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Finding God Everyday Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

What’s In Your Blind Spot?

You may have noticed semi-trucks with safety decals on the back of their trucks stating, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you,” or “The No Zone,” with blue highlights of unsafe areas around the truck. They are designed to warn you of well-known, possibly deadly areas around their truck that they cannot see. These blind spots can be fatal for whomever is in them and the truck driver as well.

I was driving home one day on a small two-lane road when traffic came to a standstill. Someone disregarded all of the warning signs on the truck and came alongside the truck as it was making a wide right-turn. Not seeing the car in its blind spot, the truck driver proceeded into the turn and the car slammed into the side gas tank, rupturing the tank, leaking diesel onto the street and into the drainage ditch. Thankfully, the diesel did not ignite , but there was still a mess to clean and we had to wait for the hazmat team to soak up all of the fuel. While we all may not drive trucks, we do have our own blind spots.

Do you know where yours are, these areas of our lives that something could be creeping up unexpectedly?

What’s in the blind spot is not always something bad, but it can be. It could be a beautiful view  of a mountain range in your side mirror or a motorcyclist, a surprise promotion or a family illness, falling in love or a spousal affair, or one of an infinite number of situations. Why they happen varies from ignorance to distractedness, a busy life, to not knowing what clues to look for, and even literal blindness.

As a child, I had a freak accident where, floating in the middle of a lake on a tractor innertube, my brothers and I, as brothers often do, started wrestling and jumping on top of our tubes. As I came up over the edge of my tube, from under the water, my brother released his grip of the metal stem used to inflate the tube. The tip of the stem struck my eye and, with intense pain, I fell back into the water and struggled to get back to shore, wailing in pain.

Thirty-something years later, during a visit to my doctor’s office, we got on the topic of blind spots. I’d recently noticed that in that same spot where I got hit with the tractor tire stem, I now have a blind spot. I noticed one day as I pointed at something that I saw only the lower half of my finger. The tip of my finger disappeared as if it was stuck in a vortex of time and space. I pulled my hand down a little and I could see the whole thing again. I moved my finger up even further than before and I could see my hand and the tip of my finger, but the base of my finger was gone. It was the oddest thing I have seen.

Mr. Doctor said it was likely some sort of Charles Bonnet Syndrome, explaining how the human mind will fill in the blanks with random images or samples of the area around the blind spot, because it can’t make sense of the lack of information it is receiving.

In my case, my mind is likely filling in the void created by the injury to my eye, blending the surrounding area over the blind spot. It’s not a big portion of my vision, however it’s enough to make me conscious. My awareness of it allows for me to look around to ensure that my mind is not playing tricks on me.

The same principle applies to our spiritual lives. Many of us have been hurt or injured by someone or something in our lives. Our mind’s defense mechanisms put a wall around that pain so it isn’t injured anymore and so the pain will subside. We eventually become numb to it and just start looking past it. God didn’t want it to be this way though. We were created to bring everything to Him, to be able to see things from His point of view.

The belief that the hurt is too great to address and there is no hope of it stopping is often a symptom of the real issue, a belief that God doesn’t hear, doesn’t care, or isn’t there. Could it be that we just can’t see Him because we have become blind to His presence? What if our minds are just playing tricks on us, covering up His existence and all that He has done for us?

Psalm 147:3 says that God “…heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” What if God is inside the walls of that pain waiting for you to peek in and allow Him to heal your broken heart and bind up that wound? What if that blind spot is just where we need to look for healing?

Jesus left the disciples, but He did not leave them alone, nor are you alone.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:25-27

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?

Steven Cohen

Author of What Lies Beneath: From Lies to Love and’

Co-Founder of Now Found Ministries & Now Found Publishing

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Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

What’s the Difference Between a Pattern & a Formula?

On our journey through life, like a hike in the wilderness, sometimes we may come across a path that someone else has already forged, making our trek much easier. Incredible strides are made as we step in the footsteps of others who have gone before us, but there are times when, by doing so, we actually lose our way.

It is easy to see someone else’s success and want to duplicate it, to look at what they have done to fulfill their goals, dreams, and calling on their life and use it as a guide to do the same for ourselves.

So, what is the difference between a pattern and a formula?

God asked me this question one night as I pondered how to artistically give Him credit for the stars. For most of my life, I considered myself an atheist. At one point, I had a scorpion tattoo placed on my right shoulder to give credit to a constellation for my personality, my identity. Then, years later after encountering Christ, I considered what to get as a cover-up tattoo. To my surprise, God asked me why I wasn’t asking Him what He desired. Although I thought that seemed incredibly ironic because of the stigma of tattoos in much of the Christian community, I went ahead and asked. While you may imagine His response was for me to remove my previous tattoo, it wasn’t.

Instead, He asked me, “What’s the difference between a pattern and a formula?” I wondered if this was a rhetorical question or if He actually wanted an answer. As the Final Jeopardy tune played through my head, I couldn’t figure it out and gave up, asking Him for the answer. That’s when He revealed that the difference between a pattern and a formula is who gets the credit. (And, regarding the cover-up tattoo, God then asked why I didn’t give Him credit instead.)

You see, for years I gave the stars credit for who I was and why I am the way I am. But God showed me that giving credit to the stars is a form of worshiping them. And, like so many other things, it’s simply worshiping the created instead of the Creator. It was then that He gave me an image of what the first day of creation could have looked like as light appeared shining through the darkness. The image incorporated the scorpion constellation into the darkness, giving Him credit for the creation of the stars that this constellation is comprised of. This new tattoo tells a story: I no longer believe that I am who I am because I was born at a specific time; I am who I AM says I am simply because He says.

At some point, almost all of us do the same thing I did for so long. We look to the created – others’ successes, others’ creations, the paths they have taken – and we start to worship them. It isn’t a bad thing to look for help, nor is it bad when we find patterns or pathways that can ease our burdens, lightening our load. But, it can become a problem when we look at the pattern and no longer give the credit to God for providing it, instead, we decide to take the concepts, rebrand them, and take the credit for it ourselves. It’s even worse when we abandon the path that God has planned for us for the plan of others. It is so critical that we seek His kingdom, His will, His desire, and His path for us. When we do, it may still be challenging, but it will be well worth it.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?

By: Steven Cohen – Author of What Lies Beneath: From Lies to Love and Co-Founder of Now Found Ministries & Now Found Publishing

Photo by Kun Fotografi from Pexels

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Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

What A Lie Makes You Capable Of

phoo

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed. Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’ “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.

– Matthew 23:29-31 NLT

The Pharisees and Sadducees, the most powerful religious leaders of their day, admit their ancestors are known for killing prophets. They swear they would have never done such things – yet they murder the very Messiah they await. What came before the killing? They believed a lie.

When we believe a lie, we are capable of doing what we once thought we could never do.

Satan is a liar, and has always been. He knows that the most effective way to get you to do something you know to be wrong, is to get you to believe that it’s not. Deceiving a group of religious leaders and telling them a mere man claims to be God incarnate plants the seed of murder in their minds. Even though they know and have sworn that they themselves would never kill a prophet of God, the seed has been planted and is sprouting evil.

If we want to be about God’s business, we need to seek Him first, seek to know His thoughts and His opinions. God alone has the power to break lies off of you, reveal the truth, and throw those lies in the pit of Hell forever. He deeply loves you and wants to talk with you about all things…even the seemingly small details.

What lies are you believing that justify a behavior you know is wrong?

 

photo source

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Finding God Everyday Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

Shutting Death’s Door

we walk through the forest  \hope & truth\
Photo Source Piotr via Flickr

The act of sinning is different than sin itself. Much like telling the truth is different than truth, living is different from life and dying is different from death.

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.  Romans 5:17 NLT

The essence of sin, not just the result, is death. When Adam performed the act of sinning he opened himself and the world to the essence and root behind the act: death. The act of sinning is simply doing something outside or defiantly against the will of God. The root behind it, death, is simply the absence of God, the source of life itself.

If God is the source of all life, when we choose to reject God from even the smallest part of our life, we are replacing His life within us with death. Whether it is our will, our eyes, our finances, our time, or anything else, that aspect of our life becomes dead. Death, like cancer, can spread aggressively, influencing other choices and beliefs. And, before we know it, we have believed lie after lie after lie, kicking our God and Creator out of our life.

If the removal of life causes death to enter, the entry of life causes death to be no more. That’s what Christ came to take care of. He chose to come to this earth not only to bear the burden of our sins (the actions), but to replace the root, the essence of death we have welcomed into our lives. He breaks through, revealing lies through His truth, and restores the death within us with the life of the Creator.

Have you had your Jesus today? Have you had His Truth and Love poured over your life today?

God I yield myself to you; please replace the death in me. Please continue to point out what areas of my life do not reflect or honor You. Please infiltrate those areas with Your grace, love, mercy, and LIFE. Thank you for being The Source of Life and caring about me enough to share it with me.

Living is the process of letting life flow through you. Ask Him how you can share Him with someone today!

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Now Found Blog

A New Season…

As I move into a new season of my life, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14

As I read this section of scripture this morning I was amazed how it fit my story. God has recently considered me trustworthy to deliver a few teachings at Gateway church’s Equip and Freedom Ministry and I am completely humbled. To be considered trustworthy to deliver these messages along side so many other men and women of God is awesome.

Consider that part of my testimony was purposefully debating Christians on the existence of their God and now I have the honor of speaking to others of how that God brought me from where I was to where I am. He is so awesome, so graceful and so merciful. As Priscilla Shirer said in her recent message at the First Conference, “I am so thankful of God’s patience.” I am so thankful that He did not just smite me for my insolence, disobedience and disrespectfulness. He is a Great Great God.

Please join me January 26th, 2014 at Gateway Church’s North Ft Worth campus for Freedom Ministries – Levels of Change. It’s a great message on how through freedom we can stop banging our heads against the wall with a do better try harder mentality and let God’s design and desire for our lives change our beliefs, capabilities, behaviors and environment.

You may have heard that hurt people hurt people, but we say that “Free people free people,” so please join me as we become freer(more free for the english majors), through His word and His Spirit.

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Relationships | Marriage

The Pressure Cooker – Part 2

So we left off from “The Pressure Cooker – Part 1,” with the thought that we need to know our design. God made us in an intimate way, knowing us before we were formed , “For you [God] formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:13-14 ESV

I find it awesome that our God and Creator of the universe took His time and effort to personally know us, to personally or Godally (yes I know is not a word, but it should be) “knit” the fabric of our being. Because He created us, I believe He knows what we are created for and what type of environment we are going to flourish in. To tie it all together, He knows the heat setting that’s best for us.

How much heat can we take? You may have heard the label of someone with a type A personality, that refers to someone who is highly driven or “successful”. And although these people may thrive in tough situations and may be able to get stuff done, that surely doesn’t guarantee that they can handle the heat very well. In many situations they are actually just plain stressed out and the “successful” and driven side is very often is a coverup, a sort of manifestation of a protective mechanism that this person is using to not deal with his or her past. They may truly be results driven, but many times there is unhealthy stress and pressure that needs to be removed.

Keep in mind this isn’t a dig at type A personalities, many have said that I am type A. But either way we all have our issues no matter our personality type of traits, “for [we] all have sinned, [are imperfect] and fall short of the glory of God” and need to be “justified [and set free] by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24 ESV  (emphasis added). So no matter the personality type you may have been told that you are, God’s diagnosis and prognosis is much greater, much better.

So, we should figure out a way to remove the pressure. Don’t get me wrong sometimes pressure cookers are great thing, even in our Christian lives, because the heat and pressure can break down really difficult challenges and help us get through tough obstacles, BUT the heat must be removed sometimes for some time. Did you catch that “sometimes for SOME TIME.” this isn’t just 15 minutes a day, although if that is all you can get at the beginning do it. Lets bring back our pressure cooker, if it is cooking away and that rocker is a rockin’ you can take it off for a short amount of time and the rocker will stop, but you can put it back on the burner and it almost immediately picks up where it left off. Why? Although the heat was taken away and the pressure dropped enough to keep the rocker form rocking there is still a massive amount of pressure built up in side. Typically the safety valve is still up even. Are you getting the analogy? The safety valve is telling everyone to stay away do not open up, because bad things will happen. The second you add that heat back it is on again and you truly haven’t received a break, you truly haven’t received freedom from that build up.

This is probably why God told us to honor the Sabbath. I think it is cool that he made it one of the Ten Commandments to get some rest, to chill out, relax and take a load off. I think He may have known what He was doing, what His creation was going to be like, what pressures we would feel especially under the fallen world we are in. It is time to chill and reduce the pressure, to take some time for some time to balance that pressure again. We will examine some ways to do that in Part 3. To be continued….

 

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Relationships | Marriage

Just drop it…

How many of us have heard this being said in the heat of an argument? Why is that said? To release stress of the argument, to prevent negative or even more damaging things from being said, to prevent hurt or further separation? The answer is yes to all of these.

Proverbs 17:14 NIV

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

As the Scripture said going down that path is like breaking open a damn. It is better to simply drop the argument then deal with the overwhelming flood about to happen. But what about the issues on the other side of that barrier so close to breaking?

Why not take it easy and start letting the “water” out easily. In the heat of the moment, just drop it and when the water has settled start to talk about the stressors behind the emotion? You both will enjoy the discussion much more.

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Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

A shooting in a small town.

Walking out of my office with my family yesterday May 22nd,2013 at 6:47pm, across the street from Southlake Town Square(population not too many, last murder over 15 years ago), we were getting ready for a Daddy/Kiddo date while Mommy had a dinner with the girls. It was just then I heard pop, and I turned around immediately to see where it came from. Looking for a commotion….pop……..pop…pop..pop.pop.pop more shots rang out. The sound was too loud and had a pattern too recognizable to be fireworks. From the distance I was at (about 50 yards) it sounded like a .38, .380, or 9mm.

There were no screams, no squealing tires, no one running away like you would imagine if there was a altercation or what I have come to expect from a drive by. People were not running around in a chaotic fashion afterwards for what seemed to be eternity which made me start to doubt, my assessment of gun fire and then the sound of a heart broken woman in panic for the life of her beloved. I couldn’t see the shooter for the cars in the way, but I did see the panic of a man flagging down a police officer, the officers efficient yet cautious dispatch request and survey of the scene, the panic and heart break of a woman in shock of what just happened and the surreal reaction of the many onlookers. BTW..I had told my wife and kids to get in the van because I didn’t see were the shooter had gone and I needed to be able to have them in a controlled location and able to flee if need be. The ambulance came and went and the hustle of emergency crews grew. It was over, the man had lost his life, we woman had lost her husband, his son lost his dad and the threat was gone…..

“Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. The righteous shall be glad in the  Lord , and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.” Psalms 64:1-10 KJV

Is the threat gone? Is it truly over? The scripture above tells us the wicked are scheming. I love how although the writer does mention the fact that God will take care of our enemies, he is not asking for revenge or retribution, judgement of them or their families. He asks for his Father’s, yours and my father’s, protection. Protection not from the people themselves or their evil schemes, but form that fear associated with the knowledge that they exist. As I started writing this earlier this morning the sound of a police car is ringing in the background.

We live in a world full of spiritual, physical and emotional challenges. Evil’s existence means that for now there will always be threats. Evil is being evil at every moment, not just when we see it, but we do not need to be fearful, bound by that spririt of fear.

“By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment…”1 John 4:17-18A ESV

Who do you know of that lives and strives to cause punishment? It is not God and if you think it is then the Liar has you fooled thinking he is God and I would love to introduce you to the One True God, The Creator and Finisher, The Life and Salvation of the world, Jesus, the perfect love mentioned above, Son of the Great I AM. Remember there is no fear in Love(if you know and Trust Jesus as your savior), because we know we are forever going to be with Him no matter what happens in this life

Please feel free to comment and leave your opinions. If you need help dealing with the situation please feel free to contact us as we can help get you in touch with a great ministry that can walk beside you as you are set free.

Steve

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Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

Born to Die?

A while ago I read Anne Rice’s novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt afterwards it left me with an in thought. Some of us are born to ride, some born to live, others born to teach, or what ever other bumper-stickers you may have read. But aren’t we all here, truly born to die? What does 100% of the world’s population have in common? We all die. That sounds like a morbid thought, but is it truly morbid? Well there are two ways to look at it.

If we are here by accident, we are simply a result of a primordial soup becoming something else, then yes I would say it’s very morbid. Everything being relative and no real reason to be here is a psychiatrist’s dream, and if everything is relative and there is no real reason to live then you start seeing people make up there reason to live. Many examples of this are found on peoples’ bumper stickers, embroidered on the back of their leather jackets, and even tattooed on their bodies. But then what happens when you fall short of that reason to live, and hopefully one day this happens. I say that because that’s usually, as in my case, when the God that was never existent before comes into picture. He is there all of a sudden for you to blame, to question, and hopefully for you to embrace.

If you look at life from a different perspective then you realize that you are born to die, and what seems morbid to an unsaved world is true splendor, and you embrace the time that your life on earth ends. Anthony Evans says it best in His song “I Love You,” as the song comes to an end he finishes with the verse, “I can’t wait until that final day, when I see your face, I hope it won’t be long.” The day that we were made for, the day that we die is the day that we come face to face with our true Father, its the day that we get to hear the words, “my good and faithful servant,” and continue on into eternal life with Him. As hip-hop artist, The Ambassador, said it in, “What a Relief”, “some think that Death ends the drama, but I’ma remind ya Death is not a period, it’s just a comma.”

So what happens to those that have lived there life for all of the reasons except Christ? Well the bible says that they will be cast out and there will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. Even those that know of Him and think He is God’s son, but do not come to know him personally as their Lord and savior, He has to send away(He is perfect and nothing imperfect can come into His heaven or in essence it would make Him imperfect). That’s why he sent His one of a kind, one and only son to die for our Sins and offer a perfect covering over us. Can you imagine the eternal torment and regret of knowing that it would have been so great and so easy to be in heaven? It would be, well, Hell not to be there and I’m sure there will be crying as well as gritting of teeth both because of anger to ones self and in disbelief that they couldn’t have been more wrong. This, I believe, is what the Bible is speaking of when it refers to weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If you are not sure of your reason for living or you think it is that of one of the previously mentioned bumper stickers, I would love to give you this opportunity to pray a simple prayer. It doesn’t have to be eloquent, it doesn’t have to even be out loud incase you are reading this in a public place. He sees your heart, just simply tell your Father in Heaven, that you thank Him for sending His Son to die for the forgiveness of your sins on the cross, and ask Him for forgiveness and invite Jesus into your heart.

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Freedom | Identity Now Found Blog

Is your worth how much you’re worth?

“Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.” http://bible.us/59/job.28.13.esv

At every job I have had and at my current employer, there are a lot of people who compare their salaries and their wages to others around them. they get frustrated if their wages do not compare to those they work with.

I am sure in this day of reality TV if you haven’t seen or heard this attitude at your own job site, you have heard of talk like this somewhere. “I can’t believe he makes that or she makes that and I only make this and I do more than they do, or I have a higher education. You yourself may have even said those words, I know at one point I have and I still momentarily struggle when Satan tries to tell me those lies, that my net worth is how much I am worth or that others don’t see my value because there is someone else at the company who makes more than I do.

Please let me give you something to think about, what is the heart behind that thought? Is it that they or I or you entitled to a higher wage or are owed that because of something that they’ve done or maybe something they have achieved? Or is it because they find their value in the wages they make and when this person makes less than someone else the feel that they are, in the eyes of their employer at least, a lesser person.

This is where a very popular scripture comes into play. It is normally used to tell others of how to come to into a relationship with God, but it also sets a value, a worth, a measurement of how important we are in a world that tells us otherwise.

“For  God so loved  the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world  to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” http://bible.us/59/jhn.3.16-17.esv

God loves us so much, and He doesn’t want to condemn or tear us down He sent His own spiritually and heavenly Son to live on the earth, going what we go through and then some to save us, to free us, to even out the balance sheet of our net worth. He did that because we are valuable  not only to Him but each other and we need to go to Him to find out how much we are worth.

I hope and pray that you find freedom through Christ to release you of the bondage that Satan attempts to keep you in. Remember the bondage Satan tries to hinder you with is a lame attempt at holding on to a war he has already lost. Are you going to let him keep you from being free, from achieving everything our incredible Lord and Savior  created you to be. I pray bondage be broken from you and freedom be released in you in Jesus Name.