That door is not closed…yet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who have you been with?

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

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

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

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

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

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

They recognized that these men had been with Jesus.

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

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

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

Out of the grave

Depending on where you are and what worship bands you have access to, because there are many, what would you say would be your favorite song to put on repeat right now? Elevation Worship and Maverick City just put out a new collaboration album called “Old Church Basement.” To be honest I have not listened to many of the songs, “Jireh” is a pretty good one. One song though that I have to stop whatever I am doing and just sing when it comes on is “Rattle” (not on this album, but releases by Elevation Worship a year ago).

Pentecostal fire stirring something new
You're not gonna run out of miracles anytime soon
Yeah, resurrection power runs in my veins too
I believe there's another miracle here in this room

This is the sound of dry bones rattling
This is the praise make a dead man walk again
Open the grave, I'm coming out
I'm gonna live, gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling

I do not know about you, but the greatest battle that I have is in my mind. My mind will tell me that I really am not wanted. That it does not matter when you get up and speak. I ask myself whether the things that I make available to serve, do they really matter, does anyone care? Then I feel guilty and I wear the shame or disappointment on my face. Then I am told that I need to change my face because I am wearing my disappointment. This causes me to want to go into hiding, and God would let me do it. Really? God will let me run and hide. Yes, He will. Remember, you have free will.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMP) All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].

Case in point is to look at Elijah. In 1 Kings 19 Elijah hears word that Jezebel is mad and has sent people to kill him. In the previous chapter we see that he calls does a fire and it burns up and kills all the priests of Baal. Verse 4, “But he himself traveled a day’s journey into the wilderness, and he came and sat down under a juniper tree and asked [God] that he might die. He said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.‘” Have you ever had those moments that you curl up and think, would it better if I was not even here? An angel comes and feeds him, there was cake (talk about comfort food). Then he makes his way to a cave. Verses 9-10, “There he came to a cave and spent the night in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’  He said, ‘I have been very zealous (impassioned) for the Lord God of hosts (armies) [proclaiming what is rightfully and uniquely His]; for the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.‘”

God then calls Elijah, while he is in the cave, a couple more times asking what he is doing there. Showing His marvelous self outside of the cave each time. My friend, God does not want us to stay in the cave, but He will let us be there if we choose. What Elijah did not have available to him is the Holy Spirit (also referred to as our Comforter). I look at it this way, yes a cave is good for hiding and it does provide shelter, but do you know what else it is used for? A grave! They buried their dead there. This is why I love the song “Rattle” so much right now. I wanted to stay in that cave. I have to make the choice to come out, and no God would never want to keep me there. Do not let that cave become your grave!

Do not let that cave become your grave!

I found a nice cave when I had COVID. It was after the 10 days had passed. I was still feeling exhausted, so I slept a lot. Saturday afternoon I had nausea again and a headache so bad that I needed a cold compress. This was my chance, I could tell my husband that I needed another Sunday to recover (I had already been out the previous Sunday). He would have to be compassionate and let me, I mean I still had the affects of COVID. The articles said this could last months. Yep, there was a nice cave I could hide in. I had to make the decision not to stay there. I was not one hundred percent when I went to service that next day. Since I was still dizzy and my mind was foggy, I did not play the bass with the worship team. In worship I pulled on that corporate anointing and received the healing I needed to not go back into the cave.

If you have been in a cave, please know that God does not want you to stay there, but He will allow you to be there. He loves and cares for you. Let Him show you all of His majesty. I heard from Joyce Meyer one time, “You are graced for the hard stuff.” Here are a few scriptures I use to help me with the hard stuff, I pray they encourage you. Have a blessed day!

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].

Isaiah 4:29 (AMP) He gives strength to the weary, and to him who has no might He increases power

1 John 3:19-20 (AMP) By this we will know [without any doubt] that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart and quiet our conscience before Him whenever our heart convicts us [in guilt]; for God is greater than our heart and He knows all things [nothing is hidden from Him because we are in His hands].

One Year Later

It has been a year since the Stay at Home Order in Alabama. We were told that we should only go out of our homes to get the essentials (i.e. groceries, toiletries, home repair, etc.). Masks were not mandated yet, but you saw people wearing them in public, as well as, gloves of all sorts. There was toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and spray shortages.

Our kids were on spring break at the time. Since my kids are athletes, and how else are we suppose to get teenagers away from electronics these days, I made them run every morning. We lifted weights together, at the house, every day. I tried to keep them as active as possible. It brought me back to the days when I was growing up and my grandmother would keep us outside during the summer so we would not just watch television all day. We would ride our bikes to a friends house or they would all come over to my grandmother’s and swim. It was too cool for the pool to be open, so one rode his bike all over the neighborhood and the other learned to climb ladders and hang out on the roof.

What made me want to write about this was because as pastors my husband and I had to adjust, but we did not want this to change the core of what we believed the church should be. There was a quote being posted around Facebook, it said, “Your Pastor has never pastored a church through a Pandemic before. When he opens people are going to say he should have closed. When he closes people are going to say he should have opened. When he shakes hands people are going to say he has faith. When he shakes hands people are going to say he’s foolish. He’s going to make some difficult decisions to protect the flock considering everything from your spiritual growth to legal liabilities that you aren’t even thinking about. He has the incredible responsibility of looking over the well being of his flock. Remember this:No one wants things to go well at church as much as your pastor. Your pastor needs your prayers and support right now. And although you can’t touch him, give him an air high 5. 😄 support your pastor in prayer.”

Ephesians 4:11-13 (AMP) And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct], [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity].

This is our calling and our role. It breaks my heart that the body was separated during that time physically, but we should not have been separated spiritually. There have been many things that have happened in the past year. A real shaking occurred. The shaking could have gone two ways: 1) it could have shaken us awake and brought us closer together to unify, or 2) it could have shaken us to divide us. Whatever you are going through in your life right now, I pray that things were shaken to draw you closer to Him. That is what I chose to do this past year.

It breaks my heart that the body was separated during that time physically, but we should not have been separated spiritually.

Yes, my family did get hit with COVID-19. It effected me different than everyone else in my home. Both of my grandparents passed away this past year. Both of my husband’s and my parents have had long term effects of the virus. They are coming out of it, it has taken a few months. We know of those that have been put on a respirator and recovered. It has been a year that changed our world. So please continue to pray for us (your pastors and leaders) as it has been a year of not knowing what to do and still doing it. We did not give up on you. We are here wanting to see you grow in His spiritual completeness and exercise your gifts in unity.

Begin Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming out of the fog

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

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

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

Ephesians 3:19b (TPT)

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

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

When I was laying on that couch, and the world would spin, I was brought this song by Elevation Worship called “Rattle.” The lyrics: “This is the sound of the dry bones rattling, This is the praise make a dead man walk again, Open the grave, I’m coming out, I’m gonna live, gonna live again, This is the sound of the dry bones rattling” is what I sung over and over again.

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

Jesus got tired too

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was Jesus. What did He say about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I kept looking

Daniel 7:13-14 (AMP) I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, on the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him (the Messiah) was given dominion (supreme authority), glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and speakers of every language should serve and worship Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away;and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.

This year is coming to a close and tomorrow we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! As I read this verse yesterday I began to thank God for redirecting my focus this year. I was able to read more of His Word than I had ever before. This completes my second year as a stay at home mom, to now teenagers. I started out strong in my first year, then I got lazy. I filled my days with binge watching shows on Netflix while my kids were at school. At the beginning of 2020 I did not allow the television to come on until sundown for the twenty one day Daniel Fast we did. Then Covid-19 shuts everything down in March. I had to make a choice. What should I fill all that time with?

Last night my youngest son and I sat down to watch Christmas movies. We watched “Santa Claus” with Tim Allen. It is one of our families favorites. There was a part of the movie when Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is reading his son the Twas the Night Before Christmas. It brought back the memories of my grandfather reading that to my sisters and I when we were little. He would read it to us every Christmas Eve. As I told my youngest about that memory, he asked why I never read it to them when they were little. I told him that as fond as those memories were, I wanted them to focus on Jesus at Christmas.

We do celebrate with gift giving at Christmas, but our children have never known Santa to bring those gifts. We all have a choice on how to celebrate this season and our choice has been the miracle of the birth of Jesus. Jesus came to this world as a man, born in a manger, to put us back in right standing with God and to restore our relationship. He is a God of grace and mercy. I can never be enough without Jesus.

We also take time to bake for our neighbors. We will go and serve in a local organizations as a family, not just in the four walls of our church building. We want to teach them that giving is what Jesus did and that is what we should do also. We will also take a trip every year, just the four of us. Many years we are not even home on Christmas Day. It is about making lasting memories with them. They will forget what gifts they got, but they will not forget the time we spent with them.

This Christmas and all throughout the year, all I want is a little more of Jesus.

Author Unknown

As I read Daniel 7 it started out with, “I kept looking….” That is the perfect statement for this year. A couple of nights ago we were all looking at the night sky to the Christmas Star. The world was focused on one part of the sky. This same star is said to be what led the wise men to find Jesus. This year has made us think and readjust many things, but one things cannot change, His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away;and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.

I do not know what you are focused on today, but I pray that you take time to focus on the miracle that we celebrate. Dr. Michelle Bengston posted this morning, “I don’t know what you are wishing for this Christmas, whether it is tangible, physical, relational, or emotional. But God wants to hear about your desires from you. What a joy to know there is a safe place to come and share our innermost desires.”

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas! Glory to God in the Highest, peace on earth and good will to all men!!

Giving Thanks As We Break Bread Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When we are whole, we are nourished!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you feel loved?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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