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Bread tastes so good!

I love to bake. Preferably, I cook most of our meals in the oven. During the Covid-19 stay at home order in Alabama I learned how to make many new dishes. One specifically was a banana nut bread. I had a recipe I had used before, but I went on a search for the most moist and delicious one out there. Of course once I found it I had to share with all who were interested in my new recipe. It is called “Moist and Delicious Banana Bread.” I told a friend and she was like, is it really though? I said yes and let her sample a piece. I did mess up one batch by putting baking powder instead of baking soda.

Anyways the way I talk about my new found recipes was the way I think the apostles (Jesus’ disciples) were like when they came to tell them about their latest mission in Mark 6. I am going to start us off with verses 30-31 and use the Passion Translation: The apostles returned from their mission and gathered around Jesus and told him everything they had done and taught. There was such a swirl of activity around Jesus, with so many people coming and going, that they were unable to even eat a meal. So Jesus said to his disciples, “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where we can rest a while.”

Jesus was very hands on with training His disciples and then He would send them out to put into practice what He taught them. Jesus would often use every day situations to reveal the heart of His Father.

Mark 6:32-36 They slipped away and left by sailboat for a deserted spot. But many of the people saw them leaving and realized where they were headed, so they took off running along the shore. Then people from the surrounding towns joined them in the chase, and a large crowd got there ahead of them. By the time Jesus came ashore, a massive crowd was waiting. At the sight of them, his heart was filled with compassion, because they seemed like wandering sheep who had no shepherd. So he taught them many things. Late that afternoon, his disciples said, “It’s getting really late and we’re here in this remote place with nothing to eat. You should send the crowds away so they can go into the surrounding villages and buy food for themselves.”

How often do our bellies like to do the speaking for us? There have been days when I worked full-time at my church’s day care (well I was doing more than one job) that I did not break to eat or drink. I had the hunger pangs, but yet there was so much to still do. At the end of the day I would be irritable, it was because I was not taking the time to feed myself. Think about that as we see what Jesus’ response was.

Mark 6:37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” “Are you sure?” they replied. “You really want us to go buy them some supper? It will cost a small fortune to feed all of these thousands of hungry people.”

“You give them something to eat.”

Jesus was testing His disciples here. How much were they getting from His teachings. He told them to feed the people. The first thing they think of if money. Is that not just the way we are too? God tells us to support our church and other ministries and we say well I will just give money, or “all they want is my money.” There are times He tells us to sow financially, but there are times He tells us to do.

Mark 6:38-42 “How many loaves of bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” After they had looked around, they came back and said, “Five-plus a couple of fish.” Then he instructed them to organize the crowd and have them sit down in groups on the grass. So they had them sit in groups of hundreds and fifties. Then Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, gazed into heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the break and the two fish and distributed them to the disciples to serve the people – and the food was multiplied in front of their eyes! Everyone had plenty to eat and was fully satisfied.

Jesus told them to feed the people. Their first instinct was to look at the lack of money, but Jesus wanted them to look at what they had. This was not the first time we see a miracle of bread to feed. In 2 Kings 4:42-44 we see Elisha knew the heart of God: Then a man came from Baal Shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, “Give it to the people, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?” He said, “Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the Lord: ‘They shall eat and have some left over.'” So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord (NKJV).

When we feed on the nourishment that Jesus gives us we have more than enough to feed His people. Jesus said that He is the Bread of Life. Sometimes we lack confidence to do what He tells us to do because we have not been feeding enough. We have to make sure we do not get too fat on it, because we all know how good bread tastes!

John 14:12 says, Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do….” My husband used this scripture right here this past Sunday. God has had me on the word “refuse” for a while. “Refuse” is the opposite of “will do”. When we say to Jesus, “I will do,” this is what He is expecting…“the works that I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” He has given us the ability to get revelation from the Word of who His Father is. He did everything His Father did on earth, so that means we can too. Miracles can happen. We can feed people! Look around with what you have and use it!!

In Oceans Deep

Psalms 61:1-2 TPT “O God, hear my prayer. Listen to my heart’s cry. For no matter where I am , even when I’m far from home, I will cry out to you for a father’s help. When I am feeble and overwhelmed by life, guide me into your glory, where I am safe and sheltered.”

There is a worship song that was really popular a few years ago titled "Oceans." Some of the lyrics: You call me out upon the waters 
The great unknown where feet may fall
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest on Your embrace

There is often the visual of Peter walking out on the water to meet Jesus. For me I have a different visual. If you have ever seen the show Grey’s Anatomy, there is an episode where Meredith gives up once she falls into the water, and drowns. I often think what a state of mind to be in, to just give up. Life and circumstances can feel like an ocean, with waves crashing over head sometimes.

If we are not grounded in Christ, life can become overwhelming. Measuring up to others can become overwhelming. Let downs and disappointments can become overwhelming. When we become overwhelmed, the place we look to is for comfort. We can seek comfort in may different ways.

For me comfort comes when I feel secure. I like a routine and order. There are certain days when I will do a task, and that is the day that task is done. My boys and I have a routine every morning before school. My oldest and I get up at 5:30 so that he can run four miles (he wrestles on the high school team so he has to maintain a certain weight), I have used that time to start walking in the mornings. Then at 6:30 I wake up the youngest and cook breakfast. After breakfast they finish getting ready for school and we sit down to do a devotion. Finally, we are out the door at 7:30 for me to drop them off at school. I take the same route every morning. Then I am off to the gym for whatever workout I have planned for that day. My day continues like this.

If I have in my mind that this is my not get out of pajamas day…I will put on my pajamas after my after-workout shower and I do not plan on leaving the house again that day. This causes a problem when my husband asks me to do something that requires me to leave the house. This is an area in my life that I know I have to work on. Now I have unsettled the balance of the peace in my house because the comfort of my routine has been messed up. Notice I said my routine. I have centered my comfort now on what I want to label as “comfort.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

When it becomes all about me, the comfort that I once sought after is really dysfunction. The devil wants us to run for comfort and cover in places outside of what God has called us to do. I silence the power of God in my life when I love my comfort more than compassion. Then the guilt tries to overwhelm you. God will disrupt my comfort to pull me out of my dysfunction.

God will disrupt my comfort to pull me out of my dysfunction.

This summer I spent a lot of time reading the Old Testament. When I got to first Samuel and read when Saul was anointed, I wept. I wept because I grieved for Saul. I knew his great potential. At the time that Samuel was announcing the king, Saul was no where to be found. Why?

1 Samuel 10: 22 MSG “Samuel went back to God: ‘Is he anywhere around?’ God said, ‘Yes, he’s right over there – hidden in that pile of baggage.'” Why was this such a prophetic statement? Let’s look at Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Saul let what other people thought of him weigh him down, the actions he took because of it cost him his anointing.

How does this fit in with me not wanting to get out of my pajamas? What if I missed an opportunity to share the love of Jesus because I wanted to remain “comfortable” all day. Yes, I spent time with Jesus in the Word that day. What if He wanted to do something more through me, but I refused to leave the house? What if Jesus wanted me to show His love to my husband, but I huffed because I had already planned in my mind that I did not want to leave the house. Of course when I start thinking this way, guilt wants to rise up, and I know that is not God. Then we become overwhelmed in our dysfunction all because we scream for comfort.

Like Paul, “I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight to the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them.” Philippians 3:13-15 TPT

Thank you, Jesus, for correcting me and pulling out of my comfort zones, so that I can see more of You working in my life. Thank you for reminding me that I am valuable and I do make an impact in Your Kingdom. Every day is important. I thank you for quickening in me to have an expectation for more than I could ever imagine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

In the Presence of the King

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16

This is a verse that I like to cling to when I am often faced with days of being unsettled. Those are the days that I know I need to get in His Word more than any other.

For the past few months I have been reading from my Message Bible. It is a good translation to use when you want to read straight through (I use other translations when I do topical studies). Before I start reading I thank God for His Word and ask Him to reveal something new to me that day. A fresh revelation of His Word so that I can apply it to my life.

The Book of Esther was one such time. Let us look at it from the perspective of allowing God more access to our lives. Allow your relationship with Him to actually change the way you live.

Allow your relationship with Him to actually change the way you live.

The story starts out with talk of the King asking his wife, Queen Vashti, to come into his presence. He wanted to show her off. She was in the midst of her own event and stated that she could not come. The king had an “inner circle” with access to his ear (watch out who you have in your inner circle). While his emotions were not in check, they urged him to put her in her place…every woman needs to know her place.

I am going to take a little side bar right here. No where in the Word of God does it say for a husband to dominate over his wife. Submission is not domination, it is a way to honor. I honor my husband as the head of our home, the priest of our home; therefore, I submit myself to him willingly. He does not dominate me. When you have a group of friends that urge you to put their spouse in their place, that is not a friend. Anyone who does not build up that union needs to be out of your life.

Now back to the story of Esther…so the King has dismissed his queen, but his heart is troubled by this rash decision. Instead of admitting his error, he allows his “circle” to talk him into looking for a new bride. Long story short, we make way for Esther. However, Esther has a secret.

Haman one of the king’s top leaders is very high on himself. Even though he is not king, he wants to be honored by the people like one. He believes every one should bow to him when they are in his presence. Mordecai, a Jew, cannot bow to him because of his religious beliefs. He did not dishonor him, he just could not bow to him.

It turns out that Haman hates Jews. Actually, his lineage of peoples are mortal enemies of the Jews. Haman has devised a plan to get rid of Mordecai and rid the rest of his people that are in exile. Esther just so happens to be Mordecai’s niece…that means the king’s new bride is a Jew.

Esther’s quest: Morecai tells her “Don’t you think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Israelite who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at this time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else.”

Revelations 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot or cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Esther’s response: She asked for them to fast and pray, she would too for three days. “If you do this, I will go to the king, even though it is forbidden. If I die, I die.” Going into prayer, seeking His Word, fasting are all ways we can go into the cool refreshing streams that get us ready to do what God has called us to do. Then in boldness we can go to the throne room! Do you see the analogy of hot and cold verses lukewarm? Being lukewarm is like refusing to do nothing at all.

Esther won the favor of the king. Haman’s plans were thwarted and he lost his life. Mordecai was elevated to Haman’s station in the palace. Victory for the people of God!

Hear my heart! “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 with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG) God is not fencing us in!!

1 John 4:4 NIV “You, dear children, are you 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 you from stepping out into that thing that God is calling you to do? One thing I can say about myself, I am not the same person I was a year ago. I am not the same person I was five years ago and I sure am not the same person I was twenty-two years ago when I accepted Christ as My Lord and Savior. Allow Him access to your life. Open up! Go boldly to the throne room of His Grace.

What is your heart’s cry?

About a year ago I did this study called Worship and Witness: Becoming a Great Commission Worshiper. Evangelism is hard, when you try to do it on your own. However, Jesus told us to go out and make disciples. How can we do that if we do not have a personal relationship with Jesus?

As a believer and follower of Christ our hearts cry should be to share the Gospel of Jesus. We should know the life, death and resurrection of Christ. We should fall so much in love with Him that all of our actions glorify His name. How can we do this if we do not have a foundation to build on? This is why personal study of the Word is so very important, but not without ways to implement it.

1 Peter 4:7-10 NKJV: “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful with your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a give, minister to one another, as good stewards of the manifold of grace of God.” (emphasis added by me)

The statement “love will cover a multitude of sins.” I love this because it is calling us to see each other as He sees us. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior our past should be our past and we should never know our brothers and sisters in Christ by their past mistakes. Our job is to encourage each other. When they are on the mountain top and I am in the wilderness, I am cheering them on, because I know I will not be far behind them. When they are in the valley and I am on the mountain top, I should not shame them but encourage them in the Word. Ultimately, it is our choice on how we perceive our current situations.

To continue on with what Peter is encouraging us to do I will continue in the Passion Translation: v. 11: “For example, if you have a speaking gift, speak as though God were speaking his words through you. If you have the gift of serving, do it passionately with the strength God gives you, so that in everything God alone will be glorified through Jesus Christ. For to him belong the power and the glory forever throughout all ages! Amen.”

There is something that we could all be doing to serve in the Body of Christ. Without our willingness to serve we may be missing an opportunity to make disciples. If we look at it in that perspective, we may be more willing to step out in faith and put His Word into action.

Peter was not a perfect man, and sometimes I can relate to him. Most of the first four books of the New Testament verifies that. Peter was known and will forever be known as the man that denied Christ three times. However, he was still used by God. In John 21 we see that Jesus took special care to restore their relationship, then he opens his mouth again and wants to know what about John and what Jesus is going to do with him. Are we not like that sometimes?

Somewhere along the way, after Acts 1:8, Jesus tells them: “But I promise you this – the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be seized with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and the distant provinces – even to the remotest places on earth! (TPT)” This is what had to happen in Peter for him to mature. This is what made the difference of Peter of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the Peter we see in Acts and First and Second Peter.

Peter urges us to serve, but do it without grumbling and complaining. Read what he writes in 1 Peter 5:1-3, ” I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way. (MSG)” What a difference in this man! His heart’s cry was to live a life that glorified Christ. He wanted to make Him famous! It was no longer about Peter. He did not let his past mistakes dictate his desire for Christ.

He did not let his past mistakes dictate his desire for Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV) But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

There has been a spiritual shift going on. What we are seeing in the natural is only of tremor of what is going on in the spiritual realm. What is your heart crying out for during this time? Is it to draw closer to Christ? Is it for revival in the church? For me it has for both of these, but it is also for the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus to be taught. Do not let your love for Christ just be lip service. Seek after His heart. Seek His face. Tell others about Jesus, the man who knows all about you, and still paid the price for you. He did not give up on Peter when he made mistakes and he has not given up on you.

See a Victory

My husband I pastor a church in Opelika, Alabama. If you are not from the area, you probably mispronounced that city. It’s pretty funny that God brought us here, because my husband was born here, but never lived in this city until he turned thirty. When we took over the church from his parents we set out and wrote down what God was telling us the vision for the church would be.

The vision statement He gave us was, “We exist to touch the world through our community.” Habakkuk 2:2-3 in the Message translation says, “And then God answered: ‘Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. The vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.'”

“We exist to touch the world through our community.”

Connect Church Vision Statement

We were so excited for what God was going to do in our church. This was not a starting from scratch church plant. That did not mean were were not faced with challenges. Our heart was to empower the church for ministry. This is how we were going to reach our world. Empower them to see the importance of their community, so that we could reach this world.

First book we read as a church was Greater by Steven Furtick. Our desire was to see the church get excited for the greater. One of my favorite quotes from this book was, “Most believers are not in imminent danger of ruining their lives. They’re facing a danger that’s greater: wasting them.” We envisioned a church that saw the importance of reaching the lost. We may have been a bit too pushy. Not six months into this leadership shift did we get push back. We were told that we could not expect them to love “our baby” the way that we do. The vision had not been received and it stung. It took my husband and I a few years, and the church too, to overcome such a blow. Did that mean that the vision God gave us was not for our church. No…it just meant we did not lay the foundation properly.

We have to watch our hearts in this season of vision casting. Do you know that you have the power to extinguish someone else’s dreams? It is not your job to judge if that persons dream will succeed; it is not your dream. You are however, not suppose to speak against it.

Ephesians 4:9 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

God put a vision for our church, but we knew that things had to change in order for us to see that promise. We decided to put our property up for sale. We were sitting on twenty acres, with almost fifty thousand square feet of building and that meant our overhead was between twelve to fourteen thousand dollars a month. We were not a church that could sustain that much overhead and sow into our community.

We walked away from the sale with no profit. Nothing to start fresh with. Did that mean God did not give us that vision still? No…it meant we had to trust Him more. For the past one and a half years, God had been healing our hearts from the words that stung us those five years ago. He has been building upon a foundation in His Word. Our church, and I believe churches around the world, are waking up! There is a fire and a hunger in the church like we have not seen in the past two decades.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 “He who watches the wind (waiting for all conditions to be perfect) will not sow (seed), and he who looks at the clouds will not reap (a harvest).” (AMP)

That vision for Connect Church is still there. God has given us a BIG DREAM! However, in order to see that come to pass we need to sow into other’s dreams. We are sowing into the construction of a church in Uganda. Right now we are not meeting in our own building. We are renting from another church and have a one thirty service. We could get comfortable here. Our church members are growing so much spiritually that we are loving this call of being their pastors. That discouragement is now a distant memory. There is life again! We are seeing victory in their lives. God is not done with us yet…there is still that vision.

We are also giving like never before into local organizations and ministries. Deep down there is still a desire to do and reach more. You may not be leading a church but you are called to ministry.

I have a vision for loved ones lifting up their hands in worship, completely surrendered to our Father. I envision our children worshiping whole-heartedly. A fire is burning in our young people (Jeremiah 20:9)! When people walk in the doors of our church I envision the chains of bondage breaking off of them, that they fall so in love with God they cannot walk out the doors the same.

Can you know see the victory? Can you envision the promise? I can. God gives you the dreams and He is intentional of what He puts in your heart to accomplish. Trust God. Remember He is an amazing architect. He created this world that you exist in. He is the “Everlasting to Everlasting.”

“I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 TPT

Be Strong and Courageous

I love reading the Old Testament and find myself referring back to it when I do my studies. There is so much meat in there for us to glean from, how to conduct and view our lives. Joshua, like Moses, is another favorite of mine. Right now I am taking my youth group through the lessons we can learn from reading Joshua. There have been days where we have verse by verse of the challenges and victories that the Israelites went through.

Before they stepped into the Promised Land they had to prepare themselves. Joshua was their appointed leader at the time. He was trained none other than Moses himself. Joshua would accompany Moses as he went up to the mountain top to be in the presence of God. Joshua saw the importance of that relationship and took it a step further. He knew the heart of his people and knew the challenge they would face.

Joshua 1:8-9 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read (and meditate on) it day and night, so that you may be careful to do (everything) in accordance with all that is written in it; for they you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (AMP)

This great people had a real challenge ahead of them, but they had a promise that God would be with them wherever they go. They just had to GO! However, before they went they had to consecrate and sanctify themselves. This is what we like to call today, “a heart check.” Before we just step out and do, even though He has promised us the victory, we must keep our heart aligned with His.

Each victory was going to be won in a different way. Some lessons they had to learn over and over again, just like us today. Forgiveness is one such lesson. What lessons have you had to grow in? For me it has been to keep my eyes on Him and not His people. People can let us down. People can discourage us, especially when you love them deeply. It hurts when they turn theirs backs on you.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms.” (TPT) I am not saying that when people turn their backs on you or disappoint you that they are operating in rebellion. We can be the ones operating in just that by the way we let that hurt affect us.

Let’s get back to the message of Joshua. Joshua in chapter ten has just led a victory against an alliance of many kingdoms. In fact they have just conquered half of the promised land. This land was enough to sustain the group of Israelites. In that view, they could have halted their conquests. Right here in verse 25 Joshua proclaims, “Do not fear or be dismayed (intimidated)! Be strong and courageous, for this is what the Lord will do to all your enemies whom you (are about to) fight.” (AMP)

Why after a great victory is Joshua proclaiming to his people to “Be Strong and Courageous?” He knows the nature of people. We define victory in that we have achieved comfort. We tell God that we just need to rest and then we will get back to it. Really what we are telling God is that we want to live for us. So what “intimidates” us…ourselves.

Our enemy is not against flesh and blood, but principalities in the spirit realm. The goal for the enemy that you are fighting is to get you not to finish, to put your life on pause, in the form of “rest.” Do not stop half way accomplished. Be strong and courageous, He is with us wherever we go.

The goal for the enemy that you are fighting is to get you not to finish, to put your life on pause, in the form of “rest.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young man shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

My dear friend do not give up. Do not fall into the trap of rest as this world defines. His rest comes when we accomplish what He has set us out to do, and He even said He would be there wherever we go. Never give up. Get your life off pause. Be strong and courageous!

Peace Even During Difficulty

Nearly two years ago I was terminated from a job that I no longer felt joy in going to. Honestly I should have left a year and a half before. However, I stayed not listening to God, because I could not see how we could have all the luxuries we do now without it. I know it was selfish! It was a huge mistake and the mistake that I made (as unintentional as it was) was a huge blow to my character…so I thought.

What did I do when confronted with this blow? I spent the first week in the word NON STOP! I read books on dealing with rejection. I dove deeper into my Bible. I even pulled out my old study Bible from m when I first accepted Christ, at the age of eighteen. I played worship music for hours!!

Peace did not leave me in that transition. Why? I was ready to leave that job, I was the one holding onto it. It was my fault that I put myself into that situation. I was bound and determined that I was going to hold true to His Word. Romans 8: 28 says, “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.”(TPT)

God was going to get the glory for this! I did not hide. I did not fall into depression. I did not blame anyone for my circumstances. Did I have moments? Um…I am not perfect, of course I did! They were only allowed to be moments though. Jesus left us a promise:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

People today define peace as long as things are going their way. We hear “World Peace” as in reference to ending of wars and no crime. Peace is defined in this manner as “Stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there is no fighting or war.”

Jesus left us a supernatural peace though. A peace that will be there even in the midst of great difficulty.

2 Peter 1:2 (with emphasis added), “May grace (God’s unmerited favor demonstrated through power on your behalf) and a peace (a state of perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to your through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

There was a time when Jesus was at peace and those that were with him were not. In Mark 4:35-40 we can see that Jesus is with the disciples on a boat and a storm comes up. Jesus, however, is sleeping through it… the disciples were not. Right away in verse thirty five Jesus tells them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Then He grabs a pillow and takes a nap. Do you not think that Jesus knew that a storm was coming?

Do you not think that God knew a storm was going to come into your life? He knew I would be terminated. Why is is that when things like that happen we going into a lament and shout out to God “Why me?” Then we withhold ourselves thinking we will ease some stress.

I once read a tweet that said, “Today in church a Pastor said this: If you can trust a puzzle company to make sure every piece is in the box to complete the puzzle, then why can’t you trust God that every piece of your life is there for a reason?”

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

God knows the beginning to the end, not just about earth, but about our individual lives as well. Can I stand in peace through trials?

Lisa Bevere wrote a book called Without Rival. Here are a couple of quotes I pulled out during this time in my life: “Moses learned that destiny is revealed in seasons of confrontation rather than season for comfort.” “The anointing set you apart, but confrontations, storms and trials will set you up.”

“Moses learned that destiny is revealed in seasons of confrontation rather than season for comfort.”

Lisa Bevere

Remember that in times of trials you can hold onto His peace. You are not shouldering this alone.

1 Peter 5:7, “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” (TPT) The New King James Version tells us to, “cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Whether you lay it down, or you throw it to Him, He cares for us so much that we do not need to feel like the trials are just for us alone. He knows the path to go through them and He will walk every step with us, knowing this we can be at peace.

Draining Days

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8 AMPC)

There are days where we allow our thoughts to get control of us. Then what becomes even more draining is when we allow others to tell us their thoughts.

It is so very important to surround yourself with people that will build you up. Job was a cheerleader to many, but those who he surrounded himself were not the same for him.

In Job 4 taken from the Message Translation, “You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit. Your words have put stumbling people on their feet, put fresh hope in people about to collapse. But now you’re the one in trouble – you’re hurting!”

Negative people drain me.

Job allowed himself to be surrounded with those that were speaking the problem. Those kind of people drain us. Find a way to get back to your Hiding Place. Negative people drain me. I have to get myself around some faith talkers. How can you spot a faith talker? When they are going through a hard time they have not stopped praising!

We have to do whatever it takes to get us to a place where we do not stop praising Him. My problems no longer are the biggest thing in my life. I no longer see those areas of lack. All I see is Jesus!

Job’s friends (and I have been guilty of this too) tried to explain God. There is no explaining God. There is no reason that we go through what we go through, other than the devil hates us. If he can get you off track, put you on pause, get you distracted, then he has done what he has set out to do.

Paul even says it himself, “But I need something more! For I know that law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in the delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?” (Romans 7:18-24 MSG)

For a moment he sounds a lot like Job. The thing we miss here, is that we want to stop reading. We are like, see, I cannot do this! Paul is not saying we should not surrender to living in constant defeat. What he is doing is expressing anger…he has not received the victory yet. This is a normal reaction.

He continues, “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but I am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different” (Romans 7:25 MSG).

We are going to have those draining, I do not know if I can make it kind of days. Put your thoughts on Him. It is a choice and it is your choice!

Do not stop expecting

Our church meets on Sunday’s at one thirty in the afternoon. Right now we do not have our own building (we are renting a space from another church and they have Sunday morning services). It was a step of faith for us to do this. The property we owned before had a huge overhead with twenty acres and almost fifty thousand square feet of building. On our last service there we prayed it would bless the next church that bought it. We stepped out in faith and was met open arms with another church in our city. I love it when another church wants to see you succeed, even if it is not building their numbers, they genuinely want the Body of Christ to be stronger and in unity.

How has one thirty worked? It is amazing! It has brought us back, that are wanting to press in more, to a place that we no longer take our relationship with God for granted. How did we get to a placed that we started limiting the time we spend in worship?

“Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. Never restrain or put out the fire of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 TPT)

This life in Christ wants us to keep our minds on Him. When it says to make your life a prayer, it is not meaning that we need to speak prayers twenty four hours a day. It is saying we should be mindful of Him all day. The Holy Spirit is alive and in you. We should expect demonstrations of the Holy Spirit everyday because of that. There are so many opportunities presented us throughout the day if we would just expect to be met by them.

I am not talking about the kookie stuff. I am talking about the unbelievable peace and joy that you rest in as you go throughout the day. The fact that when people look at you they notice that there is something different, and they want that. When they ask you about it you are bold enough to tell them where that comes from. You tell them Jesus is real, a relationship with Him is attainable, and that He is my more than enough.

John 4:23-24 says, “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 truth.” Wherever you go, bring your best self. I am not saying you have to present perfection, but compassion is the best place we are to be. Jesus was full of compassion and we should be too.

You might look at that the reason I say church attendance is so important because of the position I have. I agree, the church is not limited to a building. I do not limit my worship to just doing it in that building, during the hours of one thirty to three thirty on Sundays. I have decided to start my worship at home, in my car, at the gym and wherever I go throughout the day. However, we are still called to be a part of a group of fellow believer’s. We are to make disciples and to make those disciples leaders, to disciple more.

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

Do not take your relationship with God for granted and just go through your day to day. My husband is going through a series right now titled “Arise.” It is a challenge to the church to stop sleepwalking through life and start expecting the power of God to manifest every day. He closed last service with this verse: “Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple of the Lord, and I fell facedown” (Ezekiel 44:4).

Do not take your relationship with God for granted

and just go through your day to day.

We have already agreed that worship does not only take place in a building. What if we take that and prepare before we get into service (worship at home) and we go into corporate worship expecting to see the glory revealed in others? What if when we get there we have already gotten in the Word? That we are prayed up and our spirit man is so on fire. That the Holy Spirit is so alive in us! Demonstrations are not just expected, but happen on a regular basis!! I know that sounds radical. So my question to you is, since you are now a Christ follower, what do you expect is suppose to happen?

Jeremiah 20:9 from the Message Translation, “The words are fire in my belly, a burning in my bones. I’m worn out trying to hold it in. I can’t do it any longer!”

Say “Yes” to the Adventure

Today on my Facebook Memories I came across an album titled “St. George Island Camping Trip.” This was a trip that a very dear friend of mine, who I can say is one of my best friends, did together with our two boys (since then she has added a few more to her family). We were two boy moms who decided to take our boys camping at the beach. We had never done this before on our own and we were going to do this together. All six of us packed up my minivan and headed to Florida.

I had grown up camping with my parents going to St. Andrews every summer growing up. I wanted to share this experience with my kids. My husband grew up on the mission field in Belize, camping was not a fun adventure idea for him (still isn’t, but is open to buying an RV).

This trip did not go 100% perfect. We struggled to get the canopy tent up on the beach (a good Samaritan came and helped us struggling mamas). The camp site had so much vegetation that mosquitoes were awful and on top of that my van got infested with sand fleas. Oh and I got sick in the middle of the night from the dinner we ate! However, we stayed positive…because we were on an adventure!!

I have been on many other trips without my family since then. I stepped out and went to some Women’s Conferences without anyone else from my church joining me. I started going out and sitting in restaurants by myself to enjoy a meal.

I have visited other cities with other women in ministry. On one such trip we went to Las Vegas. It was the Retreat for Leading and Loving It. A couple of the women and I got brave enough to go to the top of the Stratosphere and get on the rides. Yep I did that one!

Here is the thing though, there is more to life than just these kinds of adventures. There are adventures that God wants to take us on as well. It just happens that all of these experiences I had was because of the relationships I made from saying “Yes” to God. I got out of my comfort zone, because to be honest, I have to fight my introvert tendencies. You know the ones where the voice inside of your head makes excuses as to why you cannot step out into “ministry.” The “I don’t have enough money” excuse. Or how about the “I don’t have enough time” excuse. My all time favorite, “I am too young/old” excuse.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you do.”

Stop trying to figure things out on your own. If He put a desire in your heart to do it, then do it…just don’t let it be the pizza talking. How do you know you heard from God in this adventure? Does it line up with His character and nature? How will you know His character and nature? By reading the Word that He gave us.

Stop trying to figure things out on your own.

In the time that the Israelites were in the Wilderness, Moses sent twelve spies into the land that God told them would be their inheritance. Ten of those spies came back with a negative report, but two did not. The two that did not were Joshua and Caleb. They were the only two from that generation to enter into the Promised Land.

Joshua 14:7-12 “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. So Moses swore on that day, say, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on that day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for was, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”

That mountain was Caleb’s inheritance because ‘he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel’ (Joshua 14:9). God wants us to actively pursue Him and what He wants us to have. As His follower’s we should boldly say, “Give me my mountain!” when it comes to pursuing the vision that God has given us for our lives. Mountains are not easy to climb, depending on how high it goes, you might have to adjust for the climate change. This could even mean getting out of your comfort zones and entering into other cultures you have never known before.

Hey, if you get some bumps in the process, do not be discouraged. You are on an adventure!