Rock Steady

Isaiah 26:3-4 (AMP) “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner], for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].”

Every Tuesday we have corporate prayer at our church. We have four ladies who faithfully attend (including myself), and occasionally we will have someone else or a few more show up. The week before I was asked by my team to pray loud enough so they could come in agreement with me. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone. We pray for an hour. I spend the very first part in worship to God and end in worship to Him as well. Why? Jesus told us to.

Matthew 6: 9-13 (AMP) “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment]. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’

Prayer is a conversation we have with God. So why did Jesus tell us to acknowledge Him as Holy? You might have heard, “We are suppose to talk to Him as if He is my friend. I do not talk to my friends like that.” Your friends are not God. He calls us friend when we obey Him, not because we show up (John 15:14). Remember God’s ways are not our ways. We still have to honor Him.

Jesus modeled prayer like this so that we would not go in with the expectation that our self-centered prayers is all He needs to hear from us. If we keep our minds on Him throughout, anxiety passes, the need for getting our way passes and we can focus on those areas of His Kingdom expansion. He says He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalms 37:4). My life center should be Him (Matthew 6:21).

I have two handsome sons and a hunk of a husband. I love them dearly. I love spending time with them. Our home is filled with laughter. They cannot be my life center. If they were, our home would not be as joyful as it is. I whole-heartedly believe the Word. My joy is not from those who surround me, but the God who is within me. A life of daily worship and surrender to the Father is my joy and peace source. Do I have anxious thoughts? Yes. What happens when I do? I turn my focus on Him. I do not have to have my Bible out all day to focus on Him, but I do need to know His character and nature (which is found in His Word).

Deuteronomy 32:4 (AMP) “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness without iniquity (injustice), just and upright is He.”

Do not just say He is your Rock then go out into the world systems and measure your happiness/success based on their standards. My name does not need to be made known to anyone other than Him. When my thoughts wonder onto where our church will be and who will be there in the next year, I have to get back to thinking on Him (Matthew 6: 25-34). Do not compromise His Word or His precepts. Think on Him and all your thoughts will be what is confirmed by His Word (Philippians 4:8). Peace is your promise with this. Not just a little peace either, CONSTANT peace!! When I surrender my peace and focus on myself, someone else or circumstances that will not matter in the eternal, I have to put my focus back on Him and line it back up with the Perfect Peace.

Father, You are our Creator, our Rock and our Peace. You are the One who puts the breath in our lungs. We want to honor You today. We want to see Your will be done today. Thank You for sending Your Son so that we can be reconciled to You. In Your Son we received Your Love. We are rooted and grounded in Christ. Let us seek ways to bring glory to Your Name. Let us see Your created the way You do. Let us love Your created the way You do. Let us find creative ways to seek the best for others. Forgive us for not putting You first place in all areas. We thank You for Your grace and mercy as we turn our hearts back to You. We repent for harboring unforgiveness as a sign of mistrust in your justice. We want to align our thoughts with Your thoughts. Renew our minds with Your Word today. Thank You Holy Spirit for teaching us the things we may not have known to walk in His goodness. We choose hope today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Hello Sunflower

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (AMP) “Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord and whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord. “For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out its roots by the river; and will not fear the heat when it comes; but its leaves will be green and moist And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought nor stop bearing fruit.

What happens when we go through the tough parts of life? Can we still have joy? As I was preparing for this past Sunday’s message, that was my hearts desire for those that would be listening. May is Mental Health Awareness month. Lately I have been listening to Neil T. Anderson and some of the things he placed on YouTube in his Freedom in Christ channel. A lot of it had to do with the mind and the battle of depression that many believers have to overcome.

Four and a half years ago I was rocked. I had already been going through some things at work. I was promoted, demoted, talked down to, shunned…then terminated. My character was tarnished. How could I put myself out there in the community? Our vision for Connect Church is to touch the world through our community. I am constantly encouraging the body to look for opportunities to glorify God.

Our first gut reaction is to hide. I did, but I did it differently. I hid in the Word. I did not occasionally open my Bible any more, I really set out to get to know the Word. I ran to the Word. In doing so, I did not hide myself for protection from the hurt. I was able to stand free and with confidence of who I am in Christ. When I stand up and speak in front of people it is not to share how much I know, but who I know.

So when I was walking the track, listening to worship music a couple of months ago, God spoke to me about what I needed to share for Mother’s Day. He told me that I needed to share why I am so passionate about His ways. Why do I speak with such boldness and conviction when it comes to His Word? The secret comes in what you are rooted in.

John 15:5 (AMP) I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (AMP)  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] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout 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].

To abide in Him means that I have replaced my roots in Him, I give Him first place. When I looked again at the parable of the sower in Mark 4, He spoke to me that we have placed ourselves in the story that was not what He intended. We wanted to be the good soil, but He is. When we allow ourselves to be in the love that He is, everything changes. Do branches have roots? No, the vine does. Where do the nutrients to grow come from? The soil. We have called the soil our hearts for so long. We are responsible for allowing the Holy Spirit to remove the rocks and the thorns. All soil has potential. Just like all of us do. There is only one that can be called good, and that is Jesus. Do not limit your perception of “in Christ” as a follower or just a position, BE in Christ. We are loved by Him and nothing can take that away, you are in that position, but we have put it on. We have to abide in that love. When we do, we are truly abiding in Christ.

I love sunflowers. They would have been the flowers for my wedding if a farmer did not give us 1000 gladiolas. I had chosen sunflower bracelets to give away that day. Sunflowers show their seeds. Sunflowers are sun worshipers. They need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. They actually track the sun (desire His face). A single seed planted in the spring can produce many seeds. They grow so fast that they will choke out weeds. Sunflowers droop when they are not drinking enough water. The sunflower is a tap root. It is an elevator of nutrients. It brings water and other microbes from deeper soil layers closer to the soil for subsequent crops to have better access to. Sunflowers produce oil, and lots of it.

This was my summation: the seed (Word, Jesus is the Word John 1:1) from the sower (us), is planted in Christ (the soil) and we allow the roots (love in Christ) and the fruit we bear become more seeds because we are abiding on the vine (in Christ)…but they will have to be continued to be watered by the Living Water (Jesus, His Word).

I have more to this message, but for you to even get to the part of being free in every area of your life, you first need to know that depth of His love. To be in that love because you are in Christ. You have to realize that Jesus came for more than to save you from hell, that He came to restore you. Then you will no longer allow the things to shatter you and cause you to go into a cave of hiding. We are in Christ, He is all we need.

Dear God, our Creator, You are so full of majesty. We honor You today with our thanksgiving. Thank you for Your Son. Jesus took on every part of our lives so that we can walk in fullness. We are sorry that we have not walked in the fullness of that love. Let us be rooted in grounded in the love of Christ. We choose to abide in Him today. Holy Spirit, lead us to the areas of rocks and thorns that we need to be set free of. Renew our minds. We submit to You today. Let us be sowers of the Word. When we sow in Christ all of the ground is good ground and all that we sow is good. The Word is always good. Thank You for the Word. Thank You for the Word becoming flesh. Thank You for being the vine. We desire to bear fruit that glorifies You. We choose Love today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sisterhood of the wounded

James 3:10 (AMP) Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. These things, my brothers, should not be this way [for we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts].

Gossip is a hard thing not to do, especially among hurting people. I have done it, even within a week. What happens when two people get together that have been hurt by the same person. They share the hurts. Why do we think it is okay in the moment? It is because we think we are not sharing what the person does not already know about the other individual. It is a hard cycle to break, but I want to be better. I have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects the fear of God regarding His created.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (AMP) Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].

I did not release why I was hurt, until they released why they were. How can you forgive what cannot be forgotten? I am here to tell you it is hard, but forgetting is not what we are commanded, it is the forgiveness. It does not sting as much. I have learned to pray blessings over that individual. I pray that the Word becomes alive to them.

I know that the hurt was an attack of the enemy. Why? It came from the twisting of His Word. As leaders we should not feel that it is up to us to build the church. He does. When we use tactics to grow our churches, even though it may cause hurt (premeditated), we are wrong. Why? My growth should not see you as a stepping stone or a casualty to kingdom building. Notice it is not a capital K in kingdom here, because that is not His Kingdom we are building.

Philippians 2:3 (AMP)  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves.

This is just an example of how easy it is to rehearse it again. It is hard to forgive when you cannot forget. The enemy used a perfect tool here, another who has to respond to the Father just like you do (James 3:1). This is not the only hurt, but it was the most recent. I never wish that on anyone. I have to put my trust in God and who He calls, even if. I have hurt people, but instead of saying that it is part of ministry (which is not true, it is part of my imperfectness) I want to do better. I want to glorify Him. To hurt each other and call it ministry is false. We are to sharpen each other, not wound (Proverbs 27:17). It is to bring is closer in relationship to the Father.

Hebrews 4:12 (AMP) For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Let me always be sensitive to the Word. Even though I was hurt and was wrong it still does not give me the right to repeat the matter. It still does not give me the right to rehearse the matter. Why? I fear God more than my rights. I do not want to displease the Father, not because of fear of punishment, but because I honor Him. I honor His precepts. I honor His Word. I do not want to be so prideful that I exempt this area from His correction. I am looking for the best in those and speaking blessings over them. Praying for a deeper relationship for the Father. Praying for forgiveness for them as they will have to stand before the judgement seat, just like I will. Repenting and asking God to bridle my tongue when I start to rehearse (ultimately cursing with my mouth). Woah, to me when I do such a thing. Instead of creating a sisterhood of the wounded, let us be a sisterhood of the hopeful. Let us hope again! Let us praise again!

Abba, You are the Glory that we wake up and sing to every day. We long to be in Your Presence. Thank You for sending Your Son to be the Light and to restore us. We are sorry for making things about us. We repent for every time we rehearsed a wrong, whether it was for our gain or someone else’s. We are sorry for gathering together as wounded. Help us be to speak blessings over those who have done us wrong. We want to love deeply because You love deeply. Our awe of You compels us to follow Your Word. Holy Spirit Your voice to be louder than the voice of deception. The voice of deception will tell us to fight against flesh and blood. The voice of deception will tell us that because we do not forget that we will never forgive, therefore, never being pleasing to God. The enemy want us to stay walking wounded, but because Jesus overcame, we are over-comers. We choose forgiveness today. We choose love today. We choose hope today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now what?

Hebrews 10:18 (AMP) Now where there is [absolute] forgiveness and complete cancellation of the penalty of these things, there is no longer any offering [to be made to atone] for sin.

It is finished! Atonement has been made. Now what? What happens now. Jesus rose, He lives. He continued the work. It did not stop at the cross, it continued through His resurrected life. That is the message to us now. Right after this ‘now’ statement comes my favorite word in the Bible, “Therefore.”

Hebrews 10:19-25 (AMP) Therefore, believers, since we have confidence and full freedom to enter the Holy Place [the place where God dwells] by [means of] the blood of Jesus, by this new and living way which He initiated and opened for us through the veil [as in the Holy of Holies], that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great and wonderful Priest [Who rules] over the house of God, let us approach [God] with a true and sincere heart in unqualified assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word]; and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.

How do you think the life of the disciples changed after that moment. The day Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus, two disciples (not of the main 12) were discussing their brokenness of what had happened the previous days (Luke 24). They talked about His body not being in the tomb. They were talking to Jesus, but not being able to recognize Him. Jesus starts to talk to them about Moses and the scriptures of the prophets, referring to Himself (not knowing He was Him) as the fulfillment, encouraging them. Just when they realized, and their eyes were opened to the reality, His physical form left them again. What now?

Did they need Jesus’s physical presence for the hope to be alive? Did they need to hear Him speak the words for them to be true? My faith in Him, as He paid the price for my sins and rose in victory of death, is the confidence of my freedom. I am now free in Christ so let us…get back on focus!

Let us approach God with a true and sincere heart. I do not have to fear Him of punishment, but I am still in awe of Him. His Son ensured my cleanliness. His Son presents me to the Father as blemish free. My heart is true and sincere because it is not longer hardened. In Christ is all I need!

Let us hope again. There is a world out there hurting. Believers are hurting. Depression is at an all time high, inside and outside of the church. I recently came across this discussion on the depression triad: they have a negative self image, negative thoughts about their current circumstances and a hopeless view of the future. How do we hope again? Renew your mind in the Word of God. Confess it with your mouth and rehearse it. Trust God that He fulfilled everything through His Son.

Let us thoughtfully encourage each other to love and do good works. One of the biggest issues in our society today is depression, because it is self focused. Here me out before you get mad at that. The enemy is out to halt every part of you from getting the benefits of heaven. Why do you not think he would keep you bound if he could by centering it on your feelings? Do you have someone in your life that encourages you to pray for those outside of yourself? Do you have people in your life that talks about how you can help when something is noticed? Do you belong to a church, but actually take the time to talk with an get to know each other? My church attendance is not just because that is what you are suppose to do on Sundays. I am not in a hurry to leave when it is over, not even when we were not the pastors. Why? People matter. You matter! By keeping away you are rehearsing the lie that you do not matter. Let us gather with purpose.

Now we have access to every part of the heavenly Kingdom because of Christ…so let us act like it!!

Lord, we thank You for Redemption. You are mighty, powerful, just and merciful. Your goodness far surpasses our expectations. You are Holy. Your desire is for us to be holy. We know that starts in our minds, but would not be possible without Your Son. Now we stand in righteousness, now we stand in cleanliness, now we stand in fullness. Our trust and our hope is focused on You, not in what You can give us, but in who You are. You are Love so therefore we are love. You are Light so therefore we are light. Thank You for putting me among others to establish Your Kingdom here on earth. You unselfishly gave Your Son for us and we are choosing to see ourselves and others as worthy. Thank You for providing opportunities to show Your love in practical ways with the purpose for drawing others close to You. Lord, check our hearts, we surrender it to You. We desire You today! Our hope is in You today! We will share Your love today! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Love is the work in “works”

Revelations 2:4-5 (AMP) But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent

Before I get really into this I want you to know, we cannot earn God’s love. We cannot earn our salvation. However, we can lose sight of what He has called us to do. We will replace it with political views, standing up for injustice or chasing after bettering our gifts and talents (whether in the church or in the corporate world).

This week we had another mass shooting. Another? Yes. According to, there have been 38 U.S. mass shootings (four or more victims) in March of this year alone. At least 57 people have been killed and 133 have been injured. BBC news reports that there have been 131 mass shootings in the United States so far this year. The number for last year was 647. When news broke out about the shootings this week I read comments from both sides about their agendas. The one that broke by heart was the one that said they deserved it because of their Christian beliefs. Neither extremes are right. What happens when we get so focused on rightness? Let us look ahead in this part of Revelations for the context.

Revelations 2:1-5 (AMP) ‘I know your deeds and your toil, and your patient endurance, and that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles (special messengers, personally chosen representatives, of Christ), and [in fact] are not, and have found them to be liars and impostors;  and [I know that] you [who believe] are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and that you have not grown weary [of being faithful to the truth]. But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent.

Here the people were standing up to the truth of the Word. They did not depart from the truth and accept any revelation that was being presented by them. This the way we should be. We should be standing on the truth of His Word and not compromising. What we have failed at is the love part! Did they not love God? That is not the first love that He was talking about.

John 13:34 (AMP) I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.

Acts 26:20 (AMP) but I openly proclaimed first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent [change their inner self—their old way of thinking] and turn to God, doing deeds and living lives which are consistent with repentance.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (AMP) Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God].

In the Amplified Version of the Bible, the word love is often followed by unselfish concern and seeking the best for one another. The word repentance is not be ashamed, it is to surrender. Christ lived a life of surrender. In Christ we now are joined with Him. We are a new creation, because our spirit man has become awakened. New life can now come. A new way of doing things can be done. I have a new purpose. My purpose is now the ministry of reconciliation. My message should be restoration. I should see everyone as needing restoration. I cannot do that if I do not have the commandment of Jesus in front of me. We are to love one another. I am to love those with different view points of mine. I do not have to accept them, but I do have to desire restoration for them. Why are we fighting to change view points when I do not want to see them restored?

My heart breaks when I read that we would rather calamity fall on another group of people because of their views. That is not love! That is not standing up for what is right!!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (AMP) Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love does not rejoice when others are hurting!! I have been wronged by people. I have myself wronged others. I have been wronged by church people, but I would never wish harm on them. I would never celebrate and say “God don’t like ugly.” God is love. Even in their wrong, God still loves them. My prayer is they make it right with the Father, whether they make it right with me or not. I have to walk in forgiveness, whether they asked for it or not. I am not to repeat a suffered wrong (which is slander by the way). I am not to suede others into choosing sides. I am to point to the truth, the truth of God’s Word. That tells me that I am to love, just as He loved. That is the work. In order for me to love as He loved, I need to be focused on the ministry of reconciliation. My focus will be on Christ for myself and for others. Do I have a stance on political views and on injustice? Yes. However, they should not be louder than the desire for my first love. As a reminder: these letters and warnings were given to the church (those in Christ).

Father, You are full of grace and mercy, but You are also the final Judge. Thank You for sending Your Son to show us how to love. I never want to be one of those that You say did not go back to their first love. I repent for not making Your love what I am known for. You are the One who fights my battles, but that never gives me an excuse not to love. Help me keep an unselfish concern for those that need Your reconciliation. Open my eyes and keep a pure heart within me that I do not lose that first love. I thank You that You are taking care of and putting things in place to up-heed injustice. I thank You that I have answered the call, and along with others, to be the hands and feet to deliver those from such injustice. I will not hide or put my lamp stand under so others cannot find the light. Your heart has always been restoration. Thank You for including me and calling me into Your hearts desire. I choose forgiveness today. I choose love today. I choose hope today. Lead me to love more as I walk in my calling, as a minister of reconciliation. In Jesus Name, Amen.

This means war

Genesis 14:12, 14, 16 (AMP) And they also took [captive] Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and left, for he was living in Sodom. When Abram heard that his nephew [Lot] had been captured, he armed and led out his trained men, born in his own house, [numbering] three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far [north] as Dan.  And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

What happens when countries go into war? There are battles fought. There may even be casualties. What happens to the people that are trying to just go on with life? Sometimes, they are held captive. This is what happened to Lot and his crew. Lot and Abram had to go their separate ways. Separations happen, but that does not mean love is not there.

When Abram heard that his nephew was taken into captivity he gathered up some men of his own to go get him. Soon after a king offered him possessions, riches, to leave Lot and the others in his captivity. Why? The captivity of a people, not just land, shows the grandeur of a kingdom. The devil does not care what possessions you own, he cares about your influence of Kingdom matter.

1 Peter 2:9 (AMP) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Romans 8:17 (AMP)  And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.

Galatians 3:29 (AMP) And if you belong to Christ [if you are in Him], then you are Abraham’s descendants, and [spiritual] heirs according to [God’s] promise.

What happens when we hear or see a brother and/or sister in Christ go into captivity? They are no longer living the life they once were. They have fallen away. They become hard of heart and calloused to the rest of the body of Christ. What do you do then? Do we shrug our shoulders and chock it up to free will and we are all responsible for walking our own salvation? You are probably right in saying your words would be ineffective. What about your prayers?

Ephesians 6:12 (AMP) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 

Can you imagine the real battle going on right now? Can you see it? The enemy has come in and taken people captive. The battle raging in their minds. Will you go into the war room to fight for them back. Will you pray over their identities? Will you pray for strength in knowing who they are in Christ?

You may ask if this is your responsibility. Ephesians 6:18 (AMP) With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people. This does not just say pray for your children, your immediate family, those who do not know Christ (as we should)…it says to pray for ALL of God’s people. We are the body of Christ and when one of us is attacked the whole army of the Lord should be coming up against the enemy.

So I have been going down to the enemy camp, calling out what he has done, and I have been taking back what he has stolen in my war room (times of prayer). I have been speaking the promises of God and what He has destined for His beloved. What the devil had taken captive he will not be able to count as one of his possessions.

Father, You are so wonderful to me. There is nothing else that matters but You. Thank you for sending Your Son so that I may be whole again. Thank You for the peace that He brought. There are many things that I do not understand, but in Your grace and mercy I put my trust in You. Thank you for the people that You have put into my life. I am like a blurred reflection of You, looking dimly in a mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12), growing in Your love day by day. In Your Presence I see You face to face. Your Presence is where I long to be. I come boldly into Your throne room of grace. I know Your angels have been assigned and are awaiting the command. I speak to the strongholds that have kept Your people in bondage. They can no longer remain captive to the lies of the enemy. Satan is the accuser of the body and his lies will not take hold of them. Lord, Your Word is a lamp to my feet, I stand in faith to Your promises. Let any unforgiveness found in me be rooted out. I choose hope. I choose faith. I choose love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Signs and wonders

Mark 16: 17-20 (AMP) These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord was working with them and confirming the word by the signs that followed.]

I am excited about the state the church is in right now. At the beginning of the year, God gave me the Word “Presence.” For us to truly enter and be at a state of His Presence, we must have a heart of surrender. This starts with repentance and forgiveness.

As I have written earlier, I am in the process of watching The Chosen Series through the Angel Productions app. In season three, episode two, Jesus sends His disciples out two by two to preach what He preached, to lay hands on the sick and to cast out demons in His name. He told them to take no money and not even an extra tunic. The only other instruction was who they were partnered up with. The one that gave the most rebuttal was the pairing of Simon the former zealot and Matthew the former tax collector. It was not them with the problem, but the others, their concern was that the best pair to work together. Could they work together despite their different backgrounds? Often our perception of others limit what we believe they are capable of.

My favorite person to watch in this series is Matthew, I love his transformation. In my reading of the Word it had always been Peter, because he is mentioned so much I guess. In this perspective I just love Matthew. Simon in his former self would have despised and spat on Matthew, just like all the others did in the streets. He would have probably killed him, as zealots were trained assassins by the radical priests that wanted to overthrow the government. Matthew was a tax collector for the Romans, and his people saws him as a traitor. What a fun pair!

I wept when I saw that Simon kept the man calm while he had Matthew cast out the demon. Simon had the strength to do all and just allow Matthew to be a spectator, but that is not how Jesus instructs. It was a real confidence builder in Matthew. You can tell in his face that he felt accepted and needed.

We are in exciting times. There is a spread of revival in our college campuses and a shift in the atmosphere in our churches. Why? There is a heart change happening. It starts with repentance and forgiveness. It is not surrounding one charismatic preacher or one team of people. It is because the body started working like it should. They are no longer spectators waiting for a move, they are the move, they have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of them. The church has awakened.

Every person that we come in contact with has potential. I am a born again child of God and I still desire more of Him in my life. I still desire more freedom. Why? The enemy wants me to stay bound to things in my past, in my offenses, to what science tells me I am predisposed for genetically, therefore, I have become so beat down that oppression is what I would choose to function through. Just enough freedom to go to heaven, but not enough to rejoice and set other captives free. Oppression is a demonic stronghold that has had it’s hold on the body of Christ long enough. It keeps us in the back ground. It keeps us in the dark to say that the Word does not work that way for them. Enough is enough and we need to be bold enough to look the devil in the eye and say they have no place here any longer. Jesus is Lord here!!

Let’s just say demons oppress believers and a woman was set free yesterday in service. Is the promise of heaven just enough? For me it is not. I want all that God has for me. Jesus came to restore me, to make me whole, on earth. I am excited to see the ones who have been satisfied with the background to gain freedom in Christ. I was one of those. I want to be confident in Christ so that when the demons present themselves I do not have to look for someone with the authority, I have the authority. I can lay hands on the sick and they will recover. There is an awakening returning to the body. Signs and wonders will be follow. We are the move of God!

Father, forgive me for doubting Your power that was placed inside of me. I repent for putting me first in what comforts me. I repent for holding onto unforgiveness of those that have hurt me intentionally or unintentionally. You are more than enough for me. Thank You for Jesus and His compassion to lead well, and to humble Himself to teach us how to do Your mighty works. We want to see Your Kingdom here. We want to see the captives free. If there is anything in my life that is still holding me captive, I release it to You. I surrender my life, my will, my emotions so that freedom can flow through me. I ask that You place opportunities before me so that I can present Your Gospel, the ministry of reconciliation. I surrender all. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Heart Nuggets

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (AMP) Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench [subdue, or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit. Do not scorn or reject gifts of prophecy or prophecies [spoken revelations—words of instruction or exhortation or warning]. But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw and keep away from it].

I was in 1 Thessalonians yesterday and came across this list given by Paul. It had so much good nuggets of truth in that I wanted to break it down. What is funny is that it is list of do’s and don’ts. Isn’t that what the modern day church is trying to get away from? However, it is not a list of what not sins to do and how to be pure and holy, this is a list of how to keep your mind right. Paul confessed about the battle he had going on in his mind about this very church (1 Thessalonians 3:5), “For this reason, when I could no longer endure the suspense, I sent someone to find out about your faith [how you were holding up under pressure], for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our work [among you] would prove to be ineffective.”

So here is my list for this week:

  1. Rejoice always and delight in my faith. In my prayers, in my daily parts of life and in all circumstances. No matter what happens, I am to rejoice. How can I rejoice when someone just blasted me? How can I rejoice when the bills keep coming in? How can I rejoice when I just got in a fight with my spouse? Remember Romans 8:28: And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. In trust Him, so I rejoice. Joy is a fruit of my faith in Him. Continually have a heart that is thankful. This is God’s will for you!
  2. I should be accepting of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I do not need to be scornful in direction. We have become an independent, self governed, selfish group when we do not take direction as a growing opportunity. The Holy Spirit is not trying to harm you. We need to grow in the surrendered life.
  3. Do not reject the gifts of prophecy. This is man speaking to me through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. “Nobody is going to tell me what to do!” What will they say? Revelation knowledge (to get me back in line with the character and nature of God as revealed in His Word). Words of instruction (you are always going to have someone tell you what to do). Warnings (sometimes my attitude needs to be put back in check).
  4. Test all things! We like this one. I get to judge and criticize what is being said or done. Wait though. It says to test all things so you can recognize what is good. I do not test things and tear down what is bad. SO I CAN RECOGNIZE WHAT IS GOOD! Philippians 4:8 says, “ Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” This is a true test for love. Can I change my mindset to focus on the good on others? Can I hold firmly to what is good?
  5. Abstain from every form of evil. Is this telling me to not sin? Why are we so focused on sin? This is a heart thing. If I need to hide who I am or what I am doing, then that is opening a doorway for the evil one into my life. The church has been good about hiding , therefore, it now lacks power. Be a person of integrity. Do not cause anyone to question your motives. This is why transparency is the body should be encouraged. Why are our boundaries more like weapons against flesh and blood?

I am rejoicing over you today. I am thankful for those that He has placed in my life to guide me. I will not be scornful in correction. I choose love instead.

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in the Passion Translation. I like to put my name in the passage…Amanda’s love is large and incredibly patient. Amanda is gentle and contently kind to all. Amanda refuses to be jealous when someone else is blessed. Amanda does not brag her own achievements not inflates her own importance. Amanda does not traffic in shame and disrespect, she is not seeking honor for herself. Amanda is not easily irritated and is not quick to take offense. Amanda is joyful when honesty is presented and celebrates it for herself (does not find ways around the truth), and she does not delight in when someone else is wronged. Amanda’s trust is under the shelter of the Almighty for she is grounded in His perfect love. Amanda believes and thinks the best for others. Amanda does not take hurt, rejection or setbacks as a defeat. Amanda continues to hope, because love never gives up.

I have to admit that I failed at a few of these this morning, but instead of beating myself up, I look to the Father. He is the perfecter of my faith.

Father, I thank You for the reader today. I thank You that you sent your Son to reconcile us to You. I choose to walk in freedom and grow in the areas that brings me more freedom. I do this so that I can be a light and example to others that need freedom. I bind up every thought that may be holding me captive to loving others the way You want me to. I repent for not walking in love like I should. I know you give me grace in these areas, not that I take advantage of Your mercy to give me permission to hurt others, but so that I can grow. Let my hope grow today. I rejoice in every set up that has been made today. I know that I can trust You. I place my trust in You. I desire You. Holy Spirit I surrender more of me today. I pray for those that persecute me for Your Name’s sake. Let your Word reign in my heart, in my mind and on my tongue today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Celebrate Christmas Year Round

2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMP) Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].

I pray you had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with your families. My family and I are away from home, enjoying each other, in the mountains of Tennessee. We take this time to just be us. We go on adventures, eat out at new places and spend time in a new environment to check on our growth status as a family.

I think we should do that regularly as believers as well. We get so comfortable in our routines. I use to read the above scripture and think that it only applied to the moment I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. That is just part of it. Freedom comes when you realize that spiritual awakening brings new life. My spirit man became alive, yes, however I did not know it’s fullness until I started applying the next verse.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (AMP) But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God]. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. 

I am a minister of reconciliation, and if you are in Christ, so are you. As I surrender and pursue after a relationship with the Father, His spirit will begin to speak to my spirit and reveal things in His Word that will cause me to grow and get stronger spiritually. There is no magic formula. I cannot wait to feel it in my emotions. This is a decision I have to make. I have to determine to want the new.

Read your Word not to get your streaks, and not to get your goal to read in a certain amount of time. Read your Word with a surrendered heart. “God what are you saying to me today?” I cannot allow my emotions to lead my life or run my life. It is not about the feeling, it about the character and nature as revealed through His Word.

How can we celebrate Christmas year round? How do I determine if this new life is a part of me continually? Be determined each day to grow in God. How? 1) Through relational development. I must be committed to spending time with God. 2) Through personal surrender. I must be willing to say no to things in my life that pulls me away from the development and relationship with Him. 3) Make myself available to serve. If you have number one and number two and you do not have an outlet in the kingdom, then you really are not growing in anything. If you have number three with out numbers one and two, you are doing it for self promotion and not kingdom building. It is in the moments that you serve that the things that you have learned will be tested and proven. Being available to serve is proving ground in what you said you learned. I would also like to suggest that being available to serve will reveal your calling…the calling to the ministry of reconciliation.

Father, I thank you for the gift of love that you show and give. Let me be an example of that love by answering the call into the ministry of reconciliation. Through your Son I have been made a new creation. The person I was yesterday, is different from who I am today. I choose to grow in your Word and in your ways by developing a closer relationship with you. I choose to serve as I grow. I choose to surrender as I grow. Your life is better than my old life. You are where I find my fullness. Let me be an example of that to others. In Jesus Name, Amen.

30 Days of Thanksgiving

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

Every November I start each morning posting what I am thankful for. A heart of thanksgiving will overflow with gratitude. It is the fruit of us being deeply rooted in Jesus. It is proof of our faith. It helps build our faith because we choose to overflow in it with gratitude.

Last week my church finished up a six week small group plan following Get Out of Your Head, a study in Philippians, by Jennie Allen. The final chapter talks about anxiety. Could we be focused on fear of a real or, often really the case, perceived threat? Can we trust God, even if?

Philippians 4:8 (AMP) Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

Philippians 4:8 is one of my go to verses that I often meditate on. Why? My mind wants to spiral into some crazy thoughts. Often we think of all the things that can go wrong when presented with a challenge. In reality the more success we have is when we focus on all the things that can go right. The same is with our relationships. If I cannot think of our brothers and sisters in Christ this way, I have a deep issue that has not been rooted in His love. If I cannot bring our minds to think on things that is worthy of praise, if I cannot implant His Word in my heart, I have a deep rooted issue centered on not trusting God.

A couple of years ago a church that we had a semi relationship with (our youth groups would get together) hurt me pretty bad. They had started using some of my youth leaders to do various helps in their church, without us knowing. These leaders eventually left ours to join in with their leadership team because of the relationship they developed. My heart hurt and we cut ties with that other church. Even though what they did was wrong, I became so consumed to what they did and what they are doing that bitterness and eventually depression set it. I had allowed it to do that to happen a year ago. I still had friendships in that church, but I cut off all communication with the pastors. I stayed away from my friends because I did not want to spew my hurt onto them. I do honor the office of a pastor and we should not use the reason of hurt to talk bad about them (James 4:11). When I did come together again, with my friend, I did tell them why, but I did tell the I her I was working through my hurt. I always encourage her to honor her pastors, to join in and help with the vision of the church. I have also started to pray for the church, not to see their errors, but to fulfill the vision that God put inside of them. I am not ready to see them again. I will continue to pray. I focus my mind on what is worthy of praise. They are called by God with a purpose. They are bringing people into the Kingdom.

You do not have to wait to feel good to start having a time of thanksgiving. Joy will start to come out of your praise. Praise even when you are hurting, that is the way out of it. Start with just one. You might say, I cannot come up with thirty things. Just think and be thankful one day at a time. Before you know it, you will have filled the whole month with thanksgiving. Here are a couple of ideas if you need help:

Father, I thank you for challenging us to see the best in others. My hearts desire is to grow close in your presence, because in your presence is fullness of joy. I repent for speaking words or having thoughts that slander my brothers and sisters in Christ. I choose today to think on things that pure, lovely, virtuous, and to not take an account of a suffered wrong. I speak blessings on those that hurt me. May they be successful and favored in every place they go. May they minister the gospel and set people free by pointing them to your Son. I am thankful for the forgiveness you have given me so that I may freely give it to others. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for the friendships that I have. I thank you that we point each other back to Christ. I thank you for surrounding me and rooting me in your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.