Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Treasure of the Incarnation of Jesus

I’ve chosen this advent season to lean into the heart of God with this question in mind, “What are the treasures of Jesus’ incarnation that I’ve overlooked?”

On Day 1 of asking this question to Father God, I was immediately met with the answer, “Empathy.” So, I went to the internet to google the definition of empathy for a better understanding of what that meant exactly.

Empathy denotes a deep emotional understanding of another’s feelings or problems. It is the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings. It is further defined as the identifying with or vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, motives and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

I was awe struck with just how deeply we are understood by Jesus.

So imagine my surprise on Day 2 of advent season when I ask the question of Holy Spirit, “Holy Spirit, what are the treasures of Jesus’ incarnation that I’ve overlooked?” and He responds with the exact same answer…empathy.

Convinced that my “maker upper” has responded and not the Holy Spirit, I repeat the question. Then Jesus replies, “Felicia, empathy is a really big deal.  I GET YOU. How can we walk together in relationship if I am unrelate-able? I feel what you feel. I see what you see. I have thought the things you thought. There is nothing about your existence that I have not experienced in mind. I am intimately acquainted with every part of who you are. So many people don’t come to Me because they don’t think I can relate. “

In that moment lost in the words, “I GET YOU,” I realized that Immanuel is not a God who is far off. We say it, yes. But I think sometimes we live as if His Presence is only here when we’re in worship or when we’re praying or when we’re in a corporate setting amongst other believers. But in that moment, deep in my heart, a truth that has been forming for a while was completely unlocked. Immanuel gets me. Immanuel is here with me, not just in worship or prayer or corporate settings. He is forever one with me, every minute of every hour of every day of my existence.

I no longer have to feel misunderstood. For there is One who gets me.  I no longer have to feel like I’m the only one who thinks a certain way. For there is One who understands my thought process. What a comforting reality.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Do Good. Get Good. Right?

Spending my teenage years with a mom entrenched in prayer, enthralled by rebuking, binding and casting out demons, I’ve always sat on the fringe of inner healing and deliverance ministry.

As a young married couple in church leadership, our pastor asked all cell leaders to go through Issue Focus RTF (Restoring the Foundations) and be trained in it so that we could use it for crisis situations in our small groups. Great idea. Perhaps not so much if you, the leader, are still very much broken and fractured yourself, but a great idea nevertheless.

As life evolved for me and I encountered the love of my Heavenly Father, I found myself being constantly challenged by Truth (Jesus, see John 14:6) to allow Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth to bring Truth to every area of my heart and dismantle the stronghold of deception that I had ensconced myself within.

In my quiet time, He would set before me lies I believed. Some I’d formed on my own.  Others I’d swallowed like a catfish along with every other word a pastor spoke from his pulpit, taking his theology and making it my own without ever examining it with Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit to discern if it was actually true or just what the person speaking believed to be true.

Finding great freedom and liberation through RTF and other inner healing and deliverance modalities, I began to study and then implement several tools in my own inner healing ministry.

In the past few years, one common thread I saw in many of the ministry receivers that sat before me was this notion of transaction. I know for a fact that it’s subtle and most, if not all, do not even realize they have placed this condition upon their relationship with God but it exists all the same. And I believe it is wreaking havoc in the very foundation of trust and our ability to receive the love of God that transforms our hearts and lives.

I’ve seen many clients longing to have a baby, hoping to get married, dreaming of being a world changer, a Heidi Baker, a Bill Johnson….you name it. The dream, the hope, the desire of their heart is huge, weighty, lofty. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Until the client begins to say, “I’ve kept myself pure. I’ve followed all the rules. I’ve given up my life to serve Him. I’ve done everything He’s asked of me and then some. I’ve did this... I’ve did that… I haven’t sinned. I’m not out there whoremonging.” And so on and so forth.

At the root of that diatribe of the heart lies an injured expectation that I did this for God so I expect Him to do that.  Tit for tat. You pay for my lunch today. I’ll buy your lunch tomorrow. You scratch my back. I’ll scratch yours. You do for me. I’ll do for you. This is a transactional relationship based on conditions. 

I did you do that. I gave myself to your rules, to your service now you give me my heart's desire. It's how most people do life, tit for tat. And then we project that way of life onto God - full of transactions and conditions. Only, when God doesn’t respond the way we think He should, we end up mad, bitter, offended and angry at God. Determining in our hearts that He’s untrustworthy or we bury our true feelings under a whole bunch of verbose Christianese while we live in an absence of peace - discontent and discouraged.

When hope fades, it's because we are believing a lie or because we've placed our hope in an object not the Source. He is the God of hope who fills us with ALL joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13). If there is no peace or joy, it’s highly likely we have misplaced our hope from its Source onto an object. 

Am I doing good because I expect to be rewarded for my performance? Am I doing this because I want something in return? Often, we say no with our mouths.  But at the root of our motivation to do good, the answer is yes, we do. I do good. You do good by me. Conditional. Transactional.
Is it wrong to expect good while doing good? Should we not have any expectations?  I think the more valid question would be, what is motivating my doing good? Is it love or the expectation of reward? Am I choosing to do good because it’s the right thing to do, the good thing? Did I make this choice based on the fruit of the knowledge of the tree of good and evil or the tree of life?
Every choice from the tree of life is rooted in love, motivated by love. Every choice made from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil takes a side. I’m choosing to do something based on whether it’s right or wrong and often I have equated my being blessed or favored to my choosing the right thing (the good thing).

In my opinion, expectations lead to performance and control. Paul Young, author of The Shack, says it best, “Expectations are one of the dominant ways in which we attempt to control life, relationships and God. Expectations are largely disappointments waiting to happen. Expectations are all about doing...about performance.”

As one friend pointed out today, even as children we are taught, “Do good and get a reward.” 
So the logic follows, I’ve done good. I’ve kept myself. Now I should be rewarded with marriage, with children. Then for whatever reason, that doesn’t happen.  Or a woman keeps herself pure, gets married with the expectation that her arms and quiver will be filled with little ones. But for whatever reason, that doesn’t happen. Or someone gives up everything to embrace the call of God on their life. Then for whatever reason, nothing becomes of it – at least in their mind or by their standards. 

Think back to the initial poured out complaint before God that I listed as a diatribe when I began, it’s full of I statements which reflect self-righteousness, self-effort and done/did/doing/didn’t verbs which reflect performance. This is what we were taught as kids, but it is steeped in a performance theology where I have to perform for love, perform for acceptance, perform for rewards. We have learned to live conditionally or transactionally which eliminates the need to live relationally. And sadly, many adults today are still living by rules, conditions and transactions in lieu of relationship – with God and with each other. 

When our choices are rooted in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, our inside world feels the fruit of those choices. If the outcome is good, we’re happy. If the outcome is not what we expected, we live in the discontentment of negative emotions. Being swayed to and fro based on the outcome of what we expected to happen, coming to ill formed conclusions such as, “well since good isn't happening, God must be evil ... or at least He's evil towards me. He doesn't take an interest in me...He isn’t for me. I can’t trust Him.”  Up and down in our emotions like a roller coaster ride. 

On and on our negative emotions swirl and roar within us bringing us to a place of agreement with the evil one and handing over our power and the victory Jesus has won for us to him.
Discontentment will always cause us to see what we don't have. Living through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil creates corrupted wisdom. It is not pure. God never meant for us to eat of that tree and yet the fruit of it still provides the very substance of our meals thousands of years later. 

The truth is...He has brought you to His banqueting table and His banner over you is love. He came that you might have life and life to the full. Constancy only exists in Tree of Life living. Tree of Life living says, “What would love do? How do I love myself? Where is Love (God) loving me right now? How is He showing up in my life?” Love is so full. It overflows with life. It's too big for us to see cracks and voids...

Abba loves us unconditionally. He gives to us because generosity is a part of His nature. Truly, He does not withhold good from us. Delay and unfulfillment doesn’t mean He is punishing you. Hebrews 11:13, “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth…” Romans 14:23, “...and whatever is not from faith is sin.”

Many heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 died before they received the fulfillment of their promises in this realm. But don’t miss the fact that they saw them and even welcomed them into their hearts. So why do we, when delay happens begin to live as people with no hope getting angry and bitter, giving up on trusting God? Why do we believe that promises, destiny and prophetic words die if we are people of eternal life?? We go to sleep here in a world where we are strangers and exiles. We don't die. I so want to give this truth away to others in way that restores hope and brings life and joy and peace. 

Dear friend, your delay is not only heart wrenching to you, it is also heart wrenching to Him. He is not in His sovereignty blocking your heart’s desires. Even while serving Him on the surface, many have pushed Him away in their hearts. It is indeed just that, a life of servitude like master to slave living as a useful tool in the Kingdom of God. This is not your destiny. You have been summoned by the King to feast at His table and His banner over you His love. 

I bless you today to not lose heart while doing good. I bless you to not grow weary of doing good. I bless you to be like Jesus, to go about doing good and healing all who are oppressed of the devil, for God is with you. I bless you to do good from a place of wholeness and love. May your heart be at rest in Him today.


Sunday, June 29, 2014


I'm not sure if people realize that coercing others to Jesus by praying prayers that essentially sics the devil on people to lead them back to God only creates bitter Christians who are motivated into a religion by fear of punishment.

God never wanted to be Jesus, the Magic Genie who would erase trouble from our existence (ref. John 16:33). And He doesn't need to use sickness, accidents, chaos or any other form of destruction to bring people to Him.  If you stop and think about it, what's appealing about a God like that anyway?

You have a very REAL Heavenly Father who loves you. His love is enough to woo you. It is His loving kindness, His goodness that draws men to think differently about Him.

When we rightly represent who God is, we lead people to a God of love who is passionate about people; a God who wants to embrace each person. A God who wants to enter into a relationship with you.

You know that sickness and in health; for richer or poorer; good/bad...? Get the picture?

He's no three wish Genie but He's the One I want with me in the highs and the lows; the thrills and the mundane because I can trust His love for me. How do I know this?

I certainly didn't learn it from orphan spirited Christianity. I learned it because He pursued me with His kind intentions and comforted me with His love. Because He first loved me, it compels me into relationship with Him.

Don't be fooled. Love doesn't look like punishment. There is no sickness, accidents, chaos or destruction in Heaven. If it's not there, then those things aren't an act of God.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil has convinced us that people have to be punished in order to do better. It's time to uproot this tree and all of its fallacies from our thinking.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

In The Midst Of It

Life comes crashing in, pounding from all sides.
Highs, Highs, Highs
Victories and Celebrations
And then the lows
So strong, so intense
The current of life moves to draw you beneath the surface
Crashing, Falling, Slipping into the Waves of Despair
But there is One
He enters the tumult, grabs me by the shoulders
And draws me in to a loving embrace
"Look at Me. See Me. I am TRUTH."
He beckons
Into the depth of my heart flows love and peace
No the waves didn't stop
Yet all is calm
My heart is settled and fixed on Him
He alone is my prize


This morning as I was praying, I was overwhelmed with anger at just how jacked up the thought processes and beliefs of the religious mind are. And how rampant and invasive these thoughts are in shaping society.

Here's one: most Christians believe that unbelievers have to go through some kind of darkness, torment or destruction for them to find God. Often praying, "God make their life a living hell until they repent. Do whatever it takes to make them turn to you." Prayers and beliefs like these are so WARPED.

Not realizing we are introducing people to the G-O-D of our religious paradigm. A God who has to be served; a vindictive, angry G-O-D who is so impotent He'll use evil and destruction to get people to turn to Him. Is this really who God is?? I think not.

Romans 2 says it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance. Psalm 23:6 says "Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." That word follow means to chase like a dog, to ardently pursue. It is the Father's bounty and His kind intentions that chase us down and lead us to change our mind for the better about who God is.

We see God with the eyes of our heart not through the pain and turmoil of life's realities. Pray that unbelievers will encounter God's love, yes. But also pray that through the Holy Spirit, people in places of influence, preachers in pulpits, speakers with mics in their hands, authors with pens would encounter Truth and Truth would lead them all the way home to His Father.

George McDonald once said, “Good souls many will one day be horrified at the things they now believe of God.” It's time to tear down the G-O-D paradigm and demolish the high places that the religious spirit has established. Papa is standing in the door of our shacks, looking out on all of His kids and His heart is beating with profound love for us to get it, for us to see Him as He really is. We are all Mackenzie’s. And just as Papa said to Mack in the book, The Shack, today Papa still says, “I’m not who you think I am, Mackenzie.”

I bless you today to see Him as He really is. I bless you to experience His goodness and His kind intentions towards you. I bless you, in all things: speech, thought, life to be an accurate display of His splendor in the earth. May you fully comprehend the depth of His love that beckons you into relationship with Him.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

"We Are Marshall"

“We Are Marshall”

Lately Papa has been speaking to me a lot about conformity. What is it about our psyche that longs to be a part of a collective whole? Longs to fit in, to have a group to identify with, a tribe to run with, a pack?

Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group. It’s an action in accordance with some specified standard or authority.

One only has to take a glimpse at our society to see conformity everywhere. I’m republican. I’m a democrat. I’m libertarian. I’m pro-choice. I’m pro-life. I’m Protestant. I’m Catholic. I’m Lutheran. I’m a Calvinist. To claim my place in any of these camps immediately identifies me with a party line, a belief system, an ideology. “And what’s so wrong with that,” one might ask.

What is wrong with that? Or… is there something inherently woven into our DNA that calls us to the idea of being a part of something bigger than ourselves? I think the answer lies in the middle and the extremes have been a huge detriment to our society and continue to perpetuate a great disservice to mankind.

When I embrace a conformity-based system, I inherently lose my own personal voice and opinion to the party line. Even if I differ in my opinion, personal beliefs, and thought process, for the sake of appearances, I am going to say what the party says and do what the party does. My freedom is lost as a result of my choice to conform.

The danger of conformity is that it’s easy to become a parrot instead of a thinker. As a Christian, I’ve seen this often in Christian circles. We speak Christianese and tout Christian phrases and idioms. Often without examining what they mean or even more importantly, if we actually believe and agree with what we’re saying. Am I conforming to the language of my party or do I truly believe this? If you were to slice me open, step on my toe, put me in an extreme situation, at the core of who I am – what would rise to the surface? If my default response and belief is not the phrases I’m parroting then I’m not being true to myself. I’m simply conforming to fit in and be accepted.

Conformity exists because it gives us a comfort zone. Essentially, it makes us feel safe. I remember once a church leader telling my husband and I that he needed his elders to think like him. His need mimics a very real heart cry in our society. The fear of being different has created polarization, cliques, sects, perpetuated racism, sexism, and classism and limited healthy dialogue.

I’m guilty of this and I know it. It was actually inside of my own parenting and His that God began to speak to me about conformity. Doug and I have four beautifully, brilliant kids. We call our family, Murrell Tribe. During our kid’s formative years, we proudly displayed our family’s coat of arms in the playroom and chanted our family slogan, “We are the Murrell’s. We stand for honesty, integrity and service. We are HIS and He is Jesus Christ.”

Often as our kids would leave the home for social events and outings, you could catch either Doug or I looking one of the kids in their eyes and parroting the parental line, “You’re a Murrell. Remember who you are and what we stand for.”
One day in my quiet time, Papa God brought this back to my mind and Holy Spirit asked me, “Felicia, what happens if one of your kids decides they no longer want to stand for honesty, integrity or service? Do they stop being Murrell’s?”

Startled by the inquisition, I pondered. Then I answered, “No, they will also be Murrell’s.” To which He replied, “this is the downfall of conformity. It requires you to act a certain way, perform certain tasks, believe certain things to be accepted that may be completely at odds with who you truly are.” Quietly, I continued to listen and He continued, “Man has been created in Our image and Our likeness. Often you all say, ‘when you see the Three, you see One and to see One is to see Three,’ and there is truth to that. Father, Jesus and I are separate, unique and intimately distinct. We live in complete submission to one another. There is love, delight, mutual affection and togetherness amongst the three of us. But Father has never asked Me to be Him. Who I am is distinctly different from who Father is and who Jesus is. Without any One of us though, the circle would be broken. There would be lack. And we feel in Our hearts the same about you.”

“To conform is to act or appear a certain way to be like someone else. It’s when you change what you believe to what someone else believes to fit in. Most people don’t realize they are conforming because the heart longs to fit. Everyone was created with a sense of longing to discover home.” I paused to digest this truth encounter.

I then asked, “If we were created to be like Jesus, what’s the difference between conforming and being transformed?” Holy Spirit replied, “Conforming is something man does. It is an outward change, a cover up of one’s true self. Transformation is God bred from the inside and generates a whole new man. Transformation is your agreement body, soul and spirit with Father’s identity and DNA code that He knit into you from the beginning of time. It’s simply you becoming whom you were created to be.”

Not wanting to miss the depth of what Spirit was teaching me, I asked Him to continue. Holy Spirit said, “The evil one has caused mankind to fear individuality. And yet, there is a longing in the hearts of men to be individuals, to be seen and to be known. We placed that there. This is the stirring of relationships. This is the invitation to enter our circle of togetherness, mutual affection, delight and love.”

Where there is love, there is respect. Where there is love, there is honor. Where there is love, there is freedom.  It is love that breeds life and love that gives people permission to be uniquely them. Love says you don’t have to believe like I do to be accepted by me. Love says you don’t have to think like I do or do the same things I do or live your life the way I live mine to be accepted by me. Love allows me to love the person in front of me void of any demands of conformity. Love says I don’t need you to be like me to feel safe with you.

I’m challenged everyday in my living this out. I want to give my kids a sense of identity, a sense of belonging. But I realize that the only life giving, fruit-bearing connection I can hand them is to connect them to Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. It is Father who gives identity to each one of us individually. It is Father, who so loves our uniqueness that He created several stars, different colors, random shades of skin, two genders. Just as random stars grouped together form constellations and multiple hues of color form a rainbow, in the collective whole, there is distinct individuality. And yet together in our unity, we create a spectacular display of His splendor.

Contrast my parenting as described above with that of Father God. Jesus was so uniquely Him. So much so, that He deeply offended the religious right of His day. They were angry to the point of murder, wanting to crucify One so starkly different and individual. But what a picture of freedom, of permission to be unique, of what it looks like to love the person in front of you even if they aren’t like you or have the same values as you. This is the Son Papa created. This is the Son in whose image you and I are created. And this is the tribe I want to be connected to: Father, Son and Spirit, the tribe of the free, the tribe of love.

Tis true that we all have been created to be a part of something greater than ourselves. But that something isn’t any man made system that exists in our society. Form over function is like choosing façade over appearance. Zoe, the God kind of life only flows through Agape, unconditional love. We have all been created to be in relationship with Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. In that relationship, conformity is not demanded or required. In that relationship is limitless freedom and abounding love.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


From Shame to Fame
I live to make His name renown

No longer timid or caught in the web of false humility
My eyes hath opened
I now realize the lie in its severity
"It's not me, it's Jesus," I've meekly replied

"More of Him and less of me"
My Christian cliche to ward off pride

Through the lens of love
Truth is revealed
All the broken and shattered places are healed

True humility is my total dependence on You
All of me covered by all of Thee
No longer do I cower or seek
to hide my greatness
No longer do I run or shy away from radiance

I know who I am and what I carry
Overshadowed by Your Spirit just like Mary

I'm a beggar before You
And a King before Men
I've got to have more of Your Presence
For breakthrough I doth contend

I'm not satisfied with the status quo
I want to see greater works
An heir to Abraham's promise is who I am
Through me the nations of the world will be blessed

From Shame to Fame
I've been freed to make Your name renown
I know who owns the crown

The glory which Abba gave You
You've given to us
An encounter with You we owe to the world
To demonstrate Your love is a must

From Shame to Fame
How glorious Your name
in all the Earth
For none can compare
to Your matchless worth!

To walk with You
To live for You
To make Your name renown
I've accepted that you've
enabled me, equipped me, empowered me
to do good works

No longer will I cower or shy away from
All you've called me to do
I've come into alignment
You've given me an assignment
That only I can carry through

I am your workmanship
An original masterpiece
I will bring you fame
Because that's who you've
created me to be

To be an influencer
An encourager
A lover
A peacemaker with all men
To bring Heaven's reality to Earth
No matter the circle I'm in

To believe that You are
And that Your power dwells in me
A life of co-laboring is my destiny

Creation is groaning for the unveiling of sons
It's time for us to take our rightful place

To encounter the love of God
To become an encounter
To lead others into your face

From shame to fame
I live to make Your name renown
You chose me
You've called me to succeed

The shining of my light
A mere reflection of Your glory

Everything I am is because of You
For the glory of my King
I live to see my grave emptied
Every ounce of my destiny spent
I'm not satisfied with the status quo
Enlarge my capacity for more

Fill me to the full, then fill me again
Let Your goodness overflow from my brim
The overflow is for my guests
Through me the nations of the world will be blessed

This is my destiny
This is who You've called me to be
From Shame to Fame
I live to make Your name renown
For I'm complete in You

Make me Thy fuel, O Flame of God

©2010 Felicia Murrell