Monday, September 9, 2019

The Truth About Shadows

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.  He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17 NLT

Can we be honest, I am sure like me, at one time or another, you have been afraid of the dark or the unseen or unknown?  I grew up in the Eighties and the truth is that horror movies were the big craze during that time period and I admit that I did watch them on occasion. Not now of course and I would not allow my children to watch them either.  It’s so sad that as a child, I spent a lot of time clinging to my blanket, afraid of something that wasn’t even real.  So many times, I would lie awake - seeing shadows on the ceiling, on the wall, in the hallway, and in reality, it was usually, just the curtain or the door or a picture on the wall.

Have you ever said to yourself, "I feel like something bad is going to happen?” These feelings are the shadows, and the what-if’s that keep us in the corner - afraid.  Sadly, so many times, these feeling have the power to paralyze us into believing we are not safe or at future risk, or that a loved one is in danger.My husband, Evangelist Pat Schatzline, calls this “the paralysis of analysis!” These looming shadows of dread and doubt become faint whispers that haunt the soul and bring fear.  And as you know, FEAR is one of the strongest weapons the enemy uses to keep us in the dark.  Once this battle of the mind takes root, it has the power to cage your spirit behind the steel bars of doubt, insecurity and fear.  

But the Bible tells us that we have the power to cast down these attacks: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.  Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (MEV) In other words, the Bible tells us we have the POWER to open up the back door to our minds and throw out the lies of the enemy.  

That is exactly what God was trying to teach Pat and I to do a year ago when the enemy sent a diagnosis of Cancer into my life. (Leukemia was my shadow). God was trying to show us during that time, that over time, our perceptions (the whispers of the enemy) can become more real than what is really taking place in our reality.  As long as we sit in fear, licking our wounds of past failures that haunt us and listening to the lies of the enemy, we won’t step into the destiny that God has for us. 


It’s in our blindness and our inability to see what is next, that God uses to teach us to declare, “I TRUST YOU, GOD!”   God is calling us to live by Faith, not by sight! (2 Cor. 5:7) I’ve recently learned, that sometimes, we’re afraid of what will happen if shadows temporarily surround us.  We often fear difficulties, uncertainties, seemingly impossible circumstances or devastating illness, personal loss, or challenging finances. Darkness and difficulties are inevitable in this life but look what John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have OVERCOME the world.”

Life will have shadows in it!  There WILL be moments of darkness where the shadows loom over you, but look at one of my absolute favorite scriptures, Psalm 23, where it reads “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want … EVEN THOUGH I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL; for YOU are with me; YOUR rod and YOUR staff, they comfort me.” When the shadows come. don’t lie down and give up, get moving and keep walking!  Don’t set up camp or build a life there.

Here is what I have learned:

1.     Shadows CANNOT HURT YOU
2.     Shadows appear BIGGER than their source
3.     Where there is a SHADOW, there is always LIGHT

Here are 3 ways to defeat the shadows:

Psalm 18:29-42 (MSG)tells us this, Suddenly, God, you floodlight my life;
I’m blazing with glory, God’s glory!  I smash the bands of marauders, I vault the highest fence.  What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth.  Every God-direction is road-tested.  Everyone who runs toward him Makes it.” 
God is LIGHT!  He gave birth to the light!  His Shadow is the only one that matters!

2.     RESTORE THE ROAR OF PRAISE – It drives out the enemy
Praise and Worship is my nerve pill – When I got the cancer diagnosis, all we could do was wake up and Praise God and sing of His might and power and love. My praise is a melody and a weapon that sends the enemy into confusion and chaos. 2 Chronicles 20:22 (NLT), “At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Sier to start fighting among themselves.

3.    Take AUTHORITY over the shadows!
Ephesians 6:12 (NLT), “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits.  

But the great thing is that our weapons are not carnal either, as we learned in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, our weapons are God weapons for pulling down strongholds and everything that exalts itself against God. So often, we try to fight, in the natural, the shadows that are looming around us in the supernatural.  How about we fight on the right battlefield from now on…IN THE SUPERNATURAL! Some shadows are spiritual and demonic forces of darkness, sent on assignment from the enemy, to destroy our peace and deter our destiny.  God has given us every weapon we need to defeat the enemy and drive out the shadows. God has given us authority over the enemy. (Luke 10:19-20 (NIV).

It’s time to Realize that the darkness all around you might just be the SHADOW of HIS WINGS. Do you know that when you reside in the Presence of God, and create a “Breathing Room” for the Breath of God to flow in your life, your home, and your marriage, then you are sheltered safely under the wings of the almighty! Psalm 91:1 (NLT), “Those who live in the shelter of the Most-High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty”. Psalm 17:8 (NIV), “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”

Can I ASK YOU?…What shadows are looming in your life….How are those shadows deterring you from your God encounter and your Destiny?

When I think of shadows, I often think about Ground Hog Day, and how sad of an existence that Ground Hog’s life is. Every Year, the Ground Hog cautiously pokes it’s head out above his little prison of fear we call a burrow.  He eases out ever so slowly and looks and listens for signs of danger.  As if to always suspect that danger is imminent.  Then, to his expectant horror, he sees this big, black, spooky, scary shadow looming in front of him.  What does he do? He’s gone as quickly as he appeared. His shadow sent him fleeing back to the safety and comfort of his prison den. It occurs to me, how many times do I retreat from life, from opportunity, from freedom and purpose and joy, just because I was frightened by the shadow called “uncertainty”, “insecurity” or “inadequacy”? Perhaps…Our fears are completely unfounded just as the Ground Hog’s are?

I think sometimes that our unfounded, illogical and absurd fears, which are ploys of the enemy to deter us from our purpose and destiny, prevent us from being and becoming the mighty LIONS that we are called to be! We are called to defeat, overcome and conquer the Spirit of Fear with the breath and power of God. What might you do, or accomplish, or conquer, if you allowed the Roar of God’s breath to rise up inside of you today?  Might you leave a legacy, that would literally change the course of events, and lead your family into hope, freedom, peace, purpose, integrity, and obedience to Christ? Would you lead a movement that would restore the place of encounter in your own life, your family and in your community, that would ignite a Holy fire that could not be quenched for generations to come?

There is a famous poem by Robert Frost, 

Two Roads diverged in a wood, 
And I – I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Have you ever thought about the fact that the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason?  The common road is well traveled because, seriously, who wants to take a path that hasn’t been cleared and leads to who knows what or where? Can I tell you, we need not fear the shadows and we need not fear the road less traveled!  As you go through the valley of shadows, be encouraged by Psalm 63:7-8 (MEV)“Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.  My soul clings hard to you; Your right hand upholds me.” Sometimes it’s not about finding the safe path with no shadows…it’s about finding the one to whom your soul can cling hard to in order to find the glorious light.  

Maybe your safe path has begun to feel a little uncomfortable and you have begun to believe there just might be someplace better.  The safe road isn’t perfect, but you have bought into the lies that it’s where the relevant people in culture live.  It’s comfortable - and at least, your SURVIVING there.  Some of you may be thinking…I CANT STAY HERE!.... BUT, I’M NOT SURE I CAN GO THERE…THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED!  Maybe that road terrifies you…Stepping out in total abandonment and trusting God. But…Maybe that’s what the Israelites were thinking in Numbers 13 and 14, when 10 of the 12 spies came back from Canaan, “the land of milk and honey”. With stories of giants and fortified cities. They heard the word…GIANTS...and immediately they were afraid. So afraid, that they longed for the oppression of the Egyptians despite Joshua and Caleb reminding them that they could step out to receive what God had promised. While there may have been Giants, the Giants DID NOT have GOD on their side. Their fear would mean an entire generation would miss out on the promised land. Their fear would keep them from the abundant life God truly meant for them.  They saw Giants INSTEAD of their INHERITANCE!

But WHAT IF, the scariest road full of shadows is the ONLY road that leads to the promised land? What if the Israelites had just remembered who God is!  He had split the red sea…and caused it to swallow up their enemy. What if they just remembered what God had spoken to them when He brought them out of Egypt? Exodus 6:8, “I will bring you to the land with I swore to give to Abraham Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.” How about you?!…Do you want to miss out on your promises, just because the shadowy less traveled road looks scary and uncertain?

Maybe the shadows are just that, shadows; and maybe God and I are going to slay those shadows and Giants, or maybe I will learn to live courageously in the face of the shadows and the Giants.  All I know is this … if I stay on the safe, well worn, comfortable path - always afraid of the shadows looming around me, I might just avoid the giants, but it will be dry and empty there!  OR, I can take God by the hand, face the shadows, turn the light on, Restore my Roar of Praise, and take authority over the shadows in my life, so that I might live a life of abundance and provision and freedom like I have never known.  

Read more about “When the Shadow Looms” in the powerful new book, “Restore the Roar” by Authors Pat & Karen Schatzline.

Watch Evg. Karen share more from this message by watching her latest episode of “The Breathing Room” below.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Stop ... Challenge ... Choose

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whether you turn to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 (NET)

I recently read somewhere that we make approximately 5,000 decisions a day.  Wow!  I realize that I make a lot of decisions based on emotion or whether or not I am exhausted or not.  We make so many decisions throughout the day.  And while some may seem like insignificant decisions, others may huge life decisions. I decided to choose peace and joy and purpose today over lethargy and complacency. I choose to meet with God today before meeting with anyone else, however, some days I fail in that pursuit as well and it shows in my decision making on those days.Some of our everyday choices are completely random choices, while others are very important, however, they are all choice points.  Those seemingly small or large choice points may seem like insignificant decisions, yet they will lead us in a one direction or another.

We make daily decisions to either react in anger, or respond in patience and compassion in moments of conflict in our relationships. We choose to create drama and agitation with friends or co-workers, who may hurt our feelings or seem selfish or lack compassion at times. We have the daily opportunity to choose words that will affirm and encourage or cause pain and insecurity in our children.  There are so many situations in our daily walk where we are faced with frustration, disappointment, hurt feelings, anger, and pain. 

As part of our personal growth plan, Pat and I made a decision 3 years ago, to take back our physical health.  This was a major life change that has literally changed our life and restored our energy, vigor and vitality to run our race strong and to be there for our children and grandchildren for the long run.  It also ensured that we will enjoy life together well into our retirement years. One of the statements that one of our health mentors taught us was Stop…Challenge…and Choose.  We had to view our choices differently.  How would our food choices affect our physical health and our overall health goals? We had to stop and evaluate and choose the path that would lead to our desired goals.

Believe it or not, this same principal can be applied to our spiritual walk.  Learning to view our reactions to crisis and conflict from a different perspective.  We must STOP in the face of crisis/conflict … CHALLENGEour emotional response … and CHOOSEto respond from a place of our relationship with God.  We must not REACT but rather ACT UPON in order to have the best outcome for everyone involved. Asking ourselves key questions: How will my response/reaction affect my life and the life of those around me?  How will all those involved walk away from this moment.  Will relationships be severed or will they grow in maturity? Are my reactions creating a victim mentality and an attitude of constant offense or a lifestyle of gratitude and joy? 

Sometimes we have to change our perspective and our perception of life. There are times I have to choose to change how I interpret what’s happening around me.  Because how we perceive our circumstances, can make or break us in any given situation. Our perspective shapes us and how we think and how we engage with the people around us every day.  Perspective creates OPPORTUNITIES for growth or it can hinder our progress and restrict us in life. Our perspective can cause us to walk in constant offense and bitterness, jealousy and lock us up in the comparison prison where we never reach the potential that God has for us. There are days where I find myself making the following statements: I can’t…I will never make it to that goal…Why does that always happen to me…Why don’t they listen to me?  Can you see how that is reactive vs. proactive?  Always finding the bad in every situation.   When I find myself in those days, I have to stop…challenge…chooseto go into my prayer closet and find my place in the presence of my Savior to change my attitude to be that of….I CAN…I WILL…It’s going to be fine…God’s got this!...Keep going…persevere…keep your eyes on the prize set before you…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…I am more than a conqueror…With GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!  Those are much more responsive and proactive attitudes….choosing to see the best in a situation (God’s view) brings about a totally different view.The right perspective says failure is part of learning and life is hard sometimes, but with God, we can do hard stuff!

God is calling us to change our perspectiveto see His faithfulness and His Power! To be aware of His able-ness not our weakness and limitations. A dear friend and fellow health coach, Terri Miller, said this to my husband, Pat, and I recently as we were discussing growth in our business.  She said…”Many people are just wanting the STAGE of SUCCESS …While others choose the STAGE of GROWTH”

WOW!  How true is that?! So many times we just want the outcome to glorify us and showcase our accomplishments and gifting’s, but we really should be choosing to always be in a stage of growth mindset. Look at Hebrews 5:12 (NET), “For though you should in fact be teachers by this time, you need someone to teach you the beginning elements of God’s utterances.  You have gone back to needing milk, not solid food” I can just hear the Father saying on those days when I have a rotten attitude or when I’m feeling sorry for myself, whining and griping, “REALLY Karen!...This again?”  “I thought we were past this already?”  For some of us, we are just waiting for someone to come along and put the spiritual bottle in our mouths to feed our insecurity and self-doubt and lack of self-worth.  Isn’t it time we graduate from that mindset already?!  I’m ready to put down the bottle and the pacifier and graduate to solid food that strengthens my mind, body and spirit!  I don’t have time for pettiness anymore!

Did you know that the Bible actually speaks about the power of the mind and our thoughts?! I LOVE THESE SCRIPTURES! Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.  Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live.”We NEED to understand that life, love, joy, and peace are CHOICES!  We always give circumstances too much power and credit in our lives. It just seems too simple to believe that simply choosing love and joy is possible.Look at Romans 12:12, “Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

Changing the way we think, actually changes our perspective which changes the way we act! Paul’s words were not new!  The theme of Jesus’ first sermon was, “Change your mind” in Matthew 4:17.Jesus always challenged people to change their mind and their viewpoint.  All through the Bible it shows us that if we do not change our mind, we just impose our own biases and mindsets and labels on the words we read.The first thing we have to change is our perception…And that begins with OUR SELF not EVERYONE ELSE.  We need to change our perspective of who we are!

Ephesians tells us that we are God’s handiwork and that before the world was ever created he prepared us for great works.  Seeing the truth of God’s perspective about yourself is not about our self-esteem or arrogance or a pat on the back or even our happiness.  It’s about making the right choices for those we are called to reach, rescue and set free. It’s about stepping out in purpose and the destiny that God has called you to.

So how do we choose to change our perspective in real life?  

1.    Choose  - We can choose fear, insecurity, jealousy, bitterness and the lies of the enemy on a daily basis, or we can choose to believe that God is true to His word when He said, “Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think”. (Eph. 3:20)

Here is your choice today … In the face of crisis and conflict…
-       Choose to believe that you are loved by God –Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
-       Choose to live in freedom 
-       Choose to believe God has prepared you to do great things
-       Choose to believe you were created for purpose…on purpose
-       Choose to believe that with God…You will overcome 

Choosing means that you have control over thinking as a victim who is powerless or choose to be an overcomer, trusting that God’s word is TRUE!

God told us in 2 Timothy 1:7, that He did not give us fear (panic) but POWER…LOVE…SOUND MIND!

If God gave us POWER to change the atmosphere then we can change our perspective to Gods view point.  When our perspective is toxic to our soul, then we have the power to accept them or dismantle them and see through God’s view point.  

Without the weapons of POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND that God gave us to conquer the thoughts of fear, we wouldn’t be able to follow through with this scripture, in the Message Bible phrased like this, 2 Corinthians 10:5-7, “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of a life shaped by Christ.  Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” 2 Corinthians 10:5, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

God’s word says that with the tools he gave us, we can actually capture and tear down specific thoughts in our mind, so I think it’s safe to say that we can conquer wrong thinking through Christ.  But how is that even possible?  IT’S ACTUALLY RIGHT IN PLAIN SIGHT IN THE BIBLE!  Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God” The power of prayer has been proven over and over throughout history. Capturing your thoughts requires stillness … UH OH!  Some of us just walked out of the room because that is nearly impossible with our busy hectic lifestyles. Most of us feel we have no time for prayer but if we don’t have time for prayer then our thoughts, emotions and feelings continue calling the shots in our life

2.    Change Your Thinking.
Stop…Challenge…and Choose is this :
Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent and praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Every now and then, I run into someone who is different.  They are always happy, always calm, always think the best in people, nothing phases them, they are almost impossible to offend.  Their peace and joy are contagious. I walk away thinking…”Wow, I don’t know how they are that way, but I want to be that way.”  Then I have to realize…Philippians 4:8 – THEY CHOSE LOVE!  They chose to view life through God’s eyes and not their own. They chose God’s heart and fiercely rejected the negative lies of the enemy.

We can be the inspectors and quality controllers of our thoughts.  When the wrong perceptions and perspectives come along the conveyor belt of our minds and thought factory…We must examine them…challenge where they came from who they came from…if they don’t meet up with the standards of God’s Word…we can choose to remove them from our hearts/ minds and replace them with the word of God and what God says about us and over us.

Look what Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)tells us, “For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” More times than not, our thoughts and feelings are going to challenge the word of God.  The Word of God is going to challenge your fleshly thoughts and the rough and stubborn areas of our life. But it will also give you strength to lean in to the real answers and to the truth!  God’s word will shift your wrong mindsets and misconceptions and replace them with FAITH! It will heal your heart and comfort you in the darkest places of your life.Proverbs 23:7 lays it out so clear, “As someone thinks within himself, so he is.” God’s word does not offer empty promises, but real hope!

3.    Stop Comparing  - Can we please just stop comparing ourselves to other people and where other people are in life? 2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV), “We do not dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.  When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”  So many of us twist ourselves up in knots, never satisfied, trying to live up to someone else or be like someone else or something were not. (I’ve been guilty at times) Trying to fill some endless list of qualities and qualifications and capabilities that we think will somehow fulfill us or give us the attention that we so desperately desire in our flesh concept of success.  God doesn’t need another…..(Insert your name here)! HE NEEDS YOU!  He made you on Purpose…With a purpose!

Here is my challenge to everyone today– Instead of asking God to change your situation, complaining about your life, to change other people … Maybe we should ask God to change our perspective and our perception. How about we Stopblaming, making excuses, looking for reasons to be offended - Challengethe thoughts that were dwelling on - measure them up against the Word of God and what God says about us and over us - And Chooseto walk in Gods truth OVER the enemy’s lies.

Realize that so many times … The obstacle is the way!  Stope worrying about the obstacle and start viewing it as a means to the promise.  The way is THROUGH the SEA… THROUGH the PRISON…OVER the MOUNTAIN…THROUGH the FIERY FURNACE…THROUGH the LIONS DEN…and ON A CROSS!

How do you think God wants to change your perception/response today to life’s choices? Maybe you are dealing with fear, anxiety, anger, jealousy, bitterness or inadequacy?  Whatever you are facing…could it be that you have an opportunity to walk out of it with a TESTIMONY?! The Apostle Paul prayed that someone would be able to change their perception.  Look at Ephesians 1:18 (HCSB), “I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints.” The (NLT) version says that I pray your hearts will be flooded with light.” Can you imagine if you allowed God to direct your emotions, choices and attitudes?  Can you imagine waking up and walking through a dark situation or season, but then all of a sudden…All the lights get turned on for you?!  Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” God walks with us in situations where it is hard to see clearly and illuminates the path by which we can be led to healing, wholeness, and freedom and joy.

In the 5000 plus choices you make today, I pray that you take a moment to STOP…CHALLENGE…CHOOSE.  I pray you ask the Holy Spirit for His guidance and His counsel and His direction before reacting.  CHOOSE to FOLLOW the Holy Spirit as HE LEADS the way.

PRAYER:  Dear Father, some days are challenging and my emotions get the best of me. Some days, my words or decisions come from a place of pain or frustration and insecurity.  Today, I want to see through your eyes in order to change my perspective. Today, as I make all those 5000+ choices, I ask that you turn on the flood light for my mind to see clearly. Walk with me, speak life to me, and remind me of how my emotions and choices affect others.  Help me to lead out of love and security in knowing who I am called to be.  Help me not to compare myself to others and fully embrace all you have called me to be. Help me to follow the leading of Your Holy Spirit so that I can be a life giver and encourager to those you bring into my life.  Help me to bring value through your Word in every situation.  As I draw near to you, I know you will draw near to me.  Thank you, Father, AMEN.


Watch Evangelist/Author Karen Schatzline share this powerful new word on a recent episode of "The Breathing Room".