The Legitimate Child of God – By Thomas Koester

Knowing His Heart Is Everything…

The wounds and scars your body and heart now bare are not those of an abandoned boy or little girl, but of those of an adopted and well-loved child.

If you can’t recognize God’s chastisement, it’s because you don’t believe in your sonship.

It’s because you don’t quite know the heart of God. Well, maybe not enough just yet…

…You see, I just want to inspire you to ponder a little, just below the surface of your heart and mind. Just to get a glimpse at another possibility or maybe a deeper reason behind those pesky feelings.

Don’t focus how you’ve been wounded and scarred, but seek out the teacher who permitted it. If you seek Him, you will find Him and discover hidden treasures. Sometimes what’s motivating our feelings is unworthiness. True, none of us are worthy of God’s grace and goodness, but unworthiness, can cause you to doubt God and miss his good intentions for your life.

As soon as your heart learns the significance of your wounds and scars, light will come bursting in and your strength and passion will be renewed like never before.

Or, you can reject all this and be stuck in a “Groundhog Day” life, whereby you repeat the cycle of God’s chastisement until you surrender to his love.

Kind of look at it this way; you’re being tested not tempted. God knows your heart, and the tests occur so that you’ll know where your heart is. The hardship is to draw your attention to what’s going on inside your heart. If your stuck on doubt and abandonedment, you’ll fail God’s test. He’s cheering you on to succeed, and not to fail.

Look, God wants you to pass his tests with flying colors. He’s always nearby to show you the way to his finish line.

I know, sometimes it dosen’t feel like God is there. Sometimes it feels like no one is there, not even a close friend, your wife, husband, mom, or dad. You think, no one understands or cares. I know, all too well, how you can feel lonely, even in a crowded room.

You want the honest truth? All of that stuff; loneliness, doubt, and abandonedment, are feelings, and is nothing more than an orphan mentality. God dosen’t orphan those he loves. Nope, not at all. It’s not God making you feel that way, it’s the Father of Lies, not your Heavenly Father.

God treats every son and daughter with the same passion. He wants you holy so that you can be whole. He’ll cut away anything that stands in the way of your wholeness. He wants you to be just like him, holy. Sometimes it feels like abandonedment — even in your loneliness though, he’s at work.

Don’t relapse into your old ways. Don’t pretend to have it all together — pride is not the answer. Abandon your false attempts to cover-up. God sees right through your charades.

Did you really think you could get away with sin?

Did you honestly think God would allow sin, despair, and the devil to be your downfall?

Hey, God bankrupted heaven in giving up His Son, Jesus, just to show you how much he loves you. Don’t think for a second that he didn’t love his Son. After Jesus died to make you into a child of God, he resurrected his Son from the grave!

Well, would you look at that… …Father and Son, working together to make you a permanent member of His family!

Only an illegitimate son or daughter can escape correction, but a true child of God must be refined. And his refinement, it comes from a good place, from his heart.

So your hardship is not a string of bad luck. No, they’re a rope to pull you closer to the heart of your Heavenly Papa.

Seek to know the heart of God, and you’ll never get lost in difficult days. You’ll never again forget that you belong to him.

So, say good riddance to loneliness, doubt, and abandonedment, cause you’re a child of the Most High God, and he happens to be in love with you!

He is a fierce lover and a faithful Father. Amen

A Home for Your Wounded Heart – By Thomas Koester

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalms 147:3

“A wound where there is no weeping, writes, John Eldreged, is a wound that cannot be healed.” Your wounded heart can be healed. But you must share your wounded heart with God.

Wounds and scars, whether physical or emotional are essential to being human. It happens to all of us. The following is written on the back of my business card:

“Living a scarless life is not living at all. Sometimes our greatest triumphs lie in our greatest defeats. In all things, I am a child of God and never a victim. I do not, therefore, interpret tragic circumstances as mishaps, but a divinely scheduled trip to God’s beauty salon.”

If we only see ourselves as a victim in every crisis, loss, or betrayal, we deny the very instrument and tool for which God is doing his best work in us. When you refuse to become the victim and instead respond in praise and thanksgiving to God, you, therefore, thwart darkness and defeat the devil.

The devil wants you to wallow in bitterness and anguish. He wants you paralyzed, frozen in time and eternity with a wounded and broken heart. He knows that a heart not healed will keep you from God, keep you from salvation.

The old saying, “time heals all wounds,” is not from the Bible, it’s from the devil!

This is why Jesus of Nazareth read from Isaiah 61: 1

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal and bind up the brokenhearted…”

Matter of fact, Jesus’ reading of the Isaiah passage was the official announcement of his earthly ministry.

The Psalmist, King David, penned:

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalms 147:3

Job 2:9-10

“His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”

God is in control – He’s not only our Creator, but He’s our Father also. He touches our lives with wisdom and cares for us greater than our earthly fathers. He’s preparing us for eternity with Him and His actions are always with this in mind.

The devil wants you, if possible, to never meet your Heavenly Father. If he can’t prevent that, he’ll at least pervert it, by causing your earthly father to wound your heart and soul. When our hearts bare the scars of father’s wounds, it is so hard, if not impossible to trust God as our Everlasting Father.

And this is the central theme of Jesus’ ministry; to rescue you from the penalty of sin and the grip of the devil, and to heal your broken heart so that salvation can come to you.

“No one can come to the Father, said Jesus, except through me.” John 14:6

Your heart must be healed because it is to become your Heavenly Father’s dwelling place.

He alone is the home for your wounded heart. Trust him, He’s making you beautiful inside and out.

The Oyster & The Pearl – The Power Of A Joy-filled Life – By Thomas Koester

Could it be possible that the very ugly and scary things that you are facing this very moment can, if you’re willing, become a peal of great value?

You cannot climb to the heights of joy unless you first plumbed the depths of despair. Yes even your despair can be valuable. It is the pressures of despair in the depths of your soul where something precious is being formed.

This little article should be read as road map, a map showing you the way to find joy when joy is the furthest thing from your mind, will, and emotion.

I’m a pretty optimistic guy with a fairly even-keeled personality. I didn’t choose to be this way. I am fortunate to have been born with a sense of optimism. When I was younger, I used to have surges of optimism, but now in my sixties, not so much.

How about loved ones; family, friends, and acquaintances that have the opposite? Instead of optimism, they suffer from depression and anxiety, and because of this, they’ve become pessimistic. Trying to cope with periodic or ongoing bouts of depression and anxiety can be hell on earth. I have seen what it looks like in the faces of my loved ones.

So here is the thing, as fortunate as I am to be optimistic, upbeat, and positive, I must choose joy, just as much as one suffering from depression must choose joy. There is a problem with both polar opposites. Both depressive and optimistic personalities, in their extremes, are void of joy.

You see, being controlled, or mentally dominated by optimism or depression, leaves no room for joy. Joy, real joy, is a choice. The choice is not easy for the depressed and the optimist.

But far too many people bypass joy for a new lover, new home, or even a baby, hoping they’ll find happiness.

The scriptures, more or less, indicate that joy is a command from the heart and mind to the soul, or vice versa. Even a command to our bones! Yep, I can attest to that; being sixty-something, I have a lot of aches in my bones; my bones speak to me; no, they really do, they make all kinds of sounds when I walk!

“Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.” – Psalm 51:8

“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, And a good report makes the bones healthy.” – Proverbs 15:30

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24

Joy is medicine to our body, heart, mind, and even our bones!

Like all medicines, many of us must be reminded to take it, perhaps even forced. Ah, but when you do follow the doctor’s orders, or your wife’s, the medicine helps with whatever ails you. And so, you must also choose joy to receive all of its benefits.

I did a word study on Joy in the New King James Version of the Bible. Did you know that the word “joy” appears 192 times in both the Old and New Testaments? Just studying the word Joy, brings you joy!

But still, choosing joy in the midst of depression, worry, sickness, betrail, and even divorce seems almost impossible. Trying to reign in our emotions when our mind and body seem out of control is like trying to rope a bull elephant!

So many people suffering from depression, anxiety, and traumatic events, such as betrail, divorce, etc., show the signs of their condition in their bodies and even in their bones. Everything aches and most things lose their significance, such as food, relationships, and even life itself. But this is why joy is so important and why the Bible mentions it 192 times!

Sacrificial joy, that is, choosing to be joy-filled when things are not right, is real medicine. As I mentioned earlier, joy is a medicine that sometimes you must force yourself to take.

I had written an article a few weeks ago titled:

“My Allergic Reaction To Asking For Help.”

This is a story of my unintended flight down a set of stairs, whereby I had ruptured and shredded my quadriceps above my left knee. They snapped like a dried twig! Well, it wasn’t the painful surgery that gave me grief; it was nausea from the general aniestic!

I absolutely hate nausea. It began post-surgery and as soon as my wife took me home. The orthopedic surgeon hadn’t prescribed any anti-nausea meds. So there I am, writhing in nausea, dizziness, and fighting the urge to throw up. Toni saw how terrible I looked and felt. It was late, but I begged her to go to the pharmacy and bring home some anti-nausea meds.

While Toni was away, I was so desperate that I turned on a Christian Radio Station, K-LOVE, and listened to worship music while alone in my living room. I struggled initially, but I started to command my body, heart, and mind to be joyful. I began singing praises and thanksgiving to God, thanking him, even for the dreaded nausea. In a matter of few minutes, my nausea vanished, and my pain began to diminish.

Soon, Toni showed up with the anti-nausea meds, but when she handed me the bag, I said, “Oh, um, I’m feeling much better; the nausea is over.” She looked a little perturbed, only because I sent her on a wild goose chase for drugs that I didn’t need. I should’ve started with joy.

Early the following year, I contracted a form of the H1N1 virus. I had never been so sick. I reached a point where I got my inner house in order, so to speak, because I actually thought that I might die! While burning with fever, I again started to praise God and sing a joyful song to Him. It wasn’t at all easy or even natural to push through, but nonetheless, I did.

I lay there on my sickbed and began singing Psalms 100.

“(A Psalm of praise.) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands…

…I will enter into His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and into his courts with praise: I will say this is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice in Him and be glad.”

Yeah, I actually thought I might be entering the Courts of Heaven that night, but God had other plans. Forcing myself to express joy helped me to triumph through that dreaded virus.

Actually, to “rejoice” is just that; it means giving joy to God until it is given back to you. To rejoice in the Lord is the worshipper becoming gladdened, exuberant, and jubilant by taking great delight in God. Heartfelt Joy is reciprocal. It is also contagious.

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12

God sometimes brings correction through the things we suffer because He knows that suffering can produce the precious commodity called joy. Just like an oyster and a grain of sand, which to the oyster is an irritant. From this irritant comes a pearl.

Probably one of the most impactful examples of this was on, of all places, America’s Got Talent TV show.

Jane Kristen Marczewski, known by many as Nightbird, (December 29, 1990 – February 19, 2022), on AGT, viewed by millions, and a recipient of the coveted “Golden Buzzer,” told the world the following after she sang her original song, “It’s OK”:

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”

The audience, and especially Simon Cowell, were stunned. I was too.

Really, Jane’s words were so powerful because they are true, not just her truth, but right from the Bible. They are God’s truth, and that night, they were spoken by a frail and tiny but courageous woman. I think the shock of it all was profound because it was spoken over the backdrop of her story; her battle with cancer.

Jane had learned the power of joy and happiness in spite of the cancer eating away at her future.

Happiness or joy is now, not later. It’s in the middle of your darkest nights, dreariest days, and deepest despairs. Joy and happiness are choices. Yes, hard choices. If they were easy, they’d have far less value with no real healing and no inner peace. That night, Jane Kristen Marczewski, became God’s pearl.

God allows irritants to enter our life too. He does this with intricate perfection and purpose.

“Thus says The Most High, The Exalted One who inhabits all eternity, and is holy, and holy is his dwelling with the humble, and with the weary of spirit to give life to the spirit of the humble, and to give life to the heart of the suffering ones.” Isaiah 57:15

When we are at our worst, choosing joy is most powerful. The Isaiah verse above tells us The Most High God, The Exalted One, who lives in all eternity while He dwells in a high and lofty place, He is near the humble, the sorrowful, and the sufferers.

When we command our body, heart, mind, and yes, even our bones to rejoice in God, He gives life. He refreshes. He restores, and He reciprocates our sacrificial joy. “He will quiet us with his love.” “He will rejoice over us with gladness” and even “rejoice over us with singing.” Because God is not a distant deity, He is your Heavenly Father, and he is much nearer than you can imagine.

Like the oyster, we can’t see the development of beauty inside our lives. Our struggles with depression, anxiety, worry, and overoptimism distract us from the work that God is doing. Instead, we feel abandoned by God, orphaned, and on our own. The truth is that God is there with us in the midst of our pain. It requires us to believe and to trust in God’s promises. The Bible says God would rather dwell with us than with kings and queens.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

He would have to be very close to you to heal your broken heart, bind up your wounds, and save your crushed spirit.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Then God sends us His Son, Jesus to rescue us…

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.” Luke 4:18-19

Don’t live life without joy.

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” Jane Kristen Marczewski, Nightbird

Choose joy, and in a very short while, you’ll understand. Maybe you’re becoming God’s Pearl, too.

My Glorious Breaking – What God Is Teaching Me Through My Wounds – By Thomas Koester

Have you ever considered that your wounds may be a perfect gift from God that can serve others in profound ways?

“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” - Brennan Manning

It is not the breaking of our bodies that should be our focus, not the illnesses we may suffer from time to time, no matter how severe. It's not our sicknesses we should buffer or how broken we may become while here; there is something else to consider, something other is near.

It’s not the betrayals or deceptions we may encounter, even if our hearts have been shattered. Our souls are emptied and filled only with fear, but the Life that remains in us, which may be covered by grief, pain, and despair, like snow-covered green grass in winter, shall be unveiled when spring again fills the air.

For even the faintest heartbeat and most shallow of breath, there lies hope. Life does not come easy, even for the most wealthy, yet life is a choice to be made. And if we so choose to believe it, beauty shall be our reward each new day and each new year.

Authentic living shall bring forth such brightness to dispel and vanquish such desperate despair.

Our most gloomy nights filled with impatient anger can be transformed into powerful meekness and care; such sweetness to our bitter sorrows are waiting; such eternal wealth for our poverty is near, and such fullness to satisfy all hunger to our hungry souls shall there be the grandest affair.

All for those who shall be rewarded of mustard seed faith to compare; of glories unknown to the healthy and sick such treasure laid bare; for beauty and ashes shall be traded, but none for the self-righteous to spare.

So kiss your chains, which bind you to all sorts of suffering, and thankfully say: "Good morning" to the pain, which lingered throughout the night and, yet, remains into the days, weeks, months, or perhaps years, because, in all things, even the bad and ugly work out for our good by God's care, which does not add to his glory, for He is complete in all the attributes he bares, but it does add to your ultimate healing and refined glory to credit to be shared.

We who believe, and are true sons and daughters of God, are broken to be given and to become children who bear a lesser yet increasing glory of the Most Glorious Father of our hearts and souls.

So let's not waste our suffering on complaining and blaming, but rather let us all rejoice in our transformation, which is to follow if we endure and not despair!

Your brokenness is making you beautiful and a wellspring of Life for other sufferers to drink from, and that, my dear sisters and brothers, is the Christ of all Healing, The God of all Comfort, and the Everlasting Father of all fragile Hopes.

The Greatest gift that God could give required his only Son to suffer an ignominious and terrible death so that through Christ's suffering, we would have everlasting life.

My business takes me to people that have lost their homes and sometimes their loved ones to fire, flooding, or earthquake. Knowing this, I've added the following words to the reverse side of my business card: Living a scarless life is not living at all...

…Sometimes, our greatest triumphs lie in our most significant defeats. In all things, I am a child of God and never a victim. I do not, therefore, interpret tragic circumstances as mishaps but as a divinely scheduled trip to God’s beauty parlor.

…God is making you beautiful!

Merry Christmas!

Set Yourself Free – By Thomas Koester

Maybe you’re not aware, but you’ve always held the keys to your own prison.

Did you know that our lists of unforgiven people become building blocks for an inner stronghold where hatred will fester and thrive?

We become deceived into thinking that our unforgiveness is justified due to the seriousness of the offense against us.

When we refuse to forgive, we end up owning the offense, or more accurately, the offense owns us. The offender, well, they, may have moved on, yet we are the ones that are needlessly imprisoned because of our own stubbornness.

Maybe you’re not aware, but you’ve always held the keys to your own prison.

Your forgiveness is the only key to unlocking your prison door. It is the only way in which you, yourself, can be forgiven.

“Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who sin against you, but if you refuse to forgive them, he will not forgive you.” Matthew 6:15 – Jesus of Nazareth

In Jesus’ Name, let it go; forgive them, and set yourself free!

Say What You Need to Say – By Thomas Koester

Don’t let silence kill your life, joy, or your future. Speak from your heart and live.

You may agree that the three most powerful words are “I Love You.”

Can these three little words indeed be so powerful and significant?

After all, for many, these words fall from our mouths so casually and regularly that we miss their true meaning and worth. But what happens if, for some of us, we’ve never heard those words from our moms or dads; or the most important people in our lives?

Well, that was my story…

I lived through nearly four decades of silence from my father. I hated my father because of his silence and uninvolvement in my life as a boy. His career and extreme work ethic took him from me when I needed him.

When I heard that my dad was dying from esophageal cancer, I initially refused to visit him. My anger held me back for a little while until my siblings ganged up on me.

Four days before my father passed, I had the opportunity to stay overnight with him at the VA Hospital in Martinez, CA. (My father was wounded in action by a missile attack during the Korean War on September 19, 1951). He had served in the Army as a Private, 1st Class Medic.

After the lights went out in my dad’s hospital room, courage rose within my heart, and I spoke the three most important words that I could say to the most important man in my life:

Dad?

“Yes, son.”

Dad, …I love you!

It felt like an eternity of silence orbited the darkened hospital room…

…Then, from my dad’s weakened condition, I heard what my heart and soul had so longed to hear during the 39 silent years I had lived:

“I love you too, son.”

Suddenly, unspeakable joy filled my heart, and tears rolled down my face. I called out to my dad several more times that night, saying:

Dad?

“Yes, son.”

Dad, …I love you!

“I love you too, son.”

I heard my father say he loved me, which washed all the years of hurt, anger, and loneliness from my body, soul, and mind. My father’s words were a healing balm that would change my life from that day forward.

My father’s words also helped me to accept my Heavenly Father’s love for me.

“I am my beloved, and he is mine; his banner over me is love!” Songs of Songs

“See, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreaded day of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest when I come, I strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6

Jesus came to me late on October 8, 1998, at night in that VA Hospital room in Martinez, California. He bound up my wounds and healed my broken heart. He freed this captive and released me from a prison of loneliness, despair, and anger. He lifted the curse from my life, and by becoming my father’s beloved son, I became God’s also!

“Come away with me, my love, my lovely one, come. For you, winter is over and gone. The snow has melted, and the flowers are in bloom; the cooing of the turtle doves can be heard throughout the land. Come away with me, my love, my lovely one, come. Your face is beautiful; your voice is sweet. Come away with me, my love, my lovely one, come.” Songs of Songs

My Dad became my hero and went away to be with the Lord of Life on October 12, 1998. I stood at his right side, holding his hand until he breathed his last breath. He looked up to the ceiling, smiled, and then was gone. We all wept so loudly as a family that our cries could be heard throughout the hospital wing.

A few moments later, I stretched my hand over my father’s face, and I closed my father’s eyes.

Yes, words do matter. Be brave, be courageous, and allow your heart to speak its words before it is too late. The “I love you, dad,” unlocked my father’s heart, which echoed those desperately needed words from him into my hungry and hurting heart and soul.

There is unspeakable power in the three simple words; “I love you” or “please forgive me.” While these words are simple, it takes great courage to say them. Please, don’t be stubborn and don’t be afraid, dare to speak and listen for the reply; “I love you too.”

Scripture says, “If you hear God’s voice today, don’t be stubborn. Don’t be stubborn like those who rebelled in the wilderness.” Hebrews 3:15

Don’t let silence kill your life, joy, or your future. Speak from your heart and live!

Watch this John Mayer Music Video and

“Say What You Need To Say”

…And let your heart speak.

Healing Your Wounded Heart – Your Greatest Day – By Thomas Koester

Don’t live with the pain. Time is not the Healer of all wounds; that’s a lie. God is the Healer.

“Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for from it flows the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“A wound where there are no tears is a wound that cannot be healed.” Author, John Eldredge – Ransomed Heart Ministries

A splinter under the skin, if left alone and ignored will eventually fester to a point of infection. Your body is rejecting the foreign object no matter how small it is, the pain calls out for your attention. If you ignore it too long, you could end up in the emergency room.

How about your heart?

Why ignore the pain?

Your heart is more precious than a finger; you can live without a finger, but you cannot live without your heart.

Sometimes we’re strong in the wrong things and at the wrong times, but to be weak in the right things and with a humble heart, can get God’s attention.

If you are hurting, in pain and are crushed in spirit, heart, and soul, you may be at the greatest turning point of your life. You may actually be dwelling with God in a high and protected place, but you must share your tears with God, or you’ll be swallowed up in bitterness and left alone on earth.

Isaiah 57:15

“The high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: I live in that high and holy place where those with contrite, humble spirits dwell; and I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts.”

Psalm 51:17

“The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.”

Let God encounter your tears, after all, He is the Everlasting Father. Share it with Him as your sacrifice. Come to Him crushed, broken, betrayed; come to Him rejected and despised. His Son, Jesus is well acquainted with all of this and more. He allows it to touch your life, not to destroy you, but to draw you closer to Himself.

God wants to father you…

Simply trust and turn to God and surrender your right to be offended; your anger for being abused; your self hatred for being molested, raped, and violated. God specializes with hurting and wounded people, and He’d rather be with you than with kings and queens.

The moment you offer up to God your tears and pain, you are with Him in spirit and in truth.

Isaiah 42:3

“He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair. He will see full justice given to all who have been wronged.”

God won’t exploit your bruises. He’ll not snuff out your heart, even if its barely beating and you feel life is over.

God desires to be your daddy…

Give it all over to God. If you do, He’ll see to it that justice is served, and you can give your revenge a proper burial.

Then, you’ll knock down your walls of despair and make them into a dance floor and you’ll dance with your Abba, just as He’s always wanted.

Don’t live with the pain. Time is not the Healer of all wounds, that’s a lie.

God is the Healer of all wounds, and He’s waiting to hear your cries directed towards Him, so that He may act.

“O my people in Jerusalem, you shall weep no more, for he will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. He will answer you.” Isaiah 30:19

Give it up to God. Let it out and drink in God’s presence and love, and so be healed and restored.

Become healed in the name of Jesus! He came to seek out the lost and broken, and there is no one he cannot save or heal.

Isaiah wrote about the mission of Jesus centuries before He arrived:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor…

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61: 1-3

You see, God wants to do an exchange with you, He’ll give you beauty, joy, and praise for all your ashes, mourning, and despair. It happened with me, and it could happen for you too.

This may be one of your greatest days!

Your heart and soul are God’s specialty. He wants to heal your heart and set you free!

Happy Holidays! …Oh, And Please Pass The Aspirin! – By Thomas Koester

During the early morning hours of October 11, 2013, I checked myself into the hospital for heart attack symptoms. The test results: negative for a heart attack, but positive for stress.

On November 13, 2013, I tripped down the stairs, overloaded with my stuffed laptop case on my left shoulder and my overnight bag on the right, heading out of town. My first stop was Groveland, CA, to meet up with a few good men to evaluate a retreat center for Wounded Warriors, then down to the Bay Area to cram in a few assignments.

Nevertheless, when I was overloaded with baggage and haste, I snapped and tore my quadriceps in three places. All my body weight of 240 lbs. plus 40 lbs of luggage was, in a fraction of a second, transferred to my left leg, which overshot the next two steps.

A loud “SNAP” and instant pain shot from above my knee, crumbled my leg beneath it, and launched me forward like superman; without a cape, with legs kicked out and arms stretched forward, I belly-flopped on the hardwood entry floor from the midpoint landing, only without the superpowers!

In flight, I yelled:

“NO! No …no not again…”

I landed my face softly on my laptop case, but the rest of my body hit with a mighty thump!

I lay there clutching my laptop case, writhing in pain, tears rolling down my chin when I thought of another hospital visit again. We lost our health insurance on July 31, 2013, because our premiums shot up higher than our house payment!

“The Lord will make you go through hard times. He will be there to teach you and you will not have to search for him anymore. If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, “Here is the road. Follow it.” Isaiah 30:20-21

There are many things, which I believe God is teaching me through these injuries and the stress I had been under. God was teaching me dependence; dependence on Him and others in my life. I tend to be too independent and self-reliant, overwork, and overloaded.

I need to take a break from the busy “Martha Neurosis” and pursue the “Mary Calmness” at the feet of Jesus.

I need to live more in the reality of Jesus’ presence and truly rest in that all Government is on his shoulders, not mine, nor the Republicans, Democates, Independents; not the Libertarians, The Greenies, Commies, Socialists, or MAGA.

I need to relish and relax in His governance and allow myself to be swept up in its epic and eternal expansion.

It’s not a matter of whether God is on my side or their side; the truth is, God is on neither the Right nor the Left’s side; God is on His own side. And I, (we) must join His cause and let the “talking heads” of the alphabet networks talk to themselves.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?” Romans 11:34

“But who can teach a lesson to God since he judges even the most powerful?” Job 21:22

I need to prioritize His ever-expanding rule of His present Kingdom and tap into its economy instead of creating my own or following the world’s economic priorities, which always leads to emptiness, exhaustion, and death. His Kingdom must expand its rule within and beyond us.

His eternal Kingdom’s expansion within us will inoculate us against the ever-increasing pressure of this world. If we all were to become Kingdom minded and submitted and yielded to the Lordship of Christ, we move from a state of being overcome to a status of an over-comer!

I need to hourly seek out his Wonderful Counsel, benefit from His omniscience (his all-knowing) of me, and listen to his whispers before they become a painful megaphone. God will never cancel my therapy sessions but will forever counsel me. All I must do is to show up, as there is no deductible, no co-pay, and no cost! Oh, and no appointments are necessary, just pray right in!

I need to relinquish my puny strength and my small-mindedness and to simply and humbly stand beneath and behind God’s Mightiness and title, “The God of the Angel Armies!”

I need to exchange my war-weariness and shell-shocked life and take comfort and confidence in God’s authority, who’s never lost a battle and ultimately will win the war. He loves a stacked deck because he loves to come through for all those who belong to him and have the patience to wait on him.

I need to surrender the un-fathered and incomplete areas of my heart, mind, and soul to the Everlasting Father-heart of God. I need to accept the challenge, correction, and discipline, even loss and pain, as initiation (teaching) and fathering from God. I need to agree with the legitimacy of my identity as God’s beloved son, and not the conspiratorial voices of darkness that foist on me the false title of “Victim.”

“Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly,y fathers, and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive, For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them? Still, he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it.” Hebrews 12:7-11 (NET)

I need to allow the Prince of Peace to usher His reign of peace, calm and good tidings of great joy into the depths of my being until my heart rejoices no matter what state I may find myself in. I need to celebrate His Peace, even in the presence of my enemies, whereby I can feast without intimidation or fear. I need to relax when I open my winter’s electric bill and read it in peace, knowing confidently He reigns even over things such as these.

I need to focus on the quiet streams while driving the busy streets of life and drink God’s thirst-quenching flow, rather than virus-infected cesspools of worldly wants and desires, which leaves one dehydrated and life drained.

I need to completely trust in God’s judgment and enrich my life, every bit of it, with His justice so that all my actions are just and fair, not only to myself, so that I may live healthy and whole, but that the fruits of my life may encourage health and wholeness to others. I need to: “…do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.” Micah 6:8.

I need to be a man who taps into the counsel of The Wonderful Counselor, whereby He faithfully counsels me with wisdom and insight. His counsel protects me from the lies and seductions of the world and from the inner voices of self destruction.

I need an Everlasting, Never Leaving, Never Busy, Always there Father-God, who loves me and you so much that He puts his Spirit in us to teach us His most favorite Name; “Abba,” “Poppa,” and “Daddy!”

I want peace in my life, marriage, home, church, business, and everywhere I go.

Don’t you?

And, this Jesus, whose name is maligned, marginalized, cursed, and removed from our telecasts, prayers, and our speeches, from our schools, courtrooms, and public places, came to us as a babe, a child in a manger that became Jesus our Savior!

He is the Prince of Peace, and “…the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with righteous judgment, with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

And, The Zeal of the Lord already accomplished this 2000 years ago!
With so much authority, honor, and titles given to Jesus, don’t you think He is capable of saving you? He is your connection to the Father-Hearted God of Heaven.

It’s far better to listen to His whispers than through His megaphone!

Happy Holidays! …Oh, and please pass the aspirin!

The Culture of Life or Death – By Thomas Koester

Eternal life starts as soon as you cancel your temple-of-doom worship…

If nothing changes in your life after facing death, then nothing will ever change while facing life.

While the Spirit brings life, the flesh and all its desires bring death. And this is why when so many face death, nothing changes because they already live in a culture of death.

Instead, walk in the Spirit, and you’ll not satisfy the desires of a death culture but an active community of spiritually alive people.

Being hope-filled makes you attractive to those that want to live, but to the death culture, you’re bad news. Your hopefulness points to heaven, a place unfamiliar to them. Their paradise is boozing it up and partying like it’s “1999.”

They celebrate the flesh; plump it up here, tuck it in there, lifting it to the top, and stretching out the wrinkles. They’ll pay thousands of dollars on their temples of doom.

Life is not what you are on the outside but who you are on the inside. All that body emphasis stuff keeps you from really enjoying life while your soul rots away. A joy-filled and hopeful life changes you from the inside out!

It will change you from a sourpuss to a sweetie pie. Just ask my friend, Paul Spaar. He has all the reasons to be sour but instead chooses to be hopeful, upbeat, and positive. Sure, he’s had bad days; heck, we all do. But we wouldn’t know what a good day is without the bad days to measure against. Oh, and the ladies, well, they see Paul as a handsome dude. He radiates from the inside out. Psst, that’s Paul’s superpower…

…I’ll have what he’s having!

I’m not saying to deny reality; I’m just encouraging you not to make your reality about living for dying rather than dying to live. The difference is to stop worshiping that which is dying and start honoring the One who’s giving Life.

He faced a terrible death so that you don’t have to. Eternal life starts as soon as you cancel your temple-of-doom worship and allow Him to make you into His Temple of Life!

When physical death comes, as it inevitably does, you’ll face it, not with bargaining but with a triumphant entrance into heaven. That’s where the real party will be.

Choose life and leave the culture of death behind.

The Power of Forgiveness – A True Story – By Thomas Koester

“Reconciliation Starts Here – Forgiveness Starts Here …This is Why it is Such A Powerful Weapon.”

Christ came to reconcile our past and future so that we may live real and abundant lives in the present. Time and forgetfulness cannot heal old wounds; this is why Christ announced his anointing through the reading of Isaiah 61:

“The Sovereign Lord is upon me and has anointed me to preach good news to the spiritually poor and impoverished, to heal the brokenhearted, setting captives free, and proclaiming release for the imprisoned.”

Yes, he came for our salvation, but he also came for our healing, to release us from our captivities, and to set us free from our bondages. All of these things are from our past. The above list is most often what has happened to us, and Christ is ready to go there with you.

I was the guest speaker at a men’s retreat a few years ago for a men’s group from a Church that I had not visited or was familiar with. At the opening of the retreat, I was introduced to all the men in the group, and one of the men was familiar to me. I introduced myself to this gentleman, and I immediately recalled that this man had molested me as a child some forty-seven years earlier.

What ended up happening was nothing short of a miracle and the beauty of the Kingdom of God — peace between the lion and the lamb was about to occur.

God had given me the message of reconciliation and forgiveness a few days before the retreat. But before God would allow me to preach on it, he asked me to reconcile with this man now and at that moment and to forgive him before I do anything else.

So, with God’s grace and power, I cooperated with His Spirit of forgiveness and mercy. I had kept this man’s offense to myself and proceeded with the rest of the retreat. I walked with God into my past. Christ Jesus brought us peace, healing, freedom, and release. Chains fell off that weekend, and a new friendship was born.

Later I learned that this man had become a Christian shortly after he had molested me so many decades ago. But, until I had forgiven him, I was buried under a mountain of shame and hatred.

Through Christ Jesus, God reconciles the world back to Himself, including our past. Sometimes his Spirit of Grace brings us backward to negotiate past hurts, captivities, and imprisonments. Whether it’s us behind the bars of hatred and unforgiveness or whether we’re the jailer holding the keys to someone else’s past offenses. We have divine weapons against fear, hatred, and unforgiveness, but we must use them.

Through the Men’s Retreat, God had shown me that we could only stumble over our past if it is left in a state of unforgiveness and left unreconciled. Because God is eternal, the Alpha and Omega, he exists in our past, present, and future. The works of Christ, destroying the works of the Devil in all the areas and seasons of our lives, are both completed and ongoing in a multidimensional way, unhindered by time and place.

All governments are upon his shoulders. The expanse of his Kingdom shall know no end. He is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful Counselor, and the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6. He is there all the time and in every area of our lives, past, present, and future, but you must believe and obey Him and listen to His voice.

I cannot stress how significant the voice of the Lord is and how important it is to listen, follow, and obey. Read the Bible as though it is written to you first before anyone else. You’ll then know what to do and how to do it.

“He has shown you, O child, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:8

We can enter into our future with triumph because Jesus Christ has triumphed over our past. If we work with him, he will bring us to forgiveness, even forgiveness for our past enemies, abusers, and those who’ve betrayed our hearts. It worked out for me, and it can work out for you too!

Forgiveness is such a powerful weapon for good. It “liberates the soul.”

God presented me with the opportunity at that retreat — God did not force me to forgive; he set up the circumstances. I could’ve gone on hating the perpetrator, exposing him to public shame, condemnation, and ridicule. But hatred, condemnation, shame, and self-ridicule were the same mountains on top of me.

God softened my heart, and Jesus gently led me to the cross, and there, at His cross, miraculously, both of our mountains were removed, our hearts softened, and forgiveness was granted to us both.

Journey with God as he leads you, and do not dismiss your past, but have the courage and faith to follow Him wherever he leads you.

Maybe the circumstance that you’re presented with here and now is your opportunity also to give and receive forgiveness.

I can promise you this when you forgive; it’s because God is already there, showing you the way; he wants you to be free.

“Reconciliation Starts Here – Forgiveness Starts Here …This is Why it is Such A Powerful Weapon.”