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Do not come down until you are ready!

From Nehemiah 6 MSG “I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down and see you?” “They were trying to intimidate us into quitting. They thought, ‘They’ll give up; they never finish it.’ I prayed, ‘Give me strength.'”

It is hard when other people do not meet your passion. There are countless men and women in the Bible that God gave them instruction and people questioned whether they even heard God at all.

Moses is one of my favorite people in the Bible. I can so relate to him! I probably would have reacted the same way to all of the grumbling and complaining as he did in Numbers 20, when he struck the rock, afterGod told him to speak to it. I might have even taken out a couple of people when going for that swing too! Not really, but you know he was thinking it.

In return Moses would not be able to join in with the others in entering the Promised Land. However, he still makes it into the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11.

Near the end of Moses life he writes the book of Deuteronomy. In this book he recites over and over the escape out of Egypt and their time in the wilderness. He was so adamant about teaching their children, and for generations to come, all that had happened (Stephen even stands before his accusers in Acts 7 reciting much of this). This all occurred after he was told he could not bring the people into the Promise Land.

Above all, Moses desired God’s presence more than he desired to enter the Promise Land. He was seeking His face. In Exodus 33:18 Moses asks: “Please, show me Your glory.”

Moses desired God’s presence more than he desired to enter the Promise Land.

Exodus 33:21-23 God responds, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you into the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand wile I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses kept going up to the mountain to commune with God. He face would shine so bright after his encounters. Don’t you think while he was up there he could see the Promise Land knowing he would not enter it. Or did he…

Matthew 17:1-3 “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, let them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking Him.”

Moses appears with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, which happens to be in the physical location of the Promise Land. When he desired to see God before, he could only see His back, but now he sees Him face-to-face.

Moses did not give up going on the mountain top and neither should you. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

The Enough-ness of Christ

There are days that I do not feel like I am enough. I have two teenage boys and a husband that works swing shift (every four weeks he rotates from first, to third, to second shift), as well as, we pastor a church together. Early on when he took a job at the plant it was really tough on the boys not having him home during second shift. He would come home after we went to bed and get up after they went to school. I made a lot of mistakes trying to do it on my own at the start.

Galatians 2:21 says, “So that is why I don’t view God’s grace as something minor or peripheral. For if keeping the law could release God’s righteousness to us, the Anointed One would have died for nothng. (TPT)”

God never called me to be enough. Not for my kids, not for my husband and especially not for my church. He called me to be loved. It is in the awareness of my weakness, the more I need His grace. My shortcomings remind my children to keep they eyes fixed on God, not on me. When I struggle it is a glorious display of God’s greatness, not my own.

My shortcomings remind my children to keep they eyes fixed on God, not on me.

We feel pressure to pack the Pinterest perfect lunches, to throw them the most lavish parties and to shower them with the most expensive gifts. We feel pressure to perform for the approval of God. There is pressure to pretend to have it all together and we hide behind closed doors when we do not.

As the Body of Christ we have not done so well at accepting ourselves, therefore, not accepting each other for all of the flaws we have. I cannot be the only one who thinks they have failed when we do not reflect His heart to our children. We cannot give grace, when we have not received grace ourselves.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.”

When we find ourselves crumbling. When we are trying to hold it all together on our own, that’s a good indicator that we have forgotten Christ as first place in our lives. He is the “image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created…and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)”

God is the One holding it all together. Not us!

My First Step into Surrender

I was 18 when God spoke to me about surrendering my life to Jesus. John and I were already engaged and he had just turned his life back around. A few months before I found out that he was a drug addict and had always been since we met (almost three years of ignorance). When he got totally sold out to Jesus this time, he was a changed man. I did not quite know what to think. As he was ministering one night, God spoke to me. He said, “Amanda, that pedestal you have that boy on, that’s where I belong. Stop basing your future on what is going on in his life. I can love you so much more than He can!” With that I was all in.

“Amanda, that pedestal you have that boy on, that’s where I belong.”

The next step into being “all in” took great courage. I had a deep desire for love. So much so, that I had instigated the sexual aspect of our relationship. Now, I was going to have to tell him that if we were going to go all into this Jesus thing, then we were going to be all in about Him and not about us…that meant no more sex until marriage. Thankfully, John was all in too. That meant he wanted to see me succeed in my relationship with God, so that our eventual marriage would succeed.

I am going to be honest. It was not easy. There was still that desire there for physical love, especially, when you already know what that feels like. I can tell you for a fact, our relationship with God saved our marriage. We were no longer dependent on each other for the “love” feelings. We have a deep love for each other. We know each other’s thoughts, and can even finish each other’s jokes. We know how to build each other up; in turn that means we know what will be the area that we need the most work in.

Why did we do it?

“Jesus fixed his gaze upon the man, with tender love, and said to him, ‘Yet there is still one thing in you lacking. Go, sell all that you have and give the money to the poor. Then all your treasure will be in heaven. After you’ve done this, come back and walk with me.'” (Mark 10:21 TPT)

What was the one thing that could stand between me and God? What was the one thing I was putting in His place? That was John. He did not belong there. As long as I was giving myself to him, I would not be able to keep God in His right place. We put “us” on pause. We still got married, it was just another two and half years after that moment.

Why Desiring for More?

At each place they went, they strengthened the lives of the believers and encouraged them to go deeper in their faith. And they taught them, “It is necessary for us to enter the realm of God’s kingdom, because that’s the only way we will endure our many trials and persecutions.” Acts 14:22

Every day is a new new day to grow deeper in your relationship with God.

My desire is to be an encouragement. I, personally, have been going on a deeper journey with Jesus for the past few years. It was not always like that for me.

I received Christ at 18, married at 20 and became a mother at the age of 23.

This year I turned 40.

Less than two years ago I lost my job due to a mistake. A mistake that I was the sole beneficiary of. A mistake that I did not realize was a mistake until one and a half years after it was made. Before I could rectify it, I was accused of fraud. I tried to show where I did not know that it was an error, there was documentation that I did release that information, but to no avail. The damage to my character had been done.

I asked God “how could I go on from there?” “How can I be an effectual witness for you with my character tarnished?”

“How can I be an effectual witness for you with my character tarnished?”

Your first instinct is to hide. I did just that. I hid in the Word. I ran to my Hiding Place. I emerged wrapped in His Love. I emerged with a boldness to preach and write about how much He desire us! That is what this blog is about. I continually desire fore more, will you?

Icebreaker Question: Who do I relate to in the Bible?

This is one of the my favorite questions I get asked in small group settings. You know, it is your first time meeting a group of people and you are going to spend the next few weeks on a certain topic or doing a certain activity together. We are going to break the ice and talk about people we identify with in the Bible.

I actually identify with two people in the Bible.

The first is Moses.

Years ago, before my husband had to practically rip the mic from my hands on Sundays, I was petrified to speak in front of people.

Years ago, before my husband had to practically rip the mic from my hands on Sundays, I was petrified to speak in front of people. So bad in fact that one time my mother in law pushed the mic in my face to tell about the fundraiser I was having through my day care. People thought that I had such passion for the organization that they were handing me hundred dollar bills, because I was crying so hard telling them about it. So I identified with Moses because of his lack of speaking ability.

Another way I identified with Moses, was not how I was, but how I aspired to be.

Whenever Moses came back down from the mountain after speaking with God his face would glow. Moses spent so much time with God that the people would ask him to wear a veil in their presence because of the glow. My desire is to be like that.

The second person I identify with is Peter.

Peter gets a bad wrap to begin with. He is over zealous. Talks out of turn. Can be hot headed…he cut the ear off of the soldier trying to protect Jesus not knowing how to wield a sword. Then he denies Jesus three times even after telling Jesus (to his face) that he would never do that.

Here is what I love about Peter. He was the first one out of the boat to meet Jesus on the shore.

“Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land)…” John 21:7b-8a

Then Jesus takes the time to restore Peter. I love this because often times when I mess up I can see Jesus having the same conversation with me.

Taken from John 23:15-19 “Amanda, Do you have great affection for Me?” Me, “Yes, Jesus! You know I have so affection for you.” Jesus, “Then take care of the my children.” “Amanda, do you burn with love for me?” Me, “Jesus, I have so love for you.” Jesus, “Then take care of my people.” “Amanda, do you have great affection for me?” Me, “Jesus, I have already told you how much I love you.” Jesus, “Then feed my people.” Jesus, “Amanda, when you were younger you made your own choices and did as you pleased. Now it is time you grew up and follow after Me!”

We all need that “aha” moment. We get that moment where Jesus speaks directly to us. We start off as children still doing what we want. We make mistakes. Even when we follow after Him we still make them. Just like Jesus did with Peter, He doesn’t throw us away.

I love that story. I can hear Him saying my name. Can you hear Him say yours?

Bass Players Creedo: “Turn it up!”

I guess a “cool” thing I tell people about myself is that I play the bass in our worship band. I have been doing so for the past twenty years.

Now, I do make it clear that I am not trained. I cannot tell you what note something is. I do play with a couple of fingers on the frets at time. I have never been really good at runs.

You see, I cannot sing. When I do, it is really bad. So I need this really loud sound coming from behind me to drown out the horrible noise coming out of my mouth so that others do not get distracted during worship.

Oh, how I love worship though! Right now I am in a season in our church where I am the worship leader. Basically, I pick the songs and tell everyone what time practice is. We talk as a group as we learn new songs and everyone’s ideas are heard. My singers know harmony and are really good at putting that together. I mean, we are no Bethel, but we get in it!

One thing I listen for in churches, when we visit, is whether you can hear the bass drum and the bass player. Then you know you are going to have a good time. Why?

“And pulsing from the thrown were blinding flashes of lightning, crashes of thunder, and voices.” Revelations 4:5a TPT

“After I heard what seemed to be the roar of a great multitude of voices, saying: ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory to the power of our God!” Revelations 19:1 TPT

One thing I listen for in churches, when we visit, is whether you can hear the bass drum and the bass player.

These are just two verses that talk about the sounds in heaven. Books I have read describes it that you can feel the sounds in your bones.

Now I have been in places where it was loud and it was not pleasing to the ears, because it was so loud. However, you do not have to be loud to feel the music. When we worship, we should do with everything that is withing us. That is why I love to play the bass during worship.

Worship is a very important part of our daily time with God. He does not demand it of us, but it should be something that comes naturally from our hearts. It is a part of my daily surrender to Him.

King David made it a part of who he was. He was not a perfect king, nor a perfect man, but his heart was for God. Father, help me have a heart like David’s. Your word says, “I will give you a new heart, a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 26:36). Let my heart always be mindful of you.

My father in law likes to say there are eighteen inches between success and failure. Those eighteen inches are from your heart to your mind. Keep yourself in the Word and it will help keep your heart lined up with His.