Leaving the Boat

Matthew 14:29-30 He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

As a church, we are on day eight of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I look forward to this time every year. I choose something to fast that I know will make me have to dig into His Word deeper.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

To humble ourselves is to not think highly of ourselves. A strong, confident person can be humble. Look at David. He was not a coward and he did not back down. He was even accused of being conceited by his brother (1 Samuel 17:28). A humble person will want to see the best for others. I want my nation healed, because I want them restored to their original purpose.

Peter was the only disciple to get out of the boat. The conditions were not calm, and they were not perfect. Peter walked on the water in faith. It was when he looked at the wind that he began to sink. Peter was outspoken and quick to action. He still walked on the water.

I had a sinking moment not too long ago. In trying to get others out of the boat, I was called judgmental. It looked like only a few wanted to step out with me, and I am grateful for them. I started to look at the wind, at just the few. I started to look at their lack of commitment, their lack of energy and their lack of passion to reach their community. I wanted to quit. I was looking at all areas to escape having to stand up in front of people. I was going to hide and serve in the background. I was going to revert back to the boat. Questioning whether He really did say, “Come.” I was sinking.

In this 21 Days of Prayer of Fasting, by day 5, I received confirmation that I was called out of the boat. Not too long ago I wrote about “Stepping Out of Fear Into My Hiding Place.” My story is that I did all the behind the scene items at my church I served where ever they needed someone. Whenever they asked for somebody, I was that somebody. I asked God to settle the fear within me. I was overwhelmingly afraid of public speaking. So much so, that I would cry and get sick at the thought of it. My desire was not to hold a platform, it wanted to see the captives set free, just like I had been set free.

Rejection and not being what someone wanted almost made me get back in that boat. I fear the Lord in that I never want to cause someone else to stumble. I want them to grow closer to God. If me standing on that stage, exhorting them to get out of the boat, was going to cause them not to want to grow, then I was going to step off of it for good. I felt broken. This scripture and all the messages I had been listening to confirmed, that I was called to be out of that boat. I need to get my eyes off of people and keep my eyes on Jesus. He pulled me back out of the waters from drowning. I am not going back to that boat!

Praying that God speaks to you today and encourages you to keep looking at Him. When you start seeing the wind (distractions, disappointments, rejections, etc.) reach out your hand, He has you. Have an amazing week!

I was born with a mission to set captives free!!!

Water Walkers Series by Dr. Dharius Daniels

Hosanna Wong, Say Yes to Jesus

Word for this year: “Light”

John 1:9 (AMP) There it was – the true Light (the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light) which, coming into the world, enlightens everyone.

I have never been one to do a “word of the year,” but this year God spoke to me “Light”. My heart’s desire is to seek first His Kingdom. When special occasions come my family will ask if there is anything special I would like to do, go, or want. My answer is nothing at all. There are things that I like and places that I like to go, but those are not the desires of my heart. There are a benefit and I would never turn down a trip to the beach, but I will not pout if my husband does not plan us a trip there every year for our anniversary.

Why “Light?” I have been seeking God about why the Body of Christ have lost their boldness. Their boldness to reach the broken and to see the captives set free. Why are we seeing shallow Christians? He told me that they do not know me as the “Light.” They may have accepted Him as Savior, but that does not mean they have not been free from the shadows of the darkness. They have been tricked into thinking that it is not their time yet, so therefore, He has not released them.

Luke 8:16-18 (AMP) “Now no one lights a lamp and then covers it with a container [to hide it], or puts it under a bed; instead, he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come out into the open. So be careful how you listen; for whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a longing for truth], even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”

Why would Jesus come to turn on the lights and then expect God to hide it? That does not line up with the character and nature of God. It does not make a bit of sense to tell someone that God has hidden you. What about when the angel told Joseph to hide Jesus when King Harod wanted all the boys killed? Was Jesus baptized in the Holy Spirit yet? Nope! You see when we are born again (into the light) the Holy Spirit now dwells in you. Then if you accept the baptism of the Holy Spirit (as it talks about in Acts), your power source should be so bright that the unenlightened should be seeing you down the street. We are all called to the ministry of reconciliation. Not one born again believer is exempt from that ministry. That means, I am not hidden, I am full of Light! We need to take a lesson from Moses about that glow!!

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.”

Matthew 5:14-16 (AMP) “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Ephesians 5:8-10 (AMP) For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [live as those who are native-born to the Light] (for the fruit [the effect, the result] of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn [by experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [and letting your lifestyles be examples of what is most acceptable to Him—your behavior expressing gratitude to God for your salvation]. 

Genesis 1:1-4 (AMP) In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it; and God separated the light [distinguishing it] from the darkness. 

I pray that this opens your eyes more to who God is and the desire He has for you. He sent His only Son to restore you back to Light. Live in the Light. Remember whose you are and be bold. You have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, never to hide your Light again. You are not hidden, but you are a city on a hill, shining for the world to see Jesus!!

What needs restoring?

Isaiah 33:6 (AMP) And He will be the security and stability of your times, a treasure of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is your treasure.

This is the verse for the cover picture on my personal Facebook page. This tells me that I need to be about the Father’s business. How do I know when I am on the right track?

Proverbs 19:21 (AMP) Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out).

Psalms 105:4 (AMP) Seek and deeply long for the Lord and His strength [His power, His might];
Seek and deeply long for His face and His presence continually.

These are just two verses that speaks to seeking God. We seek Him in our prayer life and in His Word. If our prayer life does not line up with what is in His Word then we may need guidance. God has given us the five fold ministry for a reason (Ephesians 4:11). However, when you come to your pastor and tell them “God said” and then ask their guidance, who are we to come against “God said” (even if it does not line up with His character and nature). We will tell you what the Word says, but when someone states “God said” their minds have already been made up.

There are many words that are thrown out as the new year begins. For our church the word that was given to my husband was “Restore.” He preached a message yesterday about this being the year of reconciliation. Many people when they hear restore, especially in the church, they are thinking about physical restoration and financial restoration. They want what they can tangibly see and touch restored. In my memories today I saw a picture of the demolition of my kitchen before the restoration could begin. It started with a small leak behind the wall. My kitchen today is beautiful and has brought many good meals to my boys bellies. This not the restore He wants to do this year. What about the original intent? Restoring man to God. My prayer life and actions will show what I treasure.

Matthew 6:33 (TPT) “So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.”

We are to give diligent dedication to one’s self with that which that we are seeking. Seekers have a desire to know and possess a passion for the object of their search. We are to pursue! The Kingdom should have no other competing priority in our lives. The Kingdom is not a religion ans therefore our priority should not be to seek some form of ritual for our lives.

Matthew 5:6 (AMP) “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.

Righteousness means we are to be in alignment with, in right standing with, to have correct fellowship with, to be in a right relationship with, to be in legal or lawful alignment, and to be in correct standing with the regulations of to fulfill the requirements of authority. You notice there are times of re-alignment. When we are out of alignment we experience fatigue, lack, disconnect from the fellowship of the church, etc. Although we are in right standing with Christ, we still have our own mind, will and emotions. These can get our of alignment and cause us not to desire what He desires. This does not effect our salvation, it will effect our impact to restore man to God. Why is it important for me to restore man to God? Jesus did it all on the cross right? That does not mean you were not given an assignment.

Matthew 28:18-20 (AMP) Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”

You were put in right standing and given the mantel of righteousness for a reason. You are to “GO!” Look people in the face when you leave the house. See His created and desire what He desires…to see them restored!

Praying this year is a year of restoration. Reconciling man to God!

2 Corinthians 5:18 (AMP) But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him]

Let it shine!

John 1:9 (AMP)  There it was—the true Light [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] which, coming into the world, enlightens everyone.

Here we are two days after Christmas. The time of the year that we celebrate the true Light coming into the world. The way my chronological reading plan worked out is that I started the New Testament yesterday with Luke 1 and John 1. The past few weeks (December 1-24) I took a chapter in Luke per day and read it along with my other readings. Today I wanted to focus in on John’s perspective. He starts off with Christ is the Word and the Light.

John 1:1-8 (AMP) In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it]. There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light.

Christ came so that He could restore us to our rightful place with the Father. He came to be Savior to the world, but He is so much more than that. We begin our relationship with Him as our Savior. That moment that changes our life and we let the Light in. The Light is always going to point us to the Word. The Word should bring life to you. Do you dread reading the Word? Does it seem boring to you? Are you one who says that you read and get nothing out of it? The Holy Spirit can help with that.

Whenever a person tells me they want to grow more in their relationship with God, or they are ready to surrender entirely to Him, I ask them if they read their Bible and if they pray in the Spirit. If they have never received the baptism of the Holy Spirit then I encourage them to do so.

I remember my moment that I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was nineteen. I had been saved for a little over a year and attending seminary. Their was a missionary ministering at the church and she gave the invitation. I was engaged (to my husband) at the time and we had talked about how important it was for him that before we got married that I was spirit filled. Just a couple of weeks before the missionary had visited our church I had given him a box with his wedding band in it, letting him know that I was ready to take the next step in my relationship with God. We set our wedding date for nearly six months after that moment. Unlike others I know, this was not a manipulation tactic to marriage. This was genuine.

From that moment. The Light was brighter, the Word came alive. The zeal for everything to be reconciled to Christ was greater. Life does happen and if you do not charge your self in the Word and prayer then you will become dim again, but the Light is still somewhere there. So what am I rambling on about? Do not wait until January first to say I want to get in the Word more. Do it today! Why wait? Pray in the Spirit more. If you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit, message me and I can point you to some scriptures to help with that.

Now that we have our Word and our Light, go as John did and testify of Him. We do not draw people to ourselves, but point them to the Light.

Matthew 15:14-16 (AMP) You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Let your Light shine!!

Treasured Moments

My oldest, Ari

Luke 2:19 (AMP) But Mary treasured all these things, giving careful thought to them and pondering them in her heart.

According to my countdown to Christmas ornament, there are 4 days, 17 hours, 12 minutes and 20 seconds until Christmas at the moment I started writing today. As I was reading Luke, on day two I was drawn to these scriptures about Mary.

Luke 2:34-35 (AMP)  Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Listen carefully: this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that is to be opposed—  and a sword [of deep sorrow] will pierce through your own soulso that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 2:51 (AMP) He went down to Nazareth with them, and was continually submissive and obedient to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

Christmas can be a time of a roller coaster of emotions. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to make sure everything is perfect (myself included). I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the moments. Stop busying myself with the tasks and enjoy the moment. I believe Mary was a hands on mother. She took the time to nurture and teach Jesus, even though He was destined for something she had never experienced before.

What if we did just that this Christmas? Experience something new, something different. What if we did not plan things so much (talking about myself) and treasured where we were in the moment. You might say, “If I do not plan anything, than nothing will get done!” I am the same way. What I am saying is that when the shoulders start to tighten, the back starts to ache and all those other physical signs of anxiety starts to happen and your brain looses the ability to form the right words, take a breath and let it go. Remember to treasure the moments.

My oldest is a senior this year. He was nearly a year old, ten months old exactly, when we celebrated his first Christmas. He was the first grand baby on my side of the family. Every one was over to see this little boy enjoy Christmas. He was not old enough to open the gits, but just old enough to be a ball full of energy and participate in the day. He had (an still does) have this goofy sense of humor. The go to gifts were toys he could sit on and play. The best part about it was his smile. He has a beautiful smile. His laughter is unique. I have no idea what he future holds for him.

We are treasuring every moment with our boys. Our boys serve where ever we serve. They long to give and it brings joy to them. Wherever you are I pray that there are treasured moments that you can share with someone this Christmas. No one is meant to be alone and if you are alone, it may take a step of faith for you to walk into the doors of a church this Christmas Eve and feel welcomed. This is not the time to build walls of isolation. He is our shield and fortress. Praying for you this Christmas.

Praying you all have a Merry Christmas!

Looking for the extraordinary

Luke 2:7 (AMP) And she gave birth to her Son, her firstborn; and she wrapped Him in [swaddling] cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no [private] room for them in the inn.

In the early story of Jesus’s birth we read that a king is born into the world, not in a palace, but in a place that was just comfortable enough to lay one’s head down. I mean, Jacob used a stone for a pillow (Gen. 28:11)! Why do you think that it was important for Jesus to be born here? To me, it meant that He is approachable. God sent His Son, not to save me from hell (that is a bonus), but to restore a relationship.

The last line of that verse in the Amplified states, “because there was no private room for them in the inn.” Jesus did not live a private life. He wanted to show who His Father was to us.

Luke 2:8-12 (AMP) In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.  For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).  And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.” 

The first to hear the good news of the birth of Christ, born for us a Savior, were shepherds in a field. At first one angel showed up and then in verse 13 it says a multitude. What a sight! What a sound to hear! Think about he roller coaster amount of emotions that went through these ordinary people. Ordinary people, not the priests or scholars, but ordinary people doing what they do in their day to day. The glory of God shining right around them.

Luke 2: 15-18, 20 (AMP) When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying one to another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem, and see this [wonderful] thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they went in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the Baby as He lay in the manger.  And when they had seen this, they made known what had been told them about this Child and all who heard it were astounded and wondered at what the shepherds told them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them.

The Shepherds had a real encounter. Their lives would never be the same. I love how it says they returned to their life, but they did it glorifying and praising God. Let us do the same today as we go through the ordinary things we do. We can do them and glorify God. That is my prayer this morning. Father, let me glorify you today! Let me see what you want me to see. Let me lead someone closer to you. Let me be the vessel that reconciles the relationship your Son came to reestablish at His birth. Turn what is ordinary into extraordinary. Let us praise His goodness today!

Are you exhausted, yet?

Luke 5:5 (AMP) Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night [to the point of exhaustion] and caught nothing [in our nets], but at Your word I will [do as you say and] lower the nets [again].”

The month of December can mean a bunch of different things to every one. We can busy ourselves cramming in as much holiday festivities as possible. Such as, scheduling in ginger bread house building, cookie baking and decorating, attending parades and all the wonderful things a small town like ours has to offer. Some are just getting started on their Christmas shopping lists or taking second and third jobs to be able to buy something for their loved ones for Christmas.

I like all the Christmas events, although, I do not stress to get there. I have ginger bread houses that I bought after last Christmas to put together, but I have not carved out that exact time to do them. Christmas cookies are ready to be baked. The icing and other items have been sitting on my counter for weeks ready to be put on with creative hands. Although, I have not set a time to do that either. Maybe I will have some ready for my boys when they get home from school today. Maybe not. We have all December long to do them.

One of the items I did carve out to do this December is to get out a new Advent Devotional and start reading the Book of Luke again (if you read one chapter a day starting December 1, you will read the entire life of Jesus by Christmas Day). Yesterday as I was waking up, and realizing it was Sunday, my thoughts were to what church service would be like. I prayed about bringing something fresh to the house of worship. How could I be a blessing to my church? As I was reading chapter five of the Book of Luke this verse popped out at me. They had worked all night to the point of exhaustion. To me exhaustion comes when I have been either disappointed, distracted or devastated. Which ‘D’ word do you think they associated with when they did not come home with any fish from making an effort all night long?

Jesus had already started His ministry at this point, yet He had not met His disciples. This was His first encounter with them. He saw some fishermen putting away their nets and asked for them to take Him out on their boat so that He could preach to the multitude following Him. After He finished, they were in awe. After the Word was brought, He told them to put down their nets again. Simon (Peter) told them how they were feeling, but despite how they felt, they did what He asked anyways. It was that “yes” moment that Simon’s life would never be the same. The nets were so full they nearly broke. There were other people in the boat, he had to asked for help to carry them in.

We may be broken. We may be exhausted. We may be run down by life. One Word can change all that. There is a “yes,” a “at Your word I will do as you say” moment. I have had a few of them and those moments have changed my life. The “yes” set me on a course for my purpose. Those exhaustion moments do happen, but not as often. Joy is found in the “yes.” My “yes’s” have a focus though. They are designed to glorify my Father. Bring Him into your Christmas plans this year.

The struggle of acceptance

Ephesians 3:16-19 AMP May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

I struggle with acceptance. In my previous post titled, “Stepping out of fear into my hiding place,” I mentioned how I am coming out of being an extreme introvert. Yesterday was another challenge for me. We have had to do video worship before, when we were lacking musicians, for a season. Yesterday was such a day. When doing video worship I and others will stand in front of and face the congregation to worship (a style of leading). Thankfully the screen for the lyrics were above everyone’s heads. However, now we are live streaming the service. Now I have to be mindful of my face. Something that I was told to me to do in the past. I was told that I had the look of someone who could bite a car in half. Wow! That was sure encouraging to hear!!

The above scripture was needed for me yesterday and I hope it encourages you to do the hard things. Without the Holy Spirit I would not have been able to stand in front of people. He is who energizes me. He is the one who I want to reflect in my innermost being and personality. He is the only one who can soften that face of mine. How? I am rooted and securely grounded in the love of Christ. Even though it was someone “in Christ” that told me that I had the look of someone who could bite a car in half, that was not what Christ would say. Christ would never tell you something that made you feel unlovable. His love is endless!

I do not like that I struggle with acceptance. I do not like not feeling uninvited. So what do I need to do? Verse 19, above, tells me that I get to know this endless love more when I allow Him to work through me through practical experiences. I can know all those scriptures in my head, but until I step out (in courage) I am not going to know the true richness of those Words. In order for me to be complete, made whole, I have to give the Prince of Wholeness something to work with. I had to stand up in front of the church yesterday and lead worship by video. Why? Verse 20 has a promise…look for the key word “now.” Now follows a responsibility on my part.

Ephesians 3:20-21 AMP Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

When I yield the feeling of not being accepted and rest in Him (faith in action, not the absence of acting), He can fulfill His purpose. His purpose is superabundantly more than I can thing or dream of. I have often read the scripture about seeking first and foremost the Kingdom and all things will be given to you also (Matthew 6:33). If we really believed that and did that with all of our hearts, the things we thought we wanted would pale in comparison to the fulfillment of walking in your purpose. That is where I want to be.

Praying this encourages you to step out a little more into your purpose today.

Presence over Perfect

Hebrews 13:15 AMP Through Him, therefore, let us at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.

While reading the Word, before service yesterday, I came across a section titled “God-pleasing Sacrifices” in Hebrews. When does praise become a sacrifice to us? When we do not feel like it. Are there times that we do not “feel” like doing things? I think we do quite often. This time of year you either make the choice to dread the family gatherings or you can make the choice to go with an attitude of “it is one day that they get to see me, who am I going to let them see…Jesus?”

Joshua 24:15a AMP  If it is unacceptable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve

Better said than done, Amanda! You do not know how dysfunctional my family is? You are right, I do not. Then go where you can give of yourself to glorify God.

I understand that this week starts the holiday craze. Please do not go chasing happy with spending so much money that by Christmas you have buyers remorse. Believe me, we have done it! There was one Christmas that we got the boys so much stuff that I did not even think about where I was going to put it all. Then they did not even play with half of it. We started taking trips for Christmas after than. Memories last longer than toys. Giving of gifts is a love language, but so is quality time.

Psalms 27:13-14 AMP I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.

Whatever you are experiencing or expecting this week know that the goodness of the Lord is still there. Offer up a sacrifice of praise if you have to! Read more of those God pleasing sacrifices in Hebrews 13:16-19, but start here. It is said that a merry heart does a person good. It is true. Turn off the news, put away the social media and offer a sacrifice of praise. In my house we have already started decorating for Christmas. My tree has been up all week. I am looking forward to going through a devotion for Advent. I am not stressing about the perfect gift. My love is not found in the perfect, it is found in the Presence.

If you need prayer or encouragement send me a message at amanda@desiringformore.org

A little silly for you today: Stretchy Pants

Stepping out of fear into my hiding place

Psalms 34:4-5 AMP I sought the Lord [on the authority of His word], and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant; their faces will never blush in shame or confusion.

For the past month I have had the honor and privileged to bring the word on Sunday afternoons (our service is at 1:30) to our church. My husband works a full time job and has been on third shift almost two months now. They are suppose to rotate every four weeks. During third shift, it difficult for him to keep a good sleep pattern on the weekends. Especially when you have a service that takes place during the time you are usually sleeping. I had told him before that I would work on being better prepared to help more in the pulpit part when he is on that shift.

A back story on me…I am an extreme introvert (or well I was). It was so bad that I would not be able to go up to the counter of a fast food restaurant and ask for condiments. My senior project we had to give a presentation to everyone that we invited. I had invited my family. No classmates were present except for the two I needed to help model what I had made. I should have invited no one! I stammered and cried through the whole presentation. There is a recording of it somewhere, thanks to my grandparents! I could not even give a short announcement at church. I cried anytime the microphone was put in my face.

I remember the moment I had asked God to remove that fear from me. I remember sitting in the Gwinnett Center listening to Joyce Meyer minister. I remember telling God that I wanted to be able to talk about His Word and who He is to me. That was the first Sunday that I willingly took the microphone and shared what the ladies in our church had done that weekend.

It has been over ten years since that moment. I was not this phenom that spoke perfectly from that point on. I have had to grow in it. I am in still not one of those polished speakers that you will see on television or at a major conference. I am willing to grow more in it.

I was just in awe this morning of how God put a series inside of me. I have only done one service at a time, with months separating each time I taught. Not to say that anxiety did not try to rise up each and every time. I know that I could not do it on my own. My God was with me every step of the way. I was in His arms (in my hiding place) the entire time I was on the platform. Our crowds do not have to be large. Even if the altar call was just for one person, that is is worth celebrating. I was doing what I was created for.

Psalms 91:1-2 AMP He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!”

I do not know what God has put in your heart to step out and do differently. Let me encourage you that growth happens when you do. Stop chasing after things and people to make you happy. Know that when you are where He wants you to be, that is your most happy!

If you would like to to check out the series “Rebuild or Tear Down?” you can check it out on youtube here: Connect Church YouTube Channel

Be blessed!