Endless love

John 17:26 (TPT) I have revealed to them who you are and I will continue to make you even more real to them, so that they may experience the same endless love that you have for me, for your love will now live in them, even as I live in them!

When God created mankind, man and woman, He did not want to create “robots.” Robots have to obey according to what they are programmed to do. He wanted to create beings that could make a choice. Why? This was the only way He would have a true form of love towards Him. People have to choose to love Him, we are not forced to. Jesus revealed that love to us when He was here on earth.

We all have dreams and desires, that is part of being a created being. We are given choices. It is up to us to make sure it lines up with His Word, and the character and nature of God found in His Word. This means taking our “free will” choices and laying them down before God. Letting Him have the say in our lives. It is a surrendering of choice. A surrendering of will.

I had to make a choice when I first excepted Christ. At that time in our lives my husband and I were engaged. We had just gotten engaged but in a sexual relationship for a couple of years. It was my hunger and desire to know His endless love that I approached my fiance and told him, “if we are going to do this, we need to do it right. We do not need to have sex again until marriage.” I was prepared to walk away from him to walk closer to God. Thankfully, when I prayed for a husband those years ago, that is who he turned into. He honored me by saying yes, let us do this right together. We were abstinent for two years before we married.

When a person comes to this place in their life it represents having a true faith in God. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Purpose is the motivation for all of God’s actions. Purpose is more important than plans. Purpose is more powerful than plans. Purpose proceeds plans. The only thing that motivates God is His purpose, not your plans. The word purpose means original intent, it also can be translated as will.

When we make decisions to do or not do, to go or not go, what is the intent of the heart? Is it to experience His endless love? Are we willing to show that to others? My plans and decisions cannot move God, I am moved my His purpose. Sometimes we get that backwards and we try to manipulate God. We even use some good religious speech that does not line up with His character and nature that can be found in His Word. Satan manipulates the Word of God to get his way. Check the intent of our hearts. Jesus was the ultimate example. Experience His full love today!

Invited

My husband and I are called to pastor a local church, however, that does not mean we only serve within the four walls of our church. I do my best to encourage those in our church to do the same. We do not have to start a program when there are so many good ones going on in our community. I watch mannerisms and know that the heart of a true servant would not have to be put on a schedule to serve. A servant will invite a stranger to sit with them.

What is true hospitality? Is it just being nice? To me that definition is just as vague as saying “I just love everybody.” True hospitality, to me, is inviting strangers to be family.

We were riding with our spiritual daughter this weekend and she pointed out that it really ministered to her how welcoming we are to people that are different than us. A good portion of her friends are lesbians. We do not agree with or support the lifestyle, but that does not mean we do not love them as God’s created. Her friends know that, but they feel welcome in our home. Let me ask you a question…who is your neighbor? What does loving your neighbor look like? If you are not able to minister to and support those that are like minded, how can you minister to the ones that do not look like you?

Matthew 22:1-10 (AMP) Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.  And he sent his servants to call those who had [previously] been invited to the wedding feast, but they refused to come. Then he sent out some other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened calves are butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention [they disregarded the invitation, treating it with contempt] and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest [of the invited guests] seized his servants and mistreated them [insulting and humiliating them] and killed them. The king was enraged [when he heard this], and sent his soldiers and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding [feast] is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. So go to the main highways that lead out of the city, and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ Those servants went out into the streets and gathered together all the people they could find, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests [sitting at the banquet table].

Verses 14-15 (AMP) Then the Pharisees went and conspired together plotting how to trap Him by [distorting] what He said. They sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are sincere and that You teach the way of God truthfully, without concerning Yourself about [what] anyone [thinks or says of Your teachings]; for You are impartial and do not seek anyone’s favor [and You treat all people alike, regardless of status].

Jesus was sincere in His hospitality. Without concern for Himself, nor care of what anyone thought, He treated all people alike, regardless of their status (label). Does that mean He agreed with everything? No. Look at verses 11-13 (AMP), “But when the king came in to see the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed [appropriately] in wedding clothes, and he said, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wearing the wedding clothes [that were provided for you]?’ And the man was speechless and without excuse. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the darkness outside; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].’ For many are called (invited, summoned), but few are chosen.”

It is not me that demands the change, it is the King, it is Jesus. My job is to be the servant that invites them into the wedding feast. My job is to be hospitable, inviting strangers to be family. My prayer every day is “Lord, open the door today that I may minister to someone needs it.” I got to have an encouraging conversation with a grocery store clerk today. She knows she is loved in that conversation. She knows she is seen in that conversation.

Further on in that same chapter of Matthew we see verses 36-40 (AMP), “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’  The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Show hospitality to a stranger today. It will brighten their and your day! In the end all that matters is that we hear “well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). The king’s servant went into the highways to invite guests to the wedding feast, both bad and good. We do not bring the change, He does. How can they ever change if they are never invited?

We’ve asked more than 50,000 people over the last 10 years why they came to church, and between 75 and 90 percent of respondents say, “I began attending because someone invited me.” (Source:The Inviting Church, 1987 p. 44)

Thorns bring us out of comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (AMP) Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

The true function of comfort is to propel us to go on. You will not find permission to comfort yourself. The devil wants us to run for comfort and cover to places outside of our calling. To keep us comfortable (in dysfunction, in busyness, in hiding, etc.) so you will never see our destinies come to pass.

Comfort can be dysfunctional when it comes from the wrong places. He is the God of my comfort. When we think of comfort we want to be taken out of suffering, but He comes along side of us to comfort us during the trial. Not after! Could it be our search for comfort be keeping us from our calling? God I want you, but I don’t want to be uncomfortable.

When I told God that I had a desire for more, I invited Him to take me out of the dysfunction of seeking comfort. I invited Him to make me uncomfortable. Reading this entire letter, in 2 Corinthians, you can tell Paul was uncomfortable. How?

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (AMP)  Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; 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.  So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].

I don’t know about you, but a thorn is painful. A thorn is small. A thorn can be a minor irritation or a big one depending on if you focus on it. Since walking into my calling, I have discovered a thorn. It did not show up right away. Everything was going great and then the thorn was revealed. I have prayed at different times for God to remove it, but instead He removed what I loved. He is telling me my grace is sufficient. He is telling me that I need to grow in grace where my thorn is concerned. His power is perfected when I am uncomfortable, because it is Him doing the change and not me.

I have changed my prayer. I am praising God for that thorn. That thorn is helping me grow in grace and mercy. That thorn is helping me seek His perspective above mine. That thorn is helping me focus on Jesus. That thorn reminds me to think on 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 (Philippians 4:8). That thorn makes me look to Him for my comfort. When that thorn starts to torment me, seek Him more. That thorn helps in desiring for more of Him!

Remember Jesus wore a crown of thorns…we may have just one! Kind of puts a different perspective on “Jesus had you on His mind while He was on the cross.”

That door is not closed…yet

Hebrews 10:24-25 (AMP)  Let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.

Yesterday was National Back to Church Sunday. I hope that you are plugged into a local body. The above scripture shows that even in the beginning of the early church some thought they could do it on their own. Yes, it is a personal relationship that we develop, but we still need each other.

Last week our church passed out one thousand door hangers in hopes that someone new would walk through our doors. I had been preparing for guests for months. I had gift bags printed, mugs printed, pens printed. We spent hundreds of dollars in hopes of us making a good first impression. I woke up in the morning thinking to myself, are we even prepared for new? Do we know how to walk through the door with fresh eyes? What would it be like to walk through those doors, with my kids? Were we prepared to walk along someone who had never entered our doors?

To my disappointment, no one new showed up. I was heart broken, still am. I had to think about the ones that were there. Just because they were not new, did not mean that I did not need to minister to and serve them.

It took me back to my fortieth birthday. My spiritual daughter tried to do a surprise party for me during the COVID stay at home order. It had been two months since we had to stop in person services. She had organized an outdoor, socially distanced, event. There were people who attended, but my focus after the fact, was on the ones that did not. I asked if they were invited. I had seen them out in stores (in groups), but they did not come. I was hurt. Since then I have altered my relationships. Did I have too high of expectations because I favored them more? Did I really favor them more? I had to make a change.

At the gym this morning I was listening to Elevation Church’s message while doing cardio (this is a routine of mine for Mondays). Today’s message really ministered to me. Paul was not without rejection or disappointments. The Corinthian church was one of the largest and most influential churches that he was the apostle over. They did not like his correction in some matters and had rejected him. He had to walk in forgiveness, but that did not mean he was not distract him for a moment. He had sent Titus to help mend things and while waiting for Titus’ report he just could not get his mind off the matter.

2 Corinthians 2:12-13 (AMP)  Now when I arrived at Troas to preach the good news of Christ, even though a door [of opportunity] opened for me in the Lord, my spirit could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there; so saying goodbye to them, I left for Macedonia.

Today I took a step and had a meeting with a director of a local non profit. It is an opportunity to present the gospel to the unchurched, ages 11-19. This is an open door. I could allow the disappointments of all other things to hinder what I am called to do. I am to present the gospel wherever an opportunity (open door) is given.

“Caution! The longer you are a Christian, the fewer opportunities you will have to be involved with unbelievers. Why? You become more involved in church life and activities. You are ‘lifted out’ of normal contact with unbelievers. Solution? Find practical and creative ways to build bridges back to unbelievers.” – Evangelism Explosion

I do not know about you, but I do get disappointed. I do have occasions that I am frustrated. That is okay, because those are signs of hope. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (AMP) Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. If I threw up my hands in disgust, the enemy wins. Love always hopes. Love knows that the door is opened, the enemy wants you to think that it is closed because it is difficult. Remain steadfast anyways. Do not allow your spirit to remain bothered (I am talking to myself) and go through the doors of opportunity.

That door has not closed…yet. Learn from Paul.

Love God, Love People

Matthew 22:36-40 (AMP)  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’  The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”

This struck me deep reading “the whole law depends on these commandments.” Now I know we are not under the law as born again believers. Jesus came to fulfill the law, but He did not do away with it. What do you see when you read these scriptures? Do you see a need to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ? What does it make you think about your neighbor? You may say, I do not hate, “I just love everybody.” Being nice to be people, to their face, is not really loving our neighbor.

I had an ‘AHA’ moment yesterday while reading this. We can be so concerned with serving that we forget the reason we serve (serving is loving your neighbor). Jesus illustrates this point with his encounter with Martha: Luke 10:38-42 (TPT) As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated with finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions?  Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.

Martha was busy serving (which she did not get scolded for nor told to stop doing), she was told to change her perspective. Martha was distracted by all the things that needed to be done and not focused on the who it was all for. I could tell that Martha’s love language is acts of service and Mary’s is quality time. If you do not know what love languages are check out Gary Chapman’s books God Speaks Your Love Language and The Five Love Languages. Briefly there are five love languages: quality time, gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation and acts of service. The way I show love is acts of service and gifts, however, the way I receive love is words of affirmation and acts of service. My husband shows love by physical touch and gifts, but he receives love by quality time and physical touch. What does this have to do with the main scripture?

To really do this love thing right I need to do both. There is one more important than the other, that means I can get out of balance, but that does not mean I need to ignore the other all together. How do we ignore loving our neighbor? My husband said it best in one sermon, “A non-serving Christian is a contradiction.” As stated above, not all serving has to be “acts of service.” Learning people’s love languages means we start relationships. It is the outflow of our love for Christ that we desire to love our neighbor, and the amplified says unselfishly seeking the best for others.

It is not a bad thing to serve and love to serve, but do not let that distract you from loving God. How can we know when we are distracted? When we start comparing. When we start feeling jealousy or envy. When we start feeling rejection and bitterness. These are all distractions. Did you know you can be distracted like this and not serve? Our minds will get in the way with loving God completely and loving our neighbor. I have to put my focus back on Jesus when these feelings come up. I am not going to act like I do not get distracted, because I do.

Paul said it best, Philippians 3:13-14 (AMP) 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, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Spend time with the Father today. Not just to energize you for the day as we sometimes do. Spend time with Him because you love Him. Ask Him ways to show love to your neighbor today? Get to know their love language. God speaks yours, we speak ours back to Him…what if we used that in how we love our neighbor. It is not enough to just be “nice” to people. Remember, Jesus said our neighbor was anyone we came in direct contact with. That means the people in line at the grocery store, the gas station attendant, and for me the couple that does not like to cut their grass next door (I have to do better too).

Love God, Love People!

I want to glow up!

Luke 11:33-36 (AMP) “No one lights a lamp and then puts it in a cellar nor under a basket [hiding the light], but [instead it is put] on the lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive, focused on God], your whole body also is full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But when it is bad [spiritually blind], your body also is full of darkness [devoid of God’s word]. Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness. So if your whole body is illuminated, with no dark part, it will be entirely bright [with light], as when the lamp gives you light with its bright rays.”

One of my favorite people in the Bible to read about is Moses. I especially liked how he enjoyed being in the presence of God. Reading Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy you can see that he not only spent time with God for wisdom, but he genuinely enjoyed the companionship. Moses spent so much time with Him that the glory of the Lord transferred to an outward glow shining from Moses’ face. My heart’s desire is to carry that same glory with me where ever I go. That is why I loved reading the above verses yesterday.

The eye is a lamp to our bodies. Often times people will use this verse to condemn others for what they watch for entertainment, but they did not have movies or television sitcoms back then. They did have people. They did have relationships. They did have lives to maintain. Sometimes our eyes will even deceive us when we do not see the progress during the process of growth. I like how the Amplified tells us “when I our eye is clear”, that is “spiritually perceptive” and “focused on God”. It is when we take our focus off of God that we become spiritually blind and our bodies full of darkness, it even says we are “devoid of God’s word”.

How can my whole being radiate the light of glory of God? 2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP), “ And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.” What will it take for us to have a fervent spirit? He is the one who sets me on fire! When I spend time, like Moses did, to see His face. It all has to do with our focus. When can read our Bibles and still not be focused.

Focus eliminates distractions. We will never be able to fulfill our eternal purpose if we allow temporary circumstances to distract our focus. Remain focused on the Kingdom. Do not allow weariness to become a false prophet in your life. Weariness will try to get you to accept that is okay to give up. You cannot rest from God, because He is rest.

Why do you think Joshua said in Joshua 24:15 (AMP), “If it is unacceptable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”? Sight, your eye being a lamp to your body. You have to choose this focus, your natural self is not going to want to do it.

Hebrews 12:2 (AMP) Looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

What has been the desire of your heart? This is why I call this blog “Desiring for More.” Just like Moses, I desire a face to face relationship with God. When we draw our eyes on Him then our whole bodies cannot help but illuminate with His light! Let’s have a glow up party!!

Who have you been with?

Acts 4:7-8 (AMP) When they had put the men in front of them, they repeatedly asked, “By what sort of power, or in what name [that is, by what kind of authority], did you do this [healing]?” Then Peter, filled with [the power of] the Holy Spirit, said to them…

John and Peter worked side by side in ministry. John was referred to as the beloved and we know Peter to be quick to act and speak. They still ministered together. The early church was about unity. The early church was about pointing everyone to Christ. Think about what the body of Christ would do today if we focused on just that. Instead, if we have a “Peter” we talk about how too harsh or crass they are and draw away from them. Not realizing their heart is pure. We are a people who judge on the outward, but God does not.

As I was praying yesterday before church, I came across chapter 4 of the Book of Acts in one of my devotionals. Peter and John had just healed a man.They have a crowd they are talking to at this point, proclaiming the Name of Jesus, reported that 5,000 men received salvation! There were the Sadducees and the temple guards listening and becoming very annoyed, some translations say indignant. So they have them arrested. Peter and John spend an evening in jail, then are brought before the magistrates and priests. When asked by what sort of power, or in what name did they do this healing, it was Peter who spoke up. It says he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Peter said, “if we are being put on trial today [to interrogate us] for a good deed done to [benefit] a disabled man, as to how this man has been restored to health, let it be known and clearly understood by all of you, and by all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you [demanded be] crucified [by the Romans and], whom God raised from the dead—in this name [that is, by the authority and power of Jesus] this man stands here before you in good health. This Jesus is the stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief Cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” Acts 4:9-12 (AMP)

Acts 4:13 (AMP) Now when the men of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were uneducated and untrained [ordinary] men, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus.

They recognized that these men had been with Jesus. It reminded me of another story in the Bible about a life change happening after she had been with Jesus: John 4:28-30 (AMP)  Then the woman left her water jar, and went into the city and began telling the people, Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done! Can this be the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)?” So the people left the city and were coming to Him.

They recognized that these men had been with Jesus.

To finish up this chapter in the book of Acts, verses 14-22 says, And seeing the man who had been healed standing there with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But after ordering them to step out of the Council [chamber], they began to confer among themselves, saying, “What are we to do with these men? For the fact that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them is public knowledge and clearly evident to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people and the nation, let us [sternly] warn them not to speak again to anyone in this name.”  So they sent for them, and commanded them not to speak [as His representatives] or teach at all in the name of Jesus [using Him as their authority]. But Peter and John replied to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must judge [for yourselves]; for we, on our part, cannot stop telling [people] about what we have seen and heard.”  When the rulers and Council members had threatened them further, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because [of their fear] of the people, for they were all praising and glorifying and honoring God for what had happened; for the man to whom this sign (attesting miracle) of healing had happened was more than forty years old.

A few take aways for me from these passages were: 1) John and Peter worked together. They had different personalities. They did not point to one another, they pointed to Christ. When you have someone come to you about the flaws of another, point them back to Christ. It hurts my heart when we use divisive words such as “they should not have said that” or “they should not have done that,” especially when you were not witness to it. Inadvertently we are pointing back to ourselves, we should be pointing back to Christ. 2) There was no denying they had been with Jesus. Although we do not have Jesus in His physical form here on earth, He did send the Holy Spirit. We can have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Can people tell we have been with Him? Sign, wonders, miracles, healings and etc. will follow us when we walk in this relationship.

In 2020, when Covid-19 was causing everything to close, my heart yearned to see the miracles take place. Distractions happened. I lost focus. I let the disappointments of people get in the way. I tried my hardest to focus on His word, but still having hurt in my heart from the disappointments. It is not worth not walking in my calling. He has called us out! Do not fall into the trick of the enemy to get us distracted. Focus back on Christ and get a relationship with the Holy Spirit!

What is success?

1 Chronicles 28: 2, 3, 6 (AMP) I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and as a footstool for our God, and I prepared materials for the building. But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My Name (Presence)…He said to me, ‘Solomon your son shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him.

I am in the process of reading the Bible Chronologically using the Amplified Version in the You Version App. It is different from reading a complete book at a time, because it puts you in the perspective of what was going on during the time it was written. Reading Psalms out of context before had me feeling like David was a big whiner sometimes. It reminded me that we can make judgments about people because we do not know the whole story.

I just finished reading where David is at the end of his life and his heart’s desire was to build the permanent home for the Ark of the Covenant. He has spent years studying the texts and his heart was to see it completed. In 1 Chronicles 23-29 David is making preparations for his son, Solomon, to become king and to build the temple.

1 Chronicles 28:11 (AMP) Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan… This had me thinking. When was the last time you helped someone with their success knowing that you would not reap the benefits of it? I gained a new respect for David when I saw his heart for his son to succeed. David had been talking about and dreaming about building this temple for years. What would you have done if God told you that you would not be the one to build what you dreamed? Would you still gather the materials? Would you still do the research? Would you still buy that plot of land?

We live in a culture where offense is the norm. I actually think some people do not know how to function without someone being the villain in their lives. David did not look at his son as his successor, nor as his competition. He looked at Solomon as the one who was going to succeed him, and he was excited about it.

My husband and I are pastors of a church in Opelika, Alabama. We were not the ones who started the ministry, his parents were. I often look back as to when were did not have a title, or considered the “assistants,” and how our hearts were to see the church succeed. We had no intentions nor was it on our minds that one day we would lead. Every event was planned and executed by us, yet we did not take the lead role during the event (to include baby and bridal showers). If there was a need to reach a certain demographic with a small group or a type of fellowship, we started and led it, willingly! We were excited to be at the church early and doing whatever needed to be done way before service started. If they needed someone in nursery, I was there. They needed a pre-teen class for an age group to be ministered to, I will teach it!! They just needed to state the need, not ask me to meet the need.

When was the last time you looked around and saw a need and did not just say “someone needs to,” but instead said “there is a need and I am going to make sure it is met”? Instead of being offended with your church or pastors for not meeting your needs (or expectations), ask yourself what you can do to help that area succeed. When others succeed, you will succeed. Do you need the recognition here or is it enough that the Father sees your heart and has a reward for you in heaven? Instead of taking on offense at the leader, what can we do to make sure they succeed?

I do not know if you are a leader or if you look to your leader to meet all of your needs. Only he Father can meet all of our needs. I want to be a light to this world. I want to make an impact that brings glory to God. If that means that I do all the work in the background to make sure there is a good foundation laid for the next generation, then so be it. If they succeed, then I succeed!

He Understands

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 our redeemer, our healer, our restorer. Christ has done everything He needs to do 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.

I have recently gone through a great heart ache. People in our church have recently walked away from ours to go to another in our area. As pastors it is hard because it feels like a divorce (or that is what those who have never had a divorce would think it feels like). I had a dream about one of them last night. It was a dream of when he and his brother were younger, with short curly hair. In my dream I wept. I also imagined myself using something to dull the feeling of pain. That is something I have never done in the natural, so why would I dream about that?

Galatians 5:16-17 (AMP) But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do.

I have recently been reading about the time in David’s life when his son Absalom was against him. You can read about their tumultuous relationship in 2 Samuel 13-18. David did not send orders to end Absalom’s life. He asked for them to have mercy on his son, the son that was trying to overthrow him. I often think about how we want God to take revenge for us to those that have done us wrong. My husband made a good point yesterday and I have been asking God to help with my heart change. We have have every right to feel the way we do when someone wrongs us…in the natural. However, when we are born again we have to submit those feelings to the Kingdom and let go of our rights.

David writes during this time in Psalms 26:11 (AMP), “But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; Redeem me and be merciful and gracious to me.”

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.

I cannot allow these hurts to hold me back. I cannot beat myself up for them coming up sometimes either. I have to change my focus. I have to allow the Holy Spirit to heal me from the inside out. Remember, Jesus understands. David did have his moments when he cried out to God to hide his iniquity. Psalms 38:16 (AMP), For I pray, “May they not rejoice over me, who, when my foot slips, would boast against me.” We want to hide in our shame. We want to close the doors to our bedroom and not let the light shine in so we can stay in the bed all day long. Let Christ in!

Let me know how I can pray for you today. Let me know if you have moments like this too, or if you are in a season right now that is hard to get out of. I want to pray with you! You can email me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Fresh Bread

Leviticus 24:5-8 (NLT) You must bake twelve flat loaves of bread from choice flour, using four quarts of flour for each loaf. Place the bread before the Lord on the pure gold table, and arrange the loaves in two stacks, with six loaves in each stack. Put some pure frankincense near each stack to serve as a representative offering, a special gift presented to the Lord. Every Sabbath day this bread must be laid out before the Lord as a gift from the Israelites; it is an ongoing expression of the eternal covenant.

I like to bake. Most of my meals for my family is prepared using the oven. As of right now, there are about two different baked goods, on the counter, for my family to grab anytime they want something.

A couple of weeks ago, when I took my mom to the beach, I was reading this book, The God Chasers by Tommy Tenney. It was my second time reading it, first time was about twenty years ago. Chapter two in The God Chasers is titled “No Bread in the ‘House of Bread’ crumbs in the carpet and empty shelves. What are crumbs in the carpet?”

This caused me to do a little research. There would be bread in the tabernacle, behind the curtain that the priests were only allowed to go through. On a golden table there would be two stacks of six (twelve in all) of round loaves of bread. It was referred to as Show Bread.

First of all we think that the show bread is there because is symbolized the manna that fell from heaven, and then there are the twelve tribes as to why there are twelve loaves. Show bread in Hebrew is לחם הפנים‎ lechem haPānīm, literally, “Bread of the Faces”. haPānīm is translated “face” and sometimes intimate/inward relationship. haPānīm according to the Hebrew alphabet, the letters equals 180. In their culture numbers are very meaningful. Moses met with God haPānīm el haPānīm, face to face. So 180 plus 180 equals 360 and that is the circumference of a circle.

So why do we not have bread in our modern services today? John 6:35 (AMP), Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

This bread symbolized a personal, face to face, relationship with God. Jesus is not here with us today. The Holy Spirit is though. John 14:16 (AMP), And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever.

What I like is that the bread had to be fresh. If bread is not fresh it gets hard, it gets stale, it gets moldy. Matthew 6:9-11 (AMP), Jesus instructed them, “Pray, then, in this way:‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come,Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread.”

When I think of a kitchen that is used often we have different smells. You can have a burnt smell, from a house that does not know how to cook. A sour smell, from a house that does not take out the trash enough. There is also the house that has a luring aroma, the house that when you enter your stomach starts grumbling. My kids friends say my house smells like the later. They know where to get a good meal. I believe that is the desire of the Father about His house.

Who brings that bread though? We do, as worshipers. It was not the priests that brought the bread, it was the Israelites. I proposed this to my church yesterday (there is a link to the full message below): Do you come to Sunday service with a fresh expectation or are we expecting to be fed off of the same bread crumbs? Do we think it is not necessary to bring fresh bread, a gift in our worship?

I pray this encourages you that God wants to do something fresh and new in you today. I also pray this encourages you that you desire to give Him your best self today as well. Be blessed!

Link to yesterday’s message Fresh Bread: https://youtu.be/ZM_skPaLI00