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Giving Thanks As We Break Bread Today

Who is Jesus to you? Today think on that and in courage share that with someone today.

Matthew 16:13-18 (MSG) When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.

As a church we focused so much on that Jesus kept us from hell. This is just part of the truth, but not the whole.

Jesus walked this earth as a man. John the Baptist preceded Him, proclaiming that we need a changed life, that the Kingdom of God is here. When Jesus began His ministry, that did not change.

Jesus did so much in such little time. He was focused. Do not lose focus! We are Kingdom Disciples!!

What should we be focused on? Jesus and all that He is. He did not save me from hell, He is my everything!

Let me explain. Jesus revealed Himself in His Word. He did this because He did not come to just save me from hell, His Kingdom is here, that means He wants me to be whole!!

When we are whole, we are nourished!!  We can sustain in any terrain! So let us find out who Jesus revealed Himself to be.

When we are whole, we are nourished!!

When we first think of nourishment we automatically go to our stomachs. This is an area that His disciples struggled in as well.

Matthew 4, the first temptation was about Jesus being hungry. The devil tempted Him to turn a stone into bread. Verse 4 in the Message, “Jesus answered quoting Deuteronomy: ‘It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.’”

The disciples were presented with hunger for the crowds in feeding the 5000, then the 4000, then there was a time when they argued because they were about to traveled and they only packed one loaf of bread!

The first I AM Jesus gives us is so fitting then… “I am the bread of life.”

John 6:35 (TPT) Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never be thirsty.”

We are a hungry people. Is He your bread? I cannot feed others, when I am hungry.

The second part of that of Him being living water to where we never go thirsty was revealed to the Samaritan woman at the well. It propelled a ministry, that even reached the house of Nero.

John 7:38 (AMP) He who believes in Me (who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me), as the Scriptures has said, “From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living waters.”

These are scriptures that I cling to. When Jesus modeled the prayer for us, He also told us to thank Him for our daily bread. He is my daily bread.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States of America. Thankfully, I will be celebrating with my family. I have prepared food all week long to share at my mother’s home. My prayers are with families that usually have to travel long distances and cannot this year due to Covid restrictions. As we break today let us know that the compassion and deep love that Jesus has for each one of us. As we over stuff our bellies with all the comfort foods, let us remember He sent us the Comforter in the Holy Spirit so that we would never have to go without His Presence.

I started out this month writing a daily Thanksgiving on my private Facebook page. I admit I did miss one day and that is okay. We are not perfect in what we set out to do. We will continue to make mistakes, but He is right there in the midst of them. His bread is fresh and new every morning! I will continue to give thanks.

True Nourishment

Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Jesus came so that we may have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). In order to sustain life, their needs to be a substance we sustain on.

Substance by definition means the real matter of which a person or things consists and which has a tangible, solid presence. Food is tangible and brings nourishment to our bodies. I think that is why Jesus revealed His last “I AM” statement as Him being the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

We live in a culture that craves comfort.  Thanksgiving is this week and I don’t know about you, but my family is preparing a bunch of comfort foods. They really are not that healthy for us to eat, but they taste so very good! Just like those that are in the United States of America this week will be celebrating Thanksgiving, because that is what we have always done, we have a culture of “I have been a Christian all of my life.”

If we look at that statement in this perspective of reading Mark 10:17-23 (AMP) As He was leaving on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially good and morally perfect], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?”  Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially] good [by nature] except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”  And he replied to Him, “Teacher, I have [carefully] kept all these [commandments] since my youth.”  

I am going to take a break right here to state that just because you have lived in a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles, does not make you a Christian. This young man had heard these words all of his life. He knew them inside and out. His concern was to make sure he “made it” into the Kingdom. If we are doing things or not doing things based on wanting to go to heaven, our mindset has become all wrong. There would have been no need for Christ.

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love (high regard, compassion) for him, and He said to him, “You lack one thing: go and sell all your property and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].”  But the man was saddened at Jesus’ words, and he left grieving, because he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God]. Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who are wealthy [and cling to possessions and status as security] to enter the kingdom of God!”

This is a story we use to say the rich are hard to win to Christ. They have no needs and do not see the great need for Christ. What if I told you it was the comfort of our flesh that keeps us from Kingdom business. This was hard for the man because he had become dependent on the comfort. It is the discomfort that real growth happens.

Which brings me to my favorite “I AM” statement. Jesus said,“I am the Vine.”

I love this analogy. I know many of you have heard a sermon on this, have even read this verse. I am going to use a statement that Jesus used “Are you listening? Really listening?” I have come to realize that people will claim they read those chapters in their youth and therefore no longer need to go back and read them. The Word of God is a living Word, the words on the pages do not change, you do. With that life perspective it can speak to you, and reach, in a different way.

As we go through this I want you to get a hold of Jesus as the Vine and what brings nourishment to us (the branches). Remember without nourishment we cannot sustain life. We are going to go back into a slumber.

John 15:1-15 (Living Bible) I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener.  He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops.  He has already tended you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you.  Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.

God is still in control. He is the creator and the finisher. There are season we are going to have to go through. The pruning part is when He is the closest to us. It is also the hardest seasons of our lives. Pruning is done in the winter months. It is making room for the Son to shine on our branches. Pruning has to be done carefully for the most fruit to grow.

The vine is where our nourishment comes from. The vine’s roots are reaching deep into the earth. Searching for the water source.  Some have to reach as far as 20 feet down for this nourishment. This is why it is vital to hold tight to the vine.

Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.  If anyone separates from me, he is thrown away like a useless branch, withers, and is gathered into a pile with all the others and burned.  But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!  My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to my Father.

This is the dark truth. We can separate ourselves from Jesus.

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.  When you obey me you are living in my love, just as I obey my Father and live in his love.  I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your cup of joy will overflow!  I demand that you love each other as much as I love you.  And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends;  and you are my friends if you obey me.  I no longer call you slaves, for a master doesn’t confide in his slaves; now you are my friends, proved by the fact that I have told you everything the Father told me.

There are many “I AM” statements in the New Testament. This one talks about the source of our nourishment, which is our everything. When we stop looking at Jesus as the one who saved us from hell, but the one who is my everything we will start to become focused. Jesus did so very much in His little time of ministry here on earth. He wants us to continue to do His work to establish the Kingdom. We cannot do it if we are malnourished. It was faith that he said the disciples were lacking when the manifestations and demonstrations did not happen for them. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit within us. The power has been given to us. Feed your faith, by abiding in the Vine.

I was not led to this Jesus life because I wanted to be saved from hell. I was led because of someone who had life within them. They had encountered someone who filled them with everything, not gave them everything as in tangible things that would perish, but was their everything. My true nourishment is Jesus.

Preparation for the Promise

John 7:38 (AMP) He who believes in Me (who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me), as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.'”

My husband and I have been in ministry basically since we got married. It was within six months of our marriage that he came to me and said he was called to full time ministry and he started working at the church full time. That meant I had to go to work full time as well. We tried it for a few months with us just living on a thousand dollars a month, but we started to get into some financial trouble and I had to find full time employment.

Here we are nearly twenty years later, still in ministry, but the roles are reversed. Ten years ago he had to take a job at a car manufacturing plant close by, because the church could no longer pay salaries. He has been there ten years and has been looking forward to the day he can join the church full time again. Looking at the finances it does not seem possible. Right now we do not have any salaries going out at the church. Here is what the above verse spoke to me: “If I trust in Him, out of my innermost being (my mouth) will come out rivers of living water (words that will bring life).”

I had heard Terri Savelle Foye say one time, “We release our faith with the words of our mouth. Speak life to your dreams.” She said that if we want to change the way we talk start putting “…and that’s just the way I want it” after every statement we speak over a situation, our spouses, our children and ourselves.

My husband had taught a series a few years back called “Preparing for the Promise.” He spent some time in Deuteronomy chapter 30. Verse 19 says, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that your children may live.” What a powerful statement! What power do we have to choose life or death, blessings and curses, something that can even affect my children. What is so powerful that can affect my children?

My Words! Words spoke this world into existence, read Genesis.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

James chapter 3 talks about taming the tongue. He likens it to a fire in verse 6, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, set the whole course of one’s life on fire, and it itself set on fire by hell.”

We cannot tame our own tongue, we must be led by the Holy Spirit and we do that by knowing His Word. If you do not like what you are speaking, give your tongue over to God!

Why is what I speak important about the preparing for the promise? Why do you think Joshua told the Israelites to be silent until it was time to shout to bring the wall of Jericho down?

Why is what I speak important about the preparing for the promise?

Proverbs 18:21 (AMP) Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.

Right now more than ever it is important to watch what comes out of out mouths.

Luke 6:45 (AMP) The (intrinsically) good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure (stored) in his heart; and the (intrinsically) evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil (in his heart); for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart.

Intrinsically means an essential or natural way. We often say that is just the way a person is when they are always negative. However 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Which means we have access to the Holy Spirit to help us control our tongues! It is a choice we get to make though.

I choose to speak life to the promises that God has given to us. I have decided to speak that there will be no lack this time around. I speak that God knows what is going on, I just simply have to keep walking (in whatever terrain I find myself in). I will keep speaking His Word only. I pray that any negative word that comes out against me or my family falls unto deaf ears and does not take root. I pray that not only for my household, but for all the households that have chosen to put their lives under the Shadow of the Lord Almighty!

I encourage you to pray Psalms 91 and make it a personal declaration!! Prepare for the promise, it is not over! Speak life!!!

What did 2020 bring?

Haggai 2:6-9  (KJV) For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;  And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.

Hebrews 12:26-28 (KJV) Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Prophetic word my husband heard from the Lord when seeking what 2020 would bring this year: “There is a release happening, a release from things of the flesh and world that have attached itself to us.  It has grown alongside the truth, it has dwelt in the same field for too long and the God of harvest is separating the things of the flesh from the things of the spirit. This is a year of release from our past into a release of God’s glory.  The things in our life that don’t belong will be shaken and it is a time to release any and all things that don’t belong. As we release the release of God will manifest. It is time for the unseen promise to be seen and the seen circumstances to no longer distract our focus. There is a shaking happening…this shaking will release the attachments of the curse that have been attached to our lives for so long.  This release will in turn allow to freedom for the Holy Spirit to be released in our lives. Don’t be afraid of the shaking!  But with reverential fear of God, glorify Him who IS the power that shakes the mountains, the earth and the heavens, but has also provided for His children an unshakable refuge they can abide in.  For He is shaking all things loose that don’t belong, that aren’t established in Christ.”

Matthew 16:18 “…and on this rock (the unshakable foundation of Jesus Christ, The WORD) I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].”

He said: “I am declaring that this year is a year of RELEASE!  Letting go of the past and embracing the promise of God.”

He is shaking all things loose that don’t belong, that aren’t established in Christ.

I was sitting in prayer and reading the other day. My husband is not a prophetic preacher, he was anointed to bring that word to us though. While reading I came across Matthew 13:24-30 in the Message Translation. As I read this I was reminded of what was prophesied in January, “It has grown alongside the truth, it has dwelt in the same field for too long and the God of harvest is separating the things of the flesh from the things of the spirit.”

He told another story. “God’s kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in the field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too. The farmhands came to the farmer ans said, ‘Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn’t it? Where did these thistles come from?’ He answered, ‘Some enemy did this.” The farmhands asked, ‘Should we week out the thistles?’ He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in the bundles for fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.”

When will the church wake up? When will it be harvest time? Jesus spent all day telling various stories. At the end of the day His disciples went back and asked Him to explain the story of the thistle. This intrigued me as well:

Matthew 13:37-43 (MSG) So he explained. “The farmer sows the pure seed in the Son of Man. The field is the world, the pure seeds are subjects of the kingdom, the thistles are subjects of the Devil, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, the curtain of history. The harvest hands are angels.The picture of thistles pulled up and burned is a scene from the final act. The Son of Man will send his angels, weeds out the thistles from his kingdom, pitch them in the trash, and be done with them. They are going to complain to high heavens, but nobody is going to listen. At the same time, ripe, holy lives will mature and adorn the kingdom of their Father. Are you listening to this? Really listening?

My husband and I are not prophetic preachers, like I said, but I believe the Word of God is real, alive and is prophetic. This just gave me something to ponder and I hope it does you as well. More than ever I need to watch my words and my character. I needs to draw closer to the Father. I need to allow Jesus to do the work in me so I can reflect Him more.

“There is a shaking happening…this shaking will release the attachments of the curse that have been attached to our lives for so long.  This release will in turn allow to freedom for the Holy Spirit to be released in our lives.” The Holy Spirit is about to break free! As a church we have told Him that He would scare the seeker. In the Word, it says that the gifts of the spirit were to bring evidence to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14:22). As a church we need to repent for silencing the Holy Spirit. What did 2020 bring? It brought freedom in the shaking! It brought an awakening!! So let us shake off that slumbering spirit that keeps trying to afflict us. Let us rise to become all that He called us to be. We have two choices in this season…we can complain or we can mature. I have chosen to draw closer to my Jesus, to draw closer to the vine, to desire more of Him in my every day life and to be where He wants me to be.

Why daddy moments?

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

One of the things I tell people to do is to look for daddy moments from their Heavenly Father. I especially like to do this because my earthly father chose not to be in my life. Yesterday I was talking to our youth about loving those who disappoint us. The ones that will hurt us the most are going to be the ones we expect more from, which can lead to disappointment. We choose to love them anyway.

I was around five when my parents divorced. I remember because my dad pulled me out of kindergarten class to tell me he was not going to see me again. I did see him again, I was ten, then again when I was thirteen. I sent him an invitation for my high school graduation and had my parents save him a seat, he did not show. I sent him an invitation to my wedding, he was not there.

After I had my first child I took a road trip with my husband and we popped in on my dad’s parents so they could meet their great grandson. They fell in love with him, and cried when we left. After we departed they made a phone call and told him to go see his kids. It had been eleven years since he had seen us, my sisters and I. He showed up on my door step within a month of our trip. My husband took him aside, without my knowing, and told him if he hurt me again he would not be welcome.

My dad made monthly trips for nearly a year. He got to celebrate my son’s birthday with us, and holidays we had never spent with him since my parent’s divorce. My youngest sister got married that year and he helped walk her down the aisle with our step father. This was something that I had always wanted, and celebrated with her that she got to experience that.

Then after some time he stopped coming. He wanted us to come see him. He lived six hours away ans still does I guess. I just was not comfortable. I did not want to travel with my young son and stay in his home. I told him he could not expect that of me just because he visited us for a year out of twenty four years of my life. That was the end of that. It has been nearly sixteen years and seven more grand children (one more for me and six between my sisters).

When I was sick as a child I would cry out for my daddy. I know it broke my mother’s heart because he was not going to be able to come to comfort me. Which is why I love my Abba Father. Since I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, that part of my longing was also fulfilled. I have little daddy moments that he truly does care about the little things that I care about too.

When I was sick as a child I would cry out for my daddy.

Psalms 37:4 (TPT) Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.

It marvels me to see how much He cares for me. My kids did not grow up without a grandfather. They have two awesome sets of grandparents. My husbands parents and my parents. My step father is their grandpa. They call him grandpa. He has all the benefits that a grandpa should have. He loves my boys and his other grandchildren (even though he did not have any natural children) as if they were his flesh and blood. He has always been patient with us. I was twelve when my mother remarried (How grown do you think I was, it would just been three short years later that I meet my husband on a blind date).

This is why I say look for the daddy moments. I like what this verse says, Matthew 6:30-33 (MSG) If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never seen – don’t you think he’ll attend to you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your eveyday human concerns will be met.

This was straight out of the mouth of His Son, Jesus. He said not worry about missing out. Since saying “yes” to Jesus I have become one of favorite girls. Maybe I had always been, just had not opened my eyes to that yet.

What do these daddy moments look like? They could be a hot pretzel ready when that usually takes twenty minutes because you have to special order them. It could be that you forgot something and He make a way for it to get to you without it being an inconvenience. It can also be that when you are going through something He shows you in His Word that He has already taken care of it. Look for a daddy moment today!

Do you feel loved?

Ephesians 2:4 (AMP) But God, being (so very) rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us.

As I was sitting talking with one of my precious daughters in the Lord, we were talking about the struggles of trusting God the Father. We are both from childhood divorced homes and know the struggles of having our fathers let us down. We talked about marriage and I was reminded of what Christ said about husbands and the church. In reading this, look at it in the perspective of a woman reading it, and how she longs to be loved.

Ephesians 5:25-30 (AMP) Husbands. love your wives (seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love), just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (of God), so that (in turn) He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy (set apart for God) and blameless. Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives (being in a sense) their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own body, but (instead) he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members (parts) of His body.

In the beginning God created all things and he put man in dominion. God saw what He created and saw that it was good. However in Genesis 2:18 we see that it was “not good” that man be alone, some translations say not “beneficial”. He then creates the animals and brings them to the man to name. They were created to be a helper to man, but it still was not a suitable companion for Adam.

Genesis 2:21-23 (AMP) So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at the place. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made (fashioned, formed) into a woman, and He brought her and presented her to the man. Then Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Eve was not mistreated, she was not abused by a father or her husband. Yet the enemy went to her for the first attack against mankind. Adam was right next to her.

Eve was not mistreated, she was not abused by a father or her husband.

When I was fifteen I prayed for God to send me my husband. I felt I was all alone. I felt like I had no one who could love me for me. I told God that if He sent me my husband I would serve Him the rest of my life. A month later I met my husband on a blind date. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, do you know what God spoke to my heart? He told me that everything I was making John out to be in my life is who He wanted to be in my life. That John could still hurt and wound my heart, but He never would. That is when I surrendered my life to Him.

The hurt and wounds we have from fathers (or some even their husbands) can cloud the ability to see the love that God truly has and desires for us, causing us to have trust issues. This is why Ephesians 5 is there. As I read the Word I see how much love God has for His daughters. We are so very important. We were created to be strong and to endure so much, but we were created with love. We are important. We have value. We are loved!

Yesterday during service, I had a moment, I was looking out during worship and saw how empty it looked in there. Just a few services before it was full and we were wondering what we could do to make room and still be safe because of COVID. I was taken back to when our church took a big hit because of the financial climate ten years ago, attendance and with that giving dropped tremendously. I was thinking, here we go again God, please help me keep my trust on you (considering we are in a building program).

Do you know how much God loves us? In that moment God spoke a Word to my husband just for me. He let me know that what happened ten years ago will not happen again. I have been confessing this whole time, God I know you can do even if… I have been praying for God to show out in a big way, in a way that it would be no way we could take credit for it. I will keep speaking His Word, I will keep preaching His Word, and I will keep going where He tells me to.

On top of that He gave me a little “I love you, daughter” by my pizza delivery guy making a mistake and I got the salad dressing that I had actually wanted but forgot to order. When I remembered I forgot to change the salad dressing it was too late because he was already on his way. He delivered our order without the salad (I like salad with my pizza). He had to go back for it, but I got to ask him for the correct salad dressing. Look at that! He even said when he returned, it just so worked out so that you could get the salad dressing you wanted. Those are what I call daddy moments.

God sees us and wants to do so much in our lives. Keep pressing in. Trust Him in His Word. Give Him all things that have you worried or concerned. He will calm the storm inside of you. Even if, He can still do in a big way! I am trusting Him more and more, it takes surrendering more and more. God I am going to keep doing what you called me to do, and watch what you do with it!

John 15:9 (AMP) I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love (and do not doubt My love for you).

He Goes Before Us

Exodus 33:14 (NIV) The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

This week I started reading Numbers. Basically, I was suppose to have read it last week, but I skipped it and read Deuteronomy instead. This week, as I was reading Numbers, I empathized with Moses in how his heart must have been in anguish. I identified with Caleb this time.

As I was telling my youth about reading Numbers, they were like, isn’t that just a census you are reading? I told them that is what I thought at first, as to why I fought reading it. I found out that they had heard the story of why the Israelites were not allowed into the promise land from the summary in Deuteronomy, but there is so much that we see in Numbers.

In Chapter 13 we see the twelve men sent from the twelve different tribes being sent out to look at the land. They even brought back a single cluster of grapes that took two men to carry! Verses 27-29 in the Message Translation: We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittities, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.

This is my guy right here! Sometimes I feel like Caleb the cheer leader. In verse 30 (MSG), Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land – now. We can do it.”

Sometimes I feel like Caleb the cheer leader.

We read on how the other men carry on how much land it is. How much stronger the other inhabitants are. The whole community get in an uproar and cry all night long. Then they go back to wishing things were like the old ways. At least in Egypt they knew how to handle those challenges. They were slaves, but they were use to that kind of life.

This is what I think of when I hear believer’s complain about having to wear a mask because of COVID. I have to admit that it is uncomfortable. I have compassion for my husband that has to wear one all day long in his work environment. I have to wear one to enter the gym, to go grocery shopping, to drop off items at the post office, etc. What it has not stopped me from doing is showing love. I still make it a point to talk to that grocery clerk. I want to be aware of God moments even in the midst of my discomfort of wearing a mask. I often think, what can God do with this?

Numbers 14: 6-9 (MSG) Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephenneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Isreal: “The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land – very good indeed. If God is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against God! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and God is on our side. Do not be afraid of them!”

How do we rebel against God today? By not being where He told us to be, doing what He told us to do. Do you not think He knows that you are required to wear a mask now? I do understand the autistic and there are other medical reasons. I am not talking about that, I am talking about the mature in Christ. I am talking about how there is a watching world of unbelievers that need hope and they are watching how we walk.

Other than wearing a mask, let’s look at the fact that we are scared of the unknown because of living this way for so long. Maybe God has been urging you to get a job or even a better job. I was telling my youth that in order to have the type of life you want to live, you start acting like and preparing for it now. You want to be a successful person, you act like you are a successful person. You want to have your own home, drive a nice car, then start preparing now. Your life is only as small as your thought life brings it to be. You want to be seen as someone who can make good choices, stop ordering chicken nuggets and picking out the vegetable when you go out to eat! (OK, that might be a little pet peeve of mine).

Like Joshua and Caleb, I feel like people are about ready to throw stones at me. All I want to do is scream “stop your complaining!”

Numbers 14:11-12 (MSG) Just then the bright Glory of God appeared at the Tent of Meeting. Every Israelite saw it. God said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me like dirt? How long refuse to trust Me? And with all these signs I’ve done among them! I’ve had enough – I’m going to hit them with a plague and kill them. But I’ll make you into a nation bigger and stronger than they ever were.”

I underlined the “how long refuse to trust Me.” This is what I hear when a believer complains. Of course we know that God does not kill them all. It is after this encounter that we find out that only Joshua and Caleb will be entering the Promised Land, but everyone one twenty and older would not. This is when God turns the camp around and makes them wander in the wilderness.

They had to wander forty more years in the dessert. We read in Joshua how they entered the land and victory after victory given to them. This is what I want you to get. The people that had inhabited the land that was promised to them had not changed, they had probably grown in numbers. Your surroundings are not going to change unless you start to act. God has made a promise to you, but you have to do your part. Stop hiding, stop complaining, stop lamenting on what was.

Balaam was summoned by Balak to curse the Israelite camp and bless his. Balaam could not keep himself from speaking God’s words only. He feared God, more than he feared displeasing Balak. It was Balaam who spoke this revelation found in Numbers 23:17-24 (taken from out of the Message Translation), “God is not a man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind. Does he speak and not do what he says? Does he promise and not come through? I was brought here to bless; and now he’s blessed – how can I change that?

Stop waiting for God to change things. He can do so much more when we understand who He truly is! Watch your world change when you start walking out in confidence that He has already made the way. I understand there are giants out there, but like Caleb I am cheering you on! God is on our side, who can be against us!!

Heart Check Moments Ahead

A couple of weeks ago we were doing a “Highlight Night” with our youth group. This is a night when we invite our youth to bring their Bibles and we all share scriptures that we have highlighted. Then if that scripture was something we want to highlight, we get a highlighter and highlight it ourselves. We ask them what spoke to them about that particular scripture.

One such passage was James 4:11 (NKJV) Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Such a strange scripture for a teenager to have highlighted, right? Our teens are looking at us. I used this opportunity to teach a little. I explained to the teens that the Book of James was a letter written by James to a group of Jewish converts to Christianity. That we can be just like this group if we do not keep our hearts aligned with Philippians 4:8 (AMP) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.

I did point out that, yes, we are known by the fruit that we bear. That although we are not of the world, we should not look like the world. I did remind them that the Jesus spoke to us about when we see a fellow Christian sin (Matthew 18:15). All of this is in love. One thing is we have free will.

Can we believe that God still changes hearts? Look at what Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:12-16 (AMP): I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has granted me (the needed) strength and made me able for this, because He considered me faithful and trustworthy, putting me into service (for this ministry), even though I was formerly a blasphemer (of the Lord) and a persecutor (of His church) and a shameful and outrageous and violent aggressor (toward believers). Yet I was shown mercy because I acted out of ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord (His amazing, unmerited favor and blessing) flowed out in superabundance (for me, together) with faith and love which are (realized) in Christ Jesus. This is a faithworthy and trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance and approval, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost (of sinners), Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example or pattern for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Can we believe that God still changes hearts?

Why did the verse our youth member strike a chord with me? Maybe they have had an experience like I did. Many years ago I was in an argument with a leader in our church. I forget what it was about, but their response was because I did not agree, and they were above me in leadership, that I was going to hell. Heart check moment! I told them I guess both of us were, since neither of us had worked out this love thing yet.

Let’s look at James 4:11 but in the Passion Translation: Dear friends, as part of God’s family, never speak against another family member, for when you slander a brother or sister you violate God’s law of love. And your duty is not to make yourself a judge of the law of love by saying that it doesn’t apply to you, but your duty is to obey it!

Brothers and sisters in Christ do not have to agree to show love. We violate love when we judge. Remember that tomorrow on election day and every day. I am not anxious about who wins. I have been anxious about how the “church” is going to treat one another. I have seen so many posts from both sides, by supposed followers of Christ, and it breaks my heart. You will be known by the fruit that you bear. Remember that. I care more about the unbeliever watching that my own rights!

Prayer for tomorrow: Father, let us see each other the way you see us. You said that everything is permissible for us, but not everything is for our benefit. It is through your drawing that we are lead to what is for our benefit. Let us be mindful of you tomorrow. Let us be mindful of the sacrifice your Son made. That we have a High Priest is able to sympathize and understand our weakness and our temptations, yet knowing what it is like to be human, did not sin. It is with great confidence that we approach your throne of grace. We have confidence and do not fear of what is to come. You can do the impossible within us! We praise and thank you in Jesus Name, Amen!

Prayers of Pastors

On Sundays I have the privilege of leading beside my husband. My husband I are co-pastors of our church. Although I recognize that is not the same in all churches, this is a dynamic that works for us. It is something that our church thrives under. There are areas in both of our personalities that need both of us working together to reach our church. We do not make excuses or try to undermine the weakness of what the other has. We build each other up, in the home, and in front of our church.

This past Sunday as I was spending time in worship before service, (I believe that we should be prepared before we get to church, and not just the pastors but us who are there to receive the proclaimed Word that our pastors teach), but as I was worshiping a passage of scripture stood out to me:

Ephesians 3:14-19 (AMP) For this reason (grasping the greatness of this plan which Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ) I bow my knees (in reverence) before the Father (of our Lord Jesus Christ), from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name (God – the first and ultimate Father). May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, (indwelling your innermost being and personality), so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been (deeply) rooted and (securely) grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love (fully experiencing that amazing, endless love); and (that you may come) to know (practically, through personal experience), that you may be filled up (through your being) to all the fullness of God (so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself).

My heart cried out for the people in our church. Oh that they know that their lives can be so much bigger than how they are living right now! Are we showing them the fullness of God in our own lives? Please do not allow myself to get comfortable, to not become desensitized to the Holy Spirits leading.

Are we showing them the fullness of God in our own lives?

There are different levels or stages of faith. I had listened to a series by Michael Todd when he was on this series called Crazy Faith. I was intrigued because he was in the middle of a building program, just like we are. He had different segments of his series like “Maybe Faith,” “Hasty Faith,” “Baby Faith,” etc. It is a really good series.

My husband has been on this series called “Arise” for the past few months and he talked about the sleeping church. What is funny is that the verse he used was the same one used to open up “Lazy Faith.”

Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV) Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I do not know if you have ever stood up and spoke in front of people or not. There are times that I get up to do the announcements, lead our church in a declaration, and most people are looking down at their phones. This can be very discouraging. God has to remind me that I am not to focus on that. I need to focus on what He wants me to say. There have been times that I have ministered and people are sleeping. Now our service is at one thirty in the afternoon. This can be discouraging. God has to remind me that He does the work, I am just the vessel.

With Pastor Appreciation Month comes articles about the statistics of Pastors or Ministers. There are articles about their struggles. There are so many that quit or feel like they are not making an impact.

I am so very grateful that we pastor a church that loves us for who we are. We decided at the beginning of our leading that we were going to be as transparent as possible. We were not going to try to show perfection that was not there. Excellence and perfection are two different things. As a church we should be doing things in excellence, but to not allow room for grace would not be who Jesus modeled Himself to be.

My heart and prayer for our church is just like Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus. The Passion Translation says (Ephesians 3:16): And I pray that he will 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. Please do not fence yourself in by trying to do things on your own, or looking at your natural capabilities. He can do so much more with your life if you will just surrender. This is a pastor’s prayer, that we as vessels, help open your eyes to see your potential. We see it in you. A pastor’s heart is just like that of the Father. We see so much potential!

I want it all

What does a life look like that has come alive to God? It’s not going to be the same.The Gospel message is more than reciting a prayer to accept Jesus as your Savior.

We all desire something. The thing we desire was placed in us by God; and He has given us the choice to walk in it, but without His Son we cannot be full in it.

What is this thing that we desire?

Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.”

That’s not the only place you will find that either.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Do you know what those next verses say? These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

We do the first, but lack confidence in the second part.

Acts 4:10-14 (TPT) Peter states: “you and everyone else in Israel should know that it is by the power of the name of Jesus that the crippled man stands here today completely healed! You crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[a] but God raised him from the dead. 11 This Jesus is ‘the stone that you, the builders, have rejected, and now he has become the cornerstone!’[b] 12 There is no one else[c] who has the power to save us, for there is only one name to whom God has given authority by which we must experience salvation:[d] the name of Jesus.”

Here is what I want to put inside of you: 13 The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage[e] of Peter and John, especially when they discovered that they were just ordinary men who had never had religious training.[f] Then they began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him. 14 Standing there with them was the healed man, and there was nothing further they could say.

Do you remember the feeling of when you first accepted Christ?

Matthew 13:44 (NLT) The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.

Now I know some of you are like, ‘now you are asking too much of me’. Really? He has not asked for all of us to sell all of our belongings. He did not tell me that.

What does Paul tell us? Philippians 3:7-16 (NKJV) But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain[b] to the resurrection from the dead.

Let me tell you, I haven’t gotten all there yet, but like Paul: 12 Not that I have already attained,[c] or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [d]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already [e]attained, let us walk by the same [f]rule, let us be of the same mind.

One thing that I can say about myself, I am not the same person I was a year ago. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago and I sure am not the same person I was 22 years ago when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.

We get to a place in our thoughts and we think we are “okay” because we have a balanced life.  That’s our goal right? To have a balanced life, to raise my kids in a safe environment, where none of us are suffering. Do you know how strange that is to the rest of the Christian world? American Christianity is so different from the rest of the world. They are willing to die just by admitting they are a Christian and here we are not being bold about the divinity of Jesus so that we do not offend. We are willing to deny His power to placate someone’s feelings because that’s “Love.”

We are willing to deny His power to placate someone’s feelings because that’s “Love.”

This is the fullness of the Gospel: Luke 14:25-27 (MSG) 25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.

God has really been pointing out this word “refuse” to me this year. It started when I read about Solomon. God spoke to him about marrying all the women from different nations and Solomon refused to listen, that was the beginning of the end of the lineage of David as kings.

Definition of refuse: verb. Indictes that one is not willing to accept or grant (something offered or requested). Fails to perform a required action.

Luke 14:33 (MSG) Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple. This was Jesus speaking.

I know that is not a popular place to be in this day in age. We could not be true pastors if we do not take this to heart.

Acts 20:26-27 (TPT) If any of you should be lost, I will not be blamed, for my conscience is clean, because I have taught you everything I could about God’s eternal plan and I’ve held nothing back.

I have been hurt in the church. I know what it is like to have people say things about me that are not true. That does not mean I have a right not to do what I am gifted in.

In March of this year, right when Covid had caused the nation to go into Stay at Home Orders, I decided that since I could not go to the gym that I would start to hike. It would help me keep in shape. Now I am heavy in the bottom area. I have not had a thigh gap since I got pregnant with my oldest. My body is just not made that way. So I over compensated for the weight displacement and pulled my calf muscle (the top part). In turn that caused my knee to become inflamed and I could not bend it. I had to let it rest and apply ice and heat intermittently. My goal was not just to get it to feel better, but to get it to where I could exercise again.

The same is when we get hurt in the body of Christ. I cannot allow it to stop me. The Word of God is there to cool my spirit man to bring healing. The Holy Spirit gets my spirit man on fire to do the works of the ministry. I need both in my life. If I do not allow both to work, then I am in danger of becoming lukewarm and then I refuse to move.

A refusal to be moved!

Let’s look some dangers that we can be in:

  •  “I like hearing stories of those who do radical things for Christ, but that’s too extreme for me to do.”
  • “I do not want to be rejected or thought of as weird, so I am not going to share my faith.”
  • “I am willing to give only when I know I have enough to meet my standard of living.”
  • “I love God, but that kind of devotion is asking too much. That is only for pastors, missionaries and radicals.”

Ask yourself: Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? If not make up your mind right now that you are going to allow God more access to your life.

My husband was using these next scriptures in a recent sermon, I was leaping with excitement in my heart for these Words for the church. I believe they were prophetic in more ways that you could even know:

Ezekiel 37:1-3 (AMP) The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass all around them, and behold, there were very many [human bones] in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 

These dry bones could be you and I when we do not proclaim the Word of God in our lives. When we refuse to get in His Presence. When we refuse to get in His Word. When we refuse to speak His Word only. They were not always dry bones.

Ezekiel 37:4-6 (AMPC) Again He said to me, Prophesy to these bones and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath and spirit to enter you, and you shall live; And I will lay sinews upon you and bring up flesh upon you and cover you with skin, and I will put breath and spirit in you, and you [dry bones] shall live; and you shall know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord [the Sovereign Ruler, Who calls forth loyalty and obedient service].

Hear my heart: 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!

God is not the one fencing us in.

Lisa Bevere in Lioness Arising writes, “But the lioness did not move outside their enclosure until their hunger exceeded their desire to be safe. In the same way, our lack of vision or hunger for something more can limit and restrain us from stepping out into the wild. We are emboldened and held captive by how we see ourselves, our world, and our God. The world ‘out there’ can look daunting if you imagine it a dark, scary place.”

1 John 4:4 (NIV) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

What is stopping your from stepping out into desiring more for God in your life?

Do not let these things keep you from having freedom:

  • Lack
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Sickness
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Hurt
  • Offense
  • Disappointment

Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath and spirit came into [the bones], and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceedingly great host.

Know His Word, Speak His Word. Desire everything that God has for you! He wants to give it to you!! He wants you to be full in Him. He wants you to be made whole. The power to do it is still on earth today.