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My van overheated

This past week started off tough for me. It started off with stress and anxiety over getting items ready for a consignment sale, which were exasperated by how I was “tolerated” as a consignor by the new owner. Also, on Monday my van started to overheat. We had just gotten back from a trip to north Alabama, where the temperatures were still below freezing and they had gotten snow. We let the van run for longer periods of time in idle than we usually do. We added antifreeze to it as we found out it had none and by the next day it was low again.

On Wednesday I took my van for an oil change and asked them to look into the coolant issue. That I could smell it and that it was leaking somewhere. They gave me a quote and sent me on my way telling me to be very careful. I traveled from there about twenty miles to see my mother and have a visit. On the way back from my mother’s it started over heating again. I pulled it over to the shoulder and call a town truck.

Just that morning I had posted: Yesterday was rough. I was stressed and anxious for most of the afternoon. I spent the past two days hanging, tagging and preparing items for a local consignment sale (this will be my last time doing it). While doing it I binge watched an episode on Netflix. Really interesting and entertaining…I like a good crime series.Today I am reading and came across this nugget:“The Bible shows us that there is a direct relation between hearing and seeing Jesus, and the health of our bodies. The more we hear and see Jesus, the healthier and stronger we become! Our mortal bodies infused with His resurrection life and power! If we are constantly feeding on the news media, it is no wonder we feel weak and tired. There is just no nourishment for us there.” From “Unmerited Favor” by Joseph Prince. Now I don’t watch the news but I do like to get into a good series. It’s comforting, but then when I’m away from it I feel anxious. Hello! Doesn’t that seem like symptoms of an addiction? I read my Word every day. I spend time in worship. I know the Holy Spirit. Here is what He is trying to tell me: stop putting time limits on what is His time and what is my time. I do not have as much stress and anxiety when I give Him more of that “me time.” I had an amazing time in the Word and a really good visit with my mom. I had accomplished everything I needed to do on my checklist and now I am on the side of the road. I did not freak out, I did not get into an over anxious mess ball, I had peace.

I got my van home and called the one place I was trying to avoid, my service center. I had not had good experiences with them in the past. When we bought the van my husband also bought an extended warranty that is good as long as we own the van, no renewing required. It is bumper to bumper, but not for normal wear and tear (tires, oil changes, fluids, etc.). Since this was a leak in a hose I did not think this was covered, so that is why I was seeking elsewhere for the repairs. I get it to this service center and guess what…it is covered. What I was willing to pay over four hundred dollars to get fixed only cost me a hundred and fifty.

This is my take away from this. That extended warranty was put into our payments at the beginning of the purchase. It is one hundred percent paid for now. I would not have known the benefits of it completely if I did not get it checked by the service center. We can be just like that with our relationship with God. There are some benefits and blessings that we know are available to us because of the cross, but others we are not sure of so we go someplace else to get our resources. Then we know we should be blessed in an area and think if we make ourselves small and keep a good attitude that God will give us just enough to get us by.

There are some benefits and blessings that we know are available to us because of the cross, but others we are not sure of so we go someplace else to get our resources.

Luke 12:22-24 (AMP) Jesus said to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; or about your body, as to what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the crop]; they have no storehouse or barn, and yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds!

Ephesians 3:20 (AMP) Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us

These are just two verses that should give us an assurance that we have the promise of favor, of abundant blessings and nothing in it tells us to make ourselves small. What about John 3:30 then, “He must increase, but I must decrease”? This is telling us that nothing should be more important in our lives than Christ. John the Baptist wanted to point others to Christ. When we take this verse out of context we start to put the smallness onto ourselves.

If I had stayed in my good attitude and went to the other place, the place where I knew they would not make me uncomfortable because I had never had a confrontation with them, then I would not have known all that was available to me. You know what else, this visit to the service center was the most pleasant experience I have ever had! Favor and blessings all around!!

I pray this blessed and encouraged you. If you need prayer or need to chat, message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

God causes the growth

Ugly Christmas sweaters at church

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (AMP) I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth. So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth.

Today my oldest son turns seventeen. He will be a senior in just a few short months. Last week we went to watch him wrestle for state (his first time making it to the qualifiers after four years of trying). He had to step out after the second round due to a possible concussion. Ari fought two really tough competitors. In his first match, the guy was a senior and had placed second the year before, and was undefeated so far this year. Ari lost that round. In his second match, Ari and the other wrestler collided right off the start, head first. Then they pulled back and did it again. It was a tough one, it looked like a brawl from the stands. When done, Ari had a mark under his eye and it was starting to swell. The other kids head gear had got him. Since he woke up with a head ache the next day they took him out. It was a little disappointing for him, but he said he is looking forward to doing it again next year.

So today I am reflecting on how we got here. On this day after thirty two hours in labor, and twelve days after his due date, Ari was born weighing eight pounds and twelve ounces. He was (and still is) beautiful. We had some struggle moments when he was a baby and in his toddler years, really we should have known he was going to be strong willed when he spent the full forty two weeks in the womb. There are some really great moments too. We taught him a few words in sign language before he started talking. He could tells us he wanted to eat, some milk, if he wanted more or if he had enough food. Meal times were when we got to sit together, since I worked full time. It was not until he was almost four that he would be able to stay with me all day.

Then he started going to school, kindergarten. That was my very first parent/teacher conference about behavior. I got to have one of those, within the first nine weeks of school, every year for seven more years. There was one year the principal called me so much that I would make a sigh before I answered the phone. On top of all of this he was a straight “A” student!

When Ari got into eighth grade, he tried out for wrestling and fell in love with the sport. We tried putting him in soccer, in baseball and football. He did not enjoy them, but we knew he needed an outlet. He was passionate about wrestling though. Guess what? I have not been called in for a parent/teacher conference in four years!! I love wrestling. I will take him every where to train. I will get him to any club that had it going on. I will hire a personal trainer to teach him foot work.

What is also amazing is that he honors and respects his parents. He will get up from what he is doing in his room and help me with things around the house, happily. At church, he puts the signs out and makes sure the duplication process for the CDs is ready to go. He hands out the CDs after service. We sit down every school morning, along with his brother, and we read a devotional and pray before they walk out the door. What is most important is that he not only does these things because we ask, but he sees his parents do them. He sees us spending time in the Word daily. He sees us serving in the church. When we do service projects in the community, I do not drop them off, we serve together.

What is most important is that he not only does these things because we ask, but he sees his parents do them. He sees us spending time in the Word daily. He sees us serving in the church. When we do service projects in the community, I do not drop them off, we serve together.

In my beginning verse, it says that I get to plant the seed. From what you read above you would think that now I have the perfect son. He still has his moments. He still can be rude, disrespectful and a jerk. Actually two weeks ago we got into a really big discussion on how his communication needed to be improved. He had all electronics taken away for two days (that included his cell phone). Then when he got it back, he binge played on his XBox and came out of his hole an emotional wreck. Fun stuff, right?! Like him, there are days that I lash out at the people I love too. He needed grace in that moment.

He still needs our guidance. Ultimately though, he is God’s. He will be leaving home in a few years to start his life on his own. I pray that we have laid a good foundation for him. I pray he grows. I want him to grow and mature in God. I want him to succeed. Although we may want them to, my goal is that he will not NEED me (it would be selfish of me if I did not do this). I need to point him to Christ. I need to show him where real growth and success comes from. Before a match we thank God that it is through His strength that Ari gets his power source. Ari has done his part in weight training, practicing endurance and learning technique. Now he can rest, and not feel anxious, in how God puts it all together through him when he wrestles. What a difference that perspective has made in his wrestling this year.

If you know how that feels hit the like button on this post. Let me know your struggles and celebrate the successes with you. If you need prayer you can message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Enough to share

Colossians 2:6-7 (AMP) Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude.

As I was reading these verses yesterday, three things jumped out at me: (1) I need to reflect His character, when I do this I can lead others to Him; (2) Being deeply rooted in Him helps me accomplish number one; and (3) This will result in me becoming increasingly more established in my faith.

John 15:1-8 (TPT) I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless. If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!

I have to be attached to the vine (Jesus). His roots run deep! Rooted there I am going to grow. When I grow I will begin to produce fruit. The amazing thing about this fruit is that the nourishment that comes from it is meant to be shared. When I share my fruit from this vine, others will want to see where it is planted and will eventually become rooted as well. This is what increases my faith. My expectation and passion will grow. I start making more Kingdom impacts. I am beginning to reflect His character.

The amazing thing about this fruit is that the nourishment that comes from it is meant to be shared.

Whenever I think of reflecting God’s character it makes me think of His glory. We are to glorify His name when we pray, when we worship and when we talk about Him in the streets. It also makes me think of Moses and how his face glowed after being in the presence of the Lord. I came across this verse, 2 Corinthians 3:13 (AMP) and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away. The glow from Moses face would eventually fade. Then we go a few verse down, verses 17-18 (AMP) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 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. I am no longer bound to my mistakes and my short comings. I like how it says that we are “progressively being transformed.” This year my goal is progress. Part of that progress is coming out of my comfort zone. I am an introvert by nature. I feel awkward when I have to start a conversation ( I feel like our teenagers today who do not know how to answer a phone). When I see the fruit of what my God encounters do bring, it increases my faith.

I want to lead others to a fulfilling relationship with the Father like I have. In order to do that, I need to reflect His character. I need to be attached to the vine (Jesus). Growing in God is so very rewarding. Giving nourishment to others will increase your faith. The Holy Spirit will draw those to you, but He cannot do that if we refuse to leave the comfort of our homes. This is me too. I need to get out more and I need to step into more serving opportunities (outside of my church). Fruit is meant to be shared. People need to see that it is not perfection He is after, it is progress. They need to see me mess up and depend on Him in my recovery. His glory does not fade anymore, like it did from the face of Moses, it radiates through me because I am in Christ (whose glory never fades).

I pray this encouraged you today. Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, know that we should never feel pressured to be at any faith level, just keep making progress. Keep growing. Stay rooted in Jesus, He is the vine. Take a step to give nourishment to others, it will increase your faith when you see fruit growing in their lives.

Please feel free to message me at amanda@desiringformore.org if you need prayer.

Begin Again

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and for the past few years my husband and I take the time to talk to the church together about marriage and relationships. This year it was important that we talked about managing conflict and walking in forgiveness. This year with the pandemic we have spent more time with our families, especially if you were in a stay at home order like we were.

I think we did pretty good with it. The stressful activity we did was to paint the outside of our house. We have a ranch style home built in 1968, addition was done in 2000. Part of the house is on foundation, the other is crawl space. It is a brick home that was painted a sea foam green. When we moved in thirteen years ago I had always wanted to paint the house, I did not like the color. The home has sixteen windows that looks to be original to the house (except for the addition) and they have the pained glass. We had gotten quotes to get the job done. They ranged from six to eight thousand dollars. The pandemic hit, and we all had to stay home together. My husband and I went out and bought a paint sprayer, rollers, brushes, paper, tape and lots of paint. Stay at home did not mean we could not go outside, and I did not want my kids playing video games all day.

Marriage, more than any other relationship, is going to highlight your flaws. A project of this magnitude with two teenage boys, was going to highlight some flaws as well. We each had a job, and we assisted each other when our job did not need to be done at the moment. The struggle that we found was when we needed help, how to communicate that. In the middle of the frustration on not being able to do this task or problem solve it, how to communicate without filtering that frustration in how we talked to each other.

Ephesians 4:1-3 (TLB) I beg you—I, a prisoner here in jail for serving the Lord—to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.

We each have faults. In love, we must make allowances for each other. Grace needed to be applied to each other. Be patient with your children and spouse. Have faith in what your marriage/family can become. Do not heap on expectations on where you think you should be. Enjoy the journey.

Hebrews 12:2 (MSG) Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. 

If in the process of painting the house we fixed your thoughts on the faults and failure’s of each other the project would probably had never gotten completed. Our family relationship would have suffered a great loss. The problems in our marriage/family are going to be magnified if we do not keep our eyes on Jesus. Study how He lived His life. He had some different personalities to do life with.

The problems in our marriage/family are going to be magnified if we do not keep our eyes on Jesus.

The bigger picture is that I want my children to have lasting relationships. The highlighted flaws that their parents have are going to come out in front of them. When my husband and I first got married my reaction to a question or statement would have been returned with a quick straight to the point answer. I filtered my responses through defense. I thought I was always under a microscope waiting for someone to point out my flaws, this person now being my husband. In return, how I answered was not clear or was often misunderstood because of how I said it, not in what I said. This escalated the conversation into a fight. My husband when he is flustered can come off as very aggravated, this combined with filtering through defense was a combination for disaster. One of us needed to do something. I went to a really good source. I went to my Word.

Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Philippians 4:8 (TLB) Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

When tensions started to flair, we had to go back to this. Someone was not ready to change how they approached the problem, that is okay because they need grace in the moment and we are going to give it to them. Did we have a few blow ups? Yes! We are not perfect. In the end, I do not recall what they were about. I do know that the house is painted. We have to redo the porch, we did not seal it…oops! We still love each other. We still enjoy each other’s company. We have had to tackle other projects together and did not dread it!

It is not too late for your marriage or your family. For us, it started with one person making up their mind that they were not going to hold onto offense and to be quick to forgive. I just so happened to be that person in my home. I had to lay down my pride and me wanting to always be right. In turn there was a change in me. I no longer responded in defense. Peace was raging in me, so it was also becoming a part of what our home would be.

You can make up your mind to begin again. What if you spouse is not wanting to make the change? You make the change. Let God work on them. At the end of all of this, we will give an account of what we did, not what they did. I want to hear “well done good and faithful servant”. We are not going to hear “well done perfect servant.” So please stop putting that expectation on the people you have relationships with, including leaders. I want to point out that He uses the word servant. Are we serving in our families? If not, you can begin now. It is not too late. I do not regret making that change. I have my moments, because I am not going to be perfect at it all the time, in return my family have made allowances for me as I have made allowances for them. It is pretty nice.

If you need prayer or would like to talk about anything feel free to email me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Power in Hope

It has been a struggle to decide about what to write about today. In my personal time I have been reading through Psalms in the Message Translation. I wrote about the inward reflection that David took earlier this week (Psalms 42). Last night in youth, one of my leaders led a discussion on Psalms. I had to admit to them, that David is probably someone I would struggle to look up to in leadership, or even to be around. I enjoy him when He is leading them into battle, when he is leading them into worship and when he is talking about all the great things of God. Then he gets to this lamenting, not just complaining and whining, but deep down in the dumps kind of talk.

Psalms 13:1-2 (MSG) Long enough, God— you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me.

Then I remember, God said that this was a man after His own heart. In this I am reminded that I have to have some of these kinds of people in my life. There are going to be leaders in my life that I have to honor even if I do not like their personality. Then it made me think, how do I come off on others? Most of the time I am quiet because I feel like I can come off harsh. I was told in one work place (a Christian nonprofit) that I did not speak in love and that they did not receive me as a person that lived 1 Corinthians 13. This hurt me deeply because I try to live Philippians 4:8 (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].” I try to live this towards God’s creation. I sometimes have to realign my thinking to this, but that is truly my goal. I asked them about this verse and they quickly informed me that they could not apply that to me. Ouch! So I rub people the wrong way sometimes too. Paul did, Peter did, even Hannah did with Eli the prophet. My heart is for other’s to feel that love of Christ to come through me, this truly is what I want to be rooted in.

There are going to be leaders in my life that I have to honor even if I do not like their personality.

I do understand that this is probably not who David was to everyone. Only those closest to him saw this side of him. What we are reading are his words pouring out to God. Why does God want us to see this? It’s okay that we are not okay sometimes. We need to cry out in our deep grief and anger. He knows our heart anyways!

I told the group last night that David reminded me of He-Man from the cartoon series in the 1980s. In his writings, David, does seem like he has two very distinct personalities. Prince Adam had all the feelings, he cooked, he goofed off and seemed not all that together. He wore a pink vest and purple leggings! Then when he got the “power” he transformed into this warrior.

The power I think is when David remembers his position, that God is for him and not against him. The “power” for David is always underlying there because even in the lament of Psalms 13 we see verse 15-16 (MSG), “I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.” David was never without hope. There is power in hope. It was the root of who David really was. May we never let go of hope.

Hope is one of the ingredients Paul talks about at the end of 1 Corinthians 13, verse 13 (TPT), “Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” I did not forget about love. It is the most important, I know. I am running for that beautiful prize (I may not be athletic, but I am competitive).

If you need prayer please message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Inward Reflection

Psalms 42:6 (NASB) Why are you in despair my soul? And why are you restless within me? Wait for God, for I will again praise Him. For the help of His presence, my God.

I like how David talks here, that he is going inward as to why his soul is in despair. An inward reflection is the stance he decided at this moment. Right now we are preparing to teach a series in our youth on how our emotions and memories are often tied together. They can, if we allow them to, define who we are. David had very high highs and some very low lows in his writings, but God still refers to him as a man after His heart. David was full of emotions, sometimes in his writing you can tell he was led by them. He had to make a conscious decision to allow God to lead in the midst of his brokenness. There are times you can see great strength coming out at the admittance of his weakness.

There are times that we try to come out of the despair by ourselves. We will go and tell those around us who will listen so that we can get a sympathetic hear. We try to numb it with watching videos. Some use substance to take away the pain. Even in our frustrations and in our pain, the one we can run to is our Father. Especially when you are angry, tell Him, He knows your heart anyways.

Ephesians 5:2 (TPT) And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration – a sweet healing fragrance.

When I think of healing I do not always think of a physical need for healing. Some of our wounds are not able to be seen. Mostly I think of emotional healing. I do not like the way I react sometimes. In order to get to the root of that wound, I find that surrendering to the extravagant love of Christ, the one that we are told is there, I have to allow it to surround me. We can receive Christ as our Savior and not really receive this love. Some of us think that we are not lovable. We thank Him for saving us from hell, without realizing all that He wanted to restore within us. I walked this way for years. I truly realized what freedom felt like when I, that I do not have to be surrendered to my wounds, that I can receive a healing deeper than my physical needs.

I want to tell you that it is okay, not to feel okay sometimes. Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.” He will not just take away the pain though, He wants to bring you through it. There is growth in that process. There is an understanding that happens so that we can love others when they are going through things. I have learned that in my hurt, I have hurt others. I have kept people at a distance so that I would not get hurt again. When I get to the root of my hurt, I can start to heal.

“I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.”

Charles Spurgeon

I was talking with the other youth leaders and told them that one of the reasons that I seemed so stand offish, not approachable, in my early years of leadership, was because I felt like I had to be perfect growing up. In turn, I would often snap real easily at people if I felt like they were lazy or messy. I was the oldest of three (ages five and three, my sisters are twins) to a single mother. My mother was nearly twenty four when she left my abusive father. When we finally got a place of our own, I felt pressure to make sure things were taken care of. We had chores, like all children should, but to a single mom who was trying to better herself, there was not much availability to have a messy home. Everything was always put away. Dishes were done immediately. My sister use to talk about how clean my house was when she would come over. I do not stress about it like I use to. I do the dishes in the mornings now (well sometimes). My sisters were younger and it seemed they did not “care” as much as I did, or maybe did not notice, that these things stressed my mom out. Later, I realized that I inherited that stress. This is at no way a fault of hers, it was something that I did not know how to process as an eight year old. Now that I am an adult, and with ability to surrender into His extravagant love, I can get to the root of why I stress. I did not like feeling that way, why God do I despair? He will help you work through to the root, if you let Him. I still tense up about some things, but I am getting better. You may need to talk to someone who specializes in this, that is perfectly okay. I would just encourage you to find someone who is grounded in pointing you back to Christ.

In Isaiah 9:2-7 (MSG) it talks about the promise of Christ, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light! sunbursts of light! You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings. The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants— all their whips and clubs and curses— Is gone, done away with, a deliverance as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian. The boots of all those invading troops, along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood, will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days! For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. He’ll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom. He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going with fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always. The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.”

There are no limits to the wholeness He will bring. I like that. However, it does not leave out my surrender to to the process to receive that wholeness. Jesus knows what it feels like to be hurt and to have to work through the emotions to process that hurt, so in turn He could walk in perfect love. It is a process. It is okay in that process, like David, you feel despair. On the other side is immense joy!

John 15:11 (NLT) I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

If you need prayer or someone to encourage you please feel free to email me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Deeper Worship

Last night I was talking to our youth about going deeper about the things of the Holy Spirit. We talked about God not being bound to our three dimensional world. That there is so much more to this life that we cannot see because we like to confine ourselves to feelings. However, God did create us as a tri-une beings like He is. We are made up of body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit. He is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (AMP) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being].

We got in the discussion about loving God and out of that love for God is why we worship. I explained that I had to grow and mature in why and how I worship. This type of love that Deuteronomy talks about, and what Jesus talked about in Mark 12:30, is grown out of a relationship with God. Relationships take work. Unfortunately, when relationships do not go our way or we feel like the effort is not worth the relationship. We can “fall out of love” with that individual. Some people “fall out of love” with God. Couples use that excuse all the time why they divorce, they just “fell out of love” with each other. As I have grown in my relationship, the type of growth like it talks about John 15, my love for God has also grown. My worship in turn has gotten deeper. My care about who is standing in the room during corporate worship, what I look like, has also matured. This is not about them, this is about Him!

Some people “fall out of love” with God.

John 4:24-25 (TPT) From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.

There is a difference in what happens when you worship in the spirit. We can sing songs, we can read our Word, but we also have the gift, a gift that has to be received of the Holy Spirit (different from the spirit that is drawn to Christ, but of the same). Jesus says in Acts 1:8a (NKJV), “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Then in Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV) “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV) Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

1 Corinthians 14:3-4 (NKJV) But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

When we speak forth the Word of God we prophesy. Prophesying is not this spooky things about telling of future events, that is prophecy. That is a whole other gift of the spirit that we can dive into later, because some have abused this gift and made the things of God look foolish. But to prophesy is grounded in the Word of God. When I pray in tongues, or worship in the spirit, that is for me. It says in verse two that God hears what I say in the spirit directly. It says my prayer language is heard by God’s ears Himself. So when I worship in the spirit, oh there is fire that runs through my bones! I cannot get that until the Holy Spirit has come “upon me.” There is a different level out there if you are open to it.

I like to explain it this way about the power of what the Holy Spirit that can come upon you can do. I take the story from 2 Kings 6:15-17 (AMP) The servant of the man of God got up early and went out, and behold, there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What are we to do?”  Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. There is more going on than our three dimensional view can understand.

When I had the Holy Spirit come upon me, the power was confidence. Confidence in who I was as a child of God. I no longer had to be in extreme highs and extreme lows with my relationship with God. This does not mean I understand all things. No, and I am not meant to. It does mean that I can now worship Him on a different level. I worship in Spirit and in truth. The truth being grounded in His Word and no longer my feelings. Oh, how I wish you could feel my passion for this type of worship! This kind fills you with joy all the day long. This gets you excited to be up in the morning. This gives you a passion to prophesy, exhorting and edifying His church! I will leave you with one verse, it is one of my favorites to use when we get scared to step a little deeper with God: 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG) 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!

Take advantage of your prayer language, use it in worship. If you do not have one and you want to know more about this Holy Spirit that comes upon us I would love to help. You can email me at amanda@desiringformore.org. Go deeper this year!

Coming out of the fog

Ephesians 3:16-19 (TPT) And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life. Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

With all of my careful maneuvering around my house I still got COVID! COVID-19 was not that hard on my husband. It hit me like a ton of bricks! It zapped me of all of my energy and on top of that the world was spinning!! I slept for what it seemed for days. I did not move from the spot on my couch and had to call in people to drive my teenage sons to school. Some say that people just need to get COVID to get it over with, I tell them NO!! I do not wish that on anyone. My youngest had it and was fine. My husband had it and was able to function. I had it and everything came to a stop.

This extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

Ephesians 3:19b (TPT)

After an amazing time ministering Sunday I went and chatted it up with my husband in his domain of the house he was quarantined into. Monday, after grocery shopping, the symptoms started. I went ahead and scheduled my testing for Wednesday. My symptoms were waves of nausea…it was awful! My Tuesday I could not get off the couch. Wednesday my husband was back at work, I could not move. Thursday I felt better because of the steroid shot and meds I got from the doctor on Wednesday. Friday morning though, I had to scoot across the house because the nausea and spinning was so bad!! No husband at home, thankfully we have a couple in the church that live around the corner, they took my boys to school. The boys got woken up through the echo dot. Mommy was stuck!! Sunday I tried to shower. My husband had to pick me up soaking wet off the bathroom floor. He dressed me, combed my hair and put me back in bed. I did make sure to join in live at our service time to worship with my church family. Monday and Tuesday were a blur. I cannot remember if I took my kids to school or not. By Wednesday it was 10 days since symptoms started so I could come out of quarantine. I went to the gym after taking the kids to school. I probably looked so funny because of the fog my brain was in. I was slow, but I was there. Thursday and Friday I just slept. I tried doing devotions with my boys. Talking was hard. Reading felt labored. Saturday, I was determined to get back functioning, but by two that afternoon I was back on the couch sleeping. Then my head was hurting so bad I was in tears! I slept off and on until Sunday morning. I’m getting back to the church house!!!

Do you know how many articles there are about the long term effects of COVID? I do. I read about those who had symptoms like I did and the long term effects that would happen. I read about people having short term memory loss. I read about people not regaining their energy back for months. Then I had to stop reading because that was not what God has in store for me. I cannot claim what He has for you, because that is based on your faith. For me, God gave me the message to “Reset My Position” just in time for this storm. Just like the verse above, “the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.” What we read sometimes likes to be the root in our lives. We can allow the reports to be our reality if we allow that to take root in our lives.

When I was laying on that couch, and the world would spin, I was brought this song by Elevation Worship called “Rattle.” The lyrics: “This is the sound of the 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 the dry bones rattling” is what I sung over and over again.

This is the first day I have been able to write. I was not able to write last week because of the fog that had taken over my brain. Yesterday, I went to my house of worship, my local church, and worshiped in the corporate atmosphere. My brain had been blank, but as I was worshiping my brain was starting to be restored. It was in that atmosphere that I received my healing. I have come out of the fog. COVID will not have lasting effects on me! It will not take over my body to where all I do is sleep and it robs me of time. I will move! I will be active!! “By constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside of you!” Come out of the fog with me! Rest in His Love!!

A new thing

Isaiah 43:18-19 (AMP) Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

As I was ministering Sunday I said something over my church that I regret. I told them I could not share the complete vision of the next steps because of some of their doubt and unbelief. I regret these words. I repent for these words. Those words are no longer true. Those words came out of a hurt that I still have not worked all of the unforgiveness out of.

Those words came out of a hurt that I still have not worked all of the unforgiveness out of.

My husband and I took over as the lead pastors in 2013. The very last service, that marked the transition, a couple walked up to us and let us know that it would be their last service. They said, “we do not want to attend church with the type of people you will attract.” My husband and I thought, great they stirred up strife anyways.

The next blow came from a couple that left that were big supporters. We did not know how much input this couple had in the goings on in the church before our leadership. When my husband corrected them on coming up to him every service to critique his message, they left. We were in shock.

Then there was our core team. We did our best to listen, and communicate, how the transition was going. We did our best to give them tools to succeed. We were told, “This is your baby, do not expect us to love your baby the way you do.” Most of that “core” is gone now.

Then there were the ones who submitted to the former pastor, not you. They tried it, he was their pastor. If we were really going to change our church, why not use the model of the successful church in town. If you are going to succeed as a pastor, you need to be full time. Eventually, we pulled back. We took a different approach, with very little expectations. If you do not have big expectations, then you cannot get disappointed, right?

Before our property sold in March of 2019, I had gotten a phone call December 31, 2018 about an offer of one third our asking price. I laughed at our realtor and told him, you know my answer is no. That evening we had a worship service to ring in the new year. We had a guest speaker who also operates in the prophetic. It was an amazing night of worship. His message was on point for the vision that my husband had given at the beginning of that year. It was the year of “suddenly.” Then he looked at me and said that the property would sell, not to worry. Then he made a statement that I did not understand, until I spoke my words on Sunday. In two years time, this church will not be in the same place it will look completely different.

Sometimes when we think of a church, we think of a building, a physical structure. Actually, it is a people. When God reminded me of those words, I was reminded that this church does look completely different. God has placed a big dream inside of us for the church in our community. It can be pretty scary and overwhelming from looking at our natural resources. He would not have given us this vision if it could not be done though…”We exist to touch the world through our community.” I have to stand on these words:

Father we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. Show us what to do and guide us with your hand upon us. Fill us with the knowledge of your will so that we can walk in a way that pleases you. (Paraphrased from 2 Chr. 20, Col.1:9-10)     

Isaiah 43:18-19 (AMP) Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.     

Amos 9 (MSG) Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening all at once – and everywhere you look, blessings! 

Father, I want to believe, help me with my unbelief. Help me with my words. Help me with my thoughts. Help me see your people the way you see them. Help me with my unforgiveness. You are the only one who can heal my wounds. You are the only one who can do the work within me, so that your purpose can be fulfilled through me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Jesus got tired too

Yesterday I had the privilege of delivering the message to my church, and to all of those that connected with us online via Facebook Live. I knew by the beginning of the week that I was going to have to prepare. My husband tested positive for COVID-19. He is doing well and has gotten over the worst of it. The way our home is set up is that the kitchen is in the center. To one side of the house is our grown up sweet. It has it’s own bedroom and bathroom, dining area, and living area with a fridge. The opposite side of the kitchen is another dining area, two bathrooms, the kids rooms and another living area. The kids and I stayed on one side, my husband had to stay on the other (not fun for someone who’s love languages are quality time and physical touch like he is).

God gave me this title right away, “Reset Your Position.” I initially thought ‘okay God you want me to talk about positional authority’…authority of the believer. Then, while in Body Pump Tuesday, it came to me. When we start to fatigue because our muscles are sore, we have to reset our position to make sure we are targeting the right muscle groups. If I do not take the time to reset my position, I will not target the correct muscle groups that I am suppose to be working on.

John 4:6 (AMPC) And Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down [to rest] by the well.

Remember Jesus knows what it feels like to be us. He got tired too. I think He had a lot of tired moments. What He was about to do was going to take all of His strength. Jesus modeled how we need to reset our position.

Matthew 26:38-39 (AMPC) Then He said to them, My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and keep awake and keep watch with Me. And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire.

Judas knew where to find Him because this was not the first time He had been there. Actually we see Jesus going off to pray a lot (Luke 4:1-12, 45-15; Mark 6:30-32; Matthew 4:1-13; Luke 6:12-13); Luke 22:39-44; Luke 5:16 are just some of the scriptures), especially after time of great ministry and miracles. Why? He had to reset His position.

If fasting is to reset my focus, prayer is to reset my position. I need to reset my position not only when I fast. I need to reset my position when I am out doing what He called me to do. We were not meant to carry this alone. Jesus could not either. He had to reset His position.

If fasting is to reset my focus, prayer is to reset my position.

That was Jesus. What did He say about you?

John 16:13-15 (TPT) But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, he will unveil the reality of every truth within you. He won’t speak his own message, but only what he hears from the Father, and he will reveal prophetically to you what is to come.  He will glorify me on the earth, for he will receive from me what is mine and reveal it to you. Everything that belongs to the Father belongs to me—that’s why I say that the Divine Encourager will receive what is mine and reveal it to you. 

Acts 1:8 (TPT) But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces—even to the remotest places on earth!”

Acts 2:4 (TPT) They were all filled and equipped with the Holy Spirit and were inspired to speak in tongues—empowered by the Spirit to speak in languages they had never learned!

Jude 20 (AMPC) But you, beloved, build yourselves up (founded) on your most holy faith (make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher), praying in the Holy Spirit.

Another way I reset is to get in my Word. I love what Priscilla Shirer says, “If you want to hear from God and you never read the Bible, then you really don’t want to hear from God.” When you reset your position in prayer, praying in the Spirit and getting in His Word, all that comes out of your mouth is His promises not what is going on around you.

When what is going on around you is starting to fatigue you, it is time to reset your position.

This year is going to bring different challenges. Did you take the time to get stronger? Are you tired? That is okay, it just means that it is time to reset your position.

2 Peter 1:3-4 (TPT) Everything we could ever need for life and complete devotion to God has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. As a result of this, he has given you magnificent promises that are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises you can experience partnership with the divine nature, by which you have escaped the corrupt desires that are of the world.