Closet Clean Out

Psalms 139:23-24 (AMP) Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

Our hearts are the most important muscle in our bodies. We often focus on our outward appearance and our outward change that we lose focus on the most important things that need t be dealt with…our issues of the heart. The personal things we hide deep in our hearts.

Ephesians 4:22-25 (AMP) That, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation]. Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ].

So many of us put our faith in Christ as our Savior…but fail to allow Him to be redeemer, our healer, our restorer. Christ has done everything He needs to be done to be One with us. God lives in me, He sees me, He hears, me, He loves me and He understands me. People may not always understand you, but Jesus will always understand you.

When the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, there were promised a new land, a new life…the land of mile and honey! But along the way it was evident that even though they were physically delivered from the bondage of slavery…their hearts were still being held captive! Almost every time that things did not go the way they thought it should have they reverted back to Egypt, “we would have been better off back there.”

One of the enemies best weapons to stop your spiritual growth is to get you “back there.” Back to the place of regret, back to the place of hurt, back to the place where sins of the flesh ruled you. We will never live in a land of promise wishing you were “back there.”

This sounds a lot like the closets we keep in our homes. I have a size ten dress that I am very much trying to get back into. I succeeded a few years ago, then put the pounds on again. I did not get back to the size twenty I started with, but I did creep up a bit. That does not mean I have let that dress go. The closet, attic, garage are usually the places we hold everything from our past. We keep it there just in case. What are we holding onto that needs to go?

Realize this, we are in a process of progress! Daily we have to allow God to come in and deal with the issues we have in our heart.

Philippians 3:12-13 (AMP) Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christ like] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead… Paul is saying that he has not “arrived” yet. He has more to work on, there are areas he needs to decrease in so that God can increase. One thing he says for sure the he had to get a hold on…Forgetting the Past! You cannot live in the past and have a future. Stay focused on what lies ahead, and leave what was behind. Verses 14-16 (AMP),  I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us stay true to what we have already attained.

Keep on keeping on! You may have been put down. You may have been counted out. You may have been bruised. You may have been falsely accused. You may have been let down, trampled on, talked about and left to fend for yourself…but remember that you have been made a new creation. Old things have been passed away, behold all things have been made NEW!!! Each day you put on the renewed mind set, clean up the intimate areas we allow God to reside in, take out the trash and keep on going!!

The things that have been hidden away… the hurts and the let down that we try to keep to ourselves, the beat down that my mind tries to do to me daily… NO LONGER will I put up with it! That is not who I am any more. I am a child of God, made in His image, for HIS purpose. Get into our closets, get rid of the junk and live a new life in Christ!

Quality Time

Philippians 1:6 (AMP)  I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].

God is not going to ask me to do something and then not give me the power to complete it. A few weeks ago I did a post called, “Where is your spot?” I wrote about the importance of having a spot that you can go to throughout the day and spend time with God. My spot just so happens to be in my living room. It is a room that I spend quality time fellowshipping with God. It is also the room (in our house) that holds what influences our lives, if we let it, a television. I remember the days when we did not have televisions in every room like we do now. Now we walk and have the ability to watch whatever we want with our phones!

The things we meditate on, spend time with, is what we will become. The more we spend time with it…the more we allow it to become a part of our thoughts, attitude and behavior. We are all doing to do two things: 1) we are either going to influence or 2) we are going to be influenced. Influence defined is “the power to change or affect someone or something; it is the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen. The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

God wants to have an open door to come into “Living Room” and remodel what we are allowing to influence our lives. Our success in life is dependent on what we meditate on and observe. The Word of God tells us to think on good things, things that build us up and not tear us down. The things we meditate on and observe will influence our thoughts, our thoughts affect our words, our words precede our actions and our actions define our life.

Philippians 4:8-9 (AMP)  Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].  The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.

Guard the gate to your heart. Gates allow or stop things coming in and our of our hearts of our home. There are two very important gates: 1) the eye gate, and 2) the ear gate. The things we allow in these gates will either help build or destroy our house. A city can have great walls around it, but if the gates are not guarded (no matter how great the walls are) the enemy has free access to enter.

This was a needed reminder for me as I like to binge watch shows on Netflix. When we are at a restaurant, how many times do I pick up my phone to look at Instagram? This was just came to my mind this morning to help me get back on focus. Getting back to my living room as a place of fellowship. I pray this blesses you as well!

Where does worry lead?

In the times we live in today it is easy to just spill out our opinions for the world to read. Is that not what blogging and social media was created for? It is easy to follow into the flow of judgement and dishonor. I am guilty of it myself. I try my best not to let it out on social platforms, but I can tell you I have to battle this stuff in my mind.

Pastor Steven Furtick posted late last night, “Father, we worship you in the moment. I declare dreams come alive in this moment, hope come alive in this moment. Do what only You can do, God. Resuscitate, revive, restore, move, heal, save, deliver. Spirit of God, have Your way in our lives. Have Your way in our situation. Nobody is greater than You. Amen.” As I read that this morning I had this unction to cast down the thought of disappointment of people and practice honoring them anyways.

Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” (AMP)

That means that whatever I think, whatever I post, whatever I speak about should line up with this so that I can get that heart change. I do not want to dwell on the other stuff, because I do not want it to effect my heart. I do not need to dwell on when they did not show up, that does not mean I have to stop showing up for them. When I choose to honor, when I choose to see the value and virtue in others, I am glorifying my Father.

Philippians 4:4-7 (AMP) “Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].”

“Let your gently spirit be known to all people.” To be honest, most of the time I can admit that I do not fall into this category. That does not mean that I do not want to. I desire to be gentle. I desire not to worry so much, which I can say is the root of why I do not walk in grace, mercy, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance and patience at all times. There are times that they will flow out of me and I praise God in those moments, because that is reflecting a work in me. It shows that the Lord is near. That is where I desire to be, where the Lord is near. Worry is not there, peace is. Worry does not lead to honor.

Jesus even says in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life….” Jesus goes on to talk about food and clothing,but how about relationships? Thoughts and rehearsals of conversations you have had? Events that you were not invited to? People who do not show up for you? This is all rooted in worry, which will ultimately distract us. I am done with being distracted! I want to be free of worry. Verse 27 Jesus says, “And who of you by worrying can add one hour to (the length of) his life?” This is what He does tell us to do, verse 33, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being rightthe attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.”

Alright God, I hear what you are telling me today. Putting my focus back on you. Laying down the thoughts and worries of yesterday and the days to come. I am going to worship and praise moment by moment today. Worry brings distractions and I am tired of being distracted!

Praying for you all this week!! Be blessed!!!

Where is your spot?

In our homes we have many rooms, but there is one room you spend most of your time in. For me it is my living room. We have a separate “Man Cave” that my husband likes to spend his time in, but I have a room right in the middle of the house that lets the sun it. You could say it is the brightest room in the house. I can sit and read for hours in that room. At night it is the room that I curl up and watch a movie with my thirteen year old (my seventeen year old has gotten into online gaming and spend his nights in his room now). I have a “spot” on the couch that I sit in. When I get up, my son or the dog likes to get into the “spot.”

This is the “spot” that I do my daily reading and prayer. Do you have a “spot” that you have separated for this very purpose? In my “spot” I have books and highlighters placed on a table in front of me. They remain there so that I do not have to gather them daily.

It was not always like that for me. I knew what Joshua 1:8 said, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, so that you may be careful to do [everything] in accordance with all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be successful. (AMP)” How much effort do we actually put into the study of the Word? We may go and listen to the preacher, listen to sermons on a podcast and occasionally read the Bible, but have we actually made reading the Word a major part of our lives? I know personally I could do better. Let us face it, most of us are lazy (I even nap daily in my spot), and want things just handed to us; however, that is not the way things work in the Kingdom. Honestly, if we are not willing to put into it, we should not expect much out of it.

Psalm 1:1-2 (AMP) Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.

How much time do we actually spend thinking about the Word of God? If we are having areas of problems in our life, the answer to this question might be a reason why. A lazy mindset is a true setup for failure. The lazy mindset that the Israelites had was one of the things that kept them in the wilderness for forty years making an eleven day trip. People who always have to have someone else pushing them will never really do anything great. Those who only do the right thing when someone is watching will not get very far either. We must be motivated from within, not from without. We must live our lives before God, knowing that He sees all and that our reward will come from Him if we persist in doing what He has asked us to do.

Take action today, take a step today and respond to the call to spend time in His Word. Learn and grow in the knowledge of God!

Isaiah 26:3 (AMP) “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

Loner – not a spiritual gift

Have you been struggling with relationships in your church? My husband is in a series called “Focus: Assurance.” He talked about the born again believer still walking in darkness. Really? Yes, we can walk around as a born again believer and not reap the benefit of this life. How? God gave us: 1) His Word (Jesus); 2) His Spirit (Holy Spirit); 3) His Body (each joint supplying the other); and 4) His five fold Ministry gift to us. Then he said we walk in lack due to self inflicted blindness of God’s will. God gave us the body for a purpose. It was not just someplace to go on Sundays, it has to do with your stewardship as well. Are we being a good steward with the call to disciple? Are we being a good steward with our talents? Are we being a good steward with our knowledge?

If you want your heart to follow after the things that God’s heart is after – the local church and reaching the lost – put your treasure there. Your heart will follow. – The Blessed Life by Robert Morris

We cannot keep going at it on our own. Attendance and serving when when you go is great, but are we are getting the full benefit. The benefit is not just the Word that comes forth. It is the value you see in each other and the fellowship with the body.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (AMP) Just as the human body is one, though it has many parts that together form one body, so too is Christ. For by one Spirit we all were immersed and mingled into one single body. And no matter our status—whether we are Jews or non-Jews, oppressed or free—we are all privileged to drink deeply of the same Holy Spirit.

Yes, it is going take trust. It is worth seeing the growth in each other!

Giving is not just finances. It is of your talents, it is of your knowledge, it is of your wisdom.

When God’s people catch a revelation of giving – when God does a work in their hearts – they begin to want to serve in their churches. They want to help the children’s ministry grow. They want the church to have a good youth ministry, a powerful praise team, and a blessed staff. They want to be generous in missionary giving. The whole atmosphere in a church changes when people catch a revelation of generosity, tithing and giving. – The Blessed Life by Robert Morris

This all ties to stewardship…our relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit, the body and the five fold ministry. Are we being good stewards with the gifts He has given to us?

I have to have a better relationship and receive more from the body that I am called to. I have to set down the strongholds that are keeping me from trusting and receiving the gifts that of the body. I have to see them as God’s created and redeemed!

Joyce Meyer wrote a devotional, Love Out Loud, called “Let Me See You Smile.” In it she was encouraging us to be friendly. She writes, “For years I excused myself from being friendly by saying, ‘That you isn’t me, I have a lot on my mind, a lot of responsibility, and I am more of a loner,’ but I realized that ‘loner’ is not listed as a gift in the Bible. Thinking of ourselves as ‘loners’ is simply an excuse to avoid the often messy business of being vulnerable.

Be confident in this that God gave us His body as a gift. Receive it and enjoy every aspect. Have a blessed week!

See the created and the redeemed

Ephesians 4:16 (TPT) For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love.

Without a relationship with the Holy Spirit you will not see the body that you are called to in His image. What do I mean by that? There is not a person in the Bible (except Jesus) that did not have an issue with what they saw in the people God called them to. When we start getting close to people we can fall into the trap of identifying them by the flaws that they have instead of the benefits to your life. We are so quick to cut people out of our life when they disappoint us, anger us, hurt our feelings, etc. Yes, the ones that do not want the best for you separate from, but a member that wants to help and their help might have hurt your feelings.

We are His Created and Redeemed. Isaiah 48:12-13,17 (AMP) “Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called; I am He, I am the First, I am the Last. “My hand founded and established the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together [in obedience to carry out My decrees]. CREATED This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says,“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit (benefit), Who leads you in the way that you should go. REDEEMED Start seeing each other as God’s created and redeemed!

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 (TPT)  It would be wrong for the eye to say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” and equally wrong if the head said to the foot, “I don’t need you.”  In fact, the weaker our parts, the more vital and essential they are. The body parts we think are less honorable we treat with greater respect. And the body parts that need to be covered in public we treat with propriety and clothe them. But some of our body parts don’t require as much attention. Instead, God has mingled the body parts together, giving greater honor to the “lesser” members who lacked it. He has done this intentionally so that every member would look after the others with mutual concern, and so that there will be no division in the body.  In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.

We are connected. What profit is it not to see the value in others, because you do not think they know what you have been through? Receive the gift anyways. There are those who have knowledge and wisdom in areas. Why not tap into that? Are you afraid they are going to be like Job’s friends and say that everything you are going through is your fault or you deserve it? Well, you might have some people like that, but that does not mean you cut them out of your life. I have been that person and I have been on the receiving end of it as well. That will definitely make me want to go into hiding, but the benefit of the body outweighs the chances of trying to go at it alone.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (TPT) My friends at Corinth, our hearts are wide open to you and we speak freely, holding nothing back from you. If there is a block in our relationship, it is not with us, for we carry you in our hearts with great love, yet you still withhold your affections from us. So I speak to you as our children. Make room in your hearts for us as we have done for you. In the Message Translation it says, Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! Blocking relationships withing the body that you are called to can make you feel small and insignificant. Start living your life in a bigger way!

Get back into the local church and get plugged in! Get into some relationships when they have fellowships and gatherings, make up your mind to not stay away any longer. Start seeing them as the created and the redeemed…a gift to Him and to you. Be blessed!

Do like the otters do

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I got to bring the message to our church. I am a mother of two handsome teenage boys. I am married to their amazing father, and have been for going on twenty one years this month. However, I was raised by a single mother for most of my childhood (from the age of four to twelve). My mother took us out of an abusive home, to start over with nothing, and did not remarry until I was almost a teenager. In that time she was single she went to night school, we moved from living together in a bedroom at my grandparents (there were four of us), to moving into section eight housing and then she bought a home while I was still in elementary school. We took dance lessons and she was at our dance recitals. We played softball and she was one of the coaches. My academics did not suffer because I was in a home of a single parent.

According to The Life of a Single Mom Ministries founder, Jennifer Maggio, “There are approximately 23 million single moms in the United States. And with divorce rates at approximately 50% and 1 in every 2 babies being born outside marriage, these numbers are expected to rise. 67% of today’s single parents are not actively attending a local church.” There are many reasons, number one is that they do not think they will be accepted. The church will not understand or be compassionate of what they are going through. A third of my church is made of of women that have been or are currently single mothers.

Church it is time to do like the otters do. I googled otters and this is what came up, “To prevent themselves from floating away in the swirling sea while they sleep, sea otters often entangle themselves in forests of kelp or giant seaweed to provide anchorage. … This is also the reason why they hold hands. They do so in order to prevent themselves from drifting away from the group.

I was watching a show on Hulu, called Station 19, and in this episode some of the firefighters were on a dinner cruise. A couple of the guys go off to have a private conversation, one being the chief, he clutches his chest and falls over the rails. The other firefighter just jumps in after him. Another firefighter witnesses this and grabs a life vest to put on himself, a life preserver for some one to grab onto, then jumps in. He tried to alert the crew inside running the boat, but they were not responding, so no one else knows that they have all just jumped overboard and are floating at tight in the Pacific. The boat is gone from sight in minutes. The one with the life vest suggested they do like the otters do, hold hands so they do not drift apart and help each other stay afloat. The chief is dead and floating in the life preserver, the one without the vest refuses and says he will just hold onto the dead thing (which is going to eventually sink). This is where I got my message for Sunday. God said, this is the state of the church right now. They do not see the gift of the body that He put together to strengthen us. Yes, He gave us the Holy Spirit, but He did not create us to be alone separated from His body (the church).

We like to quote Philippians 4:13, I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace] (AMP). Check out what Paul says next, verse 14, Nevertheless , it was right of you to share [with me] in my difficulties. In Galatians 6:2, Paul writes, Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love] (AMP). He is writing to believers. He is writing to the churches. He goes on to write in Philippians 4:15-19, And you Philippians know that in the early days of preaching the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I do seek the profit which increases to your [heavenly] account [the blessing which is accumulating for you]. But I have received everything in full and more; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. They are the fragrant aroma of an offering, an acceptable sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights. And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (AMP).

By resisting the body, and the gifts that it has, we are missing out on this heavenly account. By looking at the body as a gift and receiving from each other, blessings can be accumulating for each other. We are called to be generous givers. This is not just talking about finances. This is talking about our talents, our spiritual gifts, our wisdom and knowledge. The early church gave everything to see the needs of each other met. We look at each other through the lens of hurt and do not see how they can or if they would want to be a part of their lives. A healthy church will see the value in each other and will want to see each other succeed, no matter their status in life.

It is time to do like the otters do!

Out of the grave

Depending on where you are and what worship bands you have access to, because there are many, what would you say would be your favorite song to put on repeat right now? Elevation Worship and Maverick City just put out a new collaboration album called “Old Church Basement.” To be honest I have not listened to many of the songs, “Jireh” is a pretty good one. One song though that I have to stop whatever I am doing and just sing when it comes on is “Rattle” (not on this album, but releases by Elevation Worship a year ago).

Pentecostal fire stirring something new
You're not gonna run out of miracles anytime soon
Yeah, resurrection power runs in my veins too
I believe there's another miracle here in this room

This is the sound of dry bones rattling
This is the praise make a dead man walk again
Open the grave, I'm coming out
I'm gonna live, gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling

I do not know about you, but the greatest battle that I have is in my mind. My mind will tell me that I really am not wanted. That it does not matter when you get up and speak. I ask myself whether the things that I make available to serve, do they really matter, does anyone care? Then I feel guilty and I wear the shame or disappointment on my face. Then I am told that I need to change my face because I am wearing my disappointment. This causes me to want to go into hiding, and God would let me do it. Really? God will let me run and hide. Yes, He will. Remember, you have free will.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMP) All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].

Case in point is to look at Elijah. In 1 Kings 19 Elijah hears word that Jezebel is mad and has sent people to kill him. In the previous chapter we see that he calls does a fire and it burns up and kills all the priests of Baal. Verse 4, “But he himself traveled a day’s journey into the wilderness, and he came and sat down under a juniper tree and asked [God] that he might die. He said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.‘” Have you ever had those moments that you curl up and think, would it better if I was not even here? An angel comes and feeds him, there was cake (talk about comfort food). Then he makes his way to a cave. Verses 9-10, “There he came to a cave and spent the night in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’  He said, ‘I have been very zealous (impassioned) for the Lord God of hosts (armies) [proclaiming what is rightfully and uniquely His]; for the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.‘”

God then calls Elijah, while he is in the cave, a couple more times asking what he is doing there. Showing His marvelous self outside of the cave each time. My friend, God does not want us to stay in the cave, but He will let us be there if we choose. What Elijah did not have available to him is the Holy Spirit (also referred to as our Comforter). I look at it this way, yes a cave is good for hiding and it does provide shelter, but do you know what else it is used for? A grave! They buried their dead there. This is why I love the song “Rattle” so much right now. I wanted to stay in that cave. I have to make the choice to come out, and no God would never want to keep me there. Do not let that cave become your grave!

Do not let that cave become your grave!

I found a nice cave when I had COVID. It was after the 10 days had passed. I was still feeling exhausted, so I slept a lot. Saturday afternoon I had nausea again and a headache so bad that I needed a cold compress. This was my chance, I could tell my husband that I needed another Sunday to recover (I had already been out the previous Sunday). He would have to be compassionate and let me, I mean I still had the affects of COVID. The articles said this could last months. Yep, there was a nice cave I could hide in. I had to make the decision not to stay there. I was not one hundred percent when I went to service that next day. Since I was still dizzy and my mind was foggy, I did not play the bass with the worship team. In worship I pulled on that corporate anointing and received the healing I needed to not go back into the cave.

If you have been in a cave, please know that God does not want you to stay there, but He will allow you to be there. He loves and cares for you. Let Him show you all of His majesty. I heard from Joyce Meyer one time, “You are graced for the hard stuff.” Here are a few scriptures I use to help me with the hard stuff, I pray they encourage you. Have a blessed day!

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].

Isaiah 4:29 (AMP) He gives strength to the weary, and to him who has no might He increases power

1 John 3:19-20 (AMP) By this we will know [without any doubt] that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart and quiet our conscience before Him whenever our heart convicts us [in guilt]; for God is greater than our heart and He knows all things [nothing is hidden from Him because we are in His hands].

Not just going through the motions

Mark 10:27 (AMP) Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

On Sundays I get to spend a few moments exhorting the people of our church right before I do the declaration. I have been reading about stewardship and God having unlimited resources. The above scripture says a lot of what our faith should be lined up with. I presented to them the excuse that we do not want to create a lot of “Ishmaels.” (Ishmael is the son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah handmaiden. Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham because they had no children and they thought they would help God out with the promise of a son. Ishmael’s lineage eventually becoming the Muslim nation). I presented to them this question: “Do you not think God can redeem Ishmael?”

Matthew 24:14 (AMP) This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come.

No people group will be exempt. Therefore, no action that you take cannot be turned around for His good. Yes we will have consequences, but we are not living if we are not learning. We would just be going through the motions of life, and that would just be miserable.

It is often focused that Abraham only had two sons, Ishmael (from Hagar) and Isaac (from Sarah). In Genesis 25 it tells of Abraham taking another wife, Keturah, and she gave him six more kids. Isaac is said to be the son of promise and the nation of Israel ties it’s lineage back to him, that does not mean that Abraham did not bestow gifts on the others while he was still alive. There are so many messages that we can take away from all of this, but I took away that Abraham had more than one gift to give. We want ours to be the one of the promise (the perfect one).

2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP) But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.

It is not required to be perfect, His grace paid the price for that. I love that is says that His mercy is more than enough and always available, regardless of the situation. I sure do need His mercy right now. In my disappointment, in my desire to see things grow, I need His mercy right now. He makes things perfect, not me. I want the power of Christ to dwell in me. I want to be led by the Holy Spirit in everything I do. I just have to keep His mercy before me. It is okay that it is not perfect.

It is not required to be perfect, His grace paid the price for that.

Colossians 3:17 (AMP) Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Deuteronomy 15:10 (AMP) You shall freely and generously give to him, and your heart shall not be resentful when you give to him, because for this [generous] thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.

Above are a couple of verses that encourage me when I step out in faith. I give myself freely to Him in everything that I do and say. Such a great promise of Him taking it and blessing it. Notice He is not asking for perfection. I want to drive that point home. He makes them perfect, I just have to give Him something to work with.

What about excellence? I googled perfection versus excellence ad this is what it says, “Perfectionism is about the fear of failure, while striving for excellence is the urge for success. Excellence is superior performance, persistence, and the commitment to do something exceptionally well. Excellence requires risk, effort, spontaneity, hard work, and extending yourself to reach your full potential.” Excellence is a heart motive, perfection is in Him.

Praying blessings on everything you say and do today!

Who does not like gifts?

Matthew 7:11 (AMP) If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.

We are coming up on what my husband likes to coin the “trifecta.” In May is my birthday, anniversary and Mother’s Day. Each of these days are less than a week from each other. Some years Mother’s Day and my birthday will even fall on the same day, and just a few days after that is our anniversary. This time of the year use to stress my husband out for getting gifts, but do you know that he has learned, to not just gift me on these days. He gifts me just because.

There is a book by Gary Chapman called God Speaks You Love Language (How to experience and express God’s love). If you have never heard of love languages there are five main love languages, and one of them is what you mainly speak. They are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. My love languages that fills me up are words of affirmation, second gifts and then acts of service. My husband’s are quality time, physical touch and gifts. I have learned to speak his love language and he has learned to speak mine.

When we look at the above verse, then look through it the eyes of God speaking your love language, what can you see in your life? Do you see how God shows His love to you in personal ways? I do. I was crying in disappointment for something that I was preparing for. We are doing everything right to get our church in the place it needed to go. We are speaking the vision. We have had our eyes on a piece of property for a year. We are working on saving up to purchase it debt free. We, in the natural, were nowhere close. However, I serve a God of the supernatural. We found out that the land was gifted to a mega church in our area. It was disheartening. Just as I was weeping in grief, a friend, who I had not heard from in a long time sent me a text, “I was just thinking about your beautiful face…” I have had messages from complete strangers to encourage me not to give up hope. These are the moments that God shows up. I knew that He had something better in mind. He is the God that sees.

I want to encourage you today to look at the different ways God shows you His love. Then I want to challenge you to show God your love for Him. Pick one of these areas: acts of service, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation and/or physical touch. You might say that you already show God love on a daily basis. Then can I challenge you one more time? Show love to someone that you do not usually show love to. Pick one of these love languages to show love to a stranger, a co-worker, your neighbor, your pastor or someone that knocks the rough edges off of you (Paul called him a thorn in his side).

Can I be honest? The love language I struggle giving to those that are not in my family, is physical touch. I can give gifts, serve others, spend time with others, and speak positive words of encouragement to people (right now I am working on jewelry to give to all the women who attend church on Mother’s Day for the message that I am preparing, while serving that day in my usual roles). When I do hug someone, usually they initiate the hug first. I have no idea why, I am not alone in this, and it does not mean we do not walk in love. That does not mean that if it is your love language, physical touch, that I will not refuse to speak it. Why? It is not love when we refuse to try to speak someone else’s love language. We should look at it as a growth opportunity, an offering to the God that we love.

I hope you will take me up on the challenge to look for all the ways God loves you. That you will speak a language of love back to Him. Also, that you will love His creation, those that were created in His image, by being more intentional with speaking these love languages. Have a blessed day!