Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Bear with me here. Blogging is where I go when the Lord has given me a word, but I do not necessarily have a platform to scream it from the rooftops yet. This blog is my platform right now, and so I will just have to type it from the rooftops.

For the last nine months the Lord has been taking me through a process of learning about truth vs. counterfeit, honesty vs. deception, God vs. the enemy. Growing up in the Christian faith,  I learned about the two paths one can travel.  There’s the wide path and there is the narrow path. Matthew 7:13 puts it this way: "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.” (NLT)  Robert Frost would go as far to refer to the narrow road as “the one less traveled by.” 

Now, if we were to assign these two options colors, tradition would tell us that the wise decision, the one Jesus would want us to make, would be white, and the other decision, the one the devil hopes we choose, would be black. This is a simple concept that I’ve been taught my entire life, but about nine months ago the Lord brought me new revelation about such decisions. For mature christians, white vs. black is too easy.  For people who really desire to make wise, Christ-honoring decisions, white vs. black is cake. White is obviously the right decision.  Here’s the catch: the enemy’s option is rarely black. Most of the decisions that we make as christians are not white vs. black, but white vs. eggshell white.  The enemy offers the counterfeit of what God offers.  He offers something so close to the real thing that you have to put the two up to the Light to strain to see. The enemy offers a knockoff of what God offers and in the process he steals our authority.  

So the question is this—how can we tell the difference between the Truth and the counterfeit? Simple. Study the Truth so diligently that when the enemy offers the counterfeit we can easily tell the difference.

Now, I’m about to go on a bit of a rabbit trail, but if you hang with me I promise I’m going to bring it all back together.

A few weeks ago I had a conversation outside of Starbucks with a spiritual mentor of mine.  We began discussing a concept that I knew, but never had the exact words to explain. To put it simply: most Christians fall at one place on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum are Christians who believe in God the Father as an omniscient, all powerful, Creator-of-the-Universe who sent his Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world. They believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose three days later, and the generally believe everything the Bible says (they definitely claim that they do). The problem is that they ignore most things concerning the Holy Spirit. They either ignore the gifts of the spirit (such as prophecy, words of knowledge, tongues, the interpretation of tongues, etc) altogether or they preach against them.  On the other end of the spectrum are Christians who are slain in the Spirit before they make it up the church steps.  They believe (or claim to believe) most of the same things about God the Father and Jesus as the people on the opposite end of the spectrum, however, one will hardly ever hear them talking about those foundational truths compared to the time they spend on the Holy Spirit. They tend to be so focused on encounters with the Holy Spirit that biblical principles regulating such church services are often shucked to the side.

The first end of the spectrum is could be referred to as the “dried up” end of the spectrum because without belief in and experiences with the Holy Spirit (who Jesus left so he could send us!!!!), our lives as Christians are void of the power and authority that is so freely offered to us. The other end of the spectrum could be referred to as the “blown up” end of the spectrum because when experiences aren’t grounded in the Word of God, they are often inflated. Like I said before, most of us Christians can be found at some point on this spectrum. 

Thankfully, in the exact middle of this spectrum a perfect balance can be found. These are the people who believe 100% in the Bible, what it says about the Father, the Son, AND the Holy Spirit. They understand the gifts of the spirit and that they are to be used to build the body of Christ, but they also understand that the use of these gifts is to never be chaotic.  These Christians are growing up.  They are walking in the full authority they have been given through their sonship/daughtership of the God of the heavens and of the earth.  

When Jesus walked the earth, he lived in this perfect balance.  Let’s take a quick look in the Bible:

Matthew 4:1-11
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.
During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,
‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[c]”
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]”
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him.’[e]”
11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

When the devil tempted Jesus, how did Jesus respond each time? With scripture! Jesus was grounded in the Word of God one hundred and fifty percent! He knew his authority and he knew his identity as the Son of God.  Now, let’s go back to verse one. Who does it say led Jesus into the desert? The Spirit! Jesus was grounded by the word AND empowered by the spirit, and THAT is how he could stand up to the schemes of the devil!
This is where it all gets tied together, so stick with me here. When we as Christians fall anywhere on the spectrum but the middle, we are not walking in our full authority. Instead, we are choosing the devil’s counterfeit: a life living in religious bondage opposed to a life that looks like that of Jesus.

The enemy came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and yes, at times, that looks like busting your door down, but more often than not it looks like him slithering in without notice.  The enemy is a schemer, he is a snake in the garden that you have no idea is there! Don’t you think he’s going to try his hardest to take you down without you ever realizing you’re falling until you hit the ground? That’s what deceivers do! For Bible believing/obeying christians, the schemes of the enemy will not as often look like being tempted with things that are of the world, (and that’s not to say that Christians are never tempted with things of the world because we absolutely are) rather, they will be sly attempts to keep you from realizing the fullness of the authority you have as a child of the Most High God! Where is that found? In the spiritual things! It is white vs. eggshell rather than white vs. black! When we get caught up at any point on this spectrum other than in perfect balance, then the devil has us ensnared in not only counterfeit christianity, but in the spirit of religion, never realizing our full authority. Living a life of super religious christian activity is the counterfeit of a life walking in the authority that Jesus gives us.

My God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Father to the fatherless and He is a healer! And YES, HE STILL HEALS PEOPLE TODAY.  Not only does he still heal people today, but he still does so through his children! Jesus even tells us that we will do greater works than him! (I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.  John 14:12) For goodness sake, Jesus healed the blind, he healed the lame, he rose the dead! He ascended to heaven so that he could send the Spirit to empower us.  He had authority on heaven and on earth because he was the son of God, but he also gave us that same authority as sons and daughters of God because we were reconciled to God through his death and resurrection (For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19)! Let me repeat that, IN CHRIST, WE HAVE THE SAME AUTHORITY AS JESUS, but that authority is useless unless we choose to walk in it.

My God is also a God of order and peace. He is a not a God of confusion or chaos. (For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God's holy people. 1 Corinthians 14:33) As christians, when we ignore the regulations that God has put in place, we rid ourselves of authority because we are disregarding the Word of God, and God is his Word (John 1:1).

This is ugly. Christians being deceived by the spiritual things is just as, if not more dangerous than being ensnared in worldly sin. But this is also beautiful, because Jesus died just as much so we would have grace in these situations as the black vs. white. 

I can very honestly say that I do not live every day from the middle of the spectrum. From the time that I accepted Jesus as my Savior at a young age I was definitely closer to one of the extremes on the end of the spectrum than I was to the middle.  Thankfully, Jesus, in his infinite grace, standing in the middle of the spectrum, reaches out his hand and says “Follow me.”  He comes over to wherever I am on the spectrum and brings me back to where he is in the middle.  Sometimes I see the error in the ways I used to live in and try to overcompensate, running straight past the middle and closer to the other extreme, and even then, Jesus takes my hand and brings me back in, sometimes dragging behind him.  That is the fierce grace that Jesus offers.

What is Jesus’s will? That we would take his hand as he leads us out of our bondage and into the authority that he died and rose to give us. Does he give us the option to remain in our religious bondage? Yes.  However, if we choose to remain in our religious bondage, we will never remain in the authority that he desires us to have.

Let’s start seeking the word of God. The COMPLETE word of God.  It will not return void and it will never lead us astray (Isaiah 55). Let’s also start tuning our hearts to the Holy Spirit and believing God to be the all-powerful Healer and Miracle Maker we say He is. 

Just like Jesus, when we follow the Spirit’s lead, equipped with the Truth, we will experience our full authority and ensure victory against every single one of the enemy’s schemes. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Short Version:

I will not be attending LSU Baton Rouge in the fall.  Instead, I am going to stay in Shreveport and go to LSUS in order to get a degree and save money so I can…wait for it… move to Sydney, Australia and go to Hillsong College!

Long Version:

I have wanted to go to LSU Baton Rouge for my entire life.  I mean, of course, I was raised in a culture drenched in purple and gold.  My grandfather tried to have my first words be the words to the LSU fight song rather than the usual “dada” and “mama.”  About two years ago I realized that my life has a very specific call to the ministry, and so I began to look into other options.  Long story short, nothing panned out, however, when people would ask me where I plan on attending college, my answer was, “I’m not really sure.  Really just wherever the Lord tells me to go.”  Senior year got here way faster than I had anticipated.  All of a sudden, all my friends were applying to the colleges of their choice, getting accepted, applying for housing, and making plans with future roommates, and there I was: no idea where I was to attend and definitely no plans for anything beyond that.  It was decision making time, though!  Eventually, I bit the bullet and just decided on my fallback option: LSU (which was not a bad option! In fact, it was quite exciting!).

Around October, a good friend of mine and I were running errands around town one day and she asked the question. “Elles, I’ve noticed lately that when people ask you where you are going to college you say LSU…”
“Yes… and?”
“Well, I just thought that LSU was your fallback option.”
“Well it is… and I’m falling back.  I haven’t received any clear direction about where I am SUPPOSED to be, so I just made a decision.”

My friend basically went on to say that is was not a bad thing to start planning and walking down that path, but to continue to seek the will of the Lord so that if He wanted me to change paths at some point in the future that I would hear His voice and be obedient.  She also said that she really thought that the Lord was going to bring an option out of the woodwork that I had never heard of or considered, but that it would without a doubt be the place for me.

Fast forward to February and the Lord introduced me to the idea of Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia.  I knew absolutely nothing about the college at the time, but through prayer and a couple conversations with close friends, it became apparent that this was an option I really needed to consider.  The friend who had originally questioned my declaration about LSU turned to me and said, “Elles, this is the best option we have talked about for you in two years.”  Two days after I started praying about it, I knew that I needed to at least talk to my parents and put it up to them whether to consider it or shut it down.  I talked to my dad first, (if you do not know, I have been raised by a military man who greatly values structure and has had a specific vision of my future since day one) and it went way better than I anticipated.  He then talked to my mom and later in the week the three of us sat down and discussed it.  By the beginning of the next week, they asked me to meet with my pastor, meet with their pastor, and create a spreadsheet comparing the cost of LSU/life in Baton Rouge to HILC (Hillsong International Leadership College)/life in Sydney.  I met with both pastors that week and both meetings went extremely well.  I met nothing but encouragement, prayers, and sound advice.  (If anything throughout this process, I have come to appreciate the wisdom of the people of authority in my life more than ever before.)  I created the spreadsheet my parents asked for as well.  At the end of that week, my parents and I sat down again to discuss what the next step in the process would be.  My dad blessed me and paid the application fee for me to apply to HILC.  

After about another week of prayer, my parents sat me down and let me know they had come to a conclusion concerning my college plans.  They said that they appreciate that I am hearing from the Lord as to the direction in which my life is headed, and that they have known for quite some time that I am called to a different life than most.  The decision reached is that they will, in fact, allow me to attend Hillsong College and help me pay for it, but there are two conditions.  The first condition is that I would stay and get a secular degree first.  The second condition is that I come up with (through fundraising, scholarships,and working) $20,000 before I leave for Australia.  This left me with pretty much two options: 1) I attend LSU and they help me pay for it, however, they would not be able to help me financially with Hillsong after I graduate. or 2) I attend a less expensive school (LSUS), get as many scholarships as possible, and save save save, and then go to Hillsong after LSUS with the help of my parents.

Now, on my parents part, this was a miracle.  The fact that they just gave their oldest daughter the blessing to move to another country thousands of miles away is a sacrifice on their part that I do not take lightly.  The only problem was that never in this entire process was my plan to stay in Shreveport.  I was either going to end up in Baton Rouge or Australia, but staying in Shreveport never entered my mind, nor had I wanted it to.  I have longed for the independence that awaits me in August for too long and then all of a sudden, that independence was no where in sight.  Do not get me wrong, I love Shreveport/Bossier.  I have said on multiple occasions that I am so thankful that my roots are in the 318 area.  I had just always planned to move away at eighteen.  The same friend who questioned me on LSU and thought that Hillsong was the best option for me advised me not to make any decisions about my future for about a week.  She said to feel every emotion to the highest amount, pray about it, cry about it, and to process the entire process without making any decisions at first.  This is exactly what I did.  I took the entire week to think, pray and cry about it every day (I didn’t think I was an emotional person prior to this process…boy was I wrong).  

Ultimately, I knew I was working with borrowed time.  Graduation is fast approaching and enrollment fees are due within weeks.  My dad and I sat down about almost two weeks later (about a week ago now) to talk about the options one more time.  Here is the thing: I am confident that this is what the Lord is calling me to.  Do I like it right now? Not necessarily.  But as I talked to my dad (through tears again. I’m telling you… EMOTIONAL) and said, “Okay then, decision made: LSUS,” the Lord has used every moment since then to align my heart and my desires with His plan.  When it comes down to it, I want His plans for me, not my plans for me, and I trust that as I walk in obedience, He will continue to align my desires with His plan.

Here is the plan: come August, I will move out of my parents house and into an apartment.  My goal is to finish LSUS with a marketing degree in three years.  Be able to work and save money between May-December of 2017, and then leave for Australia in January of 2018.  Hillsong College has 5 different streams of study: Pastoral Leadership, Worship Music, TV & Media, Production, and Dance.  I plan to study in the Pastoral Leadership stream with a focus in Social Justice for probably three years.  However, if I have learned anything over the past couple months, it’s that plans are always subject to change.  

Some of most important lessons I have learned throughout this process:
  • Submission and respect towards your authority, even if you are receiving things that you do not want to hear, is so important.  I know that in the end, I will be blessed because I chose to respect my parents and submit to their authority and their wisdom throughout this process.

“Children obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your father and mother.’  This is the first commandment with a promise: if you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on earth.’” 
-Ephesians 6:1-3

  • Keeping dreams that the Lord has put in your heart protected is vital.  Hillsong is a God-given dream of mine.  At the same time that the Lord put this dream in my heart, He also gave me the wisdom to keep it protected from everyone except very specific people with spiritual authority in my life.  If I was to have broadcast this all over the place throughout the process, there would have been too many voices (well meaning voices, rest assured) giving me advice and opinions on this giant life decision, when the only voice I needed to be concerned with hearing was the Lord’s.

“My child, listen to what I say,
    and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
    and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
    and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
    seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
    and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
    From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
    He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
    and protects those who are faithful to him.”
-Proverbs 2: 1-8

  • Do not make plans for yourself and then expect the Lord not to change them.  He already has a plan for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11
  • Following Jesus is not easy.  Following Jesus requires sacrifice. Does it hurt a little? Absolutely.  Is it worth it? Absolutely.

“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you want to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” -Luke 9:23-24
  • There is often a season of waiting and preparing between one’s anointing and his or her appointing. King David was anointed to be king long before he was ever appointed as king.  Before he ever fought his Philistine (Goliath), he fought a lion and a bear in his season of waiting and preparation.  I know I have been anointed for certain things in my life and my education is all a part of the process. Hillsong may be a Goliath in my life, but before I face Goliath I need to take full advantage of my season of waiting and preparation.  I guess, in my case, LSUS is my lion and bear.  

Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. -1 Samuel 16:11-13
“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” -1 Samuel 17:32-37
  • As my pastor says, where the finger of God points, the hand of God provides.  I know the next four years are going to be hard. Between now and the time when I leave for HILC, I still have the $20,000 to raise, but I believe the finger of God has pointed me toward Hillsong, and, therefore, I will cling to the promise that His had will provide the means for me to go.  
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” -Romans 8:28

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


This morning I woke up at 5 AM, made myself a steaming cup of coffee, headed downstairs to let the dog out and promptly sat down to do my morning bible study.  For the past couple months I’ve been doing Beth Moore’s James study.  Yes, I am aware that this is only a seven week study and I am on week three after two months in, but we’re talking about an hour and a half of homework for this study each time I sit down… there just HAS to be some grace for going at my own pace!
As I got started, the passage being focused on for the day was James 1: 22-25. It says:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” 
Now I wish I could say that this is what this blog post is centered on because I think this is one of the most important lessons for believers to learn today, however, I will save that blog post for another day.  As I wrote this passage in my journal and turned the page, the next instruction was to read Zechariah 3:1-7.  Now, although this is a Bible study on James, I was not surprised when instructed to flip to another part of the Bible.  One of the things I have appreciated most about this study is the way Mrs. Moore is able to string together completely different passages of the bible to make one point, so I quickly glanced at the table of contents (yes, I admit to not being familiar with where the book Zechariah was *as all the kids who grew up doing bible drill gasp in horror*) and then flipped to Zechariah 3.  As I began to read, the story was vaguely familiar and as it continued, I knew the Lord was downloading something in me like never before. This is what I read:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here.”
OKAY.  You cannot tell me that this passage didn’t just rock your world, and if you can tell me that, you need to take a minute and go back and read it again.  I read this and was absolutely floored.  THEN, the next question I read is, “Does anything about Joshua the priest in Zechariah 3 remind you of your own experience?”  Wow, what a question.  I barely had words to answer at this point.  So here they are, raw and straight from the pages of my journal: (There are two things to keep in mind before you read the following paragraph: 1- do not get used to me posting excerpts from my journal online, I do not intend on it being something that happens on a regular basis. 2- keep in mind that this is my journal, Jesus may say things to me differently than he says them to you.  This is just a little more modern and put in terms I can identify with.)
“E V E R Y T H I N G  about Joshua here reminds me of me! Joshua was the high priest, to everyone around him they must have thought he had it all together, but when he came before the Lord, not even Joshua was clean.  Satan still had PLENTY to accuse him of!! And yet, the Lord stripped all of his dirt and filthiness away anyway.  The Lord rebuked Satan on his behalf!  The Lord gave him authority over His house and His courts! Jesus did the same for me! Jesus stripped me of my dirt and filthiness! Jesus looked at the enemy and said, “Screw you, Satan.  When it comes to Elles you LOSE.” It  is because of Jesus that I am an heir to God’s inheritance.  It is because of Jesus that I can approach the throne boldly and with AUTHORITY.”
I was obviously worked up, hints the excessive explanation points, but this is something seriously awesome and humbling to be worked up about.  Here is the thing, Satan is the accuser.  He entices us to sin through our own fleshly desires and as soon as we give in, he is standing there on behalf of us just to point his finger at us.  He will stand before the Lord and point out every single stain upon our clothing, as if they already didn’t stand out in contrast to God’s perfect glory.  BUT JESUS steps in.  He takes our stains upon himself.  He gives us pure vestments.  He makes us WHITE AS SNOW.  He rebukes Satan on our behalf with more authority than Satan ever had to accuse us with.  He gives us authority.  He trusts us to bring his kingdom to earth.  He gives us a right to His inheritance.  THIS IS SOMETHING TO BE WORKED UP ABOUT. 

This is not something I deserve.  I have messed up.  I have paraded around in my filthy garments.  I have been a bad steward of the name of Jesus Christ.  BUT JESUS has given me grace.  BUT JESUS has restored me and made me clean.  BUT JESUS will always stand in on my behalf.  This is not because of anything I have done, but solely because this is who Jesus is.  He is the one who stands in the gap in the middle of the throne room for me while Satan screams my name and my iniquities. He is the one who makes me blameless.