Meet the Authors.

Sarah Burlingame is passionate about Biblical truth. Her diverse church background has taken her through Mainline Methodist, Evangelical, Charismatic and Roman Catholic circles. Her calling as an intercessor led her to receive a certification in Advanced Spiritual Warfare from LMCI (Liberating Ministries for Christ International) lmci.org . Sarah has served as a small group leader, worship planner, liturgical dance leader and online ministry coordinator. She holds a M.S. degree in Education and lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and their sons. They attend North Rome Wesleyan Church.

Joanne Reinhart asked Jesus Christ into her heart at the age of nine in a Sunday school classroom in Maryland. Her journey with the Lord took her through various careers, colleges, and universities. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Art/Dance, Theology, and Education, and a M.S. degree in Educational Administration. Her passion for the Lord is evidenced through worship, dance, and teaching. She was liberated into her spiritual gifts and callings through the teaching resources of LMCI lmci.org . Joanne has danced and taught at Christian conferences and various churches in PA and VA. She currently teaches classical ballet and coaches dance for gymnastics. Joanne attends Lighthouse of Faith Church. She and her husband live in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Delivered From Darkness



The sun is shining gloriously outside. The birds are singing and the cat is purring by your side. There is a quiet calm in your surroundings. However, your mind isn’t calm. No, it is anything but calm! There is a deathly dark cloud over your mind and emotions. It causes a despair that seems to emanate from the very pit of hell.  Everything seems hopeless… a loved one is still estranged or missing, your debts are piling up, or your health, or that of a loved one, is not improving.  The world around you may look peaceful but it feels as if everything is falling apart, with darkness and decay everywhere.  The news and other media sites are shouting of injustice, unrest, terror, wars, natural disasters and catastrophes.  Your mind begins to entertain thoughts of potential harm, and any peace or comfort has completely disappeared.  All you see is darkness closing in…. lack, loneliness, anxiety, depression, worry, fear… there is NO peace in any of these.   Is there a light at the end of this tunnel you find yourself in?
We have been DELIVERED from the power of darkness:

Colossians 1:13-14 (AMPC) [The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, [Jesus]14 In Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins.

Our heavenly Father has rescued us from the enemy’s kingdom of darkness and transferred us into His Son’s Kingdom!  Jesus Christ is the LIGHT that came into this dark world.  

John 1:1-5 (NKJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend [overcome] it.
John 3:19 (CEB) “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil.”

John 8:12 (AMP) Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Isaiah 60:2 (NIV) See, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.

[Even though the context of this scripture and following refers to Jerusalem, “the Lord’s people are commanded to reflect the light that the Lord has shone upon them.  They are to be His witnesses to all nations…to reflect clearly the light of God’s glory.”] 

So, you may ask, “If I am delivered from darkness then why do I sometimes still feel despair?” It is a fact that until Jesus returns to restore all things we are living in a fallen world. Therefore we need to learn (by faith) to believe His promises.  Imagine you are in a dark, dark forest. There are creepy sounds of skittering, invisible creatures and snapping twigs along with slithering noises. Pretty terrifying, right? Now imagine you are in that same dark forest only now you have bright flashlight. The light shines in the darkness and you realize those skittering sounds are just cute little chipmunks and the slithering sounds are really just from your backpack because its strap slipped off and is now dragging behind you. Our walk in this world can seem the same way. We are burdened by the fears that come from the unseen and the unknown but when we trust in God and His promises for us, the world around us lights up. 
  
Psalm 119:105 (CEB)
Your word is a lamp before my feet
and a light for my journey.

Our despair can turn into Hope.  When we “look away from all that distracts us” and focus on Jesus, our faith is build up.  We can have the courage to finish another day, to smile in the face of adversity, to trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross.  We can reflect the light of Jesus inside us. (Romans 10:9,10; Colossians 1:27) Jesus adds to our wavering faith so that we can arise and shine in this dark world. (Isaiah 60:1)
Hebrews 12:2a (AMP) [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity]

~ Sarah and Joanne

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Blinded By Love

Think about it.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Love is blind”?  That often means that someone ‘fell in love’ with the wrong person.  We are hearing the word LOVE thrown around social media, the nightly news, commentaries, protesters, and used in daily conversations. Love, love, love.  One thing about love is certain, however, it is a concept that differs greatly among the people of this world. If a person or a group says they love, is that love always true?  Is it the love that the bible describes?

1 John 4:7-8 (AMP)
Beloved, let us [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience]. The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.]

How do we know if someone says that we should ‘love everyone’ is truly talking about the love of God in Christ Jesus?

1 John 4:2-3 (ESV)
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Here is an interesting quote from American Pastor and bible scholar, Warren Wiersbe: “Truth without love is brutality. Love without truth is hypocrisy.” 

The love of God is truth and sometimes…. OK, maybe even many times, His truth is misunderstood.  The truth is: the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is not the same god of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Jainism, Sikhism, Shinto, or Zoroastrianism.  He is, however, the same God of Judaism, the God and Father of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob (Israel).

In John 14:6, Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  Jesus Christ is the only ONE who was crucified, died, and raised from the dead.  He now sits beside our Heavenly Father, at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:2) “For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” (Colossians 2:9)

None of the other world religions have a god who is alive!  Jesus Christ is alive! When we follow Him and heed His words, our lives line up with the truth.
So, how do we live in these perilous times right NOW?  There can be no denying that fact. There are wars and rumors of wars. There is intense political strife. There is hate and accusations of hate throughout this whole world.  And in the midst of all of this, we are hearing a lot of talk about “love”. 

There is a holy war (jihad) going on around the world.  ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a Salafi jihadist militant group that has been designated a terrorist organization by the United Nations and many individual countries.  Amnesty International has charged this group with ethnic cleansing on a “historic scale” in northern Iraq.  The definition of jihad is:  1) a holy war undertaken as a sacred duty by Muslims;  2) any vigorous, emotional crusade for an idea or principle.

Today: 2/9/17 ISIS claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on Eilat (a city located in Southern Israel at the Gulf of Arabia).

The god of Islam is declared to be “great” as radical Islamic terrorists strike innocent targets around the world. (“Allahu Akbar”, an Islamic phrase, in Arabic, meaning "Allah is Greater" or "Allah is [the] greatest" is shouted by these terrorists.)  Is that TRUTH? Is that LOVE?

Jesus told His disciples: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

To be “wise as serpents” is to know and use the authority Jesus has given us as believers so we won’t be caught off guard or be in harms’ way.  To be “gentle as doves” is to be full of the fruit of the Spirit with all grace and truth. Jesus knew that persecutions were coming for His people and that they would be subject to deception. He knew that the wolves of this world were voracious predators eager to devour their prey. So, He warned us ahead of time to be aware of the dangers and to be gracious at the same time. That really isn’t an easy task but, when we are guided by the Holy Spirit, we can be more than conquerors in this world. We can walk in love and be confident in the truth of who we are in Christ.  We will not be  “blinded by love” but emboldened by it!

1 John 4:17-19 (NKJV) Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

~Joanne and Sarah