Psalm 107:1-2 NASB

A friend challenged me with it, saying he believed God would give me as song from meditating on it. And He did give me that song…and so much more than I had expected. As I sang this verse through the years from 1983 until 1988, the Lord began to build in me the attitude of gratitude: learning to thank God for and in and through any circumstance by learning to view each circumstance from HIS point of view.

Because of fear of what others might think of me, I never publicly acknowledged my deliverance from homosexuality from the moment it occurred - November 7, 1981 - until July of 1988! What happened to give me the courage to declare God’s work in my life publicly?

During a time of worship I was leading that July in 1988, I became so overwhelmed by the burden of not having told others specifically what God had done for me to illicit such deep longing to worship and thank God publicly that I stepped down from the platform and knelt at the altar. My good friend, Wayne, saw me there and knelt beside me. As he pressed me for the reason for my anguish, fear rose up in me and I began to weep. His words to me? “God’s Word says ‘let the redeemed of the Lord say so’. If you’re redeemed, Dennis, what does it matter what you are redeemed from?”

It was soon after that encounter that I began to share my story publicly - and the walls of fear that had surrounded me were razed to the ground and the lies of the enemy placed under my feet! And I learned that gratitude - the public declaration of what God has done for me - would not only usher others into that same freedom but would usher me into the deeper places of God’s presence I had been longing for!

Gratitude, to me, is like a springboard - a diving board - into the deeper places of God’s presence and nature. When I take a deep breath and jump on the end of that springboard, I am instantly lifted into the heights of awareness of God’s presence and simultaneously plunged into the depths of His character and essence - fully aware of His place in my existence in spite of my circumstances!

As a dad, I love being near my children. I love just being in their presence. I love blessing them. But as much as I love being with them and blessing them, I am transported to deeper levels of fellowship with one of my children when they express gratitude to me. It is as if they are leaning into my heart with their own heart…and I can’t get enough of it…can’t get close enough! And I am an earthly father…so how much more is this reality magnified by our perfect heavenly Father when we express gratitude to Him?

Take a big jump on the springboard of gratitude and plunge into a deeper awareness and a deeper level of intimacy with Father this Thanksgiving. And by the way, this principle works with people, too…

Dennis Jernigan

Watch and worship with the song Oh, Give Thanks at https://youtu.be/UF-WjphaAE8 or download the mp3 at http://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=24&p=3625